Monday, May 24, 2010

Mississauga & Oakville ON

First stop this morning was Buds and Blossoms. Fabulous little park. Beautiful view of the lake. A great place to bring a picnic and a book. We couldn't find the box though.

Next stop -- Rattray Marsh. This is a gorgeous hiking and educational space. How the Marsh is formed and changed is really quite fascinating. And best of all, we found Normie the Narwhal. I'm so shocked that we are only the 2nd people to find this box.

Our final stop of the day was to look for Joshua's Creek. We were really enjoying the hike until we crossed the bridge and we were attacked by mosquitos. All the marshes, etc. we were in this weekend and this was our first serious run in with mosquitos. We walked (very quickly) out of the trail and back to the van to get out the insect repellent. While we were at the van we turned on the radio and heard that the temperatures were going to get quite hot today. With that information, we decided to head for home instead of back to the trail. Don't worry Joshua's Creek . . . we'll be back . . . LOL

ps I don't know why I'm making that goofy look in the Joshua Trail photo.

We must have timed our trip home perfectly because traffic was really light.

We still had one more job to do . . . planting a letterbox in honour of Plant a Letterbox day. Our new letterbox is called In the Mail. I hope you will visit St. Thomas ON soon to find this letterbox and hopefully check out some of our others as well.

We are home and unpacked and, when I post this final post, done logging my finds. It was a marvelous weekend and we are looking forward to a quiet evening remembering all our adventures. I have to say that the best part of our weekend, besides letterboxing of course, and being able to spend some quality time with my husband of 27 years, was in connecting with so many other people, whether it was a "good morning" on the trail, having interesting conversations with interesting people like the elderly gentleman who told us about his life in the logging camps in BC many many years ago, or the kindness of strangers like the gentleman at the Shell Station.

Get a Clue, Go Letterboxing!!!

Georgetown ON and area

Still in search for a place to sleep, we decided to try Walk a Mile #3: Lost Amongst the Twists and Turns. Found the telephone pole with no problem. We did not find the box. The Walk a Mile series is a great road trip. Hopefully we are just lousy at finding boxes . . . LOL . . .

We found the "portal" mentioned in the clue for Walk a Mile #4: Workin' on the Railroad but it was getting too dark to search for the box. We will try again next time we are in the area.

When we reached Georgetown, we got gas and ice and asked around for suggestions of where to park for the night. I think this is the only time Hal & I had a meltdown all weekend and it only lasted a moment -- just a wee tiny meltdown. A local suggested a carpool lot where he assured us we could stay. It was out of our way but it was dark and we didn't want to take any chance on finding a spot by this time. Well, the carpool was quite well signaged (no overnight parking) and right by the 401 (noisy). We were near Halton Hills. We drove into the nearest Shell station and the gentleman there invited us to pull into the parking lot and stay there for the night. There was an open Tim Horton's across the road, so we were all set. We woke up around 5 am this morning, probably because we drank too much Tim Horton's the night before . . . LOL . . .

We decided to treat ourselves to a hot breakfast when we saw the Coffee Time across the road had a breakfast special. Apparently Mike Holmes (Holmes on Homes just in case you aren't in the know) frequents that particular shop on weekdays. There was an photo of him autographed to the owner. Hal was pretty impressed, being a huge fan of the TV contractor. Breakfast was lovely and we headed back out to find some more boxes.

Guelph ON

Next stop was to the beautiful Royal City. We haven't been in Guelph since Box ON! 2008. Our first stop was to try A Gift. We figured out all the clues and located the hiding spot, but we couldn't get at the box. Some darn young couple had plopped themselves on a blanket within feet of where we needed to be and started kissin'. We waited for while but apparently they were enjoying themselves, so we decided to go for supper and find a couple of boxes and then come back and try again.

Wow, Riverside Park is very popular. We really enjoyed our picnic supper there. Not so much fun when we went looking for a couple of boxes though. Both Fun at Riverside boxes were gone. We did find an empty case of beer where Toot Toot should have been and we found scattered bark and twigs where Flying Horses had been hiding. Don't worry. We never say quit . . . LOL . . .

We went back to try A Gift again. The same couple was still at it . . . now that's staying power . . .

It would soon be dark so we figured we'd better start looking for a place to park for the night. And why not letterbox on the way? First we tried Walk a Mile #1: Home Sweet Home without success. I think we were at the right place but there was no sign of the trees described and no sign of a letterbox.

We did find Walk a Mile #2: Coffee Break. It was in pretty bad shape but the stamp and ink were fine. We replanted between 2 logs by the stump described in the clue. The owner will have to do some maintenance because we were only able to do a temporary fix with a plastic box and zip loc bag and index cards. We did rescue the log book, take it apart and dry it out.

We had hoped to stay at the rest area where we found Walk a Mile #2 Coffee Break but there were signs up prohibiting overnight parking so we had to move on.

Wellesley ON & West Montrose ON

It was starting to get pretty hot in Waterloo so we headed north. What a fabulous drive. Kind of weird not seeing any hydro poles! What beautiful countryside. We found Mennonites of Ontario - #4 Ohio Star Quilt Block and a hitchhiker inside (Bitty Pumpkin). We continued on our drive but could not locate Mennonites of Ontario - #2 Toad in a Puddle Quilt Block. We could see where someone else had made a path to the hiding place though.

Next stop was West Montrose ON to see the covered bridge. It was a very popular site on Sunday with photo shoots and videotaping and lots of people walking through and driving through. We decided we should wait for a weekday if we decided to try and find Westmontrose Bridge again. The status is coming up unknown on Atlas Quest.

Waterloo ON

First stop in Waterloo was In the Line of Fire. We could see where the box had been; but it appears to be gone.

Next stop was Secret 'Stashe #6 - The Biker. We have sooooooo enjoyed the 'Stashe series. We found it no problem.

The building mentioned in Forget Me Not was amazing. Looks like they are doing lots of work on the building. We could not find the box though.

Yeah . . . another find . . . Secret 'Stashe #2 - The Adventurer. I do believe we have them all now . . . unless we can talk Starhexen into doing more.

I had trouble with the math in the clue for A Boy and a Dog, but we found it anyway. What a great place to hike.

We stopped for lunch and took A Walk Through the Woods In Bechtel Park. Lunch was great, but we didn't find the box.

Last stop in Waterloo was for Mennonites of Ontario - #7 Stepping Stones Quilt Block. We loved the trails and the mix of modern and older buildings. And of course we loved the box.

Kitchener ON

Our first stop in Kitchener was to locate The Path to Power. We didn't find it.

After traipsing through soggy trails in Stratford, New Hamburg and Kitchener, we were wet, hungry and tired. We had to find a department store to buy Hal an extra pair of shoes because he forgot to pack a spare pair . . . I had THREE pairs of shoes . . . LOL . . .

We spent the night at Laurel Creek Conservation Area, woke at the crack of dawn and headed back out on the trail. We tried The Path to Power again just in case. We just assumed that we were too wet, tired and hungry to do a good job at searching the night before. When I went to post my attempt on Atlas Quest today I saw that the box status had been changed to unavailable.

**Spoiler Alert** Our next stop was at the Huron Natural Area in Kitchener. WOW!! What a beautiful walk. We located Sugar Rush but unfortunately Kitchener's Kettles appears to be missing. The tree mentioned in the clues was badly damaged; the back of it had broken away.

New Hamburg ON

We made our third attempt at Mennonites of Ontario ~ #20 Double Wedding Ring Quilt Block but failed again. We aren't sure if we were using the "new" clue. Perhaps we will never find it . . .

Stratford ON

We decided not to let a little rain stop us from a weekend of letterboxing. We left St. Thomas ON at 4:20 pm with a full tank of gas and a ton of letterbox clues to try and solve. We stopped at our first Tim Horton's at 4:35 pm.

Our first stop was Stratford, ON to pick up the boxes we'd had to bypass on our last trip. Small world story of the day: We met 2 men and their 3 lovely dogs on the trail. Both men were drywallers working on the CASO Station in St. Thomas.

We found 2 of the 3 boxes in the The Bard's History and Comedy.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pickled Asparagus

My cousin Kim gave me this recipe. I haven't tasted it, but Mom had a jar from Kim last year and she said it was quite tasty.

5 pint jars, washed and sterilized
10 pounds fresh asparagus, washed, cleaned and cut into 4-3/4" spears
2 cups white vinegar
2-1/2 cups water
2 tsp mustard seed
1 tbsp pickling spice, placed in a gauze bag
2 tbsp pickling salt

Per jar:
Dash cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp dill weed or dill seed
1/2 clove garlic
1/2 jalapeno pepper, optional
1 onion slice

Place asparagus spears in boiling water and blanch for two minutes; drain and cool.

Place dill, garlic, cayenne pepper, onion slice and jalapeƱo pepper into bottom of each jar. Pack asparagus spears upright into each jar.

Combine vinegar, water, mustard seed, canning salt and bag of pickling spice into saucepan and boil for 15 minutes. Remove bag of spices and discard.

Pour brine over asparagus, and seal jars.

Place jars into canner of boiling water for 10 minutes. Cool.

Cook's Notes: We made 4 quarts and 3 pints of pickles from 10 lb of asparagus. We had to triple to ingredients for the brine. All the stalks were trimmed, blanched, and frozen for use in casseroles and soups. Can't wait to try them.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Letterboxing in Stratford on Sunday

Hal was booked up until around 5 pm, so I packed a picnic supper and when he came home we headed out to pick up the new boxes in Stratford. What a beautiful day for letterboxing. Warm, sunny and a lovely breeze.

First find was Festival Theatre Tragedies. We weren't first finders though. Jiggs and his girls got there first.

After our picnic we went looking for the Feverish Feline but we are pretty sure it is gone. Jiggs, did you find it?

When we got to the starting point for The Bard's History and Comedy we realized it was getting dark very quickly, so we called it a day. It was after 9 pm!! Oh well, a good excuse to come back. What a lovely way to end the weekend.

I have to teach next Saturday, but hopefully I can persuade Hal go letterboxing again on Sunday or Monday. I don't imagine I'll have to twist his arm too hard . . . just pack a good picnic again. I want to get as much hiking in as possible before the hot summer weather sets in.

I am calling the Tree Hugger Letterboxing Meet Up a Success

I was so thrilled by the number of people who came to play.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Letterboxing with Nanna

We took my 93-year-old Grandmother along for the ride when we drove our youngest son back to Toronto on Mother's Day. I think she enjoyed herself.

Our first stop was Fashion Mistake but I forgot to take a photo . . . sheeesh!!

Second stop was Mivas 1. It was a lovely spot and I found a gorgeous clearing full of pink-tinted trilliums. Instead of taking Nanna in for the hunts, we brought the letterboxes to her in the van so she could see them, stamped them, and then returned them to their hiding spots. Mivas 1 was a tough find because the area had been quite muggled and there has been some tree-cutting as well. We went with our instincts . . . if I were a letterbox where would I hide. And it worked . . . LOL.

Last stop before delivering Tim to his new TO apartment was Labyrinths ~ #1 Classical Eleven Circuit.
On the way home we stopped at Swiss Chalet in Hamilton for supper. It was a lovely Mother's Day.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Update on our Meet Up this Weekend

Saturday May 15 2010
11 am - ?


I can't believe our meet up in St. Thomas is less than a week away. This is going to be a crazy busy week for Hal and I, planting the new boxes and posting clues, packing goodie bags and taking care of last minute details.

If you are an experienced letterboxer, we have some great boxes hidden from simple to expert levels. And if you have ever found one of Kirbert's stamps you will be excited to know that we have one!!!!! I was absolutely thrilled when he agreed to do a stamp for us.

If you are a new letterboxer, or you've never letterboxed before, here is your chance to learn all about this fascinating hobby. We'll show you the ropes and even help you make a log book and carve a stamp.

Please RSVP so we have enough goodie bags, etc. for everyone.


For more information or

Or give me a call 519-207-0716

See ya

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mexican Rice

1 cup long grain white rice
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, finely chopped

In a medium sauce pan, cook rice in oil over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil, Stir in onion, green pepper, jalapeno and diced tomato. Season with salt and pepper, cumin, cilantro, and garlic. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Our first letterboxing trip to the Niagara Region

. . . and we are off at 11:30 . . . we took Hwy 3 and headed east . . . did you know it is against the law to go past Courtland Bakery without buying something . . .

We stopped to say "hi" to Muddy the Mudcat in Dunnville . . . "I caught a fish and it was THIS BIG!!!!!!"

Our first letterbox was hidden in Morgan's Point Conservation Area . . . what a beautiful trail system.'s_Point__Conservation_Area

We had to wait for a BIG ship to pass under the bridge on the Welland Canal. Next stop was in Fort Erie for Alma Mater - Niagara Christian College. The location was great and there is an awesome bridge there.

I didn't take a photo when we found our third letterbox, Grandpa's Tools, in an old church cemetery near Stevensville. And we also found a "hitch hiker" in the box.

And then on to another cemetery near Welland for another letterbox, The Little Men to Paul Bunyan.
We drove under the Welland Canal twice in a search for supper.

We discovered Dufferin Islands in Niagara Falls. What a beautiful place to visit. The letterbox was amazing, Circus Canada, and we also picked up a flea.

It was getting too dark to letterbox anymore so we figured we'd better find the QEW and head for home. If Hal didn't have to work the next day I bet I could have talked him into visiting the Niagara Screaming Tunnel at midnight. We arrived home at 10:30 pm but we will be back to search for the 20 or so boxes still hiding from us in the Niagara area.

St. Thomas Letterboxes

Walk in the Woods Series
The Lass - pulled for repair

Dalewood Series
Carr's Bridge - new hand-carved stamp & new location

Heritage Trees Series

Elgin Hiking Trail Series

Musical Mystery Tour

Ready, Aim . . . Letterbox - the location has been changed a bit and the box now contains a hand-carved stamp

. . . and we will be planting even more over the next two weeks in time for Tree Hugger Letterboxing Meetup on May 15, 2010 in St. Thomas ON