Tuesday, August 7, 2007


Ripley and I had spent two days at the James's house in Ajax, Ontario while I finished off some errands. Thanks once again to Lynn for the loan of her car.

Before I go further, I want to say a big "thank you" to my friend Donna Boyer, who came over several times to help me sort, box and tape up my storage things. That was a great help, Donna, and I hope that you are enjoying the computer.


We set out on Friday, August 3rd north to Brickley Ford in Huntsville. Mike kindly had a look at the "Check Engine" problem, and even hunted upstairs for the 1990 manual for my Travelaire. Meanwhile Ripley and I relaxed in the waiting lounge. She made several friends there with the sales staff. After about half an hour, Mike came to tell me that he could find nothing wrong and suggested that I just ignore the light when it comes on. And --- he didn't charge me anything!! Now that's the difference with a small town person. If I had had this done in Ajax, I'm sure that I would have received a hefty bill for labour.

On to my own property near Rosseau to check on things. It seems that, in my absence, the mice had found my old trailer to be a wonderful place to spend the winter and raise their young. There were nests in cupboards and also in the oven. Ripley was quite excited. She knew they were in there but just didn't know how to get at them. There has been water damage too, so I bought a tarp to cover it.

I wanted to include a photo of Ripley, but am having compatibility issues. I'll have to work on that.


Friday August 3rd, 4:00 p.m. Met Andree at the bottom of the hill to their lovely cottage on Three Mile Lake. I parked the RV there and she drove Ripley and me up the steep hill. We had a lovely swim in the lake, followed by dinner and then a session in the hot tub. Scott & Andree are friends from my Rotary days in Pickering, who have permanently moved up to Muskoka. Scott says he's having too much fun! Sounds great to me. Thanks to Scott & Andree for your great hospitality.


I spent the night in the RV and then back to Rosseau. I love the small-village events that can go on, and I was lucky enough to be there for the local fire department's fundraising barbecue and a local church's bazaar and auction. If I were not travelling, I would have bid on a lovely painting of a native Indian scene. All this was followed by a delicious scoop of Kawartha Dairy ice cream.

I then dropped by Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary to say hello and goodbye to my friends Tony and Audrey. Audrey is the elderly founder of the Sanctuary and Tony is the manager. I have nothing but the greatest respect for the wonderful work they do in taking in all and every kind of wildlife that needs help, rehabilitating them and then putting them back in the wild -- everything from black bear cubs to raccoons. Audrey's favourites are beavers and skunks and she retains the right to hand-raise the babies that arrive. In the years that I have known them, the Sanctuary has grown and now attracts volunteers from around the world. They have the support of the Cincinnati Zoo for their work.

Later on, after going back to my own ten acres, Audrey picked me up and we went for dinner at Oscar's Restaurant -- a Mom & Pop type restaurant where I had pickerel! Haven't had any for years and it was delicious. It was really nice to spend some time with her chatting about her extraordinary life. She is a retired schoolteacher, who has braved the city of New York and eventually moved to Rosseau to teach in Parry Sound. It was then that she took in her first wildlife rehabilitants and has continued to write and educate people to respect the creatures sharing the world. At 77 years young, she continues to write fascinating stories. She tells me that her next assignment is to write the story of Noah's wife. and then after that to write the story of Jonah and the whale from the point of view of the whale. I can't wait to read them!

There is something wrong with my fridge. It is not shifting over from electrical power to propane, as it is supposed to. I'll have to have it checked. I spent the night comfortably in the RV (the memory foam mattress is truly remarkable).

The next morning I stopped by Mary & Barry Wood, my neighbours across the road, to tell them my plans. Barry comes over and cuts the grass growing in my driveway and generally keeps an eye on things for me. They are both retired and moved here from Markham, Ontario and have a lovely large property.


Sunday, August 5

Driving at 80-85 km/hr makes long distances even longer, timewise. What I thought might take me about four hours actually took me about eight, so I miscalculated and will have to re-consider distances in future. In any event, I set off from Rosseau, and trekked through Haliburton. I had not truly realized how much forest there still remains in that area, despite the cottages etc.; there are long distances between villages which made me nervous when I saw the gas gauge dropping. Nevertheless, I made it to Carnarvon where Ripley and I enjoyed lunch and a break in the parking lot of the crossroads gas station. Then on to Bancroft, and south on Highway 62 to the 401. Backtracking a bit to Hwy 33, I made my way to the cottage of Frances Burton and Peter Silverman (yes, that guy on CITY TV).

I first met Frances in 1974 when she allowed me to sit in on her Primate Behaviour course at the University of Toronto and then a year later to accompany her and her students to Gibraltar to study the Barbary Ape (macaque). It was through her that I developed a keen interest in non-human primates and with her encouragement I started university on a part-time basis. I am deeply indebted to her for mentoring me along the way, as it wasn't easy to continue studying while working full-time at the zoo!

August 8

And now I am enjoying Frances and Peter's hospitality here at their lovely cottage on Weller's Bay -- a little longer that anticipated. We were able to locate Al's RV in nearbyTrenton. He made a "house" call and determined that the control panel on the fridge is gone and a new one will need to be ordered and should arrive on Thursday afternoon. Although this is going to be costly (around $400), it is better that it happened now where there is a reliable serviceman than somewhere along the road where I may not find someone so honest.

Speaking of honesty, it is such a pleasant surprise for me to find friendly, courteous people in the stores here in sharp contrast to what I have become accustomed to in the harsh region of Toronto. I hadn't really anticipated such a difference such a short distance away from the big city.

Today we went swimming and what a treat it was to cool off in the water. Ripley is not all that fond of the lake, surprisingly enough, as she likes to get into the shower with me. Apparently, she has been trained to do this when you say the word "tubby". Sure enough, it works and is good for cleaning her up!

So, we've had long walks with the dogs and lots of conversation with Frances, since Peter returned to work on Tuesday morning. This has been a very pleasant interlude, but I am getting anxious to get on the road towards the Maritimes.

1 comment:

Jan and Brad Barnes said...

It seems that you have been following me. I also ate at Oscars this year. There is a wild life rescue there. I think the name was Aspen. We were very taken by it.

PS Ripley used to go to work with my daughter at one job that she worked at. Rips job was to catch mice. It was an old building. She was also in customer relations. She was very good.