Sunday, December 16th at 2:00pm
Pre-registration is required – Tickets $20 per person Members $10 per person
Get into the holiday spirit as you enjoy a traditional Scottish tea featuring locally-baked scones,
followed by a tour of the Thompson Mansion decorated for the season.
After your tea and tour stop by the Hollyhock Gift Shop for all the hard to buy for on your list
Sunday, December 9th at 2:00pm
Pre-registration is required – Tickets – $20.00 Member – $10.00
Enjoy an afternoon talk with Tom Reitz collector and curator, speaking on the
“Celebration of Christmas in the Early 1900’s”.
While enjoying some hot chocolate and cider with holidays baked goods.
After Tom’s talk, you will enjoy a tour of the Thompson’s historic mansion, decorated for the Christmas season.
Once the tour is finished, head back over to the Welcome Centre and do some shopping at the Hollyhock giftshop for those hard to buy for on your list!
905.722.0560 / firstname.lastname@example.org to book your ticket or if you have any questions.
100th Anniversary of the end of the Great War – WW1 (1918-2018)
Irish Connection to Ruthven
Vintage Halloween Talk with Julia Wright
The origin of Halloween lies mainly with Celtic Ireland with the celebration of the festival of Samhain or Autumn Festival on October 31. Fire was an important part of the event and used to confuse the spirits, but the flames had to be extinguished and re-lit by Druids. Like New Years the notion of casting out the old and moving in the new was part of the celebration. To pagan ancestors, it marked the end of pastoral cycle when crops were gathered and put in storage for the long winter ahead. Also considered the last day of the year, souls departed and returned to their former homes. The late 1800’s was the golden age for postcards. They were cheap and a good way to keep in communication with friends especially before the advent of the telephone.
(Top Photo) Julia Wright guest speaker has been collecting Halloween post cards for many years. Samples from her collection include postcards using popular Halloween images and themes.
Repairs to Stone Walls
The stone garden walls within the Ruthven cultural landscape were recently repaired by Aberdeen Brick and Stone Contractors. The original stone wall running north from the Coach House and built sometime in the late 1840’s is covered under an easement agreement that The Lower Grand River Land Trust Inc. holds with the Ontario Heritage Trust. It was part of a fence system used to keep animals in the original farmyard. The remaining garden walls built sometime in the 1960’s when Andrew Ruthven Thompson was living on the site, are protected through designation with Haldimand County in Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act. The purpose of these walls was purely ornamental and designed in the fashion of an English garden.
(Left) The 1840 section of wall was in poor condition. There is evidence of extensive repair carried out on the wall several years ago using Portland cement and lime mortar. Over time it was shifted by a tree that was growing on the west side of the wall and caused it to bulge. For this reason, the tree was removed approximately 10 years ago; however, ivy continued to cover the wall (and disguised the crack in the wall.) The ivy held moisture causing the stone to remain damp and through freeze / thaw periods caused it to crack. Several stones on the east side of the wall were removed and reset in the wall face to restore strength to the structure. Approximately 100 ft. of new mortar joints were added to secure the structure and remediate further moisture infiltrating into the wall. The existing capstones were secured to the top of the wall. They should help to protect the wall from infiltration of water which would migrate down the walls.
The remaining 1960’s garden walls are clay dolomitic limestone which did not have enough compressive strength to resist frost damage. The basic structure of the walls above grade were in fair condition however cracked mortar joints and stones were repaired. Approximately 100 stones were replaced, and new capstones were made to cover all of these walls.
Highlights from Ruthven for the Birds 9th Annual Event
The weather cooperated for the popular Canadian Raptor Conservancy Birds of Prey Show held on Saturday, October 20th. After the show, everyone moved into the Coach House for a talk by Dr. David Brewer on “Everything you needed to know about Penguins”.
Pictured below are some of the birds that were showcased in the birds of prey show; Top row (l-rt) great horned owl, two photos of a red-tailed hawk. Bottom left is a bald eagle, and the right is a horned owl.
In the evening Peter Thoem spoke on “The Owl Foundation a Fly – by night organization?” This was a great segway into the evening owl banding program. Visitors were delighted to see 10 Northern Saw-Whet owls were banded throughout the course of the night. To finish the day off 12 adventurous individuals camped out in the Coach House so that they could be bright and early for morning banding.
The Lower Grand River Land Trust Inc. c/o Ruthven Park National Historic Site
243 Haldimand Hwy #54, Box 610, Cayuga, Ontario N0A 1E0 • 905.772.0560 email: email@example.com
website: www.ruthvenpark.ca THE LOWER GRAND RIVER LAND TRUST INC.
The LGRLT is a non-government, not-for-profit, charitable, community-based organization. The LGRLT has the mandate to protect land for its natural, cultural and agricultural values, as well as for education and research in its jurisdiction.
Wedding Bells have Stopped Ringing for the 2018 Season!
If you spent any time at Ruthven Park throughout the weekends this summer, you likely saw blushing brides and handsome grooms sharing their first kiss by our gazebo, taking photographs of their families blending together on the steps of our magnificent mansion, or partying the night away with their loved ones within the walls of the historic Coach House. One of the great aspects of having a wedding ceremony and/or reception at Ruthven Park is the flexibility that our site offers to couples. Give us a call today for more information on date availability, cost and to set up a site visit with Ruthven’s Operations Coordinator – 905.772.0560 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Coach House can also be used for meetings, holiday parties, hallmark birthdays, showers, family gatherings etc.
WINTER BOOKINGS WELCOME!
Ruthven is excited to announce Diamond status for Wedding Facility and Platinum for Local Tourist Attractions from the Sachem Reader Choice Awards 2018.
Upcoming Events at Ruthven Park
For more information on upcoming events please check out our website www.ruthvenpark.ca , give us a call at 905.772.0560 or check us out on social media; Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Thursday November 8th
Studio Babette Puppet Theatre presents From Ruthven to Passchendaele; a play with puppets.
Followed by a presentation by Dr. Marty Wood on The Thompson Women in the Great War 1914-1918.
Studio Babette Puppet Performance 6:30pm
Dr Marty Wood’s talk 7:30pm
Admission by Donation
Appropriate for the whole family
Doors open at 6pm
243 Hwy #54 Cayuga ON
905.772.0560 or email@example.com
Article by Mike Furber
One could hardly imagine a more endearing predator: diminutive, fierce, stealthy, tenacious, and resilient, this smallest of eastern North American owls is rarely observed accept in the winter or during migration at owl banding stations. Indeed, Saw-whet Owls were thought to be much less common until owl banding throughout North America and station networks such as Project Owl-Net revealed many more owls passing through on fall migration than was ever previously thought.
This small robin-sized, chestnut and whitish owl with a proportionately large head and huge yellow eyes, is one of a few species of owls that migrate seasonally in a true sense. The related slightly larger, grayish-brown, more northern Boreal Owl does to some degree, as does the larger tufted rusty-faced Long-eared Owl with some regularity. Great Gray Owls, Snowy Owls and Northern Hawk Owls have moved south in large numbers every few years this being called various names like incursion, or invasion. Some owls, such as the Short-eared Owl have been found to be quite erratic and extremely unpredictable as migrants or even nesting residents for that matter.
We have learned some interesting things about Saw-whet Owls in the last few decades – much of it from banding. With more females being banded one might think that females were more likely to respond to audio lure recordings; however, the same proportion of females were being caught even without audio lures. Further investigation has shown that females are much more likely to move further south; alternately, males are more likely to winter farther north closer to the nesting grounds to have a head start in early spring.
March is the time males will select a nesting territory with vocal whistle-like repetitive single “toot” calls that can continue monotonously, sounding very like miniature alien invaders. In fact, the name “Saw-whet” was apparently derived from some variations of this nuptial calling, but it doesn’t seem a very accurate rendering. Nevertheless, the name has stuck as most strange names do. The species epithet, acadicus, from the full scientific name, Aegolius acadicus, was derived from the discovery and description of this owl in old Acadia (now Nova Scotia). Consequently, some think that the name “Acadian Owl” would be a nicer official name and we agree. Being migrants, with different gender migration patterns, it follows that saw-whets do not mate for life. What’s more, they don’t even have site fidelity – that is an attachment to the same areas including both wintering and breeding locations. Therefore, Saw-whets are more nomadic than previously thought.
April is the time of nesting. Although the mixed hardwood conifer forests of the southern Canadian Shield and the Appalachians are often favoured, they have been found to nest in predominantly deciduous forests further south as well as coniferous forests to the north. Spruce bogs and balsam fir stands near wetlands are excellent examples. The nest itself, however, is usually in a hardwood such as an aspen or poplar, previously fashioned and used by a Northern Flicker or a Pileated Woodpecker. A normal clutch is four to six eggs with incubation close to a full month by the female. The male provides food for the female and the young. Food is mostly deer mice (Peromyscus sp.) and voles (Microtus sp.) of various types; small birds are occasionally taken. Even after the young have left the nest the male is the main provider and protector – cheers for paternal performance!
An interesting phenomenon among owls and raptors is what is referred to as reversed sexual dimorphism: the idea that females tend to be larger than males – the opposite of most bird species where males are usually slightly larger. Many theories have been put forward and investigated, but all explain the advantage of sexual dimorphism to some degree, but not the reversed gender situation satisfactorily. Suffice it to say, the females are considerably larger than males by as much as 20 to 25%. This may help to open a broader food niche for the saw-whet offsetting some food competition between the sexes. The main foes of the saw-whet are Barred Owls and Screech Owls, the saw-whet being a frequent item on the food menu of these two-owl species – particularly during migration. The other frequent danger for saw-whets are collisions with human transportation vehicles – this being the most frequent injury of Saw-Whet Owls admitted to rehabilitation centres across North America.
So, if you want to see a Saw-whet Owl, check out plantations of White Pine or spruce and White Cedar groves in the winter – these are likely to be males here in Southern Ontario. Or better yet, check out a banding station in the fall (October) such as Ruthven Park where migration monitoring is carried out annually. You will be smitten by a breath-taken close-up of this darling owl species – be ready for maximum cuteness in this nocturnal gnome!
The Welcome Centre and Grounds: Monday to Saturday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sunday 9:30 am to 5:00 pm.
The Mansion: Tours are offered 7 days a week from May 18 – September 2.
Tours times 10:00 am, 11:30 am, 12:30 pm, 2:00 pm and 3:30 pm.
Give us a call today or check out our website for more information 905.772.0560 or www.ruthvenpark.ca
Phone: (905) 772-0560
243 Haldimand Hwy. #54,
Cayuga, ON N0A 1E0