Rainy Drive Home

Hamilton to Cobble Beach

Sunday, November 27, 2022

After a wonderful ten days with family, we are happily home again. Today’s drive from Hamilton to Cobble Beach was in a constant drizzle. Snow patches started to appear around Fergus, but the most snow was here at Cobble Beach. There are green grass patches even here; so, a lot of that one metre snowfall of last week did serious melting in the last few days.

We stopped for groceries in Owen Sound and greeted Goose upon arrival. She pressed up against us purring and scolding with loud meows. We unpacked, had a sausage on a bun and went for a drizzly walk down to the beach and back with a circuit past the new area to see how house construction is doing. Last week’s snow must have slowed down progress.

The lemon tree is happily blooming. So fragrant!

Thanks, Adrian, for looking after things: shoveling snow, feeding Goose and being a bee for the lemon tree!

Brian made us spaghetti and meatballs which we consumed with satisfaction and now we are relaxing. Home again!

The Long Road to Ontario

Guilford to Hamilton

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Brian and I both think this does not feel like a Saturday. We do not know what it does feel like but we spent eight and a half hours on the road. These sedentary days are difficult! Nevertheless it was a beautiful blue sky day with dry roads all the way from Guilford, Connecticut to Hamilton, Ontario: 805 kilometres.

We did not see any snow until we were an hour from Buffalo and then it was very little in low or shady spots. There were a few remnant snow piles in Buffalo and that was it. Hard to imagine there was a big snowstorm last week.

There was a fifteen minutes wait at the Lewiston- Queenston Bridge. We saw mostly Ontario cars. Had they been over for Black Friday sales? Our customs officer was super friendly and waved us on our way in twenty seconds.

Brilynn and I went for a quick four kilometre walk around her Hamilton neighbourhood. We just finished a roast chicken dinner with Brilynn. Tea time. Bed cannot be far behind. Car sitting is exhausting.

Last night the winning lineup for Ratchett was Agnes, Alex, Shawn, Brian, me and Julie. 

Hiking Into Darkness

Chatfield Hollow State Park

Killingworth, Connecticut 

Friday, November 25, 2022

This was the first morning we woke up to a grey sky. That did not stop the fishermen from trying their luck. A little drizzle did not hurt them but a beaver has been busy at the river and possibly keeping the trout away. Brian and Shawn caught a few fall fish but threw them back.

I made bran muffins and of course I included chocolate chips as Julie informed me years ago that they were an essential ingredient.

Brian and I went for a walk around the neighbourhood around 1:30 PM when the drizzle had stopped and the sun was peeking at us.

Later this afternoon, after turkey leftovers for lunch, Shawn, Alex, Brian and  went for a hike at Chatfield Hollow State Park. The parking lot was a little less crowded than it had been earlier when people had to park on the road. Holidays and sunlight bring out the hikers. 

Shawn led us on a two kilometre steady climb before turning to have some descent. Our six kilometres finished after the sun set over the Chatfield Pond. Another lovely hike!

A pork roast is slowly cooking in the oven.

Brian won last night’s Ratchett right from the beginning. The rest of us were close to one another until the last hand when Shawn stole second place from me and Alex and Agnes were close behind me.

Thanksgiving 2022

Hammonasset Beach State Park, Connecticut 

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving!

It was 10C when we went for our Thanksgiving walk at Hammonasset Beach State Park. When we walked to the eastern end of the shore, we scrambled over large rocks, boulders and logs. Shawn set up his phone to capture a photo of the six of us in the same position as we were four years ago. Two of our family grew considerably since 2018.

Hammonasset means “where we dig holes in the ground”. Eastern Woodland Indians used to farm here along the Hammonasset River. The property changed hands many times between the Native Americans and the colonists, the first of whom arrived in 1639. This has been a state park since 1920.

Along with many other walkers we took time to admire the large hawk eying us from a bare tree. We saw plenty of orange/red bittersweet and puffy white salt bushes along the trail, a nice foreground to blue Long Island Sound. The shell of a very large horseshoe crab had been posed on a rock. 

The labyrinth on the shore has probably doubled in size in the years we have been visiting here.

While Shawn and Brian cast for fish from the rocky pier at Meigs Point, Agnes and I did a brisk four kilometre walk on the sand beach. Fewer people walk the beach compared to the boulder shore. Alex and Julie hung out near the pier.

Brian made pizza for lunch. I made a pumpkin pie for dinner. Agnes prepared the stuffing and rub for the turkey while Shawn made cranberry sauce. We will soon be feasting, ever grateful for one another and the beauty each day brings.

Oops, I almost forgot: Shawn won Ratchett last night. I was second. Alex beat Brian for third. Agnes lost.

Beautiful November Day

Branford, Connecticut 

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Another beautiful sunny blue sky day! After making a raspberry pie this morning, I sat with my cappuccino on the deck in the sunshine, watching the birds and reading. It was 12C! 

Julie did not have school today and Shawn and Agnes came home early. We went for a hike at the Washburn Preserve in Branford along the Long Island shore. We had seen osprey and other wild fowl on a previous visit here but we did not see a lot of birds today. We did watch a young buck watching us.

Shawn led or directed us around 4.5 kilometres of marsh, huge rocks, across a rocky ridge and a wooden bridge. I photographed the other five who climbed an enormous erratic. The setting sun cast a soft golden light on everything. A lovely rambling hike!

While the rest of us went home, Shawn and Agnes braved the busy grocery and liquor stores to get the last items before tomorrow’s closed day for Thanksgiving.

Shawn is preparing salmon for this evening’s dinner.

Last night Agnes won Ratchett. I was second. Brian had to settle for tying Shawn for third while Alex and Julie brought up the rear.

In the Forest Neighbourhood

Guilford, Connecticut

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

This morning Brian and I drove to the Westbrook Outlet mall to go to the Eddie Bauer Store. We also visited the Williams Sonoma Store. We made some fifty percent-off purchases in both. Where there used to be forty stores, there are now only a dozen, and a number of those were not open today.

Our best buy of the day was at the Big Y supermarket where we bought a fresh fourteen pound turkey for $7. Generally we find grocery prices here to be higher than at home even more so when we compare our Canadian dollar to the American one.

After Brian cooked sausages on the barbecue for lunch, he took the barbecue apart and repaired it with a kit Shawn had bought online.

Alex, Brian and I hiked 5.5 kilometres from the house doing a circuit that included part of the New England Trail. There is very easy walking access from this neighbourhood. Brian noticed blood on the trail; so, he tracked a deer until no blood remained. We did not find the deer.

Agnes and Shawn arrived home when we finished our hike. Alex repeated our hike with Agnes while Shawn went cycling. Julie is not feeling well.

Darkness comes quickly. The sunset appears as a fire in the forest.

We made Christmas ribs for dinner without the ribs. Brian cut part of a boneless pork roast into strips.

I won Ratchett last night but Brian beat Shawn for second place.

Autumn Pursuits

Guilford, Connecticut

Monday, November 21, 2022

It was back to work for Shawn and Agnes and school for Julie. While Alex slept in, Brian and I went to a cycle shop to learn about electric bikes. Twenty-five percent of the bikes sold at Zane’s in Branford are ebikes. Eric gave us plenty of information about electric bikes to think about. At that store they sell Trek and Gazelle bikes. One day we will try them out!

This afternoon Brian decided to give his foot a rest. Alex and I went hiking at nearby Timberlands. We entered from the opposite end from where we usually go. Alex led me up and down rocky ridges and along Guilford Lake where they skate in winter. There was a coating of ice on ponds which held the autumn leaves in place.

Shawn has several bird feeders around the house. It is a pleasure to watch the birds. Brian washed the windows and screens in the kitchen to make bird viewing even better. Shawn always has a hummingbird feeder on one window for the warm weather. Now he has a feeder on the window for winter birds. The tufted titmouse, finches and chickadees are regular visitors. The bluebirds stay in winter too.

We are going to have the lamb casserole left over from the potluck lunch. I made a salad and a lemon sponge pudding to round out our meal.

Shawn and I remained the biggest losers at Ratchett last night while Brian and Agnes again claimed first and second. Julie and Alex were in between.

Hiking and Kitchen Fun

North Farm Trails

North Branford, Connecticut 

Sunday, November 20, 2022

It is difficult to imagine how or why farmers thought they good make a living farming this rocky ground, but they did just as they did at home in rocky Keppel township and beyond. 

Today Shawn took Brian and me hiking at the North Farm Trails. There are no farms here today, just forest, rock, the Branford River and stream and the remains of dams where once there were likely mills. Beyond the forest there are single homes and a neighbourhood of townhouses, all with easy access to the many trails, painted with blazes white, yellow, orange and yellow-orange and some unblazed but definitely there. Shawn showed off some of his favourite fishings haunts. We saw some fish disappear under logs.

We heard and saw the pileated woodpecker that has been drilling its tunnels into trees.

The local library and recreation association made a children’s story trail. Leo Lionni’s book, Frederick, is posted along the trail for young readers. What a great idea! Shawn said a new story is posted every couple of months.

Lots of culinary adventures today. Agnes made biscuits for breakfast then Brian poached eggs and fried bacon. Agnes prepared a Middle Eastern Lamb and Chick Pea Casserole for tomorrow’s potluck lunch at the lab. Shawn’s delicious ceviche from last night is still being snacked upon. I made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Brian marinated a boneless leg of lamb which Shawn is grilling and preparing a mushroom risotto plus broccoli. I made a cabbage salad. Never a shortage of good food!

Did I mention that Brian won the Ratchett card game last night with Agnes coming in second? Shawn and I will make a comeback. Alex went to see the movie, The Menu, while Julie went to a birthday sleepover.

Fishing and Hiking

Hiking Beside Lake Hammonasset 

Madison, Connecticut

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Shawn and Brian left the house shortly after 8 AM to go fishing. It took more than one venue to find the fish but they were delighted with Brian’s final catch. At 34 1/2 inches, the striped bass met the requirement of being under 35 inches. Fish is on tonight’s menu. Shawn and Brian have shopped to get the correct accompaniments. They left a while ago to buy cilantro, but I think they went fishing again! It does not take so long to buy cilantro! I was wrong.They are back. They had to explore the grocery store and when they decided to make fish tacos, they had to google a recipe then find the correct ingredients, including finding Mexican cheese.

Shawn always likes to take us hiking where we have not been. His first attempt to hike to Lake Hammonasset from the back way ended at a flooded trail. Although Shawn was willing to carry each of us fifteen feet through water, we declined. We checked out a beautiful waterfall en route to a different entry point to the lake.

Walking in the forest on a sunny day is especially delightful. We see farther through the forest with the leaves on the ground, but we are much noisier rustling through the leaves.

Arrived Guilford

Guilford, Connecticut

Friday, November 18, 2022

Happy 50th Anniversary, Bryan and Susan!

Brian and I took our time rising this morning. I am listening to Sapiens on my iPhone and reading The Gene on my iPad; so, I have plenty of interesting reading to occupy me. Brian went downstairs and brought us back tea, juice and yogurt to accompany our reading.

Later we enjoyed our breakfast of small waffles with scrambled eggs and bacon while having a dining room to ourselves with a view of fresh snow on the phragmites beside the hotel.

We parked near the campus and went for an hour and a half walk around St. Lawrence University and downtown Canton. The Grasse River crosses Main Street and Little River is a delightful winding tributary that runs past the end of the campus. The beautiful red sandstone Cole Hall reading room would be my favourite place to study!

Our four and a half kilometre walk was not sufficient to close the move rings on my Apple Watch. Another six and a half hour drive made for a second sedentary day. Although the first couple of hours were on snow covered roads with snow falling, Brian did not drive us into any ditches. We saw cars and trucks in ditches. Those vehicles probably did not have snow tires as we do.

It was very pretty driving through the Adirondacks. Past Tupper Lake the roads were dry and the sun kept sneaking out from behind the clouds. Upstate New York is beautiful wilderness with cycling lanes, hiking, rivers and lakes for paddling, skiing, lots and lots of forest!

We safely delivered Alex home where we were welcomed with big hug sand a delicious steak dinner with polenta, squash, salad and Julie’s chocolate layer birthday cake.

No snow at Shawn’s. The same cannot be said for Grey County where schools were closed and a foot and a half or more of snow blanketed everything. Adrian has been busy blowing snow. Thanks, Adrian!