Yes, this in nothing new. For years, there have been bluebirds nesting here – in the summer.
But this frigid January we have a family of 4 bluebirds surviving on the abundant juniper berries. We accidentally encountered them as we were cleaning out nesting boxes and prepping them for spring use. It is quite the sight to see that indigo blue against the stark white snow. Very vivid.
2018 was a good year for birds here. Our nesting boxes fledged 90 TreeSwallows, 11 Bluebirds and 4 Chickadees. It was a first, in that, we had no baby bird losses. In all my years watching over the bluebird trail, I have never had a year with no mortalities. Myguess is that there was
abundant food, insect food, because of the rainy weather. It was also another first where a very ambitious pair of Tree Swallows hatched and raised 7 healthy babies. A record for Crieff.
Now all we can do is to wait for the migratory arrivals in April.
Fiona van Wissen at 3:29 PM
Looking for Peace and Quiet?
Thursday, January 4, 2018
Happy New Year!
Looking for some peace and quiet after the busy holidays?
The Hermitage and Pines Suites are open all winter at Crieff.
The re-furnished Hermitage has already been enjoyed by several guests this winter. Check out the photos below to see the new look of this cosy personal retreat house.
Thanks to Debbie Ellis for her painting of the Hermitage that captures the sense of tranquility so beautifully.
We look forward to your visit in 2018!
Fiona van Wissen at 10:28 AM
Canadian Christmas Bird Count
Tuesday, January 2, 2018
Thank you to Marion Robertson for this blog post.
According to Bird Studies Canada, the Christmas bird count started in 1900. This makes the count the longest running Citizen Science project. In Canada, approximately 14,000 birders count over 3 million birds from December 14 to January 5. Data is collected by Birds Studies Canada to help create strategies to protect birds and their habitats. In conjunction with Audubon, a 'Birds and Climate Change Report' has evolved highlighting dangerous bird population trends and the need for conservation action.
It is easy to participate. Simply contact Bird Studies Canada to find a count near you. Counts may be done from the warmth of your home while watching bird feeders or hiking in the crisp winter weather observing fields for bird activity. Don't forget to take photos and submit them to the Christmas Bird Count Photo contest.
I'll be donning on my favorite warm socks and traveling the trails of Crieff Hills. My assistant, Runabout, will keep me company on our walks. It is a great way to enjoy the Christmas season.
Marion Robertson is co-owner of B Sweet Honey Nature Company and Puslinch Naturally Native Trees
Marylu Pentelow at 12:29 PM
Looking to a New Year
Wednesday, December 27, 2017
Crieff Hills has been blessed with another busy year.
Thank you to our staff and volunteers for all their hard work, and to all of you
who have visited Crieff Hills in the past year. Whether you were here at Crieff
for a day, a weekend or a week, we hope it was a time of rest and renewal.
May the New Year bring joy, peace, and happiness to you and your family.
(The Spool Clock below was hand made at Crieff as part of the
Retirement with Meaning Retreat in the fall.)
Fiona van Wissen at 11:07 AM
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
We have been waiting ...
Overnight there has been a change in what I see out my window. Winter with its snow has arrived to Crieff Hills. I see a beautiful world.
As people arrive for today's Luncheon Buffet I hear laughter and stomping of feet to clear their boots. There is also talk of snowy roads and the need to slow down. We have been waiting for the Ontario winter weather - most are prepared for what it brings.
Let us also remember this season of Advent. A time to slow down. A time to prepare and be prepared.
'Advent: the time to listen to footsteps - you can't hear footsteps when you are running yourself. Bill McKibben'
'Take time to be aware that in the very midst of our busy preparations for the celebration of Christ’s birth in ancient Bethlehem, Christ is reborn in the Bethlehems of our homes and daily lives. Take time, slow down, be still, be awake to the Divine Mystery that looks so common and so ordinary yet is wondrously present. Edward Hays, A Pilgrim’s Almanac'
'Let's approach Christmas with an expectant hush, rather than a last-minute rush! Anonymous'
Marylu Pentelow at 11:28 AM
The Red Cedars at Crieff Hills in November
Thursday, November 30, 2017
Thanks to Marion Robertson for this blog -
Wow, what a seed collection year it has been! Species of trees such as beech, black maple, ironwood and musclewood that create seeds every 5 to 7 years decided that this was their year. Giant seed crops for some species but the wetter weather was not favorable for species, such as oak. But, it is time to celebrate with the last species being collected this week – the red cedar.
Common names can be so confusing and it is no different for this tree. Commonly known as red cedar, it is not actually a cedar but a juniper. 2 types of juniper grow in this region but the Juniperis virginiana is the juniper you see as you stroll the bluebird trail at Crieff Hills conference center. The beautiful blue berries are not actually berries but scales tightly packed. Reference books actually refer to the fruit as cones, not berries. The cedar waxwing bird, named after this tree, do not really care. For these winter residents the tree is essential as a food source through the long winter months.
While you are walking the trails of Crieff Hills, don't forget to admire these hardy blue berry adorned trees. A reminder, the Christmas luncheons are coming up next week. I understand there are some spaces still available.
Marion Robertson is co owner of B Sweet Honey Nature Company and Puslinch Naturally Native Trees
Marylu Pentelow at 12:46 PM
Are you ready?
Monday, November 27, 2017
Advent begins this weekend…are you ready for the journey?
Perhaps it is time for silent retreat, a hike in the woods, to walk the labyrinth, or to read a poem like this advent poem by Ruth Burgess:
In the strength of God the maker
we are going on a journey.
In the friendship of Jesus
we are going on a journey.
In the safeguarding of the Holy Spirit
we are going on a journey.
A star is shining.
Angels are busy.
Mary is pregnant.
Joseph is packing.
Advent is coming.
It’s time to go.
May God bless us with hope and wonder as we travel.
- Ruth Burgess, 'A sending'
Fiona van Wissen at 2:02 PM
The RAW CARROT visits Crieff Hills
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Assembly Council and the Life and Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church in Canada held a combined meeting at Crieff Hills. While here co-directors of The Raw Carrot, Rebecca Sherbino and Colleen Graham, shared their vision and the story of The Raw Carrot. As well, everyone was treated to a bowl of Hearty Lentil & Barley or Mulligatawny soup. To find out more about The Raw Carrot go to their web site www.the rawcarrot.com.
Marylu Pentelow at 3:59 PM
Today's promise ...
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Today's photo of beauty was taken by David looking out from House of Dove. God's promise.
Marylu Pentelow at 3:40 PM
Retirement Planning - Learning, Listening and Creative Fun
Thursday, November 2, 2017
Looking ahead and planning ... that is what this Retreat was all about. Coming to this retreat were those who are retired as well as those who are thinking ahead to retirement. With the leadership of Rev. Dr. Andrew Irvine there was time for listening, sharing, and soul searching as each looked at this new stage in life.
Listening to God ...
Who will you be?
What will give meaning to your life in the years ahead ...
which may be 30 or more!
Time for Worship
One of the free time actvities - Watercolours with Debbie Ellis