Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Wiarton Willie

 It has just been announced that Wiarton Willie, the 13 year old albino groundhog, has died. He lived a long life, being well cared for in his enclosure at the Bluewater Park. Wiarton Willie was an albino groundhog whose image is everywhere in this small town on the Bruce Peninsula. And every year, on Groundhog Day, the town welcomes hundreds of people who come to meet him and enjoy the festivities as he is brought out of hibernation to see - or not - his shadow and give his forecast whether there will be six more weeks of winter. 
there will be a memorial service and funeral procession on September 30th after which his understudy, Wee Willie, will take up the mantle of Chief Prognosticator.

sharing with signs, signs

Monday, September 18, 2017

following the PE&NS RR

At this time of year (after Labour Day) the beach at Port Elgin is very quiet. 
Kids are back in school and most of the tourists have gone.
Even Lake Huron was quiet and calm.

the gazebo where weekly summer concerts are held is a perfect place to sit and read out of the sun if you have a lawn chair with you, which you will also need for those Sunday evening concerts.

the little steam train sits quietly waiting for the weekend when it will run through a 1.6km trip on the Port Elgin and North Shore Railroad around the harbour and park, blowing its whistle along the way. I can hear it from the cottage where I am staying. it has been running for decades, and there are plans to have the station renovated and upgraded, and possibly moved to the North Shore Park at the other end of the waterfront, which led to false rumours that the town might scrap the train altogether.
in the background you can see the newly built Edinburgh Club, the first luxury condominium to be built on the waterfront. there are still 2 units left, according to a sign on the other side.

only three of the boats at the marina have been dry docked that I could see. and, glancing at the petrol pumps, I noticed the price is .20 cents more expensive than for autos (at $1.38 litre)

some Canada Geese were lazily drifting in between the boat docks, 
with others heading in to join them
until something spooked them 
(wasn't me, I'm sure!) and they suddenly all took off
there is an open area between the harbour and the park where this majestic willow takes pride of place. see how I cleverly included the house with my favourite upstairs sunporch? just for scale, of course.
the train tracks are that line in front of the willow
further down, a walking trail takes you through the North Shore Park where you will cross the narrow gauge of the railway near where it turns around
and, finally, another resting spot to view the sunset. 
the water is still at a high level.
from there, the trail continues on ...
(that is Chantry Island Lighthouse in the distance)
sharing with Jo's Monday Walk
and Our World Tuesday
the first pictures were taken in the early morning, the last seven in the late evening

Sunday, September 17, 2017

French Guiana

French Guiana, or Guyane Francaise, is one of several colonial Guianas of South America. British Guiana is now known as Guyana, Dutch Guiana is now Suriname and the Spanish and Portuguese Guianas are now part of Venezuela and Brazil respectively.

A percevoir stamps are postage due, but also any French colonial territory that didn't have their own stamps were issued with these special a percevoir stamps. I'm not exactly sure what chiffre taxe means.

Here we have a 20 centime green border and rose Royal Palms engraved by Abel Mignon. His first stamp was issued in 1925 when he was already 63 years old. He engraved stamps for France and several of her colonies from 1925 to 1933. He died in 1936. This stamp is from 1929.

for F and G stamps
for more great stamps, head over to Sunday Stamps II

Sunday, September 3, 2017


EUROPA stamps have been issued since 1956
  According to the website, these stamps represent cooperation amongst postal operators and promote philately. They exist to build awareness of the common roots, culture, and history of Europe and its common goals. 
the original six countries of Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, Germany, France and Italy
with the first EUROPA stamps. Each stamp has a tower of the EUROPA letters surrounded by scaffolding, the theme being 'building Europe'.
designed by Daniel Gonzague from France.

By 1964, there were 22 members, which are represented by the 22 petals of this flower
designed by another Frenchman, this time George Betemps
A common design was used for the stamps until 1974, when a common theme was introduced. In 2017, the theme is castles. In 2018 it is bridges, and in 2019 there will be my favourite theme - birds.

see  more common, or not so common, stamps on the theme of the letter E  at Sunday Stamps II

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Morris patterns

I'm not sure I could actually live with a room of these wallpaper patterns. Maybe one accent wall. Or maybe a panel, cut to fit a large picture frame. And many of the patterns for wallpaper were/are also available in fabric, so one could have a screen, or chesterfield also in the same pattern as the wall. If one wished. I'm happy with my postcard samples.

These postcards are three examples of wallpaper designs by William Morris made in the late 1800s. All told, he had over 600 designs for wallpaper and textiles. Morris firmly believed in the designer-craftsman model, where the one designing an item also produced the item, following it through all the stages to completion. He insisted on the use of good quality raw materials, all natural dyes, and hand processing. He had very high standards which could be a reason his designs were fashionable among the Victorian upper and middle classes of Britain. And that they endure to this day. You can still buy them today. (browse though this site for inspiration. it has 784 patterns to choose from. I felt a little overwhelmed.)
Anyway, the above postcard is Harebell, which I had to look up to discover it's also known as a bluebell, although I am a little confused as to why these flowers are yellow and not blue.

Seaweed                                                                               Autumn

sharing with Postcards for the Weekend
(for patterns)

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

an old anchor

Oct 10, 1907 two schooners wrecked here last Monday night, the Erie Stewart and Ontario
crew get two boats from island dock, reach lighthouse
In 1910, the ONTARIO was running before a strong gale, she had a deck-load of bailed hay, straw and shanty supplies for the northern camps and was heading for the shelter or Chantry Island harbour of refuge just below the town of Southampton. Ahead of her was the schooner ERIE STEWART, also running for shelter. It was dark and blowing and Capt Granville could not see what happened, but the ERIE STEWART poked her Jibboom through the little range light on the end of the pier, and knocked the light-house down, all Capt. Granville knew was he could not pick up his range to get under the shelter of Chantry Island, so he tried to get the ONTARIO into the shelter of the mouth of the Saugeen River, around which Southampton clusters. The schooner was under small sail at the time, only the staysail being set, and that being "squatted" or lowered somewhat so as to reduce its area. On nearing the river mouth the wind shifted and a gust came off shore. The ONTARIO lost headway and piled up in the breakers on the shore south of the present piers, and that was where her anchor was recovered in the dredging operations. 
(from the Toronto Telegram)

Looking out over Lake Huron
the range light at Southampton
Chantry Island Lighthouse
approximately 1km from  the shore of Southampton

a little maritime history for Tuesday's Treasures

Monday, August 28, 2017

263 times 120 feet

Recently, I went to the Cotton Factory in Hamilton to walk by the 'Quilt of Belonging'. It was my third visit, and each time I walked up and down many times and each time I saw something new. This final time I took some pictures. 

There are 263 quilt blocks, all made by volunteers. Each one celebrates the cultural background of 70 First Nations and 193 nations around the world from whence people have settled in  Canada. It has been on tour for 12 years.

And, as you can imagine, it is HUGE!
The whole thing is in three panels that are carefully rolled up to be transported to the next exhibit space. (at the moment, it is on display at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto)

Each diamond shaped block is 9" and its position on the quilt is determined by the background colour chosen by the artist. As a result, the countries are in no particular alphabetical or regional order. It was fun listening in on people who were looking for a specific country, or suddenly thinking of a country after seeing one from a neighbour. There were also many places that were unknown to a few people. (my penchant for watching the parade of athletes/flags at the Olympics helped me recognize some of those smaller islands and African nations!)
The only constant was the First Nations who were placed on the bottom and end rows, as the foundation of the country
Pradesh had the coolest summer intern job. After 5 weeks answering questions and offering information (and helping people find requested countries) he knows more about textiles and geography than he ever thought possible. I bought the book, but you can also click on the Quilt of Belonging link and see each of the quilt blocks and learn about the design and the country. It was nice to have the quilt just there, without the encumbrance of descriptions, but those descriptions from the book helped in understanding the designs which were sometimes not that obvious.

Appliquéd work is often used to illustrate scenes or elements of everyday life in Colombia. The block, designed by Aida Ramirez Mesa and stitched by Jeannette Schaak features the country’s national flower, the Cattleya orchid. It is reproduced, in varying shades of pink and violet silk, using both the three-dimensional and flat versions of this technique. Colombia produces and exports a variety of flowers, including thousands of species of orchids. Yellow petals surrounding the orchid are symbolic of the plentiful sunshine found in Colombia. The background of this piece is made using the mola technique. This unique, reverse-appliqué style of needlework, traditionally done by Kuna Indians, involves several layers of differently coloured cotton. Fabric is cut away and the edges turned under and stitched to expose the lower layer of material. This piece includes a saw-tooth edged layer of yellow, as well as a layer of green (for the mountains), pink and violet (for the abundance of flowers), and blue (for the ocean).
Australia is home to over twenty-thousand varieties of flora; of which this block features but eleven of the unusual wildflowers, exquisitely stitched by Lyn Prichard. Australians rarely pick wildflowers for display, preferring them in their natural setting. The informal design also reflects the Aborigine design style often seen in their dot paintings. Clockwise from the 12 o’clock position, the flowers are: Sturt’s Desert Pea, Wattle, Kangaroo Paw, Banksia and Dryandra, Waratah, Tasmanian Blue Gum, Grevillea, Callistemon or Bottle Brush, and Geraldton Wax Flower, with Christmas Bells and Cooktown Orchids filling the centre.
To maintain a ‘controlled profusion’ of stitches in her embroidery, Lyn Prichard used Australia’s prevalent styles of needlework. She incorporated stem stitch, the lazy-daisy stitch, chain stitch, bullion stitch and a rich selection of other stitches and embellished the work with delicate French knots. The black wool background was used to contrast with the vivid colours of the flowers and is a fitting choice as Australia is the world’s chief wool-producing country.
On a background of English linen, Sally Blacker embroidered a colourful display of flowers found both wild in the fields and in traditional English cottage gardens which spills informally out of an appliquéd, gold-edged teapot. In customary English floral embroidery a bug is always hidden, hence the flickering blue butterfly hovering nearby. Bluebells, foxgloves, buttercups, wild roses, vetch and daisies are beautifully embroidered in varying shades of red, pink, purple, blue and yellow and are connected by cascading leaves in changing tones of green. English ivy, evoking memories of cottages, churches and schools delicately winds around the teapot’s handle to complete this image reminiscent of the English countryside.
This complex, three-dimensional voyageur canoe, filled with trading goods, is the work of Reverend Kathryn Gorman-Lovelady, an Elder of the Métis Council. It pays tribute to well over 300,000 Métis across Canada. The muslin-backed block is a blend of textures, talents and skills, like the Métis themselves. Wooden paddles, hand-carved by Robert Newell, accompany the canoe (representing the coureurs de bois), which is made of quilted, birchbark-patterned fabric imported from England. It is laden with traditional trading goods: barrels of colourful beads, fur pelts and bolts of cloth. The hand-made, miniature strung fiddle reflects the Métis’ love of music and proficiency as fiddle players. Framing the vignette, a miniature, multi-coloured sash, woven by Daphne Howells, incorporates blue for the Hudson Bay Métis and red for the Red River Métis.

sharing with Jo's Monday Walk

Sunday, August 27, 2017

dino eyes

Last week, it was an eye of a camera lens

this week it's an eye of a dinosaur - a reflection of one of it's own species, or the reflection in an eye of a predator

Troodon inequalis who roamed the Alberta Badlands 75 million years ago (mya)
Comox Valley elasmosaur was a marine reptile from the coast of Vancouver Island 83 mya
Acrotholus audetii was also from the Alberta Badlands around 84 mya
Cypretherium coarctatum was actually a mammal from Saskatchewan 35 mya
Dimetrodon borealis lived in  Prince Edward Island 370 mya

There is a good website here with lots more information
(click on those stamp images for a finely detailed view that I just could not get with my camera)

draw your own eyes over to See it on a Postcard for more D themed stamps

Sunday, August 20, 2017


I chose this stamp set for C for camera. But with a little research, I find that it is so much more than a camera.
The eye in the lens of the left stamp is a little freakish, but I hadn't even noticed the Man with a Camera on top of the movie camera on the right stamp. The date is 1929, and Dziga Vertov, with help from his wife, Elizaveta Svilova, and his brother Mikhail Kaufman, produced an experimental documentary silent film with no actors. It is a montage of urban life in and around a Russian city by following an avid camera man. Sort of an early version of A Day in the Life using a wide array of camera angles and editing techniques. There are numerous reviews and analyses on line if you care to check them out. Wikipedia, bless its soul, even has a convenient link to the film. If you are interested in cinematography, then this avant-garde film may be just your thing. It has been considered by some to be the greatest documentary film of all time.

for more silent stamps of the C variety, look here

Sunday, August 13, 2017

A & B

I didn't get myself organized in time to post my A for Avian stamps, so here are two editions - one for Avian and one for Birds... 
I really, really like this new three year series, though am disappointed that the actual stamp cuts out so much of the bird's features. It would have been nice if the souvenir sheets had the extras perforated as well so you had the option of including them.

This was last year's (2016) issue of Birds of Canada which feature such birds that I have never seen as the Sharp Tailed Grouse that live in Saskatchewan, the Great Horned Owl from Alberta, the Puffin who live off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, a Rock Ptarmigan from Nunavut, and a Common Raven - one I have seen, though not in Yukon where this is the provincial bird.
Except for the Great Horned Owl, all of these birds were in contention for the National Bird Project and all of them lost out to the Gray Jay (also known as Whiskey Jack).
This was only a recommendation by the Canadian Geographic Society. We still don't have an official bird of Canada.

and for this year's avian friends, there is a Blue Jay, so it's not likely the Gray Jay will make the cut for next year's party* (then again, the gray jay does inhabit much of British Columbia which hasn't been represented yet...)

Again, in a clockwise flight from upper left: the Blue Jay, this one from Prince Edward Island, a Gyrfalcon from the Northwest Territories, an Osprey in Nova Scotia, a Common Loon from Ontario, and finally, a Great Grey Owl representing Manitoba.

* party is the collective nouns for jay

and there is a party for B listers over at See it on a Postcard