June 2013

Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada


We Visit Showy Lady's Slipper Orchids
- Thursday was one of those gorgeous summer days (although it was technically still spring) that we get a lot of up here – blue sky with a few fluffy white clouds, low humidity, and perfect temperature – so at Sandra's suggestion (because I had forgotten all about them) we made the hour's drive over to the Purdon Conservation Area to see its famed and rare colony of Showy Lady's Slipper orchids.
    This was our third visit to Purdon Conservation Area. The first time, in 2006, we were too late to see the orchids. The second time, in 2007, we were almost too late but did manage to see a few of them. This time we were early, but not too early since according to the Purdon website, 30% of the orchids were in bloom. At first, we didn't see any, but as we progressed along the boardwalk that provides a walkway through the
fen where the orchids grow, we began to see some and then encountered quite a few of them where we got enough photos, like the one above which I titled "Pair of Slippers' to make the drive worthwhile
    Apparently, Purdon CA has 16,000 orchids, which makes it the largest colony of Showy Lady's Slipper orchids in Canada and possibly the largest in North America.
For my latest photos, click here.

Tall Ships 1812 Tour
- The Tall Ships 1812 Tour was held this weekend along the Saint Lawrence River in Brockville, Ontario.
    The ships started arriving Friday, so we drove down there to watch them. Not knowing what to expect, except certain the crowd would be so large that traffic would slow to a crawl and parking would be nearly impossible to find, Sandra and I made the 45 minute drive around midday, stopping first at a
Swiss Chalet for lunch, and then found a parking spot a half kilometre (0.3 mile) away from the last ship. From there, it was another kilometre (0.6 mile) hike to where most of the other ships were docked. Sandra has no interest in history, but she did want to see the tall ships, so Friday was the day she wanted to go, figuring it would be the least crowded. Me, being interested in history, I had planned to attend the event all three days, but as it turned out that plan was a bit too ambitious. I was there for sunrise Saturday morning and spent the next five and a half hours walking along the waterfront, seeing and photographing what could be seen and photographed, but after two days of this my body said "enough already," so I gave today a pass, which turned out just as well since it has rained most of the day.
    Anyway, it was a very interesting event and over my two visits I took 647 shots. Even Friday was way too crowded for my taste and I was sure Saturday would be worse, which it was, so I'm glad I got there bright and early. Not only did I get a sunrise photo, I almost had the place to myself for a couple hours and even got the closest parking spot to the event, but by 11 a.m. I was too exhausted to deal any more with the crowd, so I left. I had hoped to take some sunset photos, but just didn't have the stamina to endure that long. The high point (literally) of the event for me, besides seeing those fabulous ships, was a free ride up in a tethered hot air balloon, my first ever. It was an uplifting experience.
here to see the gallery of my photos taken at the event. I'll be adding to it for days.

Doors Open
- It's been three weeks since my last report, mainly because Sandra and I have done little worth reporting.
    However, yesterday we did something interesting. It was
Doors Open Smiths Falls here in town, an event we like to take part in because it gives us free access to places that either normally charge an admission fee or don't offer public access. So we visited...
Montague Food and Agriculture Museum, which is actually an antique filled barn on a farm about 3 miles (5 km) northeast of town. We've driven by this place countless times, but never knew a museum was there because they don't have a sign out by the road.
The Rideau Winery, where we signed up for a batch of 'vint-on-premise' wine, which will save us a fair bit compared to what wine costs at the liquor store.
Town Hall Council Chambers, just because we had never seen them before. Beyond Sandra voting (I can't, not being a citizen), we don't get too involved with local politics...actually, neither provincial nor national politics either.
Davidson’s Courtyard, where one of Sandra's friends just opened The Loft, a unique shop housing local artisan products and direct sales products. Sandra is planning to do some volunteer work there.
Heritage House Museum (photo above with its 'doors open'), my second favorite place in Smiths Falls, but not Sandra's since she has no interest in history, so I went there while Sandra had a lunch break at home. Visiting here is like going back in time 150 years.
Rideau Canal Gate Shop, where the replacement gates for the canal locks are made, the Rideau Canal being my favorite thing about Smiths Falls. When we visited the gate shop during last year's Doors Open, they had no gates under construction due to a scheduling problem, so we were hoping this year we'd get to see some actual gates being made and happily, that turned out to be the case. It was very interesting to see how such large things are constructed.
Gallipeau Centre, formerly the Rideau Regional Centre until the Ontario government closed the facility in 2009, is now in private hands. The new owner, a residential developer, is slowly renovating areas of this large complex, one area being the indoor swimming pool which is to become the municipal pool.
Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario, my third favorite place in Smiths Falls due to always having an affinity for railroads, no doubt because of my father’s father working for the railroad for decades before he retired from it, so when I visit this museum it always makes me think of Grandpa.

One other thing worth mentioning is that the insect problem that bugged us for most of the time we’ve had this house now looks to be a thing of the past, as I had hoped it would be when our large boxelder tree was removed last autumn. The boxelder bugs, no longer having anything to eat, have either starved off or moved on. Over the last week or so, I’ve seen less than five of them, compared to what would have been thousands last summer over that same period.


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Updated Monday, August 5, 2013

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Just want to say 'Hi?'

Didya Know?

The hole in the donut's center appeared in
the first half of the 19th Century and allows
the donut to cook more evenly.

The Guinness World record for donut eating
is held by John Haight, who consumed 29
donuts in just over 6 minutes.

A Spot O' Humor

Doesn't "expecting the unexpected" make
the unexpected expected?

Why are a "wise man" and a "wise guy"

Parting Thot

To speak ill of others is a dishonest way
of praising ourselves.

– Will Durant

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
Max - Grandson
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)