Thanksgiving Day Hike

As is often our tradition, we do a hike on Thanksgiving Day weekend. Today we went to Foley Mountain Park in Westport, ON. The air was fresh, the sky was blue, and the trees were just beginning to colour.

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We followed the Orange Maple Trail

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The trail wound through young forest on the rocky Canadian Shield.

The canopy was beginning to turn colour.

The canopy was beginning to turn colour.

And closer to Big Rideau Lake the colours were more vibrant.

And closer to Upper Rideau Lake the colours were more vibrant.

We enjoyed exercise, fresh air, and sunshine.

We enjoyed exercise, fresh air, and sunshine.

And also enjoyed moments of beauty...

And also enjoyed moments of beauty…

and serenity.

and serenity.

We're pretty sure we saw a bear paw print in the sand. What do you think?

We’re pretty sure we saw a bear paw print in the sand. What do you think?

It was an afternoon of blessing and goodness. Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

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Kouchibouguac Equipped Camping

On Labour Day, my husband and I drove our daughter to University in New Brunswick for her freshman year. And then the two of us went camping at Kouchibouguac National Park , on the eastern shore of NB.

We drove our small Honda Fit for 10 hours to get to campus, and everything “fit”- university essentials from a fan to a floor rug, clothing and personal items, and camping gear for us! The three of us were cozy but we could still see out the back window…

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The pillows were squished down more firmly before we said goodbye at 4:30am!

Moving Day was excellent. We started with a yummy, leisurely breakfast, and then went to campus to register, get keys, make a bed, plug in a lamp, and hang artwork. The weather was fantastic, the people were friendly & helpful, and all-in-all, it was a good launch (despite the mother’s tears…)

The great thing about kids gaining more independence is that the parents do too! My husband (W.) and I now were able to spend 5 nights together with no children and no other obligations, which truly has not happened in many years.

We chose Equipped Camping at Kouchibouguac  National Park because

  1. I love camping and the great outdoors!! (W is just a good sport-it’s not his first pick).
  2. We were travelling in our little car, and had no room for more gear.
  3. It is more economical than staying in a hotel, cottage or kitchenette.

And equipped camping proved to be an excellent choice! We ended up arriving late at the Park- so late, in fact, that it was already mostly dark. We did not have to worry about setting up tents, and all that stuff. We just unlocked the zipper to our prospector tent and walked in. We walked a few sites over to use the washroom facilities, and then we settled down for the night, without even starting a campfire. It was a great relief after a long few days.

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In the daylight…

Unfortunately, in all the busyness, we had neglected to check the weather forecast, and with our lightweight sleeping bags were woefully unprepared for the unseasonable cool night temps! We both shivered the night away, adding multiple layers of clothing as the hours ticked by. (The next night we were better prepared, and the following nights the bundling up was not necessary).

We loved the large equipped site, and would do it again. It included the tent, with two Adirondack chairs, a picnic table with a screened tent, a full BBQ size propane tank with a campstove, and a full shelf of dishes. A clothesline already hung. Everything was very clean and of high quality, and we were impressed.

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The only thing we really regretted NOT having was our own lawnchairs to sit around the fire with. Understandably, the Adirondacks were bolted to the deck.  But hey, we enjoyed s’mores anyway!

Give Thanks- Always

Today, in a moody late winter day, we have had ice and overcast skies, puddles of melting snow and brilliant sun.

But for our little town of 1000, it has been a tragic day. Blair’s Barbershop has burned to the ground. The people above the shop have lost their home.

While the details will come out in the news in the next several days, my eyes tear up. Blair had one of the longest, if not THE longest running business in town… 45+ years.  His shop was a cozy place. Small, smoky from the woodstove and the lingering scent of customers, filled with memorabilia, deer antlers, antique toys and more. It was a landmark.

And as I write, it is being torn down, smouldering, stinking. Charred, rippled, century old beams- some of which are still in one piece- are toppling to the backhoe that sits in a narrow lane by the post office. It barely has room to swing around. I see the BLAIR’S BARBERSHOP sign in blue lettering get crunched. The sun is bright and people stand around in winter coats, but no toques or mittens.

Blair’s Barbershop shared an old stone wall with Stedman’s Department Store. That wall, and the valiant efforts of our local volunteer fire team, have saved Stedman’s. And the brick post office beside it. The post office is closed indefinitely due to smoke. The department store must also be.

I spoke to Giles, Stedman’s soon-to-retire owner, and he said, “You never know what you’ll wake up to, do you?” He is thankful. But he immediately thinks of Blair.

Moments before, I crossed the street under police direction to go to FoodMart to get some of life’s essentials. I saw Blair coming the opposite way.

An OPP officer was leading him, almost supporting him. Blair is a man in shock, and I don’t think he even saw me. I feel nothing but sorrow for the man. He was alone when I saw him, and I felt grateful for the officer who was doing his duty with dignity. Blair’s entire life’s work and efforts and memories have gone to flame in a matter of hours, minutes even. Heartbreaking. Nothing will ever replace it.

I could have taken photos today, but it didn’t seem right. Even though the sidewalks had many people around, it was quiet, hushed almost. The cracking of timbers reverberating off the buildings across the street. It didn’t seem right to freeze such a moment in time into a still-life.

Ironically, there is a funeral home within a stone’s throw of the barbershop- basically  at the back door.  There was a funeral today. Everyone dressed in black. Exiting the funeral as the burned building is taken out. Parking is full on both sides of the street, some on snow banks. Traffic is moving in slow motion as this is also the detour route around Main Street.

Life is full of twists and turns that would probably overwhelm us if we saw them in advance. You never know what you’ll wake up to. So give thanks. Give thanks that you woke up. Give thanks for all the good in the world.  Give thanks- always.

 

Poem to the One I Love

I wrote this to my husband, who travels extensively for work. We met for dinner at a restaurant, as he was going through town on his way from Point A to Point B.

I noticed him watching me a lot as we ate, but he did not say what he was thinking. So I asked him…

This poem came to me on the drive home, and into the evening, so I thought I would share it here.

POEM TO THE ONE I LOVE

What do you think when you look at me?

I asked.

So now I ask myself:

What do I think when I look at you?

I see a healthy, clean, pleasant face.

Neatly trimmed hair around thin, refined lips.

I see a nose that moves slightly when you talk.

And eyes, clear blue eyes, like

A bright blue day-

With a few clouds scudding past.

I see wrinkles and crinkles of years

Of smiles by your eyes. I love those lines.

I see your brow, smoothing out

As we eat and talk.

I see a face more familiar than my own.

For who has gazed upon their own face

In conversation, in concentration, or at rest?

When I look at your face

I see love.

                                ~Brenda Visser, 2016

Happy Early Valentine’s Day Everyone!

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A Gardener’s View

I love June!

Here are a few photos of gardens I have been tending. My own, and my friend Pat’s . She and her husband have been on a hiking trek in Europe (see her blog http://www.patanddanmakingtracks.com), and I have had the privilege of tending to the flower beds, as the birds serenaded me in the dappled shade. Enjoy!

Peony

Paeonia

Iris

Papaver

Scabiosa

Baptisia australis

Iris by the St. Lawrence

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Columbine

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Allium

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Rhododendron

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Hosta

Trollius

Making Tracks

Hey Everyone,

It’s been awhile since I’ve made a decent post here, so meanwhile I thought I would link you up to an adventure my friends Pat & Dan have been having in Spain as they walk the Camino Pilgrim Trail. Pat was able to make almost daily blog posts, on top of walking 20km+ a day! (An inspiration, or what?)

Beautiful scenery, how to take care of blisters, and friendships around the world!

Check out their site:

http://www.patanddanmakingtracks.com

(And just because I love poppies as much as Pat does, I have taken the liberty of posting one of her Spain photos here… Thanks Pat! 🙂 )

Pat's poppies, Spain

Moods of the Sky

I love the sky.

I love the backdrop it provides for our lowly activities, like birdwatching, and smiling.

Canadian Geese, Eastern Ontario

Canadian Geese, Eastern Ontario

Sky 3

The sky reflected on the van in this photo of my daughters

I love how picturesque and pastoral the sky can be.

Contentment- but is that the beginning of storm clouds?

Contentment- but is that the beginning of storm clouds?

I love the mystery of the night sky,

Moon over fields and brush, Leeds & Grenville, ON

Moon over fields and brush, Leeds & Grenville, ON

and the surprises that it showcases.

Rainbow, Leeds & Grenville, ON

Rainbow, Leeds & Grenville, ON

I love the drama.

Technicolour Sky over the Confederation Bridge going onto Prince Edward Island

Technicolour Sky over the Confederation Bridge going onto Prince Edward Island

I love the storms.

A story builds over the TransCanada in Northern New Brunswick

A storm builds over the TransCanada HIghway in Northern New Brunswick

 

Clouds building over farm, Leeds & Grenville County, ON

Clouds building over farm, Leeds & Grenville County, ON

 

Storm Brewing, Leeds & Grenville County, ON

Storm Brewing, Leeds & Grenville County, ON

I love the boldness.

View from my deck

View from my deck

And at the end of the day, I really love the serenity.

Sun over the St. Lawrence, Riviere du Loup, PQ

Sun over the St. Lawrence, Riviere du Loup, PQ

 

Soothing Bay of Fundy Sunset

Soothing Bay of Fundy Sunset, Nova Scotia

 

 Calm Bay of Fundy Sky

Calm Bay of Fundy Sky, Nova Scotia

I once read about a woman who survived World War II in a prison cell by looking at the sliver of sky she could see between the bars. When the war was over, she said the sky kept her alive. Gave her hope.

I believe her.

It gives me hope too.