Summer 2020

A summer without BBQs, pool parties and campfire singalongs? Somehow we have made it. Lots of time with the boys and lots of outdoors.

Mini putt and driving ranges were all the rage until Markus got better than Owen.
Fishing remained popular all summer.
Trev is now taller than me, a few more millimetres and he will be taler than Chris.
We went on an epic backcountry trip. Rip in canoe, more portages than you can shake a frog at, deer flies, hornets, leeches but also beautiful lakes, starry skies, happy children and great company.
Bubbling with friends.
Brotherhood at its best and worst. Trev makes a lunch for Markus.
Bike rides and treats are our specialty.
All the sports are also our specialty.
There is always something new to discover, like sand dunes in Ottawa!
Even while enjoying the last long weekend of the summer, we are ready for the fall – check out the new hiking boots!

A few months of staying close to home

And somehow it is summer.

First things first, remember this lady?

This is where I am thinking “One day I will home school my children”. NOT!!!

That was twenty years ago. I have been living like a grown up for two decades now.

We wrapped up home schooling. Apparently actual schools are going to open up in September.

One room schoolhouse

Of all the things I thought I would do in my life, home schooling was not on the list. It turned out ok though. There was a lot of yelling, sure, but at the end of the day everyone handed in their assignments. Markus was working with nona which meant on a good day he would finish all work before she showed up so he could get out of doing the lesson. On a bad day they would argue for two hours about having to do twenty minutes of work. Ultimately, his reading improved so I guess it was all worth it.

Owen somehow managed to get behind and had two months of assignments to catch up on. I worked with him a lot on this and I am glad I did. It helped me understand what kind of things he finds hard to do and where he gets frustrated. I kept an eye on Trev as well, but once he got used to doing work from home, he was quite independent.

I also instituted physical ed class and got the boys to bike or take a long walk every day.

After school team practice at Britannia

They got really good at it to the point they can go get ice-cream at Britannia beach by themselves.

We were not able to have friends over to the house, but some ducks came by for a few weeks.


Since then we have been busy with home renos. The boys are somewhere between fighting and having the best time with each other. Trev made a list of things he wants to accomplish this summer and one of them is to get Markus to like him.

Best frenemies

Trevor has been busy creating new things like train layouts and aquarium stands.


I was able to get back into randonneuring after a short break last year.

Before the brevet


In the lineup for groceries last week.
Shutdown notwithstanding this was a really easy winter with lots of outdoors fun. We got out for a nice family ski before Quebec separated.
We are in full biking mode now. Paths are fairly good now but I am worried they will get crowded as warm weather establishes.
We have been walking a lot.
There has been a lot of knitting.
But most of all, we are being clever smartasses. Yes, he is wearing a kilt because pants are so pre-virus.

Spring brevet

My first 200 brevet of 2018 was a beautiful ride through Lanark Highlands cottage country. Because there are no supplies along most of the route, this ride is supported by a randonneur driving to control points with food etc. The controls were not dictated by corner store and restaurant locations so the route was absolutely gorgeous with minimal “transit” stages.

I had been training for this ride since February having missed it last year due to some newbie mistakes (not training enough…). It was early May and we showed up at the start wrapped up in winter gear. There is no spring or fall in this part of Canada. It is really cold until it gets really hot. We met summer at the second control.


I scrapped the winter wool off, got sunscreen out and continued the ride in shorts and t-shirt. There was significant debris on the road from the winter road maintenance and April wind storms. Most of the climbing was contained between 40th and 90th kilometre. This is also the most beautiful part with rolling hills and pine forests.


The perfect quiet was interrupted by cheerfully painted souped up Subarus (and occasionally equally funnily painted non-Subaru) every few minutes. I noticed that the drivers were wearing helmets. Then a Gothbaru labeled “Rally medic” passed by, then a car with flashing orange lights and CB antenna. Finally a souped up minivan labeled “SWEEP”. They did not appear to be driving dangerously or even speeding, but when I later mentioned this to Chris he said that what I saw was probably an illegal rally. It looked a bit too expensive to risk detection to me so we looked it up and it was organized, publicly advertised and completely legal and family friendly. You could meet the drivers and check out the cars as part of the event. The area is apparently filled with snowmobile trails and what I saw was the transport stage between two different racing areas. Having ridden the public roads around there, with all the hills and forests and lakes, I can only imagine that the snowmobile trails must be just perfect for rally racing.

The controls were at highest peaks and perfectly spaced. Anytime I got tired and started wondering why I am doing this, I would look at my cue sheet and realize the control is just a few doable kilometres up from there. After a lovely picnic lunch on a lake in South Lavant, much of the route was downhill.


There was more farms and “permanent residences” as we approached Perth. I took a quick break when the road was blocked by a couple of people trying to get a runaway cow back inside the fence. I passed by a snapping turtle. Those guys make other turtles look modern! In Perth I needed a big break and a full dinner. We stopped at the pub for this purpose. I hemmed and hawed for a moment and then ordered a beer also. We had a flat and familiar 45km left. I knew I could finish the ride but I was doubtful that I will enjoy it (in the end it was fine). I figured I had an amazing time up until this point and might as well pat myself on the back and enjoy the meal.


Whatever as long as it ends with euring (or eering…)

We’ve signed the kids up for orienteering this spring. Though I’ve always liked doing outdoor activities I find that I am doing these more than ever. They suit the point in the life we are at now.

Trevor stepping on some “innocent looking” ice at Wesley Clover

The kids are old enough to enjoy outdoors and hiking or biking etc… is something we can all get something out of while spending time together.

Finding relics in Constance Bay

I have been carving up chunks of time to go on bigger bike rides including randonneuring. It is my calm time.

Getting ready for Lanark County gravel

Can’t talk – turning string into fabric….

To get a break from all the biking and skiing (and parenting and working and cooking and cleaning and aggghhhhh….) I have been knitting. Here are the things I have worked on the the last year or so.

And here are some action shots (in the reverse order from the Ravelry page above):

When I first made this shawl I was disappointed because it is too wide and not long enough. I got used to it and now I love it and take it everywhere. I did not make the hat but I wish I did!

I am reluctant to knit socks as they don’t last very long, they are not as visible and you can get better foot coverage from the machine made ones you can pick up from Costco in a stack of a billion. However, I had sock yarn and it was just asking to be made into socks. Chris is happy with the result and they have not worn out yet.

Not only is Markus really enjoying the owl hat, but he found a green balaclava I made for Trevor many moons ago and always wears it underneath. This solves the problem of hand knit hats not being tightly woven enough to keep warm since he is technically wearing two hats and the owl has a tree to perch on.

Here again, due to warmth concern, Markus is wearing owl mitts over bike mitts.

Hippo mitts were made for a friend. Markus liked them so he asked me to make alligator mitts for him. They are not complete yet as I am improvising from the hippo pattern and there is a lot of fiddly detail and sewing so it is taking a while. Hopefully they will be done to be worn this winter.

I am in the same place with this shawl that I was a year ago with the red and gray one. I am still trying to find a place for it.