Welcome to my blog, where you'll read about my family's progress in renovating our home - a custom-built board and batten (minus the battens) house built in 1975 on a rare 5-acre conservation-type piece of property in small town Ontario, boasting spectacular views of the village from the ridge at the back of the property (which I like to call, Ridgeview). When we moved here in the summer of 2010, the house had original carpets, flooring, cabinetry, windows, and decor. All it needed was a little TLC and a creative mind to remodel it, and so we got started...

You'll find links to some helpful home improvement sites and local contractors.

I also write inspirational poetry and quotes...so you'll catch glimpses of some of my work, and find links to my favorite sites and blogs, or you can follow my Poetical Soul blog (click here or the link at the top of the page).

Hope you enjoy your visit.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Weekend of Thankfullness

It's that time of year again - Fall, Thanksgiving, bright colors.  As much as I love my fall views at Ridgeview, nothing compares to the rich brightness of the fall colors in areas a bit further north and in Quebec, where frost sets in a little earlier than Southern Ontario.  This Thanksgiving weekend was no exception...

I always look forward to the Thanksgiving weekend trip to Quebec to see my family - somehow everything seems better at home (good food, family, sun, bright colors - what more could you want!).  Saturday's trip did NOT disappoint!  It started off in the darkness of the morning, when the stars still lit up the sky as I packed the FJ.  Then, as I moved east of Toronto, I watched the sky as it turned golden at dusk, until the sun finally made its appearance - WOW!  what a sight!  My body buzzed, my smile grew, and my heart filled with gratitude...and I thought about all the things I was grateful for that day.

Oh, but it didn't end with the sunrise...the further I moved east, the brighter the colors got - yellows, oranges, reds, mixed with a dash of green... I lost count of the number of times I said WOW! on the trip!  I finally rounded the bend before my parents road, and pointed to the hill and said "Hey kids, look!  The leaves are so bright that the forest looks like it's on fire!"

The weekend sure showed me a lot to be thankful for...it gave me a chance to reconnect with Nature for a few hours - to play, to get down in the leaves and enjoy the beauty of Fall (even had the dogs and a squirrel join me :)) <3  I'm always thankful for that chance - not only at Thanksgiving, but all year long <3 <3 <3


Thankful for the tranquil moments, and time spent with family and good mom-prepared food (especially the pies!), the weekend ended with the opportunity to watch the sunset, in the exact spot where I watched the sunrise two days earlier.  And what a view it presented :) 

What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Bugs 3

I have a new-found appreciation for bugs…not that I’ve come to like them, rather I appreciate them a whole lot more than I used to, and have become fascinated with them – their looks, their purpose, why they all seem to appear at Ridgeview…they truly are fascinating.  

Spider on a broad-leafed weed...if anyone can tell me what it is, please do.

Lappet Moth - July 12, 2013
Tent Catepillar Moth - July 15, 2013
Underside of Tent Catepillar Moth
In the last week or so, I’ve been paying attention to moths in particular.  These interesting creatures often fly around me when I’m on a walk in the field or playing in the yard.  They appear on my door each morning, and stick around for hours, almost as if they’re trying to discover and observe what’s on the other side of the door – fascinated with us, just as much as I’m fascinated with them.  I have so many questions for them – Where do they come from? Why do they look the way they do? Why are they here? What do they do? What do they eat? What other interesting creatures are coming to commune in my yard? – but haven’t yet taken the time to ask.       

Blood-thirsty mosquito - July 14, 2013
My recent experience with mosquitoes and flies also fascinates me.  On the weekend, I was lounging and reading on my outdoor bench, near the cedar rail fence where mosquitoes frequently take over.  A small dear fly had been circling around me, landing on my arm a few times then flying off when I told it that I’m not food.  Not once did it bite me, and not once did I swat at it.  I sat there for an hour before my oldest son came out to see me.  The mosquitoes immediately swarmed him and started biting him as he swatted them away.  I wondered, why are they swarming him, having sat here only a minute, and not me when I’ve been here for an hour?   I concluded that it was because I didn’t care to be afraid of them and swat at them, so they left me alone for the most part (that, or they had heard that my blood wasn’t so sweet :-) which is hard to believe given the amount of chocolate I like to eat :-)).  I did notice that after my son left me, a few decided they would try to feast on me.  I kindly communicated that I was not here to be their food – some left, others were politely flipped away or squashed as they sunk their daggers into my skin. 

A few years ago, if I had seen a bug, I would have run the other way, or grabbed something to swat it dead.  Now, I find myself observing them, communing with them and taking their pictures to share with others.  This new awakening to such things in nature has me wondering – Why did I take my fear of these things so seriously for all these years?  Why do I take ANY fears so seriously?  Really, what IS there truly to fear? ... The answer is fascinating and a true awakening for me ... NOTHING!!!  How fascinating it is to fear NOTHING ... how FREEING it is, wouldn't you agree?!?!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Enjoying Sunset Views

Did I ever mention what amazing views we have here at Ridgeview?  This evening, after dinner, I took advantage of the longer days, the dryer weather (we had a TONNE of rain this past week), and the sunshine to walk my dog in the village.  When I got home an hour later, I ran upstairs and just happened to look out the skylight in the stairway to see an amazing sunset.  I just kept going up...straight to the loft deck, grabbing my camera on the way.  There's something about gazing at the sun, especially sunsets, that makes time stand still and nothing else matters <3 <3 <3

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Heaven on Earth

March 25, 2013:  Today, I had a vision on the way to work.  Not a new vision, but more vivid and clear than ever before.  It filled me with so much joy that tears swelled in my eyes and a smile plastered my face.  My smile spread so wide that my jaw hurt.  If you were driving beside me, I’m sure you would have thought “whoa, what’d she have in her coffee this morning”, or “No sane person would be driving to work on a Monday morning with a smile like that unless she got lucky” or “I’ll have what she’s having”.  I like the latter - “I’ll have what she’s having” – because everyone should give themselves the grace to be filled with such joy on nothing more than a vision….but this vision can become reality (or at least I’m hopeful).  This vision is about community, and creating Heaven on Earth.

It’s a sunny summer’s day – not too hot, not too cold – the weather is perfect for a celebration – a celebration that has been long coming.  It’s happening in my back yard – in the newly created gardens full of sage, lavender, primrose, wildflowers, roses, native shrubs.  The path from the covered back deck meanders through the yard to the waterfall pond in the woods, just past the fire pit area surrounded by wooden benches carved from fallen trees that had once scattered the property.  A local band is set up on the stage made of reclaimed wood from the house, and their folk music fills the air as my guests mingle and laugh and celebrate the huge victory of creating paradise in the Glen.  It truly is paradise.  It’s growth.  It’s abundance.  It’s peace.  It’s bliss.  And best of all, it’s all for them – my guests – my friends and family – the community. 

Together, we all built this paradise, all with love – months of toiling, chopping dead trees, removing over-grown vines and weeds, creating space for new growth, creating pathways through the trees, planting shrub and flower gardens all around the house, apple orchards lined with lilac trees, clearing an area for a soccer field, building a retreat cabin on the ridge with the best views of the village.  A large granite rock at the base of the pine-lined driveway welcomes guests:  Welcome to Ridgeview, where our heart is always open; where anyone can come to connect with nature, and with themselves.  Spend a quiet afternoon reflecting at the waterfall pond, or an evening being mesmerized by the campfire.  Spend a night in the guest room, fall asleep watching the starry night through the skylight, and wake to the smell of bacon and coffee:  breakfast on the East terrace watching the birds play and sun rise.  Or spend a night in the Ridgeview cabin where nothing will disturb you but the songs of the swamp frogs and night crickets, and maybe the occasional coyote howl in the distance – wake up whenever the sun tells you to and have yourself a coffee on the cabin deck admiring the peaceful views.    This is Heaven on Earth, open for all to experience.

"Be inspired to create what you imagine." ~ ©Linda Spencer

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Snow Season = Play Season

There's something to be said about taking morning walks in Winter's freshly fallen snow.  Waking up early on a Saturday or Sunday morning to freshly fallen snow, or to a light snow shower, offers the perfect time to take Marley (our Yellow Lab/Golden Retriever cross) for a walk and to clear the sleepy cob-webs from my head.

(Marley telling me to come along)
(checking out the view from Ridgeview on a snowy morning)

I love the Snow Season (I won't call it the Winter Season, because the season of Snow spans beyond the season of Winter here in Ontario).  I love that when I take deep breathes of the crisp snowy air I feel refreshed and grateful for being alive and able to enjoy its freshness.  I love how the snow twinkles in the sunlight, and the moonlight.  Some people run and hide at the first sight of snow - I smile with excitement like a kid in a toy store as I watch the snow flakes (the snow fairies) dance their way to the ground, and hope enough will accumulate so I can go play (to make snow angels with the kids, to slide down the hill, to go snow-shoeing on our trails, to make snowmen or have snow fights with Marley and the kids - Marley likes to play in the snow too :)).  The Snow Season is a perfect PLAY season.

(making snow tracks)

Then, when I'm all played out, I stomp the snow off my boots, and make my way in the house to our roaring fireplace.  There, I curl up on with a soft fuzzy blanket on the couch and smile at the warmth of the fire, and at the site of the snow still twinkling outside.  And sometimes, I even catch a glimpse of the birds and bunnies feasting on the fresh birdseed I put out for them.

(feeding the birds)

What do you do to enjoy the Snow Season?