Jack’s Walk

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The weather’s been so pleasant this week that Jack and I have met a lot of our neighbours out doing yardwork as we walk by. With some of our neighbours, I’d be happy with just a quick wave and a shout of hello, but Jack says this is rude. He thinks we should speak to everyone, even gossipy Ruth, who talks too fast and forgetful Mr. P., who asks at least six times in a 5-minute conversation how old Jack is. Eleven. Eleven. Eleven. He’ll be 12 in February. Eleven, I think.

Jack doles out kisses and cuddles and basks in the glow of adoration and I nod my head and utter pleasantries. What can I do but smile? That’s just how life is when you have a friendly, social Jack. Soon enough, it’ll be winter and we’ll go days without seeing anyone outside. Bubba hates that, and even though it makes our walks shorter, so do I.

Jack’s Walk

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A Calendar of Sonnets: October

The month of carnival of all the year,
When Nature lets the wild earth go its way,
And spend whole seasons on a single day.
The spring-time holds her white and purple dear;
October, lavish, flaunts them far and near;
The summer charily her reds doth lay
Like jewels on her costliest array;
October, scornful, burns them on a bier.
The winter hoards his pearls of frost in sign
Of kingdom: whiter pearls than winter knew,
Oar empress wore, in Egypt’s ancient line,
October, feasting ‘neath her dome of blue,
Drinks at a single draught, slow filtered through
Sunshiny air, as in a tingling wine!
Helen Hunt Jackson

Jack’s Walk

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The people who live in this house decorate their porch differently for each season and they always make it a splendid arrangement. It’s one of my favourite homes in the neighbourhood and it gives me a smile every time we walk past it. Their current display is quintessentially autumn in Ontario with brightly coloured, coordinating pots of mums, dried stalks of corn and pumpkins galore, big and small, in varying shades of orange. Soon the tree out front will add its yellows and golds, reds and rusts, tangerines and salmons to the show until there’s a riot of colour about the place. It’s one of a thousand things I love about the fall.

Jack’s Walk

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Yesterday I mentioned that Jack has difficulty seeing in the dark. I forgot to mention that Jack also has trouble being seen in the dark. His coat is such a deep chocolate brown that when he steps out of the puddles of streetlight, he all but vanishes. That’s a worry because Jack has a nasty habit of eating things he happens upon, things that are probably not good for him to eat like garbage, poop and the occasional small dead creature. Last night he managed to swallow something before I could stop him. I have no idea what it was as there were no bits of it left to identify, but I’m sure it wasn’t a healthy snack. I jammed my hand into his mouth, hoping to fish it out, but I was too late. Jack smiled, licked my fingers and walked on, leaving me standing there dripping drool and hoping for the best. So far, so good.

Jack’s Walk

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The days of autumn agree with me and I enjoy so many things at this time of year. I love the crisp air that energizes Jack and getting to watch day by day as rich reds and flame oranges appear in the trees. It’s time to start making hearty soups and stews and casseroles with the bounty of local produce filling the market stalls and it’s time to turn on the oven and bake things full of apples. Fall is such a wonderful season. It would be absolutely perfect… if only the days were a little longer.

It’s dark now when Jack and I take our evening walk and Jack’s eyesight isn’t good in the dark anymore. He’s easily frightened by shadows and he tends to bark at things that aren’t normally around, like all the new political signs popping up on lawns around the neighbourhood. The political signs scare me a bit, too, especially since my neighbourhood is sporting quite a few Conservative signs this election season. Nobody wants to look at that nonsense so the photo today was taken late yesterday afternoon from our favourite forest path.

Jack’s Walk

Jack, October 3, 2019 ©voyager, all rights reserved

Jack, October 3, 2019 ©voyager, all rights reserved

It’s been rainy and damp for a few days and this morning the temp was only 10°. It’s certainly not my favourite weather, but as my dad used to say, “it’s better than no weather at all.” Jack says he doesn’t mind the change. He has more energy when it’s cool and it gives him a reason to grow hair. Jack likes to grow hair, lots and lots of hair, and by the end of winter he has a thick, lush insulating coat which he then sheds all over everything come spring – except Jack never does a full shed. Normally we go to the east coast for the summer and Jack needs an undercoat to swim in the cold waters of the Atlantic. This year, though, we fooled him and stayed home in hot and humid Ontario where his remaining undercoat was unnecessary. I kept waiting for him to shed through June and July and even August, but Jack held on to that undercoat through all the hot days of summer. By the end of August I’d given up and figured he’d just start the slow build up to maximum coverage for winter. I was wrong. At the beginning of September Jack went into full shed mode and the hair came out in heaps and clumps and, Oh Boy, did it come out fast. It’s only the second time in Jack’s life that he’s been without his undercoat and neck ruff and the first time was way back when he was a puppy. He isn’t quite finished shedding yet either. You can see the blondish bits around his neck starting to clump and by tomorrow they’ll be ready to pluck. Soon he should start putting on new hair and I’d like to track how long it takes for him to grow his thick, full coat back so I’m going to photograph him about once a month to see how long it takes before he’s as hairy as a wookiee again. Here he is today looking svelte(ish) at the beginning of Autumn. We’ll see how it grows.

Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

September’s been quite mild this year and we’ve had lots of sunny days so I won’t complain about the bit of rain we’ve had today, especially since Bubba and I managed to stay dry. For once, our timing was right. Jack likes to walk around 11:00 because that’s when the school up the street lets out for lunch and the teenagers flock to the sidewalk in gaggles to do their visiting and vaping and they all love Jack. They call out his name as we approach and Jack just wades into the crowd where about 20 kids call him to come all at once. Some of them bend down or crouch and Jack will bestow kisses on them. The others he’ll rub against or give them his bum to scratch and most of them happily comply. He weaves his way through the crowd positively vibrating with happiness and spreading joy. It’s a wonderful thing to witness and it makes me a happy voyager.

Jack’s Walk

Harvest time. ©voyager, all rights reserved

Jack and I managed to get out for a walk in the woods yesterday and it was exactly what we both needed. Jack’s been feeling a bit put out since I’ve been spending so much time with my mom and it was nice to have some quality time together, just the two of us. Jack was obviously happy. He wore his goofiest grin and wagged his big, heavy tail for most of the walk. He even stayed with me on the path instead of wandering off to explore so we talked about the changing season and sang a silly song or two and by the time we got back to the car Jack was his cheerful self again. I was feeling better, too so as a special treat we stopped on the way home at Dairy Queen and shared a cone. It was a simple day, full of nothing special happiness and if I had a tail like Jack, mine would have been wagging, too.

Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

Our weather has turned cooler over the past few days and the change has been enough to make me take stock of the season. It seems so soon this year, but already I can see the signs of summer passing into fall. The undergrowth in the forest is thinning out and the edges of a few leaves have started to take on a hint of yellow or brown. Fields have been harvested and the farmer’s markets are filled with autumn fare – beets, carrots, squash, potatoes, even the apple harvest has begun. It’s my favourite time of year.


Harakka in Autumn: Chapter 17

It’s time to bid farewell to the island of Harakka and I’d like to thank Ice Swimmer for sharing this special place with all of us. It’s been a wonderful adventure and I’m going to miss these quiet walks filled with colour and beauty.

Chapter 17 – Sea, Sky and Farewell

This is the final part of the story of my autumnal visits to Harakka. We start with an interlude with the theme Sea and Sky.

Two Masts ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

This picture is from the western rocks.

Essential for Life©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

Water is life and so are the sun and the air.

Into the Fog ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The ship to Stockholm is going into the fog.

Autumnal ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

Saturday was a more autumnal day than Sunday.

After the interlude it is time to say goodbye to Harakka.

Strait ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

A view south to the strait between Särkkä and Harakka.

Call ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The semaphore is up, calling the boat to mainland. Goodbye, Harakka.

This was the story of the island Harakka in October 2018.

Harakka in Autumn: Chapter 16

Thanks again Ice Swimmer for all the time and work you put into this series. 

Harakka in Autumn: Chapter 16

It’s time to put away your worries for a while and take a walk with Ice Swimmer. Today we’re going up.

Chapter 16 – Top and Around

Odd Spruce Revisited ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The spruce is odd because it has an even number of crowns. The deciduous trees behind the spruce are hiding the wetland.

[Read more…]

Harakka in Autumn: Chapter 15

It’s time to join Ice Swimmer on his walk around Harakka.

Chapter 15 – East

Emerging from the Wetland ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The bird watching shelter we visited earlier is on the right. Sunday was definitely brighter than Saturday. Across the water are the island Särkkä and Suomenlinna Sea Fortress.

[Read more…]

Harakka in Autumn: Chapter 12

Ice Swimmer has more rocks to show us and they are full of colour and pattern. Let’s go….

Chapter 12 – Southwestern Rocks on Sunday, II

Details. ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

This part of the rocks comes with stripey details.

Detailed Details. ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

Here is a more detailed look on the details.

Decidous and Evergreen. ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

Many of the broad-leaved trees were exhibiting their deciduousness while, the pines show their evergreenness all through the seasons.

Grain. ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The pattern is like figured woodgrain.

The Border. ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

Humans are not welcome on the other side. Gulls and geese will keep watch in spring and summer. The dinosaurs were absent in October, but no human was seen trespassing.

In the next installment, we will have walked the path towards east (to the left of the last picture) and we’ll see something completely different.

Harakka in Autumn: Chapter 11