BBQ Reunion in Guelph

So this past weekend I traveled back to Guelph for a barbecue that Drung was hosting. This particular trip to Guelph was special because it was my first time driving there by myself. I never had a car of my own to drive during my undergrad, and while I've been living back at home I've had to share a vehicle with my parents and sisters. Usually a trip to Guelph would involve sitting 7-8 hours on the Greyhound, but thankfully I was able to borrow one of the family's cars for the weekend which made the short trip worthwhile.

I was lucky to have Brianna there as a road-trip partner. She's living in Ottawa this summer, but still has friends and a wonderful boyfriend in Guelph. It really did work out well; I was going down this weekend for Drung's barbecue, and she was conveniently already planning on travelling to Guelph for Gender Blender and a Toronto Rush game.

We made really good time travelling. We left immediately after work on Friday and I was able to get Bri safely into her boyfriend's arms by 10:30 pm. I didn't get settled down until midnight because Drung wasn't home and I had to break into his house. Thankfully he didn't hide the key in his old spot, and I was able to get inside the home and dig out Stew's mattress from his packed room.

Early on Saturday Drung returned hungover after going to a bachelor party the previous night. I spent most of the morning helping him prepare for the barbecue before I left to run my own errands in the afternoon. I came back to Drung's place just before some of the first few guests started showing up.

The barbecue was great! It might seem a little excessive to drive all the way from Ottawa to Guelph for a barbecue, but this was the first time in a long while that the whole group of us were together again. I got to catch up with some old Guelphites and meet some new people who had known Drung in high school.

It was great to pick on Drung again too! Man, I miss poking fun at that guy. I was helping Drung barbecue the hamburger patties and sausages when he started burning everything on the grill. In his rush to move the food off the barbecue, he accidentally sent some burnt sausages flailing across the yard. I started laughing at his panicked mistakes, which resulted in his usual response, "A-MAN-DUH. Stop it." I couldn't handle it. I came rushing back into the house laughing so hard I was bright red and in tears.

The night went on and we enjoyed the (slightly burnt) food and the keg of beer that Drung had bought for the event. We even got some use out of the beer pong table that Dave and I had painted. I'm so proud that I had to take a picture of it puddled with booze.

Dave, Kevin and I crashed for the night, and when we woke up in the morning we decided to go to Symposium - our post-party tradition. I'm proud to say I ate more than any of the boys that morning. After my order Kevin turned to me and said, "you realize you just ordered at least four slices of bread, right?" Nope, but that didn't stop me.

After breakfast Kevin and Drung left to go golfing while Dave and I decided to spend a few hours hiking the arboretum. The poor boy wasn't prepared in the slightest; he was wearing flip flops, a t-shirt and some light shorts. We had gotten a lot of rain that weekend, so when I dragged him into the more wooded areas of the Arboretum he was instantly either swarmed by mosquitoes or slipping in the mud. To make matters worse, we even got rained on while exploring Victoria Woods. Dave was a trooper and remained in high spirits the whole time. He even took pictures and blogged about our excursion, which you can find here on his blog.

Besides the bout of rain, the Arboretum was spectacular as usual. We covered most of the trails because I was determined to photograph some cedar waxwings. While we did heard the birds, unfortunately we never got a good enough view to take photos (the rain probably worked against us). However, we did see and hear a lot of other birds including a catbird, baltimore oriole, cooper's hawk, redtailed hawk, turkey vultures, and a rose-breasted grosbeak. If I could distinguish the calls of sparrows and warblers there would be even more in that list. The birds were definitely back from migration!

The most interesting find of the day was a male yellow-rumped warbler that we found in the parking lot of the disc golf course. The little bird was busy protecting his territory and had found another male that just wouldn't back off: his own reflection in the side mirrors of cars. He was busy fluttering back and forth between different cars, attacking his reflection and pausing to rest atop the mirrors. The poor guy was probably wasting all his energy on the mirrors. I would imagine the rest of his territory was probably overrun with competitor males.

Another interesting find was coming across my first common whitetail dragonfly. Are these bugs actually common in the Guelph area? I've never seen one there before, and certainly not in Ottawa either. They were all around the bog portion of Wild Goose Woods, with the white, large males chasing each other away. The females were there too, but I mistook them for another species because they were an average size and brown.

It's funny how quickly I revert into "nature interpreter" mode when I'm outside with someone. I spent a lot of time teaching Dave about things we came across: crows chasing a hawk, five turkey vultures circling overhead, a catbird screeching obnoxiously in a nearby tree. Dave seemed excited and willing to learn, which is a good thing because I can't seem to turn off my inner teacher. 

The Arboretum was blooming will all sorts of gorgeous flowers this past weekend. Everywhere I went, I smelt lilacs. Irises, my favorite flower, were also in full bloom. Dave and I each took pictures since early flowers like these don't last very long. However rainy the weather was this weekend, the spring flowers really help me to appreciate it. 

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