02 Apr - 01 Oct 2015 Barrie

Grandparents and Grandkids…
Enjoying in Central Ontario the first signs of the ongoing global warming, aestivating during a very mild Canadian summer together with our awesome grandkids Raoni, Tien and Ronja in Barrie, one of Canada's fastest growing and dynamic cities, and up in Bruce County, on Chris & Ulrike's farm, and finding the time to watch Europe's interesting demographic changes from a distance.

"You can only predict things after they've happened."

Bonding with our three robust grandchildren and spending together many days and weeks of quality time: (i) exploring the sights of the city of Barrie and visiting the annual Kempenfest on the shore of Kempenfelt Bay on Lake Simcoe, (ii) hiking the nearby, wild enough Ardagh Bluffs which boast over 17 kilometres of nature trails and have a total area of 520 acres, (iii) teaching our grandsons to swim in our Timberwalk community's sparkling swimming pool, (iv) building, on rainy days, our own Lego dream city, and (v) frequenting the range of well-maintained play grounds in our neighbourhood.
"A mother becomes a true grandmother the day she stops noticing the terrible things her children do because she is so enchanted with the wonderful things her grandchildren do."

Konni: Digging in Ulrike’s & Chris’ farm garden to make beds for more or less organically grown onions, potatoes, cabbage, kale, pumpkins, and many other healthy vegetables, and digging at the same time in my own childhood memories of having been brought up on a traditional farm, thus utilising long forgotten gardening tips and tricks which I had learned from my own farming grandparents.
“Switching to all organic food production is the single most critical (and most doable) action we can take right now to stop our climate crisis.”

Konni: Honing my vegan cooking skills and discovering three excellent, highly recommendable new resources in Barrie's brilliant Goodwill Community Stores: (i) Leah Leneman's Tofu Cookbook ("High in protein, low in calories and completely cholesterol-free, tofu can be used as a substitute for eggs, dairy products and meat. It's fun to cook and the ideal for the future..."), (ii) Debra Wasserman's Simply Vegan, and (iii) the Vegetarian Tastes of Toronto with over 150 delicious, healthy recipes that reflect Toronto's rich cultural heritage and include Russian borscht, West African sweet potato soup, orange teriyaki tofu, Thai spring rolls, vegetarian sushi, Indian lemon rice, stuffed red and green peppers, black bean chili, spinach lasagne, pesto, and plenty of dessert recipes from poppy seed cake to conkies (corn meal dumplings popular in Guyana).

Matt: Waging relentlessly a chemical, not-so-organic warfare on our balcony plantation: (i) dusting garden sulphur against nasty late blight (caused by Phytophthora infestans) onto the leaves of our tomato and jalapeƱo plants, (ii) mixing a powerful, chili-powder based combat agent to frighten off the resident black eastern grey squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis), and (iii) hunting down treacherous ants with borax-laced peanut butter; life's a compromise. 

Learning to identify a few new North American birds by (i) watching the ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) sucking the geranium flower pots on our balcony, (ii) spotting a red dot on top of a large pine tree in front of our house and recognising it as a beautiful Northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis), (iii) watching families of turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) circling over the old farm house of our daughter’s new place, (iv) disturbing a large heron next to a marshy meadow and finding out that it was a great blue heron (Ardea Herodias), and, last but not least, (v) comparing the very common red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) of North America with the red-winged starling (Onychognathus morio) of South Africa and Tristram’s starling aka Tristram’s grackle (Onychognathus tristramii) of the Middle East. 

Visiting repeatedly Barrie's lively Saturday-morning farmers market, enjoying the positive atmosphere and stocking up with all kind of organically grown, local veggies. 

Enjoying great live music in a very relaxed summer atmosphere during the XX. Barrie Jazz & Blues Festival: (i) The Gred Hardy Trio at the farmers market, (ii) The Jane Bunnett Quintet in the Rotunda at Barrie City Hall, and (iii) The Bob Livingston Jazz Band and Denielle Bassels with her band on the centre stage in Barrie's lovely Heritage Park. 

Reflecting about congruency and topicality of our travel blog Konni & Matt - Perpetual Travellers (2000 - 2015) and about the fact that our individual priorities, interests and identities have tremendously changed over the past 15 years of retirement (Konni: from a travelling dive-master to a diving sun-seeker and story-telling ouma; Matt: from a travelling yacht-master to a psychologising portrait-photographer and story-generating oupa), and deciding to change both content and format of our online presence (Konni about scuba diving and u/w photography: Konni's Diving; Matt about ethnic portrait photography: Facing the World and Flickr Albums); many thanks to all our readers and supporters, until now and from now on.

(Once upon a time there lived) "… two disciples of a guru, called Chaitra and Maitra. One day the guru gave them one rupee each and took them to two empty rooms. He asked them to use that one rupee to fill the room. Maitra rushed out to the bazaar and tried to find something for one rupee with which he could fill his room. Of course there was nothing, for that price. And then he thought: 'I will go to the garbage seller,' and from him he bought a mountain of stinking rubbish and proudly piled it high in his room. But Chaitra meditated in his room and then calmly went out and bought a matchbox, an incense stick and an oil lamp. He lit the flame, filling the room not just with light but also a beautiful fragrance. When the guru came to inspect the two rooms, he turned away in disgust from the room with the garbage, but happily walked into the illuminated room which smelt of jasmine, sandalwood, and dreams."

Click below for more blog posts about our grandchildren

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Explore Konni's Photo Blog about Scuba Diving:
"Konni's Diving"
(Click on Collage)

Explore Matt's Photo Blog about Ethnic Street Portraits:
"Facing the World"
(Click on Collage)

"I pour him a drink and
he clicked my glass and said:
'Excuse me for not dying',
and I kind of feel the same way..."