Just Roll With It

“I try not to make plans. Because, even the best laid plans etc. etc.”

Author: Brent Spiner

My plan for Sunday was rather easy.  Get up (always a good way to start the day), have a coffee, eat some breakfast, have a second coffee, then get my heinie outside for a good walk.  Upon my return will deserve a nice bowl of my veggie soup, take a shower, prepare supper, pick up my mother, enjoy our meal, drive her back, relax and go to bed.

As Sundays go, it started off nice and slow.  Slept in until 9 (never mind I was awake from 2 till 5).  Stoked the fire and made myself a cup of coffee.  Got onto the Interwebs to catch up on my readings.  Ate my bowl of Raisin Bran by 10, continued reading and next thing I knew it was past noon.  Well, dang.

 

If I was going to walk for any reasonable time, I’d have to eat sooner.  Continued reading and commenting and whatnot and then around 1:30-ish, had a small bowl of soup, then dressed up to go out.

Shovelled the back porch and along the back of the house up to the side gate (must have all exits free from snow, in case). Once that was done, grabbed my camera and was off.

After the cold we had on Saturday, Sunday felt positively balmy!  Off I went in the direction of  my willow, planning to keep walking until I reached the discovered secluded walkway.  I got to the first park and decided to take a pic of the play area as this week’s theme in my photo group is “a touch of blue”, and there is blue on the monkey bars.  I slid-shuffled across the skating rink, passing by a lady who was clearing the snow off the rink.  I took a few pictures then noticed a flash of something on my camera….

“No card in camera”.

What. The. Fuck?  What an amateur move! I completely forgot that I had taken a few pics of the sky from my living room window the evening before, uploaded them into my computer. Where I left the card. Sonova–

I grumble and take out my cell phone to snap a couple pics.  Would have been a grand day with the camera as the day was beautiful, for sure.

However, there was no way in hell I was lugging my camera bag without being able to take pictures!  Get a sore back for nothing? No.  So I turned around.  As I crossed the park, I thought, hey, all is not lost, I have lots of time. I shall go home, change and go back out for a run.  Once I turned on the next street, the wind in my face determined otherwise.  The day was bust. I just wasn’t feeling it, anymore anyway.

So I took my shower then slowly started preparing my supper. It was nice to not feel rushed.  Chopping and sautéeing and browning. It’s when I feel the most zen.  Just as I was putting my coat on to leave to pick up my mother, Iain’s CAA arrived to boost his car (dead battery).  I told him that, since he had to drive his car to get his battery full, it would be a wonderful idea if he could go and get his grandmother.  He agreed.

We had a lovely and simple Sunday dinner.  To be repeated!  I made my “Chicken à la Tuscan à la Dale” – one of those recipes that I actually wrote down.  (Years and years ago, Mick asked me to please stop winging it and write things down so that I could potentially repeat the good stuff.)  Of course, I never follow it, but the fact that I wrote it down means that I potentially remake it sorta-kinda the same way (ish).  It just so happens I was looking for this recipe to share with someone else – and ended up not doing so coz I never did get around to sending out Christmas cards in which I was supposed to include a recipe on a 3″ X 5″ index card; said index cards that I actually bought for the occasion and will be potentially used next year – so it was top of my mind when I asked Mom if she wanted dinner.

Plans are great and all but hey, when they are broken, doesn’t mean all is lost!

 

 

 

 

Tending the Home Fires

This past weekend was brutally cold and I remained cocooned in my house. No way in hell was I going out to run in -30ºC (with the wind chill) no way, no how.  For the first time this year, I decided to make a fire in slow burning wood stove.  Man, the wood I have is fairly useless.  Burns just like that (snaps fingers).  My cubby holds three large loads of this wood carrier doohickey.

I burned the whole lot Saturday.  Sunday was supposed to be warmer and I thought I’d go for a run and then fill up the cubby for the next cold snap.  ‘Parently the cold snap wasn’t done.   Whilst the kids were still snoring, I lugged in the three loads, snow-covered, and got that fire going again.  Thankfully snow doesn’t make it that wet.  It was a few degrees warmer than Saturday…

I decided to make a leek and potato soup, which got me to ruminating as I chopped.  I remembered how I followed Pol Martin’s recipe for Crème de poireaux (cream of leek), having graduated from the Sel et Poivre magazines to real cookbooks.  Sel & Poivre was fine and dandy but often included ingredients such as custard powder rather than include how to make the custard.  Funny thing is, in another recipe from a later issue, there was a recipe for crème pâtissière (pastry cream/custard)!  I used to take out both copies so I could combine them.  Especially after having searched high and low for the prepackaged powder crap (and finding it lacking).

Anyway, back to my soup.  I remembered cutting the veg rather small, and never puréeing it in the end.  It never mentioned to purée it and so I didn’t.  I no longer have the book – frankly, because this was the only recipe I ever tried in the otherwise dull and lacklustre book and I now know it off by heart and have probably modified it since, anyway – so I cannot confirm that that part of the recipe was omitted.   Not so much a crème then, was it?  However, I remember really liking it and receiving no complaints.  Funny then, that was the only time I didn’t whizz it up into a smooth and creamy texture, adding a swirl of cream and a sprinkling of freshly chopped parsley.  (I have also since figured out that the veg didn’t have to be cut so finely, especially since it was going under the immersion blender, or blender, that I no longer have.)  And then Sunday’s soup.  On a whim, I chopped everything fine and left it as is.  No cream necessary. I loved it.  And guess what?  Different audience, still no complaints!

As much as I could have remained in my cocoon for yet another day, I instead checked my fire and decided that it was warm enough(ish) to go out there, well-bundled up.  By 2:30 pm, I grabbed my camera, hopped into my car and determined where I would walk.  On a whim, I parked near the “country road” and started walking.  Realising I’d have to go a good ways before seeing anything, I trudged back to my car.  Off to the bird sanctuary, instead.  Note to self, these boots, while warm, are so heavy.  Time to go shopping.

I parked on the street behind another car, having noticed the parking lot was pretty full. Ugh. I long for the days when I worked shifts and could come here on a weekday.  It’s way too people-y on the weekends.

I took a good many photos, some of which ended up on the Facebooks and the Instagrams and I shall share them here, saving more for another post… 😉

 

Done and Done and… What’s Next?

I am, in general, an excellent starter.  Finisher? Not so much.  Not that I don’t finish anything – each of my parents and my grandmother got a needlepoint I made for each of them.  My grandmother has one because she had the bright idea of taking up needlepoint but instead of buying herself a nice little 4″ X 6″ as a starter, bought a big-ass one (like 18″ X 24″ or is it 24″ X 36″). She figured her granddaughter (me) would teach her how to do it.  Easy-peasy. After doing one one-inch square (too tight, by the way), she gave it to me with a “I don’t have the patience for this!” So I did it and then gave it back to her for Mother’s day. My mother’s contribution was to pay for the framing.  She wrote on the back “To be returned to Dale upon my death”. Well, Mémère died twelve years ago and my aunt lives in the house now.  When she tried to give it back to me, I told her to keep it.  When she sells, we’ll determine what to do with it then.

As usual, I have detoured to China on my way to New York…

So. Back to the reason for this post. Today marks my 365th day, like, in a row (sorry, David, had to steal it!) of doing my 10,000 steps per day.  10K steps.  Every. Day.  The funny thing is, I didn’t decide when I started this on January 3, 2020, to do it for one year.  I actually decided to start it on a Sunday (simply to avoid starting it on the first of the year), and merged it with the 68-day challenge they do at work, which started on the Monday.  Two birds, one stone.  But then a funny thing happened.  The last day of the work challenge came and went and I was still on a mission.  I don’t know when hey, let me try to do this for a whole year came to be but suffice it to say, that it did. And I did it. I had my cheerleader and co-participant Marc, who actually had been doing 10K per day for months before I started and just joined in, determined to keep me company till the end. Thank gawd.  There were days where his “Go, Q, Go” was the difference between planting my butt on the sofa and getting out there.  I like to think there were days where I did the same for him.

I’ve gone from running in intervals of one minute run/one minute walk, for 10-16  sets to one 1:45 run, one minute walk, for 10-16 sets or plus.  I have also gone from doing increasing (by fifteen seconds) intervals starting at one minute run up to one two minutes and back with one minute walk in between each to 1:45 up to 2:45 and back with the one minute walk between each – that makes for a 47:15 total run/walk Pretty damn good as I was never a runner. 100 metre sprint? No problem. Run just to run? Not so much. So this gradual increase has been something I’m rather proud of.  I shall not be quitting any time soon and shall keep trying to increase my run times.

I’ve been chased by dogs and almost run over by absent-minded driver doing an “American stop”. I’ve run in the rain and on snow and in ridiculous heat and pretty frigid cold.  I’m still rather surprised at myself, that I did all that, tell you what.

I had a little minor surgery on my back to remove a chunk of fat called a lipoma on December 15th.  The surgeon asked me to not run for a few days.  Which turned into two weeks because the weather just wasn’t conducive to running – I don’t do slush/ice/snow which hides ice/ridiculous cold, etc.  So I walked outside and marched inside while watching episodes of shows.  Sometimes my steps went way over the goal and other times I just barely made it. I’ve had a few times where I prepare to go to bed, check my steps and gasp! Still have 1500 or so to go… March, march, march! Then sleep.

Saturday I was finally able to run, opting for the 1:45/1:00 X 14 sets for a total of 40 minutes 45 seconds (all my runs include a 15 sec prep and a two-minute cool-down.)  I also had to change routes as the only place I was pretty much guaranteed asphalt was on the main drags – not a pretty place to run.  Not a pretty day at all. We haven’t seen the sun in ages.

There was a lot of internal dialogue going on. A LOT.  The first set I thought, this is gonna be hell.  By set number five, I was convincing myself that I would go to six and turn around. 12 sets was nothing to be ashamed of.  By the sixth, I saw I was a ways from the overpass so why not go to seven as planned? It’s not like I would have to run up the damn thing. The photo does not do it justice. It’s the type of slope that even by bike, you want to speed up before the climb because by the top, your thighs are burning.  The voice in my head changed to Marc’s.  “You’ve got this, Q.  Last run day. FINISH STRONG.” I lost count for which set I was back on my return.  The Universe’s way of encouraging me to just keep on.  No point in quitting now.  When I hit the curve, I knew I’d soon be seeing my street. Yay! One more hurdle and done and done!

January 2, 2022, was my last day of my challenge.  I was awakened by the incessant sound of snowploughs going to and fro. First the streets, then the sidewalks, then my driveway, then the streets again…. I got the message and got out of bed!  A couple coffees, a late breakfast and I bundled up and headed out just as the snow was slowing down.

Almost as soon as I stepped out, I found myself in a snow globe.  What a perfect day to end my challenge!

What’s my next challenge?  Not sure yet. Will keep you posted!

 

I am a Snitch

Much to my children’s dismay, I am officially a snitch. They cannot believe I would do what I did.  I can only say that there is no way my conscience would let me do otherwise.

You see, on this cold December day, I decided to go to the Parc de la Frayère and it’s neighbouring Stephen-Langevin Arboretum. It’s where I have captured many birds with my lens, including a lovely Northern Saw-Whet that I shared on Sorryless for Wordless Wednesday.

As I walked, I happily captured a mourning dove and some male and female cardinals.

And a couple woodpeckers.  I’m not very knowledgeable about birds so I did google them before writing this post.  From what I can understand, I have both a Hairy and a Downy woodpecker.  They do look so very similar but the downy one has no red on its head.

There were also the usual chickadees (sorry, forgot to take their pic), since all these feeders attract them, as well.  I continued along the path, walking behind a couple.  A couple who knew their birds.  They, Carl and Nancy, told me they had had to leave their camera at home as they had forgotten to charge the battery.  A bummer of a day to do so as the birds were numerous.  While they could not photography, they were more than happy to point.  “Oh look at that fat robin.  He definitely does not look hungry…”

Oh! A waxwing!  Right there!  Look at his mask, isn’t he beautiful?  Of course, they were giving me the names in French and I was so busy trying to point my camera where they pointed that I heard a whole lotta nuthin’.  I had trouble seeing and basically hoped that something would land in my memory card.  Surprisingly, they did.  Google images search has helped me out.  I’m thinking this is a Cedar Waxwing.  I seem to remember hearing Jaseur de Bohême.  Of course, I could be wrong.

There were so many starlings in the trees.  These guys I could see really well!

The last bird they pointed at was the Dark-Eyed Junco.  At least, that’s what I think it is. It was on the ground and pretty far away and looked like a grey little bird. But, like I said, I know a whole lotta nuthin’ when it comes to birds!  Cute little fella.

We continued walking, searching for owls, but all for naught.  We parted ways and I went back to the bird feeders, hoping to find a cardinal couple on the same branch.

What’s that?  You ask if I’m to leave you hanging for much longer on why I am a snitch?  My apologies. I got side-tracked.

You see, as I rounded a corner, so to speak, I could smell smoke and hear the crackle of fire.  I took a few more steps and there they were.  Two “yutes” with a pretty decent fire.  Another gent comes up beside me.  “Are they allowed to make fires here?” I ask, knowing full-well the answer is “no”.  This is a bird sanctuary.  We’ve had enough trouble with people disturbing the owls last year, trying to shake them out of their trees.  The man grumbled along-side me.

As we started to exit the arboretum, I decided to dial 9-1-1 and let the fire department know.  While the boys were on the edge of the park, I feared they might get over-exuberant.  The gent said he was of a mind to call as well.  “Do,” I said.  “More than one call will make it serious.”

I don’t know if he did or not, but as I walked on the other side, I heard them approach…

…and keep on driving.  “What the–” I was too far to flag them down.  I waited for a bit and kept on walking to the edge of the river, wondering if they would turn around.

Knowing the sunset would not be happening, I started walking back to my car when I got a call.  It was the fire department. They couldn’t find the fire.  I told the dispatcher that I had seen the truck drive right past and figured they would turn around eventually.  He couldn’t understand where it was so I explained in detail how the park was set up, telling him the truck could not drive into said park, that they would have to go by foot. Once it seemed all was clear, we hung up and I kept on walking, turning around to see if they showed up.

They did.

I know not what followed.  I’m not a snitch and watch kinda gal…

 

 

 

 

Weekend Writing Prompt #238 – Familiar

Yesterday turned out to be way lazier than I had planned. Don’t you just love that?  Well, I do, anyway 🙂

So it may not be the weekend but hey, does it really matter?  A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments. Thank you, Sammi, for hosting!

 

wk 238 familiar

 

Why don’t you run on a different route? they ask. Aren’t you tired of the same-old, same-old? Don’t you want to see something different?

What they don’t understand is there is something special that happens when you choose the familiar.  Rather than not see what is there, you notice every little change.  There is a shift in light as the seasons morph from one to another and nothing looks the same. I  am in continuous awe of it all.

Walktober 2021 St-Rémi d’Amherst & Brébeuf

“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.”

― Nathaniel Hawthorne

I could not agree more, Nate!

This year I planned ahead for my Walktober, hosted by the lovely Robin at Breezes at Dawn.  Planned so far ahead, It’s been almost three weeks since I went for my walk and I’m only sharing now?  Life and all that.

For many years my sisters and our families would “go up north” to my mother’s for Thanksgiving (2nd weekend in October, in Canada).  Each time, I’d think, darn… we seem to be just a week too late to see the colours at their apogee.  This time, I thought, I’d not be fooled!

My cousin Sonya and I had been wanting to get together for awhile so we planned to meet at my aunt’s (formerly my grandmother’s) in Namur, in the Outaouais region of Quebec. My mother hitched a ride with me so I changed my plans only slightly in that, instead of going for my walk on Saturday, I’d go on Sunday, on my way home.

There are two ways to get to our destination, through the Laurentians (where the colours were sure to be spectacular) or through the Outaouais, which is always a tad behind. Though not the original plan, the latter is the route we ended up taking.  I forewarned my mother that I might be pulling over often!  This was the first stop, just before Fassett (I think!)

The colours are still to show off

It wasn’t long before I pulled over again, this time in the town of Fassett.  Whoa! I had to stop.  The Tragically Hip is a Canadian band close to our hearts, all the more so since the front man, Gord Downie passed away from brain cancer, October 17, 2017.  Someone painted this gorgeous mural on the side of their house.  (Bobcageon is a town in Ontario and the title of one of their songs.)

The colours got more the closer we got to my aunt’s.  From Montebello to Namur, you do not want to stop.  The curves and hills make it way too dangerous so I was looking forward to the next day’s walk.  But until then, there was an evening of good food, wine and lots of laughs in store.

We had a late breakfast, having gone to bed at an ungawdly hour the night before.  Salutations and I was out the door by noon.  This time I was taking the road towards the Laurentians, detouring wherever I got the urge. These following three are just a few of my stops.

About midway between my aunt’s and the highway there is a lovely village called St-Rémi d’Amherst.  My mother lived in an apartment there after my folks split up.  This permitted us to discover the water tower.

Way back (over 25 years ago) there were steps in various parts of the climb. The man who took care of them passed away and over the years they disappeared into the land. Makes it more challenging!  I had joked with my sister that I had had a sort of vision of me falling down the hill and no one was there to help me… feeling I had hexed myself, I thought I should not dare! However, after stopping by the little lake in the village, I couldn’t help but drive my car past the little church towards the entrance. Seeing a bunch of cars already parked, I figured I was safe!  LOL.

The walk up to the old water tower can take a good 30-45 minutes.  You have to walk down a path, to some stairs and a bridge to cross a little river (creek) and then the trek begins in earnest.

The trek, even when there were stairs here and there, was and is a good one. There are moments where you really have to stop and catch your breath.  I do remember once running up the whole way in 15 minutes.  Yeah. Not today!

The view from the top is quite spectacular. I don’t have the crazy gene to climb the tower, though!!

The way down permitted me to notice some fungi while feeling the burn in my thighs!

So glad I decided to risk it.  I continued on my way and remembered that I have promised myself over and over to stop in Brébeuf at the falls.  Oh my.  Such a beautiful place.  And, after my whole lifetime of passing by here, I finally learned they are called the Blueberry Falls (Chutes aux bleuets).

I seem to be unable to control myself when it comes to Walktober.  I tell myself I shall not bombard you with photos and, trust me, I held back!  I hope you enjoyed the walk!

True Reflections – Crimson’s Creative Challenge #112

This has been hanging out in my drafts since, well, forever!  I had trouble finding the original challenge since Crispina posted it last December… and I took my picture a few months ago, thinking, I seem to remember there being a puddle reflection back sometime ago.  I was right and here is the result.  Good thing Crisp insists there is no time limit 😉

 

There are those whose reflections are pristine:

perfection personified, not a flaw to be found.

Are they true?

Does the pretty exterior hide an ugly interior?

One should not be so quick to judge:

not the too pretty, nor the too plain

for neither may be truthful

The imperfect reflection

may actually hide

the real and honest beauty

hiding inside

When we stop judging the exterior

and take the time to learn what hides beneath,

both the pretty and the plain

can shine with their own version of beautiful

 

 

 

A Partial Eclipse of the Sun

I had it all planned out. After exchanging with Marina and learning there was an eclipse of the sun happening in a few days and that she, living in Athens, Greece, would not be able to see but I could (a portion of it), it was determined I would attempt to take some pictures.

I knew it was an iffy proposition at best because there is no good place to capture the sunrise anywhere near me and my house is too low for me to see anything properly though I might have a small chance if I climbed up on my roof (a relatively easy thing to do). Of course, I had to promise to share with Marina 😉

It just so happens I had to be at work at 7:30 this morning to greet the roofers (yay, me) so it would be all the easier to wake up (I’m still working on convincing myself it was) at 5:30. Sunrise was officially at 5:04 and the experts said we would be able to see it some time after that.

The alarm went off, I hopped out of bed made my way to the kitchen to step outside and, just as I had suspected, way too low. Shoot. I looked at my roof, looked at the bit of sunrise I had and realised it wouldn’t matter so no need to risk breaking my neck (I’m not a monkey like my 23-year-old is. Well, not anymore, anyway!)

5:45, my running clothes on, Tabata timer set to 32 minutes I decided not to waste this early morning. This running/walking thing I’ve been doing for the past three months is surprising me still. I had to keep it short this morning because I had enough time to make a coffee, shower, etc. and be at work for 7-stupid-thirty.

For the first time in over a week it was actually chilly out there! I rounded my corner, kept on going until I got to the first little park and right in front of me. BOOM! Damnation! No camera. This was my first attempt with the camera phone. No visible eclipse. Sigh. But man was it bright.

I took a few more steps and then took this. But only realised the something special just now. I thought it was a bright star

I thought okay… not quite what I was hoping for but… how cool is this effect?

I was chuffed to see this phenomenon. I couldn’t capture the eclipse but a flare sort of did! I promise, last one like this 🙂

So, enough with the picture taking, I had a run/walk to finish.

I got home and decided to do my stretching in the backyard. I was pretty much blinded by the light, so to speak!

I got out my trust Canon with my 75-300 lens and tried to look by not looking at the sun. Yeah. Ummm… Not an easy thing to do.

Most of the eclipse was over by then but I still caught a smidgeon of it. I know, I know, we can barely discern it on this one. Bottom left, maybe if you squint 😉

I particularly liked the following one where the last bit is a bit more visible…

But then I played with it a tad and gave it a bit more drama.

I’m frankly more than a little in awe that any of these turned out at all. If you want to see a truly beautiful photo of the partial eclipse, please check out David Kanigan’s right here. It’s absolutely stunning!

Last Days of January

Bitter cold

does not keep me in

though no sun

shines, at first

and grey takes over the blue

I’ll find photo ops

 

Reflections

I’ll find for Merril

fungi for

Crispina

winter scenes for Rochelle, to

bring to life with paint

Time to go

The sun’s going down

Mitts not needed

Now back on

Legs now heavy, must go. What

will tomorrow bring?

A new day

I’m off to explore

Steps to get

sights to see

No expectations, just joy

at being outside

 

Snowshoes, skis

lots of families

fat wheel bikes

sharing space

no lack of activities

smiles are not lacking

Golden Hour

gives a special glow

a signal

that next comes

a chance to transform the skies

with sunset’s paintbrush

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walktober 2020

“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”
Lauren DeStefano, Wither

It’s here!  One thing we can count on, Pandammit or not!  Walkober is what I’m talking about. Thank goodness for peeps like Robin who keep the good things happening, don’t you think?

Mother Nature decided to be most generous last weekend and I went out both days with my bestie, Julie. First time I am accompanied during Walktober and it was lovely. The result? Over 500 photos.  No, don’t worry, I won’t post them all here!  But oh… how to choose…

On Saturday we met up around 2:00 pm at the St. Bruno National Park.  There are miles of trails and there were quite a few people so we kept trying to take the paths less travelled, so to speak. We “done good”, I think.

We decided to search out some fungi, figuring there must surely be some, somewhere!  There were, indeed. Do not ask me to name a single one. I’ve zero clue.

I did not realise there are five lakes in this beautiful park.  We knew we wanted to make our way to the main one (in our minds, the only one) and tried to find a trail less populated without getting lost.  I’m assuming this lake was the main Seigneurial one! So beautiful and did not disappoint.

We found a lovely Salon de Thé that was open and were pretty sure would also have coffee, but if they didn’t, a nice hot tea would do.  They had the machinery necessary for us to each have a latte – would have been nice if it was hot and had more flavour but hey, it was something.  I do know that I would love to return post-pandemic to be able to sit for a spell.

Coffee in hand, we continued our walk.  We both wished we hadn’t missed the reds of the season. It’s amazing what one week does in terms of autumn colour.  The oranges were beautiful and we could see the yellows were truly taking over but when we saw red?  How could we not stop?  Though bright green and white also got our attention.

 

We headed back, passing by someone’s property, marvelling how people who lived in these areas were never outside to enjoy their own views.  Then again, when you have all sorts of people traipsing around your backyard, would you?  Once upon a time, those who lived here had found tranquillity. Now, they were smack-dab in the middle of a national park.  I might wait for after-hours myself, now that I think of it.

Have I lost you yet?  No?  Oh my goodness. You are all so kind.  That was day one.  Now, onto day two and the Parc National des Îles de Boucherville…

“The magic of autumn has seized the countryside; now that the sun isn’t ripening anything it shines for the sake of the golden age; for the sake of Eden; to please the moon for all I know.”
Elizabeth Coatsworth, Personal Geography: Almost an Autobiography

This time, we decided to get an earlier start. We didn’t stay long enough for the sunset the previous day and we couldn’t get to this park by sunrise, but still.  We didn’t want the same time frame.  We should have packed ourselves a lunch but that would have required either of us to be organised and honestly? It was Sunday. We have to be organised all week, let the weekend be more relaxed, eh?

We met, this time, at around 11:00?  Five little islands with 21 km (13 or so miles) or trails form this national park, it’s also a great place for kayaking, paddle boarding, picnicking, and you can even camp there – when life is normal, that is. Again, there were quite a few people. This is when I appreciate my time working on shifts. I could visit these areas during the week. Alas, those days are over. For now.  We set off, grabbing a map of the area.  We did take it out once to make sure we were going in the right direction and according to Jules, we were (I suck at reading maps.)  It was another spectacular day of golds and oranges with a few pops of red.  We were so hoping to see some wildlife – there are deers galore, but other than a frog, ducks, geese, a snake that slithered too fast to capture, and a few caterpillars – nuthin’. Sigh. But I have to say, it was pretty cool looking at my hometown from across the river. We had a perfect view of the old Ste. Famille Church.

It’s amazing how two areas, a mere twenty-minute-drive apart, felt so very different. There were so many textures to enjoy.

As we walked along, Julie reminisced about late summers spent working on her friend’s farm. (Actually, I also went to high school with Marielle – just didn’t hang around her!)  They were expropriated some time just after we graduated from high school and are now settled up the road from my childhood house. Julie was trying to visualise where it was exactly but we could not find any “remains”.  So we kept walking until we spotted an old barn and, without having to discuss it, started towards it, through a field that has been ploughed. How weird. Of course, once we crossed the uneven terrain to arrive at the said barn, we saw there was a sort of road that we could have taken. What’s the adventure in that? And what is so intriguing about old barns?

Once we were done exploring this old barn, we followed the “road” and it led us to three more abandoned buildings. One looked like a storage shed for, I’m not sure, grain for animals? It was very low to the ground. One looked like an atelier (workshop) of some sort and the main one might have been a stall for horses – I didn’t venture inside but there was a structure that looked like it might have been a well once, right beside it.

After taking a bazillion pictures, we slowly made our way back.  We ended up at a lookout point and found that as we watched the grasses sway like waves, and the few trees in the middle, it gave us a sort of African Serengeti Steppe vibe (okay, maybe we were both weird but you be the judge!

There is a golf course on one of the islands and the only way to get there is by ferry. How cool is that?

Our feet were feeling the two days’ worth of walking and we were glad to see the parking lot.  Such great company and we are planning on making this a regular thing.

I wasn’t planning on going on and on but it’s all Robin’s fault. She said go big for this year. So I did!  Hope it wasn’t overkill. 🙂

Heck, I’m plumb tuckered out from creating this ramble, so I’ll be taking a week off starting tomorrow – completely unplugging.  Please note, if I don’t get to any comments right away, don’t think I’m dissing you, I’ll take care of them upon my return.