Archive for the ‘Wildlife’ Category

Just a quick note to poiint out the latest page – Smelly Socks, etc. Who would think that it was something so simple to deal with mosquitoes?

Does this mean that we can get rid of all the bug sprays, etc., and simply carry around a bag of smelly socks to lure the mosquitoes away from ourselves?

Opinions welcomed.


Read Full Post »

Take a look at the new page that I added, called The Good Old Days.

It gives us some insight into living conditions in the Rideau Corridor in the 1840s.  “Ansley’s Mills” is now Battersea, not so far from Brewers Upper and Lower Mills lock stations.

I plan to add other pages over time in order to illustrate just what the “good old days” were really like, for both city and country living. And … the examples will be based on eyewitness accounts and planned actions of local administrations: for example, there were constant struggles to get usable roads built. The example used here is no exaggeration.

Always open to comments, questions, etc.

Read Full Post »

Building the Rideau Canal had inadvertently created excellent fishing, which supported an active resort industry and guding. In addition, the flooded low lands were extensively trapped. Guiding and trapping became a relied-upon source of income for many families. The focus of concern for these groups was the level of water drawdown in the winter. If it were too low or too sudden, fish might be trapped in shallow pools that would freeze to the bottom. This would also kill off many muskrats. The perceived problem stemmed from the practice of running off water as long as possible for water rights holders — mills and power companies.

Superintendent Wise had trouble with lock staff who were alleged to have manipulated the water levels at their station for illegal fishing. He wrote to Lockmaster James Jones — Smiths Falls Detached on April 15, 1887.

“Was it not possible for you to put in your stop logs without running your upper reach dry by which means you caused all the lights of the Electric Light Co. to be extinguished, at any rate you should have applied for authority before doing it.

It is stated it was done for the purpose of spearing fish and I desire to know if any fish were speared whilst the water was out — if any such work was done with your knowledge I should consider it my duty to suspend you and I must have your consideration that such was  not the case.”

Whatever the true reason for this incident, there is no doubt that the Jones family were keen fishermen. There is a painting on the porch of the lockmaster’s house at 1 Jasper Avenue in Smiths Falls, showing Arthur Jones with his boat and fishing tackle. He even did guiding. Enterprising fellow!

Read Full Post »

Dad-sketch-5Looking for something to do next weekend ?
Plan a daytrip to Newboro Lockstation. Take #15 to Crosby and then follow the road to Westport. (You’ll get to Newboro first -just follow the signs to the Lock Station).

EVENT:          Newboro Boat Show

WHEN:           June 13th & 14th

WHAT:           Day Trip

HOST:            Rideau Boat Tours

START:          Saturday June 13 @ 10:00 AM

END:              Sunday June 14 @ 6:00 PM

WHERE:          Newboro Lock Station

See you there!

Read Full Post »


May 29, 2009

 Courtesy of the RVCA

Canadian Rivers Day Cleanup


Sunday, June 14th is Canadian Rivers Day and to help celebrate our local creeks and promote clean water, the City Stream Watch program is holding a stream  cleanup on Sawmill Creek in Ottawa.  

From its headwaters along Lester Road, Sawmill Creek flows north through the community of South Keys and along the heavily-urbanized Bank Street before eventually joining the Rideau River at Billings Bridge.   Because of its urban watershed, a lot of garbage tends to collect along the banks and in the stream itself which can harm the important fish and wildlife habitat along the creek.  

The Sawmill Creek Cleanup runs from 9 am to 3 pm, with on-site lunch generously provided by the Monterey Inn Resort and Conference Centre.  If you would like a sandwich, please register by Monday, June 8th.   

We will meet at Heron Park and wade along the creek from there.   Heron Park is off Heron Road east of the Airport Parkway and west of Bank St.  From Heron Road, turn north onto Clover St., and the community centre and park is on the left side of the street.  We will park and meet there at 9 am.    Please bring your own drinking water, sun block, rubber boots, chest waders (if you own them) or sturdy footwear.  

To register or for more information, please contact Julia Sutton – City Stream Watch Coordinator at citystreamwatch@rvca.ca or  613-692-3571  x 1180.

Read Full Post »


                                                                                                                                                          May 28, 2009

 Here’s a contribution from Charles Billington, the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, with a well-timed update to your New Year’s resolutions.



            Now here’s a mid year resolution to consider: spend more time in the hammock this summer.   Read more.  Sleep more.  Leave the lawnmower and chainsaw in the shed.  Remove less vegetation.  In fact, let your shoreline revegetate itself.  Let nature take its course.  Relax.  Both you and your lake will be healthier for it.      

            After all, Mother Nature knows what she is doing.  Those soggy shorelines you see along the creeks, streams and lakes of the Mississippi and Rideau valleys are mixtures of alder, bulrush, sedge, cattail, pickerel weed, Virginia creeper and mud sometimes called “wet scrub”.  These streambank areas are also known as the “Ribbon of Life” because about 90% of the plants and animals living in the water need these scruffy-looking areas at one time or another in their life cycle.  And they are as essential to the health of the river as your kidneys are to you. 

            Plants are right at home here.  Insects, fish, birds and mammals move in where the plants are.  These rich areas are nurseries, food cupboards, hiding places and hunting grounds.  They are a buffer against floods, wind and erosion.  They filter out large quantities of nutrients washing in off the land.  Vegetated shorelines are small pieces of ecological heaven with the best of all worlds: heat, light, water, land and food. 

            These fragile areas are under siege in the urban and rural parts of our local watersheds.  People cut and fill in and “clean up” and “harden” the shorelines with little thought for the health of the stream or lake.  Those types of old-fashioned practices have let us down badly.  Clean water, lots of wildlife and stable shorelines are at risk in many parts of the Mississippi and Rideau valleys. 

            That’s not to say that we can’t use and enjoy our rivers, lakes and streams.  We can but it does take a little shift in attitude towards the unique and fragile Ribbon of Life.  It costs nothing and it pays huge dividends in terms of a healthy river system for future generations.   

            It is time to start respecting our alders.   Leave the natural vegetation along the shore alone.  It has been there through thick and thin for the past 10,000 years and is in perfect harmony with the river environment.  If it’s already gone or substantially changed, let it grow back by not mowing within five metres of the shoreline (ten metres is even better).  Mother Nature will do the rest.    

Avoid using fertilizers and other chemicals on your property.  Common sense tells us that liquids do find their way into either the groundwater (which we drink) or lakes and rivers (which age faster with chemical boosts).   Check that your septic system is up to scratch.   Check with your municipality, Conservation Authority or Parks Canada about permits needed for any shoreline projects such as docks.    A good first step is always the helpful folks at the LandOwner Resource Centre at 613-692-3471 or 1-800-267-3504 ext 28 or ext 32 (or info@lrconline.com). 

            The battle for healthier waterways will be won by thousands of people staying in their hammocks longer on the shorelines of every lake, river and creek in Eastern Ontario.  Power to the people indeed!

Read Full Post »

dad-sketch-53More info:

Ken advises that  his tour and talk is all about:

“Merrickville Landscapes:  Pre- and Post – canal landscapes of the area around the locks.”

A chance to stretch the old legs without undue danger of breaking a sweat – sweet!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »