Wish I'd Said It

Weeds are flowers too - once you get to know them.

- A. A. Milne

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Big Doin's In A Small Town

I like living in a small town. As proof, I offer the fact that I've lived in one for 22+ years. By choice.

Life here is much more relaxed than in the city but occasionally things can get pretty darn exciting. I'll never forget the opening of the new Canadian Tire store just a couple of years after we moved here.

(For the edification of non-Canuckleheads, Canadian Tire sells everything except food and if you're a guy, you're there a couple of times a week browsing its aisles for wrenches, fishing tackle, plumbing supplies, snow shovels and anything and everything remotely related to motor vehicles. Women, unless unusually mechanically inclined, can get by with a weekly visit. It's a bit like church, only most everyone wears plaid shirts.)

Folks came from miles around to the grand opening. The parking lot was jammed. You've never heard so many "excuse me"s. It was giddyfying.

More recently, in the mid-90s, there was talk of a project dubbed "Valleys 2000." It was a daunting effort: building a nearly 3-kilometer paved, biking/walking path that more-or-less followed the meandering of the local creek. It would be a grand way to usher in the millennium.

Well, what with one thing and another, the town didn't actually get it done until 2004. But it was well worth the wait. It's a pretty spiffy path now and popular with joggers, bikers and dog walkers. They erected a nice information kiosk at the top end of the path, informing us of the local flora and fauna and including a bit of the area's history. They got the brown trout picture wrong and mislabeled a birch tree as a basswood, but all-in-all, it's a pretty nifty kiosk.

Now, this summer, only a few weeks ago, the triangular, corral-type structure pictured below appeared. (You can click the photos to see them enlarged.)

You can imagine the buzz among the locals.

That wasn't all. A few days later, a large section of the field was mowed and eight trees were planted, as evidenced by the picture below. (By the way, the dog pictured is Benny. I have no idea who the chubby guy is.)

I heard that on a Saturday in July, local dignitaries were to gather at the areas mentioned and dedicate them. Unfortunately, I was out of town and missed the pomp and ceremony. But when I returned, I was pleased to see that informative signs had been posted.

In case you have trouble reading it, the sign says "Butterfly Garden." Yep, the corral was built for butterflies. Pretty sure they didn't mean to keep them herded in there though. And the mystery of those eight trees was solved as well.

Yep. A Commemorative Forest. Not sure what was being commemorated but no matter. It's a darn nice sign.

And, as a bonus, now I know exactly how many trees make up a forest.

Later, I walked to the north end of the path. There was yet another sign! This one was right in front of the information kiosk.

Nossir, you just can't beat living in a small town.


Unknown said...

Your tongue appears rather wedged in the side of your mouth there Frank, you should get it looked at. :)

Gotta love small town livin' though, and as I repeat in just about every comment, I do miss that nature thing. The nearest thing I have in Old London Town is this quaint ecological park:


Then again, it is literally a 2 minute walk from my house so I can't really complain. We have real ducks and geese there and everything! And they're not even dying from pollution it seems...

Anonymous said...

Another tale with almost everything one needs to experience nirvana, a walk in the forest, discussion and photos of fish, wildlife (lived over the last fifty plus years), interesting reads, man's best friend, and photos by that man's real best friend. If only there had been some shooting sport . . .
I think I'll take a stroll along the river. Something put me in the mood.

Travis Erwin said...

Every town needs a commemorative forest.

Lori A. Basiewicz said...

At least your small town keeps you informed, Frank. You have to give them that. Ours decided to switch all the information for the annual spring festival to the internet, but they didn't tell anyone about that fact, nor did they make an obvious place on the 'net for anyone to look. Between no one knowing when it was and the monsoon-like storms that arrived that weekend, it was a bit of a dud this year.

Reb said...

Good to know the number of trees that make up a forest!

If enough butterflies flap their wings in Ontario... will that cause hurricanes in Alberta?

Hilary said...

I'm surprised you didn't mention how your town is bracing itself for the impending opening of that new Rona Hardware store.. with a brand new traffic light!

That butterfly garden has changed a fair bit since those photos were taken. It actually looks quite colourful now. And I think I even saw one in there once.

Fun narrative. :)

Leah J. Utas said...

Why can't every town have a butterfly corral?
Loved the small town trip, Frank.

Frank Baron said...

Ubi, as you've learned, you have to take your Nature wherever you can find it. That looks like a pretty spot - an oasis in a desert of concrete. I'd be spending a lot of time there if I lived nearby. Thanks for stopping by. :)

Bruce, that sounds like a fine idea! Hang on while I grab my hat.

Travis, I agree 100%. And, at 8 trees per forest - it's affordable too!

Lori, sorry to hear about the festival. We got our Apple Days coming up pretty soon. They'll be closing off the downtown - all three blocks of it - and the whole town will smell of baked pies. You're welcome to come visit. :)

Reb, I agree. Every little bit of knowledge helps. And I think one butterfly would do it, if it was big enough...and the wind was right.... ;)

Hilary, thanks a lot for giving away my next blog topic!! ;)

Why indeed Leah? Glad you enjoyed. Thanks for taking the time to let me know. :)

Dianne said...

my new favorite word is "giddyfying" - may I use it?

always nice to see Benny - he looked like he wanted the job of guarding the butterfly corral.

and I didn't see a chubby guy :)

Frank Baron said...

Dianne, you may absolutely use it. No charge. ;)

And no chubby guy you say?

Godblessya and your poor eyesight too. :)

MagnoliaGirl said...

I've always loved a good sign -so much unnecessary oral edification can be avoided:)

I wonder how many committees and hours of planning it took to create this little slice of paradise?

I think they should pay you to give tours, just in case the signs aren't enough - you know, should any snarky Americans stumble upon things...:)

Can always count on you, Frank, for a smile and a snicker or three....


the Bag Lady said...

Well now, Frank - you can probably expect your taxes to sky-rocket to pay for those signs!!

This was a great post! In my small town (hamlet?), the gov't in it's infinite wisdom has finally put up a road sign telling everyone the name of the place! Woohoo!

Kappa no He said...

When I lived in Alabama I attended a church where everyone wore plaid shirts. Really.

Oh, and my pup chewed through one of those leashes within a week. Benny's Da Man for showing restraint.

Frank Baron said...

Hiya MG, sorry for the delayed response. I was away. I got a kick out of imagining the committee that worked on this too. Gotta love seeing one's tax dollars at work eh? ;)

Baggie, I hope you're wrong (but fear you're right). Congrats on the sign! ;)

Terrie, maybe that church was for displaced Canadians. :)

Sure it was the same kind of leash? This one is made of some pretty darn tough nylon-type material. Ben's chewed on it plenty but no signs of weak spots yet. (Fingers crossed....)

Anonymous said...

Hey, Frank. I know the names to all those things mislabled - think your town would hire me to fix 'em?

Frank Baron said...

Unique, I can put the offer to them. If it goes to committee, I should have answer for you by 2012. ;)

Jo said...

At first I read "Chucklehead" & thought, Hey, that's what I call the folks around here!...but then I realized my error.

You slay me, Frank. In fact I'm still laughing.

I'm really excited about the whole forest thing. All this time I've been living in one & didn't know it.

Frank Baron said...

That's why I'm here Jo - to share my knowledge of country living and Mom Nature with others. ;)

Glad you enjoyed. Thanks for letting me know. :)

Suldog said...

"And, as a bonus, now I know exactly how many trees make up a forest."

LMAO. Well, not literally. You know what I mean.

Great post. I'm so glad you stopped by at my place. It prompted me to come here, and that line alone was worth the trip.

Even if you don't know how to spell LABOR.

Frank Baron said...

Thanks Suldog. Although, as you know by now, there was a mix-up with Hilary regarding that visit. But you can bet I'll be there later today to pay my respects. :)

Stace said...

I was born and raised in a small town (well, actually in the bush half an hour away from the small town) and I couldn't wait to leave! Graduated highschool, and I was so out of there. But some aspects of it were nice, and I'll probably retire to a small town somewhere, possibly in Ireland, or maybe Luxemburg (that's a country which is also a small town, bonus!)

That said... I'm more or less living in a small town now. You should see Canberra.
See all that green? That's our capital city :)
Frankly I hate it. haha I said Frankly and your name is Frank. Sorry. :) I digress. More than usual. I'm going now. Need tea.

Frank Baron said...

Canberra looks plenty big to me, Stace. One of the photos shows a fair number of trees but all-in-all...I think I'll stay put. ;)

Thanks for the visit. :)

Anonymous said...

This was great and reminded me of the small towns I have lived in!