Friday, September 16, 2011

The Universal Language

We met nine of Erich's hometown friends at a restaurant for a little reunion.  It was nice but difficult at first as only one of them spoke English.  Erich mentioned that George has a good voice so I asked him to sing a song.  After a beautiful rendition of Strangers in the Night I said I'm surprised they weren't singing drinking songs.  They recognized that term and flowed into a list of fun stein-swinging pub songs! 
George, Helmut
 Helmut said it was too bad I couldn't hear them play and sing...I asked if their instruments were in their cars...they needed no more invitation than that!  Soon we were all singing Austrian folk songs, including Yodeling accompanied by guitar and accordian!!  Music is truly the universal language!
Mary, Erich, Bert, Adi

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Language Barrier

We checked into a B&B for the next 10 days and spent part of the afternoon today with Erich's family in Trofaiach, Austria.  They are delightful people!  His sister Hermi is friendly and generous and was so welcoming - she made us a yummy home cooked meal with veggies from the garden even though they had already eaten (they eat their main meal at noon).  Her husband Karl is talkative and showed us all around his amazing yard and garden - SO many beautiful flowers everywhere!  Their daughter Ingrid is lively and warm and understands a little English.  Julia ("Yoolia") is a sweet little girl.  Most of the time I carefully listened trying to pick up a word or two and sometimes I could get what the subject matter was but I had no clue what they saying and was unable to say more than a few words here and there.  This will be a challenge...they call it the "immersion method"!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Geocache Number One

The bottle, painted dark for camouflage and a pile of canisters.

Opening my 196th film canister
I was introduced to geocaching today!  Kathy took me to the Offield Nature Preserve a couple of miles north of here and thanks to the GPS app on her phone we found the first cache in short order.  That was the only thing short about it!  It was a five gallon water bottle containing 200 old film canisters six of which held clues to the next cache and one held the log for us to sign.  Time flew as we opened all 200 canisters and soaked in the warm September sun.  We tromped around in the woods for a while without finding the second one.  The app just wasn't accurate enough, so we have a date to return with "the big guns", a real GPS.  I look forward to it!  These things are all over the world - in more than 100 countries and all seven continents!
International Geocaching Logo

For a basic description of how geocaching works, read it here on Wikipedia.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Batchawana Bald Eagle

The last time I was in Canada we took a little sunset cruise down the shore of Batchawana Bay and were rewarded with a good view of this regal pair of eagles.  
We saw the first one flying above us with a jet in the background

The other one chose a tall tree on the shoreline so he could overlook the whole bay.
There he is, King of Batchawana Bay

I wish I would have had my zoom lens!

Frost So Soon?

I just heard the weather forecast for tonight.  September 6th and we may have frost tonight! 
 I have to enjoy my garden while I can!

Grape Tomatoes
Day Lily

Garlic Chive Blossoms


Monday, September 5, 2011

Real Tomatoes

The worse store tomatoes get the harder I try to grow my own.  Given that my yard is set in the shade of some very tall maple trees and I live closer to the North Pole than to the equator this is a real challenge.  Persistence is the key, and so is cutting down a few trees.  The last 2 or 3 years I've had a little luck but I still need another month in my growing season.  Here you see my first plum tomato (Roma) which I will be having with some basil from my prolific herb garden for dinner tonight.

First Roma of the season.  Uh oh, it's September 5th.