Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rideau Canal, Ottawa

Paul and I took a drive in to Ottawa yesterday to visit friends. It was a beautiful sunny day and the roads were clear. We first had coffee at Tim's with Helen, Margaret, Bob and Kelly who were Paul's co-workers when he was with the Canadian Forces. We then took a few moments to stop in at the British High Commission to visit with my friend, Sandra and to congratulate her on her recent engagement.

On the walk back to our car we stopped to watch the skaters on the Rideau Canal. The Rideau Canal in the winter is so amazing. In 2005 it was officially named the world's longest skating rink by the Guiness Book of Records! Imagine thousands of people skating (and walking) on a 7-kilometre stretch. It is groomed and maintained on a regular basis to make the skating optimal. We have to admit that we didn't skate on it while we lived in Ottawa but we did go there each winter to take photos and to walk on it.

After doing a little shopping in Ottawa, we headed back to Brockville.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Canadian Snowbirds

The term Snowbird is used to describe people from Canada and the Midwestern United States who spend a large portion of winter in warmer locales such as Florida, The Carolinas, California and Arizona or elsewhere along the Sunbelt region of the southern and southwest United States, areas of the Caribbean, and even as far away as Australia and New Zealand.

It is also used for those who migrate to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada for the winter. Victoria is known for having very mild winters by Canadian standards, and has an annual "blossom count" in mid-February to prove its warm winter status. Residents of northern Europe also flock to the warmer areas in the United States, establishing second communities of seasonal residents.

Snowbirds are typically retirees, and business owners who can afford to be away from home for long periods of time or have a second home in a warmer location. Some snowbirds carry their homes with them, as campers (mounted on bus or truck frames) or as boats following the east coast Intracoastal waterway. It used to be that snowbirds were the wealthy who maintained several seasonal residences and shifted residence with the seasons to avail themselves of the best time to be at each location.

Well Paul and I, now being retirees, are on the first leg of our first winter as Canadian Snowbirds in South Carolina. Unfortunately we are not the wealthy type to afford a second residence so we are renting. We left Beresford New Brunswick on 21 January at 8 a.m. and drove to Brockville Ontario, arriving at 8 p.m. It was a long drive but we are happy to report that we had a very uneventful drive and the winter weather was very cooperative. As always the drive in the Montreal area was stressful.

We will spend this coming week here in Brockville visiting with my family and celebrating my Mom's 89th birthday on Monday. We also hope to visit with some of our Ottawa friends later in the week. More to come....

Monday, January 19, 2009

This Winter Storm was......

for the birds - really! This morning when we looked out our livingroom window our cedars were shorter and our bird feeder lower, or so it seemed. More than 30 cms of snow fell overnight and the only ones happy were the pigeons who visit our feeder every morning.

Most days we have two pigeons who struggle to feed by flapping their wings madly while trying to balance on the tiny post on the feeder to get sunflower seeds. It seems like a lot of work for them so I often toss a handful of seeds on the snow under the feeder.

Today they had the perfect situation - they could stand on the snow and pick the seeds out without any work at all. They even brought along several of their friends.

Here is a better view of our 30+ cms of snow in our front yard. Our friend Giselle will appreciate this photo more than anyone as she gifted us with an ornamental Japanese maple tree last fall which we planted near the feeder for the chickadees to perch on. Yes that's right, there is a little tree under all that snow!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Yum! Yum!

Our eastcoast blood is flowing again. Nothing like a nice pan of cod cheeks for supper.

It was not just the beach walking that bought Paul and I back to our eastcoast roots. It was our love for fresh fish and having a great fish market only a 5-minute drive from our house, Arseneau's. When I first mentioned cod cheeks to Paul he wasn't sure if he was game to try them but when I explained that they were plump and juicy like a scallop but with a salty taste, he went along.

So...cod cheeks are exactly that....firm fish from the cheeks of cod fish. They have a similar texture to scallops (in other words, firmer than the rest of the cod which is flaky and bony). So you can cook them in the same way you would do shrimp or scallops. I like to just heat a little oil in a fry pan, put flour in a plastic bag, add the cod cheeks, shake to cover, remove and pop them in the fry pan, cooking till lightly brown. So there you go!

Three Very Special People to Me

Happy Red Hat Day Ladies

In August 2005 I was fortunate to share a magical week of friendship in Beresford with three very special people to celebrate our 50th birthdays. A week we will never forget.

My gift to my three friends was to start our Red Hat Society group, giving them red hats and purple scarves. Because of the miles between us (Ontario, Germany, Newfoundland and New Brunswick) we are unable to meet regularly to socialise so we meet on the 17th of each month by email to share news. We try to remember to wear red on that day.

We talked about meeting again in 2015 in Germany for our 60th birthdays, but we now realise that we cannot wait that long to share friendship again, so we will meet in Newfoundland in 2010.

Friendship is one of the world's greatest treasures

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Boardwalk, Beresford Beach, Acadian Coast

Entrance, Beresford Beach Boardwalk to ocean

Looking back over the lagoon from the ocean

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Fish Anyone?

Our local farmer's market in Beresford has many seasons.

In summer we can buy local veggies, berries and the best maple walnut ice cream. As fall approaches the local New Brunswick apples appear, along with bright orange colors of the pumpkins. In late November the lot is full of the wonderful smell from Christmas trees. But January has a whole new smell, that of fish, which is very inviting for us living on the east coast. Smelts anyone?

Monday, January 12, 2009

So Typically Canadian

This is the scene we are presently seeing from our back door window. The marsh has frozen over and there has been a family taking advantage of the natural ice rink. This is possibly a dad playing hockey with his son.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Winter Walking

Because we love the outdoors so much, we went in search of another place to walk during the winter and we found Atlas Park in the heart of Pointe-Verte. It was such a peaceful place to be that day.

We Love to Walk

Walking on Beresford Beach is one of the things that we love to do but unfortunately our Canadian winter does not allow us much access to the beach.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Tired of Winter Already

Although it is only early January, we miss walking the beach and looking for treasures. We drove down to the bay and looked out over the mounds of ice and snow and our hearts were sad. Our last walk was on 2 December.

We plan to become snowbirds so we can get back on the beach before the Canadian thaw.