Bog love

JF is enjoying summer solstice (i.e. drinking beer) in the beautiful Yukon this weekend and I’m sappy enough to admit I miss him terribly. So I thought I’d devote some cyberspace to a place we both love: Tiny Marsh.

We’ve been together nine years and marsh-goers for about six. It’s our favourite place for phone-free, brains-off time together. When we lived in Toronto, we’d often stop there to catch our breaths before wading into cottage-country traffic. These days, we visit it every two weeks or so.

Us at the marsh in 2009

Us at the marsh in 2009

Why do we love this patch of bog so much? Lots of reasons:

  1. Groomed trails
  2. No entry fee
  3. Minutes from home
  4. Fresh air – except in spring, when it reeks of hydrogen sulfide
  5. Many birds live there, some rare
  6. It’s beautiful

Though items one to four are handy, five and six are essential to any JF and Mik-friendly space.

You see, JF is a birder.  Not a birdwatcher, a birder. Because apparently, there’s a difference. For years, he’s trudged through forest, field and swamp to hear or see as wide a variety of species as he can – like a real-life Ash from Pokémon.

Personally, I think the whole thing is sweet and nerdy, just like him.  There are only two challenges with his hobby:

  • He doesn’t like to hike where he can’t add new birds to his annual “gotta see or hear ‘em all” list.
  • I find crouching over spotting scopes, peering through binoculars, and flipping through Sibley’s about as exciting as scrubbing my baseboards

Much as I aspire to JF’s level of nerddom, if I’m being honest with myself, I’m more like these two: 

Which is why the marsh’s prettiness is important. It’s filled with lovely things for me to admire and take photos of. There are shady woods, sunny fields and big wide vistas. We’re still finding new nooks and crannies.

Through the years, we’ve shared our love of Tiny Marsh with friends and family. Here are a few photos of people who have explored it with me.

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When JF gets back, I think I’ll request a boggy picnic. In the meantime, I might take a sentimental stroll down the dikes by myself.

The season of the flood

Spring is finally (FINALLY!) here and the sound of ice cracking and robins singing is sweet music to my long-frozen ears.

It’s so wonderful to be able to whistle down Elmvale’s sidewalks without picking through ice. I’ve happily hung up the shovels and packed away my Michelin-man inspired parka.

JF and Tobias, after his bath

JF and Tobias, after his bath

To thank Tobias for getting through the winter, I sent him for a bath this morning. A kind lady named Deb cleaned him top to bottom and he is beautiful again. Our relationship is so much better now that the roads are dry.

Neighbours tell us it has been an epic winter – cold, drawn out, and remarkably snowy. I believe them. For at least a month our front door wasn’t visible from the road thanks to massive piles of snow in our front yard.

What I’m now learning is that with epic snowbanks comes epic flooding. So far (knock on wood) the melting snow hasn’t swallowed our basement. But our driveway looks like this:

To celebrate Elmvale’s first afternoon in the dougle digits, JF and I explored the Minesing Wetlands today. We spotted roads and front yards totally overtaken by water. Still, it was good to feel the earth under my feet and hear rivers rushing past.

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