In search of a New Year’s Eve tradition

Make sure you have a bottle of bubbly just in case you make it to the stroke of midnight. What the heck – you can pop the cork earlier if you’re getting weary

In search of a New Year’s Eve traditionBy the time you get to my age, you begin to think that getting all dolled up and going out on the town on New Year’s Eve is overrated. First of all, I’ve had the stuffing kicked out of me by all of those Christmas gatherings and celebrations. My energy level is as low as…

Give of yourself to get this Christmas

I don’t have a surplus of cash to donate during the Christmas season. Being a Salvation Army bell ringer is my way of giving back

Give of yourself to get this ChristmasI don’t have a surplus of cash to donate at Christmastime – or any time of year. I can’t afford to put a bill in the kettle every time I encounter a Salvation Army bell ringer. And yet, I’ve found a way to give to their worthy cause this Christmas. I donate my time. It…

A new chain store … and why I broke up with my hairdresser

Progress hurts, especially for local businesses. But keep your hurt feelings to yourself. After all, who wants to sit in the chair of an angry man with scissors?

A new chain store … and why I broke up with my hairdresserWhen our little community an hour south of Ottawa first heard that a big-box department store would be coming to town, there was a bit of an uproar. Residents worried that the store, located along the highway at the edge of town, would draw business away from the smaller retail shops in the downtown core.…

The coyotes are back and their dining habits can be a problem

However, our golden retriever should be big enough by the spring to pose a threat to any hungry coyotes

The coyotes are back and their dining habits can be a problemFergus the golden retriever and I went for a walk in the back 40 on a sunny autumn day. Halfway through the second field, I realized I’d chosen the best possible conditions for the dog to get as muddy as possible. The pasture, which appeared to be lush and green, was deceptively wet. Fergus was…

Time for a herd head-count. ‘Is that you Bessie?’

Cattle will wander but they can also be lured back – as long as you know what you're actually dealing with

Time for a herd head-count. ‘Is that you Bessie?’Last week, we had an example of hyper-local news headlines: Missing cow. It came to all regional news outlets from the Ontario Provincial Police Portal. My first thought was: that cow probably isn’t even missing and she’s getting all of this attention. She’s probably just snuggling up to her sister in this damp weather and…

To hunt or not to hunt, that is the question

A true hunter gives the animal a fighting chance. It’s as though the universe has to offer the animal up to the hunter or it just isn’t fair

To hunt or not to hunt, that is the questionYou don’t venture into our neck of the woods without an orange vest at this time of year. The regular deer hunting season is wrapping up but muzzle-loader week is about to start. We aren’t exactly hunter’s paradise like the Muskoka region, for example. But we do have our fair share of hereditary hunters. They’ve…

A Secret Santa challenge to one and all

Holiday gift-giving isn’t supposed to induce panic. Let's all scale back, reconnect, celebrate memories and build new traditions

A Secret Santa challenge to one and allThere was a moment, one Christmas morning not too long ago, when we realized we had overdone it. After opening our dozens of gifts, we couldn’t move from our seats around my sister’s living room. It had finally happened. We had too many gifts. It was an embarrassment of riches. As our children mature, they…

Spring ahead, fall back, stumbling around in search of sunlight

It’s time to get yourself a bottle of vitamin D supplements and pull your reading chair a little closer to the window

Spring ahead, fall back, stumbling around in search of sunlightIt’s one measly hour. Sixty minutes. So why does it affect us so much when we flip the clocks back or ahead by an hour? It’s amazing how much our bodies rely on daylight to feel energized and healthy. The good news is we’ll be able to see our way to the car in the…

Saying goodbye to the farm animals is difficult

You can tell me they’re simple animals and they aren’t thinking anything, but I know better. I’ve seen cows express frustration, sorrow, contentment, delight

Saying goodbye to the farm animals is difficultThe drover was due at the gate right around the time I had to head out to pick up our homestay student. I was walking to the car when I noticed the Farmer circling on his ATV, trying frantically to get the cattle out of the pasture and into the barn. Sighing, I pulled on…

Furry fire alarms to the rescue

The barn cats prove their value when fire breaks out on the farm, just as they did when the basement flooded

Furry fire alarms to the rescueWe were busy setting up for our weekly family dinner when the Farmer grumbled, “Tell me again why we have three cats in the basement?!” “Lots of people have indoor cats.” “Yes but they never even come upstairs!” Actually, they do, but it’s usually when the house is quiet and they can be assured that…
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