Thursday, September 28, 2006

Walk in the rain

I would put these in the chronological order of my walk, but I find that a real PITA to do in Blogger. So let us begin anyway. Today I took a walk in the rain. I do this walk almost every day, although sometimes I'll go in the opposite direction from our house.

Our weenie chemin ("road" for the French-impaired) comes out onto this bigger road. Thus begins my walk. I concentrate hard to make sure I don't become roadkill, as the speed limit is 70 kmph here. Or maybe 90 kmph. Everyone drives at 90 anyway! The bright side is that there is hardly any traffic, especially at the time of day I'm walking (waaay over on the shoulder!)

It would really, really annoy me to become roadkill when I am so happy with my life. REEEEALLY annoy me.

Sumac, and some purple wildflowers I know not the name of!

Another shot of the winding road. I stay especially far over on the shoulder on these blind curves. Today I brought home a caterpillar on my jeans. I imagine I picked him up in the tall grass I was slogging through to avoid the minivan going by at 140 kmph.

Virginia creeper standing out. I do love this time of year, and no offense to my west coast friends, but here it doesn't rain EVERY SINGLE DAY in the autumn. Most of this week was sunny and beautiful. Yes, you'll all be laughing at me when I am marooned at home in nine feet of snow with no power, but for now, neener neener neener!

Okay, so this is the END of the walk. Our house and the garage. The log things piled on the right were delivered by our landlord Andre yesterday. He is lining the driveway with them to stop people driving onto the septic field on the right. Don't laugh. The delivery truck with our appliances on it would have parked on it had Andre not been there to stop them! And thus would have ended the useful life of our septic field.

The log things? Andre (the one who had the kidney transplant a few months back) cut down the trees and milled the lumber himself. I should be so productive.

Back to the walk. This is Lac/Lake Donaldson, about ten minutes down the road. Some days it looks just spectacular in the sunlight. I have heard loons here several times (sort of like at home, where Gordon hears a loon every time I open my mouth. Ar ar ar!)

More Lac/Lake Donaldson. Yes, I was wearing a rain jacket! But I am not afraid of rain. Especially after living in a rainforest.

Oops, back home. This is the maple by our well, which is in an earlier photo on this blog. Now you can see it is fully clothed in splendiforous (how do spell that?) autumn colour. As soon as we clear a space, that damn garden furniture is going in the garage!

And back to our walk!

Okay. this is the bit of water our house backs onto. It's sort of the end of the lake we're on, although turns into a river. Out on the main road there is bridge, on which I stood to take this shot. Our place is a bit beyond those white things on the water, to the right (but you can't see it.) We kayak here! And beavers keep trying to build a dam under the bridge.

This is our dock. The water level on the lake has risen, and the dock is almost sunk. But Industrious Andre has built us a whole new floating dock, which he has brought over but won't install until after the spring thaw. Which should come in June, right?

That differently-coloured square of road is the bridge I was standing on. It is covered in plywood, which frankly doesn't instill much confidence in me as to its safety OR winter survivability. We shall see. There is a weight restriction on the bridge for trucks. We think our moving van exceeded it. OOPS!

The view on the other side of the bridge! We've been kayaking down here, and kingfishers frequent the area.

I like it here. A LOT! Have I mentioned that lately?

Sunday, September 24, 2006


You Are Pretty Logical

You're a bit of a wizard when it comes to logic
While you don't have perfect logic, you logic is pretty darn good
Keep at it - you've got a lot of natural talent in this area!

Hmmm... I'm more logical than I thought I was!

Bad cats?

I got a spiffy new label maker and have been trying it out, leaving labels in mysterious places. Gordon has one on his shaving mirror that says "manly manhood." Ahem.

In case you're not wearing your bifocals, Zoe's label says "Bad Cat!" Or click on the photo for a larger, more legible version.

You'd think these two actually liked each other, when they sleep as close as this.

And Mashka's label says "Badder cat!" but really, she's a sweet old thing. She is at least 15 now. We adopted her from the Toronto Humane Society back in 1995, so you never know, she could be older. But they said she was 3-1/2 years old when we got her in the January of that year. My math makes her at least 15!

Mashka has lost some weight recently and we are bit concerned about her, but all three kitties are off to the new vet this week for their annual check-ups, so we'll see what's up then. Apart from being skinnier, she's quite content with life. I wish Zoe would give her some of HER extra weight!

The funny thing with Mashka is that for the first year we had her, she spent most of her life on the futon in our spare bedroom. She was quite timid, and it took her a long time to adjust to living with a dog (our Chelsea.) Over the years, she has really come out of her shell, and eventually ended up sleeping on our bed every night. But since we've moved to this little house, she has taken to sleeping on the futon in my office every night instead! And Julius tends to boot her off our bed if she comes near it. There's in new world order in our catdom; in BC, Mashka was the one chasing Julius off our bed.

Still, I think Mashka likes being next to me in my office all day, leaving as much grey fur as possible on the dark brown futon.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Frosty morning

Well, the hubster told me that he had to scrape a heavy frost off the car this morning. And so it begins! I ain't in BC anymore. Fall is in the air, although some local told us the serious snow doesn't start here until December. Which is good, as I feared it might start in October. But what I fear more is ice storms. We shall see. All that said, I do love weather. Nothing like a good weather bomb to warm the cockles of my heart.

This here is the view from office window. It's a slice of the backyard, with our snazzy new kayaks in the background, and my birdfeeding station. Andre the landlord is going to do something about the bald lawn bits. There is lake beyond the tall trees.

As you can see, the leaves are a-changing. Andre is putting lots of little flower beds in for me, because he knows I love to garden. He made this garden around the well. I think I'll plant some bulbs. It's a bit late for anything else.

This is part of the view from my kitchen window. Yesterday Andre came and put these planter boxes on the septic field, over the access to the tank. They will be easy to move should they need access to the tank. And through the trees, you can see the lake. Or at least, I can when I'm standing at the window. It's not so obvious in this photo.

Andre is incredibly hard-working, this despite his recent kidney transplant! On the weekend, he and his helpers came down with a brand-new dock they'd built. It's not going in until the spring thaw, but it looks great.

I think Andre and Murielle really like us as tenants and are trying to entice us to stay as long as possible. Certainly they've made the house lovely! We'll be here at least a year but probably more like two. That's okay. I feel like I'm on some sort of artistic retreat here.

When we went kayaking on the weekend, we saw a pair of common loons. There were also turkey vultures circling overhead, waiting for us to fall into the water, die, and bloat up. Nummy nummy. Nothing like juicy kayaker to fill up a vulture tummy!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Today's offerings

A mixed bag! We have...

...another shot of the inmates in the car.

... the weathered, beaver-gnawed stump of a tree in our yard. I wonder why they didn't move it after going to all the effort of knocking it down? Perhaps they were rare lazy-ass beavers, instead of the usual busy ones.

... a shot taken at the top of Lake Superior somewhere. I think we were on our way to Schreiber, Ontario at the time. I happen to think that stretch along Superior is just beautiful. And yes, I will do a whole website about the drive! I have many pictures, and look forward (NOT) to uploading them with my dial-up connection.

All is quiet here in cottage country. Something knocked down my suet feeder last night and ate every last smidgen of suet. I had a feeling that was going to happen! So far I have only seen chickadees, blue jays, goldfinches and mourning doves at my feeders. All very lovely (chickadees are my favourite birds) but I am hoping something more exotic will show up soon.

There were two juvenile green herons hunting on our lawn all day yesterday. They still have baby fluff on their heads and are very cute and pretty. One of the nice things about being on a lake is that you get all the water birds as well as the "land" birds.

We have satellite TV now. That's a first for us and we're enjoying it. But I do think they have some nerve calling a station "BBC Canada" when half the shows on it are Canadian shows I can get on other channels. What the hell does THAT have to do with BBC or England, I ask you? However, I do now get Animal Planet, which makes me veddy veddy happy.

I had a whole phone conversation in French yesterday (I find it harder to speak/understand French on the phone than in person.) I'm sure it was quite painful for the woman listening to me, but my French was actually better than her English, so we stayed in French. I am so rusty after not speaking it for 13 years! I need practice, and more lessons. Zut alors! I hope I didn't accidentally say something like "Yes, I am a man under this dress!"

Julius (the orange cat) is being very weird. He spent all day in our boxspring yesterday. He has in fact been spending all his days lately hidden away in our bedroom, sleeping. He's not even making any attempts to escape into the great outdoors. Physically he seems fine, so we are wondering if he's depressed, or traumatized over the new house, or who knows what? Also there seems to have been some change in the cat superiority order. Julius, who was rarely allowed on the bed before by the girlie cats, now rules our bed and chases off the girls when it pleases him! Even poor old Mashka, who used to knock Julius right off our bed, has taken to scampering off like a weenie when she sees Julius on his mattress throne. She has been sleeping on the office futon at night. A new world order amongst our kitties!Very strange. But Zoe is happier than I've seen her in ages. I will never, ever understand cats. Give me a good old dog anytime. I can read them like a book.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Road Trip - the cats

Here they are, stuffed in the back of the Mazda hatchback, all sleeping peacefully (not that you can see Julius or Zoe! )Mashka is 15 and goes nuts in a crate, so she gets to be free-range in the car. She spent almost the entire trip in the spot she is in in this picture. They were all good as gold, sleeping up to ten hours a day in the car with nary a peep.

This is how we stopped Zoe and Julius from tunnelling into the boxspring every night like they did on the last road trip. It worked a dream, and I believe I have my little brother's Mom Liz to thank for the idea of using drawers to block off the bed (along with our copious amounts of luggage!)

That's Gordon's foot resting in the bottom right, and this was one of several Comfort Inns we frequented along the way. Mashka is ensconced on the bed, as per usual.


This beautiful old girl showed up on Monday. Gordon and I went for a short walk, and she came out of nowhere and followed us home. She settled down on the porch and wouldn't leave! Gordon ended up taking her around to every house and cottage in the area and no one knew her. She had a collar but no tags, of course. Very frustrating.

She was well-trained (beautiful manners), and obviously cared for, with a brushed coat and gorgeous white teeth. We figured she had to be lost, not dumped. Gordon called the SPCA on Tuesday morning and they came and picked her up in a nice red minivan. The woman on the phone told Gordon that dogs are constantly getting lost up here in cottage country, and that they usually get picked up within three days, and if not, it would be no problem adopting her out if she had a nice temperament (and she does.)

And before you all start, we have "no dogs" in our lease right now!!! She did spend the night, and she was very good with the kitties, but I am going to get a dog when we move into our own home. But she was a beautiful girl and we gave her a lot of loving. I hope she was reunited with her parents quickly. And she seemed to speak English, not French, which furthers the cottage dog theory (people from Ottawa have cottages around here. Most of the people living in this area are Francophones.)

Here is a self-portrait from our road trip. I had to wait for a straight stretch of road so that the camera wouldn't slide off the dashboard!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Our new house! Really it's a cottage, but the owners have completely renovated it. It is very cozy and bright, and it's set on five acres. Since this photo was taken, Andre (our landlord) has added handrails to the stairs. He still has some things he wants to do outside, like spreading fresh gravel on the parking area, putting siding on the garden shed, and building a replica of the Taj Mahal on the septic field (just kidding about the last one.) He is extremely industrious, despite having had a kidney transplant earlier this year.

This is our handcrafted, one-of-a-kind number sign. Place your orders now! We put it up so that the movers and various delivery people could find us. We do plan to get a more permanent sign, as I don't expect the box top to do very well in a Quebec winter.

Our dock. Andre has plans to repair it, but I like it already! And so do the five billion frogs who live here.

I think we are going to buy kayaks this weekend, so we can get some kayaking in before it's too cold.

I remember why I hated dial-up so much. It took a frigging eternity to load these photos to Blogger. Ah, the price I pay for tranquility. As for my cell phone, I can only get reception, sketch at that, if I stand on the septic field. BUT I LOVE IT HERE!!!!!!!!! (Sorry, Wendy!)

Remind me of this in January.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

You know you have a small house when...

... you can vacuum the whole place without unplugging the vacuum (to switch outlets.)

... you can smell skunk throughout the entire house at night even though (a) the skunk is outside and (b) your dog hasn't been sprayed (and you don't even have a dog!) Note to self: turn off air exchanger when skunk visits yard.

... there is nowhere in the house your husband can hide from you. Heh heh heh.

I went for a walk down the road today. Very quiet, with very pretty Lake Donaldson (or Lac Donaldson, si vous preferez) just down the street. We are also ON another very pretty lake, but I still don't know if it's Lake Plumbago or Twin Lake. The research continues! There are five billion frogs down by the dock. So cute!

The garbage was taken away today, hooray! And instead of a limit of two bags or cans (like in Abbotsford), we are allowed SIX bags (or cans) of trash. Fill 'er up, baby. We also have an enormous blue recycling wheelie cart, and they recycle just about everything here. Yay!

Must go. My vacuum is calling me.

PS: Pictures soon! The camera is now next to the computer, but I have to find the cord that attaches the two.

Monday, September 04, 2006

I have a home again!

Well! Not only do I have a home again, but I have some free dial-up and it's actually not as horrifically painful as I remember. I may survive without cable after all!

We are all moved and in four days, managed to unpack all our boxes (which may give you an indication of how small our house is.) I LOVE this place. If only it were slightly bigger, on 50 acres instead of five, and if only we owned it, I'd never move again.

Essentially we are in what is a mix of farm country and cottage country. We are next to a small lake which winds around the back of the house like a river. I heard a loon yesterday! (No, not Gordon. A real one.)

It is DEAD quiet here, and pitch dark at night, which for me is a dream. The house is really sweet and all the furniture fit in perfectly. The kitchen is a lot bigger than our one in BC and it's nice not to be bumping into Gordon all the time. Also we have a ton of closet space! The landlord has been here every day since we moved in, continuing to work on stuff outside. He's a nice man and a hard worker (and he just had a frigging kidney transplant this spring, so this is his "slow" pace!) He put new wooden railings all around the front and back porches. He put a new concrete floor in the garage. He is going to spread new gravel on the driveway. The whole place has been renovated and it's so nice.

Our appliances AND our telephone service showed up Friday, so we are almost back to normal. Just need to get the satellite TV set up and we're done. I can only get cell phone service here if I stand on top of the septic field or at the end of the driveway!

My French is not as rusty as I thought, but I definitely need to practice more. I can understand it fine, but my vocabulary needs some work.

Okay, au revoir for now! I need some breakfast. I will get some pictures up soon.