We started the year with a vacation, to Vietnam. Neither of us had been to Asia before so this was quite an adventure. I was very apprehensive about the long flight, but as it turned out it was not as brutal an experience as I had expected it to be.
I loved Vietnam in so many ways, and I hope we get an opportunity to return.
In early spring, our young Newf Ruby tore both hind cruciate ligaments. Fortunately we have both our dogs insured. Pet insurance is not inexpensive, but 90% of the cost of two very costly surgeries were covered. When she went in for surgery, she was unable to walk without assistance. Here she is in October of 2018, goofing about in Etobicoke Creek. She still has a slightly odd gait, but she is running and playing with other dogs, swimming, and getting around very well. Big thanks go out to the West Toronto Veterinary Surgery for doing a fantastic job getting Rubiska’s knees fixed up.
Also in early spring, I signed up for some nature walks facilitated by the Toronto District School Board. These walks were led by a remarkable naturalist named Miles Hearn.
These walks opened my eyes to so much of the world around me. I already knew some about aquatic insects like mayflies, caddisflies and stone flies from my fly fishing experience. As well, I’m familiar with a quite a few species of mushrooms found in our local woods. Miles taught me about local wildflowers, shrubs and trees, as well as bird identification. I started taking pictures of the plants, trees and birds we looked at to help me learn to identify them, and as the season progressed (I kept up with the walks right up to late fall and I’ve signed up for winter walks as well), I became more interested in taking photos of the nature around me. Here are a few of my photos.
Sheila and I have been making mosaics together for quite a few years now and 2018 was a banner year for our mosaic projects. Here are a few examples. To see more, visit our Long Branch Mosaics pages.
After months of planning, the Long Branch Garden Tour took place in June of 2018. This grass-roots event became Toronto’s biggest free garden tour with 37 gardens. We’re hoping to make the 2019 garden tour even bigger and better. If you live in Long Branch and you love to garden, we’d love to include your garden in 2019.
Nephew Luke married Stephanie during summer of 2018!
This fall, my group of short-short stories about accordion man Lazy Allen and his buddy Staashu became a book. It’s available on amazon. Please consider purchasing a copy. Reviews on Amazon or Goodreads are greatly appreciated!
In September I visited Storm King Art Centre in the Hudon Valley for the first time. What a fantastic place!
While in the area, I also visited DIA: Beacon, in Beacon NY, a huge and fantastic art museum in an old Nabisco factory.
When I left the Hudson Valley, I continued the roadtrip south to Buena Vista Virginia and the Rockbridge Mountain Music and Dance Festival. I camped 4 nights in the town park where I met lots of great people and had a chance to jam with some really fine old time players.
I worked on shedding quite a bit of weight in 2018, with the help of lots of fresh veggies and herbs from the garden. Hopefully I can continue the healthy trend into 2019.
After I returned from Rockbridge, Sheila traveled to England for the wedding of Emily and Emily while I looked after The Partners here in Toronto. She had a great time at the wedding and quite the adventure on her side-trip to France after the wedding – as she was pickpocketed on the Paris Metro. Here are a couple of the collages Sheila did while traveling.
Bring on the new year!