June & July 2011

Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada


Family Matters

Click here for larger view Sunday, an ideal summer day, sunny with little white fluffy clouds, perfect temperature with a light breeze, Michelle, Eric, Grace, Faith, and Luke arrived for a visit. Unfortunately, the house here is too small and not equipped to handle seven people, so they decided to stay at the Best Western here in town.
    And when they called to say they'd arrived, that's where we went to meet them, finding them all at the hotel's pool where the kids were doing their human fish imitations. Afterward, we all went to the house and had dinner.
    Monday (yesterday) dawned with weather that had turned cloudy with scattered showers. Sandra had to go to Ottawa for a doctor's appointment, but I stayed behind to spend the time with Michelle and family.
    We first went out for breakfast, so I introduced them to the Roosteraunt, Sandra's and my favorite breakfast restaurant. While there the clouds started to break up a little.
    I then showed them the Rideau Canal where it passes through downtown and where we watched a boat go through the combined lock while the skies cleared. We then walked the path below the lock where it follows the canal and where the kids had a great time playing along the water's edge, seeing some fish, dragonflies, a crawdad, and capturing snails. Exciting stuff.
    Then it was off to the visit the Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario here in town, where again everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Photo above is the gang on the back of one the museum's cabooses. Click on it for a larger view.
    After an afternoon break, they returned to the house for supper and then with Sandra staying behind to recover from having a questionable mole removed by the doctor, the rest of us under very threatening skies walked downtown for coffee and ice cream at our local Coffee Culture coffee shop, café, and eatery and made it back to the house without getting rained on.
    Today has again dawned cloudy and with a threat of showers, so it remains to be seen what the day will hold. For my latest photos, click here.

A Drive Back In Time

Friday, we did something Sandra has been wanting to do for quite a while and that was to drive over to her childhood stomping grounds around Williamsburg and Morrisburg, Ontario to relive her past.
    It's an hour and a half drive over there and rather than take our normal routes to that area we took the opportunity to see some different backroads and villages.
    On arrival at the farm where she grew up, we drove past the farmhouse. The house and grounds were once beautiful, but the current owners have let it become overgrown which is quite sad to see. Click here for a photo Sandra took of it. This shows the only part of the house still visible from the road. Everywhere else is covered with foliage of one kind or another.
    Even sadder is the fact we once had the opportunity to buy the house when it was still at its peak, but at the time we couldn't justify living an hour and a half from Ottawa, so we passed on it. I don't know if it would have made any difference had we known what was going to happen to it, but it might have.
    Anyway, we toured the country roads in the neighborhood where Sandra had once known everyone who had lived along them and then drove into Williamsburg and spent time photographing the church her family had attended there, as seen in the photo above. It is actually three photos merged together, which I had to do in order to get it all in.
    After touring Williamsburg, which takes about 5 minutes since it's little more than a crossroads and a handful of short streets, we made the 10 km (6 mile) drive south to the town of Morrisburg, where Sandra had been born and where her parents moved after they sold the farm and retired. This is an actual town and sits on the shore of the Saint Lawrence Seaway. In a park beside the Saint Lawrence, while we had the picnic lunch Sandra packed for the occasion we watched the gulls and waited for a Laker (Great Lakes freighter) to sail by, but surprisingly none did.
    After lunch we walked downriver a short distance to look at the tree Sandra and her sisters had had planted beside the Saint Lawrence in memory of their parents and we then drove around town, stopping to photograph three of the town's churches and driving by her parents former house, which is being well maintained by its current owners, unlike the farmhouse.
Click here for larger view    Morrisburg is a rather strange town in that it no longer has a downtown. It once did, scenically located along the waterfront, but it was leveled and then flooded back in the late 1950s when the seaway was constructed. What they replaced their downtown with was a shopping plaza out on the highway that runs along the north edge of town and the plaza simply has none of the charm and character downtowns have. It's like the heart of the town was cut out and never replaced.
    Anyway, from Morrisburg we headed back in the general direction of home, taking the route westward that runs beside the Saint Lawrence. Up to this point, the drive had all been for Sandra reliving her past, but now the drive became more for me since we saw some historical sites and Sandra has no interest in history, although it was she who pointed out the sites she knew would interest me.
    Such as Fort Wellington in Prescott. This is a place I'd like a close look at someday. Unfortunately though, we didn't have time for it that day but we did see a little lighthouse out beside the river with a Laker coming downstream, the only one we saw asail the entire day, so we had to get photos of that, and while there my eagle-eye wife spotted what looked like a large lighthouse back the way we had come but had not seen it, so we backtracked a couple of miles and found it.
    It turned out to be the Windmill Point Light (photo above), site of the Battle of the Windmill. This too looked quite interesting to me, but again we didn't have time to do it justice so it's also been added to the list of things to see in the future.
    Then after a stop to take a short walk around Prescott harbour, we headed for home with no more stops. All in all, it was a wonderful drive of around 225 km (140 miles) on an absolutely beautiful summer day.
    For Sandra's account of the day, click here. For my latest photos, click here.

Happy Canada Day

Today is Canada Day, Canada's celebration of independence from Britain 144 years ago in 1867, so happy Canada Day to all who observe that holiday. We went downtown to look at our local holiday festivities that were held in Smiths Falls' Centennial Park and we're planning to watch the Canada Day fireworks going off across the canal in Lower Reach Park this evening, but the big show of this holiday is the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge (William & Kate) are in Ottawa for the occasion and the estimate is there will be around half a million people observing the holiday celebrations on Parliament Hill. Since we hate crowds we will be happy to stay clear of Ottawa.
    Thursday, our visitors for the last two weeks (Jim & Dee) departed to continue their tour of Ontario, heading north for Mattawa. After our trip to show them Kingston, we also took them to Ottawa and the nearby towns here. We had a great time while they were here.
    For Sandra's latest photo essay, click here. For my latest photos, click here.

First Day Of Summer!

Click here for larger view Today at 1:16pm EDT, summer arrived and the weather has indeed been summerlike for several weeks now, after what was quite a wet and cool spring. I'm enjoying finally being warm.
    Sunday, as planned we took the visitors (Jim and Dee) on a tour south to Kingston on the shore of Lake Ontario.
    It being one of those perfect summer days we get a lot of up here, we left the main highway and took a more scenic route, the one going through Chaffeys Locks and the Land o' Lakes region.
    After a photo stop at Chaffeys, we continued on to Kingston where we first found a Swiss Chalet Restaurant for a much needed lunch. From there we continued on for a tour of the city, first finding Lake Ontario so Dee could get photos of it. One of her goals is to photograph all the Great Lakes. She now needs photos of only Lake Huron and Lake Superior to reach that goal.
Click here for larger view    While she was photographing the lake, I took the photo above of the Murney Redoubt, one of four Martello towers at Kingston built by the British in the mid-1800s as defensive structures. Unfortunately, since the parking lot was full I had to park illegally a couple of minutes for us to take our photos and this situation lasted for our entire drive in the city as for some reason, maybe because it was Father's Day, there was not one parking spot available. Not to mention that two of the most interesting buildings downtown (seen here on a better day) were both covered in scaffolding and tarps, making them totally useless for photos.
    So, I thought a ferry ride to Wolfe Island would be nice, since you get some good views of Kingston's skyline from out on the lake, but even there we found the waiting line for the ferry packed and we missed getting on that ferry by three cars and decided not to wait the hour for the next one.
    Then I thought the visitors might like to see historic Fort Henry, Jim being retired US military. When I was there last, you could park and walk around the outside of the fort at no cost, but now you have to pay even to park, so we turned around, figuring it just wasn't our day to be in Kingston, and headed back for Smiths Falls, stopping along the way at two of the Rideau Canal locks I hadn't photographed yet. Pictured above left is Jim taking a photo at the Kingston Mills lock.
    For Sandra's latest photo essay, click here. For Jim and Dee's blog, click here. For my latest photos, click here.


Click here for larger view Wow! It's been almost a month since my last report, the longest I've ever gone without posting here, but that's because there's been precious little going on. Until three days ago, the most notable events that happened were the clothes dryer had to be repaired, the garage roof and front roof were replaced, and I painted the shed. Exciting stuff...not.
    But three days ago on Thursday, June 16, visitors arrived from the US, which is exciting. They are Jim and Dee, full-time RVers and pictured here with Sandra (on the right).
    Sandra and Dee have become friends through RV online chat rooms over the last two or three years. Unfortunately, Jim and Dee started RVing about the time we had to give it up so this is the first time we've actually met in person and we've had a good time showing them around the area, although we've only scratched the surface so far of what there is to see.
    We dropped by their RV only minutes after they had arrived and gotten onto their campsite in the Victoria Park Campground, which is along the scenic Rideau Canal here in town, and that was the first time Sandra and I were in an RV since we sold ours last year and being in one was a strange feeling after that length of time, bringing back many fond memories. We then gave the visitors a quick orientation tour of the town and the immediate area and then had them to the house for supper.
    Friday, we all went barn hunting (Dee loves barns), dropped by Tranquil Acres RV Park (where we usually stayed for most of the summer during our RV days), and ended up in Almonte, saw a bit of that town and the falls there in the Canadian Mississippi River, and then went shopping in Carleton Place where there's a super Wal-Mart (Sandra's favorite store).
    Yesterday, the girls went bargain hunting on their own and today we are planning to take Jim and Dee down to see Kingston on Lake Ontario. They are planning to be camped here in town for two weeks.
    For Sandra's latest photo essay, click here. For Jim and Dee's blog, click here. For my latest photos, click here.


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Updated Sunday, September 11, 2011

Copyright © 2011 by Gordon L Wolford .
All rights reserved.


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page), which can be found at this link...
Sandra's Nightly News

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Click the links below
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Just want to say 'Hi?'

Didya Know?

The idea for Father's
Day was conceived in
Spokane, Washington by
Sonora Dodd while she
listened to a Mother's Day
sermon in 1909. Dodd
(now known as "the
mother of Father's Day")
wanted a special day to
honor her father.

A Spot O' Humor

Protons have mass?
I didn't even know they
were Catholic.

What is a "free" gift?
Aren't all gifts free?

Parting Thot

Sometimes I do get to
places just when God's
ready to have somebody
click the shutter.

– Ansel Adams

Cast of Characters

For those reading this page who might
not be familiar with the people in
my life, these are who I often refer to
without noting who they are
(in alphabetical order)...

Becky - Nick's wife
Betty - Sandra's older sister
Caden - Grandson
Carol - my younger sister
Danica - Margie's daughter
Eric - Son-in-law
Faith - Granddaughter
Garth - Betty's husband
Grace - Granddaughter
Ian - my son
Iris - Granddaughter
Jack - Great-nephew
John - Margie's husband
Lily - Granddaughter
Luke - Grandson
Margie - Sandra's younger sister
Michelle - my daughter
Miss Pinky - our GPS navigator
Nick - Margie's son
Oren - Grandson
Rick - Carol's husband
Sandra - my most wonderful wife*
Tracy - Daughter-in-law
Violet - Granddaughter

*(a.k.a. 'Grammy' to some)