Vacation time!

I’ve been a little tardy in recapping our latest vacation.  With good reason, I returned home to some unhappy news, and for awhile things were in “put one foot in front of the other and the rest will sort itself out” mode.  So thankfully the month that was May is now done and June and July as well, so I think it’s high time I did a quick recap of the week of relax, the week that prepared me for what was to come.

We stayed at the Paradisus Rio de Oro.

During our bus ride from the airport we were greeted by a rainbow:

2013.05.08 - our arrival

The accommodations are located in small blocks of buildings, very much like little condo buildings:
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Being an all inclusive, drinks are free.  We sampled lots of different cocktails:
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We spent a lot of time swimming in the pool:
2013.05.13 - this is the life!

And walking on the beach:
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One of the great things about the Rio de Oro is that room service is included:
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Overall, a really relaxing and wonderful vacation!

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CSA started this week!

Here is all the loot from this week (#1!) pickup:

2013.06.19 - week #1 csa haul

It feels so good to get back into getting weekly farm baskets.  I had been doing weekly Lufa baskets in anticipation of the local (outdoor) CSA season starting up, and while they are a lot of fun, and a great service, they just aren’t the same.  There’s something about having a direct relationship with the farm (it’s my fourth year!  you get to know people after awhile!), and learning what is currently being harvested locally from the ground that makes it special.

This year my CSA did something new and very special: they had a seedling day!  The timing really wasn’t working out for me, but I’m so glad I made the necessary arrangements to attend.  It was held out at the farm in Farnham smack in the middle of May, so I dropped Dave off at his motorcycle lessons and braved the traffic (half the lanes on the Champlain bridge were closed for construction).  And I’m so glad I made the effort because it was very exciting seeing the farm (previous year’s visits had similarly bad timing), and also to buy seedlings to plant at home.

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Here is one of several planters on my balcony.  This one is filled with lettuce.  Others have spinach, herbs and more lettuce.  There’s a certain sense of pride of digging into lunch when I know the lettuce in my salad was grown on my balcony.

2013.06.13 - balcony farm

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Things I’ve been digging lately: May 2013

2013.04.28 - testing out a new quilt

– I’m starting a new quilt (see above!) using the Inside Out pattern from Cluck Cluck Sew.  It’s pushing me out of my comfort zone, piecing tiny rectangles.

– The days are getting longer!  So excited about this.  My body has been waking up pretty early, meaning it’s easier for me to get to work early (and sometimes even leave early).

– Reconnecting with old friends.

– Getting excited to go on vacation.  Going through all my warm weather clothes in anticipation.

– Weekly Lufa farms baskets.  They have recently switched up their format, and no longer require a multiple week subscription.  This is a great warm up to CSA season.  And there’s something awesome about knowing the food I am consuming was grown merely a couple of kilometers away from the heart of the city where I live.

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I made that! Finished Wedding Quilt

Tada!  It's done!

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of gifting my cousin with a throw sized quilt as a wedding shower gift.  Because it was the largest sized quilt I ever made to date, and because of the occasion, I paid particular attention as I made it.  I tried to really enjoy the process as I went, from the choice of fabric all the way to the quilting and binding.

It all started with choosing some fabrics:

2012.01.03 - Planning a new quilt.

Cutting out all the squares:

2013.01.21 - getting ready to sew

Sewing and then trimming the HST’s:

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Assembling the HST’s into blocks:

2013.02.02 - wip

And then the blocks into the quilt:

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And then basting and binding and voila!

Here’s the back:

DSC_9135Edited to add: The quilt was made using The Tulip Patch Helix Quilt Pattern.  It was simple and straightforward, and as always I can’t stop saying good things about Pink Chalk Fabrics, where the pattern was purchased from (as well as some of the fabric).  Just the other day I have a really nice email conversation with their customer service rep, about a package I was worried had gone missing (it hadn’t, it was just held up a bit in customs).  So refreshing to not be dealing with corporate mumbo jumbo when dealing with customer service.

 

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Out and about: Winter Camping at Au Diable Vert

A few weeks ago Dave and I rented a cabin at Au Diable Vert.  It wasn’t our first time, but our first time visiting in the winter.  It was great!  I think in the future we are going to try to make our yearly trip in the winter rather than the fall or summer.

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A little more snow than last time, eh?

So much snow that we needed snow shoes to get around most of the property!  Pro tip: faculty, staff and students of McGill University can rent snow shoes (and cross-country skis) from the Sports Center at very reasonable rates.  We ended up renting snow shoes for an entire week, which meant we had a few extra days to try them on Mont-Royal (verdict: not as nice as at Au Diable Vert where we had the trails all to ourselves).

2013.02.07 - snowshoe hike

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We were pleasantly surprised to see that the inside of the Echo du Bois cabin had been redone.  New wall paneling  new bunk bed structure, new bedding.  Much cleaner!  There’s even a battery powered light, though we choose to just use candles and flashlights during our trip.

Something I had been worried about, using the outhouse in the winter, turned out to be no big deal.  The hassle was in getting on boots and a jacket to go outside, but you were out there, it was fine.

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It’s amazing how simple food tastes so great while camping.  Even something as simple as ramen tastes 100% better when the water has been boiled on a wood stove.  And fried eggs.  Oh boy!  So delicious.  We also did baked potatoes in the fire, steak, foil packets of veggies in the fire, hot dogs on sticks, and smores!  Yum.

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You can tell that the people who own and work at Au Diable Vert really love what they are doing, and like to share their love with others.  In the winter unless you have an all wheel drive vehicle you must park at the bottom of the hill and either trek up or use the walkietalkie to radio the reception to come get you.  The night we arrived we were met with smiles and excitement, and a reassurance that there was tons of snow for us to play in (there was surprisingly little snow on the sides of the 10 on our drive in).

We will definitely be going back again, hopefully in the winter!

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A rather interesting walk home today: flooding on McTavish

So by now I’m sure everyone in the Montreal area knows: there was a major water main break and a good chunk of the McGill campus and downtown core flooded.  I didn’t know this though when I started my walk home, and decided to walk up McTavish to Dr. Penfield to see how the work was coming along.

See, I did it last week, and work seemed to be progressing fine:

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So I started to walk up McTavish, and noticed there was some water on the street.  I didn’t think too much about it, and kept walking.  Then I noticed that the water was edging up onto the sidewalk. I started to walk a bit quicker:

2013.01.28 - nope, there isn't usually this much water

And then it got a bit nuts. I ended up having to climb over a small ledge to avoid soaking my feet, go into a building and out the other side, to avoid the deluge of water:

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Pretty crazy. Apart from having to take a detour, it worked it ok. It seems people going South instead of North weren’t so lucky. I guess there are perks to having to climb a hill to go home!

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Out and About on Mont-Royal

Since the deep freeze Montreal had been experiencing finally subsided, I decided to get out and enjoy a walk through Mont-Royal Park this Sunday afternoon.  Although it wasn’t as cold as it was earlier in the week, -10C can still get cold!  It didn’t help that in my excitement of it not being -25C, I hadn’t worn any extra layers. Oops. I enjoyed a nice hot chocolate when I got home and all was well.

Here are some pictures:

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2013.01.27 - walking on Mont-Royal

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