Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sweet Memories

oooooh! Memories are sweet!

I remember Royal Oak Dairy trucks delivering quarts of milk to our house and Mom buying milk tickets from the driver for my kindergarten recess.

I remember the foil labels that protected the cardboard pull-tabs on the glass milk bottles.

But I truly remember the treat of being taken to Stoney Creek Diary for ice cream! So I twisted (gently) my Dad's arm and he drove Mom and I along country roads and down "the Mountain" for dessert this evening.

Everything was deliciously familiar, from the list of 40+ flavours to the chocolate sundaes.

I could not resist ordering le pièce de résistance: the banana split. I figured I should go for it because it might be another 30 years before I indulge in another . . . but I hope not. Sweet dreams everyone!

Monday, August 30, 2010


Thanks to a lot of help from family and friends, the task of moving, organizing, and storing our worldly possessions is DONE! A BIG "THANK YOU" to all of you!
Now what will I do with my days? ;-)

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Baskets of peaches now fill the market. A friend of Mom's gave her a recipe for peach pie and Mom made it 40 years ago. Thankfully she remembered where she filed the recipe when I mentioned that I'd like to make a peach pie. I waited all day to try piece and it was worth the wait: delicious!

Peach Schitz Pie
1 unbaked pie shell (I added a teaspoon of cinnamon to my easy/no fault pastry recipe since there are no other spices in the pie.)

Fill shell with sliced peaches. I mixed a tablespoon of tapioca through the slices to hold the juice.

Mix together:
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup sour cream
Pour mixture over peaches.

Bake at 450F for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350F and bake for 40 minutes.
Remove pie and cover top with brown sugar. Bake for another 10 minutes.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Harbourfront Stroll

Dad took Mom and I down to the harbour for an afternoon stroll along Waterfront Trail. I had not seen this promenade when walking with the Time Traveller a week ago.

It was a glorious afternoon. We followed the sails for about 2km to Princess Point.

I was surprised at the numbers of cormorant now residing on the harbour. There must be plenty of fish to sustain such a large population.

Since arriving in the homeland I have been watching the sumac ripen. The leaves are just beginning to redden. I'm not sure if this is the same sumac used in Lebanese cooking. As a young camper I was taught how to make Indian tea with it. More research is required! Stay tuned.

Friday, August 27, 2010

As We Like It

My dear friend and her daughters treated me to a day at Stratford, beginning with a picnic lunch beside Lake Victoria, which is fed by the Avon River. One of my earliest childhood memories is of my brother and I sleeping under a tree after a similar picnic lunch.

I felt right at home standing at the crossroads where the Nile and Ontario meet.

A young entrepreneur sells bags of corn kernels for $1 to feed the ducks, swans and geese that think they are swans. Corn is healthier than bread for the birds.

Then we enjoyed an afternoon performance of "As You Like It" in the Festival Theatre. The building was a revolutionary/retrograde theatre when built in 1957 with its thrust stage bringing the actors (and the action) closer to the audience and its tent-like roof. It was a great day, completed by a very large and very red harvest moon rising in the East as we drove home.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Alma Mater

I'm certainly racking up the miles on mom's odometer as I gallivant across southwestern Ontario. Clear roads and clear skies made today's drive pleasurable.

I visited my alma mater. WLU was certainly a nurturing environment. I remember fondly my time there and was happy to re-connect with one of my great profs who took his two stellar students for a tour to see how the campus had developed. Big changes . . . but he was kind enough to say that I hadn't changed a bit. Bless him! :-)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

City Meets Country

This trail through the woods was once a major thoroughfare in Toronto, Woodbine Avenue. I enjoyed a lovely afternoon contemplating where the path might lead and keeping a lookout for deer or other wildlife, which remained in hiding during our backyard lunch.

I was happy not to be driving. The rain came down so hard that all was white as snow.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Walk in the Sunshine

This evening I strolled along the "Mountain Brow" to take in the sunshine.

Hamilton's 'Mountain' is only 120 m (394 ft) above the harbour but it offers grand vistas, even if they do include the (in)famous steel companies that once employed the greatest portion of the city's residents.

"The Mountain", as Hamiltonians call it, is part of the Niagara Escarpment, which is composed of sedimentary rocks dating back over 400 million years ago (in the Ordovician and Silurian periods). The cliffs of the escarpment are in fact the exposed floor of an ancient sea. Perhaps because, as kids, our family hiked along the escarpment's Bruce Trail, this shale formation feels like a part of my being.

Back in 1990, the UN designated the Niagara Escapment as a World Biosphere Reserve. Unfortunately this designation hasn't stopped urban development over-running the "Niagara Fruit Belt" but the escarpment itself provides lots of vegetation for the migrating Monarch butterflies. Here a female has alit upon a Flowering Dogwood tree.

Can you image the riot of colour if she landed among the psychedelic groundcover nearby? So much to see in a short walk!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Practice Makes Perfect

It's still raining and the robins were hiding, so I stayed indoors and developed my blueberry pie-making abilities. More practice is needed . . . at least until the blueberries disappear from the market.

I also expanded my horizons to what my dad has called eggplant bruschetta. I couldn't remember where I saw the recipe (a senior's moment), so it was very much an ad-lib creation. Roasted eggplant slices covered with provolone and salsa and set under the grill for a few minutes produced a pretty tasty vegetable dish. I'll keep practicing this one too. ;-)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tomorrow Robins Will Sing

Today is the tomorrow you were so worried about
Looking over your yesterday
The clouds are gone and the sun is out
And everything has worked out irie okay

Tomorrow robins will sing, tomorrow robins will sing
It really is no big thing, cause tomorrow robins will sing
Tomorrow blue jays will fly, the weather forecasts clear skies
So dry those tears from your eyes, cause tomorrow blue jays will fly
Tomorrow robins will sing, tomorrow robins will sing
It really is no big thing, cause tomorrow robins will sing
Stevie Wonder

It rained heavily last night and showers continued through the day. In a break from traditional hymns, a church soloist sang Stevie Wonder's "Tomorrow Robins Will Sing" during this morning's service.

Blue sky started to peak through the clouds this evening, so I'm pretty sure that our avian friends will be chirping happily tomorrow. I can hope. :-)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Date at the Lake

The Time Traveller took me on a jaunt today to Port Burwell, on Lake Erie. As you can see, the lake was a bit choppy and it rained most of the time but we made the most of our visit.

We walked along the pier. We ate ice cream on the beach.

We climbed to the top of Canada's oldest lighthouse on the lake. It dates to 1840 and is constructed of thick pine beams that stretch its entire height (13.7 m). Those were the days when Ontario still had such towering trees. Actually, a lot of the ships that were guided by this network of lighthouses along the lake carried timber.

We chased Monarch butterflies that flitted among the clover beside the lake. They feasted on the nectar to energize themselves for their flight over the lake and their continued migration to Mexico. They were very shy -- they did not want their picture taken.

We feasted on fresh yellow perch caught this morning in the lake and mussels flown in from New Brunswick at the Galley Restaurant. Highly recommended! I wondered where they procured "Sicilia" lemon juice. It was just us and about 60 motorcyclists out on their "Schooner Porch" who were participating in a fundraiser for underprivileged children.

We got a little lost in Vienna* on our way home. But if we hadn't, we wouldn't have found this quaint rain drenched bridge over Otter Creek. Getting lost can be fun.

The day blossomed, just like the sedum in my M-I-L's garden.

*Note: Southwestern Ontario has a broad worldview. In addition to Vienna, it has Paris, London, Avon, Stratford, Scotland, Simcoe, Sparta, Corinth, Copenhagen, Melbourne and even Medina. It also had Berlin, whose name was changed to Kitchener to be politically correct during the War.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Festival Time

People in the homeland love a reason to get out and have fun during the summer and so a person can easily enjoy a different festival every weekend without driving far from home. My dear S-I-L invited me out for an evening in a nearby town.

Mounted police (not THE Mounted Police) were among the top attractions. It remains uncertain to me whether it was the steads or the uniforms that drew the crowds.

Few cacti could be spotted, leaving one to wonder at the event's raison d'etre. Well, quite simply, it gives the community an chance to have some fun. When the festival was conceived 35 years ago, the town was known as the Cactus Capital of the Universe thanks to a large cacti-growing operation owned by the Veldhuis family. That operation is long gone, but the festival lives on and everyone continues to have a good time.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Unexpected Pleasures

Pleasure is very seldom found where it is sought. Our brightest blazes are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks.
Samuel Johnson

This evening after dinner at the fish and chips shop, the Time Traveller and I strolled along the harbourfront. I had not visited since its re-development, which is impressive.

We were lucky to come across a poster advertising a free harbourside concert that would begin in a half hour.

Another unexpected pleasure! The blues musicians were very good. And it was so much fun to sit on a picnic bench and tap our feet to the music's beat while the Sun set.

And a beautiful sunset it was. Another great day.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Progress Feels Good!

Hurray! All my books are re-packed and organized in the storage locker. What a sense of accomplishment!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Summertime Treat

Summer is butter on your chin and corn mush between every tooth.
Calvin and Hobbes

I couldn't agree more with Calvin and Hobbes: corn-on-the-cob is one of the best treats of summer!

Monday, August 16, 2010


The rate of urban development across Ontario continues to shock me, but just outside the fastest growing city in Canada (Milton) breathable space still exists. I enjoyed the drive to Georgetown to visit a friend from university days. I'm sure that a lot of ears were burning as we remembered our profs and classmates. University was such great fun!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Small Town Pleasures

Joining the Time Traveller for long walks around a small town in southwestern Ontario provided delightful sights. I saw hearts within the sunflowers.

And stars in the daisy-like blooms.

And prize-winning horses feasting in idyllic pastures.

But perhaps the most fun was meeting two kids with pet ducks, named Benson and Swift.

Now, these are not ordinary ducks. No, sir. These are Indian Running Ducks. They stand tall and move fast and are surprisingly personable. They were a great hit with the toddlers in the park, where we left the ducks to paddle in the creek while we enjoyed an open-air gospel concert. There's never a dull moment in small-town Ontario.