Dinosaur Bone


This “rock” has been sitting in the basement of the family house for close decades. My grandmother Hazel Dawson found it back in the 1960s on a trip to the Alberta Badlands.  This fall I sent a series of photos of the “rock” to Carl Mehling of the Fossil Amphibian, Reptile, and Bird Collections, Division of Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History.

Mr. Mehling was kind enough to take a look and immediately confirmed that this was a dinosaur bone fragment. Unfortunately there is not enough of the specimen to identify the bone or the dinosaur type from which it came from suffice to say that the  hadrosaurs (duck-billed dinosaurs) and ceratopsians (horned dinosaurs) were the most common species in that part of the world.  Mr. Mehling stated “Your piece is most likely from within the Late Cretaceous and should be about 75-78 million years old.” Incredible and I thought it had been laying in the basement a long time.

The Morland Place

By James MacDougall

“Have you been to the Morland Place?” When I ask locals  this question they usually give me a puzzled look and say “The what?”  I will then explain that it is the interesting looking property at the intersection of Grey Road 18 and the Inglis Falls Road. Then they will nod in recognition and say something like “oh that place!” We all know it’s in our backyard, but it’s not a place everyone has visited despite the fact it’s grounds are open to the public daily May through October from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

The Morland Place is a European style manor house with vast gardens, manicured lawns and a hedge-row labyrinth. The main residence is built around an original 1919 stone house which was purchased by Joe and Vera More in 1945. In the 1980s, their son Barry More, built an addition to the original building in Georgian Regency style. It was a project that took 10 years to complete. The house is in many ways a tribute to Barry’s mother Vera and serves as a showcase of her many collections of antique furniture, books and objects d’art.

Moreland Place
Morland Place Georgian Regency architecture.
Moreland Place staircase
Morland Place staircase with its hand crafted banister.
Moreland Place Staircase
Morland Place Staircase. Note the continuous curve of the banister as it descends
Moreland Place Piano
Morland Place Piano
Moreland Place Cherub
Morland Place Cherub
Moreland Cherubs
Morland Cherubs
Barry More
Barry More and his Cocker Spaniel


Owner: Barry More
Phone: (519) 376-4617
Address: 102645 Grey Rd 18, Owen Sound


Bruce Grey Simcoe: Places to Visit

The Rural Route: Morland beauty

A Thing of Beauty: The Story of Morland Place by Barry Joseph More (ISBN: 978-1-897502-27-3)

All photographs copyright James MacDougall 2015.

A New Season (The Legend of the Phoenix)

By James MacDougall

After a summer medley of work, leisure and adventure I am back to report on my travels with new photos and features. July was dedicated to work. August was a month of leisure and a sprinkle of adventure here and there spiced the entire season up; some of which I will share and some I won’t!

As some of you may know my life took a dramatic turn in 2012 and it has been a while since emotionally, mentally and physically I have had a vacation in any meaningful sense. I have to say having the opportunity to take all of August to live like a kid on summer vacation was just what the doctor ordered. Being able to define my own schedule and pursue my passions without any interference or demands is a luxury few of us ever get, but of course one can’t really live that way forever.


Seasons change and with them come different demands. New responsibilities, new goals and plans. Autumn 2015 is here and the leaves are starting to turn. My eldest nephew has started University. In my mind it wasn’t so long ago I was reading him stories and building sand castles on the beach. Strangely he now lives a few blocks from where I lived in Ottawa and I now live a few blocks from where he lived in Owen Sound. I didn’t see that coming.

Life goes on and it takes strange turns. I’ve always been open to change and exploration and when I finally settled down the earth and heavens shook and that life came tumbling down around me. But as the story goes the Phoenix rises from the ashes. If 2012 was the year of Fire (both literally and figuratively), then 2013-2014 were the years of Ashes and Embers. 2015 was the Incubation and  in 2016 the Phoenix rises.

The Phoenix

A creature that first appears in Egyptian mythology as the Bennu and later as the “Phoenix (Crimson)”in Greek mythology, the phoenix was said to have brilliant plumage and would live for hundreds of years. It’s death would come in a burst of flames and from the ashes of the pyre a new phoenix would be born. Accordingly the phoenix is a symbol of renewal.

And so as the turning leaves of autumn, in brilliant yellow, orange and red, evoke the image of the fiery phoenix set to soar into the blue sky again, so to go I.

New World Encyclopedia: 

Bognor Marsh

By James MacDougall

Driving down the highway I often wonder ‘what’s behind the trees?’ Today I answered a very small part of that very large question and discovered for myself the Bognor Conservation Area.

Described by Grey Sauble Conservation as covering “668 hectares of escarpment upland forests, three major marshes, reforested areas, natural regeneration areas, and several small springs feeding the marsh and stream system.” It was much more sublime than this dry depiction.

From the highway we walked through a corridor of trees. Fungi of every shape and sort clung to dead wood and the bases of living trees, caramel dragonflies  and lilac butterflies flitted about. The trail ended in an open field and to our right the board-walk into the marsh began.The area opened up into a vast wetland populated by lilies and cat-tails. The songs of birds filled the air. Red-winged blackbirds, hawks and tree swallows were the most visible wildlife but snakes, frogs and turtles abound as well.

Trail to Bognor Marsh
Trail to Bognor Marsh


Dragon Fly

Dragon Fly

Lily Pads

Frog on lily pad
Frog on lily pad
Red-wing blackbird
Red-wing blackbird
Tree swallow
Tree swallow
Water snake
Water snake

Return to Spirit Rock

By James MacDougall

A few weeks ago Ray and I visited the Corran at Spirit Rock Conservation Area. We returned yesterday and went on the trail to the lookout.  Along the trail there is an area that opens up into a grassy “orchard”. It is a wild and abandoned but you can make out what might be cherry or apple trees as well as some of the lost children of the rose garden that once grew there.

Wild Rose Bush, Corran Grey-Bruce
Wild Rose Bush, Corran Grey-Bruce
Wild Rose Bush, Corran Grey-Bruce
Wild Rose Bush, Corran Grey-Bruce

There was a grove of birch trees that we passed. When I was very young my mother collected birch bark from the road side. later she would  cut patterns out of it and sew together tiny birch bark canoes and tee-pees. Spirit Rock is associated with a tragic “Indian Princess” legend. The story is that a young native woman fell in love with a member of a rival tribe and the following tribulations ended in her leaping off the cliff to her demise at Spirit Rock. On stormy nights when the lightning flashes ‘they’ say that her face can be seen profiled in the cliffs. Most of these Indian Princess stories seem to have been the creations of white settlers rather than actual native lore.

Birch at Spirit Rock
Birch at Spirit Rock

The lookout is fairly overgrown with cedar trees but a view of Colpoy’s Bay with it’s clear, almost tropical blue, water can be seen.

Spirit Rock Lookout over Colpoy's Bay
Spirit Rock Lookout over Colpoy’s Bay
Spirit Rock Lookout over Colpoy's Bay
Spirit Rock Lookout over Colpoy’s Bay

Moon Shot

I’ve been trying to get a decent shot of the moon for years. This evening the sky was crystal clear and the moon was a brilliant crescent so I tried again. This time I set my camera right and used a tripod. it made all the difference. I used my Nikon D5000 with the following settings: ISO:200, f-Stop 10 and shutter speed at 1/200. I don’t have a zoom so I’m happy with the way it came out.

Moon Shot  ©  James MacDougall
Moon Shot © James MacDougall


This is a cropped shot by the way. The original raw shot is below

Moon Raw ©  James MacDougall
Moon Raw © James MacDougall

Thanks to Digital Camera World for the tips!


Where do we come from? Where do we go? What is our connection to this world and to others?

There are so many questions that we cannot answer, but as humans we are driven to ask. And if we do not ask them openly, we are confronted by them; by the silence, by isolation, by the night. In moments of distress and trauma questions overwhelm us in a flood of inquisition that drains to single point where our mortality and identity exist.

“Curious” is a place to set down my thoughts and ideas, my art, my interests, my reflections, and despite the apparent gravity of this introduction there will be humour and levity here too, because that’s life.