Monday, 25 April 2016

Bucket List Item: Wild Ponies!

After visiting with family in Baltimore, Pat and I drove further down the coast to Chincoteague and Assateague Islands.  They are located on the border of the Southern tip of Maryland and the Northern tip of Virginia at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay.  We stayed at a lovely bed and breakfast on Chincoteague Island.  It was the same B and B that we had booked to celebrate my 50th birthday but had to cancel due to mom's illness.  It took me 20 months to get back but the owners held our reservation and let me tell you, it was well worth the wait.
When I was a girl, I was horse crazy, as many young girls seem to be and I grew up reading Marguerite Henry's novels about the Wild Ponies of Assateague Island.  Her book "Misty of Chincoteague", published in 1947, was a childhood favourite and it inspired me to want to make a trip to the area.
Chincoteague is a residential area, populated with older style homes, quaint stores and seaside shops.  It is attached to Assateague Island by a small causeway which is easily accessible by bicycle.  The B and B had bikes for us to use and no bike locks were required.  You can leave your bike anywhere, on either island, and it will not go missing.  What a joy.  When we arrived we changed into shorts and hit the road.  Within 20 minutes we were within sight of the ponies and due to their familiarity with people we had some very close encounters.  The stallion seemed to really like Pat!  Ironically, on our drive to Chincoteague, Pat and I talked about many things but one theme, legacy, kept coming up.  It was surprising to discover then, that the stallion that spent so much time around Pat was named Legacy!

My inspiration!

1848 Island Manor House

Spring Yellow!

Assateague Island Lighthouse

Legacy (in front) and his mares.

This mare looks like she is with foal.

A close encounter with Legacy!

Horse selfie!

Pat on the Beach!

Bird friends!


Saturday, 23 April 2016

Baby Visit Number Two!

On Friday, April 14th, Pat and I drove to Baltimore, Maryland to visit Marion, Lucy and family.  My Great Niece Lucy is growing like a weed and getting more character with each month.  Spring is further advanced in Baltimore and we had a lovely time touring a local park.  The tulip display was phenomenal and the weather was very warm.  It was a lovely day!
Pat and Lucy
Lucy likes her new hat!
Checking out the tulips.

Truedell Colours
My Pearls!

Pretty in Pink!

Ravishing Redbuds on Rich Residential Route!

Sugar Bush Buddy

For two weeks in March our friend, Abel, from Mexico City came to Kingston with the desire to learn how to make maple syrup.  Abel is a 17 year old student who studied at FSS last year.  At the end of his one year stay we met his mom and she and Abel asked if he could come to visit on his March Break.  We said yes!
Abel was a great guest, very polite, always asking to help.  He worked hard in the sugar bush and learned a lot about a wonderful Canadian and family tradition.  We shared stories and learned things from each other.  Abel helped me decorate my Easter tree and experienced his first Easter egg hunt.  He taught us how to make proper Mexican tacos and even prepared our dinner on one night.

Taco Dinner!


Sugarbush Buddies!

Meditating by the fire!

Adding more sap!

Snack time!

Someone got a little too close to the soot covered pan!

Friday, 18 March 2016

Baltimore: Baby, blossoms, and basketball!

A few days after returning home from Mexico I drove to Baltimore to visit my niece and her new baby, Lucy Patricia (named after my mom).  It is an easy 8 hour drive.  When I left Kingston it was 5 degrees celsius.  By the time I got to Watertown it was 9 degrees and I hit double digits soon after.  The temperatures continued to climb as the hours ticked by and by the time I got to Baltimore it was 24 degrees.  I had to stop at one point to change into shorts and a t-shirt as I was too hot!!  Spring comes to Baltimore early and that was evidenced by all of the spring flowers in bloom.  During my visit, the temperatures were unseasonably warm and my great niece and I did not complain.

Lucy Patricia is now three months old and I like to say that she made me "great".  I am now a great aunt or as I have become known as, "Gr-Aunt Nancy".  It is a role that I embrace.  Lucy is a happy baby who sleeps well and rarely fusses.  My niece and her husband have adjusted well to parenthood and it was fun visiting this happy little household.

Andy, my nieces's husband, is a basketball fan and we were watching an ACC game one day when I noticed that there were a lot of empty seats.  Andy mentioned that the ACC was in DC this year and for some reason seats were not selling out.  I realized how close Baltimore is to DC and made the spontaneous decision to go to DC the next day to watch Duke.  It was my first live Duke game and I was totally hyped.  I treated myself to a primo seat and sat right behind centre court in the first row of stand seating.  There were two rows of family seating in front of me but I felt like I was right there with the team.  My pictures are terrible.  I just had my iPod and the players were always in motion but the memories will live on in my mind for an eternity.  It was a good game.  Unfortunately, Duke lost to Notre Dame in overtime but the boys played their hearts out!  #GoDuke!

Baby Lucy!

Ravishing in Red.

Help me Obi-Wan!

Daffodils in bloom.

Positively Pink!

Crocuses were almost done.

This magnolia tree bloomed while I was visiting.

Beautiful blossoms.

On the MARC train to DC.  Sitting with the competition.

Team pride!

Team is warming up.

Last minute advice.

Coaches confer!

Time out tips!

Consolation hug!

Thursday, 17 March 2016


On our last full day with Dana we took the subway and a light rail train to the outskirts of Mexico City to Xochimilco.  This site preserves the only remnant of Lake Texaco and its pre-Columbian floating gardens.  Known as "the place of the flower field", this site was once a lakeside village connected to Tenochtitlan by a causeway.  Now the city has built up around it but it is the only part of Mexico City where you can boat around the canals and semi-floating flower and vegetable gardens, or chinampas, built originally by the Aztecs.
Chinampas were created by the Aztecs as a way to extend their realm and produce food in an aquatic environment.  Each chinampas was built on a bed of aquatic roots which were covered in soil and gardens were planted here.  They still remain an important source of flowers and vegetables today.
At this location you can hire a "trajineras" or punt to transport you through the canals.  A local boatman poles the punt along the canals.  Along the way you are treated to many wonderful sights, including mariachis(who will perform for you), flower gardens or greenhouses, small boats selling meals, snacks and handicrafts.

Colourful Church Courtyard

Picturesque Punts!

Marvellous Murals!

Roasted corn for sale!

Lunch anyone?

Marion was there!

Musical Mariachis!

Celebrating Mama!

She was there!

Stopping to look at flowers!

Time to go!

Dana poles us back.

Dana makes a sleepy friend on the light rail train!