Sunday, July 24, 2011

marché Atwater

Marché Atwater is one of Montreal's most popular food markets, featuring fresh produce, over ten butcher shops, three cheese shops, a fish shop and over a dozen specialized boutiques. Marie and I walked there from the duplex on Saturday morning to pick up some fresh fruit, corn and meats, enjoying another hot day in the city. Atwater Market has been around since 1933 and is one of the most recognizable landmark on the Lachine Canal with a beautiful Art Deco building, recently renovated, and the tallest structure in St. Henri. I had been to the other big market at Jean Talon but this was my first visit to this one - they had everything here:  local produce like pain au chocolat, French pastries and breads of every size and shape, fresh strawberries, delicious Quebec cheeses and maple syrup products, varieties of sausages I could never have imagined, and stalls cooking up wonderful smelling crepes. It was a kaleidoscope of colour - huge baskets of fruit, stalls of red, yellow, and green vegetables and enormous bouquets of multihued flowers covered every inch of available space. I took some photos of the variety of products one never sees in the grocery stores so start drooling!.... I cannot wait to go back!  gws 

Friday, July 22, 2011

ahhh...summer in Quebec!

me trying to stay cool in our lake (the Saddle in the back)
    As Montreal settles in for another scorcher (wow! yesterday it hit 45 degrees celcius with the humidex!)  I will attempt to stay cool and bring everyone up to date on what has happened this past week. Marie and I returned to the cabin for four days and enjoyed the pleasant weather, hot days and cool nights with no humidity that comes with being at 2000 feet above sea level! We had left late from the city this time - around 7pm - and arrived in the dark, looking forward to the sun coming up over the Maine mountains before 6am to wake us up.

0530 am, July 19th, 2011
   It hadn't rained since we were there last as both water barrels were dry, as well as most of the new plants I had been adding this year, and spiders were assuming ownership of any handy corner and crevice in our absence. We got to work immediately brushing away our new tenants, then settled in for a quiet night. So quiet I have to have the fan going to sleep! The next day, after our coffee and walk up the driveway, we installed a new exhaust fan above the propane oven, building a wooden frame to hold it to match the interior and cutting a hole through the side of the cabin for the air vent. I also cut some wood so Marie, the designer and builder of quite a bit of the cupboards and other storage boxes, could begin framing in the door for the solar system. We are still very happy with this setup and it provides us all the power we need. I decided to plant two rose bushes and some lavender I had bought when Lyn was up, and left in their pots till I returned. At 3pm it was too hot to do much more so we headed down to the lake for a much welcome swim! As usual we had it all to ourselves!

my ever beautiful wife Marie at the swimming lake

     This year, more than any other, we have both noticed less people, 4x4s and motorbikes about, even on weekends with perfect weather. With the Quebec construction holidays now here I am sure it will change as more people arrive for those two weeks. The town of Notre-Dame-des-Bois, a few miles away from our cabin, has been in the Montreal papers recently as it is the "gateway" to the Observatory on Mt Magentic, but the afternoon I drove down to the town to pick up some things at the depanneur I stood in the middle of the street taking pictures and didn't see a soul!

Notre Dame des Bois, 4pm!

view of our mountain from highway 212

still lots of wild strawberries around the property
bee on my hens 'n chicks
    Another dry and cloudless day brought in the weekend so we decided to hook up the trailer onto the ´Runner and load it with the remaining logs I had cut up when I put in the road a few years back, and bring them to our fire pit. The logs were in four piles alongside our driveway, slowly becoming one with their surroundings and now home to all sorts of creepy crawlys, tiny salamanders and spiders.We should have enough wood to last us through the fall now for campfires and, unless I cut down more trees when we build the house and garage, we will have to go elsewhere to find firewood. Another dip in the lake after that job was essential! Sunday was another beautiful day and we decided to peg out the location of the chalet, using a program on Marie´s phone that located true directions from satellites passing overhead. I used 12 inch nails and rope, laying out the location of the walls and deck, and we finally came up with the ideal location. This was not done without a lot of thought as we have been doing this in our heads for the past two years now!

marking off chalet location with yellow rope
   The next day, Monday, we took the camper van to Woburn (7 miles away on the road to Lac-Megantic) to commence repairs so we can have it inspected and licensed for Quebec. We have decided to keep the old beast for another few years as it still runs well and to replace it now would cost too much. Next week I have to take it to Lac-Megantic to have two leaf springs replaced and hopefully it will then pass the normally rigorous inspection they insist on here in Quebec. Marie headed back later that the morning to the city and I stayed to finish clearing the brush that is attempting to overtake the property. Most of it is brambles of wild raspberries that grow almost as fast as I can clear them unless I drag them out screaming by their roots. But my Echo trimmer, with the 8 inch blade, is up to the task and makes short work of that. Muffy usually follows me around but it was too hot for the old girl and she spent most of the day sprawled in the shade...


   That evening I drove down to the lake to call home, as I do whenever I am at the cabin alone. I get a very good signal here (thank you Telus), facing the Saddle (the top of the mountain is the border between Quebec and Maine), and it is peaceful, quiet and a great place to watch the sun set. Imagine my surprise and thrill to hear the good news - I am to be a Grandpa!  Congrats Phil and Fer! 

Phil & Fer, July 20th
   They are off this week for a 10 day trip around Nova Scotia and PEI! Tonight they will probably be in New Brunswick somewhere, tomorrow they have reservations in Peggy´s Cove, before spending a few days at Keji National Park, enjoying the quiet, canoeing and camping at Jeremy's Bay, one of our own favourite spots. When I left late Tuesday evening in the `Runner there was still no rain forecast so I`m hoping everything will survive on my return the following Monday.... Tuesday was Lara´s birthday so we all got together for a BBQ on Phil´s patio. Seems like a long way from Prince Rupert over 30 years ago...

Lara, 20th July... learning Spanish

   It won't be long now till July slips into August and the days slowly start getting shorter... More pix and news on the way so come back and visit again. Meanwhile have a great weekend and try to stay cool! gws

Saturday, July 9, 2011


     My sister Lyn drove up from Brooksville, Florida this month in her Saab convertible to visit with us for a week, on her way to Ontario to see Rande and Richard. She met me at the border crossing at Coburn Gore, Maine and followed me to the cabin, fifteen minutes away, on our property in the Domaine des Appalaches. The weather was perfect, hot and dry with no humidity and she enjoyed her first trip to the mountains where we will be living. We spent the time getting to know the area, roaming about the Domaine, walking down to our fishing lake, picking wild strawberries at the top of the mountain, and just enjoying the peace and quiet. We also took a drive around Lac Megantic, stopping in the town for coffee at Mickey Dees and then coming back through Piopolis.
me at Notre Dame des Bois roadsign, highway 212

Lyn and Muffy in my hammock

at picnic spot overlooking Mt Magentic with the old Runner
clearing grass with my new Echo trimmer

After a few days we headed back together to Montreal where she stayed for another three days. I took her for a tour of the city one hot day and we spent 12 hours roaming around, walking up St Catherine and St Denis, taking the Metro out to the Olympic Stadium, and going out for supper at one of our favourite restaurants, L'Acadamie.

at the Big "O"

cooling off on St Catherine

outside the Metro

with Marie on the Metro

On her last day in Montreal I took Lyn over to Nun´s Island for a short visit with Lara, then it was back home for a bbq with Phil and Fer. Soon enough it was time to move on once more - west on the 401 to the Big Smoke...gws

St Lawrence River, Montreal

Lyn and Lara, Montreal