Saturday, June 30, 2012

Farhi name decorates London downtown

Note the name, both on the sign and on the building: Farhi. Landlord Shmuel Farhi may be the biggest landlord in downtown. He certainly owns the greatest number of buildings. This building, the old Bell building, is one of his and it sports his usual large sign designed to attract tenants.

The Farhi name decorates many downtown structures. If Farhi has his way these signs will not fade away after 210 days as the present city bylaw stipulates. The landlord would like to see a change in the city bylaw restricting how long signs like his may stay up, and how much time must pass before they can be reinstalled. The limit now is seven months up, five months down.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

One more look at an abandoned apple orchard

I don't know the exact reasons for this orchard in southwest London being abandoned but I do know that it is not an uncommon event. Growing fruit is tough. I understand it can be especially tough in Ontario where a warm early spring can encourage fruit trees to blossom only to be hit with a destructive late frost.

I believe we had more orchards when I was a boy growing up in Southwestern Ontario. I know we had far more canning operations back then. Today there isn't one cannery taking fruit this side of the Rockies. (I know this was true a couple of years ago. This info could now be out of date.)

This apple is for the birds and insect pests. No one will pick it.

Monday, June 25, 2012

It must be summer; The lilies are blooming.

At first, I thought these were tiger lilies, sometimes known as ditch lilies because they often grow wild in the ditches beside our Ontario highways.  But tiger lilies have small, dark dots and the petals do not have ruffled edges.

Still, they may be cousins to the  tiger lily. I don't know. Maybe someone will comment and clue me in. If they do, I'll add the info to this caption.

These lilies were spotted blooming along the riverside road bordering the Thames River in Springbank Park. Springbank is one of the finest parks, of its type, that I have ever encountered anywhere. Londoners seem to really appreciate the place. It is a love affair that has gone on for more than a century.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Hens and chicks can survive almost anything

One of my most popular posts featured a picture of hens and chicks in flower. If you're curious, check it out. The flowers are most certainly weird.

Hens and chicks are native to southern Europe and yet they survive the Canadian winters in London, Ontario, and are not fazed by the hot, dry, Southwest Ontario summers. These plants are resilient. Heck, mine have now even survived being brutally walked on and energetically jumped on by my granddaughter. She meant no harm and no harm apparently was done. Amazing.
I love the way these succulents cover the ground with clusters of rosettes.  The largest rosettes are the 'hens' and the smaller ones springing from them are the 'chicks.' But these birds do produce flowers which sit on the top of tall, erect stalks that can tower up to a foot over the foliage.

My hens and chicks appear to be getting ready to flower. Each time they do this, I think, "Weird.

Friday, June 22, 2012

In the middle of some of the best farmland in Canada: An abandoned orchard

An abandoned orchard in South London

London, Ontario, likes to brag that it is situated right smack dab in the middle of some of the best farmland in Canada. Plus, we usually have ample rain keeping crops healthy and growing and our summers are long and hot --- very supportive of agriculture. Southwest Ontario is the ideal location for a successful apple orchard. Or at least it should be.

Sadly, fruit orchards right across the southern part of the province are being abandoned, bull dozed, ripped out, with the land growing its last crop: A subdivision.

The abandoned orchard shown is but five minutes from my South London home. When I moved here in the early '90s, there were orchards reaching for kms along Southdale Road. My wife and I used to buy fresh baked fruit pies from a couple of places that also sold the locally grown fruit.

Today many of the orchards are gone with houses occupying the land. Some of the other orchards are simply abandoned. The pies are but a memory.

Why there is no money in maintaining these orchards and reaping the bountiful crop of fruit for as long as possible is my question. Something is wrong. It is not just the pushing of the city into the surrounding country that is killing the orchards. More is at work here. Maybe the fact that there are no longer fruit canning plants in Ontario could have something to do with it. The market for the fruit may be as withered as the trees themselves.

I know that the last canned peaches I bought for my granddaughter came from South Africa. The last fruit cocktail I got came from China.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

One of the hottest days of the year

Today is one of the hottest days this year. At three o'clock it was about 33 degrees Centigrade, or more than 91 degrees Fahrenheit. And, as it often the case in London, ON, it was humid. This meant that the humidex number was much higher: 40 degrees Centigrade or 104 degrees Fahrenheit! If you were going to do something outside, the morning was the time to do it.

Splash pad picture from my files.
This young woman was spotted in mid morning taking two young children to the neighbourhood park. Both little ones had on wide brimmed hats and they rode to the park in a flag shaded wagon. My guess is that they had sun block applied to their bare legs and arms.

The city has been advertising that the splash pads are open providing relief from the heat and the wading pool at Springbank Park is also open.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Lilies beginning to bloom

I know very little about flowers. But, a lady with whom I worked at the paper was a lily enthusiast. She sent me to a place northeast of the city called Horner Lilies. Wow!

I love my lilies; My wife loves my lilies; The squirrels love my lilies and I mean love 'em. They eat the tubers. They find 'em delicious. And me, I'm finding fewer and fewer of my bright orange lilies as the years pass by. I think it is time to head back to Horner Lilies and restock my flower garden.

Can't let the little squirrels starve.

Oh well, I still have my grass.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A British invasion: the British roadster

I still have my Morgan, bought in December of 1968 from Metro Motors on Howard Avenue in Windsor, Ontario. With Metro Motors the only dealer east of Sterne Motors in Burnaby, British Columbia, Morgans were more common in Ontario than in other Canadian provinces except for B.C. Metro Motors is long gone, as is Sterne Motors for that matter, but the wealth of Morgans in the southern Ontario region is a continuing legacy of those long ago days.

I believe there are at least half a dozen Morgans in the London area. I would be very surprised if there were not a lot more if one were to count them all.

Morgans are interesting in that the owners like to drive them and, despite their age, they do not like to tow them anywhere. Morgans are made to be driven and to be enjoyed.

Saturday the Morgan club held a party in Mississauga west of Toronto. Members drove their cars from all over the area to attend. But there were not just Morgans at the party. Check out the beautiful Triumph TR3 (below) that motored over.

Ah, how I smile when I recall the days when the British roadster ruled the back country roads. Cheap to buy and relatively inexpensive to drive, they were the favoured cars of a generation. When one says British invasion, one thinks of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and other British groups. But before the British rockers hit the North American shore, the English sports car was leading a British invasion of its own.

And a thanks to Paul in Powell River for letting me know my error. I always appreciate a good editor.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A bit of the country in the middle of London

The southern bank of the Thames River where this fellow is fishing is Springbank Park. The northern bank is the edge of The Thames Valley Golf Course. Still, this chap is enjoying a little bit of the country right in the middle of town.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Stores, lots of stores, a big plus for London

We've got stores. Lots and lots of stores. We may, in fact, have too many stores.  There may be more than can be easily supported, but that is another post. With that out of the way, let me say London is a great place to live if you're a woman looking for clothing bargains.

And if you're an aging husband being dragged about from store to store checking out dresses and jackets, well I've found something to do to wile away the time: Shoot pictures of fabric.

There are some rules for this game, I have to add a challenge, you can't touch the clothing. The picture must be created out of a found situation. The image must owe its existence to your abilities to see and crop in order to produce something out of the ordinary.

Check out today's picture. Now, you know what is possible. Get out there with your point and shoot and create.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Port Stanley: sand 'n' surf 30 minutes away

A couple of swimmers enjoy the surf off Port Stanley, Ontario.
Port Stanley is a good beach. The sand, especially at the water's edge, is fine and easy on the feet.

Now that June has arrived, the water is warming but it has not yet reached the temperature that blooms of algae, etc., are a problem. Runoff from area farms mixing with warm lake water can put the shoreline waters of Lake Erie off limits to swimmers.

Because of the danger posed to anyone venturing onto the long, concrete pier, the pier at Port Stanley is now closed to strollers. In the past it was open. It was exciting to head out onto the pier when large waves were crashing over the concrete structure. I confess that I did it myself in order to get a good picture. Sadly, people died after being washed off the structure by the raging surf.

Not everyone misses the walk on the pier. Kids are quite happy with the fine sand, with the water, and with making sand castles --- or, in this case, sand slop in a purple bucket.