It was supposed to be a gloomy and cool day today with a risk of showers but we decided to brave the winds and possibly wet weather anyway and headed down to Hamilton to hike a short section of the Bruce Trail that connected Sherman Falls to Tiffany Falls.

We decided to park on a small stretch of Lions Club Road that fit about maybe 5 cars and after a couple of U-turns and false starts, we found the entrance to the trail – which was right under our noses if we had started in the right direction to begin with. :)  Good times.

We don’t come down to the Hamilton area to hike very often and enjoyed what the area had to offer. They’re known for their waterfalls so we ticked two off of the list with today’s outing.

We started at Sherman Falls. There were 6 of us in our group: 4 adults and 2 children. Although the Bruce Trail is typically more rugged than the trails found in conservation areas, no one had any trouble today. There were a couple of rocky areas with a few steep steps here and there but very manageable for the most part.







The leaves haven’t fully started changing color here yet…but there were some red and yellow stragglers on the ground  The water was a bit low (typical for this time of year vs in the springtime) but it was still nice to see the small rapids and “babbling brook” sounds of the water trickling by. We only encountered a couple of other people at Sherman Falls and passed a few small groups along the trail to Tiffany Falls.

We saw some cool things along the way – like these HUGE mushrooms:


And this gnarly tree:



Side trail to the falls!


One of us being brave:






He made it back to the trail safe and sound. :)


Tiffany Falls:



We hiked about 6 km total and got to enjoy a real fall day outside in nature. Great way to start the autumn season!

Packing for a Day Hike


Great list of things to pack for a day hike.

Originally posted on Addicted to Hiking:

Dan and I hike a lot. We are already at 45 days out this year and it’s only July. One of the things that enables us to get out so often (too often?) is knowing what to throw in a day pack and having one ready to go when the weekend roles around.

Day pack: While any backpack will do, a hiking specific day pack will work with you, rather than against you. Look for a bag between 15 and 35 litres. If you’re a true fair weather hiker who typically takes short day hikes, a 15-20 litre bag will fit water, some food, and an extra layer. If you like to hike in shoulder season and head out for longer days, buy something between 25 and 35 litres. A bag with a waist belt and a sternum strap will be more comfortable once it’s loaded up.

A Good Day Pack Moves With You A Good Day Pack Moves With…

View original 912 more words

While I was at Michael’s, I picked up some soap-making gear and gave that a whirl. I’ve been increasingly interested in making our own products since everything on the market has a billion chemicals that just can’t be good for us, or the environment… I had a mold for 4 soaps and used a butter tart tray (washed and dried) to make 3 more. It was the melt and pour variety and I added a few drops of a citrus-y scent. I decided to leave them white and wrapped them in plastic wrap after they set. Chris and I used some of the remaining soap mix in the glass measuring cup to wash our hands and it was super soft, didn’t leave any residue and smelled really nice – we’ll see how the bars fare. Another easy peasy project to cross off my Life List. :)


I finally headed over to Michael’s to buy some yarn for this project. I followed a great tutorial on YouTube and had my scarf done in about an hour and a half after a couple of false starts. Easy peasy, and super cozy – I’m ready for fall! I used 3 skeins of Lion’s Wool-Ease Thick & Quick yarn in Sequoia. It loops around my neck twice to make a cowl and I used the three strands at once vs the two they show in the tutorial.



Summer Family Visit

We’re on vacation this week and my sister and her two daughters spent 5 days with us. On Thursday night, we went to Red Lobster for the traditional supper. The gang spent the day shopping on Friday since Chris and I were working, then we picked them up, did the groceries and watched Harry Potter 5 – the girls are going through the HP phase and are obsessed with everything to do with Harry Potter. Since the party, it’s been a HP whirlwind. So, for the movie viewing, we decorated with all sorts of HP paraphernalia including props we had fun with at the party: the Sorting hat, McGonagall’s hat, Dumbledore’s wand, a HP themed magazine, candies, a rememberall, a crystal ball… You get the picture.

Saturday we had a farm day planned. We started out at Andrew’s Scenic Acres and visited the farm animals and picked up some berries and baked goods (apple pie, butter tarts). We headed over to Springridge Farm for lunch and shopping where I ended up buying a gorgeous wrap (getting ready for fall a bit early).  After that, we went to Terre Bleu, a lavender farm – our first time and it was amazing! We took the guided tour and learned about lavender, visited the distillery and the apiary, enjoyed some lavender lemonade and bought some goodies in the boutique (lavender essential oil, massage oil and honey). It was a great place and we look forward to returning.










Lavender drying in the distillery:




The bee hives:





Friends on the farm:



After this, we went home to prepare for dinner and our Hippie Beach BBQ party, the theme of the day. :) I made grilled salmon and pork chops, antipasto skewers and corn on the cob.



For dessert, I made quasi-smore-skewers with strawberries, marshmallows and mini brownies, with marshmallow ballerinas and flip flop cookies (on a bed of brown sugar):



After dinner, we waited for the sun to go down to go out and play glow-in-the-dark ring toss – which was awesome!







On Sunday we packed a picnic lunch and headed over to Hilton Falls Conservation area for a hike to the falls and campfire area. It was really nice – the weather was variably cloudy and not too humid. We headed to a nearby park that had a cool splash pad for the kids, then headed downtown to the Taste of the Danforth Greek festival – had dinner at Christina’s, an amazing restaurant, and the kids enjoyed some of the fair rides.

Monday we headed up to Collingwood for a short visit and lunch at Blue Mountain village then went to the Scenic Caves which was AMAZING. It was pretty physical and some of the caves were pretty cramped quarters, but it was a fantastic experience with beautiful scenery. The girls absolutely loved it. At the same place, we visited a suspension bridge (well, everyone except me – I just can’t do suspension bridges) and the girls panned for gems. It started raining in the middle of the afternoon but that didn’t deter us! We stopped by a local Italian restaurant for dinner and started watching Harry Potter 6 (got through about half before we hit the sack – we finished Tuesday morning).

Pictures at the Caves:








Chris and the girls were the only ones who braved passing through this one, the widest point was 36 cm!!






The girls enjoying a Beaver Tail at Blue Mountain village:



We dropped the troops off at the airport Tuesday after lunch.

We spent the morning hiking in the Hilton Falls Conservation area. It was a beautiful day – about 20C degrees (working towards an expected high of 24C), not too hot or muggy. We started out at 10am and followed the Bruce Trail that runs parallel to the Red Oak trail (red) south of the reservoir, then followed the west side Beaver Dam trail (orange) all the way up to the fire pit, took a 15 minute snack break, continued the east Beaver Dam trail back to Red Oak and took the north trail back to the car. We hiked 12.5 kms total and it was great – we took 3 hours including a 15 minute break. According to the trail map, it should have taken us 3.25 hours so we did good time with 2.75 hours. My legs are feeling it now as I write this after returning home and making some lunch. But it’s a good tired. :)

See trail map here.



Some parts of the trail required more agility:


Cool tree (right) and mushroom (bottom left):



There’s just something about water rippling by… so calming….





Nice shot of the creek and waterfall in the foreground and the reservoir in the background:


Some parts of the trail were packed dirt and very easy to navigate:



No swimming!






Cool rock:


The reservoir:



Well, there is one last step to be done (sealing the stone) but then it’s officially done. :) I thought I would take you through the process since it took several months from start to finish. We got a design done – a process that started back in March 2014. After a few months of back and forth and changes, tweaks, etc., we had our design. We were put in touch with a contractor and work actually began in August 2014. This is what our yard looked like before any work was done (these are actually the pics from the real estate listing right before we moved in) – it really was a blank slate:

Old yard 2

Old yard 3

Old Yard

Next came the design – and we still made a few changes to it (removed some planters, added a path to connect the patio to the gate) – I have lots of 3D design images but this one shows all the different areas quite well:

Design - Top View

Then came the demo of the existing backyard the hole digging:


deck holes

Then the decking:

deck layout

pre grouns 2

pre ground

pre ground 3

Started to lay the composite – love the herringbone pattern and colors we chose for the decking, stone and decorative walls:

pre-bbq wall

pre pergola

pre lounge

Choosing our wall (rundle ridge)

Then came the structural bits for the BBQ area, pergola, pathway:

Path and behind bbq



The lighting…  We have two zones – post lighting and stair lighting – all around the deck and it comes with a remote control:

Lighting in prog

And finally, they installed the BBQ, did the landscaping, we ordered our furniture, they stained the parts that were wood and did all the little odds and ends (except sealing the stone – to come in about 1-2 weeks after a power wash, and I have to put on our BBQ cover that I picked up yesterday) and we have our dream backyard:



Dining and Firepit





It took a while but the workmanship was really great throughout. There are so many little details – I really love it. So excited to spend the summer out there!  We will be replacing the firepit that came with the house for something a bit larger and more functional – like a firepit table that we can put our wine glasses on :) and landscaping the rear of the yard is planned for next year.

I crossed off a Life List item too – Have my dream backyard. :)



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 411 other followers