Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Back to School Beetle

beetle 2
a tool with a heavy head and a handle, used for tasks such as ramming, crushing, and driving wedges; a maul.
• a machine used for heightening the luster of cloth by pressure from rollers.

Use: "Landscape Architecture school sometimes makes me feel like I've been hit by a beetle."

Back to School beetle

Not quite sure if I'm ready to take the plunge, but in L.A. school they throw you off a precipice, so there isn't actually a lot of choice involved if you are silly enough to show up for the first day of classes.

I hope to post more this year. I say that every year. I always mean it. Here's to good intentions.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Weekend Refresher

31052010 J24 racing spin profile

I had the opportunity to go sailing this past weekend, and although normally I would have put off making a decision until I could no longer go (because that's how I roll), I actually threw up my hands and declared a decision made. I bought some trail mix, made some oat cakes, and bought a bus ticket to Toronto. I set my alarm to wake myself early, and packed my bags the night before.

31052010 J24 racing1
In between races (I think)

A fellow student in my program has a J24 at a club in Toronto, and past this weekend was their opener. There were 17 boats racing in the J24 fleet. Considering single design racing was brand new to me, it was pretty impressive and a different type of racing from Halifax, where we have a couple million fewer people to draw on and not as many boats of a single design.

Although I crew on a J30s during the summer, I was not prepared for how easy it is to sail a J24. In a breeze, tacking a genoa over happens in a split second and spinnaker jybes are like a dream. At the start line, everyone crowds in tight and close calls seem to happen every 10 seconds. It was great. And at the end of the day, you lift the boat out of the water and sit it on a trailer in the yard until the next race. What clean hulls!

31052010 J24 racing red spins
Downwind leg, spinnakers and Toronto skyline in the distance.

Sailing on Lake Ontario is odd. I have forgiven the lake for being a lake (the other few times I saw it, I admit I felt a little queasy that all that water belonged to an inland sea - unnatural!) and I think it's kind of cool. I like how the waves are choppy and can disappear in minutes if the wind drops. There's something to be said for sailing on a flat inland sea with a hard, burning blue sky over you. In the end, though, while I am glad to discover an appreciation for Lake Ontario sailing, my heart still yearns for the salt air and grey-green Atlantic swells. Even if it comes, occasionally, with the odd bout of seasickness.

31052010 J24 racing TO
Blue, blue day on the water.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

City Robins Litter.

Last year I posted pictures of a lone robins egg in an abandoned nest in our yard. The likelihood of coming across another one this year is slightly diminished due to living in an apartment. However, look at what I came across on Douglas Street here in Guelph today:

douglas street egg

And close-up:

robin egg street

Turdus migratorious, total guttersnipe.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Trip to Caledon

On Wednesday I was fortunate enough to be invited to Caledon to stay the night at my friend's house. The next morning, she and her dog, another friend who lived nearby and her dog, and my lone self went for a walk in the spring woods. We went to a trail in Bellfountain (I think I got that right?), where I got to experience spring in one of Southern Ontario's Maple Beech Forests. It's just what I always thought a forest should be, growing up on Nova Scotia's scrubby fir-and-spruce Eastern Shore, and I hope I'm not disloyal saying so! I especially love how many spring ephemerals there are in these forets, and how different they are from the moist, acidic soil of the Eastern Shore. Our yard at home, for instance, is dominated by bluebead lily (Clintonia borealis) and bunchberry (Cornus canadensis) and wild rhododendron and star flowers and the like - all absolutely lovely! - but I am not as familiar with Trout Lily, wild ginger, and blue cohosh, even though all three can be found elsewhere in Nova Scotia.

I'll just provide the pics with very little comment, other than, how great to get out of Guelph! The trees were almost two weeks behind what they are here in the 'city,'and it was strange to realize how oblivious I had become to the urban heat island effect. I'm such a city dweller these days! Ha.

from the road

This is the view from where we parked. It could have easily been anywhere in NS, except for the plentiful white cedar.


The tree canopy up on the Escarpment.

view from the  Escarpment

The view from a high point along the trail. The field is an old orchard. Imagine hauling yourself, a cart, and a horse all the way up here for maintenance and apple picking!

Maple Beech forest

Maple Beech Forest! Robin Hood approved. At least, that's what I always think of when I see woods with understory and room to move in without getting a branch in your face every 3 seconds. Crazy!

And for the flower macros:


Sanguinaria canadensis

Asarum canadense

Asarum canadense - had to peek under the leaves for this one. Fuzzy alien.

Troutlily - Erythronium americanum

Erythronium americanum. Not fully open yet. The early foliage is mottled, like liver spots, which I suspect has something to do with its common name Toad Lily.

When I finally get myself in gear, I hope to swing by the Guelph arboretum to see the trilliums that were promising to put in an appearance. I remember when I was tiny, we had a few trilliums in our yard, but there haven't been any for years. Spring! Love it.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Still Alive! Very Busy

Landscape architecture hasn't done me in yet but it is trying its best.

Our final design project of the year was doing a site plan for the Guelph Civic Museum's new site on Catholic Hill. The hill has an interesting history (well, to me all history is interesting), but I don't have time to get into it at the moment. I do have time, however, to post this image of the building that will become the museum and the site it sits on, and the axonometric drawing I did for the corner of Norfolk and Cork Streets, at the bottom of the site. This is the first time this year I have used watercolour for my design work. I found it made the section and axonometric go faster, but it took longer to finish the master plan, because I had to wait for the paint to dry before I could go on, and I had to mask certain areas while I was doing washes. Lots of fun, though, and unfortunately a very effective distraction from AutoCAD!

04112010 axonometric GCM

I'll try and let you know Friday night that I survived the week. Things aren't looking too good. I ate a sweet potato Saturday. That was literally what I ate. Tonight I was going to eat an egg, but I walked home from school and decided to get a sandwich at The Cornerstone instead. It was a delicious sandwich. Hopefully it will tide me over for four days.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sunny afternoon in Guelph

It's reading week, so I have absolutely no excuse not to post something from my occasional wanderings in Guelph. I normally take the bus home but one day last week I decided to walk. I became very distracted by the geese and ducks along the river, and a half hour walk turned into an hour and 10 minutes. It was lovely.

Speed river skaters

This was actually taken a day or two earlier as I was walking home from the bus. It was taken from the Heffernan St. Bridge. The rink area just gets longer and longer as the temperature stays under 0 C.

speed river geese

Some of the many geese that overwinter here in Guelph. I think there are more here now than there were in January, but it could just be the milder weather.

Speed River along Arthur St. S.

Old industrial building and the Speed River. This building is pretty modern from the street side - plenty of painted corrugated metal siding and steel doors - but there's still some older building bits facing the river. I wonder how much of the interior space is still in use? According to the faded painting on the building facade, this place was at one time home to Canada's only fridge manufacturers.