Category Archives: Niagara

Gladiolas & Slate

Dog lying next to a bouquet of gladiolas

I decided to come down to Niagara for the weekend, and its a good thing I did as it turned out to be a hot weekend – and my place in Toronto is a sauna! Mum and I went for buck-a-shuck oysters at the Queens Landing Hotel on Friday, checked out the snazzy new outlet mall in Niagara (Banana Republic? Rudsak? DKNY? Eee!), and watched lots of Poirot and Endeavour on TV.

Today, we took Rupert (Mum’s dog) for a walk in Short Hills before going to the St. Catharines Farmers Market. I had a wonderful time wandering around the busy vendors from whom I bought potatoes, beets, and cheese to bring back to Toronto. I also treated myself to an interesting loaf of bread (jalapeno Hawaiian bread) and a bunch of gladiolas. Mum got a bunch too (well, she always has – for as long as I can remember). They were beautiful – particularly against the blue slate in the front room when we came in:

Bouquet of red and purple gladiolas

gladiola leaves on the floorMum made soup for lunch when we got home from the market. It was a beautiful shade of green, frothy fresh spinach and cream cheese, garnished with herbs from the garden. This was followed by olive bread and horseradish cheddar from the market. Delicious!

Spinach soupAnd after we had rose tea and spelt brownies from De la Terre Bakery in Vineland. And people wonder why I go home to Niagara so often…

Table set for tea and brownies




Deer Goes Adventuring

I woke up this morning to a world coated in ice. After making pancakes and having a cup of tea, I headed out with my camera to take photographs. I then thought “This maybe a good opportunity for next year’s Christmas card!” so went inside to find a plastic deer and took him romping in the snow with me. Here are three potential images for next years Seasons Greetings:

Toy deer standing in grass coating with ice Toy deer standing on Christmas lights Toy deer standing in grass coating with ice

In the Nursery

On our way home from lunch at Featherstone Winery on Sunday, Mum and I stopped in on Niagara Nurseries on Highway 8 on the outskirts of St. Catharines.

I have many fond memories from Niagara Nurseries. As a child, I remember going there with my grandfather after saving up a 100 pennies and dimes to buy myself a small gourd for Halloween. However, I was a couple pennies short- but got my gourd anyway. More recently, I find myself purchasing salad greens or ornamental cabbages for the front step at my home in Toronto. I like to support the Alexanders, the family who has owned and operated Niagara Nurseries for three generations. They are wonderful people!

On this trip to NN, I looked at a morning glory to replace the one my landlord ripped up, but decided against it as any flower I plant by the front railings seems to fall to a sad fate. Instead, I wandered the yard and took photos while Mum wandered the rows of plants to pick out trim for her new yoga deck in the backyard.

Rows of green potted plants on wooden slat tables.Old Stokes thernometer by the light blue door of a green house.Farmers basket on a wooden bench by ivy climbing up a lattice

Birds, Beets, & Berries

Old fashioned milk containers painted white, linked together with chain around a curved driveway under trees.

While in thesis writing mode, my mum coaxed me out of Toronto with the promise of steak from Lake Land Meats for dinner. She surprised me at the St. Catharines bus station with a picnic basket in tow and drove to Charles Daley Park. I have many memories of there from when I a child, eating watermelon, building sand castles for my trolls, and going on adventures through the tall grasses and trees bordering the water. Settling ourselves under a tree, we watched swimmers run into the waves of Lake Ontario and couples walk their dogs along the beach. We stayed in the shade however, munching on cold chicken, beets, radishes, and shared a delicious herb croissant.

Close-up of a woman's hands on her knees as she lays on the ground next to a sun hat and picnic basket.

After lunch, we drove to Dillon’s Distillers to check out the small batch distillery, which uses locally sourced ingredients from the region. We had a tasting of their spirits and could fully appreciate their unique floral aroma. We then finished our visit with a rhubarb cocktail outside in the sun where Mum read a magazine as I documented Dillon’s pacakging design on Instagram. Dillon’s Distillers is indeed a new stop along the Niagara Wine Route that I encourage friends to make. Not only did I love their products, but I was also head-over-heels with their branding! It was current, unified, and beautifully orchestrated across each product, the store interior, shopping bags, and website. I was impressed.

Beets in red water

On our way back into town, we stopped in Whispering Pines which has become my favourite Niagara fruit stand (if you can call it that) as it always has visual delights to photograph. There were baby ducklings, beets, and berries to amuse myself with as my mother picked out her vegetables. Unfortunately, the baby ducks playing in a puddle made by a tractor wheel didn’t stay as still as fresh beets in a basin of water to have their picture taken.

After doing some shopping for our upcoming backcountry camping trip in Charleston Lake, we returned home for dinner. Mum made steak on the BBQ with strawberry ice cream and local rhubarb for dessert. We then watched an episode of Inspector Lewis on the television to end a lovely day together.

It was well worth the trek to Niagara!

A Farewell to Maple Grove

After 180 years, Maple Grove Public School, where I went from SK to Gr. 5 is closing it doors. Today was the school’s reunion and a final farewell to the school that touched so many lives. I am ever grateful for its small classes, alternative education, and freedom it gave students. Here are some photos I took during my last walk through its grounds:  Staff kitchen at Maple Grove Public SchoolBlue sky and view of exterior of Maple Grove Public SchoolPiece of driftwood on the rusty roof of Maple Grove Public SchoolStaff kitchen, door leading out of staff kitchen, and an observation from the fire escape outside the staff kitchen.

Those Forgotten & The Past

Springtime is a joy anywhere in the world, but especially in the countryside. I went home for a few days and stayed in Jordan for a night where I took these pictures before it got dark.

Wood clothes pegs in on a stack of wooden bowls Empty fruit basket by a house Shadowy living room with bookcases, a staircase, and pictures hanging on the wall.

Spring Time Inside

Mother Nature likes to tease us with warm spells, buds showing on the trees, and shoots of green poking out from under the dry dead leaves left over from the past autumn. However, a trip to the spring exhibit at the greenhouse at Niagara Parks reminds us that spring really isn’t that far off. We just may have a few more snows before she arrives.

A sparrow stands next to a display of spring flowersWhite flowers next to the windowBlue spring flowers