Monday, 4 May 2015

Au Revoir Quebec!

Tuesday 28th April  Riding south from St Adele I stopped at midday to graze Lady near Lac Hughes, and got talking to Ron Caron, an ex psychologist who gave it all up to start a small company Olive Authentique producing hand made artisan soaps and skin care products from refined coconut oil.  Here he is beside the soap cutting machine he made using guitar strings ...
and he very kindly gave me a couple of free product samples!
Another quiet road with the sort of speed limit I like to see!
Nearing Lac Louisa and wondering where I would find hay for Lady for the next three nights when Lara Croft came out to meet me. The upshot was that Natasha (her real name) sorted out accommodation for Lady and me where she keeps her own horse Jasper with the irrepressible Colleen and husband John.  Lady had a clean loose box with ample hay and carrots while I was sat down with a glass of beer and treated like royalty, to the extent that I found myself paying court to a procession of visitors including a salamander..
Natasha and boyfriend Mathew in the barbecue area, beside the big stone oven built by the multi-talented Natasha - she is also an artist with a book due to be published this September.
Colleen can you make sure someone sends me some of the photos of the Quebec hillbillies!

 Wednesday April 29th and Colleen produced a real Canadian breakfast of coffee with pancakes and maple syrup, bacon and easy over eggs, while I was interviewed for The Review by journalist Tara.
A little contingent of Natasha, Colleen, Melanie and Mary plus horses accompanied me for a couple of kilometres down the road before parting company.  
It was not far before Lady and I were within sight of the Ottawa river and the distant hills of Ontario on the other side.
I am sure it was $200 last week?  Inflation hits the litter penalties business.... 
 Members of the Clark family who settled here from Scotland in 1832.  Brian Clark, shown below between brother Wayne on the right, and nephew on the left, is the sixth generation to farm here.
I got talking to him when Lady was taking a lunch grazing break at the entrance to his 1000acre farm where he grows soya beans and corn, milks twenty five Holsteins and harvests maple juice from around 2,800 trees.
Gravel roads need regular maintenance, and a road grader was busy at work digging up the top layer to remove potholes and then relevelling the surface

 Tara had arranged for me to stay with the Welden family in Grenfell, near the bridge over the Ottawa river.  Andrew keeps miniature donkeys, and together with wife Kim, runs a local flea market, selling fruit and vegetables, antiques and even horses!    Andrew, Kim and son Herbie with collie Ruby the next morning Thursday April 30th.
 Daughters Rebecca and Emily had already caught the school bus.  After feeding me generously the evening before, Kim sent me off with a packed lunch!
Crossing the bridge over the Ottawa river from Quebec to Hawkesbury in Ontario

Mega thanks to all those who hosted me in Quebec so magnificently, and apologies to the victims of my insufferable attempts at French after over 40 years.

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