Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather is one of those things that give value to survival.
- C. S. Lewis

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bug University

We have been exploring butterflies this summer as on ongoing 'project', and today we visited our favourite butterfly conservatory, the Naturium just outside of Kitchener, Ontario. The Naturium is actually part of a garden centre...over the past few years they have built a greenhouse that hosts butterflies from Costa Rica throughout the summer months, and also an educational centre where William and Charlie attended Bug University. Bug University is a wonderful (free!) program taught by a fabulous retired police officer, John Powers, who has spent all of his life studying butterflies and insects. He has a huge collections of butterflies and butterfly paraphernalia, much of which is on display at the Naturium. The kids spend 2 hours with Mr. Powers learning about and exploring butterflies through talks, movies, photos, and visiting the butterfly conservatory and gardens. This is another wonderful opportunity to learn about something from someone who is passionate about the subject, rather than just paid to teach it. The grand finally, of course, was coming home with a monarch caterpillar to watch its metamorphosis first-hand. Mr. Powers even found us a monarch egg, so that we will be able to see the whole life cycle right on our kitchen table ( pictures to come in about 40 days!!).

For anyone else out there interested in butterflies, the Naturium also hosts Butterfly Days on the weekends of September 12, 13, 19, 20, 26 and 27, 2009 from 11am - 4pm. During Butterfly Days, families can come to the Naturium to take part in different activities including tagging and releasing monarch butterflies. I imagine that Mr. Powers will be on hand as well to answer any questions, and to share his love of butterflies.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary

One of our every-year visits when we are at the cottage is the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary. This sanctuary is the work of Audrey Tourenay, a retired school teacher who moved up to Aspen Valley in 1972. She has always loved animals and has worked all of her life to teach others about them. Today Audrey spends all of her time as the director of the sanctuary. Each year the sanctuary rehabilitates over 1000 wild animals, most of whom are then released back into the wild. Those animals who cannot be released are kept at the sanctuary to live out the rest of their lives. Since Audrey began caring for the animals 27 years ago, not a single animal has been turned away. The sanctuary houses lynx, raccoons, wolves, coyotes, deer, beavers, squirrels, hawks, bears, and even a lion that some fool tried to raise as a house pet. In particular, there are often bear cubs who have been orphaned, often as a result of car accidnets. The cubs are raised carefully and with as little human contact as possible so that they can later be safely released. There were 2 cubs at the sanctuary when we visited this year which we could peek at from a distance, but last year there happened to be 12 on the day that we visited. The Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary is non-profit and no-government funded, and relies solely on private donations to cover its costs.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Summertime is always wonderful, but it is particularly beautiful in Ontario (not that I am biased or anything..) We were lucky enough this past week to spend time away at a cottage with Jim's side of the family (Pop, Uncle Stevie and Auntie Mindy, New Baby Griffin, and our respective dogs Jack, Shadow and Abby). I have to admit here that I am blessed not only with a great husband, but with a great husband who has a great family. This is the second year that we have all gone cottaging, and it is such a nice way to just be together. No time pressures, no need to be entertaining others, no official holidays that need to be celebrated. It is nice to just get up and share a cup of coffee. To go for a walk and see who wants to come along. To splash through the water and collect clam shells. We even made it up to Sudbury for another trip to Science North - afterall, it is only 2 1/2 hours away from the cottage....Needless to say, a great time was had by all. Here are some shots of our week.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Charlie Rock Star

I love this picture of my little rock start - Charlie is definately the musical one in the family. I really need to work on exposing him to more music...Since he was a baby, Charlie has loved music. William always wants to hear stories on tape (did I really say on tape?) in the car, but Charlie is all about songs. He loves to 'sing' with others - to hold a note together until both he adn the other person get completely in tune with each other. I love it. As for song writing, I am not sure about that...Here is a taste of what he was singing when I took this picture:

Don't want a guitar made out of grass,
I want to rock and roll,
Rock and roll your head.
We don't want to lose anything at the cottage,
We don't, we don't, we really really don't don't....

Friday, August 14, 2009

Library Fun

There is something so wonderfully simple and fun about a magic show put on at the local public library. Bad jokes, book-worm disappearing acts, wilting flower tricks, and the piece de resistance, a real live bunny rabbit!!! I love that there are still some children's entertainment out there that does not rely on strobe lights, computer graphics, loud music, scantily clad women, violent battle scenes....you know what I mean. This show was really about as basic and 'innocent' as you could get, and the kids ate it up. They laughed and laughed, they cheered him on, they bounced on the floor and pointed exuberantly when the magician didn't see the cardboard bookworm peeking out from the side of the book, and they even jumped when the spring snake sprang out of the basket. Really. Even the Moms laughed. Perhaps the best $2 I ever spent.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Beach Day

We spent a great day today at Belwood Beach with some friends, making the most of the hot summer weather that has finally arrived. The sun was hot, the water was cool, and there was splashing fun to be had by all. Definitely summer at its finest.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Roadside friend (alive, too!)

As well as now being used to their crazy mother following them around with a camera, William and Charlie also like to have some input into the blog these days. Today when we spotted this little porcupine by the side of the road, they insisted that we stop to take a picture. I guess that the apple does not fall far from the tree. Nothing earth chattering in this post, but cute anyway.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cheap fun

Ever watched a squirrel try to get into a squirrel-proof bird feeder?? I swear, this kept us busy for a half hour this morning...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Family Reunion

Our annual family reunion. Sun, fresh air, fabulous food, traditions and a sense of roots, and best of all, family. I can't think of a better way to send a Sunday. Especially since the boys are now old enough to run with the pack, and I can actually rest and visit!!