Its a Century

A Century, in cycling terms, is a 100 mile ride. We did one, our first one, today.

Last night, we stopped a little before our intended destination. J had today’s ride calculated at a little over 100 km. We started, from St Zotique, Quebec,  in good time. since the weather forecast for Brockville was for rain later in the afternoon and we hoped to miss it. Tomorrow is supposed to rain as well.

After 15 k or so we passed back into Ontario and on to  the Waterfront Trail. The wind is almost always from the west, so, in normal circumstances, we would be facing the wind. Today was not normal and the wind was on our backs. With the possibility of rain tomorrow, it seemed to make sense to go as far as possible today, maybe even 100 miles, the century.

Just before Prescott it started to spit rain, and then it came harder. We sat some of it out over hot chocolate, lemon meringue pie and chocolate cake in a restaurant. The rain did not stop, so we got back on the bike and rode the last 25 km splashing through puddles. It wasn’t pouring, but by the time we were done, we were good and wet.

Tonight we will stay in a Comfort Inn. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Stats: Distance: 162km

Average Moving Speed: 22.7km/hr


May 24 Weekend

We call it the May 24 weekend, but it actually is Victoria Day and, our country being friendly to the long weekend, is actually celebrated on the Monday closest to the actual day. This year, it was this past weekend. The weekend marks the unofficial start of the summer holiday season. Lots of folks traditionally plant their gardens and flower beds on this weekend.

This year , we went camping. We did the same thing three years ago and almost froze . It was so cold that we said we would never camp on this weekend again. A bunch of our friends were planning to camp, but J refused to book a site until the state of the weather was clear. The weather did look good, so, J went to the park and got one of the last non- reservable sites on Thursday afternoon. We went to the park for Thursday night and it was so cold that we wondered if maybe we had made a mistake after all.

In the end it was a great weekend. Temperatures got up into the low 30’s and people were actually on the beach and in the lake. We read a lot, enjoyed some conversation and laughter around campfires, and generally relaxed. The summer has truly started and, for us, that means a lot of travelling. Thursday, we leave for our latest bike adventure. You can follow some of the trip here on this site or get the more complete travel log at (its more complete because J writes there as well)

We’ll return from that trip and head to San Francisco (by plane) for a wedding and then to Edmonton, shortly after, to meet a new grandchild.

The life of Riley (whoever he is)


Spring has now been with us for well over a month. Temperatures have been warmer than normal and we seem to be missing a lot of rains. We did get a good soaker a couple of nights ago and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

We planted trees just the day before the rain came. Planting trees on our property has become a bit of an annual practice. The property right around our house is very hilly. Our lawn had some slopes that would stop our four wheel drive lawn mower and were maybe not the safest to cut. Over the past four years the steepest bits have been planted to a variety of evergreen trees (200 so far). We have also planted deciduous trees, maple, ash and soft maple around the perimeter of the lawn and now inside the perimeter as well. There are about 50 of those, some came from the bush on the property while others were purchased as seedlings. Recently, I’ve been transplanting volunteer maple and ash that have grown in the flower beds.

Getting deciduous trees to start has been a bit of a hassle. The first ones we planted came from the bush about six years ago. We dug them up carefully, used a post hole digger to make a good hole, and even used a bit of bone meal to provide nutrients. While some of these trees have taken off and are now over ten feet tall, others are smaller now than when we planted them, and still others have died and been replaced. Granted, the soil where these trees a planted is not the best with sand and gravel in some areas. Where the soil is good the trees have grown.

ImageWe have actually had the best luck with the deciduous trees that came from the nursery. I don’t think that it is because the stock is so much better, but rather, because we discovered Tubex tree tubes at the same time. Deciduous seedlings, in their natural environment, grow underneath the forest canopy. I’m taking them from there and asking them to grow in the open. The tree tube protects the small tree from the wind, creates a bit of a moist environment, and creates a greenhouse effect that gives the plant a little more heat. The results are amazing compared to trees without the tube. The trees reach out of the tube and will grow two to three feet in a year compared to the six inches that their non tubed brothers and sisters manage.

Last week, just before the rain, we put in a hundred more evergreens, balsam fir, white pine, red pine, and white spruce. I have less lawn to cut again and we will need to put up with a few years of ugly, waiting for the trees to have enough height to be seen above the grass. The wait will be worth it.

Of all the things I love most about spring, the best is wandering around looking at how all the things we have growing here change. I love to imagine the possibility of rows of trees towering over me. Spring is such an amazing time of growth and renewal.

God is at work in all of it.


We are having a really crazy spring, and I guess winter, in terms of weather. Today is March the 24th and we have just come through a week where temperatures went over 26 degrees Celcius. It’s been warm for two weeks now, and we never really had winter. The snowblower didn’t get much work. The maple syrup producers in the area had a less than stellar crop with about 80% for their normal flow.

Its not that this has never happened before. In the early eighties, I can remember a year when spring grains were planted in March as they have been this year. There was a winter in the nineties when we didn’t put the snowblower on the tractor at all. But, this year seems to be warmer, and weirder than those were.

There are side benefits. We can laugh at those folks who went south to get away from winter, although going away would have been nice. Driving has been a breeze and the wood pile is holding out well.

March 24 2012

And, the forsythia is blooming. We have a huge forsythia bush just across the driveway from the house. In years when spring comes on too hot and too fast the flowers seem pale and short lived. this spring its wonderful. It is the first major colour of the spring flowering at the same time as the crocuses and before the early daffodils.

Reading Week is Over

Well, its gone. Reading week is over.

I really did not accomplish  as much as I had hoped, partially because the academic world did not stop quite as much as it might have. Calvin Seminary’s reading week is this coming week, so last week still required that I keep up with readings and assignments for the online polity course from there. Its a course with a lot of writing. Mostly short case studies, but last week there were five of them.

Of course, taking reading week off from the soup kitchen just would not have been right. I was there Monday, as usual and wrote the required journal entry for the course as well.

J and I had a nice day out on Wednesday. We had lunch together, restocked our shelves at the Bulk Barn (student discounts on Wednesday), restocked the wine inventory from  the LCBO (and found some good deals from the favorite winery),

Saturday was an exhorter’s training session in Kitchener put on by Classis Huron. The day started out early,blowing the snow of the first real snowfall of the season.  Technically, Saturday is maybe not part of reading week, but it likely would have been an academic day anyway. As it was, I learned about preaching with a group of other lay preachers. The instructors were good, provocative even. It was a worthwhile day (but I need to rewrite that latest sermon AGAIN) ending with a great meal and some excellent conversation.



So, we head into the last six weeks of the semester. Time pressure will come to bear on the work I did not get done in the past week and it will happen. I don’t know why it, is that getting close to deadlines makes me so much more productive, but they do!

The end is in sight!! (for those with keen eyes)

Is this February?

Its Saturday, February 4 2012, and we are living through a really weird winter. I woke up this morning to a cacophony of bird song that is normal in April and May. The fields are pretty much bare and two eagles (I’ve never seen an eagle here before) are working on eating something (likely a racoon, we don’t have anymore cats) with the help of a flock of crows.

January and February in this part of Ontario usually means snow squalls, closed roads, and that comfortable feeling that comes with being stranded in your house with the wind howling all around knowing that you can just relax because no one expects you to be anywhere anyway. This morning J is out for a run. Yesterday a cyclist went by. It just seems wrong.

So, I’m sitting here beside the wood stove anyway. It will be too hot here soon. The dog is sleeping at my feet. Its uncomfortable though. Spring seems to be in the air. A time to hurry up and get going. I’m instinctively being prompted to go outside and do something, clean something up, build something, spring is here.

Instead, I think I will fight the feeling. I have tomorrow’s sermon to polish and print, a paper on political theology to write for Tuesday, maybe a nap to have.  Just to keep the pressure of an impending spring at bay, I’ll just pretend that it is winter for a few more days.

Of course, it might come back. That will be another post to complain about the weather.

I Think the Season Passed

It looks like biking is over for this year.

Today, while hammering away at Hebrew Exegesis and Hermeneutics (I’m using those words just because I can) it seemed that the sun outside was beckoning me to ride. I checked the thermometer, 10 degrees Celsius. I look outside my window again. It doesn’t look too windy. I really do want to go!

So, I put on the spandex (try not to let your imagination run too much here) and another layer, thinking that maybe 10 degrees is not really so warm, and head out.

My first realization that this was not a good idea was when the wind hit me. My east facing window did not give me much indication of the west wind. It was blowing and it was making a wind chill that likely pushed my balmy 10 degrees down to two or three. I went anyway and after a kilometer and a half turned directly into the wind. I lasted another kilometer or so, put my back to the wind and pedaled for home.

By the time I got there, it felt like I might need to spit up a lung. Fingers needed to be pried off of the handlebars.

The bike is inside now, on the trainer, where I guess it will likely stay till next March or April. For the next couple of months the scenery I see biking will be the basement and my computer screen.

So, the end of season number is 1338 km counting all three bikes. Nowhere near last year’s record, but considering all the other things we did this summer, I’m satisfied.