Jennifer Jilks writes My Muskoka

banner for My MuskokaJennifer Jilks is an Ottawa school teacher now living in beautiful Bala, Ontario. She’s over 50 and that’s a huge niche right there. She’s also a travel expert, wildlife photographer, hiker, and blogger who posts twice a week about a special little part of Canada called Muskoka.

Jennifer Jilks of My Muskoka blogMy Muskoka cottage blog is an inside look at life in five Northern Ontario towns including Bala, Bracebridge, Gravenhurst , Huntsville, and Port Carling. She also chronicles the changing seasons as reflected in the shorelines of the Muskoka lakes.

Jennifer Jilks is fifty two years old. Before living in Bala she taught school for twenty five years in Ottawa while raising three kids – now her children are adults, and they are all remarkably different. They are all professionals. Jennifer’s daughter is a hydrogeologist and married to green party candidate Jean Luc Cooke. Her second child is a gifted actor, and the youngest boy is a government statistician.

Living and Dying with Dignity

About Jennifer Jilks

You can learn a lot about Mrs Jilks by reading the sidebar of her blog. Halfway down the right hand column is a picture and link to her book

Living and Dying with Dignity, a daughter/caregiver’s point of view.  She writes here that ‘My mother’s cancer, dad’s brain tumour and dementia changed my life. The book includes information, research, as well as coping strategies from real life experiences.’ And now suddenly we understand what drove her to start this blogspot. It wasn’t fame, or a marketing assignment, or a creative outlet for her photography, but an expression of true self. This woman hopes to share her healing with readers. Jennifer is a Muskoka Hospice worker and the experience of helping people living and dying with dignity rings like a bell and resonate through her life’s work. Indeed her continued care giving and volunteer work at the hospice gives her existence meaning and adds value to her perspective on life in Muskoka.

Jennifer Jilks in WashingtonJennifer Jilks Photography

In addition to chronicling the adventures of her three cats, Jenn’s blog images waterfowl, wildflowers and rodents in high quality photographs.  She submits her pictures to a camera critters blog and to a popular Ontario photo contest website and it was through Lenzr that she first came to my attention. In late November 2009 Jenn_Jilks compiled a beautiful array of breathtaking photos, with multiple entries in all three web challenges.

Jennifer Jilks and Social Justice

Today Mrs Jilks understands the explosive power of blogging. She learned the hard way after posting a series of well researched articles detailing the political, economic and social implications of the Bala Falls hydro electric project.

Muskoka LakesShe generated sixteen comments with a  particularly contentious post on the bala hydro electric project in the fall of 2008  where she was accused of being a puppet for Dalton McGuinty.

Fortunately other bloggers came to her rescue. Jenn’s site is at the center of a local blog ring that doesn’t have a badge yet, but the members appear in an earlier post. Muskoka Bloggers is a list she updates frequently and links to in her sidebar.

Last summer, Jennifer Jilks did her civic duty and published a piece on the 2009 drowning in Bala explaining the water currents better than news media. Jenn lives in the Township of Muskoka Lakes and in one posts she took it upon herself to debunk the The Myths of Muskoka.

My Muskoka blog is already publishing original stories about the 2010 G8 Summit’s impact to ‘locals’ in Hunstville and surrounding towns.

My Muskoka is a very credible citizen journalist, a passionate photographer, and a writer with a soul living inside Ontario’s premier Muskoka cottage country travel destination.

Bookmark and Share

Outdoors in Muskoka Ontario

Muskoka Outdoors banner
Bill Anderson was raised in Huntsville Ontario and grew up hunting and fishing alongside his father, and grandfather. He remembers when Muskoka wasn’t such a glamorous holiday destination, and there were more loggers than cottagers in Gravenhurst. Hiking outdoors with a rifle, crossbow, or rod (and sometimes all three) is an Anderson family tradition that hardens the boys into men by subjecting them early to the awesome power of nature.

Bill Anderson with bassMuskoka Outdoors recounts Bill’s experiences with all of the most popular northern Canadian pastimes, and that includes seasonal hunting and fishing, and also hiking, sledding and cross country skiing in the winter. Above and beyond the action components, Bill’s blog gives him an outlet to share personal stories, like the birth of his daughter.  He keeps readers informed with up to date moose tracking reports, recent cougar sightings, wild turkey tag regulations, and blueprints for ice fishing huts.

But Bill Anderson is not as much of a local yokel as I wish he was. He’s not the type to drive into town with fish guts on his pants and a gun rack in his truck, but almost. You’ve seen guys like him filing red gas cans at Petro stations when you pull in for directions. He’s a big fish in a small pond and floats a couple of boats. Do you ever wonder what his life is really like? Is it simply awesome? What’s it like to live out on the lakes all year long? A post like Sweet Spots answers that question, nicely. That entry is also a passionate piece of self reflection on the man behind the blog.

Muskoka Outdoors - fishBill embraces blogging because it gives him the ability to recount his stories. Though he humbly insists he’s not a good writer, his writing is fine, and his photos are great. Put together his photo journalism is winning friends and influencing people as his readership grows. And that’s because he lives the subject, and qualifies as an expert in this popular niche.

Having an aesthetically pleasing website with lots of interesting content is important, but Bill’s advice to new bloggers is to take advantage of technology and join blog indexes and similar social networks, and spend some time everyday reading and leaving smart comments on other people’s blogs.

Muskoka Outdoors is a sexy tackle box stuffed full of sweet bait that’s informative and sometimes provocative. Bill says it’s important to ask questions in your posts, and respond to reader comments. He always replies, even if the comments are bad. Muskoka Sunset“Remember, we live in a country where differences in opinions are valued. Agree to disagree and thank them for their comment.”

Muskoka Outdoors is great reading for everyone – the writing isn’t limited to fishing trips and hunting expeditions but rather its the real accounts of a man who enjoys these sports, and takes pride in his family and being a father. It’s an inside look at life in one of the most beautiful parts of Canada.

Bookmark and Share