Sunday, October 31, 2010


Happy Halloween! S-I-L decorated her home to welcome ghosts, goblins, and one Ipod this evening. Imaginative costumes and polite trickters made it a nice event.

Earlier, an unconventional church service had me participating in a treasure hunt which, among other things, had us counting sheep in the stained glass windows. Close inspection of the images of the land of Cleopatra and Mark Antony made me realize that our Luxor home shimmers in the light: "Memnon's" statues, who are our neighbours, appear as green men in the right-hand panel. Cleopatra, Antony, and Luxor: there are definitely spirits at work in the carving of life.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Good Earth Good Eats

Take a group of friends, add delicious food, pour a good bottle of wine and sprinkle generously with laughter. My recipe for good times.
Nicolette Novak, The Good Earth Hostess

Nicolette's philosophy of life certainly came out this afternoon during a cooking class at the Good Earth Food and Wine Co.

What could be more conducive to good cooking than a setting of Niagara Peninsula's vineyards and orchards on a Fall afternoon?

Chef Ross Midgley created an outstanding meal that could (in theory) be replicated at home. He is the executive chef and owner of the Kitchen House Restaurant, which I hope to visit soon.

Our first course was soft goat cheese floating on root vegetable 'fettuccine' (with celery root, carrot, parsnip, butternut squash and turnip) all on a base of arugula. Greenlane Estate Winery's Sauvignon Blanc paired ever so well with all the various flavours. I was in heaven. We were off to a great start.

The BIGGEST sea scallop I've ever seen was served atop a shredded Waldorf salad and topped with mushroom pesto made from the gills of portabella mushrooms. The meat of the mushroom cap was chopped for the main course. This dish was very tasty and I could sense how good the mushroom pesto would taste on pasta too. "Twisted" wine produced by Flat Rock Cellars matched the flavours nicely.

Chef Ross cures his own bacon and treated us to a large slab in his Split Pea Soup. I'll be making this heart-warmer very soon.

Chef Ross' adaptation of tenderloin of beef "Wellington" placed the succulent beef on top of a pillow of mushroom duxelles in puff pastry and blanketed with veal jus. All I can say is, "WOW".

A spicy flourish ended the meal with pumpkin fritters. Think of it: pumpkin, sour cream, brandy, maple syrup, orange zest, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Yummy.

Friday, October 29, 2010


The innocent sleep,
Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleeve of care...
William Shakespeare

Temperatures dipped to 5C this afternoon and I'm afraid. Very afraid. In preparation for my first Canadian winter in several years, I could not find a traditional cable cardigan in the shops so I started to knit. And knitting does soothe the soul; how did Shakespeare know that? For the last few evenings I've been curled up in the comfy chair clicking my needles together. I have not knit in 20 years so "K2, k2tog, k to last 4 sts, sl 1, k1, psso, k2" looks a lot like hieroglyphs now. Thank goodness my Aunt is only a phone call away. The instructions are slowly being decoded. I just hope I can finish the sweater before the snow flies!

Thursday, October 28, 2010


This afternoon Mom and I tested decorating techniques for the church bazaar cookies. This is our first attempt working with Royal icing. Tricky stuff: one bird jumped off the table, flew onto Mom's lap and then dove head first onto the (newly cleaned) kitchen floor. After much laughter and a couple of hours we think we've worked up our concepts.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Masterpiece

The smallest feline is a masterpiece.
Leonardo da Vinci

Da Vinci's feline appreciation appeared on the wall of the Cat Clinic, where we went for a pedicure today. We are sooooo regal. Yes, you may kiss our paw.

Cat sat on her throne in the front window and watched the leaves blow. The strong winds sounded blustery but the day was warm and the sky was blue. Hurray!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


To maintain a joyful family requires much from both the parents and the children. Each member of the family has to become, in a special way, the servant of the others.
Pope John Paul I

The Time Traveller's aunt treated us to lunch before he vanishes. Over a warm bowl of soup and sandwiches we spoke of family support and forgiveness. A nourishing lunch for body and soul.

Then we went off to buy some fresh Ontario produce direct from the farm.

The tart Northern Spy apple is now on the market. These beauties will be transformed into a tasty pie.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Joining Dad on his visit to the "Genius Bar" in Toronto, we drove along the Queen Elizabeth Way. Although the QEW was the preferred route to the big city in my youth, for several years now we have avoided the corridor because the volume of traffic is so great that it becomes a great big parking lot.

As we sped along the relatively open freeway today, I caught sight of the old lamp posts that I remember from my youth. Their simple ER flourish is much more beautiful than the "alien parking lot" lights that now run down the centre of our major highways. Thank goodness a little bit of our heritage has survived.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Moose on the Loose

A foggy day made for a good time to stay indoors and bake cookies for the upcoming church bazaar. I couldn't resist the moose cookie-cutter and what could be more quintessentially Canadian than a gingerbread moose? Remember Rocky and Bullwinkle? Having baked the cookies, I must now test my decorating skills. I'm thinking that a Christmas moose should be decked out in a wreath or a scarf. Stay tuned.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Country Saturday

A childhood friend treated the Time Traveller and I to lunch in the village of Rocktown, famous for its World's Fair. We worked up an appetite with a walk around St. Albans the Martyr Anglican Church which, being built in 1869, is years younger than the fair.

We wondered through the cemetary, contemplating the tombstones and acknowledging the souls who lived there.

Then we had a great lunch at the Cookhouse Bistro. Reservations advised. As are the pies!

Heading home, we stopped in at the local apple supplier who had a yard full of pumpkins for sale. Linus would definitely find the Great Pumpkin here!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Trip to the Big City

I joined my Mom and Aunt on their annual pilgrimage to the 'stitchery show' in Toronto today. New York has its Grand Central Station. London has its Kings Cross. Rome has its Statzione Termini. Paris has its Gare de Lyon. And Toronto has its Union Station. I love them all. I love the energy in train stations.

At the conference centre buying energy abounded. Lots of wonderful things enticed imaginations -- even the imaginations of non-crafty types who simply tagged along.

Some vendors enticed imaginations with free lessons. We all had fun making simple earrings provided by the Toronto Bead Society. I'm sure there were several new 'beaders' born today. This non-crafty person had a great time. Thanks!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Seeing Red

The pear tree's leaves glowed fiery red in the chilly air. Stunningly beautiful whether the sky was blue or grey.

I saw more red this evening at a spaghetti dinner hosted by my nephew's traveling companions as they fund-raise for their Spring trip to Europe. Lots of fun was enjoyed with their silent auction. I "won" a chocolate spa basket. I remain somewhat hesitant about stepping into a chocolate-scented bubble bath. I may, or may not, report my findings. ;-)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Thundering Wind, Towering Oaks

From little acorns mighty oaks do grow.

My earliest memories of oak trees is from kindergarten when Miss Broker took our class on a Fall hike in the woods. I've loved oak trees ever since. Their knobby leaves are pretty, but their nuts with their little berets have always been my favourite Fall find.

I had gone in search of Buttermilk Falls. I was disappointed to find it looking more like a municipal drain than a natural waterfall. Perhaps from a different perspective this ribbon falls would be more spectacular. I'll try to keep an open mind. Certainly, the forest around me was beautiful.

The area is called Oak Knoll Park, but I re-named it Knotty (or Naughty) Oak Park. This old tree stood steadfast in the thundering wind that sent leaves blowing in aerial somersaults. I suspect there won't be much colour left on the trees by the end of the day. The seasons they are a-changin'.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


My talk about ancient Egypt received "awesome" reviews -- high praise, indeed, from a high school audience. However, my head still won't fit into one of Dr. Hawass' famous hats; I know it's the subject matter that's awesome, not the presenter. I had a great time recollecting the great projects that I've been so fortunate to work with. The school thanked me, but I thank the school!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
Saint Augustine

Thank goodness for Mom's scrapbooks of our journeys and Dad's hard drives! Their images helped me put together a presentation for a high school history class. And it was such a nice feeling as I turned each page to remember the amazing places and kind people that we've been fortunate enough to come to know.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Kitty Haiku

Most problems can be
Ignored. The more difficult
Ones can be slept through.
Patricia Turner, "Kitty Haiku"

Cat showed her wild side by insisting that she sleep amidst Mom's plants.

She lets out a big yawn when she realizes that she's the center of attention. Her adoring fans await her next move . . . which often has something to do with those sharp teeth and our toes!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Rainbow Blessing

Life is like a rainbow. You need both the sun and the rain to make its colours appear.

A glorious afternoon shone over Webster's Falls. Spencer Creek plunges 22 m (72'), which may not sound like much but Dad and I watched our step very carefully as we made the descent.

And the scene at the base was truly magical as a rainbow blessed an inukshuk. How lucky I felt!

Lots of people, many carrying very large cameras, took in the beauty of the falls and Spencer Gorge Conservation Area.

Roots of a creekside tree provided amusement: another Rorschach test. First, I saw a bear lying on its back. Now, I can't take my eyes off the pucker-up kiss. I wonder what this all means?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Day of Cloud and Rain

After a day of cloud and wind and rain
Sometimes the setting sun breaks out again,
And touching all the darksome woods with light,
Smiles on the fields until they laugh and sing,
Then like a ruby from the horizon's ring,
Drops down into the night.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Indeed it rained most of the day but at sunset the clouds parted just enough to illuminate the maple tree in front of the ancestral home.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Among Angels and Fairies

We headed to a waterfall that has been on my dad's 'bucket list'. Although officially called Sherman Falls, it is also known as Fairies' Falls or Angels' Falls and the area certainly felt magical today.

The falls is located on private land belonging to the Sherman family, founders of Dominion Foundry and Steel Company which later became Dofasco, one of Hamilton's great employers before the steel industry hit hard times. It still exists but is now part of the Swedish firm Arcelor-Mittal. The steel giant once contributed to the maintenance of public trails through this beautiful canyon.

Can you see the fairy nymphs cavorting in the spring-fed creek? They are there, if you look closely.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Albion Falls

Before dinner I visited Albion Falls, located in King's Forest. Surprisingly, I was not alone. Several families, older couples and teenagers on bikes had also come to enjoy the final hours of sunshine on a crisp Fall day. What a pleasant surprise!

Years ago (I won't admit how many) J and I used to scrabble over the rocks of this 19m (62') cascade as children. It was mighty impressive then and it's still impressive now.

Overlooking the falls is a single remnant of the mill that the falls powered in the late 1700s. It remains an impressive feat to haul that massive hunk of granite up the escarpment.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice.
Meister Eckhart (c. 1260 – c. 1327)

Canadians give thanks for the harvest a month earlier than our neighbours to the South. Frost comes sooner here . . . as evidenced by the fact that I wore gloves today.

We drove to the Niagara Peninsula to spend a morning at the Artfest in Vineland. This may be our final fall fair. From the fair Cat received chunks of honeysuckle wood which she much prefers to catnip. Learn something new every day.

Taking a detour on the return trip, we stopped to admire Beamer's Falls. I recently learned that my hometown calls itself "The Waterfall Capital of the World" and I'm thinking that I should make it my goal to visit all the falls on the list. It might prove to be "mission impossible" before they freeze, but I'll give it a try. Stay tuned.

Boughs of red, gold and green cloaked our path along the escarpment's edge.

Wildflowers in white, mauve and purple still bloomed at our feet.

Rain soaked the leaves and saturated their colours. Stunning beauty could be found everywhere we looked. (Hence the numerous photos on today's post.)

Although surrounded by chilly and rainy weather, these oak leaves glowed molten.

Back in the warmth, we gathered for the Thanksgiving feast at S-I-L's table.

Everyone was ready to tuck into the great meal after a day in the fresh air. Among the things for which I am thankful is to have been among family for this celebration.