Gifts from the Sky

The river was waiting for us this afternoon. After visiting almost every night, to skipping a couple of weeks, I think we really missed its calm rhythms. The leaves in the woods are tinged with a touch of gold these days, and I couldn’t believe what we found there, freshly fallen from the sky:

DSC_0142

DSC_0139

DSC_0146

This is my favourite time of year, and not just because it’s my birthday 😀 To celebrate this BIG YEAR, I am offering you 30% OFF in my Etsy Shop for all of September. Just enter coupon code: BIRTHDAY30 at the time of purchase.

Time Travel

Almost every evening lately we go down to the river. It runs along the city, and within a kilometre or so of our house, there are so many spots to walk around and explore. Among the ones with the easiest access are Remic Rapids, Deschênes Rapids, and of course my favourite, Mud Lake, which is tucked away in the woods.

As we walk, we keep our eyes open: I look for creatures, feathers, shells, flowers, patterns and light, while my husband searches the ground for other kinds of treasure. I think he is hoping to find an explorer’s compass or some dinosaur bones, but sometimes a rusted piece of mystery metal is enough to quell his curiosity. One day I asked, “Can you imagine if we kept every single filthy, slimy, dirty, rusty, decomposing thing we found here?” His reply: “Yeah, we could build a time machine.” I married this man for his non-sequiturs.

Recently we found this bizarre rock formation, just under the Champlain Bridge.  It is spread over a large area of the shoreline, and it looks like the surface of the moon. As you can see, some of the circles are fairly large:

DSC_0045

DSC_0044

After entering every possible combination of words into Google, I found out the origin of these strange rock patterns.

Stromatolites are the oldest known fossils in the world (about 450 million years old). The fossils were left by cyanobacteria, which were likely responsible for the creation of the earth’s oxygen. They were the dominant life form on earth for over 2 billion years. Most of the time they are hidden underwater, but they can be seen when the water levels are low.” -paraphrased/quoted from this article.

So there you have it. Sometimes beachcombing can enable time travel.

Goslings on the River

I have a day off in the middle of the week. It’s great- it allows me to feel a certain level of productivity that I tend to want to throw out the window on the weekend. I can do errands and groceries while the shops are fairly quiet, and I can visit and photograph normally busy tourist spots while everyone is at work. On one such day off, I took a walk down to the Parkway. I timed it, too- 20 minutes from my door to the river.

The Ottawa River Parkway has a bike path that runs along the water, enabling cyclists and joggers to exercise en plein air. There are several stops along the way, benches perched on lookouts, or low rocky shores where you can sit in the shade by the water.

I took this walk with the sole purpose of finding ducklings or goslings. I knew it was that time of year and I wanted to see them up close. I wandered along, taking pictures of wildflowers, and arrived at Remic Rapids. This was the first glance of a Canada Goose family:

GEESE

They cautiously watched me from the water, and eventually they climbed up the hill. I realized that there were several families, and the adults were literally herding goslings up to the grass along the bike path.

DSC_0311 copy 2

They came in an endless stream- I don’t think I could have counted accurately, but there had to be at least fifty of them. I sat in the grass with my camera and watched them waddle about and graze.

GEESE

Every once in a while they had to sit down.

gosling down

GEESE 3

GEESE 4

No ducklings this time, but I am sure I will see them soon. At least I’ve got my fuzzy yellow bum fix until then.

The Wetter, The Better

We’ve had our share of extreme summer heat this week. At its hottest, it was 45 degrees with the humidity. So when my friend called me on Sunday for a last-minute stroll by the river, I jumped at the chance to dip my toes in the water.

We drove down to Westboro Beach with our cameras, but it quickly became apparent that we were about to have a thunderstorm. We spotted some older ducklings and their mum, stuffing themselves with whatever it is that ducklings graze in the sand for.

DSC_0095

I’m surprised they didn’t fall over from eating so much~ look at those crops!

DSC_0136

DSC_0144

Within minutes, the winds picked up, the skies closed in and the river turned black. As the rain started to pour, we hightailed it back to the car, and just barely made it before getting soaked.

DSC_0147 

DSC_0150

The ducks decided that wetter was better, and headed back out on the water.

{You may remember this song from your childhood, too.}