Saturday, May 26, 2012

Patios: a part of summer in London, Ontario

Patios are a solid part of life during the summer in London, Ontario. Heck, there are even local businesses specializing in the sale of  furniture and stuff like barbecues for backyard patio use.

We have two patios in our backyard. One at the end of a block wall that keeps a large hill from slipping slowly into our yard and our other paving stone patio is right at our back door. Our one neighbour has a large, wooden-deck patio and our other neighbour has not only a patio but a pool as well.

Our front porch is small, as are many porches in our suburban neighbourhood. Yet, in a very real sense, our small front porch serves as another patio. We have three Muskoka chairs sitting there: one for Judy, one for me and a very small, bright pink one for our young granddaughter.

I believe patios are a response to the loss of the large front porches that once graced many homes in Ontario. And, I must say, patios are a proving to be a fine response.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Wind turbines line the Lake Erie coast

Electricity generating wind turbines line the north shore of Lake Erie catching the wind near Port Bruce. To encourage the building of wind turbine farms and the installation of solar collectors, the Ontario government sweeten the pot with exceedingly generous payments for the power being generated.

This past March the province reduced those rates. Installing wind turbines or solar panels is no longer quite the sweetheart deal it had been. I considered having solar panels installed on the southern exposure of my own home's roof. But now, thanks to the reduced payments from the provincial government, such an installation does not seem to make as much financial sense. I have not signed a contract for panels and will probably take a pass.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Carousel reopens

The carousel at Springbank Park has reopened. The May 24th holiday was celebrated on May 21st this year. We like long weekends here in Canada. We have no qualms about shifting a holiday in order to line up three work-free days for the Monday to Friday working set. So, the carousel re-opened three days early. Fiona was pleased.

The interesting thing about today's photo is that it was taken with an iPhone by Ashley, Fiona's mom. All I can say is, "Wow!" I find the quality of images taken with cell phones just mind boggling.

What I also find mind boggling, or maybe I should say mind numbing, is the lack of upkeep the city-owned merry-go-round is showing.

The city is entering a year dedicated to ReThink London. Maybe the city could rethink their oh-so-foolish zero tax increase budgeting. With costs rising, albeit slowly, holding the line on taxes has meant putting off till tomorrow stuff that should be done today. Stuff that might cost just a little can be left undone so that much bigger bucks can be spent tomorrow.

Years ago the city tried saving money by not replacing street lights as they burned out over the summer. The plan was to replace all burned out lights in the fall. When fall came, the city found they were unable to quickly replace all the unlit lights. Not only was there a massive backlog of dead lights but more lights were continuing to go black. With winter approaching, the city hired an outside contractor to assist with the bulb replacement. To find a contractor with the proper truck, the city had to go all the way to Hamilton. The city had to put the crew from Hamilton up in a local hotel, it is too far to commute to London from Hamilton. Of course, the city also had to provide the outside workers with expensive restaurant meals.

It was NOT a brilliant move, and our mayor is making a bit of a dim bulb of himself by attempting something similar now as he adheres to a foolish election promise of zero tax increases.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Another good spot near London, Ontario

Port Bruce, a lakeside village on the north shore of Lake Erie, is a great beach destination for those put-off by the crowds attracted to Port Stanley about 16 kilometres to the west. If baking in the sun isn't your cup of tea, fishing off the port pier is another option. The area is known for its yellow perch and walleye fishing. At one time the village supported a fairly large fishing fleet, but today sun lovers have replaced commercial fishers.

Friday, May 11, 2012

One of London's finest features isn't in London

Small breakers rolling in at the Port Stanley beach south of London, Ontario.

Click the link to see and learn more.
Port Stanley on Lake Erie was once thought of as London, Ontario's beach on Lake Erie. Teens would board the London & Port Stanley Railway and ride from London to the beach.

The Port was really something back then. There was a dance pavilion, an incline railway, a casino, a roller coast and more, and of course there was always the lake and the beach.

The Port is still a fine destination. I took my granddaughter there today to build sand castles with the fine sand and watch the tumbling waves gently crashing onto the shore.

It is only early May and still quite cool. Yet, there were a fair number of folk enjoying a little time at the beach.

To learn more about the Port that was click the LINK.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

An asparagus farm in the city

This asparagus farm and retail stand is maybe half a kilometre from my London home.
The City of London is convinced that all that is important is found in the core. The local paper seems to agree. The suburbs are a dull, backwater to hear these folk tell it. Boy, do they have it wrong.

Oh, I'm sure some people, maybe most people would agree with them, but I don't. I love living in the suburb of Byron, in the southwest corner of London. Every May I look forward to taking a short walk to the asparagus farm operating near my home. I always buy a couple of pounds.

Trust me, asparagus picked in the morning and eaten for lunch, gently salted with a little melted butter, is "wonderful." The adjective "wonderful", by the way, was supplied by my 33-month-old granddaughter. The kid knows her veggies even if the city and the newspaper haven't a clue.