Living rural in the city is great – you can do it, too.

Category: Landscapes and Road Trips (page 1 of 2)

An updated Point Pelee trip (two, actually) report

Way back in 2011 when I was a beginning birder, I visited Point Pelee National Park for the first time. I wrote a trip report for the group I’d joined. They didn’t end up publishing it, and though I was free to do, I didn’t manage to get around to it — or if I did, it was an afterthought that went away while merging my old website to this one here in 2016. However, I did keep the Point Pelee Pictorial post from my trip there in 2013, and I recently revisited it.

In the intervening years, it’s only had 14 views, some of them surely my own. It also was of a lower quality than I’d like to have thought worth sharing, even given the evolution of expectations and image technology since then. So I just gave it a solid update—because a trip report is practically irrelevant of when it actually happens; what you see is timely for the place and the season.

Every year, migrating birds come in to Point Pelee between April and June, and depart through there again in September. The difference in the place visited is whether people build (or close) a trail, renovate a park building, how much the trees grow, how the vegetation and water ecology shifts, how the roads degrade with disuse and frost heaves and plant life that break them up. Like this, which is not a picture of a river, but of a former road, perhaps from before it became a National Park:

An old park road at Point Pelee, returning to nature
When this announcement has served its purpose, I’ll add this image of the re-naturalizing road (from 2011) into the Point Pelee Pictorial.

Upshot: I compiled my 2011 trip report into the 2013 blog post, and added the 2013 Big Day birding list (new information to the blog!), so it should actually be an interesting read for you now. So please, check out my Point Pelee Pictorial blog post — and make your own plans to go there for either this September’s fall migration, or next May’s spring arrival.

Urban soil and how we handle it, in perpetuity

This post is based on a meeting I had with Eric Duchemin, Associate Professor of Science and the Environment at UQAM, who has taught students working in urban agriculture for several years now. (I participated in the École d’été sur agriculture urbaine in 2010.) A grad student giving a talk about the urban agricultural history of Montreal, so I took the opportunity to ask Eric some questions about remediating landscapes and urban soil and returning it back to primary use – that is, forestry and agriculture.
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Labour Day weekend road trip to the Eastern Townships and Brome Fair

I went to the Eastern Townships for Labour Day weekend to get a good hike in at Mont Mégantic (I also visited Lac Mégantic for one of their evening benefit shows at Musi-Café, the bar that was blown up during the train derailment in August). This was the view, in the distance, of the nearby village Nôtre-Dame-des-Bois from a lookout point on the way up Mont St.-Joseph. The road seen is the access road to the park.

In La Patrie, where I was staying, the bunnies decided the most familiar and comfortable place to hang out was under my car.

Look at that relaxed rabbit. Just look at her. Punk.

In a Sherbrooke parking lot, this lovely plant was blooming and a bumble bee fertilizing all of its flowers. I would love to know what the name of it is (Policeman’s Bonnet, or Himilayan Balsam, an invasive species), and I’d like to get some seeds (I later was given the plant. The bees loved it, but it took over my backyard).

Back in Stanstead,  cows doing what hippos do, in an overfertilized pond. Don’t drink that water, girls.

After taking the Vermont route through Derby Line and Newport up to the Quebec border at Mansonville, I finally got to the big Brome Fair at Knowlton.

I took many pictures of the home canning, gardens, baking and crafts section, but here is one category I would like to enter in next year: the mixed garden basket.

Two harvest baskets in competition
Two harvest baskets in competition at the fair

I would also like to enter the category for best Jamiroquai chicken, but chickens are not allowed in Montreal (except Rosemont) and I’ve already got my hands full with the aforementioned punks.

Some more birds I’d like to be in possession of, especially with my miniscule woods-and-pond:

In the general category I’d like to enter the punks in next year (rabbits and guinea pigs) just because I can, I found a very very large and sleepy Holland Lop. Now I know what breed Elizabeth is at least half of.

When I was a girl on the farm, we once got some fertilized eggs for our pet goose. She hatched three white geese and three African geese, like these:

The sheep section was interesting to see – some full wool, some recently shorn. Some so recently shorn, they had to wear little suits to be comfortable and protected.  Here’s a sheep with a very relaxed demeanor:

And two more, a different breed, who look quite curious (or hungry and waiting. Please keep your hands out of their pen. Management not responsible for injuries.)

A cow and calf from a Charolais beef farm:

An Ayrshire from a dairy farm. I find it interesting that the cartography of her spots seem to depict the limits of the sovereign seas!

And the big draw on a Saturday night: the midway.

A mountain meadow in an urban setting

Across from the Montreal General Hospital on Cedar Avenue, Mont Royal park begins. And it starts with stairs to a meadow.

Right away you see Queen Anne’s Lace and chicory blooming.

You also see purple bells, but I don’t know their name. They’re not foxglove (digitalis); that grows wild in Vancouver, but not in Montreal.

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