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Flight School

There are so many baby birds around the house right now. The highlight are the baby Baltimore orioles, which just started flight school. Mama flies about from branch to branch up in the trees, showing the junior orioles how it’s done. The little ones hop about on the branches, fly from one to another, sit around for a while, then repeat.


supervising flight school



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The Long Branch garden tour is this Saturday

After months of planning, the Long Branch by the Lake Garden Tour is just a few days away – Saturday June 23, rain or shine. There will be a brief kick-off ceremony at 9:15 at 2 Twenty Eighth Street, followed by Helen Battersby’s free presentation, Eat your Garden. Then, at 10:00 AM, all 37 of the gardens will be open to the public. At 1:00 PM, Jennifer Arnott will be delivering another free presentation, Turn one plant into two or more! at Thrive Organic Kitchen, 3473 Lake shore Blvd West, where you can also buy a great plant-based lunch. There are plenty of other great lunch choices as well. My personal faves include Tasty Korea, right at Twenty Seventh and Lake Shore, Woody’s Burgers at 3795 Lake Shore Blvd W and 850 Degrees Pizza, at 3455 Lake Shore.

There is still time to get your free map for the tour. They’re available at many businesses along the Lakeshore – just look for the poster in the window. I just dropped a batch up to Silver Lion Framing on the south side of Lakeshore between Twenty Seventh and Twenty Fifth Street. You can see a full listing of businesses which have stocked posters on the website. There will also be some in the Twenty Seventh Street book box in front of 15 Twenty Seventh right up until tour day. As well, there will be signs around the community pointing to gardens. Every participating garden will have a blue sign on the property.

Tuffy P and I will be poking around our gardens all week. Of course the weeds continue to grow, but we’re sprucing things up as best we can around here.


The backyard is a bird paradise right now. As well as the house sparrow colony, there areĀ  a family of starlings, lots of robins and cardinals, and two young mourning doves, grackles, an occasional house finch and there have been Baltimore orioles enjoying the choke cherries.

If you’re out enjoying the garden tour, please be sure to say hi when you get to our place. I’ll likely be out back picking the banjo.

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A garden preview

The Long Branch by the Lake Garden Tour will take place next Saturday, 10-4, rain or shine. Here’s a sneak peak at our crazy Twenty Seventh Street gardens. They’re loaded with surprises, with lots of mosaics and garden sculpture, places to sit and relax or sit and play music. The back is a paradise for the local bird community, with 8 mature spruce trees, a big old silver maple and an old apple tree. We have veggie gardens and a canoe garden – oh and our share of weeds as a bonus.

Visit the website to see where you can pick up your free map (close to 140 locations).

Each year we have various garden projects going on. With the increased sun after the house construction next door, we’re growing some veggies out front – in the back there isn’t enough sun for tomatoes or peppers.

This year, I’ve added a seating area, reclaiming part of what has been a dense shrubby woodland garden way out back. I think of the gardens as an improvisational adventure. We try all sorts of things and some of them stick.

If you have a chance to visit Long Branch for the garden tour next Saturday, you will see 37 gardens, each with its own personal touch. There will also be two free presentations as well as a planting activity for kids. If you come by, please say hi and let me know you heard about it on this blog.




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I love rivers

Or as Ramblin’ Jack said:

Did you ever…..stand and shiver….just because, just because….you’re lookin’….at a ri-ver?


I have to hand it to my friend Bill. He wasn’t discouraged after last week’s day on the Grand River, and yesterday afternoon he showed his determination. Bill’s casting is vastly improved and he’s started to pay attention to the bugs. The whole fly fishing game isn’t easy. There are a lot of problems to deal with, and it’s easy to give up.


It was a beautiful afternoon casting to rising trout. Grey foxes, Cahills, and two varieties of caddis were coming off the water. The trout were difficult, but we caught a few and had a delightful afternoon. DSC04520.jpg



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Who says there’s no free lunch?

As some of you are aware (it isn’t something I usually write about here), I’ve been trying to shed some pounds. I was doing ok until I broke my ankle a couple years ago, then spent a few months getting not nearly enough exercise and eating way too much good food, packing on more than a few pounds in no time flat. I figured it was time finally to get rid of it, and I’ve been doing pretty well, having lost close to 40 pounds in the last 3 months. Of course losing weight has never been nearly as difficult for me as keeping it off. You know that story.

Anyway, losing weight doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy food, really. It just means making sounder choices along the way, and I’ve learned that I have to find a way to occasionally treat myself to something I really like. About once each week I trundle off to one of our local Pho joints for either a big bowl of pho or some bun cha. That was today, and I totally enjoyed my soup.

Next stop was that really nice fish store on Vansco Road, where I bought a haddock fillet, then off to the No Frills for cat litter and a few other things. Our local No Frills is one of those stores where you have to insert a loonie to release a shopping cart, which you get back when you return it. I inserted the coin and pulled out the shopping cart, and what did I see? Somebody left their iphone in the shopping cart.

I held it up. Anybody leave their phone in their cart? No response. In the store, I took it to the cashier at the express aisle. I figured whoever misplaced it would be back. Then I wandered through the store doing my shopping. I was in the produce section, looking at some remarkably good shiitakes, when I heard, “excuse me, did you by chance find an iphone?” “I did indeed. You can pick it up at the express aisle.” Off he went, and I assumed that was the last I’d see of him.

A few minutes later, I’m at the cashier, my wallet is in my hand, and I’m pulling out my debit card, when the fellow who lost then found the phone comes through the line-up. I didn’t notice him until I felt something and realized he just stuffed a $20 bill in my hand. “Buy yourself a couple beers on me.” “Hey wait, you didn’t have to do that.” Obviously in his mind it was the right thing to do, so I just said “Cheers!” and he was off.

I didn’t need any reward for securing the fellow’s phone. I’m just happy he was able to retrieve it. I appreciate the gesture though, and I understand where he was coming from. Losing a phone has got to be a huge problem, and possibly an expensive one too.