Saturday, October 22, 2011

Purple Passion

Purple Passion by Phototrain Photography
Purple Passion, a photo by Phototrain Photography on Flickr.

It's funny to admit that I don't even know which photos I have stored.
I remember, when I saved them that the thought was to use them eventually, But I don't know when eventually is! So this photo has served as a reminder to deal with these hundreds or thousands of images.

Advice To Self: good luck!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Texture Points

Texture Points by Phototrain Photography
Texture Points, a photo by Phototrain Photography on Flickr.
Finally, a post! Only a small one though. The summer has finally slipped away it seems, replaced by the rainy winds of early autumn.

The rest of my stuff finally made the journey from southern Ontario. Nearly all of it is destined for thrift shops and recycling. The previous de-cluttering was good practice for this last bunch of ... well, junk.

This is a photo from June 2009, taken with the Nikon D200. The D200 expired in the summer of 2010, when I fell out of the canoe! Since then I have learned how to get in and out of the canoe without capsizing.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Enjoying Life

Here is your humble, slightly unclothed scribe, enjoying the fruits of his, and hers, relaxation.
This afternoon going out in the canoe, with Jacqui, and doing some fishing, is actually a reward to myself.
What did I do that I feel it necessary to reward myself? Well I don't mean to brag, and I'm not ... but; because I did a somewhat significant de-clutterisation recently, my life has become a lot more enjoyable.
How has it become more enjoyable?
Firstly, my/our small cabin on the lake looks nicer.
Secondly, not only is cleaning easier-it is actually possible.
Thirdly, and this is the big one-this is the big payoff ...I now have more time for other things.
Canoeing and fishing for example. Now there is time for posting to this blog also.

Another plus was the fish we caught: a nice chubby bass, and three good bluegills. They were a delicious addition to our meal of steak, and squash with apple and cinnamon.
It is nice that the proof was on the dinner plate, so to speak.
This life of Mike's is becoming very convenient to maintain.

My place is small, but it has a lot more space available for living and enjoyment, now that all that stuff is gone. Stuff that I wasn't using. If I really "needed" those things, I would have used them sometime in the last few years. What is really unbelievable though, is that I hauled this crap over 350 miles, over 550 kms, when I moved here.

Jacqui and I also had time to work on both canoes, sanding and painting. We spent the last few evenings duelling it out by playing backgammon and crib. We both won ... we both lost.
We take photographs, as well, so we spend some of our time with those images. It was a bit rainy, on and off , for the last few days, so we chose to delay our camping trip until the week after next.

Now that I have time to do the things I like, I am thinking about what should or shouldn't be on the passions/bucket list.

Back to the fish story. We soaked the fish in brine for over an hour and a half , and we were pleased to discover that there weren't any worms.

Only 51 months to to go until my earliest retirement date of  December 31, 2015.

Feel free to comment, discuss, or ask. Thank you for your interest.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fall Cleaning

The process slowly continues, one day at a time. This photo of the shirt, underwear and socks, represents today's progress.

Today I got rid of:

2 pairs of track pants
21 pairs of socks
18 T-shirts
9 pairs of underwear

All freshly laundered in AAA condition.

Out the door and off to the Sally Ann they went. At the very least, these items will be torn up, or sold to jobbers to tear up and sell off as rags. Or they will be recycled for manufacturing. Nearly all of the items are made of cotton.

Imagine how many natural resources will be saved, because maufacturer's are able to use the cheaper recycled cotton. Plus all the water and chemicals, and other natural resources, energy for example, that are used in the production of raw cotton will not have to be disposed of, which causes further environmental damage.
I never used to think of things like that, but I do now.

I am an 'accidental' minimalist. I got started out of necessity ... living in a smaller place compared to my previous, palatial home. So I clued in a little and realised most of the 'stuff'' I was maintaining, was costing me time, money & space.

At one time, I had over 40 pairs of underwear! They have weird reality shows about people who collect things in that manner. Even weirder, apparantly, even weirder people watch those TV shows!

I don't watch television. The best things I ever did was stop gambling, smoking and watching television. I believe those things will kill you.

Anyway, the fall clean up continues and I am really looking forward to a winter full of camping, dancing, game playing and cooking with, my best friend, Jacqui.
There will be some other stuff too; going for walks, reading, taking photos, and just sitting and staring into space and wondering 'what if'', and then finding the answers to that question.
Jacqui and I always find an answer, but even if we don't, that would be okay too. We solve most of the worlds problems, snuggled up on the couch, looking into each other's eyes and sipping hot chocolate or wine.

And if that isn't proof of a good happy life ... then consider this:

Today is the 40th anniversary of Greenpeace. I think that is great news!

I wonder: How many people has Greenpeace saved in the last 40 years?
Does anybody know?

Is it 1,000?
Is it 10,000?
Or 100,000 or a million?

I think the 2 best stories in the news this past week, were about Greenpeace and that 3 year old boy that was returned home, in Sparwood, B.C.

But enough about what I think.
When you put your head on the pillow at night ... what do you think about?
Is it something that  is helpful and happy?

We's likes happy stuff ... doesn't we, Jacqui-Mae?

As a friend said recently,
"Be the change".

PS: The above photo also can be seen at flickr here:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Simple Living Guide by Janet Luhrs

This is an excellent guide to making life better. It talks about simplifying or minimising your very hectic, busy life.

The author suggests that we focus on our passions. She writes about learning how to focus, how to learn to cut out the distractions and time-killers that prevent us from reaching our potential.

This book is an excellent introduction to minimalist concepts and philosophies.

Her writing has already helped me change my habits to get more value out of my life.

Click on the image to go to flickr.

I Will Get Rid Of This

It's just a matter of time!
Be strong, good soldier.
Click on the image to see more at flickr.

Enough Is Enough

Enough is Enough!

My exasperation with the cellphone provider I have been using, has finally made me ask: why do I give these corporate thugs my money?
These scurrilous, corporate hooligans will soon get very little, or preferably, none of my money.
I get the internet for free and I have CAA. At the very most, all I need to have is a cellphone and a pay as you go phone card.

I feel better already knowing that I must, that I will, finally get a very firm hand on the ludicrous rates that these 21st century robber barons charge.

Only in Canader you say? Pity, in't it?
Chuck you farley, aiss my kss!

Anyway, now that I'm back to my normally civil, relaxed self, what other alternatives can I think of.
Having a cellphone gives me a certain sense of security.
So that begs the question: what will happen to me if I don't have a cellphone? Will I suddenly die? Will my car all of a sudden break down? Will I get a flat tire and be preyed upon by thugs, beaten and robbed, and left at the side of the road to die a lonely, painful and humiliating death?

I wonder exactly how cruel my life will become for me without a cellphone?
I am resolved. I will throw cellphone security to the wind and risk life without a cellphone.
I will revert back to the old fashioned house phone/landline.

Besides, cellphones pollute the planet. They have to be replaced every few weeks, months or years because they are built so flimsy. Why aren't they waterproof and shockproof?
What we need is an indesructible, cheap cellphone that lasts forever, that can have apps uploaded for FREE, by our somewhat less than generous cellphone service providers, to improve them as required.

Speaking of generous ... exactly how much do these corporate kingpins earn in a year?
I'll bet they are ridiculously generous when it comes to their salaries.
So why can't they throw their customers a crumb, and reduce the rates by a substantial amount?
Instead of saving money by importing these things from some sweatshop, why don't they start right here, right now by cutting the fat at the top?

I wonder. One can hope, can't one?
No matter, one way or another, there is going to be a change in my cellphone habits.

Feel free to make a comment or suggestion or a criticism.

What do you think?

Thursday, September 08, 2011

What a great week. I got rid of three tables, the armoire is emptied and ready to go. A stack of clothes and some other stuff is ready to be donated. What a breath of fresh air. I haven't watched TV for weeks, I don't miss the commercials from the corporate sponsers one bit.

Well it wasn't all heaven on earth. The walk that myself, and my best friend took today was a little short. It was invigorating and relaxing too. Off to work tomorrow again. The week off was really refreshing. The Gatineau Balloon Festival was a joy. Our new tent was a joy.

I really enjoy getting rid of this stuff. Why would anyone need more than three pairs of jeans anyway? If I used them for work, then nine of them would be reasonable. They were just junk taking up space. If they are needed that would be reasonable, but they aren't needed. Maybe somebody else will have a need for them.

Good night, sleep tight.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

I am,
a king,
because, I know how to
rule myself.
Pietro Aretno, May 10, 1537.
Two people that have been an inspiration recently, to me, are-
Amanda Lindhout and Jaycee Dugard
Both ladies refuse to live their lives as victims.
Lindhout recently returned to Somalia to continue her goal of helping people there.
Dugard has published a book, and continues to move forward in her life. Recently, she has been on a speaking tour, describing how she refused to accept the role, or label, of "victim".
These two ladies are proof positive that one person can make a difference.
Thank you for your help, ladies!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

This is the MEC Camper 2 tent that Jacqui and I bought last March 20. Since that time we have spent 15 nights camped out in it. We will be using it this weekend to camp at the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival this weekend ... maybe! More than likely we will splurge and spent a couple of hundred dollars on a MEC Camper 4 tent. The Camper 4 offers more square footage. So now we will be the happy owners of two good quality tents.

Our weekend won't be starting until Saturday, due to work/time commitments. It is somewhat unfortunate that we will miss David Usher, followed by Roger Hodgson, but as they say in Quebec-c'est la vie! We will still get to see Roch Voisine and some other very good musicians, in addtion to all the other events that we may enjoy.

Today is a full day. I need to purchase wood for the shelf building project, and the paint has arrived for both canoes. Also on the list is a minimal grocery shopping trip.

Okay back to the tent. Last night would have been my second night camped out on the 1.1 acre lakeside backyard. However, a slightly boisterous pair of marauding racoons, turned the neighbours dog into a noisy doggy. Of course then the neighbour came out to speak sharply to 'Scamp', before taking him inside. So after being roused from my short sleep, I was somewhat awake. After lying quietly for nearly an hour, I retreated to the cabin to get some sleep.

It's a beautiful morning here in Rideau Ferry. There are 120 entries into the last big fishing derby of this summer, so the hamlet is buzzing. The area motels are full, some will have to stay in Kingston or Ottawa, or further afield.

We are off to Gatineau, Quebec for camping, music, fireworks and hot air balloons.
Have a great weekend!

With kindness and respect,


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Solitude and peace is what I feel when I head into the woods. Camping and canoeing are my "Walden". Relaxation has become an ingredient of my daily life. Small things that used to slightly perturb my attitude, no longer count or matter. I am grateful.
Today I got rid of three pieces of furniture, three tables. My apartment is small, at least it seemed small to me when I leased it May of 2010. It is less than 600 sq. ft. The landlord maintains it is 600 sq. ft., no matter. So because it is small, and doesn't have closet space, I have decided to go vertical. Those three tables, have freed up space. Space that has made room for three shelf units. This will allow me to move the armoire out of the kitchen. That armoire is in front of a large window, so it will be a real plus to get the armoire out of the window. The other bonus is that my clean clothes will now be on the same floor as the bedroom and bathroom.
In addition to removing the three tables, I was also able to clear out a few years worth of pay stubs and pre 2005 tax returns. Those papers are all ready to be burnt, once the county fire ban is removed. We could use a good rain, maybe a few of them.
My wonderful son has returned home after spending a week here, and then visiting with friends in Montreal. My sweet daughter is still pursuing her career after finishing her education.
What a good life.

Monday, August 29, 2011

For my last week of vacation, Jacqui and I had a two night camping trip to Charleston Lake Provincial Park. This was my third, first visit, to a park this year. The other two 'new' to me were Algonquin and Frontenac Provincial Parks. I would like to discover one more beauty before it closes ... Sharbot Lake.
Soon all the parks will close in this area, except for Frontenac which remains open all year long. Algonquin also is open all year, but it is further away, and requires the driving time, which I grudge. It is better to camp at Frontenac. It too, is a back country park, and there is not any car camping or facilities available. There are no showers or bathing facilities ... or water taps for that matter. To bathe one must break the ice to obtain the water, and then heat it to use.
Frontenac is very quiet in the winter. Last year when we there, we were the only humans camping-both times. The hour long hike one way with gear to the nearest campsite, helps keep the numbers down.
Of course it is worth it. It is frozen, pristine and natural. Occasionally, if the wind is in a certain direction, there is the occasional jet that can be heard, but at 30,000 feet, they are somewhat quiet.
To see more photos of Charleston Lake, check out this link:
Caio for now,

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi by Phototrain Photography
Mahatma Gandhi, a photo by Phototrain Photography on Flickr.

Here is a sculpture of Mahatma Gandhi in front of the Quebec National Assembly in Quebec City.

"My life is my message" - Mahatma Gandhi -

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Jebb by Phototrain Photography
Jebb, a photo by Phototrain Photography on Flickr.

Here I am enjoying a chat with J & G on their deck. The old D50 has come back from 4 months not working after being dropped in the lake.

John the master photographer took this shot. Click on the image to see more.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Covehead Point Lighthouse

This is the lighthouse at Covehead Point, Prince Edward Island National Park. This was a wonderful trip. I'm sure we will be back very soon.
Here is the set @ flickr:

You can also click on the image to see more.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Greek Yogurt With Honey

This stuff is gastronomical gold!!! Click on the image to be cyber- projected to flickr and see more.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Big Salmon Lake

Here we are on the sixth day of our canoe trip. Click on the image to see the photos at Flickr.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Bein' There

Bein' There by Phototrain Photography
Bein' There, a photo by Phototrain Photography on Flickr.

Yup! There he is! Being a bee! Click on the image.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Canoe In The Marsh

The canoe makes a good shooting platform, especially in the brimming with life marsh!
Click on the image!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Lower Rideau Lake

This photo is taken from the canoe in the back yard marsh.
Click on the image to go to flickr.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sunny Water

Sunny Water by Phototrain Photography
Sunny Water, a photo by Phototrain Photography on Flickr.

Out for a morning paddle around the island.
Click on the image.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mr. Merganser

Mr. Merganser by Phototrain Photography
Mr. Merganser, a photo by Phototrain Photography on Flickr.

On Lower Rideau Lake.
Click on the image.

Resting Canoe

Resting Canoe by Phototrain Photography
Resting Canoe, a photo by Phototrain Photography on Flickr.

What a great time of the year! Out in the canoe for the second time. I saw a beaver, a muskrat, mergansers. loons, 2 ospreys, and everything else!

Click on the image ... check it out!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Taking Off

Taking Off by Phototrain Photography
Taking Off, a photo by Phototrain Photography on Flickr.

This is one of the regular visitors to the lake.
Click on the image.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ahoy Flag

Ahoy Flag by Phototrain Photography
Ahoy Flag, a photo by Phototrain Photography on Flickr.

A Canadian flag in the distance.
Click on the image.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Jacqui In Front Of MEC Camper 2 Tent.

I like the hat! Here's Jacqui at our McNally Bay campsite.
Clck on the image.

The View

The View by Phototrain Photography
The View, a photo by Phototrain Photography on Flickr.

The view from the balcony.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Looking Towards Devil Lake

This is where the portage begins/ends. We continued to the tip of the point.

From this point back to Kingsford Dam is easy.

Click on the image.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ice & Earth

Ice & Earth by Phototrain Photography
Ice & Earth, a photo by Phototrain Photography on Flickr.

At the Yacht Club Conservation Area dock.

Click on the image.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Red Looking Squirrel

Here's a photo of our furry friend who lives in the back yard.
Click on the image to go to flickr.

Red Looking Squirrel

Through the kitchen window. Click on hte image to see it at flickr.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Frontenac Provincial Park, Kingsford Lake.

This is the view from our campsite last week. Click on the image to see the set a tflickr.

Friday, March 25, 2011

At Kingsford Dam

Here's Jacqui at Kingsford Dam. Click on the image to go to flickr and see the set.

Monday, March 21, 2011

It Wouldn't Stop Snowing!

Jacqui & Mike after trying out the new tent. Click on the image for more.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Through The Spring Fog

Click on the image to see more!

Two Doors

Two Doors by Phototrain Photography
Two Doors a photo by Phototrain Photography on Flickr.

Check out the set at flickr ... click on the picture!
Kum sa hamnida.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Old Mill @ Bedford Mills

Bedford Mills is a very quaint, pretty place. It's just off the beaten track, not too far from Newboro or Westport.

More importantly, Frontenac Provincial Park owns a strip of land, a portage, that allows access from the Rideau system to Devil Lake. This allows a canoe trip to the northern border of Frontenac Provincial Park.

This was the missing link. My gratitude to those who had the foresight to obtain this very, strategic portage.

Jacqui & I started our 2011 camping season, back on the Feb, 5, 2011 at Mew Lake Campground, in Algonquin Park. It was the first time in decades that either of us had camped, albeit in the Santa Fe, winter notwithstanding.

Recently we purchased a tent From Mountain Equipment Co-op in Ottawa. So next week we will hike into Frontenac and do an overnighter in the tent ... sleeping bags, etc. I better get a compass and a map.I'll call the park and get some advice about that.

I need to get in shape, exercise a little more.
Stay tuned, Jacqui will be here soon.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle by Phototrain Photography
Bald Eagle a photo by Phototrain Photography on Flickr.
Ok, ok, ... here it is being offered up again. Anyway, this was taken on February 5,2011.
We were en route to Algonquin Park. Jacqui and I celebrated our year long friendship, by camping at Mew Lake. The weather was excellent. The wind was calm, it was a crisp -23C.

We slept in the Hyundai Santa Fe. I am 6 feet tall, and when the back seat is folded down, there is enough room for us to sleep comfortably.

We put a tarp down, then lay the closed cell foam insulation on the tarp. Then the opened up summer sleeping bag was put down. Then I put down my opened up parka, (it has a hood), then we climbed onto our 'bed'.
Then we covered ourselves with Jacqui's down sleeping bag. We opened two windows just a crack to allow air in, and to let the moisture vent out.
Surprisingly, we both slept soundly. I woke up once to relieve my bladder. When I returned to the car, I started it and let in run for 20 minutes, to get the coolness out of the air and to let the heat dry off the residual moisture.
We were up by 0715 on Feb. 6.

Neither Jacqui or myself had winter camped since our 20's. This experience has whetted our appetite for more winter, and now ... spring camping! When Jacqui get's back from work in 11 days, we're off to Frontenac Provincial Park for another learning experience.

Frontenac is a back country, natural environment park. You cannot drive to your campsite. There is no car camping. You have to hike in or canoe in. The geography and geology is the same Canadian Shield that Algonquin Park enjoys. Frontenac is 98 kms from here by car, but I am speculating that it is about 40 kms by canoe from here. There is one short, uphill portage near Bedford Mills.

So it's getting to be a pretty interesting. We're learning how to live with the possibility of coming face to face with a black bear. They want to be near us as much as we want to be near them. Our bear education is from the knowledgeable staff at the 3 provincial parks we've visited recently, Kevin at the East Gate at Algonquin, Toby at Murphy's Point, and Bert at Frontenac.
The other issue we are learning about is a nasty thing called giardia, or "Beaver Fever". It is contracted from ingesting human or animal feces, usually from water. So we need to have a small burner of some sort, to boil water, and also some type of water purification system.

We checked out stoves at Mountain Equipment Co-Op, while there last week. You can get a good one for about $71.00 to $170.00. We did buy an MEC Camper 2 tent, low profile air matresses and insulating foam, and a couple of small, light stools. The stuff is very compact, quite light.

Less than 100 kms from here are another 3 provincial parks, Silver Lake, Sharbot Lake, and Charleston Lake. Another 2 parks, closer to Ottawa, Rideau River and Fitzroy, north of Ottawa.
All brought about by a sweet anniversary ... what a fun, little project!

Stay tuned, the camping starts when Jacqui gets back!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Xmas Cactus

Xmas Cactus
Originally uploaded by Phototrain Photography
Here is this years crop, literally. This is the only bloom on the entire plant.
Click on the image to see the post at Flickr.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011


Originally uploaded by Phototrain Photography
Here we are heading east out of Algonquin, after camping at Mew Lake camping area in the park. Mew Lake is the only campground open right now.

We saw a couple of groups snowshoeing. I should have got a shot of the yurts, they seem pretty popular at this time of the year because they are heated.

We didn't take many photos, but the ones we got we liked.

Click on the image to see more at Flickr.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle
Originally uploaded by Phototrain Photography
Here we are just north of Calabogie, Ontario.
We came around a curve and crested a hill and this dude was perched in a tree.

Fortunately the camera settings were correct. This was the first and only good frame.

The camping was good. Jacqui brought her arctic sleeping bag, that had seen very little service since her time in Yellowknife and Rankin Inlet.

We had a big campfire, there was very lttle wind. Despite the -16 degree temps, we were comfortable, whether awake or asleep.

Algonquin Park is beautiful any time of the year.

To see more images from our recent outdoor adventures, check out Jacqui's flickr account, lifecatcher2010.

Click on the image to go to flickr.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Originally uploaded by Phototrain Photography
We have to eat. A small, solid start to the day.
Click on the image to go to Mike's Flickr account, if you like.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Originally uploaded by Phototrain Photography
Exploring Murphy's Point Provincial Park, on Big Rideau Lake, near Perth, Ontario, Canada.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sunset On The Rideau

A beautiful winter evening on the Rideau. The ice fishing huts have started to appear.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The White Queen

Happy New Year.

2010, with the luxury of 20/20 hindsight; it was an incredible year.It was not without situations that required solutions.

The best year ever!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Jacqui-The Day Before Xmas

Happy New Year, sweet friend!



Sitting On The Frozen Waves

Happy New Year!

This is in Port Burwell, the day before Xmas. It was a beautiful winter day.