Tuesday, July 27, 2021

That's a change

 It rained pretty hard for most of the night. When I woke up this morning, it was still raining and I was quite cold, even with a quilt and flannel sheet on. It seemed really early but I could smell coffee so it wasn't hat early. Holy smokes, it was 10:30!!! The temperature took quite a nose dive, but the humidity is still quite high. At least we aren't being plagued by that blasted smoke today. The rain quit about eleven and the sun even came out for a few breaks. This week is looking quite a bit cooler than we have been experiencing so far this month. 

The wonderful good news from here is on the covid front. Our county has ZERO active cases of the virus! Remember this is the largest county in Ontario by size. Our citizens are stretched from Ottawa to almost to Mattawa. 

And while I'm mentioning Mattawa:  We are heading in that direction for another five days in the bush. Actually, we are going to the interior of the Temagami district. This will be trip #5 to this particular camp 38km off the road.  I've been dreaming about a return trip there.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Old Smokey

 I'm coughing up a lung and my throat and eyes are burning. Fun eh?

It's all down to the smoke we are getting from the fires in N.W.Ontario, E.Manitoba and maybe even the west. 

M. and D. were working on a lawn tractor in the yard yesterday and I kept asking them if they could smell garbage burning. Nope, they couldn't smell it. Later in the day we were heading to the farm to have a family BBQ in honor of Pappy's birthday. When we got out into the open farmland we could really see the smoke getting thicker.

I am going to stay indoors today. It's just too much. 

When we were driving home we noticed a brilliant red sun setting behind the neighbours barn. The dense smoke causes it to be this color. In the top photo you can see the sun right before it dropped into some heavy cloud cover.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Get up and go

 My Get Up and Go has returned! I was encourage to start taking 2500 mcg of Vitamin B12 on alternate days.  It only took a few days to really kick in and I'm most pleased.

This morning dawned clear and cool. The air has cleared. There was a good breeze all day. I sat on my side porch and just meditated for a good hour or more this morning. It was just such a grand day!

We have lots of containers of rain water hanging around so I decided to use some of it for something interesting this afternoon. My mother washed her hair in rain water all summer for years. My hair is quite long now so it was going to be a bit of trial and error but I figured it out. I used a small plastic jug and just baled the water over my head. I even managed to forget about the conditioner this time. I toweled it dry then just let the nice breeze finish the drying. I think I'm going to follow my mothers example for the rest of the summer. 

THe Princess and I went for a nice walk this evening. When we returned I paced up and down the road along my place and had a good look at the ditches, or lack of. I think a phone call is going to the township tomorrow. They need to cut the ditches out again because the run off from the road is coming into my yard.

                                                FLOWERS FROM MY GARDEN

Tuesday, July 20, 2021


 It has been really hazy from all the fires in N.W.Ontario and E.Manitoba. The smoke gets on the jet stream and sometimes ends up far south.

Some folks have been posting amazing photos of the red sun and moon. Last evening I loaded the Princess into the car and headed up the road seeking higher ground to *hopefully* snag a photo. Unfortunately I'd left it a little late and the sun had already dropped behind the forest.

On our way back down I stopped beside the river so the Princess could have a cooling dip. My Labrador Retriever LOVES a swim. I had a difficult time convincing her to get out and shake off so we could get on home before the darn bugs carried me away. She wanted to get back in the front passenger seat but her old towel blanket was on the back seat. 

Look at the haze over those trees! I often mention that I live next to Algonquin Park. See those trees in the middle of the frame? Well on the other side of that is Algonquin.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Water Levels

 One thing we heard a lot about on our travels were the water levels.

I previously mentioned the Lake Temiskaming/Ottawa River watershed. Feeding this mighty waterway are many big rivers. Several of the ones we saw were the Montreal, Blanche, Little Blanche, Kipawa, Mattawa, Maganasipi, Bonnechere and Madawaska. Most of these rivers have dams at their entry points into the Temiskaming/Ottawa.

A few years ago the lower area of the Ottawa River had serious spring flooding. There is a lot of controversy about how and why this happened. Many of the people who live and work on the Ottawa are blaming the power company that controls the dams from a remote location.

Our host at the first camp was decrying how high the Montreal River system is right now. It is dislodging a lot of deadheads that are creating boating hazards. He was telling us how his barge hit one just a couple of days before we arrived.  

Our host at the second camp on Lake Temiskaming was very angry about the state of the river this year. His beach has completely disappeared and the clay bank in front of his property is rapidly eroding. When boats create wake it accelerates the erosion. The clay muck is making the water very murky and full of silt. This is affecting the birds and the fish, as well as creating problems in their water systems. Loon and other water fowl nests are being disrupted.  

Meanwhile, further down the the Ottawa, the water levels are way down. A press release out of Petawawa has told us the beaches are closed in our area as old ordinance was being exposed and/or washed up. A little further down the river, the levels are so low that swimmers and boaters are being advised to look out for each other as the boating channel is close to the extended beach. 

I honestly feel there needs to be a study about keeping this water system better regulated. 

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Further explanation

I have owned a home well off in the country for coming close to 40 years. My late husband and I owned an RV for part of that time as well. When his health continued to deteriorate, we sold it and enjoyed our time here in the bush. 
Fast forward quite a few years. My husband is but a sweet memory. The children were grown and gone and we rarely see them or the grands.
My partner M. and I love our life here on the front stoop of Algonquin Park. We live this life as the tourists want to. When we go on vacation, we travel further north into even more remote areas. We had hoped to travel to Newfoundland by now, but a nuisance of a thing called COVID has gotten in the way.
Ontario has been open to Ontarians to some degree this summer. We did a fair bit of research before we headed off and M. made a few days reservation at a remote camp west of Timmins. We drove for the best part of the Monday until we reached the mining village of Metachawan. We knew going up that there is a lot of mining in this area. Many mines have closed or changed their mining practices to something more automated, so a lot of jobs have disappeared. Metachawan is one of those towns that has all but dried up. There is no grocery store, bank, theatre. We found one small variety store that sells gas and a limit amount of essential supplies. 
When we got to the village, we telephoned our host from the nursing station and received directions to the government wharf where we would be further transported. That was where we got our first shock. 
That photo is of the biggest pile of rocks we have ever seen. The gravel road we were on traveled along the base of it for quite some distance.  
When we reached the government wharf, Ian was there to meet us with a barge. We loaded up our essential goods and set off for the last leg of our journey up a lake.
The pile of rocks could even be seen out on the lake.
Ian explained that the rocks are a big berm holding back a tailings pond. During the processing of ore containing gold, the liquid is pumped into this pond. The solid stuff sinks to the bottom and the toxic crap, arsenic and cyanide, float to the top where they are pumped off and sent elsewhere for processing. Ian also said the lake water is tested three times a week for an leakage. *IF* that berm ever let go, there would be serious consquences. The lake we were on is one of the tributaries of the Montreal River. The river in turn is one of the tributaries of Lake Temiskaming, which is at the head of the Ottawa River. There is a big dam where the Montreal and the Temiskaming meet. The Ottawa in turn flows into the St.Lawrence which in turn flows into the Atlantic.
Can you imagine the impact a catastrophe like this would cause? I wonder how many potential sites like this exist along major water ways on the Great Lakes Watershed?

This part of N.E.Ontario is littered with these mining operations. We have heard about mercury poisoning affecting our First Nations people. I think that is really just the tip of a very big iceberg.  Not only are these remote communities being exposed to who knows what poisons, but the land is being disrupted something awful. M. reminded me that we rely on these natural resources for so much of the life we enjoy, but I asked, at what cost to the People?

Between the mining and the awful forestry practices, I left the north feeling sort of frustrated and angry with all and sundry.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Is it really Wednesday?

 We arrived back from our wonderful trip to the wilds of north eastern Ontario late on Monday.

I have LOTS of stories and photos to share. There are close to a thousand photos to pick through, but need to set up my other computer to clean them up and decide what to keep  (100 if I'm lucky). I'm just knackered right now. Just heard the washer finish with our last load of laundry. We still need to clean out the refrigerator as something has obviously gone off in there. I had to run into town to pick up a few bits and bobs to keep our diet balanced. Time for a nap.

Honestly folks, we REALLY felt our age on this trip. A year of lesser activity really has taken a tole and we need to rectify that.

Photos will go up on the travel page soon. Stories (of not touristy related subjects) will appear here. I saw things that really P. me off and I'm going to talk about it.  

How about a nice sunset to give you a teaser?

Mattawa Ontario

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Soggy bottoms and some genealogy stuff

 Fans of The Great British BakeOff will recognize that term. hahaha

I sort of feel like we have a soggy bottom here with all the rain we've been getting. It came down off and on all day yesterday and continuously all night. We have been in near drought conditions in this area for about a month so that prolonged gentle rain is certainly welcomed. My garden seems to grow by leaps and bounds every day. Today I have to go shopping for some trellis and tomato cages. I needed them yesterday for goodness sake.

My youngest child is FORTY today. I can't believe it. Seems like she was only born five years ago. I remember her birth so vividly. When my children have significant birthdays, I remind them of their birth story.

I can't remember if I've mentioned my aunt J. story before. She was adopted almost 85 years ago. About ten years ago she approached me to help her find HER birth story. As luck would have it, we did identify her birth father. A young lady did a DNA test which linked us to a gentleman who is my aunts half brother.  I have talked to the gentleman at length. He is very interested and asks a lot of questions about J. but at the same time he has some doubts. Our DNA expert has pointed out that unless the father has an identical twin brother he knows nothing about, there is no doubt they are siblings.  I know it can be quite a mind blowing experience to learn you have a new sibling, but to reach your 80s and hear this, well, it will take time to process. I'm hoping the fellow, T. gets back to me soon because I'm so anxious to tell my aunt I've found a blood relative for her.  Her daughter lives in Europe. She is fully in the loop with all the news.  She is just so excited to hear the excitement in her mothers voice when we tell her. She also told me NOT to tell her brother because he cannot keep a secret and would blow it all apart. hahahaa. Meanwhile, we are beavering away trying to identify the birth mother. It doesn't look like she has any CLOSE DNA matches to her maternal side. The DNA expert I have partnered with on this is in fact a maternal 3rd cousin match to my aunt.  He has a list of probable mothers, but without a breakthrough, we cannot narrow it down. Time will tell, but as I keep mentioning.....these people are all well into their 80s....

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

More Old Stuff

 My maternal grandfather, Andrew Pearson, and his siblings

My United Empire Loyalist family line is through Elizabeth Cole

Mom's school photo circ. 1930. She is the wee girl, third row right

Did your family enjoy picnics by the side of the road as much as we did?


Saturday, February 27, 2021


 Thank goodness it is warming up a lot. We have three feet of snow on every roof which needs to melt off asap!

Yesterday was a lovely respite after that storm, but darn it all if it isn't snowing again today. It's going to be nice and warm this afternoon so we will get out walking.

I've been spending snow days going through old SD cards looking for some old photos. MyHeritage has this feature where they can animate a photo. The face will look at you, blink, look side to side and perhaps smile. I want to find a decent photo of my grandfather to try.

I found these lovely photos of my maternal grandparents. 

Their engagement photo

Their wedding in the garden of the home where I grew up

Grandma and her siblings

Enjoying their retirement  at our family summer home in Cobourg Ontario on Lake Ontario

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Genealogy and DNA

My regular readers know about my passion for our family genealogy.
I grew up hearing about my paternal grandmothers family history as United Empire Loyalists. It was interesting to me because we were learning about it at school in Grade 4.
In my early 20s I met my fathers first cousin who introduced me to genealogical research. She had a wonderful big binder full of great records. My fathers aunt also started corresponding with me about her research. She lived close to the Victoria Archives in Toronto. My father wasn't all that interested in it beyond the obvious.
I was 9 or 10 when I figured out that the guy I knew as my grandfather was NOT my grandfather. I think my cousin Debbie told me that he had just died, but my father didn't go to the funeral, which seemed odd. It would be years before I learned the identity of my grandfather.
Just before my father passed away, his youngest sister told me to look into the surname Brotherston. Oh yes, I discovered a lot from that hint! I found the 1921 census with my father and his closest sister, his mother and grandparents....and the surname of record was Brotherston.  I have since managed to find his two sisters birth announcement in a local newspaper, but still haven't got any kind of birth record for Dad. 

In 2014, Another person, thinking she was a sibling to my father (he's had several we never knew about) convinced me to invest in one of these DNA kits. As it happened, the woman was not a blood relative, but an adopted cousin to my father. (We have a loving friendship to this day, though she is now suffering dementia.
I had ordered a rogue kit to carry in my purse if an opportunistic situation ever popped up. I mentioned it to my brother and he said "I'll do it!" Like me, my brother was very anxious for proof that this Mr. Brotherston was our true grandfather. We were in for a big surprise! My brother did indeed have many good matches to the Brotherston clan which sealed that deal. I had the pleasure of connecting to a distant cousin who was living in the part of Scotland where our ancestors originated. He took many photographs and found lots of church records. We discovered that our 4xgreat grandfather was illegitimate. Brian had to convince the rector to let him look at a special book that was not usually open to the public. That's where he found the baptism of this special child.
We have reconnected to several close cousins in our hometown. It makes me so sad that my grandfather lived in our neighbourhood during my childhood. I don't know if I ever met him, though I do have memories of his second wife. I never knew she was my fathers stepMother, though, Just some random old lady who seem to like us, and gave us treats when we visited her. 
My greatgrandparents with my Grandmother and baby Ed

Grandfather Bill Brotherston

My dear old Da in his army gear

After my aunt died, my cousin was going through her belongings and found a photo of my Grandpa Bill. My father and his sister Beryl looked so much like him it's just mind boggling! We have since found at least one more full sibling for my father. She has passed, but I've connected with her youngest daughter. She is working on getting her dual citizenship and plans to move back to Canada as soon as her husband retires. 

Men and women carry the X chromosome from their mothers. Only men carry the Y and pass it to their male offspring. We upgraded my brothers test to include his Y. We were very surprised to have one match with the surname of Herriott.  It turns out this gentleman is the clan chief. We have carried on an interesting correspondence and upgraded my brothers testing levels several times. He just keeps getting more and more Herriot(t) matches. We are presently waiting for a major test result that is of great interest to the Herriot Clan Heritage Association. All of these matches can link their lineage back to a rather well known guy who came to New Jersey in the 1600s. My brothers on the other hand, is believed to go back even further. We are rather excited to see just how far. 
So the big question is....is a Mr. Herriot the missing father of the 4x great grandfather? 

Our paternal grandmothers heritage is quite interesting. She had an ancestor on the Mayflower. She had ancestors among the first dozen colonists in what is now New York and the state of Rhode Island. She descends from Loyalist and Patriots, a pirate and a spy.
Grandfather Bill has cousins who were Lords. Ever heard of the Stanley Cup? Grandpa is a descendant of the Stanley family. One of his original maternal ancestors came to Canada at the behest of the Stanley family. The mother of said family was the Stanley. After she died, Lord Stanley left her widower an inheritance with the condition he bring the children to Canada and establish a new life. They bought quite a large farm, which is to this day a real showplace in our home county.