Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Morning

We had a wonderful Christmas morning. Santa had stopped by and left way to many gifts under the tree for all of us. We waited until Ian and Brittany arrived just after 10 to open our gifts. We enjoyed some good laughs with the funny gifts Ian and Brittany re gifted to Duncan and I. Duncan gave me 2 more lenses for my camera so I will be testing them out and seeing what new and exciting pictures I can capture with them. We were all spoiled this year. We usually have Duncan's dad, his grandpa Johnie and brother Rod for dinner but this year we also had his sister Beth and her 2 children, Atticus and Mary. There were 11 of us that enjoyed dinner together and a great time was had by all.

Memories Of The Day
One of my favorite bags for gifting. 
Home for the holidays is always were I want to be.

All the gifts under the tree after Santa had been here.........
 Ian wasted no time putting on his New England Patriot's Jersey

Drew putting the gift bag to good use after opening the present!!!

Brittany is very excited about her new professional blow dryer!!!

Ian and Brittany thought Duncan could maybe find a 
use for one of there old exterior light

A big gift for me to open from Ian and Brittany. What could it be???

They had one of my photos put on canvas and it looks amazing. 
Wow, thanks I love it!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas....

The days are slowly passing and the calendar is showing we have 13 more sleeps until Santa arrives. I can hardly wait!!! I have my shopping finished and the wrapping is complete. I have made my nut & bolts and the gingerbread, shortbread and peanut blossom cookies are baked. I still have a few batches of cookies to do but I have lots of time. Oh, I almost forgot I have butter tarts to make but those are always done the day I need them so that they are runny like everyone likes them. The house is decorated and the tree is sparkling with all its lights and decorations. I think all we need now is a coating of snow to arrive on the 24th and melt away on the    I am really a big kid at heart when it comes to Christmas and I can hardly wait for the day to arrive. I hope all your Christmas dreams come true and you have a wonderful day. May Santa be as good to you as he is with me.

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree.......

My new glass Downy Woodpecker ornament
This china sleigh with a lady and presents being pulled by two reindeer was given to mom from my dad on there first Christmas after they were married. It will be 60 years old next year. What is so amazing about it is that it survived all the years of the five kids growing up. It always sat on the coffee table and we were always told not to play with it. Little did she know that we would pull it up and down the table by pulling on the reindeer. There must have been a special angel looking after it as it never got broken. Memories of Christmas past!!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Natures Beauty and Friends

A few of the things I have enjoyed seeing over the last few weeks while trying to get rid of a wicked cold. I am hoping it is my first and only one of the winter season.

An amazing sunset from the front of the house

This squirrel is so fat it is getting rolls. 
I hope this isn't an indication of the winter ahead

A regular visitor to our bird feeder

I could go broke feeding the House Finches sunflower seeds

Male Dark-eyed Junco enjoying some of the first blanket of snow

Pictures taken on Dec.1st with everything covered in Hoar Frost
Red breasted nuthatch in the apple tree

 Chickadee perched on a frosted branch

The countryside was a winter wonderland

The trees were painter white with all the frost

Mom's Lunch Walks

For many years now I have been part of a group of 4 ladies who call ourselves "Mom's Lunch". We acquired this name as it all started with a large group of mom's going out to lunch while our children where in primary school. Over the years the numbers dwindled until we were left with the best four of us.  We have continued to get together and enjoy many wonderful times over the years from lunches, dinners, shows, shopping, road trips, Christmas parties and now we have started to go hiking once a week. Our names are Maureen R., Nancy, Marty and Maureen M. For the past two weeks we have enjoyed our two hour hikes on local trails close by. Unfortunately Marty has been busy working and unable to join us but she will when her schedule permits. We hiked some of the great trails at Huron Woods and this past week we did a walk from Doon Golf Coarse along the river and over to the Pioneer Tower. It was a windy, snowy and cold walk this past week but we had lots of fun. Below are a few of the things we saw along the way.

Nancy checking out the fresh damage to a tree from a Pileated Woodpecker.

Even in late November there is young life growing in the forest

We met up with a Downy Woodpecker

One of the many ponds we passed on our journey through the woods

A beavers artwork on the trees

Maureen R. could fit in the hollow of this tree

Looking down on the Grand River

Sending Marty a text so she is part of our

Mr. & Mrs. Mallard Duck with busy beaver in the background

Pioneer Tower built in the early 1900's

Mennonite horse and wagon on the spire of the Pioneer Tower

On the flats down by the river

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

MacGregor Nov.16-18, 2012

So long, Farewell......
What a wonderful finish to an awesome year out at the parks with Arista. This is the longest season we've had and it was full of wonderful memories and firsts. We had 28 week-ends away and only a couple of them were wet ones so it was a wonderful year in our great parks.
We arrived at the park and were greeted by my cousins wife saying that "trouble has just arrived" I don't know why she thinks that as we are always so well behaved........ She let us know that the burned out motor home was still on the site from the fire the week before so we had to check it out. What an amazing sight it was. If you smell smoke and you are in the vehicle my recommendation is to get out and quick. There was not much left of it. We toured the park just before sunset to see if we could spot any deer but they were all hiding. We enjoyed a nice dinner and spent the evening at a warm canpfire. We listened to the Canada Geese chattering away off in the distance most of the evening. Just when we thought they had settled down for the night they would start up again.
Saturday I went for a walk around our camping area to see what I could see. I was hoping for some morning fog over the ponds but it was clear. We spent time with the feathered friends who came to visit and a couple of red squirrels at our campsite. When it came time to get our supper going in the crock pot Duncan discovered it had a crack so a trip to Port Elgin was in order so we could have supper that evening. Once we had bought a new one and got supper cooking we were getting limited on what daylight hours were left. We just relaxed at our site for a while before going for a drive through the park to check out the sights. We were able to see four deer as we traveled around just before sunset. We spent the rest of the evening in front of a great fire and enjoyed a late supper of roast beef, potato's, carrots, turnip and parsnips. What a yummy last supper and so easy when you use a crock pot.
Sunday was going to be our last day until next year and we just wanted to enjoy quiet time in nature. The birds were coming to get there sunflowers seeds and we had a few great laughs watching the two red squirrels trying to keep each other away from the few peanuts we had put out for them. It was quite comical to see how they would try to out smart each other. I have to admit I had a tinge of sadness that the day had finally arrived when we would have to end our season. We also have many wonderful memories and photos that we can look back on over the next few months of cold winter weather. After all we will have to start planning next years ramblings in December so we are sure to get our choice of park for the May long week-end. I have enjoyed keeping you all up to date on our travels and I hope you have enjoyed our posts. I will keep you updated on our winter happenings and look forward to next years intriguing season of Arista Rambings!!!

View of Chantry Island from MacGregor Point at sunset.

The remains of a 26 foot C Class motor home that burnt the week-end before

What's left of the engine.....Wow

This is what a burnt out tire looks like

Ouch!!! The firetruck hurt my bark rushing to the fire.

Late fall at the park

A thin layer of ice on the pond Saturday morning

Plant life at the ponds in late November

It was nice to see some greenery so late in the season

Orange Jelly Fungi on a conifer log

This red squirrel has a great view from its perch in the tree

I got a peanut, I did, I did!!!

Duncan feeding the red breasted nuthatch

Chickadee landing on my hand for a treat

Looking up at me as it comes for a sunflower seed

Chickadee waiting it's turn for a sunflower seed

Looking for some more treats to enjoy

Our first deer sighting of the week-end

It's amazing what I hear with these big ears

This one was not as comfortable with us near by

This Scottish fella is carved in a stump just outside of Teeswater

Sunset through the tree's near Elmira

A Mennonite wagon with its light on as sunset approaches

Our last sunset from our travels this season. 
Taken just outside of Elmira on our trip home