30 Nov 2014

Tomorrow is December, right?

Ok,  if winter has already started,  why is this the first thing I see when I take Maddy out this morning?

Yes, that is the real temperature on November 30th. 
It was certainly nice enough to hike this morning. In fact, it was too hot to wear a jacket for Wendy. On walking back to the car, we saw the last hint of summer on a day that felt more like spring than winter. Check it out!
They seem to be getting hardier! 

28 Nov 2014

It has been a while...

Haven't posted anything recently since I was away for 5 days in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.  My parents celebrated their 60th anniversary, and unbeknownst to them, all the children arrived on their doorstep to help them celebrate! After the shock wore off, it was a great visit with family. Seems that the weather in Manitoba, although cold, was better than most other places.  Here are a few pictures from the visit:

My mom still in shock

My dad puttering around outside

My parents, sister, and brother-in-law Skype calling their great grand-daughter (and grand-daughter)

Cutting the anniversary cake
My sister and I took a walk in the beautiful sunshine (about -5C). This was to get some exercise and to take a few pictures.The snow appeared to be the main theme (what else is there to see in Manitoba in November?).

Just outside the front door.

View from the edge of the lake to the Island.

The frozen lake - not quite ready to walk on, but very soon!

The only ones on the lake are the pigeons and the litterers .
The double cup suggests to me that they were also wimps.
The wind always makes small drifts - these were only a few inches high.

After a slightly delayed flight home, the whirlwind of activity drastically increased. Parker had 3 appointments this week and they all were in the middle of the day. Two of them were to install the first step in getting braces.

Cool dude getting an orthodontic appliance

He only needed an appliance to adjust one side of his jaw, full braces may be later...

Now that it is finally Friday (and Parker just had his third appointment during work/school hours), it should be time to relax a little.  Unfortunately, my students had an exam while I was away, and another one this week after I had returned. Marking is therefore the next big task over the coming weeks.

9 Nov 2014

Somewhat more calm

It was a much less busy week compared to last week and seemed almost calm in comparison.

We started off by getting snow tires installed on Wendy's car. Early, you say? We've already seen flakes a few times and it is coming probably sooner than we would like. Tomorrow it is my car's turn to get winter ready. The shovels and the snow blower are all set for the winter to come. The garden is all tucked in for the bad weather and the fireplaces are cleaned and ready to go. Hurry up, winter, we want to get it done and over with!

I have been in a bit of a flare for the last few weeks, so we haven't hiked at all. Maddy seemed to be getting anxious for a good long walk. Today, though, we met up with our friend Theresa for our weekly hike (Sunday). Just the usual Dundas trail loop, but it was nice to have another person along. It was a bit chilly with a slight wind but not really that wet. Maddy wore her winter coat for the first time this fall because she just had her hair cut yesterday. As usual, I took pictures and a few of them turned out OK.
Theresa, Wendy, and Maddy
The light was flat but the effect was almost "painterly"
We were surprised when we arrived at the Hermitage Ruins - all the trees on the west side were recently cut down! You could never actually see the ruins from the trail before - now it is in full view. It is a drastic change, and we are not convinced it is a good one. Hopefully it doesn't mean that they are going to try to tear it down when so many local people are hoping to fix it up enough to be not so 'dangerous' (as all the signs indicate). There were a number of birds flying around the ruins (perhaps they used to live in those trees?), so I took a shot of a single robin on the crumbling stone wall. Seemed a bit lonely and grey.

Waiting for spring...
The ruins continue to deteriorate, and we all reminisced about the good times years ago we had when we took our families there - when you could actually touch them without some ridiculously ominous (my opinion) danger sign getting in the way. The old secondary building at the back (an old stable?) is still accessible but not in great shape either.
Theresa at the Hermitage
Although most of the fall colours were faded and/or underfoot, there were still a few splashes of colour to be seen on the hike.
More fall colours
After we got home, we raked the leaves in the back yard, picked raspberries (Wendy and Maddy), then gave Maddy another shower (2 this weekend!). She was quite exhausted for the rest of the day.

As is typical of our weekend days, soon after a quick lunch it was off to the grocery store, back home for 5 minutes to put the groceries away, then off to hockey practice. After a few more errands it was back home again and it was time to make supper. After a few minutes to process the images and post to the blog and it seems like it is time to start all over again for next week.

1 Nov 2014

Halloween and winter

Halloween was a much quieter affair than normal this year.  Of the three teenagers, nobody was going out trick-or-treating. We did get pumpkins (last weekend) and Thursday night was carving night. As expected, Parker bailed (it is too icky!). Adam, Stanley, and I carved our respective pumpkins in the kitchen. Maddy helped by trying to steal things to eat.

Stanley scooping out his pumpkin

All 3 pumpkins at once (notice Maddy waiting a stray piece to eat)

Eric's pumpkin had braces - in honour of Parker getting braces later in November

Adam's was minimalist. He never smiles, so his pumpkin did it for him!

Stanley's pumpkin had style, and leaned back a little...

Halloween itself was very quiet, mostly because Wendy and I were out until closer to 7pm. It rained off and on for the whole evening. Parker handled the door until we arrived home and gave away lots of candy. Just before 8pm, several older teens came to the door and asked if Parker was around. Apparently, Parker had arranged a low key get together at our place (he wasn't sure anyone would come) and ended up with 4 boys in our basement watching a movie! They took some of the extra candy downstairs, as there was little action at the front door.  Adam had left mid afternoon to go to his winter field training exercise (camping in the bush) with the cadets, Stanley was in Toronto, so it was just Parker at home. After shutting down the pumpkins (2 with battery powered Dollarama lights, one with a candle), we went to bed reasonably early. 

November 1st came early, as Adam forgot his alarm on. Again!!!! 

At 6:45 we were rudely awakened by the crescendo of electronic horrors that Adam uses as an alarm clock (he doesn't wake up to it, by the way). A little fiddling with it made sure it was off for tomorrow, when the time changes. He returns tomorrow night - he doesn't have classes on Monday, so we expect he will sleep until just prior to Tuesday, no alarm needed.

Another rude awakening was the first hint of snow for the winter. We saw a few flakes coming down in the morning and it was cold all day. No freezing rain or ice pellets as were predicted. Guess I have to get the fireplaces set up for use and make sure the furnace is ready...