comment 1

Why I love traditional music #6,511

Timothy Kelley & Abby the Spoon Lady. This is from The Spoon Lady’s YouTube channel. Please be sure to visit, like and subscribe. Support your local spoons player! The fab Fiddle on this is Timothy Kelley.

comment 0

Camping at MacGregor Point Provincial Park

On Monday morning, I packed up my camping gear, leaving enough room in my little Honda Fit for Bonnie to come along, and headed to MacGregor Point Provincial Park, near Port Elgin for a couple days of R&R.

Pitcher Plant Marl at MacGregor Point
Pitcher Plant Marl at MacGregor Point

There is a look-out a short walk from my campsite where you can see a Pitcher Plant Marl – a wetland hosting the only species of Pitcher Plant in Canada. Pitcher Plants are carnivorous. From Wikipedia: Pitcher plants are several different carnivorous plants that have modified leaves known as pitfall traps—a prey-trapping mechanism featuring a deep cavity filled with digestive liquid. The traps of what are considered to be “true” pitcher plants are formed by specialized leaves.

Aside from the opportunity to see carnivorous plants, this is a really beautiful spot, especially as the sun goes down.

A ten minute walk from camp took us to the dog beach. This is a beautiful beach, sand with a few spits of boulders which kind of divide the beach into sections. Bonnie loved the dog beach.

MacGregor Point is a beautiful park, with a beach for humans as well as a dog beach on each side of the park. There are plenty of trails in the park. The campsites are pretty big, fairly private and quite lovely. The washroom closest to the campsite was a vault toilet with a sink. It was about the cleanest campground bathroom I’ve ever seen. They do a great job of maintenance at this park.

MacGregor Point Park is about a 3 hour drive from Toronto, mostly through farm country. I drove there on the Monday of our Victoria Day weekend and the only traffic was going the other way. I had a few neighbours on Monday night but on Tuesday night there were a lot fewer campers around.

I was not sure how Bonnie would react to camping. She came to us with many fears, and I’ve been trying to expose her to lots of different environments to help her through them. She has been doing very well that way. At the campsite she seemed a bit nervous around camp, where at the dog beach she was very relaxed and obviously happy. It turned out Bonnie liked the tent. She was happy to get in there with me and she quickly claimed part of my air mattress and snuggled up beside me.

This morning, I awoke at dawn. There was a very strong wind, a wind which was particularly loud. Rain had been called for but it had not happened yet. I had planned to stay for the morning, but decided that if I hurried to break down my tent and pack up the car, I had a decent chance of accomplishing that before the rain started. There was some drizzle as we left the park. I don’t know if the storm I felt coming on actually happened but since I dislike packing away soggy equipment, I was happy to leave a bit early.

comment 0

A little film for fiddle lovers

I came across this wonderful little film about Newfoundland fiddle great Rufus Guinchard on the NFLD Archive YouTube channel. I don’t know too much about Newfoundland fiddle music (yet). I have long associated Newfoundland with button accordions.

Let me tell you a story. A number of years ago, back when I was playing a lot of button accordion, I found myself in Halifax for an art exhibition and talk. While there I wanted to play some music but I didn’t bring an accordion along. I discovered there was a big music store in Halifax so I stopped in for a visit. I saw rows of fiddles and guitars and more fiddles and mandolins but no button accordions. I thought, they must have the accordions in a separate room. When an employee came along, I asked where the button accordions were. The fellow looked at me and without missing a beat said, “What do ya think this is, St John’s?”

Rufus Guinchard was quite a fabulous fiddler. He held his fiddle in a most unusual way, on the right side of his neck. I tried to position my own fiddle the same way he did but I found it to be very difficult and I quickly gave up. Enjoy the film.

comment 0

Unintended Consequences

Blackberry (the movie)
House Musical
AI Follies
New Zines
My 3-year old could do better than that
Tehran (the tv show)
Toronto Mayor’s Race
Gordon Lightfoot RIP
….and more

Listen right here or find the episode at the usual podcast hotspots

comment 0

The Agency – hey, where’s my episode?

We tried to record an episode of The Agency last week and ran into some technical trouble. It isn’t clear if it was an internet issue, or maybe a Zoom issue or maybe a system resource issue on one of our computers. We’re trying to figure it out, and hopefully we’ll be able to record an episode very soon. Sorry for the technical problem.

comment 0

Games People Play

I’m not much of a hockey fan, but last night I watched the game, which apparently caused the Leafs to win their series against the Lightning. Does this mean I have to keep watching? Go Leafs.

I’ve been more interested in following the World Chess Championship match between Ding Liren and Ian Nepomniachtchi. Magnus Carlsen had decided not to defend his title, guaranteeing we would see a new champion.

After the 14 game classical chess match, the players were tied. They were super-exciting games, with plenty of risks taken and some unfortunate mistakes as well. Today they played a 4-game play-off in rapid chess. Congratulations to Ding Liren, the new World Chess Champion.

If you want to see a recap of the playoffs, there are several options. I like GM Ben Finegold’s analysis, but Gotham Chess and a few others are fabulous too.

comments 3

Urban Wildlife

We’ve had coyotes, possums, raccoons, skunks, owls, various hawks, nesting mallards, a bald eagle and even a lost dog show up around here over the years. Yesterday, my neighbour across the street texted to say she had a wild turkey in her backyard.

It hung out there for a while, then crossed the street and wandered into another neighbour’s yard.

Where it went from there, I have no idea, except that I have heard reports of a turkey showing up in yards as far east as Mimico. Same one? I have no idea. It was a treat to watch this huge bird checking out Long Branch.