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The Owl and the Butterfly

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The owl used to hang where the giant butterfly now hangs at 27th Street. Today I hung the owl on the other side of the garage. That owl seemed huge when we made it, but the monarch makes it seem as if the owl should be even bigger.

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Shell-bodied butterfly

We finished this new butterfly mosaic the other day….

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It has a wingspan of about 19 inches. We made it with shells, broken crockery, ceramic tiles, smalti tiles, pennies, plastic flowers. You can see lots more mosaics at our Long Branch Mosaics page. We do all kinds of custom mosaic work.

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MS Bike Niagara – accomplished

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This morning was MS Bike Niagara. It was a fun ride and a pretty one too. Part of it went along the Niagara River and another part along Lake Erie. The final leg was along the beautiful “Friendship Trail”.

We would like to thank everyone who supported our participation in this ride. Between the two of us, me and Tuffy P raised over $4,000 to help with MS research.

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Free Books

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There are some excellent titles in the 27th Street Book Box right now. There’s only one rule – respect others. You’re welcome to take any books you like home. If you happen to have any books at home you think others would enjoy, you can drop them off in the box any time.  The Book Box is located in front of 15 Twenty Seventh here in Long Branch just a few houses north of Lake Promenade. Enjoy.

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It’s butterfly season in Long Branch

These two new butterflies each have a wingspan of about 19 inches. They’re made with broken crockery, ceramic and smalti tiles and various surprises.

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If you enjoy our mosaics, visit the Long Branch Mosaics page to see lots more. We do all kinds of custom mosaic work for inside the house or out in the garden.

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Another big tree coming down in Long Branch

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It is no surprise to anyone around here that the huge dying silver maple at 2 Twenty Seventh is being taken down. Here is the history.

The Committee of Adjustment approved the lot severance at 2 Twenty Seventh. We appealed to the OMB, who upheld the City decision.

On December 3, 2015, a City of Toronto crew removed the tree protection area and proceeded to dig a deep trench a few feet from the tree, severing main roots. I contacted Urban Forestry immediately.

We have visited the site and seen the trench that you have brought to our attention.  The injury incurred was committed by a City of Toronto contractor and not the property owner.  We will continue to investigate this breach of the City of Toronto municipal Code Chapter 813 Article II 6B.

And the follow-up…

It was observed by our staff that moderate root damage took place at the time of excavation.  Although it is anticipated that the tree will survive the root damage, it is unknown how it will affect the overall condition of the tree.

They were wrong. This season only a portion of the tree leafed out and it was clearly in trouble. I contacted Forestry again asking if there was anything that could be done to save the tree. Not long after that, a big orange spray paint blotch appeared on the tree, the splotch of doom.

I feel bad for the folks who bought the new homes during the winter, thinking they had a huge mature tree in front of the homes. I’m sure the City will plant a new tree, but it will be a twig in comparison to what was there. Of course the new property owners can plant additional trees and I hope they go ahead and do that.

This is the same property where 6 mature spruces were illegally destroyed. Last I heard, that mattter was still before the courts.

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Studio sneak peak: Do the Math

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Do the Math, 2017

Do the Math is oil on masonite. It’s about 13 inches tall and it floats about 3/4 inch out from the wall. It will be in my October exhibition at Yumart, here in Toronto.

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No mushrooms for dinner

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Hydnum repandum – the hedgehog

This morning, the Partners were really working me, trying to convince me that I ought to be taking them somewhere in the car for an adventure. It didn’t take a lot of convincing. I tossed a basket in the car, loaded the dogs and off we went to the Enchanted Mushroom Forest.

Some readers will have realized I apply the name Enchanted Mushroom Forest to all the forests I forage in. This particular woods is usually reliable for some lobster mushrooms and some hedgehogs, with the odd chanterelle and maybe a few boletes thrown in. It’s one of those places that never gives a huge bounty but rarely leaves an intrepid forager skunked.

Today, I found hedgehogs right away. There are two varieties of hedgehog mushrooms and both grow in this forest. One is Hydnum repandum and the other is Hydnum umbilicatum. They look a little different from one another. The latter has a dimple, or a belly button, on the top of the cap, hence the name umbilicatum. In my area these tend to be more orangy-tan than the Hydum repandum, which I would describe as tan. Both have teeth instead of gills or pores, making them easy to identify. Both are also delicious. They taste similar to chanterelles and like chanterelles, they are a firm mushroom which fry up very well.

Today I found about 15 hedgehogs in short order. They looked a little old to me, but still on this side of their expiry date, so I picked them and tossed them in my basket. I was very surprised I failed to find any lobster mushrooms at all, not even spent ones. That was a bit of a disappointment as I can usually count on finding enough for a couple dinners at least.

When we got home, the first thing I did was brush the stickers and burrs out of the dogs’ fur. They have a blast in the forest, but always come home with unwanted stuff in their coats. The Partners then settled in for an afternoon nap, while I cleaned up my mushrooms.

Generally, I find nice clean hedgehogs at this spot, but sadly all the mushrooms I picked this morning were badly infested with bugs and worms. It was not a very appetizing situation, and reluctantly my finds for the day went to the compost. Of course The Partners didn’t care about that. They understand the adventure is the thing, not the bounty.