Saturday, August 29, 2009

Adventures with Connor's new bike

My boys are certainly doing their part to stimulate the economy.  The day after Alec bought his car Connor bought himself a bike.  He has 3 bikes, 2 hand me downs and one 5 year old stunt bike that he has outgrown.   He is very, very hard on his bikes.  He rides into trees and rocks for fun.  He has  broken his chain twice this season, has 2 bikes out of commission with damaged rims and I have lost count of the number of tubes on the bikes and the unicycle.  He sold his kayak a few weeks ago and decided to put the money towards a bike instead of a replacement kayak.  He will save all winter towards a new kayak.  So

                                                               Drumroll please...

                                                               Connor's new bike

Connor doing stunts on his new, extremely expensive bike

Then the rear derailleur ricocheted off the spokes and the front derailleur and damaged all three parts.  Did I mention this was an extremely expensive bike?  Almost $900 on sale.  It should have been SuperBike - able to leap tall buildings in a single bunny hop.  It certainly should have stood up to a jump over a sewer.   So back to the bike shop for repairs.  Most of it was covered under warranty but Connor had to fork over another $20 bucks for parts.  

Our nephew Dalton is up for a few days because we went canoeing/kayaking yesterday.  Or more accurately we went portaging waterfalls with boats yesterday.  This is Dalton's leg after riding Connor's bike this afternoon.  Apparently he didn't realize Connor's pedals are studded.  It took 13 stitches to close the wounds.  And they (doctor and parents) are still going to let him go on a canoe camping trip next week with Kevin!  Dalton was a real trouper.  Not a whimper.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What's New in our Driveway

This is my 101st blog.  Isn't that exciting?
Alec is home for two weeks.  His main goal this holiday was to buy himself a car.  I love car shopping (especially with other people's money).  We drove a few comparable vehicles but the clincher was the .9% financing Honda is currently offering.  So pictured below is Alec's new 2009 Honda Civic.  Also pictured is Kevin's favourite transportation (the canoes), Kevin's piece of crap Ford Escape and my wonderful Dodge Ram.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

More of what is Blooming

The picture is not the best but this is Gaura.  It is trouble free, drought resistant and  has a long bloom time but despite that is not very common.  It takes over the spotlight in this garden when the irises, spireas and lilies are done their  yearly blaze of colour.  It is planted in the centre of the garden so you don't see it until it is ready to burst into a cloud of blooms that dance in the breeze.  This variety is called ""Whirling Butterflies" and that is what it looks like.  The second picture is a close up of one bloom.

I am not a big fan of annuals.  Yes they provide colour all summer but they are pricey and often need more watering and deadheading.  I can guarantee you that you will not find a geranium in my garden.  Below is one of the few annuals I like.  It is Victoria Blue Salvia.  It is not up to it's usual showiness this summer but normally is covered in blue blooms all summer. 

Monday, August 24, 2009

What is Blooming

My favourite time of year in the garden is spring.  Everything is so green and fresh and welcome after a long winter.  Fall is my second favourite.  It might not be technically fall yet but I thought I would share my late summer blooms.  

This is the first year I have planted gladiolus.  The plan was to bring them in the house as cut flowers to beautify the place.  But there really isn't room and I enjoy them outside because one of the spots they are growing is right outside the front door and I see them every time I come or go.  I have yellow 

and pink and white (and lime green)This is my hardy hibiscus "Kopper King".  The blooms are bigger than my hand.  It is probably the plant I get the most compliments and questions about.  People walking by ask me what it is.  It has only been blooming for a few days so I have lots to look forward to.

This is my limelight hydrangea.  It is absolutely covered with heavy blooms.   
All of these are in the gardens outside the front door.  Stay tuned for more blooms!  Blogger will only let me upload 4 or 5 pictures at a time so I will do another post (any ideas why?)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Taking Connor to Camp

We left at 9:30 this morning to drop Connor off at Ontario Pioneer Camp for a week.  The last 2 years we have stopped to have brunch at a nice restaurant in Bracebridge and that was our plan again.  We were dismayed to find that the nice family restaurant had been replaced by a sports bar.  Instead of tables and a buffet there was now pool tables and bar stools.  So we went to look for another place to eat.  We had lunch at Crabby Joe's.  First time we had eaten there.  They had an awesome peanut butter/Reese's Pieces dessert!  Then we drove through Port Sydney.  We love the welcome sign -"Home of 800 Nice Families and one Old Grouch".  We stopped at the rapids where we have swum and slid before but the water was too high.  Nine people have drowned in Simcoe/Muskoka this week so it isn't worth the risk - even if you're sober and know how to swim.   Then we dropped him at camp at 1:30.  He has been quite homesick in the past every time he has been away from us.  It was much easier to leave this time.  He took his unicycle and a lot of people were showing interest in it.  On the way up we talked about him returning as a leader in training or a counsellor and he said he would like to.  All of the leaders have names like "Showtime", "Duke", "Commisioner", "Dubya" or "Thor".  Today there was one named "Spatula" - I wouldn't want to be him!  There is a story behind each name and my imagination is running wild with that one!  (Any ideas Susan?)  Connor said he would like to be UniConn.  I thought that was great.  Last August I wrote him a song and emailed it to the camp to cheer him up (see August 24, 2008 if you want to refresh your memory).  I asked him jokingly if he wanted another song.  I was quite surprised when he said yes and started working on it on the way home.  Here it is - Weird Al watch out!

There's a boy that we know
And he's braver than most
And he's taking the pathway to adventure
When he gets there he knows
If the trails are all closed
He'll head out on his own
And he's taking the pathway to adventure

There's a sign on a tree
And he wants to be free
So he's paddling the river to adventure
In a tree by the lake
There's a songbird who sings
Why don't you come and be free?
Ooh, it makes him wonder
Ooh, it makes him wonder

There's a feeling he gets
When he paddles to the west
And his spirit is crying to hurry
In his dreams he has seen
Rings of fire through the trees
And the voices of those who stand fishing
Ooh, it makes him wonder
Ooh, it makes him wonder

As he floats on down the lake
There's a way that he must take
There goes a boy we all know
Who paddles (and bikes) and wants to show
How he goes until it's dark
And then he'll light a spark
And pitch his tent on the grass
And listen to
The sounds of the wild

And he's taking the path to adventure

He will be away for his birthday so I also left him a card to be delivered on Thursday.  We have had 2 massive thunderstorms today.  I hope the weather improves - they sleep in raised structures with roll down sides.  

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Supper in the Tub

Sort of like breakfast in bed but with less clothes and at the opposite end of the day.  This is how it came about.  Last night we went to the drive in.  Kevin loves the drive in and measures the success of the summer by how often he gets to go (and how much he gets to canoe and swim).   I am not a late night person so I rarely go.  My inner alarm clock is set for 5:30ish so staying up until 2 makes me grumpy.  Because we got home late last night and got a late start on yard work today we were still mulching at 4:30.  Connor got called in to work so Kevin offered to pick up Swiss Chalet (my favourite!) when he dropped him off.  We had no other plans and the girls were at work (Tori and our niece Hailey who is staying with us and working here for the summer)  so I said sure.  I was sweaty and tired after a day of gardening and really felt like a bath.  I had barely got in the tub and Kevin returned with supper.  He had ordered online for the first time and it was being packaged when he arrived 5 minutes later.  Wow!  I didn't feel like getting out so I dined in the jacuzzi.  It was great!  No pictures.  

Vet Visit

I have been putting off the pets annual vet visit for several reasons.  Firstly, I don't really think they need them every 12 months so they tend to be a few months late.  Secondly, the logistics of getting 2 dogs and a cat to the vet (so I can get the discount) are overwhelming and there isn't often someone willing and able to help out.  Shasta gets really, really excited every time she gets in the car.  She has a high pitched bark that gives Kevin a migraine instantaneously and she doesn't stop barking the whole way there (she is usually quiet on the way back).  I translate her excitement like this "Oh goody, goody, goody we are going to the forest.  I am so happy.  Really, really happy.  Oh boy, I get to run like crazy. I am so excited.  Wait.  She drove by the forest parking lot.  Ok, maybe it's the beach.  The beach is even better than the forest.  I LOVE swimming.  And chasing seagulls.  And the other dogs.  Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, we are going to the beach.  Did I tell you the beach is even better than the forest?  I am so, so happy.  Wait.  She drove by the beach road.  Now where are we going Mom?  Agility.  It must be agility.  It's been a long time since I ran through the tunnels and up the ramp.  Oh well, it's better than a walk around the block.  Yippee.  We're going to agility!  Hmm.  I don't remember this parking lot.  I wonder what we are doing here.  Oh no.  Now I remember.  Tiled floor.  Stinky place.  At least they give me treats.  Fine, we'll go to in the stinky place." Ten minutes in the car with Shasta barking seems much, much longer.  And Darcy throws up in the car.  This year the rabbit also needed his nails trimmed so there was no way I was going alone.  A friend has used the mobile vet for a few years and really likes her so I gave her a try.  It took a while on the phone to fill in paperwork, then more paperwork when they arrived.  They give you a window (mine was 2 - 4 pm) not a definite time so I had to leave work early.   Easter (cat) got to go first because I was worried about her slipping out with all the comings and goings.  If we don't lock her in a bathroom the night before a vet visit she often gets out and misses it - then I have to go again.  I told them she was nasty so they had my permission to jab her and run while she was sleeping peacefully in the window.  It worked beautifully.  First needle she looked at the vet, second needle she growled, when the vet tried using the stethoscope Easter attacked so check up finished.  Darcy and Shasta got to go out to the mobile clinic (a Shasta RV funnily enough) for their exams.  They were very good and got "report cards".  Tippy the rabbit has nice short nails now. It took way longer than a regular vet visit because it was the first time but the price was comparable and the convenience of not having to drag the four of them out - I am definitely doing this again!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Family Reunion

For many years my dad's side of the family has had a reunion every August long weekend.  For many years we didn't make it because we lived in faraway parts of Canada but we make it half the time now. For many years we went to my Uncle Frank's cottage (he was my dad's older brother - there was just the two sons that lived).  Many of his children spent the whole weekend.  Since he died last year we have gone to cousin's places that had pools but we are rethinking the whole reunion.  No one else has both the space for tents and a pool or beach nearby.  Traffic on the long weekend can be a nuisance.  We are lucky enough to live north of GTA so we aren't slowed by the traffic as we travel opposite to the rush.  The traffic was stop and go heading south on the side roads Saturday afternoon.  It was the heaviest we remember seeing it - maybe because it was one of the few really nice days we have had all summer.  (I am not complaining - I like it cool - but many don't)

I think this is the first reunion that my Aunt Mary and Uncle John made it to that we also made it to.  We do see them occasionally in Grand Bend or London on our mini-vacations.  Aunt Mary is my dad's cousin and I used to love visiting them in London when we were growing up.  Their daughter, Susan is the same age as I am.  Aunt Mary enjoys reading my blog so I thought I would post a picture of her.  (She liked my Sweaty story and even liked the giant slug)  Below is my dad, my mom, Aunt Mary and Uncle John.  A fine looking group of seniors.  My mom turned 75 the day before.  If she could hit me through the internet I am sure she would for letting that information out.