My magic moment this week is animal related again, I can see a theme developing!
This time of year is when the Snapping Turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. I wasn’t lucky enough to see one last year so this year I was determined to. I’d been out cycling a few times along the path that runs by the lake but I just couldn’t catch a break until early Saturday morning. Hubbie and I had got up early to go out for a ride on our bikes before it got too hot and finally my luck changed. We spotted a turtle laying eggs in a flowerbed of all places before she trotted off back to the lake
When my husband chose our house (see magic moments #4) he picked one that had tall trees and a river at the bottom of the garden. The boys and I were completely over the moon, although for different reasons, they were excited about the possibilities for fishing in the summer and ice skating in winter when it freezes and I was excited about the wildlife the river attracts. Husband made a very good choice because I adore where I live and I’m often in awe of how beautiful it is here, It’s easy to get caught up in the mundane day to day part of life without taking a second to realise where you are and how stunning your surroundings are but I make the effort to walk around and see it all, I don’t mean just look at it I mean really see it, absorb it, marvel at it.
Discovering new creatures has been the most exciting and fascinating part of moving to a different continent and finding something new is still a regular occurrence. If I had a dollar for every time I looked out over the river and exclaimed ‘what the hell is that?!’ I’d be a rich woman! Only yesterday while out on a bike ride we could hear the strangest noises coming from some bulrushes only to discover they were huge bull frogs, I didn’t know they lived around here. On Thursday, while out cycling I got my first glimpse of a Snapping Turtle. Not the best pic because of the bulrushes but you can just about make it out basking on the log.
I spend a lot of my free time on the deck at the back of the house that overlooks the garden and river to see what wanders/swims by. A few weeks ago I got the magic moment I’d been waiting for… A pair of beaver sitting on the riverbank right at the bottom of the garden. Again, I apologise for the quality of the photo but I was so excited I couldn’t think what settings to put the camera on! An animal that is quintessentially Canadian, in the wild, where I live, MAGIC!
Youngest Son and I had a lovely day out at the Toronto Zoo today. We visit regularly and have had membership since we’ve lived here but today we had a special reason to visit, we wanted to see the latest addition to the Zoo, Er Shun and Da Mao, two giant Pandas on loan from China. The exhibit has only been open for a couple of weeks and there are regularly long queues to see them. Luckily the zoo has been opening an hour early exclusively for members to skip the line ups.
They were both a bit sleepy when we saw them as it was still pretty early bit it was still lovely to see them and, for want of a better word, they are incredibly cute.
The whole zoo has undergone a bit of a transformation since they arrival of their new guests with panda photos and merchandise everywhere. We had some fun browsing the panda themed gift shop.
And we couldn’t help but make a little purchase too!
We managed to drag ourselves away from the pandas and enjoyed a wander around the rest of the animals.
I had a real ‘magic moment’ last Saturday while we were camping in the Canadian wilderness, Algonquin Provincial Park. We had researched the area before we went and I was excited to discover that May is the best time of year for Moose Viewing. I had never seen a moose in the flesh before we came to Canada and despite many visits all over the country into mountains and parks we had never been lucky enough come across them. We have a couple in the Toronto Zoo but it’s just not the same as seeing them in the wild. One of the many things I love about Canada is the variety of huge animals that live here.
So we were out and about travelling through the park with our eyes scouring the forest to each side of us trying to spot wildlife and suddenly there right by the road in front of us was a young moose, she bolted back into the forest edge and stood there for just a few seconds before running off. My cousin-in-law turned to me with a smug look on her face and said ‘there, you wanted moose I gave you moose, happy?’ She rolled her eyes when I replied that it was lovely to see one but now I want a photo! We jumped back in the car and just a few minutes later we managed to spot this Moosive (sorry I couldn’t resist! 😉 ) bull moose grazing, he must have been 6 feet to his shoulders. He was totally unperturbed by us jumping out of the cars and watching him and stood there happily munching on some grass.
So that’s my magic Moment this week. I ‘m not high maintenance, I don’t need diamonds or pearls just give me a close encounter with a moose and I’m a happy camper! 😀
This week Tara gave us a much kinder Gallery theme than last week – This week our prompt is The Weekend
This is where I spent the majority of last weekend as the temperature finally rose into the 20’s. In fact this is where I will spend the majority of my time over the weekends until mid October. My multifunctional deck which during the summer months transforms into my dining room, kitchen, lounge and office.
Since our move to Canada our weekends have become much less valuable. When hubbie and I were running our own business in the UK we had a need to escape the house, and my office, during the weekend in order to relax and get away from it all but now that our whole life is calmer we are perfectly content to spend our weekends at home.
So Saturday and Sunday finds me here on the deck, writing, skyping my family in England or simply sitting in the sunshine watching the birds on the feeder or the squirrels chasing each other through the trees. Fortunately my husband made a very good choice when he chose our house as we back on to tall trees and a river so we get a vast array of birds and animals in the garden. The river is a haven for wildlife and my deck gives me a great vantage point to observe it from and if you sit quietly enough you get to glimpse a sight like this:
If I’m not chilling on the deck I’m walking by the lake soaking up the sun and getting some exercise or better still sitting on the beach listening to the waves.
To continue with my personal A-Z of Canada and following on from last weeks A is for Animals, this week B is for Banff.
Banff in Alberta is, in my humble opinion, the most beautiful place in the entire world.
To many skiers Banff is a kind of Mecca so if anyone into winter sports discovered our Christmas holiday destination they would always ask the same question, “Do you ski then?’ to which I always reply “Meh… I fall…a lot!” Quite frankly as a clumsy person I should NEVER be allowed to strap strips of wood to my feet and go on a slippery, steep surface. Bad Idea. The last time we attempted a private lesson with some French guy called Marcelle, the language barrier proved to be a bit of an issue and he evidently mistook my explanation of our previous skiing experience. Five minutes later we were hurtling up a ski lift to a slope well out of our skill level and we all faceplanted as we attempted to get off. We recovered ourselves and followed Marcelle to the top of a piste which looked to me like it belonged on the ‘Ski Sunday’. Marcelle showed us some funky maneuver we were meant to copy and the next thing I remember is a tremendous pain in the back of my head as I hit the snow and hurtled upside down and backwards down the slope. I realised it looked as bad as it felt when I saw the expression on eldest sons face as he kicked off his skis and attempted to run down the slope to help me. Luckily the only real damage was to my pride but while the snow shot down my neck and salopettes as I slid on my back I decided this skiing lark probably wasn’t for me! Nevertheless Banff remains my favourite holiday destination and is far more than a ski resort. Picture perfect views are literally around every corner.
One of my favourite things to do is snowmobiling, I’m much more comfortable with an engine under me than a pair of skis. 😀
Ice skating, hiking and generally admiring the views in a stunning location is more than I could hope for in a holiday destination and Banff has it all.
The world famous Lake Louise is a 10 minute drive away and it really is as stunning as the pictures in the magazines, even in the depths of winter.
Banff epitomises all Canada has to offer, the stunning natural beauty and warm, friendly people. If it’s not already on your bucket list, put it on. 😀
For a while, here in the blogosphere, bloggers have being embarking on a personal A-Z of whatever subject their blog is about, it was started by Julie Dawn Fox a couple of years ago and is now used by people like me to share their story and their experiences in the place they choose to call home. I have been inspired by Emily at Skippy or Bullwinkle and Aisha at Expatlogue to join in with my own version, so here is the start of my A-Z of Canada
To begin with … A is for Animals
Coming from the south east of England the biggest wild animal I ever saw was a fox. In complete contrast Canada has a vast range of wild animals and it fascinates me to see huge creatures roaming free. Here is a very small collection of the photos I have taken of our immense Canadian wildlife:
Impressive hey? Of course a couple of these picture were taken in the Zoo because it’s far too dangerous to get that close to them and also because they live in a part of Canada I haven’t visited… yet. Nevertheless they are out there roaming around in the same country as I do, it blows my mind. As we begin to explore further afield I hope to be able to encounter some of these animals in the wild, next month when we go camping ‘up north’ it’s apparently the ideal time to see Moose and black bears so hopefully I’ll have some new photos to add to my collection.
This is just a snippet of the large animals that share the same parcel of land as me, the midsize animals like wolves, coyote and linx are in abundance too. Smaller animals like raccoons, opossum, beavers and chipmunks are all regular visitors to my garden and they will be featured in a later post. I consider myself truly blessed that I can call this country home and that I can stand out on my deck any night of the week and see an amazing array of birds and animals pass through my garden. I simply love where I live 😀