Saturday, May 28, 2011

Men in Skirts

We woke up to the caterwaul of bagpipes being tuned up. What an alarm clock! The picture below shoes the view out of our back window at 7:45 – and there were a few more just out of sight. Oh my! Carm thinks that hell might have bagpipes – one day is fine but I can imagine that at the end of several days one might just go mad. Why don’t they have more than one song?


By 10:30 am I could see the buses carrying the bands start to show up – let’s add some drums to the racket! (I’ll post a separate post with videos of the bands – the massed bands did an excellent version of Amazing Grace – it brought a tear or two to my eyes).


In the early afternoon a woman knocked on the door to see if she and her girls could camp-out under the front of our camper. The whole campground is a muddy mess and she was looking for somewhere high and dry (see Kabira’s legs below – Spike was even worse as the mud hit his belly) . Of course we said yes… and it had the added benefit of keeping the bagpipes from practicing directly under our camper! There was a band practicing not too far away, maybe about 100 feet – all afternoon. I had bagpipes in my head until late into the night – it’s a sound that really sticks in your head after hearing it all day.



I’m not complaining though – the whole thing is a bit fun and certainly makes the rally even more memorable. It’s really so awful that it is funny :-)

In my own family history, on the Norwegian side, a distant ancestor was awarded a large piece of land by the king of the day – I think it was in the early 1600’s but might have been even earlier than that – it seems that he had killed a Scottish dog so that the Norwegians could ambush the Scots who were invading them. Our family name comes from the name of the farm (which still exists) in Norway.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Cold, Rainy and Muddy

It rained torrents last night – who could sleep with the rain pounding down and trains rumbling right past the door (not really, but it seemed like it). And today it is cold and rainy – the forecasted high is 14C – with more rain…


We had a nice walk last night and got reacquainted with a few people and met some new ones. Hopefully there are some weather breaks where we can get out and meet a few new people.

As a side note – in the morning some trucks parked right out of the back of our camper with the materials to make a stage – oh boy! It looks like the dancing (with its attendant piper) will be even closer this year.


It rained on and off all day – the roads were mucky, making every outing with the dogs a disaster. We did head off to Canadian Tire in the afternoon and came across a paved walking path – unfortunately it started pouring while we were out. It’s a good thing we get along so well as we are really stuck in the camper together today – togetherness :-)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Onward to the Rally

On this prodigious day we loaded up the trailer again and headed off to Kingston – the site of the 2011 Titanium Rally. What fun we are expecting, with 32 trailers expected there will be lots of new people to meet, and perhaps some old acquaintances to renew friendships with.  Thank you to Merriam Webster for today’s word of the day – prodigious (pruh-DIJ-us adjective - 1: resembling or befitting a prodigy : strange, unusual ; 2: exciting amazement or wonder ; 3: extraordinary in bulk, quantity, or degree : enormous). My use of the word isn’t exactly correct as we aren’t experiencing exciting amazement or wonder, but we are excited to head further afield.



Rideau Acres, the site of the rally, is approximately a 2 hour drive away. It is supposed to rain on and off today, but maybe the weather will hold off until we are at least set up and maybe even till we’ve given the dogs a good walk (let’s keep our fingers crossed!).

I’ve talked about the 2009 rally a few times in my blog. It is the one that had the Celtic Festival at the same time (right next to our campsite I might add) – I think I even posted a video on YouTube. Guess what – I did a bit of sleuthing online and found out that the festival will be on again this next weekend… while we are there… in the same campsite. I think it will be good fun! But maybe I’ll pack some cotton wool…


Pleasures? Getting all packed and ready to go – the only thing I forgot was dubbin for my boots – especially important with all the rain forecast ; lilacs – yes, I brought a bouquet from the garden. They smell so lovely in the camper. ; meeting new people ; being snug in the camper when it turned cold.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Elm named Mel

Today's word of the day is samara (SAM-uh-ruh noun : a dry indehiscent usually one-seeded winged fruit (as of an ash or elm tree)). We have an elm seedling growing in the flower bed. I'm not sure where the samara has come from as we have no elms around that I can see. However there must be one somewhere as there were a few small ones growing along the fence line when we built the house. Of course, since they are elms, they only lived about 12-14 years before they gave into to whatever it is that kills them. We are wondering what to do with the seedling in the flower bed (let's call him Mel) but one thing for sure, Mel goes somewhere we don't mind loosing a tree in a few years - just when he gets big enough to provide shade and nesting sites.

20110524_garden_001One of the dead elms along the fence is between the house and the pond. Since it provides a good spot for the kingfisher to hunt for fish, as well as a favourite perch for all the other birds in the area, we haven't cut it down. Hopefully it takes another few years to finish rotting... The place is thick with birds right now, I need to bring in my bird identification book so that I can figure out what some of them are. We have grackles, robins, barn swallows, tree swallows, gold finches, cowbirds, Baltimore orioles, tons of various sparrows and finches, mourning doves, cardinals, a brownish red bird with a long tail, a dark grey bird with a white slash at the end of its tail, woodpeckers, kingfishers, red-wing blackbirds (tons of theses)...

We went out with neighbours last night - it is always good to keep in touch (so much for the diet though - wildly broken with fries and a hamburger). The funny thing is we didn't meet them until years and years after we moved in (okay - 4 years), but when we were all out of power cause of the ice storm of 1998 (no electricity for 9 days in the dead of winter) we got together. Adversity does bring people together.

20110523_garden_005My pleasures today: lovely sunny morning ; having the house to myself for a few hours while Carm was at the golf course with his buddies ; lilacs ; making snacks for Carm’s golfing buddies – I had a loaf of Moroccan bread in the freezer, goat cheese that I mixed with lemon thyme and walnut oil, and smoked salmon from the freezer ; did I mention the lilacs? ; not the mosquitos though… they were out in droves.


20110524_spike_002Spike asleep after the camping weekend. He had actually pulled that cushion up from the seat of the sofa! All the dogs were exhausted today.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Camping Season has Started

Hurrah! Camping season has officially started for us :-)

After a few days of getting the trailer re-outfitted with all our stuff we headed out early afternoon for our first camp of the year - yippee! The campground is mostly underwater, but thankfully our site is high and dry. Walking the dogs is a bit of a challenge though - rubber boots required, especially after Saturday morning's heavy rain. It is nice to be out though :-) We broke our diet and had our customary post-set-up beer (with a diet snack), and then we further strayed with a nice steak dinner and bubbles. Life is good. Our plan was to walk off all these transgressions, but we shall see - the muddy roads are a deterrent.

excellent bottle of bubbles - we'll look for it
to try it again

muddy roads

Camping is a funny thing... you pack your stuff into a box on wheels that has the square footage of one small room in our house and drive, pulling the now seemingly giant box behind you... to arrive at a little lot, smaller than our driveway... where we now spend the weekend in close proximity to our neighbors... many of whom won't even speak to us cause we don't have kids, or have a different kind of camper, or maybe even speak a different language. There are barking dogs (not ours), screaming kids, yelling parents, loud trucks, even louder speedboats, a train rumbling not too far away with it's whistle blowing ... AHHHH how relaxing. And you want to know what the funny thing is - IT IS RELAXING! Even without the requisite cold alcoholic beverage! How strange.

Saturday turned sunny and was actually a beautiful day - nice enough to get the awning down and spend some time outside. Grace even got outside for several hours. We braved the muddy roads, which actually were drying up a bit, and got in about 2 hours of walking - maybe it will be a net zero weekend after all. We even stuck to our soup and salad for lunch, and supper was totally within diet guidelines as well (okay, except for the 1/2 bottle of red wine!). The dogs have settled in and are more relaxed (except when there is a squirrel!), perhaps aided by those 2 hours of walking ;-)

squirrel alert!

Sunday dawned cloudy and cool, perfect for a little walk, but the number of mosquitos precluded sitting outside, unless we doused ourselves with large quantities of spray - certainly Grace couldn't go out. After we had a shower and some lunch we all piled into the truck (Grace included) and went for a drive. We ended up running (not literally) into some friends of my parents and got a tour of their new house. Lovely place in a nice neighborhood in a cute little town.

we still ate a lot of vegetables

a laker coming through the locks
Iroquois has a little golf course, an air strip and finally locks for the big lakers that traverse the Great Lakes - all along the waterfront. Nice walking area. We looked at the outside and backyard of a house for sale (it had a view of the golf course) and spent the evening wondering what it would be like to live there. As soon as we were back home on Monday we realized that we really don't want to leave here - it is just too beautiful. And spacious - inside and out.

Today we got back home safe and sound. And the good news - down a pound from departure day :-) I guess all that walking paid off :-)


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Almost Everyone's Hair

Poodles and people got hair cuts today - we are all spiffy to start the camping season :-) We go to a cute little barber shop in the village. It's a first come first serve sort of place and is the hot spot of gossip for the area. The hair dressers are very congenial, and it's cheap to boot ($15.00 for a hair cut). I wish there was such a place to drop the dogs for their hair cuts!

Today's word of the day is saguaro (suh-WAHR-uh noun - : a tall columnar usually sparsely-branched cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) of dry areas of the southwestern United States and Mexico that bears white flowers and a scaly reddish edible fruit and that may attain a height of up to 50 feet (16 meters)). Cactus are such interesting plants. Did you know that southern Alberta is a desert with cactus growing there? Nothing as big as a saguaro, they are smaller, low to the ground varieties including desert rose, prickly pear and the purple ball cactus. When I was on the cattle drive across southern Alberta we had to carry pliers to pull the cactus spines out of the horses legs.

My pleasures today: sleeping in - good except then I got a late start on clipping the dogs ; finishing up the poodle cuts - they look great (bath time tomorrow) ; getting our hair done ; listening to the gossip in the barbershop.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Earth, Wind and Rain

Today's word of the day is collaborate (kuh-LAB-uh-rayt verb - 1: to work jointly with others ; 2: to cooperate with an enemy and especially an occupying force). The sun and earth have collaborated to create a dreary grey sky with drizzle and rain. All the wet weather has muddied bits around the house. Each time the dogs go outside, their return is met with towels to scrape off the mud. It is partially a side effect of cleaning out the flower beds of all their grass - I guess it was serving a purpose after all ! The rain is also keeping us inside away from more yard cleanup, one day was okay for a little break but now I'd like to get back out there! Not my favorite weather but what are you going to do about it - it would have been good afternoon to watch a movie but instead we putzed around and ended up watching golf instead.

My pleasures today: lying in bed listening to the rain - it sounded just like camping ; eating toast made from Moroccan bread that I made yesterday (whole-wheat of course) ; getting cute little sneakers for around the property - cheap too ; all the beautiful flowers at the grocery store - you can sure tell that planting weekend is drawing near ; finding one of our favorite bubbles at the liquor store (Pierre Spar rosé bubbles - yum) - pre-chilled so we brought it home to enjoy while watching the Player's championship (for those of you that don't know, that's golf, which explains the requirement for booze ;-) ; getting out of Rona without having to go through their painfully slow checkout process...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Puppy Visit

Today we had the pleasure of a visit from Dawn, (Spike's breeder), who arrived with an armload of 8 week old silver miniature poodle puppies. We had so much fun watching them play and learn about new toys - puppies at that age are so cute. It was hard saying good-bye and not tucking one under my arm to keep for myself!

At first I tried to get pictures with my camera, but it was so dark that by the time the flash went off the puppy wasn't even in the frame anymore. I tried instead with the video feature on my camera - I got some cute videos from which I was able to get some lower quality stills from.

Friday, May 13, 2011

"Mostly on you..."

Your future depends on many things,
but mostly on you.

Frank Tyger
American Editorial Cartoonist

Thursday, May 12, 2011

What a palooka...

Well, wouldn't you know it - I had my blog post all ready to go but Blogger was down (and is still down at 8:30 am), so I'm going to post it when it comes back up and try to back date it. I'm sure the problem is because they didn't do proper database design and have good documentation ;-)

I spent too much time at the computer today - I was organizing on "paper" the food essentials to load into the camper, some menu ideas, and printed a few more recipes to include in my binder. I am so addicted to my computer that I can't even contemplate doing these things without my trusty cpu. It was a beautiful sunny day, which I mostly enjoyed from the comfort (and laziness) of my desk - so much for that last bit of weeding that needed doing... and tomorrow they are calling for rain.

Today's word of the day is palooka (puh-LOO-kuh noun - 1: an inexperienced or incompetent boxer ; 2: oaf, lout). I was a palooka this morning when we were hitching the trailer to go to Steve's. I forgot to check the back tailgate to make sure the hitch cleared - luckily it did, and then we did stuff a bit out of order so I forgot to undo the satellite connection and unplug the trailer. The power cable is okay, but the satellite connector pulled out. I don't know why but my brain felt like it was wrapped in cotton wool, all fuzzy and slow. Time to dig out the checklist.

getting the camper's dry goods organized
My pleasures last night and today - trying a new recipe (Ethiopian Potatoes and Green Beans) for supper, it was a great fat-free, vegan stew - I served it with lentils but should have also had a salad ; getting the trailer backed into the laneway in one shot - this is usually a time when tempers fray and yelling happens. I dread the return from a trip... and sometimes think I don't want to go at all 'cause of it. ; sitting in the camper watching TV - it is such a cozy/homey spot :-) ; seeing that some of the tulips have blossomed ;

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Little Factoid

Yesterday's word of the day was factoid (FAK-toyd noun - 1: an invented fact believed to be true because of its appearance in print ; 2: a briefly stated and usually trivial fact). I find the definitions of this word a little confusing - I mean, if someone says this is a little factoid about such and such - do they mean it is invented or do they mean that it is a briefly stated, trivial fact. It is not the same thing at all and is in fact contradictory. Yet another oddity of the English language!

Todays word of the day is pursy (PER-see adjective - 1: having a puckered appearance ; 2: purse-proud). I have to say I've never seen this word used, and can't really think of a way to use it in my own terms. On Merriam-Webster the example is "There was a picture of a pale gent with a narrow face and a woman with dark eyes and a pursy mouth." -- From Stephen King's 1987 novel Misery. I haven't read a Stephen King novel for years - they are just too scary for me these days. Years ago I read one, I can't remember the name of it now, with a bunch of short stories. They included stories about lawn mowers coming to life, factory machinery, well, you get the picture. I have a vivid imagination that involuntarily comes up with no end of gruesome ideas - I don't need help from a book...

Here's a cute little video: Can you tell which of three dogs is the culprit?
Just look at the expressions on the faces of these dogs when they are all asked the same question at the same time.....same tone of voice. The guilty one cannot help but feel guilty while the others have no look of guilt whatsoever. They are all being asked the same question.

My pleasures yesterday and today: getting some weeding done, the garden beds are looking the best they have for years - I still have a ways to go though ; sitting on the front deck on my new chairs - a bit cool to have our lunch there yesterday, but nice enough for a cup of tea ; having Spike stick around without being tied up. Not a pleasure though - he did wander to the far end of the hay field once ... and didn't seem to hear me when I called - little brat - I had to go get him ; seeing and smelling the freshly cut, oh so green grass ; eating a guilty bowl of Kraft dinner ; seeing lilac flower buds - they still have a way to grow, but the signs are there.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Welcome to the Dandelions

We've had a busy few days - three days in a row in town either shopping or visiting family - I am ready for the next few days that are ear-marked for hanging around the house doing whatever it is that we want to do! How soon we get used to being away from the work like schedule of spending the day in town!

Mother's Day
Saturday afternoon/evening I attended my niece's wedding shower. It was quite the event and unlike any shower I've ever been to. It was in a lovely restaurant downtown, almost everyone was dressed to the nines, there was a supper, wine, music, a beautiful cake almost like a wedding cake. All the young girls were dressed up and very beautiful. It was a fancy, festive event! Unfortunately I had to leave early as I had only allocated 3 hours and Carm was waiting out front for me.

The other day the word of the day was curious (KYUR-ee-us adjective - 1a : marked by desire to investigate and learn b : marked by inquisitive interest in others' concerns : nosy ; 2: exciting attention as strange, novel, or unexpected : odd). On that day I was organizing the blogs that I follow into Google Reader. It is a curious mix of animal, RV, and crafting blogs - one wonders at the diversity. I searched around for more dog blogs, specifically poodle ones but didn't find much - I had hoped to get my puppy fix that way.

Today's word of the day is venal (VEE-nul adjective 1: capable of being bought or obtained for money or other valuable consideration; especially : open to corrupt influence and especially bribery ; 2: originating in, characterized by, or associated with corrupt bribery). A private company is trying to make way for a new dump, which on first glance seems okay, after all the garbage has to go somewhere. The troubling part though is that it is for garbage for another township/city and will include industrial waste.

The site is an old brick quarry which is very close to the water table. There is concern that our water supply will be contaminated. The additional trucks on the road will turn a sleepy back road into a busy thoroughfare - 100 trucks per day are expected. The people who purchased properties on this quite road are worried that both their quality of life and property values will be effected.

Years ago I leased a horse down at that end of the township and we often rode along this route - there is no way I'd ride along a road that had that many large trucks traveling at high speeds. And then there's the question of what all this traffic will do to the roads - they are already at the lower end of quality. It is my fervent hope that our councilors will see it the same as the "Dump the Dump" committee.

My pleasures today: seeing the first dandelions - so yellow and cheery ; green day hurray! ; beautiful day outside - warm and sunny ; setting up my new table and chairs on the front deck - now I have a nice place to eat lunch on a hot day, or eat supper on a cooler one ; watching the dogs run to their crates when I give the "go" signal. They wait in the kitchen as I prepare their meal (usually raw meat and bone), then I sometimes ask them to sit or maybe I'll just send them on their way with "on your mark, get set, GO" - they start running on the "mark" now, mostly though I just say "GO" and away then run at top speed into their crates. It's funny to see, they are so excited about their meal - it always makes me smile.

Carm used the pressure washer on Grace's cage

Looking out of the window after a long day outside

Friday, May 6, 2011


Today's word of the day is gesundheit (guh-ZOONT-hyte interjection). With all the pollen in the air, including the pollinating branches that I brought into the house there has been a lot of gesundheit and bless you's at our house. I should probably take the branches back outside but they bring a feeling of spring into the house. We have several peonies poking their heads through the soil so maybe in a few weeks I'll replace the branches with lovely, lush peony blossoms.

My pleasures today: sunshine in the morning ; running a lap on the treadmill ; seeing the trees in just a tiny bit more leaf - green day is pretty late this year though ; pretty flowering plants at the nursery ; having a bowl of Pho for lunch - one of my favorite diet cheats - it's super tasty and doesn't set me back (doesn't move me forward either though) ;

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

An Ordeal or an Adventure?

The only difference between an ordeal
and an adventure is your attitude!

Author Unknown

Today's word of the day is wane (WAYN verb 1: to decrease in size, extent, or degree ; 2: to fall gradually from power, prosperity, or influence). I wonder if my interest in camping and getting away from here is going to wane as we get the property all fixed up. Part of the allure of camping was getting away from the reminders of work and the constant demands of our property. Now that we have the time to do things at our own pace the upkeep does not seem so onerous. Our property is lovely in the summer with open pastures, shady nooks, pool and big back deck. I just need to park the camper in a more congenial spot so that we can "driveway" camp when we want a little get away. One thing missing from this at-home scenario though is all the great walking we get at the campgrounds. We just don't have that at our doorstep here, plus there are other distractions that tempt us away from getting that walking done. No matter though, we've got lots of camping already booked for the summer :-)

My pleasures today: waking up without a sick stomach - after yesterday's lunch in the city I was wickedly sick for a few hours - I'm thinking now that I might have a sensitivity to squid, as I believe the same thing has happened when I've eaten squid before - how strange ; seeing my mom & dad after their long trip.

I got two youtube videos in emails today, both worth sharing. One has a soundtrack by Leonard Cohen and a sweet theme, the other is a talking dog - it's pretty funny and if you need a smile (and who doesn't) I recommend both.

Here's the hug campaign video:

And here's the funny dog one:


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Lunch with old co-workers

Today I had lunch with the old work crew. I was dreading it to a certain extent - the reminder of work... but then I reminded myself that I'm free of all that so I was able to have a good time and enjoy everyone's company (and in fact got in a few ha ha moments). I was surprised with how little work talk there actually was - what with the election results, Osama's death, and other worldly topics there was lots to talk about. It was great seeing them all again. What a great group of people they are.

Today's word of the day is odious (OH-dee-us adjective - : arousing or deserving hatred or repugnance : hateful). This is a fitting word as I headed into the dentist this morning. Always a fun visit, but at least this time it was just for a cleaning and nothing major. Last year around this time I developed a WICKED toothache which turned out to be an infection from a cracked molar. I spent two nights at the hospital as the swelling was so bad they worried that it might cut off my airway. It was an odious visit full of long times sitting around.

They were short of beds so I had to say in the emergency ward, where of course they were also short of beds. I lucked into an observation room overnight but the rest of the time was spent sitting in the emergency waiting room. Thank goodness my angel of a mother came and sat with me throughout the day - I would have been lost without my mommy. There were one other observation room in the little hallway, often occupied by people that needed constant supervision (i.e. a guard). One of the nights there was a woman in the room next door that was deemed a danger to herself and others. The poor security guard had a devil of a time keeping her in her room. Every now and again she would make a break for it and he'd have to usher her back to her room. At one point I heard him say "PLEASE put your nightgown back on...". I felt for both of them, but it did make for a long night.

The other night there was a cot outside my door with a drunk they had picked up off the streets. There was a security guard with him also. As the guy became more and more sober he made more and more of a fuss. He got rather loud at points, so another long night. Needless to say I was exhausted by the time I got home (oh how good my own bed felt).

In the end, after the antibiotics had done their job to kill infection I had to have the offending tooth removed. You might be able to guess that this was no great hell either. The doctor had to give me 3 injections to get even a hint of freezing. It was horrible - those needles are wicked and I felt each one. In the end he tried without the freezing. He got the tooth out and it hurt, but not nearly as much as the toothache had.

My pleasures today: waking up to the alarm clock - okay that's not really a pleasure but I love how the dogs just spring up the instant the radio comes on. How can they wake up so fast?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Beltane at the Rally

Last night we had friends - Cathey and Jim (not a couple) over for supper. They didn't complain about the diet fare although we did have some chicken. The chicken was marinated with some garlic, lemon zest and juice, dash of sesame oil, and a bit of light soya sauce. Carm did a fabulous job of bbqing - it turned out moist and ever so tasty. We've done a pretty good job of getting together with friends we haven't seen much of over the last several years. For April we managed to get someone over for supper at least once a week. I love retirement. Plus it keeps the house clean ;-)

It was a beautiful day today so we got out for another few hours of cleanup outside. The grass is emerald green and the trees are starting to bud. "Green day" might be a bit late this year though.

Kabira enjoying the sun

Spike sleepy and bored - he is tied to the house to keep
him from sniffing his way away from the house

Bella getting the mud washed off her legs - she loves it
outside and doesn't wander off but does get herself into
mud puddles in her search for chippies

Today's word of the day is Beltane (BEL-tayn noun - : the Celtic May Day festival). This reminds me of the Celtic festival that was in Kingston at the Titanium Rally a few years back. Friday afternoon people started brining in loads of lumber to build stages with. They were alarmingly close to the camper (within 50') but we didn't give it too much thought until early Saturday morning. We were awaken by the lovely musical notes of bagpipes tuning and warming up. Oh what pleasure to start the morning with such delightful music. The festival continued throughout the day with the typical little girls dancing (to bagpipe music of course), music competitions (bagpipes and drums), and then the finale was the band competition. The day was not a quiet one, but was actually kind of fun and certainly made the rally more memorable for us.

That's our camper in the background

band competition

Even Grace came out to enjoy the band competition.
The dogs weren't too sure at first and then got used to the pipes and drums

My pleasures the last few days: again with the lemon vinegar dusting clothes - I just love using these home made cleaning clothes (I must remember to post the "recipe" ; last night visiting with some friends - retirement has been great for getting back in touch with friends ; today getting more brush cleaned up - it looks so tidy ; looking for a serving tray in the pantry and seeing the racks that I got (from Dollarama!), holding everything so neat and tidy ; eating a snack of San Pellagrino water with lemon, smoked salmon and brown rice crackers, and a bit of cucumber - especially good after several hours working outside, and even better eaten outside on the front deck - we are doing stuff OUTSIDE - yeah!

not bad for $4.00! So much better than the jungle that was.