Today’s post is a bit different from most in that I want to share some good news.

You may be sad that summer is sliding away so quickly and the cool air of autumn is here, or you may, like me, have lost a friend to cancer and are grieving. There are days that no matter what you do, nothing seems to work out. But there is hope too, and much to be thankful for. (Well maybe the turkey’s not so happy.)


Today I wish to offer encouragement to you wherever you find yourself and to share good news.

Sixty-one writers, including me, look forward to the release of a new anthology in the Hot Apple Cider series. It’s like Chicken Soup series with a decidedly Christian flair. In it are stories that offer hope and encouragement in many situations. It officially launches on November 1st. Watch my facebook page for news.


Here’s what editor N.J. Lindquist wrote about the new book:

In a complicated, busy world, do you feel overwhelmed and insignificant? The heartfelt stories in this collection will take you to a quiet place and remind you that simple acts of love can make a lifetime of difference.

Until then, I wish you happiness and joy, a warm home, friends and family who surround you with love, food to nourish you, and sun that shines softly on you.

autumn leaves

October 8, 2015 at 1:19 pm Leave a comment

How many butterflies are there?


Birds at the conservatory too

Saturday of our holiday week with my east-coast friend we went to the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory. Because it was a bright sunny day outdoors and the light shines in through the conservatory roof, the butterflies were quite active.

What I learned recently from reading the book, The Art of Butterfly Gardening, by Matthew Tekulsky, butterflies have their own behaviour. Some flit around continuously and even as they gather nectar their little bodies are moving as though they had ADHD and then there are the ones with a less dramatic fashion and who sit on the feeding plant as though they had all the time in the world. We were about to observe which ones did what, and of  course I didn’t have the book with me as it was from the local library, but still it was an enjoyable time since we had purchased a chart with the birds and butterflies represented there and spent time taking photos and figuring out the names of the butterflies.

Just so you know, no North American butterflies are represented in this place though there are charts showing the Monarch, one of the few that flies to Canada but doesn’t overwinter there.


The Wood Nymph and Rice Paper butterflies are so much alike and both from South East Asia, but we thought this one was the Rice Paper butterfly. Very pretty  and it looks almost like lace.



See the tiny white bird sitting on the branch? We saw a few of those but have no name for them.


Easier to see the markings here, though some butterflies’ upper wing pattern differs from the lower pattern when they sit. While sunning they spread their wings, but to protect themselves from predators, they keep their wings closed, like the owl butterfly.


Food dish where butterflies sit and sip and sun all at once.



DSCF9358The Blue Morpho, and there were many of these. This is how they look on the top with quite a different appearance on the bottom, when they fold up their wings.


DSCF9365The Bamboo Page in the centre, with the Cracker ( I think) on the left and the Rice Paper on the right.


DSCF9368One of the guides holding a strange insect on her hand

Spiny Stick Insect



DSCF9372Read more about it here. Looks weird and maybe a bit scary, but it’s totally harmless, according to the guide.



DSCF9391There’s a waterfall feature and a pond. Maryann was watching the fish and turtles swimming and the turtles poking their heads up.




bird feeders for those small birds


DSCF9371 The butterfly stayed way up there. I kept hoping he’d land closer to us.




DSCF9381We saw butterflies coming out of their cocoons and letting their wings dry before flying


DSCF9382Some kind of beetle. I don`t remember its name. Harmless or the guide wouldn`t be holding it.



DSCF9357The Owl Butterfly, from a distance the spots looks like an owl`s eye, but on the topside when its wings are spread, it looks quite different


DSCF9383Showing the life cycles of a butterfly, only there are no Monarchs in this place



The pond from a different direction. Turtle has his head above water again. Liking those leaves.


DSCF9396Pretty purple plants. Would like some of those in my garden, except they`re probably not suited to our climate


DSCF9400Ending our tour of the conservatory itself with this one that sat so still so I could take his picture. A Golden Birdwing, I believe.


We stayed around for a cold drink and then checked some other displays in the building. More for another blog post. I hope you enjoyed this post as much as we enjoyed seeing the place and all the butterflies and beautiful foliage.

Photos by C. Wilker

September 15, 2015 at 1:36 am Leave a comment

From one holiday to another

We had a vacation week in July in the Kawartha Lake area, but we had another mini holiday this past week when a dear friend from Nova Scotia came to spend a week with us. We’ve been pondering for weeks what we might do, not rushing around crazily or even shopping, even if we would do a little of that too.

The first day necessitated a trip to the airport to pick up my friend. Fortunately we had good weather and the trip was uneventful apart from a few detours, in the sense that I overshot the essential turning lane to get there, and for parking, missed the cue the first time. Still we were at the gate before she appeared. Maryann grinned when she saw us waiting there for her, then we had only to wait while she collected her suitcase from the carousel.

We had plenty to talk about. It’s different catching up after a couple of years apart. There’s the welcome hug, chatting along the way to the car and loading the suitcase into the trunk and then we’re off toward home.

The first evening we kept light since our traveller would be tired. We sat and relaxed awhile, warmed up the thawing lasagna I had made earlier. Because the evening was a bit cooler than the day, we took a walk in our neighbourhood and talked.

Tuesday afternoon we went to see our eldest daughter and the youngest grandchild and were treated to many smiles.Tuesday evening, it was dessert and coffee/tea with long-time friends who had met Maryann before we did.

Wednesday, we were off to my parents’ home at the farm for an afternoon visit and then another visit with my sister Joan and her husband Ron. A relaxing evening of good food and conversation, along with many laughs and a tour of my brother-in-law’s workshop-in-progress.

Thursday morning we were off to St. Jacob’s Farmer’s Market, a place Maryann had been while they lived in our city and  before their move to Nova Scotia, which is ‘back home’ for her. We rose early, bundle buggy in the trunk and a list in hand.

After the fire that had destroyed the old building, the structure was replaced by a temporary building (that remains) and then the new one that looks like the old but is much brighter and more modern with necessary safety measures in place that the older one lacked.


the upstairs

We elected to explore the upper level that even I hadn’t done, and then we’d get the produce afterwards.


This picture was less than perfect, but I decided to include it anyway. The salesperson (shown) asked if I would be sure to say where this picture was taken. So here it is.


We admired little sweaters, big sweaters, mittens, socks and hats


Upstairs there were other shops with beautiful items made from wood, from crokinole scorekeepers to crazy drawers and coasters to  commemorate one’s college or university. Go here to see what Paul Szewc makes at his shop in Guelph, Ontario. Might have to do some of my Christmas shopping there.

There were also shops with quilts, clothing and other interesting items.


Keep in mind that we were at market quite early and that taking a picture down the centre aisle is usually impossible once people arrive in throngs. It’s become quite a tourist attraction. We got fritters early before the line-up began that often goes right out the door.


Maryann and I decided to get some tea and a treat before heading out of doors to the produce vendors. Here she is selecting bagels to bring home.


Baden Coffee Company represented here, a local company


…where we purchased our tea that morning early

We sat at a picnic table, drank our tea and enjoyed a fritter while the place was still fairly quiet.


Interestingly shaped baked goods and cream puffs that my Dad would want if he were there with us


Outdoors at the market looking up at the face of the new building


A vendor arranging the tomatoes at his stand–pesticide-free tomatoes, that is. We got tomatoes there. I’ll put them in the freezer for good eating in winter for casseroles and pasta sauce.


Still early, but more people have made their way early on a Thursday morning

We got peaches, tomatoes and maple syrup and looked up and down the outdoor aisles at what vendors had for sale before heading toward the parking lot and to the car.


They even have horse and pony rides up near the quilt shop. A tiny sample of animals showing what’s on a farm


…and some chickens too.

I didn’t see the ducks this time. They’re usually drinking from and paddling in their water troughs which is rather amusing


And so we leave the market and go onto a few other errands before heading home, but it’s been a good morning of exploring. By this time more people are arriving and the parking lot is getting busier with coming and going.

Together Maryann and I made a peach cobber for Thursday evening for a family supper at another daughter’s home.

Tune in again for our trip to the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory.

September 6, 2015 at 11:58 pm 2 comments

Through the Locks by Boat

Back to our holidays and something we did for the first time. My husband and I had watched from the sidelines as boats went through locks in Peterborough and in Midland area, but this time we experienced it while riding in our daughter and son-in-law’s boat.

We had a clear day and my daughter packed a picnic lunch, water and juice boxes, and extra snacks for the children. We set off from the trailer and got settled in the boat, life jackets and all.

DSCF9150 We saw a bird on one of the other boats as we pulled out.DSCF9152Here’s a better shot.  It’s a stork.


DSCF9155Leaving the park behind, I noticed how the boat makes a trail that looks like a dolphin’s or whale’s  forked tail. It’s slightly cooler out here on the water with a bit of breeze.


From http://www.boatingontario.ca/Articles/tabid/71/ID/42/PageID/61/The-Trent-Severn-Waterway-Trenton-to-Bobcaygeon.aspx

Buckhorn – Lock 31 is a very busy spot in July and August, so keep a good watch for downbound traffic as you turn into the lock.


Waiting at the first lock at Buckhorn for all the boats to be secured. As a boater, our son-in-law is a safe operator.


Looking up to the top to see how far the water will rise. She already is a  good helper in putting out the bumpers to protect the side of the boat. It was also a very warm day and we’re wearing our sunscreen.


I cannot remember all the spots and which ones they were. We went through Buckhorn Lock, 31, then Lovesick Lock, which was #30 on the way to Bobcaygeon.

LoveSick Lock: There’s a story to that name.

Lock 30 – Lovesick, tucked in on Millage Island, is hard to spot, so look for the red day beacon on Wolf Island to guide you in and around the green buoy to the lock.There is no road access to the lock, so the quiet and beautiful surroundings make this the place to be in this area. In peak season, plan on arriving early and grabbing a space on the lower lock wall.You’ll also find space on the upper walls in a park-like setting.


After LoveSick Lock, we passed many rocky islands, with the wind in our face and the sun overhead, then through Burleigh Lock

By this time we’d gone through two locks, had a picnic at Lovesick Lock and then one more lock

DSCF9166 Some grand boats on this stretch of water. Think we’re back at Buckhorn.


Many interesting cottages and homes along the lake


DSCF9170Getting to be good boaters



Canoe pulled up to that island. Is there even a cottage there?

DSCF9209 The open water, the sky. The sun was hot but we’re cooler on the water. Still a sunburn at the end of the day in spite of  applying more sunscreen part way through our outing.

DSCF9213 Along the lake shore on our way back to the resort. It’s been a good day and the girls are tired.

DSCF9172 A nearly deserted island?

DSCF9200 On our way back to the resort, and the girls slept part of the last stretch. It was a good day.

Photos copyright C Wilker unless otherwise noted

August 26, 2015 at 10:56 am 4 comments

Church signs: Fed up!?

Some churches post the title of an upcoming sermon on their outdoor signs. The titles can be entertaining or serious, but they often make me think of what that sermon will address. Good food for thought as I drive through the city. I saw one near the expressway in Waterloo recently on my way back from a networking breakfast. It read: Fed Up. I don’t remember if the sign had an exclamation mark or a question mark at the end, but right away I thought of a quirky twist to it, given the new election signs springing up around us.

Yes, we’re going to have an election, and campaigning is underway which means parliament is closed down until the question is decided who will lead our political parties and win the constituencies.

If there’s a question mark at the end (Fed Up?), one might ask ‘fed up with what?’ Might the pastor be asking if we’re ready for new leadership? Did it mean in Ottawa, Waterloo, or in that church’s riding? I kind of suspect it meant up top, in Ottawa.

Do we really need such a long campaign for political leaders to put-downs at each other? No one is right all the time, and it is a free country, at least it was the last time I checked. We have a secret ballot and no one is standing over us pressuring us to vote in a particular way.

What I want is someone in the community who will work hard for us in Ottawa, to handle things like the environment that seriously needs our stewardship—as in some European and North American cities who want to leave a better world for the next generation, and so would I—and food for children who go to school hungry. There are more issues, but those come up top most for me. Longer contemplation will produce a longer list.

I want someone who will be respectful of the people he or she serves in the constituency, including our aboriginal neighbours, and likewise to each other in the House of Parliament. And perhaps that will show up on the campaign trail what kind of person a candidate is. I want someone who can work with other parties, together, on those really important issues our country needs to deal with.

Of course they’re human; of course they want to win for their party. I feel that we need some new leadership there, but maybe not to have everyone as a newbie, for then we’d be ‘reinventing the wheel.’

Wait a moment! Did the sign mean leadership in their church? Many of us are struggling within our respective houses of worship with our shrinking congregations and changing society. There’s plenty of work to do there too.

I really wish I had known what the pastor meant. Maybe, since I was unavailable to attend that service, the pastor will read this and write to let me know. I’d like that.

Despite all this debate on campaigning, remember our rights and freedoms, the secret ballot and how we have some say in our government. Remember how women such as Nellie McClung and others, early in the 20th century, fought hard for women to have the right to vote. Go and vote on October 19th (or in advance polls). Have your say or don’t complain afterwards. You have many days to decide on your candidate. Make it count.


The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada offers election resources to help you make your best decision. Go here to read them.

August 18, 2015 at 6:47 pm Leave a comment

One more post for Lang Village

The day at Lang Pioneer Village included a lot of stops. Our next one was the cider mill where people brought apples to be sorted, pressed and made into cider. The girls know about apple picking and they’ve tasted sweet apple cider, but this was interesting.








DSCF9137We saw a big apple peeler and lots of barrels


DSCF9138We walked through an old barn where many piece of equipment were on display. It was a good place to stop and sit for a few minutes.


DSCF9140And a wagon without a horse. The girls climbed  up and had their picture taken.


DSCF9142We walked down the lane and across the bridge to reach the flour mill




Here we are inside the mill with the guide showing us how the wheat is ground into flour. I was impressed how the young man there showed the girls the process on a level they could understand. He talked about and showed how the flour was ground, what flour was more valuable, and about all the equipment and what it did. We went up to the top floor of this large stone structure, looked at all the hoppers and tools, and looked out the window at the water below, then back down all those stairs and outdoors again.

We enjoyed the day and the girls were very interested in many aspects of this place. I’m sure we’ll be back again another year.

Thank you so much to all the guides and volunteers for telling us about the village and the people who lived in these places and worked at these jobs. Thank you for taking special interest in the way children understand might view the place and time. You made it a special day for them and us.


August 13, 2015 at 1:20 pm Leave a comment

Continuing our tour of Lang Pioneer Village

We chose the grassy area out front of the visitor’s centre where there were both trees and picnic tables where we’d eat our lunch. My daughter and husband went to the car to collect our picnic items and we spread out a blanket for anyone to sit in the sun who chose to. The day was a bit cool.




I must share a humorous incident here. My husband set his sandwich out on the picnic table, ready to eat it and then remembered something in the car that he needed. Before he reached the picnic table again, a bold seagull landed on the table, next to the sandwich, and had the bag in its mouth. My daughter suspecting what might happen was first on her feet and ran and grabbed the sandwich bag from the bird’s mouth just as he began to lift off. What a sandwich rescue! My husband got to have his sandwich after all. Guess that’s a lesson not to leave it to the birds.


We played a quick game of hide and seek at the end of our lunch and then we were back into the village again for the rest of our tour.


We looked inside the Milburn House that’s first on the path. The guide there, whose picture we didn’t get, was baking cookies for the hotel which someone would collect in a basket and sell at the hotel.

I learned after posting pictures last year that Sophie, whom we saw at the Keene hotel again this year, is a descendant of the Milburn family who once lived in this home.  Her Mom, Tania, is a fellow editor in our association and who told me this when I posted my links on Facebook.


Here’s a photo of Sophie (on the right) from our tour last year. The girl on the left is also named Sophie.


On to the Douro town hall, after passing buildings we’d already looked at. In that hall, people would do their voting in an election, have their public meetings. I wondered about the little cubicles with curtains. I read in the guide book that those were installed so people could secretly mark their ballots in an election. Before that voting was done by an open “show of hands.”

There was also a commemorative plaque to famous people of the area, that included authors Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Trail.


My husband asked that I take a picture of him by this old steam engine and suggested the title be “Two old things.” His title, not mine.


Inside the Glen Alda Church, the ornate woodwork and the pump organ similar in workings and style to the one we had in our Sunday School room when I first started teaching.

I didn’t understand the meaning of the bowl and ewer in the pastor’s room, but now I do. The circuit preacher would visit four different churches by horseback. There would be fresh water for the pastor to pour into the bowl and wash off some of the travel dust before he conducted worship.

Before the church was built, people met in each others’ homes.


We were all interested in the Lowry Weaver Shop.



Interested in the small woven things made here.


We stood on the lawn and listened to a man playing a harp on the porch adjoining the weavery. It was gentle music and he played well.

Over to the blacksmith’s shop where we watched someone bend iron that had been heated in the forge. We didn’t take pictures there, but the girls watched the hot metal being bent.


The girls sitting at a desk together in the South Lake School, S. S. #4, drawing with chalk on their slates, while the teacher tells of the discipline used and lessons taught. They wiped the words and drawing off the slate before they left.


Checking out how things look from the top of the climber. Those steps were more difficult to climb than the playground the girls are used to


Seeing the chickens


and the sheep.

I’ll stop here for today. Come back to see the rest in a day or so.

August 7, 2015 at 1:00 pm Leave a comment

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