Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Autumn Colour

The show of vibrant colours is nothing short of spectacular these days as we make our way along the roads and trails of Muskoka! We are so fortunate to live in and visit an area with one of the most splendid displays of fall colour anywhere in the world.

Ever wonder why the leaves change colours every fall?

Myths of leaf colour change:
  • It does not occur because of frost. But, frost can disrupt the speed at which the leaves turn and halt colour transformation. Frost call kill the leaf and turn it brown.

Photo thanks to www.cottageblog.ca

Spring & Summer: trees are growing and turning green.

Fall: growth slows because of moisture levels, temperature, amount of stored energy in the roots, genetics. Systems begin to shut down as the tree prepares for winter dormancy

September 23rd (autumnal equinox): Days and nights are of equal length and thereafter the days are shorter and shorter. The sun's rays also become less direct and the air is cooler.

Autumn colour is a phenomenon that takes place within the leaves of a tree. Here's what happens:

  • The lifelines between the leaves and the tree become blocked and the production of chlorophyll stops. The existing chlorophyll in the leaves slowly disappears as it is destroyed by sunlight.
  • Throughout the summer, the green chlorophyll has been dormant, blocking out the other pigments, thus giving the leaves their green colour. Once the production of chlorophyll is halted, the leaves begin to show their true colours.
  • As chlorophyll production ceases, other pigments become more dominant. Carotin helps with the orange colours and xanthrophyll is the yellow pigment.
  • The leaves continue to change colour and reach their peak until the time just before the leaves fall. At the location where the leaf stem joins the branch of the tree, there is a separation layer. This is a layer of cells which gradually weaken, eventually causing the leaf to break off and fall.

Quick facts of leaf change:

  • Colour change occurs on broad-leaved trees such as maple, oak, ash, and birch.
  • These trees are also called "hardwoods" because most of them have wood which is quite hard, and "deciduous" because their leaves are shed each autumn.
  • Trees that stay green all winter are "evergreen" or "coniferous" trees such as pine, spruce, hemlock, balsam, and cedar.
  • Shedding their leaves actually protects the tree during winter. The leaves don't give off water (or transpire) when they are not on the tree, thus saving the tree from having the replace that water to keep the leaf alive.

Where in Muskoka is your favourite display of colour this year?

Cast your vote on the right or leave a comment!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Well Aware- a limited number of visits left for 2010

Here in Muskoka the majority of home owners depend on their water wells to supply their home with water for drinking and everyday use. For those who depend on a well the Muskoka Heritage Foundation offers the Well Aware program.

The main purpose of the Well Aware Program is to educate private well owners on best management practices and encourage an annual self inspection of their water wells. This is to insure the home has safe drinking water and to protect our ground water resource.

Although the water well is the principle target of the Well Aware visit, ground water connections between the property's septic system and any nearby bodies of water (i.e. lake/river) are addressed and discussed. Another topic discussed during the Well Aware visit is testing of the homes well water for bacteria and nitrates.

Water well testing is a free service offered to private well owners though the Ministry of Health. Best management practices recommend testing your well water a minimum of three times a year. Most often the homes well water is tested once a year and in most cases the tested water comes back free of bacteria. However, water tested at different times of the year can receive dramatically different results. Testing your water in Spring (after snowmelt) again in the summer months, then after a heavy rain in the autumn will give you a better indication of the changes that occur in your well throughout the year.

Ground water can also change from nearby land uses. Assuming the water in your well is free from harmful bacteria because it has been in the past is not always correct. Instead routinely testing your water before and after the homes filtration system a minimum of three times a year, continuously year after year will insure that you’re well aware the water that you and your family are using is safe.

Water testing bottles can be picked up at your local Ministry of Health Office, for locations of your local Ministry of Health Office click here.

For sampling procedure and more information on the type of bacteria your water sample is being tested for click here.

Contact Rebecca Francis at the Muskoka Heritage Foundation to book your Well Aware visit

Thursday, September 16, 2010

"Ecoholic" author Adria Vasil speaking in Hunstville

Adria Vasil, bestselling author of 'Ecoholic', is coming to Huntsville!
Settle in for an entertaining and informative evening at the Algonquin Theatre.
Friday, September 17, 2010

Most of what I talk about on the blog centres around the environmental stewardship of what is outside our homes. But there are also plenty of ways to contribute to a healthy natural world through the ways we live inside our homes. From the products we use to clean to the clothes we buy to the energy we use in our homes.

Vasil will talk about how people can easily and inexpensively green and detoxify their homes, as well as sharing tricks for saving money on utility bills.

Vasil said her humour-filled presentations are usually 45 minutes long and are followed by a 20- to 30-minute question period. She said she encourages people to come with questions for her, regardless of how specific they are, and she will provide them with straightforward answers.

Look for the article about the talk from CottageCountryNow

For tickets: visit the Algonquin Theatre website to buy online, or call: 705-789-4975

Sponsored by Sustain

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

GeoCache Bash!

The 1st Annual Muskoka GeoCache Bash is September 25th!
Registration & pledge forms are here
When: Saturday, September 25th, 2010
Where: Kerr Park, Bracebridge
Registration: 9am

Read the above article from the September 3rd edition of the Weekender (pg.22)

Watch the TVcogeco clip!

Visit us on Facebook

Read about GeoCaching in the Globe and Mail

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Stewardship Series: Upcoming Workshops

As a landowner, you play a special role in maintaining the health of our province’s ecosystems. Land Stewardship is taking responsibility for our actions on our lands and waters; actions which directly influence land values for ourselves, our children and future generations. Our continued enjoyment of these values will require a better understanding of the natural systems on the land which supports them.

The Stewardship Series are workshops designed for anyone planning and conducting work projects on private lands. Participants will gain the knowledge and skills required to practice good land conservation through on the land investigations, resource sharing and networking with land stewardship experts.

Topics & Dates:

Management Options for your Woodlot: Friday, September 10, 2010
Wildlife in your Woodlot- Challenges of Co-existing: Friday, October 15, 2010
Maple Syrup- Operations & Opportunities: Friday, February 25, 2011
  • Workshops run from 9am-3pm
  • Cost: $25/person/day: includes lunch
  • rain or shine

See the brochure for more information.