The magic that is Fall

2017-10-02 116AS

Colours in the marsh are turning first

Those colours, and the reflections in the calm water, priceless. The combination of a  warm day with an occaisonal light breeze, fabulous. When things come together, that is what Fall seems to be, the last harvests, the last leaves, the last warm days. A time to celebrate what was, and what will be.

These days don’t come as often as we’d like but when they do, you want to soak it up. Three hours paddling around Otty Lake, exploring Mud Lake, a small shallow area that joins Otty with the much smaller McClaren Lake and back again, heavenly! A painted turtle lazed on a log soaking up the sun as we paddled past, usually they plunge into the lake but not today, he eyed us up and down with his long neck and decided we didn’t look threatening enough to lose his spot in the sun. Cottages are already closed up, docks pulled for the winter, boats stored and a sense of quiet has come over the lake, ah Mondays, hardly a soul to be seen:)

In town the Farmer’s Market was quieter as well. The amazing variety and the colours were a sight for the mind and mouth! The squash are all ready and the last of the tomatoes are here, some of the farms have already had frosts, others not, we have one more market Saturday to go and then they close up after the Thanksgiving weekend until Spring.

Tay View Mill and Farm is a beautiful piece of heaven on the Tay River and the old mill used to supply power to the town of Perth. The dam was first erected in 1823 for milling wood. Wilson Bowes and his wife Jane have a wonderful dairy farm here and Wilson’s grandfather collected an amazing assortment of well, everything from eggs to rocks to farm implements, washing machines, you name it, an astounding collection of what once was, which we really need to hang onto. The next few generations need to know how their parents were raised and how their grand and great grandparents lived, often with little, at great risk:) Mike has known Wilson since they were children and we stopped by to visit between milkings. The milk truck driver was there, about to leave, looked at Mike and said “You look familiar! Wirths! I drew cream and milk  for your mother and father in the late 60’s!” this man has a memory, over 50 years ago:) he’s 72 now, still driving the milk truck, about 10 times larger than it used to be but shiny and clean as always! Small towns, you have to love them! Wilson gave us a tour of the museum and a visit with the cows and barn cats and kittens sleeping in the sun. The wonderful smell of farms, it just delights me! Here is where so much of what we eat comes from, from the chickens down the 2nd line at Marcy’s to the curious heifers in the beautiful old stone barns here at Tay View Farm, our milk, our cheese, doesn’t come from stores, it’s soul is here with the people who do this hard work day in and day out. They are my heroes:)

As Thanksgiving approaches this weekend we need to stand and give a huge round of applause to these people who grow our food, take care of the animals that provide us with milk and meat and dig into the ground and pick from the trees what we eat. We picked up our turkey today at Coutts Country Flavours, as well as fresh carrots and raspberries. Diana always has time for a word and a laugh at their lovely store. Something is always coming out of the oven and you feel hungry the moment you walk in, with good reason:) Her storefront is beautiful, celebrating Fall and all its bounty.

Local bounty, not shipped thousands of miles, apples from Oregon, in Ontario? Not a chance. Celebrate your local food this weekend and stop for a moment and think where it all comes from. The biggest and shiniest is often not the best, but something genetically made to last longer for those 3000 mile road trips across the country. Do yourself a favour and find an apple from a local orchard, a turkey for your Thanksgiving dinner that ran around, ate bugs and sat in the sun, not under the glare of a fluorescent lamp, these things matter, so very very much.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving amigos! Talk to you soon:)

Apples, apples, everywhere:)

Pure happiness. The joy of standing in the grass barefoot and looking at apples, apples everywhere and imaging and drooling a bit of what can be made of these luscious pieces of fruit;) Too bad Eve got the bad rap with an apple, loads of codswallup if you ask me;)2017-09-28 034AS

This is seriously my favourite time of year at the ranch in Baja, yes, apples, old heirloom varieties that have long been forgotten for the blandness of Red Delicious and MacIntosh, soft supermarket fare that I can not, and will not buy. As we are not in Baja, although I ate enough for a family of 5 while I was there 10 days ago, I had the craving to cook with these beauties so off we went on a friend’s recommendation to Ireland’s Blueberries and Apples.

From ancient standards to newer dwarf trees the branches were laden with fruit. We picked up a bag of Snow’s (They are an all-purpose apple with snow-white flesh and a distinctive flavour.  They originated in France and have been grown in Canada since the 1600s) and a variety bag to sample the others in season.

Can you say aromatic, the truck smelled of ripe apples the whole way back to Perth. Now to find the recipe, Julia Child, Tart aux pommes:)

ApplesS

Apple Tart (Tarte Aux Pommes)

Adapted from Mastering The Art of French Cooking
Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:
Partially-cooked 10-inch tart shell ( recipe below)
4 lbs. apples
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup apricot preserves, forced through a sieve
1/4 cup apple brandy, rum or cognac; or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons butter
(optional) 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, grated rind of 1 lemon or orange
1/2 cup apricot glaze (see below)

Apricot glaze:
1/2 cup apricot preserves, forced through a sieve
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Mix the preserves and sugar together in a small saucepan over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes (225-228 degrees on a candy thermometer) until glaze is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If boiled above 228 degrees, glaze will harden when cool. Apply while still warm or reheat before using.

Directions:
1.) Quarter, core, and peel the apples. Slice 3 cups worth into 1/8-inch lengthwise slices. Toss sliced apples in a bowl with lemon juice and sugar. Set aside.

2.) Cut the rest of the apples into slices (about 8 cups). Place in a large heavy saucepan and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat for about 20 minutes until apples are tender. Beat in apricot preserves, alcohol (or vanilla), sugar, butter, and cinnamon and zest (if using). Turn up heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until thick.

3.) Preheat oven to 375F. Spread the applesauce in the partially-baked pastry shell. Arrange sliced apples in an overlapping layer or concentric circles.

4.) When oven has preheated, bake the tart in the upper third of the oven for about 30 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and the apples are tender. Slide tart onto a cooling rack and paint a light layer of apricot glaze over the top. Serve warm or cold.

Julia Child’s Pâte Sablée – Sweet Pastry Crust
For a 9 to 10 inch tart shell:
Ingredients
  • 1⅓ c. all-purpose flour (182 g)
  • 3 tbsp. granulated sugar (38 g)
  • ⅛ tsp. baking powder
  • 5 tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled (71 g)
  • 2 tbsp. shortening, chilled (28 g)
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp. ice water
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
Instructions
To mix the dough by hand:
  1. Place the flour, sugar, and baking powder in a bowl and lightly mix to combine.
  2. Cut the chilled butter and vegetable shortening into ½ inch cubes and add to the bowl with the dry ingredients.
  3. Rub the fat and dry ingredients together rapidly with the tips of your fingers until the fat is broken into bits the size of small oatmeal flakes.
  4. Gently blend in the egg and vanilla, and knead the dough rapidly into a ball.
To mix the dough in the food processor:
  1. Place the flour, sugar, and baking powder into the bowl of the processor and pulse once or twice to combine.
  2. Cut the chilled butter and vegetable shortening into ½ inch cubes. Add the butter to the bowl with the dry ingredient and pulse several times until the fat is broken into bits the size of small oatmeal flakes. Add the egg and vanilla, and pulse several more times just until the dough begins to mass on the blade. Be careful not to over mix.
Rolling out the dough:
  1. Let the chilled dough rest on the counter for 10 minutes to soften slightly.
  2. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface or between two sheets of wax paper to prevent sticking.
To transfer the dough to the tart pan:
  1. Carefully remove the top layer of wax paper and invert the disc of dough into the pan. Remove the other piece of wax paper and gently press the crust into the shape of the pan. Any cracks or holes can be patched with excess dough or by pressing the edges together.
  2. Trim the edges by rolling a rolling pin on top of the pan or by trimming with a knife along the edge of the pan.
  3. Chill the crust before baking. I like to put it in the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour.
Baking the crust:
  1. When you are ready to bake the crust, preheat the oven to 375 °F.
  2. Line the chilled dough with parchment paper or foil.
  3. Fill the inside with pie weights or beans and bake until the edges just begin to brown. The time will vary depending on the size of the tart pans used, the material the pans are made of, and the varying heat of individual ovens. This could take approximately from 10 to 20 minutes
  4. Remove the pie weights, prick the bottom of the tart with a fork in several places, and continue baking the tart crust a few more minutes until the center of the crust is golden.

yum…a whole afternoons work but worth every minute of it!

2017-09-28 073B

Bon appetit!

Where did September go?

As I sit here, drops of sweat dripping off my nose I am astounded it is still September, and at the same time, it feels like July. Where did the month go? 33° today…celcius, 91.4° on the Flintstone scale…stinking hot.

2017-09-26 016AS

Being blessed by good weather after a summer of rain and cooler than normal temperatures is not a bad thing;) The blow will come at the end of the week as a cold front moves in and the clouds and blustery Fall weather with it. Plans to go South after Thanksgiving are forming and the Fall clean up is starting to happen. Docks being put away, inflatable rafts rolled up and stored for next year.

The trip back to Baja ate up 10 days of the month as well. Flying in over the Anza Borrego desert was spectacular ( I got lucky looking South) and Ensenada, wonderful as always to spend at quiet night at Estero listening to the shore birds before heading up to the ranch. The smiles at the toll booths reminded me of why I love Mexico…

Hoping the lovely German couple do fall in love with Concepcion, it’s not hard to love that place and it’s amazing flora, fauna and water. It was wonderful showing them around, you realize just how much we accomplished in the decade we spent there when you start to show others just what we started with there, which was nothing, and what we built:)

I was so pleased to hear the hummingbird migration. Like a busy airport it starts before dawn. The buzzing of wings and the fights and quarrels over who gets what place at the feeder. We had Anna’s, Allen’s and Black Chinned all vying for the prime spots. The Allen’s generally rule the airwaves during the slower times and then just give up as the hordes descend:)

Allen's

“Mine, now put the feeder back lady!”

It is always sad to leave the ranch, there is such peace there and I do love it, but it is time for new adventures. It’s hard to be separated from Mike for these impromptu trips. Unlike some couples we have spent our entire lives together, working together at Ranyhyn Farm in Perth and then the decade in Baja, we are not used to being separated, we’re a good team, and we like each other, no, we so very much love each other, being apart is incredibly difficult.

As we head South I’m looking forward to these dark skies again. At 3 am one morning , still on East coast time, I was wide awake. I wandered out with the camera and using a bag of pinto beans for a tripod, tried to capture the setting Milky Way. I’d wished I’d brought my jacket but a few towels and clothes pins worked for warmth, the chill of Fall is already here at 5000 feet of elevation.

Setting Milky Way

Setting Milky Way

The usual gang of birds and creatures were present at the ranch. The jack rabbits were busy with the new grass and a small herd of deer wandered by one afternoon. The woodpeckers and Scrub Jays were busy picking up the oak’s acorns and stashing them away. A Loggerhead Shrike serenaded me my last morning there, he’s a first for me, always excited to see a new arrival. No killer rattlesnakes;) I did disturb a sleeping Two-Toned Garter Snake as I watered a parched garden, he wasn’t too pleased but moved on to a dryer spot. I have to admit spending almost a week there alone was a tonic of quiet and peace. Time for reflection and wonder, as always. No TV, no news just you and nature, but I was ready to head home.

I spent a night in San Diego in a somewhat moldy smelling hotel room near the airport. I tried to open the windows but the noise outside had me closing them right up again. I crossed the border tired, very late and worn out from driving and couldn’t go any further. My flight out was in the morning so I was poised to leave. I was irritated, not just by the noise, I know to expect that when I come back to San Diego but by something the border crossing guard had said as I handed him my passport. He asked what I’d been doing in “Mexico”, I told him…”Alone?” he queried me, WTF is what I was thinking, what does this moron mean…”yes, alone”I added. I wanted to add to the conversation in a sarcastic way but have learned over the years you only answer what is being asked and you can get the hell away from these small power-hungry little jerks. What business of his was my alone, or not alone status. Nope, no one in the trunk asshole, yes, I’m alone, yes, in Mexico, did I mention I feel safer there than in the US buddy, jerk off, scumbag and worse came to mind. I’m not accustomed to sexism, perhaps because the people I share my life with and my friends would never question my abilities to be “alone” or together with someone. Welcome to the USA…the new, I can say what I want USA, seems to be the trend, with no regard to anything, or anyone.

I had a wonderful breakfast with my brother and caught up with his life. Always a treat for me. With the rental car returned through the labyrinth of the San Diego airport and then checked in, x-rayed, patted down, I was ready to get the hell out of Dodge;) My treat was getting all three seats to myself in row 29 of the wonderful Air Canada flight and getting to see the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley from the air…now I need to see them in person!

2017-09-21 105AS

Grand Canyon!

Mike picked me up at 1:30 in the morning and it felt wonderful to be home, a polite home, something I always notice as I cross the border, both into Canada, and into Mexico, there is a level of societal politeness than is lacking in-between.

Mike had his hands full with Groot, a rather exuberant Gamora and of course our old guy Puffy, aka Beezil. Gamora didn’t miss me at all, the old guy did, he’s my boy:) She seemed to double in size in 10 days;) Groot loves her and they successfully wear each other out daily. She now has her own harness and leash and is just a bit too smart;) She’s quite the little street urchin, fearless and curious. There were daily walks, then Mike running away from the trailer when they became too obnoxious;) Life back to normal:)

I guess it has been a busy month, time flies when you’re having fun, who ever said that? Shoot them, yikes, I think I spent too much time in America…0_0…hahahahahaha! Back to a regular routine, catching up, enjoying our feline family of three now. I’d forgotten just how crazy a kitten can be. Groot is such a serious boy, so well behaved! Gamora is living up to her name;) We’ll keep you posted, they may need their own book, or Facebook page soon, someone contacted me asking where “Groot’s”page was? hahahaha!

The weather is changing today, clouds are rolling in and a severe thunderstorm watch is in effect. The leaves are falling and it’s time to take the canoe out one last time on a glassy morning and see the colour reflected in the water. It means colder nights and temperate days, it means Fall, glorious Fall.

“and all at once, Summer collapsed into Fall”

Oscar Wilde

Saludos amigos, stay tuned for colour, and more colour as pumpkin season arrives!

Fair Time!

I was pretty pumped yesterday, Perth Fair. In our day when we ran the Hunter Horse Show there it was the highlight for the local kids and adults who participated, a chance to show off the skills they had learned at the barn, on their favourite steed and for surrounding barns it was close by, easy to trailer to, you could go back and forth to get all the kids and horses there, and the entry fees were low! It took weeks of planning and a few 5 am morning starts to get things organized. Getting the jumps, begging and borrowing what we didn’t have at Ranyhyn Farm. A visit to the local florist/nursery for dozens of mums to put in and around the jumps. Corn stalks from the neighbour to cover up the less than pretty jumps. Making up the courses, then Saturday, setting up, measuring the lines, filling the gift bags…work, yes, but the looks on those kids faces when they got a ribbon and a bag full of prizes from the many generous sponsors! Priceless:)

I usually got a chance on Saturday during setting up to catch the breed show going on the ring next door. Always a beautiful parade of Arabians and American Saddlebreds, Hackney ponies and roadsters so to get to spend a few hours there was going to be a treat.

I was shocked, classes with only one or two horses. It seemed empty, and it was an incredible sunny day. What happened? I know the Arabs and Saddlebreds are not easy rides but there were no kids almost at all. A lead line class with…two kids. I was really disappointed to say the least. I knew Sunday and the heavy horses was going to be in the rain so this was it:(

I can not profess to be at all knowledgable about these classes but it had an air of sadness about them, faded glory, no kids or teenagers participating. After showing for many years, in the hunter classes and then dressage, having your horse go around the ring with its mouth wide open fighting the bit landed you in last place…something tells me at the upper echelons of these Breed Shows this doesn’t go on but it was a bit alarming for me. I saw one horse willingly go around listening to his rider but he lost out to the fancy tailed horse that had its mouth wide open the entire time. These are big bits they are using, not exactly snaffles here. Maybe I need to learn more but not really sure I want to.

These horses actually do quite well if can imagine the ruckus going on. Fair rides and music, the Tractor Pull was going on and the Lawnmowers racers were warming and revving up their engines, it is amazing any of these horses aren’t having nervous breakdowns;)

At the lunch break we headed over to the rides and agricultural tent…loved the play with your food exhibit;) my mother always told me I wasn’t allowed to;) There were the standard bored carnies, too early on Saturday to waste your breath yelling ” step right up!”…”everyone’s a winner”. I can always figure out the latest animated movie craze by the stuffed animals being given away. Koalas and unicorns seemed big this year;)

They must have been containing their enthusiasm for the Saturday night crowds;) We wandered through the Agricultural tent and the chicken and bird exhibits by the petting zoo, hard to resist miniature baby foals and donkeys, always a favourite:) we could have stayed for the demolition derby and eaten some bad fair food but a day such as it was, sunny, no wind, was begging for a canoe ride on the lake so we left early and headed out for a paddle.

Now what a way to end a beautiful day! Groot was getting a bit bold, sitting on the front of the canoe as we were paddling. Usually he waits until we pull up beside the dock to carefully climb out but not this time, he decided a few feet out that, well, he’s a strong strapping cat, why not gracefully JUMP to the dock. He had not been taught Newton’s third law sadly,  for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. If you push off as you are jumping, the canoe will move away from you, therefore extending the span you have to jump…yup…kerplunk…into the lake he landed, I didn’t laugh, at first, just grabbed him by his harness as he swam towards the dock and hefted him up, he is a two armed kitty now folks, big boy. He looked extremely dejected especially after a toweling off but half an hour later was playing with a feather we’d found floating as we were paddling. Hopefully the swim will be forgotten, we’ll see at the next canoe ride!

Enjoy these last days of summer folks and see you soon. We may try to get to the Renfrew Fair this week to see the heavy horse show after all!

P9020011AS

As summer fades away….

2017-08-26 091_stitchRES

Hard to explain that feeling, of summer slipping away, the first chill in the air, the bonfires and smell of smoke drifting across the water.

Maybe it is time to move on. I can feel Fall, and smell it in the leaves and ground. The freshness is gone and as the plants start to brown, and the flowers fade I know the time is coming. We’ll start looking at the maps and plotting our course West, and South.

Eleutheromania (n.)

Origin: Greek

Definition: An intense and irresistible desire for freedom.

Do we want to leave, no, not just yet. Many things are up in the air and it seems we have not had the time to visit with everyone we wanted to. Strange how quickly the months have flown by.

We will still have glimpses of summer in the next few days, warm days and hopefully more canoe rides out onto Otty Lake. Groot has taken quite a shine to his canoe trips. We have Regan and Sheila to thank for the use of the canoe and the stunning space here at the lake. It has opened our eyes to the joys of living lakeside. We will be eternally grateful to them for that.

…and there is the Perth Fair! A sure sign of Fall:) the wild blueberry stands will close after this Labour Day weekend and things will quiet down. We stopped at a stand along Highway 7 for some berries and a pie on a trip up North to Nirvana, an abandoned airstrip perfect for astronomy. The road in had been graded so now just to plan for last quarter, or new moon and hope the weather Gods will be kind and give us clear skies. It has been a cloudy summer, hoping for a sunny start to Fall. In the swamps the trees are already turning and a few pop here and there with yellow, the reds and oranges can’t be far behind.

Tonight the forecast is for 3° celcius, that “IS” chilly, time to bring the basil in and bundle up tomorrow morning for the farmers market, I have my fingers crossed for apples, and the Perth Fair! Stay tuned, I’m hoping Sunday and the heavy horses will not be rained out as predicted! Let the weather Gods intervene!!!

Saludos and keep warm!4-7-After the rainA

You are what you eat…really:) we don’t have to worry about terrorists or asteroids, we are killing ourselves…:(

As we get older, it sucks doesn’t it;)…there are suddenly these questions of health. Up until a few years ago I pretty much felt I was immortal, yeah, silly isn’t it, but recently I’ve had to stop and think about what I was putting into my mouth and just how healthy, unhealthy it was…perish the thought but yes, went to the doctor for the first time in a year and we need to start thinking about that list of things, high blood pressure, cholesterol, etc…yuck!

We have always been pretty conscious eaters but it seems that is not enough. It’s funny, having everything so easy here in the US and Canada really makes you a bit lazy. In Baja we had to plan, and we grew a lot of our own food, and local produce was always available. Partly the wonderful climate but it was out there, easy to get and fresh. Here, it can been the same, but more work. The local store’s produce is far from fresh and sprayed with water to make you THINK it is fresh. I discovered recently that some of the local roadside stands that you think are selling “local” food are a hoax. They are unpacking wholesale boxes and putting it in small cardboard farm containers to make you think it is local, and whoa…at a hefty price as well. Those tomatoes looked a bit too perfect to come out of a field…that made me mad. Even if it is from Ontario, 400 miles away is not local and although they do not claim”local” their cute little farm stands along Highway 7 and the opposite The Shell station do scream that. Buyer beware I guess in this day and age.

We have an amazing local farmers market here in Perth as well as festivals through out the summer. The latest, the garlic festival at the Perth Fairgrounds was a feast for the…well…nose…it was garlicky alright…yum!

Not only an amazing array of garlic but food, fresh and baked goods as well as a wonderful Raptor Show put on by the Canadian Raptor Conservancy.

Eggs, well, I love eggs. Some can be good, some can be great but I love to get ours straight from the hens, more or less anyway. Out on the Franktown road there is a lovely lady, Marcy, who’s chickens spend their days roaming about the farm and for $4.00 a dozen, in the honor box, you get eggs from happy hens with beautiful golden orange yolks, priceless!

There is a local farmers market every Saturday morning at The Crystal Palace in Perth. The fresh produce this time of year is amazing. From small fingerling potatoes to fresh greens, tomatoes that SMELL like tomatoes and peppers that reek, of peppers! It is a wonderful spot to shop from stall to stall and take home something fresh, healthy and support the local community and farmers. As far as price, it is quite a bit less than the fake local stands and just so much tastier than the sad water sprayed produce the big stores sell.

What happened to us as eaters…why is out of a bag/box so much more popular than out of a garden? Is it time? It is our health and when I see the line ups at Costco’s and Walmarts around North America I do cringe a little bit inside…our healthcare systems are in crisis, heart disease, diabetes…most of this is all preventable, starting with what we put in our mouths. We don’t have to worry about crazies or terrorists killing us, we’re doing it to ourselves slowly. Read the packaging, understand what is in your food and cook…spend time in the kitchen, teach your kids to cook, not just open the ziplock bag and dump it in the boiling water, or take it out of the microwave…..just saying, we truly are what we eat:) a few more eggs and I may be sprouting feathers:) I always did want to fly:)

Solar Eclipse from Perth, Ontario

EclipseAA

Start of the solar eclipse

As much as we wanted to travel West to see the total eclipse of the sun it did not quite pan out as we had hoped. A few obstacles presented themselves and then a last-minute 1600 km drive to Nebraska was just too far. Cloud cover did not look good for going too far South either so we decided to stay home and treat our fellow Perthites to a view through the solar scope. Mike’s friend InQ came to help out and they had a great small local crowd.

2017-08-21 009A

Crystal Palace, Perth. Eclipse viewing

There was even some nice announcements from the local radio station Lake 88.1

Lots of cell phone shots through the eyepieces and line ups to look! Thanks Pamela Shivak for the solar sunglasses they were a huge hit and so nice to give them out for free!

There were a lot of ooh’s and aah’s going on! Great set of sunspots in the middle, as well as flares and beautiful prominences on the top right! Wonderful time with friends!

EclipseBB

Towards the end of the eclipse

Summertime

Summertime, it conjures up all kinds of images but my favourite is the sun setting lakeside. Sometimes I just glance out the trailer window marveling at the colours and clouds, other times, inspired I grab the camera and run to the water…the moments of colour changing can be spectacular.2017-07-28 457_stitchAS

Here for a few moments, and then slowly fading to grey. It has been a wet summer. Besieged by thunderstorms most afternoons the forest has been dripping water for weeks. Last year, a drought, this year a deluge. The lake is so high water is starting to cover the docks.

The forest here by Otty Lake is a mix of pines, and cypress, as you get further from the water, maple, ash and birch predominate. The thick layers of leaves on the forest floor are covered with new mushrooms every day! From black coral like formations to bright red Witches Hats and spotted Amanita Muscari as well. Slime molds, delicate little 3/4″ high mini mushrooms and strange plants I’ve never seen before continue to intrigue me as we walk and explore.

I feel for the farmers trying to get their hay cut and dried, so much of it rained on with the seemingly daily shows of thunder and lightning. The fields are soaked, some never dried from the Spring and have been left unplanted. The frogs and snakes are happy though:) We have a daily visitor to the long grass growing in the water by the lake. A beautiful Northern Water Snake stalks frogs, swimming from water-logged branch to branch with usually only his/her head poking up. Beautiful tan/brown colour with red chevrons running down it’s back. It is fascinating to watch snakes swim! A small Eastern Garter Snake has made an appearance as well. At the water’s edge the Leopard frogs leap in when we walk by, I think I’m helping the snake every now and then. Groot has decided that frog hunting could become a hobby so has started to stalk them. I thought they might not taste very good but have seen him delicately carry the about before they leap away when he sets them down.

I’ve been searching for fawns and made Mike come to a screeching, almost, halt and turn around as I caught several out of the corner of my eye but they bounded across the grass and back into the woods with their white tails flying like flags. They’re out there, I’ll be patient! Near Peterborough and the Warsaw Caves we found an amazing baby Porcupine, it glanced down on us uncaring, Mom was in a branch higher up. What a delight to stumble across these creatures.

Last night, it got cool, not that hot humid summer feel, which some say hasn’t come yet but there was just a hint of Fall in the air as the temperatures dropped to the 50’s for you farenheit folks, 14°C  for the rest of us. The morning air was cool and I pulled the blanket up. I like these days. I’m not the biggest fan of the hot humid days when the deer flies are eating you alive, I’m waiting for the trees to turn and when a bonfire feels good.

The hordes of damsel and dragonflies continue to provide another source of amusement for Groot. He has stopped eating them thankfully after a few lurps, those beating wings did not agree with his stomach! The varieties seem to differ from back in the hay fields to down at the water’s edge.

2017-08-11 077ASS

I feel like I may finally be getting my hummingbird photography mojo back. A female Ruby Throated has taken over the feeder, chasing away even the nearby Chickadees. I’ve missed my hordes of hummingbirds, but next year there will be flowers planted for them, and herbs in the garden as well as lettuce and tomatoes, a new summer home base in the works:)

 

The regular cast and crew of birds have been present. Watching the juvenile Red Breasted Nuthatches and Chickadees is always a great form of amusement, youth and bravery, they don’t seem to mind me when the adults fly off, they are quite cheeky! The Hairy Woodpeckers have been silent, raising another brood perhaps. A lone female Downy Woodpecker has arrived and is a regular as well. The Goldfinches have started to return, heading South already I’m guessing. The Loon babies are grown and a family of 12 Mergansers paid me a visit while I was out swimming, what a delight, talk about big families! Photographing while in the water is a new experience. I purchased a small waterproof point and shoot camera and it has been a learning experience!

I hadn’t realized how much time had passed since my last blog in July, I was shocked, where did that month go? By in a flash, a wonderful flash filled with friends, food and small adventures. The pizza oven has had a great deal of use. Fun helping Regan build this and have it in the yard for dinner! Not just for pizza, here Regan is paying homage to Coagula, the goddess of arterial plaque with a bacon wrapped pork loin and potatoes in duck fat, I really shouldn’t have my cholesterol checked for a while;)

2017-08-05 022ASs

The pizza oven

Next week, it’s time for me to take you for a visit to the beautiful donkeys and our retired steeds, munching grass all night, sleeping in their stalls all day, now that is retirement, but wait, was that the vet going to visit? oh dear….we four and two-legged creatures abhor those visits don’t we, but that is next weeks adventure!

Stay tuned, saludos amigos and may your mojo remain strong!

I bearly made it through the week, and other bad bear puns;)

Groot had quite the surprise yesterday morning, a new visitor to the trailer, not the usual Golden Lab, Lucas, that Regan and Sheila have but…a black one…wait a minute, Groot was pretty sure this was not one of those evil dog things but something completely different so he let us know…meow….!!!

Groot and bear

That is NOT a dog!

Come and take a look! He was jumping from window to window. Mike said “Bear”…I said, “yeah, right”, I’m not getting up before sunrise…”NO REALLY! BEAR!!!” that did get me up! Holy guacamole….a bear indeed.

 

He was feasting on the sunflower seeds in the “squirrel” but not bear proof bird feeder. I sent the feeder manufacturer a shot as well, they had a chuckle and hoped my feeder survived, it did! We watched him for 15 minutes as he picked the seeds out of the feeder, finally shaking them out before licking them up off of the ground. He eventually wandered off to the other cottages along the lake, I’m sure he has his routine:)

2017-06-26 083AS

I think I will sit and eat

Another day at Otty Lake, life is an adventure isn’t it! So wonderful to be able to experience nature this close and marvel at the wonder of it.

So until next week amigos. We’re off to do some fishing from the canoe, perfect day. I’ll see if I can contain myself bearly 🙂  I’ll need to get my bearings, oops, after we bearicade the door, or yes, these puns are unbearable;)

P6250016AS

Wonderful day

 

Recovering his Mojo, living life with Groot

Maybe we both needed some time to see, and appreciate the good things in life. The fire in Baja threw me for a loop, realizing there are incredibly stupid jerks, but also really amazing people out there and we sometimes tend to fixate on the negative when we are tired and overwhelmed.

Same with Groot. While I was repairing damage in Baja, Groot got stung by a bumblebee, in the bum…poor monkey. It entailed a trip to the vet, having his temperature taken for the first time, yes, that elicited a hiss, wouldn’t you? Don’t think the vet warmed up that rectal thermometer;)

He went from being an extremely happy, wildly ambitious, tree climbing, chipmunk chasing teenage cat to a quivering recluse, hiding and running away at the simple sound of a buzzing fly. It was heart aching to see the trauma one nasty bite did…but time, the greatest healer of all is coming through for both us. It’s taken a few chipmunk chases and spending hours on the docked pontoon boat, talk about a weird cat, how is it safe out on the pontoon boat and not by the trailer(??)…hahaha…guess that is our boy, and many days of watching Mike fish, trying to show Mike how to fish ( the cat that is, he seems to think he knows better) to slowly get his confidence back. Meanwhile the 17-year-old Burmese Beezil has decided he needs to show Groot it is safe and has taken to wanting to go out several times a day to gallop about and then eat some nice grass, to puke up later, seems I need a hobby, cleaning up cat puke was not one on my list, but..sigh…where are those paper towels?

Has Groot recovered his mojo? Not completely, I can’t help but think he will be a more cautious cat for his experience, he was actually a bit of a sullen spoiled teenager before the bite, he was getting mighty big for his orange and white tabby pants, maybe mother nature took the wind out of his sails for a reason…it can be a big bad world out there, I think I hear a Cat Stevens song coming to mind…”oh baby baby it’s a wild world”:)

Saludos amigos and stay tuned, I think I may have found my mojo as well:)

 

 

Life lessons

I’m not a trusting person, I may have been as a child I think, gregarious, outgoing. It took a lot of years to slowly form my opinions on who could and couldn’t be trusted. My mother never had that filter it seems. We were her filters for years as children and later as teenagers. In 1970 she packed my brother, sister and I into the back of the baby-puke yellow Volvo station wagon and took us on an adventure. We took the ferry to Vancouver Island and then to Washington, she was ever looking over her shoulder, paranoid, someone was following us, coming after us, we eventually landed in a back country town in Idaho, they had goats, they were nice people but we never quite got what was going on. Mom stopped taking her meds and seems she thought some bad crap was going down, when in reality, it was all in her head, turns out she was molested as a child and was somehow reliving it through her kids, it was a bad time and it started our roller coaster ride though life with her. My poor Dad, she turned his world upside down, I’m glad he moved on and found happiness later with a wonderful woman. He never got to know his kids, sadly, that was stolen from both of us, it was her world, and as kids, we just thought it was normal to follow. I don’t follow much of anyone anymore…ever:)

Family thinks I should write a book, sailing around the world for the years and years we did, adventures, misadventures, we sometimes reminisce we are lucky to be alive. The amazing locations we were raised in, the lack of formal education, not thinking that was a bad thing but it still remains such a huge undertaking…all those emotions to deal with, not sure I want to open that can of worms, ever, but every now and then, I think about it.

Looking back at the fire at our ranch in Baja and the moron man baby that started it has had me musing on the why’s and the current political situation in the US. Also the many morons we encountered as kids on boats, sailing, trying to sail, or getting pulled off of reefs because they were just plain stupid, inexperienced or all of the above. Humans…I have a hard time containing my disdain for them at times. Sheeple, going about in their herd like world. They terrify me, no really, they do. I don’t do crowds.

I’m not very PC. I don’t mean to offend but humans really can be stupid, morons at the best of times many of them, not all, but many.

Insurance claim came in for the ranch, will cover a very small portion of the fire damage, but there are those deductibles, you know insurance companies…not covered, flights down there and back, gas, food, labour, mine and our wonderful friends…and no word from man-baby moron that started the fire and ran away, all of this, hiding behind the skirts of a lawyer that asked I return his computer, they would be happy to pay the postage, just not all the damages he caused? Computer is long gone, shouldn’t have left the house open for three days should you have? another case of more stupidity, will it ever end? I think not. If I could bring myself to watch the news, tweets and what ever I only seem to see more man-babies and their female equals…is this really the face of America? Could this become the face of Canada? Such a sad sad place, are they really all now happy with their reality TV president, it seems so. I guess I was not really wrong, for the masses, glued to their glass teats.

I’m glad I have friends, that every day remind me, we are not all alike, television zombies. Many I think, can feel, are capable of compassion for their fellow human beings and would do the right thing regardless with no strings attached.. My friends I’d like to think care not about colour, race, creed or religion but I’m sure I’m wrong, in there, are the climate change deniers, the homophobes, the racists….it saddens me. To live on a planet with so much hate, when there is so much beauty there….

2017-06-08 007AS