Cedar By The Spillway (oil on canvas 5 x 7 in) SOLD

9 April finds us in Eden Mills Ontario at my dear friend Elizabeth's house beside a dam on the Eramosa River.  The ruins of an old mill on the other side has been stabilized and partially retrofitted as a very nice house, but Elizabeth's house, which was built as a residence, has an old wooden waterwheel beside it and a spillway running behind it.  This White Cedar with interesting roots stands with its "toes" just above the water at the head of the spillway.

Pike go over the waterfall and then come up the spillway and congregate just below the back yard.  So many kinds of fish come and it's lovely to look down at them.  There are clusters of Catfish that gather just under the footbridge, and there are many other fish, including Chub, Sunfish, and Bass.

This is a very complex painting, all full of interlocking shapes, and took longer than I'd expected - but I like the way the composition has so many triangles.  The clear golden water is a contrast to yesterday's painting of the stream opaque with suspended clay.

Elizabeth tells me that there are two "sinkholes" near this tree, which have needed to be plugged each spring for the past couple of years because they take too much water down into the aquifer, away from the river.  Once it's fixed the water flows as it should down the spillway as well as over the dam. There are leaks under the dam, and this causes the water to go through he spillway.  But instead of working just in flood times, it works all the time because of those leaks.  The water is very slight down the spillway now because the lake hasn't come up to its usual level after the sinkhole repair.  From now on, the spillway level will be mostly affected by precipitation. There is a millpond association in Eden Mills - mostly the immediate neighbours of the dam.  People take turns monitoring the dam and looking after the pond.  Annual work bees clean up the floor of the pond.  they put down plastic lining so that people can swim there and the weeds (mostly the long narrow-leaved Vallisneria) don't take over the bed of the river.

Up to 10 years ago the community used to get the water in the pond tested and every year it tested almost clean enough to drink.  There have been no major changes upstream, so it probably is still just as clean.  They want to put an industrial park within 3 km, at the intersection of Co Rd 29 and Highway 7, but the community has a strong contingency battling that.

The bird life is rich as well.  Elizabeth sees Great Blue Heron, Green Herons, Osprey, Kingfishers, Lesser Yellowlegs. Canada Geese are here all year long.  She hears all the owls - Saw Whet, Screech, Great Horned, and Barred.  Some of the migrants are Red-breasted Mergansers, Buffleheads, occasionally Loons, and Trumpeter Swans in the spring.  Mink are common, and River Otter, rare in these parts, has been seen in spring, and several people have seen Oppossums.


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