Let the sun shine in

While November is often thought of as a drab and dreary month, there is one redeeming grace. As a blanket of leaves forms on the ground, light floods into spaces that were previously dark or shadowed from canopies.

Let there be light. We need more light right now.

The psychological benefits of light are well-known. Increased hours of sunlight heighten the brain’s production of serotonin, which improves mood, alertness, productivity, sleep and mental wellbeing.  

Recently, we redecorated our sunroom. We love how the light fills the room. It is a very happy room in our house. But you don’t need to redecorate your house to find more light. Here are some simple things you can do to take advantage of the limited light in the darker winter months:

  • Go for a walk each day at lunch or rearrange your schedule to do at least some form of physical activity outside each day in daylight
  • Change your window coverings or clean your windows to let in more light. Using mirrors or rearranging your furniture can also result in more indoor light.
  • COVID is a perfect excuse to keep extending patio season. Visit a local brewery and have a pint outdoors or have your morning coffee bundled up on the front porch. On Saturday, we watched the sun go down sitting on a hay bale in front of a fire at Slake brewery, a new microbrewery in Prince Edward County. It was spectacular.
  • If you can, move your workspace to a place by the window or with better light. If no one is home, I often will dial into meetings from my sunroom.
  • Take Vitamin D during the winter months if you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder or try a light therapy lamp.

This week’s #HappyAct is to let the sun shine in and keep smiling.

Walk through a sky with a thousand suns


I have found a very special place here on earth.

A few weeks ago, when I asked the kids what they wanted to do during their final week of summer, Grace said, “I want to go to the sunflower fields.”

So after spending the day at Sandbanks Provincial Park, we stopped at Sunflower Fields ice cream shop, just outside Picton. We filled up on Kawartha Dairy ice cream, then spent an hour wandering through acres of sunflower fields.

Sunflower fields ice cream shop

Our trip to heaven on earth was about two weeks too late. Most of the stalks had already lost their flowers, but it was still spectacular.

The fields of gold and green shimmered in the late day sun. Bees buzzed brimming with nectar and pollen and cicadas hummed their pleasure. The warm rays of the sun bent down to kiss the regal remaining stems that turned their round faces upward.

Author Corina Abdulahm-Negura once said, “A sunflower field is like a sky with a thousand suns.”  This week’s #HappyAct is to find and visit a little piece of heaven on earth. It’s corn maze season. Why not get lost in one?

Here were some of my favourite photos we took that day.

Girl and sunflower



Girl and sunflowers


gangly sunflowerFunny signCricket on sunflower

Sunflower fields


Sip, swirl and swallow

Man holding two bottles of wine
Dave with our bounty from Keint-He Winery

Yesterday, we spent the day in Prince Edward County in Bloomfield and Wellington with my brother and his wife who were spending the weekend at the Waring House. It was a grey, cold November day with the wind whipping off the lake. We warmed up the best County way, by sipping, swirling and swallowing the latest vintages at some of Ontario’s finest wineries.

The first winery we toured was Chadsey Cairns, a beautiful old barn with a tasting room overlooking their vineyard. We’d been to this winery several years ago, and I remember being enchanted by its charm. (It’s for sale, by the way—yes, you could be your own vintner for a cool $3.8 million). A bottle of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir later, and we were off to our next winery, Keint-He.

Ontario beach at sunset
A stroll at Wellington beach is a great way to clear your head after a day of tastings!

Here we tried a few red samplings, ending with a lovely Gamay Noir. I’m not a wine connoisseur, so I can’t describe all the wonderful flavours we were experiencing like the wine experts do. I just know what I like, and I liked all the wines we sampled yesterday (go figure!) For me, it’s as much about the ambiance. At Keint-He, they had a magnificent huge tasting table and stone fireplace. We sipped away watching the sun set over the fields.

Our last stop was Karlo Estates. This was our favourite stop. Their tasting room was bustling with dozens of revelers. The 100-year old barn beams, and white twinkly lights, coupled by now with our eighth or ninth tasting made for a wonderful end to the day. Howie and the boys behind the bar served us pairings of onion chips, blue cheese and chocolate as we sampled their reds, ending with a sweet, delicious Port.

Woman sipping wine
Sampling the Lake on the Mountain Riesling at Karlo Estates

Where were all the kids during all of this you ask? Out in the car. We shared a few jokes about that—hey, they’re country kids. They know what to do if the fishers or coyotes come after them.

This week’s #HappyAct is to warm up on a cold winter’s day by touring some wineries. The next two weekends, the wineries of Prince Edward County are celebrating Wassail, where you can sample mulled wines with food pairings. Short on funds? Touring wineries is a great day outing even if you’re on a limited budget. All three of the wineries we visited offered single taste samplings for a $1 each.

Four bottles of wine
Some of our bounty from yesterday’s outing