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Plain to See Plainsman

Plain to See Plainsman, the latest effort by Colter Wall, contains some of the best new music I’ve heard this year. Colter Wall is a young guy from Swift Current Saskatchewan who has been quickly making a name for himself with consistently strong songwriting and a fabulous deep voice.

27th Street recommended.

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Nature Walk – Sunnybrook Park

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West Don River

Today’s nature walk with Miles Hearn took place at Sunnybrook Park, on some lovely trails along the West Don River. It was quite cool but no rain – a beautiful day for a walk.

All through these trails there were many spindle trees (European euonymus) and Winged euonymus – the two shrubs known as “burning bush”. With so many examples around, Miles used the opportunity to make sure we could all tell which is which.

The Spindle tree has bigger blooms/berries than the Winged euonymus. If you look at the branches of the Winged euonymus, you can see “wings” running along the branch.

We saw quite a few examples of an interesting and edible mushroom, known as Hypsizygus – sometimes called the Elm oyster (although here it is generally found on the soft maples, in today’s case on Manitoba maples).hypsyzygus.jpg


Here are a few of the other highlights from this morning’s walk…

I’m one of the few people who bring along a notebook on these walks. I do it to help me learn the plants in particular. Every time I take a photo of a plant, I add it to a list in my notebook. Typically, Miles identifies many more plants than I put on my list. I don’t try to get everything down so each list is a little subjective. When I get home, I match my photos to the names of the plants on the list and I look up each of them and try to learn a few things about each of the plants. When I started going on the nature walks I didn’t use a notebook and I found it very difficult to recall all the plants and birds Miles identified. It’s a tool which helps me learn and remember.

Each of my lists is unique to a particular walk at a particular time of year. Sometimes I think of the lists as being like poems, made up only of plant names. Here’s the list I made today:

Beggar ticks
Late goldenrod
Silky dogwood
Red oak leaves
Spindle tree (European euonymus)
Winged euonymus
Dog strangling vine
Manitoba maple keys
Grape vines
Herb Robert
Alternate leaved dogwood

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Addressing the complaints

The supernatural beings who live in the Imagination Stations out back have been complaining because they haven’t been able to receive mail. We all know complaining about the mail service is a time-honoured activity among Canadian humans, but now the pixies, fairies, trolls, sprites, elves, hobs, imps, and others who sleep in the Imagination Stations have got into the act. They visited their MP and expressed outrage. They called the Toronto Sun. DSC08476.jpg

OK, I’ve bowed to their complaints. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, right? I’ve looked into this and determined as their landlord, I’m responsible for providing an approved mail receptacle. It is done. You may commence sending mail to the Imagination Stations at your leisure.


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Blue Jays in the garden today

There were as many as 5 blue jays hanging around out back today. I didn’t feed the local birds over the summer but I’ve recently started that up again. They were enjoying sunflower seeds in the apple tree. DSC08459.jpg


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Walk in the woods

This morning The Partners gave me the look which can only mean, hey buddy get off your butt and take us for an adventure in the car. So I asked them, you guys want to go somewhere in the car? This of course was met with some excitement.

I’m nervous about taking our dogs to the woods anytime hunters might be about, especially since one of The Partners looks suspiciously like a bear, but there is no Sunday hunting allowed at the forest I had in mind, so off we went.



We came across many examples of a strange mushroom today, known as Entoloma abortivum. These mushrooms were thought to be the result of honey mushrooms (Armillaria) attacking entoloma mushrooms, but these days mycologists apparently think it’s the other way around, Entoloma attacking Armillaria. In either case, most of these strange mushrooms can be found at the base of trees, usually in the presence of honey mushrooms (although there were few honey mushrooms around today).

Some people consider these to be a choice edible. I’ve cooked them up once and did not find them appealing, so these days I don’t pick them.


We went for a long walk and the dogs had a ball, sniffing all that was there to sniff, poking around here and there and enjoying the day. I had a pretty good time too.


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A walk in the park

We’re so fortunate to live a 5 minute walk from Colonel Sam Smith Park, a Toronto treasure. It’s so beautiful this time of year, with plenty to draw your interest.


The Partners love a walk in Sam Smith Park

The park boasts a huge variety of plant life, loads of birds – it’s one of the most popular bird-watching spots in the GTA – plenty of Lake Ontario shoreline and a lovely pond.