Monday, June 30, 2014

a month in review ~ June...

Come and gone.
So soon!

As the month came to an end...
we had a few storms roll through.
Picture-perfect storms...
the kind that come with rainbows!

I'll leave you with just a few images...
of things we saw, did, and experienced in June 2014.

We had plenty of sunshine
early on in the month...
and took advantage of it.

I  cut peonies from my garden...
and brought them in to enjoy.

And not too far away...
the peonies were being harvested for the fresh market.

We stopped to watch.

June is the month when all spring programs some to an end.
Three of the grands play soccer...
and so we spent some time at Chilliwack's beautiful new soccer field.

Ryder (in blue) thought he was playing in the World Cup...
and scored several goals for our spectating pleasure!

He kicked from centre field...
over the heads of teammates and opponents...
and right into the top corner of the goal.
He totally surprised himself!

Ranen could always to be found right behind the ball...
and knew exactly where to put it!

And then there was Micah...
caught 'down and out' between periods.

My cousin and aunt (far left) were out from Saskatchewan...
and so we had a wee gathering of the Isaak clan over here one sunny day.
It is hard to believe that these are on the only uncles and aunts remaining from a large family!
 It was so nice to spend some time together.

There were also the 'end of the year' school programs...
and music recitals.

Ranen performed with the 'Yarrow fiddlers' at Yarrow Days...
and also at a local recital.

We took a trip to Barkerville one weekend...

For the past ten years...
I have taken part in a local garden tour sponsored by a Rotary club every June.

 (By 'taken part'...I mean that I had the privilege of visiting some of our area's most beautiful private yards and gardens.)

I could publish a photo book of all the lovely gardens featured over the years...
but today I am posting a just a few images from one garden.

Our Father's Day gift to Dad this year was an excursion to Squamish...
where we rode the brand new Sea-to-Sky gondola to the top...
with its spectacular views of Howe Sound, The Chief and Shannon Falls. 
Had a great day...together with my sister Dot and her hubby!

And then there was the day-trip south to Seattle on Amtrak...
a fun little get-away for six of us from MGCC.
(Kathy, Char and Betty were missing...and missed!)

Ellen was our tour guide extraordinaire...
chauffeuring us around, organizing lunch at a famous tea house and giving us a tour of her home.
How fun to visit her on her turf for a change!

The sun setting over the ocean...
our view from our train coach...
was the 'icing on the cake'!
As June comes to a close...
let me me wish a  Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian friends...
and Happy July 4th to my American neighbours.

Have a wonderful summer!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

barkerville ~ special edition

I know...I know. It is not the end of the month...and yet there is something new at 'my front porch'.
We just returned from a fun little excursion to Barkerville...and as I perused my photos I decided this trip needed a post of its own.  For my records!

Barkerville is gold rush town in the foothills of the Cariboo mountains of British Columbia.  While most towns along the gold rush trail have long since disappeared...Barkerville is still thriving.  It is a National Historic Site of Canada and has kept some of the the same 'gold rush fever' and excitement that was there over a century ago.

We had always meant to visit Barkerville when our kids still traveled with us...but it is rather out-of-the-way and just never happened.  We finally decided to put it on our calendar and make plans to visit Barkerville.  We are glad we did!

We found some friends who were game to join us...traveled up the Fraser Canyon...through the historic town of Yale...through seven tunnels (with interesting names like China Bar, Saddlerock, Alexandria, Sailor Bar,and more)...past Hell's Gate and on through Cache Creek, William's Lake and Quesnel.  From Quesnel we drove fifty miles east to the end of the trail (highway 26)...watched for bear (saw three) and imagined all those who made this trek on foot so long ago on foot. 

We arrived in Barkerville late afternoon...and discarded our car outside the 'city' gates.  Of course there are no cars in Barkerville!  We were taken by stagecoach to the 'home' where we would be spending the night.

Staying at the King House Bed and Breakfast was all part of the experience.  A good part! It included feather beds, an evening of Mexican train, and a wonderful breakfast cooked up by our hosts (Dana pictured above).

Billy Barker himself was out on the street.  He arrived here in 1861...coming down the Williams Creek valley in search of gold.  His claim was the richest and the most famous (yielding 2,350 pounds). The entire town grew up around his claim and was was later named after him. 

Today the historic town appears as it did in its heyday...boasting 121 reconstructed and original buildings along with a large collection of artifacts and treasures from the gold rush days. Notice the fresh snow on the mountain beyond the town.  We were rather surprised to find snow on the ground between the buildings...and fresh snow on the surrounding hills.  We discarded the shorts and sandals on arrival...and opted for jeans, hikers and jackets!

We took a tour of Barkerville...with one of the colourful characters of the past. 

We were free to visit any of the buildings.  The schoolteacher was just returning to her post...and chatting with two young gals from Switzerland...Eva and Melanie.  They stayed at our B and B and we had fun getting to know them.  They had hitch-hiked to Barkerville and shared their travel tales with us. 

For those who tire of walking...

...they have a great public transit system in Barkerville!

I'm sure all the proprietors of the various businesses thought we were quite under-dressed.

We took a tour of one of Canada's oldest Chinatowns...where over 5,000 Chinese lived at the height of the gold rush. 

Wood-burning is frowned about in many parts of our country...but in Barkerville it is the main source of heat.  Beside every establishment was a tidy pile of wood.  We noted that the wood had the blue-grey circle around the logs...caused by the mountain pine beetle which infested the forests of British Columbia in recent years.

Two churches stood side by side...and we visited them both.  Since Judge Matthew Begbie's Richfield courthouse was still under snow...he was holding court in the Methodist church.  We learned a little about the early justice system of British Columbia as well as a bit about the infamous characters that made their home here.

The afternoon theatrical production was so well done...a musical glimpse into the life of the town during those days!  

We watched a waterwheel demonstration down at Williams Creek...a re-enactment of how gravel and gold is moved from below ground to a sluice box...where water from the creek separates the two.

Before I end my tour of Barkerville...let me just tell you about the restaurants in town.  We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner at the Lung Duck Tong Chinese restaurant (the name in itself is a mouthful!).  The hot chocolate at the House Hotel Coffee Saloon warmed us up between tours...

...and we lunched at Wake Up Jake's. This establishment first opened in Barkerville in the early 1860s and operated into the 1870s. In 1960 a reproduction building was constructed on the original site as a Victorian-style restaurant.  Great name...don't you think?

We had a most enjoyable and educational (and cool) time in Barkerville.  Now let's see how long we can remember all those historical nuggets of our provincial past.

At the end of the day...we drove back to Quesnel for the night.  We walked the paths along the mighty Fraser River in the evening.  And then we walked across...

...on the historic footbridge which is the longest wood truss walking bridge in the world (253 metres/831 feet). Originally built in 1928 to replace the canoes which served as the ferry system of the day...the bridge was retained as a walking bridge after the construction of the Moffat Bridge in 1960.

Quesnel was (and still is) the commercial centre of the Cariboo.  The original Hudson's Bay Trading Post opened here in 1867 and is now operating as a gift shop. It is the oldest building in Quesnel...a designated historic site.

One more stop before we head for for home... Pinnacles Provincial Park...just a few miles outside the city limits.

It is best known for its hoodoos...intriguing ancient geological rock formations.  A short hike took us to the viewpoint...from where we could see the pinnacles below us as well as a picturesque view of Quesnel.

And with that I will end my tour of the Cariboo...highlighting Barkerville and Quesnel.  There is much to be seen and learned so close to home!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

the merry month of may...

The apple trees blossomed and the grasses grew...

...and down on the farm there was plenty to do.  That's how it always is in May. 

And on May third we had a few birthdays and decided to celebrate with a girl's luncheon this honour of Ranen and Auntie Broni's special day.  And then we took in a local production of Anne of Green Gables together in the afternoon.  It was all good!

Mother's Day turned out to be a beautiful, warm day.  We gathered up some books, a picnic lunch and a blanket and headed for Silver Lake...a short 40 minute drive from here.  Though there were a few paddlers out on the water...we had the park almost to ourselves.  It was a lovely afternoon!  Once we got home...the kids came by. 

A few of them had fun frolicking in the tall grass with their 'mamma'!  Last chance...since the grass was slated to come down in the morning.

And it did.  It was a bumper first-cut crop this year...with far more grass than the bunker could hold.  I think that is a good problem!

They worked long and crazy hours on the farm...trying to get all the cropping done.

And while they were making hay on the ground below...they had live entertainment up above!  It seemed there was work to be done on the wires...though it looked rather like a circus act to me.

Maggie came for a sleepover one night...and we took a hike up to Bridal Veil Falls together.  Spring is the best time to visit the park...with the spring run-off creating a veil of cascading water. 

On our way to and from the falls...we passed by grandpa who was preparing a field to be planted in corn.  Maggie thought we might stop for a bit so she could ride along...and so we did!

Victoria Day is one holiday that is seldom recognized on the farm...since there is no time for playing when there is work to be done.  When some friends invited us to join them for an outing to the racetrack at Hastings Park in Vancouver on the holiday Monday, hubby decided that the corn planting could wait until 'tomorrow' and we would go.

Our friends had a horse racing for the first time that day.  Wind Hammer did them proud and placed third.  It was a great run for a young horse...and we'll be keeping an eye on that horse over the coming months. 

The corn got planted despite our time off to go to the races!  By now it is up...and before long the fields will be green.

Wisteria, clematis, lilacs and irises all bloomed merrily this month...and the red-winged blackbirds sang from morn until night. The month of May has once again come and gone...but the memories live on!

 The world's favorite season is the spring.
All things seem possible in May.
 ~  Edwin Way Teale


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