Friday, August 31, 2012

On a Clear Day you can REALLY see forever!

10:45 - we are in Elkwater, just leaving the Horseshoe Canyon lookout. Elkwater is an unusual geographical area - it is almost a mountain, with totally different flora than the open prairies. The view was from the top of the "mountain" looking out over the flatlands below. I am having trouble coming up with words to describe the feelings from looking out at such a view. The soul soars.

The first photo is not from here (I took photos only with my camera), instead we are looking out the other way, towards the Sweetgrass Hills (see second photo). Another place to build a house - imagine waking up to a view like that every morning.

12:33 - we are on our way back to the Hat. We had a lunch at the lodge in Elkwater (thanks Leif!) and then Mom drove Leif and myself around the town and some of the campgrounds. It is a pretty spot with views everywhere. The lake is nice, with a beach at each end, there is also a paved walking trail. I think spending a week here next summer would be nice ;-)

On our drive right now I was trying to think of how to describe looking out to such far visions make me feel - bear with me while I get all maudlin. Firstly a calmness comes over me, it's as if all other things and worries evaporate leaving just a peace and a feeling of oneness with the land. I suppose that because I know I am leaving soon tears prick my eyes and my heart chokes me. I feel this sometimes on our farm, but not to the same extent, and not the same oneness. Okay, I'll stop babbling nonsense now!

9:20 pm - We are back at Graham's after having said goodbye to the Norwegians. We had spent so many hours with them over the last few days that we'd gotten to know them quite well so it was sad to say goodbye. Maybe someday we'll see some of them again? I hope so.

This afternoon Arne interviewed Uncle Olaf, capturing the conversation on videotape. Uncle Olaf remembered many stories of his time at Skjenna in Norway and growing up on the farm in Buffalo. I'm glad some of these stories are captured forever.

After the interview we rushed over to Doris & Ed's (2nd cousins?) for a lovely supper. More stories about Skjenna were shared about unrequited love as well as enduring love. I think that Arne is very much a romantic...

Echos in the Night

9:00 pm

I'm sitting by the campfire here in Echodale, next to my little cousin Annika (she's almost 3 and cute as a button), and listening to the coyotes howl. There are a bunch of them down by the river. We had a wonderful picnic - Graham put on a huge spread with t-bone steaks with all the fixings. I think there was enough food for at least double the people!

Echodale is set in the river valley. There are steep cliffs on one side and rolling hills on the other, with the river snaking through it. There is a lovely man-made lake surrounded by large trees - it is like an oasis in the desert. Down at the far, far end is our picnic area. The trail that we saw at the campground this morning passes by the campground and there is also an off leash dog area (unfenced). For a beautiful summer day it was pretty deserted (perhaps school has already started?).

My great Uncle Olaf was here for the supper - he's 92 and sharp as a tack. He recognised me right away even though he hadn't seen me since 1996. He used to farm the place we were at yesterday (he's Melvin's father).  It was interesting listening to him talking to Arne as his memories were strong and he could still converse fluently in Norwegian.

It was Graham & Barb's 38th wedding anniversary, as well a Rolf's birthday so of course we brought a cake.

I'm beat so off to bed!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gaslight Campground

3:15 pm
  After a (reasonably) good sleep, Mom and I left Graham's place to do some running around. Our first stop was the Gaslight Campground which is not too far from Graham's. It is a city run campground and actually quite lovely. Mom and I drove around identifying the good sites (#42 for us next summer) so that we'd know what to book if everything pans out for the family reunion. Many of the cousins have campers and there are a few hotels not too far away so it is a great location for the reunion. It was decided not to have it in Buffalo cause there really isn't anything there (except the really excellent hall) - people would have to go all the way back to Medicine Hat, a 1 1/2 hour drive to find hotel space. Of course those of us with campers could just park out at the farm somewhere.

The campground backs onto a bicycle trail that runs all over the place, and I think it might also be an off leash dog area. The site that I picked out has a lovely view over the hills, as well as a big tree for shade (but no low branches). The campground is nicely laid out with clean washroom/shower facilities. Some of the sites are full service, but I think for the extra money I can go to the camp showers!

After the campground we drove out to the shopping area to find a Walmart (a giant one) so I could get some closed shoes and high socks to wear later today at the picnic. Dollarama was also visited. We could have been back in Ottawa for all the differences in the shopping areas... After there we drove all the way across town (12 minutes) to the Costco. It was the same as every other Costco I've been in. The hot dog was the same too. What was different though is that Mom ran into someone that she went to highschool with! They hadn't seen each other since forever, but both recognized each other and yaked for a while. They had been living in Toronto, but when they retired moved back to the Hat.

Now I'm just having a short rest before we go out to Riverdale (?) for a picnic. Graham and Barb have already left with the camper and a load of food. It should be a fun afternoon. 

I'll probably do another quick post tonight after we get back from Riverdale!

on a clear day you can see forever

Yesterday's post talked about driving... well, today we drove, and drove and drove. Oh and then drove some more. The wide vistas, often with the river valley far in the distance, featured heavily. When this area was being formed by the glaciers they scraped large areas flat but these flat areas were further sculpted by the flow of water from the melting glaciers. This has left the land scarred by gullies and coolies. The river has cut a deep gorge (picture really really small Grand Canyon) that winds through the area. It really is spectacular. I took a million pictures so once I get home and get them all sorted I'll do another post. The photos attached to this post were taken with my tablet, not the greatest but I wanted to share just a taste with you.

Here is how my day went starting with our picnic lunch (I took a few minutes throughout the day to type a few words):

12:30 pm
  We are stopped at the old ferry location outside Empress - we are down by the river, which is flowing blue and green - so beautiful. We are having a little picnic lunch that Mom prepared this morning - sandwiches, pickles, herring and cookies.

On our way here we stopped at a little campground at the turn of the South Saskatchewan - for $10 a night you get a nice little campsite, pit toilets but no electricity. Really pretty and quiet. I think we should plan a night or two on our trip next summer. Carm will either have to get used to no TV (or we bring a little one) or we get a small generator.

Our drive has been interesting - we are passing through lovely vistas and rolling prairies - I love this land! Arne is in the back seat with me so it has been fun getting to know him. He's done a million things, and been a million places. I wish Carm were here to talk with him as I feel certain they'd have lots to talk about. Arne is a lawyer for many of the banks in Norway so knows a lot about the financial crisis and other things that Carm would find interesting. It is great to hear about his interest in restoring Skjenna and learning more about its history. Family history seems to be a hobby for Rolf & Lief as well.

My cousin Dennis is along for the ride as well - it is nice to spend some time with him as it has been years. He grew up on the family farm out here in Buffalo. He lives in Medicine Hat now and clearly misses the farm, at least the Nature side of the farm. He is always the first one to notice a bird, an antelope, or wild flower. I don't think he misses the isolation. And it is isolated out here. We've driven for a few hours, but have only passed a handful of farms. The nearest neighbor is likely miles away. The nearest grocery store, over an hour away.

One part of me could live out here, but the other part couldn't. Maybe coming out for a summer vacation will give me enough of a prairie fix. Have I mentioned how much I love it here? The views just take my breath away and prick tears in my eyes. I wish I was a poet.

BTW - too much wind for mosquitos!

1:45 - stop for coffee in Empress.  Not much in this town, it's pretty much dead. There is a little campground (with electric) that is okay (but not great). For $25 per night you get electric.

3:15 - drive past the house Dad grew up in at Bindloss. It is old and dilapidated, Mom can't ever remember anyone living here. there are a few other houses in the "town" some of which are actually still occupied (just saw a big airstream trailer!). This whole area is depressed and has been for a long long time. We didn't spend much time here, just a slow drive around town. (btw - no campground here!)

Next on the route  we took a short detour to my Aunty Rena's farm. She has long since passed away, but it is now owned by my cousin Dale. It was sad to see the place looking so old and run down - I suppose it always looked like this, but it never seemed that way to my childhood eyes - I loved visiting here, and it is perhaps at Aunty Rena's farm that my love of the land took root.

4:30ish - had a quick stop in Buffalo, a village of 1 house, 1 post office/general store, and an amazing community hall. It's brand new with a kitchen to die for. Where did the money come from to build this? Who goes? What do they use it for?

Next up - look for the sign about rattlesnakes and guess what we saw on the road on our way there! A huge rattlesnake quickly disappeared in the ditch as the vehicles backed up to take a look.

Finally, we turned down the road to Skjenna farm. Maggie, Abigail, Kathleen and James were there to meet us, Melvin was still out in the fields. They prepared a lovely meal for us after which we explored the farm (and took tons of photos).

It is 8:30 pm right now - I'm sitting in the car (away from any mosquitos) and dad is trying to get the troops rallied for the hour and a half drive back to Medicine Hat. They want to get past the "deer stretch" before dusk (which is quickly approaching).  This has been a long day and honestly I'm exhausted - my head is spinning and the quiet of the car is a welcome respite for a few moments, but it was wonderful to see so many sights.

Tomorrow - visit with Uncle Olaf, check out a few campgrounds, and a bbq at a local picnic area (note to self - get some socks and cheap runners to keep the mosquitos away from my ankles - Walmart here we come!).

11:15 pm... we made it... OMG I am so tired... oh, we had to stop I several times cause of all the deer on the road. Dangerous Driving!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Drive, drive, drive

7:08pm Alberta time
  We are driving down to Medicine Hat... it's a long way... especially after sitting so long already...

We passed the turnoff to Drumheller which was funny cause we had had such a good look at it earlier in the day. I mean, we flew RIGHT OVER it - we actually circled it, with us on the down side of the plane. We couldn't have had a better tour if we asked for it. Very cool, and there will be photos at some point - but maybe not till I get home.

I haven't cried (yet), but the prairies are lovely. They are so green this year as they've had tons of rain. It was interesting flying over all of this and seeing the land dotted with sloughs.

For those of you not familiar with this area of the country - it is not flat. Not by a long shot. And when you reach the top of one of the hills, laid out before you is another beautiful vista. I tried to capture them on my camera but it just isn't possible - I'd need a surround lens. I could sit at the top of one of these hills and look out for the rest of my days.

Later in the night
  We arrive in Medicine Hat and get to Uncle Graham & Aunt Barb's. As we come through the door we can see that the Norwegians are already here. I'm exhausted as it is already 2 hours past my regular bedtime, but greetings must be said and a quick visit done. They know so much about our family history. Arne, the owner of the original family farm has done much to restore it (many of the buildings are over 400 years old). He seems interested in knowing as much as he can about the people who called it their own before him. We feel lucky that it is in such caring hands.

Finally off to bed for a fitful sleep...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Westward Ho! or Are we There Yet?

4:30 pm (Ottawa time)
I'm at 36,000 ft (more or less), somewhere over Winnipeg, on my way to Calgary! It is a very last minute trip, initiated by an email from a man named Arnie from Norway. Arnie wrote me that he is the current owner of my great-grandfather's ancestral farm in Norway, and that he was coming to Canada to hopefully learn more of the family history and to perhaps see the farm where he settled. We are even related (although distantly)

   "The first woman of my family on our family farm Nedre Havn was Rannei Skjenna born about 1760. We are relatives for sure - but a bit remote."

Back around 1910 my great-grandfather Olaf left Norway, and his birthright, because he was in love. Apparently his family were not enamoured with Mari, my soon to be great-grandmother, so he came to Canada (via the US) and settled in Buffalo Alberta with her by his side. It is a very romantic start to a life of hardship - homesteading in the prairies was no easy feat. They started with a sod shack (yes - sod - people actually did that, not just in stories like Little House on the Prairies). Together they made a life here - and raised 7 children.

I quickly forwarded the email off to my Dad, who happened to be visiting Alberta, and he got the ball rolling, setting up visits with other relatives (my cousin Doris, my uncle Graham, my great-uncle Olaf, and of course Melvin out at the farm). I'm happy to be tagging along, getting a refresher of my roots and visiting places of my heart.

The flight was about 1/2 hour late leaving (oh hurrah more time at the airport... but really that's no big deal cause I'm travelling with my Mom so we are having a great gab fest - it's fun to travel with my Mom! Plus it gave me a chance to buy cheap watch, cause I left my watch at home, and it's just a cheap $ store watch anyway and not nearly dressy enough for travelling...), but the flight itself has been good (as soon as I wrote that we started bumping around - stop it!), and we are around 2/3 of the way to Calgary.

Lunch was a salad with tomato, asparagus, sun-dried tomato and Parmesan ; pan-seared herbed chicken breast with marinara sauce, mixed pearl pasta and seasoned green beans ; freshly baked cookies with vanilla ice cream. Yum.

Then it is a 3 hour road trip to Medicine Hat. Through the prairies, and through the landscape that is dearest to my heart. I love being able to see as far as the eye can see. I love the way the light reflects golden off the endless fields of grass. Alberta is the home of my heart. I'm sure to cry at least a bit on the drive (but don't worry, I've got waterproof mascara on!).

I've never minded flying, in fact I love the feeling of takeoff.

The engines rev - even though we are not moving yet I can feel the power gathering - then acceleration!  I'm pressed back into the seat as we race down the runway, the plane gathering momentum as we go and then... up, up up... at first it seems like we are going straight up (how must it feel for astronauts!), I can barely lean forward enough to see out the window. As we get a little higher the power lessens a bit - there's always that little pocket of fear that pops up as the sounds of the engines change... but here we go, still going higher. I can see from the buildings down below that we are flying right over Carm's sister's place where he has gone after dropping my Mom and I off at the airport. I send a little kiss his way... soon we have climbed about the clouds and it is just fluffy whiteness below...

(we are 38km from Minnedosa - wherever that is! Oh, now we are 47km from Virden. I can feel that the plane is starting a slight descent, even though we are still 900km away (all this info from the Air Canada in board whichamacallit screen. Oh technology, isn't it great! But still no wifi on planes - that would be awesome! Then I'd be able to use google maps to see what's below me.)

If I could make one complaint about the trip - my window isn't totally conveniently placed - I have to sit forward in my seat to see the patchwork below me. I love looking out the window!

5:44 pm and we still aren't there. I'm starting to get restless... and I have to use the restroom but my Mom is asleep next to me... and we are crammed like sardines into a tin can... oh an update - 369 miles to our destination...


We are here! The plane made a great circle over Drumheller - on our side so the view was great - I even saw some rv's in the camping spots! I won't talk about the bumpy approach - we were sure tossed around!

Now for the car trip to Medicine Hat!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Lady in Red

This past Saturday we attended Carm’s nephew’s wedding. I love weddings! Standing in the church, with Carm close at my side, perhaps with our fingers intertwined, and watching two people so much in love take their vows with each other is a blessed reminder of our day 23 years ago.

Right away I want to say sorry for not getting any pictures of the bride and groom. I kind of gave up as I couldn’t get any shots without other people stepping in my way so I just figured I’d enjoy the sights sure that others were capturing them.

The morning started with us picking up Carm’s mom and his aunt & uncle and driving to Maria’s house (mother of the groom). She looked radiant! Jack (father of the groom) was bustling around the house making sure all the guests were well looked after. Paul (brother of the groom) was decked out in his suit with red accents. And Rocky – he looked rather calm and sure of himself. He knew that he knew what he was doing. Lots of pictures, sandwiches, and creamy treats later we all piled into our cars to drive to the church.

The service was sweetly simple, with familiar verses of love and devotion. This is one of my favourites.

Second Reading 2 of St Paul to the Corinthians 12:31- 13:8

A reading from the first letter of St Paul to the Corinthians 12:31- 13:8
If I am without love, it will do me no good whatever.

Be ambitious for the higher gifts. And I am going to show you a way that is better than any of them.
If I have all the eloquence of men or of angels, but speak without love, I am simply a gong booming or a cymbal clashing. If I have the gift of prophecy, understanding all the mysteries there~ are, and knowing everything, and if I have faith in all its fullness, to move mountains, but without love, then I am nothing at all. If I give away all that I possess, piece by piece, and if I even let them take my body to burn it, but am without love, it will do me no good whatever.
Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous;
love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offence, and is not resentful.
Love takes no pleasure in other people's sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.
Love does not come to an end.

This is the word of the Lord.

Throughout the service Rocky and Jade were glowing as if lit from within. They looked so much in love.

After the service we stayed at the church for a while for photographs with various family combinations. The permutations are innumerable!

For the next few hours we retired to Joe & Sandy’s house, comfortable in the cool air conditioning of their home – it was 32C yesterday! A scorcher.

Finally it was time to be off to the reception hall for cocktails followed by a totally huge meal (focaccia, Italian antipasto, cannelloni & manicotti (really! both!), garden salad (lovely fresh greens), prime rib with a nice assortment of vegetables, baked Alaska (what wedding would be complete without this tasty treat complete with sparklers!), and then later a buffet with buns, pizza, meats, fruits and sweets – OMG.

Thankfully supper was spread out over the evening, with plenty of chances for visiting with everyone. Once the last plate was cleared, “smoke” filled the air and Rocky and Jade took to the bricks for their first song (sorry I don’t remember), after which Jade’s dad took over to the sounds of “I loved her First” echoing in the hall. There probably weren’t many dad’s with dry eyes.

And then the party really got rocking!

They had a fantastic DJ who really kept the dance floor moving. Carm and I were pounding our feet and burning off our supper for much of the night. There were really some great dance songs played – I wish I knew what some of them were as they would be perfect for the treadmill (note to self: ask nieces; other note to self: get smartphone so I can record snippet as a memory jog).

Included among the fast numbers were several slow dance songs… at one point “Lady in Red” started playing, but Carm was no where in sight… then I saw him across the dance floor, walking towards me and pointing to us… my heart skipped a beat… he looked so handsome in his dark suit and white shirt… I felt swept off my feet…

I've never seen you looking so lovely as you did tonight,
I've never seen you shine so bright,
I've never seen so many men ask you if you wanted to dance,
They're looking for a little romance, given half a chance,
And I have never seen that dress you're wearing,
Or the highlights in your hair that catch your eyes,
I have been blind;
The lady in red is dancing with me, cheek to cheek,
There's nobody here, it's just you and me,
It's where I want to be,
But I hardly know this beauty by my side,
I'll never forget the way you look tonight;
I've never seen you looking so gorgeous as you did tonight,
I've never seen you shine so bright, you were amazing,
I've never seen so many people want to be there by your side,
And when you turned to me and smiled, it took my breath away,
And I have never had such a feeling,
Such a feeling of complete and utter love, as I do tonight;
The lady in red is dancing with me, cheek to cheek,
There's nobody here, it's just you and me,
It's where I want to be,
But I hardly know this beauty by my side,
I'll never forget the way you look tonight;
I never will forget the way you look tonight.
The lady in red, the lady in red,
The lady in red, my lady in red,
I love you



We had a really great time and were sorry when it was time to go. Of course we were thinking of the dogs – we had arranged for Karen to let them out and feed them around 6pm but that was a long time before 1 am. When we got home we saw the note from Karen that she had stayed with them until 9pm and let them out another time. So we needn’t have worried so much.

Reminder to Carm – I want sparklers for my 50th birthday – LOTS of them!


Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.
Bruce Lee

Friday, August 24, 2012

Presquile Recap with Photos

We are home… we pulled up stakes (literally and figuratively) yesterday (Thursday) and were on the way home by 12:30. Aside from a slowdown on the 401 (what else is new) it was smooth sailing.

It was a wonderful trip, but way too short. We aren’t sure what we’ll do next year as we are thinking about taking a road trip to out West, but it seems hard to believe we’d miss a year at Presquile.

Our weather was pretty much excellent, although the wind was certainly a factor. There were several afternoons that we stayed inside, and many suppers that we ate inside too – we couldn’t keep the plates on the table! A family in a tent set up a few sites down from us the day before we left – I hope they have good luck, cause with some of the wind we had I sure as heck wouldn’t want to be in a tent – especially with young kids. I suspect they’ve never camped on the water before…

We did drive around a bit, but not as much as we had planned. We drove past a few places that were for sale in the area, but didn’t go to any open houses. Carm doesn’t want to leave this area while his mom is alive, so hopefully we’ll be here for many, many years to come. But it would be nice to have a summer place there!

The bad thing about the trip is that I gained a few pounds. I have to learn a little more moderation… we don’t really need butter tarts EVERY night! Nor do we need to have fish & chips 3 times in 18 days – we never have them at home so why so much when we are camping… And the marshmallows – their pillowy softness and sweetness… I don’t even need a campfire to enjoy those! And hotdogs for lunch nearly every day? Seriously? What happened to the planned whole wheat pita with hummus and baby spinach that was planned? Not every meal was plagued with naughtyness though – we had lots of green beans, zucchini, red peppers, snap peas, tomatoes, etc. The “pesto” (basil, garlic, olive oil – no cheese or pinenuts) that I made just before we left was used on lots of things.


20120810_presquile-site_016We used the grill Mom and Dad got us to cook up many pounds of vegetables.

Early Morning Walks with the Dogs
20120811_presquile-lookout_002As soon as I was up I’d take the dogs out for their morning constitutional. We always made it to the overflow parking area, but some mornings we would go for a few kilometers more so that I could look out over this vantage point. It was so pretty and peaceful.
20120815_presquile-around-campground_009Even if we didn’t make the lookout we would at least get this far. What a peaceful morning!
20120815_presquile-around-campground_005On many mornings Gull Island was still in a rosy glow.


Visit with Jo Ellen and Don
20120814_presquile-joellen-don_001Stuck inside for a short time while it rained. Thankfully the rain was short lived.
20120815_presquile-joellen-don_011Digesting our lunch the next afternoon. The weather was sunny and wonderful. They treated us to Captain George’s fish and chips. This was our second time eating it…


Around About
20120815_presquile-site_001Morning on our site.
20120815_presquile-site_005Morning on our site. The water was so still we could see the bottom way out. See the sailboat way out on the horizon. They were often gracing the skyline.
20120816_presquile-brenda-bill_001Drinks with Brenda and Bill from Brighton. They had the site across the road from us. Carm helped Bill install a satellite connection into his trailer, and we all shared many visits.
20120817_presquile-around-campground_010Along the “Lighthouse Walk”. Every morning we drove to the day use area, parked the truck and did a 5 or 6 km walk. It was such a lovely walk I think I could do it every day! Walking in the park is one of our attractions to the area.
20120817_presquile-site_007This was a wavy, windy day from our site. I love the colours. We had great fun swimming in those waves. The water is only up to our shins for the first 50 feet, and then it goes up to our hips for another 20 or 30 feet, until finally it is up to our shoulders. We didn’t go out far enough for it to be over our heads.
When the water was really wavy it got a bit green from all the algae stirred up, but when it was still we could easily see the bottom, even when it was up past our shoulders. The bottom is smooth rock, no yucky muddy bits to walk through.
The last few days the water got much colder, but no matter the weather or the temperature of the water we had at least one swim a day Smile
Inside Our Camper
Grace’s new cage worked out really well! She loved it and was never unhappy to come back inside. In fact some days I think she preferred it. The cage has doors for the food, so Carm could feed her without fear for his fingers. The tray is deep which keeps some of the thrown food inside, and newspapers fit inside neatly, making it easy to keep clean. It fits perfectly in the space.

The new fridge is fantastic! An $88 Walmart deal, it kept one tray of dog food blocks frozen until time to use it – I just set the fridge to its highest setting. There was room for lots of water – mason jars with lemon and limes. Once the dog food was gone, there was lots of room for some “adult” beverages. And it kept everything ICY cold – ummmmm.
20120817_presquile-camper_010I treated myself to this cute little painting of the lighthouse – the destination of our morning walks.
20120817_presquile-camper_012Doesn’t the painting look great hung on the wall? It is just above eye level when I’m sitting on the sofa, so will be a constant reminder of our wonderful trip. The little picture of the bird hanging about the light is from my trip to Upper Canada Village with Kirsten and the girls. It is another nice reminder. In my advancing age I need these little memory joggers!
20120816_presquile-camper_004The space where Grace’s cage used to be makes a great computer desk area.
I LOVE this camper, and with those two changes (cage & desk) this unit really worked well for us. I don’t think we need a bigger space! Especially if we end up purchasing the slightly smaller coffee table that Camping World has. It is the same pop up configuration, but at 1” lower and with 4” less width it would work just that much better. Four inches counts for a lot in this small space!
Visit with Deirdre and Chris
20120819_presquile-deirdre-chris_003The weather turned perfect as they pulled into our site. The wind even died down! I’m sure they didn’t believe us when we mentioned how many afternoons we spent inside hiding out from the wind! I seem to recall that we were enjoying a margarita that afternoon Winking smile
20120819_presquile-deirdre-chris_005Starting the campfire – look at the colour of the water and the sky.
20120820_presquile-deirdre-chris_006Yes, this is back at Captain George’s. Chris and Deirdre treated us to this greasy, but yummy feast. Missing from the photo are the two big bowls of coleslaw.
20120820_presquile-deirdre-chris_008Oh my… how did we finish all that… burp. After this, back to the site for a glass of bubbly and … a butter tart. OMG I need to lay down.
20120820_presquile-deirdre-chris_009Enjoying that glass of bubbles that I talked about in the last photo. I think there is a bottle of water on the table – what the heck is that doing there!
20120820_presquile-sunset_001This was the sky. I had to take a picture just to convince myself that it wasn’t my slightly tipsy, fish & fry distorted eyes. It was taken from our campsite. Can I just move here permanently?
20120820_presquile-sunset_003Pink clouds with the first sliver of moon. If I had a painting of this I would think that it was done by someone on LSD and not by Nature herself.


20120817_uncle-ken_001We had supper twice with my Uncle Ken who lives in Trenton. We had a lovely visit each time. We had wanted to have him over to the camp for a day, but with the weather being so unpredictable we just never got it set up.


Dogs Travelling
20120809_spike-window_003Spike liked to have his head out of the window as we drove through the park. We were going slowly so I wasn’t too worried about him getting something in his eyes.
20120819_presquile-kabira-window_002Kabira enjoyed the trip as well. Some times on the way back to the camp after our walk she’d be fast asleep, but sometimes she enjoyed the view and the feeling of the breeze.

Many a trip continues long after movement in time and space have ceased.
John Steinbeck

Saturday, August 18, 2012

I Can See Clearly Now

The rain isn't gone, it was never really here - but the humidity is out of the air. The sky is an impossible blue, with clouds on the horizon - I think it must often be cloudy on the south shore of the lake.  The water was clear this morning, but now with the wind picking up there is a roughness to the water that catches the sun just right to create a sparkling surface.

Yesterday was Windy. Very Windy. We holed up inside the camper. I put my glasses down on the table when I went for a swim, but they blew right off! Isn't that insane! The water yesterday was really wavy and fun to bob around in. And it was still warm feeling. This morning was another story - burrrr, burrr, burrr. But we still went :-) Hardy Canadians that we are.

The bad thing about this site is it catches every breath of wind - there is just no getting out of it. The good thing though is even if we are inside (out of the wind) I see water and only water out of all the windows I see from the sofa. It's nice.

Last night we picked up my Uncle Ken and took him out for supper. He lives in this area, we had hoped to have him to the camp for the day, but every free day we've had it has either been calling for rain (but never rained), or windy like crazy. At least we got to have a visit with him, even though it was short.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Only One Week Left

It is another beautiful day here. Day after day of sunshine (and wind...). There has been rain in the forecast several times but it never materialized, or if it did only for an hour or two and not the whole day, or perhaps even just overnight. We've been lucky every year we've been here.

In the bathroom this morning there was a woman carefully blowdrying her hair. How sad I thought. She probably never experiences the wonderful feeling of cold water  on her head when she's swimming - she's probably too busy worrying about her hair. Not I! My hair hasn't seen a blowdryer, except for at the hair dresser,for years and years. I much prefer the wind.

We have new neighbors on both sides over the last two days - an older couple from Virginia with one little dog. The people behind us just arrived this afternoon. They have a big doodle type dog, and a little white maltese type dog. When we walked past them with our dogs there wasn't one peep out of them. I'm jealous! The couple across the road from us (Bill & Brenda) go home tomorrow so we'll get new neighbors there. We've had good luck so far - let's hope it holds out!

Pandemonium of Poodles Picture

A couple of photos of the three poodles.

Draconian Measures

I really dislike barking dogs, and I'm pretty sure there aren't too many people that like the sound. When we are camping it is even more important that silence be maintained... it's a quick route to being kicked out, or at least disturbing your neighbors such that they hate you. It is really not fair to people around you to have to listen to your dog. It's the same thing when you have close neighbors at home - it just isn't right and in my book is downright rude to let your dog bark and bark.

Which brings me to training dogs not to bark. Kabira and Bella were pretty quick to train. I used the LAT (look at that) training where as soon as they see the dog I click and then treat. They start to look at the dog then come over to me for a treat. Bella sometimes forgets herself and needs a refresher, Kabira only if someone comes up to the camper.

Spike on the other hand... lets just say that he has a pretty strong bark gene. The LAT will work with him to a degree - he's never been able to get past the point where he gets the treat, so if I'm not paying 100% attention the bark comes back. That's where the bark collar comes in. I'm only human and can't give him my undivided attention all the time. Like yesterday. I was visiting with Jo Ellen and Don and didn't always notice the oncoming dog until it was too late and the bark had already escaped. So I gave myself a break. He hasn't worn it very many times and learned quickly that it was barking that set it off. Now I don't even bother turning it on. But he knows what it is for.

It was unfortunate about the bee sting though - even though he wasn't wearing it I think he associated the sting with the collar. And unfortunately he wasn't doing anything other than walking around being a good dog. Which would just be confusing for him.

So think of me what you will - just know that my general training methods are positive reinforcement (clicker training), and I find that works best, but there are just sometimes that I need a break.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Pandemonium of Poodles

Oodles and oodles of poodles, plus one Rhodesian Ridgeback! Why so many poodles? Lady was visiting us, with her people Jo Ellen and Don.  Lady is a tiny toy poodle, all of a few pounds. We had one of each size represented on the site!

Jo Ellen and Don arrived early Tuesday afternoon - the weather was forecast to be rainy and cool, but luckily the weatherman was wrong and we had a beautiful afternoon. We sat outside enjoying some snacks and chilled white wine, dipping our feet in Lake Ontario, laughing and telling stories. We got to hear all about their Meditarianian cruise (now on our wish list). As suppertime grew near the sky clouded over and of course it rained. We all crowded into the camper to eat our supper. By the time we were finished the skies had cleared and a beautiful evening emerged. At bedtime they trundled off to a hotel while we snuggled into our own bed. We tried to convince them to just stay on our sofa - it's not the most comfortable of beds, but I think better than a hotel... but they wouldn't change their minds.

First thing Wednesday morning I took the dogs for a short 2km walk and then whipped up some breakfast cookies. Before we left home I put together a bunch of containers with the ingredients (wet, dry, raisins) so that I just needed to add a few ripe bananas and mix. I still have packages for 3 more 1/2 batches. They were ready and warm from the oven when Jo Ellen and Don arrived back at the site.

Again, the forecast had been for rain, but instead it was the nicest day we've had. The air was still (which means the biting flies come out), the water was calm, the sky was clear. Perfect (except for those darn flies). We had a lovely day. They treated us to fish & chips for lunch (yum), we drank wine, and laughed.

Poor wee Spike was barking a bit so I got the "special collar" (bark collar). Just the sight of it reminds him to control himself, but then with it sitting in plain view some insect (wasp?)  bit him such that he yelped. He was not the same for the rest of the day. He was spooked and feeling sorry for himself. He wanted up in my lap (he's 23lbs!), and wanted to cuddle. He's always been very sensitive - with a really long memory.

Jo Ellen always brings me the loveliest gifts. This time she brought a wine coaster and cork from their trip to the Amalfi Coast, as well as a book called "Simple Pleasures". The following quote is from the book. I think it pretty much sums up our day today.

It was a lovely day of blue skies and gentle breezes.
Bees buzzed, birds tootled, and squirrels bustled too and fro,
getting their sun-tan in the bright sunshine.
In a word, all Nature smiled.

  P.G. Wodehouse

Saturday, August 11, 2012


It is 9pm and we are sheltered in the camper out of the howling wind. It is blowing a gale out there and very unpleasant. I do see people a few campsites over from us with a campfire - they must be crazy pyromanics. We are not hardy campers though and happily retreat to the comfort of the camper. So tonight we are inside watching Julius Caesar on TCM.

We did our usual morning walks (7km/4.2miles) followed by a swim. The waves were crashing about again but the water was warm. For the rest of the afternoon Carm helped Bill install a satellite connection into his trailer. There was a brief period of rain, but again the forecast wet weather skirted us.

Nor stony tower, nor walls of beaten brass, Nor airless dungeon, nor strong links of iron, Can be retentive to the strength of spirit; But life, being weary of these worldly bars, Never lacks power to dismiss itself. (1.3.93)

The following quote reminds me of a story my parents tell of when I was 5 years old they had either been discussing the book, or maybe they had been watching the movie... anyway, I dragged out my little stool, stood on it and gravely said "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your noses". I got part of it right!

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones. (3.2.79)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Friday Finished

The sound of rain woke me up a few times last night so when I woke up at 7:30 to the sound of silence I jumped out of bed to get the dogs their short walk. It was a lovely morning, fairly still but cool. There was very little traffic this morning, vehicle or pedestrian, so my walk went a little further than normal. Our destination was the lookout at the park office. Looking out over the bay, with it's marshy regions giving way to the lake, I saw birds, perhaps an egret in the distance, and further out a sailboat almost shrouded in the mists. Lovely.

This area is so beautiful, with so many lovely areas to walk and enjoy nature that I think I could live on a smaller property - IF I could easily walk to beautiful views.

The rain held off all day, although the clouds never really did go away. Still, it was cool but nice. We even went swimming twice. The water was very wavey - I had to pay attention or it would knock me off my feet. Once we got a bit deeper (still not over our heads though - I wonder how far out we'd have to go for that), the waves just bobbed us up and down, with the bigger ones breaking over our heads. Very refreshing! I think the people on the shore thought we were crazy, but they didn't know just how warm the water was.

The dogs are all tuckered out from their walks today - all totalled up it was at least 9km. Morning, mid-morning lighthouse walk, and late afternoon walk to the park store for ice cream (does that count as a walk with such a wicked destination?).

We had a late supper tonight (brown rice & lentils with pesto green beans) as we were entertaining Bill and Brenda from across the road. They live in Brighton and camp here in Presquile whenever they get a chance. And then after supper we went over to their place for a campfire. Another couple was there (Hilary and don't you hate when you can't for the life of you remember someone's name, and hope that someone else will use it in conversation, but no one ever does...) It was fun to get to know new people.

I haven't done a list of what I am grateful for lately - today (and everyday) I am grateful that I have a husband who shows how much he loves me. Which in the wake of 2 weeks of crankiness is something to say! And pleasures? Today's were mostly having to do with my surroundings, being in such a beautiful place gives pleasures at every glance. I suppose most of what I have written today has been about pleasures - oh so lucky!

If you wish to be loved, show more of your faults than your virtues.
Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Small World

20120806_lake-from-site_002Yesterday was a perfect Presquile day (well almost, more about that later). In the morning it was cool enough for a lovely lighthouse walk, and by afternoon it was hot with little wind making it perfect for swimming and then reading in the shade (yes! I didn't need a sweater outside yesterday). The water was perfect for swimming - a reasonable temperature with little pockets of cold to refresh so we went in a few times. Even the dogs got to wade in and have a short swim.


When we got to the lighthouse on our walk I popped into the shop to see what there was to see. I want a little piece of art for the wall across from the sofa (on the camper of course). There were a couple that I liked so I sent Carm in and while he was lingering in the air conditioning started up a conversation with the artist who had her supplies set up in the shade. It turned out that she used to live right around the corner from us and knew some of the same people! What a small world.  She pointed me to a few other galleries to look at art so I've delayed my lighthouse art until I look at the others.


We kept to healthy eating yesterday... except for the buttertarts! Everything else was veggies, veggies, veggies. Supper was Thai vegetables (red peppers, snap peas, carrots, radishes, green onions, ginger, garlic, hot red peppers, sesame oil, a dash of soya, and a dash of apple cider vinegar) and then mixed with a little bit of whole wheat pasta. YUM! Buy my oh my it takes a lot of prep! And the bbq wasn't as hot as I would have liked so it took ages to cook everything. The wait was well worth it though.

Okay, now on to the less than perfect part. At 8:30pm last night we took the dogs out for their last potty walk. We walk along the causeway road cause there are no campsites there, nor do people use it for other than walking. Anyway, a family on bicycles comes towards us with dad leading the way, he passes us safely and then a little boy weaving on his bike passes us with just a few feet to spare (keep in mind that we are walking facing traffic on the very edge of the road with no where to go other than poison ivy and then a swamp). He was pretty young to be riding a bike where there were so many people and cars, but he did okay. I looked behind me to make sure he passed Carm safely then glanced down at the dogs to make sure they were still to my left and out of the roadway. When I looked up, the next bicycle was coming right for me. And I mean right for me. I said "LOOK OUT!", and the boy looked up in time to swerve to avoid hitting me. He missed me by about a foot and apologized for not seeing us (head down) as he rode by.  Finally the mother passed me by. After she passed she lit into Carm about cutting the kid some slack, blah blah and was quite virulent. I asked Carm what he said – nothing, not a word - he had just silently shaken his head at her inattention as a parent more than anything else (who else is going to teach safe riding habits like looking where you are going).

A wise man is superior to any insults which can be put upon him, and the best reply to unseemly behaviour is patience and moderation.

Why do I let little things like this upset me so much. I've been ruminating about it ever since and just can't seem to let it go. I think my unbalanced mood has me fixated on it... sometimes writing things down helps so please cross your fingers for me.

Today is cloudy and a bit cool with the odd droplet of rain. Not so good for sitting outside, but perfect for lunch out and a drive. So that's what we did. First stop, Captain George's for a giant platter of deep fried fish, french fries, and onion rings. Gulp. I can't believe I ate the whole thing (Carm helped with the fries though) but it was good. The fish was lightly battered and tender soft, the shrimp were big, the scallops were crispy. Enough fat for a year...

Then after a quick stop at a local art gallery we started down the back roads along the lake - gawking at the lovely views. And wishing we were there.


After we got back we met our new across the street neighbours Bill and Brenda. They are from Brighton and camp here on and off all summer. Lucky them! We are looking forward to sharing a bottle of wine and hearing more about life in Brighton.

All in all a pretty darn good last few days.


Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
Khalil Gibran