20 Years From Now...

"20 YEARS FROM NOW," Mark Twain said, “you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than the ones you did.”THIS online journal is dedicated to our next 20 years!

Monday, 21 October 2019

Autumn Splendour

I swear there's been a shift in the universe because time seems to be moving along SO much quicker than it used to. One minute it's the beginning September and the next October is nearly at an end. Nonetheless, it's been a busy, productive and enjoyable seven weeks since my last post - here's the nitty-gritty!

September was a catch-up month for John - as in catching up on his kayaking - and while the weather in the north wasn't all that cooperative he did manage to get on the water 16 times. I even went a couple of times and when we ventured to the Spanish River to ogle the falls, we got caught in a downpour.

Spanish River Falls before the rain!

We also went kayaking on Flack Lake and on September 21 the temperature was a glorious 26C and John went for a swim afterward.

Next on the agenda was a jaunt to the Fire Tower Lookout for one final view of the spectacular fall foliage in Elliot Lake.

Then it was back to Ottawa for a tasty outdoor lunch, chat and hike with friends and travellers-extraordinaire Kevin and Ruth who not only introduced us to the term "housesitting" way back when, but continue to inspire us and others around the world via their "Travel With Kevin and Ruth" blog

Photo © Ruth Reid

Photo © Kevin Reid

Two days later we drove to Massachusetts via Magog, Quebec to visit our daughter and son-in-law for the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. 

South of Montreal
Franconia Notch, New Hampshire

On Saturday we went to the Topsfield Fair - the oldest agricultural fair in the USA that began in 1818.

I was determined to see the giant pumpkin and while I'd read previous winners weighed in at a tonne (that's a lot of pumpkin) I was not expecting that record to be topped...but it was...by a whopping 294.5 pounds.

On the opposite side of the display case was a sign prompting visitors to look at the winner of the tallest sunflower category. Fortunately, the sign said "Look Up" (those who know me well, will understand my reason for mentioning this!) as the head of the sunflower very nearly reached the ceiling.

In the same building pumpkins of all shapes and varieties were everywhere.

I particularly enjoyed the children's entries for "best painted pumpkin" as they paid homage to the Boston Bruins, New England Patriots and, of course, Tom Brady.

Not to be outdone was the flower building.

This particular variety of begonia is stunning and if I was fortunate enough to possess a green thumb I'd definitely invest in one.

"Begonia Escargot"

Hobbit House?

The poultry building featured many feathered winners, among them this majestic (and 1st-prize winning) turkey - who, btw, KNEW he was something special. I truly hope he gets a pardon come the American Thanksgiving next month.

"What you lookin' at?!"

A lot of honking from these two!

The arts and crafts building was a creative hive with beautiful quilts hanging from the ceiling to  exquisite handmade furniture and everything from prize winning needlepoint, crochet, knits, photographs and paintings featured inside the hall.

This homage to "American Gothic" made me grin from ear to ear.

An outdoor activity that drew quite an audience was the Massachusetts State Police Canine Training Unit and it held particular significance for Tim as this was his father's favourite position while he served on the force. The dogs are trained to sniff out banned substances in luggage or apprehend an uncooperative individual. The dog's training we were told is far more play than work and it was emphasized all the dogs really want is an opportunity to play with their "chew toy" (padded arm guard) worn by the assisting officer. 

Moving on - what would a fair be without a midway? And it was quite an extensive midway!

These guys were grilling turkey legs and ribs on a wood fire and the aroma was heavenly.

This being New England it's a given there would be CHOWDA!

We passed on the turkey legs, ribs and chowder, but only because before we arrived at the fair Sarah mentioned The Whoopie Wagon, a Topsfield business would be present, and so we made a communal decision to try one - okay, TWO - of these local delicacies. 

We all shared the pumpkin (below left) and it was delicious and so appropriate for the season, while the Chocolate Salted Caramel (on the right) was scrumptious and Tim's personal fav.

Last, but not least on our list of things to do at the fair was a sampling of what Canadians refer to as "Beavertails". In the US, however, they call a spade a spade and as such fried dough is simply fried dough! Served piping hot and topped with powdered sugar it was to-die-for. 

Photo Courtesy of Google

Satiated, we returned home to these adorable fur balls...



That evening John cooked a delicious dinner in celebration of the Canadian Thanksgiving. YUM. 

Early Sunday morning we headed back home and Sarah warned us "the leafers" would likely be out in full force. She was correct and on a number of occasions traffic on the New Hampshire interstate slowed to a crawl.

But can you blame them? It was a glorious sight.

South of the Franconia Notch traffic literally stopped as "the leafers" pulled their vehicles over to the side of the road to get out and take photographs. The distance that normally would have taken us less than ten minutes turned into forty, but again, we understand. Mother Nature is amazing.

Meanwhile, back in Ottawa, the fall colours are equally impressive.

Aviation Pathway walk
National Military Cemetery pathway

Ottawa River Pathway

View from our condo

 From our home to yours, Happy Autumn!

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