Two Experiences with the Local

1) I've been amazed this year at the amount of Canola planted in the fields in our county. I'm used to seeing a lot of soy beans, corn, and winter wheat. But the shock of Canola visually, a bright, beautiful, electric yellow, never ceases to give me pause. And this year it's absolutely everywhere.

I was interested in this, and wondered if it was new to this area. I did some reading and was surprised to learn that Canola isn't an import to this region, but actually a Canadian cash crop. Canola, or the unfortunately named rapeseed, is grown in order to produce an oil edible by humans, one with a low erucic acid content. It was originally cultivated in the 1970s in Canada, and by 1978 the the name was changed to "Canadian Oil Low Acid," or Canola.

2) On Father's day I took our girls out to the field in front of our house.  I wanted to try and show them something I'd seen the night before while mowing the grass.  We snaked our way around various conifers, bent low, looking.  Eventually I spotted it, sitting totally still, almost perfectly hidden at the base of a spruce.  I motioned to the girls to go around to the other side of the tree, so we stood a better chance of catching it.  I reached my hand down and was able to lightly pet its perfect fur, but when I tried to put my hand beneath it, it took off.  And so began a 15 minute chase around trees and through long grass.  Eventually my wife joined us and she and my eldest daughter were able to catch it.

Hares, unlike rabbits, are not born naked and helpless underground.  Instead, they are born with fur, and able to run.  This baby literally fit in the palm of my hand, with ears and feet no longer than the tip of my index finger.  It's fur was more like bird down than course fur.  The four of us were mesmerized by this wonderful creature, which finally settled down in my daughters' loving arms.

After we let it go (if it hadn't been Father's day, I think I would have been overruled and we'd have had another pet), I pulled out some guide books to figure out what we'd caught.  It was clearly a hare, but I wanted to know more about what kind it was.  The book led me believe that we'd caught a European Hare, a species that was introduced to Ontario in the early 1900s, and most interestingly to me, in my home town of Brantford.