Showing posts from August, 2011

Mission Possible

I'm so grateful to live within walking distance of Mission Ridge Park in Kelowna.  It's 21 hectares of nature in the middle of Kelowna's Mission Area, bordered by Crawford Estates to the north and the east, the Lower Mission to the west and at the south end, you have the South Slopes.  It offers a number of different pathways at three different levels on this hillside covered with pine trees, sand and desert scrub.

Though it's not a difficult climb to the uppermost trail, I haven't been hiking as much as I'd like to lately.  I only planned to take the puppies up to the first bench this morning, but once you get out in the fresh air and realize its easier to get up that slope than you thought, something just keeps pulling you along.  Maybe it's this gorgeous view.

Me Bloomin' Tea

Another advantage to having my daughter home is she comes with some really great kitchen gear that I've given her over the years.

One Christmas I bought her a glass teapot from Vietnam Village. We made a pot of blooming tea in it this morning and it was very nice. It starts as something that looks like a ball of embroidery thread.

When you add water and let it steep, it slowly opens into a flower....

You Say Tomato, I Say YUM!

The tomato season is in full swing and we are enjoying every minute of it with daily pickings from the prolific plants in this year's garden.  Another week or two and I'll be doing my annual canning of 100 lbs. of tomatoes from Janet Tucker's farm off Reynolds Road.   I've been putting up tomatoes for almost 20 years now and I never regret the effort.  
Even during our evacuation during the 2003 Okanagan Mountain Park Fire, one of the first things I did when I got back to my home sweet home was to can tomatoes, despite the fact that my girlfriend and I had canned her 100 lbs while we waited out the flames in Oyama.  Canned tomatoes from a store cannot compare to a jar from your cold room.  If you've never canned tomatoes yourself, well I highly recommend you start!

Not a Darwin Among Them

I'd forgotten that the last Sunday of the month is Beagle day at the Mission dog park. About twenty very cute and friendly dogs turned up this morning.  I canvased their owners to find out their names, hoping I'd get an idea for our new puppy.  We're still not sure if we've settled on one yet so I'm looking for ideas where ever I can find them.
It's a little ironic because if I had a male beagle, I know exactly what I'd name him...Darwin.  Kind of clever I thought, since The Beagle was the name of Charles Darwin's ship.  Unfortunately nobody famous ever had a ship named The Rhodesian Ridgeback.... or did they?   Google! 

Endings and Beginnings

To me the morning sunrise represents renewal and hope. Each day begins with a blank slate and an infinite number of possibilities.  We can't choose what the day will bring, but we can choose how we will deal with the adventures and challenges that come our way.  This morning I'm thinking about two people who recently gave me advice on how to approach these challenges - one person I've never met, the other I've known since birth.
I'm thinking of the last words of Jack Layton, who will be laid to rest today:
"My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear.  Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world."
I'm thinking of the similar words from my mother whose ashes were interred at the gravesite of her parents in Saint John this past Thursday morning.  Her last message to us was a bible verse from Corinthians:
"And now my friends, goodbye!  Strive for perfection; listen…

Coincidence? I Think So....

I happened to see a trailer for a Ricky Gervais movie yesterday and in it, he mentioned having buried a "mangle" in his back yard.  Mangle as an noun was new to me but it must have been in my subconscious somewhere as my mind recalled a mint green coloured wringer washer sitting in the corner of my childhood kitchen.  
When I stopped by Father Pandosy Mission this afternoon to take some photos for this blog I was pleasantly surprised to come across this mangle.  It's funny how often you hear something for the first time and then it appears to you or you hear about again within 24 hours.

Later, when I pulled into the queue for the traffic circle near the Mission, I was amused to find myself behind a Mazda pick-up with a brand new washing machine sitting in the back of the truck.  I was further tickled to realize that my last errand before the photo shoot had been to stop at the grocery store and pick up a box of washing soda and a bottle of laundry detergent.  Coincidenc…

Surprise Boomerang Attack

So I've got some good news, and I've got some bad news. The good news is:   My daughter is moving back home after almost two years on her own.  The bad news is:   My daughter is moving back home after almost two years on her own.  
I've always thought of my kids as atypical.  They moved out fairly soon after graduating from high school, and despite being placed in the Boomerang Generation,  I didn't expect they'd be back other than to do laundry or to celebrate Christmas and Thanksgiving.  
My daughter juggled several jobs and travelled after high school and then last September she entered university.  Turns out even working two jobs this past summer won't cover her tuition and living expenses for her second year. My daughter truly is a pleasure to have at home - she does her own laundry, cleans the kitchen when it gets out of hand, calls to see if she can pick up anything we might need on her way home, and has already offered to make dinner on Friday nights.�…

...and the livin' is easy

A nice spot to spend a sunny summer afternoon with a good book.

Happy Feet


Just Dessert

Tonight for dinner we had Thai Pork and Papaya on Couscous from my latest issue of Clean Eating.  While I was cooking my husband was picking blackberries from our imported wild blackberry bushes (from Vancouver Island).  When he set them on the counter, they were a stunning contrast to the papaya (from Belize).  I knew they'd make a beautiful fruit salad and added some blueberries (from a local grower) and some mango (from Mexico). 
I was looking through the view finder and fussing with the location of the dessert bowl with my free hand.  It was no surprise when my waving fingers collided with the glass and knocked everything across the table.  I took a few shots of the result, just for fun and decided this looked much more interesting than the other static arrangements.

Memories of My Babies

....get your work done while they sleep!

That's What Big Brothers Are For

I was surprised to discover that at ten weeks, our Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy didn't know how to climb up and down the stairs. We tried the back door stairs and the indoor stairs but he would have none of it and whined pitifully while I stood at the bottom.  Then we decided to try the stairs from the deck. This time Pitou took the lead and showed him how it's done.

"See? put your front legs down like this...and leave your back legs up!"
"...then bring your back legs down one....and repeat!"
"Thanks Bro!"

August 19th: Joyful Days

As I multi-tasked yesterday, posting photos, telling stories, doing laundry, answering emails and cleaning out the fridge I failed to take my photo of the day.  As a result, I thought I'd select a photo that represented the trip for me.

August 18th: The Outside Inn Cabins and Lofts

Our visit to Ucluelet at the Outside Inn came to it's end Thursday morning.  It was a nice place to stay - fairly new, clean, and not far from the places we like to visit.  The fact that they were dog friendly was bonus. My husband found the place on line, which is a method that has always worked out well for us.  This time it was a bit pricey though since it was a holiday planned only a couple of weeks before we left and we had to take what we could find. 

We did have a couple of minor complaints about the place.  The description and photos were a bit misleading, making us think that we had a fully detached unit.  My husband thought we had a kitchenette with stove and oven, when in fact we had a microwave, BBQ and small fridge that didn't fit all of our food for the three days.  
I discovered this before we left so when I contacted the owners they offered to give us a small gas stove and and a couple of pans so we could have our bacon and eggs.  This made a great difference …

August 17th: Trails, Jiggers, and Beaches

Wednesday morning we set out to hike the Lighthouse Loop of the Wild Pacific Trail. It's a fairly easy 2.5 km trek that winds its way atop a craggy shoreline, with views of Barkley Sound and the Broken Islands, past Amphitrite Lighthouse, through dense forest and along a rocky beach...not necessarily in that order.

We started our walk late in the morning and by the time we were finished it was almost noon so we stopped at the highly recommended Jigger's fish and chip truck.

I'm not a lover of seafood but I do like Halibut and this was the best fish and chips I've ever eaten.  Since we showed up just before opening, (you could see them cutting the fresh chips by hand), we got the first fry of the day. It was a truly delicious lightly battered, tender, non greasy sit-down restaurant quality meal.  At $14 for one piece, and $18 for two, it's certainly the most I've paid for food from a chip wagon, but this would beat the fish and chips I've eaten at Kelowna'…

August 16th: Whales, Hot Springs and Beavers

At 8:30 Tuesday morning we boarded a zodiac along with ten other people, to look for whales and visit a nearby hot spring. We headed out to Flores Island in Clayoquot Sound where whales had been recently observed.
I'd say we saw at least 10 grey whales feeding not far from the island.  We kept a respectful distance and were quite thrilled to observe these magnificent creatures in the wild.  We also saw some harbour seals but they blend into the rock shoreline so well, they could hardly been seen on camera. 
After the whale watching we headed farther north to Maquinna Provincial Park  where our guide dropped us off gave us instructions and told us when we'd be picked up a few hours later.  The 2 km hike through the beautiful lush rainforest was via a boardwalk which made it much easier to navigate some challenging terrain.

I don't know how it started but there are some really neat carvings on many of the boards along the way.  Most of them list the names of sailboats and other…

August 15th: Long Beach

After our arrival and a hastily prepared and eaten dinner, we couldn't get to Long Beach fast enough.  Walking in the woods or on the beach are two of my favourite pastimes.  I think Pitou feels the same.  He had a blast running up and down the beach, sniffing everything and chasing seagulls and flying bits of leaves.

August 14th: First Stop Saltspring

We broke up the long drive to Ucluelet by stopping for the night at the welcoming Saltspring home of my brother-in-law and his family.  Despite already having two extra house guests,  and another two extra dinner guests, they had invited us without any concern.  I suspect my niece and her cousin of some sort of Hogwartsian magic.  When you're not looking the dining room table stretches, food multiplies on the countertop and if you listen carefully you can hear the "pop" as an extra bedroom bursts forth off a nearby wing of the house.
Their usual table of four was expanded to ten and we were treated to a wonderful meal of salmon, steak, a warm yam and potato salad, broad beans from the garden, a gourmet green salad and fruit crumble.  Keith shared his special recipe Sangria that he'd made up ahead of time, Mike made some Pisco sours and a bottle or two of wine magically emptied themselves.  When bedtime arrived we were directed to a most comfortable spot for the night,…

Uclulet Redux

In the past six years of my life, I've had the good fortune to travelled to more places around the world than I did in the first forty-two. I'm sure you can relate to that feeling of anticipation when you're on your way to a place you've never been. You don't know who you'll meet or what adventures await.
When you return, as a test of how much you enjoyed your trip, people will often ask "Would you go back?" My usual response is that I'd like to, but there are so many other places in the world to explore, I'd rather see them first before it's too late.
Luckily we live in Beautiful British Columbia where the mountains, valleys, rain forests, deserts, rivers, lakes and the ocean, can all be reached within a matter of hours by car and ferry.  
As a result, we've decided to return to one of our favourite spots. Six years ago we spent four days in  Uclulet with our children.  Tomorrow my husband and I (and our little dog too!),  head back to t…

Peace of Mind

I spent an frustrating hour trying to organize menus, arrange a pick up of something I'd ordered for our holiday, talk to voicemails and try to iron out details over the internet. It seemed like roadblocks were set up at every task.  After frantically running from the bathroom to the ringing phone my infusion site for my insulin pump was nearly pulled out of my body when the line got caught on the door knob.  It was then I realized that it was time to slow down.
"Enough already, I give up!"  I shouted.  I stuck my head out the sliding door to the deck and announced to Reg "We're going to the beach!"  There's something about sitting and looking at the water that does wonders for my peace of mind.

An Old Dog Up To His Old Tricks

My father-in-law is man of many contradictions.  Despite the fact that he was a hunter in the 30's, he does love animals.  It's people he's not so big on, or so he says.  "I'm a loner" he states in a matter-of-fact tone, "I could live quite happily on my own."  But actions speak louder than words.  He's accompanied me on many errands around town since he arrived on Thursday and he seems to do quite well when it comes to people, or at  least one sex in particular.
If there's a attractive woman in the vicinity Reg seeks her out and finds a way to draw her into conversation.  Over the past few days we've met  Charlene, Lana, Kristen, Joyce, Laura, Abby, Sonia, Agnes, the lady who asked his advice on bananas in the grocery store and the lady who chatted him up at the dog park this morning.  It all starts out quite simply, leading to his admission that he's "...only 93".

The next thing I know she's staring at him with rapt att…

Natural Instincts

Here in the outer reaches of the Mission Creek Dog Park, we observe the stealthy Husky-Whippet stalking her prey.  The elusive Poodle Mix is blissfully unaware of the immanent danger lurking just a few feet away.

Perhaps some dormant ancestral wolf memory in the Husky part of her brain has been reawakened by the sheep like appearance of this new visitor to her territory.

We All Scream....


Serenity Now!

This was the view of the lake from Mission Ridge at 8:00 a.m.  Thank goodness I had this beautiful image to help me fill the well before I drained it running from one thing to the next for the rest of the day.  
Felt like I was shot out of a cannon after my shower this morning....First stop: the dog park where Pitou romped with Jesse and Theo, and my father-in-law chatted up Charlene.  Headed back home to make some phone calls to arrange some errands followed by a rush to meet someone to drop off a  piece of music for transcription, then on to Wentworth to pick up sheet music and my father-in-law bought a new turntable. A quick back track to a guitar player's office to drop off a different CD and some sheet music.  Chatted for few minutes with Dave and Lisa, then Sudden Realization:  Dad is waiting in the car!  
Off to Extra Foods for the dry goods, onwards to Don-O-Ray for fruit and veggies.  Needed some pickling cukes but wasn't happy with theirs.  Planned to turn right as I p…

Good Vibrations

I'm sneaking in an extra memory for yesterday as we spent a lovely afternoon at one of Kelowna's newest vineyards The Vibrant Vine.  After some wine tasting we sat out under the shade of their plane and maple trees, sipping a recent vintage and listening to the tropical sounds of Major Mambo.  From 2:00 to 5:00 on Saturday afternoons for the rest of the summer the Vibrant Vine has live music on their back lawn.  Check out this link for a list of upcoming performances.

There's Always Hope

My father-in-law is quite a character.  He’s seen some amazing things since his birth in England in 1918.  He’s a gifted story teller and I’ve seen him hold friends, relatives and strangers spellbound recounting his experiences in India, Burma, Egypt and Ethiopia between 1937 and 1944.  After the war and a short stint in Canada, he and his family lived in Venezuela for 20 years, which afforded him the ability to travel around the world on vacation with his family.  He has many stories of the family’s experiences to share, including many amusing ones about his youngest son, now my husband.  

Though he’s a compassionate, generous and kind man, he also has a pessimistic side and it never fails to create some lively arguments discussions between the two of us when he comes to visit.  We had a particularly passionate one over blackberry pancakes and bacon this morning, debating the inherent goodness or evilness of the individual. Both being stubborn in our opinions, there was no way one was…

Another Day, In the Park

My baby girl

Feels Like Summer

One of my favourite things to do mid afternoon on a sunny summer day is to visit Kinsmen Park.  I love to set my chair in the shade of any one of a number of massive willow trees, kick off my sandals and rub my hot feet on the cool green grass.  You can watch boats and people troll up and down the lake, admire the sailors and paddle boarders or relax into an imaginary world, with something cool to drink and something good to read.

Ripe for the Picking

The next fruit available for me to pick this season is blackberries.  Our cultivated patch is particularly prolific this year.  I'm really not sure why.  I prefer the taste of the wild ones in the patch that we started a few years ago from a cutting  imported from my father-in-law's Saanich garden.  Unfortunately it has nowhere near the number of berries found on our prickle-free cultivars that were here when we moved in.  In about a week,  there's going to be a very large amount about to fall off the vines.  They are juicy and sweet and I might be talked into giving some away if you want to help me pick!

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Over the past few weekends, my hubby has been tearing down sections of the old fence and putting up new, little by little. This led to the discovery of a quail's nest in the wooded corner of our property.  Our back lawn is often filled with quail early in the morning, until Pitou runs out and chases them away.  With planks coming down and posts being pulled up I hope the ruckus hasn't caused the mom to abandon her eggs.  Time will tell.