Galwegians September 2020

The Galway Hall continues to remain closed to the public for activities and events until further notice. The Municipality is developing a ‘stepped’ approach to the re-opening of all its community centres. Updates for the Galway Hall can be found on our website at:

A loud “Galwegian shout-out” is sent to all the people involved in the clean-up of and the recovery from the aftermath of the F-2 tornado that ripped through the cemetery and Bobcaygeon Road areas of Kinmount. Luckily, no one was seriously injured. The force of Mother Nature was on full display in Kinmount on Sunday, August 2nd for sure. Our thoughts continue to be those impacted by this storm. Please continue to remain strong and “May your sails be filled with hope and courage” (Viking blessing). This is sent to everyone impacted by the tornado. Of note, the last tornado in our area that hit Crystal Lake Road, Allen’s Alley, and the Galway Road occurred on the same calendar day fourteen years ago (August 2nd, 2006).

The storm on Sunday also brought rain.For example, the rain gauge in our garden registered 62 mm (2.5 inches) for the entire month of July 2020. We received that same amount in that single day on August 2nd! Speaking of rain, have you ever noticed the pleasant smell in the air as the rain begins to fall? It is an actual phenomenon and it is called petrichor. Bacteria, plants, and even lightning can all play a role in the creation of this fresh aroma. Petrichor is the name given to an oil that is released from the earth into the air. The origins of this word is derived from the Greek word ‘petra’ (meaning stone) and ‘ichor’, which in Greek mythology, is the ethereal blood of gods. Therefore, petrichor translates as the “blood of the stone”.

This month’s word that no longer appears in the dictionary is “elflock”. This term was used to describe tangled or matted hair. Before the re-opening of hair salons and barber shops during Covid-19, there probably was a good chance of some elflock going on. The Gaelic word that has made it into the English dictionary for this month is “slob”. Slob comes from the Gaelic word sloba which means mud, mire, ooze.

As September begins, this is just a friendly reminder to be aware that school buses will once again be travelling on our roads. With the uncertainties that surround the Covid-19 global pandemic, please stay informed to the decisions made locally that may affect bus routes and bus times.

Did you see the Neowise Comet? The area skies did not co-operate entirely over the prime viewing period. However, the area skies were clear for the annual Perseid meteor shower that occurs in mid-August.

As a foot-note on last month’s story about the white-throated sparrow, the last singing that I heard was in early August. It was the traditional, three syllabic song. The songs were heard along Clear Bay Road at what is known to ‘oldtimers’ (I guess I now qualify as an oldtimer) as ‘Iron Gate Swamp’ and again at ‘Slab Pile Hill’.

Iron Gate Swamp earned its name because Will and Joe White had a gate across Clear Bay Road. This gate was never locked nor chained. The White brothers did graze cattle during the summer through this part of their farm. Occasionally, a cow or two would wander in as far as Clear Bay. Most of the cattle had bells around their necks to aid in locating them.

Slab Pile Hill gained its name from the 50s and early 60s when the Horsley Lumber Company logged the White brothers’ property. Before the introduction and use of chipboard, slabs were used as a source of firewood, especially in wood cook stoves. As logs went the through the mill’s main saw to be squared, the outside of the logs (bark containing some wood) became the slabs. These slabs were then cut into stove lengths and trucked to one of the cleared areas of the White farm along Clear Bay Road. There, they were piled to dry. Hardwood and softwood slabs were piled separately. Note: The hardwood slabs had more value than the softwood slabs. The Horsley sawmill was located at what is now the location of the Crystal Lake Marina.

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