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July 23, 2010

Weeds & Flowers in Perspective

Hogweed Hogwash?

Hogweed has been in the news lately with warnings that it is as dangerous as Poison Ivy or worse. I have most of the northern plants on my property and have never seen Hogweed.I noticed what looks like hogweed on the side of the road outside Powassan It apparently causes severe skin rash and even blindness and is spreading rapidly. I have some angelica that looks like Giant Hogweed on my property and have hacked some of it down and carried it away with no problem. Better to be safe than sorry with hogweed and cut it down carefully and get rid of it. Some gardeners say they have seen hogweed and have had no problems perhaps because they have had no contact with the juices.

Photo of Hogweed on a road on outskirts of Powassan. D. Mackey photo

New Book on Astorville

A bouquet for the wonderful Books by the Bay event in Callander July 9-11 . I attended part of it and was impressed, among other things, with a new history book on Astorville by Bernard Rochfort. Bernard spoke at the event and signed many copies of his book 

Rochefort’s 80 page book in English and French has an introduction by Nipissing History Professor Francoise Noel. She has one of Bernard’s paintings on the cover of her book Family & Community Life in Northeastern Ontario and interviewed him for that book.

Bernard is a remarkable painter whose simple style beautifully depicts the early farm days of his life in Astorville. There are numerous coloured paintings in the book. He also writes about the life depicted in the paintings in a remarkable and readable profile of early Astorville history.

Cover of Bernard Rochefort’s Paintings and Childhood Memories of Astorville in the 1930s, 2010 and author signing copies.

On Saturday I met several interesting people at a lunch for authors and volunteers. Catherine Gildner who wrote the remarkable book Too Close to the Falls brought her latest book After the Falls and I bought an autographed copy. She lived in Buffalo in the sixties when I attended school there so there are some resonances. She also wrote a book of fiction (Seduction 2005) based on her PhD research on Darwin’s influence on Freud which I had not read but now have out from the Powassan Library.

My wife and I also sat with Master of Ceremonies Dan Lessard who has attended all of the 6 events over the years. He does a remarkable job. He is missed after the 17 years on CBC radio in Sudbury as he moves on to other endeavours.

Soccer Recap

In my June 18 article on World Cup soccer – the biggest sporting event in the world-I mentioned that my daughter and her husband and 2 sons live in Uruguay and are real soccer fans I did not have much hope for Uruguay’s success as one of 32 teams chosen as participants from dozens around the world. They have a population about the size of Toronto.

They got to the final 4 and almost won the semi-final game and the consolation game and got some good reviews. A report in the Washington Post listed the best players and recognized Uruguay’s Diego Forlan as the winner of the Golden Ball for Best Player. Of the 6 games highlighted as outstanding 3 involved Uruguay and coach Oscar Tabares was centered out as one of the 2 top coaches.

Rosie DiManno who covered the event for the Toronto Star said “they (Uruguay) were the sizzle of an often dreary competition . . . the little country that could . . . and did persevering through the semis on the inexhaustible flair and brilliance of Diego Forlan the winner of the Golden Ball for Best Performer in the World Cup. Some flowers for a real achievement by the little country that could.

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