Happy Thanksgiving — turkeys in the yard

1-10TOTurkeys Ready



The salmon are jumping in the Sauble River! + video

kayak, lilly pads on Sauble RiverWhack!       Whack, whack!

Frankly, I always thought this would be a boring little paddle — putting in the Sauble River near the mouth of Lake Huron and paddling up to the falls.  It hardly seemed worth the effort. Well my lovely Sauble River, I sorely underestimated you.

The north bank of the Sauble River

The north bank of the Sauble River

Stellar sunshine for a gorgeous October paddle.

Stellar sunshine for a gorgeous October paddle.

By road it is a short distance and that is what fools you. But after a good report from friends, we made a quick decision on a stellar fall day to load the kayaks on the van roof and drive the tiny distance to put into the local river.

Fall lilly padsThe underwater terrain was thick with water plants in spots, barren granite shelves in others. I thought that if I watched the clear, still water closely enough I might catch site of a salmon on their upstream trek. No luck.

Splash!  At first, it was just the odd sound and maybe some ripples, just enough to catch our interest. Then we rounded the corner to the fishing hole. There a big guy was flying through the air — a twirling three footer! Whack! Whack! Whack! Even the Russian judge awarded a 9.9 and stood to applaud. We stayed firmly planted in our kayaks waiting for the encore. We were not disappointed!

Waiting for the salmon to jump

Waiting for the salmon to jump

Sauble Falls from my kayakAt the falls weo nosed our kayak bows up onto the rocks in the falls lower reaches. Hanging out in  a kayak at the bottom of a waterfall on a glorious fall day when salmon are jumping…well my quiet little Sauble River I’ll be back for more next year.

Taking quick-action shots, like a salmon jumping is impossible from a bobbing Kayak, at least for an amatuer like me. However, my Bob went back to the falls by land and caught this shot of the salmon working hard to climb a ledge. I’m don’t have the software needed to translate the images crisply to YouTube. My apologies but I thought you might still like a peak.

Two places to go this long weekend

1-IMG-20130823-00700Days like these just call you to head out exploring. Well this isn’t exactly new territory, they are a couple of my favourite spots to visit. If you’re in the Wiarton/Sauble Beach area you might enjoy dropping in on these two unique retailers.

Bruce Beckons

Bruce Beckons

Bruce Beckons

What beckons us back to this place each year is the gorgeous setting featuring a 200 year-old log farmhouse, its gracious owner who offers coffee upon arrival, her wonderful preserves and the animals. Bruce Beckons has a charming little petting farm.

Owner Gayle brought the log cabin from Levis, Quebec in 1979 and had it reconstructed on a lovely site on a quiet lane north of Wiarton. For many years she sold Quebec antiques. Now it is mainly giftware, garden ornaments, birdfeeders and a huge larder of canned goods. My guess is you will leave with at least one jar of jam, sauce, or relish. Try the dilled carrots. They’re lovely.

Sometimes in the fall you can hear hunters shooting wild turkey on the lands nearby.  You want to get a reaction? Just ask Gayle about it.

1-IMG-20130823-00692You don’t need a reason to visit, but if you are looking for one, go to stroll  the garden, take a Thanksgiving weekend wagon ride and watch the entertaining goats, chickens and the llama named Hector. Watch out for Hector. He can be nasty.

Bruce Beckons closes mid-October and reopens  for two weeks at Christmas. For a map visit their website.

Log Cabin Antiques1-IMG-20130920-00805

For some reason I always ride my bicycle to Log Cabin Antiques and end up going back in the car. I guess it is because I never plan on going or making a purchase but inevitably I do.  My purchases are always very modest. Call them the antique store equivalent of a new lipstick — a  nice little pick-me-up.

Last time in I bought vintage green glass salt and pepper shakers for $11. I’m coveting the green canisters  too, the ones on the top shelf in the photo with the friendly owner whose name I have misplaced. Unfortunately for me the cannisters lean more towards perfume than lipstick so they remain on my wish list instead of in my pantry.1-IMG-20131005-00885

Again, you don’t need a reason to wander in. The back deck area is beautiful and full of clever ideas for gardeners. There is plenty of giftware here but it is the unique little vintage items modestly priced that make this store fun.

You’ll find Log Cabin Antiques in downtown Sauble Beach – 6 3rd Avenue South. They close Thanksgiving weekend and reopen in May.  Time for a bike ride. Maybe my canisters are on sale.1-IMG-20130920-00803

Lion’s Head from above


Ah yes, this is why we love this area.

One peek at the vertigo-inducing lookouts on the trails at Lion’s Head and you’ll understand why a return trip was high on our list. You’ll also understand why we went back a third time, the very next week, to do the same escarpment stretch  but from below — in our kayaks!  I’ll share those photos in a separate post soon.

First, take a close look at the photo above. Do you see swimmers heading for that rock? From our perch high on the escarpment edge I zoomed in for some shots of these kids enjoying the clear waters of Georgian Bay.  So cool. Here they are.

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This is when I knew that I had to come back in my kayak!  But let’s back up a bit so you know where we are.

The town of Lion’s Head is located about midway up the Bruce Peninsula. It’s namesake “lion’s head” can be found on the magnificent rock escarpment that curls outward beyond the picturesque harbour.

We started our hike just south of downtown, hiked to McKay’s Harbour on the Bruce Trail and looped back on a wooded side trail.  Total distance just under 10km. Here’s the map.


First 1.5 kilometres are nice but unremarkable. Then it suddenly changes to rich mossy forest.

First 1.5 kilometres are nice but unremarkable. Then it suddenly changes to rich mossy forest.


Giant's pothole

Giant’s pothole

Small charms

Small charms

Anybody mind heights? This is me taken on our first Lion's Head hike in 2010.

Anybody mind heights? This is me taken on our first Lion’s Head hike in 2010.

...and Bob on this year's hike.

…and Bob on this year’s hike.

Is that a lion's head? Hmm.

Is that a lion’s head? Hmm.

Two men and a rock

Two men and a rock

It's something about the large rock outcroppings. He's got to wave and I've got to zoom in. It's a thing.

It’s something about the large rock outcroppings. He’s got to wave and I’ve got to zoom in. It’s a thing.

View onto Georgian Bay

Mossy rock at McKay's Harbour

Mossy rock at McKay’s Harbour

The trail winds it's way down the escarpment, eventually arriving at the boulder beach of McKay's Harbour.

The trail winds it’s way down the escarpment, eventually arriving at the boulder beach of McKay’s Harbour.

Back to town for the coldest, most delicious beer I've ever earned, and a satisfied look at our hiking route off in the distance.

Back to town for the coldest, most delicious beer I’ve ever earned, and a satisfied look at our hiking route off in the distance.

A bee, a beer, and a salute to summer


Fall officially arrived today with a bit of a thud. The temperature is dipping to three degrees tonight. The wood is chopped and the fire lays waiting for the morning match strike.Fall has it’s own charms but before we embrace it entirely, let’s languish for a moment in the sunshine.

So long summer. You delivered all kinds of crazy weather to us this year, but you still gave us plenty of lovely patio days.

Drive day – Mennonites necking, oh my!

Mennonite buggy

Whoa Nellie. There’s going to be a wedding!

Apparently Sunday go-to-meeting day is also stepping-out-with-your-sweetheart day.

The neckers  aren’t in this photo. They were in the next buggy up.  I tried to get a photo. Honest I did. But I wasn’t expecting to come up on Mennonites necking in the buggy while trotting along beside traffic going 90 km an hour.  They were really going at it.

I’m filling this post under “active living.”

Even on a day like that…


Even when most of us find the weather down right pissy there are still people on the water and out on the beach living the good life. There weren’t many, just a handful. These  people bravely played in the strong wind and rain on Labour Day Monday.  Let’s hear it for the hardy folk amongst us. Unless they’re aliens.


Same kite boarder as above, hidden in the waves

Same kite boarder as above, hidden in the waves