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Lake Loons

Little need be said about loons. They are lovely and, around here, quietly tolerant of our presence. Most treat you like an inanimate object if we act like one. They ease away from us if we get too close. This loon, one of a pair, appeared to want to be where we were so when we cut the outboard motor to watch them, they came almost to us as they passed by.

Our anchorage in Lower Stouts Bay on Lake Newboro was home to a loon family complete with a medium sized juvenile. We got images of Junior but no really killer ones. Oh, well. It was worth the price of admission anyway.

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Rideau Waterway Lakes

And what do these nice Rideau Waterway lakes look like? That depends on the time of day. Mid-day the lakes can look like open water lined by so many trees with a few rocks thrown in. Indeed, some of the lakes are just big stretches of open water. However, if one finds a nice cove near islands all one has to do is to park and wait for evening or morning. Then magic happens. Light plays games with trees, rocks and water. Nice becomes quite lovely.

The company is fine – loons, the occasional osprey & great blue heron and the ever present gull. The water is swim call perfect, clear and cool. And no one else anchors out. Our fellow boaters hop from dock (with power, that’s the requirement) or wall to dock or wall.

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Weeds

Weeds never looked so nice but rest assured these are choke-down-everything weeds. Water grasses thin and broad cover the entire bottoms. Water lilies appear along the banks. Fortunately boat traffic keeps the channels clear. Otherwise even large propellers could get fouled by this bio mass stuff. Dee had me get in close to a patch of floating weeds so she could photograph a particular water lily. I had visions of getting permanently caught in a local version of the Sargasso Sea.

This growth can really mess up an anchor’s ability to grab. Fortunately, anchoring has not been an issue. We pull up a gooey mess of weeds with some mud. We’ll deal with that. All we ask of a bottom is that is hold us.

More to come on the lakes: They are great places to spend a day or night – lovely scenery, loons to hang with and good water for swimming.

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The Land of Eh!?

Ontario, the land of eh!? – as in “That’s a big boat. Eh?” Not sure whether the “eh” emphasizes a statement or makes it a rhetorical question. At times it just seems to be randomly inserted the way some Americans sprinkle sentences with “you know.” (No I don’t know and maybe don’t want to but that’s a whole other issue.) “Eh” seems to have some charm as opposed to our semi-illiterate “you know.”

We are awaiting an onslaught of Montreal vacationers as we have started a two week period during which at least the Quebec construction industry shuts down for vacation. The so-called French Navy dashes about for two weeks going from lock wall to lock wall, loud and proud. I wonder what they use for their non-referential random utterances.

Do not think that we belittle our hosts. They are great. The lock folks take great pride in taking care of their boaters. The Rideau waterway at its best is a series of quiet lakes connected by locks. Boaters without time constraints may move no more than one lock in a day. We have joined them. There’s not much to do when one moves maybe 2 to 6 miles in a day but doing very little is so pleasantly contagious.

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Another Fan Favorite

The favorite in question is the Thousand Islands area. The fake real postcard may not make anyone’s favorite list. It makes a return visit because I can’t resist messing around. We have returned to the Thousand Islands area of the St Lawrence River for one more visit to the Antique Boat Museum. The museum has a nice display of vintage postcards – the kind that look like they are really black & white images poorly colorized. My attempts to mess up Dee’s shot of one of the museum boats in just that manner fell short so I guess we just have a not-so-real fake postcard. Oh well.
The Antique Boat Museum is alive & well and remains not only a super boat museum but also one of the best museum facilities we have ever visited. The same can’t be said for the town. It’s really quiet. We were here three years ago right after the 4th of July. There was no space for us on the town dock then. This year we have only one other companion on a dock that will accommodate maybe 15 to 20 boats.

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Black Dirt Country

A little geography for the day: Above New York is, of course, the Hudson River Valley. Up about Bear Mountain begins Rip Van Winkle and Thomas Cole territory. It’s just as beautiful today as when Cole was working and creating the Hudson River School of landscape painting. If one bends left before Bear Mountain Warwick Valley appears. Still rural. Still quiet. Still reflective of the immigrants who pumped out swamps and a shallow lake left over from the last Ice Age.

These immigrants are important because they exposed marvelously rich soil, black dirt. For years a major portion of this country’s ordinary, everyday yellow globe onions came from Pine Island’s black dirt district. Today, as the postcard shows, agricultural diversification is the order of the day. I pay homage to the onion by placing onion drying crates in my foreground.

That dirt may not be actually black. Winter dustings of snow are said to appear like confectioner’s sugar lightly sprinkled on chocolate cake. Its summer color is that of the richest darkest sable one can image – such a marvelous contrast to the bright green of emerging crops. A clear morning and light ground fog contribute to make Paffenroth Farm a visual treat.

We were invited up to Warwick for the weekend. Our host took us on a photo tour of the valley which meant he was up and out with us at five in the morning. There’s more to come. We are invited back to shoot more farms and cover bridges. Standby. Actually you may go do something else for awhile as we are scheduled back in the valley in the fall.

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Happy Birthday – USA, 234

Best laid plans often get messed up and often go downhill from there. We have experience with where to go and what to do to watch New York’s fireworks. Easy, just go to Newport Marina in Jersey City and make sure to get an outside slip. We did that. First problem: a very large yacht is outside of us partially blocking our view. The dockmaster assures us that the big boat is a non-issue as this year the fireworks will be over there astern of the big yacht. Great that means they will be over the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. Going to be great foreground. Problem number two: Now we are faced the wrong direction. No problem: flip the boat around. Problem number three ( a BIG worry): If the fireworks are just up river from us on the Hudson as it turns out, the hundreds of boats out to see the fireworks will really rock us – uncomfortable guests and no pics. No problem. Everything out on the Hudson settled nicely.

We had guests – fellow boaters, friends, friends of friends, family of friends and one real photographer. One of our guests is a professional photographer (commercial advertising and architectural interiors). And what equipment did he use to take pictures? His iPhone.
A marvelous evening to end a marvelous weekend in the country. Therein lies another tale and another Postcard. Standby.

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