Thursday, May 31

Moose Sightings

Spring is a great time to see moose as you're driving the roads and highways of the region. In early spring, the animals are drawn to the tasty road salt that has washed into the ditches.

Later, in May and June, when the bugs are thick in the deep of the woods, moose come out to the road sides where the open air and breezes give them a break from the black flies and mosquitos.

We've seen a lot of moose this year and our guests have reported seeing them, too -- sometimes multiple sightings in one visit! The big beasts have been spotted on Fern Glen Road, Hwy 11, and (of course) Hwy 60 in Algonquin Park.

We always tell our guests: If you're driving along Hwy 60 in Algonquin Park and you see cars pulled over on the shoulder, stop (carefully) and pull off road. Chances are someone has spotted a moose! It's generally safe to get out of the car and take pictures as long as you keep your distance from the moose. While they are typically not aggressive, they are still wild animals -- make that BIG wild animals -- and must be respected.

On busier, faster highways such as Hwy 11, it's best to just drive on by and not create a road hazard by stopping. I've been lucky in that I saw two moose beside Hwy 11 just as I was getting to my exit. Since there were no cars behind me, the off-ramp was a safe place to slow down and pull over for a better view.

I can't talk about seeing moose from the road without a warning about moose on the road. If you see a moose on the road ahead, put your four-way blinkers on and slow down. Stop if necessary. Give the animal space and time to get safely off the road. Drive slowly on winding country roads and use your high beams (don't forget to switch back to low beams when approaching on-coming traffic or coming up behind another vehicle). 

Wednesday, May 23

June Events in Muskoka & Almaguin

There's lots happening in and around Muskoka, Algonquin Park and the Almaguin Highlands in June and beyond. You can also like us on facebook to keep up to date with news and events.

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Huntsville Home Show
Canada Summit Centre, Huntsville
Home and lifestyle show, including health & wellness, decor, leisure, sports & recreation, and more. Seminars, demos, entertainment, food, vendors and giveaways. Visit the Hunstville Home Show for details.
May 26 & 27

Spin the Lakes Cycle Tour
Great day to cycle the scenic roads of Muskoka. Four distances to choose, from 20km to 170km. Visit Muskoka Cycling Club Spin the Lakes for details.
May 27

The Huntsville Half - Band on the Run
Lace up your running shoes for a 5km, 10km or Half Marathon run. The day includes great music, food and fun while raising money for Habitat for Humanity. Jim is running the 10km and hopes to see you there! Visit The Huntsville Half - Band on the Run for details and to register.
June 10

The New Moon in June Star Party
Mew Lake Campground, Algonquin Park
Join volunteers from the Toronto Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada as they view the Algonquin night sky. Telescopes are set up on the beach for a first-hand look. At Mew Lake Campground beach (at km 30.6 along Highway 60). Visit Ontario Parks Events for details.
June 14

The Cottage Dog Show
Canada Summit Centre, Huntsville
A weekend expo all about pooches in Cottage Country. Demos, performances, contests, vendors and more. Visit Cottage Dog for details.
June 15 - 17

Aboriginal Day Celebration at Muskoka Heritage Place
Tour a First Nations museum display and encampment. Learn traditional teachings that resonate with today's environment. Visit Muskoka Heritage Place for details.
June 21

Burk's Falls Rodeo
Fair grounds, Burk's Falls
The Ontario Rodeo Association comes to the Almaguin Highlands for the Canada Day weekend. Featuring bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing, bull riding and more. Visit the Ontario Rodeo Association for details.
June 30 - July 1

Friday, May 11

Butternut Cranberry Waffles with Cranberry Maple Syrup

Last fall, I was asked by Savour Muskoka (an organization promoting food producers and artisans in the area) to contribute a recipe to be included in a calendar. The recipe was to highlight locally-grown products and ideally it would be suitable for making throughout the year and not just during the short growing season.

Butternut squash, cranberries and maple syrup are all produced in Muskoka and they all have longevity beyond their harvest time. And they all taste absolutely delicious when combined in these hearty waffles!

Savour Muskoka hit some snags and never did print those calendars, but this is a recipe worth sharing at any time of year.

Butternut Cranberry Waffles

We love butternut squash for the sweet, mild, nutty taste but any winter squash (or canned pumpkin) can be substituted.

Winter squash—such as butternut, hubbard, and kabocha—are harvested in the fall before the first hard frost. They can be stored in a cold cellar or other cool, dry place for many months and the prepared puree can be frozen in pre-measured portions for easy convenience. Fresh cranberries freeze beautifully (do nothing to them but toss them in a ziptop freezer bag). This allows us to enjoy our local produce long after the growing season has ended.

Makes 4 servings
  • 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour 
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 
  • 14 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  • 1 cup butternut squash puree* 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower or vegetable oil 
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup 
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or plain milk soured with a splash of lemon juice) 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries 
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the butternut squash puree, eggs, oil, maple syrup, buttermilk and vanilla.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just combined. Don't over mix (a few lumps are okay). Let the batter rest for 20 minutes.

While the batter is resting, soak the dried cranberries in hot water for 10 minutes to plump up. Drain in a mesh sieve. Stir the drained cranberries into the batter.

Cook the waffles in a preheated, greased waffled iron according to manufacturer's instructions.

Serve waffles hot, topped with Cranberry Maple Syrup, toasted pecans and a dusting of icing sugar. Enjoy!

* To make butternut squash puree: Carefully cut squash in half lengthwise. Scrape out and discard seeds and strings (or bake seeds until toasted and eat as a snack!). Place squash halves cut side down in a baking dish. Add 1/2" water to the dish. Bake in a hot oven until tender throughout, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Peel away and discard skin. Mash squash in a bowl with a potato masher (or whiz in a food processor) until smooth and lump-free. Butternut puree can be used in the waffle recipe above, added to soup, mashed with yellow or sweet potatoes, or baked in a casserole. Unused puree can be frozen, well-wrapped, for up to two months.

Cranberry Maple Syrup
  • 1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen 
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup 
In a sauce pan over medium high heat, bring cranberries and maple syrup to boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries start to burst. Serve warm.