A Walk in Gatineau Park

With all the heart breaking news reports and difficult conversations taking place at this moment, it kinda feels like a good time for a walk in the woods.  About a month ago, we were in Ottawa, with a day all to ourselves. We opted to leave the city behind and explore Gatineau Park. Come along, and I’ll show you a little of what we saw ………

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This conservation park covers 361 square peaceful kilometres of land, but is just 15 minutes from downtown Ottawa.  It is popular with locals and visitors alike, apparently attracting 2.7 million visits a year.  But on this day we were lucky…. It was a chilly, damp Monday and the place was relatively quiet, but as you can see, still very beautiful.

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After a couple of hours of exploring, we made our way to the Mackenzie King Estate, a country property of the former prime minister, bequeathed to all of Canada. It’s now part of the Park.

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It seemed like the right thing to do, so we finished off with a warming visit to the Tea Room.

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Happy Place

“Now and then it is good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy”  – Guillaume Apollinare

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Hirtle’s Beach

If you challenge me to state my “happy place” I won’t do it.  It’s not because I’m being difficult, or because I am unhappy.  But rather because I have found happiness in so many “places” I couldn’t possibly pin down just one.  I am happy in all the usual places like in my home especially (like this weekend) when my kids are around or in my garden, or touring on my bicycle.  I have found great happiness in the most unlikely places such as stuck in traffic with a good friend, or in a hospital (specifically in a delivery room when my sons were born).  So, I think happiness has little to do with place.

This weekend our boys (plus one girlfriend) and a group of our friends gathered here at our place to help us harvest our grapes.  That generosity made me happy.  Seeing those grapes off to the winery, taking all the fretting and worrying with them, made me very happy indeed.

Today, with all that work behind us, and weather feeling more like summer than mid autumn, Son #1 and I drove to his favourite beach, just to look at the water.  It’s only 10 minutes from home. This boy has just graduated from university and is in the process of sorting out the next steps in his journey – trying so hard to get it just right.

We are lucky to live in a place that is literally surrounded by beaches. But this one.  This beautiful place with more than three kilometres of sand facing the North Atlantic is a pretty special spot.

For a moment this afternoon, standing there together, with our feet in the sand and the sun on our faces, drinking in the gentle surf and the breeze …… well, that was a lovely moment of happiness.

Happy Place – weekly photo challenge

Bearing Gifts

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Change always comes bearing gifts – Price Pritchett

Perserving season is here.  The time for hovering over bubbling pots.  Here, some lovely local peaches and pears change into a delicious (and favourite) chutney. If I don’t preserve anything else this season, this chutney is a must.  We reach for it in the deepest of winter to accompany any warming curry we are having for dinner.  But today, with the sharpness of the vinegar and the sweetness of the fruit rising from the pot, this house smells absolutely glorious!  Here the recipe – a gift for you…..

Peach & Pear Chutney

4 each, peach, pear & onion and 12 tomatoes (all peeled and chopped) into the pot.  Cover with 1 pint of vinegar, 4 cups of dark brown sugar and 3 tbsp of pickling spice (tied in cheesecloth). Bring to rolling boil, then reduce heat to simmer until reduced by half (may take a few hours). Pour into sterilized jars.

weekly photo challenge