Oct 27, 2010

Snowbirds -- take off, eh?

It is snowbird season again, and we are on our way south.
The week we left it was near freezing, and so it was time to be saying our goodbyes to our family and wonderful friends in Ontario.

We stopped this trip for three nights in Austin, Tx. One morning, I noticed this Monarch butterfly on some flowers next to our trailer. It was also making its way south to Mexico for the winter season.
I haven’t been blogging all summer (after all this Palapa Life is a record of our winters in our “little grass shack”), but here are a few notes to fill in some space between last spring and now.

Medical alert update...

Some readers may remember that during our trip north last spring, Susan had a breakdown in her right eye. We scooted back to Canada and were seen at the Ivey Eye clinic in London, Ont where it was confirmed that she had a detached retina. It was operated on, and with a band around the eye, some laser welding, and a gas bubble inserted, it set about healing. Then in July, just as we were celebrating its improved vision, it detached again. Immediately back to the Ivey clinic another operation, more welding and this time silicone oil was inserted. It is projected to stay there until spring when it will be removed. Many weeks of eyedrops and headaches later, they pronounced her better than expected under the circumstances and she was given the green light to travel once again.

Amazing fall colours...

We had a beautiful display of fall colours. All those years of living in Vancouver, we rarely saw much in the way of fall colours on the trees. The change of seasons, usually was accompanied with days of rain which turned the dying leaves to mush. Where we live in southern Ontario, with its rolling hills, and fields broken up by mature stands of trees is perfect for a bright display of nature’s fall show.

Oh baby, baby, baby...Oh...

Our precious grand baby, Amelia, turned one year old this late summer, and she had a big water-park party. There were hordes of little kids there with their mummies and daddies, as well as her 4 doting grandparents.

She is totally amazing, happy and the centre of her universe. We commissioned our friend Colette to create this mirror for her.

Notice to our West Coast friends & relatives

This summer we became official Guelphites or Guelphadelphians, or ... After a whole bunch of looking around (thanks to our patient agent, Ann) we bought a house in Guelph. We had been “home-free” for four years (if you don’t count our palapa in Mexico) and we we decided to invest in a place that would be there for us when we wanted a regular street address again.
So what is Guelph? And why?
Guelph is close to a perfect little city, about 120,000, with a big University, lots of small industry, robust farming lands all around, with rolling hills, rivers and lakes. It has one Walmart, one Home Depot and two Canadian Tire stores. I estimate if you drive through Guelph in any direction, it is about 6 Tim Hortons wide.
It is so gosh-darn pretty in the summer, and if we are able to carry on with our north/south scitzo life, we will be enjoying Southern Ontario summers (and avoiding winters) for years to come.

Music in the air...

It was a summer of many music festivals. Guelph has an active and visible music community.

Every few weekends, there is an public event with music added, or a small one day music festival, such as the Sunshine Festival or Fresh Water Jam.

On the big Festival side, 3 day with thousands in attendance, we took in Mariposa and Hillside.
The Mariposa Festival up in Orillia (once again took our trailer up to camp at Wayne & Alice’s). It was Mariposa’s 50th anniversary and featured several Canadian classics such as Murray McLaughlin, Quartette, both Ian and Sylvia (they sang 4SWs together) and Gordon Lightfoot.

Oscar Brand ("Something to sing about, this land of ours") who is now 90 led an afternoon workshop to very warm response.
My personal highlight, new to me, but a returning favorite at Mariposa, was an American singer songwriter, Chris Smither. We bought two of his CDs and have been playing them a lot.

Once again we rode our bikes over to the perennially popular Hillside Festival, which is held right in our own Guelph Lake Park. It is a hugely popular event, always sold out, and features many younger singer songwriters of “today” such as Sarah Harmer, The Good Lovlies, Patrick Watson, and other college radio artists.
Where have all the old hippies gone? But I did see many young parents with their toddlers wearing one of the new festival accessories -- baby sized ear muffs (sound dappeners).

Then just last week, I wrapped up my music festival summer with a visit to the Austin (Texas) Stringband Festival. What a surprising delight! A charming little gathering, all acoustic instruments. And yes hippies, Texas style. Saturday night closed with the duo of Jeff Muldaur and Jim Kweskin. (Imagine: Susan hadn’t heard of the Jim Kweskin Jug Band!) It was great to see them sounding so good after all these years.

Susan got a new bike.

Guelph Lake Park is a great place to bike. And there are hundreds of kms. of bike trails in the country side around us.

Summer 2010 - Trailer Life - Summer style...

We enjoyed another summer at Guelph Lake. The sun shone, the grass grew, the birds sang. GL is a huge park, about 1400 acres with several beaches and lots of hiking trails. The camping spots are large are widely spread out in several sections throughout the park. It can get busy on weekends, especially holidays, but it is wonderfully quiet during the week.
Our own spot is the size of a city lot with four large trees for shade and bird feeders. The birds are a rainbow from yellow finches, blue birds and blue jays, (red) cardinals, (orange) oriels, hummingbirds and more. The birds compete for seeds with red, grey and black squirrels and chipmunks.
This summer I built a shed -- a proper from-the-ground-up shed. It will be our storage for much of the stuff we accumulate and spills out of our trailer.