Monday 31 January 2011

We found Italy!

Well, it's not truly, but it felt like it. It's in an incredible heritage-type building in Perth. I would love being able to travel far away, but this was the next best thing. Authentic, yummy and intimate.

The building is in the middle of a quad. The parking lot is in the middle of a set of amazing buildings and, when I have time, I'll research it.

But you park and walk out through the delightful corridors to the main streets.
Such old buildings!

Can't you see horses going through here?!
The bonus was the snowfall Friday night. We'd finished with our hospice clients and were famished. Mentally tired, too!
The snow made for a wonderful shot!

Bistro 54 Italiano
54 Foster St., Perth, ON

Lovely staff. A meal worth waiting for, as all the food is made just for you!

So good, nearly missed the photo!
Our server - all smiles

Saturday 29 January 2011

Don'tcha love progress?

Wakeboard cable park proposed in Gravenhurst
Allyson Snelling | Jan 26
GRAVENHURST - Imagine wakeboarding on the lake without being towed by a boat.

(Yes. Imagine?! NOT.)

OK for snow machines, not people?
 Then there is the snowmobile trail.
And one of the reasons I left Long Lake after fifty years cottaging there. My forest walks were relaxing. I would usually pick up the garbage on the snowmobile trail. Tower Road is a great walk winter or summer.

Sledders owned the frozen lake in winter. Jetskis in summer. Round a round figure 8's with the ensuing noise and strangers too close for comfort. Our new neighbours were appalled.

Imagine our other lake friends. Owning property for 70 acres for 100 years, now facing more trails and more noise. They had to post warning signs, which weren't much help.

Imagine the wilderness. Quietly walking through towering beeches, larger diameter than my expanding girth. :-)

This is what the sleds do to the land.
Now, I must admit to some conflicted emotions around this idea.

Long Lake (2km long!), is a busy lake with sledders, and people who really don't belong on the lake. We know that pollution results when sleds go by. Avoiding this lake, by going around it, will not resolve *this* problem for nature, as the sleds will simply go somewhere else. Plus, there are those who illegally hunt in this area. They trespass, and friends have a bullet hole in the home to show for it. They were there at the time, working outdoors, and pretty pissed off!

Otter be careful out there!
This opening up of yet another forest trail will impact more homeowners and wildlife alike. The otters who swim across the snow.

Residents oppose new Bala snowmobile trail

Local residents plan to oppose a new snowmobile trail in Bala at an upcoming meeting in Muskoka Lakes, this newspaper has learned.
The 2.6-kilometre trail, known as the Oka Colonization Road, located west of Bala off Tower Road, could provide a more convenient connection to the Muskoka Lakes Snow Trails Association’s 144-kilometre trail system, claims association president Rene Leenaars.
In addition, Kyle Vickers, whose residence is accessed via Tower Road, objected to the use of Tower Road to access the new extension. Unmaintained in winter, the township road is plowed by Vickers to one lane in order to reach his driveway. The road could easily be mistaken for a snowmobile trail, he explained. The twists and turns and hilly nature of the road also result in many blind spots for oncoming traffic.
Coming off the trail onto Long Lake
They seldom still to the trail
“I don’t want to hit a snowmobiler,” said Vickers. “It’s just unsafe.”
In response to Vickers’ concerns, the MLSTA agreed to widen the required section of Tower Road to two lanes in order to safely accommodate both vehicle and snowmobile traffic.
Tower Road is a beautiful little road. It runs through a small creek, and water that runs into the lake.

Is it a good idea to open up 144 km to strangers across the system? I've seen and heard them on the trails. With the powerful machine, zooming by in the dark, we open up the region to even more burglaries and thefts. 
Many stop beside the lake
How much better to limit trails to those living locally, or acting as local tourists by staying in local resorts. Why expand a trail in this way? Those driving their sleds at breakneck speeds do not add to the local economy. They do not stop on long treks. The 'kids', and I use the term loosely, bring their own beer cans and leave them on the trails. With changing weather conditions, a long trek can take you through trails that are in varying degrees of accessibility. I remember sitting in the Rosseau restaurant, hearing people complain that they had to stop as the trail was 'brutal' that day.
What do these guys contribute to the economy?
Some folks save money by building a fire on a sled trek. How does this contribute to tourism dollars?
I think that to improve the quality of life for landowners, the association use our tax grants to create discrete trails, not open-ended highways for those who want speed, not beauty.

Running right through precious bogs
Read the Bracebridge Banner article here:

"MUSKOKA LAKES — A request to open a snowmobile trail hit a snag at a recent Muskoka Lakes committee meeting.The 2.6 kilometre trail, known as the Oka Colonization Road, located west of Bala off of Tower Road, could provide a more convenient connection to the Muskoka Lakes Snow Trails Association’s 144 kilometre trail system, said association president Rene Leenaars.Currently, riders must wait for Long Lake to freeze to connect across the trails, he said.According to Leenaars, the Oka Colonization Road was used as a snowmobile trail from the 1960s until the 1990s, when there was a disagreement over landownership."

Tuesday 25 January 2011

Ice, cold, lots of snorting deer!

It's been a might chilly in these here parts.

After a long afternoon with hospice clients, we went off to the pub for grub!

Once home, more chores!

The deer stamp and snort in my video. They are quite territorial, and most of the momma's keep even their own yearlings away from their little pile of food.

Another shed visitor!
They walk like saddened ghosts in the forest. I feel like a ghost whisperer. Outdoors, opening the shed door, putting that lovely pile of food in the trough.

Moments later, they silently leap out of the forest like Kramer entering the apartment. The others follow the leader, and soon all arrive hoping for a wee bit 'o grub.

Joe amble down to the backyard to put out some chow. Their breath, as they snort at him, is a hoot!
Sitting, waiting patiently: Doh, Ray, Me!

Can you smell it? Rich, nourishing...

My photos

Anniversary at Kingston harbour, Aug. 22
Jenn, Caitlin, granddaughter Josephine
Volunteer: Hospice Muskoka
My favourite spot- outside on a patio

A book signing in Gravenhurst
My favourite past time: photography
Isabelle, our youngest granddaughter
An afternoon of biking
Watching videos with Jofee!

Helping my friend in long-term care

Visiting Matt, my twitter friend, as Muskoka Lakes Winery
docktails after building an ice sculpture

Community engagement at the Aging at Home Project Consultation

My favourite babies,
Christmas card, 2008

Sunday 23 January 2011

'Hamilton Market goes locavore at expense of local immigrants'

Orillia, ON
I seldom read Macleans. It is simply too slick for me. The stories are too short, and not geared to me and my target market. Scuse the pun. They sent Joe a copy to encourage him to buy it. (Magazines are desperate for more subscriptions, in order to retain advertiser dollars. They are selling at incredible rates.)

The Hamilton (Ontario) Market (I've been in the 1980s!) used to have new immigrants with produce to present a world view. They closed the market for upgrade to meet code, and reopened without allowing the previous venders (who had Vietnamese, Sicilian, different cultural foods based on immigration)
Bala Market beekeeper
"The son of Sicilian immigrants, his family has had a stall at the market for almost 50 years." 

He wasn't allowed to reopen with the new locavore mindset and rules for vendors. This works in Yuppieville, perhaps, and works for one man...Darren Barefoot. But he's in Vancouver.

Then there is Vancouver!

But this is going too far for a place like Hamilton. And I don't think it should be where we are headed.

From Macleans:

The catch was the new Soviet-style application procedure that required vendors to “itemize each particular kind of produce/foodstuff sold, and to write a paragraph on how their business promoted the market and the city of Hamilton.” Priority was given to vendors whose goods are grown using “natural” or organic methods, and produced within a 100-mile radius of the market. That’s right: the Hamilton Farmer’s Market was rebranding, pitching itself at the yuppie constituency that has transformed the traditional farmers’ market into a place where highbrow vendors sell artisanal cheese, boutique lavender, hipster cupcakes, and organic bread.

Gravenhurst Market
I've visited the Perth, Gravenhurst, Bala, HuntsvilleRosseau  Markets, etc. They are adamant, since they take place in the summer, that products sold are ONLY local goods. THis makes sense for a summer market and produce, but sends me ballistic for other reasons. 

Market Produce
For example, Muskoka Hospice was selling some products as a fundraiser. Locally made bird houses. I offered them free copies of my book for a tax receipt for me, and profit for them. No go, since the Muskoka market rules only permit individuals to sell their individual products. Hospice had a co-op student working the booth for them. Since she hadn't written the book she couldn't sell it. That said, there were many authors forced to sell their one book, while paying full price for a booth. I couldn't afford that.

I wonder how far this locavore movement will take us? I believe we should be incorporating this into our practices, but with a day like today (-25 C. at dawn) it is impossible to sell local fruits and veggies except seasonally. I think we are doing ourselves more harm by limiting such vendors. We need to take a more Global view. This is a different story than Cheap-Mart, and their practices of undermining local businesses.

Perth Market bread
I avoid Cheap-mart like the plague. There may be those who want to buy inferior products, with manufacturers forced by this big box store to produce cheaply made goods, to make poorly made products. You must read The Wal-Mart Effect: 

How the World's Most Powerful Company Really Works--and How It's Transforming the American Economyfor the back story. 

Outsourcing is a seriously wicked result of their business practices. It's the reason for the type of backlash in many states, whereby American citizens resent migrant workers, for example, for being eligible for healthcare. It is the reason why product recall after product recall from China continues to illustrate the serious moral and health issues that result from outsourcing. 

I suggest we buy locally, if possible, but we must honour those who have immigrated and introduced Canadians to Mexican, Italian, Vietnames foods. It is the reason why we enjoy a variety of people and their cultures, but sourced by those who contribute to our economy. An indoor market, like the Hamilton Market, has such a wonderful history.

Gravenhurst Market

Saturday 22 January 2011

Oliver - caught in the act

In the morning we have the Group of Seven who

Camera Critters
Camera Critters #146
visit looking for chow. There is one special one, he appears to be a yearling twin and we named him 'Tigger'. He bounces up to us, eager for food.

The others are a bit more aggressive. They snort at me, frosty breath rising like hoarfrost. I snort back and they back off. They stamp at me and I stamp back. Off they go, beyond the shed into the forest.
Tigger, however, bounces around in front of me. We love him!
Here comes Tigger!

This is my 'normal' lens.
He is curious and bounces up to us!
All happily feed

Once, happily indoors, I watch the show. We call it 'TV' for the cats.
Everyone happily grazing
It's like Mother Nature forgot to give her a pretty face!
This one was trying to fake a beard.

Then there is Oliver. What can I say? His sister, Sady treed a fisher onceuponatime. Nov., 2007.
I wrote in 2009, it was SUNDAY, 27 DECEMBER, 2009 'Time to estivate' That isn't happening around here! Critters are all around us.
You have to appreciate how quickly this happened. I wish I'd had my videocamera handy.
Then I let Oliver out.
I couldn't resist. He was climbing the walls, scratching the carpet.
And run they did.
Yes. Again. Herding 30 wild turkeys and 7 deer. You'll forgive the darkness of the shots. It is hard even for the pros to photograph on snow. And a black cat on white snow... on a cloudy day?
Here he is!
And they are gone!
Pretty proud of himself!