A Day In The Park

Sunday November 24

Sandra left the house early this morning. She’s doing a ‘Raptor Photo Shoot’ until noon…

No, not those Toronto Raptors

‘Raptors’, like my buddy Casey here…the most beautiful bird at Mountsberg (and by far the smartest)

…Matti wakes us up by licking our faces until we either have to move…or drown

(blechh, dog germs)

Well, we’re up now, we might as well get dressed and see what’s happening in the park

We decide to hike out to Christmas Town. Wendle and I gear up…it’s still -16c outside and we want our warmest duds on

We enjoy the spectacular weather as we trek out through the forested and frozen swamps. The leaves have fallen to the point where the squirrel nests are highly visible in the trees

We found a really fantastic pic of a nest interior but the photo’s proprietor will only share it for money (‘bad form old man’)…however, you can see it for free (ha ha) by going to this link

http://www.dkimages.com/discover/DKIMAGES/Discover/Home/Animals/Mammals/Rodents/Nests-and-Burrows/Squirrel-Drey/Squirrel-Drey-02.html

A wagon has just pulled into Christmas Town and that means we are going to have a good half hour to visit with the young desperado who is driving that rig (which he also made)

“Hi Bob”, Wendy and I shout together…

(Bob is our pseudo dad. he taught us everything we know about schedules, horses, bison and cleaning harness…and in that order. thanks pappy)

…and then we notice Bill and Lyle. Wow, this is turning into a even more wonderful morning. Bill is Mountsberg’s Head of Operations and the park’s linchpin (he keeps the wheels on). Lyle, Bill’s brother, works for the Water Department in the summer (remember, Mountsberg is part of a watershed) and works at Mountsberg, as needed, in the winter

These are three of the most generous and outstanding individuals Wendy and I have ever met…and we love the hell out them

Guys, I know you said you didn’t want your pictures taken but ya know what…it’s time you three take a bow (besides…you’re not the boss of my body)

Bob, Moose, Bill and Lyle

We have a great time by the fire and then it’s time for Bob to take a load of visitors back to the tracks…we hitch a ride (“shotgun”)

Now we’re ready to leave. We have a ton of things to do today and we have just enough time to say goodbye to Sandra

We start walking over to the Raptor Centre

Hey look, it’s Cornelius…or is it Phoenix (don’t worry, Amy will correct you if you get it wrong). He’s one of two (slightly neurotic) male Eagles that live at the park. There’s also a large female named Pawgwashiing Migizi (“Bald Eagle of the Shallow Water”) but she is much too smart to be outside on such a cold day

If you look closely, you’ll notice that Cornelius is puffing his feathers out to increase the insulation effect

We head inside the building looking for Sandra…and spot Lara (together…Amy, Lara and Sandra, are the keystone of Mountsberg’s Raptor Centre)

“Lara!”, we shout

Lara is our awesome buddy. She’s gorgeous, smart and sassy…and we love her…and she’s a great hugger

Told ya she’s a great hugger

We do get to say goodbye to Sandra but we can’t get a hug…she’s got a Peregrine Falcon on her arm and that’s a little tough to grapple around

Sandra…and Matti…Thank You for your friendship and generosity! We love you both

Now, unfortunately, we have to leave. What a great park though…we fell in love with it the first time we went and you can too. If you’ve never been to Mountsberg…do yourself a favour, go for a hike, canoe, bird watch, go see the Raptors, the Bison, the Horses, Bob, Bill, Lyle, Jim, Rick, Amy, Lara, Sandra and Matti…at least once (and if you miss Christmas Town, don’t worry about it…it’s almost Maple season)

You can check it out at: http://conservationhalton.ca/mountsberg

We drive back into Oakville. Our next stop is the storage unit…again. We have just over two hours to take almost everything out of the unit, sort through it and find the stuff we missed on our first attempt. Unbelievably, we accomplish all of this…and right on schedule (inconceivable)

We throw all of our stuff into the trunk of the car and head off to a late breakfast with Baz (c’mon, you remember Baz)

We meet him at Mo’s Family Restaurant, located at 467 Speers Road in Oakville. It serves heaping helpings of hearty fare and best of all…it has an all day breakfast

Just as we’re about to leave, Baz surprises me with an early Christmas gift…

“Can I open it now?”, I ask

“Absolutely”, says Baz (that’s why i love him)

“Awesome”…it’s a copy of Chris Hadfield’s new book ‘An Astronaut’s Guide to Life On Earth’

In keeping with his usual thoroughness, Baz has arranged to have Chris sign the book for me….and he’s had a picture taken of Chris signing the book….

…and then he authenticated the reverse side of the photograph

(i think that’s called, ‘great provenance’)

It is a thoroughly thoughtful gift and so very much appreciated

Thanks Baz!

…and Glenda (well someone took that picture)

It’s getting on to five in the afternoon and we have to get back to Marine Drive for dinner with Rose and Jill

Tomorrow’s a big packing day so we’re going to have another early night. We’ll see you tomorrow

Goodnight all

Moose and Wendle

P.S.

Hey Bob and Bill

It’s pretty cold out. Maybe you should bring Steve the Bison into your office to watch some television…like this guy, he’s ‘Jim’s indoor pet’ (imagine the size of the litterbox)

Guess what his favourite football team is?

(answer below)

A: ‘Da Bears’

P.S.S.

Hey Amanda…

Merry Christmas

Photo Credits

Raptor Mascot – http://www.sportsnet.ca/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/raptor_mascot_gal-640×360.jpg

Casey the Vulture – http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2823/9550597441_6b9e99a4fd_b.jpg

Squirrel Nest – http://img.geocaching.com/cache/946d0a22-0733-4c3f-b03f-b7ba52c3ab2e.jpg

Indoor Bison – http://www.cracked.com/article_19515_the-6-most-incredible-real-world-beast-masters_p2.html

Sherlock Holmes 1 – http://th01.deviantart.net/fs71/PRE/i/2012/007/4/0/new_sherlock_holmes_by_allegator-d4ll8lp.jpg

Sherlock Holmes 2 – http://i.imgur.com/U8mRE.jpg

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