Monday, 27 May 2019

Edmonton - playing at the park.

A park visit is always popular now that the weather is lovely and it is much more relaxing for me than it used to be. I used to hover around Maya and Avery, mostly Maya, to make sure they didn't fall from a height. Now they are both so confident and used to the equipment that I can just sit at a picnic table and be entertained.

Maya insisted on being pushed on the swing first and then it was on to the twirly slide.
Avery rapidly climbs,
swings from the bar above the slide and
then flings himself down. Then does it all again.

Maya takes a more considered approach to the climb,

reaches for the bar,
lifts her feet up and

descends carefully holding both sides.
Both are up for a slide race.
Avery usually declares himself the winner

even when there is some controversy over the start.
Maya does want to do everything that Avery does
but will also explore on her own.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Edmonton - it's Spring here

There were 10 of us at the cottage for the Victoria Day Long Weekend and the unusual weather continued. Needless to say we ate too much, read and played board games. On Saturday night we received  word that Terri had given birth to Jessie Gordon, a brother for Rory. Congratulations.
Sunday was sunny and warm and everyone got sunburned but the other 2 days were grey and cool. Few people on the beach and the Corona looks, somehow, out of place.
Tuesday morning I got up way too early, dropped Rasta at Si and Dan's, and flew to Edmonton. Aimee picked me up and then we picked Avery and Maya up from daycare. Quick snack and off to soccer.

First there was a practice for about 25 minutes. Avery is No 6.
Not always focused. I remember this look, shorts and t-shirt both go to the knees and the sleeves to below the elbow.
I'm not sure he actually kicked the ball but you have to give him A for effort.
For Maya it is all about picking which dress she is going to wear and eating snacks.

She also tends to hang around on the team blanket when it is their snack time.
After snack it is game time. 4 a side. Here they get some on field coaching. They do have to be reminded, pretty regularly, which direction to go.

It was a high scoring game and I am pretty sure that Avery got a goal and maybe an assist but we are not sure if anyone actually kept score.

Then, after supper, Mike and I took the kids to the pond, so Aimee could get a quick nap before heading off to work.

They collected pine cones and threw them into the pond, "for the ducks". Avery has not yet figured out if he is left or right-handed. Throws with both with equal abandon.
Aimee can't understand how she ended up with such a "girlie girl".

The next day Avery got to pick his own haircut.
It's almost a Mohawk. Now we have to get him some hair product so he can maintain it. Shades of Mike and the hair fixation of his younger days.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Bruce Trail - Beamsville, Ball's Falls to Quarry Road.

Both of us were a little late leaving and then had a bit of a drive from our meeting place in Grimsby to where we were dropping the cars, so we didn't get started until about 11:30am. By then it was sunny and warm enough that we could wear fewer layers than for our last hike.

We were not sure what to expect with the wildflowers. There had been so many out when we last hiked, two weeks ago, that we thought most of the spring ones might be over.
We walked along the valley beside Twenty Mile Creek, in flood. Very fast and very mucky looking.
Then it was a steep climb up
to the Ball's Falls Conservation area with this old mill,
a number of other buildings and
Ball's Falls. According to the Bruce Trail Guide, Ball's Falls is two thirds the height of Niagara Falls.  Twenty Mile Creek flows 50 kilometres from Hamilton to Lake Ontario and these falls dry up in the late summer.
Waterfall over the churning pool below and
colourful rock layers around the bowl created by the falls.
Info boards, yea!
Grape vines were still looking pretty bare but fruit trees were just starting to blossom.
We started to see Trillium
and Jack-in-the-Pulpit.
I had one in the garden in Paris. Never more than one. So I was excited to see so many.
Nicola had downloaded a free wildflower identification app and we gave it a workout.
These were Bellwort.

We didn't need any help identifying the Violets or the Periwinkle.
But these had the app stumped. It said they were a Trillium but I don't think so, the leaves don't seem right.
I haven't been able to find it on the internet wildflower sites either. Beautiful though.
The green colour of this creek was from a weed already covering the rocks, under the water.

There were numerous flooded creeks to be forded, often on loose stepping stones or wobbly logs.
Just before this road there was a construction site, with, Oh joy, a portapotty. So much better than having to "go" in the woods. At this time of year there is not much cover. We stopped on a stile and ate lunch; snap peas, cheddar cheese and trail mix.
We passed a hobby farm with lots of chickens and a herd of floppy-eared goats.

Like the other wildflowers, the dandelions have loved this cool, wet spring.
No flowers but the leaves are lovely.
The App confirmed my identification; Buttercups.
Nicola and I agreed that this was the most difficult section we had been on yet. There was a great deal of up and down the Escarpment, usually on steep, loose rock steps or muddy slopes
and often we had to negotiate when the trail itself had turned into a small creek or was blocked by an impromptu pond that we had to wade around.
There were masses of Trout Lily still out
The Jack-in-the-Pulpit and Trillium were so abundant that we had stopped really noticing them.
The one small clump of Red Trillium stopped me in my tracks.
I used to have one on the garden in Paris and it would bloom occasionally.
Nicky made the comment that the Bruce Trail was older than she was.
It's been a good year for moss as well as wildflowers.
We needed the App for this one; Virginia Saxifrage.
Not a particularly helpful trail marker.
The last couple of kms were right along the edge of the Escarpment which made for great views but the footing was very bad and we were tired. At one point I tripped and went to great effort not to fall on all those uneven rocks. Nicola said that I was quite elegant in my attempts to stay upright and that it seemed to go on for a long time.
Someone carried this in and placed it here ! Why ???????
11.3km took us 4 1/2 hours. Not a great pace and we were both pretty sore at the end of it. All plans to go to Fabricland in St Catherines or the nursery in Grimsby went out the window and all we wanted to do was get to the hotel for a hot bath. The hotel had a restaurant on the 8th floor with a great view over the Lake to Toronto so we didn't even have to drive. Really good food and service too. We shared Fennel Cured Salmon as an appetizer, Nicky had a chicken breast with melted brie on top and I had Eggplant Parmesan. We were in bed by 9pm. Woke to pouring rain and decided the trail would be too slippery and mushy for the planned 5km today.