Saturday, October 15, 2016

Amish Country Tour

Before our time in 'Amish country' is a distant memory...I thought I would share a few pic's of our time in Indiana and Ohio.  In most cases the photos speak for themselves.  So I will let them do that! All photos were captured with my i-phone, and many through a dirty windshield while bumping down country while the photos may be less than stellar, the images are great memories of our time in a beautiful corner of the USA!

Farmers can not resist the temptation to stop and chat with fellow farmers along the way!

Beds of pink petunias brightened the landscape wherever we went.  Always bright pink!

'The cattle on a thousand hills' were enjoying their final fall days out on pasture.

On every corner...a garden market.

From pretzel stands to coffee shops and bistros...the food and service was amazing.

On the advice of a local...we ate at the Boyd and Wurthman Restaurant in Berlin, Ohio.  There is a reason that every seat was full and there was a line-up out the door!

Something about the name called for a photo!

There were shops galore...but we mostly toured the countryside.

There are places where children still ride bike to school...

...and play softball during lunch break.

And families play croquet on the front lawn on Sunday afternoons.

Places where one goes to town with a horse and buggy.

The church parking lot on Sunday.

Barn quilts decorate businesses and barns.

'Gardens will bless your soul. They are a place to rest, to draw near, and to heal.' ~ An Amish quote.

Do you get the picture?  We found Amish country to be beautiful and  peaceful...a step back in time.

And just so you don't think we were staying in a hotel without electricity...I'll leave you a photo of our lovely room in Sugarcreek, Ohio.  What a delightful surprise we had when we checked into our hotel!

Let me add one collage of photos that give the reason for our visit.  We were guests of the Blue Gate theatre company and took in the Mennonite Girls Can Cook theatrical production in two locations.  We had book-signings at local bookstores as well a cooking show and met so many wonderful people.  What a delightful experience to share with all ten of the MGCC ladies!

A tour of Amish country was the perfect way to usher in autumn 2016. The memories will live on.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

September remembered...

Autumn is here....and September has come and gone.  Once again.  How did that happen so quickly?

Let me just re-cap the month of September with a few photos from my files.  

We arrived home from our vacation in northern B.C. as the month began.  As you all know, the fridge is empty and the cupboards are bare when one has been away for any length of time.  Right?  What a surprise to find someone had stocked my fridge and baked up a storm while I was gone.  We ate like kings for days...bean soup, corn-on-the-cob, fresh buns, Greek salad, chicken salad and pie-by-the-yard. Gotta love friends!

The kiddos all headed back to school.  Lucy (our youngest grand) started kindergarten.  The oldest two are in grade ten. Ryder had a most memorable 'first day of school' this year.  Not only did he start fifth grade in a new school...he broke his wrist that day as well.  He will not be playing hockey for awhile!

A good friend was celebrating her milestone birthday this month. We hosted a party and thought it might be fun to surprise her with a new outfit for the occasion.  What fun we had putting together a fabulous ensemble at a local 'thrift store'...from the perfect red hat (modeled by Marg after our successful shopping trip), to a dress off a manequin, a purple boa and all the accessories.  The red bag was an 'old age survival kit'.  She was a good sport and wore the outfit for the evening...and looked smashing in red. She is not quite used to the idea of being sixty and has not given me permission to post any photos.  Yet.  It is always a joy to celebrate the milestones of life!

The corn came off the fields once again.

I watched from my kitchen window!

Or from the road as I went for an evening walk. This particular field was serving as a picnic-ground for the bears and they weren't particularly happy to see the corn crop being cut.  Ryder and his friend were riding along as the last of the field was being cut...and were thrilled when they saw the bears running off to the mountains. 

Guess who else had a birthday? He doesn't always remember exactly how old he is anymore. It gets harder as the years add up!

And a few days later my dad turned 94.  He knows exactly how old he is...and always likes a party!  He came out to the farm on his birthday, rode along in the truck that was hauling the corn, and joined the crew for lunch (including apple pie a la mode, of course)  In the evening, three of us sisters took him out for supper.  And he had pie again!  Every day is a gift...and at his age, a very special gift. 

Before the first day of fall arrived...there was snow on Mt. Cheam.

Let me add a few September evening pic's...the beauty of sunshine and clouds.

 Isn't God's artwork just the best?

The month ended with a trip that took us to Indiana and Ohio together with my good friends from Mennonite Girls Can Cook.  We took in a theatrical production with that name in both locations, had book-signings and a cooking show and met so many wonderful folks out there.

To get all ten of us not an easy task.  That we were all able to make the trip is quite unbelievable.  It was just the best experience...and so good to have most of our hubbies along as well.

We all met up at the lovely Blue Gate Garden Inn in Shipshewana, Indiana last Sunday and met on their courtyard for 'faspa' (...a celebration of food and a gathering of friends in the Mennonite tradition). The stores and restaurants in the area were all closed as it was Sunday...but we had picked up supplies earlier and were amazed at the spread we came up with. 

 It was just a delightful time!

We so enjoyed our drives through the countryside, our chats with the Amish people, the warm welcome and wonderful food we enjoyed during our stay.  I'll be back with a blog-tour through Amish country one day soon.

Let me close with a photo taken this morning...from 'my back porch' at home.  Home...always a good place to be!

Wishing you all a wonderful month of October!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Experiencing the Yellowhead ~ Prince George to Prince Rupert

It's been a few weeks since we were it is high time I documented the rest of our journey in northern BC.  The east-west corridor of the region is Highway 16...also known as the Yellowhead Highway.

You can join me on this route today...passing through friendly communities and incredible scenery.  We connect up with the Yellowhead Highway at Prince George (B.C.'s northern capital) and travel westward.

After about an hour's drive we arrive in the forestry and farming community of Vanderhoof...the geographical centre of our province.

It's BC's oldest European-settled farming community.

From Vanderhoof we decided to take a side-trip to Fort St. James...and immerse ourselves in a little British Columbia history.  We had no idea how beautiful it would be there!

 From the banks of the Stuart River... the shores of Stewart Lake

...we could see why Simon Fraser chose this site for a trading post when he first arrived here.

We visited the completed restored Hudson's Bay Company a National Historic Site.

We had a nice chat with the 'hostess' in one of the buildings.  She encouraged us to sit in the 'recliner' that sat in one corner...once used by the officials at this trading post.  We had a good laugh at the story she shared with us.  On a recent morning...while the sun streamed in through the windows and the tourists were no where to be seen...she had settled into the recliner and fallen asleep.  Meanwhile a party of tourists arrived and thought she was part of the decor.  A prop.  She awoke with a start as one of them poked her in the stomach.  She screamed as she ran from the building...and has been banned from sitting in that reclining chair ever since.

We learned a lot from her.  She told us how the men who came to work and stay at this remote post were offered their choice of young brides from among the local tribes.  These marriage contracts were only good for five years.  At that time the employees of Hudson's Bay Company could return to their homeland...and the local bride went back to live with her family.  Sad.

We camped at a municipal campsite on the shores of Stewart Lake...

...and watched the sunset in the evening.  Far from the crowds!  

We made our back to the Yellowhead Highway and carried on our westward journey...through what is known as 'the lakes district'.

We passed through Fort Fraser...established by Simon Fraser in 1806. It was in Fort Fraser that the last spike on the Grand Trunk Railway was driven.

We visited Beaumont Provincial Park and had a picnic lunch at Fraser Lake.

Smithers lies about halfway between Prince George and Prince Rupert and has a population of 5500.

We made a little detour off the highway at Smithers and visited Twin Falls...some fifteen minutes drive from downtown.

The weather had changed and we were now sight-seeing in the rain.  We couldn't see far...

...but  the foliage along the path painted a pretty picture!

The viewing platform for the Twin Falls was a short walk from the parking area. The glacier which lay just above was shrouded in mist.

About twenty miles further along the Yellowhead highway is Moricetown...a Wet'sueten First Nation village of 800.  Late summer is the perfect time to stop and watch the locals fishing in the crashing whitewater of the Bulkly River at Moricetown Canyon.

They fish with a dip net as the salmon make their way through the gorge...

...just as they have always done.

And it didn't take many dips to catch two large salmon in this net!

There were a lot of helpers (and their dogs) waiting for the snagged salmon.

From Moricetown it is another 200 miles to Prince Rupert (passing through Terrace en route)....

...with amazing scenery long this stretch of highway.

We kept pace with the trains running alongside the highway...

...and on occasion we  yielded to them!

And then...Prince Rupert.  It seems like the end (or beginning) of the Yellowhead Highway.  But in reality, the highway actually starts on Graham Island of the Haida Gwaii, with Mile 0 being at Massett.

Prince Rupert is a city of some 13,000 people...nestled on a small, mountainous island at the mouth of the Skeena River.  It is a center for commerce and transportation...and boasts a very busy cargo port.  Everything at the port seems to be about fishing or logging.  Unless here happens to be a large cruiseship in port...on its way to Alaska.

We had a sunny day to spend in Prince Rupert before setting sail for Haida we did what the cruise ship tourists do.  We strolled about the harbour and the shopping district of Cow Bay.  We visited the Museum of Northern BC. 

And in the afternoon  we hiked out to Butze Rapids...a short thirty minute hike to the viewing platform. The rapids are caused by the ebb and flow of the tides and can apparently be quite spectacular.  Things were fairly calm when we were there...since we hadn't checked the tide schedule at all.  But the trail itself was great for a cool walk on a hot day...through old growth forests.

It was a lovely day and ended with dinner at the Crest Hotel with my cousin Sandy and her husband (who have lived in Prince Rupert for thirty years) and a friend from Switzerland.  The food and was was the fellowship around the table. 

I'll end with a photo of the sun setting over the harbour of Prince Rupert that day.

And that was a little of what we experienced on our travels along the Yellowhead Highway in northwest British Columbia this summer.  It's a great road-trip.  Especially when the sun is shining!