Sunday, August 16, 2015

august ~ a mid-month edition...

Though the month is only I am!  The end of August will find us on the east coast of Canada...and I'll tell you about that once I'm back.

Now...let's go back to the end of July.  We packed up the RV and headed to the North Okanagan for a few days.  Our first stop...

...Shuswap Lake.  Specifically...Scotch Creek where we spent a few days parked at the cabin while several of my sisters were vacationing there...along with my niece and her two wee ones.

We have been to Scotch Creek many times over the past few decades...and it seems I always come home with one more picture of these old barns along the main road.  What is it about weathered old barns that appeals to me?

We walked along the shores of lake early one morning at Shuswap Lake Provincial Park....with its splendid views of the lake and Copper Island.

When it was time to move on...our wee grandniece, Brooklyn thought she might just hitch a ride with us.  Actually, she claimed the driver's seat and woke up the neighbourhood by trying out the horn.  Sweet child who lives in faraway Manitoba! 

Next stop was Kelowna in the South Okanagan...where the sun always shines and the vineyards grace the hills.  It was a good time!  We camped in an apple orchard...ate fresh peaches and plums...and visited all the nieces and nephews at their homes.  I think we invited ourselves over...but we are glad we did!

While we were in Kelowna...we celebrated our 44th wedding anniversary. We had always planned to cycle the Myra Canyon portion of the Kettle Valley Railway trail...and July 31st seemed like the perfect day to do that.

Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park is a short 25 minute drive from the that takes you through rolling vineyards and past several great lookout points.We began our cycling adventure from the east entrance...on a trail that took us over 18 trestles and through two tunnels. Since the 24 km. (round trip) trail was constructed on the former Kettle Valley is almost flat and suitable for all levels and ages.  In 2003 twelve of the 18 trestles were destroyed in a massive forest fire...along with some 200 homes in the area. The trestles have all been re-built...and the trail through Myra Canyon is part of the Trans-Canada Trail system. The charred trees that still stand are evidence of the huge fire that devastated the area...but new growth from the forest floor is already taking over.  It was a beautiful ride...with stunning views and lots of history (it is also a National Historic Site). It was an excellent adventure...and the perfect thing to do on our anniversary.

Our brother-in-law John...who lives in Kelowna...had never cycled the trail and joined us. He is quite amazing for an octogenarian!   While we were out cycling, Liz (his wife) was back home preparing a lovely anniversary dinner for us.  It was a most memorable day.

Before we left for home the next day...we enjoyed breakfast at The Jammery with John and Liz and Martha (hubby's sister).  It's a great place to have brunch...featuring homemade everything! 

We were back in time to be part of the Mennonite Girls Can Cook summer get-together.  Seven of us and our spouses hiked to Cascade Falls in Mission...and checked out their new suspension bridge.  It's a lovely spot...and the company was the best too!  

From there we made our way to Anneliese's lakehouse on Hatzic Lake...where Marg and John also joined us for a BBQ dinner.  (We just wish our two Manitoba girls could join us at times like these.)  The sun was shining...the food was fabulous...the setting was perfect...and we always have such a great time when we get together!

Kris had a birthday last week.  The years just seem to fly by!  We got together for a picnic / birthday party at Cultus Lake one evening to celebrate.  The kids had great fun in the water...and the rest of us had a good time on dry land.   Happy Birthday to our  firstborn...who thinks he is 39...again.  We know better!

Cultus Lake Provincial Park is right in our backyard...a beautiful place to have a picnic or watch the sunset.  We should visit more often!

A sunset is always a good way to end a post, right?  Enjoy what's left of August...and I'll be back come September!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July ~ moments to remember

I know.  The month is not yet done and already I'm doing my monthly review.  But since I'll be away the next few days...I'm posting this a wee bit early.  I might just add a footnote later...should anything noteworthy happen before August arrives. :)

July began with a it always does.  Fireworks and Canada Day go hand-in-hand...and this year we actually joined the masses to watch our local display.

At the beginning of the month...we went camping with the youngest grands.  First...Maggie, Lucy and Micah joined us at Camperland.  They remember exactly what we did last year and don't like to change things up at all! We eat the same foods, hike the same trail, play the same games...and always buy treats at the general store.

On the second day...Ryder and Ranen joined us for a day at the water slides.  What fun...even for the oldsters!

Then the younger ones went home...and Ranen and Ryder stayed for night.  Like I said...some things never change!  One minute they are sitting in their chairs having a good time...and the next minute Ranen is on the ground.  Funny...but I thought back to their first camping trip with us when they were just three...and had a similar experience.

And I have the photos to prove it.  They found it a little funnier now though!

It was a good time again! How quickly these years are flying by.

Can our youngest grand really be four already?  We celebrated Lucy's birthday with a picnic at BenAnna Lake earlier this month.

Also in July...we celebrated the arrival of another grand-niece (a granddaughter for my sister Dot).  Teeny as could be and cute as a button!

And then there was a mid-week hike up Mt. Slesse with Heidi, Maggie and Lucy and some friends.  I figured if four and six-year-olds could do such a long hike, I should be able to make it.  We hiked up to the monument that marks the place where a Trans-Canada Airlines plane crashed into the rugged peak on Dec. 9, 1956...killing all 62 people on board.  Due to the remoteness of the area...the plane was not found for five months.  It was a six-hour round trip for us...with plenty of stops for snacks and 'reading breaks'.  I was amazed at the wee ones and their determination to make it to the top. It was a great day!

One night...we drove into Vancouver to meet up with Debi and Bob who were vacationing from southern California.  I knew Debi from her blog...Echo of My Heart...but how nice to meet face to face for the first time!  We rode the gondola to the top of Grouse Mountain...had dinner together...and watched as the sun set over the city.  It was such a lovely evening...with much to talk about and lots of laughs!  We plan to meet again one day...and carry on where we left off. Next time they will stay longer!

Last week we had a family BBQ at a wonderful local venue...a new RV resort that my brother-in-law has been involved in developing these past few years. Lots are now on the market...but we were there as guests of my sister and BIL and had a wonderful evening with all who could make it.

And then there was the 'just for fun' party at the farm of friends on the weekend...which included a wonderful BBQ dinner, great entertainment (Abba Again), many friends to connect with and a field full of antique tractors and pick-ups to check out.  I'm thinking 'just for fun' is a really good reason to throw a party! Did I mention that there was also a new barn to gather in...which turned out to be a good thing, since we actually had a few showers on Sunday.

We have had three very hot and dry months here...with little or no rain since the beginning of May.  The crops are parched...the lawns are brown...and we were in 'stage three' water restrictions. 


So...needless to say...we welcomed the rain that fell on the weekend. It can only help the grass and corn fields which are really suffering in the valley...and put a bit of a damper on the forest fires that are raging throughout the province.  

The sun is shining again...the Okanagan is calling...and we are off to enjoy the last few days of July with family in another part of our province.  

Here's hoping you are all having a wonderful summer!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

June in the rear-view mirror...

Happy Canada Day to all my friends, family and fellow Canadians! 

(photo @ Whistler, B.C.)
As we celebrate our country's birthday today
...may we be reminded once again
of what a great country it is!

And now...a re-cap of 'the month that was'!

While in other parts of North America the rain is falling...
and folks are dealing with floods...
we here on the west coast have seen one of the hottest, driest Junes on record. 
And that following a hot and dry May. 

Needless to say...
no events were cancelled due to rain and we spent a lot of time out of doors!

We checked out a new trail not far from our place early this month.
It was short and sweet...
with a nice view of the valley.
When the valley floor still looked green!
Things are pretty brown everywhere these days.

Our 'care group' wrapped up the year with a picnic  earlier in the month.
It's always a good time...
meeting with these friends!

On the farm...
there was hay to be made...

...with no danger of it getting rained on this time!

We attended the retirement party for our long-time veterinarian and friend...
Dr. Dick Clegg.
I thought the centerpieces were quite unique...
and appropriate.
And amusing.

For Father's Day...
we took my dad on an outing.
Our first stop was Canada Place...
where we had tickets for Flyover Canada.
Who knew you could 'fly over' our amazing country so quickly?
A wonderful experience.
Just too short!

It was a picture-perfect day on the waterfront in Vancouver...
and we spent some time just soaking it all in.

Our next stop was Steveston...
a fishing town not too far from the city.

It is the best place for sitting on the dock...
and enjoying fish 'n chips.
Dad is 92...
and quite enjoys 'going out on the town'!

And he enjoys sports.

Usually he observes from the comfort of his recliner...
but a few weeks ago he came to watch Ryder (great-grandson) play at the local arena.

And he quite liked seeing his grandson in action as the coach.
Time hurries on...
and the 'skates' are passed to the next generation.

Ryder is playing in a summer league...
three on three hockey.
Great fun!

Another fun event this month was a luncheon which I was privileged to be a part of.
Kathy's mother-in-law, Eileen, invited us to come join her around the table...
as she hosted a party to honour her daughter-in-law.
It was a most special time...
and we all came away blessed.

The school year came to an end...
with all the grands bringing home good report cards and happy to have the summer off.
How fun to have a grad ceremony to attend...


...that of Micah as he graduated from pre-school.
I'm hoping to be there when he graduates from  high-school with the Class of 2028.

Come fall..
Lucy will be our only pre-schooler.
She is having a wonderful and carefree summer...
chasing bubbles or butterflies...
or whatever catches her fancy.

We took Emme and Spencer on their annual camping trip last weekend...
to Whistler.
We had a wonderful time with those two...
riding bikes, making giant smores, riding a gondola,
checking out the suspension bridge, visiting Brandywine Falls, 
and playing Dutch Blitz (again and again).
 Oh...and listening to 'The Best of the Beach Boys' on the drive...
as we do every summer.

While we were in Whistler...
we pedaled our bikes to the Nicklaus North golf course.
Ten years ago Emme and Spencer were flower girls at a wedding...
right here at this spot.
They don't actually remember the wedding at all...
just the gondola ride that morning...
and that they were wearing shorts in the snow at the top of the mountain. 
Sweet girls...then and now!

Like I's been a hot month.
We have been to Harrison Lake several times.
On Saturday we packed up a picnic and enjoyed the evening there...
cooling off in the shade with a book.

As the sun was setting...
we enjoyed our favorite ice-cream on a bench at the lagoon...
and watched the geese swim off.

I'm thinking they were practising for the Canada Day parade...
swimming in formation!

Wishing you all a wonderful Canada Day...
and a Happy 4th of July to my American friends!