Thursday, July 28, 2016

Clancy Reunion, "Bruder Campground" July 22-25 2016

 Its hard to believe that it has been a year since we all gathered at Fred and Liz's country estate for our annual family reunion. We celebrated our German roots this year. We lucked out with the weather and had no rain. It was hot and humid but there was always a nice breeze to help keep us more comfortable.
 We arrived Friday afternoon and set up camp. Cousin John pulled in with his big 5th wheel just after us. We were just sitting down for some dinner when my brother Bill arrived. What a nice surprise it was to spend the evening with him. He and his family had other commitments for Saturday so it was great to spend time catching up. Pat and Geoff arrived later that evening and were able to visit with Bill before he headed back home.
 Saturday was rather quiet in the morning as the usual number of people staying over Friday night was lower this year. I enjoyed some time walking on the trail that runs along the property and checking out the birds and scenery. It was nice to have that time for a relaxing walk. A few games were played in the afternoon and we did some prep work for the supper gathering. Most of the others arrived at supper time. We enjoyed an amazing dinner including Fred's fabulous sausage, Donny's  delicious cabbage rolls, fresh corn on the cob, salads, with lots of other food and all kinds of sweets for dessert. Let's just say we all loved every bit of it. The evening was spent chatting, playing some games and enjoying a campfire.
 Sunday was more cloudy so the heat wasn't quite as intense as it was Saturday. We enjoyed a wonderful brunch together that was a group effort to prepare. Cousin Pat and I spent some time at the hummingbird feeder to get some photos as they came to fill up on nectar. Some of those that had spent the night prepared to head back home while others were going to spend another night before heading out. Just after dinner we noticed a horse running loose so a few people headed to the nieghbours farm to try and help. It was one of Chad's horses and it bolted just as Chad was finishing his riding. They eventually caught it as it was a bit spooked as the saddle had slipped under its belly and was wrapped on one leg. There was quite a crowd that gathered to watch the excitement. Thankfully the horse was ok and had a cool bath before heading home. A few people played horseshoes and John's fun game of corn hole before they had to stop due to darkness. We spent the rest of the evening chatting before heading of to bed. It was a very muggy night until the thunderstorms rolled in and left behind much needed rain.
 Monday morning we packed up and had a short visit with Fred and Liz before heading home. It was a fabulous weekend and my only wish is for more of the cousins and their children to attend as we have so much fun. We would love to spend time with you and catch up on your family's adventures. Next year our theme will be Canada as our country will be celebrating our 150th anniversary. So, put on your thinking caps and see what wonderful costumes and creative ideas you can come up with to help with the festivities. Hope to see you as we celebrate this wonderful country we live in.

Group photo from last years Irish gathering

Nice to catch up with Bill

Northern Flicker from my walk

A rose from Liz's garden

I was able to get two of them together

Sunday evening driving lessons for the daughter

Beautiful lily in bloom

More practice with mom along for the ride

Song sparrow with a loose feather singing away

Hummingbird taking a rest on the feeder

Amish neighbours watching the horse that got loose

Taken after he was caught and given a cool bath

Evening reflection in his eye

Sunset on the sunflowers and garden

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Rondeau, July 15-17 2016

 This was an extra special weekend as we had guests. Drew, Ian, Brittany and Emma were coming Saturday for an afternoon at the beach and to have supper with us. Emma was then staying with us until Monday evening. She was going to be able to have her beach time and a sleep over in the motorhome as well as at the house. She has been saying for a while that she wanted to go to the beach in the motorhome so now she was able to have her wish come true.
  Friday we had the pleasure of seeing a doe and her twin fawns. They were trying to cross the road into the campground area but were having trouble as it was busy with so many people checking in. Later that evening we saw them again enjoying some grass by a cottage on the bay side of the park. We watched them for about fifteen minutes until it started to get dark and they moved on. The fawns were running around and playing with each other. Lets say they were being typical children. When we returned to camp we had a campfire.
 Saturday we went for a bit of a tour and checked out the beach areas for our afternoon by the water. It was cool and cloudy in the morning but the sun and warmth rolled in for the rest of the day. Emma was quite excited to be going to the beach and she spent lots of time playing in the sand. She was a little timid about getting in the cool water but she eventually enjoyed herself. Dad and mom were swinging her back and forth and she was making lots of splashes. She was trying to catch some of water in her mouth as you can see from the pictures. Dad and Drew were also playing motor boat with her and she loved it when the boat went fast. At one point while she was playing in the sand she got a few bugs on her and she freaked. She would stiffen right up and just scream until someone took it off of her. It was sad to watch but funny at the same time. We stopped for an ice cream before we enjoyed dinner together back at camp. Emma sure enjoyed her ice cream and tried to get the rest of Ian's as well. Ian, Brittany and Drew headed home about eight and we had a bit of time at the campfire before Emma was more than ready for bed. She snuggled in with her zebra and new puppy and was sound asleep in no time. Duncan and I enjoyed the rest of our evening relaxing by the fire.
 Emma was up by 7:30 Sunday morning so her and I had some breakfast before we headed out on a hike. She enjoyed herself by the bay area watching the people fishing. Further along we stopped to watch the boats out in the bay and look at all the seagulls perched on the remains of the dock. On our way back we enjoyed seeing a monarch butterfly on the flowers on the milkweed. Emma wanted to try and catch it so she went into the taller grass but it flew away. When we got back to camp we all went to the visitors centre so Emma could see the turtles, fish, ducks and all the other animals that are there. She ran around outside and sat and watched the birds at the feeders. We had a late brunch and packed up to spend the afternoon at the beach. On our way to the beach Emma fell sound asleep so we decided it was best to head home rather than sit there for a couple of hours while she slept. It was a good decision on our part as she slept almost all the way home. We enjoyed our evening together and she had lots of fun playing in the tub before bed. A special shout out to Emma for a fun and entertaining weekend.

Emma having fun playing in the sand

Even the squirrels get their greens

Swallowtail butterfly at the beach

Doe and her twin fawns

One was a little bigger than the other

Keeping an eye out on the others

Young Grosbeak trying to get dad to feed her

A field of lavender

Having fun in the water

Uncle Drew's turn to give Emma a motorboat ride

Emma trying to catch some water from the splash

Seagull and its many reflections
Look, Emma can fly
Emma enjoying her ice cream

She has a firm grip on daddy's ice cream 
now that hers is

Red breasted woodpecker

My first photos of a Purple Martin

Purple martin house with a variety of occupants

Seagulls have new perches on the remains of 
the dock that was destroyed by shifting ice

My first monarch photo this year

Emma checking out the ducks

Finch collecting thistle seeds

Young Peter Cottontail dining on grass

To tired for beach time

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Port Burwell, July 8-10 2016

 This was our first adventure to Port Burwell this year and it was a very exciting one for me. We were trying a new site and it was very spacious and had lots of trees for shade. In the past year they have cut down over 800 ash trees in the camping area so some of the sites are now very sunny. Friday evening we managed to get in a few hours of a campfire before the heavy rains and thunderstorm came in. It lasted about 1 1/2 hours and then cleared off. When we went back out the fire was still burning so I added a few more logs and enjoyed more time by the light of the fire.
 Saturday morning things were much drier and we hung out at camp until noon when we headed out to do some exploring. We didn't get far when I spotted a Pileated Woodpecker and yelled at Duncan to stop so I could try and get some photos. To my delight I was able to spend quite some time observing not one, not even two, but three of them busily working their beaks on a rotten tree. I was able to get to within ten feet of the dad and his two sons. What a trill it was to watch them interact with each other and be able to see just how big and beautiful they are. They didn't seem to care that I was so close. The little ones seemed to take turns by dads side and then would fly off to another tree and peck away on there own for a bit.  I am not sure where mom was as I didn't see her in the hour I spent watching them. Needless to say Duncan was getting a little impatient as this was not part of our plans. I apologized for the delay but this was something I had to enjoy while the opportunity presented itself. It was a little windy and cool at the beach so we just went for a walk and sat for a while before we headed back to the car. We drove into town and I picked up some cheese at the Sweet Shop before we stopped at the ice cream store to enjoy a bowl of yummy ice cream. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner and went down to the beach to watch the sunset but the clouds interfered with that plan so we enjoyed a long evening by the campfire instead.
 Sunday I went for a walk along the trail and ran into a couple of deer that took off into a wheat field as soon as they noticed me coming along. It didn't take them much time to clear the fence and be gone from my sight. After brunch we relaxed for a bit before packing up and heading to the beach for the rest of the day. It was nice to sit and listen to the waves roll in for the afternoon. I did walk into the water but I found it a bit too chilly for my liking. It was a great weekend and quite relaxing.

I was able to get the three together in one photo

Wild raspberries were yummy

Pearl Crescent Butterfly

One of a pair of Eastern King birds protecting their nest area

Dad and son on left

Close up of dad working on a hole

Common Tern changing to non breeding colours

Common Tern trying to scare me away

Herring Gull collecting stones by the water

Bonaparte's Gull taking in the sunset

Sunset through the trees by the beach

Tiger Lily in the evening sun

Water spiders

Cedar Waxwing enjoying some berries

Sun rays on the wheat field

Dad has the wood chips flying

The young male doing some grooming

Sweet pea flowers along the trail

Interesting kite being flown at the beach

This is the bully gull that was chasing all the 
others away while at the beach on Sunday

Hey dad, you still down there?