Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Domaine du Ridge Winery

This past Friday, a beautiful late summer weekend, we drove to Montreal to see the children and join them for a picnic in a local park to celebrate Fernanda's birthday. Marie and I then left early Monday morning to visit the cemetery in Saint-Chrysotome to visit with Marie's parents. After breakfast we headed out east to the Domaine du Ridge vineyards. Phil and Fer had bought us a wine testing and tour package, including glasses and complimentary local delicacies, for our wedding anniversary at Domaine du Ridge, one of Quebec's largest vineyards. The winery is located in the Brome-Missisquoi region in the small community of Saint-Armand where they have 16 hectares of grapes - over 56000 vines. The day was blustery and cloudy but we certainly enjoyed the nine different wines and our lunch in an arbor beside an old and photogenic barn, surrounded by fields of grapes and scarecrows. We chose three of our favourites to bring home - a vin rosé Champ de Florence, a red Le Batonniér and a white Vidal du Ridge. Thanks to our wonderful children for a memorable and fabulous weekend ! gws

Amy playing in the bed of our truck!

Marie with Sarah, Isabelle and Amy

The gang

Me and Joshua

Josh and Marie

Jesse, Phil, Pat and Christina

Everyone smile!

Amy, my beautiful granddaughter

Marie, wine tasting

This is where we are!

Quebec delight's

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Oliver Jones & Josée Aidans, Festival Saint-Zénon de Piopolis

This past Saturday Marie and I had the pleasure to see and hear one of Canada's greatest living jazz pianists, Oliver Jones, at the summer Festival at Saint-Zénon de Piopolis. He was accompanied by his two excellent sidemen, bassist Éric Lagasé and drummer extraordinaire Jim Doxas. And. as a special added attraction guest violinist Josée Aidans helped out on a number of tunes, one I especially enjoyed called Josée's Blues, as well as a great rendition of one of my favourite songs by Michel Legrand, The Windmills of Your Mind. Mr Jones turns 80 this year but hasn't lost his synergy, sense of humour and wonderful skill on the piano. It was the fourth visit to Piopolis for Oliver Jones and hopefully he will make another stop here in the near future. gws

Monday, August 19, 2013

Our Retirement Home Part Twenty-Eight (Repairing the Road Again))

Following a series of strange weather systems this past year that brought unprecedented torrential rain to this area we had to again watch helplessly as the water eroded our road, washing much of the top surface away. This was a major disappointment as we had just redone it last fall. This time we decided to contract LaFontaine & Fils from Lac-Mégantic. They began  by widening and deepening our ditches and ensuring the water would run off to the sides instead of down the centre of the road, a problem we were having before. Nine truckloads of gravel were put down and compacted with a roller and I followed with four bags of salt which helps hardens the gravel. As this little project ended I discovered we had a leak in the septic system - the pipes were not level and water had been accumulating, leaking and smelling at the bottom of the stairs that lead down to the cabin...ahh what fun! gws

Rejean supervising

James, a surprise visitor from Ottawa, who stayed 3 days

the final touchs...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


                                                         Le métro se rend à Notre-Dame-des-Bois!

Metro-Net was an idea back in the early nineties by the German performance and installation artist, Martin Kippenberger, to build a global underground metro system that he hoped would be thought-provoking and funny. He actually started to construct these entrances in different places around the world, portals that didn't lead to anywhere! He built three of these entrances to nowhere, the first in Syros, Greece (1993), the second in Dawson City, Yukon (1995) and the third in Leipzig, Germany (1997). He died unexpectedly in 1997 and his imaginary subway network suddenly closed down. But Montreal based artist Klaus Scherübel has continued Kippenbergers dream by designing and building, as a hommage and continuation of the German artists work, a large scale sculpture work in, of all places, here in Notre-Dame-des-Bois! Scherübel reached an agreement with the municipality to construct the 'metro' entrance in the rest stop at the village entrance on highway 212 that overlooks Mont Megantic. The new subway entrance is supposed to reflect local architecture in the form of a rustic boom town look (recognizing the village's gold rush origins) as well as the modernist style of the Montreal metro. Marie and I drive by there whenever we go into the village to pick up groceries or beer and decided to stop last month to take a few pictures. I am still trying to find out why Scherübel chose this location so if anyone has the answer let me know! gws

Monday, August 12, 2013

Our Retirement Home Part Twenty-Seven (Interior Staircases)

In June Marie and I hired two local retired carpenters to build our interior staircases, the work to begin in July and be finished by the first week or so of August. Felix, in his early seventies has built stairs all his life and Jacques in his mid 60s tagged along as the 'helper'. After several designs and choices of wood - we ended up with birch - we contracted the wood out to a local mill a few miles down the road, Entreprise CLP, owner François Carrier, and then two trips in the Ram to bring home the finished product. But before work could begin I had to ensure the walls in the basement and up to the mezzanine were finished and Marie had to do some serious wiring. Drywall went up in the basement and I cut, stained and installed the rest of the wood panels up to the master bedroom. Once the basement stairs were finished we realized the only way to control the huge amount of dust, mostly from sanding, was to enclose the work area in hanging plastic sheets. This helped tremendously and kept the majority of the fine particles inside the 'bubble'. Marie wanted floating stairs to go to the mezzanine - no risers between the treads and no stringers on either side like the basement stairs - to keep the opened feeling of the main level. We are both very pleased with the results. Now the hard part is done we have to think about what style of banister we will be adding. Next week we will be ready to apply stain which will match the dark 'Texas Brown' of the wood floor - yet to be laid! gws 

putting up drywall in basement where stairs will go

first load of finished birch to be cut

Felix & Jacques cutting in basement

after two days..

finished stairs from basement to main floor

wrapping up living room with plastic

building the stair frame from main floor to mezzanine

the main beam of the floating stairway

lunch time!

Felix taking a break, the stairs almost finished

view of finished stairs from mezzanine