Tuesday, February 21, 2017


My brain tells me it can't really be spring yet but my feet aren't listening! I've been out on hikes everyday for going on two weeks now and while it's been muddy and slippery and icy in parts I've danced down the trails feeling light as a feather - cha cha cha!


I realize there is a very good chance that Mother Nature will wreak more wintery havoc on us as spring is still a month away but I'm sure we'll get the last laugh eventually :) Meanwhile I'm throwing caution to the wind and wending my way through thickets and leafless groves of trees to see what I can see!

River Sculpture

Soon this glade will be green and leafy!

I missed you blue sky!

I'm quacking up!

Haven't seen and land animals yet though I have come across a few fresh deer prints - last year the first animal I saw was a skunk and that was March 26, so I have a bit of a wait still. However, if this warm trend continues....

My apologies for not posting over the past week - the decrease in posts is directly related to the increase in temperature!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


Riding the Jacobite train (the Harry Potter train shown in my previous post) is an eighty-odd mile round trip to the village of Mallaig and back, beginning in Fort William,  complete with high tea and artisanal cheese board! I have booked a first class table for two for Annie and me - it'll be grand!!

We will pass through several quaint little villages and if it's a clear day we'll see some of the "Small Isles"  of the Scottish Inner Hebrides such as: Muck, Eigg, Skye and my personal favourite - RUM!

The cost for this sweet little diversion came to $255.41 for the two of us. Yes, it's a bit of a splurge but frugality during the year = splurging on trips!

Other costs that have been paid for so far...

  • $775 round trip Toronto- Glasgow. Took me awhile to find direct flights as I abhor stopovers. It's worth it to me to pay a bit more for direct flights but $755 is still quite reasonable.
  • $96.12 flight insurance - necessary.
  • $125.92 - deposit on my hiking trip which covers accommodations and daily baggage transfer, maps etc for my 10 day hike. The final payment due in July.
  • $513 sent to Annie for my share of accommodations in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Oban and I need to pay her for Fort William.
  • $49 for a boat tour to the Isle of Staffa
  • $285 for 3 nights on the Isle of Mull
  • $107 for two nights in Glasgow before heading home
  • $421 for 250 pounds sterling
For a total of $2947.....so far. I have a few trains to book, more pounds to purchase and the rest of my hike to pay for. My trips usually come to about $5,000; this one might be a bit more but I'm staying almost a month. The biggest cost by far is accommodations. One of these days I'm going to seriously consider backpacking/hosteling. Yeah, at my age. It's not that I can't afford my trips it's just I would like to stay longer or take 2 trips per year instead of one. Spread my $$ a little further. 👍

Monday, February 13, 2017

Never Give Up

Saturday was a very mild day so I headed to Kilally Meadows. I might have been rushing the season just a little. While it was warm enough for a spring jacket and no gloves it wasn't warm enough or sunny enough to melt all the way through the ice on the trails.

The forest was chock full of robins, cardinals, crows, chickadees and a busy woodpecker - it was a very noisy and busy place! 

It's a good thing I brought along my trusty walking stick.

It was a little a LOT sloppy  and although I safely reached the bridge I heard loud cracking as I gingerly tiptoed across the ice.

The sun wanted to peak through the cloud layer but just wasn't strong enough yet.

The highlight of the day was stalking a gorgeous red-tailed hawk - a sure sign of spring!!
 Zooming in...

Our Christmas cactus continues to bloom. It bloomed just in time. I actually had it in my hand to throw out because some bad kitty had chewed the end off each stem and leaf as you can see and I figured it wouldn't ever bloom. Just goes to show you - NEVER give up on a plant!

Here's the culprit but how can I get mad at this sleeping cutie all curled up in a ray of sunshine? 
Doesn't she look innocent?

Friday, February 10, 2017

Foto Friday

 A year ago today was the day of the BIG snow. A week before this my snowdrops were up a few inches as well as a few other perennials.  I was hiking in short sleeves.

This was the only significant snowfall of the entire winter.

I was really happy to be retired!

I could watch the snow piling up from the safety and warmth of my home :)

Dougie - you can stay right where you are!

Too bad sucker.....!

This year we sent our snow to B.C.!! You're welcome!

I took the photo below looking out across the street from my bedroom window and posted it on facebook last year asking if people could guess which of my favourite books was represented by this photo.

Can you guess the book?

Meanwhile the snow got deeper and deeper...
 Lily decided to ignore the weather from the comfort of her box!  Smart kitty!

I kept shovelling an area on my patio and tossing out birdseed for the juncos and chickadees and the doves...

This year we have next to no snow and what little there is should melt in the +7c temperatures forecast for tomorrow. We've had oodles of rain and very little snow. My maple tree has buds on it. Not good!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

February Blahs

So this is what I'm working with these days - I saw an Occupational Therapist last week who said if I didn't stop playing volleyball and put my fingers in a splint for at least 6 weeks I would have permanent damage. Being right-handed I had to take her seriously. Php$pb#bbt%t! I can only remove the splint to take a shower and even then I'm not to use my hand. 

Just think about all of the things you do with your dominant hand and/or use two hands for. Basically everything.  Just try pulling up your pants with one hand...or brushing your teeth...turning the key in the ignition...doing dishes...using the bathroom...turning doorknobs...the list is endless. 

To make a pot of chilli I had to get Kazi to open the cans of beans and tomatoes etc. I've had two other cans sitting on the counter awaiting her two good hands but I haven't seen her for two days...so they wait...I'll get even with her later as it's recycling day! 

Technically I shouldn't be typing either...I'm using my left hand plus my index finger of my right hand. Typos like crazy!!

Last week we had a bit of sunshine and snow so I went out and took a long walk and a few photos (with my left hand!) It was glorious to be outside.

Unfortunately neither the sun or snow lasted long and now it's raining like all get out with the promise of freezing rain just to mix things up a little.


 I have a bag I keep stale bread in - I made the duckys' day :)

 I love patterns in nature - here the warp and weft and the water and the icicles made for a pleasing photo.

 I'm pleased I didn't drop my camera in the water - I'm not very dexterous with my left hand.

Finally...My darling Lilypad knows something is up - I've covered the dining room table in maps and passport renewal form and notebooks and calendars!  More on that another day. It's time to hit the exercise bike - don't need hands for that!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

January Recap

Due to the terrible events of the past week or two I haven't posted much. So...I'll get back into the swing of things by recapping January's budget.

What went well: (almost everything)

  • the cost-of-living increase in my teacher's pension was TO THE DOLLAR exactly equal to the increases in my bills: property tax, condo fee and insurance! Sometimes the system works. That allowed the increase in my Canada Pension Plan ($8.00 whoopdedoo!) to be added to my savings.
  • Saving $1,000 per month is very doable. Tsf'd $1100 in January to savings. (Travel fund:)
  • Overestimates in utilities put $46 back into my misc budget line. It's just not been that cold so far this winter.
  • Didn't have to pay property taxes this month as I am on a 10 month schedule. Went to savings instead.
  • Overpaid insurance so received a credit in January and NO payment til Feb. Extra went to savings.
  • Received investment income. Rolled it over.
  • Due to various bits and bobs my misc spending budget was $675 in January!! Out of that I saved enough to buy 250 pounds sterling! 
  • Received GST refund ($105 4 x a year) put it into savings
  • Came in under budget for gas $75/$100 & groceries $255/$280. Extra went to misc.
  • Even with that I finished January with $31 in my chequing account. Added that to February's budget.
What didn't go quite as well but wasn't too bad considering!
  • $60 for eye doctor because of Posterior Vitreous Detachment issue - have a checkup in a week which is also covered by the $60 payment already made. Don't feel too upset about that bill!
  • $37 for a prescription
January was a great month!!

Misc spending covered:
  • two meals out (Hong Ping with a friend & Swiss Chalet with my neighbour - an annual Christmas treat)
  • Wine and Food Show
  • Purchased Amazon Prime for a year which also includes Amazon Prime Video streaming. Comes to less than $7.00/month
  • Art supplies ordered through Amazon (free shipping :) 
  • added $ to my Tim's card and my Starbucks card
  • Home Depot materials to fix electrical outlet
  • Walmart - craft supplies (political sign-making)
  • Google storage
  • 250 pounds sterling
Stay tuned for February's budget recap when I proceed to spend twice what I saved in January!!
(Scotland trip is shaping up!!)