Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Meeting Turkeys

Today we met up with eight wild turkeys on our drive home. At first they looked like just huge birds standing on the road.

Saturday, November 09, 2002

The Mystery of the Bird Band

After some internet browsing and phone calls it turns out that the bird band belonged to a racing pigeon. The pigeon was released in Northern Ontario several thousand kilometres away which I was told the pigeons can fly in about 24 hours. The bird was less than an hour away from its destination when it was likely caught by a hawk.

Leave a comment for more details on the pigeon racing websites.

Sunday, October 27, 2002

Had a good walk in the woods. Found a bird band with bones still attached. Found a nice sized burl in a cedar tree. Cleared a trail that was made impassable due to broken trees from the 1998 Great Ice Storm. I can now walk to the clearing among the cedars. Found a bush with some very bright red and orange berries that will probably look nice in a Christmas wreath.

Bird band: It is an aluminum ring with a blue turquoise plastic outer sleeve and bones inside, probably the remains of scats of a predator which could be a hawk most likely, or a fox or coyote. The inscription on the band reads as follows CU GTR 2002 2279.

Saturday, October 12, 2002

Burn Scars in Tree Rings

Cut a white ash tree [Fraxinus americana L.] to make the posts for the upstairs railing of our house. Noticed a burn scar in the tree rings. By counting the rings I conclude that there was a fire on the south side of the tree in the spring of 1968. This confirms the fact that the barn that is in the 1946 aerial photograph burned down. This was already evident in the door hardware that was found strewn on the ground and the concert foundation of a building. The door hardware still had the nuts with the bolts fastened to it which belies a fire. The hardware was interesting in that you can not find these sorts of door latches today. There are rotting wooden remains plus iron wheels and parts - of a very old log-hauling wagon about 50 feet or 20 yards west of the barn foundation. It did not burn which is odd, as it is probably over 100 years old.

Monday, September 23, 2002

No Buffy or Harley

We have just come back from one week of holidays to find that two of our three cats have vanished. We live 130 metres away from the nearest neighbour among forests and we let our cats out during the day. Our neighbour took care of our cats but on the last day two did not come home. The Fisher Cat, a large member of the weasel family is known to be a very aggressive predator of cats and there is ample evidence of fishers in these woods. We fear that both have been lost to the fisher or possibly the coyote that also roams these woods.

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Aerial Photograph

August 13, 2002

Bought an aerial photograph (#9964566) of the property from the National Air Photo Library at 615 Booth Street, Ottawa. It dates back to the mid 1940's and shows all the farms that were in this area then. Virtually all the farms are now gone. This property was itself a farm and where our house now stands is very close an old barn yard and buildings. All the buildings here have disappeared due to a fire in the late 60’s. I counted rings of a live ash tree that I cut near the barns on the aerial photograph and there were burn scars in the rings dating to the spring of 1968 as I could best discern. The burn scares were only on that side of the tree facing the largest barn thus I suspect that the tree was scorched on that side only and obviously did not perish. The first ring of the tree, or when it was germinated, I estimated to be in 1958.

Monday, July 22, 2002

Joined the Ontario Woodlot Association

My membership with the OWA was accepted today.

Thursday, June 06, 2002

More on "Poison" Parsnip

Around the house area and in spots around the property there is a high density verging on monoculture of Wild Parsnip [Pastinaca Sativa]. As a youth I remember this as poison parsnip which was abundant in the fallow fields around our houses in the suburbs of Montreal where I lived in the 60’s. If you touched the leaves it could leave you with a very itchy rash. After much Internet research, I found that the juice of the plant is only irritating to the skin when exposed to UV (Sun) light. Indeed if I cut the weed in the evening just before dark and get the sap on my skin I would not contract a rash. The worst time is early in the morning on a sunny day. What makes this reaction difficult to diagnose is that the rash will occur about 4 days after contact, so you would have to remember what you did differently. Also the sap potency would only last a few minutes and become benign when it dries up even on the disturbed leaf. This is unlike poison ivy that lasts much longer.