Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sitting Atop Hay Bales and Enjoying the View

This was my latest edition of my column in the Kings County Record.  I've added some pics that I took while hiking with my son recently.  A couple of these appeared with the column.  I hope you enjoy it.
Round hay bales near Foxhill, NB
I have a vivid memory from when I was younger.  I was maybe 8-10 years old and I can remember my friends and me biking down to Mac's Grocery to buy a treat.  Back then you could get a soda, a chocolate bar, and a bag of chips for no more than fifty cents.  We would then bike back towards home and stop at a nearby hayfield to enjoy the treat.  It is the memory of the hayfield on the hill and the large hay bales that make this memory stand out in my head.  I was taken back to that time earlier this week and it prompted me to write about it.
There is something crisp about a freshly mowed and baled field.  The birds know it.  They circle around a freshly cut field looking for scurrying mice or other food morsels.  The air is filled with a cleanliness that a grown field doesn't possess and you can feel a lightness as you walk, unencumbered, across the field.  The tall grass is no longer there to hold you back, but yet if you stretch out your hands and close your eyes, you can still feel it there tickling your finger tips.  When you open your eyes the birds will still be circling over your head, and your head will feel light and dizzy.  At this point you will need to sit down for a second or two and instinctively you will seek out the highest point in the field and climb onto the nearest hay bale there to rest.

My son looks over the valley from atop
a round bale near Foxhill
Sitting on top of a hay bale and simply looking over the remaining golden grass that was left in its wake is relaxing now.  As kids though, we used the bales to play hide and seek or as obstacles in a race course.  It was a place to explore and find adventure.  It was a place where we could go and let our imaginations run wild as we played wild, west adventures.  We tested each others strength and quickness as we would often try to roll the big round bales or simply wrestle each other to get to the top of the highest bale.

A CN Train rumbles in the distance
On the day my son and I explored a local hay field, it was too hot to wrestle or play tag so we simply sat on the bales and chatted and ate a snack.  We pulled out some binoculars and watched the tree tops for birds and spotted a hawk that was far enough away I couldn't identify it, but close enough that my son thought it was "cool."  He was also impressed with the constant singing of the beetles and wondered why he hadn't heard them earlier.  When the train rumbled up the valley below he was excited to watch it go, so much so he almost fell off the hay bale he was perched on.    
It was a great afternoon and getting out and exploring nature is that simple.  A science lesson for your kids and maybe even yourself is likely right out your back door.  I know my son and I are learning something every time we get outside together.                                                
Looking down on a corn stalk, not sure why, but why not.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Tower Talk

This weekend past was Canada Parks day and many parks around the Country celebrated with some great events.  Parks Canada opened their gates for a day and waived entry fees.  This provided many with an opportunity to maybe explore that park or historic site close by.  That National monument that they've been meaning to get to.  I know that is what my family did and it was a great experience.  We checked out Carleton-Martello Tower National Historic Site in west side Saint John, NB.  What is impressive about this tower is that it is the oldest structure in the country's oldest City.

Stay tuned for more on this great East Coast family adventure.   

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Canada Parks Day

Hey did you know that this Saturday is Canada Parks Day?  Many parks across the country are offering free entrance on Saturday and are hosting many special activities.  If you love the outdoors and our great parks check it out.

This is a great way to share some great fun at little cost.  Some parks have geo-caching events, campfires, guided hikes, and many other cool events.  There is something for everyone so come on, get out and support our parks.

Dickson Falls in Fundy National Park where on Canada Parks Day you can take a guided hike.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Wow the heat is crazy nowadays in this part of the world.  I have a great deal to write about it but no time to write.  When things slow down I will get back to getting trip reports and such on here.  Hope everyone is enjoying their summer.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

What did you do on Canada Day?

Whalen's Wanderings Column in the Kings County Record (July 6 edition)

So what did you do for Canada Day?  Was it the same thing you did last year for Canada Day?  I know I did the same thing as last year.  For me that is what Canada Day is about.  It is about family and tradition and it is about hanging out with close friends and family and sharing the celebration together.  Canada Day is about setting time aside to slow down and appreciate what we have here in Canada.

I can't recall how long ago our current tradition began.  It was likely the first year after my wife and I moved to Sussex.  Long time friends of my parents invited us over for a barbeque and pool party and since we had a young child at the time, hanging out with willing babysitters seemed like a good idea.  With my parents at that Canada Day party my wife and I could more easily relax and enjoy the pool, the food and drinks, and the conversation.

This year's Canada Day was spent like the last 4 at least.  While some people may like a change, for me it has become a great way to connect with some of those people I don't get to see regularly through out the rest of the year.  In total there are likely 5 or 6 families that have enjoyed this party regularly over the years.  The families would span three generations and most of the people in the first generation who have attended in the past, knew me as a child, and I grew up with their kids.  Now our lives are busier and I have lost touch with them and their children.  Our Canada Day tradition allows us to catch up and span that generational gap.  There is a long history between many of those who attend and to keep that history growing, this Canada Day party allows us all to continue to add to the story.  It allows a generation that had a huge impact on me to also provide that same wholesome, family oriented, positive impact on my children. 

I think that a get together like this builds a strong sense of what it means to be Canadian.  As Canadians we love our families, we love our backyards, we love being outdoors, we love our stories, we love to play, and we love to celebrate.  A couple of people love to play music, some love to swim, some like to toss washers, some like to talk, and we all love to eat.  When you bring all this together it makes for a diverse party atmosphere that slightly symbolizes the diversity that makes Canada so great.

Did anyone see where I put my towel?

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