Friday, June 30, 2006

First Picnic

Bike riding k's are far behind last year's numbers, but when weather permits we are out on the bikes exploring interesting spots in our new corner of the province. We have a nice 20k trail without hills that we really enjoy, but look forward to venturing further afield once our leg muscles built up a bit of strength.

Last week we felt we were ready so we set off for Almonte, a 30k round trip. It was a great ride and there was even a Tim's at the turn-around point of the route, so we had fresh hot coffee with our picnic lunch in this delightful little park in the centre of town. Delicious!

We took a pleasant country-back-roads route and enjoyed wildflowers, birdsongs and picturesque scenery all along the way. Oh so pretty.

It reminded me of the country roads of Lambton County, with one major difference - hills! Oh yes, we have lots more hills here and that makes our rides a bit more of a challenge I must say. I have a GPS on my bike, so I can keep track of elevation, speed, and direction when we ride. We start off at home at about 120 metres above sea level and are up and down hills between that and 160m all along the route. One hill just outside this park at the start of our route home goes from 104 m to 158m. Needless to say I have to walk to the top of this hill. My knees just can't take the hill cold after our lunch break. Once at the top it is clear sailing all the way home though. We go up and down grades between 130m and 140m, and they aren't too hard to deal with at all. Whew!

It looks like we are going to have lots of rain this weekend. Sigh! Company arrives tonight for the long weekend festivities, so the pace will pick up speed around here again but the bikes and computers will rest.

Hope you enjoy your long weekend. We plan to celebrate Canada's birthday in style.

Talk to you all next week.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Peace of Wild Things

In times of mind numbing busyness, it is oh so wise to stop what we are doing and step off the merry-go-round of life for awhile. I always have a poetry book or two handy to grab for just such times. When the whirling and twirling gets to be just too much and my head becomes dizzy from the spinning, I know it is time to feast on some poetry and then step into the quiet calm of the great outdoors.

I picked up a new book I got from the library the other day, Risk Everything, 110 Poems of Love and Revelation, and this poem oozed from the page and drizzled over my hot frazzled soul like a cool soothing balm. Ahhhh, Sweet!

Goodness knows we can all use a dose of cool soothing balm on hot dusty days of the soul, so let me share it with you too.

The Peace of Wild Things
Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

This is my place of still water. AC has posted a picture of me sitting among the trees at the park. This is what I am looking at as I sit there.

If you can't take your body to a quiet place by still waters, then close your eyes and go there in your mind.
…do not tax your life with forethought of grief...come into the presence of still water…rest in the grace of the world…be free.

MMMMMM, doesn't that feel good?

Talk to you all later.

Monday, June 19, 2006

A Bit of This and a Smidge of That…

Life continues to tilt and whirl faster than the speed of light around here these days, and I am barely managing to keep my feet under me, but this crazy pace sure makes life interesting and a whole lot of fun I must say. Sure doesn't leave a lot of time for blogging though. Sigh! I have been trying to visit your blogs to keep up with the news there, but even then, it is just a quick read and on to other things. At least AC has been sort of keeping you posted on what is happening in our little corner of the world right now.

The rain is putting a damper on our bike riding plans for this morning, so I have a few minutes of unexpected quiet time to sit and write, and share a bit of this and a smidge of that with you before I have to pick up and head out the door again.

Company coming and going
After our May 24 company left, we busied ourselves getting ready for the next batch of visitors, Lady Bug and Power Puff. They arrived for a whirlwind visit, and we had tons of fun packing as many activities as we could into a short period of time. After a couple of days here, they set off to spend some time at Riverwood and we settled in here to re-group and get ready for our next event. Out of the blue, Lady Bug called and asked us if we would like to join them at the farm for an extended visit. Not wanting to turn down a chance for more of a visit with them and a trip to the farm to boot, I quickly cancelled hair appointments, a plumber's visit and coffee with friends for the next morning and we packed up and headed to Riverwood. Oh joy, time at my most favourite place on earth.

The black flies had abated, but the mosquitoes were out in full force and we only ventured out for one short walk which seemed far too long with them buzzing around our heads and attacking us mercilessly. I tried to take a picture of them swarming AC but the picture doesn't do the event justice. It looks like he only has a few on his leg, when we actually had hundreds swarming all around us. Yuck!

Because of the bugs and the rain, we spent most of our time inside the farmhouse and that suited me just fine. It was nice to stop and catch my breath after such a busy time at home. Leisurely cups of coffee out on the porch were the only order of the day. It rained off an on while we were there, and the sound of rain hitting the porch roof while I sat warm and dry under it sipping hot coffee, was a treat for the senses. Even in the rain, hummers came to visit the feeder hanging just outside the screen by my shoulder so I was entertained by their dance which seemed to keep time with the rhythm the rain beat on the roof. Absolutely delightful, and oh so relaxing and refreshing.!

Once back home though, we had to hit the ground running to get ready for the Boy's birthday celebration, and then a friend's wedding. Of course we had to squeeze things like bike rides, line dancing, and oh yes, housework and laundry in there somewhere too. Sheesh! What a contrast to the relaxed pace at Riverwood. No wonder I love time spent at Riverwood.

Celtic Music, Jam Festival
Ah, what a treat for my busy frazzled soul this was. A delightful afternoon spent in a small community hall in Middleville, listening to fabulous Celtic music. The musicians had our toes a tapping and our hands a clapping while our spirits soared and were refreshed. It was such an uplifting way to spend a cold June afternoon. I loved it and we certainly plan on going back again in July and August. AC has posted some great pics here.

The little community of Middleville is perched at the top of a high hill overlooking the Lanark Highlands. The first time I drove through the area I thought the name very bland for such a beautiful spot and wondered why they didn't call it Top of the Hillville instead of Middleville. Doesn't that sound better? Don't know as I would like to live in a place called Middleville, but Top of the Hillville sounds very romantic indeed. I know, I know, I'm rambling. So, let's move on.

Bike rides and animal sightings
Another dose of cold rainy weather descended upon us in the middle of June, but sunny days were tucked in-between the rainy ones and we managed a few bike rides to nooks and crannies here and there. On one ride we turned a corner in the trail and happened upon this cow tied to a tree.

We hadn't seen her before or since, but there she was, in all her glory on this sunny morning. We did our best to get her to pose for us, but she wasn't at all interested in coming any closer to have her picture taken. We called out and clapped our hands but she only graced us with the briefest glance and then went right back to eating. As I thought about this afterwards her name was probably Elsie not Bessie and she didn't know we were talking to her. Goodness knows you have to get the name right!

Just around the next bend in the path we saw this beautiful deer grazing in another field along the trail. She is there quite often and we greet her each time she makes her presence known, but she does keep her distance. We have such a pretty trail to ride here and are kept company by Goldfinches, Deer, Cows, Horses, Butterflies and oh yes, many assorted flying insects of all descriptions.

Which brings me to my next random rambling…

How do they do it?
AC usually takes the lead on our rides, and I follow a few bike-lengths behind him on the narrow parts of the trail. I have noticed on more than one occasion, Stable flies, and Deer flies buzzing around his head and shoulders and can hear them buzzing around mine as we traverse some of the more densely wooded parts of the trail. On these sections we have to slow down to navigate through tree branches and twisty turns in the path. Once on the open road again we gear the bikes up to 3/7, pick up speed and clip along at about 25–30kph. The fact that amazes me as we pick up speed is that the flies keep up with us!!! They don't sit on our shoulders or bike helmets and hitch a ride, they buzz around our heads and don't lose any ground at all as we pick up speed. How do they do that? Wouldn't you think that we would leave them in the dust once we got clipping along? Hmmmm? They sure are tricksy little blighters.

Father's Day
Hot, humid, hazy weather made an appearance for Father's Day weekend, but we didn't let that stop our celebrations. Butterfly and The Boy treated us to breakfast at Wheelers Pancake House on Saturday morning followed by a visit to Purdon Conservation Area for a photo op.

The Lady Slipper Orchid Festival is next weekend, but lots of the flowers were in bloom and all our cameras were kept busy clicking away. AC has posted some great pics on his blog here.

Whirl and spin, tilt and whirl. Fun, fun, fun. The Dance of Life continues to keep us busy and happy. Hope you are managing to keep your feet moving to the beat of the music of life these days too and are enjoying the dance.