Tuesday, February 18

The last of 2013... quite late, really....

Well, it's been a while... here's a rapid, mostly photo-based catch up :) 
The last of 2013 has certainly been busy, but we've managed to have quite a bit of fun in between the chaos :)

Feeling very Canadian :) 

We ventured to Mont Tremblant with Tony's folks and had a lovely visit with lots of fabulous sights. 

We managed to catch just the start of the autumn colours

Some lake side sitting with very calming vistas

We wandered by a very charming pond with some dabbling ducks to check out


A neat neon caterpillar meandering across our path

A wee critter braving a very rainy day

Tremlant had some nice little walks and hikes with great views. 

A lovely place to wander about for a few days with some good company

A bit later in the autumn, we managed a little hike up Luskville Falls in Gatineau Park with some friends

And caught some of the beautiful fall colours

The usual suspects :) 

Our worthy guide :)

I learned a bit of mountain biking from this bad ass chica at Mont St Marie:) 
We were so wild, we broke a bike pedal this fine autumn day :) 

A dusky evening vista 

We ventured to Toronto to catch one of our favourite bands: Biffy Clyro

They were at the Opera House and were fabulous (and not just because they're Scottish)

Ai Wei Wei had an exhibition at the art gallery, which I loved. 
His art was both obvious and so thought provoking. I really enjoyed wandering through some of his works.

Tony and I in Montreal for my birthday! :) We caught Patrick Watson, who put on a fabulous show with an orchestra. I am quite a lucky lady :) 

Adrenalin accompanied me through much of autumn. In this moment, Tara and I did a frosty, late Autumn trail run of the Wolf Trail in Gatineau. 

Tara booking it up the trail

Still smiling at the summit :) 

It was cool to see the little frosty curlicues everywhere. I think it has to do with moss or something. 

 I managed to play baseball with an awesome group of folks this summer. 
Here's a few of us having a little Misfits Christmas fun :) 

Fun with cookies :)

And then, at last, the ski-season came to us again! 
We were able to have our first ski of the season in November already this year! :) 
We wasted no time getting back out there :) 
Tony and I on the O-Brien trail

Fresh and fluffy snow made for a beautiful day :)

The lads (going opposite directions, so it seems) :)

Tony. Evidently enjoying the ski :)

 Such a pretty route and with an early start to the season, we have plenty of time to enjoy the scenery :)


To cap off the year, my family came to Ottawa for Christmas. Those west coasters got a white Christmas and a taste of winter. It was a great time, by my books. 
Fun photos on Christmas day :)

Family: A good reason to feast :) 

And, of course, we played in the snow as much as we could. 
My wee nephew got to try his hand at tobogganing. 
At first, he was a bit hesitant and daddy had to show him how it was done... 
Not quite sure how that was convincing, but it was :)

And then he found he quite enjoyed tobogganing. By the end, the wee lad wanted to higher, faster, and further. A fellow adrenaline junkie in the making! :) 

Grampa and the wee laddie marching back up the hill for another ride :)

And we got my Dad out for a cross country ski. 
We had great conditions and had a lovely day out in the snow! :)
It was quite a treat to ski with my Dad :)

Enjoying some snacks and hot tea in the cabin :) A fine, fine day :)

And then came 2014 :)

Wednesday, September 4

Other Summer Amblings (Warning: Uber Long Blog)

Summer has flown by here. I can't believe classes start up again this week (tomorrow, even! yikes!) and I will kiss free time goodbye. Well, I think we made the best of it. Here's some of the mischief we found since getting back from Manitoba :)

We hiked Mud Lake, a little local hike here in Ottawa. It was a bit random and a bit pretty. 
There was some cool rocky stuff going on.

And who doesn't like a nice bridge over a swampy area :)

One vista of the lake

A little local colour. It seems Mud Lake contains a monster mouse thingy... I was terrified. Truly :)

And some fun with swinging my camera around. 

And then, because it was the season for such things, we made more jam :)
Michael and Tony ready for picking! 

We picked some of these little razzleberries

And, just because we could, some black currants, which were trickier, but less scratchy :)

The haul

Then we headed back home to cook up the jam! We poured in a tonne of sugar 
(well, maybe not quite a tonne, but still a lot, because that makes good jam) :) 

We mushed stuff to separate the yummy juice from the raspberry seeds (not to worry, we added some seed back into the jam for texture, we just didn't quite need all of them) 

And we boiled

And boiled

And sanitised

And skimmed off the weird foamy stuff

and tested

And then we poured (Tony making substantially less mess than I did whilst pouring) :) 

Then cooked the jars for canning. 
This was the final haul! 

And of course, we tasted! :) Yum!

Having a fondness for the outdoors, we found another fairly local place to kick our heels in the great outside.
We ventured west of Ottawa to Fitzroy Provincial Park for a daytime wander.

We saw some good fungus

And found a canoe to paddle. We headed up a little creek trying not to terrify the geese too much.

It was grassy and lovely in here :) These are some of the really neat places to canoe through :)

We saw a bunch of Great Blue Herons in the area. I was a bit late with my photos, unfortunately... You can kind of see this one though... :)

 The park is close to the city, so had lots of signs of humanity around, 
including a lot of humans probably holidaying here at this conveniently close, but just removed enough park. 
Maybe this is a heron nest in the power tower? I can't tell. 

And we had a little float about, basking in the sun and bobbing on the water. Perfect.  

We hiked a bit in the park, as well. It had some neat meadow, kind of places. 

And a pretty decent trail

And some flowers holding on in the August heat :)

The Highland Games were going on in Glengarry, not far from Ottawa, so we figured we'd venture down the road and check out the festivities :)
There were piping circle competitions, which I enjoyed a lot

And a mass piping event, which was LOUD and very cool :) Evidently the Glengarry games are the largest Highland games in North America, which surprised me. 
I thought somewhere on the east coast would have the largest event. I guess we've got the population here... Anyway,  it's worth checking out! :)

Folks were pretty dedicated to the event :) 

And, of course, the random strength events were going on. Here's the sheaf  (or is it sheath?) toss.

And throwing heavy rock-like things

And, of course, the caber. None of the lads were able to flip the caber over, but it was entertaining to watch them throw it nonetheless :)

A mass highland fling :) There was more dancing competition stuff, but it stated pretty early in the morning, so we missed the good stuff. Next year :)

 Tony and I decided to take a weekend away, so headed to an old stomping ground: Kingston. We hadn't been back since moving away a couple of years ago. It was great to visit some old haunts and check out some new stuff. Kingston makes for a great and relaxing weekend away. 
The town hall (I think)  

An old favourite lunch spot: The Grad Club on Queen's campus

One of the old fortresses to keep out the Americans, I think. Now it's a UNESCO World Herritage Site. It was fun to finally take a poke around inside.

The top bit, with all the cannony stuff

Little doors and tiny windy stairways. Evidently six families lived in this place! Tight quarters, to say the least!

A lake side wander to the Whirring bridge. A beautiful day to be near water :) 

We did a day hike at Frontenac Provincial Park. 
We'd been to the park before and always enjoyed hiking there, so we found a new trail to wander around on for the day. 

As ever, the park offered a varied terrain and some beautiful sights :)

We've had quite a bit of rain this year, so the world is still very lovely and green well into August 
(when usually everything starts drying out and turning brown). It was lovely to see all the green!

And we made friends with an interesting looking little critter :)

Gotta love that fungus! :)

 We crossed lots of babbling brooks and ambling streams, usually via precarious bridges :)

Dam! 

 Vista :)

Here's a flower just for you :)

Needless to say, there are a lot of trees in the park :) I thought this one was very pretty :) 

This meadow was my personal highlight of this trail. The precarious bridge only added to the ambiance :)

Here's Tony doing what he does :) 

Wild orchid?

 Cool swampy burnt places :)

Tony, checking stuff out :)

Ah, the Canadian shield :) 

Another vista... too many? I couldn't resist... :)

Yup, we had a good time of it :) Always nice to get oot and aboot in the great outside :)

 I went to Ukraine again, a much awaited trip and likely my last one for a little while.
It was bad to be there in August for work, but great for the sunshine :) We took a bit of time to kick it on a beach along the Black Sea :) Fab :) 
Precarious stairs down to the beach.

View of the Black Sea and the beach from said precarious stairs :)

The girls there always tell me how much they love my curly hair and how they wish they had curly hair. Usually in the same breath, they ask if I'd ever straightened my hair and if they could straighten if for me. And so I let them. And this is what they do to me :)

We did the usual tourist route in downtown of Odessa. Here's me on the Potempkin steps

And posing awkwardly at the Colonnade :)

View of the Mother-in-Law Bridge where newly married couples put locks on the bridge :)

Gotta love those rooftops :)

There were some beautiful morning glories blooming where we stayed. I loved the blue of this one! :)

The whole damn family:) I will miss visiting all these lovely folks I've come to know over the last few years :) 

On our way back from Ukraine, we had an overnight in Vienna, a place I had never been before. 
So, though time was short, we ventured into the downtown to check it out! :)
Train from our suburban airport hotel to the city centre.

I immediately dug the city. The architecture and sense of history was fabulous.

I loved the street with lots of neat things to check out, had we a bit more time :)

Oh, ya, and they yarn bombe here too :) Love. It. :)

And then you'd turn a corner and there would be something really eye catching! :)

Big old church, the Stephanplatz :) Very cool.

And the other side of it, complete with horses and buggies :)

Vienna is evidently one of the most pleasant places to live. I felt it. 
I also dug the subtle graffiti. I feel it :)

I was told there is this big massive monument in the centre of every Austrian city. 
Also, a cross on every mountain summit. 

Big old touristy walking street. Vienna is also a very cycle friendly city. I loved that! 
It did seem like a great place to be, for sure. I'd like a bit more time to check it out next time :)

The ever legendary opera house, naturally, with a Mozart concert coming up :) 

Old and new trams doing what they do :)

Winter gardens for the Hapsburgs. The winter palace was pretty snazzy. 
No bones about it that this was the seat of a rather large empire at one point. 

Winter Palace

And the main part of the winter palace. Very cool.

Close to the palace is the museum quarter. This is one of the museums in the area, which evidently was built as a museum during the Austro-Hungarian empire and still maintains that old style of museum. 

And we ate Austrian food: veal Schnitzel, potato salad and unfiltered beer. It was a feast and very tasty :)

Once I was back in Canada, Tony and I decided to make the best of the September long weekend, 
so headed off for some camping at Papineau La Belle Provincial Park in Quebec.
Here's our campsite :)

 There was a nice hike up to a sumit with a spectacular view of the Laurentians :) Worth the uphill, for sure :)
Tony was very happy to have made it up at last! :)

Vista

So here is the panorama I took at the sumit. I can't seem to get it to be horizontal... 
Anyway, enjoy it sideways :)

Feeling Canadian :)

Tony also felt extra Canadian as he tended the fire

We cooked some good grub on that fire! :)

There was a lovely lake to swim in just a stones through from our campsite :)

We managed a full day of canoeing and saw some lovely sights on Lac Sept Freres

And, as ever when we camp, we ate well :) Yum :)

Tony consulting the map and wearing a very fitting t-shirt for the day :)

Ya, it was bright, lovely and bright and I wanted to swim :)

There are some nice canoe camping sites along the lake and in surrounding lakes. 
I'd like to do a canoe camping weekend here! Yes, I would! :)

Why? Because it is so very very pretty :)

Canoe

Lake-side flora :)

Lake source :) Thanks little creek for making all these great canoe-able places :)

If you look closely in the middle, there is a hawk just chilling on a branch there. 
Tony took come better picture of it on his camera. Check out his blog 
(whenever he gets around to posting the pictures, that is) :)

  The park is relatively undeveloped (especially compared to parks like Algonquin). The upside of that is fewer folks tend to come here, so you get that I'm Outside feeling much easier :) This was the road through the park: a pretty bumpy logging road, though very charming :)

On the last day (Monday of the long weekend), we were going to do another hike to a different sumit. However, Monday was also the day small game hunting season opened... as we pulled into the parking area, we spotted a hunter with a very large rifle ambling his way up the trail... Not having florescent orange vests, we figured it was maybe better to skip the hike with all those guns out there. Regardless, it was a wonderful week away and into the outside :) 
I can't wait to try canoe camping there maybe next summer! :) 
Who's with me?! :)

All in all, we had a lovely summer with a number of great adventures. Who can ask for more :) Also, my apologies for ramming all this into one massive blog, rather than a few smaller ones...