Posted tagged ‘ontario’

Fall Colors 2013

October 20, 2013

The fall colors this year were okayyyyy…but not spectacular.   Not like they were in 2012 or 2008.

But I still managed to find some nice pockets of color.

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No colors in this last one, but it was a gorgeous October day, and warm enough to paddle in shorts until sunset .

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Still Chasing the Colors.

October 6, 2012

I’ve been going a bit bat-shit crazy with my camera all week, because the fall colors have been insane.

It’s been an exceptional year.  In recent memory, there are only two years that have been as good as this:  2003 and 2008.

In 2003,  I had a roll of film with some fantastic shots on it, and it got lost in my car got totalled.

In 2008,  I had tons of great photos, lots of brilliant red.  But my hard-drive crashed and I didn’t have a proper back-up, and lost pretty much everything.

So this year, I’m taking full advantage of the colors  (AND backing everything up!)

I’m making hay while the sun shines…there isn’t too much time left.

The fall foliage is already over the hump.   It’s been windy and lots of leaves are already blown down.

A week from now, it will all be finished.

(Though I think I might squeeze in another day or two of photos).

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And of course, I had to have at least ONE photo with the Bear!

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Moose-Spotting on a Tuesday Evening

April 4, 2012

What did you guys do after work today?

I went straight from the office and got into my car, and did a quick 5 hour road trip to see if  I could find a moose on the side of the road.

And I did.

Three of them, in fact.

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Two of them were together.

In fact, I got a picture of both of them, with a BEAR.

My Back Yard

April 23, 2010

If you look at a typical map of Ontario, you’ll see a lot of white areas, or blank spots.

Until recently, I used to think there was nothing much there, except trees.

Little did I realize how wrong I was.

You see, there’s a reason nothing’s. there.

It’s because Ontario’s such a damned big province, they had to draw the map on a such a large scale to make it all fit on one sheet.   And lot of details can’t be shown.

But if you look at a smaller-scale map, you’ll discover these blank spots are riddled with lakes, rivers, canoe routes and fishing spots.    It’s a veritable outdoors-man’s paradise.

This is where I live.   This is my back yard.

It’s all Crown Land, consisting mainly of trees, water, logging roads, and the odd deer camp.   Where you can pretty much do what you want, and camp where you want, as long as you follow the hunting and fishing regs.

And even then, it’s unlikely that anyone’s gonna check up on you.

I love exploring this area.   My canoe stays on top of my SUV pretty much the whole summer.    Because I never know when I might feel like taking a ride and seeing what I can find.

Where I go depends on the mood I’m in.

It might be a quick exploration trip after work, to re-con future fishing spots.

Or I might go to an established fishing lake and just plop the canoe in the water.

Or it might be a day-long adventure, where I pick a spot on the map and see if I can get there.

Despite the detailed maps, though, you never know what condition the back-roads will be in.

Sometimes, the road’s a main logging route, and could be easily drivable with a Honda Civic.

In other cases, the road aint’ so good.

The all-wheel drive starts slipping.  I start bottoming out on rocks, and the branches start scraping against my fenders.  Combine this with the fact that I haven’t seen a soul for miles, I start to get nervous.   I usually head back at this point.

Other times I’ll follow a semi-maintained road for 15 kilometers, dodging boulders and rain-filled potholes .

I’ll be almost within spitting distance of my destination, only to find one of the large puddles has turned into an established pond with cattails and frogs and minnows literally swimming around my tires.  Which means of course, turning back and doing the same boring route in reverse.

Of course, these are just for the lakes that are accessible by vehicle.

To get even further into the bush, I park my SUV, take off the canoe, and start paddling and portaging.   My rule of thumb is that each portage eliminates 90% of anyone who’d otherwise want to come there.

Some of the canoe routes are well-established and maintained.

Other times, I’ll play Lewis and Clark, and drag my canoe across beaver dam after beaver dam,  through trail-less dense brush, till I’ve reached the point of exhaustion and need to turn back, defeated.

And I’ll swear that I was probably the first person to see this area in months.  Maybe years.

And why do I do all this, you ask?

Well, a lot of it has to do with the fish.

If you’re a fisherman, you’ll understand.

And if you’re not a fisherman, believe me…it’s SO worth it.

If you put in the time and effort to find a good fishing spot, it will eventually pay off.     And it has, for me.

So far, I have a repertoire of 4-5 “secret” lakes that are guaranteed to produce some decent bass and northern pike.  Friar’s Mom knows of at least a few of these spots.

If I’m lucky, I’ll occasionally find the Holy Grail, and land a pickerel.   Or even better yet, some nice speckled trout.

But it’s not just about the fishing.  It’s about getting out there in the fresh air, where I can just turn off my brain, paddle, and take in the water, the sun, the loons, and the Canadian Shield.

Not to mention,  the thrill of finding those “Secret Spots”, that so very few people know about.

Beautiful river banks. Unspoiled stands of old-growth forest. Natural amphitheaters of granite cliffs with cascading waterfalls.    Swimming holes so refreshing you shiver with delight.   Or the mother-lode of all blueberries.

Yes, my back yard.

Which I’ve been exploring for the past 5 years, and haven’t’ even begun to cover even a fraction of, yet.

But I can’t wait to go out again, and see what else is out there.

One Angry Rodent

November 21, 2008

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Do you remember in kindergarten, there was always that one hyper kid who threw a tantrum at the slightest provocation?  He’d always scream at you not to use his crayons, not to make faces at him, not to touch his stuff.

So how did we deal with him?

Naturally, by using his crayons, by making faces at him, and touching his stuff…preferably when the teacher wasn’t looking.   And sitting back and enjoying the resulting conniption fit.

Not that this was a very nice thing to do.  But kids will be kids.  Plus, how are you supposed to resist…when someone is almost BEGGING to be teased?

Red squirrels are the same way.  They’re just ASKING for it.

Nowhere in the animal kingdom is such anger and indignation compacted into such a small volume, as the American Red Squirrel.

They sit there perched in their tree-thrones, constantly chattering and bickering at other squirrels.  Or at you.  Or at the whole damned planet.   They’re always pissed off about SOMETHING.

I have a bunch of these critters in my back yard, and I have to spend the whole summer listening to them squawk and give me shit.  It’s either

Tttttttttttttttttttttt…..tttttttttt….!!! !

or

“Squeak-squeak-squeak-squeak-squeak-squeak…”

Don’t touch my stuff!   Don’t look at my tree!  Stay out of my territory!

Okay, you know what?

It’s MY back yard, and I weigh 500 times more than you do.

So SHUT the FRAK UP.

What a bunch of assholes.

Maybe if they spent LESS time BITCHING, and MORE time EATING and GATHERING FOOD,  they wouldn’t be so Type-A.

So getting back to the Kindergarten analogy, any time one of these little fur-bags gives me another “Tttttttttttttttttttttttttt….ttttt“, and tells me not to touch his stuff, what do I wanna do?

Touch his stuff, of course.

I admit, I’m  constantly looking for opportunities to get back at them.

The BEST encounter I had was in Pukaskwa National Park a few years back.  I had parked my car, and threw a finished apple into a garbage can.   Right in front of me, a little red squirrel jumped in to get it.

Hmmm…me standing there, a garbage can, and one of those hyper critters foraging inside.

Oh, no.   This was just too good to pass up.

With my heavy hiking boot, I wound up, and gave the can a big kick.  And the metal can resounded with a big, loud THOOOOONNNNNNN!!!

EEEEEEK!!! screamed the squirrel, as he leapt 8 feet straight up and landed on a branch a few feet away.   And boy, was he MAD.

Can’t say I could blame him.  Imagine if you were inside a huge metal silo, looking for a delicious meal (like a large pizza or steak dinner).  And some big lummox comes along with a battering ram and starts pummeling it.   You wouldn’t’ be too happy either.

But I rationalized that I was actually doing him a favor.   You see, wild animals shouldn’t become habituated to garbage and human food.

Besides, a park ranger once told me that squirrels and chipmunks hibernate and lived off the “brown fat” that their bodies produced from eating nuts and berries.  But if they filled up on french fries and human-food, it was unhealthy for them.  They’d grow “white fat” which burned differently and they’d have a harder time surviving the winetr.

So, theoretically, maybe banging the garbage can was a GOOD thing. (At least, that’s what I told myself).   It didn’t hurt anhyone, but maybe it would make him afraid to use it and he’d learn to stay away.

Squirrel Nut-Sack, however, didn’t quite see it that way.

He GLARED at me, and chattered and squawked, his little cheeks puffing angrily.   He was at eye level, just a few feet from me.  He knew he was beyond my reach, so he took this opportunity to scold me.

Ttttttt….Tttttt.  Oooo!  I’m SO MAD!  Squeak-squeak-eek-eek-eek-squeak-eek-squeak….This is MY garbage can…this is MY forest, this is MINE…you stay away…don’t do that..don’t touch my stuff….dont’ ever DO that..oooh, I’m sooooo MAD!….

After he felt he made made his point, he proceeded back down into the garbage can, to retreive HIS apple core.

Right in front of me.

Can you guess what happened next?

THOOOOONNNN!!!

EEEEEEEK!!! He scrambled back up to the same spot, and proceeded to tear me a new one. He was REALLY pissed off now.

….TTTTTTTttttt  TTtttttttt squeak-eek-squeak-squeak.   Ooooo!  I TOLD you NOT to do that!   How DARE you?  Can’t you see that this is MY Apple core?   Ttttttt….ttttt!    This is MY garbage can!   Ooooh!  I’m SO MAD.  I HATE you!   I do!… I do!…I do!…Don’t let that happen again…SERIOUSLY….Okay?  Okay…okay….Now…I’m going back in again….I’m WATCHING you…OKAY?    Don’t do it……DON’T……….Okay…….

He then rummaged around in the garbage can again, doing this own thing.

So naturally, I had to do mine:

THOOOOOOOONNN!!

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK! , and he was back to his squirrel-pulpit, ready to fight for what was his.

Oh, and this time I had done it.  I had really gone and done it.

Never on the History of this Planet, had there ever been a more angry rodent.

His tail was bristling, and his beady-black eyes were BULGING with rage.

He was apopletic.   He made sounds I’ve never heard a squirrel make before (I think he was speaking in tongues).

Tttttttttttt!…..Ttttttttt!   Squarble-warble-gurgle-gleek.   Greegle-squork-bork-burgleeak-squeak-squawk!

He was TREMBLING with fury.   Depiste the fact that I weighed 250 lbs (and he weighed less than one), I was almost afraid….I think he was THAT close to hurling himself at face and trying to rip out my jugular.

Ttttttt…ttttttt!!!!      Y…Y….YOU!. ..YOU!    I AM GOING TO KILL YOU!   Don’t you ever…EVER  EVER do that again!  You got me?   You HEAR ME?

Squeak-squeak-squeak-eek-eek-eek!!!  IF YOU TRY TO PULL THAT STUNT AGAIN..I SWEAR….I WILL MESS WITH YOU!   I WILL FIND OUT WHERE YOU LIVE AND FRACK YOU UP!   I…I MEAN IT!   DON’T…I REPEAT…DON’T KICK THAT GARBAGE CAN AGAIN…EVER!   YOU HEAR ME?

I put my hand out to scare him away, but he stood his ground, inches away from my reach.   And he kept screaming and screaming at me.  I could see his mouth straining, his little buck teeth gnashing, as he directed his entire repertoire of squirrel profanity at me.

This went on for several minutes.   And I stood, fascincated, and watched the whole outburst.  Not unlike watching a car-crash scene you know you shouldn’t watch.

Finally, the shit-storm abated, and he calmed down.   He glared at me, and slowly made his way down the tree, back into the garbage can, watching me.

There was silence.   Then the sparrows started chirping again in the trees, and all was calm in the North Woods.

But…(wait for it…)

THOOOOOOOONNNN!!!

I’m sorry, I know I shouldn’t have…but like I said:   Red Squirrels are just ASKING for it! 😀

……………………………..

PS.  Don’t feel too bad.  Eventually I got bored of this game and left.   The little varmint no doubt got his precious apple core.

And if it’s any consolation, I’m pretty sure he’s sent his cousins to my Mom’s back yard to terrorize her chew up her garden shed!

Only in Splat Creek Ontario (*)…

July 31, 2008

(*) Note:  Based on an earlier post.
ONLY IN SPLAT CREEK….

…Can you go to a picnic area after work, and meet two drunken yahoos who invite you to drink beer with them, fire BB pellets at cans, and teach you how to throw a hunting knife at trees so that the blade sticks in.

…Will the only major Burger King within 30 miles refuse to sell you hamburgers, because their “grill is broken”.

…Can you personally email a restaurant manager about the poor service you received, and the next day get scolded by people all over town, who tell you that you “oughtn’t to have complained like that”.

…Will fellow fishermen act so friendly at the dock, that they’re not the least bit shy about taking a piss where they’re standing, three feet away from you.

…Will the only donut franchise on a 100 mile stretch of highway run out of DONUTS after 8:00 PM.

…Will the only Chip Wagon (located next to the main park and soccer field) close at 6:00 PM during peak summer hours.  (Actually, I heard if you showed up at 5:50 PM, the owner would grumble at you about it being almost closing time).

…Will the Town Library stay open all day, but close between 5:00 PM-7:00 PM,  just when everyone is getting home from work.

…Can you buy Baby Formula at the Cheezi-Mart, but when your kids are weaned and you stop buying it, the store manager gives you shit. (Because you should have TOLD him…now he has stuff back-ordered.)

…Will you find a video store that sorts its movies chronologically rather than alphabetically.   (Good luck trying to find a movie unless you know what year it was made in.)

…Will the local restaurant refuses to give you a table for the buffet because you didn’t “reserve”, even though the place is 90% empty and nobody is waiting in line.

…Can people living in a small town of 4,000 feel superior to the people living in the adjacent village of 900.

…Can you drive through the bush, and meet a Grizzly Adams look-alike wearing combat pants and hunting boots, who invites you to his shack for supper, offers you beer, and (if you want), some weed.

…Can you write a Letter to the Editor to the local paper, and then have some old retired fart harass you on the phone, and try to come by your house to talk to you, because he doesn’t agree with what you said.

Highlights of the East Knobville Livestock Auction

January 25, 2008

Perfesser BH and her husband PJ want to go chicken-shopping at the East KnobVille Livestock Auction, and they invite me along.  

I’m imagining a State Fair where well-to-do farmers sell off their prized cattle.  But no.  This is more like a critter yard sale for welfare trailer trash that want to sell a chicken or two, in order to buy a case of beer. Think of the Manson Family meets Hee-haw, with a bit of Pahrump, Nevada thrown in.   It’s a weekly event. The auction is held in a rusty decrepit building….that probably doubles as a pit-bull fighting ring when livestock isn’t being sold.  PJ comments that all we need now is a few midgets thrown in, to improve the atmosphere.  I concur.

Picture a building full of cousins who married each other.  With many, many baseball caps.   Lots of red necks (literally).  Scary looking men.  Biker-wanabees who weren’t classy or educated enough to get accepted by a gang.  For women under 30, it’s mandatory to have part of your face pierced.   For women over 30, the body weight must exceed 200 lbs, and be covered with polyester.   No one with a triple-digit IQ is allowed entry. (We somehow managed to sneak in). 

You can buy animals on the spot.  Mostly chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, maybe a few doves.  Then they’re stuffed into cardboard boxes (which are thrown in as a bonus). (It’s up to you what to do with the critters after that). We’re talking Big Money here.  Chickens are selling for up to $3.00.  “Exotic” items like ducks go for up to 7.00$.  There are lots of rabbits (a cheap source or protein, for those who cant’ afford expensive meat like hot-dogs or bologna).   The auctioneer gets to keep 20% commission.  So by Geez, a guy could make 5-8 bucks a night, selling some of his junk.  

A Big Lummox handles the animals while they are being sold.  One of his hands is burnt…all blistered and oozing.  Probably from his tractor blowing up.   But at least he makes sure it’s not bandaged and it’s kept open to infection. (This is especially important when handling squirming, scratching biting animals).    

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 Some doves get away.   Big Lummox chases them around the room.  The audience helps.  Big Lummox tries to swat the birds to the floor with his good hand.   Someone holds up a frantic rooster by the feet and jokes “Who’s got some grease?” Big Lummox tells one of his buddies (Truck Bubba) to come and pick up these hear greasy ducks….By Jeezus, I don’t want to handle them, he says, they stink.  

Meanwhile, free-range 2-year old children are running around outside in the parking lot, waiting for Momma to come back out.  A chicken gets loose.  By reflex, I swat at it and it lands next to me, indignant and clucking.    Truck Bubba picks it up and gives it to Big Lummox, who stuffs it in a box.  Big Lummox continues to stuff the live animals into the boxes, much like a checkout clerk stuffing groceries bags.   Roosters are mixes in with rabbits, rabbits with ducks.  It doesn’t matter. It’s all good.   

The critters seem to be used to this.  Which leads me to suspect that the same animals aren’t ever actually eaten, just bought and re-sold, week after week.   Kind of like a Trailer Trash barter system.  

Once the animals are all sold, the cages they came in are also up for bid. One of the cages is homemade, held together by baling wire, feces, and rust.  The asking price is a buck.   What a piece of crap. 

PJ buys the cage.  (Of course he does).

Wait..the auction isn’t over yet.  Now it’s time to start selling off random junk.  Again, we’re talking big bucks.  2$….3$…Who will bid me 4$?  There’s a two-stroke engine with missing parts.  A broken skateboard.  A box of assorted plastic letters (that are used for those roadside trailer-signs).  A set of four greasy, dusty fans (where the plastic has turned yellow).  Everything looks urine-soaked. 

Perfesser BH and PJ have bought 5 chickens.   We drive home with them stuffed in their cardboard boxes, clucking indignantly all the way home.  

Mission accomplished.