Kelly Matthews is about to release her second book on King Township lumineries; this time about Sir Henry Pellatt, of Casa Loma and Marylake fame. The Road to MARYLAKEfalls on the heels of her very successful first book: EATON HALL Pride of KingTownship, published in 2015. The new book launch will take place this Wednesday, November 1 at Marylake Shrine, north of King City. There is great anticipation by the readers of Kelly's first book, which has become a popular and definitive local history publication. Please comment if you wish.
Winter solstice (first day of winter) is still eight weeks away, but four Dark-eyed Juncos (Junco hyemalis)arrived in our backyard early yesterday morning. Lind spotted them at breakfast time. There are two males and two females: the first of many more hopefully. Such lovely little creatures!
King City resident, Wilson Markle, submitted the photo above to the King Weekly Sentinel's photo contest recently and it was among the winners which appeared in last week's newspaper. The photo, with its interesting and eye-catching perspective, was taken on the King City Trails at sunset, from Manitou Drive. Nicely done, Wilson.
Many people are familiar with the three old pictures, at top, but they may be new to other viewers. The railway ran between Schomberg and Yonge Street in Oak Ridges for 29 years in the early 1900s. The picture at the bottom is a recent picture of the old railway station in Schomberg, now a longtime residence in the village. A portion of it can be seen in the 2nd picture above, at the right side of the photo.
Two Hairy Woodpeckers have unexpectedly taken over one of the mixed bird seed feeders in the backyard - much to the dismay of the sparrows, blue jays, chickadees and Downy Woodpeckers. They appeared two weeks ago and are now at the feeder numerous times every day. They are voracious seed eaters. I'm having to fill the feeder more frequently to keep everybody satisfied. The photo above (taken last year) shows a young male Hairy Woodpecker with its forehead spotted with white and its crown streaked with red. It's possible the juvenile from last year is the adult male we are seeing now.
Honey testing reveals worldwide contamination by bee-harming pesticides
Neonicotinoid insecticides are found in 75% of international honey samples and North America ranks highest with 86% of samples containing one or more neonicotinoids. The honey analyses, recently published in the journal Science, were collected between 2012 and 2016. Hundreds of samples were received from around the world and 198 of known local origin were analysed for the five main types of neonicotinoid. The impacts on bees include damage to learning, behaviour and colony success. Concentrations were often low, but the pesticides are extremely toxic: 4,000 to 10,000 times more toxic than DDT and the effect is felt by wild bees as well as honeybee colonies. Professor Dave Goulson at Sussex University in the UK., says: "Entire landscapes all over the world are now permeated with highly toxic neurotoxins, undoubtedly contributing to the global collapse of biodiversity". Christopher Connolly at Dundee University, UK., says: "The findings are alarming. It is time that these chemicals are heavily restricted for use. In this way, their impact on the environment can be limited and their efficacy against pests preserved for when there is no alternative option". Please comment if you wish. Barry Wallace
April Overall, recently writing on behalf of the Canadian Wildlife Federation says Hitchcock's The Birds instilled a real fear of everything avian in many people: crows in particular, but that these smart birds do us a service every day. They hang around on the side of roads as you make your daily commute. As you're working from 9 to 5, crows are working too, cleaning up our roads. They will happily eat roadkill, solving a messy, sometimes stinky, clean-up problem. She recalls Canuck the Crow, a well-known Vancouver area bird, made famous for stealing evidence at a crime scene. It was a shiny knife and Canuck the Crow took off with it. Luckily, police spotted the theft, gave chase and recovered the weapon. But if crows sometimes miss the roadkill, there are always the Turkey Vultures. This blog entry also appears on my BarrytheBirder blogsite today. I felt King has no shortage of crows and this crow blog would strike a note with some readers of the Camera on King blogsite.
It's been just over a week since the National Geographic film 'BEFORE THE FLOOD' was shown to an almost full house at The Country Day School Performing Arts Centre, on Dufferin Street. The film presentation was a joint effort by The Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust, Arts Society King and Country Day School. Special guest was Chris Ballard, Ontario's Environment Minister, and former King City resident, who made an address and answered many questions from those in attendance, including Country Day students. Moderator Susan Walmer, ORMLT Executive Director, suggested viewers take a day or two to digest the ominous message of the film before deciding what a single person can or cannot do to mitigate the effects of global warming. Meanwhile, if you haven't seen it yet, maybe you should.
I happened across this photo in my files recently and thought it must be almost 50 years since the Eaton Hall farm cattle and horse barn, a King Township landmark, was destroyed in a fire, the second in its history. I did a quick check on the date and learned it was 50 years and six months ago, today, that it burned to the ground. Kelly Mathews in her 2015 book about Eaton Hall, described the barn as a "...formidable structure". It was built originally in the 1920s and was destroyed by fire in 1937. It was rebuilt that same year, but succumbed to a second inferno 30 years later. The barn is now gone but some of the working farm's ancillary buildings still exist, included the one pictured below. The second fire caused $250,000 damage, but 100 head of prize cattle survived. Some of buildings, such as what is now seen in these pictures, survived and today are used as the Farm and Faculty Offices.
Photo by Barry Wallace
Photo by Barry Wallace
Having mentioned Kelly Matthews' Eaton Hall book, I would be remiss if I did not mention her 2nd book: "The Road to Marylake". Her history book on Marylake is to be launched on November 1st at the Marylake Shrine on Keele Street, just north of King City. I intend to purchase the book and hopefully have it signed by the author. I also intend to tell Kelly that a third book should be in the works, by her. The subject? Jokers Hill. That would be an interesting trilogy. Please comment if you wish. Barry Wallace
It has taken several years, but a substantial restoration of the Adam Cairns family's 160-year-old English Wheat Barn at Cold Creek Conservation Area has finally been completed due to the efforts of many dedicated volunteers and history buffs, plus King Township staff members. The English Wheat Barn is noteworthy for its huge swing beam which allowed for a greatly expanded barn floor area that permitted much extra space for farmers and horses to separate and hand-winnow seeds from harvested grain crops. A gathering of project participants will be held on October 21st, at 10.30 a.m. to acknowledge the historical accomplishment. The event is to unveil a permanent plaque to recognize the generosity of local businesses and service clubs who made donations towards the barn's restoration. A few Cairns descendants still live in the King area today and there may be one or two in attendance at event.
Fall is upon us and certain scary things in the garden have stopped growing and have been rooted out. But each evening thereafter, when darkness rules the night, white pumpkins become ghosts, green gourds become living gargoyles and orange and yellow knobby horns take to rolling and thumping about. And not until they are subdued and cooked in daylight will the phantom veggies cease to exist.
Around The Bend is not open on Sundays. Please comment if you dare... Barry Wallace