I'm so glad you could stop by. This is my personal blog of daily life and my journey through life. You will find a strong emphasis on family and friends as well as finding my ancestors through genealogy. Unlike my other blogs this blog is more of a catch-all so any topic is fair game.

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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Hallowe'en 2006

Today's the day

ghosts and goblins come out to play.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Determination is one of my personal values so when I saw this blinkie I just knew I had to use it. Just when you think you have life figured out it will through you a curve ball. How you handle that curve ball and your reaction can be either positive or negative. The important thing when life throws you a curve ball is to never give up on yourself! Know that you have the inner strength and determination to get though any of life's curve balls.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Mist on the Water

An idea is a kind of wonderful seed. It can be planted again and again, and is always ready for further use.
- Dr. Myron Allen

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Winter Wonderland!

Horseshoe Falls

We stay in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada two or three times a year. One of those trips is always made in January or February when there is rather nasty weather but this is one of the best times to view the powers of nature. The mist from the falls freezes on everything! Cars are coated with sheets of ice as are the sidewalks. The photo opportunities are amazing. Things slow down to a crawl including businesses. Yet is is one of the best trips we make!

Some attractions remain open and prices are greatly reduced to off-season rates. The butterfly conservatory, monastery, vineyards and other tourist attractions are always a pleasant diversion. There are tours of some of the larger attractions. Some of the restaurants have reduced hours as well but we have never had a problem finding good food that time of year. Still the biggest attractions are the Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side and the American Falls. Be warned, if you go during the winter months, have a lot of film or large memory card in your digital camera. Bring lots of warm clothing as you will need it and boots are a pretty good idea as well. Then be prepared to see the most amazing sights. You won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006



From the very beginnings of time, man has tried to mark his path. In the northern regions, inuckshucks are a common site and you will see them in every size. They are meant to point the way. Now originally they were meant to mark north and south but some newer builders don't know that. This picture is of an inuckshuck on Georgian Bay. The trick in building these structures to is get the long arm pointing north and balancing the rocks. There is an art to building them. I have an inuckshuck in my garden. It gets a lot of attention and true to form the long arm does point north. Still when you see them, whether built correctly or not many are impressive.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Like I Needed This..

Another View of Indian Cove, Georgian Bay, Ontario Canada

Again I chose this picture for inspiration. This is another view of Indian Cove but instead of looking towards the Indian head to the right, it is looking to the left. This area is absolutely breathtaking! We used to camp there a couple times a year now we get to the area annually.

I had a dermatologist appointment this afternoon but by mid-morning it was apparent I would not be going anywhere. I woke this morning to my right eye quite swollen and left eye swollen just on the upper lid. The chances of it being a spider bite, to which I react badly, is remote since my husband insists on having the house professionally sprayed for spiders. He said is is easier to spray than to deal with my bad reactions. By early afternoon much of the swelling had subsided but my eyes have very nice shiners, are itchy and very irritated. So, I'm still trying to figure out what the problem is but the indication is infection rather than insect bite. By mid afternoon, the scratchiness and air sensitivity was enough I used Polysporin eyedrops. If is an infection, this will at least start working until I can get into the doctor's if need be.

Like I needed this. My kitchen is torn apart with painting needing to be done before the new fridge arrives. The fridge is now blocking half of the archway. Paint fumes are the last thing I felt like dealing with today but I did. The first coat is on. I'll be able to get the second coat on later tonight out of necessity since the contractor is coming tomorrow to install the water line for the fridge.

Needless to say, genealogy and my book is taking a back burner until my kitchen is restored to normal and my eyes return somewhat to normal. My book is starting with my seventh great grandparents although earlier generations will briefly be discussed. The note pad beside on my night stand is getting a real work-out as I wake often during the night with thoughts or ideas. Some of my dreams have been so realistic and vivid. Perhaps my ancestors are trying to tell their stories through my dreams. That's always fun to speculate about. Despite everything, I'll work on the book tonight as planned. It is important to me the story is told and because this is scheduled to be the first in a series, the sooner I get the manuscript finished the better.

Garden Gnome

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Indian Cove, Georgian Bay

I chose this picture of Indian Cove on Georgian Bay to remind me of the quiet times. We love this area and make several trips. Some summers the bay is not really warm enough to swim in. The guys will brave jumping the cliffs just to say they were in the water. I'm the official picture taker so might get part of a toe in the water if I'm lucky. The area is absolutely beautiful! It is full of nature and peace, just what I need to be reminded of right now.

We had to buy a new refrigerator, special order because of what we needed and wanted. My kitchen is currently torn apart because we had to make a little more room for the new fridge. When my kitchen is in disorder, I cannot function! The less than a year old stove that has a down draft system had to be moved over by about an inch. No problem except the motor, fan and venting is all screwed into the floor and wall AND order to move it over the countertop had to be cut. So the one vent pipe didn't want to co-operate but don't worry my husband used a few choice words very quietly spoken BUT that is not good enough, to get the new fridge in the spot we had to remove the 1/2" baseboard. No problem now that means fixing that part of the wall and repainting before the new fridge arrives. Then because we are donating the old fridge to a charity, I have to do a power cleaning. It is a side-by-side. I have the freezer component completely cleaned and have started on the fridge component. We haven't bought anything needing refrigeration since we ordered the new fridge and we have been using up whatever from the fridge we can. The meat keeper and vegetable keeper are now empty and cleaned. The water line for the new fridge is scheduled to be installed on Tuesday by a contractor.

On the book front, I'm making slow progress. Working at it daily and as the ideas come helps a lot. I'll be glad when things calm just a little so I can focus better.

Garden Gnome

Saturday, October 21, 2006

End of Season


We have spent the better part of the day cleaning out the boat and greenhouse for winterizing. We also did a little more winterizing on the house. It is cold, damp and grey. We were going to take one last ride then decided a nice warm house would be a little more pleasant way to spend our time. The cold has gone right through to the bone!

Much of my evenings are now being spent on my book. While the primary focus is telling the story of my seventh great grandparents, I just can't help continuing on researching other lines. It is nice that the weather has turned colder. With much of the outside work completed along with the pantry well stocked because of home preserving, a lot of time can now be used for genealogy. I have more indoor winterizing to do as well as knitting and sewing, but for the most part genealogy will be my main activity,

I like breaking my days up into blocks of time. I have found that if I want to winterize, splitting it into 15 minute daily segments, I get a lot more accomplished than if I tried to do it all at once. The same is true with the genealogy and writing the book although I tend to do longer segments. When I get to the point of being frustrated or draw a blank, I set things aside and move onto something else. Busy hands often help the mind calm then think clearer. So it is with genealogy.

Sometimes my mind is quietest when sleeping or is it? Sleep is really just an altered state that gives us another perspective as to what is happening in our lives. I can't begin to count the number of times that I wake from a very vivid dream, run down the stairs and connect to the internet or open my book file. Most times the book file is not even closed, just saved often. I've taken to keeping a note pad on my night stand not so much for the vivid dreams but those dreams that may just give hints to a possible lead. I think sleep is just a suggestion with so much going on in my life right now. It is exciting times!

Garden Gnome

New Beginnings

It feels like new beginnings but I have a lot of mixed emotions right now. The synopsis of my book went well. Better than expected. The plan is to develop a series telling each genealogical line. My first thoughts at even the idea of a series was no way! I'm sure I can do it just I was only really thinking one book not like a series. The plan is at the moment to write simply about the ancestor of choice, life and times. I'm starting with my seventh great-grandparents so that could lead to a long enough series. Then the next book will continue with the next generation in my direct line. Everyone involved seems excited with this prospect except me who has a royal case of butterflies in the tummy. I've been through this before since I am a published author but this time around it is as bad as the first time. Different genre, different tone, different publisher and the topic is very, very personal to me. These are my ancestors and I want to do them justice if anything.

I live on the very same waterways my ancestors travelled. It's where they made their living and it was their livelihood. Sometimes, if I sit quietly by the water, I can hear them speak almost as if they want me to tell their story. I still have reservations! This is something I did for me, something I had to do. All this research was for me and my descendants. It was never started with the goal of writing a book. Sometimes the path of life takes you where you aren't sure you want to go. In some ways this is one of those times but with the love and support of my family, I'm sure it will be ok. The ghost voices of my ancestors seem to agree as my mind is racing. Sleep is only a suggestion right now!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Synopsis :(


Things have been so busy here and so many things have changed so I chose this picture just because it appeals to me.

On the car front, we have a new car so that problem is solved. We did a lot of shopping for fridges over the weekend because ours is forcing a replacement. That's a total tick off coming at the same time as the car! It is finally ordered so should be here before the weekend. One more headache solved.

Now onto my big problem, genealogy! I need to write a synopsis for my newest book and I honestly have writer's block but I have a deadline. I know what I want to say yet can't put it into words. You should see my desk! Both printers are on along with the iMac and laptop. The PDA is attached to it's mini folding keyboard and my day planner is out. I had to use a wooden tv table to hold more notes. Surrounding all this are various notes and bits of stuff. This all makes J K Rowling's (Harry Potter) desktop look very tidy at the moment!

It isn't a good time for me to try writing a synopsis. It is too grey outside and there are too many personal things going on. I have images of my seventh great grandparents floating though my mind and sometimes through the sounds of the water I swear I can even hear their voices. I have their story to tell but can't get it in writing even though I have copious notes not only for them but also for their descendants. So I have added another coat of stain to my husband's new desk. I've played briefly online. I've pulled just about every bit of detail I have on this couple. I have sent a short, start of the synopsis to my one kid for help and direction. I know where I want to go and I know what I want to do, I'm surrounded by every computerized device possible and I still have writer's block!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Testing A New Feature

I'm playing with a few blogging features that I haven't used before. I have wanted to add video to my blogs right from the time I started them so today I decided to try it out. I took this video clip on May 19, 2003 using a 2 mega pixels Fuji FinePix digital camera. There is no audio only video. The quality of the video is grainy due to the lower mega pixels but it makes a great test video.

Volcano at The Mirage, Las Vegas, Nevada

The volcano at The Mirage in Las Vegas is the signature attraction. It erupts at the top of the hour from 7 pm to midnight each day. The spectacular and realistic display is free to the public. The heat from the flames can be felt out into the road even when just driving by. Crowds gather to watch this wonderful display.

The video was very easy to upload to Google Video. With one click, the site created the code to embed the video onto my blog. I'm impressed the procedure was so easy and look forward to using videos from time to time on my blogs. The only drawback was the uploading time due to my connection speed. The video is 3.2 MB so rather small compared to the videos my current camera is capable of producing. It is a Canon PowerShot A540 6.0 mega pixels with video and audio. This is something to watch for when buying a digital camera. Video clips are nice because they show the movement but audio just adds so much more to the experience!

Blogging is a really easy way of getting your thoughts and ideas across. The blogging hosts like Blogger make creating a blog relatively easy by providing templates easy to use editing tools without ever having to use Html. However, to add extras or troubleshoot I have found knowing how to use Html very useful.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


This is one of my favourite views and we are very blessed to be able to experience it often. Unfortunately the season is coming to an end. The boat will be lifted out of the water on the twenty-third and with the weather forecast there may not be a ride before.

Today has been very stormy with power outages. My husband decided to combine an appointment with a bit of shopping. This would have been bad enough except this was not small shopping it was looking for two major purchases, running in and out of stores in the pouring rain!

Our fridge decided to act up right about the same time as the car. When you walk by the fridge and get a blast of cold air even though the doors are shut, that is just not a good thing. I'm not impressed! The problem with replacing the fridge is finding one to fit into the space we have. That is not an easy task. We finally found a couple of Whirlpool side-by-side models with ice and water dispensers that would fit. Armed with those model numbers, we'll do our research before buying but unless we do a major kitchen overhaul one of those will likely be it.

Well, maybe shopping will brighten these grey, stormy days. They are predicting snow flurries already. I need to move somewhere where the sun shines almost daily! Storms are still threatening and the power is iffy at best. I'm going to light a couple of candles and sit in a nice hot bubble bath for awhile while the world just comes down to a slow spin.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Power of a Teacher

The picture is of an island that we boat to then spend the day swimming and relaxing. We often pack a picnic lunch, a few friends or family. The day starts off early with me getting the cooler ready while various things like tow ropes and wake boards are readied. Then off we go to do a little wake boarding and playing in the water before heading to our favourite swim hole to spend the rest of the day. We are usually heading home as the sun is starting to set so I get lots of amazing photos. Now this doesn't seem like we are teaching but as parents we are always teaching and we have the power to be encouraging and promote life long learning or we have the power to turn our children off of learning. We advocate the first option and with activities like these we are constantly teaching our kids that family and friends are the greatest riches we have. As with most things I do, the digital camera is always close by!

For some reason this particular photo reminded me of the power of a teacher to either encourage or discourage a child. To survive, trees need nurture but at the same time they have to be strong enough to bend. That quality comes from gentle natural encouragement.

Throughout elementary school, I had encouraging teachers and learned a lot from relatives. Everyone around us home preserved including my mom. I can't recall ever seeing anyone use a canning recipe book and many still canned in the old fashioned jars with glass lids. I was totally fascinated by the whole process. I can still remember going to one of our neighbours when she was making dill pickles. She had this huge vat and when you lifted the lid, the smell was almost heaven! Now my mom used recipes from her head period. Nothing was ever written down. I don't even think she owned a recipe book and from what I remember her cooking wasn't all that grand as in fancy. It was basic, down home, country style cooking period. To her learning to cook was an acceptable thing for a young girl so she taught me the basics but with no fancy gadgets or time saving appliances other than a pressure cooker. Honestly that thing was scary! She was rather pleased when I said I was going to take home economics in secondary school even though it was mandatory for the girls then while the boys got to take shop. So here is the power of a teacher as I see it.

My home economics teacher was a horrid wretch of a person! She would make the most inappropriate and distasteful comments with respect to food in relation to bodily functions. She loved making any girl break down in tears with her many rants and raves. Berating a girl was all fun and games to her. Honestly I think she was having her own personal breakdown or she was just simply sadistic. I hated that class with a passion to the point I refused to do any cooking at home. At the same time, I had the most wonderful science teacher who had high expectations for students but was always encouraging. This explains why I went into science myself and have always excelled at it but that is another story. Back to my home ec teacher. She was finally fired by the school board after many, many parental complaints. But this does not explain why I still enjoy cooking and why food plays such an important role in my life.

I think the real conditioning was done while I was small by being surrounded by women who canned and cooked for their families. Most of them took great pride in their canning as well so by the time I encountered this discouraging teacher, her efforts while affecting me were rather insignificant. When we married, I was also surrounded by friends, neighbours and family who not only loved food but loved to home preserve. When our kids came along, I vowed they would be exposed to as much kitchen activity as possible from the time they were infants. I thought encouraging them to cook and be creative in the kitchen was very important. They are all very accomplished in the kitchen and will even try dishes I would be hesitant to make. I'm so glad I made this choice. None of them took home ec either! There's nothing better than teaching the next generation old family recipes, enjoying good food and lots of laughter. That's what it's all about.

As we gathered for Thanksgiving, I was reminded of how important a role food plays in our family. Family and friends started arriving Friday night and by Saturday had grown to about twenty-five by early evening. The food kept on coming! I marveled at how my husband actually jumped out of bed to make breakfast for everyone two days in a row. He loves making breakfast! Then there was the main meal and so many snacks we should be full until Christmas. Both family and friends flitted in the kitchen making one thing or another almost the entire weekend. What a wonderful thing to be thankful for, family and friends!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Tundra Swans

Tundra swans are a common sight here mainly in the spring and fall. In the spring they signal the onset of warmer weather but in the fall they warn of the on coming cold weather. I've been quietly watching them fly low over the water the past few days so know that winter weather is quickly approaching. I managed to take this picture of a tundra swan family this past spring.

Tundra Swan

Tundra swan are quite often difficult to photograph. The males can be very aggressive so a zoom lens is a real benefit. We are so lucky that I get quite a few photo opportunities and for the most part the swan have been rather congenial about getting their pictures taken. What is interesting about tundra swan is like ducks they mate for life. I guess they take those vows seriously!

As previously mentioned, in the fall the tundra swan signal the onset of cold weather. Our average first frost date is October 9 but we had a mild frost a day earlier. Everything is pointing towards the oncoming winter months and I hate November! It is too grey to the point it chills the mind and soul. Normally we go away for a week or so during November but with the grandbaby expected anytime before November 30, we will be staying close to the phone. In the meantime I will watch the tundra swans skim the water as they make their way home for the winter while I winterize the house.

The Answer is Always Blowing in the Wind

Blowing In The Wind: Peter, Paul & Mary

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?

How many times must the cannonballs fly
Before they're forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind
The answer is blowing in the wind.

How many years must a mountain exist
Before it is washed to the sea?
How many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?

How many times can a man turn his head
and pretend that he just doesn't see?
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind
The answer is blowing in the wind.

How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
How many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?

How many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind
The answer is blowing in the wind.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Condolence & Donation Addresses for Amish Families

(Posted on the Yahoo site "Old Fashioned Christian Homemakers" and "Preserving Food Chat)

To send cards or letters of condolence to the victims' families, you
may send them to

Bart Township Fire Company
P.O. Box 72
11 Furnace Road
Bart, PA 17503

It might help in sending the cards to the families to have
the names of the girls...
Naomi Rose Ebersole, 7
Anna Mae Stoltzfus, 12
Marian Fisher, 13
Mary Liz Miller, 8 and her sister Lena Miller, 7
Stoltzfus' sister was among the wounded.

There is also a website (www.amishnews. com) that seems to have a link
to send messages to the community.

There is a charitable fund set up for the Amish
families in Nickel Mines,PA. that were affected by this tragedy as
well as the Robert's family. Anyone interested in donating may send
money to

Nickel Mines Children's Fund
Coatesville Savings Bank
1082 Georgetown Road
Paradise, PA 17562

Roberts Family Fund
Coatesville Savings Bank
1082 Georgetown Road
Paradise, PA 17562
The bank is supposed to be setting up electronic donation anytime now
as well for those interested in donating online.

A donation may also be made through the Mennonite Central Committee
at www.mcc.org.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Support for Lancaster Co, Pennsylvania Candlelight Vidual

In memory of the lives lost and in support of the grieving Amish community

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania


Words cannot even begin to describe my feelings today. This picture signifies how sad I am right now and how much my heart goes out to the Amish community of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. My thoughts and prayers go out for not only the Amish community but for all those affected by this horrible tragedy. May God protect the many Amish from other communities that will make the long journey from several states and provinces as they rally to support this community

Where there are clouds, there is hope, trust and faith... The greatest of these is faith.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Road Trips

Thursday's Rainbow

Thursday we decided to start winterizing the gardens. For me there is always a feeling of sadness so my husband know this suggested we go out for dinner. While we were getting cleaned up it decided to rain and was still raining when we left. On the way, this glorious rainbow appeared lifting my spirits immensely. We pulled over and took several pictures managing to even get one picture of both sides of the rainbow's arch. Rainbows are just one of those things that are meant to stop life so you can enjoy them!

We decided on a spur of the moment road trip Saturday morning but we didn't end up leaving until mid-afternoon. I already had tomato juice canning so had to wait for that. After several calls to our kids we decided where to meet and where we would be eating dinner out. This is always an exceptional time as all our kids come together at one meeting location and we go out for dinner. The choice of the dinner is normally collective one. This time it was for Chinese, and by golly was it ever good! I took a picture of the barbequed whole pig to post on my cooking blog. He was really cute with his sunglasses. After dinner, we gathered at one of the kid's houses for lots of family bonding time, something we feel is extremely important. Then we travelled to another kid's house to stay overnight.

The following morning was the Run for a Cure that the kids were participating in. Later we had a lovely lunch then headed to my number one favourite store, IKEA. It is one of the very few places I enjoy shopping. They have such neat storage ideas and if I really want, I can shop online or through their catalogue. I had a list of things I wanted because we don't get there very often. I ended up with a nice halogen light for one of the bathrooms, a tea light candle strip (may be for a gift), a magnet knife rack, corresponding clear top metal tins for the rack, unscented candle mini pillars, and new cutting boards. My husband picked up a table and desk. Now, this took us several hours.

If you have ever seen The Brady Bunch Movie, yep, that's us! This type of shopping is a family affair and the more family members the better. We shop as a group too, usually with the gals together and the guys together with everyone stopping to look at what one person wants to look at. We have a blast! Yesterday was no exception. After a couple of pit stops on the way home, we finally crawled into bed about 11:30 pm, happy but exhausted!

That was our weekend to regenerate us for the upcoming week.