Thursday, April 30, 2015

april ~ the month in review

Where to start? It seems a lot has happened since April 1st...the morning I heard that Canada was reverting to the imperial system of measurement.  Since I actually still have a foot in that camp...it wasn't too upsetting.  And besides...I have learned not to trust anything that I hear on April 1st.


Our local tulips were blooming as the month began...


...and Heidi and the girls joined me for our annual outing.  We all came prepared...for rain or shine! And we had both.


 It's always a pleasure to tiptoe through the tulip fields...and enjoy the 'crowning glory' of spring.


Then there was Easter...with Easter services, Easter dresses, Easter egg hunts, the decorating of the Easter egg tree and the traditional gathering of the clan around the Easter table.  A little sunshine...a little rain...and an Easter egg hunt held indoors this year.

And on Easter Monday (a holiday on the Canadian calendar) we made a trip to Kelowna and back...about a 3-hour drive over two high mountain passes (with a stop at Tim Horton's in Merritt for coffee, of course).  We weren't expecting this...


...but should know by now that it can snow up there anytime of the year!



The snow was short-lived and soon we crossed the floating bridge to Kelowna...one of only nine floating bridges in the world.  We had last been there in December...and knew that our brother-in-law Vern was not doing well.  We thought we'd bring lunch along...and enjoy a meal together at their table since Vern was no longer able to go out.  As it turned out, he was admitted to hospital on Easter Sunday...and so we spent a few hours at the hospital instead. We were so glad we went...as it was the last time we would see him.  Last week he passed away...and once again we made the trip to Kelowna to be with family and 'remember Vern'. 


Not that we could ever forget Vern...he was a kind and gentle man, always willing to give and help...a brother-in-law with whom we have shared many wonderful  experiences throughout the years.  He wasn't afraid to die...and is now rejoicing in glory.


Though we have had a lot of rain in April...we had a few beautiful hot days mid-month and managed to harvest all the winter wheat on the farm.  The grass fields are still waiting to be cut.

In other 'farm news'...I had an inside scoop that the 'Dairy Farmers of Canada' had a new ad campaign out his spring.  So off I went to the newsstand to see if I could find the ad.  There it was...full page.


Though the farmer and his daughter are looking away...I could recognize them anywhere. The ad's will be featured in Best Health magazines this year as well as in the July edition of Canadian Living magazine...

...and on billboards in major cities as well as digital ads. 

 
Also farm related (though that is a bit of a stretch)...I was part of a 'ladies getaway' in Whistler this week...an event sponsored by our feed company.  We went on our annual 'business trip'...and what fun we had.  Rain or shine...warm or cold...in or out...we always enjoy this time together with other farm women. 

And so ends April 2015.  The good and the bad...the happy and the sad...the easy and the hard...we had it all in April.


 I'll leave you with a reminder of one of the amazing sunsets we enjoyed here this month. 

And a quote from a poet extra-extraordinaire...
 April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.
...William Shakespeare

Wishing all of you all of you who stop by 'my front porch' on occasion...
a wonderful weekend and a 'merry, merry month of May'!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

march memories...

After one of the warmest winters ever recorded here in the Fraser Valley...
spring came early.
A full month early!


The grass fields are not normally this green and tall on March 1st!


Nor are the cherry trees in full bloom so early!


We worked on the yard...
and did some gardening with the help of the trusty JD.

After 10 years it is time to do some 'selective culling'.


The bees came calling as well...
drawn by the fragrance of the white heather.


On a lovely Sunday afternoon we hiked up Mt. Thom...
with its views of  Cultus Lake to the back...


...and the city of Chilliwack on the way up.

We usually visit the tulip fields sometime in April...



...but this year it was March.


It was a fun outing...
and though the weatherman promised us rain...
it held off until we were done traipsing the fields.



It looks like she came prepared for rain...
though the rubber boots were missing.
Pretty as a picture!


We had a hard time co-ordinating the 'spring break' wiener roast to suit all the grands this year...
but we tried!
First we hiked up to Bridal Falls...
and by then it was drizzling.
Most of us took cover to eat our roasted hotdogs.
Emme took her cover out to the fire and stayed there.
She loves fires!

I've been having fun trying out the 'panorama' feature on my iPhone.


I'll leave you with a shot of our 'home on the range'...
from mid-March 2015.
Wishing you all a blessed Easter!









Monday, March 30, 2015

south american finale ~ the foods, the folks and other fun facts...

It is time to wrap up our travels in South America.  There are many tales that will remain untold...



...as each photo has a story of its own.


The flowers speak for themselves.  The 'earth laughs in flowers' wherever we roam!


And then there was the food...and art...all rolled into one.



Cruise ships are good at that...whether it be fruit creations......or chocolate sculptures.  We took a galley tour and were amazed and impressed at the size of the kitchens on the ship...as well as the cleanliness!



I also took in the 'culinary demonstration'...featuring the executive chef.  Of course!  I brought home the Princess Cruises cookbook...signed by the chef himself. Who knows?  I might even try cooking something from it one day!  Their napkin folding demo was not wasted on me, however...since I have already used the 'fan napkin method' pictured above. Easy!


Dining on a cruise ship is always special!  Every course comes out plated beautifully...but for some reason most of the food photos in my files are of the desserts!


We opted for 'anytime dining' on our cruise...and were so glad we did.  Every night we were seated with different 'table mates'...it was the best way to meet people.  Let me tell you about a few of them.

There was Louise...from London...in her fifties...and traveling on her own.  There were others from New York, Chile, South Dakota, Scotland, Wales, California, Alaska, and St. Petersburg.

And then there were a few that we got to know really quite well.  Tim and Julie were from Texas.  Bob and Brenda were originally from New Orleans and fled for the lives ahead of Hurricane Katrina.  They had no home to return to...and relocated to Arizona after that.  We learned at the dinner table that they would also be staying in Peru for a week following the tour...so we decided we would stick together.  And we did!

We met Ruby...who has an Italian restaurant in Albany, Oregon...is a chef trained in Italy,  has published two cookbooks, and has an amazing story.  Check out her story here...and visit her restaurant if you ever pass through Albany, Oregon.

I met a gal from Virginia...traveling with her dad.  She shared her story with me.  The South American cruise was booked last July...and was to be a 30th wedding anniversary for her and her husband...but it was not to be.  Several days before he was to return from his tour of duty in Afghanistan last August...he was killed in an attack by an Afghan soldier. You may remember hearing about it on the news.  Rather than celebrating an anniversary...the family mourned their husband and father.  For her...the South American trip was bittersweet.

It's the people you meet along the way that make the journey so much more interesting!

I should also mention that there were some people that we wish we would have met up with.  We learned once we were back home...that there was a couple from our hometown on the same cruise we were on.  Had we known they were there...we would have made a point of finding them.   Instead we met up with them once we were back home and had a nice chat.  They own a Greek restaurant in Chilliwack...



...and serve up the best of food over there. 

Speaking of eating establishments...



...let me just share one photo of a typical cafe in the Andes. We were told that Peruvian fast food was available at many of these sidewalk cafes...a glass of quinoa punch, bread and cheese for $1.00  
 

Coffee took a backseat to yerba mate most everywhere we went.  But in Peru...the hot beverage of choice seemed to be coca tea. It tastes rather like a green tea...made from the leaves of the coca plant which grows in the Andes.  We were encouraged to drink it to combat altitude sickness...and so I did.  And I quite liked it. 


Inca cola is a Peruvian soft drink made from lemon verbena...a national icon since 1935. We sampled and decided to stick with water! 

And on that note...I will end our tales from the trails of South America!  Should you be interested in re-visiting any of the past posts...I'll link them all them all here:
 

Next post?  Back at home...the month of March. 

 

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