Cataraqui Reflections

Friday, April 30, 2010

Not your average Thursday evening

Strange things happened last night. I was standing in the kitchen when I could hear this loud tone like a faraway bandsaw and I couldn't figure out what it was or where it was coming from. Then out of the stairwell flies this bee. It was the biggest bumble bee I have ever seen. I have no idea how it got into the house but there I was, with a bee in the kitchen and I'm not sure what to do next.

I didn't want to hurt the bee so I first opened the kitchen door, hoping it might fly out but no, it got distracted by the under counter light. Eventually, after following it around and ducking a lot, I got a lunch box and trapped it inside and carried it out.

Whew. A shot of adrenaline at 930pm is not always a good thing, not if you want to be calm and asleep in an hour. I settled back in my chair and went back to the program I had been watching on TV. A little while later I smelled gas, not a lot, but definitely gas. I got up to investigate and I could smell it again by the furnace. Not wanting to take any chances, I called the gas emergency line.

And so began my second adventure for the night. A gas man showed up with a meter and wand and walked through the house, waving the wand around. There was no detectable trace of gas left anywhere, and again, Whew. He did remark about it being a nice house though. All that hard work to sell the house had paid off if this stranger noticed.

I was able to sleep quite well last night despite it all. It's interesting that just when I am selling my house that a potential catastrophe occurs. It will take a little time for the dust to settle down when I leave as I can't get out of town fast enough. Only 28 days to go...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Sold sign arrived

A man came along at 730am and put up the 'Sold' sign on the lawn. Now my neighbors know I have sold the house. Pretty soon I'll have to go about canceling all my services and such. I know the lawyer's office does a lot of it but I might get started on the phone and satellite TV.

I am no worse for wear for my little adventure in the woods at Eau Claire Gorge. It actually did me some good as I have now officially lost 38 lbs total. I finally made that breakthrough, probably in part due to the moment of panic I experienced when I thought I might be lost.

I wanted to post a few more pictures from my hike. Here they are below. Enjoy.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Happy news and nature pictures

Unbelievable but true - I sold my house here in North Bay. It only took 30 days. I fretted a bit as houses were disappearing off the market very quickly. The closing date for the sale is May 28th. I'll be staying with my sister until I figure out just where exactly I am going to go but it's a pretty safe bet that it will be in Trenton. I am leaning toward a mobile home as they are affordable for someone on a fixed income, and you still get the feel of a house. Stay tuned as I figure that out.

Switching gears a little, I have been working on losing weight and the last while has been a struggle. My body does not want to part with the old fat that's been around for a long time so I was stalled at 33/34 lbs. I have been so busy with people coming to the house and such that I only had time on Saturday to run in to the 'Y' and weigh myself.

I was down 37.5 lbs! I stared at the scale but it didn't move, it was true. I finally broke through the barrier. Of course, I still have to go to the diet clinic tomorrow for the official results. At first both sets of scales were matching up closely but the past week I weighed less at the 'Y' then I have at the diet clinic. Tomorrow will tell the tale.

On yet another note, after the buyers for my house left in the morning, it was a mild sunny afternoon so I decided to go for a short drive to Eau Claire Gorge Falls, a wild waterfall on the Amable du Fond River, about 55 km's east of North Bay.

It promised to be a pleasant hike in the woods and a distance of about 2 km's round trip. How better to spend an afternoon getting exercise when you have skipped going for a workout all weekend, right? I had remembered to bring along some poles but I decided I didn't need the little hand protectors that look like gloves without the fingertips, nor was I likely to need a jacket as it was a pleasant 16c. I also didn't bring my cell phone or anything other than my camera and poles.

I had been there once before years ago and so I hurried along the path, anxious to get to the gorge, get my pictures and then have a few tranquil moments back at the car. It was further in than I remembered and there were 2 trails, a yellow one and a red one. I figured red was a warning that the trail was steep so I stuck to the yellow path. There were ominous signs like this to warn of the danger of the moving water.

The cliffs gradually got steeper until I looked down on the water from a height of about 30 meters or so. The trail wound alongside the water until it opened on a little clearing and I got these two photos below.

I can only post a few pictures tonight of the river but I can say that there was no shortage of water going down the chute but even so, the level of water was lower than it had been in the past according to water marks on rocks along the way.

Having gotten my pictures I turned around and scurried back along the yellow trail, eschewing the red unknown path in favor of one I thought I knew.

Hm, something seems amiss. I am encountering muddy areas I hadn't remembered going through the first time. Hm,I am thinking I missed the turn to go back to the car.

I was just beginning to think I would have to turn around when the trail opened up on the edge of a farmer's field and I could see buildings about 300 meters across a field. Oops! I definitely have overshot the turn.

So by now I am thinking I better hurry it up a little, it's getting late and I have already walked an extra km at least and I am tiring. The theme of Gilligan's Island begins to run in my head (a 3 hour tour, 3 hour tour...). I begin to think, hm, no snack, no jacket, no cell phone...where the 'h' was my head when I started out on this fun little hike, solo to boot.

There had been other people there but nonetheless, I was careful on my way back not to overshoot the turn once again. (a 3 hour tour, 3 hour tour...)

Ah, there it is, the turnoff. Yay! I won't be sleeping in the bush tonight, woefully under prepared after all.

But I could have. I have to be more vigilant so I don't find myself thinking of Gilligan (a 3 hour tour, 3 hour tour)again.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day

I haven't any new pictures to share with you this posting but I couldn't let Earth Day go by without relating to you my most memorable experience with Earth Day.

In 1990, I had just purchased the property in Gowganda and, my partner at the time Reg, and I had cleared a large portion of it but there was this huge pile of brush that had to be dealt with. We decided the thing to do was to burn it. Well, it was a cool April day with drizzle falling intermittently between hints of sunshine and the fire wasn't burning very well.

So, we got in the car and drove to the dump and came back with half a tire and threw that on the fire. Needless to say, the fire perked right up, the plumes of black smoke testament to that.

Later on I heard it was Earth Day... Oops. = :">)

Today I spent Earth Day in a greener way. I cleaned up my yard without endangering the planet. I want to make a good first impression on the potential buyers that have started calling to view the house.

A quick perusal of the M.L.S. here in North Bay reveals that many of the houses in my price range has been bought up already so mine will probably go before the end of the month. The people who were here earlier this evening really liked it and I have someone else coming on Saturday so I am hopeful that the sale will be a done deal shortly.

Almost time for bed after another busy day. Catch ya later.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

More sunshine to celebrate

After a dreary day yesterday, the sun shone all day today in compensation. I went for a drive down to Sunset Park in West Ferris and took some more pictures. It is shocking how low the water is there.

The docks shown here are about 6 to 8 feet above the sand.

I watched a young family set sail in a little sailboat from this boat launch last July...there won't be any boats launched from here anytime soon.

There is no doubt that the water table is dropping in Ontario. I have visited the beaches around Wasaga Beach since the early seventies and I can say that the water in Georgian Bay has dropped significantly over the past 40 years. It comes as no surprise that Lake Nipissing is also showing more shoreline than ever. The rains will come, of that I am sure. It's the 'when' that is the mystery.

Having lived in the north for most of my life, I embrace these warm, sunny, unexpected days and actually hope for more while they last. Let's keep in mind that this is an El Nino influenced year. The warm ocean currents are throwing the seasons out of whack. There is plenty of rain and snow in our future.

On that, um, interesting note, I will close for this evening.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday evening rain

Of course the weather could be much worse, like snowing or something awful like that. A little rain is making all the flower heads peek out of the ground. So far I have seen crocuses, snow drops and daffodils appear in my back yard. And the soon to be magnificent tiger lilies are already about 8 inches tall.

No progress yet on the house sale. Lots of lookers though. I am at 1050 hits on the Property Guys site and 476 hits on the Kijiji web site. It really is only a matter of time. Fortunately, I don't need to move so I can wait as long as it takes.

Time continues to fly, it being past the middle of April already. The leaves are starting to show on the trees here. This is quite early, even for North Bay. Soon it will be May and the start of pickerel season and the May 24th weekend, which actually falls on the 24th this year. Good luck to all you would-be fisher people out for the first strike of the year.

One thing the lack of snow and rain has caused is a shortage of runoff water in the North Bay area, as evidenced by the log on the beach and a sand bar about 100 feet out.

It doesn't seem to bother the geese any. They are liking the fact that they can walk on the sand bar away from human traffic.

I am having difficulty getting the long term fat to budge from my body. Today at the 'Y' I weighed in at 34.8 pounds. Thirty five has become a magic number for me. Perhaps this coming week I will 'cross over' to the other side (of 35 lbs, that is).

Not much else happening around here so I'll close for tonight. Bye for now.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday evening sunset

Hello again. One thing North Bay has is a big beautiful lake - Lake Nipissing. These days, however, the water is quite low due to the lack of rain. This does not affect sunsets and this is a good thing.

Here are some pictures I took tonight. Enjoy.

Sunny Monday

I was away over Friday night in Orillia where I saw the band Air Supply. They were really good. I didn't realize how many of their songs I knew as I had not followed their careers actively.

On Sunday a small weather squall formed over Lake Nipissing and dropped ice pellets on the city for about 10 minutes. I was able to get a shot from the back door. Unfortunately it's out of focus but I am printing it anyway. They fell and bounced off the deck looking like so many rough diamonds cast off from above.

I was unable to get a clear shot because the ice pellets melted as quickly as they had appeared.

Lots of people looking at my house on the web but no calls yet. In the meantime, I will work on the yard as today is bright and sunny and there is always something to do.

Belated birthday wishes to my friend Vicki Rendall in Gowganda. I was out celebrating with my cousin Claire who shares the same birth date. I hope you had a fine time. I was thinking about you.

Time to go and get weighed in. I was 34.8 lbs down (Yay!) yesterday but I somehow manage to weigh more when I go to the clinic. Here's hoping...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

It had to happen I guess

Not only has the rain returned but today it was accompanied by freezing rain, ice pellets and snow. It's becoming a white world outside once again.

The temperature today is hovering just below the freezing mark, hence the ice that has accumulated on my fence post.

I wouldn't care all that much as this is April and you just know the snow isn't going to stick around for long, but I am driving my friends to Orillia tomorrow night to watch the band Air Supply. One thing I do not relish is the drive there if it is snowing. It could end up being rain, so I am keeping my fingers crossed for that.

Not much else is new, still waiting on the right person to come along and fall in love with my house. There have been 770 hits on the property guys web site so people are looking. Property Guys has a booth at the Home and Garden Show this weekend at Memorial Gardens here in North Bay so more people than ever will become aware of my house for sale. Here's hoping...

Monday, April 5, 2010

I heard the rain beating on the window about 430am but I managed to sleep through it til 7am. The ground got a thorough soaking and the rain stopped within an hour. The sun played hide and seek with clouds for the remainder of a pleasant day.

Still no movement on the house, although people are looking at it on the Property Guys web site.

On a brighter note, I am now officially down 34 lbs. The weight loss has become a struggle. My cousin Claire pointed out that 'new' fat is easy to lose but the 'old' fat that has been on the body for some time will be reluctant to leave. I am at the point where my body must give up the old fat to burn for energy, to offset my caloric restriction. I fear this will be a long battle that I am determined to win.

Tomorrow I have to fix the gate in the fence. I need a small piece of wood to accomplish this. Perhaps my neighbour might have what I need. I'll ask him tomorrow.

My brother, Jim Decker, and his wife, Sophie, are presently in Australia taking in the sights. He sent along these photographs of the Twelve Apostles formations near Melbourne Australia.

The Twelve Apostles are giant rock stacks that rise majestically from the Southern Ocean and are the central feature of the rugged Port Campbell National Park, Australia.

The Twelve Apostles have been created by constant erosion of the limestone cliffs of the mainland that began 10–20 million years ago. The stormy Southern Ocean and blasting winds gradually eroded the softer limestone, forming caves in the cliffs. The caves eventually became arches and when they collapsed rock stacks up to 45 metres high were left isolated from the shore.

Thanks Jim for the geography lesson and for sharing such beautiful surroundings.

That's it for today.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Those April Showers

Last night was the first time it rained in many a day. It probably didn't last all that long and I didn't see it, but the ground was wet this morning when I looked outside. Not much rain but what a difference it made in the greening of the lawn in the back yard. New growth seemed to appear out of nowhere and take root. The early flowers are still blooming and the tiger lilies are up out of the ground about 3 inches or so. Won't be long now before they are out in their glory, filling up the blank spaces and lining the walls of my house and fence. They are a welcome sight for winter weary eyes.

Had a nice Easter dinner at my cousin Claire's home, delicious as always. She wouldn't let me carry any food down into the rec room because of my problem with gravity at Thanksgiving. (I fell down the stairs that day carrying a casserole dish of vegetables.) Her son Jason won our game of Trivial Pursuit and is the reigning champion. I'll get him next time.

I hope everyone had a good dinner and didn't eat too much. It's great putting on the weight but oh so miserable when the time comes to take it off again. I know. The first pounds come off easily, but those the pounds that have been around for a while will be the most difficult to lose. As of this afternoon, prior to dinner, I was down 34 lbs even. I hope I can say the same tomorrow when I go get weighed in at the clinic. I'll let you know how it went.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Gorgeous and warm

Another great day. Of note, this day last year, it snowed about 25 cm's and once again covered the bare ground with snow. I remember the day well. I had left Gowganda on a normal day and the closer I got to North Bay, the less snow I saw. I brought my car to the Subaru dealership and had the winter tires removed from my car. On the way home, up Highway 144 was not a problem, but those last 100 km's from the turnoff on Highway 560 were a nightmare without those winter tires. There was 6 inches of slush that threatened to pull me into the ditch every chance it got. An hour's drive took me 11/2 hours.

Lots of people out and about today, enjoying the unusual sunny weather. Rain showers are forecast for overnight and should be done by the time tomorrow morning rolls around. Wednesday is the first day it is forecast to rain. This is a good thing as the forests are tinder dry and a fire now could be potentially devastating.

No calls on my house today but I live in hope. Time now for my afternoon, er, tea. Best go get at it.

Friday, April 2, 2010

A beautiful Easter Friday

It was a quiet day in the bay and very warm and summer-like, despite the fact that the date on the calendar reads April 2nd. It has been many days since there has been any precipitation of any kind and these above pictures illustrate how low the water level in huge Lake Nipissing has gotten.

The ice on the lake normally is gone between the 15th and 17th of April, but this year it will be gone in the next day or so, as evidenced by the gray colour of the ice offshore.

There were many people out walking on the waterfront paths and it was difficult to get a few shots that weren't full of people but I have added a few here to illustrate just how nice it was.

Although the dryness is a concern for many, I am enjoying each and every day that it continues. The weather has been absolutely crappy for the past 2 years so we really deserve this. Get outside and enjoy these unexpected warm balmy days while they last.

On to other matters. I am the incredible shrinking woman these days. I am currently down 33 pounds and hoping to go much lower before I am finished. My thrice-weekly visits to the local 'Y' have given me added strength in my muscles and I have much more energy than before. Things are looking up. Now, if only I could sell my house in North Bay, I'd be in heaven.

That's it for today. Stay tuned. :>)

Everything in its time

Greetings one and all. My hiatus didn't last all that long after all. It occurred to me that a blog would be the next best thing to my newsletter. This way I can post my thoughts and pictures as they are happening, instead of once a month, as in the past.

I hope you will check in on me often and write in once in a while with your thoughts. My blog is the logical next step. More shortly.