Sunday, November 5, 2017

Winter Quail Station

California Quail thrive in Southern BC, despite being transplants. We do, however, make sure that there is sufficient feed available to enable them to get through the winter with relative ease. Sunflower oil seeds are the best, but we also provide mixed seeds with them.

Winter has come earlier, and it seems the main flock has moved onto our property for the season. They used to hunker in at a place down the street, only visiting us on their rounds, but the elderly couple who lived there have moved to a place better suited to their needs. 

There are over 60 birds in this flock: several mated pairs and their offspring from this summer. The are a bit flighty but comfortable around people. And they're so darned cute, who wouldn't go to the trouble and expense of keeping them around! There's always room for more when it comes to birds at our house.


Saturday, October 28, 2017

Autumn and Giving Thanks

Halloween is just around the corner. I have some carving pumpkins outside on the veranda, yet to be carved. Today, perhaps.

True to form, Mother Nature has decided that autumn shall be the season of rain. And while we desperately needed the rain to replenish the depleted ground reserves, it's making a cool season into a distinctly chilly and unpleasant one.

The colours are up to top standard, however, so we'll give Her that. 


The Husband is home again after six weeks working up north. We went for a drive yesterday, exploring some back roads in Spallumcheen, up towards Sicamous. The sun was shining, making the maples, sycamore and other trees glow in their brilliant red, orange and gold foliage. Won't be long and the wind will scatter them in all directions.


Friends from Alberta were out for the Thanksgiving weekend earlier this month. I took them to a few wineries that Saturday afternoon, and we found the rainbow (above) on the Okanagan Reserve. Dramatic skies were been the order of the day.


Waffles are a breakfast specialty around here when there is company. Loaded with sliced fresh fruit, yogurt, maple syrup (real maple syrup - this is Canada, after all), even jam or peanut butter, it's a friendly way to start the day. That and a pot of strong black coffee.


Thanksgiving Day really is a holiday for family and friends. It's our annual reminder to give thanks for the bounty we've been given: love, shelter, food. I don't think we do that often enough. I know people who keep a daily Gratitude Journal. Despite the fact that I make my living as a writer, I am a terrible journal writer. I just can't stick to a daily diary or journal. I try to be mindful, however, of being grateful for the blessings I receive. A lifetime of harvests, sometimes after very difficult - even disastrous - growing seasons, keeps one aware.



Friday, October 6, 2017

It's been a busy day

I took the Spyder to Kamloops this morning, to have the service tech check the wheel balance and alignment. When I rode it yesterday, it developed a wheel shudder at 95 kmh which became ridiculous at 100 kmh. They got the problem mostly fixed with Liquid Tire Balance, but the truth is I need to get new tires on the front.

It was 7C when I left home. A few hours later, it was a 'balmy' 12C when I left Kamloops, quickly dropping to 9C when I reached the highest elevation point on the way home. I think the riding season is coming to an end for this year.

This is the Thanksgiving weekend in Canada, so winter is close upon us (shhh! don't talk to the people in southern Alberta about the nasty blizzard they just got hit with a few days ago - they're a little cranky about it).

Driveway at the Middle Brother's place on October 3. I know.

The Daughter and her little one were over this afternoon, supposedly to help prep pumpkin for pies. We should have known better - a little guy of almost 11 months old is a perpetual motion machine. Unless he's watching The Wiggles, in which case he's concentrating with all his might.

It's The Wiggles.

When the turkey was ready for the brine - and don't ask what kind of language was clouding the kitchen when not one but two brining bags broke - The Daughter was helpful, both in manhandling the bird and calming down her mother.

Ready for brining. Mmmm.

Bought some pie pumpkins, cut one up into chunks and roasted them in preparation for making pies tomorrow. I know it's a Canadian/American thing but I think the rest of the world should get on board. Pumpkin pie is to die for! Right, Claudia?

Ready to be pureed and mixed up with cream, eggs, sugar and spices for pies.

In the meantime, a sofa fort appeared in the front room, perfect for a young fellow to climb and play hide-and-seek with his mom.

Sofa fort engineers.

Where did she go?

It's always interesting to have little people in the house. So lucky.

Watch your step.




Sunday, October 1, 2017

September is my favourite month

I LOVE September. It's my favourite month. So much so that I closed the B&B for the entire month so we could "see the creature."

We travelled east on the first day of the month, on a day that would have been lovely had it not been so smoky.

Approaching Canmore from the west.


Started out on the 2nd with this crew of miscreants:

George McDougall High School Graduating Class of 1977
Turns out I wasn't the only one contemplating this event with a bit of trepidation, but it was all for naught. We had a great time reminiscing, catching up and generally having a great time. In the interests of full disclosure, I'm in the middle of the middle row, wearing a pink shirt. And you know what? In almost every school picture we had taken throughout the 12 years most of us were in school together, I'm in the middle of the middle row. Go figger.


From there, The Husband and I went on a drive through Montana, Idaho and Washington on our way home. I made a pilgrimage to the Charles M. Russell Museum, the great cowboy artist. And on the way, we enjoyed the splendor of the Lewis Range travelling towards the Judith Basin.

Coming to the border crossing at Waterton/Chief Mountain.


One of the Warrior sculptures, from a set of four -
one at each entrance onto the Blackfeet Nation.
Made of found and recycled materials

Big Sky country 
West of Missoula, coming to Lolo Pass. Scorched earth and a
very active wildfire to the west and north.


My favourite kind of sign ...
excepting we were in a truck instead of on bikes.
*sigh*

West on Highway 12, through Lolo Pass along the Clearwater River.
The Husband even agreed to stop at a quilt show in Wenatchee.

Not the first or last time that the GPS was less than help.
When taking back roads (paved and not), the road names would appear
but the little car wandered aimlessly in a vacant blue field.
Stopped to check out the Grand Coulee Dam. Photos cannot
capture the enormity of this structure. Breathtaking.

Upon arriving home, we had time to do laundry, go to doctors' appointments, celebrate
The Husband's current birthday and get him packed to head north for the next six weeks.
I stayed a few days longer and then travelled north myself, both to visit The Son and his family as well as celebrate our 33rd (official) wedding anniversary with The Husband and dear friends.

And this was what I drove through not once but three different places along the 950 km drive:

Somewhere on Obed Summit travelling east. In September. Sheesh.

And all that to see these people:

Miss A and Mr Z. Note the sunshine. And wind.

And their dad, The Son, at the Phillip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum.


And then it was time to drive home. Through the mountains. In September. Say "Aah."





And back home to spend time with these two:


And visit friends at Gallery Odin to survey the new stuff on offer for the winter season:


Life is good.


Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Mighty Mighty Honda

Many, many motorcycles have come and gone through our lives. 

Some stay for but a short time. Others last for years. 

Some carry special memories while other are never to be spoken of again.

They have ranged from the little 'suitcase' di Blasi to scooters of every size, cruisers, sport bikes and 1100cc sport touring bikes.

It was no surprise when this little vintage bike showed up a few months ago. 
This model was produced in 1982-1983. It's a 450A, and the A stands for automatic. Yes.





Back in the day when I was dating The Not-Yet Husband, he was encouraging me to become a rider. I grew up riding horses, not motorcycles, and so was a bit intimidated. 

Then one day in 1982 I saw a brand new 450A in the Grande Prairie dealership. 
I called The Then-Boyfriend, all excited about the bike, and he promptly popped my bubble with a disdainful "That's not a real bike!"

Fast forward 35 years, and imagine my thoughts when one of those not-real bikes came into our garage.

"What?" was his genuinely surprised question when seeing The Look on my face.

"Really? You have to ask?" And then I reminded him of the incident back in the day, which apparently left a bruise which still twitches when poked.

"But it's a classic!"

Ah. From not-real to classic.

Never mind. He loves it and it stands proudly beside the Triumph sport tourer and the Kawasaki Widow Maker.

He left early yesterday for the Kootenays to meet up with a friend from Calgary. I'm sure the friend is going to stain his knickers with laughter when he sees the Mighty Mighty Honda charge down the road.


I've taken it for a spin, and it's alright. Turns out it really isn't my kind of ride after all.




Saturday, August 12, 2017

Water

What do you do when it's 32C outside - again - and you're 9 months old?

Get mom and grandma to take you to the pool.

Of course.




Thursday, August 3, 2017

Prairies and Ferries

The Husband and I have been on a little jaunt for the past week. Out to the prairies to celebrate an 80th birthday party with the distaff side of my family; visit the brothers; take a drive through the grasslands, Porcupine Hills and the mountains: the Columbia Range, the Rockies, the Purcell Range, the Selkirks and the Monashees. And all the way, the air is laden with light-to-heavy smoke from the multitude of wildfires ravaging this country.

Thousands of Painted Lady butterflies were feeding on the alfalfa flowers at
Brother Scott's place near Standard, AB.

Crop land ready for harvest, somewhere south of Carmangay close to Highway 23.

I get homesick for this landscape every so often; a visit is good for the soul.

And the next day was completely different landscapes.
Waiting for the ferry at Kootenay Bay to cross the lake
on our way to Nelson and points north.

We meandered our way through cropland and pasture land, passing through Claresholm and taking SR 520 through the Porcupine Hills to Highway 22; hence towards the Crowsnest Pass and points west. Spent the night at Cranbrook and as is our wont, delayed breakfast whilst travelling until we got to Creston. Up to Nelson, over to the Slocan Valley and a night at Nakusp.

The last leg was a short one, from Nakusp to Vernon and home again. Thought I'd take a minute and share some photos of the cable ferry that crosses Arrow Lakes from Fauquier to Needles.

Arrow Lakes was once two separate lakes, until it became a reservoir for a hydro dam. The Needles Ferry is cable ferry, and of all the ferries we've used in BC and Alberta, this is one of the very few cable ferries.

On the Fauquier side of Arrow Lake, looking west.

Cable anchor on the north side of the east launch.

Cable line extending down into the water and across the lake.

Ferry approaching the Fauquier side;
see the cable line beginning to rise out of the water.

You can now see that there are three lines: one to either side, and one in the middle.

As the ferry approaches, the ramp begins to lower.

The ramp and launch are mated ...

... the barrier arms are raised ...

... and the vehicles disembark.

Westbound traffic waiting to embark.

The ferry empty and waiting for its next load of vehicles.

The Husband checking out landmarks on the eastern shore.
Not the heavy smoke making the skyline hazy.

Smoky hides the view, making it mysterious.
Let's pray for lots of rain, and soon.