Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Eve Day

It was about 9am before I had finished sleeping off last night's Quebecer homebrew. After a couple of cups of coffee I headed out to pick up some groceries and a couple of last minute gifts. Finally the stores were running ALL the checkouts and the lines were no big deal.

Arrived back home to find that my daughter had made a nice snowman family in our front yard. I love how she always has them face us inside the house instead of the street.
Girls with their snowmans
(is it just me or does my snowman butt look big?)


Nearly collapsed with back spasms after shoveling the heavy slush off of the driveway (and the neighbour's). Then headed inside for some hot coco and lunch.

Now it's time for the ritual xmas eve t-shirt iron off where we print up a few pics on some iron-on transfers and make some last minute gifts.

Cheers and Merry Christmas blog readers.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Don Ross does the Black Sheep real good


It was a slippery, sloppy, snowy drive to the Black Sheep Inn in Wakefield, QC but it was worth it to catch a glimpse of the one and only Don Ross - the only person to ever win the US National Fingerstyle Guitar Championship twice. What an amazing show. This white boy can play like wildfire on fire. You'll never see more hammer-ons, pull-offs, smacks, slaps, knocks, harmonics, strumming, plucking, and picking in one 2 1/2 hour show ever. Truly a one man show.

Don in action...
Don Ross
Don Ross

Don meets BvT...
Don Ross and me
People say we look a like, whatta ya think?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Lighting up the 'haven

We did another tour of Barrhaven in the family van tonight to see the Christmas lights. Although there's no one single house in the area that stands out as a must see, overall the neighbourhood seems to be showing their Christmas spirit with various light displays and outdoor decorations. Here's a couple of pics:

This one was off of Cedarview...



This one is just me playing with the aperature setting on my camera and shaking it a bit. What do ya think?

Monday, December 19, 2005

Last weekend before Xmas

Not too much to say.  The weekend was on the books as "Papa's birthday weekend" but that somehow fell through the cracks.  Instead we built snowforts and gingerbread houses. 

The funniest thing was when one kid started laughing at the other saying that their gingerbread man's eyes were crossed.  (what the !?@?)



I also got some more Christmas shopping done and I even wrapped a few while watching my new Jack Johnson DVD and having a whiskey or two. I'm sure Christmas morning will be "as per usual" when I fail to remember which gift it is that I wish to save as the "big one" for last.  Sorry mama.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

AYH hits the nation's capital

Dec. 08th

Alvin Youngblood Hart... a true bluesman visited the nation's capital last Thursday evening.

This was an awesome show. Although Alvin's better known for his acoustic blues, tonight he served up some hardcore electric blues backed by a Native American bass/harmonica player and an ex-skinhead drummer. What more can a poor white boy like myself ask for? The only downside to the night was that it was my turn to drive the Barrhaven Blues fan club and as such I was forced to go easy on the bourbon, scotch and beer. Nevertheless a good time was had by all.

Here's a couple of pics that somebody emailed me after the show (my camera's memory card died before the gig even started).

Alvin Youngblood Hart

Alvin Youngblood Hart

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The shiny chrome knob

Well another year has come and gone and it is officially time to pack away the shiny chrome knob and all its summer time accessories. The tent trailer and camping gear, and the bike rack and bikes have all been crammed into our single car garage where they will have to wait patiently for the spring of 2006. To the front of the queue are now the cross country skis, toboggans, and snowshoes. Now all we need is the fluffy white stuff.

Chrome reflections

PS: Anybody know how to get rust off chrome?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Birthday weekend

Last weekend we celebrated both Opa's and Sara's birthdays here in Ottawa. Joining us for the festivities were Oma Jason and Tante Christine (aka the Strongest Woman in the World). The weekend consisted mainly of eating, opening presents, eating while opening more presents, watching a movie or two, snacking, and a trip to Costco. Needless to say a good time was had by all. Now on to the photos...

Happy Birthday guys...

Birthday cake glow

Birthday girl and birthday Opa

Opa puts his new coveralls to the test (note Tripper does not look overly impressed)

Opa's new coveralls

This was all that was left of the 2 packages of President's Choice Thick-Slice Bacon following Sunday morning's mega-breakfast. That can't be good.

Greasy smile

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Corkstown family hike

This morning I took the family down one of the trails off of Corkstown Rd. The birds were out looking for handouts so we raided a nearby feeder. After about a 5km round trip we found ourselves back at the van just as the rain started to fall.

Hair the colour of dead oak leaves...

Rusty red

Feeding the birdies...

The beginnings of a birch bark canoe...

Birch bark

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Cold caulking and birthday balloons

I had the ladder out yesterday to do some caulking around some of the windows. Note to all you blog readers out there, cold weather does nothing for your caulk (pun intended). It was like working with sticky gum. There was some cursing.

Anyhow I figured since I already had the ladder out I might as well put up the Christmas lights. Well they're up now and as a bonus this year I managed not to scare the neighbours half to death by falling off the ladder into the front shrub. Likely had something to due with the fact that I ripped up that evil eye-sore last summer. Revenge is sweet.

Here's a shot of the lights later that evening.

Christmas light glow

Saturday afternoon Sara had her bithday party with 4 of her school friends. We took them to see Chicken Little at the new Barrhaven theatre and to make a long story short there were some mix ups and after the movie we were given several free admissions and one adult refund. Cha-ching.

Five 8 year old girls, 25 balloons, and no flash... chaos!

Sara's birthday balloon fight

Happy Birthday Sara.

Birthday cake glow

Friday, November 11, 2005

Closing of the 2005 hiking season in Gatineau Park

Spent the better part of Friday hiking with a friend in Gatineau park. The weather was amazing considering it's Remembrance Day.

Here are some of the pics... oh, if you're looking for an incredibly simple and cool way to stitch together your panoramic photos check out Autostitch. All you do is snap all the photos that you want to use for your panoramic view (up down, left right, just keep clicking away) and then just drop them in any order into Autostitch and BLAMO! Instant pano. It's truly amazing.

Lac La Peche

Hello from the Shores of Lac Curly

Rusty's walk (Gatineau Park)

Tripper at Lac La Peche

Wading over to the island on Lac La Peche.

Wading to be found

Damn right it was cold, but it was the perfect spot to enjoy the view, a refreshing pint, and end the 2005 hiking season.


Rusty's walk

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

C'est quoi ça?

Today, after attending French class now for 8 1/2 weeks, 7 1/2 hours a day, I finally cracked. It all started as I polished off another box of Smarties that I stole the night before from my kid's Halloween bag. As I ate the last red Smartie and listened to my classmates butcher Canada's deuxieme langue, I sat staring at the empty box when BLAMO! I had a brilliant idea.

I quietly grabbed my pen and drew a little picture on the inside of the empty box. I then took hold of the box between my index finger and thumb and started to roll it gently back and forth making the tiny cartoon BvT "dance". This was all fine and dandy until my fellow classmates noticed and started to laugh hysterically thereby disrupting the entire room. Le professeur only grinned and announced that it was time for a break.

Smartie man

Monday, November 07, 2005

Running from the storm

I was out hiking with the kids around 4pm last night and we nearly got caught in a wicked thunderstorm. The sky went from light to an eerie black in less than 10 minutes. Luckily we weren't too far from the van before I yelled RUN!! There was some panic among the masses as the lightning cracked and the thunder started to rumble but I still somehow managed to snap off the following pic.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Busted by Officer BvT

I was clicking through our digital photo collection and stumbled across some classic pics. Here's one of them...

Wife gets busted

Yep, that's my wife in the back. Unfortunately another officer let her out. ;-)

Monday, October 31, 2005

Boo from Barrhaven

Here are some of the pics detailing a typical Halloween in Barrhaven.

First it starts with the traditional pumpkin carving (we seem to add another member to the ghoul cast every year).


Then the costumes...


Popping in on some friends...

And a very appropriate pint of ale provided to Papa while making the rounds with the little ones...

Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale

A weekend in the GAT

I spent both Saturday morning and Sunday morning hiking in Gatineau Park. The weather was incredible. Combine that with blue skies, awesome landscape, colourful leaves, good company, and a refreshing pint or two and you have a little something this side of heaven.

Here are some pics from Saturday morning's hike into Meech Lake area from P16...

The next one was taken on Sunday while following half the population of China. Somewhere around the halfway point, Emma found a coin (1 yuan) She called it her lucky "Chinese king-kaka coin". Luckily they didn't understand her accent (or her unintentional mockery) and we were spared a serious martial arts style beating. Hey, maybe the coin really is lucky.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Fall has fallen

Is it just me or has the peak of Ontario's fall leaf season already come and gone? I look out my window and half the trees are completely bare of leaves while the other half are still green. Weird.

Oh yeah, I hear it's supposed to snow tomorrow too.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Biggest White Bur Oak (1975)

While driving home from watching the salmon jump in Port Hope (I stress the word "the", as in one) my father started to spin a tale about a record setting tree that used to be in the area. Taking him up on the story, I side-tracked our return trip and headed south from Mather's Corners in search this mythical monster.

Well we found it, however, it was in rather poor condition. Turns out it had been hit by lightning twice and even though it had pretty much passed on to forest heaven it was still an incredible sight to see. There was a plaque on it declaring it to be the largest White Bur Oak in the Otonabee region back in the year 1975. High praise indeed.

We pulled up and all of us (except my wife, who was sleeping) hopped out of the van to get a closer look. Between us and the tree there was a steel farmers gate topped with the wire from an electric fence. You guessed it, ZAP! My oldest daughter got zapped good (btw, she claims that Opa told her it was off). And at the exact same time as Sara was running back towards the van, my wife was barrelling out of it shouting something about closing the doors and a bee.

Well as it turned out, in our haste to see if we could all hug this tree and completely encircle it we forgot to shut ALL the van doors. Normally not a biggie, but as luck would have it there was a rather large and out of control collection of bee hives nearby. Sorry mommy. Needless to say, after calming the crowd, I snapped some quick pics, shooed out a dozen bees, and headed back down the road. Fun.

As luck would have it, I coincidentally snapped this pic only moments after Sara was zapped by the electric fence. Talk about luck!!

Look how small everyone looks against this bad boy...

Here's a quick pic I took of the bee hives. Not sure what's up with the barrels other then to create mass bee hysteria.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Gobble gobble

After a dark and rainy drive last Friday night we arrived at my parent's farm for Thanksgiving weekend. Family time... and surprisingly it turned out pretty good. Time well spent as they say. (read, yes my mother now has access to the Internet and can now read my blogs).

Here are some pics...

Cows love apples (cut in half, as they may choke and die if you leave them whole). Man these things have freakishly long tongues. I think I now know why my brother spends so much time in the back frield.

Cows love apples

Hoe'ing it with BvT. Apparently some 73 year old man dropped by the farm to help my dad fix a low spot that kept flooding out. Unfortunately he didn't leave us the keys... however, this was likely a good thing as it took us 10 minutes just to figure out how to shut the door.

Posing with the hoe

In the bucket

Salmon jumping. Nothing like hanging out in Port Hope with 50 chinese families waiting for some lethargic fish to jump up a ladder. We saw lots of salmon but only one jumped. Luckily I snapped the pic. (who da man?)

salmon run

Did I mention it was fall? Still lots of green around Peterborough though.

I see red