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Cattails in the WInd

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Watery Wednesday

Posted by Lorac Wednesday, 24 March 2010 21 comments

As we see the significant weather changes here in Ontario with the beginnings of spring, we realize that it won't be long until we see the fresh green leaves decorating the trees. This picture is only a photo of things to come but soon will be reality!

 For more Watery Wednesday click here!

SkyWatch Friday

Posted by Lorac Thursday, 18 March 2010 17 comments

The days are getting longer and the sun much warmer! I was driving not far from home and saw this sky over a really nice farmstead just as the sun was setting for the day. The many trees and silo in silhouette against the grey sky with just a hint of the sun in behind appealed to me. Rainy weather was closing in and such a contrast to the bright blue warm day we had experienced. I had to get a photo!

Want to see more wonderful skies from around the globe? Go to SkyWatch Friday here!

Weekend Reflections/Scenic Sunday

Posted by Lorac Friday, 12 March 2010 28 comments

Our ice and snow is starting to melt quite a bit now. The temperatures have been staying above freezing for a few days. This mini-iceberg and the trees on the opposite bank show their  reflection in the still icy cold water of this little stream.

Melting during the day but a quick freeze at night produces these crystals in the puddle.

For more great Weekend Reflections click here.
Great pics at Scenic Sunday click here.
Shanara's Saturday, a new meme with an ice theme here!

SkyWatch Friday

Posted by Lorac 14 comments

 SkyWatch Friday!
Clear blue skies over the Crawford Lake 15th century Iroquoian Village. Inside are tools, animal hides and the smell of smoke which let you experience the life and times of Ontario’s First Peoples. These long houses are a complete reconstruction of the originals.

The spirits still sing in the rustic longhouses.

For many beautiful skies the world over go to SkyWatch Friday!

Scenic Sunday, Straight out of the Camera

Posted by Lorac Sunday, 7 March 2010 22 comments

 Old Rustic Barn in the Woods

Found on a walk through the woods, the red roof catching my eye. The years have blended the barn into the landscape by weathering the barn boards and making the once shiny steel roof a rusty red.
For more of Scenic Sunday click here! Check out Straight out of the Camera here!

What a Fungi!

Posted by Lorac Saturday, 6 March 2010 14 comments

While out for a walk the other day I happened to notice a log just off in the bush that had fungus growing on it. I have often gathered the Artists Conks before for the grand children to draw on so thought I would go in and take a look. The conks were too small to take but with the conks on the tree were some other very interesting fungus. The Artist Conks are on the top and the colourful one below is a Trametes Versicolor or Turkey Tail that has seen better times. All of these show the fungi much better when enlarged.

These were harder to identify. I think they are Honey Mushroom but may be Armillaria luteobubalina. Look a lot like pancakes actually.

This I could not identify but it sure looks ugly! Well worthy of a photo.

This was several more of these kinds and they were all on one piece of log about 4 feet long. I think it is rotting away nicely and will join the earth in no time! Nature taking care of nature.
Day One is starting a new meme, Photo Time. Right now it is a pic of anything! Go take a look!

SkyWatch Friday

Posted by Lorac Thursday, 4 March 2010 30 comments

Oakville Harbour on an almost spring day. Even though there is little sign of spring on the ground it is in the wind, the water and the sky!

I often walk past this old demised tree bleached by the sun and wind. On this bright sunny day, it really stood out against that gorgeous blue sky!

A very special blog, SkyWatch Friday has skies from all over the world. Go and take a look!

Maple Syrup Weather! Where does the sugar come from?

Posted by Lorac Wednesday, 3 March 2010 8 comments

Maple trees, Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall
Maple syrup, made from maple water from the Maple tree. We don't really think about. As Canadians we have been brought up with Maple Syrup and learned early in school  how "syruping" is done. I don't ever recall  being told why there is sugar in the maple water.
  It seems that each fall, the tree produces its own supply of starch to act as an anti-freeze for the roots in winter. With the melting of snow, water enters the roots and begins the circulation of 'sugar water' through the tree in preparation for the growing season. As a result, sap runs in fits and starts from the first spring thaw until the buds turn into leaves from mid-March until April.

Native Americans were well aware of the sweet nature of sap from trees such as maple and birch. An Algonquin legend states that a chief struck a tree with his axe one day. His wife saw the tree wound dripping sap, collected it in a wooden bowl and used the sap to boil meat for dinner. They were amazed at the sweetness of the meat and learned that they could boil down the sap to make sugar. The process of sugar making was long and arduous and improved after the arrival of Europeans, who introduced Native Americans to iron pots.

 A maple tree must be at least a foot (30 cm) in diameter (about 40 years old) before it can first be tapped. Tapping if done properly doesn’t hurt the tree, many trees have been tapped for 100 years or more. Taping will draw about 10% of the tree’s total sap production. A small hole is drilled into the tree and a spile (spout) inserted. In small operations a bucket is hung from the spile, in larger operations tubing is attached to the end of the spile. On a good day, the sap flow will be at a rate of about 175 drops per minute in the morning, slowing down to 10 drops per minute in the afternoon.

Maple water is transformed into maple syrup in a sugarhouse, or "sugar shack." The finest syrups can only be made from fresh, clean sap. The collected sap is boiled down into syrup.
The "boiling down" process is slow - sometimes continuing far into the night. When I lived up in Muskoka a few of my friends collected the maple water for boiling in to syrup every year. Many nights we sat around the out door fire pit with the iron pot hanging above, boiling down the Maple water. Evaporation that is too slow or too fast will affect the color, flavor and texture of the syrup.  The flames were slowly fed throughout the night.

Maple syrup is divided into three grades based on colour; light, medium and dark. The light is officially the best grade, although the medium and dark grades generally have a stronger maple flavour. Part of the reason for the grading is to avoid confusion with the end of season syrup, which is darker with more of a caramel flavour. The end of the season is signaled by the budding of the maple trees. Chemicals introduced into the sap by the tree to induce budding produce an off-flavour in the sap. It signals that the sap run is over and spring has truly arrived.

Watery Wednesday/ Outdoor Wednesday

Posted by Lorac Tuesday, 2 March 2010 36 comments

Cant see the forest for the trees, but there is a sneak peak in the water! The sun felt warm on this day. It is starting to bring in spring. I could smell plants and water not just ice and cold!

Mirror images have always been some of my favorites. Our first signs of impending spring in Ontario, the warmer sunshine on one side but you can still see the icy cold on the shadow side! Yesterday it was +5 C but plunged to -10 C here last night. This is what we call Maple syrup weather!

So many gorgeous and interesting water scenes  to see at Watery Wednesday!
Outdoor shots form all over the world in Outdoor Wednesday!

Olympics over, not forgotten!

Posted by Lorac Monday, 1 March 2010 13 comments

The Olympics are over! I watched the closing ceremonies as the flame was extinguished and the flag handed over to Russia. I think they will do a wonderful job in 2014! It was a sad and joyous time, all at once! I was glad they kept the ceremonies upbeat. What a marvel to be able to see the worlds best perform in the last 17 days! I felt at a loss this morning! Here the Olympic channel has been on day and night!

I think the athletes from all over the world should be congratulated for the wonderful dedication to their sport and the excellent accomplishments at the Olympics. For many, it was a personal best and for some, a medal. Either way, Congratulations!

To our Canadian athletes, you have made us very proud!
Very proud to be Canadian!
Thank you!

One more time!

The Canadian national anthem is "O Canada!"

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

Remember, starting in March, the "Para-Olympics". 

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Georgetown, Ontario, Canada
I have lived in Georgetown for 37 years but have traveled around a great deal. I own my own business which takes a lot of my time but try to blog as much as possible! I love to take pictures, no training, just a love of photography. Enjoy the pics but please do not copy them.
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Copyright ~~All content and photos are original to Carol Merten, Ahhh...The Cottage Life! and are copyrighted. Please do not copy, or download any content without express written consent. All content and photos remain the sole property of Carol Merten.