Tuesday, July 27

August Events in Muskoka & Almaguin

What's happening in and around Muskoka and the Almaguin Highlands this summer? Lots! 

Check back often; I add events as I hear about them. Do you know of an event I missed? Tell me and I'll add it, too.

Wednesday Evening Kayak Tour
Every Wednesday, Algonquin Outfitters offers a fun and relaxing evening on the Muskoka River with a guided kayak tour. Meet at their downtown store before 6pm and you'll be on the water by 7pm for a couple of hours of paddling. $15/person includes your kayak and all the gear you need.
Wednesdays, 6-9pm

Summer Ski & Snowboard Sale
Once again, Algonquin Outfitters is offering great savings on winter clothing, gear and outerwear; as well as deals on snowboards, skis, mountain and road bikes. Up to 70% off last winter's stock. Visit Algonquin Outfitters.
July 30 - Aug 2

Kearney Regatta
Big party in the neighbouring town of Kearney. Saturday offers market & craft sales; rock climbing wall; land sports & games; log rolling; beer garden; silent auction; long distance canoe race; BBQ; and a street dance at night. Sunday offers the Regatta Parade; dog show; water sports including canoe races, cardboard boat races and the mile swim race; dinner; the Northern Lights Steel Band; and the grand finale fire works.
July 31 - Aug 1

Jazz Festival - Outdoor Music
Bask in the sun at River Mill Park in downtown Huntsville while listening to a great lineup of Jazz musicians. Free admission. Visit the Huntsville Festival of the Arts for the schedule of performers.
Aug 1, 11:20am - 5:15pm

Under the Stars Screening
Attend a free screening of the short film "Pretty Big Dig" and the feature documentary "Land" under the stars in Huntsville's River Mill Park. Bring your lawn chair or blanket. Both films rated "G". Hosted by Film North, who are bringing us the Huntsville International Film Festival in September. Visit Film North for details.
Aug 1, 8:30pm

Madison Violet, Brass Transit, John McDermott
It's a busy weekend at the Algonquin Theatre, with up-and-coming folk singers Madison Violet on Thursday night; Brass Transit belting out the best jazz-rock of 1969-1976 on Friday night; and the much-loved crooner John McDermott on Saturday night. All part of the Huntsville Festival of the Arts.
Aug 5 -6 

Perseids Meteor Shower
This annual meteor shower is considered to be one of the best for viewing bright, fast "shooting stars" -- and 2010 promised to be a great year for them! The thin, waxing crescent moon will set early in the evening, leaving a dark sky for viewing. The shower starts in late July to early August and builds to a peak around Aug 12-13. Far from the light pollution of town, guests at Fern Glen Inn can stretch out on loungers, benches, decks and the ground to watch the show... then sleep in and have a late breakfast. Read more about the Perseids and meteor viewing tips.
Fern Glen Inn (and the Northern Hemisphere)
Aug 11-13

International Women Riders Congress and Festival
Celebrating motorcycles and the women who ride them! This 3-day event is designed to appeal to both men and women riders of all disciplines and experience levels. Details and program schedule at International Women Riders Congress and Festival.
Aug 12-14

Artists of the Limberlost Studio Tour
Tour the studios of scenic Limberlost Road, meet the resident and guest artists, and see an incredible array of top-quality artwork in a variety of media. Visit the Artists of the Limberlost for map route and details.
Limberlost Road
Aug 14 & 15

Sundridge Sunflower Festival
Big festival in a small town on the shore of Lake Bernard. The two-day event includes outdoor movie screenings, live music performances, canoe and cardboard boat races, and a plethora of market vendors, and a street dance to wrap it all up. Visit the Sundridge Sunflower Festival for details.
Aug 13 & 14

Famous People Players
Canada's world-renowned black light theatre company brings their Shake, Rattle & Roll performance to the Algonquin Theatre for two nights. Ticket details at the Huntsville Festival of the Arts.
Aug 14 & 15

Art & Lyrics Show and Sale
Inspired by song lyrics of their choice, each artist submits their best themed work for this 2-day exhibition. The event opens with a wine & cheese reception with live music entertainment on Friday and continues all day Saturday. Attendees are invited to vote for People's Choice Best in Show as well as browse the many booths and creative works. Visit the Huntsville Art Society for details.
Aug 20 & 21

Summer Sidewalk Adventure
The shops and merchants of Huntsville's historic downtown will be bursting with activity (and probably some good sales!).
Aug 21

Sarah Harmer
Canadian singer/songwriter Sarah Harmer has a passion for music and the land we live on. Performing live at the Algonquin Theatre. Ticket details.
Aug 22, 8pm

Andrea Martin
The queen of Canadian comedy, Andrea Martin gives us an evening of outrageous comedy and song in her one-woman show "Final Days! Everything Must Go!!". See your favourite SCTV characters, hear your favourite Broadway tunes and listen to Ms. Martin dish about her life and career. Two nights at the Algonquin Theatre.
Aug 27 & 28

Tuesday, July 20

Brook's Falls, Emsdale

Brook's Falls is a little gem amid an already scenic landscape, but easily missed if you don't know to look for it. Not to be confused with the town of Burk's Falls, which is a village north of here, Brook's Falls is a little municipal park in the woods along the Magnetawan River, just a short drive from the inn.

While it is lovely in every season, we particularly enjoy it in the summer as an idyllic place to swim. Well, I guess "swimming" is not the word for it. It's not like a big, flat lake where you can launch into a sidestroke or dive deep below the surface. Instead, you wade into the current of the river—swifter closer to the falls, slower the further downstream you go.

We like to go in downstream and work our way up the rapids and cascades. We'll stop to sit on submerged boulders or float in a little pool of calm water off to the side. The best, though, is to get a good foot-hold under a cascade and let the force of the water provide a full-back massage. It's like a cool jacuzzi!

This stretch of the river ranges in depth from knee-deep to waist-deep to neck-deep. It may look a little wild, but it's actually very popular with local families, including kids of all ages. Of course, caution must still be exercised in and around any moving water and it's a good idea to practice the buddy system and stay close to your friends.

For those who don't want to go right in the water, there are some benches and boulders for sitting and listening to the water. There's also a short walking trail leading both upstream and down.

If you discover you love being in or near a moving river, we can also send you to another stretch of swimmable rapids on the Magnetawan River.

Thursday, July 15

Chickens and Eggs

 Fern Glen Inn • www.ferngleninn.blogspot.com

Now we know which came first! In our case, anyway, it was the chickens. The eggs soon followed, but the ladies—young hens that they are—are not up to full production yet.

It was after chicken-sitting for our neighbours last fall that we realized we, too, could make a nice home for a little flock of laying birds. So it was that we (that would be Jim and our neighbour, Bob) built a sturdy little hen house and placed an order for half a dozen ready-to-lay red hens.

The birds arrived two weeks ago and have settled in quite nicely. The term "ready-to-lay" means the hens are delivered just around the time they're starting to lay eggs. I guess that would make them adolescent chickens? We didn't get any eggs the first few days but then the ladies started getting to work.

What I didn't know—and what our neighbours have assured us is quite normal—is that a young chicken's first few eggs are very small. Our first egg was teensy but already the eggs are getting bigger. I took a photo of our first egg and a later egg beside a store-bought one to show the scale.

As egg production increases, we'll be using our very own eggs in the breakfasts we serve to guests. It doesn't get fresher than that! 

It also turns out that chickens are good hosts. Er, hostesses. Some of our guests have enjoyed visiting the hens and watching their antics. Who knew that chickens playing "grape keep away" could be so entertaining? 

While we do hope our chickens have a nice lifestyle, they aren't exactly free-ranging. They're confined to an outdoor pen (in addition to their hen house) due to potential predators, dogs who think they would make good playmates (Saba!), and the birds' penchant to wander. I've told Jim our next big project should be to engineer a vast, modular, movable pen system so the ladies will think they're free range. Until then, the ladies seem pretty content with their plot of grass, some sand to roll in, and daily treats of fruit trimmings.

Next time you visit, come meet Henrietta, Gladys, Lola, Annabelle, Clara and Fanny!

: :   : :   : :

Read our update on chickenhood here.

Thursday, July 1

Grady's Paddle: The Route

I spent a fabulous afternoon on the water today! And whether you're paddling for SickKids, supporting us with pledges, or simply want to know about a great flat-water day trip, you'll want to follow along. 

The outing was a chance for the Grady's Paddle committee to travel the route our paddlers will take on July 10th. The leader of the event—my friend, Judy—kayaked the full 32km last summer in order to test it out, but for our purposes today, we took it easy in a motor boat.

The route starts at the Burk's Falls Town Docks. A launch master will be counting heads and boats as they put in between 7am and 10am. 

From there it's a leisurely paddle with the current down the Magnetawan River. You'll pass some homes, cottages and other boats. In other sections, you'll think you're in a wilderness park with nothing to interrupt the view of trees, sky and water. We saw two herons and countless turtles as we chugged along.

The river opens up into Lake Cecebe, a large, open lake with a few islands and bays. Echo Rock is a handsome cliff on your left—see if it talks back to you as you pass!

Continue on to Lion's Park in the village of Magnetawan. You'll have a map of the route to indicate which shoreline to follow. There are homes and cottages on Lake Cecebe, plus there will be volunteers in motor boats on the water.

Along the route there are at least three pee stops, plus a take-out at 21 km for those who prefer a shorter paddle, as well as emergency pull-outs should anyone need to exit the water mid-point. Motor boats will be supporting the paddlers as needed, ferrying them to take-out points straight to the park.

The park is a lovely spot for the after party... barbecue, music, prizes, 50-50 draw, and silent auction will be set up under and around the pavilion. Trailers will return canoes and kayaks back to Burk's Falls and buses will transport paddlers.

It promises to be a great day in a gorgeous setting. If you're a paddler, it's not too late to register! Visit Grady's Paddle for details.

Happy Canada Day!