Sunday, November 12, 2017

Why haven't lilac bushes lost their leaves?

It's winter but these ornamental shrubs still have green leaves
Lilac bushes here in the Thunder Bay area of Northwestern Ontario never lost their leaves before winter set in this year. It's the first time I have seen this and I can only speculate that the hot days we received in late September somehow tricked the bushes into thinking there was still a lot of summer left.
Does anybody out there know the reason? If so, leave your comments.
Lilacs, of course, are not a native species. They originally came from Asia but they are the most widely planted shrub in Canada, according to my tree books.
They are exceedingly hardy and can endure extreme temperatures.
I wonder if the fact they kept their leaves will impact the blossoms next spring?

Friday, November 10, 2017

It's baaack! Old-time winter weather

Our home in Nolalu as seen today, Nov. 10
The temperature this morning was -20 C here at our home in Nolalu, ON, which is 50 kilometers (30 miles) southwest of Thunder Bay. That is the coldest it has been this early winter and reminds me of what Novembers used to be like before climate change.
I especially remember one Remembrance Day (Nov. 11) in the mid-1980s. It was -30C. The day sticks in my mind because I shot a big buck whitetail that morning. With the help of a friend I brought it back to our house and hung the deer in the garage. The deer was enormous and had 13 points. I wanted Brenda and the kids to see it before I cut it up and so waited until they all got home after school.
By 4 p.m. I tried to butcher the deer and found it was frozen rock solid. I ended up taking it into our wood-fired sauna to thaw it.
In those days we still lived in the original house made on our property. It had been built about 75 years earlier and started out as a 16x20 squared-timber homestead cabin. The woodstove was our sole source of heat. I followed the previous owners advice and would fill the woodshed attached to the garage with wood each summer. The shed held about eight cords. By the end of each November I would start to panic because we had already consumed one-third of our wood supply. That happened not only because the temperature was so cold but also because November is a notoriously cloudy month so there was little solar gain in the daytime. A further complication was a lack of snow for which to bank the house. I would often scrape the ground for hundreds of feet to get something to pile against the building and block the wind and cold from underneath.
December always brought deeper snow and although the daylight was even shorter, there were more clear days. We barely had to fill the stove if the sun was shining through the windows.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Turning over a new leaf

I'm starting life anew after retiring from Bow Narrows Camp and so it seems like a great time to start a new blog, this one just about life in the great outdoors here in Northwestern Ontario.

Why haven't lilac bushes lost their leaves?

It's winter but these ornamental shrubs still have green leaves Lilac bushes here in the Thunder Bay area of Northwestern Ontario ne...