Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Algonquin bound

You may recall that I told you about my waylaid excursion to Algonquin Park last Tuesday.  We ended up in North Bay on a sudden quest to buy a sewing machine because of a flyer I found in the free newspapers Wally gave me while he gassed up the car.  My friend Joan had bought herself one of these machines only the day before in Bracebridge where this travelling sale event had closed before I could get to it.  Wally knew how frustrated I've been with the sewing machine I have and determined to get us to North Bay where the event had  moved to as he had been wanting to do this for me for quite a while now.   I was excited that we were doing this and shocked that we took an upgrade from the one we originally intended to get with the incentive of getting some specialty feet for it for free. 

 It took me quite a few days to digest what we had done for it is more my style to research such an expensive investment.  But with the help of Joan,  pictured below with her new Necchi,  I  "got my feet wet" and realized it is really only a basic machine that can, as demonstrated, sew through 8 !! layers of denim AND a paintstick.  It has opened up a whole new range of possibilities and ideas.... 
I'm still reeling!

Joan in my studio reading the instructions for our new Necchi sewing machines

Now it is a week later and I am reflecting on the trip we finally took to Algonquin National Park on Sunday.  It was one of those glorious days that you wish would go on forever. 

Our first stop was at the Dorset General Store that has Everything.


Instead of buying expensive tourist-trap ice cream,  I took some free photos, first of this placid little grasshopper decked out in striped pants and a damask waistcoat.

Then of these lovely shadows on a rock in the parking lot.

And from another vantage point.   Aren't they beautiful, like Japanese calligraphy?

The colours were vibrant.  and I took way too many blurry shots from the moving car.
This is the land of the Canadian Shield, massive outcrops of granite rock that are cut away- "rockcuts"- to make way for roads.

Instead of going directly into Algonquin Park,  we went west into the little town of Dwight.

I am such a sucker for kitschy tourist traps like  shops that sell Indian souvenirs made in China.  I'm sure it is left over from childhood when our parents would take us on camping excursions with roadside stops for ice cream and a souvenir totem pole or some such thing.

Don's Junk store had these fascinating vintage marionettes hanging in the window
that appeared to be made out of papier mache.

Their little hands dangled so oddly that Don tried to fix them,
and finally determined that the string with which they were attached had stretched over the years.

We headed off towards the park with a quick stop at this charming little shop. 
Again, I am such a sucker for these old signs.

Still not inside the park, we stopped at Algonquin Outfitters,
 famous for its outdoor shop and canoe rentals.

We walked out onto a floating dock where we spied this exquisite lily leaf floating upside down
like a jewel in the water with an upside down maple leaf for company.

A little tootle down the road just to see the cottages and this beautiful roadside view.

And then back onto the highway entering the park.

Of course I have oodles of pictures,  too many to show here.  We ended up at the park gallery where we saw a beautiful exhibit of wildlife art and landscapes.  Thoroughly inspiring.  It did just what we hoped it would:  it made us want to go home and paint.

After so much highway driving, we took  a slower route to chill down called Cedar Lane.  I couldn't catch the glow in the evening sky, but I was taken, nonetheless, with this roadside tapesty.

And home again I had to wonder why we had to go so far when, as Dorothy repeated
after  Glinda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz,  it is all in my own back yard.

Happy glorious rich autumn days to you.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Sunday at the Fair

It is the Autumn Solstice today and what a heavenly entry into this time of year,  with nature so ripe with bounty and beauty.  We have been SO lucky with the balmy days we've been having. 

I am still reeling from our trip to North Bay yesterday to pick up a deal on an Italian Necchi sewing machine   (More about that later)   We picnicked afterwards in the evening sunlight by a marina on the shore of Lake Nippising and watched people walk their dogs.  Afterwards we strolled along the boardwalk ourselves,  and then down the long pier where people were fishing.   I love the fresh lake air and the "sweet light" of the fading day,  seagulls reeling overhead.

Now one last installment of the Bracebridge Fall Fair
Yet another friend brought me for a morning visit to see the chickens... but don't they move and jerk so that barely any of my shots are salvageable!

so I only have a few birds to show you like this handsome rooster


this wonderful goose who bobbed a lot too

and was very honky.


These 2 little ducks made the most of their time,  visiting with each other.


This pigeon, however,  stayed very still... as if he was stuck?

Do you like cows?  I love them.  I don't know why they fascinate me so.  Could it be their size contrasted with their gentleness.  I am alway touched by the innate gentleness of animals that are given lots of love.
This girl was very mooey while I was there.


It made you wonder who or what was she missing.

Other cows were being led off for their baths because, of course,
they were going to be put on show.

This lovely girl is in the middle of hers,


doleful, but satiny clean.

This shy baby has just had its bath with his brother who

took great pleasure warming himself in the warm morning sun.


Like this little girl, I am thrilled by these gentle beasts

though sometimes I, too, have my misgivings for they are so BIG!


Back to my friend's house

Thought you might enjoy these vignettes of her lovely country kitchen


I send you my wishes for abundance and joy in your life.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Saturday at the Fair

It was a fine morning to go to the fair....

As we headed off, 3 fine Wood Ducks swam out from under cover

to join the other ducks up ahead


a lovely early autumn morning

Saturday was animal day at the fair.  You may have noticed the fondness I have for animals, our fellow earthmates.  I see a simplicity and dignity in them that I admire,  not to mention a beauty even in the most humble of creatures.

This next batch of pictures is of sheep.  I am not a purist, and have never really cared about the names of breeds, so I'm afraid I can't help you with specifics,  but when you see the character in these faces, I think you may agree that pedigree hardly matters.

A sweet and gentle face


Sizing the situation up

a noble head

a fine sheep if ever there was one

an ovine sensibility

This darling calf was very shy on her first visit to the fair.

Her shyness warrants a comforting hug and a kiss.

Sharing more poutine with a friend (my waistline has paid for this),
we are scanned by a hovering hopeful.

After watching this powerful horse do a set of heavy weight pulling,
 we visit with Duke and his owner.

He is a magnificent Belgian stallion, and his owner says he knows it!

The heavy weight pulls gradually increased to 9,500 pounds.
If a team couldn't pull they were immediately detached from the weight,
 a "sled" loaded with concrete blocks.

We were assured that the horses want to pull.  And, indeed, they seemed excited and eager to get at it.
There seemed to be a trick to attach their harness to the weight just as they're anticipating the pull.

And who won? Out of 7 teams, Duke and his harness mate drew the required 15 feet and more. Except for one other stallion, he was the biggest horse  in the competition, all Belgians;
the John Wayne of Belgians.


Yes, there were other animals at the fair, not to mention all the wonderful dogs that the visiting public brought.  The people-watching was fun too.

Tomorrow, another batch of pictures.