BOB BOWLES/SPECIAL TO THE PACKET & TIMES A late-spring day on “Bowles Alvar,” showing the last blooms of special alvar plants with a backdrop of the pink to mauve long styles of prairie smoke waving in the breeze.

Nature never ceases to surprise

A brightly coloured female monarch butterfly showing freshly hatched, bright orange, black and white wing markings fluttered high over the alvar on a purposeful, direct flight north, showing little wear on wing scales caused by distance flight migration.

STEFANIE MOY-SHUSTER/SPECIAL TO THE PACKET & TIMES Silhouettes reached their height of popularity between about 1810 and 1840.

Shadows of the past

One of the most disliked men in mid-18th-century France, a fairly obscure economist who happened to be a friend of Madame de Pompadour, lasted a mere eight months in his post as controller-general, so criticized was he for the stringent economies he tried to impose on the chaos of the French Treasury.

DAVID HAWKE/SPECIAL TO THE PACKET & TIMES Looking like an off-colour pine cone, the flowering structure of squawroot is unmistakable. Found under oak trees, it has a unique relationship with the tree, drawing nutrient-rich sap for itself but returning nothing to the tree.

Parasitic to the root

Squawroot. Interesting name for a plant, albeit nowadays perhaps a bit politically insensitive. It was named by early voyageurs and botanists for its medicinal uses, namely to promote the childbirth process, or deal with uterine bleeding. Locally, the name has been loosely applied to at least two other plant species.

SUBMITTED Brenda Gunn is pictured with Janey Sanderson discussing Sanderson Monument's participation in 'The Art of Our Town' — celebrating 150 years of art and creativity in Orillia.

150 years of expression

There is something about the Orillia area that makes it an incubator for art and creativity. Many talented people have come from, or been drawn to this town. This is not something new, so as Orillia celebrates the 150th anniversary of incorporation as a town, Tiffin's Creative Centre is spearheading a summer-long art project to explore this phenome

Minutes into a dolphin cruise from Shelter Cove Marina, several of the playful mammals are spotted frolicking in the water near kayakers. (JANE STEVENSON/TORONTO SUN)

Three days on Hilton Head

Getting to this popular island in South Carolina's "Lowcountry" just got easier for Canadians now that Air Canada has begun daily direct flights (2-hrs-15-mins) from T.O. to Savannah, Ga. From there, it's a 45-minute-drive to the charming southern island on the smooth sandy shores of the Atlantic Ocean.


A son’s Canadian tribute

We are quickly approaching Canada Day and, in this sesquicentennial year, the holiday holds some additional significance. It is a milestone to inspire reflection, honesty and thoughts of how we continue to move forward as a country and as a community.

In this Thursday, June 15, 2017, photo, people walk inside the Oculus, the new transit station at the World Trade Center in New York. Researchers are gearing up to start recruiting 10,000 New Yorkers early next year for a study so sweeping it’s called “The Human Project.” They’ll be asked to share a trove of personal information, from cellphone locations and credit-card swipes to blood samples and life-changing events. For 20 years. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

'Human Project' asks 10,000 to share life's data

NEW YORK — Wanted: 10,000 New Yorkers interested in advancing science by sharing a trove of personal information, from cellphone locations and credit-card swipes to blood samples and life-changing events. For 20 years.

(Getty Images)

Personal disclosure leads to family's judgment

Dear Amy: Recently on Facebook, I shared my story from a former relationship, involving how poorly I was treated and how his sexual assault resulted in me getting pregnant and -- after weighing all of my options -- choosing to have an abortion. I finally felt strong enough to tell this story without being ashamed.

(Getty Images)

Husband's iPhone addiction leaves wife lonely

Dear Amy: My husband of many years is addicted to his iPhone. It goes everywhere with him and has his undivided attention. There was once a time that this was necessary for his work. I understood and did not mind, but it is no longer a necessity for his work, and his time on this device has me concerned.

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