Wednesday, October 31, 2012

MacGregor, Oct.26-28 2012

Most people I talked to this week were surprised we were away for the week-end because it was so rainy and cold everywhere. Well, we lucked out and had a dry week-end. It was cool and very windy down at the beach but back at the campsites and along the trails it was quite nice for the end of October.
It was a wonderful drive up and after setting up we headed out in search of wood so we could have a roaring campfire that evening. We came across a log cabin on the south side of the park. We had to check it out as it was for sale. If we had a spare $600,000.00 it could be ours but we both agreed we enjoy the ability to visit different parks each week-end in our mobile cottage. We were able to get some wood and on our way back to the park we came across about 20 wild turkeys crossing in front of a home so I quickly ordered my chauffeur to turn around so I could take a few photos. Duncan had not noticed them when we passed by. He quickly turned around and I was able to get a few photos of them as they headed towards the back of the house.  We took a short tour through the park to see if we could see some deer. Duncan spotted three of them not to far into the woods so we stopped to watch them. It was a mom and two younger ones. I tried to get a few photos but my camera was having trouble focusing through all of the trees with the low light as it was approaching sunset. As we watched we noticed there were 7 of them all together. It wasn't long and they all headed deeper into the woods so we went back to camp to have supper and spend the evening in front of the fire.
 Friday's Exploring
 Log cabin facing onto Lake Huron

All the leaves are gone and winter is coming

Turkey dinner anyone?

Remains of an old stone house on the north side of the park

A warm and cozy campfire

Saturday was a mixture of sun and clouds and 8 C. After a yummy breakfast we headed out on the trails for a bike ride in search of wildlife and adventure. We started with the Tower Trail and were amazed that we saw no signs of any wildlife. We stopped at the tower for a while and then headed to the bird blind. After spending some time there we continued on and crossed paths with a snake. That was the extent of any wildlife we encountered. The next trail was The Deer Run Trail and we biked all of it including the extension which took us through a lot of the park. We stopped along the way and took a few photos. It was nice to be out enjoying the sun and scenery on our 12km ride. We spent the rest of the afternoon at our site enjoying the company of red squirrel and all of the birds that were coming to enjoy the peanuts. At one point there were 8 blue jays all trying to get there share of the nuts. What fun it was to watch red squirrel trying to keep them away so he could have them all. After a delicious spaghetti dinner we sat in front of the fire for the rest of the evening.
Out for a bike ride through the woods
Looking across at marsh towards the bird blind from the tower

The Black Eyed Susan's are still in bloom. It was a nice surprise.

I will bend, but I won't break......amazing!!!

The bare birch trees with a blue sky backdrop

Mushroom with a spider.  Delicious Lactarius (edible)

Saturday at the camp site
Watching me from the trees

Yummy........Enjoying one of the peanuts

Collecting a nut from the bicycle handlebar

This one is mine....... you get your own

Nice pose for the photographer

Saturday evenings snap, crackle and pop campfire

It was almost a full moon so it was a bright night at the fire

Sunday morning was crisp and cool but it didn't stop me from enjoying the birds that came to visit. Our first new visitor was the Downy Woodpecker followed by the Red Breasted Woodpecker and then the Red Breasted Nuthatches. I had quite the morning watching them all try to get in on a nice snack of peanuts. It was fun to watch the red squirrel try and protect what he thought to be his peanuts. He would run up into the trees and try to chase the birds away after they had got a nut of there own. While he was busy doing that another bird would fly in and get one of there own. He was getting a really good work-out.  At times he would come over closer to me and start chattering at me as if I had done something wrong. He sure did bring some humor to the morning. Duncan made us a wonderful late morning breakfast which I thoroughly enjoyed. Thanks!!! Before we left the park we went down to the beach but it was a short visit. It was to windy and cold to enjoy a walk along the beach. 
We were pleasantly surprised that we had made it through a week-end at MacGregor Point with-out any incidents. That was a first and hopefully there will be many more of the same.

Sundays company and entertainment
Downy Woodpecker at the peanut feeder

Checking for bugs in the cedar tree

White Breasted Nuthatch

Red Breasted Nuthatch collecting a large snack

Mr Cardinal on the bike handle

Mrs. Cardinal waiting for her opportunity to get a nut

Red Breasted Woodpecker
What a pleasure it was to spend time with this one

Checking for a snack in the birch tree

Red Squirrel trying to protect the peanut supply

I got one!!!  I will be back and that squirrel won't keep me away

Looking out at the lake from the boardwalk

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Memories of "MOM"

One of many large pots of Butter Nut Squash that will be cooked for our enjoyment over the winter.

Fall has arrived and it is time to get the squash cooked and into the freezer for the winter. This was an annual ritual in my home when I was growing up. As mom got older and the task of cutting and cooking the squash became tougher for her I took over the ritual. Mom would buy the squash by the bushels and I would do the cutting, cooking and freezing for both of us. It amazing how simple things can bring back a flood of wonderful memories. I am now carrying on this tradition by sharing the finished product with Ian and Brittany. Maybe some day many years down the road they will be taking over this ritual and it will bring them special memories of there own. It's fascinating how family traditions carry on from generation to generation.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Rondeau Oct. 19-21 2012

As our season slowly gets closer to the end with this cool wet weather we are still able to enjoy the wonders of nature. We were quite surprised at how low the water levels were in the marsh and along the shore of Lake Erie. The hunters were out on the marsh looking for that elusive duck and hoping to have a successful week-end. Every once in a while we could hear the gunshots and I was hoping the ducks were able to outsmart the hunters.
Friday was an indoor evening as we had lots of rain. By Saturday morning it had stopped raining but was overcast. It was time to get our bikes out and go explore the Marsh Trail. It is a 15 km round trip and we were up for the challenge. The first 3/4 of the trail is a dirt road and the ride was enjoyable. As we neared the last part of the ride the trail narrowed and slowly became a small pathway through tall grass. It was bumpy and the ride was getting tougher but we were not going to give up.  All of a sudden the trail ended and we could go no further. We had hit a small stream and lots of mud. We were not able to get to the lake as we had hoped to.  After a short rest we headed back and went for a walk in the woods along the Spice Bush Trail. The colours were amazing and it was nice to be the only one out along the entire trail. I could really enjoy the sights and sounds of the woods. Saturday evening we enjoyed a wonderful campfire before heading to bed for a well deserved rest.
Sunday was sunny and warm. We enjoyed a quiet time at our site early in the morning and then went for a drive through some of the countryside near the park. We packed up and headed to the beach for a walk before heading home. With the sun setting earlier we are not able to stay as late as we use to. We have to get home and park Arista before darkness falls. I was able to enjoy the Canada Geese that were busy washing and preening themselves at the edge of the lake. It was quite interest watching them go through there rituals and I was able to get some interesting photos of them. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed watching them.
P.S. I have learned to appreciate what I thought were just nuisance geese during some of our encounters with them over the past year.

 Sights along Talbot Line (Hwy. #3)
Could make a nice summer home......well air conditioned!!!

There are many smoke barns along this stretch of highway

The tobacco is hung and smoked for cigars

All dressed for Halloween.
They are along the road near Sheddon and change with the seasons.
I always wave at them when ever we pass

Pedaling on the Marsh Trail
A nobby tree at the start of our bike ride
The boardwalk to the lookout on the Marsh

Duncan spotted a duck at the edge of the marsh and thought 
I should get a picture of   Its a stray decoy!!!

Fall colours along the marsh trail

Milkweed seeds blowing in the wind

The end of the trail. The lake is just beyond the trees

 A Quiet Walk in the Woods
Golden moments along the road to the trail

Watch your step the leaves are slippery

Fungi - Phlebia tremellosa

Can I grow over this stump....I can, I can

Mushroom - Pholiota squarrosoides (edible)

A blaze of colour in the woods

Picnic anyone?
Fungi - Shelving Tooth

Birds from our adventures through Rondeau
Mr. Cardinal

Mrs. Cardinal

Red Bellied Woodpecker

Adult and juvenile Mute Swan

Not happy with me being so close to him

I will just have to fly away now.........
Goosie, Goosie, Gander, Grooming Rituals
First you must splash and dunk under the water

Now stretch your wings out and shake as fast as you can

Tuck your wings back in close to you

Now its time for all that preening

Don't forget to rub your head

OK,  ready for take off.......