You are currently viewing archive for September 2015
Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Today my mother is 92 years young. Age is trying to catch up to her but it still has a ways to go.

We decided to meet my mother and brother in Stratford and go for a walk along the river by the Stratford Festival Theatre. The river is home to many geese, duck and swans.

I think the geese think they own the road. Ed and I laughed as we watched a number of guess stopping traffic. After a few minutes the traffic would sneak by. When the next set of cars approached the geese would run out onto the road. I think it was a big game.


The birds are very use to humans. I think you could probably pet them. In fact, a couple of times I thought the geese were going to attack because I didn't have any food with me.

One of the beautiful views along the river.

What do you buy someone who is 92? This year I did the card, flowers and dinner thing.

From Stratford we drove north to the village of Millbank. There are a number of Mennonites living in this area so you usually see some horse and buggys when you drive into town. Millbank is also the home to the famous Anna Mae's restaurant. This restaurant serves very good Amish food. We all enjoyed our dinners. As she was leaving my mother said that this is what a birthday should be --- a nice outing and dinner with family. Think she enjoyed her birthday.

I could resist the chance to sit in a buggy.

2015/09/27: Quiet Time

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Ed came down with a cold while we were on our trip and really didn't feel like driving so I got to drive home from Monetville. I drove more during this vacation than I have on any other vacation --- gave me a different perspective. The next few days were spent hibernating --- Ed trying to get over the cold and me trying to not get the cold.

2015/09/23: Fall Boat Ride

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
We really lucked into some beautiful fall weather and today is another picture perfect day. Colin had started taking the "water toys" out of the water but hadn't gotten to this boat yet, so we were able to go for a boat ride.

As you walk towards the water you get this great view of the dock. Margaret is a very talented lady, she sewed the back curtain for the boat as well as the window curtains and covers.

Captain Colin and Ed.

One of the many beautiful sites we saw during our ride.

Almost back to the dock, you can see the cottage on the cliff.

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Colin and Margaret have two cute dogs, Splash and Mexi. Splash is 17 and spends a lot of time sleeping, Mexi is 6 or 7 and spends most of her time begging pets. Somehow we only got a picture of splash. Ed's looking a little fury himself --- guess what I forgot to pack?

2015/09/22: Off to the Next Visit

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Ed had a lot of fun playing with Caity during our visit. Caity especially liked "chaser the laser". The laser toys were bought for the cat but he ignores them so Caity gets to have all the fun. You point the laser light up and down the hall and Caity chases it and chases it and chases it ...

Caity waiting for the game to start again.

Today we left Michigan and drove to Monetville Ontario to visit our friends Colin and Margaret. It's on the way home if you make the trip to Michigan a big loop. Generally highway 17 driving east from Sault Ste Marie is a lovely and peaceful drive. Today there was a hiccup. One guy was in a real hurry and kept passing people in unsafe conditions like going up a hill on a curve in the road. About ten miles down the road we saw a car pulled over by a police officer. Ed cheered when he saw that it was the erratic driver. It's nice when the idiotic drivers actually get pulled over.

2015/09/21: Leggs Inn

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Today is another picture perfect day. Our destination for today is Leggs Inn in Cross Village.

We drove the scenic route which took us through Petoskey, Harbor Springs and Good Hart. In both Petoskey and Harbor Springs we drove through subdivisions of big, beautiful, old summer homes. What amazing architecture. John said these home very rarely come up for sale as many are owned by corporations (or trusts) or are passed down through families.

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At Good Hart we made a side trip to St. Ignatius of Loyola church and cemetery. There's a beautiful beach behind the church.

After we left the church we continued down the road and came to a very steep one way hill (going up the hill). John, driving his car proceeded up the hill first. He was a little surprised when he met a car coming down the hill. The driver of the other vehicle tried to persuade John to back up but John refused knowing he was in the right. After a few moments the other driver backed up. Seeing the way clear I started up the hill in the RAV and couldn't believe my eyes when the car met me on the hill. This time the other driver didn't argue but backed up into a pull off on the side of the road. When we got to the top of the hill I saw the large DO NOT ENTER sign. Guess the other driver lives at this end of the road and probably doesn't meet any traffic when she sneaks down the hill.

I can't believe Ed didn't take any photos of the front of the restaurant, so here's the patio where we enjoyed our lunch. The roof of the restaurant is lined with wood stove legs ... thus the name Leggs Inn.

Good Polish food. We shared a couple of appetizers with the group, then split a lunch platter consisting of pirogies, cabbage roll, sausage and hunter stew.

Again a dessert to split between the six of us. A fruit cobbler with ice cream and whipping cream.

One of the reasons to eat at Leggs Inn is the view. Beyond the patio is a lush green lawn and beyond that is Lake Michigan. Esther, Carol and myself are looking at the light houses far out in the lake.

A walk around Cross Village brought us to this bear. One side is decorated with it's Indian Heritage and other is decorated with it's more recent history.

2015/09/20: Mackinaw City

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
John was able to get half price tickets on the Mackinaw City Trolley Tour, so we opted to take the trolley tour. A first for John and Carol and for Esther, Jim, Ed and me too.

The trolley driver was very informative. One thing that always confused me was the Mackinaw Bridge vs. Mackinac Bridge. The driver explained that Mackinac is French and is pronounce "Mackinaw", the "ac" is pronounced as "aw". The British heard the word "Mackinaw", so wrote it with an "aw". So however it is spelled it is pronounced Mackinaw.

The trolley driver showed us one of the Mackinac bridge under passes that is clearly marked as being 10' 6". Unfortunately, a lot of people don't know the height of the vehicle they are driving. The trolley driver told us a number of stories of people getting stuck, removing air conditioners from the top of RVs or converting their vehicle to a convertible. The underpass has a lot of scrapes and dents in it to verify his story. Ed and I felt pretty good, as this should never happen to us as Ed keeps a piece of paper with the height of the trailer on it on the window visor. The trolley is only 10' 4" so the driver drove down the road.

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There are a number of carved figures around Mackinaw City. These can be attributed to local resident, Jerry Prior. After his retirement and a few years of travel, Jerry and his wife became residents of Mackinaw City. His hobby of carving small animals grew to included life size carvings of important historic figures.

Old Mackinac Point Light house in Mackinaw City.

Driving over the bridge.

The happy trolley passengers.

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Esther and Jim are a very cute couple. I ask you, who has the cutest backside, Ed or the statue of the iron worker? This is a park on the north side of the bridge. The statue commemorates the iron workers that lost their lives or were injured during the construction of the Mackinaw Bridge

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The tour took us to St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula. First time Ed and I have been in down town St. Ignace. We were let out to wander at the Museum of Ojibwa Culture. The statue is of French explorer and priest Jacques Marguette who founded the St. Ignace Mission on this site in 1671.

Part of St. Ignace harbor.

We missed the big truck show in St. Ignace over the weekend but did see a couple of big rigs. Ever see a gravel truck so shiny and clean.

After the tour ended, we drove across the bridge to pick up fresh baked pasties for lunch. Mmm, mmm, good. When I said we drove across the bridge I actually meant that I drove the RAV with the ladies in it across the bridge. I've walked the bridge and been a passenger many times but let me tell you driving it was very different. I was very happy for the low speed limit as I don't think I could have driven any faster. Going back was a lot easier. Guess I haven't been driving over a lot of bridges lately.

The view from one of two lighthouses that we climbed to the top of.

Don't know who put the swing in, but it was in a perfect spot.

Lots of freighters pass under the Mackinaw Bridge every day.

Panoramic views of the Mackinaw Bridge from two different angles.


2015/09/19: Woodpeckers

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
The weather didn't co-operate today so we hung out at John and Carol's house and had a good visit ... and some great games of rummy tile. John and Carol's house is in the woods so they have set up a number of bird feeders and get lots of feathered visitors.

Ed didn't spend a lot of time waiting for the birds to come but did manage to catch this woodpecker. Ed's camera was never around with the Pileated Woodpecker came to visit, which was too bad as they are very large and very handsome.

Carol is a real "trekie". Her guest room proves it. Can you guess who enjoys staying in this room?
Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Charlevoix Michigan is home to the "Mushroom Houses". The houses are not a place where you grow mushrooms but rather houses that look like mushrooms. Earl Young designed and built many homes in Charlevoix. He believed that homes should fit the landscape, respect the contour of the land and be built from local materials. With each new home he built his style became more whimsical.

In 1918, Earl Young built a house for his family to live in. The home was built of stone but was not whimsical in design. Today the house is under construction with the roof line taking on a more mushroom shape with a thatched roof.

On the right is the orginal house with the new roof line and on the left is the "half house" which was built in 1947. It is the smallest of Earl Young's houses and is affectionately known as the gnome house.

A view of Lake Michigan from the Charlevoix beach.

Carrying on with the elf and fairy theme is the Enchanted Forest at Castle Farms on the outskirts of Charlevoix. Castle Farms was built in 1918 by Albert Loeb, the acting president of Sears, Roebuck and Co. as a model dairy farm. It was modeled after the stone barns and castles found in Normandy, France. Since then the farm has been an art gallery, a music theater and summer concert area and now it is a wedding venue and home to a large model railway.

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Carol checked out the engine. The castle is surrounded by many beautiful gardens and sculptures.

The model railway is the largest in Michigan.

We stopped at Boyne City for dinner at the Red Mesa Grill which features Latin American Food. The "happy hour" specials include half price appetizers. I think we ordered at least one of every appetizer on the menu. What a fun way to enjoy an assortment of food.

For desert we ordered one Habanero Fried Ice Cream with 6 spoons. This resulted in just the right amount of desert for me. By the way it was very, very good.

The boys had fun with the Draco Viewer one of several statues on display in Boyne City.

2015/09/17: Frankenmuth

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Ed and I are invited to visit friends in Michigan. We decided to leave a day early and stop in Frankenmuth. A couple of years ago we had visited Frankenmuth in December to celebrate our anniversary. I have to say that it is much warmer in September than it is in December.

We arrived late in the afternoon on the 16th and left just after noon on the 17th. The Drury Inn was our residence for the evening. The inn provides breakfast as well as a simple dinner of penne with marinara sauce, grilled chicken, baked potato, salad and hot dogs. Oh, did I mention the three free drinks? We ate dinner at the inn and shared a table with a couple from Toledo who were going to celebrate their 50th anniversary on Friday. The four of us were having a good time chatting and didn't notice that everyone else had left the room.

Ed couldn't believe the number of antennas on the water tower.

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Yup, Ed found a couple of geocaches in town.

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An interesting water fountain and the glockenspiel tower.

The covered bridge.



The Frankenmuth Fish Passage Project is building a rock ramp over the dam in the Cass River.

After dinner, Ed and I drove to Bronner's Christmas Wonderland. It was interesting walking around looking at Christmas ornaments, listening to Christmas music in September and seeing Christmas lights.


2015/09/13: Block Party

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Not sure what I was thinking last year when I volunteered myself and Ellen (my neighbour who wasn't at the block party) to host this year's block party. Ellen definitely wasn't sure what I was thinking but she was nice and agreed to help if we moved the date to one where she was home.

Organizing the party really wasn't that much work --- writing, printing and delivering the invitation; deciding on the menu, buying the groceries, cooking the meat and setting up for the party. I volunteered Ed to smoke some brisket and Rob to barbecue pork sausages and chicken. Ellen and I would set up the tables and pick and arranged flowers and each make a dish to share.

Ed started smoking the brisket at 7pm Saturday evening and at 11 pm moved it to a large electric roasting pan and slowed cooked it to 2pm Sunday afternoon. It was delicious and melted in your mouth.

During the party, Rob went home and started barbecuing. He had moved his barbecue to his driveway thinking he could wander back and forth across the street as he was cooking. Well that didn't happen ... the sausages contained a little more fat than we expected so they needed to be babysat. When we glanced across the road to Rob's house there were clouds of smoke billowing through the air. Luckily the chicken co-operated better than the sausages.

The weather forecast called for a cool, cloudy day so we emptied the garage so we could set up the food and have enough room if people decided that they wanted to sit inside. (Saturday had nice weather and so did Monday)

Lots of warm sweaters and coats allowed everyone to sit around and chat. Everyone said the food was very good. I believed them as 30 people ate about 20 pounds of meat plus salads and deserts.

I called the Block Party a success and can't wait to pass the plastic tubs of stuff on to the next sucker... oh I mean volunteer.

2015/09/12: COPA for Kids

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
The local COPA (Canadian Owners and Pilots Association) flight participates in the national COPA for Kids program. Children from 8 to 17 can go for a demonstration flight in an airplane.

Ed decided that it would be nice for the kids to have a photo as a reminder of their flight so he volunteered himself to take the photos.

It was a busy day as around 70 kids showed up for free flights.

2015/09/11: Happy Birthday Anne

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
A week ago I mentioned to Anne that Ed and I had bought some ribs for smoking. Anne then reminded me that she had a birthday coming up. So we decided that we could celebrated Anne's birthday eating ribs.

Anne doesn't eat a lot of dessert but she does like blueberry pie, so instead of a birthday cake she had a birthday pie.

2015/09/07: My Neighbour's Garden

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
My neighbour is on vacation in Europe so I decided to post a few photos of her gardens on facebook as they are looking good.






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This sedum is in my garden and is particularly beautiful this year --- at least I think so.

2015/09/06: Kincardine

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
I spent a good part of the day cleaning and sorting. By 4:00pm I needed to get out of the house, so we hopped in the Miata and went to the local ice cream shop. After enjoying our cones we decided that we wouldn't be hungry for quite a while so we drove to Kincardine, about a half hour from Walkerton.

Most of the boats were in the harbour.

The lighthouse.

Even though it was after 5pm the beach was pretty busy. It was nice to see lots of people out enjoying our beautiful weather on the long weekend. After a nice walk on the beach we did a little geocaching then drove home. We arrived home about 7:30 and enjoyed a late dinner --- the ice cream had warn off.
Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Ed and I drove down to Palgrave today to watch our friend's daughter Jessica compete in the Trillium Championship. Ed thought this was a perfect opportunity to pull out the camera's and lenses and take some photos.

It was a bit of hike to get to the stable where Jess and her horse were hanging out. There were a lot of people, horses, bicycles and golf carts at the equestrian center. The bicycles and golf cards are used to get back and forth from the rings to the stables. Ontario is split into 7 regions. Winners from the 7 regions come to the championships. There were many events for both adults and children.

The stable area isn't just about work ... the riders are at the championships to have fun.



One of the events is "under saddle". All of the horses that are competing get in the ring, and if there are too many are split into 2 groups. The horses then walk or trot as requested by the judge.

Jess, her coach JJ, her dad Steve and Cowan.


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Unfortunately Cowan bucked once in each of the rounds today, so no awards for Jess and Cowan. But jumping ahead into the future, they won 2nd place in one of their events on Saturday and 1st place in their event on Sunday. Think Jess was pretty happy with the results of the week.

2015/09/04: Sound of Music

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
A couple of months ago we bought tickets to a matinée performance of the Sound of Music production in Stratford. So on September 1 we joined our friends Jack and Lori at the show.

Lori was amazed when I said that I didn't think I'd ever seen the Sound of Music in it's entirety. Well I can't say that anymore. The show was great. Ed and I both enjoyed it.

Ed was also fascinated by the set tear down --- Carousel was being performed in the evening.

2015/09/04: Garden Addition

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Our neighbours and good friends Rob & Ellen and their children Ryan, Deana and Jeff and their grandson Dustin gave us a garden statue.

Ed and I think it's a perfect addition to the garden, have named it Zaphod 2 and placed it under the peonies, a favourite spot of the original. We moved the sign from the front yard to the garden.

Thanks guys. Every time we look at it we'll remember our wonderful boy.

2015/09/03: Memories

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
It's been a week since Zaph left us. We miss him terribly and will forever but as the days go by it gets a little easier. Ed and I went away for a few days and ended up at our neighbour's cottage. On the Friday the four of us went for a drive and came upon a nature area that had a lake that was large enough for boats so it had a launch ramp and a dock. On the dock was a three or four year old golden retriever wearing a purple collar (Zaph's collar was purple). The dog was having a great time jumping off the dock to fetch a ball. Instead of making us sad, this brought back many happy memories of Zaph doing exactly the same thing. I thought I would share some of those memories here.

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The breeder let us visit a few times before we brought Zaph home. Here he is 4 weeks old. In the photo on the right Zaph is just over 2 months old. Hard to imagine our big guy being so little.

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At 5 months he perfected getting 2 balls in his month at the same time. Over the years the game of fetch the ball became the game of fetch 2 balls. You had to throw 2 balls. Then Zaph would run and pick up the first then the 2nd one and bring both balls back to you at the same time.

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Another photo of Zaph at 5 months. He always loved the snow.

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First family photo, January 2001. Zaph learned to respect cats at an early age. Somehow he lived through dragging the cat by the tail across the ceramic floor. He only did it once.

Zaph loved the water, especially jumping off docks to fetch a ball.

Actually he loved all kinds of balls and was happy chasing or catching them.

Loving racing through the water.

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Our Gollilocks testing the Three Bears chairs.

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Zaph was a curious fellow, he always had to see what I was looking at.

He only managed to do it a couple of times but here's proof that Zaph could stuff three balls into his mouth. He did it all on his own, no help from mom or dad.

Canoing, riding in the zodiak or a power boat --- he loved them all as long as he was with us.

Zaph was good at making friends.

even with scary looking dudes.

Zaph loved his dad even when dad was a hairy beast.

and especially when they snuggled on the bed.

Zaph loved to pose for photos even if hats were involved. He tolerated a lot.


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Now backpacks were a different story. He tolerated wearing the pack but if we met someone on the trail he would start to fuss as if to say "tell my mom and dad to take this stupid thing off me".

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Sometimes the dare devil.

always a beach bum

Zaph loved to be in the center of things especially when he was in the way.