Category Archives: nature

trails

We love trails of all types. There are the outdoor ones that involve hiking and reading maps. And then there are the other types of trails – the ones that have you following a theme. Like butter tarts or gin. They all require map reading, with the payoff of a great vista, a great pastry or a great cocktail.

Between us, we’ve hiked the Bruce Trail, Cinque Terre, Mt Kuchumaa, Mt Wachusett and countless other trails.

 

We’ve made and eaten our share of homemade butter tarts.

 

And now, we’re eyeing up a Gin Trail trip to Scotland. After all, I only have two Scottish gins in my gin collection – The Botanist and Hendrick’s – so it must be time to spread my taste buds to some new botanical combinations. Doesn’t hurt at all that there’s a stop on Shetland.

CJR

 

Advertisements

perma-spring

It’s happening again…spring! I know, it comes around every time, like clockwork. I was reading some of the spring blogs we posted last year – and here I go again with how much I love the spring season.

I was walking the dog on the weekend at a local conservation area (and my sister was hiking here) and I was thinking about how great it would be if spring lasted a little longer. When you still need a light jacket, maybe rubber boots even. And all around everything is waking up (including the walker and her dog) after the cold, dark winter.

Wild leeks and tiger lilies are the first greenery that’s up in the bush. Streams and creeks are flowing with clear, cool water. Tree swallow pairs are filling up the nesting boxes. And red-wing blackbirds are chortling in last year’s cattails.

And when I get home, I opened all the doors and windows wide to push all the dog hair to one side of the room – and flush out the stale air for some fresh, new, still-bug-free springtime oxygen.

What’s your favourite season?

CJR

maple trees

Nature seems to know just what we need about the middle of February. A general grumpiness is evident in many people you meet and there’s really no point in talking about the cold, dark winter weather any longer.

And suddenly. Magically. The sun shines again, warming up the snow, awakening the mud and sap starts to flow through the veins of the sugar maple. Ahhh…maple syrup season is here.

It started this past weekend in my area. And as I stepped outside I could just imagine the smell of the steam billowing from the evaporator in our maple bush to signal the start of the short, sweet season of syrup.

In the heyday of our small hobby farm, we had 1,000 maple taps and a pioneering farm market retail business during the hectic six weeks that made up our every spring season. It was the best job I ever had – making pancakes, selling (and consuming equal amounts of) maple sugar, slathering homemade tea biscuits with maple butter, and bringing consumers to the farm to learn about how one of the best agricultural products I know of is made.

Our maple operation started small – and here I am (not yet enjoying my best job ever) selling coffee, syrup and maple sugar out of our drive shed. It got better and bigger from there…and I started to smile as I greeted customers!

20170219_1229341055

If you are looking for ideas on how to use maple syrup – check out these recipes from the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association.

CJR

 

a real winter

Okay, I might just be speaking for myself – after all, my blogging sidekick sister is in the Caribbean – but I love a real winter. The whole deal. Snow banks, down coats, handknit socks, beef stew, fireplaces.

img_20161229_095357_899

This winter started off with promise. I shoveled my new driveway several times (probably cursing the whole time but I’ve forgotten that part). Then it rained. Then there was freezing rain. Then it just got stupid with spring-like mud everywhere.

I am sure winter isn’t done with us yet. I just need more of the white stuff to lighten up the still-dark mornings and make way for slip-free walking. Maybe even cross-country skiing if the stars align.

Anybody out there with me on this?!

CJR

rancho la puerta – hiking

Every morning at Rancho la Puerta begins with a mountain hike.

p1040098

There are several options for distance and difficulty, but they all start just as the sun is coming up over mystical Mt. Kuchumaa.image

It’s a wonderful way to start the day. They are timed perfectly so that just as you are finishing stretching, it’s time for breakfast!

p1010756

HAR & CJR