The town of Tobermory is found at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula. It is well known as the end of the Bruce Trail (a trail that starts in Niagara Falls and follows the escarpment to Tobermory), home to the Fathom Five National Marine Park (a favourite place for scuba divers) and one end of the Chi-cheemaun ferry (a ferry that goes to/from Manitoulin Island). As you have probably guessed by now it's a cute little tourist town with lots of restaurants and shops and is our destination for today.

Tobermory is a little over a 2 hour drive from Walkerton with the first part of the drive going through farm county and the second part through a lot of forests and rocks. My brother had been told that Lion's Head, a small harbour was worth a stop and it was. We decided to continue our journey following the coast and then driving back roads till we were forced back to the main road. One of the roads I found was gravel with hills and lots of bends, another road was closed for construction. As I didn't want to back track over five kilometres and they didn't appear to be working on the road I continued through the construction knowing that in kilometre or two there was a road I could turn off on. As we were driving my mom's car she wasn't impressed but we made it through "no problem". By the time we arrived in Tobermory we were all ready for lunch .... we chose "The Fish Place", a casual restaurant with a view of the harour. The menu was limited but we were happy with local white fish and chips .... mmmmm good. While we were wandering around the Chi-cheemuan ferry arrived so we watched it unload and load .... it can carry an amazing number of vehicles. On the drive south we detoured to visit the Cabot Head lighthouse .... another very interesting road.

I think I owe Ed an apology for all those times I told him "he was too dependent on the GPS". I couldn't believe the number of times I looked at the dash where the GPS should have been. It's an addictive little device.

The lighthouse at Lion's Head

The harbour at Tobermory

Loading the ferry .... that truck has an interesting load.

Big Tub Lighthouse just outside of Tobermory

Cabot Head Lighthouse



Off to the Beach

Much to Zaph's delight we went to the beach in Kincardine, my mom likes the water and my brother is one of those people that can lie on the beach in the sun for hours. Zaph made sure that David didn't get a lot of opportunity to lie in the sun as he found a stick and insisted that it be thrown in the water over and over and over ...... and over. Zaph spent close to three hours playing on the beach and near the end he would watch the stick being thrown in and would wait for the waves to bring it close to the beach before running in to fetch it. Deciding that Zaph needed some drying time, Zaph, mom and I went for a walk giving my brother some time to lie in the sun.



More Company

Yesterday I decided to bite the bullet and wash the windows. It's something I've been thinking about for ages and decided that if I didn't do it now I'd never get to it. The windows in my last house were tilt and turn windows, they opened inwards like a door and were easy to wash. The windows in this house are double hung vertical sliders and I initially thought that I'd have to get a ladder to wash the outside. Happily, I was wrong. Pushing two buttons releases the top of the window and presto it falls into the room exposing the outside for easy washing. Turned out it was a fairly easy job except for the one window where the bottom catch has a problem (didn't fall out but it thought about it) and another window didn't want to slide anymore once I had opened it.

Today I cleaned the house and in general got organized as my mom and brother are coming for a few days. We have some day trips planned so it should be fun.



Visit with the Vallieres

Zaph was very happy when his "cousins" John and Sue arrived with their parents for a visit. We were happy to see that Gwen has progressed to putting full weight on her leg and just needs a cane. After a couple of months of physio I'm sure she'll be as good as new. Zaph was the tour guide, he took Bob and Sue for a walk around the neighbourhood but somehow couldn't convince them to go down the big hill to river, later he took Bob and John downtown and again couldn't convince them that the river was on the route. When we were at the RV park in Mission Texas we purchased a board game called Sequence so we dragged it out and played a few games of it. On Saturday the boys were the big winners but on Sunday the girls came out on top. As I'm sure you can guess we had a great visit.

Sue and Zaph snuggling.

Sue, John, Gwen and of course Zaph. Somehow Bob managed to avoid being in any photos.



Wiring the Trailer

Most people would think a trailer comes fully wired and it's ready to go when you pick it up from the RV dealer ---- not Ed. If you know Ed you're not surprised. He has spent at least a week in the trailer doing what I call "fiddling". This trailer came with a "media box" that allows you to switch between the TV between cable, air, satellite and dvd player, it also controls which TV sees what. After spending some time playing with this box Ed has it working the way he wants it to. He also spent some time determining the items on each of the electrical circuits and he figuring out where some the mystery wires goes --- apparently our trailer is wired to take an electric fireplace and a 2nd air conditioner in the bedroom. He also switched the single battery that comes with the trailer to a pair of batteries --- more power for those nights at "Wal-mart parks", installed our large inverter that will work with a generator, pulled wires for the "rear view" camera and installed a 12 volt connection in the bathroom (there's one in the bedroom but it's behind the TV so not convenient to use). Maybe he'll get to my wish list of changes to the trailer soon.



Ed's Sister Visits

Ed's sister Sonya lives in Toronto and she finally decided to make the 2 1/2 hour drive to come and see us and see where we've decided to live. Last January she purchased a new Honda FIT --- very cute. The odometer read 659 km when she pulled into our driveway ...... guess city girls don't drive very far.

Walkerton is definitely not as exciting as Toronto with lots less to do. We toured Soyna around the area showing her the highlights including a stop in Port Elgin by the lake for ice cream. It was good to see Sonya again .... I guess we get to make the drive next time.

This morning I looked out my kitchen door and saw lots of mushrooms in my flower bed. I went out and took a photo thinking I was going to have to make time to pick mushrooms today. Around noon I finally had time to head back out and the mushrooms were gone. Guess these guys are short lived and don't like the sun.




When we were leaving on Monday morning I noticed a Robins nest sitting at the base of the birch tree in the front yard and surmised that it had been blown out of the tree. I looked for eggs but didn't see any. On Tuesday I went to tie Zaph to the tree and noticed 2 baby birds lying near the nest on some ground cover and a third bird lying on the grass. They were breathing but didn't react to mom's chirping. This morning things were different --- the babies were together and active, chirping for mom and dad's attention.

Hungry baby birds. They seemed to have settled comfortably into the new large nest at the base of the birch tree.




I forgot the amount of effort that goes into making salads and was surprised when it took most of yesterday, but as I had arranged to go on a picnic with my mom and aunt they were necessary. This morning I was up early and Zaph and I were on the road by 8am, picked up my mom in Burlington just after 10am, picked up my aunt and her dog Miles in Mississauga around 11am and drove to a local park on Lake Ontario. Jack Darling Park has some great picnic areas and were were able to find a table in the shade (at least to begin with) with a view of the lake. Thankfully the salads were good. After lunch we played some cards, took a short walk and then went for a drive so we could be in air conditioning --- I picked a very hot day for a picnic. Zaph was a little disappointed as he was right beside a lake and didn't get to go swimming --- didn't want to deal with a wet dog in the car.

Miles, he's a very nice little dog

After lunch we broke out the cards and played 40. We play for a penny a point and I was the big winner ending a dollar ahead.



Another Swimming Day

As Ed and I felt that our lives were under control we went to Anne and Victors to help out. Zaph's contribution was stirring the water in the creek and rolling on the dirt to make sure it was flat, Ed installed the outdoor lights and I moved bricks and picked rocks. Once again I got the most exciting job. The object of the rock picking was to remove rocks from the potential lawn that could cause grief to the lawn mower in the next couple of years --- I felt my mission was successful when I found the 40 or more pound rock that Victor had to lift.



Zaph's Birthday Celebration

Zaph's 8th birthday was on July 11th, but he didn't get his special birthday treat till today --- an afternoon on the beach in Kincardine. There was a fair bit of wind resulting in higher than normal waves though this didn't phase Zaph a bit --- I guess the time he spent on the ocean taught him how to deal with big waves, keep your head up and swim on top of the wave. We were happy to see that the area of beach we were on was popular with dogs ---- there were at least a half a dozen dogs and their owners on the beach at one time.

There were lots of sailboats enjoying the wind.

So sad .... all that was left of Ed and Zaph were a pair of shoes and a stick.

Good throw Ed! Go get it Zaph!

At one point Zaph had a friend helping him.



You Can Almost See it Grow

The grass has started to grow .... in fact you can almost see it grow it's growing so fast. It's nice to look out the window and see a green fuzz where there had been dirt. There are a couple of gardens that mostly had ground cover in them .... in fact one of the gardens had 4 types of ground cover and they were just about growing over each other. As these gardens are on the far side of the house (i.e. the only time you see them is if your working one of the gardens or mowing the lawn) and didn't have much worth saving I decided to shrink them and start organizing them. One of the jobs was to dig in some large edging stones that had become surplus when we expanded the workshop. Now I understand the amount of hard labour that goes into laying stone.

Ed has been having some fun this week. He bought a picnic table frame and built a picnic table, bought an outdoor umbrella and built a base. It's funny how he's finding lots of little jobs that let him use the workshop. Guess that's actually a good thing.




My mom and brother drove up for the day. Zaph thought this was great .... lots of extra pets to go around plus my brother took him for a swim in the river. David came back to the house with a very exhausted puppy. Just outside of town is a garden center / private botanical garden that I had been wanting to go to so mom and I headed over there. For $3 you could wander around the gardens and I think it was worth it. We saw a lot of the standard flowers and trees one would expect but we also saw a lot of flowers and trees that I didn't recognize. Maybe next year I find out when the guided tour is and go then.

A pond at the gardens.

An interesting flower.

There were several evergreen trees that caught my eye. The tree wasn't very big but it had lots of pine cones.

There isn't a lot of shade in our courtyard around noon .... but a resourceful puppy can always find some.

I'm soooooo...oooooo tired.




Today was long day. First we raked and picked stones .... lots and lots of stones. The top soil had a lot of stone in it and even after picking stones there still lots left. Next we put ground cloth by the house and covered it with decorative stone --- we wanted something between the house and the grass for ease of mowing and I didn't need any more gardens to week. Another round of raking and finally grass seed. Last job of the day was watering. July is not a good time to plant grass so there's going to be a lot of watering in our future and high water bills.

Wheeling a barrow of stones.



Moving Dirt

Now that the workshop is done it's time to finish the landscaping. There is a number of low spots in the backyard where the trucks and backhoe had compacted the soil giving a home to most of the top soil that was left from digging the foundation. Ed really doesn't like one handled shovels so he borrowed a small "unique" loader/tractor from a neighbour (the neighbour built the machine) to move the dirt.

Someones bored with moving dirt.

Ed had a good time on the tractor. I think Ed misses his Kabuto tractor.



Happy Canada Day!!!!

As it was Canada Day, we decided to have a "fun" afternoon. Kincardine and the beach is about 30 minutes away, so we loaded Zaph into the car and headed out. As everyone knows, the beach is one of Zaph's favourite places so we know he had a good time.

Ok, I'm ready. Throw something that I can fetch.

The lighthouse in Kincardine. Kincardine is on the shores of Lake Huron.

Lots of people were out enjoying the water and the sunshine.

Zaph, that's a funny way to carry a stick.

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