Here we'll focus on life in the Ottawa Valley - and we'll do it with a sense of humour.
Valley folk are proud of where they call home. They work hard, play hard, love their weekends and their toys.
AND they love to laugh. Even at themselves.
Enjoy this little slice of Valley life. through the eyes of a true Valley boy.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Learning to Speak Valley 101 - #5

Good morning class.Welcome back to Learning to Speak Valley 101. In today's class you'll learn words and phrases that will be vitally important if you are to understand what in the hell that Valley guy or gal is talking about.

Today's word is:

Derived from: A combination of the words "grip" and "traction."

When is it used in coversation? When discussing treads.

Often found in sentences such as: "Holy frig, I need new tires or I'm gonna ditch her - there's no gription left on these ones." or "Holy jeez, I almost fell on my arse - there's no gription left on the bottom of these gumbuts." or "I got these new ball cleats and holy whistlin', you wouldn't believe the gription I have when I'm racin' around the bases." or "I can eat just about anythin' with these new dentures - my chompers don't move since I bought a tube of that Poly-Gription."

Sometimes used in conjuction with: The totally made-up word "slippy" as in: "I smashed my noggin when I was at the curling rink because the ice is slippy and I forgot there's no gription on the bottom of that slidin' shoe."

Chances (on a scale of 1 to 10) of hearing it around the dinner table: 5 (higher if you eat a lot of homemade pickles and jams, because you will hear: "Can one of you open this jar for me? My hands are all sweaty and I can't get no gription.")

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Know what really BUGS me?

Today was yard work day at my place.
Leaves needed to be raked. Branches needed to be trimmed. Grass needed to be whipper-snipped. And the scary part is - I was actually in to it.
I wanted to clean up the yard.
It's like this every spring. I'm excited to clean up the crap (literally crap when you have three beagles) that was buried by the snow. But by early summer, that enthusiasm begins to disappear and by late-August, my yard begins to look like a hayfield. But it's April and I'm still excited about yard work.
Or at least I was.
Until early this evening.
The reason?
Blackfly season officially arrived in the Valley at 7:22 p.m.
And I have the bite marks to prove it.
The little bastards.
Here is a photo of me dealing with my blackfly problem around 7:23 p.m.
Ahhhhh, life in the Valley.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Learning to Speak Valley 101 - #4

Good morning class.
Welcome back to Learning to Speak Valley 101.
In today's class you'll learn words and phrases that will be vitally important if you are to understand what in the hell that Valley guy or gal is talking about.

Today's word is:

When is it used in conversation? Normally as a friendly greeting or when asking questions

Often found in sentences such as: "G'day, howshe goin?" or "Howdy, howshe hangin'?" or "Man, I can smell your dirty feet from here - howshe stays with you I'll never know."

Sometimes substitued in a sentence by:
Hower (As in: "G'day, hower yanow?")

Those fluent in Valleyspeak will sometimes use both "howshe" and "hower" in a single sentence (this is not recommended unless you have completed Learning to Speak Valley 102 - the Advanced Class) Example: "G'day lad, howshe goin' and hower they hangin'?"

Chances (scale of 1 to 10) of hearing in church Sunday morning:
As a greeting - 10
During the service - 6 (Only if the collection plate is passed around and someone has forgotten their wallet - example: "Oh good lord, I only have a beer cap, a stick of Big Red and a snotty Kleenex in my pocket - hower we gonna get out of this pickle?")

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

We need a Venison Express Lane in the Valley

Not sure where this photo was taken, but wouldn't surprise me in the least if it came from around the area!
And as someone who is always concerned about safety on the road - where are the cops when you need 'em? The driver of the car CLEARLY shouldn't be taking photos while driving.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Now THAT is a tractor!

The snow is long gone and the ground is drying up.
That means it's time for local farmers to think about planting.
But, like all of us, farmers don't have enough hours in the day to get to everything they want to get to.
They need a way to get things done quicker.
So look at it like this: if you're painting the outside of your house with a traditional brush and bucket of paint, you're behind the times. If you need to get the job finished, you need to take a page out of Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor's playbook. More power.
In the case of house painting - you turn to a spray gun. And voila, time saved and you're on to another project.
For the farmer, the traditional tractors just don't move quickly enough - at least not once you've read the specs for "Big Bud."
Who in the hell is Big Bud? Actually, it's WHAT in the hell is Big Bud?
It's a tractor that's 27 feet long, 20 feet wide and 14 feet tall and it can pull an 80-foot-wide cultivator.
What you just heard was the sound of Tim The Tool Man wetting himself.
Click here for more specs on Big Bud.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Valley eye test

If you visit the eye doctor, the eye chart always has that huge "E" at the top and letters than gradually become the size of fly droppings by the time you hit the bottom row.

But not in the Valley.

Take a look at this photo I snapped along the Bellamy Road between White Lake and Almonte. If you can spot the deer, you don't need glasses.
(HINT: If you can't see the deer, your best bet is to click on the photo and look at the larger pic)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Learning to Speak Valley 101 - #3 - Valley Twang

Good morning class.
Welcome back to Learning to Speak Valley 101.
In today's class, we're going to have a short spelling bee to help you learn the Valley spelling and pronunciation of everyday words so you can grasp the Valley Twang.

Teacher: Jason, please spell the word "potatoes" and use it in a sentence.
Jason: P-U-H-T-A-Y-T-U-H-S. Puhtaytahs. "My cousin used to work at Wes's Fries in Arnprior peelin' puhtaytahs all day long."

Teacher: Very good. Now spell the word "berries" and use it in a sentence.
Jason: B-U-R-R-I-E-S. Burries. "My friend Jurry Spurry can't wait for summer so he can go pickin' burries with his brothers Turry and Purry who love blueburries, strawburries and razburries."

Teacher: I'm impressed. Now please spell the word "calm" and use it in a sentence.
Jason: C-A-M. Cam. "I can't wait to get out in the canoe tonight because the lake is so cam - there isn't a ripple on the water."

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Haunted past: Valley lad connected to hit song from the 60s

I've worked with Bob Burgess over the past few years and we've spent more than our share of time chatting, laughing, sharing one-liners and just hanging out.
He's the kind of guy you look forward to seeing when you get to work. You know the type.

Always armed with a joke and a smile. Hard worker. Likes to tip back the odd cold beverage. And laughs at my jokes.

A solid guy with strong Valley ties. He lives in Stittsville, but proudly reflects on the many years he called Perth home.

You'll meet few people as passionate about music as Bob. He's a lyrics junkie who knows his stuff.

He's told me that he played in a band a few years back. But he never shared too many details. In fact, he kept pretty quiet about it.

I just figured the 60s did a number on his mind and his memory was foggy.

But just when you think you know someone ...

It turns out Bob wasn't just in a band - he was in a band that was huge on the Montreal music scene.

This all came to light recently when Bob's former band - The Haunted - had their hit single from 1966 played on CBC's Vinyl Cafe thanks to host Stuart McLean who named their tune 1-2-5 one of the top-10 Canadian rock 'n' roll singles of all time.

How cool is that?

You can read the entire story in this article written by my colleague Nevil Hunt for a number of Valley newspapers connected to Ottawa Region Media Group.

It's a great read.

And below you'll find a video clip of the single from old footage courtesy of CBC. Truth be told, this was the first time I heard the song - and it's good (I'm way, way, way, way younger than Bob).
In the video, Bob is playing guitar and on lead vocals, shown mostly on the right of the screen.
And the very cool part is that it was co-written and performed by a lad from the Valley who I call a friend. (In the photo of the band shown above, Bob is back row centre)