Friday, March 16, 2012

The Great Outdoors

The AMAZING weather this week has got me thinking about getting outdoors.  The hiking trails and campgrounds are calling my name!

March is the perfect time to get outside with the family and head to the Sugar Bush.  There's nothing better than learning about how maple syrup is created and getting to sample the sweet sap that becomes our sugary pancake topper!  I remember going to the Sugar Bush as a kid on school trips.  Many times, there was still snow on the ground, not the 17°C weather we're having this week.  The Sugar Bush employees would pour syrup in the snow and we'd have maple delicious.  Sadly, in the past five years that we've taken the twins to the Sugar Bush, there hasn't been enough snow to make maple taffy and they have yet to experience this treat; but, there's always next year!

But it's not just in March that I want to get outdoors.  I'm looking forward to the summer and camping with the kids.  One of my most favourite things to do.  As a kid, my family didn't have a lot of money for big family vacations to Disney.  Instead, we camped or visited a friend's cottage.  I LOVED this.  These summer trips probably make up 75% of my all-time favourite childhood memories.  My goal is to instil a love of nature in my kids and create memories for them that will last a lifetime.

One memory that is vivid in my mind is from the summer I was three.  We were camping at Glen Eden (aka: Kelso Conservation Area) and I was roasting my last marshmallow of the night.  This gigantic raccoon walked right up, through the fire, and grabbed the marshmallow of my stick before he turned and sauntered away.  I was so shocked that I stood there with my mouth open for a good minute before I started crying that he stole my last marshmallow.  My parents and aunt were also stunned at this bold creature who braved the fire to steal the fluffy white glob.  Needless to say, we were very careful with our food from that moment on.  If that raccoon was going to walk right up to us, there was nothing that was going to deter him from visiting our campsite and raiding our coolers when we were sleeping.
I've never forgotten that moment and I honestly don't think I ever will.  At the time, I was terrified.  Now, I look back and laugh and wonder at the gall of that bloody raccoon.  How dare he steal my marshmallow!

Do you have a love of the outdoors and if so, a favourite memory?  I'd love to hear about it.


  1. Raccoons are a brave animal. They come up at night and will take live chickens and ducks from our farm. Keeping the deer feeders going all year has seemed to deter them from our livestock for now though.

  2. We are fortunate at the moment that we're a new development and all the wildlife was scared away during construction. But once they return, I'm sure the pesky creatures will wreck havoc with our bird feeders and garbages.