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Photo Essay
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Ontario - North
Autumn Splendor
Driving the TransCanada - The Sault to Wawa
Driving the TransCanada - Wawa to Thunder Bay
North of Superior - Armstrong
North of Superior - Nipigon to Armstrong
North of Superior - Sault Ste. Marie to Terrace Bay
  Sudbury Rocks!
A Woman's Work is Never Done

Ontario - South
A 'Grand' Canyon
A Wee Bit o’ Perth
Christmas in the Valley
Kate Aitken
Lucy Maud
Mennonite Country
Teepee Camping
Fergus - Rural Ontario's Scottish Town

Corridor #132 Grosse Ile through Bay St Laurent to Gaspe
Highway #132, L’Islet to Matane
Highway #132, Matane to Gaspe
Highway #132, Perce to Matapedia
Photo Essay
Photo Essay 2
Montmorency Falls, Ile d'Orleans and the Cote de Beaupre
Quebec City's Historical Treasures
Quebec's Old City & Petit Champlain
The Eastern Townships
The Eastern Townships Photo Essay

Apple Butter & Cheese
Brighton's AppleFest
Celtic Festival
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Headwaters Country
Herb Festival
Maple Madness
Northern Lights
Pow Wow
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Scarecrow Festival
Split Rail Festival

Quiet Corner
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Country Music Highway
Golden Triangle - Photo Essay
Golden Triangle
Kentucky East
Kentucky North
Kentucky South
Kentucky South-Central
River Corridor

Bar Harbor
Bounding Maine
Classic Maine

Old Sturbridge Village

New Hampshire
Mount Washington

New York State
Adirondack's Autumn Surprises
Autumn in the Adirondacks
Grandma Moses
More Than Baseball
Lake Placid

North Carolina
Cape Lookout to Cape Fear
Cruising the Coast
From Sea to Mountain
My Heart's in the Highlands
The Gardens of Eden
Western Reaches - Hidden Treasures Photo Essay
Western Reaches of North Carolina

The Quiet Land

Beautiful York
Bridges; Markets
Festivals, Frolics
The History Trail
The Johnstown Flood

Rhode Island

South Carolina
Beaufort, Bluffton
& Hilton Head
Charleston and Area
Myrtle Beach
Olde English District
Photo Essay
Thoroughbred Country

Cumberland Highlands
Eastern Tennessee
Knoxville, Norris, Oak Ridge & The Gap
North & East of Nashville
North & West of Nashville
Pickett County - Photo Essay
Photo Essay
South & East of Nashville
South & West of Nashville
The World of Dale Hollow

Christmas Village
Middlebury Inn


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Jewels of the North
Breezy Blackpool
Witches and Hot Pot
A Lightning Tour

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The Island of Crete

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Ancient Rome
Renaissance Rome

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Some tips on
Living Simply

Snow Birds

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By Pat Mestern

The birds are chatting in the cedars - "Look Hermiame, are we going to go or not. Last winter we froze our tail feathers before we left. But if we leave too early we will really miss our good friends and family who might overwinter here." They had this conversation in the spring too "Charlie, if we fly up too soon we'll starve to death in a snow bank. If we leave too late all the good nesting spots will be taken."

Translated into "snowbird" terms, it means that some Canadians who winter in the south are having a difficult time deciding when to "split" for warmer climes. With the high price of gasoline, and current rate of exchange on the dollar, they are doing some serious thinking about taking the motor home out of mothballs and heading south. In some cases they have found that it is cheaper to stay in cold Canada this winter, a decision that doesn't bode well for the folks down south who are partially reliant on the inflow of Canadian dollar for a living. To understand the situation, Canadians are currently paying $1.47-$1.51 per U.S. dollar. In simple terms, $100. U.S. = $147- $151 Canadian money. On the other hands, U.S. citizens coming north are getting a bargain, receiving $145 - $148 for every U.S. dollar, 45% to 48% off everything purchased, including accommodation. Come on up! Autumn is a great time of the year to visit. Winter has its draw-backs. We Canucks will have to work on that one, eh?

Although there is lots to do at this time of the year, I always take a breather by stealing away to my "hidie" with a few good research books to enjoy autumn's warm days. My "hidie" is a shed that has been converted into a quiet place, complete with an on-its-last-legs, hand-me-down Victorian settee that fits really well with the "on-its-last-legs" shed, suitable for a "writer-of-age." This afternoon a gem of a quote just popped right off the page. Read carefully and heed well. Wisdom speaks through the pen.

"You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot help the wage-earner by pulling down the wage-payer. You cannot further the Brotherhood of Man by encouraging class hatred. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn. You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man's initiative. You cannot help men permanently by doing, for them what they could and should do for themselves."

Think what might be accomplished if these seven sentences were incorporated as part of school curriculum, if every man, woman and child strived to initiate them into daily life? Wouldn't it be a great idea to discuss them in community groups with which you are involved? It's a good idea to post them on your fridge so that you might not easily forget them.

To answer a few questions. Thanks for sending them along to me, by the way.

Heard from several people who mentioned that although they love theatre they cannot afford tickets. Here is a solution to your situation. Many theatre venues, summer and year-round rely on volunteers to assist in various capacities, ushering - box office - canteen - props - costuming. The benefits of volunteering are many, one of them being that one usually gets to see the show(s). Some theatres even extend the package given to volunteers to allow them to bring a friend to selected performances. If you have some free time on your hands, check it out.

STINKY FEET? Sprinkle a little borax -the Twenty Mule Team variety - into shoes before putting them on, and after taking them off. Mind you, just a little is all that's needed. An empty plastic vitamin bottle makes a great dispenser. Hubby drilled small holes in its plastic lid. We store the bottle by the shoe rack so it is always on hand.

FRESH GINGER ROOT? Here's a trick that mother taught me for keeping fresh ginger root. Wash the root but don't peel it. Chunk it and keep stored in a lidded jar that is full of Sherry. I have also used Drambuie and Scotch. Use it in stir fries, fish and chicken dishes. Simmer chucks with sugar and water and serve over ice cream. The neat part is that you can use the Sherry over and over again - we can anyway because we don't drink. Ginger is very good for your digestive system. Grandmother made a great ginger tea.

HOME MADE VANILLA EXTRACT: Understand that most vanilla extracts are alcohol based. To make a good extract, put eight fresh vanilla pods into a capped bottle with two cups of Vodka. Do not open the pods. Just drop into Vodka as they are. Leave for at least six months, more if you can. When you make your own, you know that you have a pure extract that can be used in any recipe calling for vanilla. For a tasty dessert topping, add a teaspoonful when you are whipped cream.

PLAIN T-SHIRTS: They are certainly bargains, but sometimes t-shirts need a make-over. This is a cheap but ingenious way to transform a solid colour t-shirt into a work of art. The peasant look is really in vogue these days, so practise your embroidery skills then go to work on the shirt - around sleeves, hems and necklines. If you are really ambitious, go for a design on the front or back too. I have had people offer to buy embroidered shirts off my back. Ditto denim jackets done up the same way. Purchase denim jackets at a farm supply outlet - cheap(er). If you own one of those "do ‘em all" sewing machine use its features to "embroider" one-of-kind t-shirts.

WASHING YOUR CAR: Here is a tip from hubby. He was in the automotive business for years; started by washing cars. The secret ingredient is RAIN WATER. When you wash your "tin-lizzy" use a few drops of liquid dish detergent in a bucket of warm water. Wash one-quarter of the vehicle and then rinse with rain water. Don't wash too large an area at one time otherwise you'll have streaks because the soapy water begins to dry on the vehicle. Dry windows with a squeegee and finish the job by drying the entire car with a soft cloth. We have a rain barrel near the driveway for this purpose. The vehicle sparkles and seems to stay clean longer - if we don't do gravel roads.

Do you believe this? Even though it has been proven over and over again that cooking from scratch saves money, a high percentage of North Americans are purchasing those expensive prepared, packaged supermarket meals. The U.S. research firm of McKinsey & Company has estimated that if the trend continues, by the year 2005 many Americans will have never cooked a "from scratch" meal. I have heard all the arguments - busy lives, both parents working, no time to cook. Certainly there is a time and place for the occasional prepared, packaged meal. But if I hadn't spent time in the kitchen with my grandmother, mother and siblings I would have missed a most important part of my life. I didn't only learn how to cook. I interacted with three generations of people who imparted a love of literature, travel, history, gardening along with cooking skills. Important lifeskills were imparted. In turn, my children spent time in my kitchen, listening and learning from their mom and dad - because dads had become part of the "new kitchen" environment. When speaking about the problems people are having raising kids today, my crusty loveable eighty-eight year old neighbour says "If you can't spend time with them, why have them?" Set time aside for "from scratch" meals. Get out those pots and start cooking up a storm. Let's hear some chatter among the clatter. Hey, fellows! I'm talking to you too.

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