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Mar 27, 2007

Lake Jonda ~ a King Township jewel

When I finished my last blog, it occured to me that there might be someone who would like to see the former Eaton Hall on Lake Jonda, near King City. I took this photo while participating in the 2003 Baillie Birdathon. Lady Flora Eaton apparently named Lake Jonda by incorporating letters from the first and second names of her son, John David Eaton.
Seneca College's King Campus will, for the first time, be hosting the 3rd Annual Kingfest Music Festival on June 23 and 24. Word is spreading that a 3rd day will be added to the outdoor weekend event. Headliners include Bruce Cockburn and Prairie Oyster. It will be a homecoming for Prairie Oyster founders, Keith Glass and Russ De Carle, who are King City natives. My younger brother Bob played and sang with Keith and Russ in their early days as the Humber Creek Boys and the King City Slickers. Kingfest will no doubt attract hundreds, perhaps thousands, who will get to see, for the first time, the former Eaton Family estate, which has become under the auspices of Seneca College, an ever-increasing ecological gem in King Township.
Please comment if you wish.

Photo Quiz: Northern Ontario or King City?

If you guessed King City, you win! I took the above photo today, of a beaver dam on the grounds of Seneca College (King Campus), two or three hundred metres north of King City, and just 20 minutes from Toronto's northern border. Many young trees along the edges of the swamp, in the background, had been felled by the beaver for the construction of this dam. The dam is just steps away from the Oak Ridges Trail which traverses Seneca College's 700 acres and which was once the summer estate of the Eaton family. Further along the trail, I reached the lookout platform which offers a sweeping view of Lake Jonda. The old Eaton Hall, sits impressively on a hill, above the north shore of the lake and its Norman spires can be seen, above the treetops, from the lookout platform. But I am looking for birds, particularly spring migrants, and I am not disappointed. Out on the lake, amidst hundreds of Canada Geese, some of which are already on their nests, are a pair of Wood Ducks and three pairs of Ring-necked Ducks, swimming in circles, presumably as a prelude to mating. A few feet away from me is my first Song Sparrow of 2007. There are lots of the usual suspects out and about: Chickadees, Red-winged Blackbirds, Grackles, Starlings, Crows, a Red-tailed Hawk, Robins, some woodpeckers plus Black and Red Squirrels and one Cottontail Rabbit.
It was sunny and 18degreesC. today. In a few weeks, I'll be looking for the return of a pair of Ospreys (Fish Hawks, as oldtimers call them) over Lake Jonda. They nest on a very tall, large, metal light standard in the main Seneca parking lot, and do their fishing in the adjacent lake, which is full of Carp. In a few weeks, the Carp also will be thrashing about in the shallows of Lake Jonda, in response to the mating urge.
So plentiful and tame are the Carp, that my daughters, years ago when they were small children, would hand-feed scraps of bread and popcorn to the big fat fish from the shore of the lake...great fun! Below, left, are Wood Ducks and on the right is a Ring-necked Duck (Internet photos -not mine, unfortunately).
Well, I had a really nice day, today. I sincerely hope you did too.

Mar 23, 2007

Gotta love those nuns

Old friend and avid curler, 'Doc' Gordon told me an interesting story this week. He was at a curling tournament in beautiful, downtown Fergus a few days ago, sitting near three of his cronies, who just happened to be sitting directly behind three nuns. It seems the nuns' habits, particularly their headpieces, were partially blocking the view of Doc's buddies. Hoping that they'd get annoyed enough to move to another area, one the three fellows said, in a very loud voice: "I think I'm going to move up to northern Ontario...there are only 100 nuns living there". One of the other two guys quickly added: "I want to go to western Ontario...there are only 50 nuns living there". The third one jumped in with: " Well, I'm headed for eastern Ontario...there are only 25 nuns living there". At that point, one of the nuns turned around, looked at the men, and said in a very firm, calm voice: "Why don't you just go to Hell! There aren't any nuns there".
Maybe you've noticed my photo, to the right of this piece. I shaved off my beard this week. I could say it was spring-cleaning, or I lost a bet, or my wife hates beards, but actually, I had promised my wife recently that I would try to mend my wicked ways and to prove I was sincere, I shaved off my beard as an act of good faith. I only draw your attention to the new photo, so that if we bump into each other in the street, you won't mistake me for some panhandler looking for change.
Please comment if you wish.

Mar 21, 2007

Forward utterances...

" Global Warming not all bad for Canada"
March 21, 2017 - Stephen Harper (pictured above) celebrated his 10th anniversary as Canada's Prime Minister by attending a U.N. Canada/Kyoto Review Conference this week in Huntsville, Ontario. The conference was originally scheduled for Iqaluit, Nunavut, but the the territorial capital, on Baffin Island, is under 25 metres of polar melt-water. Speaking to reporters in Huntsville, which is now situated on the new southern coastline of Hudson Bay, Mr. Harper reiterated his government's bemusement with climate change and stated that "Global warming is not all bad for Canada". When pressed for details, the Prime Minister anounced that the latest figures show Canada's unemployment rate had reached zero percent for the first time in the country's 150-year history. He went on to explain that every last unemployed person in Canada was now on the federal payroll, after being conscripted to combat massive, nationwide coastal flooding. The only provinces not participating in this effort were P.E.I. and Newfoundland, which were both already completely submerged.
At one point, Mr. Harper, clad in protective gear, seemed to be overwhelmed by the sweltering 45C-degree, mid-March weather in the Muskoka resort town. He was revived with a cool drink by his staffers, who had helped him into the new Huntsville Global Warming Steakhouse & Beerhall, one of the latest franchise locations of the popular and rapidly expanding chain, owned by former Alberta Premier, Ralph Klein.
Revived, Mr. Harper announced his government's latest initiative, the Arctic Freshwater Left-Overs Program, will be renamed, after his Environment Minister, John Baird, complained that Canadians were insisting on referring to the program in its acronym form: A.F.L.O.P. The program is designed to divert Canadian Arctic melt-water to Arizona golf courses.
Later in the day, attempts were made to contact oppositions leaders for their reaction to the Prime Minister's pronouncements. Unfortunately, neither the NDP or Bloc leaders could be reached. Jack Layton was a guest of Hugo Chavez at a week-long beef barbecue in Venezuela and Gilles Duceppe was stomping grapes at Brian Mulroney's vineyard in grape hotspot, Chibougamau, Quebec. Liberal leader, Stephane Dion, was contacted but was only interested is telling reporters that he was legally changing his name to Steve Dion, in hopes of appealing to English-speaking voters who had for years been forgetting who he was.

Mar 20, 2007

Haiku for A.E.W-P. and N.M.W.

Rich beyond my dreams
Wealthy now and forever
With birds and flowers


Mar 16, 2007

The Wells Christening Gown

My new granddaughter Emondine Clare got to model her great-great-great grandmother Wells' christening gown recently and both she and her mother, Auralee, seemed pleased with the photo-shoot. The gown came from England in 1850 and has been used many times over the decades. This photo will go into the family history book I am writing.
I got lucky a short time ago when I discovered a branch of my wife's family that goes back 20 generations to the early 1400s. The ancient ancestor was named Richard Kingsnorth and he lived from 1434 to 1494. He was also known as Richard of Pluckley. Pluckley is a small village in Kent, England.
Now that I've almost finished my family history book, I've decided I should do some bonfide genealogy research so that I have some claim to credibility. I just hope the facts don't get in the way of a good story.

Mar 6, 2007

Haiku moments

In just one lifetime
One lives an infinity
Understanding time
Look to the mountain
Listen to the wind up there
Calling the climber
Eyes ears lips fingers
Yet all senses are but one
So many ways to see

Mar 5, 2007

My wife's hearing problem

I've been concerned recently that my wife, Linda, may not be hearing as well as she used to. I've wondered to myself if she might, in fact, need a hearing aid. I wasn't sure about how to approach her on the subject, so I chickened-out and called our family doctor to discuss the problem. He said he really needed to examine her but that there was a simple, informal test that I could perform which would give him a better idea about her hearing loss.
"Here's what you do", said our doctor. "Stand about 40 feet away from her and in a normal, conversational speaking-tone, see if she hears. If not, go to 30 feet, then 20 feet, and so on until you get a response".
That evening, Linda was in the kitchen cooking dinner, which I usually do but that is another story, and I was in the bedroom. I said to myself: "I'm about 40 feet away. Let's see what happens". In a normal tone I asked: "Honey, what's for dinner?" No response, so I stepped into the hallway, about 30 feet from Linda and repeated: "Honey, what's for dinner?" Still no response. Next I moved into the dining room where I'm about 20 feet from her and ask: "Honey, what's for dinner" Again, no response. So, I walked to the kitchen door, about 10 feet away: "Honey, what's for dinner?" Still no response.
So I walked up right behind her and asked: "Honey, what's for dinner?", to which she replied: "Barry, for the 5th time, CHICKEN!!!"
Well, obviously this story is a joke and my thanks to good friend Peter Marsh for sending it along. Usually, Pete's jokes are lewd, crude and rude, but occasionally he passes along one that I can actually tell in polite company.
And now that I've set tone for this blogabomination, here is another cute story, courtesy of daughter No. 2.
One day God was looking down at Earth and saw all of the rascally behaviour that was going on. So he called one of his angels and sent the winged spirit to Earth for a time. When the angel returned, he told God: "Yes, it is bad on Earth. 95% are misbehaving and only 5% are not". God was not pleased, so he decided to e-mail the 5% who were being good because he wanted to encourage them; give them a little something to help them keep the faith. Do you know what the e-mail said? Okay, I was just wondering -- I didn't get one either.
Please comment if you wish. BtheB