The Misty DEW Line

The highest  populated point in Ontario (1640 ft. above sea level) is home to the village of Foymount, about an hour's drive from our home at 500 feet above sea level. Back in the 40's and 50's when it was feared that the Russians were coming, the Russians were coming, Foymount became the southern most post of the Distant Early Warning line, and the Royal Canadian Air Force built  many buildings and installed listening devices, including people to listen to them. They were all set to fire off a warning if a nuclear missile ever flew over.  Alas, the Russians never came, the Russians never came. So the site was closed in the 70's, and now it's a Sunday driving destination for the locals, who come to find specials at the (soon to close) Sierra Design factory that used to make rugged outdoor clothing in the former DEW line  HQ. And to see whatever else they can see on dreary, drippy days like yesterday.

Hard to believe my fancy schmancy ski jacket was born in there. Even these two kestrals find it difficult to believe
...As the lights are now off, and nobody's home.
Finding no bargains, we headed down the road...
 and through the mist to discover the quiet sentinels keeping watch.

With their backs to the road, they gaze over the meadow, holding a silent vigil, while waiting for their next meal.

If a tree falls in the forest, will vultures  hear it? What if a bomb drops?


Reed or Weed...Trash or Treasure

We have the absolute best, bar none, neighbours in the entire western world. No contest! They are kind, gentle, funny and friendly in assorted degrees. We get along great, and John and I consider ourselves blessed to count them as important people in our lives. When we go away, they watch the house and care for the cats. We share our garden with them. And we have dinner parties, and gatherings, and we laugh a lot together.
All except for one thing... and that is MY insistance that the beach grass remain undisturbed in front of our place. They respect that, they do, but it bugs them. They prefer an ocean style shorefront (where rapid wave action prevents grasses from establishing on the shoreline).
But what actually exists is a river's edge,where the plants establish themselves to prevent erosion of the shoreline, provide fish and amphibian habitat, and food for migrating birds. Not rocket science, but definitely botany and the laws of natural selection being imposed.
They  ( the two husbands) respect my wish not to have them "rake" our beach with their ATV's by dragging a bedspring type contraption behind them. And they cringe when I ask them how they're enjoying my grassy garden.
It's confusing ...they're here - riverside -  because they proclaim to love nature- the fish, the birds, bugs, and butterflies.

They just don't seem to make the connection between all of the things they like about the waterfront, and the impact that clearing it has. No fish. No birds. No bugs. No butterflies. Just a bunch of crows and vultures!  (seriously, they wouldn't be here either if there was just sand)

Drives me crazy really. And if either of the two hubby's ever read this, know that I love you both...but I don't love what you're doing to the shoreline.
There. Said it. (But you already knew all this).
It's very difficult to try and find the fine, thin line between good neighbours, boundaries, philosophies, and friendship.
Caw  caw!


I am not a Muse.

I have looked for you in the fields
In the sand

And in the garden.

And you pay me no attention.

I have called across the waves

Down the road

And out the back door.

You do not come when you are called.

You linger on the tips of the flower petals

You sit on the cat’s whiskers

And you dance on the table.

You do not do as you are told.

You startle with the spicy pesto

You bubble in the glass of wine

And you tangle with the raspberries.
You are not a refined taste.

You are hiding in the morning mist

You whisper in the soft breezes

And you hover with the hummingbird.

You do not land.

So I will do this without you.


It's Looking Up

This is my busiest week of the year, and today we're  putting the final touches on the site for the annual summer music festival. It's a crazy, hectic, detail day looking for what could possibly go wrong, what have we missed ,
what was forgotten, and what should we do if and in case.

In the midst of it all, I looked up and saw the silver lining.

Tonight's going to be a good night.

Filled with energy and expectations riding high...just like this little guy must have felt when he watched
and then copied his friend the Hummingbird...

There are no hard and fast rules. Whatever works, works.
Just take time to notice.

for more world views, visit http://skyley.blogspot.com/


When Hairy Met Sullen

I woke up in a bad mood this morning. It was an inauspicious start to the day. Cats hungry. Raucous crows outside fighting over whatever it is crows fight about. Everything? Whatever, I was feeling cranky too.

Being the middle of a long weekend, the need to do something a little out of the ordinary was niggling me at the edges. My inner athlete was saying, “Hey, get off your ass and do something! Today’s a good day for a bike ride.” So a bike ride it was. We live beside the PPJ Cycloparc, a bike path that extends from the Quebec border on the Ottawa River, and meanders along the river’s edge for about 82 km towards Ottawa. Well, I had no intention whatsoever of going that far, but a little 5 km spin would be just about right, take 20 minutes and leave me feeling slightly superior to my John, who was standing around, drinking coffee, with a hose in his other hand watering the garden in a better mood. Off I went.

Back 20 minutes later, John says, “I know what we can do today...we can go see the new trail they built up to Oiseau Rock. Oiseau Rock towers over the river near Deep River, and is a sacred site for the Algonquin. It’s got native pictographs that are historically significant and years of local graffiti that isn’t. While interested in seeing the site from the top down (as opposed to being in a boat and looking up, which is how I’ve always seen it before) there is a major problem with this suggestion. I hate hills and I hate climbing. Downhill skiing? Good. Cross country? Bad. Flat? Perfect. Up? No.

But, I thought, maybe I could give it a go, just to be a good sport. So grumbling flitting gaily around the house I begrudgingly cheerfully gathered water bottles, bathing suits, bags of nuts, and some fruit. The drive -about 20 km from here - heads straight up into the hills (up in a truck is ok) on a poorly maintained gravel road, with lots of sharp turns and loose boulders waiting to attack. Approach signage is minimal, as in one small 8” x 11” plastic sign featuring a pictograph. And if you happen to be blinking at the time, well so sad, you’re lost. Which we were within minutes. However, John does have a great sense of direction (compared to me, who is directionally challenged) and we ultimately found the parking lot at the edge of the trail. There was a sign there explaining the significance of the site, and how the natives revered it. What it clearly did not say was how long the trail is to the top of Oiseau Rock. 4 km. One way. And the very first 100 m was pretty much straight up. Hill. My inner athlete thought “absolutely no effing way Great!” And off we went. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. For 2 hours. Did I mention that it was 26 C? (83F). No? Well it was. But, and here the truth be told, it’s a beautiful trail, through some virgin forest, green and verdant and filled with birdsong.
FINALLY we got to a sign that said: Oiseau Rock 2 km. Parking Lot 2 km. Had it been Grand Central Station I would have sat down and wept. And still we walked. We passed three other groups...all returning from the lookout...all quite cheerful and quite sweaty. They mumbled encouraging words as they passed. John cheerfully smiled and said hello. I didn’t.

And then it happened. A bend in the trail, and a small white sign depicting Scenic View. Don’t Fall off the Cliff.

We had arrived at the top and could see the beach far, far below us. The boats looked like tiny toys, the people tiny ants.
The view of the Ottawa Valley, spectacular. Half way down the rock was the lake people climb up to swim in, and we decided we weren’t going to climb down to swim in, then back up to the top of the mountain again. That was asking too much. Way too much.

But we had done it! And so we had a celebratory drink of water and a plum. I won’t bore you with the details of the return hike. It was brutal and I almost expired with heat exhaustion challenging. With the air conditioning on full, we made it back home to the beach, and into the kayaks in record time. Paddling out to the swimming hole I realized I was feeling better...fit and full and content.

Diving into the cool water, it was a great way to end the day – and to celebrate 16 years together! An anniversary to remember.
( And next time we wash our hair in the river, I’ll remember to bring conditioner too)