Back to School: The Summer Recap

The kiddo’s head back to school today, and while we haven’t got kids, (and therefore are spared the chaotic start to September than I’m sure all you parents have experienced), it does mark a milestone. 

For those of you who don't live in Calgary, back to school most likely marks the end of summer for us, and the arrival of winter any day now is a very real possibility. Last year, although it didn't hang around, we had snow on September 12th, despite temperatures in the early 30's just a matter of days before! We pretty much skipped fall, and went straight into winter. So back to school got me thinking about what we have experienced and achieved this summer. It honestly has flown by so ridiculously fast! I know everyone says that, but this year, I honestly can’t believe how quick.

I’m starting now to understand why Calgarian’s value their summer so much. When we first arrived last summer, everyone we met seemed to be going away camping virtually every weekend. Priorities changed to make the most of the hot weather, and things like house work and DIY projects (unless outdoor related) went on the back burner. As newbies in Canada last summer, we didn’t really get out and explore too much, our priority was more about getting settled and adjusting to our new way of life. This year, we’ve done a fair bit, but nowhere near as much as most Calgarian’s do. I guess that’s what comes with being new home owners!

lake louise with dogHARVEY DOG AT LAKE LOUISE

So what have we been up to? I guess that depends when you mark the start of the summer. Which is a confusing question in itself. Weather is Calgary is neurotic to say the least. I remember being sat outside in sunshine and blue skies, sunbathing in early April, and yep, I got a tan. The crazy part? There was snow on the ground all around me! That day wasn’t a one off, there’s a reason Calgary holds the record for the sunniest city in Canada! But then come mid-May we had probably the biggest dump of snow I’ve ever seen fall in just one night. Ask any Calgarian, and they’ll enthusiastically tell you, “Don’t plant out until after May long.” And they were right, even with the beautifully sunny April days, we still got lots of snow in May. That’s one piece of advice I’m very glad I listened to! So with that in mind, I’m going to mark the end of May/early June as the start of our summer.

Snow in May

Snow in MaySNOW IN MAY

I’d say the biggest thing we’ve achieved over those last 13 weeks, has got to be painting the house. When we moved in back in December 2018, most of the outside of the house was covered in snow, so it was hard to see what needed doing, and what didn’t. The survey’s came back good, so we decided to take a chance on everything else. Luckily, all that was needed, at least for now, was a lick of paint throughout, and a fair bit of dog proofing to contain Harvey Dog the golden retriever pup who joined us in January. However that “Lick of paint” to all of the fence panels, the deck, the porch, all the doors, has taken us all summer! And we’re still not finished! It’s dragged on to say the least, but hopefully the end is in sight.

painting the fencePAINTING THE FENCE

We also replaced three low level veggie planters, which the dog took to using for playing four-legged hopscotch almost immediately after his arrival! Knowing there was no way we could keep him out of there once the veggies started growing, they swiftly got pulled up and we made one tall one instead! That in itself took us three weekends, and that’s without replacing the grass or laying the paving slabs! Maybe we’re just slow at DIY?!

Building a vegetable planterBUILDING THE VEGGIE PLANTER

Aside from the garden, we had my in-laws come to visit for three weeks during July and August, which meant I also had to decorate the guest bedroom before they arrived, more on that later. We managed to get out and about a fair bit with them. Some things we’d done before, like walking around Lake Louise, strolling along the banks of the Bow River and over the Peace Bridge, plus Canmore and hiking to Grassi Lakes. But there were some new adventures in there too, like walking to waterfalls at Johnston Canyon which was stunning.

johnston canyon waterfallJOHNSTON CANYON

Another major win which I’m pretty chuffed about, were finding some incredible roadside viewpoints, almost by chance. Our first time taking the pup with us on days out meant that we had to find frequent places to stop, and I’m glad we did, because it was easily some of the best scenery I’ve ever seen in my life, just hiding behind a few trees! Part of me wonders whether to share them with you, as I almost want to keep them to myself, but they are just so stunning, how could I! Backswamp viewpoint was a beautiful and very peaceful hidden gem, just off the Bow Valley Parkway on the way to Lake Louise. The perfect spot for a puppy break, a few photos and to breathe in the mountain air. It’d also be a great place to stop for a picnic too.  Morant’s Curve was also a great little spot, especially if you want to capture the stereotypical Rocky Mountains photo! And our last stop of the day, The Hoodoos Viewpoint, is another one not to be missed.

Backswamp Viewpoint Bow Valley Parkway AlbertaBACKSWAMP VIEWPOINT, BOW VALLEY PARKWAY
Morants Curve Viewpoint Bow Valley Parkway AlbertaMORANT'S CURVE, BOW VALLEY PARKWAY

We also ventured out to The Badlands on two separate occasions, once just me and The Boy, and the second time with the in-laws in tow. Both times we headed over to Horseshoe Canyon,  which is literally canyons carved into the flat farmland surrounding it. The second time we also carried on a bit further up to visit the Hoodoos, and happily played around on the rocks there for an hour or so! The whole area there is well worth just driving around, and only an hour and a half outside Calgary.

Horseshoe canyon and hoodoos badlands albertaHORSESHOE CANYON AND THE HOODOOS
Horseshoe canyon albertaHORSESHOE CANYON

North Glenmore park has become a favourite spot for us too this summer. Perfect for picnics, running, and dog walks. We originally tried South Glenmore Park, but after taking one look at the number of kids milling around the car park, The Boy didn’t even stop the car and carried on in search of less screaming and chaos! In comparison, North is like a whole other world. It’s quiet and peaceful, and except for three of the ugliest tower blocks you’ve ever seen on the horizon, you wouldn’t ever believe you were slap bang in the middle of a city.

North Glenmore Park CalgaryNORTH GLENMORE PARK

We also paid a visit to the Big Rock Brewery, which is only ten minutes away from us, and has fast become a favourite of ours this summer. Their brewery tour was a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon, and we'll definitely be heading back!


We bbq'd several times a week, we drank (maybe a little too much) beer and wine on the deck, we made the most of our fire pit, and we walked around the lake almost daily. All in all, it's been a very good summer, and looking back on it now, it does actually feel like we've done a lot! But it has gone so quickly, I'm desperate to hold on to those last few weeks of warm weather. Winter will be here before we know it, and when that happens, I'm likely to become a hermit for a few months!

bbq on the deck SUMMER ON THE DECK

How have you spent your summer? Let me know what you've been up to in the comments below, I'd love to hear from you! Now, who's ready for fall?!

Michelle x


  • Ah, thanks Nana! It was hard to pick which photos to use, we have so many good ones! Definitely need to get started on some albums I think! Glad to hear Smudge has calmed down a bit, I’m sure training him has been keeping you very busy over the summer! xx

  • It was lovely reading about your summer adventures, next best thing to sharing them with you! I especially liked your photographs, some of them reminding me of the fantastic holiday that Grandy and I had there, one of our best ever.

    My summer has been quiet for the most part, except of course for Smudges barking. Glad to say that he is much better now,. I think that the Dog
    Trainer is training me not Smudge.
    Love to all three of you , Nana M xx

    Nana Mary

Leave a comment