Bikes and Blossoms

This weekend was the May 24th Long weekend – affectionately known, in Ontario at least, as “the 2-4”.  Traditionally the first camping or cottage weekend of the year, it really signifies the beginning of summer for many Canadians.  I’m happy to say, that after a long, snowy winter here in the capital, this “2-4” did not disappoint.  Even though we weren’t at a cottage or out camping we had more than one meal outside on the deck with friends, went for a hike and a picnic in Gatineau Park, and I got to go out biking; both on my own, and with The Boy and his Dad.  I was happy to be able to finally bring along my “big” camera and try to take some better photos than I get on the iPod on my daily toddler adventures.  It seemed like everyone in Ottawa also had the same idea and the bike paths were packed with people cycling, taking photos and generally enjoying the sunshine, the flowers and the outdoors.

This series of photos highlights blossoms and bikes seen on Saturday and on Monday.

Daffodils

Daffodils and Dows Lake

And over the bridge

The bridge near the Arboretum

Biking By

Biking By

Blossoms in the Arboretum

Blossoms in the Arboretum

My ride.

My ride.

Blur... I didn't quite perfect these photos. I am keen to try again.

Blur… I didn’t quite perfect these photos. I am keen to try again.

Bixi's being well used

Lots of people were biking around on Bixis

I made her do a drive-by so I could take a shot

I made her do a drive-by so I could take a shot (it’s my sister).

Bikes and Boats

Bikes and Boats

Along the Canal

Along the Canal

Stop to look for ducks

Stop to look for ducks

Winding Path

Winding Path (rare bike free moment)

Knitting, the retrospective – (Part VI)

Part VI…  I’m going to get beyond my ability to write Roman Numerals before too long! (I’ll just have to switch to Arabic at that point, since I haven’t been big on consistency in these titles anyhow, it shouldn’t matter)

My next sweater project was a bit of a re-do of a previous one.  I had enough yarn from the first project to make another sweater of the same type, and by this time I had a little baby of my own (who sadly doesn’t have a custom knit sweater from his momma! – I made the bike train while I was pregnant with him, and finished it off when my parents came to visit just after the Boy was born – then I didn’t knit again for months).   Because I didn’t have a lot of time for knitting or creativity in the early momma days, I took the sweater from part III (https://simoneinottawa.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/knitting-the-retrospective-part-iii/) and changed it a bit to customize it for these friends.  I liked designing and making sweater III as well as the finished product and I was not sad to do a version of it again.

Notable changes include the addition of a row of bikes (now that I finally had a little bike chart – I was going to add it to as many projects as I could!) as well as the addition of a row of “antique saws” – to fit in with a particular hobby of the dad.  The fish stayed, (this friend is a Fisheries scientist), as do the skiers, (this friend also LOVES to ski).  The house is also significant for this couple as well.  The first time we met my friend’s boyfriend (who became her husband and father of her child) he was offering to sweep out the chimneys of the house that she had bought and was living in and trying to maintain on her own.  I don’t know if she knew it then, but at that moment I knew that he was a keeper.

the Front of the sweater

the Front of the sweater

the Back of the sweater

the Back of the sweater

These friends also got a bonus, experimental hat.

These friends also got a bonus, experimental hat.

I had a little bit of yarn left, so I knit a hat.  It was supposed to be for my Boy, but it was too small, so it was sent out west with the sweater.  It is not a wonderful hat at all. It’s a bit tall, and a bit bunchy, especially where the bikes were. In order to better maintain the tension, it should have been either all fair isle, or all stripes with no fair isle.  But as I’ve said before, I learn something new every time I make a sweater.  I think that their boy wore it a few times before he grew out of it!

I have no photos of the sweater being worn by its owner – but I’m sure he looked very cute.

Biking with the Boy.

The best thing (Ok, one of many, many great things) about the improved weather we’ve been having has been getting out on my bike with The Boy. I didn’t bike much with him last year for various technical reasons (insert boring story about bike frame and incompatible trailer hitch here).  This summer, I want to use my bike for far more trips, like I did in Vancouver – before I had a car.  So far – so – good!  the Boy and I have been having a great time.  Going on out with the bike significantly increases the places that we can visit within a close radius to home.  We try to walk a lot and we drive too – but there are some places that are difficult to drive to (they aren’t actually accessible by car – or they are too close to justify the drive) but too far to walk (without the walk taking up all the time and leaving no time to “be” at the destination ); this is where biking can be perfect.

Where the canal meets the Ottawa River

Where the canal meets the Ottawa River

For example:  on exercise mornings we can bike to the Y and then after we were done we can bike to Dow’s Lake to look for ducks or to throw pine cones in the water, and to look at the tulips and flowering trees.

Throwing sticks into Dows Lake

Giving Dows Lake a little stir with a stir stick.

I can honestly say that these little trips have been some of my favourite times as a parent.  The Boy is very interested in what’s around him, enjoys riding in the trailer, and is thrilled about seeing the river and ducks, all of which are still very new to him.

One morning we sat on the edge on the shore where the canal meets the Ottawa River and talked about what we were seeing for almost an hour, the ducks, the crane at the Art Gallery, the high water, the sound of the cars going over the Alexandria Bridge (Mommy, what is that noise?”) and the Aquabus that came along full of tourists – (if you want to capture the imagination of a two year old – tell him that the boat he’s seeing is actually a “bus-boat” that can drive on land and in the water!)

It's not that easy to explain what a "flood" is to a two year old.

It’s not that easy to explain what a “flood” is to a two year old.  We had to learn lots of new concepts like “shore” and “edge”

Another time we went up to the arboretum and spent a long time watching ducks swimming, listening to the frogs,  just observing.

"A Duckie!"

“A Duckie!”

"Look, look, Mommy, a Duckie!"

“Look, look, Mommy, two Duckies!”

And all of this is possible on a bike.  I feel like we have an infinite number of places we can explore on the bike that were just a little bit out of reach on foot – and that my eco-guilt doesn’t always let me visit in the car – or that are tough to get to by car as well.  When you think about it, Ottawa has a lot of waterfront and almost all of it (at least in the centre of town) is accessible by bike paths.  We could choose a different direction to explore every day for weeks and still find new places to go.

At the Arboretum

At the Arboretum

The open road!

The open road!

And tulips - Ottawa shines in the spring!

Tulips…

More Flowery Trees

…Flowery Trees…

Flowery Trees

… and more Flowery Trees: Ottawa shines in the spring.

All photos are taken on the iPod – which is easier to carry while cycling – but sometimes leaves a bit to desire in the quality department.