If any bird could shoot lasers out of its eyes, it would be the common grackle.
There really wasn’t much of a winter this year but there were a few opportunities to get out and take pictures of scenes that weren’t relentlessly brown. Here’s a gallery containing a few of the things I saw this winter that didn’t quite make it into posts of their own for one reason or another.
We had a big March Break storm last night in East Dodgeville. I decided to use the opportunity to do something I’ve never been able to do before: take pictures of lightning. I’ve tried in the past but have been wholly unsuccessful for one simple reason: by the time I see that spectacular motivational flash of lightning and then get the camera set up and positioned, the storm has already passed and I’m standing there with a remote in my hand looking like an idiot. But this was a big enough storm that I was still able to have the camera ready for the last two hours of the light show despite missing the first wave of lightning. I’m also a big wimp so I stayed inside and took pictures through the window. I’m sure there would have been many more and better pictures if I’d ventured down to the shore with an umbrella, but some of the strikes were close enough that I was quite happy to be hiding inside. Check below the fold for the obligatory gallery and some comments on the storm and taking pictures of lightning.
These signs are scattered all around Hamilton Township at the entrances to many dirt roads that run between two or more adjacent farms. They’re municipal roads that are used primarily for access to back fields, so the only traffic that they really see are tractors and the occasional dirt bike or ATV. Most are only 1-2 km long and are classified as “summer maintained” or “unopened road allowance” by the township. Some, like the one above, are navigable by your average family sedan. Others, like the one below, call for more of a sense of adventure and either a larger or smaller vehicle:
The road here just kind of disappears into weeds and neatly growing rows of wheat, bordered by trees on one side and a corn field on the other.
Some of the roads not only seem well-maintained in the summer, but also form part of the snowmobile trails that criss-cross Ontario? in the winter:
So, is “Dangerous unmaintained road” a warning or invitation? It depends what you’ve got underneath you at the time. The roadies that I passed on the asphalt a couple of clicks back would have nothing to do with roads like these. A rider on a touring motorcycle was checking one out, but probably wouldn’t take another. But for a guy exploring on a mountain bike, they’re just about irresistible.
Following a decades-old dream, Dodgeville expanded to the northeast last week, annexing a plot of land on the north shore of Rice Lake to be used by all Dodgeville residents for year-round recreational purposes. Risa and I just spent our first (cold!) weekend there, unpacking and fixing and getting things into order.
With a door-to-door non-highway route totalling just 110 km, it’s well within my single-day cycling range, even pulling a loaded trailer. That said, I’d be travelling with both wife and cat, neither of whom is likely to appreciate such a long ride, so we’ll be sticking to the car for now.
Of course, there are differences between this cottage and the old family cottage from my youth: TV, phone, high-speed Internet, running water, and an indoor bathroom chief among them. We’re looking forward to visiting the local towns, exploring the local backroads, hiking the local trails (both the Ganaraska and Oak Ridges trails pass nearby), and just generally relaxing.