Canoeing in Cootes Paradise

Last weekend my husband and I finally had an opportunity to put everything aside and take the canoe out for a paddle. We are lucky enough to live in a city where Lake Ontario, Hamilton Harbour, and Cootes Paradise are only a 10 to 15 minute drive from home, as long as you hit all the green lights of course.

Cootes Paradise, managed by the Royal Botanical Gardens, is an amazing place for birding, amphibians and reptiles. The marsh is quite large, and a perfect setting for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. Starting at the Princess Point canoe launch we travelled east along the edge of the marsh, north parallel to the highway, west past Hickory Island, Rat Island, then south before turning east to head towards Cockpit Island eventually ending back at the canoe launch. In total, my husband paddled 7.58 kilometres.

Swan with foot in the air

We thought this swan was quite comical with it’s foot in the air.

Turtles catching some sunlight.

Turtles catching some sunlight.

A heron taking flight

A heron taking flight.

In this part of the marsh, there must have been a hundred swans. It was lovely how they parted allowing us to paddle through the centre of them.

In this part of the marsh, there must have been a hundred swans. It was lovely how they parted allowing us to paddle through the centre of them.

A red-tailed hawk with a dinner.

A red-tailed hawk with a dinner.

Ducks on a log

Ducks on a log.

Crane

A crane.

Comerants in a tree.

Comerants in a tree.

Black Crowned Heron

Black crowned heron.

Belted Kingfisher

Belted Kingfisher

Lily pad flower

The required snapshot of a lily pad flower.

I joined the senior’s centre!

I’m not sixty-five yet, I still have another nine years to go, but that has not stopped me from joining the local seniors centre. Our city has a 55+ program. This may be a way to start preparing us for the obvious inevitable “golden age” of sixty-five. Either way, I am having a damn good time as a young senior.

Twice a week I take yoga, one is a gentle yoga class, with an amazing instructor who tells me as long as I am practising breathing I am still doing yoga. The second yoga class is hot yoga, and I have been known to fall asleep near the end, and the nice lady beside me, lets me sleep for the last fifteen minutes or so, then wakes me up. She is a dear. I do love the hot yoga class, I tend to be a little more flexible in the heat.

The third class I am taking is woodworking. My husband is exceptionally talented when it comes to working with wood, either fixing things around the house or building a new deck around our pool. All of our children had the opportunity to take carpentry in high school, and I was always quite jealous of what they were able to learn. Now it is my turn. The first project each student has to construct is a shelf, because it gives us the opportunity to learn all the different machines in the class – a chop saw, table saw, joiner, planer, band saw, router, and belt sander.  I actually made three shelves, which are now stained and hung in my sewing room.My first shelf

Our kids gave me my own tool belt for my 56th birthday plus a level, and a few other handy tools.

My second project was a bat box not baseball bats, but a house for real bats. Bats need homes, and they eat a lot of mosquitoes. When I went to buy the wood for my bat box, I did not examine it very well, and it wasn’t until I went to use it, that we realized it was quite warped in places.  I still used the wood, but the bat box looks a bit odd in places, though I don’t think the bats will mind if of course they move in. Hopefully when the weather is nice, I can convince my son and husband to climb on top of our roof, then up the chimney to hang the it. We’ve had some nice days, but I am still waiting. I don’t think they like the idea of climbing the chimney.

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Now when, not if, the bat house makes it to the chimney, I wonder who I will be able to convince to climb back up there and clean out the bat house occasionally?