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.
We thought this swan was quite comical with it’s foot in the air.
Turtles catching some sunlight.
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.
For some silly reason a couple of Robins decided to build their nest atop our backyard gate. Now granted we do have another gate we can use, but if we even go anywhere near, the Robin sounds the alarm! The squeaks or yeeps that come out of its throat are very threatening, and I am concerned that one day, the damn bird is going to dive down, and swat me in the head.
Years ago, a pair of Cardinals that have nested in our backyard for twenty odd years built theirs too close to my clothesline, so every time I went out to hang the laundry I had to continually duck from the Cardinal making a bee-line for me. As much as I may want to remove this nest, and as much as my husband believes Robins are akin to rats, the nest will stay until the eggs have hatched, and the birds have flown the coup.
Can you see the nest?
First view of her three eggs.
The Robin is hiding in the tree as I came too close to snap another picture.
For the past nine years or so we have been going to our local Christmas tree farm in order to chop down a tree to grace our living room (we are not in agreement for the actual number of times we have cut a tree down). Over the years we have had trees of various heights and widths, but this year we seemed to have outdone ourselves with the height of the tree. The blue tag on the tree told us it was over 8 feet tall. The other members of the family were not thrilled that I wanted such a large tree, well actually just my husband and son, since they were the ones left with the responsibility of cutting the tree down, carrying it to be tied up, and then paid for. I wanted such a tall tree, so hubby could cut off approximately two feet, in order for me to be creative and make a couple of wreaths for our front and side doors.
Well walking towards the area where we would eventually find a tree, there are a number of places you can take silly pictures (silly only because we are all adults).
After the snapshot of us being snowman, middle child sent the picture to her sister, with the caption “you have been voted off the island”. The eldest was the brunt of many jokes during our Christmas tree hunting, and was blamed for our past difficulties with picking a tree, especially since we agreed in record time this year.
There were not a lot of trees left on the farm, making it necessary for us to walk quite a long way. The main rule for choosing a tree is we all must be in agreement. Trying to have five individuals agree on the right tree is not an easy task, though this year, there were only the four of us, since the eldest moved out (she had taken her boyfriend to the same Christmas tree farm a week earlier).
After choosing our tree, and placing it in the van (yes it did fit, though the stump was beside me in the front seat), we headed over to their Christmas store so we could each buy ourselves a gift. Hubby chose a bird for his Christmas bird collection, the young man a fire truck ornament, I, a snowman, and middle child picked a lovely plate I had been admiring. When we arrived home, she gave me the Christmas plate.
Hubby’s new addition is the bird hanging from the Blue Jay. The Cardinal which he purchased last year, chirps when you walk by, driving all of us crazy, except of course my husband. Surprisingly the chirping doesn’t even faze the dogs.
Last is a picture of the Christmas wreath, which is a work in progress (please excuse the mess in the basement). It too may be a tad large!