Today’s Sunday Snapshot features the work of Guest Photographer Jack Whorwood. Thanks, Jack! I always loved this photo.
Our three daughters and their partners were all able to attend our Thanksgiving weekend get-together this year and we enjoyed their company from Friday night through Sunday. Here we are, assembled for a group portrait on Saturday afternoon. We had the traditional Thanksgiving dinner of turkey, potatoes, Brussels sprouts and rutabaga, with pumpkin and grape pies for dessert. It has been a perfect fall weekend, with brisk, bright, sunny weather to set off the pleasure of spending time together.
Once all our visitors headed for home on Sunday afternoon, the house felt quiet and empty. We decided to take Pookie the corgi for a walk at Baxter Conservation Area to top off the weekend and soak up some more sun on this perfect fall day.
Baxter Conservation Area is located along the Rideau River, just north and east of the town of Kemptville, Ontario. The 68 hectare site offers five kilometers of trails through forest and wetland and peaceful views of the Rideau River.
It was a lovely spot to appreciate the last of the autumn leaves, now past their height and beginning to fall from the trees, but still colourful.
A boardwalk and elevated lookout viewing stand allow a closeup look at the marsh and wetlands.
The park was quiet, with just a few late-flying meadowhawk dragonflies to be seen. The walk was a perfect a way to wind down from a busy weekend, for both us and the dog! I hope you have been enjoying a pleasant Thanksgiving or Columbus day weekend too.
I was strolling through the garden yesterday, thinking about laying down winter mulch, when a flash of bright colour caught my eye. I leaned in closer to examine the source and found the weirdest fungus ever! A lot of mushrooms can be difficult for the casual observer to identify, but this one was easy. A quick look through my Mushrooms of Ontario and Eastern Canada guide by George Barron revealed it to be Dog Stinkhorn (Mutinus ravenelii).
Dog Stinkhorn is a member of the puffball family. At their outset, the egg stage, stinkhorns resemble their puffball relatives. The spherical fruitbodies contain a gelatinous layer surrounding an olive-green spore-mass that covers the head of the stinkhorn. At maturity, the egg wall cracks and a column expands to form a support stalk.
The gelatinous layer mixes with the spore-mass to form a malodorous, sugary goo. The odour attracts flies, who arrive to feed on the sweet substance and subsequently carry away the sticky goo, including spores, to other likely sites. At the end of the day, the stalks wilt.
This was my first experience with Dog Stinkhorn, but it is listed as common and widespread. It fruits in rich soil in gardens and woods.
Our local grocery store makes boxes available to customers to carry home their purchases. I always keep an eye out for cat-size containers because nothing pleases a feline like a box. This recent acquisition, which formerly held peppers, was a hit. That’s Capone (left) and his younger brother Arthur, sharing their new favorite box.
A & W Canada, the second largest burger chain in the country, has been promoting its hamburgers as containing ‘better beef’.
“We were hoping that we’d be able to deliver on the product that most of our customers were asking about, which is beef without any added hormones or steroids,” said Susan Senecal, chief marketing officer of A & W Food Services of Canada.
Senecal said A & W will also buy from producers who use antibiotics only for therapeutic purposes, and whose animals are free of additives and preservatives.
Not surprisingly, this has ranchers up in arms. Rick Smith, executive director of Alberta Beef Producers responds “We don’t think it’s better beef. We think it’s beef from cattle that are raised differently than the vast majority of cattle in Canada and the United States.” (same source)
Regardless of where you stand on this beefy debate, you might be interested in another A & W product that has received less attention: coffee. A & W serves 100% Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee, a big, two-thumbs-up winner! The green frog seal of Rainforest Alliance is on every cup and the text reads:
At A & W, we are passionate about quality. That’s why we serve 100% Arabica coffee.
We are also committed to socially and environmentally sustainable practices. That’s why 100% of A & W coffee is sourced from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms.
So on this, International Coffee Day, here’s a shout-out to A & W. Thanks for offering consumers an environmentally-friendly coffee choice! For more information about the Rainforest Alliance, follow this link.