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Friday 30th June, 2000
We had a really good thunder storm yesterday, with pea-sized hail. It rained most of the day again. Today the sky is powder-blue and the temperature is beginning to go way up.
Sunday 25th June, 2000
This afternoon I went to see "Chicken Run". I really enjoy animation, whether stop-go or art. The modern animation is so excellent it is seamless movement and three-dimensional in effect. The only thing that spoiled this movie for me was the reality of it. My brother had worked for a chicken processing company in the marketing department. He had described the terrible cruelty that sickened him .. They picked the birds up in great bunches, breaking the wings and legs. They hooked them to a machine upside down, which carried the live birds along a conveyor, cutting the heads off enroute. Then the bodies were dipped into a vat of chemicals to remove all the feathers. Really - just like the movie. Apart from that I really enjoyed this movie and particularly that the unfortunate birds all lived to see the denouement of the farmer and his horrible wife.
When I arrived home I found my garden toad still in the front garden this time. It had spent the afternoon lunching on carpenter ants. I managed to get this picture, before my camera began frantic warnings about the "DEW". As I remembered my ex-husband had this problem with his camera, when we went from an air-conditioned cruise ship to a hot and humid dockside, I quickly went indoors. His camera didn't have such warning notices and the condensation ruined the camera.
My Garden Toad:
Speaking of toads, have you had Toad In The Hole for dinner lately? It's a nice quick and simple meal and not really "gross" at all! Take one toad per person, (read pork chop, sausage or whatever), cook it through in the oven in a thin metal dish. When it's just about done, pour some Yorkshire Pudding batter over it. (Pour off the excess fat first, of course). Cook at 420º for a further 20 minutes, or until the batter has risen and is golden. While the batter is cooking I usually wash and cook some greens in the microwave. We can't get the proper flour to make a good Yorkshire Pudding batter in Canada, so I now buy a package of mix.
This is my Toad In The Hole
This year there has been more than twice the usual amount of rain for June, which accounts for all the humidity and condensation when it becomes so hot. The temperature was about 25º today. We had a lot of rain last night. Many people have flooded basements. Fenelon Falls had about six inches and the streets were flooded. There are some trees down in Guelph. On our walk this evening we noticed a large area of grassy bank has collapsed in a mud-slide again. If they don't do something about it, then the play-ground and parking lot will begin to subside also.
I did a lot of gardening and decided to reward myself with a few flowers from the borders. This is my resulting table arrangement:-
Wild roses, a peony, mini-carnations (or pinks)and honeysuckle.
Sunday 18th June, 2000
This afternoon I decided to go to the movie "Shaft". It was not a good decision for me .. but I had seen just about everything else. The problem was, I could not understand much of what they were saying! Of course, their mumbling accents were typical of the parts they were playing and one could hardly expect Shakespearean English. However, that was my problem - and - of course, the continual use of colloquialisms, vernacular and profanity. There, those are all the long descriptive words I can think of - and apart from all the acrobatic running around, shooting, car crashes and personal attacks, it was a typical "pot-boiler" - just as the critics said.
It is quite useful to keep a record here of my garden, when different flowers are in bloom and how they are getting along. The hollyhocks always begin to get masses of little black flies on them just now, which ruin the leaves. They also get hollyhock rust every year. It's such a pity because they grow beautifully. Here are some pictures of my flowers which are doing well in the shade area and then the others in the sun:-
|This is called Bleeding Heart plant.
It does very well in shade. But,
like "Bleeding Hearts" everywhere,
it takes over, pushes everything else
out and attracts parasites.
|This Columbine, or Granny's Bonnet,|
seems to be happy in sun or shade.
Columbiné is Italian for doves, as
the petals resemble doves together
with their wings folded.
It may be invasive, but I haven't had
it long enough to find out.
|Variegated Hostas are always good in
shade. They have a pretty little lilly-like
flower, probably next month. In winter they
disappear into the ground. They don't seem
to be invasive at all .. but the lilly of the
valley, or muguet des bois, which I planted
next to them have gone.
|The lilac bush, which I planted two years'
ago, is really gorgeous. I cut it back last fall
as I don't want it tall in front of the house.
The cutting seems to have prompted a mass of
beautifully scented blossom. This is in the sunny area.
|The peony is in a sunny corner at the back and I
hardly ever see it. I decided to pick
this enormous prize-winning bloom,
before it drags in the mud. It has
very little scent, but certainly is
a magnificent specimen.
|This last picture is in the sunny area.
The soft bluish leaves are called "lambs' ears"
They are popular because they
need very little water, they have a
pretty flower next month,
like lilac lambs'tails. They spread a lot!
The wild rose - "rosa rugosa", is
about the only rose I can grow in this
climate. I have had a set of five wild
roses for about eight years.
The bearded Iris in the foreground is
a sun-loving plant. You have to be careful
not to cover the tuberous root with soil.
I think Iris are a bit finicky and they
get root rot easily - so I have been told.
Took a very pleasant bus ride with two friends and the usual Cherrey Bus Lines and Maxey Travel service. It was a cool day (about 12 degrees Celcius or about 54 degrees Fahrenheit). I really prefer to be cooler when there's a lot of walking to be done. My friends agreed. This is not always the case in Canada in June though. As you may see in my other pages, it can get up to 90 even in earlier months. I usually wear an all-cotton travel outfit. This is good either way. I use most comfortable running shoes and cotton socks and take a pair of really ugly walking sandals - in case the weather turns hot. One of my friends chose to wear a new pair of walking sandals on this occasion .. Not a good idea. Next day she had very painful feet. Also, if you have never taken a day bus trip, please be advised to carry a plastic bottle of water. You can get very thirsty between the stops.
Our first stop was at Cullen Gardens, north of Whitby, Ontario. We travelled from Guelph east along the 401, then straight up the No. 12 to Whitby. I'm really shocked by the destruction of the land north of Whitby, just before Cullen Gardens. It appears to be beautiful rich arable land, turned first to golf links, then to millions of close-spaced town-houses. Anyway, the government seems totally unable to do anything about it. They say about three thousand hectares of land per annum is going down to concrete. I wonder how long before all of Southern Ontario is destroyed in this way.
At Cullen Gardens we enjoyed a lunch, in the beautiful garden rooms. They had prepared a crisp garden salad. This was followed by roast beef with crisp potato balls and crunchy mixed vegetables. We finished with a piece of frosted carrot cake and coffee. After this excellent meal we walked around the gardens. It took me about 1½ hours. I kept stopping to take photographs, but in between I walked at my usual speed of about 4 miles per hour. I only have two digital photographs, the rest of them have to be developed.
|The first farmland scene
of the miniature village
at Cullen Gardens.
|Part of the small town
summer parade at the
At the Cullen Gardens Shop, I bought a T-Shirt with this beautiful butterfly on the front. I had not seen a "Red Spotted Purple" butterfly before. I think it looks rather like the "Blue Morphos". I wonder if it is a North American variety.
|The Red Spotted Purple
Last time I visited was at night, in winter, for the Festival of Lights, (see winter diary pages). So, this time I was able to walk the paths of the wildflower area. This was very interesting, as I wanted to know the names of many of the wildflowers. They are all labelled. Coltsfoot - I had always thought of as an annoying weed. Apparently, like many other plants we think of as weeds, the early settlers had brought with them and used for medicinal purposes, seasoning or simply food.
After that we went to the Dixie Road Outlet Mall. We were given books of coupons and set on the loose for the cut-price shopping. I thought the prices were very reasonable. At Tabi I bought burgundy velvet trousers, marked down from $52 to $12. Also, an embroidered shirt, marked down from $40 to $9. My friend found a pretty blouse at Sears - also marked down from $30 to $9.
We were delivered back to Guelph stop, quite tired and ready to put our feet up.
Link to the Movies Pages at "movies.yahoo.com"
Visit a site for many photographs of North American Birds and animals.
Rhona Raskin Home Page at http://www.rhona.com.