Monday, December 31, 2018


Beautiful male Cardinal on our Christmas morning nature walk. 
The Christmas spirit hit me early this year, around the beginning of November. I blame the free preview of the "W" TV Channel and all the Christmas movies. Did you watch any? Did you notice how everything was decorated, and everyone was always drinking something out of a Christmas mug? I was ready to decorate the house earlier then ever before, and the Christmas CD's came out a little earlier too.

I've always loved the month of December, all the gatherings with friends and family, the pretty lights, the music, the seasonal treats....

I always aim to have my gifts bought, and the parcels and cards sent to family and friends by December 1st. Except for a bit of baking and wrapping, I can really enjoy all the fun and festivities of the month.

Here's a little glimpse into our Christmas.

Due to the influence of the "W" Channel's Christmas movies, even the kitchen cupboards got decked out for the holidays this year!! And I became obsessed with getting red, snowflake mugs! A trip to the Hallmark Store solved that obsession. See them on the counter?

I still send and love receiving Christmas cards from friends and family. I tape them up around the house, and every time I walk in the room it's like receiving Christmas greetings.

 We haven't had a big tree since adopting Merry & Molly, as Molly has a tendency to eat things she shouldn't. Even without the big tree, the living-room is festive and cozy.

 In the wee hours of December 24th, 3:30am to be exact, I woke Rob up to see if he wanted to go looking for Snowy Owls close to home. I hadn't yet seen one this season. We had success and a memorable adventure.

 Merry and Molly checking out the gifts. Goofy was a gift and will be coming to Orlando with me in 2019.

Just like when I was a child, Santa Claus stuffs our stocking and leaves one present, Mrs Claus leaves another, usually clothes. This year we got tee's for our Las Vegas trip in March.

 This was the first time we went for a nature walk on Xmas morning. We really enjoyed it, and it was a nice surprise to see our Turkey in a tree while on our walk. We've seen him a few times in the area.

Rob being silly with his niece, Madison, while at his parents for Christmas dinner. 

We had a great few days together and I'm a little blue that it's all over for another year. I hope you all had an enjoyable holiday season.

Friday, December 14, 2018


Getting up close with some spider species at the ROM.
Last Saturday, December 8th, Rob and I had a bit of a date day. We headed town down late morning to check out a new restaurant, to be followed by a visit to the "Spiders- Fear and Fascination" exhibit at the ROM.

First up was lunch at "Storm Crow Manor", hailed the nerdiest bar in Canada, us two nerds were pretty pumped about checking it out. It's in an old mansion, and all the rooms have different themes and are decorated from top to bottom. Whether it's Star Trek or Star Wars, Horror or Harry Potter, Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings, there is something for everyone, and so much more. And on top of that, the food is good too! Definitely check out their menu online if you visit their website. We look forward to a return visit.

We could of took thousands of pictures during our visit, as it's like a nerd museum, and everywhere you look there is something! Here are a few of the pics we did take.

The "Beholder", a Dungeons and Dragons character hung over the fireplace in our room.  
Going down the stairs to the washrooms. 
One of the many cool bathroom doors.
Enjoying a "ButterBeer !"
Sign on the wall. 
One of  the bars, this one is a replica from the horror movie, "The Shining."  
The upstairs Marvel Bathroom!
After a delicious, filling and entertaining lunch we walked over to the Royal Ontario Museum. Spiders - Fear and Fascination runs until January 6th, 2019. The exhibit features many live spiders from all over the world, displays, demonstrations and interactive activities. Hard to take pics though, as no flash was allowed. My favorite was the Peacock Spider from Australia. He's a good looking spider, but small, and the video of him doing his dance to attract a female was highly entertaining!
Don't be scared, it's a picture!   
I found one of these Weaver spiders for Rob this summer. (not to size, LOL!)
List of Toronto's top ten spider species. 
Me in the spider cave, what's on my head?!
Live "Goliath Birdeater" Spider, this baby was big!
Yes, there was a Spider-man display.
And I encourage you to watch this video of the courtship dance of the adorable Peacock Spider.

Peacock Spider,  Google Image - Isn't he something?!
It was a great day!

Friday, December 7, 2018


Enjoying dinner at "The Watermark" in the Hilton Hotel. 
Just like the day we were married, our 6th anniversary fell on a Friday. Of course we decided to make it a long weekend, and we went to Niagara Falls for an over night. We always enjoy ourselves there and getting out of the regular routine is good for the spirits.

Our getaway started with a visit to Springridge Farms where we did a bit of Xmas shopping and had lunch. They close on December 24th and do not reopen until Easter 2019, so we needed to stock up on a few things.

Once we got down to Niagara Falls we took a drive around the top of  the gorge area before checking into our hotel. We were treated to some close deer sightings, 5 bucks and 2 doe.

One of the 5 bucks we saw.
    We stayed at the Fallsview Casino Resort for the first time. We had a spectacular view of both falls from our room.

Horrible cell phone shot of our gorgeous view. 
 Once we were checked-in we dumped our winter coats and did a bit of shopping in the resort. Picked up a couple more Xmas gifts, and few goodies for ourselves.

Christmas Tree in the lobby.
We had dinner at The Watermark Restaurant, which is on the top floor of the Hilton Hotel. It's a set price with many choices. Beautifully decorated with great views of the Falls. We were treated to a fireworks display taking place at Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino on the US side while we were having dinner.

I may of had one too many "Lemon Drop Martini's", so good! 
After dinner we went to the Casino. Rob and I have "rules" when we go. $50 each is our limit, and if we double our money, we stop. When we got there I immediately went to a $5 Elvis Slot machine, played two max bets, boom, my money was gone. I blame the martinis, I never play $5 slots. So, after that I went with Rob and watched him play a $1 slot, win some, lose some, and then he doubled his money, so he cashed out. We went to the bar for another drink. After that he gave me $20 to play the Wheel of Fortune slot. I lost that $20, and then put in $20 of my own, I was up $85 dollars, did I stop?! NO!! I played til it was all gone. Broke my own casino rules, lesson learned. But we had fun, and that's why we go. 

Saturday morning after a hearty breakfast we went for a walk at Dufferin Islands, before heading back to Toronto. We hand fed some Chickadees and got to see seven Hooded Mergansers, which was nice, as we don't see them often.

Male Hooded Meganser
Look at at me! Look at me!
Three males and a female with a choice.  
I may not have struck it rich in the casino but I did in the husband category.

NOTE: All non-wildlife photos were taken with my new cell phone, so they aren't great shots. I am still trying to figure out how to take pictures with it. 

Monday, November 26, 2018


All ready for the trick or treaters! 
With Christmas less than a month away now, I figure I better get my Halloween blog posted! For the first time in a few years Rob and I were finally on vacation together for this week. Halloween is a pretty big deal on our street and a lot of fun. A lot of the adults stay outside and socialize while handing out candy to the kids. There are always "adult treats" to enjoy as well.

 Here are a few pics from our most enjoyable Halloween night.

We bought this lawn skeleton this year, went great with our headstone.

Treat bags for the kids, jello shooters for the adults!

Just a jolly neighborhood pumpkin to hand out candy.
The Grim Reaper.
I have to say a few words about Rob's costume. It was amusing to watch the kids start to walk up the pathway to me to get candy, and then notice Rob sitting there. Some kept coming, but some were obviously unsure of what to do and scared, and they would just freeze. At this point Rob would say "Happy Halloween" to let them know it was ok to proceed to me. He scared more kids by just sitting there and saying nothing than ever before. LOL!!

Rob with a neighbor, who also made Jello Shooters.
Our youngest trick or Treater, our neighbor, Patrick.
Fun with Molly after coming in for the evening.
She was happy to get her hat off and wanted to play with mine.
Merry with Rob.
It was another great Halloween in the books!

Thursday, November 8, 2018


A beautiful male Northern Cardinal.
While Rob and I were in the Kingston area a couple weeks ago, we still managed to get out for our Sunday nature walk. When we woke up that morning, going for a walk was "iffy", as the snow was coming down pretty good and neither one of us had packed clothes fit for that kind of weather. But after having breakfast at a local hot spot with the family, we set off for our walk. Little did I know at the time I was about to have one of those "memorable birding moments".

We went to Lemoine Point Conservation Area , a place recommended by a friend. It was perfect! Lovely trail system, flat walking conditions, and even a bathroom, rustic though it was. There wasn't a trace of the earlier snow we had had. It was fun to be checking out a new area, and we felt like we were on an adventure, as most times it was just us and the very friendly birds. We were able to hand feed Blue Jays, Nuthatches, Downy Woodpeckers and Chickadees. Much fun!

The squirrel says, "come this way".  
Been a while since we hand fed a White-breasted Nuthatch,  
or a Downy Woodpecker!
There were many of these cute little guys, all chubbed up for the winter.
We had a lovely walk, and it ended just in time, as the weather was turning rainy and windy towards the end. I know at this time of year Owls are on many birders minds, including Rob's. I've seen many different owls while out with Rob, but I had never discovered one on my own before. We were walking by a cluster of conifers and for some reason I just stopped, and said "let's do it" and I walked into the trees to have a look. And then I saw him, a Long-eared Owl! He had his back to me but turned around to check me out.  I quickly became an emotional mess. With tears in my eyes, I turned around and whispered excitedly to Rob, "I found an owl, I found an owl!"

My first ever found on my own owl, a Long-eared Owl. Oct, 28th, 2018
      Long-eared Owls are very skittish, and we did not want to flush him. We stayed in his presence mere minutes. We walked around him with a very large berth as Rob wanted to get a picture of "my owl", without branches in front of his face, and then we left him, right where we found him. I was just as thrilled we didn't flush him as I was at finding him. The moment was definitely the highlight of our walk, and one of the most memorable birding moments of my life.   

What an absolute joy it was for me to discover him.