Monday, November 18, 2019

Apple Pie, Muffins, Crumble, and Desert - All in One Day!

 I mentioned the other day that I have a good friend who has taken up baking. A totally new interest  that comes out of the blue for me. Peter actually worked for me at the University for many years, but I've never heard him mention learning how to bake before.  We did have wonderful years bringing students up to the BeaverValley on field courses and got to know many spots in the valley really well. In fact those years of experience are really where 'Seasonsinthevalley'  got started.

 Peter has a small orchard up here so he has lots of apples, although they don't get sprayed so they tend to be scabby. Scabs don't matter if you're peeling the apples though so he had a surplus of apples to deal with. On Sunday afternoon he showed up with an apple pie, some apple crumble, several apple muffins, and a delicious apple dessert!  Yes, believe it or not, all in one day!

Both Mrs. F.G. and I are  really impressed with his baking (it tastes great!),  and we enjoyed a really nice two hours of conversation. It was great to have a friend take the time and make the effort to come up here and see me, since it's a lot harder for me to go and see them. And now we've got dessert for at least a week or two!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Winter Accessibility Downtown

Thursday afternoon is my coffee group time.  We meet at The Kitchen in downtown Meaford.  Unfortunately snow removal is not one of Meaford's strong points.  Although a three foot strip down the sidewalk had been plowed and sanded, the snow was just pushed to one side, partly on to the street.  The only access points were two or three spots where merchants, including The Kitchen, had shovelled a gap in the snowbank.

Mrs. F.G. usually lets me out at the end of the block in weather like this, but that was blocked by a snowbank too.  We fought our way into a snow-covered parking spot, and I had to exit through six inches of snow.  Then I had a chat with the coffee shop owner about winter access to downtown.  The alternative during the winter is the local MacDonald's.  At least they serve good coffee.  And the disabled space is right outside the door, and it's always clear.

But not many of our group wants to patronize an international company instead of a locally owned and operated business.  Our decision remains in abeyance.  We'll see what the weather is like next week.

The other problem I realized later, is the sand and grit.  After I got home I had to sit on a mat for an hour waiting for the wheels to dry.  Only after Mrs. F.G. had attacked me with a broom and got all the grit out could I move.  Between the snow and the sanding of the sidewalks there are serious limitations to going downtown in the winter!

We added another member to our group today.  We're up to nine now, all former very active volunteers with the local Bruce Trail Club.  Wherever we meet, I enjoy the conversation.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

A Nice Wintry Day

It's white outside my window now, a good 6 inches everywhere. We're beyond the stage where the grass shows through the snow. Last week it snowed and then a lot more yellowy maple leaves blew off the trees so the snow looked like it had measles, scattered leaves all over the white.   Now it just looks white.  This morning it was actually sunny for a while, but this afternoon it has been dull and grey.  Really no leaves left as I look out except for the one Norway maple beside us which still has a lot of greenish looking leaves.

A few new birds for the season today. In the morning we had a pair of Red-breasted Nuthatches visit along with a single solitary Goldfinch. Later the White-breasted Nuthatch dropped by.  The Chickadees and the Bluejays continue to visit most days. It's fun to be able to sit here at the window reading or exercising and watch these little creatures come and go.

I have a good friend who has been promising to do some baking and bring it up so I can sample his talents. I haven't expected it to actually happen, but he just called and said he's successfully baked an apple pie and apple muffins!  I'm looking forward to tasting them. But in the meantime we have a delicious dinner coming up tonight judging by the smells emanating from the kitchen.

I'm successfully dictating these blog posts and most of my emails these days, thanks to the voice recognition software of my iPad and iPhone. I usually just have to go back over and fix a few typos.  But sometimes it does get confused. In the first paragraph above for the words "dull and grey",  it first typed out Doll and Greg.  Still with my one-fingered typing this is a lot less work than having to type the whole thing.

An hour later.....

Dinner was delicious!  Melt-in-your-mouth smoked porkchops with roasted veggies - potatoes, carrots, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and onions!

Friday, November 8, 2019

Enjoying Winter

We are certainly getting some winter weather here. There's about 4 or 5 inches of snow on the ground and it stuck to one side of all the branches and evergreens making for a very pretty view. The temperature is below freezing and it's time for a winter coats hats and gloves.   The weather certainly restricts me in where I can go in my wheelchair.

I've been collecting pictures nevertheless, but now I can't even download them onto my old laptop, so no pictures for a while yet. I have lots of pictures of snow on the trees ready to share, today we found big icicles on the trees down by the bay.

Our birdfeeders are full and we have Blue Jays, a Downy Woodpecker and a Red-bellied Woodpecker all coming to feed, as well as a small flock of Chickadees.  I've never seen the Red-bellied Woodpecker up close before.  I'm hoping we'll get lots more birds over the winter.

I've been reading a lot about the occupance of this area by native peoples before white settlement.  Although there's a native village in Owen Sound, there is no evidence of prehistoric villages in the Bighead or Beaver Valleys that I have been able to find.  This area appears to have been mainly use for hunting, fishing and gathering.  The one native occupation I've found reference to is a temporary fishing camp at the mouth of the river here in Meaford.  I'd like to come to an understanding how our First Nations live in such appalling conditions even today.   I figure understanding the history will help.

I'm also reading about the geology of this area. I'd like to develop some earthcaches based on that. The area around Meaford is certainly an interesting landscape when you understand the underlying geology. I expect to write some posts in the future about all this.

I miss writing a blog post every day, but in fact I've been feeling a fair bit of pain the last two weeks from trying to stretch my muscles  during all the physio I'm taking.  Still it would be nice  to get that damn computer fixed and go back to normal.

 Take care, and enjoy winter!

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Sandhill Cranes

Well, it's taking me ages on this old laptop.  It doesn't want to talk to my iphone properly, but I've managed to transfer a few pictures of the Sandhill Cranes we saw on Sunday.  It was a nice drive through Collingwood east to Stayner, past the little Edenvale airport, and off on a sideroad to Strongville.  The cranes were right in the field where my sister told us to look.

Hundreds of Sandhill Cranes, the further we looked across the field, the more we saw.

 As we watched more and more flocks flew in, adding to the numbers on the ground.

We drove around the entire large concession block and saw several more flocks.  We estimated about 1000 or more in total.  I can't tell you how exciting this was.  We plan to return next year with the biggest telephoto lens I have.

Tried to uplaod a video here, but Blogger couldn't handle it.

We're left with a whole bunch of questions.  Where do they come from?  Why congregate in this particular field?  How do they find each other?  Where will they go next?  Time for some research I think.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Busy Expeditions!

We've been busy with lots of things since my computer crashed.  I've been accumulating pictures fast, so I'll have to back up to share them once I get it fixed. Using the laptop, for which I have no working mouse, is just a pain.

We were out yesterday to visit Creekbank, a sewing machine shop out on a farm near Conn.  (It's on the bank of a creek).  Mrs. F.G. is starting to feel creative again and she's pondering a new sewing machine!!!  I think that would be great!

Today we headed east to where my sister saw some Sandhill Cranes yesterday, a large flock of them.  We've never seen more than 2 or 3 ourselves.  Our expedition was a success!  We found a large field with probably over a thousand cranes!  If they stop there annually, this may get to be an annual photographic stop (with a bigger telephoto lens).

On the other hand, I think I did myself in last week with four physio appointments in five days.  Just a little sore the past few days.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

First Snow

I knew you'd all be wanting to see these pictures, so |I dug out my old laptop I  haven't used in about 4 years, and eventually got some recent pictures loaded up.  So here they are.  It's the biggest sudden change in the seasonal year here, as the pleasant days of fall vanish in a cold autumnal storm, and we are into late fall, with the threat of snowfall always near.  Thursday night after the trick or treaters went home, it struck.  It came along with high winds on Georgian Bay, doing considerable damage along the shoreline.  Here's what we woke up to Friday morning.

It was a wet snow that blew in off the bay and stuck to the north side of the trees.

One of the two big golf course Sugar Maples that I watch lost all its remaining leaves in the wind, but the other is stubbornly hanging on.

The bird feeders are up, and lots more has been happening. 
 And I'm gearing up to survive six months of living indoors!