Saturday, April 25, 2009

Family Fire Tower Trek

Arriving at the fire tower

After the cancellation of our annual fire tower trek last Monday I tried one last time to rally the troops before the date slipped away into bug season. Again it wasn't proving easy. Mike was heading to Montreal, Dave busy with family and new home stuff, and Kenmore was helping map out the Mother's Day 10k race. Hmmm, I thought, what about my family? (brilliant eh?) Well I made a pitch and BLAMMO! they were hooked. Saturday would be the day and the deal closer would be one family-sized poutine. Yum.

As the date approached and I started to talk start times, Kenmore bellied up and joined the adventure. Personally I think it was the word poutine that nailed it for him too. Either way we were making our annual hike up Luskville Falls and the weather was to be sunny and 26°C. Sweet.

After a parking lot pit stop, we were off and running. Well not really. Only a dozen steps down the trail and Kenmore spotted a garter snake slithering away through the dry leaves. Reason enough for Sara to jump off trail and scoop him up for a little photo shoot. A good start to what would be a great day.

Edward the garter snake
Making their way to the top Coming down
up up up up up up .... and .... down down down


As is always the case, the climb up was a cooker but once we finally broke through into the open air we managed to score a nice breeze. Just the perfect time for a snack break and a refreshing beverage... not to mention front row centre seats overlooking the Ottawa River.

Lazing at the (near) top
IMG_1928 Luskville Fire Tower In your eyes...

After refueling we strapped the packs back on and made our way towards the fire tower. By now the rain was threatening us with a splash here and there but it never did anything more than cool us down a 1/2 degree.

The rain started up again as we reached the fire tower so we scuttled off under a pine to enjoy the rest of our snacks and beverages. It'd didn't last long if at all.

From the top down there was only one beckoning call. "Poutine." A tasty end to a great day.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

LeE HARVeY OsMOND is Tom Wilson


Last night my buddy Mikey and I drove out to Wakefield to see Tom Wilson's latest creation, Lee Harvey Osmond. Technically speaking the touring band consists of a rotating set of members pulled from the list on the inside cover of the new CD "A Quiet Evil". Helping to create this album Tom pulled together a rather impressive gaggle of talent with members from the Cowboy Junkies (Michael, Margo, and Peter Timmons), the Skydiggers, Junkhouse/Blackie & The Rodeo Kings, Huron, Suzie Vinnick, Colin Linden,... you get the idea.

The night started with a huge line-up at the closed door. Mikey and I had hoped to score a seat and stupidly thought that arriving over an hour before ticket time would be sufficient. It was not. This Thursday night gig was not going unnoticed by the Black Sheep regulars. It was sold out.

Opening the evening was Justin Townes Earle (son of Steve, albeit raised by his mother -- which btw provided some funny between song banter). Hailing from Nashville, TN Justin warmed up the house to a mixture of folk, honky tonk, and a taste of country while his side kick Charlie played a mean mandolin and blew what may have well been the best harp I've ever heard. Check out the track "Halfway to Jackson" on his latest CD - even keeping in mind that live rocks while studio only rolls, the train/harmonica leads are smoking.

Justin Townes Earle at the Black Sheep

When Lee Harvey Osmond finally took the stage the crowd was more than ready. According to Tom himself he was one grumpy bastard upon arriving having just spend a dozen odd hours in the back of a minivan. But hearing Justin play the opening set made him "real happy". Thankfully too, as we the audience were the benefactors.

At one point in the night, Tom dropped word that he is working on a new CD with Blackie & the Rodeo Kings to be titled "Kings and Queens". Aside from the standard Blackie members, Colin Linden, Stephen Fearing, and Tom Wilson they have been teaming up with various female artists. There was no name dropping but I'll go out on a limb here and mention Margo and Suzie. Regardless it sounds like a recipe for awesome. Looking forward to it.

Tom Wilson with LeE HARVeY OsMOND Tom Wilson with LeE HARVeY OsMOND

As the night wore on it become more and more apparent that Tom was really enjoying himself. At one point he jumped to stage left away from the mic and started belting out the song John Henry (or at least a version of). As you can well imagine Tom had no problem making his voice carry in such a small room. Powerful - a very effective way to kick things up a notch.

Tom Wilson with LeE HARVeY OsMOND

By night's end there were a couple of standing O's and even one unexpected encore (Tom had to quickly teach some the of the band a new track to play). By now he had everybody on their feet throwing a glow with lighters and cellphones while they rocked out to Mott the Hoople's Sweet Jane. A great end to a great night. I still had to get up early next morning, but definitely no regrets.

Here are a couple of youtube videos from Lee Harvey Osmond, Queen Bee and Every Blade of Grass. Enjoy.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hike to Healey and Herridge

Cheers from Healey

The day's original plan was to make our annual trek up Luskville Falls to the fire tower but in the end one of the gang couldn't make it so we decided to hold off. Our back-up plan was to hike the snowshoe trail down the road from P16 to the Healey and Herridge shelters. I met up with Kenmore around 9:30 at the parking lot and not long after we were joined by Dave.

Crossing the beaver dam

There was a little snow and ice on the trails and even the odd flooded beaver dam but for the most part the hike was smooth going.

Hanging at Healey

Around back at Healey we found a live trap (made by Havahart) meant to catch pesky critters and ship them off to new locations. The thing here was, whoever set this trap originally obviously forgot all about it as the door was sprung and the critter inside was loooong dead. In fact it appears that other hungry beasts managed to devour most of this guy through the holes in the cage. Talk about picking at your food. Yum.

Caught in a trap

After a snack and a beverage at Healey we hiked (more like wandered as it's less than 1 km away) over to Herridge Shelter. Here we enjoyed the last of the day's sunshine while we ate the rest of our lunch. The birds and squirrels were busy (and noisy) at the nearby bird feeder. I suppose they need to eat too, right?

Welcome to Herridge Herridge Shelter
Squirrel about to fall

A great start to the 2009 hiking season.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A day in Ashdad

Lou's Beaver Pond

This weekend we spent some time with our friends in Burnstown. We arrived around noon on Saturday and after a little catching up we dug into a quick lunch of hotdogs, chicken nachos, and lemon loaf. It may sound like a strange combo but it turned out to be a hit all around.

After lunch we put on our raincoats and rubber boots (or "gum rubbers" if you're from Ashdad) and headed over to walk the property that our friends recently purchased. We spent about 3 hours touring the trails, walking the fence lines, and circumnavigating the beaver pond. A very enjoyable afternoon - especially given that the bugs are not yet out and the leaves are still off the trees providing us with maximum visibility. And even though we were prepared for it, it never did actually rain.

Halloween Tree Rubber boot season

The rest of the day was spent cooking, eating, drinking, and playing some riverside blues down by the Mad Cabin.

The Mad Cabin... Spring and Summer

Spring creek at the "Mad" Cabin The Mad Cabin getaway
Cabin blues Run Charlie Ghost stories and beer

And of course the kids also had a blast together. Check out the monster fort they made for the Saturday night sleepover. Sweet.

Monster fort

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Chocolate bunnies and birthdays birds

This weekend was the long awaited Easter long weekend (insert applause here) and like every other year we packed up and headed west for Peterborough to spend it with family and friends. This time though we were getting a late start as Sara's last soccer try-out was Friday evening. The good news is she made the cut. (more applause)

Blue Jay Yellow birdies

The weather in Peterborough was a little cool but sunny with blue skies. The birds were out in full force and not just those killer chickadees that try to steal your sandwich either. Blue Jays and Yellow Finches were busy at the feeders. My guess is the hummingbirds haven't yet hitched a ride with the geese.

And if Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies weren't enough we also managed to squeeze in a double birthday party. Grandma (aka Gamzie) turned 80 and little baby Hannah turned 2. Check out that awesome cake.

A dual birthday cake
IMG_1584 IMG_1573

Friday, April 10, 2009

Lazying at Lusk

Lunch at Lusk Cabin

Good Friday was fast approaching and as luck would have it I had a window of opportunity open up giving me a chance to head up into the GAT for the day. The only question was would I be hiking or skiing? It turned out I didn't have to ponder over that question too long when BLAMMO! we got one last dump of snow mid week. In fact some areas of Gatineau Park got as much as 10-15 cm so obviously a ski it would be and of course joining me would be Mike and Ken. Lusk Cabin here we come...

Keep to the side

We had to choose our path wisely. In the morning, we were able to ski most of the way with only a short carry over here and there but by the time we were skiing out the blacktop was popping through a little more making the walks a little longer.

Biker meets skier

In some ways the rapid melting of snow cover between morning and afternoon was a first hand view of the changing seasons. In fact we got more than one strange look from the others hiking in as we made our way back to the parking lot. The strangest looks coming from the family of 4 on bikes as they pushed and pulled them over the snow to the open pavement. Although I think we got the last laugh there as there was still way more snow than pavement.

Splashing of Spring
Lusk Cabin Lusk Lake

The ski outing proved to be an unexpected yet welcome adventure. It gave us one last taste of winter and definite flavor of spring. There's no doubt now that ski season is over which means that canoe and hiking season is just around the corner. Bring it on!

Spring is on the grill
One last stop at Renaud before heading out.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Futsal year end tournament

Flipping coins

This weekend was Team Italy's end of year tournament. They entered the tourney as league champions, won the round robin on points (17 goals for, 4 goals against) and then after a 1-1 tie in the final match it was sent into overtime. The entire crowd was dead silent, half the parents (my wife included) stopped watching entirely and faced the wall. Coaches picked three players each from their team and then they lined up for the shootout. One after another they shot. A miss, a miss, a goal, a goal, a goal, a miss and it was all over. Italy lost to the Purple Peppers. (boo hoo)

Medals and trophies

Sara still managed to score a trophy (for winning the season), a silver medal for placing second in the tourney and more importantly FREE pizza. Good times.

Mmmmm, pizza