You are currently viewing archive for May 2015

2015/05/27: Gardens

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
I've been blogging about working on my gardens so I thought I show you a few photos of them.

One of the hosta beds.

Half of my newest bed. The back is hostas and the front is coral bells, primulas and a couple of other perennials to add colour during the summer.

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Between my lilac bush and my neighbours bushes, our backyard has a strong lilac smell.

2015/05/26: Eye Tests and Dinner

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Ed wants a new pair of prescription sunglasses, the lenses fall out of this current pair and one of them is chipped and I'm due for new glasses. Ed was really happy with a previous pair of sunglasses that he had purchased at Costco, so we decided that we would get the new glasses there and booked an appointment with the optometrist that works out of the Costco building in Burlington. The appointment went fine and they even e-mailed us the photos that were taken of our eyes (Ed wanted them, not me).

When we went to order our glasses, Ed was informed that Costco no longer handle the type of sunglasses he wants. So much for best laid plans. Fortunately, Lenscrafters was able to provide the sunglasses Ed wants. I on the other hand was able to order glasses from Costco and the funny part is the fellow that helped me today was the same fellow that helped me buy glasses 11 years ago at the Costco in Kitchener.

The fun part of the day was meeting my mother, brother and friends Les and Louise for dinner at Red Lobster. Ed and I haven't seen Les and Louise for ages so it was great to see them again. The company and food made for a very nice evening.
Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
The local ATV trails require a trail pass. On Friday we stopped in Sauble Beach and picked up a trail pass (the trails around Sauble Beach are more exciting than the trails near Walkerton, so we opted to join the ATV club in Sauble Beach). Anyway, with passes affixed to the ATVs we hit the Rail Trail in Walkerton and drove north. It was a good thing that we had trail passes as we were stopped by a "trail warden" and our passes were checked.

The trail is on what was a railway line, so it is flat and straight. Not the most exciting ride but the scenery is pretty as you drive through the backs of farms and woods. We were also looking for geocaches --- surprise, surprise. There are only a couple of this stretch of the trail with one of them at the north end of Paisley.

We had to ride over two bridges, this is the first one.

and this is the view from the bridge.

This is the second bridge

and it's view.

Enjoying the ride.

I have second thoughts about posting this photo as it's not very flattering but it does show the lessons I learned today. If it is dusty either wear a full face shield or a bandanna and wear an old shirt, preferably one that is dirt coloured. Or maybe the lesson is be the lead rider. Even though I ended up filthy I had a great time riding.

2015/05/23: Frances vs the Shovel

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Several of my gardens required a fair bit of work this year --- one I planted last year needed more plants, an older garden needed overgrown plants split and some rearranging, an other one needed help after some plants didn't make it through the winter. I got my trusty shovel out and got to work. The shovel made some creaking noises as I dug and pried at the more stubborn of the perennials. I kept checking the wooden handle to see if it was having issues, but it was fine so I continued digging and prying.

Turned out the creaking wasn't the wood but the metal. Think I dug and pried one time too many. The shovel was purchased May 27, 2010 (I needed to find the receipt so the hardware store will honour the life time warranty), so it's only 5 years old and hasn't been used that much.
Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Rob and Ed have both been working hard on projects at home and needed a day off, so we decided to visit more stops on Explore the Bruce. It was a little cool today, in fact so cool that we decided to leave the sports cars at home and take Rob's Rav. In retrospect it was a good thing that we left the sports cars at home as several of the stops required us to drive down freshly graded gravel roads. Both Rob and Ed would have been wincing every time a stone hit one of the sports cars.

One of the stops was the beach at Red Bay. It's a very tranquil spot.

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Some of us couldn't resist the playground equipment.

An other stop included an hour hike along the Bruce Trail.
The hikers ready to go --- notice Ed's down vest, Rob's down vest and gloves and Ellen's headband. I think it was around 7 C when we left on the hike. When we saw all of the Poison Ivy warning signs, we were happy that it was cool and we had on long pants and jackets.

The end of the trail at Jackson Cove Lookout.

The air currents must have been good today as we saw a number of vultures rising from the trees and floating along the cliff edge.

My first group selfie with our new cell phone. I know I'm way behind the times.

On the drive to the trail head we noticed a few stuffed animals in the trees. On the way out we stopped to have a look at them. I think there were over 50 stuffed animals posed in the trees.
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Another stop was the picture frame at Lion's Head. Lion's Head is one of our favourite places for a stop as we always enjoy lunch at the Lion's Head Inn. Today was the first time we didn't eat on the patio, but the food was just as good inside.

The harbor at Tobermory. Not a lot of boats or people but then it's still early in the season.

The majority of this building is built using wine bottles.

One of the Explore the Bruce stops was at an adventure park. This is part of the high rope course --- don't think I would enjoy doing this course. Now the low rope course is something I could do. It looks a lot like the high rope course but is only a foot or so off the ground. More my speed.

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
If only Zaph could write, he would be writing today's blog. The weekend was suppose to be about catching up with old friends and I guess it was for the most part but Zaph's delight at being at Chris and Tina's cottage over-shadowed everything else. The cottage is on a island in 6 Mile Lake. There are four other cottages on the island but with different peninsula's all of the cottages seem isolated which meant Zaph could run loose and not bother any one.

Having a quick dip.

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Over the winter a log floated into shore making a small enclosed area. Zaph barked at us wanting the log moved but we all decided that the small area was large enough for him. I think he smiled all weekend.

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Zaph use to be a really strong swimmer but with age not so much. When I put Zaph's life jacket on him I was surprised that I had to let all the straps out to their maximum length. Guess he's gained a bit of weight over the years. Snoozing on the power boat ride.

Nothings better than having a roll on the grass after a quick dip in the lake.

During the boat ride, Ed talked Chris into looking for a couple of geocaches. Chris, Tina and I stayed on the boat at this island because it was called Rattlesnake Island. Ed didn't find a rattlesnake but found the geocache.

Tina and I decided to paddle over to the beaver dam, where we saw a couple of loons but no beaver. It was such a beautiful day that we paddled around a couple of islands then over to the cottage of friends of Tina. Zaph sat happily in the canoe and enjoyed the ride.

Chris and Tina bring their cat Tony to the cottage. Zaph and Tony mutually decided that Tony got to hang out around the bedroom building and Zaph stayed around the kitchen building. Tony's food was put on deck but he ignored it. This little guy decided it was fair game and spent several minutes taking out pieces of food and eating them.

The woods on the island was full of trilliums.

On the boat ride we passed this stream joining the lake. There's a small waterfall and some rapids.

It had been at least three years since we visited Chris and Tina's cottage. I had forgotten how beautiful it is there and how much Zaph enjoyed it.

2015/05/14: Wallpaper

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
The hardwood floor in the kitchen/family room needs to be stripped and refinished. Since we have to remove all the furniture it makes sense to paint as well (besides the fact that it needs painting). The room has a cathedral ceiling which means two walls are 14 feet high in the middle. The previous owners put wallpaper on one of the high walls, so the job for the next few days is to remove the wallpaper. First thing I did was google "stripping wallpaper" --- found lots of information and u-tube videos. Apparently, there are 3 types of wallpaper: dry strippable, peelable and old fashioned wallpaper. There was a bit of wallpaper over the kitchen cupboards so I decided to test what I had learned on the Internet. After carefully grabbing a corner of the wallpaper and pulling as instructed I determined that I had peelable wallpaper --- not the best result but not a bad result. Next test was removing the paper backing, which was a bit of work but doable. Before I could continue with the rest of the wall I needed to clean the dining room, pack the contents of the display cabinet and find two strong men. Ed rounded up our neighbour Rob and the two then moved the display cabinet into the dining room(thus the need to clean it).

On Day 2 of wallpaper removal we carried in two ladders --- one a regular height step ladder and the other a tall step ladder. Then, Ed being the smart man he is, quickly left the house to take care of jobs in his workshop and outside. When I was stripping the wallpaper by the peak I came across the surprise --- we had noticed wrinkled wallpaper but when I removed the paper I found the big crack in the drywall. Luckily fixing cracks isn't under my job description, so I showed it to Ed and continued stripping. By the end of the day and after many trips up and down ladders I had peeled all the wallpaper off and removed most of the backing paper and glue.

Day 3 of wallpaper removal saw all of the backing paper and glue removed from the walls and the walls rinsed to remove TSP I had used to remove the glue.

Ed who can't leave a problem, started looking at the crack at 10pm. He woke me up to tell he had figured out the problem. The drywall hadn't cracked but had let go at a seam because a piece of wood had been pushing the drywall out. The kitchen/family room is an addition and the wall with the wallpaper had been the original outside wall, and the piece of wood was probably one of the original roof joists. Good news was he could fix it.

2015/05/10: Happy Mother's Day

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
My mother and brother drove up from Burlington today. To celebrate Mother's Day we smoked salmon, one of my mother's favourite meals. The weather could have been better but we enjoyed the day anyway.

2015/05/08: Visitors

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
My cousin Yvonne, her husband Bob and their dog Miles arrived for a visit today. Miles and Zaph mostly ignore each other so they get along great. Ed and I decided the visit was a good reason to smoke the first ribs of the season and they were as good as I remembered. Bob and Yvonne are planning a trip to Newfoundland so Ed and I got to relive our trip from last year. It wouldn't take a lot to convince me to go back to Newfoundland. By the way we had a really good visit.

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Another beautiful spring day for us and a perfect day to start Explore the Bruce in the sports cars. In this year's edition of Explore the Bruce there are 5 stops south or west of Walkerton, so we decided to explore them today.

Here we are ready to hike to the first passport stop. This year we all remembered to wear our Explore the Bruce T-shirts.

First stop was Carrick Tract Trails just south of Mildmay. The trails are set up for mountain biking but if you don't mind the winding trail it works fine for walking as well.

Next stop was the Bruce Botanical Food Gardens in Ripley. The gardens is a non-profit corporation with the Mission Statement "Through tourism, education, hands on experience and cultural activity, to address the issues of food insecurity, sustainable agriculture, and the issues faced by the small family farm." All of the plants, trees and shrubs in the garden can in some way be used for food. As we are early in the growing season the garden was a little bare though we did see garlic and walking onions. I think we'll need to visit it again late in the summer when the garden is in it's prime.

Pine River Cheese just south of Kincardine was our third stop. If you had lots of will power you could punch your card and continue to the next stop or you could be like us and wander inside the store to look around. We picked up a 9 year old cheddar, an award winning asiago and chocolate raspberry cheese fudge. Looking forward to trying all of these cheeses.

There is a small museum and a view of the cheese making area. Unfortunately, we didn't time our visit very well as we got to see the clean up not the making of the cheese.

Kincardine is always a nice place for a visit and is a stop on the Explore the Bruce. This year, not only was it a stop but there are an additional 5 stops that qualify you for a special Kincardine prize.

One of the extra stops took us to the Labyrinth Peace Garden.

That is snow on the beach .... yup snow. Ed and I were surprised to see the snow but Ellen and Rob weren't. They were in Sauble beach a few days ago and said there was still ice in the water and lots of snow on the beach.

Last stop of the day was passport stop 2 Folmer Landscaping, Gift Shop and Garden Centre just outside of Walkerton. This is a pretty place to go shopping for plants as there are gardens everywhere. It really gets you in the mood to buy plants, and yes we did but only a couple as there isn't much room for cargo in the sports cars.


The Folmers have a very sweet golden retriever who loves the water. They couldn't keep him out of the pond at the garden centre.

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A couple of the wood carvings we saw today. The piper was at the town park in Ripley where we enjoyed our picnic lunch. The Selkie (a mythical creature that lives as a seal in the sea but shed their skin to become human on land) was in Kincardine.

We had a great day and are looking forward to visiting the rest of the stops on Explore the Bruce.
Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
The Miata was put back on the road on Friday and today we are going geocaching. Nothing says spring like geocaching in the Miata, especially on a picture perfect day. Yup, we had two of them in a row.

The trilliums and dog tooth violets are out.


Couldn't resist taking a photo of the "S'cool Bike".

The most interesting cache of day
was a birch log in a cedar tree.

It was the lightest log I have ever lifted. Some ingenious person spray foamed a plastic jar and wrapped it in birch bark and put a piece of birch bark on the lid.

A view of the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station.

We didn't go far from home today (furthest point was 52 km from home), but we saw some places that we didn't know existed including a couple of nice little bays on Lake Huron. I've said it before but I'll say it again --- Ed likes the geocaching I like the places it takes us to.

2015/05/02: Bridge

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
not the one you drive on, the one you play.

What a beautiful day today was. I have never seen as many tractors working in the fields as I did today on our drive to Kitchener. I even saw a couple of horse drawn plows in a field.

Bob, Gwen, Ed and I met at Jack and Lori's house. We had a good visit and ate some delicious food. Gwen, Jack, Lori and I also managed to sneak in several hands of bridge. It was a lot of fun especially the hands with very odd distribution. Gwen had a hand with all black cards and nine of the thirteen cards were clubs.

It only took a couple of days of cream and cone wearing for Zaph's feet and legs to start healing. The hair is even starting to grow back. Happily, whatever started the problem has gone away. Zaph's limp is also getting less.