Monday, September 28, 2015

Birthday Weekend in Algonquin Park

For many years now, I've spent my birthday weekend (or as near as we can get it) in Algonquin Park. The last two weeks in September are usually the best weeks to head up there to see the fall colours at their peak. This year the weather was lovely ... warm and sunny ... but the fall colours had only just begun. A bit disappointing because I was hoping to blast some colour into my camping post, but it just didn't happen.

Before we left for camping on Friday, I had been receiving birthday cards from my a new card exchange group I joined. It was a real pleasure to receive cards from people I have now known for a few years, and from some new people in this group.

It's a tea & card exchange, so I received lots of new flavoured teas tucked into the cards, together with fun little gifts on the side. It made my upcoming birthday a bit more fun :)

And there were other very special cards received that were not part of the exchange ;)

Thank you all so much for your kindness in sending these lovely cards and all the little surprises of tea and gifts. It really made my day to visit the mailbox and find another card waiting inside!!

My weekend away with my husband and son was really, really nice. We hiked and canoed for two days in idyllic weather. We climbed to a cliff top to get this view (below). And then we hiked back down and took the canoe & kayak out across this same Rock Lake to a new area we hadn't explored before. That's what is so nice in Algonquin Park, you will never have finished exploring all the beautiful hidden areas! This time we went to the right of the island you can see and down a long stretch that eventually ended at a portage. The day was getting late by then, and we were forced to turn around and paddle back.

I'll do a separate post with more photos, but for today, just a quick peek. 

And here's Cody  riding shotgun in our canoe ...

Thanks for stopping by today!


Linking up with Judith at Lavender Cottage for Mosaic Monday

Mosaic Monday

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Five on Friday ... Old Children's Books

Do you enjoy browsing through old books? I have a few old children's books that I keep in my bookshelf. Some were given to me by my mother many years ago. She took me into her bedroom, long before she and Dad had ever thought of moving home, and asked me if I would like some of these old children's books of hers. They obviously meant a lot to her for her to keep them for so long, and she wanted to pass them along into the family. Click on any of the photos to see them larger.

This first book was given to her by her school teacher when Mom was five years old. Unfortunately, I don't remember why the teacher gave the gift, but I was still fairly young when Mom gave me these books, and I didn't bother to write down that little detail. I find the stories in these old books are brutal, and just a little scary. Mom used to read these books to us as kids, and they always left me unsettled ... the way you feel after watching a horror movie.

This book has my uncle's name written in the front ... "Billy". I thought that was kind of cute because we always thought of him as Uncle Bill. He was an absent uncle, and I don't ever remember meeting him. He died when he was in his forties. This is another book of creepy stories. The one story I remember well is of the witch luring children into her woodland home and turning them into mushrooms! It sounds silly now, but I really hated these stories, I found them terrifying.

I always enjoyed poetry as a child. Mom gave me this book a long time ago because she knew I would enjoy the rhymes. The illustrations are quite nice, and there are even colour plates. But it's old and brittle and now the pages are all loose. This was given to her by her own Uncle George when she was a child.

This book I found in my Old Aunt Mary's house when my mom and her brother's wife cleaned it out to sell. That house! A treasure trove. A time capsule. I wish we could have kept it all in the same way my Aunt Mary kept it and just spend days visiting and looking through family memorabilia! This was a house that my great-grandfather lived in, and my grandfather. My mother grew up just around the corner, so the house was very prominent in her early life too. Anyway ... the book "Cats" will always remind me of Aunt Mary. She loved cats, and always had a cat or two in her house. I loved visiting Aunt Mary's house, but I got the feeling my parents were not that close to her, so we visited rarely. There was always so much to see there, and paintings and books and magazines where piled high on all the dark, old furniture. She always had to "clear a space" for us kids to sit down. This book is rather unusual in the style it is written. The illustrations are fascinating ... each page has elongated cats in the shape of letters. It's old too, published in 1909, but in really good shape.

Another childhood poetry book Mom passed along to me. I really liked all the poems in this volume by Robert Louis Stevenson, but the poem "The Swing" has always stayed with me the strongest.

The next two books I picked up at an antique market here in town quite a few years ago. "The Little Red Hen" is a story I always enjoyed as a child. When I searched for a good book of this old tale for my own kids, I found that the whole moral of the story was missing completely in the books I found. This very old book has the original moral still in tact, even though my kids were past the age of reading to them, I still picked it up. The illustrations are really nice.


This was a real treasure of a find for me. It's a book illustrated by R. Caldecotte. You are probably aware of the "Caldecotte Award" given to illustrators of children's books ... same fellow (Randolph Caldecotte). There is no publication date in the book, but that page is probably just missing. The book is in really rough shape, and there are more than a few pages missing or ripped. But the illustrations are wonderful! Some in colour, some just line drawings. I found it the same day with the Red Hen book above. We used to have the book "The House that Jack Built", and I loved Mom reading it to us as kids. For some reason I really liked the phrase "this is the cow with the crumpled horn" :) and this book has the same story. Another story in this book is about two children robbed of their inheritance by their evil uncle when their parents died. The end of the story has the two children escaping their wicked uncle and wandering through the woods eating berries. The two children then lay down and die in each others arms! You just don't see this kind of harsh storytelling in today's stories do you?

And that's it. I hope you don't mind my spilling over the five again. Linking up with Amy of Love Made My Home.

Thanks for stopping by!


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Round and Round the Garden ...

Well here in southern Ontario we were tricked a couple of weeks ago into thinking summer was taking a quick exit. But then, as soon as we took our pool down before it got too cold which makes it difficult to dry out completely, the hot blast of summer was upon us yet again! I'm not complaining, I enjoy the warmth while it's here, but I've been spending lots of time outdoors and not getting onto the computer too much. The past two weeks have been up in the high 20C and low 30C, and last week was brutally humid on top of that (I am complaining a bit about the humidity!!). I thought we had turned off the air-conditioning for god, but last night I walked into the house after running some errands and it was hot and still, so I flicked it back on for a comfortable night's sleep. I'd love to sleep with my windows open, but since we're in a bungalow, I feel safer with them closed at night.

The garden flowers are dwindling now, not a whole lot blooming in the front garden at all. But in the back gardens, there's still some colour surrounding the patio, which I quite like. This garden is getting a little crowded, so I think next year I'll have to thin out a few things.

The creeping thyme really did well in the small tin planter. Still considering planting this somewhere in my front lawn to take over the grass. I didn't see it flower, but the tag said it should ... maybe in the spring? It looks really cute with the rudbeckia bending over it.

I have a lot more plants in pots this summer, and they've all done well. It's going to be rather crowded in my kitchen with plants over the winter!

Cheerful, sunny rudbeckia!

This just reminds of something from Whoville.

Pond garden a little like a jungle now too. The columbine look great even though they suffered a bit from the heat. I trimmed them back and now they're taking over this space ... as is the grass!

My son restocked this pond with shebunkins earlier in the summer, but every fish except for one died within a couple of weeks. It was very frustrating, but the store we were buying them from said the same thing was happening to their fish. We ended up with just one lonely fish. Then a week ago I noticed there were two tiny little babies in there! So exciting. One of the fish that died must have had babies before she died, and these two little guppies survived. They've already grown quite a bit, but impossible to catch on the camera ... here's the adult fish through the netting.

Weigelia still blooming ... and so is my lavender in the front garden.

I think this could be my last miniature rose of summer.

So, yeah, if summer wants to hang on a little longer ... I'm happy with that for now ;)

Thanks for stopping by today!


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