A brief vacation... (photo heavy)

woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)August 27, 2009

We had a nice, very brief (two night) stay in Mennonite country near gb.

Our B&B was interesting - I hadn't realized when I booked it that we were getting more than just a room. It was a separate self-contained suite attached to the house. There were two bedrooms, a bathroom, living room, kitchen and dining room! There was a nice patio and garden beds - as gb mentioned, the first thing I noticed when we arrived was that all the beds were perfectly edged! Fortunately they were not completely weed-free (I saw at least two dandelions :-) so I didn't feel completely out-classed on maintenance!

This is looking towards 'our' patio - at the base of the stairs from the deck. The French doors were the entrance to our suite. The doors weren't locked - the owners said they never gave guests keys because there was no need to lock doors around there!

Checking for weeds...:-)

The property was a large broiler operation (chickens) and their son owned the farm across the road which apparently had twice as many chickens as well as raising beef. There was a vast acreage of corn to feed them all!

The one concern I had was that I didn't like the smell - or taste- of the water. I was a bit paranoid about the cause (septic system problems? undesirable agricultural run-off of various sorts?) so bought bottled water to drink. Randy said he didn't notice anything, so it might just have been me being ultra-sensitive with my stuffed-up recovering-from-a-cold nose!

We arrived at gb's later that afternoon just as she was finishing mowing:

Marie and Phoebe demonstated Phoebe's prowess at rolling for cookies - Phoebe was very impressive.

Phoebe also does a great impression of a gorilla in a tree!

We had a nice tour around the garden while waiting for gb's DH of come home. There is always so much to see - and love - in gb's garden, even when she's lamenting that things are winding down! None of the pictures does the garden justice so I'm not including any. I really, really need to find a place for a Betty Corning clematis now.... Visiting gb is dangerous!:-)

Randy was the photographer on the trip so I didn't think to grab the camera and get pictures of the guys playing guitar. But, believe me, gb's DH looks much better at it - especially the singing! I keep telling Randy he should take some singing lessons - I have no idea what his singing is like though, I'm just going by how he looks when he sings :-)

Dinner at the Indian restaurant was great! It's odd to find such a good Indian restaurant in such a small, rural town, but it is one of the best Indian restaurants we've been to! One of the dishes we ordered was Chicken Jhal frezi because I made a really good one at home a week or two ago so wanted to compare the flavors. Naznin (my friend from Tanzania) and I made a Fragrant Garam Masala mix a few weeks ago and I used that it the recipe. It turned out very good so I took the recipe and some of the spice mix to gb for her to try it out too.

GB gave me a fabulous gift of two sigle peonies - one red and one white!

Wednesday morning we went to Castle Kilbride (not a castle!)

The most interesting part was the interior painted walls and ceilings. Photographs weren't allowed though because the flash would damage the paintings so you'll need to check out the photogallery at the link below to see them.

It was interesting that, from the front, you can't tell that there is a modern building attached to the back - the local administration offices. Because the new building was linked to the old at both stories, it was accessible for me because of the elevator in the new buildinig.

The exterior decoration was pretty interesting too:

Wed. afternoon we did some walking around Fergus. We never managed to sort out the directions to the Mapleton place so I had to make do with more mundane ice cream in Fergus:

We went looking for a property we had read about in an outdated 'open day' type brochure . We hoped it might be visible from the road, but it wasn't. When Randy pulled into the end of the driveway to turn around, the owner was moving the edge of the driveway so we had a chat. The end result was we got to see part of the garden - and part of the interior of the house!


Can you see that it is an 'earth' house?! It is built into the mound/small hill so it not only has a green roof (the middle picture) but three sides are buried in the ground so that you can walk from ground level up onto the roof! There are skylights that light the rooms along the side of the house. Only the south wall has windows and doors in the usual sense. The house was built in the late 1960s and the current owners are the 4th owners. There was extensive gardens around it, mostly created by the current owners - the husband is a professional horticulturalist. Do you know the property gb?

Today we went to the farmers' market in St. Jacob in the morning. The biggest surprise there was who we ran into!

This is Randy's (former!) guitar teacher. He dropped out of sight in late spring after a bout of girlfriend trouble and finiancial trouble. Randy had no idea where he had gone or what was happening. Just as we started walking around the outdoor market, Randy said 'That sounds like ---- playing!' And it was! I didn't recognize him! He used to have long hair and looked very much the aging hippy :-) His brother has a stall at the market so he plays while his brother sells....!

We left the market with a new purse for me; half a bushel of tomatoes to make chutney; green tomatoes to make mincemeat; corn; an unidentified fern and unidentified green and silver heuchera, plus a Japanese painted fern. The plants will go where the Green Man is (Randy wants to leave him by the south gate). In the spring I'll divide some hostas to go with them.

Misty was very happy to have us back this afternoon. She sulks when we're away - Barb stayed in the house while we were gone but she works during the day so Misty was not happy being alone all day. We took her for a walk by the lake when we got back. It was a nice cool day - which is a good thing as this time of year brings lots of very icky algea ashore. In the heat, it reeks! It was pretty bad today but mild compared to the smell on hot days! The water was pretty gross as it came ashore - you can see the black gunk staining the rocks:

Tomorrow there's a lot of garden maintenace and planting going to be going on here....

Here is a link that might be useful: Castle Kilbride

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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

What a surprise for me too! That's Trevor's house you visited! He's a friend of mine too and I always threaten to take visiting Idylls there! He's chief horticulturalist for the area. He used to have a long wonderful trail covered in thyme. He has horses and dogs etc...sometimes a peacock or rooster. He used to grow poppies on his roof. Indoors he has a Santa collection.

Amazing that you re-connected with Randy's teacher!

You'll have to Google Mapleton's Organics and go there another time. :) We'll have to check out Castle Kilbride!

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 9:55PM
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Sounds like a fantastic trip to a beautiful spot in the world. You captured your journey so nicely with your photos, and what a bonus running into Randy's old guitar teacher. I can't believe he recognized his guitar playing before he even saw him. The B&B looks lovely, and how great you spent some of the trip with 'bug and her DH. I LOL'd over you looking for weeds, with your head visible in the photo. I had to look twice to see you in the distance. Thanks for posting these.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 9:56PM
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Woody, what a wonderful travelogue ! Thank you so much for taking the time to document your journey and share it with us. I am particularly taken with Phoebe the Tree Gorilla !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 11:47PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

What a fantastsic mini vacation Woody and what a terrific narration and photo essay of the trip. Love the house with the sod roof. and how neat that GB knows the owner. Small world! and than running into Randy's guitar teacher, amazing! Love the pic of you eating ice cream, you look terrific! Thanks for sharing.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 7:16AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I wondeerded if you knew him gb... I mentioned that we had a friend in the area but didn't give you name. We didn't see the thyme path or the horses (no peacocks or roosters either :-) but we did meet Sasha (a rescued Golden Retriever). I would have liked to have met the horses but I didn't want to ask; since he was kind enough to take the time to welcome unexpected visitors, I didn't want to interrupt his day too much! We spent some time discussing Christmas ornaments with him - some of his antique ornaments were similar to what my grandparents had on their Christmas trees. I would have loved to see more of the property - definitely a place to take Idyll visitors!

We will include Mapleton Organics in a future visit! Now that we have the address from the link you provided, we can program it into the GPS thingy... The GPS was a handy 'toy' to have. It did lead us astray a couple of times - but only because we had input the wrong town in the address (e.g. when we were trying to find that house, we thought it was in Fergus so the GPS kept trying to send us south instead of north! Once we changed the town to Center Wellington, it took us to the right place.

It was a fun trip!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 8:45AM
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Fun little trip Woody with lots of surprises. Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 6:51PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Glad to see you and Randy are enjoying his retirement! You look great, btw. How fun that Randy ran into his guitar teacher. I bet Randy was happy to tell him he was still playing. I enjoyed the photo of the Mennonite buggy. I love that old fashioned lifestyle. ..... LOL the Gorilla Dog. What fun it must be for a dog to live on a farm. When I think of our neighbor's poor dog, who looks older than his age who rarely gets a walk beyond the tiny backyard he has. She's a very lucky dog. Sounds like you and GB had a great visit. I wish I could see her garden in person, too. Photos don't really capture all the beauty of a garden. Very nice photos, thanks for sharing. :-)

    Bookmark   August 29, 2009 at 7:19AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

What a fun and interesting vacation.
And how strange that Randy's former guitar teacher was there. As 'they' say..it is a small world. He has a very good sense of music to have recognized who it was before even seeing him.
I find it interesting thet you have a friend in Tanzania. I have 'met' a lady and her husband who are missionaries there. I met her on the BibleTruthsForums that I am a member of, and she is now one of my friends on FaceBook also.They live near Arusha, Tanzania.

I spied you on your 'weed hunt' too, LOL

And I like the pic of Phoebe in the tree. I am pretty sure it is rare for dogs to be in trees! :-)

Your ice cream eating pic looks like you are getting very thin ?

    Bookmark   August 29, 2009 at 9:32AM
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Woody, I'm sure I remember you posting something mysterious about the guitar teacher in the idylls, but I could easily be mistaken. Love the peek into 'bug's garage! I've copied a previous Phoebe-in-a-tree photo for my own album -- she always looks so pleased with herself perched in a tree.

Your two-day vacation had scope, Woody! What a lot you and Randy did. Making note of Chicken Jhal frezi...thanks!

    Bookmark   August 29, 2009 at 10:55AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Marian - I haven't lost much weight. For about the past 30 years or so my weight has been about 125 lb., give or take a few pounds. I tend to gain a few pounds in winter when I'm less active and lose it in the summer. I'm a little over 122 lbs at the moment so that is a pretty normal summer weight for me. Randy's guitar teacher writes a lot of his own music so that is why Randy could recognize that it was him just from hearing the music.

Denise - yes, the guitar teacher's life is a bit of a soap opera! It was always interesting to find out the latest installment each week. Randy will be looking for a new teacher in the fall I think - I doubt he'll find another one with as much entertainment value :-) Re vacation - we do tend to like lots of activities on our vacations so try to plan to have somewhere to go/something to see or do in both morning and afternoon and save taking-it-easy for an evening activity :-)

    Bookmark   August 29, 2009 at 12:11PM
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