Sunday, June 30, 2019

Strawberry Jam

It's strawberry season! Terry loves fresh strawberries and strawberry jam.

I haven't made jam in years - but this year decided to do it again...

I made one batch using the "freezer strawberry" method - but I found it separated into three layers: fruit on top, jelly in the middle, and a small layer of sugar at the bottom...

Never mind! Terry said. I can mix it up when I eat it...

I made a second batch using a pectin that requires less sugar and decided to cook it - though I plan to store it in the freezer as well.

Both recipes are similar - berries need to be crushed for both kinds of jam.

The main difference is that the freezer jam just sits for 24 hours once the sugar and pectin are added. The cooked version needs to come to a boil, boil for a minute - then be stirred for 5.

The cooked method isn't much harder. I think there was a slight separation of fruit and jelly in the jars, but, with the cooking, the sugar should all be dissolved in the juice.

I didn't put a layer of melted wax on the cooked jam, like my mother used to do, because I plan to store it in the freezer, not on a basement shelf.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Heritage Flower Garden in Spring

A few weeks ago, Terry and I visited the Maplelawn Garden, next to the historic Maplelawn Manor in Ottawa.

The garden has been tended by volunteers since 1994...

Some were working when we arrived.

Tulip season was coming to an end.

I wanted to see what other plants plants do well in spring in our climate.

I have some of these plants in my own garden...

I was curious to see what plants look good next to them.

I recognize these from my neighbor Mary's garden...

Do I have room for any more flowers? I wonder, as I admire some that I don't have...

Not unless we make paths and get rid of our lawn!

Friday, June 28, 2019

Kingston, Ontario

On our way home from Toronto,we enjoy stopping in Kingston, on the St. Lawrence River.

It's two-thirds of the way home.

A perfect place for us to get out of the car and take a break...

It would be nice to stop and explore - but sometimes we just want to get back!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Guelph Basketball

On a recent visit to Guelph, we attended a local basketball game...

The teams were professional, providing summer work - and travel - for university-age basketball students.

The league has only six teams - three from Eastern Canada, three from the West.

The Guelph team is called the Night Hawks.

With memories of a Toronto Raptors NBA championship fresh in our minds, we watched basketball with renewed interest.

The venue was family friendly: There was a play area with treats for kids.

It wasn't NBA basketball - but it was still a lot of fun!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

One Year Later...

A year ago today, I had laparoscopic surgery for a hysterectomy. Later, I returned to the same hospital for an appointment at the cancer center.

My hysterectomy had shown cancer in one polyp - about a centimeter in size.

The good news was that the cancer hadn't spread and the polyp was removed. But because it was cancerous, I need to be monitored every six months for several years.

(At times like this, I'm glad to be living in a city with excellent hospitals... I won't have far to drive.)

On another note, it was interesting for me to see that every doctor who treated me for this problem was a woman. Even the two med students assisting the female surgeon were young women... That wouldn't have been the case a few years back.

And everyone who helped me - male or female - in any capacity, was extremely, extremely kind.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

St. Lawrence River High at Boldt Castle

In response to yesterday's blog post on the St. Lawrence River running higher than usual this spring, my neighbor Mary sent me some pictures she took last week on a St. Lawrence River cruise. 

Her cruise stopped at Boldt Castle - a European-style castle that a wealthy New York hotel owner started to build for his wife in 1900. 

Located on an island located in the American side of the river, the castle was never finished. Construction was abandoned in 1904 when George Boldt's wife died.

In recent years, construction of the castle has resumed, with the aim of completing it - a massive task.

Terry and I have visited the beautiful place several times - but not recently. 

My neighbor Mary and her husband were there last week, and these are her comments and photos:

It has been about three years since our last visit to Boldt Castle and we wanted to see the progress in the renovations. 

When we got off our tour boat we were surprised to see all new docking.  Then, we realized why.  The original dock, which is still there under the water, had a 12 inch platform of new docking on top of it.  

The photo of the old dock  is in the area of the ticket entrance to the castle.  

As the tour boat was approaching the island we did notice that the powerhouse for the castle was now inaccessible due to high water.  

The two other photos are from the west side of the castle. 

Thanks, Mary...

I wonder how often flooding like this occurs.

Monday, June 24, 2019

St. Lawrence River STILL Running High!

A week ago, Terry and I were returning from Father's Day weekend in Toronto.

We decided to take the back road by the river...

It's so much more interesting!

We were surprised to see that the St. Lawrence River was still running high.

At my favorite island home, an island so close to the mainland that a footbridge leads from one to the other, the foot bridge was still partly under water, as it had been a few weeks ago.

If polar ice caps are melting, will water levels around the world be permanently higher now?

I guess only time will tell...

Sunday, June 23, 2019

You're More Important Than You Think...

I go to a gym several times a week, where I spend 10 minutes doing exercises on resistance machines - to stay strong. Following this, I reward myself with a 7 minute hydro-massage on yet another machine!

It sounds simple - and it is.

But it does the trick... And I don't get the back aches I used to get before I started exercising.

When I walk into the gym, there is a sign on the wall opposite the entrance.

I often read bits of it - and I'm struck by the truth of the thought that..."our planet wouldn't be the same without you."

It sounds a little trite, but it isn't!

Most of us don't think we're all that important... Every day we cross paths with dozens, if not hundreds, of strangers we don't know. We probably don't consider them to be all that important... They're just ordinary people... like us...

I'm glad people are all different, Terry often comments. I'm glad someone can do all the jobs that I can't do...

I agree! I'm thankful for pilots who have learned to fly planes that take me places I couldn't go otherwise.

I'm thankful for people who aren't afraid to walk on ice - like the young man in Montreal, who stopped his car and came to my aid when, in freezing rain, I slipped and fell. He then retrieved my suitcase, which had slid away on the ice. I'm not sure how I'd have got it without his help.

I'm thankful for all the people who stock shelves in grocery stores - often at night - so that in the morning, I can quickly find and buy the food I need.

I'm thankful for the truck drivers who haul gas to the gas pumps I use...

I'm thankful for the millions of parents, grandparents, teachers and mentors who are helping raise the next generation of caring citizens...

For the gardeners that create beautiful public spaces...

The list could go on and on!

The point is that we all play an important role in our world and in the lives of those we meet.

And I'm thankful for the purple poster on the wall of my gym - that reminds me to be thankful for everyone I come in contact with every day!

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Sunny Saturday Visit to TWO Farmers Markets!

One recent Saturday, Terry and I headed to the Carp Farmers Market.

Our shopping list included maple syrup and baked goods...

I noticed a vendor's stall with crocheted curtains similar to some that I have at home.

So pretty... Maybe I need to put mine up somewhere...

Then - since the weather was too nice for us to simply head home again - we continued on to Almonte, where they also have a farmers market...

I noticed one vendor's stall there with antique quilts as table cloths...

Another great crafty idea!

A man riding a bicycle with a seat in front caught my eye...

Was he giving rides?!

He drove off before we could ask him!

We stopped at a fund-raising barbecue on main street for an impromptu lunch...

Took a stroll along the river...

Then headed to Baker Bob's so that Terry could buy a small carrot cake...

Then home again! A perfect day!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Our Library Lends Musical Instruments...

Whenever I go to our public library to pick up a book...

I stand at this display... and wonder if I should sometime borrow a musical instrument...

I've borrowed movies, CD's and DVD's as well as books...

Why not a musical instrument?!

They look so inviting!

I have two ukuleles at home...

I think a mandolin or a banjo would be difficult to learn on my own.

But I've always been curious about bongo drums!

I think that borrowing instruments - for free - at a public library is a wonderful idea!

Thursday, June 20, 2019


Heading into Toronto - or home again after spending a few days there...

... from time to time, we find ourselves driving 40 to 60 kilometers per hour...

 we inch along one of the busiest highways in North America!

We love being in Toronto - but we're always happy when we leave the heavy traffic behind!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Memory - of London, England

A window display here in Ottawa brought back memories of a trip my daughter and I took a few years ago. We spent two weeks in England, one week at a course in Canterbury, the second, mostly shopping in London.

The display features a London subway sign. I don't remember the stop, but I do remember wandering the streets of the neighborhood with my daughter, hunting for a special brush that would smooth down mohair fabric.

We went into one brush shop... (Yes, London has special shops for brushes!) It turned out that they didn't have the brush she was looking for, but they referred her to a shop that would certainly carry it...

The shop was on "German" Street, the clerk explained... and wrote down the address.

But he spelled the street J-E-R-M-Y-N.

"That guy must have dyslexia," I whispered to my daughter after we left the shop. "He had no idea how German is spelled!"

But when we got to the street... I was the one who was wrong! That's exactly how that street name is spelled in London!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

What could it be?!

I was browsing in a gift shop when I saw a display of these little guys, in various colors... (To get a sense of size, he's perched on the edge of my laptop.)

What could it be?

A cute ornament made of rubber...?

Propped on the edge of a bowl of cherry tomatoes, he looks like he's diving in!

When I was told that they're kitchen tools meant to prop lids open, I just had to have one!

I don't really need one... (I've been propping lids open all these years without one...)

But they're so cute!

Maybe I should have bought a few more as gifts!

Monday, June 17, 2019

Family birthday!

Today is our daughter's birthday!

I recently found a souvenir from the year our daughter turned seven.

This photo was taken at her birthday party...

A few months later, she found an old notebook and started a diary...

Apart from the title page, she only made one entry: a description of herself:

I love to danse and I also like to sing. I wish that I had a biger room. Some day I want to be an actrice because I like to have fun and I think acting is very, very fun.

(The French she was learning in school is reflected her spelling of "danse" and "actrice.")

I hope the year ahead is "very, very fun," too!!