Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Planning a Spring Cruise

A few weeks ago in Westport, Ontario, Terry and I met a couple on a 5-day cruise up the Rideau Canal from Kingston to Ottawa. The boat had landed briefly, allowing passengers to explore the town.

I was intrigued: Sailing up the canal is something I've long wanted to do!

After hearing their glowing report, I phoned for more information... A brochure and DVD arrived...

It didn't take long for me to decide: Even if Terry has no interest in a 5-day riverboat ride up the Rideau Canal, I can do it alone - next spring. Fortunately they have a few single rooms.

I'm already looking forward to this spring adventure!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Walking Schedule

Our Ontario Health Plan doesn't only pay for all our medical bills - it focuses on prevention...

In my ongoing struggle to keep my blood sugar under control, I've been I've been referred to a Diabetes Clinic by my family doctor. Last week I met with an exercise therapist... who gave me a walking schedule!

Fortunately I've always enjoyed walking...

(Now - someone will be watching!!)

Monday, September 28, 2015

New Animal Neighbor

Numerous wild animals roam free in our neighborhood... Fortunately they're all relatively small: black squirrels, greyish-brown squirrels, skunks, raccoons, rabbits... Occasionally, even ducks.

About a year ago some tinier red squirrels - a new breed - showed up in our yard... Occasionally I see them, but so far they've been too fast for my camera to catch...

Then this year, I saw our first chipmunk! He was on the deck nibbling on a seed pod from one of the flowers.

He actually sat there long enough for me to take a few pictures.

Then he turned - and as I tried to take another... he disappeared!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

New Bedtime Reading

I enjoy reading short reflections before going to bed... It's a peaceful way to fall asleep.

My most recent bedtime reading is an out-of-print book entitled A Rose Will Grow Anywhere: Renewing Your Confidence That God Works All Things Together For Good. It's one of the last books written by David A Redding, a Presbyterian minister whose book on prayer, Before You Call, I Will Answer, is one of my all-time favorites.

In this book, which could only be written after a long life, David Redding looks back on some of his experiences - amazed at how God's grace has appeared in the most unlikely places.

I'm enjoying it so much that I've ordered two more of his out-of-print books!

This one has already arrived... (It's a book of prayers.)

(Glad I've been able to find them online!)

Saturday, September 26, 2015

September Breakfast

It's harvest time in Ontario...

My favorite breakfast these days is cottage cheese topped with a mound of fresh fruit - in this case, a peach and a pear.

It's a wonderful season for eating locally grown produce! So fresh! So delicious!

(I know someone in the city who has a pear tree - and other fruit trees - but I assume this fruit came from Southern Ontario's Niagara region.)

Friday, September 25, 2015

Rideau Canal Cruise?

For years, I've thought about taking a local river cruise - especially one that goes down the Rideau Canal. I'd love to experience a trip from Ottawa to Kingston (or vice versa), seeing the countryside from the water and going through all the canal locks.

Last week, while in Westport, we saw a boat that does Ontario waterways tours and spoke to a couple on the trip. They were loving it! The food was great - and of course, the weather was great, too. (Though you can't always count on that!)

Terry isn't enthusiastic about traveling on a boat for 5 days - so I may just sign up by myself for a five-day trip. It'll have to be next year, as this year's cruises are all booked up.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Frosh Week... at Algonquin College?!

Passing through Algonquin College one day last week, I encountered...

Play structures!


Was this part of the college Frosh Week celebrations?!

(I should have stuck around to see!)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Day Lilies, Second Blooming

I've heard that day lilies will bloom a second time, if their flowers are trimmed back in summer when they die... But I didn't really believe it could happen!

Then last week I saw these day lilies - in bloom...

... in a nearby shopping area!

Mine have simply gone to seed!!

(Lesson learned for next year!)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Deserted Gas Station

Driving to Westport last week, Terry and I took the back roads, for added adventure...

At one point, on a quiet country road near Christie Lake, we passed an old deserted garage with a single gas pump.

So much like my father's garage in Hay Lakes, Alberta, in the late 1940s! My father's garage was a little bigger, I think, and he had two pumps. But otherwise very similar.

Back in those days, we lived upstairs!

A few ramshackle buildings remained nearby...

In better condition, this stone building next to the garage, on the edge of a small river. Was it once a water-powered factory or mill...?

As sad as it was to see a place so abandoned, it brought back so many memories of the village I lived in as a child!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Westport in September

Last week Terry and I drove to the village of Westport, a 90 minute drive from Ottawa.

Though we've passed through the village before, we haven't taken the time to explore.

Popular with tourists in summer, Westport's streets are quieter now that September is here.

September 17, however, was warm and sunny!


The Cove, a popular restaurant overlooking the "pond," was busy. 

We had to wait for a table on the balcony.

We're glad we did! It was too nice to sit indoors!

As we waited, we watched bees swarming around their hive in the garden below us...

Later we wandered around town.

It was a real getaway!

(A perfect way to spend a 38th wedding anniversary!)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

All Summer Long - Colorful Waves of Flowers

I love my perennial garden. The flowers I planted years ago come back in waves of color all summer long - the color of my garden changing week by week, month by month...

In early spring, I'm delighted to see any and all flowers: the earliest are most subdued. The white Hellebores don't make much of a splash.

The low-lying tulip tarda that appear next are a little more noticeable.

I really should plant more tulips and daffodils (and try to get rid of the gout weed that almost hides them).

My favorite early spring flowers are the white anemones, tall enough to blow in the wind.

In May comes the purple of iris season...

... and the yellow euphorbia (also known as Cushion Spurge).

From mid-June to early July, the bright colors of tall summer flowers stand out in our yard: orange tiger lilies, white daisies and yellow coreopsis...

Also the purple clematis...

Then, at the end of July, come the pink and white phlox...

And the Golden-Glow Rudbeckia... (also known as Outhouse Plant).

The Rudbeckia are fading when the bright yellow brown-eyed Susans begin to bloom...

The final wave of color is the pink sedum. It blends so well with the reds of autumn - the changing colors of the leaves. In fact, I often leave their sturdy stocks until spring. I love to see pink flowers "blooming" through the snow all winter long!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Modern Hand Embroidery

I learned basic embroidery stitches when I was young. Over the years, hand embroidery seemed to be one of those dying arts.

But it may be making a comeback!

My daughter recently took a course in Sashiko, a simple Japanese embroidery, originally used in mending... Many of her friends are interested in embroidery, too.

As embroidery projects are shared online, I've been saving photos of beautiful projects in my Pinterest "scrapbook"...

They are so lovely, I'm tempted to begin to embroider again, too!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Where Have All My Asters Gone?!

I love perennial gardening because I don't have to plant flowers every year and then carefully water them... They come up by themselves and - most years - they are hardy enough to thrive without watering. Every three years or so, they need to be divided so that they won't encroach on neighboring plants... Sometimes I miss that critical step and the weaker plant disappears...

That must have happened a while back because I was recently reminded that I used to have a lot of lovely pink asters in my backyard beds in my early days of gardening...

What happened to them? They've disappeared!!

Maybe it's time to plant some again... Only this year, all I see (at my nearby Home Depot gardening center) is purple...

Thursday, September 17, 2015

How Many Updates?!

I turn my computer on almost every day. It works fine...

So it was a shock to be told recently that I needed 4212 updates!!


Then a few days later, my computer apparently needed even more! (18,930 updates?!)

There is obviously a lot about computers I don't understand! I wonder if I simply need a new computer!?!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

"Sunday Drive"

I love to leave the city for the day...

No longer are these outings simply "Sunday Drives"!

Retired, we can take them mid-week, too!

Last week we headed south to the St. Lawrence River to revisiting some small towns on the water...

I especially enjoy the architecture of the small town churches.

So much time and loving care went into building them.

They've been maintained well over the years, too.