Hurricane Sandy

7 a.m. Monday,October 29, 2012 – It’s the calm before the storm………..A few weeks ago, the National Hurricane Centre in the United States began watching a new tropical storm in the Atlantic Ocean which morphed into a Hurricane they named Sandy.  Last week, Hurricane Sandy hit Haiti and other Caribbean islands and was responsible for around 65 deaths.  Now, it’s set to make landfall today near New York City with its trajectory aimed right towards my area.  The media had dubbed this hurricane ‘Frankenstorm’ or ‘the Perfect Storm’ or ‘the Storm of the Century’ or a ‘monster storm’ and even a ‘Superstorm’………… to be sure, Hurricane Sandy is a very dangerous storm – ‘they’ are saying possibly worse than Hurricane Katrina.  Right now, it’s around 1400 km. (870 miles) wide and is about to collide with two winter storm systems from the north making it even more destructive.  Over 80 million people will be affected by Sandy.  Emergency Preparedness authorities (Red Cross), private groups, and governments in both the U.S. and Canada have advised people to be prepared for extensive damages, long power outages, rain/snow, flooding, etc. and stock up on food and water for at least 3 days.   Heck, New York City closed its schools and transit system down  – well almost the entire city shut down today  and even the New York Stock Exchange is closed today!  The entire area in the storm’s path is shutting down – interstate highways, air travel, trains, businesses…….   I just heard that the Nova Scotia-built Tall Ship, HMS Bounty was caught in the storm’s high seas off the shore of North Carolina and the crew was forced to abandon ship into a couple of life-rafts when they started taking on water.

Hurricane Sandy from the
International Space Station

Before Faye left for home on Sunday, we talked about the approaching storm and practical things to do like moving patio furniture indoors, filling the car with gas, having extra food and cash on hand, etc.   Yesterday, Melvin and I cleaned the last of the maple leaves from the eavestroughs so the rain water could actual flow through.  I have already connected extensions to the bottom of the downspouts to keep the water away from my house.  My outdoor chairs have already been stored for the winter.   And my youngest kids dub me a ‘prepper’ just because I like to have supplies on hand at all times.  I have my cookstove to heat the house and cook on plus my outdoor chimnea with its own grill, so I think I’m pretty well set for whatever Mother Nature throws at us this week.  Besides, I lived through the 1998 Ice Storm with no electricity for 2 weeks in the middle of the winter with 4 young children.  Today I’ll get Melvin to start up the generator and go to town for a few cans of gas……  I expect that the wind will be the most destructive in our area.

My Wood Cookstove

Presently, it is predicted that Hurricane Sandy will make landfall as a Category 1 hurricane and quickly become a tropical storm as it treks inland.  Storm surges along the Atlantic Coast and Great Lakes are going to be destructive.  The Canadian Hurricane Centre (CHC) says that “it is important to emphasize that impacts from post-tropical Sandy extend over an extremely large area well away from the storm center”.  In our area, wind gust are expected around 60 km/hr gusting up to 90 km/hr.  The CHC says that “These wind gusts have the potential to cause broken tree limbs or in some cases uprooted trees which may result in downed utility lines.  Residual falling leaves can also obstruct storm water drainage systems along roadways particularly in urban areas.  This combined with heavy rainfall could increase the risk of flooding in some areas”.  Expected rainfall will be around 40 mm (almost 2 inches) down from the initial 100 mm predicted yesterday.

It boggles my mind how the ‘authorities’ can impose mandatory evacuations while scores of news reporters remain right in harm’s way, reporting ‘Live’ from the scene, often being literally blown away!

7 p.m. Tuesday, October 30, 2012  :  Well it blew like crazy last night – winds gusted to 75 km (46 miles)/hr !  It started around suppertime and by bedtime, it sounded like a train was going right past the house…….. all night long!  Surprisingly, our power didn’t go out.  I had filled up several buckets with water to flush the toilet just in case.  Today was still windy but bright and sunny.  The river was so churned up that it’s colour changed to brown.   In the back yard, we had a maple limb fall off into the garden and the top half of a willow snap in half…… and alot of my leaves blew away.  Not too bad.  The people in New York City and New Jersey were not so lucky as Sandy made landfall just shy of hurricane status with destructive storm surges and power outages even damaging power, subway, and city infrastructure.

Tomorrow, we are supposed to get rain (and maybe snow by Friday) for the rest of the week as we continue to feel the effects of post-tropical storm Sandy.   Hopefully my Granchildren will still be able to dress up and go out ‘trick or treating’……..


My Sister Faye’s Visit

 For the past week and a half, I’ve been busy with my visiting sister Faye, from Hamilton, Ontario.  I had actually planned on going down to visit her, but a change in plans for me initiated HER ‘Plan B’:  taking the train up to visit me!

My Sister Faye

Of course, we began our visit with a trip to town and our favourite store, Giant Tiger.  There has been alot of development in town in the past year, so I was able to give my sister the ‘5 minute tour’ of all the growth.  We spent the next day at home so I could bake some Cinnamon Buns, Banana Bread, and put on a pot of Chili.  On both Saturdays that she was here, we were invited to my neighbours’ for supper and several games of Euchre.  Della and I are always partners while Faye and Ron have a winning team.  We lost 6 of the 8 games we played!  Oh well, it’s just nice to play cards with them and talk to other adults for a change.  The next day, Faye and I went to a nearby town’s Steven’s Creek Country Market, right across from the Farmers’ Market.  Faye was happy to find a few button-on tea towels for her stove.   Then we spent a few enjoyable hours driving around the countryside, stopping in at little shops along the way.

‘Gal pal’ day on Tuesday was extra special with Faye here.  Since her retirement, every Tuesday, Della and I go into town to do some shopping and have lunch.  This Tuesday, we dropped in to a record number of stores and shops.

Wednesday, I had to drive Nellie to Smiths Falls to meet my son-in-law Mike, who needed her to babysit.  So Faye and I plotted out a course of Thrift Stores to visit while we were in this town.   Faye scored a new (to her) winter coat and an exercise outfit while I came home empty handed.  On Thursday, I did some work outside while Faye kept an eye on our dog Yukon – he likes to ‘wander’ over to the neighbours to ‘visit’ their puppy Mexi.

Third World Bazaar

We started out bright and early Friday morning heading for the Third World Bazaar.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous with sunny 22 degrees C (72F).  Since the Third World Bazaar buildings are not heated, we enjoyed the warm temperatures.  We ooohed and ahhhed at all the fair-traded products from around the world, walking around and around several times over.  This TWBazaar is only open for six weekends in the fall from Thanksgiving, so Faye’s timing of her visit was perfect.   We bought a few things and ended our visit with a lunch of Thai food from vendor on site.  It was Faye’s first experience eating Thai food and she loved it!

Third World Bazaar Masks

We took a little tour of Manotick while we were near and then stopped for ice cream at Kelly’s Landing waterfront restaurant on the way home.  We had actually planned on eating lunch here on the patio along the Rideau River, but we ate Thai earlier instead.  Oh well, next time………..

Kelly’s Landing

I had made a promise to Nellie to drive her to her friends on Friday afternoon, so after dropping her off (and Melvin at his girlfriends), Faye and I headed into town to the Auction!  I had gone to that auction about 20 years ago but not since then and Faye had never been to an auction in her life, SO we were excited to experience this.  After viewing all the items to be auctioned off, we took our place at the back of the room.  We decided not to get a number since we were not going to bid on anything.  The auction started promptly at 6 p.m. – 2 kitchen items at a time.  Then the auctioneer said that they likely wouldn’t get to the big stuff (furniture) until 10:30 or 11 p.m., so Faye and I made a hasty exit.  We were NOT going to stand  all evening long……….. and it was kinda boring……..  We made a quick pit stop at the Dollarama, then arrived home before dark!  Aren’t we a couple of sad sacks!  But with Nellie and Melvin gone for the evening, we were anticipating having the quiet house (and T.V.) to ourselves.  Faye fell asleep in her lazyboy chair by 9:30 and I managed to stay awake abit longer until Nellie arrived home at 10 to break the silence.  LOL

Saturday morning, we were off to the Church ‘garage sale’ inside the hall.  I bought 3 full skeins of new yarn for Nellie’s crocheting and had a lovely time chatting with the ‘Church Ladies’.  Next we went to Geronimo Cafe in beautiful downtown Kemptville for a tea and muffin.

Faye at Geronimo’s Cafe

What a lovely place!  The exposed brick wall, children’s play area,  and well-worn comfy couch was SO inviting!  It’s run by a nice young couple and her Mother – while we were there, the Grandparents came by and brought homemade Halloween decorations for the cafe……. and then an Uncle showed up.  A real family affair!   I just LOVED it and will return.   That day, the downtown businesses were celebrating Kreepy Kemptville – owners were all dressed up in costumes and little children and their parents dropped in for special treats like the candy apples Geronimo’s had made and were giving out.  It was so heartwarming!  After tea time, we went to another church’s bake sale.  On a whim, we decided at the last minute to stop into the Salvation Army Thrift Store since Faye had never been downstairs where everything else but clothes were displayed.  Faye found the perfect vegetable peeler (25 cents) which looked brand new even though it was the thinner old style.  I found 2 boxes of new Crown/Jewel glass ‘canning’ jar rubber rings for 40 cents and a new, unopened pack of spare ‘Monopoly properties’ for a quarter.  Upstairs, we had a ball looking through the racks and racks of surprisingly good quality, gently used clothing and actually found some real treasures.  Then just when we thought we’d had enough, we passed a garage sale sign and headed down the river road – I bought a wicker basket for our cat to sleep in, a 2 tier lazy susan, an almost full bag of  polyester fiberfill (that I need for the new dog bed I’m making for Yukon), and a rubbermade stepstool – for 25 cents each!   We had such a great day!

Faye had a challenging time trying to fit all her ‘purchases’ into her compact suitcase and backpack – until I remembered the large suitcase I had to borrow from my other Sister Betty in July when I went out to British Columbia (and couldn’t fit all MY B.C. treasures into my small suitcase) lol.  Faye left to go home today on the 12:45 p.m. train ………… I’ll miss her alot until next time.  I love it when my sister comes to visit me.  (Betty, I love it even more when BOTH my sisters are here!).

Third World Bazaar
South American Clothing




The Beatles!

I heard this month that it’s been 50 years since The Beatles released their first single record “Love Me Do”……… 50 years!!!  They were John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr.   I have always been a HUGE Beatles fan – for their entire career and more.  I guess you could say that I caught the pandemic called Beatlemania!

I first saw The Beatles on TV’s The Jack Paar Show in 1964.  I was mesmerized by their ‘mop-top long’ haircuts and the music – rock and roll.  I watched them perform many times on the Ed Sullivan Show over the years too.  It was reported that in Britain, mobs of crying, screaming girls actually fainted at the sight of these 4 hunks.  A mysterious feeling had awakened within me and I started playing The Beatles music in my basement, even pantomiming with a fake guitar along with the music, just like I was on stage with them. lol   I knew EVERY word to EVERY song too…… maybe I still do.

Some of my Beatles Albums

The next summer, 1965, The Beatles toured North America and their one Canadian stop was Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens (we lived in nearby Hamilton).  I was going to be there!  I don’t remember the exact details, but I think my sister Betty bought a $4.00 ticket (yes you read that right, 4 bucks to see The Beatles) and then won a free ticket from a local radio station contest.  So my Mom said that I could go to the concert with the group from the radio station – I was 12 years old.  The Beatles played two shows that day on Tuesday, August 17, 1965  at Maple Leaf Gardens, 4 p.m. and 8:30 pm. – I attended the late show.   It was awesome!!  I screamed like a girl through the whole thing – just like the other 18,000 fans!   It was SO loud that nobody could actually hear them singing!  I truly believed that John Lennon waved to me way up in the Grey Section!  It was mayhem and mass hysteria, but that was Beatlemania……  it was awesome!!  They sang all my favourite songs like “Twist and Shout”,  “Ticket to Ride”, “A Hard Day’s Night”, “Can’t Buy Me Love”, and “Help”, among others.  I learned later that they actually only sang for less than an hour but it seems like an eternity.

After that concert, I started wearing a John Lennon cap that I bought downtown.  It was a black “Poorboy” style cap.  I thought I …….er, it was SO cool!  I played Beatle music whenever I wasn’t at school on my record player – we had ALL the albums and most single 45 records.  Sadly, I only have a few Beatles albums left.

The next year, The Beatles returned to Toronto on Wednesday, August 17, 1966 to play Maple Leaf Gardens.  My ticket cost $5.50 this time and I bought it myself.  I wasn’t going to take ANY chances that they would sell out of all 32,000 tickets (two shows).   Again, I screamed my way through the entire concert – thinking back now, what a dumb thing that was!  Why didn’t I just listen and enjoy the music?  It was the last time The Beatles ever played in Toronto before they broke up the band.  I think that my favourite Beatle was always John Lennon.  Paul had that infectious smile, George was shy, and Ringo was quirky, but John was amusing yet serious.

Original Ticket Stubs

I still have my original Beatles ticket stubs from those two concerts, framed and in a place of honour on my fireplace (along with my ticket stub from the Monkees concert).  Those early days of Rock ‘n Roll shaped my love of music for life.  When we drove to Florida last March, my son Melvin filled a little Mp3 player with ALL the Beatles songs to listen to.  My daughter Kristi and I had a ball belting out the tunes!  My sister Betty says that she still has her ‘Beatles Scrapbook’ from way back in the 60’s and even some of my old posters.

I was given a gift last Christmas by my two kids Nellie and Melvin – a coffee/tea mug with the infamous picture of The Beatles “Abby Road” album cover in a collectible Beatles Box……… my kids know me!

My Beatles Mug

I feel blessed that I witnessed with my own eyes,  the most influencial musical group in the history of music.   Yeah, Yeah,  Yeah, I love The Beatles!


Book Fair!

Well it’s finally here:  our local Book Fair!  I’ve been anticipating the book fair for a few months now and I arrived at 3 p.m. sharp when it opened on Friday afternoon.  Last year I bought a whole canvas bag full of books, many of which I haven’t finished reading yet.  But they will be read by me or borrowed by my grown kids.  I like to browse through the Gardening section first, then the Nature, Crafts, Reference, ‘Self Help’, and  DVDs.  I’m not interested in Romance or Fiction, which seem to have thousands and thousands of books on several very long tables.  I’m always on the lookout for classic out of print books that I love or first editions.  For instance, a few years ago, I snagged copies of Scott and Helen Nearing’s Living the Good Life AND The Maple Sugar Book –  both out of print and rare.  I’ve also found a copy of Bubel’s Root Cellaring and even though I already had one that I hold near and dear to my heart, I can now lend out my extra book.

Two of my favourite books

I got a blank garden planner as well, just waiting for me to begin filling it out next year so I don’t have to cram my notes in one of my other books.  Other books I bought include:

Five Acres and Independence by M.G. Kains

The Amazing Results of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale

The Sierra Club Wilderness Handbook

National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America

The Place in the Forest by R.D. Lawrence

Field Guide to North American Mushrooms by The Audubon Society

An Ecology of Enchantment, A Year in a Country Garden by Des Kennedy

Heading Home by Lawrence Scanlan

Rocky Mountain Nature Guide

Wilderness Seasons, Life and Adventure in Canada’s North by Wilson

Haley’s Cleaning Hints

Tundra by Farley Mowat

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

Two Acre Eden by Gene Logsdon

The Rideau Navigator by Doug Gray

Vegetable Favourites by Lois Hole

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

Let It Rot by Stu Campbell

Raising Poultry the Modern Way by L.S. Mercier

Mushrooms of Ontario and Eastern Canada by G. Barron

Official Wilderness First Aid Guide by St. John Ambulance (W. Merry)

The Art of Soapmaking, a Harrowsmith Contemporary Primer by M. Mohr

BFF – Book Fair Finds

Many of these books are for actual reference/knowledge/further education but others are strictly for my reading pleasure.

I love books, I really do LOVE books, as I’ve written in a previous post.( I Love Books, Books, and more Books! )

Book Fairs are an awesome event!  It’s really a win-win situation:  buyers get loads of books they want to read and the sellers raise money for charity (Community Living Association and Friends of the Library).  For $1.00 each!  A buck!  And if you go Saturday morning, the books are 4 for $1.00 and after lunch, you can get a whole bag full for just a buck!   It’s cheaper than going to the movies (not that I ever do, but whatever) and  will last a heck of alot longer.   I’ll have some pretty sweet reading this winter…….

Who wouldn`t want to buy books at a book fair ?!

Books and more Books



Maple Leaves

Ahhh, Fall………. it’s been ‘raining’ leaves this week and I love it!  While walking down the road I can see all colours on the palette:   crimson red,  yellow ochre, burnt orange , all fluttering down from the trees.  The colour of the leaves is really spectacular this year – the reds are redder, the oranges are oranger, and the yellows are yellower.  I think the oldtimers say that this means that we are in for alot of snow this winter (which wouldn’t surprise me since we got off so easy last winter).  On the ground, ferns are turning from green, to pale lime, to pastel yellow, to brown………..  In the woods, I can see right through the bushes and trees along the edge to the mounting volume of leaves piling up on the forest floor.  Today I can see alot more sky beyond the maple trees outside my back windows……….. ahhhh, Fall is here.

Miscanthus Giganteus

And there is more urgent business in the wild animals:  just after supper the other evening, I was walking the dog and the neighbourhood fox ran leisurely across the road about 150′ in front of me.   A walked further and saw its mate at the edge of the woods, playfully waiting.  The squirrels are busily collecting up all the windfall apples around the house, munching a bit and storing them…………somewhere.  This week I saw lots and lots of Canada Geese flying overhead, making their way south for the winter.  And in the last week, I’ve seen 2 garter snakes in my back yard – amazing since I’ve only seen one in the 31 years before that.

Koi & Goldfish

Now that fall is here, I have the annual chore of bringing in the large pond fish.  I have to stand on the edge and scoop/trap them with nets, trying not to lose my balance and fall in.   I have a 150 gallon agricultural ‘water trough’ in my coldroom where I keep the fish over the winter.  My biggest pond fish is a 10+ pound, 15 inch Koi that we’ve had for about 8 years.  Surprisingly, I caught him on the first day!  Catching these fish in my 4,500 gallon pond is no easy feat, but I tell myself (and the fish) that I am the smarter species and they are lower in the food chain, so I WILL outsmart them……. eventually.  In addition to the Koi, I netted the two remaining ‘senior’ goldfish (5 yrs old) – the great blue heron got the other 8 seniors in the spring.  I also managed to net 5 ‘yearling’ goldfish that are 1 year old (including my two granddaughters new goldfish)-  but I still have 2 more .  I always set out the minnow trap to capture as many babies or fry that I can.  I have no idea how many there are in the pond as dozens are born every year …….  I am slowly getting through my Fall List.  It’s really comforting when I can cross off  another item.  But I still have a number of things that are still outstanding, like ordering my wood pellets for the pellet stove, ordering more firewood (I have a few years worth already but I’d like to still have a bit more since I neglected to order some in the spring), cleaning my pellet stove chimney (and Darin’s going to sweep my wood cookstove chimney next weekend, I hope), clean the soot/ash out of my cookstove, drain my rain barrels and turn them upside down, clean up the garage (I’ve been saying THAT for 4 years now lol), dig/dry my canna lily bulbs, clean out the evestroughs, yada,yada,yada……..

A Stroll in the Woods

Now that it’s Friday evening of the Thanksgiving weekend, I can sit and reflect upon life……… The family will be gathering here on Sunday for turkey dinner and all the trimmings as well as celebrating my granddaughter Livi’s 7th birthday.  HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!




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