Archive | Seasons

last call for sugar shacks

Maple syrup season is almost over, which means that the sugar shacks will soon be closing their doors. Luckily, this spring, the members of my family who are based near Shaw’s Sugar Bush (watch the video about how do what they do), a 104-year-old maple syrup farm down the 14th Line, near Orillia, finally followed […]

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going irish in baltimore

A few years ago, my brother was living in Baltimore, Maryland and J. and I took the opportunity to visit. He lived in the suburbs, but showed us around the old downtown – the Inner Harbour (yes, here in Canada, we retain that old English ‘u’) and the city’s Little Italy. We learned that the […]

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mental meanderings in march

Thanks to T.S Eliot, everyone calls April the cruelest month… Well, maybe in England. Maybe in England April is all about soggy skies and flaccid flowers but here, in Central Ontario, April is more about, um, Hope, Sun, and, ultimately, The Big Melt. In fact, I can’t wait for April. In this neck of the […]

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the dog days of winter

A hint of spring arrived this Sunday. The sky was blue and the bright sun ate away at our – no exaggeration – six-foot snowbanks. We decided to take advantage of the weather by heading out into one of our local public forests, for a turn around a ski-trail. This plan immensely pleased a certain […]

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“This is Canada. We have winter.”

The snow keeps coming – a further ten to 20 centimeters expected today, on top of the 40 we’ve received since Saturday – and here’s what that looks like right now through my office window. On the weekend, J. and I valiantly embraced the wintery-ness of it all by walking to the local track to […]

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christmas rain-glows

Yesterday, we had six foot snowbanks. Today, it’s pouring rain. On my first weekend of the two-week Christmas break I’m watching those grand piles of white stuff dwindle down to nothing while baking gluten-free shortbread and listening to Nat King Cole sing seasonal classics. This weather is supposed to go on all day, long enough […]

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gifts for travellers

What to get for the nomad who has nothing? Here are a few items that he or she can easily slip in their backpack for a better life on the road. Klean Kanteen: Hearing all the bad news about plastics lately? These stainless steel water bottles should be on everybody’s wish list. LED Keychains: Tiny, […]

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going green with a real tree

When I was a kid growing up in Northern Ontario, getting a Christmas tree often involved bumping down some icy back road, breaking trail into the forest and cutting one down. That might make some environmentalists cringe, but not as much as plastic. The verdict has long been out and it’s pretty clear. Buy real. […]

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winter arrives in orillia

A peaceful morning moment in Orillia, Ontario. One thing I love about this town: how the streets turn into an old-fashioned tableaux as soon as the first snow arrives.

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midweek weather massacre

These days, there isn’t much to love around here. Think sky like dirty laundry and earth muddy with non-stop rain. Those autumn leaves are still lying around, but they’re losing their colour as quickly as weathered copper. Maybe with the arrival of the beast pictured above (currently assaulting Des Moines, Iowa, where “ice fog” is […]

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