Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Did You Say Rain?

Yes, we have certainly seen a lot of rain since my last post. This is a good thing since we needed it so badly as long as it remembers to stop once in a while and give us that beautiful Vitamin D source again. Dull cloudy days in a row can be a slight bit depressing.
We have 6 of these pails collecting
rain water at every one of our eaves
and corners. They have overflowed
many times since the rain started.
Today, we woke up to a cooler Suite than normal and I popped the electric fireplace on for 15 min to take the chill off.

Bill was up and out to put our garbage and recycle stuff out to the road. We get pick up every second Monday by 9 am so we are lucky. We don’t create a lot of garbage, since I’ve started my own compost bin up the hill beside us. We were thrown off in Michigan at the park because we remembered that they don’t recycle the cans and plastics. It felt so wrong throwing that stuff out into the regular garbage but when in Rome………….

The sun has arrived today again, after making sporadic appearances in between clouds and rain showers yesterday. I can look out now and see more blue sky than the alternative. I believe it will be around 23C in our area and that sounds just perfect for things I want to do outside.

Bill is coming along nicely with the transformation of our shed into an overnight bunky but I will let him post about that in his blog On Our Way. It isn’t just his project; we are both doing the planning aka brainstorming.

He does the measuring and hard labour while I am there as a paneling supporter, a nail popper (pushing nails in flush), an extra couple of hands when he needs them as well as the drink gal and share the duty of fresh air inspector with our pooch! It is really coming along nicely!

I, on the other hand, seem to come up with other jobs to keep me busy too. I went into Durham Saturday morning to get 3 loads of wash done and was glad to get home and hang it out to dry. It was a very hot day.

I don’t mind that little trip at all and it serves us better than to lug around a washer and dryer right now. Our space is too precious for other things at this point and time, not to mention the added weight.

My other little project is to move rocks. Sounds exciting, eh? Well, we have a huge packed gravel lot now to drive the rv and vehicles on but at the base of the little Ridge behind us there is a conglomeration of large boulders and smaller rocks that were originally piled there when the berm was seeded for grass.
Stones to be moved so we can cut easily
I'm moving them from the right side up onto the gravel.
Pain staking job but I have all the time in the world and no deadline
and do a bit each day when the mood and weather fits.
Because of the rocks, weeds grow up between them and we can’t use any of our mowers to cut them back. It is painstaking to use the weed trimmer each time. So! With a sturdy garden rake and a shovel I am trying to do about 20’ of clearing per day. When the sun is beating down and it is 30C my hat hardly does the trick at keeping me cool. Today looks like a good day to attack the next stretch. I’m just moving them out onto the gravel right now and will later load them up in the wheelbarrow or little trailer on behind the riding mower to pile them out of the way. You never know when you need rocks for something. This property is full of them!

I took a trip into Hanover yesterday late morning to visit Mom and pick up some groceries. This is about a 25 min. trip so a nice drive. Mom is back in the hospital, didn’t get more than 5 days at home before she developed a bad urine infection causing great confusion and a raised pulse rate. Sad but at least she is close and they are keeping a close eye on her in the Village.

She looked good yesterday, sitting up in the chair. She was dozing and when I woke her she greets me with a huge smile. She is known for her wonderful smile and wild stories so quite the entertainer wherever she is! We had a lovely visit and I stayed with her as encouragement to eat some lunch. It is never enough food going into her system but at least it is more than it has been over the last 3 months. And if she is eating hospital food……heh heh enough said!

Hopefully she will be ready to come home tomorrow if not today. It is nice that there are 4 sisters close and we can take turns visiting. The show of support does not go unnoticed, a lot of patients don’t get visitors. Lol

(Update since I wrote this: We brought mom home to her apartment yesterday, looking better than we have seen her in a long time. Still confused, but dementia does that, but as we wheeled her from the elevator in the hospital she asked us "so you are taking me out for a couple of days?" We answered "No Mom, we are stealing you away to go home for good!" She hunched down in the wheelchair, racing mode and said "Yay! let's go!" She is such a card and my sister, Donna, and I laughed a lot in her presence.)
Mom, home again jiggity jig
Mom happy to see her budgie, Tina

We are getting to know a few of our neighbours, some by accident and some by invitation. This is good, we want to know them to some extent so they can keep a watchful eye on our summer home while we are away for the winter. Things will be locked up tight but still, it is good for them to know who we are and when we plan to return. We’ve heard of some eccentric folk in the area and perhaps before we leave we will meet more of those as well!

The day is calling so I want to read a couple of blogs and get moving.
I've added a few random photos of birds and thiings I've captured on film. I hope you enjoy them.
Mr. Bumble likes our thistles

Amazing sunsets up here

Bill hard at it, he enjoys this chore

Clemson trying to play tough

This was an awesom capture!

The moon atop a dead tree....looks like a finger balancing act

Water Turkey, huge flyer

General meeting of the Wings
Clemson wants to run in the field

I say "Let's go!" and off he goes. Pretty good for a 12 yr. old!

Just caught Mr. Blue by chance so not a perfect capture

Enjoy your time wherever you are and enjoy all things from wherever they come.

Thank you for stopping in and feel free to comment.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Haven Living

It is mid-week here in the Midwest of Southern Ontario. After enjoying a couple of weeks of staying up later and sleeping in later I seem to have found a new ‘nitch’ for my slumber habits.

I’m like everyone else, I’m sure, in that I enjoy the perfect combination of a perfect day. Not too hot, not too wet, not too dry, not too cold. We have had a lot of all of these…well, except for the ‘too wet’. What a dry summer it has been! Finally, over the last 3 days we have got much of the needed rain in our area. Even this morning I woke up to the steady hum on the roof.

way below normal marsh level
The ponds and marshes around our Ridge have experienced a dry spell to the likes we have not yet seen. Completely dried up areas and it is sad to see.                                    
Turtle log resting on dry land
this morning after 4 days of rain

Our pond so low there is almost a 'beach'!

today, filled back up. Yay!

Today I can look out and see the same areas looking the way they used to,

 providing the turtles and frogs, ducks and birds a place to bathe and swim.
Turtle enjoying the log
Yertle, wondering how long I'm going to stand here

When I heard the large rustle at the ponds edge I'm glad I had my camera
with the 300mm zoom lens

Even thorny old thistles can be pretty
enough to attract the bumblebees

Can't recall seeing a male oriole before

He was playing a game of cat and mouse until I got my camera out.
then he was kind enough to pose for me a few times!

I have been lucky in the last week to catch the take-off of a heron or marsh harrier, the slow ascent of a large turtle (snapper?) a couple of muskrats and the most beautiful Baltimore oriole I’ve ever seen!

I love the early mornings, the stillness of the trees, the quiet of the land and often go out early for my walk. I find myself in bed by 10 lately and up at 6:30 or 7. I don’t always see the sunrise to the east now because of the car shelter we have put up behind our Suite but at sunset, I can’t get enough of these breath taking views to the west.
car shelter out the back window blocking my sunrise view

but nothing stops me from snapping the gorgeous sunsets

night after night, the bonus of country living on a hill....
er, I mean ridge
Each picture I snap with my Canon DSLR is different and until I get them downloaded, I don’t realize how well (or not) the picture has transferred to my hard drive. My sister says that it is important to remember that as great as it is to capture such moments, whether it be wildlife or a still photo, we should never dismiss the absolute joy of the actual memory itself, in real life. Such a philosopher!

The rain has temporarily stopped and I although I am not dressed for an outdoor walk, I’m longing to get outside. When I do get up early like this, my goal is to grab some lounge clothes as quickly and quietly as possible and tiptoe out of the bedroom. The steady breathing of my slumber mate tells me that he was up well beyond my early bedtime. I totally understand that Bill is not enjoying a restless sleep though, unlike me he is usually up once through the night for his own purpose and then once again around 6 am to let Clemson out for his. I’m happy he can at least go back to sleep after such disturbances.

Morning setup
So, on these days, I come to the kitchen, make a tea laden with coconut oil and cream and catch up on the news of my friends. I visit blogs and Facebook and check emails.

We love our Keurig cupboard almost as much as we love
our Keurig. It is fuss free and quick!
On the rainy days we’ve had over the period of the last 5 days, it is a good time to do ‘inside’ things. I’m sure all of you full timers know exactly what that entails. For some it could be watching tv and others, like us newbies, we still have a certain amount of organizing to do.

So, Bill set to work going through the file drawer, purging and burning old files and I managed to find 2 grocery bags of summer tops that I haven’t touched since the hot weather hit. That tells me already that I didn’t need them……. plus, for those of you who have been following my blog, you know that I am still the type of person who loves to shop! So in with the new, out with the old. For the mere money I spend on clothes, it is a very satisfying turn around that keeps me happy. I’m always looking for that special item and I’m thrilled that the hunt for it will never end.

Another inside thing I got into, is baking
. Yes, the mood hit me on Saturday when we had rain all day and I realized that the sun was not going to appear. We plugged in, giving the solar panels and invertor a break, and I used the convection oven all day. Chocolate chip cookies, which were a bust but still tasted good, peanut butter cookies, peaches and cream pie (from some fresh Ontario peaches purchased in Hanover) and an apple pie (made from some Ridge grown apples that I put in the freezer last fall).

Everything turned out perfect (except for the cc cookies) so encouraged by my results I made lasagna for Sunday night supper. I must admit, the convection oven is a huge learning experience and sometimes it is called a few choice names, but I’m gradually getting the hang of it. Bill doesn’t seem to mind my attempts at all, as is evident from the crumbs from his late night munching!

Bill enjoying a snack with Clemson waiting for the last lick

If you look close, you'll see the evidence on the box

I decided on Monday to pull my sewing machine out, since it was another wet day for the most part.

On the left, a craft sale purchase $5
and on the right, not so pretty but easier to
dry with, my homemade version
 I had a couple of things to be mended and then got into making some of my fridge hand drying towels. I hate paying for the homemade ones at craft sales, not because I don’t appreciate the handiwork but because I am too cheap when it comes to that kind of thing. So I make my own, they aren’t perfect by any means but they work for us and when they get too stained, I can usually just replace the towel part. It keeps me out of trouble!
towel bottoms and some re-used tops and some homemade tops


Well, the sun has appeared and the clouds to the west have dissipated so time to get out there and survey the property…….um, in my ‘jammys. LOL I won’t go too far!

I hope you all have as wonderful days as I have been experiencing. I'm not even concerned that summer is drawing to a close in just over a month! for the first time, I welcome it.

Thank you for reading and as always all comments are welcome!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Silver Lake, Mi 2

So, the continuing saga of our week long vacation (do retirees get vacation?) in Silver Lake, Michigan comes to an end, but not before we have some more experiences in the sun, sand and water.

So Thursday at 7 pm 6 of us piled into 2 jeeps for our sunset tour. I mentioned this in our previous post but wanted to share a few more pictures. It was an hour and a half riding on the dunes. 

Five vehicles followed our leader Wild Bill, aptly named I might add, and we went up and down, over and around doing whatever he did. His favourite thing to say when he was about to embark on another really high dune was “if you don’t hear from me after I disappear over the top, don’t follow me”. Hilarious and quite the chatterer.

We all were connected by cb radios and Bill (our very own Wild Bill) followed his instructions to a tee. If he gets a chance to be reckless with the ‘pedal to the metal’ and still be legal and safe, of course he accepts the challenge. I rode in the front for the first half until we stopped for photos and then moved to the back for the sunset viewing and trip back. It is a hoot but hard on the body! The wind really plays havoc with the sand and what is calm one day can be a series of 2’ high bumpy ridges the same evening.  I have a wonderful bruise on my right buttock cheek where I was lifted off the seat and down again on the seat belt connector. OUCH!!  Lucky for you, NO picture!

Most of the time remaining at the park was just doing our own thing. A lot of relaxing, washing the front and back of the Suite etc. It was great!

The lab across the street was a hoot to watch, quite the performer!

I felt like baking something so made a peanut butter chocolate glazed pie for our evening treat around the fire. With a glass of wine, of course!

Made sure to save a piece for Amy and Rick and sent it home with Nancy
Sunday, Ken and Nancy asked us if we’d like to trek to New Era to go through Oceana winery with them. So off we went. When you get a chance to sample 5 wines for $5, why not? Naturally we found a couple we really like and came out with a semi-dry with raspberry and grape “Cayuga Jazz” and a treat of sherry “Amadeus”. Added to our 3 from Jomagrha “Afternoon de White” and West Short White” we have become quite the wine connoisseurs! We knew we would drink a couple of these before having to cross the border on Monday.

The weather was really good for the whole of our week at the park with no rain although it was forecasted a couple of evenings. That’s okay, we enjoyed our camp fires each night, either at their site or ours. One night we found ourselves caught up in a team challenge at the bean bag toss. 

The big thing this year, even more than previous years, was remote controlled cars. Fun to watch for a while but the constant buzz and crash was too much for Ken and Nancy’s munchkin, Molly. She is only 2 years old and just wanted to chase and mangle so had to be restrained to calm her or put inside their rv.

The best news of all was that our friends have sold their home in Antioch, Il after a painstaking year of open houses and viewings. We are very very happy for them although they dreaded the idea of going home and packing. Bill and I tried to be very encouraging and can only hope that they soon get caught up in the thrill of the life ahead of them that it isn’t such a chore after all. We remember how our excitement took over during the last month before closing and we just wanted to get rid of things with a vengeance!

As is typical on our last evening together, the 4 of us scoot down the road to enjoy a dinner together at the Open Hearth restaurant. 

Also a chance to fill up the truck with diesel. Prices were pretty good, well definitely compared to Canada, but we still didn't pay this much!

So, Monday morning, August 8, we were packed up and ready to pull out by 8 am as planned. Said our goodbyes to the Adamskis and set out shortly thereafter. Before we left, however, we all made sure to stop at the office and book our week for next year. When you’ve got something good going, you like to hold on to it.

Camping World in Grand Rapids was, as always, a stop on the way home again for a couple more items. Without having one of these stores in Canada, we have to take advantage while we are visiting the U.S. and plan for it from year to year. Hmm, what would we like to purchase this year?

Construction still going on on the opposite side. Kinda weird seeing it from this angle!
We made a quick stop at a rest stop for some homemade egg salad sandwiches and then headed for the border. 
The only other stop was for diesel at a small station off the beaten path.
Loved this little barn just across the way.
This was at Bancroft, $2.29/gal.
This trip was different than a week ago with a lineup across the bridge and a wait of about 40 min. but we soon made it to be greeted by yet another pleasant crossing guard who scooted us on our way after the usual questions “where were you? For how long? What did you spend?” Easy peasy.
Arrival at The Ridge was 5:30 pm and all set up shortly after It doesn’t take us long but we have determined that the day was too long, even with the short stops. 

Bill's picture from his quad copter of our gorgeous spot
We were so tired that I can’t even recall what we grabbed to eat when we got home. No matter, we ate and I was in bed by 10:30. At least we didn’t have any unpacking to do as in previous years and that brings a huge YAY!!! Wouldn’t trade that feeling for the world!

Well, that was our trip and we thank you for following along. All comments are welcome.