Various Veins

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I enjoyed two parades last Saturday. I joined several family members for breakfast at the deli. Mark and Ellen were down from the north for an Andrews wedding in the afternoon.

We finished just in time to watch the Watermelon Fest parade go by on the block by the post office. Lots of people were lining the route, little folk gathering sweets tossed by firemen, and others.

Fire and rescue vehicles made up a noisy and colourful part of the show. I didn't try to list all the entrants, just enjoyed the fun. Mark explained the absence of a police cruiser at the head and tail of the parade. The OPP are not allowed to give that service as in the past.

When the parade rounded the corner and headed for the community centre we made our way back to Second Street. Doug's garden is across the street from my yard. I joined Mark and Doug on a tour which marked the second parade. It was a colourful group of butterflies attracted to the butterfly bushes among the vegetables and other flowers. Mark was especially impressed at the number of monarchs. At his country estate lot just north of Lake Nosbonsing he's seen only one monarch. He's started a butterfly bush in hopes of attracting more as it matures.

These amazing insects are in trouble partly for lack of milkweed plants that their larvae feed on. The scarcity of milkweeds results from ill-considered land use and failure to understand their place in the life cycle of monarchs.

A few mourning cloaks with their blue spots flitted from flower to flower. Some cabbage butterflies, yellow and white, a great spangled fritillary, performed aerobatics. Eastern tiger swallowtails added their vibrant yellow to the dance.

We looked for honey bees without success. There were small wasps, and small bumblebees at work. Doug said honeybees were at work earlier in the spring in his apricot tree. Flowers were pollinated and fruit set, but a killer frost ended that. His apple trees and a pear tree have lots of fruit. The fruit is scabby but the flesh inside is good. Nathaniel plans to try making cider from some of the apples.

We took bags of apples to one or another of the cider mills and canned the juice in mason jars when the family was young. It was a rite of harvest. In those days the Ketchabaw family farm had an orchard with many varieties to choose from. They had a fruit cellar across the road from the houses to store all manner of fruits and vegetables safe from frost.

There is a mysterious something in Doug's garden between lush vegetables. It seemed to swell up from the earth as if a giant mole were at work. Doug probed it with a rod and found it soft at the east end, solid as it spread to the west a foot or more. No indication of a live creature. I wondered if it might be a badger. There are some in the area. A skunk has taken up residence under Doug's deck. So far it has been polite. He saw it getting a drink from his fish pond one night, patting the water to find the surface. Would that be the critter making the odd patch between the vegetables? Could be a possum, I suppose.

We put on our party clothes in the afternoon and betook ourselves to the McLaughlin Residence on Potters Road to attend the wedding of my grand niece Sheena Patrice Andrews to Jason Edward Chyc.

The weather forecasts indicated it would be safe to hold the ceremony on the grass below the house. The bridal party descended the stone steps from the house to reach the aisle between chairs. Lovely pageantry and music.

The clouds dropped some moisture after the feast and we stepped inside the building by then filled with driving dance music.

A day to remember!

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