#Sailboat Season – Wordless Wednesday

Let your photo(s) tell your story.

Sailboat on the lake – beachfront view
You can never have too many sailboat paintings…..
Sailboat on the river….
Sailboat framed in blue….
Sailboat under the bridge
Sailboat Race Under the Bridge
Sailboat race at the marina
The Regatta
Cruising with the sails down
Sailboat art cards
To the Lighthouse
Sailboat in darker blue
Sailboat in choppy waters
Stormy Weather
Sailboat summer is passing….enjoy it before it’s gone!

#Signs of Summer – Wordless Wednesday

Let your photo(s) tell your story.

The first trip to the DQ for a milkshake.
Because you need fuel to do all that gardening.
Scheduling a pedicure with the best nail polish ever.
For that first walk on the beach.
Grabbing an ice cream cone
Shaw’s – a tub full of happiness – where have you been all my life?
While watching the seagulls and the waves roll in.
Opening all the windows and airing out the house.
Smelling the first roses of the season – look at all the buds.
Tasting the first strawberries – don’t forget to wear your hat! Happy Summer!

A Waterfront Walk

In an attempt to hold onto summer for as long as possible, I’ve been walking along the waterfront recently.  While none of these parks are close enough for my daily constitutional, they are more scenic options when I want to add a few extra steps to my exercise routine or work off some calories from the fall baking.   Plus a change of scenery is always good, never more so this pandemic year.  

Centennial Park - Sign Great Lakes Waterfront Trail

Our first park was designated in honor of Canada’s centennial year, 1967, and occupies prime real estate along the bay – a handy venue for all those nearby condo owners.

Centennial Park

Strangely, on this beautiful late Friday afternoon there are few people around.Centennial Park - flowers

Just a few seagulls preening for a photo-op.   The flower beds in the park grounds have been sadly neglected this year due to the cancellation of most maintenance services, but the urns are still pretty.

Centennial Park - Seagull

This Diva let me get real close…Centennial Park - Seagull closeup

until she got annoyed (see Wordless Wednesday) and flew away. 

There’s a fountain where you can stand in the mist and get cooled off.  Centennial Park - fountain

And a cute garden bench/sculpture for the little ones. Centennial Park - Bench turquoise

If you follow the long boardwalk all the way around, there’s a boat ramp and a small marina on the other side of the bay, with an over-priced outdoor restaurant where I had one of the worst meals ever and never went back, despite the scenic view.

Centennial Park - Marina and  restaurant

The big yacht on the right is mine…..someday…..

There’s a tour boat which offers lunch and sunset cruises up and down the river, although not this year.  Centennial Park - boat - Duc du Orleans

Let’s hop over to the Beach Park now. While it may be unusual to have a beachfront park in the middle of a city, a few forward-thinking city founders, aided by a very generous donation from a rich benefactor back in the Great Depression, ensured that beach access would be available to all, not just those lucky enough to own a house with their own private beach. Of course at the time of the purchase, the park was at the edge of city development. In addition to the 3000 foot stretch of sandy beach, there’s a hundred acres of trees with walking trails, a children’s animal park and a small inland pond perfect for winter hockey. (We may return here later this fall for a leaf-peeping tour.)

This is a picture of the beach in the 1950’s before the parking lot was paved. Sadly there has been so much erosion from high lake levels in the past few years, they may have to un-pave the parking lot to salvage some of the sand.

Canatara Park - Birch tree

I was upset to see that half of my favorite birch tree had collapsed onto the ground, it’s roots uplifted by the pounding waves.

Canatara Park - rocks

There’s so little beach left at this end of the park that they’ve installed a new row of arbor stone to try and prevent any further erosion.

The groynes are all under water now, but the sailboats were out, and so were the kayaks. Canatara Park - kayaks

In my younger years, many a summer weekend would be spent under a beach umbrella with a book and a cooler of snacks and beverages.

Let’s go further up the lake to a place I blogged about a few weeks ago in On The Waterfront. While the dance pavilion may be long gone, you can sit in the gazebo or on a park bench and admire the view.

We picnicked in this park every summer Sunday when I was a kid, but the beach is washed away now and the waterfront shored up by expensive arbor rock.  Brights Grove beach

The road in front of it is so narrow, Brights Grove beachthat I wonder how long it will be before it’s closed and people won’t have access to their property.   The waves were so wild during the winter storms last year they were lapping at the porch of my favorite house.  Brights Grove Park - house

Switching venues now to the park where the river meets the lake.

Bridge park

The darker blue water denotes the deeper shipping channel used by the Lakers – the big freight boats.

Bridge Park - sailboat

This area is lined with park benches where you can watch boats heading out into the lake. It’s always a popular spot because of the refreshing lake breezes even on the hottest summer day, plus the chip trucks and ice cream parlors nearby.

Let’s follow these tubers downriver to the marina. (Note: tubing is a dangerous sport due to the swift current here but people do it anyway.)

Bridge Park - tubing

This larger marina has berths for sailboats during the season. If I was ever fortunate enough to own a waterfront condo I wouldn’t want one with three floors though, even if I could tie my boat up out front.

I wonder if the condo owners ever worry about the high water levels, which is even more of a problem downriver. So let’s visit our last park downriver – unfortunately it was an overcast day.

The clouds get in the way…..

There are small strips of parkland here and there along the river road, with lots of ancient willow trees lining the banks.

Downriver park - willow tree

In some places the water level is so high the grass around the tree trunks is  swampy, and it’s only a matter of time until they are washed away too.  Many of the docks are almost level with the water now, surely a worry for the homeowners. 

Downriver park - sunflowers

These cheerful sunflowers are announcing fall….

My mother enjoys going for a Sunday drive along the river and looking at all the big houses, but we hardly ever see anyone sitting outside. I wonder if people who have waterfront property really appreciate it?

I’ve always felt a sense of calm being by the water, probably the legacy of two sets of water-dwelling ancestors. I could sit for hours with a coffee and just enjoy the view. Unfortunately the only park close enough for me to visit on a regular basis, is overrun by a gazillion Canadian geese, year round. The constant aggravation of having to watch where you step and/or clean your shoes is not worth the trip, although I did visit last March to take a picture of the two resident mute swans. They need to relocate some of the population and train the rest of them to migrate south like good little geese should.

I hope you have enjoyed this waterfront tour as we say goodbye to summer for another year.

My favorite picture even if there are clouds in the sky!

On The Waterfront

      Last fall I attended a museum exhibit called On The Waterfront, where they displayed a number of old photos and postcards of the waterfront from days gone by.   I thought I might share a few of these, for those interested in history and vintage memorabilia.      

Grand Bend Beach Beauties

In this postcard, we see swimmers enjoying the beach in Grand Bend in the 1920’s.  One hundred years later, it remains a popular beach resort, but my how bathing suits have changed, although these may have seemed daring in the flapper era.  

On the Waterfront - Grand Bend Dance Pavilion

Imagine paying five cents for a dance – if you ran out of money, you were done for the night and maybe went for a moonlight stroll instead! 

Many of the waterfront amusements then involved dance halls or pavilions which attracted people for the nighttime entertainment, as much as the beaches did during the day. 

On the Waterfront - Dance Pavilion - Stag Island

My great-grandmother lived across the river from this resort and dance pavilion.  One of my father’s earliest memories was of hearing the music floating across the water while being babysat – with the probability of a cookie and a reassurance that his parents were not too far away.   Built in the the early 19th century, it hosted parties coming down river on  steamships to attend the dances and stay at the hotels and cottages.  Long torn down, it is now the site of a private clubhouse with a beautiful wood floor which would make a perfect dance floor. 

On the Waterfront steamship

Before there were bridges and motorcars, you, and your horse and carriage, could also hop on the ferry to get to the party.  

On the Waterfront - Ferry with Horse

Fast forward to the Big Band era…

Kenwick on the Lake

Care to jitterbug anyone?

When my parents were dating in the late 1940’s, they attended the Big Band dances at this venue on the shores of Lake Huron.  Opened in 1946, it had an outdoor dance floor, as dancing under the stars was very popular back then.   It attracted big name bands such as Tommy Dorsey, Guy Lombardo, Louis Armstrong, and Glen Miller who played to crowds of up to 3,000 on weekends.   My mother recalls going for a hamburger and a Coke at a nearby diner after the dance – hamburgers were 25 cents, a sum they could barely afford. 

Moonlight Serenade – by Glen Miller and his Orchestra

Kenwick Pat Boone (4)

By the 1950’s as musical tastes shifted, it attracted the likes of rock and roll’s Bill Haley and the popular crooner Pat Boone.  I’m certain my parents did not attend this crowded Pat Boone concert, as I was born a few days later.    

By the 1960’s when we used to picnic in the park there on summer Sundays, there was nothing left of it but some broken cement from the dance floor and a few crumbling walls.  Now, it’s a tennis court, with a historical plaque marking the site, although a few years ago they held The Simply White Dinner (link) there, and dancing under the stars resumed for one enchanted evening. 

When we see pictures of young people congregating on the beach this summer, partying and having fun in the midst of a pandemic, it seems crazy, but youth is ever optimistic.   Although, looking back at these old photos, it does seem a much more romantic time.  Perhaps music and moonlight never go out of date.       

 

 

August

      August has always been the most depressing of months to me.   Summer is already half over and the threat of cold weather looms in the distance, heralded by chirping crickets, cooler nights, and heavy morning dew.  Those hours of evening lightness are no more – it’s dark at 8 pm, a warning of much worse to come.   A bit melodramatic maybe, but hey, it’s Canada, we live for summer here.     

      It starts with the clouds.  You may wake up to a flawless blue sky, but soon those big puffy August clouds come rolling in, spoiling a perfectly nice beach day.     

seagull

Oh, they’re pretty in a way – it’s best to look at things from Both Sides Now.  (Musical interlude – Joni Mitchell wrote this song on an airplane looking down at the clouds, although it was first made famous by Judy Collins.  I find the lyrics gloomy, but then it’s become such a strange world, I really don’t know life at all….) 

Then you start to see the odd tree branch dipped in paint.  There’s a big maple tree on the main street which always starts to turn in early August.

fall leaves tree

Then there are the back to school ads, a perfect dilemma this pandemic year, although some kids may be looking be looking forward to returning and seeing their friends.   Classes don’t resume here until Sept 8 after the Labor Day holiday weekend.   

While the stores may beckon with fall clothes, I really can’t justify shopping for anything but essentials when there’s nowhere to wear it,  but just being in a store for some hands-off browsing cheered me up immensely.    

It hasn’t been the best of summers, with my health issues in May/June (my favorite time of year), the hot humid weather, July’s multiple catch-up appointments and the isolating pandemic solitude.   The normal distractions which might bring joy – street festivals, summer theatre, concerts – have all been cancelled.   

Plus, August is my birthday month, which is depressing enough, as I’m wondering how I ever got to be that age?

Yes, that age.   (BTW, Paul McCartney wrote that song when he was just 16, but it was not recorded until the 1966 Sgt. Pepper’s album, the year his father turned 64.  The lyrics reflect his view of old age – gardening, grandchildren, an annual vacation on the Isle of Wight, if it’s not too dear….but even that is out this year.)      

I remember my father when he turned 65, saying he wished he was 16 again and looking at him and thinking, you’ve got to be kidding, they’re paying you to stay home!   Yes, it’s nice to be retired and collecting the old age pension but it also means you’re old!   While I wouldn’t want to be 16 again (too much angst), my stress-filled 30’s are looking pretty good, and someday I may look back and wish to be my current age.  I know I should be grateful to be still alive, relatively healthy and COVID-free, when so many are not.  (End of whining). 

Although it may feel like summer has slipped away without much in the way of enjoyment, there are still a few weeks to relish the rest of the season.  Here are a few things to love about this time of year.

A trip to the Farmer’s Market is always fruitful…. 

Plums yellow

Plums, peaches and nectarines.

Peaches

The glads for sale are a riot of color but the pinks are still my favorite.  

glads

It’s melon season.

Watermelon

melon

And tomato season.

Tomatoes

And cherry pie season.

Cherry pie

And let’s not forget corn on the cob, slathered with butter for those lucky folks who can eat it.  

corn on the cob

The new ice cream place is doing a booming business, although they don’t have gelato.   Does anyone really need all those weird exotic flavors when chocolate reigns supreme?

chocolate ice cream cone

Note these are mostly food related, but it’s mostly healthy food and food can be enormously cheering!    You can walk off the ice cream and cherry pie with a stroll On The Waterfront. (see future blog)

seagull water beach lake

and watch the boats go by.

water boats lake

Having the beach to yourself on an August day can be a reflective type of solitude,

waves canatara

with only the annoying screech of seagulls to interrupt your thoughts.  seagull

You can go beach-combing and gather enough shells,

seashell wreath (4)

                                               The Inspiration…

to make a souvenir of summer! 

The Beachcomber - AMc

                                                     The Beachcomber

PS.  WordPress congratulations me on my third anniversary of blogging (once a week, Wed/Thursdays, 154 posts, 84 new followers give or take a few persistent vitamin sales people).  This was posted in the classic editor but I’m wondering why the photo captions are no longer centered?  And why I can’t shrink photos?  And where is the word count so I don’t ramble on?  I couldn’t post video either?   It seems like some of the basic functions are gone.   Onward and upward to the dreaded block editor, eventually, but for now I’m enjoying these last days of summer.        

 

        

#Summer Storm – Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday – let your (photo)s tell your story.     Summer storm over the lake.

storm clouds Janice K.

Storm warning….shelf cloud

storm shelf cloud - EJ two

An artistic piece of driftwood.

Summer storm over the lake - EJ

An eerie sight….

Summer storm over the lake - EJ

but I do love turquoise…..

storm - lake after the storm- EJ

After the storm…all clear

(Photos not mine – they belong to a friend who rented a cottage, but are too good not to share.)

Summer Breeze

There’s nothing as delightful as a summer breeze.  It’s especially welcome after a long hot and humid spell, when the wind suddenly swings to the north dropping the temperature by over ten degrees.

My childhood bedroom faced south and I have memories of waking up on a June morning to a cool breeze, blowing the white curtains into the room like billowing ghosts.   I still like the sight of gauzy curtains dancing in an open window. 

curtains blowing in the breeze

Yes, back in the days before A/C, we used to sleep with the windows open all summer.   The upstairs bedrooms in our old farmhouse would get pretty hot in the dog days of August, but I don’t remember it being brutally hot all summer like it is now.   I put the A/C on the third week of May, and except for a few cooler days in June when I could open the windows and air out the house, it will stay on until late September.

On July 1, Canada Day, what’s more symbolic of patriotism than a flag snapping in the wind, beside a maple tree.

Canadian flag

Oh Canada!

The sight of sheets flapping in the breeze is a lovely thing, with the added bonus of that wonderful fresh-air sun-drenched smell when you drift off to sleep.

sheets on the line

While I may get refreshing north breezes on my back deck, I have to move under the shade trees if the winds are from the south – a perfect spot for dining alfresco.   (table photo from Pinterest but see The Corona Diaries next week for my latest scavenger find)table under shade trees

Add in some poetry:

Victoria poem Bliss Breeze

Poem from Victoria July 1999 issue

And some music:   (The lyrics of this oldie but goodie paint a perfect picture – “Sweet days of summer, the jasmine’s in bloom.  July is dressed up and playing her tune”)     

And you have the ingredients for a perfect summer day.   As Henry James proclaimed,  “Summer afternoon, summer afternoon, to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”

A swing or hammock gently swaying in the breeze can lull you to sleep while you’re reading. 

Hammock

A cool breeze on a hot day at the beach makes for awesome waves.

Beach Waves on the water

Seagull

Surf’s Up!

And what’s a sail without a good stiff south wind.  

sailboat river

I was surprised they held the annual sailboat race this year, although there weren’t as many entries.   The music and food festivals were all cancelled, but spectators could still line the shore and watch the parade of boats go by.

sailboat race

Sailboats social distancing….

Finally, there’s nothing like sitting on the deck with a cold one when the heat of the day is over and an evening breeze descends to cool everything off. 

Root Beer float

An old-fashioned root beer float…

Wherever you are, may the rest of your summer be a breeze!   

Lyrics:  “Summer Breeze”  1972 Seals and Croft

See the curtains hangin’ in the window
In the evening on a Friday night
A little light a-shinin’ through the window
Lets me know everything’s all right

 

Summer breeze makes me feel fine
Blowin’ through the jasmine in my mind
Summer breeze makes me feel fine
Blowin’ though the jasmine in my mind

See the paper layin’ on the sidewalk
A little music from the house next door
So I walk on up to the doorstep
Through the screen and across the floor

Summer breeze makes me feel fine
Blowin’ through the jasmine in my mind
Summer breeze makes me feel fine
Blowin’ through the jasmine in my mind

Sweet days of summer, the jasmine’s in bloom
July is dressed up and playing her tune
And I come home from a hard day’s work
And you’re waitin’ there
Not a care in the world

See the smile awaitin’ in the kitchen
Through cookin’ and the plates for two
Feel the arms that reach out to hold me
In the evening when the day is through

Summer breeze makes me feel fine
Blowing through the jasmine in my mind
Summer breeze makes me feel fine
Blowing through the jasmine in my mind

 

 

 

 

Garden Treasures

This is the first year I haven’t bought any garden flowers – no hanging baskets, no geraniums, absolutely nothing.   It was cold with snow flurries until mid-May so the pop up nurseries had a pathetic selection of small and withered looking plants.   We went straight into hot humid weather and I was waiting for them to go on sale but then never made it to any of the big box stores or nurseries. 

On the plus side I don’t have to water, especially welcome in this record breaking heat.   On the minus side, I miss the beauty of having baskets, even the humble geraniums, but I’m trying to focus on my hardy perennials.  Due to the late spring it was a bad year for lilacs (exactly 3 blooms) and peonies (a poor showing, only one or two on the new bushes) and some of the rose bushes did not fare well.  The ones on the north side are very sparse and two had to be dug out entirely.   On the other hand, the rest of the roses were abundant and the lavender was so plentiful it deserves it’s own blog.     

Here’s a recap since May.    A carpet of blossoms on my daily walk.

cherry blossom carpet

My 50 cent purple iris was a beautiful bargain once again.

purple iris

purple iris

The daisies showed up early.

Daisies

Second year for the prolific purple clematis.

purple clematis

The older purple clematis is still hanging in there.

purple clematis

The fuchsia clematis.

fuchsia clematis

Purple salvia and pink roses make a colorful contrast.

Russian sage and roses

The heirloom roses were bountiful.

roses

fifty year old roses…

And so were the Pink Knock-Outs,

roses and lavender

and the newer lavender bushes are doing well.

roses and lavender

Stay tuned for The Lavender Blues next week…

roses and lavender

And speaking of blues, the hydrangeas were more cooperative this year – some lavender hues and my favorite blue tones, aided by a generous dose of aluminum sulfate to acidic the soil.    I wonder how much you have to add to get that brilliant blue you see in gardening magazines? 

Blue hydrangeas

Blue Clematis

The garden is my backyard oasis, a tranquil respite from this crazy COVID world.   How is your garden growing this year?