Enough already!

As my granddaughter said this morning when she looked out the window “enough already with this snow”. I know I swore not to go on about this but let these Canadian April photos and that anguished cry speak for themselves!

devastated daffs

Devastated Daffodils

Pathetic pansies

Pathetic pansies

Snowy finch

Frustrated Finches

 

Posted in Environment, Life, Photography, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Winter | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

Step one – on our way to Tobermory!

Bruce trail marker

What is it about some challenges that seem attractive while others don’t call to you one little bit? Not sure I know the answer but one snowy eve over a bottle of red wine my friend Cheryl and I had yet another great idea for a project. Now you should know this wasn’t our first and most other great ideas have not survived the ‘light of day’ test. This one however started small and before we knew it occupied a big place in our plans for the next couple of years. We wanted to hike the Bruce Trail – the whole nearly 900 kilometres of it.

Cheryl makes it to Southern cairn

Cheryl makes it to Southern cairn

So it was that one chilly April morning we drove in from our respective home towns and met in Niagara Falls where the trail starts.  Cheryl did have a slight detour on the way though and seems to have missed an exit and crossed the U.S. border but she soon realized that error…the nice border guard was forgiving so we eventually met at the cairn which marked the starting point. I did however put myself in charge of the trail map for the foreseeable future.

Tunnel on the Bruce

Over the next two days we hiked the trail, slipped down muddy hills, forged through streams and tunnels and emerged relatively unscathed having triumphantly completed 16 klms with just a few hundred left to go…and we can hardly wait to get on the trail once more.

Cheryl slip sliding the Bruce

Cheryl slip sliding the Bruce.

 

Posted in Life, Photography, Thoughts, Travel, Uncategorized, Walking | Tagged , , , | 28 Comments

Did I mention the pancakes?

That sap is sure to start running any day now and then we’ll know it’s springtime at last! Talking to the experts around here it seems this prolonged cold spell has meant that the maples haven’t begun to share their sap with us just yet…but that’s going to change soon.

Stocking the fire

I recently joined two diverse groups of visitors to maple syrup festivals and got a re-education on the wonders of this sugary treasure we harvest each spring.

Seems that the first nations have been tapping maples for time immemorial and since being able to store the syrup was difficult they made it into wonderful crystallized maple sugar that they traded and used to preserve meats. I’ve tasted the dried salmon cured in maple sugar and it is divine.

At the conservation areas I visited, enthusiastic volunteers reenacted the old way pioneers tapped the trees, reduced the sap down to a syrup and then into the blocks of crystallized sugar. Given that the temperature that day was -10 celsius you had to admire the volunteers hardiness…just like the ancestors they were portraying.

Hardy volunteer

The two groups I joined were different in some ways and alike in others…at the one very hilly maple lot they were young school children – squealing with delight even before their sugar fix. Accompanied by caregivers, they were amazed at the process of getting sugar from trees.

40 buckets

The second group were seniors who gathered at a conservation area with a much flatter terrain and many of them were also accompanied by their caregivers …they however didn’t squeal with delight until the pancakes, covered in maple syrup arrived…as did I…a great start to spring.

seniors tour

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Don’t mention the weather!

It’s one of those days where nothing profound comes to mind but you look around and see quiet beauty.

New pony

I refuse to mention the weather anymore since we may have skipped Spring and we just have to get used to it.

Ali and Laura

There are other creatures besides ourselves (no it’s true!) who must be wondering what is going on and sometimes I sense them looking at me accusingly.

3 amigos

Just a few thoughts on a cold, snowy day…oops didn’t mean to mention the weather!

Pretty pony

Posted in Environment, Horses, Life, Photography, Puzzles and Contradictions, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Winter | Tagged , , | 28 Comments

Horse sense

There are many creative ways to raise money for your community and I recently had the privilege of participating in an authentically Costa Rican event to raise money for local causes.

cabalgata group

A ‘Cabalgada’ is a weekend gathering where local families get together in a group trail ride with the registration charge used towards their fundraising efforts. I was thrilled to take part with around 50 other riders in a three hour trek across mountain trails. We fortified ourselves prior to the cabalgada with a snack at a bar in a modest community centre and finished with a meal and dance in the field!

Cabalgata Cowboys mosey up to the bar

Cabalgata Cowboys mosey up to the bar

All ages participated in the festive, day long party and those of us who rode our horses paraded through the party-goers like conquistadors at the beginning and end – what a rush.

Dancing in the field!

Dancing in the field!

It was nothing fancy, not in the guidebook and such a delight to be part of – life is so enriched by these kind of special encounters. With the sound of Spanish music filling the air we rode off home into a glowing full moon instead of  a sunset! Perfecto!

Yours truly sporting her number.

Yours truly sporting her number.

Posted in Horses, Life, Photography, Thoughts, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 17 Comments

Motorcycle ‘dog’ Diaries

I don’t want to anthropomorphize a dog but I did wonder what went through Bentley, the labradoodle’s mind as he sat on the back of the motorcycle. He’s ridden from Oregon, through the U.S, Mexico, Guatemala and Nicaragua on his way down to the tip of South America…and he doesn’t seem to be in a rush.

Bentley and scott 2

His humans Scott and Susan said they’d quit their jobs and sold up everything they owned and Scott built the  special seat for him to join them as they all headed out for the adventure of a lifetime.

I was lucky enough to meet them all when we ended up on a trail ride together at Finca Caballo Loco (Crazy Horse Farm) in Costa Rica. That’s Bentley in the bottom corner watching his human Susan get up on her horse and I’m sure he’s wondering “okay the back of a motorcycle is one thing but the back of a horse?”…there I go anthropomorphizing again!

I get up there??

Have to admit the thought of unloading all your burdens – house, job and ‘stuff’ has a certain allure for me.

If you’re interested you can take a look at Bentley’s Big Adventure.com.

Bentley's bike

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Love is for the birds

I’ve heard them singing for a couple of afternoons now and couldn’t quite see where they were. Taking a shot of a pretty church spire through the trees…

image

I spotted them and they appeared to be yellow breasted finches – not that I’m any kind of bird expert – pretty but nothing special in Costa Rica. Looking through my viewfinder confirmed my initial impression although there did seem to be a bit of ignoring going on from one side of this couple. She didn’t seem very interested but then again he was nice but nothing special.

image

He suddenly seemed to get all agitated – perhaps fed up with being ignored. I shot another couple of shots but from my distance couldn’t really see much even through my lens. Imagine my surprise when I downloaded the photo and this is what I saw…

image

image

Now that’s different, she seemed to say!

Amazing things are all around us.

Posted in Life, Photography, Thoughts, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 9 Comments