One of the fun adventures we had this month was finding a new Kevlar canoe. It was perfect timing to get the canoe so we could get out on the local lakes, enjoy the fall colors and last mild days of the year. I've been trying to get out as much as possible to do some fishing and take photos. The ultra-light canoe is so much easier to load and move compared to my older and very heavy fiberglass and cedar canoes. It's also the most stable and easy to paddle on the water too. On glassy lakes and rivers it's amazing!
Just finding a good canoe and getting it home was an adventure too. I was unable to track one down locally so we ended up going all the way down to southwestern Ontario. Looking at the photo above one might think we not only went south but went back to the 1800s too! It was a nice day trip into Amish and Mennonite country. Along the way we saw a lot of flat farmland, passed through some country fall fairs, saw a few Mennonite families on the roads and some interesting homes and farms. Some of the houses had antique tractors on their lawns and one pictured below had an old White Rose gasoline pump for a lawn ornament. We stopped at a garage sale and saw antiques and a table covered in colored glass. It was such a nice day in the country that dogs even decided to go for a Sunday drive too.
Back at home the garden is bursting at the seams! The cosmos, morning glory and sweet pea flowers are at peak. I started harvesting some of the vegetables and collected chamomile from the garden too (that's what is in the mug, dish and bowl below).
I was glad to see some wood ducks back at the pond. They are extremely difficult to sneak up on for a photo and they usually only revealed themselves in the early morning or at dusk while the light was dim. A few times I got lucky and was able to get close enough without being spotted while the light was just good enough for photos.
We continue to have turtles coming to the pond. Below is a photo of a painted turtle diving off a rock into the pond. In another shot there is a baby snapping turtle sitting on the same rock. Birds like to perch on the dried lily stalks outside my window - below an eastern phoebe is perched on one of those stalks. Our wild turkey families are still visiting and becoming more tame. Cubby the cat is pretty tame most of the time too. He likes taking over the most comfortable seats to lounge around all day. The gray tree frog (ours is green) still lives at the front door. He has become tame too and doesn't mind me pushing the camera within millimeters of his face for a photo. At least I think he doesn't mind. It's hard to tell by that expression on his face.
While out in the canoe we encountered a few very strange watermelon sized growths in the water (see above). These large spongy growths were heavy too! I discovered that they are called "Pectinatella magnifica", a type of bryozoa. They are distantly related to saltwater coral and sponges. There are thousands of types of saltwater bryozoans but only 19 in freshwater so it is interesting to encounter one. This type is native to Ontario. The tiny organism forms dense colonies that grow into clumps which can get quite large and heavy. Like sponges and coral they are filter feeders and help improve the clarity of water.
The fall colors are just getting started so come back soon to see the October photos and some amazing trees and forests!