Wednesday, December 2, 2009


It was a Thursday, a couple of weeks ago and for was indeed a grand day !

I gave a call to a friend of mine Carl, and questioned him as to his intentions that sunny mid week day.
His intentions were of were of course, ridiculous ....something about going to work, trying to make a living, not having the luxury of drifting in and out of the office depending on one's mood that day, like us real estate types.
I said ya; the responsible thing to do would be to stop looking out the window and get some business done.
Being distracted by the view is nothing new for me of course.
I may have never moved on from my grade six classroom, (across from a public park full of frolicking squirrels) had it not been for Sister Mary Macdonald's intervention, closing the window shades next to my desk.
Anyway back to Carl and the day at hand.

After feigning agreement with him I brought the conversation around to his project up on Deer Island, commenting that I had not been up there lately to check on his progress, and suggesting that I take a look when we get another good boating there would be one !!

That was it; plans were changed, paperwork pushed aside, appointments and phone calls put off, and in his case, "numbers would have to be crunched" another day !

In an hour, we were on the sun sparkled waters of beautiful Gloucester Pool.

His truck, his boat, his gas and his beer ! .....How's that for the powers of suggestion from a kid who was scolded in grade school for daydreaming.
It all started with me staring out the window instead of getting work done and come to think of it that's how this day started too !

Once we arrived at the island Carl gave me the grand tour of his newly constructed retreat and pointed out his further intentions and ongoing efforts.

The building is predominately a log building with a framed annex to the rear, housing the kitchen, bathroom and a main floor bedroom.

Every where one looks reflects the craftsmen ship and care that goes into a structure such as this. I marvel at the way the logs fit together and the thick sturdy walls that result.

Looking through the windows from the inside this building seemed to showcase the natural wonder beyond.

But the real sensory treat was from the covered porches just a few yards back from the water, over sun warmed granite outcroppings, littered with fragrant pine needles; the amazing vista to be witnessed across the Pool, west towards a setting sun !

Carl tells me that he had a hand in every aspect of the building, assisting the pros wherever he could. (In truth, he is much handier and more capable with this sort of a venture than I would let on to you; and certainly to him.)
This building was erected using much the same footprint as the building that formerly stood there, and in that way mirrors the original, which I believe had stood on that spot since around 1910.
The first old cottage being an uninsulated, modest frame structure, that time and the elements had taken their toll on so, similar footprint and same location near the waters' edge, but that's where the similarities ended.
After discussing window choices and flooring choices and overall design; we talked about what Carl and his wife's vision was for finishing touches in the coming year.

Having begun a similar project in lost channel I was keenly interested and hopeful to come away with any tips I could about construction and finishings.

Carl was also kind enough to allow me to snap a few pics of his work in progress and as you can see, I decided to share them with you.

All in all it was a great day for me.

I think worthy of anything that my daydreaming would conjure up.....I know, I know ........pretty mediocre stuff to be writing about....after all I am just a regular guy....I'm no Tiger life is not nearly that interesting, but guess what....I bet I'm feeling alot more relaxed these days than he is.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Well; here we are, nearing the end of November and I must say "The weather's been with us". I normally scramble to get done what needs to be done during these waning days of Autumn; but not this year !
Whether its' raking leaves, putting up Christmas lights or changing to snow tires, we can't say that we haven't had opportunity as well as motive.

Why, I have even been working in the driveway to install a set of brakes that Ive been putting off doing. (There's only so many excuses a fella can use to avoid work of this nature and this year, weather could not be counted as one of them !)

Last year at this time we had already endured several substantial dumps of snow and below normal temperatures to go with it.

After a very cool, wet spring and a cooler, wetter summer it sure is nice to be on the right side of Mother Nature for a change.

Historically; it seems that I recall more Novembers like this one than that of last year; at least in the last 10 years or so.

I recall a few winters where we even wondered if we would have a green Christmas...(hasn't happened too often in these parts though)

Speaking of Novembers to remember; two of my "darling daughters" celebrate their birthdays on the 16th.....and what I remember about that November, 26yrs ago is trundling down the road, in blinding snow, in a beat up "79 Chevy Chevette" towards Soldiers Memorial Hospital.
The last 15 miles of the trip was completed with me peering as best I could out through the passenger side of the windshield after my side's wiper blade went flying off into the darkness !

In the end, all went well and that night became memorable, not because of weather or broken windshield wipers, but for the birth of daughters 2 & 3 Stacey and Shawna !

With this year's favorable weather, I still have the boat in and am enjoying late fall expeditions on the river (both work related and otherwise) as often as possible until winter hits.

During a recent foray; we spent some time at Lost Channel, preparing docks for winter, cutting a bit of wood, building a bit of a fire, generally just enjoying the day and early evening up there.

Sitting here at my desk, I have just minimized this screen and checked the's high is better than 10 degrees and even the long range shows some promise....guess I'm not done with the boat yet !!

Friday, October 2, 2009


Autumn...that time of year when the air is crisp and the days are but short sunny interludes between long, frosty, star filled nights; and it seems that all creatures, man and beast alike busy themselves in preparation for winter.
I have long said that this my favourite time of year.

From a business point of view, I have by now toiled through most of my selling season and can now take stock, of my performance so far; before going into the last quarter of 09 as they say.
I say "my performance" because in the business of Real estate sales, success or failure is largely up to the individual.
One can cite the lagging economy, or Real Estate cycles, or whatever external forces they wish; but the truth of it is, you need to ride the cycles and learn to "roll with the punches". Oldsters like me adapt and carry on, thus managing to survive in this fickle "feast or famine" business.
(I personally wouldn't trade it for anything)

So getting back to my favourite time of year, I think that there's something about fall that speaks to the lumberjack in me. After a couple of months of my leisure moments revolving around summer days at the shore and on or in the water; I'm ready for a change of pace and enjoy a retreat to the woods. I've been known to be the plaid shirt wearing, chainsaw wielding, axe swinging type up on "the river" but back in town here I mostly stick to more subdued fall activities equally enjoyable.
Raking leaves, building a garden shed, or simply taking a walk when I can, rather than darting around in an air conditioned truck like I have been.

The recycling retriever and I try to have a good long walk, a couple of times a day when possible. A high point of these forays for Jackson is often the discovery of a coffee cup or plastic bottle which he carries with him the rest of the journey, ears up, head held high and prancing with pride like he's caring a treasure.
After a recent outing of this kind a returned to the office to discover that I had picked up a "treasure" of sorts of my own. Seemingly fused forever to the bottom of my shoe this treasure would not, and could not be dealt with like the water bottle that Jackson skillfully delivered to the blue box.

Each year it seems that I manage to avoid treading on a "land mine" (as they are sometimes referred to) all summer long, but invariably once fall arrives, I fall prey to a skillfully concealed "puppy package", hidden amongst the fallen leaves. Just the right color to blend in, and just the right consistency to give me the sense that the sudden cushion I feel under my step and slight slippage that occurs is merely harmless soggy ground from yesterday's rain.
Undetectable, effective and deadly in their purpose, they are the bane of Autumn pedestrians.

Just a little tip from experience:
If you've walked to work and are rightfully proud of that, and thinking you are going to have a blessed day. You glance down beneath your desk to see leaves sticking out from the bottom of your shoe....leaves don't stick to rubber soles... and your day is about to change !!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Thought I'd sit down and say a few words about "water".

If I said "water wells"'d say "now that's a deep subject"

If I mentioned "watered down" you might think of American style beer.

If I talked about "holding water"'d think of an argument that either does or doesn't; or possibly being 50years + "holding your water"may conjure visions of nocturnal trips made, interrupting what should have been a good nights' sleep.

In general; we here in North America are blessed with it, and lots of it.
I guess because of this, we tend to minimize it's value and take for granted that we will always enjoy a surplus of this life-giving liquid.

Ever talk to anyone from Europe about our attitude towards fresh water and the way we squander it ?
In recent years it seems it is just beginning to have become something of a commodity, but I can easily remember a time when no one ever thought of the idea of paying for it.

Even now, I believe there is little thought given to conservation and the protection of this resource by the average person simply because of it's apparent abundance and availability.
Just think back to last year at this time when gas prices soared and delivery to some stations seemed intermittent....I don't know about you but I was "all about" the conservation and protection of it.
Or think of something else relatively cheap and easily available, like electricity. Oh Lord ! how our attitude towards it changes when the power goes off......all of a sudden you're camping...and not by choice!

Speaking of camping; I recently spent some time on the Severn river doing just that !
While the weather was "no hell" the fishing and the company was just fine.
Having a few drinks by the fire, we told the usual stories to one and other, some pretty much true, some likely overly embellished with the passage of time and occasions repeated. Allot of it being just our observations but never our "feelings" of course !
You get the idea....
At one point I jokingly compared the look of our property, with the various tents perched atop it's sub floor to "site 41"and of course that brought the subject of conversation then, and this blog post now, around to the situation there.
A friend of mine grew up near there and at one time owned property in the "site 41" immediate area. He told me that if you walk in any direction of that site you can find either an actual spring with water bubbling to the surface, spring fed ponds,with icy cold water, or deep holes in the surface that lead to aquifers that likely run for miles beneath the surrounding countryside, supplying "who knows who's" wells.

I'm certain that there were studies done: and I don't claim to have much knowledge of why, or why not a dump should be located anywhere near there.

But I can't "for the life of me" understand why we shouldn't "error on the side of caution" on this one?

In these days where safety is always such a great concern and it seems that we need ever increasing legislation to protect us from ourselves, be it in our cars or in our boats or walking down the street enjoying a smoke. (no I'm not a smoker), shouldn't we take a closer look at this one?

If we are so worried about the possibility of some cigarette smoke wafting in the direction of our emotionally and physically coddled, safety helmeted children in a nearby playground, shouldn't we also worry about the water that they and their children will one day drink ?

Likely by the time the contaminants seeping from the dump make it past the so called "impenetrable" clay basin that they assure us will contain it; we won't have to worry about it, but it will be our children and grand children's dilemma.

When they consider the wisdom used in deciding to build a dump over drinking water;
do you think that they will have a chuckle the way we do when we think of "our parents" letting us ride in the back window of Dad's big sedan with no thought of our safety or seat belts?

I'm pretty sure it won't be a laughing matter.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Well, another Canada Day has come and gone. With July 1st falling on a Wednesday this year, we seemed to have varying opinions on when to celebrate it. Some people took the preceding Monday off, making that the long weekend. Some people waited until the Friday after to take their "stat" and some just celebrated on the day.
I knew people from all three camps; so naturally I was obligated to observe the holiday at what amounted to a series of events spanning from June 26th on to July 5th.

A favourite for most people is the fireworks displays, which can be viewed by all, at a number of local venues. Not the least of which is the yearly display at Lost Channel.

I understand that it is a privately funded event; but from what I hear it is simply spectacular, complete with audio accompaniment.
Most people gather in boats nearby, armed with plenty of snacks and drinks to keep the kids occupied until the show begins.
When the last brilliant display has faded; people "pull up anchor" and slowly and carefully head off into the blackness of the night towards their respective cottages or campsites.

A great evening of family fun being had by one and all !!

Another type of fireworks display is the typical backyard type, complete with screamers, burning school houses and of course the sparklers.
This "up close" display is great and mostly safe when supervised by competent adults.
The trick seems to be to have just one of those aforementioned adults conduct the lighting and of course the safe removal of the spent charges and keep everyone else (especially children and pets) at a safe distance.

That works for most of the contents of your fireworks arsenal, but what about the little hand held sparklers? Which seem to generate "welding rod like" heat and get passed out to the kids like they were as harmless as the little plastic "detergent" bubble makers that we've all seen kids blow through and wave around.

"Since I was just a youngster" (a phrase weighted similar to "when Christ was a cowboy") the sparkler has been the favourite with all children.

Who hasn't witnessed the scene of half a dozen junk food fueled kids running blindly around the backyard followed by barking dogs; (not sure what to make of the commotion); followed by anxious adults, desperately trying to maintain some form of order and keep track of which kid is theirs in the dark.
"No running with the sparklers" "Stop chasing the dog with that" "keep that away from your little cousin's eyes" Watch out for the swing set" "Whatever you do... don't touch it when it goes out"'s still really hot!!
All of course falling on deaf ears.
I personally have been burnt by a sparkler twice in my life... once as one of those frenzied children and once about twenty years later as an anxious adult sprinting across the backyard to recklessly grab an expired one from the hand of my 5yr old daughter Bobbi-anne as she reached with her other hand to touch it.

I can tell you that twenty years didn't make the little buggers any less hot; that's for sure.

Now another twenty or so years has passed and I guess my next encounter with that heat will likely be as a result of me protecting a grandchild from his or her own curiosity!

You may next year, see the scene repeat itself, complete with frenzied kids, barking dogs and anxious adults, but if it's my family your watching;

I'll be the old guy wearing the welder's mitts.

Monday, June 22, 2009


After a long winter, a cool spring, and a summer that's just beginning to sputter along, we seem to finally be in for a spell of much needed warmth.
With this week's temps predicted to be highs of 27 to 30 degrees and humidity that will give things a much hotter feel, I'm reminded of the adage "be careful what you wish for".
During my daily morning romp in the fairgrounds with Jackson Rufus (the recycling retriever) I noticed that the sun seemed higher and certainly stronger than normal, for that time of the morning. I noticed also my pace beginning to slow and my breathing deliberate as the air seemed thicker and no where near as crisp as last week. Hmm...Global warming or just a middle aged guy trying to keep up to the youthful trot of a young dog.
On the up side...the mosquitoes were equally as lethargic and for the most part let me pass unscathed through their hunting grounds. Now don't get me wrong...I'm not complaining...Just making observations.
Another recent observation of mine is that it seems, the older a fella gets, the more heat he can tolerate and not just tolerate but enjoy.
Most folks that I know over 65 will tell you that "it's not that hot...just relax, slow down a bit a take your time get to where your goin"
I say "Great advice...if you have nothing to do and all day to do it" but for a guy like me rushing around madly sometimes just comes with the job.
I might as well curse the heat, cause after all, even if I'm late I could never admit to bad planning on my part, eh !
Even in winter; most folks I know of that "vintage" keep their homes just about 3 degrees hotter than Hades.
I guess I'm just "not there yet" either from a circulatory or chronological point of view.
But who knows; maybe it won't be long before I'm shunning the air conditioning, looking forward to a heat wave, some free time and joining my buddies on the beach.

Friday, May 29, 2009


Showing and selling real estate in what city folks call the "near north" I'm forever being asked "are there bears around here?"

The short answer for that is "of course." I usually continue with "is wildlife viewing high on your house/cottage hunting criteria list?" Part way through that sentence I notice a look of shock and possibly fear come across the clients face. I then quickly explain that "well you know how it is with bears...they're mostly kinda nomadic and will only hang around if there's a easy food source...."
I think of a black bear much like an overgrown raccoon. (which Torontonians can definitely relate to) Both creatures are opportunistic and can become a real nuisance if you are not diligent about your behavior where they are prevalent.
And like any wild animal; both can become nasty and possibly even dangerous if cornered.
(That reminds me of a chipmunk incident at a portage in Algonquin he was nasty....but that's another story...)

If folks really want something to worry about they should think Black Fly!...not Black Bear!

They, in my opinion, take first prize for "most fearsome creature of the north" followed closely of course by the dreaded mosquito. Both bloodthirsty to be sure and have even coordinated the timing of their attacks as to not overlap too much; with the dreaded black fly striking first, and then the mosquito descending on any survivors, stumbling around, weak from blood loss.

But getting back to showing real estate during bug season....
If you were watching, from a distance; my clients and I trying our best to have an outdoor conversation this time of year, it must appear as if we are hapless contestants on the reality show "So You Think You Can Dance" or perhaps assisting an airplane to land through frantic hand signals.

As a fellow that depends on making a sale now and then I tend to downplay the threat, and glibly suggest the use of what we call a bug-free or a gazebo as a cure.

Oh... just so you know; a bug free is great for stopping black flies and yet is not nearly as effective on black bears; ....but after all they are not after you...they want the half eaten bag of last night's campfire marsh mellows;...... and maybe a place to eat them, away from the black flies.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Ice berg dead ahead!....cut your speed and head to port side!
No; that's not a line taken from a scene of "The Titanic" and there was definitely no romance; "arms held aloft; staring from the from the bow of a huge cruise ship into the blackness of the open sea" screaming "I'm the king of the world"....none of that!
But we were watching for ice flows and minding our speed.
It was on a early spring boat ride, with an old friend of mine, Kevin Ohara. I was extolling the virtues of waterfront property ownership and how in these troubled times it was the the best investment. He, on the other hand, I think, was for the most part just enjoying the day. He was suitably impressed with the listings we viewed, but mostly marveled at the beautiful scenery of that part of the Severn River, with it's windswept pines clinging to ragged rocky outcroppings and sparkling clear waters.

At this time of the year things are pretty quiet on "the river" and with the outboard off; all one might hear is the occasional chatter of a red squirrel and the gentle whisper of wind in the tree tops. (not every body's cup of tea, but heaven for some.)
It was April 16th and indeed still a fair bit of ice in the river and plenty in our bay as you can tell from the included pic.
Heavy flooding east of us this time of year on the trent is remedied, to some extent by releasing as much water through the lock system as possible and with that water comes floating debris and dead heads and of course chunks of ice.
As captain, of the ship it's my duty to skillfully navigate around said debris and ice flows to and from each listing, pointing out areas of interest on the tour, all the while watching my speed and time. (As it is necessary to return the client to shore at some point; who knows, maybe even when you promised to have them back.)

Whilst doing all of this it is also my mandate to sell them a cottage of course.
I've often said that decisions to "buy" are generally made during a sunshine filled tour of our section of the "trent" with it's meandering channels, private bays, inlets, and outlets marked by picturesque little dams like that at Pretty Channel and Lost Channel.
"After that it's just a matter of choosing which cottage they want."
On this day I was "rambling on" as I sometimes tend to (big shock eh?) .....I think I was getting to the part where I tell folks that "Yep; I pretty much know these waters like the back of hand" when I casually carved off the end of the channel; a route I have taken many times before; but maybe not in an off-plane boat position and apparently not with the water level reduced by about 18 inches in that area.
As I'm sure you can guess, it wasn't the ice flows or the dead heads, or the floating debris that was my undoing; it was in fact "what lurks beneath".

A loud noise and a sudden jar from below interrupting my tour commentary and I am sure throwing doubt on my prowess as a local expert.
In the end most of the damage was to my ego; the skeg showing just a little scar and the prop escaping harm completely.
One must "chalk these things up to experience" and not dwell too deeply on one minor incident during what was otherwise a great day on the water.
After all we both survived.
And there was definitely no need for any tearful rendition of "My heart will always go on" by Celine Dion !

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


There's an old adage that goes "you are what you eat" meaning good health can be enjoyed through a healthy diet. Maybe we can can also reason that "You are what you think" or more accurately "if you think it; it shall come to pass" ( self fulfilling prophesies of sorts )

I believe we all have a sense that there is some truth to this and can all cite examples relating to health, happiness and even wealth.
Different people look at this in different ways and even if you don't see it as a universal truth, you have to admit that it's helluva coincidence, the way things go some times.

Just look at what happened with the Canadian economy. We were merrily going along, last summer, admittedly spending too much and saving too little; when first we heard that things were not so good in the "states". "Well hold on a minute here, we can't be financially flourishing, when just south of the border, things are so dire."
What followed seemed like a media frenzy bent on a race to report anything negative in this country that seemed to mirror what was happening in the U.S.
Peoples' perception and attitude soon changed and "the rest is history".

I understand that it is a worldwide recession and because of today's marketplace being a global one, we cannot expect to remain unscathed; yet I still have a sense that human nature and ultimately a "law of nature" had a major role in our misfortune.

After a long cold winter, during which everyone seemed to "hunker down"and hibernate, and generally cease to do any new business, I have been hearing reports and noticing an awakening of our marketplace.Even media reports have been cautiously optimistic as of late.
I'm not sure if it's the early spring weather we have been enjoying, or the feeling of rebirth and new beginnings that this time of year seems to bring to our collective consciousness, but I as a realtor have witnessed a recent flurry of activity ....and am damned thankful for it.

But who to thank? and how long will it last? Perhaps just as long as I and the multitudes like you and me, expect it to.
It can't just be that simple can it?
Positive thinking, ....the laws of attraction,....Carma,.... it goes by many names but can be generally found in every culture.
On an individual basis this theory seems to apply just as well.
Over the years I have known many people with many different outlooks on life and I have always made a conscious effort to gravitate towards positive people and distance myself from negative types.
Have you ever known anyone who was truly negative yet enjoyed health, happiness or wealth for that matter?
Not likely.
On the positive side of the equation I can think of many.
Most recently I had an interesting conversation with a elderly couple. Topics ranged from the weather to world events to politics to health, and so on. They had a spirited, yet friendly opinion on everything. They seemed to share a great zest for life and I suspect that very outlook played a part in their longevity. She is 85 and he is 87.
The subject of conversation eventually came around to pets ( as it usually does with me) and they tearfully related to me that they had just 10 days ago euthanized their beloved 13 yr old German Shepard.
They explained to me that they will be adopting another dog soon but were considering an adult rather than a pup this time. My thoughts immediately went to their age; with the average life span of a dog being about 12 to 15 yrs. I "did the math" and assumed what would be their concern. They however went on to explain to me that they simply would prefer to match the new dog's energy level with that of their own.
Now that my friends is a positive attitude and one that we would all do well to gravitate towards.
"All the best to them!" As they embark on the latest chapter ( and likely not the last) of life with their new pet.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Recently we in Coldwater marked the passing of Wayne Smith. A long time resident and well respected local businessman; Wayne was a 23 year member of the S.G.B.R.E.A. He was an associate broker for many of those years with Remax Georgian Bay Realty Ltd.

I guess you could say he "gave me my start in real estate", or "took me under his wing", "was a mentor of mine"; any of those cliche's probably fit, but mostly I think back about him as a friend. He offered counsel and advice many times during the years that we worked together at times when I sorely needed it. But mostly led by example, in this way he taught me "courage in the face of adversity" as I watched him stoically deal with and never "knuckle under" to a long series of health issues in his later years.
He also taught me, that in business, "always expect the best from people and their dealings with me, but definitely also prepare for the worst."
He would say "That way, you don't get your ass in a sling" (An example of just one of hundreds of colorful phrases and sayings that he had archived and could conjure up and present to you, in assessment of most any of life's situations)
Another Wayne Smith truism that I vividly recall being dealt out to me was as my 40th birthday was approaching. He said; as he looked up from his newspaper and over his glasses, "Don't sweat turning 40! Just wait til ya hit 50 Dougie!....It's a bobsled run to a pine box after that."

Having just recently turned 50 and even more recently dealt with Wayne's passing, I can't say that his words haven't come to mind as of late.

Aside from real estate sales, another of Wayne's keenest interests, shared by his wife Jo-anne as well, was of horses.
Limited as my knowledge was of the subject, I always enjoyed to hear what was happening at the races, the selling of one horse, or the acquisition and track record of another. It was a subject that Wayne was expert in and would "light him up" like no other.
Over the years I believe I met most if not all of Wayne's horse buddies. Co-owners, trainers, drivers, and even a few of the horses.
Most recently it seems that their group has developed a champion. Something that both Wayne and Jo-anne are understandably thrilled with, and proud of. His name is "Armbro Chronicle"

As I now sit and think fondly of the years that I worked with Wayne, I guess I could sum things up by saying "they were good years. Our differences were few and our sales were many!"
I count myself lucky to have known him.
And as for his many quotes and sayings....
"Things just got a little less interesting here in Coldwater with his passing."
He will be missed.

Friday, March 6, 2009


"Well, it seems that winter's finally winding down" and yet, things are not always as
they seem.
A case in point; last year at this time I might have made the same observation and as it turned out, winter "hung in there" well into April.
So better to keep quiet until the robins are back and even then...don't be too sure.
I did, however get a recent phone call from Morley Marchant, a friend of mine whose alot more sure of himself than I. "last day for good snowmobiling this year" he matter-of-factly announced.
"Have you been up and unhooked that dock from the shore yet? you said you were." Ive been busy ..and waiting for the..uh...
"let's go" he says.
Now the prospect of travelling on late season trails and ice would normally worry me a little, but in this case I'd be travelling with a well seasoned guide.
Well seasoned is probably an understatement in Morley's case, I can't think of anyone more knowledgeable about that part of the Severn River, nearby lakes,and the thousands of acres of crown land surrounding them.
He's about 20-25 years my senior and has spent most of those years living and working in the exact area I just mentioned.
As for the snowmobile trails? He used to operate a groomer on them and runs them now, "pernt-near" daily. "pernt-near" being a Waubaushene term meaning "almost" (go ahead, and use it if you like.)
So I agreed; partly because I wanted to get that dock situation sorted out before the ice goes out, which then surely, damage would be done to it. The other part being because I didn't want to "wimp out". Morley is more than a few years older than I, yet possesses more energy and determination than many men half his age.
So off we went on what turned out to be a great day on the trails and lakes.
We took our time and toured most, if not all the surrounding lakes. Largely uninhabited and accessible only by air or bush trails, they are, and the landscape abutting them, both rugged and beautiful.
With no recent snowfall, I could clearly see the evidence (tracks) of all manner of creatures; winged as well as furry and four legged. Some seemed aimless wanderings in search of food, some seeming like signs of pursuit/escape or struggle and all telling a story of survival in this northern wilderness. The deer are still mostly yarded up and can be seen in abundance along the trail, looking on with cautious curiosity.
After taking what was surely (and thankfully) the long way around, Morley pulled over when we came off the ice at Wood Bay and said "take the lead; next stop Lost Channel". Since we were now in the middle of my "stomping grounds" and I knew the exact location of the dock that was the subject of our quest, I did.
With the dock unbolted and then lightly secured to the shore with nylon rope, we relaxed a bit and then headed off to retrace our path back to Severn Falls.
Sipping a beer and enjoying the warmth of the fire with Morley and his wife Marg, I hesitated, but finally mentioned that I could already "feel that trip" in my shoulders. Morley's response was "What?...but your only a young fella. Wait til you get to be my age and then tell me about your shoulders"
I thought about that statement for a while and then thought to myself, "Yep; I wouldn't be surprised if I do tell him about it then."

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Sipping my coffee this morning and enjoying the warmth of March morning sun, I noticed that the cat was in attack mode and ready to pounce, (if only she could get through the patio door)
Expecting to see some unsuspecting chickadee or the like, I was surprised to see a newcomer to the feeder. A "cute" little fellow, all decked out in his suit of red.
This little red squirrel was quite chipper (not that I've ever met one that wasn't) and in quite good shape, considering the winter we've had.
I later shook out some extra seeds onto the deck for his benefit and for ours too as they are fun to watch feed.
Somehow; I guess because they are smaller than the usual denizens of our feeder (the lumbering big black squirrel) they seem fragile and in need of our support.
After all there even seems to be fewer of them.
But I think that nothing could be farther from the truth. They are known to be very aggressive and territorial (like maybe the "George W Bush of the feeder crowd.)
I know this from personal experiences. Once many years ago and once last fall.
My experience many years ago was to witness an adult red squirrel in an altercation with birds at the top of a Little fir tree next to my driveway. He /or she was at the very top and leaping at and swatting at a pair of what I think were blue birds, circling and diving at him. It was like the "Empire State Building scene" from the King Kong movie. Next I saw what the commotion was about,when during a break in the action, the squirrel went down, perched himself on the edge of the bird's nest and proceeded to pluck the chicks one by one from the nest, bite them through the back of the head and drop them to the ground. When I went over to investigate I discovered the bodies of two more baby birds near the base of the tree.
I remember asking Dad at the time, why the red squirrel would hate the birds enough to do this? And he told me that it was not a result of hate, but simply animal instinct. The territorial instinct of the squirrel is so strong that it's behaviour is merely a reaction to creatures that would compete with it for food. (so unlike King Kong and the airplanes, Faye Ray had nothing to do with this event) It was simply instinct.
The next time that comes to mind, crossing one of these "cute" little red squirrels was last fall when one took up residence in my garage. I noticed him a few times around the yard first, he scolded me and we both moved on. Then I bumped into him in the garage, which startled me and seemed to do the same for him; but as the days went on he began to leap from rafter to rafter knocking things about, doing more charging and challenging than escaping from me.
I cured that behavior with the use of a radio playing loudly and a tune up and test of my snow blower in the garage. He got the hint and moved on to quieter digs.
It was only later while searching for stored Christmas lights that I realized the damage he had done in there. He/ or she had went through that garage like a buzz saw cutting holes clean through cabinets, snow sleighs,tarps,a plastic pumpkin,a straw filled scarecrow, and most of the way through a 2x4 supporting the storage cabinet.
Destructive little beggar eh?
So I'll sit and sip my coffee and marvel at the dexterity of his little hands and teeth opening the bird seeds, but before I head in to my Remax office to begin my day I'll just spy a bit on the little monster to see which direction he/or she leaves in. NOT towards my garage I hope.

Friday, February 27, 2009


Yesterday my buddy Joe dropped in to the office. He gave me the lowdown on all the recent Waubaushene happenings and I caught him up on the goings on in Coldwater.

At some point during each visit he scolds me with "what's that buddy, you haven't been fishin?"

"Why the hell not." I generally have some weak excuses....too busy, too cold, not cold enough,too much slush, ice is too thin, ice is too thick, and so on. Truth is, I should get back into it. It is a great sport but more importantly a good way to pass the winter. (you know, when we are not shovelling snow of course.)

There was a time when I spent most early mornings and as well just before dark staring down an augered hole in my dad's "shack" on Georgian Bay. I guess it was more his influence and my wish to hang out with him than true love of the sport that kept me going back.

We did pretty good too...or should I say he did, at least. While most of the "fish catchin" was done by either Dad or my son-in-law Peter (Known as the "fishin magician") I also had my moments.

The attached pic shows one of my luckier days. Me with a respectable pike and Dad with a nice walleye. I caught the pike on a homemade wooden lure that was crafted by my Uncle Bob and given to my Dad as a gift. It was a favorite of dad's and referred to, by him as "the pike killer"
Since Dad's passing in 2002 his old hand made wooden plug has laid idle amongst countless other lures, equally as memory filled.
Maybe I should have a look through them.
Maybe the "pike killer" should be selected, and deserves a place of honor desplayed beside a picture of Dad.
My buddy Joe did get me thinking about ice fishing.... but an afternoon spent going down memory lane with my Dad's old fishing stuff sounds pretty good too....and a hell of a lot warmer than a trek out on the ice.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


The thing about the weather is that, other than talk about it there's little else that a person can do but witness it.
When the temperature goes up and the snow starts to melt and the rain starts to fall, announcing yet another winter thaw; there's little else that we folks in Coldwater are talking about.
We all keep one eye on the river and one eye on our sump pumps.
The thaw at Christmas time was even made more interesting by high winds and the inevitable power outage that follows this chain of events.
That's when the drone of dozens of generators can be heard filling the air with their monotone chorus until the last available unit is gassed up and fired up, joining the choir.
But enough about how we here in "the north" spend our Christmas holidays.
The bright side of a late winter thaw is that it gives us a little glimpse of things to come.
That indeed, spring is just around the corner, and before we know it, we will be back in the boat enjoying all the wonders that our spring/ summer seasons have to offer.
For now I guess I'll just watch the river for the next couple of days and make the best of whatever the weather has to offer.
Who knows if the fair grounds fill up with water again, and now that I'm in the boating mood; I'll grab my trusty kayak and like I said "make the best of it"

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


As I sit here contemplating the prospect of becoming a half a century old tomorrow, I thought now would be a good time to try my hand at writing a blog. A journal of sorts, organizing some of my mind's ramblings and putting them to paper (so to speak).