Posts filed under ‘travel in Canada’

A fine Christmas concert

 

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Yesterday afternoon my husband and I, and our friend, Judy, attended a choir concert at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Kitchener with Inshallah (a group numbering 130)and the St Peter’s choir and all the musicians involved. The church was filled and so was the front of the church with singers and musicians.

The choirs sang pieces from around the world—England, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, New Zealand, Latin America, Brazil, USA, Korea, Germany and Poland—in English and in other languages. A few selections were: He Came Down, Helpless and Hungry (Paired with What Child is This?), Come Now, O Prince of Peace. We as audience members were invited to join in on traditional carols as well as the refrain of several choir selections.

Senior pastor, Mark Ehlebracht delivered a moving message on who Christmas is intended for and how we often want to set aside the troubles in the world to enjoy a Christmas for children, when really Christmas is for all of us.

As well we heard from Judy Nairn, Executive Director of Hospice Waterloo Region. That organization is recipient of all donations from the concert. Nairn spoke of how the organization provides services to those diagnosed with cancer and their family members. She said people often think of Hospice as the “end of the road” when it’s so much more than that.

Directors for the choirs were Debbie Lou Ludolph (Inshallah) and Peter Nikiforuk (St Peter’s Lutheran Church) with Bradley Moggach on piano, Bill Gastmeier, Ian Sommer and Don Neville on guitar. Playing percussion were Julie Hill, Don Neville and Daniel Corrigan. Kristine Lund of Wilfrid Laurier University  Seminary, played violin and Joshua Ehlebracht and Peter Nikiforuk on organ for carols sung by the congregation. What a joyful sound and a reminder of  God with us in a world that’s not always so welcoming.

We were delighted to hear that portions of this concert will be used for the Christmas Eve broadcast this year and again on Sunday, December 27th at 10 am EST via CTV Southwestern Ontario and will include vignettes and Christmas greetings from around the world.

The last, a favourite—Silent Night— with candles lit and lights turned down, was our closing carol before the postlude.

Perhaps you’ll tune in for one of those broadcasts and enjoy the music as much as we did.

 

December 14, 2015 at 1:35 pm Leave a comment

The Shedding Christmas Tree

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My granddaughters, aged 4 & 6, each made one of these for their tree a few weeks ago when we were doing a craft. I made one along with them.

 

Pets shed their fur, people lose hair upon combing it, and trees eventually lose needles when they’re brought indoors too. But our tree is not a real one and it’s shedding too. Pretty badly, I might say.

We take our tree out of its storage box each December, assemble the poles that are never really hidden and put them in the stand, then stage the branches according to colour sequence from top to bottom. Then at the end of the season, sometime in early January, I take it apart and put the branches and all back in the box.

All of this came after a year or two of having a real tree and then needing to put them all out of the curb each January with all the others. That was before they were collected for environmental purposes, at least that I knew of. I worried about all those trees cut down for a short season indoors and decided to do something different. And so we bought our first artificial tree.

Once the pieces are out of the box and on the tree, we, rather I, spread out the compacted branches and then put on the lights. By the time I have done this, the living room carpet is full of those fibres that are meant to resemble needles on a pine tree. I complained about the fall-out last year when I put the tree up, and this week I said, “At the end of this season, this tree goes out.” Next year, it means we get a new one.

It was a White Rose special, a moderately priced tree, and for a lot of years it served us well. By the time we get the lights on and all the decorations, it’s passable, apart from the spindly topmost pointed branch that always leans when I put on my hand crafted angel, though it’s not very heavy. She looks like she’s had one too many celebrations. Unless you compare our tree to a real tree or one of those with hinged branches—much fuller branches—with the lights already on them, it doesn’t look too bad.

Usually my husband hauls out the boxes—tree and decorations—and hands over the rest of the job to me. When I’m done assembling and decorating, he vacuums the room because every year it sheds. This time I gave him the job of sorting out the lights since he had wrapped them carefully and completed the job on each bundle with tape as he does with all electrical cords, in a neat and orderly fashion.

By the time I returned home from an errand, he not only had the lights sorted, but he had assembled the three strings of green lights and put them on the tree, after a fashion. He said, on my return, “You can rearrange the lights how you like them.” I did some rearranging, but he’d done not such a bad job of it himself. And the bonus, he had the lights turned on. That was to check that all the lights worked, he said.

 

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This ball was a gift from my friend, Amanda, last year. Love it!

 

This morning I began to decorate the tree, putting on my myriad collection of ornaments, snowmen, Santas, angels, pewter ornaments, some of those coming from various parts of the world. In previous years our children helped decorate the tree, but they have homes of their own and have their own ornaments—some collected throughout childhood. Last year it was my granddaughters, Evy and Ana, then 3, 5 years old, who helped me with the finishing touches. This year the lower ornaments on the tree are ones a baby can take off and hold without the fear of breaking.

 

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one of my Nova Scotia ornaments

 

I’ll put on Christmas music while I decorate—this year a collection by Michael Cavan Kelly—and remember the Salvation Army brass ensemble that played at the grocery store last evening. Then we’ll move the tree into its place, wrap the tree skirt around it and my husband will vacuum again, because as sure as the tree needs to be decorated, more of those green fibres will be on the carpet and on my socks and all through the house. After that, and only then, I turn off the rest of the lights, and sit back and admire my work.

 

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our tree, all decorated

 

I’ve already begun my shopping, in fact, I have a good chunk done. And this weekend I’ll finish writing the last of my Christmas cards and get them in the mail. What we all do for a holiday such as Christmas! And only then will I get out the white stone crèche and figures and arrange it somewhere out of reach of our eight-month-old grandchild, who’s seeing Christmas for the first time.

And that’s our preparation for Christmas, besides preparing our hearts for the Saviour we will celebrate.

May your hearts be filled with joy and peace this holy season and may health, healing of relationships and love of family and friends be yours this Christmas.

 

 

 

All  photos on this blog are my own unless otherwise mentioned.

December 10, 2015 at 2:00 am 2 comments

And the weather changes– again

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Sunday morning we woke to snow and today the snow is still there. The tree branches were coated  and snow lay in the hollows between the branches too. And snow lay on the ground, staying this time instead of snowflakes that melted on landing  the day before. My granddaughters were excited to see the snow. For them it means tobogganing, snowmen and making angels in the snow, not to mention skiing since they live near a ski hill. We have a photo of them in their full snow gear that their mother put up on Facebook the same day. After all, we’re in Canada.

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bits of my garden plants peek out from the snow

 

It seems we’ve moved into winter quite suddenly. The air is clear and striations and clumps of pinkish white cloud hang in a bright blue sky at this hour. Snow sits on the lap of evergreen boughs until a wind comes along and shakes it off, scattering the snow like a tiny windstorm of snowflakes.

Like the kid’s hide and seek game that I play with my granddaughters, we say, “Read or not, here I come.” And so winter says this to us, “Here I am.”

 

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The snow may melt later in the week and return again. After all it is late November, and we have nearly a promise that outdoor rinks may have a tough go this year. A mild winter may be the case, as the newspaper article declared, but we’ll see. Weather people have been proven wrong more than once before.

 

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Last evening when I drove to our daughter and son-in-law’s home to pick up my husband, who’d got their furnace going, I noticed their crescent was rather icy and so I took my time walking from the car to the house and back. The furnace was running again and the house was warming up again. They were ready for the cold night and we had a safe drive home too.

 

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If you’re not ready for winter yet, time to pull out the snow boots, mittens and hats. Get the snow shovels ready. We’ve already used ours.

 

What do you like best about winter?

 

November 23, 2015 at 1:04 pm Leave a comment

Coming soon– District 86 Fall Toastmasters Fall conference

You haven’t heard from me in a bit, but I’ve been as busy as ever. Sometimes speaking, one day of election work, and getting ready for a big presentation and still writing and editing.

Next weekend, I and many other Toastmasters from District 86 will gather at Blue Mountain resort for the Fall Toastmasters conference. We’ve had all sorts of discussions about it, regarding cost, workshops, accommodations, people receiving their Distinguished Toastmaster status, including two friends of mine, Dawna and Suzanne, who’ve worked so hard for a long time to achieve it. Congratulations to both of you. Well deserved.

We look forward to meeting fellow Toastmasters whom we only see at conference. We look forward to good food and some fun. And looking forward to the Friday evening workshop that I’ll be giving. It’s just about ready. For anyone who doesn’t know what Toastmasters is about, it’s a place to work on communication skills—not just speaking in public, but also on leadership.

If you’ve ever wondered about Toastmasters, pay us a visit on a Thursday afternoon—at the Energetics club in Waterloo— and see what it’s all about. While we’re learning, we’re supportive of each other and we have some hilarious and serious Table Topics. Leave it up to a certain member to come up with zany topics.

But back to the workshop. I tried it out on my club yesterday and got some great evaluations, both aspects that were well done and some that could use a bit of tweaking. It’s good to know that the content is solid. It’s like evaluating my own writing—I can’t always see it clearly. But I was assured that the content was good. So this week, I will be ramping up to the presentation. I won’t tell you more. There is apparently one more day until registration is closing.

Oh, and I’ll have a book table at the conference too, similar to what I had at the recent Canadian Networker Fall Business Expo in Kitchener. I’ll have the same books with me, including a new edition of Hot Apple Cider anthology in which I have a story.

Canadian Networker Fall Business Expo

Photo: Dawn Taylor-Gilders, KW Snapd

Me at the business expo, promoting myself and my business

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Proud to have a story in this collection.

Will I see you at the conference?

November 7, 2015 at 12:44 am Leave a comment

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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.

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Many interesting cottages and homes along the lake

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DSCF9170Getting to be good boaters

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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

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.

 

 

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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

 

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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

Back to holidays–Lang Pioneer Village

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This year when we toured Lang Pioneer Village, we were there with our daughter and her two young children. Seen and experienced from an almost-4 to a nearly-6 year-old’s perspective, we would understandably travel through the village at a different pace than we did a year ago.

We started our tour with the animal pen next to the Milburn House, where pigs were snuffling in their pen and coming to see who was looking in at them.

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Next we went to the Hastie Carpenter Shop where the volunteer said they made things of wood, and especially wheels for the buggies and wagons. Then the tinsmith shop to see what was there.

 

Outside of the Fife cabin (shown above) was  a guide using a single spindle to get her yarn ready for knitting. A fire was going in the pit nearby where she would cook her meal or dye her yarn. We looked inside the cabin. It was quite dark compared to other buildings. The bed was a box on the floor with blankets in it and a fireplace at the end for warmth and cooking. The girls were interested to see how things looked there.
We crossed the road to the Fitzpatrick House where the guide told us about the family gathering in the main room. They would eat there and sit around the table for it was the only heated space in the house. We trudged up the narrow winding steps,  holding on to the handrail, to the upstairs to see where the family slept. Here they had beds and a quilt rack was set against a wall showing a project the mother might be working on. The beds were much different than the girls were used to and I wondered what they were thinking about it.

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See the dried herbs hanging above the fireplace. Those were often the medicines that the parents used to treat illness because the doctor lived a long distance away.

 

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On to the Register where the two young men told us about what they do. They showed us how they printed things, including newspaper, for the businesses in the village. It took a lot longer than with our computers and fast printing presses.

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It would take a long time to produce a newspaper with these pieces of equipment

 

We stopped at the Keene Hotel where a guide told us a little bit about the family who lived there and provided meals and a bed for travellers. We took our own tour of the building, but I did get to say hello to Sophie who gave us our tour last year and served tea and cookies. I thought we might come back for tea and cookies this time, but we didn’t.

 

On to the Menie General Store. It’s a bit like our stores that sell all kinds of things under one roof.

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The girls were interested in the toys on the counter and the little books.

 

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Here’s their Papa talking to one of the guides in the store.

 

DSCF9103Ana thought the lady’s blouse was pretty. Or was it the necklace and the hat she was commenting on? Anyway, there were many pretty things there for a lady or little girl at the time.

 

DSCF9105People gathered outside the Fitzpatrick  house, and we stopped along the way to see what was happening. There was a young woman doing laundry. She invited the girls to give it a try on the washboard. Ana wanted to try it so the guide helped her push up her sleeves so they wouldn’t get wet, and then showed her how to put the soap on the board first…

DSCF9107and then get both hands working on scrubbing a piece of clothing so it would be nice and clean. Different than Mommy and Daddy’s washing machine.

On our way to the car for our picnic lunch they stopped off to see the pigs again and then the Centennial commemoration rock out front.

 

I was impressed with how the guides geared their talks to include our youngsters. Thank you, all.

 

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Off to get our picnic lunch. Taking a break until tomorrow when we’ll continue our tour of the village

August 5, 2015 at 4:29 pm Leave a comment

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