Posted by: Valerie | September 15, 2010

Season of mists etc. etc.

 It was only three degrees here this morning! Summer really is over. A few trees have already started to turn – noticeably the maple in our front yard. It’s always the first to go. The yard is sprouting mushrooms at a furious rate and if we only knew what was safe to eat we’d be gorging ourselves.

Look what I found under the giant mushroom

There are tiny white fairy mushrooms growing in a wandering line under the pine trees, there is a family of big chunky brown ones on a mossy part of the lawn and a huge one the size of a saucer under the apple tree. Poking up in another part of the lawn are a couple of distinctly phallic chaps and by the gate there is bright yellow one with white spots, just like toadstools in stories that should have fairies on top. Pretty sure that one  is poisonous! Up in the bush I discovered another fungus I’d never seen before, best described as a blob of orange bubblegum clinging to a log.


Our ancient and extremely dilapidated apple tree that is almost completely rotten inside has surprised us, as it does every year, and is producing an excellent crop of huge apples, some weighing over 500 grams. The deer will be along any day to help themselves to their share and the blue jays have already been chomping on the high-up fruit. Still, looks as if there will be enough for all.

So – yes, I did go to Ottawa with heavy encouragement from Joe who wanted to have some quality one-on-one with Stephen, his son. As usual, it was a mad dash. I had an enjoyable lunch with the Boxtalk gang, then swooped over to the shopping centre to buy a couple of things, visited my friend Janice at her new apartment and we took a walk along the Ottawa River. Then to Ikea (unpleasantly busy with young couples with babies in ankle-shattering strollers) to get a couple of special boxes for Joe, then on to Kanata to see the family.

James handed me a beer and told me we were all going to Bayshore shopping centre to find some clothes for them to wear to a wedding the next day. Finding something for J was relatively easy although he resisted the fedora I wanted him to buy. Never did listen to his mother in matters sartorial – at least not since he was about eleven. I do wish he wouldn’t shave his head almost down to the scalp though. I like some hair on my guys. After visiting just about every shop in Bayshore, Angela drew a blank. So we went, Deklin in tow, for a meal before we dragged our rears back home. Saturday dawns – Ange has a bright idea. She is going to buy a sari! It is a really, really good idea and I have to report that the wedding guests looked quite magnificent all dressed for the event.

Our wee man at work

Love that sari!!

While the saris were being inspected, Deklin and I stayed home, having a really good time charging around on the floor and throwing balls at each other. The little guy is making so much progress now. He loves to bounce around to music and is working on the walking bit. At present it’s a bit of a stagger and he still uses his rocket-propelled crawl if he really needs to go somewhere.

My next stop was to see an old friend that I had almost lost touch with. I stayed overnight and with no driving involved, we sloshed back a few drinkies and talked so hard that my throat was sore all day on Sunday. My friend, Anne, is an artist and she made me a present of framed print of one of her paintings. I am still looking for the right spot to hang it.

This autumn weather is perfect for walking up in the bush. There are no bugs to pester us although there is still the occasional dragonfly on air patrol. Bless them. They are my favourite insects.

We had a putter around the yard this afternoon, inspecting new mushrooms and a dozy Monarch butterfly that seemed to be coming to the end of life, poor thing. It was very large indeed. Maybe it was just tired. I could very gently touch it without it flying off though. Do vets do butterflies? I should ask one of my two vet sisters-in-law. My twin brothers (i.e. brothers who are twins) are both married to vets. However one lives in Kent and the other, who lives in Calgary, is presently in the Arctic spaying and neutering sled dogs.

But I digress: the high spot of our walk today was spotting a wolf up in the bush. Of course it didn’t hang around to say hi or pose for my camera. It wasn’t the first time I’ve seen one up there. I feel rather honoured. A single wolf wouldn’t pose any threat to a human anyway. Bears I’m less certain of although my western sister and daughter tell me that bears will run away if you shout at them. What does worry me rather more is the several reported sightings of a very large pussycat in this area. Cougar, puma, panther – the local rag can’t make its mind about what to call it. God, do they ever need a good copy editor like me!



  1. OMG! You saw a WOLF??? Trisha, a woman I work with, is fascinated with wolves at the moment, you should have seen her eyes light up when I read that bit to her! A photo is requested!!!

    I knew there was a bear back there somewhere but a cat? Signs of a recovering ecosystem. Or of a sickening one further north?

    I’m reading an amazing book about Climate Change at the moment. The Weather Makers, by Tim Flannery.

    Glad you had a good catch-up time in Ottawa and that the apple tree still survives.

    Love Sarah

    • The wolf didn’t hang around for a photo, Sarah. Really sorry about that – I’ll try to do better next time.
      There is a suggestion in the local paper that the cat – whatever it is – may be an escapee from some operation that is keeping wild animals illegally. Usually you expect to see cougars in the west where they are all too common. My daughter’s 70lb dog was decapitated by a cougar. THAT was a tragedy, I can tell you.

  2. I laughed out loud at the “I like some hair on my guys” line, what are you doing with then I wonder?

    • You may never know!

  3. The coyotes have destroyed (eaten) all, ALL the sheep on Campobello Island and swim ashore now to eat the dogs. They are wiley, those coyotes and very difficult to capture or kill. We have way too many in N.S. as well and people are either for or very much against trapping, culling, or whatever. Perhaps if they pick up a few more pets… people will feel differently.

    Cats are disappearing from New Brunswick, little ones, the big ones are increasing. The long warm summers and mild winters encourage all the copulating and reproducing. Perhaps we should allow some bounty hunting and Davy Crocket hats and vests.

    Your daughters dog? I think that must be very difficult to think of. Brrrrr.
    I would rather have something in the house that can be used for self defense. The alarm system doesn’t make me feel secure at all. They are very slow in answering it from Toronto. Another year to go and we can have it ripped out.
    I may have to get a dog….or a gun.

    Or both.

    • Have you thought about keeping a can of bear spray handy? If it works on grizzlies, then it works on people. I have one – damned if I know where it is though. “Oh, excuse me, bad person, but I have to look for the bear spray so that I can zap you.”

      The incident with Anna’s dog was absolutely shattering for her and actually led to some real life changes for her.

  4. We have coyotes all over the neighbourhood and rabbits too. Either the coyotes don’t like rabbit or there are many more rabbits than I think!! However I wish some critter would stop eating all the plants in my pots. I was told rabbits don’t eat marigolds–codswallop–they just eat through them to get to the other things they prefer.

    I do think that bald can be sexy. I have a husband with a luxuriant head of hair even tho in his 60’s but it has never been a plus or a minus for me.
    Thanks for another entertaining blog Val. Much better than reading the international news every day!!

  5. But what WAS that gold under the ‘shroom!? Was it something of yours? Maybe you have Leprechauns.

    • I’d like to think I had leprechauns, however it was my ring – the only thing I had around to give a bit of scale to the photo.

  6. Suddenly, Valerie began to take pictures of shrooms. Hmmm, I wonder where she got the inspiration? By the way, the orange bubblegum is quite common but hard to see at first. Once you see them you start seeing them all over the place. Shrooms are stealthy that way. As an aside, always treat professional dogs and cats with respect. Coyotes and feral dogs don’t count.

    • Oh, Jean, I have to admit that you were the inspiration. That and the glut of mushrooms this year.

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