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Archive for the ‘oakville’ Category

It’s been a long time since we had an April snow but we got one today – and in an El Nino year no less! It started at dinner time and we had gone out to eat and watched the fat snowflakes falling all through our meal, covering everything in a heavy wet blanket of white. On the drive home, we were mesmerized by the snow-covered trees with each little branch clearly defined like little veins. As soon as we got home, we picked up the camera and headed out to the trail near the house to snap some photos. After all, this might be the last snowfall of the season. 🙂 What we found was a magical wintry wonderland.

Welcome to Narnia:

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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:

backyard

deck holes

Then the decking:

deck layout

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pre ground

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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

Path

Pre-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:

Bistro2

Lounge

Dining and Firepit

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Dining

Deck

Bistro

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. 🙂

 

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Our goal when we set out this morning was to explore the East Bank trail of the section of Sixteen Mile Creek between Dundas and Upper Middle Road, estimated to be about 2.5 km one way. We headed out on the East Bank trail, enjoying the views and catching a glimpse o a family of ducks bathing in the creek; they were gurgling and splashing and having a lively old time. I couldn’t get a good pic as we spied them through tree foliage and I still haven’t figured out how to change focus on my camera (so it was only focusing on the leaves…).

The path was packed gravel and dirt, some parts were paved, and there are some bridges along the way. It’s a relatively easy hike; there are some stairs and steeper hills as you get deeper into the trail. As other posters have mentioned, the signage is somewhat limited which is how we ended up doing the full loop as opposed to doubling back the way we came. No harm done as we can now say we walked the full loop (including East Bank, Inner and West Bank trails) and we got to see some nice scenery along the way.

The ducks were just behind this area:

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A lot of the trail paths were like this:

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Isn’t this a great tree? Check out those roots. To me, it looks like a woman in a gown with a long train (roots) with her arms outstretched, reaching for something/someone across the creek. To my husband, it looks lik a tree. 🙂 To each his own right?

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The water was pretty clear:

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We stopped at a small lookout area and I noticed some red leaves on the ground – first day of September and fall is slowly approaching. I looked up to see where the red leaves came from and saw this. Nice surprise. Note to hikers: Look Don’t forget to look up or you might miss something special!

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This morning we headed over to Lion’s Valley Park in Oakville to enjoy a walk/hike on the Sixteen Mile Creek Trail. After reading up online about the trail we decided to scope it out for future walks/hikes. We got to the park very easily, driving east on Dundas and taking a right on Lions Valley Park right after the bridge. The road led us down to a parking area and we headed out on foot across the pedestrian bridge then up the west bank trail. It was a somewhat steep climb to the top where a couple of other cars were parked and we followed a road to a subdivision. There was a dirt path that we saw cyclists come out of but we didn’t venture there this time. The path was off the left side of the path right  after a small guard rail.

We headed back down to the park and walked north to the end of the path which stopped at the creek. Another couple was waiting patiently for their dog to get out of the water and fetch his ball on the other side of the creek. He was having a great time but did end up getting his ball when he was good and ready. 🙂 There was a dirt path off to the left here as well but we chose not to venture there this time either.

It’s a beautiful area and next time we’ll tackle the East Bank – maybe even all the way to Upper Middle road.

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Well, not really so big…we moved just 15 minutes west of where we were. But, with all moves come lots and lots of details and, you know me: LISTS to get it all done!

We are now happily settled in our new home with a very short list of things left to do.

For a couple of weeks, we debated on whether it would make more sense to reno our existing house to meet the needs not currently being met (more like nice-to-haves) or should we look at moving to a house that already has those desired items. We decided we didn’t have the space to renovate and achieve what we wanted, so a move was in our future.

As soon as a decision is made, I typically shift into an organizational tyrant dictator diva extraordinaire to get things done as quickly and painlessly as possible. Hence all the lists and tendency towards military precision and flawless execution. I take no prisoners. 🙂

But, honestly, I thrive on projects like this and truly enjoy coordinating all the details and timing things perfectly.

And here we are! 🙂 Everything went fine with the packing, the pre-move renos, the actual move, the unpacking, all the move-related tasks, everything. We’re looking forward to making new memories in our new home, enjoying our new space, exploring our new neighborhood and learning about the differences between our old town (Mississauga, ON) and our new one (Oakville, ON). Crossed off a couple of life list items with this move too:

  • Have my dream bedroom
  • Have a walk-in shower

We’re planning on redoing the backyard in the spring to create our very own oasis with multi-level deck and outdoor living space – looking forward to that as well. 🙂

Good times!

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Now that we’re all settled in after the move, we’ve begun to explore our new surroundings. 🙂 Today, we spent a couple of hours exploring the nearby Bronte Creek Provincial Park. We followed two of the trails in the day-use area of the park (Trillium Trail and Half Moon Valley Trail) and took some nice pics along the way. Nice Thanksgiving afternoon – now I’m off to prepare the feast!!!

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Old Victorian House (was closed to visitors today)

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This guy was flapping around in the puddle. 🙂

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Moo.

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Look up 🙂 Great view.

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Beautiful tree! You can see a piggy in the pen on the right as well. Chris nicknamed him “Stinky”. I’m sure you know why. 🙂

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These were growing off the path – at first I thought they were giant wild blueberry bushes but they look more like grapes.

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Green frame for a peek of red leaves in the distance 🙂

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Now that Christmas is here and the new year is fast approaching, I like to think back over the past year and remember some of the big events or special times that occurred. We had quite a few highlights over the past year which I’ve already mentioned on this blog. Several were items on my “Life List” and they turned out to be very memorable experiences:

  • Wine-related tours and activitiesWine & Chocolate festival in February, Wine & Herb festival in May (day 1 and day 2), Niagara New Vintage festival in June, Wine Festival in September, Tate the Season festival in November, Wine Tasting Challenge (and practicing for it) in November. Terroir Trek dinner at Peller. We also went on our own visits with friends from time to time. We’re still members of the Wine of the Month club too. 🙂
  • Watched the Perseids meteor shower in August and the Lunar eclipse in December: two space-related life list items.
  • After a couple of false starts, I finally listened to my first Audiobook (The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown).
  • Took one of the best cruises we ever went on (Carnival Victory):
    • Day 1 arrival in San Juan
    • Day 2 in St. Thomas at Magen’s Bay
    • Day 3 in Dominica (where we saw the dead guy fished out of the water onto a volcanic sand beach)
    • The Segway Tour on Day 4 in Barbados
    • The gorgeous secluded beach in St. Lucia on Day 5
    • Ziplining in the rainforest in St. Kitts on Day 6
    • Yacht-racing in St. Maarten on Day 7
  • I successfully grew my own vegetables from seeds (red cherry tomatoes, yellow cherry tomatoes)
  • Visits back to Montreal to visit friends and family.
  • Adventures: Getting to know Toronto and its surrounding areas:
  • Lots of visits from friends and family who came to stay with us in TO:
  • A sports-related life list item: Archery!
  • I also did a ton of cooking this past year. I’m still cooking my way through Ina Garten’s Back to Basics cookbook – just a handful of recipes to go. I tried lots of new recipes and even created a few of my own. I also took a knife skills class.
  • We went to see the Nutcracker ballet for the first time since moving to TO.

Here’s to celebrating a great 2010. We lived, we laughed, we conquered!

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