Monday, May 26

A Visit to Apps Mills Nature Center

On Sunday's post I mentioned that the boys and I had gone to Apps Mills Nature Center on Saturday afternoon. When we got to the area I found it had changed a lot since I've been there. The boys have been there with the school though and they were quite familiar with all the changes.

As we pulled into the parking lot, we saw the dead tree above. The boys told me that the woodpeckers like to congregate here. Apparently they were told this when they visited with the school. I can see how there might be a lot of bugs and mites in here that woodpeckers would enjoy. I was hoping to see one, but luck was not with us. We did hear a bluejay screaming though. It seemed pretty upset about something.

We approached the Nature Center. It was closed. The boys told me that there are interesting things on display there and lots of information about the critters that make their home in the woods.
We went in search of the trail head and found this sign. App's Mills is taking part in trout restoration. We decided to have a look at that area first.
There are many markers in the water here and some plaques with information. The one in the photo tells about the rock layout.
The boys went ahead and were very interested in what the Nature Center is doing in this area.

After we had scouted out the trout restoration project, we stopped here for a photo session.

We followed the trail and crossed the the creek on an old metal bridge. You can just see the railing in the bottom of the photo. The north side of the creek has lots of trees and bushes along it.

Downstream on the south side we saw some kids using nets. They were with an adult and seemed to be having a lot of fun. The boys have taken part in this activity with the school. They go to App's Mills for science and have to makes notes of the things they see in the creek and plants, animals and birds that are spotted. What kid wouldn't love to spend a morning or afternoon here instead of in the classroom?

Once we crossed the bridge and continued down the trail we ran into a marshy area. Brandon took the photo above. We all found the large green leaves on the other side of the marsh very interesting. I should know what they are, but haven't seen them since I was a kid and have forgotten what they are. If anyone knows, please refresh my memory.

Jordan took the photo above. I find it interesting how each of the boys can spot a photo opportunity. Brandon wanted to photograph the green leaves and Jordan the tree with the water.

Just beyond the marshy area, Jordan found a path that went up a steep dirt trail. Of course he climbed it. Jordan is an adventurer.

As we continued along the trail, we saw these lovely purple violets and a few yellow ones. I had never seen yellow violets until a few days ago when Ruth posted photos on her blog. I did take a photo but all you could see were the leaves. The yellow violets didn't show up.

Then I spied a bench and went to sit down for a minute. My legs give me a lot of trouble and I wanted to rest them for a minute. Jordan came and sat down beside me. Brandon had the camera and snapped this photo. Not very becoming to this lady, but a good one of Jordan.

Just after snapping the photo, Brandon told me that he thought there was a bug in his shirt. Brandon has an aversion to bugs of all kinds. He says they make his stomach all queasy. So I looked to see if there was anything there. Jordan saw the perfect photo opp here and took a photo of me looking in the neck of Brandon's shirt. LOL

Once Brandon was assured that no bugs were in his clothing, we headed down the trail and came across a patch of Trilliums.

Every province in Canada has an official flower and the Trillium is Ontario's. Brandon explained to Jordan that these flowers are not to be disturbed and that if you pick them or dig them up, you can go to jail or get a heavy fine.

After that we ran into an overgrown area. The woods are quite thick here, but the colors were very pretty. It is a great shady spot to take refuge on a hot summer day in the heart of summer.
Not far along, the sun was shining through the trees and the colors were very dappled. There are a lot of young trees in this area.

Then we came out of the trail where the old mill stands. The mill was purchased by Charles Apps and his brother, William, in 1858 when they first settled in the area. In 1889, Charles Apps died. His Will was probated and the property remained in the Apps family until 1956 when a severe flood washed out the mill dam. The property was then sold. Today it is a nature center for school children.
Here are the boys heading up the trail to the road. We walked back to the parking lot that way instead of by the trail. I love the white birches along the trail here. They are my favorite tree next to the weeping willow.
As we were walking down the road, we heard a noise overhead and there was a light aircraft. It looks like a mosquito against the beautiful blue of the sky. This reminded me how small we are in the scheme of things.
Just before we reached the parking lot we crossed Whiteman's Creek once more. The photo above is looking north. We saw some very small fish in this area.

This is the creek again looking south from the bridge over the road. We watched carefully for larger fish but didn't see any.

Once back at the parking lot, we opened the doors on the car and let it cool out a little. It was a lovely day but the interior was quite warm. Then we headed back into town for an ice cream before heading home.

We were a little disappointed that there was a lack of wildlife here. We did hear the bluejay and a few robins singing, but didn't see many bird species. Brandon told me that when he was there with his class last year that they saw quite a few different animals and birds. The woods seemed to be very quiet. We didn't see a snake or a chipmunk, which was a little discouraging. However, we had fun and made a few happy memories and that is what counts.

Happy Memorial Day to all my friends and readers in the US.

Though we don't celebrate this holiday in Canada, I pay tribute to all who have sacrificed so much so that the people of the US and Canada can live in freedom. Enjoy your holiday. Blessings, Mary~


  1. Mary my friend...... you amaze me just amaze me........ You are a precious person and each time I see pictures of an outing with those grandchildren I am so impressed with the time and love that you give those boys...... I am not able to see my grandchildren but if Chris ever has children I pray that I can be half the grandmother you are....... Great pictures !!! you guys are the three Musketeers

  2. Mary,Thank you for sharing these photos,I enjoyed the walk with you.
    Many Hugs and Blessings your way.

  3. Thanks for the nature tour, Mary. I would've been right in the middle of that creek with those kids! I'm still just a big kid at heart and I love the outdoors. Like you, I have a lot of trouble with my legs but I would've given it my all to explore what I could.

    What lovely memories you're making, and the boys will remember this day all their lives.

    Have a great new week! :o)

    Love and hugs,


  4. You are such a sweet blessing to your grandsons. I love you.

  5. Wow oh wow!!! Mary, these are great photos. I love how you shared the whole walk with us today. Beautiful, BEAUTIFUL tour. Such gorgeous countryside. I would have so enjoyed this myself. I especially like the photo that Brandon chose to take too....the shadows, the coloration, the composition...everything in that photo is perfect. And the one you took of the boys on the walkway, with the white bark on the trees...perfect. And a perfect tour guide!!

    That was breathtaking!

  6. Mary
    Just what I needed this early morn, a nice trip through nature provided by You, Brandon and Jordan. Again, I must say the boys are so lucky to have such a wonderful Grandma.
    Loved all the photos and descrition.
    Thanks for the tribute to our soliders. If not for them we just might not be speaking English. Peace

  7. Wonderful wonderful nature trip..looks so rugged and yet
    you guys braved ahead.. The boys
    are so lucky to have such a wonderful

    Remembering our fallen
    and thanking all soldiers
    for our freedom!!

    love ya

  8. Mary,

    What a wonderful way to spend the day. I love these photos! The boys take after their Grandma when it comes to being able to spot a pretty scene for a photo. :-)

    I join you in honoring the men and women of Canada and the United States who have served our countries so bravely.


  9. What an awesome Grandmother you are. The boys will have such beautiful childhood memories of all the good times you shared. This was such an educational as well as fun looking trip....Mary

  10. Thanks for sharing the walk with us.

  11. Dearest Mary,

    How I enjoyed this walk with you and the boys! I love going on trails and exploring everything so I know I would have loved this trail. All the pictures are perfect and truly made me feel like I was right there. Isn't it wonderful to see some of those old you know by my Niagara Falls trip posts, we got to see a few of the old mills as well. Love learning the history behind them.

    I've caught up with your last few posts...I didn't spend much time on the computer all weekend, it was so gorgeous out, I didn't want to be cooped up inside:-) I had seen that video of Wintley Phipps before and like you, I was truly amazed.

    When would be a good time to call you this week?? xoxo

  12. What a lovely walk, Thanks for taking me along. Love the pictures too!
    I wrote about kids in a creek on my blog today too.
    I hope you've had a nice Memorial Day Weekend.

  13. I sent you a little something. If you don't see it in your inbox...look in the spam folder!

  14. Those are some amazing photos, just beautiful.

    Must be good and tired after all that :)

  15. Mary,

    I enjoyed your walk with the boys through the nature center. Beautiful photos and great descriptions. And you and Jordan look sweet,sitting together. Brandon took a good picture. And Jordan took a good picture of you peeking down Brandon's shirt. LOL. A wonderful post of some lucky boys and their "great" grandma sharing some wonderful together time.

    Take care, and have a lovely week.



  16. Mary that was a beautiful walk in the woods. You are just such a cool grandma, I just love how you make the best memories with the boys:)

  17. Mary,I enjoyed the trip down the trail,sure was interesting.You are quite an adventurer.
    Were those large leafs elephant ears ?
    Thanks for sharing.

  18. That was a great trip. And I like that we got to see you my friend.
    We have some nature centers in our area..but no clear streams...just swamp.
    I think it is great that you get to go out with the boys.
    If you were in our area you would love visiting all of our plantations. I really enjoy taking a trip back in time visiting these places.
    I will miss this part of our southern culture....oh, and I will miss the seafood even more.
    Thank you again for the looked like a beautiful day.

  19. Oh're right, I do love the pictures of your neat walk! What a fun grandma you are! That place is amazing! I wish that I lived near there.

    Take care,


  20. I came back to read this post I saw this moring that I had missed. I enjoyed the whole thing. This is just the kind of thing we love to do. I couldn't enlarge the photo to see the big leaved plant but it reminded me of Hosta. I'm sure that wasn't it. I really like Trillium and rarely see them blooming here. I'm so glad the boys like to do these kinds of things with you. You can teach so much when you're out in nature. Jim and I were talking about that the other day. I remember my grandfather taking me to the woods to get my leaf collection and teaching me the different shapes of leaves and bark. He also took me fishing the first time when I was 8. No one ever taught me the different sounds of Birds but I've picked up some of them in my adult life. I like being able to pass these things on.
    Mama Bear

  21. Hi Mary,

    Thanks for your well wishes. It looks like you and the boys had a great day. It is a real treasure to spend time with our grandkids. I know we have said this to each other before, but it is worth repeating.