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Talking about @tjbaerwrites and her book “Talking About Fungus”

 

"Talking About Fungus" by TJ Baer

“Talking About Fungus” by TJ Baer

Cronyism is alive and well, my friends!

Since this week is World Pride Week, and this weekend is when the party goes wild downtown Toronto, I thought I would take the opportunity to share one of my favourite authors with all of you, who happens to be one of my very good friends dating back to my time in Japan days!

T.J Baer is a very dear friend of mine, and…

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Father’s Day: Redux

This father’s day will probably be one of the ones I end up appreciating most.

It’s not because I’m back home and able to celebrate it, or because I got an epic present for my dad or anything. But, I will probably remember it for a very long time because I will spend it, simply thankful that my father is alive.

Last Friday, on June 6th, my mother and I were waiting for my father to come home from…

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Dora chilling at the vet today

Dora chilling at the vet today

“Well, she has tested negative for heartworm, but… she has tested positive for Lyme disease.”

Cue the biggest heart attack of my life. My dog, Dora, suddenly had Lyme Disease. And for a split second, I was stuck there, in my vet’s office, wondering… WHAT THE HELL IS LYME DISEASE. IS MY DOG GOING TO DIE? OH GOD, WHY, I HATE EVERYTHING.

Obviously, my vet could see…

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The Secret of Canadian PoW Camps

Except for the people who I grew up with as a child, very few understand the true nature of exactly how isolated the town I grew up in was. So I’ve attached a map. This is my old town, Marathon, Ontario.

[googlemaps https://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Marathon, ON, Canada&aq=0&oq=Marathon&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=54.22533,77.431641&ie=UTF8&hnear=Marathon, Thunder Bay…

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When I moved home to Canada from South Korea in March, I felt an unspoken understanding that I had probably peaked with my k-pop interests. The days of me being a really devoted fan were probably over. I’m not much into watching television in the first place, and I find myself not fitting well with the online U-Kiss fan community. Without being able to take part in events directly, I knew that…

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Best map of the Toronto subway lines. EVER. Found on http://davesgeekyideas.com/

Best map of the Toronto subway lines. EVER. Found on http://davesgeekyideas.com/

There are two very important facts that I have faced over the past month:

1. I realized that I have lived on my own for about 10 years now. Yes I would move back home in the summer time, but I went to university the fall of 2004, and so it has been 10 years since I have moved out on my own.

2. After living in three…

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How to: Get an International Bank Account in Korea

One of the biggest difficulties that people seem to have with being in Korea is with the banking. When I arrived in 2010, things were actually very different to how they were now. However, for many people first arriving, they will find themselves getting a bank account made for them by their company, and won’t know much about their banking. The other problem with banking is that is can be…

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The Hallyu Wave That Wasn’t

My First Taste of K-Pop and the Hallyu wave

My First Taste of K-Pop and the Hallyu Wave

Normally, when I tell people about how I got into k-pop, it usually starts around 2010. Something to do with my friend who was really into JoKwon getting me into the artists by her generous use of gif files on Livejournal, led to 2PM, and then SHINee. However, the truth is, I could, and by all accounts, really should have been a fan long before that,…

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I’ve been back home in Canada for just over a month now, and we’re reaching the point where I’m completely done with the whole not having money thing. My pension money isn’t here yet, and the second that arrives, I know that it needs to go into an apartment and savings, so I can’t even relax with that.

So, after three years in Korea, a year in Japan, a post graduate in scriptwriting, a BA in…

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For those of you who are experiencing a normal March, the snow has probably melted away, there are probably flowers out, and things are looking like there might be warmth one day for you.

Not in my home town.

When I returned home to Canada, I returned home to about 30cm of snow. Lets all remember, I hadn’t seen more than 5 cm of snow in YEARS. And the one year I was home between Korea and Japan, there was hardly any snow at all. The last time I had a winter like this, I was in university.

Since arriving home, it has snowed more times than I can count, and I’ve had days where I open the blinds, stare outside, and then close them and get back into bed. It’s just not worth it. I have forgotten how to be Canadian, apparently. Luckily for me, one of my friends is an incredibly outdoorsy person who loves doing lots of Stuff, and so we planned an adventure to do something I had never actually done before: We went to a sugarbush.

For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, a sugarbush is a forest that is farmed to make maple syrup. Vermont and New England, you can tell yourself that you make maple syrup too, but Canada makes three quarters of all the maple syrup on earth, so going to a sugar bush might have been the most Canadian thing I could possibly do when the weather is snowy and shitty but still not freezing.

My friend Tamara is one of those “morning people”. I, on the other hand, need an alarm to wake up at 10am. Despite working at a public school for years, I never adjusted. Either way, I was up so that Tamara could pick me up at 8:30 (she has a car, while I was still too nervous to drive at this point). I made her stop at a convenience store so I could grab a redbull, and felt MUCH better as we headed down the county roads to Spencerville.

“Hey Tamara, that sign says pancakes.”

This unassuming sign marks where Drummond's Pancake House is. It's easy to miss.

This unassuming sign marks where Drummond’s Pancake House is. It’s easy to miss.

The sign announcing Drummond’s Pancakes an Sugarbush was a tiny roadside sign next to a farm house. We had to pull into someone’s driveway to turn around (which drew a curious look from the woman clearing her driveway) and went back down the road.

Down a short, winding path, and we entered a picturesque maple forest that looked like something out of Narnia. There was a small looking building (I do have to resist calling it a shack) at the end of the road with a considerable amount of cars parked, considering. It looked like how you expect a maple syrup farm should look.

Anyone who did Canadian history will remember these lots and concessions maps.

Anyone who did Canadian history will remember these lots and concessions maps.

Apparently, we went in through the side door, and found ourselves in their history room. Drummond’s is one of the oldest businesses in the region, being over 200 years old. The reason this is really impressive is that Drummond’s has been on the same lot of land for longer than Canada has been a country. In their history room, they had displays of the original lot maps from when Canada was known as Upper Canada and was divided into lots and concessions. As a history major, these maps were incredible familiar to me, and many of these lots have been chopped up and divided for houses. So to see an original lot be so well preserved was amazing. I had to be pulled away from the lot books to go get breakfast.

The breakfast menu was simple: pancakes and sausage. I had wanted bacon, but Tamara likes sausage more so at least one of us was happy. There was a big bottle of syrup on each table. As well, Drummond’s are apparently famous for their baked beans. But we were not there for their baked beans. Pancakes and sausage, please and thank you.

Pancakes + maple syrup = Happy

Pancakes + maple syrup = Happy

The sausages were good, and the pancakes were pretty nice. A touch of lemon juice to the milk could turn their recipe from a basic pancake mix to a really good buttermilk pancake recipe (I love buttermilk pancakes) but really, we were there for the syrup. Our pancakes looked like Noahs Ark in a sea of syrup. Salvation in a sea of glorious, sticky death. Our biggest regret was that we only got two pancakes. I could have eaten one of those massive stacks like they show on TV. So delicious.

Um... I'm just not going to ask any questions.

Um… I’m just not going to ask any questions.

Because the weather was edging on the side of miserable (It couldn’t decide between rain or snow) the wagon ride through the forest wasn’t running. Since Tamara is a trooper, and I had a camera and was thinking “this’ll be great for my blog”, we decided to walk the trail. The weather held out, which was pretty nice. It was rather hilarious at some points, because Drummond’s also runs a Halloween wagon ride. I guess taking down all the decorations was too much work, so hidden under a foot of snow would be some abandoned Halloween decorations, or a random ghost hanging from the trees.

The path hit a fork in the road, so we decided to follow the trail of abandoned Halloween decorations. The road was straight. So incredibly straight, I was really amazed, because paths through the forest don’t seem to be straight. And then I thought back to the maps in the shack, and realized we were probably on the original lot lines that divided the plots over 200 years ago. I fangirled for a bit, and took some photos. It was exciting, and I am not ashamed to admit that.

This road seemed to go on forever! It was pretty cool

This road seemed to go on forever! It was pretty cool

Modern maple syrup tapping

Modern maple syrup tapping

Eventually, we had to turn off the lot line and back into the maple forest. We were both impressed and bummed by how they were collecting the syrup. When you think of a maple tree being tapped, you assume it it’s going to be a bucket attached to a tap in a tree. But that’s old fashioned and labour intensive. For a farm like Drummond’s, it actually looked like a massive spider web. Small tubing wound around the forest like maze, and a tap was hammered into each tree. Each tube connected into a main pipe which would suck the sap right into the sugarshack and boil it down. Modern and innovative, but maybe a little less magical.

The weather was getting a bit more “falling from the sky” than I would have liked, with the rain and snow changing every other second, so when we finished our walk, Tamara bought her massive bottle of maple syrup, and we headed out.

It was a pretty fun day! I definitely want to go to more sugarbushes, because it’lll be a good season for it this year. Sadly, Drummond’s don’t have a site or anything, but they do have a facebook page that is updated once in a while. I would check it out if you’re in the area.

How to be Canadian: Drummond’s Sugarbush For those of you who are experiencing a normal March, the snow has probably melted away, there are probably flowers out, and things are looking like there might be warmth one day for you.