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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Roy G. Biv- Let’s Give Thanks!

Somewhere in my elementary or middle schooling, I learned about prisms and light, and the colours of the rainbow. I learned a handy mnemonic to remember the order of colours, and I have remembered it long past the unit test:

R-red

O-Orange

Y-Yellow

G-Green

B-Blue

I-Indigo

V-Violet

I have seen some remarkable rainbows in my life, and they are always a sign of hope of joy.

I love colour!

Red berries by snow and water

I love the purples and pinks of summer flowers, the blue sky, the sparkling white snow, and even mottled gray skies.

Poppy and buttercups

I love the shadowy depth of colour in ice, tree bark, and mountain vistas. I love the remarkable camouflage of animals.

Northern Leopard Frog on my garden path

Many people love this time of year, the warm colours of red, oranges, browns. There is nothing like standing in a group of blazing trees and seeing the glow over everything, something hard to capture in a camera.

View from my window this morning

When the sight of rich colour is combined with our other senses, such as the smell of grass sparkling with melted frost, and the sound of Canadian geese honking in their migrations, it is a gift.

Birch with Virginia Creeper

 Bright red maples, golden aspens, and  white birch bark are good reasons to give thanks. To momentarily forget the pain and challenges in life, to rejoice in colour and in the Creator of colour. These things can help lift us from our momentary troubles and help us focus on greater, higher things. Happy Thanksgiving, indeed!

 

Sky Beauty

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, for me, the number one reason to believe in God is the incredible beauty of nature around us. The diversity, the adaptability, the complexity make me marvel, especially in light of the poor care we humans have often shown for the earth.

I love nature! I really should have studied biology more.

Take for instance, the sky. Do you ever stop and marvel at the sky? For most of us, I think we go about our days working, eating, relating to others, and not really noticing the vast expanse above us, unless of course, it is dropping moisture on us, or burning our skin. We are kind of sleepy when it comes to observation of obvious things.

Instead of stopping to smell the roses, how about stopping to study the scudding clouds in the sky? How about lifting your chin, looking for a vista, and taking note of what you observe?

You might see the cumulus or cirrus or cumulonimbus formations that you learned in elementary school.

You might see varying shades of gray, or the whitest white and the bluest blue in contrast.

You might see red or orange, and then when you stop to enjoy the majesty and savour it, you might start seeing pink, purple, coral, blue. You will notice how the sky moves. How it contrasts and complements the earth below. How the trees look black against a darkening sky.

Perhaps you have the chance to fly above the clouds. I have seen beauty there too! Rainbows between clouds, dark earth below. Piles upon piles of white billowy condensation. Mountains peeking through low mist.

I once read a book about a World War II survivor who was given hope enough to stay alive, just by having a small window in her cell where she could see a bit of sky. If she could be inspired by observing that little bit of light and colour on a daily basis, how much more couldn’t we, most of whom can easily find a place to view the wide horizon?

So if the darkening days of autumn do not lift your mood, perhaps the sky will. Look up and be amazed.

Superfine Eating

I love bread. Not just any kind. I love made-from-scratch, wholesome bread that makes the entire house smell good.

In the fall I tend to make bread more than at any other time of year as the windows and doors start to close, and thoughts turn to indoor activities.

To make bread, you need flour.

And that is what I want to explore today…

Flour the Historical Way

I recently covered a story for the circa 1810 Old Stone Mill where they were celebrating Thanksgiving and milling flour from locally grown heritage Red Fife wheat.


I love the wheaty, slightly dusty smell in this place. It makes me think of harvest and good things.

I love the sounds the old millstones and equipment make. I love how the millers are vigilant, talking to each other,  and running up and down the several flights of stairs to ensure that everything is operational.

It is a good place to be.

“Superfine” is the best flour a mill can produce. It is the whitest, finest part of the wheat kernel. In the days of stone milling, superfine flour would have been reserved in most households for special-occasion baking. The everyday bread would have been more coarse and used more of the wholegrain. It would have had high nutritional value, high environmental value, and high economical value.

Milling wheat here is no ordinary thing. It is a privilege, a delight, a cause for celebration and thanksgiving. More than a simple historical display, this mill has captured a small slice of what is truly important in life- good food, good relationships, hard work, and a thankful heart.

I am proud that this community has had the tenacity to see the Mill become operational again after it had lain silent for almost 100 years.

National Historic Site- The Old Stone Mill

Flour Mills to Visit

Mills I have visited in Eastern Canada are the Balmoral Grist Mill in Nova Scotia, the Bellamy Mill at the Upper Canada Village in Eastern Ontario, The Kings Landing Historical Settlement in New Brunswick, and the Old Stone Mill in Ontario.

What about your community? Is there a heritage mill nearby? I would love to hear about it. And I would love to hear if you have used heritage or stone ground flours.