A Look Back At July

How did we get to the end of July already?!

I didn’t do nearly all the things I intended to do and yet I know this month has been a full one.

Like, full of hot and humid weather, but that’s what summer is all about, right?

Scarborough Bluffs

I had many opportunities to get out on the water. Paddling has become this summer’s passion and each time I go out, I’m already thinking about the next time.

A solo paddle along the Scarborough Bluffs.

It’s also been a month full of hot and sweaty walks with friends. Instinctively, we’ve been choosing locations close to water. In fact, water seems to be this month’s overriding theme.

A return to the TransCanada Trail along the waterfront in Pickering, with Helen.
Waterfront trail below the Scarborough Bluffs.

However, unlike other summers, I’ve managed only a couple of bike rides so far this year. Adding in something new – like paddling – usually means that something else has to give. This year, it’s been cycling.

Along the Nokiidaa Trail in Newmarket.
If you look closely, you’ll see a cardinal that I managed to capture in this photo (flying just above my sunglasses on the railing)

Some days have been so unbearably hot, I’ve simply been seeking the bliss of AC or the quiet calm of some shaded area.

Toronto Harbourfront.

July used to be a favourite time for me to go pick berries, beans, and peas at a local farm near my home. Sadly, they closed to the public 2 years ago and I miss those weekly excursions.

In a land that is cold and frozen for such a large part of the year, our opportunity for fresh local produce is pretty short.

I was delighted to find a great local farmer’s market while I was out on one of my bike excursions. There’s a good probability I’m going to be a regular here before all these great pop-up markets disappear in October.

I love the line in the poem Hamatreya by Ralph Waldo Emerson that says “the earth laughs in flowers“.

That laughter has been in abundance this month. Wild flowers are bursting out everywhere, giving my excursions an added pleasure.

Waterfront Trail below the Scarborough Bluffs

On one very hot and muggy day this month I encountered something I’ve never seen before …. thousands and thousands of birds congregating on Lake Ontario as far as I could see.

We followed each other along the shoreline for several kilometres before it finally occurred to me to take a video of this unusual gathering.

Finally, to end this month’s summary, Theo has popped in to say a rare hello.

Theo likes summer too … and the feel of cool grass in a shady spot.

This post has been brought to you by Changing Seasons and the endless wonder of nature.

Changing Seasons is a monthly photo feature hosted by Su Leslie at Zimmerbitch.


  1. Joanne, the Scarborough bluffs area looks beautiful in your photos, both from the water and from the waterfront trail. I’m glad you had such a wonderful July. Since moving here to this part of Vancouver Island, we have been doing less cycling because we live in a really hilly area.



    • I do look at my bike occasionally and feel somehow guilty about not riding. I suspect that next spring I may go back to cycling with a new passion πŸ™‚

      The Bluffs are beautiful and regardless of how many times I walk the trail down there, I seem to always take the same photos – and they always look a bit different πŸ™‚


  2. Hi Joanne, I cannot believe it is August, already. Your paddling photos always look very serene. The cardinal is a special gift of colour. One of the pleasures of photography. Thank you for sharing a fun month:)


  3. I’m all for anything water! I’m really not a heat person but I find if there is water nearby, of any quantity, it makes it bearable. I often cool off for fifteen minutes or so before I let the sun bake through my bones again, then repeat…even a garden hose will do. One of the reasons I took up sailing is that I knew I would get wet. πŸ€ͺ

    You had a lovely summer, one that I could easily enjoy. So sad to hear the end is coming soon. Having lived my life in temporal to tropical climates I know nothing of long dreary cold gray skies that go on for months upon months, except through the third person. But I could. Hear the tone as your readers commented on it and it made me appreciate my blistering sun even more. For us, summer is the end of insufferable weather and the beginning of going outdoors again.

    The birds in your video sound a lot like seagulls of some variety, of which there are many.

    Scratches to Theo and wishing your summer goes a little longer than usual.


  4. Lovely warm and colourful photos of a busy month. Here it’s mostly damp and grey and, no longer being on social media and being a slack blogger, I find myself not only wondering “How did we get to the end of the July so fast?” but also “What the heck did I do all month?” and not having an answer to either question. So I’m going to just live vicariously through your July if you don’t mind. It looks way more exciting than mine.


    • I’m always happy to have you along on my adventures, Heather πŸ™‚
      Winter does have a tendency to trigger the cocooning instinct. Damp and grey doesn’t help either. Hoping August is much better for you πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It looks like a wonderful month, even if the weather didn’t always cooperate. All those blooms are beautiful. Should the weather choose to hold (fingers crossed) we are going to check out Fairy Stone State Park this weekend. They have kayaks and paddleboards for rent (and fairy stones to hunt). It’s only an hour away and I’m not sure why I haven’t checked it out yet! πŸ™‚


    • I’m not sure why I didn’t see this comment earlier! So sorry it’s taken me all month to find it.

      A park named “Fairy Stone” has got to be a must-do. Hope you found those fairy stones πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Joanne, Summer is fleeting here in New England as well…yet we sure have had our share of HOT days. Actually had to run the window AC which is something we rarely do here at the pond.
    Water always figures into what we choose to do as an activity…we used to bike as well but the bikes are hanging unused in our cellar here in NH. Our intention is to have them reconditioned to take to Florida, but so far that little chore has gone unaddressed.
    Loving our local farm stand which is finally brimming with local produce. What a joy and a luxury.
    Fresh picked corn tonight…yum.


    • Hi Nancy – I just found your comment. I don’t know how I managed to miss it πŸ˜•

      I hope your summer has been a good one. Summer took its sweet time getting here but once it did, I couldn’t complain. Yes, it’s been hot and humid … but summers usually are 😏

      I can’t believe we’re zeroing in on the end of August already. I’m not ready for cold weather yet!


  7. β€˜the earth laughs in flowers’ is a lovely expression and why I chose that name for my flower blog: https://smallbluegreenflowers.wordpress.com/ those white flowers look very much like wild anemones, but much later than they flower here. You have had a lovely month, I hope August is as good, l always find August to be a sad month, maybe because each day we lose a bit more light, a bit like April I suppose but without the spring flowers. I am hoping we have a sunny August so I can take advantage of the garden and spend some time outside without working! Happy days!


    • Your blog was what actually introduced me to this line of poetry. I had never heard it before and I just loved it.

      It’s very possible those flowers are anemones and they are flowering much later than you see them. This is Canada πŸ™‚ We had such a terrible spring, everything still seems to be about 2 weeks later than usual.

      I agree with you about August. It is sad. This morning I already noticed how much darker it was compared to just a few weeks ago. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I love that quote! The flowers look so gorgeous up there in July; they’re just about totally spent here in the high desert.

    Your paddles, cycling, and outdoor market ventures look wonderful! I wonder if you happened upon the birds on a day they were migrating back, or the fish was in abundance and they came for the feast?
    It was a neat video anyway.

    I hope you have some lovely adventures in August too. I just hope it passes slower than July! What’s the rush I keep asking?


  9. You farmers market looks very inviting. Hope you get to buy a variety of produce during the summer and autumn. Stay cool during these heatwaves and enjoy your outdoor pursuits.


  10. Theo is such a handsome boy!

    The pictures are beautiful, Joanne. I am amazed at how you manage to stay active, especially in the heat (although the shots on the water do look cool). I hope August brings you many opportunities to stay busy doing the things you enjoy (and sharing your adventures with us).


    • Thank you. We always think are fur-babies are special πŸ™‚

      It would have been very easy to hide away indoors in the AC this month. Without question, the heat and humidity were a challenge.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. With the kind of weather we’ve been having, I think your idea of staying near water is a good thing. Your Farmers’ Market location is one beautiful spot, and I’d want to visit there as well. As for July, I just can’t for the life of me understand where it went. πŸ™‚


    • This location of Farmer’s Market is so perfect – there is also a huge wading pool and in the July heat it was full of both children and adults. I resisted the urge to go myself and in hindsight I wonder why I resisted 😏

      Liked by 1 person

  12. All those birds….as far as the eye can see. That is such a great video, Joanne. Were they after fish? Those white wildflowers are so pretty. From a distance I would think they might appear to be butterflies. Theo in the clover….what a great photo. Hello, handsome boy.


    • We thought at first they were fishing too but I couldn’t see that they were actually fishing … mostly just bobbing on the water squawking. It was so humid and muggy outside that visibility was quite poor so I was surprised the video turned out as well as it did.

      This time of year with the wild flowers in full bloom is just gorgeous. This patch of white flowers looked perfect. I like your idea of butterflies πŸ¦‹

      Theo is such a wonderful little character. I love that fur ball to bits 😻

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Great post and pics Joanne! The video of the birds is very interesting. Where is the farmers market? It looks so pretty there!


    • The market is in Newmarket. The Nokiidaa Trail is a great ride and if you’re interested one Saturday morning, we could go for a ride and then check out the market afterwards.
      I’m pretty sure I saw butter tarts πŸ™‚


    • I most certainly did have a great July πŸ™‚ I did cancel a few things because of the extreme heat but for the most part I rolled with the punches. Let’s just say I did a lot of laundry this month πŸ™‚

      I know I’ve said it before but I used to make fun of people who treated their pets like children … and then Theo came into my life. Now I get it! 😏


  14. I totally get wanting to be near water β€” and not just for it’s cooling properties!!

    If you created a trailer for the kayak that attached to a bicycle (maybe an e-bike), you could enjoy both πŸ˜€ And yeah, it’s a pretty β€˜Heath Robinson’ idea, but I’ve had worse.


    • I love Ontario in summer. It’s such a miracle after our long winters. It never ceases to amaze me πŸ™‚

      Theo is my baby and he has both of us wrapped around his paw πŸ’•


  15. Well, I hope you took notice of the lesson here: stop riding your bike and you’ll miss out on things! Glad you discovered the new farmer’s markets. Those birds congregating over the water looked pretty amazing. – Marty


    • Thanks Marty, there is actually a lesson here and it’s taken me a while to figure it out.
      After years of training for triathlon racing, I always rode my bike alone wishing I had cycling partners to ride with. Now I have people to ride with from the club I belong to and have discovered I don’t actually like riding in a group like this. One person, yes. A group, no. As a result, I had started to shun my bike.

      With that insight, I think I need to go back to my own style of riding πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  16. It looks like you had a great July (although I agree with Kieran that it seems like you could have picked a less desirable activity to give up for paddling). We were in Canada for a good part of July – on the other coast – and saw much laughter in the form of flowers too.


    • Your meetup on Vancouver Island looks like it was a great time. Hope the rest of the time you spent on the west coast was great as well. I assume you ventured further than Vancouver Island?

      Not surprisingly, I’ve been neglecting a LOT of things this month, not just cycling πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I love your photos and the good times you’ve been having in July. However I am mightily pissed at summer right now since being prostrated with heat exhaustion at WTFest on Saturday. I don’t want to be scared to be caught outside in extreme heat and humidity, but that’s where I’m at, at this moment. 😦


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