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

Friday, November 16, 2012

MacGregor Bound

We the Matheson's are heading to MacGregor to finish out our 2012 "Cottage Adventures". It has been an amazing season and there will be a tinge of sadness at the end of this week-end. We are planning to do some biking through the park and just really enjoy our last week-end out in nature. It will then be time to get a few things done around the house and get ready for the Christmas season that is quickly approaching. Oh, I almost forgot, we have to celebrate the American Thanksgiving with a turkey dinner, lots of stuffing and some deviled eggs for my America daughter-in-law. I will post an update on our last adventure next week.

This is Peter & Thumper who enjoy visiting our backyard

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pinery Nov. 9-11, 2012

An amazing week-end for November!!!
We had a great time and the weather just kept getting warmer as the week-end progressed. We reached a high of 16C on Sunday and enjoyed every minute of it.
We took a trip up to Goderich on Saturday morning to get our last dozen donuts until next year. While we were there we lucked out and were able to watch them plant the first new tree in the square. They had flatbed trucks full of trees to unload and plant. This I am sure will help to bring back some of the beauty that the tornado destroyed last year. On our trip back to the park we came across horses pulling a carriage in Grand Bend to help with there Christmas celebration. When we got back to the park we enjoyed a 15 km bike ride through the park. At one point I had to slam on my brakes as a deer went running past in front of me. What a surprise that was! We enjoyed another wonderful campfire that evening. It amazes me how the flicker of a fire can keep you mesmerized for hours at a time. I will certainly miss our time in front of the fire this winter.
Sunday was a quiet day at camp. Duncan made a wonderful breakfast and I enjoyed my time with all of the parks creatures that came to visit. We had to head home by 2 since it gets dark so early now. Another week-end full of many pleasures.

 Week-end Memories
Our view from the campsite

The lake was calm but very hazy

A Hairy Woodpecker came for a visit on Friday

Deer prints in the sand at the beach

A nuthatch collecting sunflower seeds in the evening sun

Some of the trees arriving to be planted in Goderich

A Pin Oak Tree is the first to be planted

All settled into its new home in the square

Horse and carriage giving rides in Grand Bend

Wearing there Christmas hats to help with the festivities

View up the Ausable Channel

Reflection in the Channel

Sunset reflection on the water

A bears head sticking out of the tree

Campsite Visitors
Enjoying a sunflower seed

This fella was a little on the shy side

Mrs. Downy Woodpecker

Mr. Downy Woodpecker

A first for me. A nuthatch eating out of my hand

Tufted Titmouse looking back at me

Looking for some sunflower seeds to enjoy

Coming to collect a peanut

Chickadee, dee, dee

Friday, November 9, 2012

Pinery Bound

Yes, we are heading out again and we should have a great week-end. The temperature is suppose to go up to 15 C. by Sunday so a walk on the beach is in order. I am looking forward to a few good evenings at the campfire as well. Will post all our activities next week. Hope you have a great week-end as well.

Hoping to spend some more time with the Tufted Titmouse. 
They are not a common bird so it would be fun!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pinery Nov. 2-4 2012

Wind, rain, hail, sleet and SNOW were the weather conditions we faced this week-end. I think the weather forecaster got things wrong with there prediction of a sunny week-end!!! The Pinery was the target for lake effect weather all week-end. There were times it was dry but we didn't see the sun until we were driving home and even then it was very brief. Lake Huron was still very rough from the remains of hurricane Sandy that had passed through earlier in the week. There were many trees and branches down from the storm throughout the park. I wonder how many of the parks fury and feathered friends will have to be finding new homes for the winter?
Friday was an indoor evening and we forego any campfire due to the very wet conditions.
Saturday morning it was still raining off and on so our plan to ride our bikes through the trails and roadway in the park were quickly put aside. Duncan suggested we take a drive up hwy 21 since we had never driven that stretch and we could stop at Culbert's Bakery and get some donuts. Sounded yummy to me. Off we headed, only to pull up to the bakery to find a sign in the window that said "closed due to unforeseen circumstances". Well, no treats today. We headed back and stopped in Bayfield on the way. What a great town!!! It is almost like stepping back in time with all of the old buildings and wonderful shops that line the square. We spent a few hours shopping in some of the shops and were able to get a few gifts for Christmas. To our surprise we ran into Larry Lynch on the Main St. What a coincidence that was. When we arrived back at the park our supper in the crock pot was ready so we enjoyed a wonderful dinner and headed out to a campfire. Well, that didn't last long!! The rain and sleet returned and it was just to damp to be sitting out there for to long. It would have to be another evening of indoor fun.
Sunday we awoke to a light dusting of snow that would eventually melt as the temperature rose to a balmy 2 degrees. We had a bit of rain but it was much dryer than what we had the day before. I felt sorry for all the people who were in tents and there were a number of them. Just how do they stay warm when it is so wet and cold outside?
We did have a few visitors who enjoyed some peanuts but even they were looking rather wet at times. I would have to say that this was the coldest and wettest week-end we have had but it was still fun to be out enjoying what nature has to offer at this time of year.

Ice building on the windshield from a snow
squall we drove through on our way to the park

The clouds are getting darker the closer we get to the Pinery

Rough waters in Grand Bend

Out trying there luck at surfing.........crazy!!!

Fall colours along the Ausable Channel

One of many fallen tree's in the park

Sunlight on the oak leaves at our campsite.
It brightened up for just a few minutes

A very wet White Breasted Nuthatch tiptoeing in the rain

Enjoying his peanut up in the tree

Its dryer but now there is snow and ice

My first opportunity to photograph the Tufted Titmouse

A big nut for a small Tufted Titmouse

Are you looking at me?

Sunday visit from the Red Breasted Nuthatch

A very wet Downy Woodpecker

Trying to keep dryer in the trees

I look much better all dried off

Sunday morning SNOW!!!

Snuggled up in the tree 

The crows would visit every campsite after the 
people left hoping to find some leftovers goodies

The sun's rays shining through the clouds on our trip home