Sep 16, 2017

Garden in bloom

Our Summer was amazing!  Where did it go?!?!  Here we are deep into September already and I see I never got around to posting our garden in bloom.

Compared to last year's drought, it was a wet season but almost all the plants loved it, growing lush and thick.  Of course, then the bugs came out in force, slugs in particular poking holes in all the hostas.

It was a Summer of dramatic clouds!  We've never witnessed so many unusual textures and colors in the clouds as we did this year.  Here's a view from our balcony in late June.

Our Adam's Needles did very well, and for once no thieving hands snatched away the lovely flowers!  Thank you for letting them stand tall!

Elora, however, looked like it was invaded by rabid groundhogs as everywhere Wightman fiber optic cables were laid into the ground.  We lost our front sidewalk for a while, and they didn't do a very nice job of restoring it, buggers.

Our boulevard on David Street finally got a good cleaning out and a few new plants.  The creeping bell flower bloomed beautifully as did the lilies.

Thanks to a free-standing "mini garden" from Lee Valley, we grew our own herbs and mini tomatoes to grace our breakfast dishes.  This was a wonderful idea, keeping the herbs out of bugs' reach!

And growing more than 8 feet tall, the Cup Plants on the boulevard were magnificent!  It was a thrill to see all the bees that came to enjoy the flowers, and now the birds are coming for the seeds.  

Hope your Summer was Grand too!

Jun 28, 2017


Would you like to meet some of the soft sculpture characters in the display cases here at the Flying Leap?  

Our landing on the second floor provides a great location for a little display area, and here's where the Scratching at the Window
creatures who are looking for new homes await adoption.  All were handmade by me from my own original designs.

Of course, it's hard not to be up-staged by a dragon with a 6-foot wingspan!  Fawn impressively oversees the landing as you climb up the stairs.  She took 2 1/2 years to construct and is not looking for a new home.

In the display case await the lady bears, with Lorelei the Merbear on the top shelf,  Emralda and Annette on the middle and Venus, Caviara and Seian on the third.

 Venus, Annette and Emralda are all about 14 inches tall, made of European mohair and built over a wire frame so they're very poseable.  They have glass eyes and doll wigs, and handmade costumes that were a lot of fun to create! 

Here's Seian as a bellydancer.  She also is not looking for a home.

 On the wooden shelf, we have 
Cere and Bella, two ratty brothers

Devina, a lady rat in her Hallowe'en best

Squirt and his mom Pearl

and my Titanic bear, with the commemorative 100th anniversary postage stamp.

If your keen to know more about these critters, please visit my Scratching at the Window website.  As you'll probably notice, some of the girls are not there yet so just contact me and I'll send you the adoption details.

Jun 8, 2017

Elora Wildlife in Need

  Willow and I rescued a Merlin!  This was on April 9th, a Sunday, as we were out on our morning walk.  We were on Mathieson Street and spotted a larger bird on the ground (on someone's driveway) with something dark underneath.  I thought he must have just caught something and moved in slowly for a better look.  As we approached, the poor thing tried to flutter away, dragging one wing behind.  Oh-oh...  I had just noticed that two men entered a house across the street so I went to the door and a lady came out, “Can I help you?”  I asked her for a large box to trap the bird and instead I got a box, the two gentlemen and pairs of gloves!  With Willow tied to a tree (she was so good), a big coffee machine box and leather gloves, we circled the bird, cornered him and I rushed forward and squished the box on top of him.  One of the men helped get him into the box and close it up, but the bird didn’t put up much of a fight at all (I was worried).  Very graciously, they drove us all home and I called our 24 hour vet's office and they told me to call the Guelph Humane Society to access their 24 hour wildlife service. 
  So Tyler, an Animal Protection Officer, (THIS would be the job I always wanted!!!) arrived 40 minutes later and the bird kicked up a fuss as the box was put into his truck.  That was a good sign!  Later, Tyler phoned to say the bird was bright and active and many hands were needed to examine him. He reported that "The species of bird was a Merlin, a type of falcon. The break was proximal on the humerus, right close to where the head of the upper wing inserts into the shoulder capsule. We performed a wrap on the wing to prevent further injury and support the joint (much the same as you would on a human!), gave subcutaneous fluids to make sure the bird was hydrated, and administered an oral painkiller prior to sending to rehab. We sent the Merlin to Hobbitstee Wildlife Refuge who work to rehabilitate a number of wildlife species."   
  So send good thoughts to our little Merlin and hope for him a speedy and complete recovery!  Perhaps he's already testing his mended wing!  Open skies! 

You can read more about Merlins here:

If you ever encounter injured wildlife in the Guelph area, please do take action and contact the Guelph Humane Society at 519-824-3091, even on Sunday.  It doesn't take much to help our fellow wild creatures, especially with this dedicated team of professionals only a phone call away.  
  And please consider helping out your local wildlife rehabilitation center.  

Photo at the top is of our rescue, taken by the great folks at Hobbitstee, from their Facebook page.

May 11, 2017

Forever Green!

As anyone who has ever visited the Flying Leap, you know we love our garden!  Mom and I spend countless hours and while it is a work in progress we certainly are making the old girl look grand!  The magnolia trees and tulips in Elora are particularly pretty this year.

Sadly, however, there are lots of dark spots inside the house where real plants simply do poorly.  This is a frustrating shame for us, as we always had lovely house plants in our previous homes.  Well, what to do?

Enter Melanie B. Floral Designs in Sebringville (about a 1 hour drive from Elora)!  We met Melanie when we lived in Stratford and were absolutely delighted and amazed by the quality and arrangements of her lovely silks.  Believe me, there is a HUGE difference between quality silks and the regular stuff you find at places like Michaels.

This week Melanie has her annual Mother's Day Open House and knowing what we needed we phoned ahead and then visited on Tuesday to see what there was for us!

Along with a beautiful Canada 150 door decoration and lovely potted faux plants for our 3-season sunroom, Melanie put together this for our Meadow room, where the live plant simply wasn't thriving.  

My treat, though, was to bring along my goblin planter, which has been waiting in the basement until now.  It's original plant disintegrated and hunting around found nothing suitable.  Melanie, however, took one look at it and her brain was churning!  In almost no time, she created this perfect arrangement featuring hops, a few succulents and some other varieties.  Here he is, ready to come home.

And here he is in our sunroom for all our guests to see!

Thank you Melanie!

You can see more of what Melanie creates on her Facebook page:

Apr 6, 2017

Letting in the light

Over the course of the winter, we decided to change some of the light fixtures in the rooms and hunted for the best options.  First:  Creature Comfort, our "luxury room", needed better than a bare bulb hanging from the ceiling.  We debated the pros and cons of leaving the antique fixture but decided that if we left the two nicer ones (with the dogwood flower design in brass) in the hallway we could switch this one out (of course we saved the old fixture, it's safe and sound).  Hunting locally was fruitless but finally provided the best solution:  a Savoy House Lighting semi-flush ceiling mounted fixture with a creamy/cloudy marble glass.  

Our Meadow was really the instigator for the lighting changes:  while this fixture was beautiful, our Meadow really needed better air circulation even with the 4 windows and bathroom fan.  Now, with this Kendal Lighting 3-speed fan with seperately controlled fan, guests will be able to make themselves perfectly comfortable.  It runs super-quiet and is balanced just right.  We found this one at Chatelaine Lighting in Guelph.

So where could we put the fixture we removed from the Meadow?  Again, a single, bare bulb was all that our Fox Hole had as a ceiling fixture.  It wasn't enough, the room felt "industrial" and unfinished.  Now, look at it:  this antique light with its old glass looks perfect here and raises the room's overall appearance tremendously, it's really quite surprising what a big deal it is!!

Once again we have to thank Brock Richardson of Fergus Electric.  (Brock may be reached at 519-843-3560.)  In this old house, his expertise was absolutely priceless and his know-how, problem-solving and speed were incredible to witness!!!  Without his help, we would never have accomplished all these changes.  Thank you so much, Brock! 

Mar 28, 2017

Spring is in the kitchen!

Spring on a plate!  The breakfast we served this morning couldn't have a better title, just green, green, green!  Our vegetarian guest gobbled it up, so it was a hit!

Our repertoire of gluten-free offerings also continues to improve.  These coconut flour based muffins not only are gluten-free but also refined-sugar-free as I used honey and agave to sweeten them up.   
The only thing we have not mastered is vegan dishes... So as long as you're still eating eggs we can create a satisfying and eye-pleasing breakfast for you!  (If you have an awesome, fool-proof vegan breakfast recipe you'd like to share, please do!)

Mar 22, 2017

Shiny and bright!

Winter affords us the time to tackle small, niggley things like doors that don't close properly and wobble, and painted-over hardware.  This time we took on our parlour, entry, basement and bedroom doors... 

As you can see in the picture below, taking off a strike plate can reveal a surprise: a chewed out hole that needs wood filler. (Yes, the frame is pretty banged up too.)  Once the hole was cut clean and any loose wood glued in place, the position of the strike plate was checked and corrected and reattached... after a good cleaning, that is!  
Sadly, a lot of the hardware in this house was painted over.  Steel wool could only do so much, so paint remover had to be used.  This turned out to be quite exciting, for as the paint came off in chunks the decoration on the brass plates was revealed!  Wow!  

When you're here, take a moment to notice these lovely, little details!

Next up:  the parlour door!

Mar 9, 2017

In transition

This time of year can be hard on the nerves, with the thermometer flip-flopping from maybe-it's-Spring to deep Winter, the dirty snow melting into mud, gravel on the lawns and lost recycling turning up in clumps under the crusty snow.  But there are visual wonders too, like spotting this gorgeous, algae-like frost on our concrete steps...

...and the first wee snowdrops pushing through with determination, and then surviving the temperature yo-yo!

And it's a good time to bake!  I almost think these almond croissant beauties look like Easter eggs!
We've had thunderstorms already, and +15C, while now we're going back to -11C... so we've covered the patches of tulip "thumbs" and hope to save them from ruin... Tuesday brought us a rainbow and this stunning sunset... wow.   So who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Mar 6, 2017

Book real estate

In our third year here, patterns are definitely emerging:  B&B winters are slow, but that's okay because there's a lot of touching-up, fixing, renovating, etc... to be done.  We've taken full advantage of this time of year and finally got on to of our own affairs, which included bringing many loads to the local thrift shops! 
  Not so with books, of course.  You can never have too many books... but eventually you run out of places to put them all!  So it was that I desperately needed more shelves, NOT just for books but our collected rocks from a vacation in Utah.  

Market Road Antiques in St. Jacobs came to the rescue!  Obviously we wanted something that looked a bit older, but was still in good shape and could shoulder a load.  We found this piece in one of the stalls and went home to measure our space.  It would work!  Then we asked a friend with a truck (thank you Olga!) to help transport the shelving unit, and it was home!  

The unit is stamped "Vilas Canada" on the back:  it turns out that Vilas was manufacturing in Cowansville, Quebec, and made furniture from 1950 - 1980 according to this website.  

From this blog:  "Canadians of a certain age are familiar with Vilas and Roxton, reputable furniture makers, who produced maple and other hardwood pieces in the rustic American style.  There is a lot of this furniture around from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s; it’s very solid and well-made but definitely stuck in a time warp."  

Along with all sorts of homeless treasures, my rocks went from this:

to this:
A place for everything and everything in its place.

Jan 28, 2017

Blood red beginning to the year

Finally we have enough snow to look like winter again!  And after a week of fog and grey, we had a day of stunning blue skies.

For your sweetheart: how about a weekend away in beautiful Elora? Come relax at the Flying Leap, we'll treat you to comfort and calm! 
   Skiiing? Snow-shoeing? Or just strolling along the Gorge?  Reconnect to what really matters and enjoy each other's company in our friendly village with top-class restaurants, unique architecture, and stunning winter scenery.  
  With no TV to upset or distract you, you can have a Trump-fee 48 hours (but feel free to use our free wifi if you like).

If you're booking 2 nights or more for the weekends around Valentine's Day and you mention reading our blog, please enjoy 10% off your total booking cost.