Spelunking – The Nottawasaga Bluffs

Exploring the geological features of the Nottawasaga Bluffs, reminded me of the adventures we would have when our relatives would visit from Holland.

It brought back memories of visiting the Scenic Caves, near Collingwood. Us all lining up, the Tanta’s in their dresses, and the Oma’s in their white shirts and dress pants, to squeeze through what was then called ‘Fat Man’s Misery. ‘ A narrow opening between two gigantic rocks, that were icy cold to touch even in the heat of summer.

Exploring new Caves. Making new family memories.

Like my chiropractor keeps telling me, ‘Motion is Lotion.’ I’m thinking that I might now be of similar age to what my Oma’s and Tanta’s were away back when.

Spelunking – the exploration of caves, especially as a hobby.

Canada Day 2021

Every Child Matters. Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

Today, reflecting on the meaning of Canada Day, I am thinking about my parent’s decision to emigrate to this wonderful country almost 70 years ago.

I remember, as a small child, my aunt saying to me ‘Speak English, we came to Canada to be Canadians.’

I have always been very proud to call myself a Canadian. First as a Dutch Canadian, then somewhere along the line the word Dutch was dropped and I simply became a proud Canadian.

I saddens me deeply, as I become more educated about the true losses suffered by our Indigenous peoples. The loss of their homes, their economies, and most of all, the loss of their children. Through the hands of our churches, and, of our governments.

I am hoping that this Canada Day will be marked as the beginning of truly righting the wrongs that were committed. Righted, so the true healing may begin, and that we, and the world, can learn from the wrongs commited in our past.

On our Canada Day hike. Overlooking the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe including the Ojibway, Potawatomi, and Odawa of the Three Fires Confederacy

Fairy Houses, on the Forest Floor

The Fairy House - by Rose Fylemam

As I was walking homeward
One early summer's day
I met a little fairy
Tripping on her way
Her bonnet was a bluebell
A daisy was her gown
Her wings were bits of sunshine
Trimmed with thistle-down
I think she had been to market
For as she hurried by
I peeped into her basket
To see what I could spy
A pair of tiny slippers 
A reel of golden thread
A tiny jar of honey
And a weeny loaf of bread
I hid amongst the tall grass 
As still as I could be
The Fairy gave a ratt tatt tatt
Upon a hollow tree
And then for just an instant
I peeped into her house
And do you know what?
The front door was opened
By a mouse!

Life of the Forest – part three of three – The Peaceful Forest.

A home for the birds….
'A hive for the buzzing bees
A nest for birds
There ain't no words
For the beauty, the splendor, the wonder of the.. ' by the Cowsills
OF THE TREES!!!!
Old and new growth

Having read both Finding the Mother Tree, and The Hidden Life of Trees, I have decided to allow the centre of our forest, the little piece untouched by my saw and slippers, to remain as it is.

This small portion of the forest is home to three large oak trees, numerous pine and spruce trees, and a variety of coniferous and decidous saplings. Plus grasses, ferns, wild flowers, and a wide variety of fungi.

A forest where the trees connect with the soil, with the fungi and the mushrooms, communicating through a large underground network.

Red Squirrels have turned this old pile of brush into their home.
From someone else’s forest floor, to our forest floor.

While looking at this part of the forest, I am reminded of a story my father used to tell about his first impressions of this new country, Canada, he and his small family were about to call home.

When stepping off of the train, surrounded by forest, he surveyed the area and thought to himself, ‘it won’t be difficult to find employment in this country, they have yet to trim their trees.’

In the forest the Mother Trees recognizes, and talks to their kin, shaping future generations.

I have always been a tree hugger, but now I hug them for a different reason. Or maybe now I’m realizing the reason.

Every Child Matters

‘While the world gently weeps’ – George Harrison

In the summer of 2014, my family and I, along with my cousin from Kamloops, attended the 35th annual Kamloops Pow Wow. One of the largest celebrations of First Nations culture and heritage in Western Canada.

On our walk from the parking lot to the Pow Wow, we passed a large, grey, dark building. My cousin educated us on the original use of this structure, the Kamloops Indian Residental School. We could feel the cries and sadness that eminated from the building.

In sharp contrast to the beauty, the power, and strength, of the Pow Wow.

A small child stands at the top of the stairs at the bottom of Spirit Catcher, in Barrie, On., on the shores of Kempenfelt Bay, holding a sign that reads EVERY CHILD MATTERS.
This morning, at Springwater Provincial Park, I dropped some sacred tobacco onto the smoldering ashes of a sacred fire. I prayed for all of the abused children, and for those children suffering from abuse today.
Strength, power, beauty, and I hope, healing.

Life of a Forest – part two – The Manicured Forest

Resting pine

Before reading Finding the Mother Tree, and The Hidden Life of Trees, I wanted our forest to be pretty, park like, and tidy.

I spent the past two springs working hard, with park visions in my mind. This work had to be done by early to mid May, when that dreaded poison ivy plant would emerge and very quickly blanket this part of the forest floor.

A perfect plot for poison ivy.

I busied myself trimming trees, clipping saplings, and removing anything dead or estheticly unpleasant.

After reading these two, very informative books, I’ve come to realize that what I have removed from the forest belongs in the forest.

The beauty of the forest floor

This past week I’ve walked, where the poison ivy does not rule, and have made my peace with the unnecessary cutting and cleaning done by my hands.

Next spring, when new seedlings sprout and bloom, my little piece of forest will be quite different. It will allowed to develop, and move to its own groove.

Shades of green.

Life of a Forest- part one – The Planted Forest.

The Forest, through the eyes of a forget-me-not.

I just finished reading The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben, and discovered what trees feel and how they communicate. In Wohlleben’s work, his research follows the science of, Canadian, Suzanne Simard whose story is told in her book, Finding the Mother Tree. These two books have taught me so much about my little forest, which I have separated into three parts. The first being The Planted Forest.

The Planted Forest

This part of our forest was planted. I had brought home a couple of bundles of spruce saplings from a tree nursery where I had seasonal employment. My father stopped by and planted these little spruts in the northeast corner of our property. His work being interrupted as he had to rescue two, adventurous, three year olds. Returning them to their moms, after they had left the backyard and were traveling down the road to visit their dads at work.

He planted these seeding, in straight rows. They bordered on a much taller pine forest that had been planted years earlier by the Ministry of Natural Resources. He planted these trees thirty-five years ago.

Left unattended, these seedlings grew into trees. The forest becoming the beautiful sanctuary it is today. Occasionally they gave one of their own to adorn our living room at Christmas time.

I wonderful place to just sit….

This past year I have spent a lot of time in this part of the forest. I trimmed branches and removed dead trees.

I’ve learned from reading this past week, that forests allowed to develop on their own provide for one another, and communicate with one another.

Trees planted by people remain individuals, growing independently. They will age, but not to the years of those left to naturalize on their own.

I went back into this forest today. I sat on my bench. It is made from the branches of the cedar tree on the opposite side of our property. I contemplated, what would these trees be like if they communicated with one another?

The path leading to The Planted Forest.

Sign Wars!

😎

Bringing some smiles and chuckles, just in time to see us through, hopefully, this last little while of covid19.

🦷🦷🦷
😇
🍔🍔
🧒👧🧑
🐂🐃🐄
🥖🥖🥖
🧱🧱🧱
🍟🍟🍟
🏠🏡🏠

Love the way humour is seeing us through this trying time.🙂🙃😀😅😆❤.

No Mow May

Wanting to make a little bit of honey, for my honey.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is asking everyone to participate in No Mow May. They are requesting that everyone wait until the end of the month to rev up those lawn mower engines.

Busy, bussing, bees.

The intention of No Mow May is to allow food sources to bloom, providing food for insects and other wildlife.

Getting ready to dive in.

One of the most common lawn flowers, that some folks love to hate, is the gloriously, beautiful dandelion.

Little honey makers!

And while you are enjoying this magnificent bloom on your lawn, stoop down and pick a few.

Bugs of many colours.

Indulge is some dandelion wine, and a dandelion shortbread cookie or two. Make some dandelion jelly, and some dandelion syrup. Some dandelion tea, or dandelion salve.

So many more insects, than just the ever important little honey bee!

Enjoy the colours of your lawn, til the end of the month when most will turn green.