Garden Project - Part 1

On a dreary winter day, a group of girls sat on comfortable couches with coffees in hand and poured through seed catalogs, dreaming of a great, big vegetable garden.  It didn't matter that none of them had any real experience gardening. As little children played underfoot, the adults chose seeds of every kind and looked forward to summer days of eating fruits and vegetables picked from the back garden.

If you've been wondering where I've been spending my summer days, this project is part of the answer.  I've always dreamed of having a large garden but moving around as much as I have hasn't made it possible.  A few indoor plants does not a garden make. 

I've puttered around in my mother's garden for many summers but this year an opportunity arose to make my dream a reality in the form of a community garden on my sister's farm.  And what an adventure its been.  There's been sweat, tears and lots of laughter.  Three new babies were welcomed into the world over the summer months with baby boy one born on the first day of planting.

We've learned a lot along the way. Mostly the hard way. But it's been so much fun and I wanted to share some pictures from our summer in the garden. This first part shows the seedlings in the greenhouse and the making of the garden plot. Enjoy!

Did you know that seeds are sometimes attached to the plants as they emerge from the soil? I didn't.

The garden at the beginning of the day

So we cheated...or something.  Do other people farm like this? We used the four-wheeler to mark the rows. 

The New House - Windows and doors and so much more

It's probably time for an update on the new house...

The snows came and went throughout late fall and early winter as the house moved closer to completion. The floor heat went in and the concrete was poured. The roof was finished and many of the smaller windows and doors arrived and were installed.  The big glass doors, which appear to have been heavy, were carefully lifted into place. The porch was built during several unseasonably warm November days. The house was insulated and drywall put up. And although the weather changed almost daily, progress moved steadily forward.

Photo credit goes to Gary and Lillian.


In Canada, we get to experience many sunny winter days when it seems that the colder the temperatures outside, the brighter the sun seems to shine as though to make up for the freezing weather.  But then there are days when the clouds hang low and the world becomes monochrome - black, white and shades of gray. Well, perhaps there are some colours but they all seem muted by the heaviness of the atmosphere. 

However, that doesn't stop us from heading outside to enjoy a bit of sledding, an activity that you need to do at least once every winter.

For further images of our sledding adventures, visit here.

The beauty and destruction of ice storms

As a child, I remember playing outside after an ice storm only a few times.  Maybe it's just my poor memory but it seems like ice storms are occurring more frequently in recent years. If you've never experienced an ice storm, this phenomenon usually occurs when the temperature hovers around the zero degree mark and rain, well, freezing rain, falls, encasing every surface in a layer of ice. 

The landscape is transformed, especially when the sun peaks out from behind the clouds and the earth begins to sparkle with light as though a million tiny diamonds started glowing from within.  It's a transfixing sight. Magical.

But it's also quite destructive and can be dangerous. The ice creates a layer of crust over the snow, on which kids can walk and slide. But if you fall through, your ankles and calves can get pretty scraped up. Trees and power lines are toppled by the weight of the ice, leaving many households without heat and electricity during the coldest months of the year.  Walkways and roadways become skating rinks. Walking becomes a hilarious exercise in trying to stay upright.

The answer, I expect, is to prepare ahead of time where possible and enjoy the beauty of the storm while it lasts. Because the temperature always warms up and the ice melts. The clean up begins and normal life resumes. But for a moment we were able to experience a glittering, shining world of ice and snow.

Pond hockey - a Canadian tradition

Pond hockey is as Canadian as maple syrup. In truth, any form of hockey is as Canadian as it gets. Like sledding, it's a great way to spend time outdoors during the freezing winter months.

Hockey in our family tends to be a last-minute, pick-up, all ages invited type of affair.  When the suggestions is made, everyone scrambles to find gear and clothing thick enough for the -25 temperatures - it doesn't matter what it looks like so long as it keeps you warm and dry. For readers living in warmer climes, it seems that the bluer the sky and the brighter the sun on a winter's day then the colder the temperature.

Fingers freeze as you awkwardly tie your skates in a standing position - the snow is too cold and wet to sit on for such a task. The first job is to clean off the snow - although there's only been a sprinkling since the last game so it doesn't take too long. In fact, the rest of the pond is a great place for the little ones to learn how to stay upright on skates - there's nothing to run into, plenty of space to move about and enough snow for a soft landing.

A heated game ensues. Goals are celebrated. The older boys show up to show the little ones how it's done. And when everyone is no longer able to move their fingers and toes and cheeks are a bit frost-bitten then it's time to enjoy some hot chocolate and fresh pizza. Good times!

Christmas Day Hike

Christmas 2016 was as different from the previous Christmas as it was possible to be...white, overcast and chilly as compared to green, sunny and warm in 2015.  It was a Christmas to match a tough year, a day spent huddled on the bathroom floor, miserably clutching a bucket, while listening to the sounds of laughter and joy from the rest of the house. All I can say is I'm so happy it's 2017!

The big move south in 2016, starting a new job and the general hustle and bustle of the holiday season resulted in no new posts over the last few months.  The goal for the new year is to get back on track, editing photos and posting regularly. 

The first post of the year is a throwback to Christmas Day 2015 - a sunny and warm winter day, a day perfect for a hike around the new property. Enjoy!

P.S. I find it amusing that we all seem to walk like little ducklings in a row! 

Big Nickel and Dynamic Earth, Sudbury

On a gray September morning, a group of us visited the Big Nickel and Dynamic Earth in Sudbury.  The Big Nickel, Sudbury's most famous landmark, is a must see - after all, mining of nickel and other minerals are what built the city and the region.  Dynamic Earth, a museum that explains the history of mining in the region, is located next to the Big Nickel. A tour seven stories down into the mine shows the different methods of mining over a long period of time.