THE POISETTIA IS A PLANT NAMED AFTER A PHYSICIAN, AMATEUR BOTANIST AND STATESMAN

Few of us have that kind of background, whose sales are concentrated in about six weeks just before Christmas.JOEL ROBERTS POINSETT is the name-sake for North America’s bestselling potted plant, which is a native of Central America, and known as the ‘Easter Flower’ in Cuba and Spain.  Poinsett himself travelled across Europe, Russia and Latin America, eventually becoming the US Ambassador to Mexico. Mexicans were not exactly fond of him, which may explain why a Mexican lizard was given his name. The day he died, December 12th, is also known as National Poinsettia Day.<PHOTO ABOVE – Allan Gardens, Toronto>

SOME GOOD NEWS FOR GREATER TORONTO, HOME SALES ARE UP 24.3% FROM NOVEMBER/2019

According to new data released by the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board, things are looking up despite the pandemic. There were 8,766 homes sold in November 2020, up from 7,054 in November 2019. The average price was $955,615, up 13.3 per cent from $843,307 a year earlier.Detached home prices rose to an average of $1,202,281, up 15.2% from November 2019. Average condo prices fell 2% to $605,863In TORONTO’s city centre, detached home prices rose 8.7%, townhouses went up 7.3%, and condo prices fell 3% from November, 2019. The number of condos that entered the market this November was almost double that of last year. Low-rise suburban homes have become increasingly popular since the start of Covid-19. Telecommuting and stay-at-home workers are seeking space over the convenience of downtown. – Excerpts from The Canadian Press, December 3/2020

THE GLOBE & MAIL PRINTS 3 PAGES CELEBRATING SPIRIT-LIFTING DOGS, IN A VERY BAD YEAR

Top spot on the Globe’s front cover, GRACIE, lives with long-term care nurse, Bridget Hudson and her husband. “We can’t imagine life without her now,” Ms. Hudson says of the bernedoodle.In the article ERIN ADERSSEN writes: “The past few months were a boom time for pet adoptions as Canadians sought Covid-19-Safe companions to share their isolation. New owners say it was a good decision in a very bad time.”  . . .  . . Above – photographer Kailee Mandel embraces her own pandemic dog, WALTER . . . . .    The late college professor, MARY OLIVER, wrote a poem capturing this pandemic we’re all going through . . . . .
“But there are days I wish
there was less in my head to examine,
not to speak of the busy heart.
How would it be to be Percy, I wonder, not
thinking, not weighing anything, just running forward.”

IT CAME THROUGH THE LETTER SLOT THIS MORNING – FROM KIMBERLEY EZEARD AT SOTHEBYS

ABOUT THIS PHOTO – Santa and his helpers are everywhere – on airplanes for instance. This Trans Canada Airlines plane is about to leave with Santa on board, from TORONTO to WINNIPEG, the first consigned airmail on that route in 1939. – kimberleyezeard.com

“RIGHT THIS WAY, YOUR TABLE’S WAITING” – THAT IS IF YOU’RE A CHIPMUNK OR A SQUIRREL

Thanks to LIA PICARD in The New York Times I know nearly all about Squirrel Tables‘It’s Reserved for Squirrels or Chipmunks’ takes up nearly a full page in Sunday’s Times, December 13/2020.  Worth a read.In TORONTO with thousands of black and grey squirrels, and a sprinkling of chipmunks, keeping them fed could be both worthwhile and a way to pass some pandemic lockdown time.<Photo Above – ETSY Canada>They’re like miniature picnic tables, typically made from cedar or pine, and measure about 8×5 inches, which allows them to be connected to fences or trees. The American squirrels have adapted well, and make the rounds of their favourite tables for a good sized lunch break. Children become fascinated, and so are the adults with time on their hands.  <Photo above – ETSY Canada>Jena Garfield, 33, of St. Paul, Minnesota said “It’s kind of our spin on random acts of kindness. It brings joy to people during this crazy time that we’re all in.” <Photo above – WXYZ, Detroit, Michigan> I’ve indirectly fed the black and grey squirrels in Cabbagetown with some delight.My goal in the last four winters was to feed the sparrows.  The squirrels joined the party – every time. It was so entertaining that I’d be glued to the window waiting to see who turned up next. One thing I learned – divide their food into two groups – one for the squirrels and the other for the sparrows.  No matter what you’ll get a great feeling.