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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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Three Sisters Garden

three sisters garden bed
Three Sisters Garden Bed
July 28, 2010

A few days ago we visited an organic farm that like many home gardeners uses a variety of growing methods.  Pictured is one of the three sisters garden beds the owner had created.  While I have read of this method of growing beans, squash and corn as companion plants I haven't tried it myself.  I have added this project to next year's garden plans.  Isn't the garden bed interesting?  I like how the structural trellis feature becomes a decorative element in the garden bed.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2010


Friday, July 30, 2010

A Party Political Broadcast on Behalf of the Toddler Party

Everyone has their opinion on current political events and the politicians give them plenty of fodder to form that opinion.  Even the little ones are getting into the political scene.  Here is a party political broadcast on behalf of the Toddler Party.  Enjoy :)




Garden Gnome
©2006-2010


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Evening on the Boat

evening sky on the boat
Evening Sky
July 26, 2010

A couple of nights ago I packed a simple picnic dinner for us to enjoy on the boat.  We boated upstream for awhile then turned the motor off and drifted while enjoying our dinner.  It was a peaceful, relaxing dinner.  As we headed back to the marina I took a few pictures of the sky that will still laden with storm cloud remnants.  The storms have certainly provided several photo oppurtunities!

Garden Gnome
©2006-2010


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Mallard Family

mallard family
Mallard Family
 July 10, 2010

Garden Gnome
©2006-2010


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dealing with a Troll


For the past 16 months I have been dealing with essentially a troll.  The online version of a troll is to create a huge disturbance usually in a newsgroup, get everyone upset then the troll sits back to enjoy all the ruckus.   In this case the troll initially contacted me through my private email address then by phone contact so this has been something that has been going on in real life as well as online.  Without going into a lot of detail this Gnome has been around the block a time or two so is not stupid.  Gnomes are natural enemies of trolls and they will defend their territory.  With a little help from my Gnome Empire pretty much all contact has been severed for this troll.  The troll can no longer keep up with what I'm doing through Twitter and trying to read my blogs is just not going to happen.  Email and phone contact is futile.  And that should teach the troll that this Gnome knows exactly how to deal with trolls :)

Garden Gnome
©2006-2010


Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday Morning Chuckle

Monday mornings notoriously get a bad rap.  Whatever the reason everyone could use a Monday morning chuckle to brighten their day.  I found this cute video of babies laughing that is sure to bring a smile to your face.  Enjoy :)




Garden Gnome
©2006-2010


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Blog Your Blessings Sunday - Changing Winds

Blog Your Blessings Sunday

This past week has focused on changing winds on more than one level.  Now changing winds can bring good and bad but in this case the changing winds brought good all the way around.  Towards the end of the week peace reigned supreme.  It has been a long time coming but apparently after my last out burst the person who has been making themselves a royal pain for over a year has decided to move on.  I have been on Cloud 9 since I realized that she was actually gone at least for now.  I'm elated!  We've taken a step back on the house sale but it is the right choice.  The garden is producing nicely and the weather while stormy hasn't been all that bad.  All in all is was a very pleasant, very rewarding week.  The winds of change were quite welcomed here! 

Garden Gnome
©2006-2010


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Talk About Conserving Energy!

generator powered lights
Generator Powered Lights
July 20, 2010

A couple of days ago we took a bit of a road trip.  The weather was overcast with threatening thunderstorms in the area so it was a bit darker out than it would have been in full sunlight.  However, when we happened upon a generator powered flood lights that were on there was no logical reason.  It certainly was not dark enough for any type of lighting let along flood lighting.  The lights were generator powered meaning all the time the generator was running it was burning gasoline.  This definitely was quite contrary to being eco-friendly and practicing energy conservation.  I can't imagine why the generator was running to power the lights but it certainly was a waste of energy.  For shame!

Garden Gnome
©2006-2010


Friday, July 23, 2010

Parking Fail!

parking fail
Parking Fail!
July 17, 2010

Parking lots can be an endless source for humour, stupidity and everything in between if you like people watching.  Honestly it is if drivers get into a parking lot and all rules of the road disappear as their brains fall out the window!  The parking lot really is about survival of the fittest.  This driver had no real excuse for parking the way he did.  The newly resurfaced parking lot had all nice, new, brightly painted parking lines so it wasn't as if he couldn't see them and if he couldn't then he shouldn't have been driving!  Two thumbs down for this parking FAIL!

Garden Gnome
©2006-2010


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Donkey Award Given to The Person Who Doesn't Understand the Meaning of the Words "Leave Me Alone"


The Troll aka My Stalker
2010



When I wrote Toxic People last May I seriously thought that would be the end of my online stalking experience.  That has not proven to be the case.  Despite me banning her through Twitter she is still accessing my blogs through Twitter.  Now ideally banning this person would mean she couldn't read my tweets at all.  Instead it would according to my stats appear she has gone through the search feature on Twitter to find me once again.  After a few tweets from her that gradually escalated  I realized that she would make a horrid tweet then a couple of days delete it.  I quickly came to the conclusion I am dealing with a seriously unbalanced person.  I decided to take the approach of absolutely no contact and no acknowledgment of any attempted contact.  That worked for all of about 3 minutes.   Attempted contacts went from Twitter to this person leaving anonymous comments on my blogs.  Apparently the game was to find any error to correct presumedly to make herself look better than I am.  The problem is this has very quickly become a personal attack.  The person has been told no contact.  At one point the person said she was closing that chapter of her life aka leaving me alone.  After a blissful break in her nonsense it started up again with multiple visits to my blogs followed by leaving a lot of cryptic messages on Twitter.  It has now moved to the point of anonymous comments and since I moderate comments on all of my blogs that isn't working well for her.

I was seriously to the point of giving up on Twitter or making drastic changes.  My husband asked why I would do this when I'm the one being harassed.  He's right.  I've done nothing wrong.  In light of everything that has happened and continue to happen I have awarded this person the fine distinction of the Donkey Award!  The last time I awarded the Donkey Award was 2008.  Believe me this person is richly deserving of this award!  I view her lower than telemarketers and we all know how much I detest them!

My Final Word:  To the person who for whatever reason can't get the message let me spell it out for you.  GO AWAY!  GET STUFFED! DON'T READ MY BLOGS (because I know you are and have proof)!  TAKE A HIKE! GET OUT OF MY FACE!  Either leave me alone or I will take the necessary steps to ensure you leave me alone.  THANKS AND HAVE A GREAT LIFE THAT DOES NOT INVOLVE ME!  Enjoy your award.  It is very well deserved!  Congratulations.


Garden Gnome
©2006-2010


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - The Island

the island
The Island
July 3, 2010

Garden Gnome
©2006-2010


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Senior's Cell Phone

[from my email files]

-----
This is the new cell phone I've just put an order in for!   My other one had about 45 buttons.....way too many for me.    I  just want to answer when someone rings me; and  talk when I want to phone anyone --- ya rite on!  This old geezer doesn't want any music, adding  machines, video,  tv,  wifi,  texting, movies, etc.  etc. and  all the rest of the garbage !!  I know what the people look like already;  so I'm hoping this is gonna save me.

senior's cell phone
-----

Garden Gnome
©2006-2010


Monday, July 19, 2010

McDonald's Fast Food Experiment

Some things I find online are just too good not to share!  If you follow any of my blogs you will know that I am not a huge fan of fast food restaurants.  While I won't go as far as saying I never eat  fast food from a fast food restaurant I will say that we will go out of our way to find a sit down restaurant.  I honestly think that eating fast food fare on a regular basis is detrimental to your health.  It tends to be high in sodium, sugar and fat.  As if that isn't bad enough fast food is loaded with calories.  Just in case my view on fast food doesn't convince you that fast food should not be a regular part of a healthy diet I found this great video.  It's good food for thought!  A warning that this video is not for the squeamish. 







Garden Gnome
©2006-2010


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Blog Your Blessings Sunday - Berries and More Berries

Blog Your Blessings Sunday

The past week was interesting to say the least!  My husband was away for half of the week so I had the house to myself.  I picked up a bit of produce to keep me busy.  The produce included strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries with mangos, lemons and a pineapple thrown in for good measure.  I use a low methoxy pectin which doesn't rely on sugar for gelling so I have free reign on the jams I can create.  I really am limited only by my imagination when it comes to making jams and this is where it gets fun. 

For the most part the focus for the week was berries and more berries.  I had a nice time experimenting in the kitchen.  There were several jars of jams added to the pantry, berries froze and berries popped into my mouth.  I really wanted to dry some berries but the humidity shot up so I didn't.  Hopefully I will be able to get some dried next week.  All in all it was a berry nice week :)

Garden Gnome
©2006-2010


Saturday, July 17, 2010

What the Ontario Government is Really Saying With the HST and Eco-Fee

The Ontario government under the leadership of Premier Dalton McGuinty despite campaign promises of no taxes introduced both the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) which adds 8% tax on 17% of consumer goods and services and the Eco-Fee (aka tax) to be collected on 9,000 consumer products including items like CFLs, rechargeable batteries and laundry detergent.  What message is the Ontario government sending to consumers?  Here it is in a nutshell:

  • shop the underground economy
  • shop outside of Ontario - shop in Quebec, Manitoba and boarding US states
  • quit shopping new but rather shop used
  • convert to solar (buy supplies outside of Ontario) and/or heat with wood (currently no tax)
  • and basically we lied to you during the election campaign so you now are paying the price
And good golly gosh, some folks have actually claimed that McGuinty's government is bad for Ontario.  I thinks his taxes are going to boost our popularity rating in the US, don't you?

Garden Gnome
©2006-2010


Friday, July 16, 2010

The HST Stimulus Cheque Explained

[from my email files.  Warning not for children.]

Sometime this year, we taxpayers will receive an ' HST Compensation'' payment.  This is indeed a very exciting program, and I'll explain it by using a Q & A format:

Q. What is an 'HST Compensation' payment?
A. It is money that the provincial government will send to taxpayers.

Q.. Where will the government get this money?
A. From taxpayers.

Q. So the government is giving me back my own money?
A. Only a smidgen of it.

Q. What is the purpose of this payment?
A. The plan is for you to use the money to purchase a high-definition TV set, thus stimulating the economy.

Q. But isn't that stimulating the economy of China?
A. Shut up.

Below is some helpful advice on how to best help the economy by spending your compensation cheque wisely:

* If you spend the stimulus money at Wal-Mart, the money will go to China or Sri Lanka.
* If you spend it on gasoline, your money will go to the Arabs.
* If you purchase a computer, it will go to India, Taiwan or China.
* If you purchase fruit and vegetables, it will go to Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala.
* If you buy an efficient car, it will go to Japan or Korea.
* If you purchase useless stuff, it will go to Taiwan.
* If you pay your credit cards off, or buy stock, it will go to management bonuses and they will hide it offshore.

Instead, keep the money in Canada by:

1) Spending it at yard sales, or
2) Going to hockey games, or
3) Spending it on prostitutes, or
4) Beer or
5) Tattoos.

(These are the only Canadian businesses still operating in Canada.)

Conclusion:
Go to a hockey game with a tattooed prostitute that you met at a yard sale and drink beer all day!

No need to thank me, I'm just glad I could be of help.

-----

Garden Gnome
©2006-2010


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Now That I Have the Attention of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario


Wonder of wonders look what I found in my blog stats.  Apparently someone at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario is interested in what I have to say about the HST.  Posts I've made regarding the HST include Say No to the HSTProtest Against Ontario's Proposed HST, Ten Ways to Avoid the HST in Ontario, Ways to Can Still Fight the HST, and coming tomorrow The HST Stimulus Cheque Explained.  You might say I'm on the anti-HST side all the way.  So now that I have the attention of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, let me say a few things:
  • The HST has hit Ontario residents at a time when they can least afford it.  Those on fixed incomes, low incomes and social assistance in many cases simply cannot afford the extra 8% the HST will add to 17% of goods and services.  In the groups mentioned 47% experience food insecurity1.  A good portion experiencing food insecurity in Ontario are single-parent households.  The 8% extra needed to pay HST is going to have to come from somewhere and for these families it means coming from their food budget.  Living in Ontario we have no choice but to pay for some type of home heating yet how many can afford an extra 8% on their home heating?  Time of Use pricing is going into effect for electricity in Ontario and the prediction is by 2012 electricity rates will increase by 32%.  Despite residents already struggling against rising cost of living the McGuinty government feels that it can reach further into our pockets?
  • As if the HST was not bad enough at the same time the McGuinty government has saw fit to introduce the Eco-fee on some 9,000 items including laundry detergent.  While this is not called a tax we both know the Eco-fee is nothing more than another greedy McGuinty government tax grab.  At least one business (Canadian Tire) has been caught over charging for the Eco-fee.  How many
  • The HST Stimulus Cheque is a glorified public pacifier but I will tell you by the fall when hopefully an election is called the people of Ontario are not going to be so dimwitted to vote the McGuinty government back in.  By the fall the full effects of the HST and Eco-fee will hitting many families.  With winter approaching and home heating costs kicking in it will be the perfect time for an election to kick the McGuinty government to the curb!
  • Rural citizens in particular have been let down by the McGuinty government.  In many rural areas internet service is restricted to dial-up or satellite.  Now satellite is expensive and thanks to CRTC rulings they can throttle down the speed under Fair Access Policy (FAP).  This means we pay 100% for the promised bandwidth but even on the best of days we are only guaranteed 40% of that bandwidth then if we are FAPped it goes down to dial-up speeds for some as long as 24 hours!  Imagine going it to buy a hamburger, pay full price and one a quarter of the burger comes out.  That's the reality for internet service for rural residents in Ontario.  To add insult to this we pay $60 per month and now have to pay an additional 8%.  What strikes me funny is the Ontario government spent $500,000 to bring wireless broadband to our area yet that hasn't happened proving once again all we get from the McGuinty government is greedy tax grabs and broken promises.
  • The McGuinty government really crossed the line with the G20 fiasco!  Quietly declaring the G20 security zone a public work under the Public Works Protections Act (1939) systemmatically denying anyone near that area of their civil liberities has left a very bitter taste in the mouths of not only those in Ontario but throughout Canada.  Then PM McGuinty has the audacity to wipe his hands of it after creating the mess?  I honestly hope that any lawsuits trickle right back to the McGuinty government and Dalton McGuinty personally.  This breach of trust and sneaky passing of regulations that affect civil liberties behind closed door is one McGuinty legacy the people of Ontario will not forget any time soon!
    Garden Gnome
    ©2006-2010


    Wednesday, July 14, 2010

    Wordless Wednesday - Friday Night All You Can Eat Fish 'n Chips

    all you can eat fish 'n chips
    Friday Night All You Can Eat Fish 'n Chips
    June 18, 2010

    Garden Gnome
    ©2006-2010


    Tuesday, July 13, 2010

    Leaving the Swim Hole

    swim hole
    The Swim Hole
    July 3, 2010

    It is always enjoyable spending a warm summer day lounging at the swim hole.  After spending a lazy day enjoying the sun and water we head out usually around the dinner hour sometimes a bit later.  Occasionally we wait until the sun is lower in the sky.  We headed out our normal time on this day watching others do the same as the sun danced over the water.  It was such a gorgeous day!

    Garden Gnome
    ©2006-2010


    Monday, July 12, 2010

    Her Empty Frigidaire - An Original Country Song

    One of my Twitter friends sent me the link to Paul Sonnenberg's song  Her Empty Frigidaire.  If life gets to the point you can't enjoy eating string cheese the way it was meant to be the only thing you can do is poke a little fun at it!  Enjoy :)




    Here's the lyrics:

    Her Empty Frigidaire

    In the ice box was a single piece of string cheese
    That she left me on the night she went away.
    I just didn't have the heart
    To pull that cheese apart
    So I just ate it in the ordinary way.

    And there was a beer behind that jar of pickles
    If one wrinkled, orphan pickle makes a jar
    And I was so glad for that
    'Cause you know I'm busted flat
    And she's not here to pay my tab down at the bar.

    Still there's a light that shines
    When the ice box door is open
    And I take some comfort there.
    But I don't know how long
    That light can burn without her
    'Cause they called to repossess the Frigidaire...

    So this box of saltines just will have to do me
    I can make it last at least a day or two
    But as I sit here and stare
    At her empty Frigidaire
    I can't help wondering just where she's gotten to

    Still there's a light that shines
    At least when the door is open
    And I take some comfort there.
    And now I know how long
    That light will burn without her
    'Cause they're here to repossess the Frigidaire.

    Well I wish had that little piece of string cheese
    That she left me on the night she went away.
    I still wouldn't have the heart
    To pull that cheese apart
    But I could eat one in the ordinary way.
    Yes, I could eat one in the ordinary way.

    Garden Gnome
    ©2006-2010


    Sunday, July 11, 2010

    Blog Your Blessings Sunday - The Heat Wave of 2010

    Blog Your Blessings Sunday

    For most of the past week we have been under a heat way with temperatures soaring about 30ºC and high humidity.  We were very lucky in dealing with this heat wave because Monday was the last day of our Canada Day celebrations spent with the kids and grandkids,  my husband took Wednesday off which is traditional during the summer so he only works a 4 day week, the house was comfortable set to 24ºC and I managed to keep the gardens happy.  One day was spent lounging in the boat enjoying the rocking waves at the swim hole.  Another day spent with the kids ending up watching oldest grandbaby's soccer game.  The whole family went except for one kid couple too far to travel for the day.  Now that was priceless and I have 190 pictures to show how priceless that day was!  We ate a lot lighter for the week with more of a focus on raw foods something I'm sure our bodies appreciated.  We spent a few evenings sitting in the sunporch watching the sun go down.  The entire week was very low keyed, just relaxing and enjoying.  Despite the Heat Wave of 2010 that had so many complaining we barely noticed it, the heat that is :)

    Garden Gnome
    ©2006-2010


    Saturday, July 10, 2010

    Ways You Can Still Fight the HST

    say no to HST
    Yesterday I posted ten ways you can minimize and avoid paying the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) in Ontario.  The fight regarding the HST in both Ontario and British Columbia is far from over.  Just last week it was announced that the anti-HST movement were delivered petitions in British Columbia last week.  This week a resident of Chatham-Kent, ON had signs on his car stating that HST was Human Slavery Tax.  So people are still voicing their opinions and making their voices heard.  Here are a few ways to protest the HST:

    1. Quit or greatly reduce shopping and each time that you do make sure the stores know why you aren't shopping.  The stores have a bit more political clout than individual citizens so perhaps if a larger company like Wal-mart threatened to pull out of Ontario because of the HST the government would start listening.
    2. Reduce services like cable, satellite television, internet and cell phone to the lowest possible that gets you what you want.  Be sure to tell them that because of the HST you have to find another way to cut 8% from the bill so that has to come from their services.
    3. Eliminate some activities and services.  It is cheaper for you to add a light movie package onto your cable or satellite service than it is to go to the movies that will cost you HST on ticket price, HST on gas used to get to the theatre, and of course the necessary snacks.  Cheaper than adding a movie package is borrowing movies from the library or creating a movie exchange between friends and family.  What many Canadians are doing is turning television services off completely and turning to the internet where they can get television shows online for free (other than their monthly internet bill).  Movies can be downloaded as well quite often cheaper than renting them at a video rental store.
    4. Growing your own food is a very frugal choice and while HST is not applied to basic foods the gas to get to the store does HST applied.  A trip into town that previously cost you $10 in gas is now going to cost you $10.80 so less driving is in order.  Make sure your local grocery store knows why you are choosing to grow your own and the gas stations why you aren't buying as much gas.
    5. Post your property with a Say No to HST or Fight the HST sign.
    6. Sign any petitions and get involved with any anti-HST rallies or protests.  The more voices heard on this level the better.
    7. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper and those in your area.  They will be especially interested to read how the HST is affecting your daily standard of living.
    8. Write your MPP and MP voicing your displeasure over the HST and how it is adversely affecting your daily life.
    9. Be vocal!  If you have a blog, blog about it.  If you are on Twitter, tweet about it.  Use any avenue you can to get the word out about your displeasure over the HST and the impact that extra 8% is having on your life.

    Garden Gnome
    ©2006-2010


    Friday, July 09, 2010

    Ten Ways to Avoid Paying HST in Ontario

    say no to HST
    Towards the end of last year I posted about the proposed Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2010 in Ontario and British Columbia.  Despite campaign promises of new new taxes the HST effectively introduces a new 8% tax on 17% of consumer goods and services in Ontario.  There has been rather vocal opposition to the HST and continues to be opposition even though it is now in effect.  The HST has resulted in a dramatic increase in the underground economy to the point the McGuinty government has spent taxpayers dollars warning against using the underground economy to avoid paying the HST.  The bottom line is a price increase of 8% on anything right now while we are still in a recession is hitting people while they are still down.  The hardest hit will be those on fixed incomes.  Unfortunately in McGuinty's ultimate wisdom the HST now applies to home heating fuel, electricity and gasoline so unless you go solar or go without and don't drive a vehicle you will end up paying some GST.  The average person is expected to pay somewhere $1,000 extra per year as a result of the HST.  With a few shopping and lifesyle modification you can cut that cost by half if not more!  Here are ten ways to minimize what HST you have to pay and avoid the HST you can get away with not paying:

    1. utilities - Reducing the amount used will reduce the amount of HST on your utility bill.  Lower your temperature setting by 2ºC in the winter and raise the air conditioner setting by 2ºC in the summer.  Turn off the air conditioner whenever possible.  Winterize your home to reduce heating costs. Practice energy conservation.  The less energy you use the less impact by HST. If you can switch to wood heat since there is no HST on wood.  If possible switch to solar for supplemental heating and switch as much electrical use to solar as possible.  Ideally your home can be covered to fully solar for electricity and water heating.  This can be a DIY expandable project that doesn't break the bank but will eliminate electricity from the grid entirely saving you both the cost of electricity and the HST on it.
    2. underground economy - The underground economy is alive and well thanks to the HST.  Essentially what this means is you pay cash for goods and services.  The government would have you believe this is extremely risky but if you know who you are dealing with it isn't.  Use local services that will offer a discount plus no HST if you pay cash.  In older terms it meant doing something "under the table" so the concept is not a new one, it's just growing in popularity thanks to the HST.
    3. barter - Bartering has always been a frugal way of getting what you want without any cash outlay.  For example I trade some of my garden extras for other produce I don't grow or extra fresh caugh local fish.  Each person in the barter ends up with what they want with no money changing hands.  Hair cuts now have 8% HST added so a frugal person will either cut their hair themselves or trade something like extra produce or even offer to babysit the hairdresser's kids for a couple of hours in return for a hair cut.
    4. reduce spending - The reality is many spend simply for the sake of spending making no distinction between needs and wants.  
    5. yard/estate/garage sales and resale shops - Buying those items you need used is eco-friendly recycling and you avoid paying any HST.
    6. shop outside of Ontario - Washington State has announced that they will be giving BC residents a tax break for shopping there due to the HST.  That's a pretty good incentive for BC residents to shop in the US rather than BC.  In Canada BC, ON, NS, NB and NL have HST.  The rest of the provinces do not.  Those in ON close to the Quebec and Manitoba borders can shop there without paying HST.  Those in border areas to Minnesota, Michigan, and New York can shop in the US without paying HST although it may be assessed when returning to Canada if you were not out of the country for 24 hours.  In general gassing up in the US is overlooked so not only do you get cheaper gas but also don't pay the HST.  At the same time basic groceries don't have HST added on but many are cheaper in the US so during a gas trip do a bit of grocery shopping as well.
    7. magazine subscriptions - Magazine subscriptions will now be 8% more expensive.  In this day of the internet which will also have an addition 8% tax, eliminate any magazine subscriptions.  Magazines are not eco-friendly to begin with.  In many cases you can read them for free at the library and there's always the trading amongst friends.  Many magazines are now offering online subscriptions as well so while you are paying 8% on your internet bill you won't be on your online subscription.  
    8. home repairs/service calls/landscaping/home renovations - These services now have an additional 8% tax on them.  The simple solution to avoiding tax on these services is to become a do-it-yourselfer (DIYer).  There are several online sources and library resources to help you and chances are you already know someone who wouldn't mind sharing their knowledge.  Doing it yourself is going to save all the costs of hired labour as well!
    9. real estate commissions - An additional 8% tax is now applied to real estate commissions something that doesn't sit well with since our house is currently on the market.  Our solution baring an acceptable offer will be to remove our house from the market something many will likely do.  Unless you are moving to lessen the commute to work it is usually cheaper to stay where you are and upgrade.
    10. hunting and fishing licences - There is now an additional 8% tax on these licences.  Those who qualify as Aboriginals under the Canadian Constitution Act (1982) do not require either licence so it is more important now to know your rights!
    Garden Gnome
    ©2006-2010


    Thursday, July 08, 2010

    Dealing With the Heat Wave

    rippling waves
    Rippling Waves
    July 3, 2010

    The weather started warming up here in time for the Canada Day celebrations.  Saturday it was quite warm so we spent the afternoon at the swim hole.  The day was absolutely gorgeous, rocking gently in the boat on the waves.  As the temperatures continued to soar into mid-week I'm sure a lot of people were cooling themselves in swimming pools, local beaches and on boats.

    Garden Gnome
    ©2006-2010


    Wednesday, July 07, 2010

    Wordless Wednesday - Sautéing Mushrooms



    Garden Gnome
    ©2006-2010


    Tuesday, July 06, 2010

    A Day at the Swim Hole

    swim hole
    The Swim Hole
    July 3, 2010

    Shortly after getting the boat we learned where a few good swimming spots aka swim holes were.  A swim hole is unlike simply going to a beach.  We usually pack a cooler or two with a light meal, snacks and refreshments.  When we arrive we find a spot to anchor amidst the many other boats anchored.  Once anchored we put the top up for shade and turn on the tunes.  The boat rocks gently and sometimes not so gently in the waves.  We usually make our way to shore to sit on the beach but unlike a lot of the other boaters we don't bring a lot of gear up to the beach.  Some of the boaters have small dingies that they pull filled with gas grills, umbrellas, lawn chairs and that type of thing but we spend our time between the boat, the water and the shore.  It is a very lazy, relaxing way to spend an afternoon!

    Garden Gnome
    ©2006-2010


    Monday, July 05, 2010

    The Algoeast

    Algoeast
    The Algoeast
    July 3, 2010

    We spent a wonderful day on Saturday lazing on the boat at our favourite swim hole at the mouth of the St. Clair River.  What better way to enjoy a warm, sunny day than anchored on a sandy beach, rocking gently to the motion of the waves.  Occasionally a lake freighter went by giving a few wonderful photo opportunities.

    Garden Gnome
    ©2006-2010


    Sunday, July 04, 2010

    Blog Your Blessings Sunday - Oh Canada!

    Blog Your Blessings Sunday

    On Thursday (July 1, 2010) we celebrated Canada's 143rd birthday.  For many Canadians Canada Day was the first day of a four day weekend this year, a much needed break from the daily routine.  Canada Day signifies the official start of summer.  The kids are out of school and for two short months they enjoy their new found freedom.  The past week's blessings focused on Canada itself.  We are so lucky to live in such an amazing country where we can enjoy a rather abundant lifestyle.  We are indeed very blessed to be able to call Canada our home.  As much as the recent G20 events with police abusing their power and the Ontario government systematically taking away civil liberties during th eG20 we are vividly reminded as to how good we do have it in Canada.  At some point both the police and the Ontario government will be accountable for their actions and that is ONLY because of our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  This week has been one of appreciating what we truly do have in Canada and how very blessed we are!

    Garden Gnome
    ©2006-2010


    Saturday, July 03, 2010

    The Web

    The Web
    June 27, 2010

    A couple of days ago the weather turned cool so we woke to very heavy fog conditions.  It is always pretty here when fog envelopes everything leaving just a few feet around the house just barely visible.  The boat horns sound through the heavy fog - one blast every minute to make sure other boats know they are there.  This is the perfect time to grab the camera looking for photo opportunities.  I spotted several spider webs heavy with the moisture from the heavy fog.

    Spider webs are greatly under-appreciated works of art!  Their intricate fine webbing is enough to make anyone who crochets jealous.  Quite often spider webs indoors are hastily brushed aside when cleaning not realizing that they are a tell tale sign of air leakage.  Outdoors spider webs are swept from window wells and door ways because they look unsightly without considering how many insects spiders trap each night.  Outdoors during times of heavy dew or frost spider webs become magical, mystical works of art to be enjoyed for a short period of time.  What a great photo opportunity!
     
    Garden Gnome
    ©2006-2010


    Friday, July 02, 2010

    Interesting Camera Arifact (Sunset)

    interesting camera artifact
    Interesting Camera Artifact (Sunset)
    June 24, 2010


    We have been experiencing some rather turbulent weather in our area recently.  The result of this has been several great photo opportunities.  My husband snapped a few pictures of the sun shining through rain clouds a few days ago.  The appearance of sun itself was a fluke due to the fairly heavy cloud coverage.  It did not appear as a break in the clouds or as a beam, just simply as a bright, white sphere and only very briefly for not quite 2 minutes.  In two of the pictures the sun actually appears a rosy pink as pictured.  The above photo has not been altered other than adding the copyright mark and frame.  Essentially a couple of lucky shots captured the sun shining through rain breaking down the white light into colours the same way a rainbow forms.  In this case only one colour of the prism was caught by the camera's lens.

    Garden Gnome
    ©2006-2010


    Thursday, July 01, 2010

    Happy Canada Day!

    Happy Canada Day


    Garden Gnome
    ©2006-2010