Hiking & Gardening

Friday ended up being a quiet day for Paige and I with lots of snuggled and singing.  I think Paige might be teething again (this time the front top 2 teeth).  We missed our stroller walk since Paige was napping and I didn’t want to wake her to go since she didn’t nap so well this week.  We did however get up to Ganaraska to pick up our tree order.  We had enough cedars to put in a 2nd row of cedars on the south side of the house.  We also planted a double row hedge of Shadblow Serviceberry at the front south corner of the property to give us privacy in a few years during the summer months since we like to set up the pool on the south side of the house.  We did end up with some leftover serviceberry which one of our neighbours was willing to take off our hands.

A remarkable occasion that was marked on Friday was my grandparents 67 anniversary.  We often wonder if we will even be around for our 67th anniversary, or if around would we have our wits about us to even realize we had made it to this anniversary!

Saturday was a cool, but sunny day so Paige and I headed into Toronto with Dave in the afternoon after getting the lawn cut and the whipper snipping done in the morning.  Dave had a baseball practice with the rec league he is playing with this year near Riverdale Farm.  I hadn’t been, but had heard about it, so thought it would be a great opportunity to check it out with Paige.  We wandered around the farm and checked out the chicks in the barn.  I am not sure Paige knew what to make of the sheep or the cow she had a very quizzical look on her face when I was showing her these animals.

She would jump and be very interested in the chickens every time one would walk near the stroller.  The gardens were beautiful with all of the tulips and daffodils out so we spent some time looking at the flowers as well.

After a while of wandering the farm we headed down to the ball diamonds to watch some baseball.  It was definitely much cooler by the ball diamonds.  We stuck around for a bit before heading back to the car.
We had thought we would maybe stop at The Shops At Don Mills to wander and maybe grab something to eat, but Paige was napping so we decided to keep heading in the direction of home and stop if we saw an interesting place.  We ended up passing by Frankie Tomatto’s.  Every time we pass this place it is busy and so we thought we would check it out.  It is an all-you-can-eat Italian buffet.  The restaurant is currently undergoing much needed renovations to update it and expand the restaurant. We were quite surprised at the quality of the food and both enjoyed our meals.  There was nothing that we would advise against.  If you like garlic and Italian food, then this is a place to check out.
Sunday turned out to be a nice sunny day.  It felt quite cool in the morning and there had been a heavy frost the night before.  The gardening seminar that was to happen, I had to cancel as it was down to 3 of us Sunday morning (people backed out overnight) making the cost prohibitive to the 3 of us left.  
So with nothing planned for the day, we figured a hike was in order.  We took a drive out to Long Sault Conservation Area.  We were looking for the Eastern entrance and must have missed it so we ended up taking a drive down roads (they didn’t look like roads, sand and lots of bumps through the woods, but they did have stop signs, etc) where we passed a conservation area that was supposed to have opened fall of 2009 but had a no trespassing sign.  After about 45 minutes of driving down a couple of these “roads” we decided to head back to the main entrance and just check out one of those trails.  It was a very busy spot.  
It appeared that most people hike the Cottontail Rabbit Trail, so we decided to check out one of the quieter trails and went with the Barred Owl Trail.  It is a 2.9 km Advanced trail.  We found this to be a nice easy hike with a fairly flat trail.  Even though it is quite flat it does provide nice scenery.  We are not really sure why this was deemed an advanced trail (maybe the distance).  It was a nice hike and the trilliums are just getting ready to open, so by this week-end I am sure they will be putting on a nice display.  There is a little picnic area at the beginning of the trails.  Some of these trails do meet up with the ORTA (Oak Ridges Trail Association) trail system for a portion of them.
One thing to watch for on these trails is Bloodroot, we noticed it right near the trails edge in a few places so do be careful when out on the trails that you don’t walk through this.  I have heard it mentioned on a few trails in the Durham Region now.  
We were home shortly after lunch time so we had plenty of time to hang out in the yard and try and get some yard work done.  We added forest compost to the raised vegetable beds and mixed it in before planting a few of our seeds for this year.  We planted our onion seeds, sweet peas and snap peas as well as buttercrunch lettuce and mixed greens.  We are trying new seeds this year that are Organic so we will see how they do.  Once the weather warms up we have a variety of other seeds to add.
Even with these cool temperatures the gardens are doing quite well, although many of my herbs have yet to make a showing so we may have to replant many of them this year.  The only one to show has been the lemon balm and of course my lavenders.  The strawberries and rhubarb have more than doubled their size in the past couple of days between the rain last week then the sunny days and some more rain again today, they could be rather large plants this year, so hopefully the strawberries will also be plentiful.
While we worked in the garden Paige had a great time playing on her blanket by the vegetable gardens and visiting with one of our neighbours.
Hopefully the rain keeps up for a few days this week to ensure that the trees are well watered since the ground was pretty dry when we were digging it up to plant the trees.  It would be nice if they could get themselves well established before the warm dry weather arrives.
Is there a trail you would recommend up checking out in the Durham region or within an hours drive?
Do you plant a vegetable garden in your yard?  What do you grow?  Do you have any tips and tricks?
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