Sunday, November 8, 2020

October - Memories and Moments

‘My favorite colour is October.’

Especially when the sun is shining on the cranberry fields as they are being harvested down the road.

The corn harvest on our farm happened early in the month.
A representative for the seed company took some drone footage. 

Sunsets over the cornfield would soon be a distant memory.

My kitchen window ‘corn view’ disappeared by Thanksgiving. 

Sunday afternoons had us looking for a quiet places to visit.

Nearby Cheam Wetlands park always calls us back...
where all is calm. 

Our 'Covid-safe' church services have been in a barn this fall...
where we meet with our life group on Sunday mornings to watch the on-line church services together.
 It has been a treat to be together (while far apart) like this.
Who knew we would miss the connections with others so much?
We celebrated Heidi's birthday with a 'grown-ups-only' birthday dinner.
Indian food and Danish cream squares for a win.
Her choice.

The last Thursday of October was sunny and we made impromptu plans to do some exploring on our bikes in Langley.

Sendall Gardens, Nicomekl Park, Brydon Lagoon nature Trail...all new to us.

Maggie and Lucy came for a sleepover.  

We played games and baked peppernuts.  They perfected their ping pong skills.

We had so much fun!

Often we are away for Hallowe'en...but if we are home, I make up goody bags for the grands.

They came calling...dressed for the occasion.

And before the night was over...

we watched fireworks from the comfort of our car while the grands were right at 'ground zero' across the river.

Let me leave you with one parting shot of October...
the red oak tree just before the leaves set sail!

My computer has been out of commission for the last few weeks...
and now we are well into the month of November.
I'm sure there were a lot of other things that happened during the month of October.
I didn't even mention Thanksgiving...
which we celebrated 'carefully' with our family this year.
It has been a hard year...
and yet I have so much to be thankful for.
Things that I often took for granted in the past.
Feeling thankful. Grateful. Blessed!

Thursday, October 1, 2020

September Remembered

Sunflowers and corn.
Synonymous with September.
Especially September of 2020.

 One week after my sister's passing...
Dad passed away peacefully.
We had a small graveside ceremony...
just his local children and grandchildren...
great-grandaughter Ranen who played violin...
 and one brother.

It was a special time of remembering someone who lived life to the fullest until the end. 
One day we will be together again.
What a day that will be!

Though the Canada / Us border remains closed...
the smoke from the fires in Washington, Oregon and California wafted across freely.

There were many days when we barely saw the sun...
and the mountains were all lost in the haze.

My rose bush was appropriately named for such a time as this.
'Lady of the Mist'.

And the zinnias were a bright spot on those dreary days.

September 11th is a date that is hard to forget...
but with all that was happening over here, it almost slipped by.
 His sister remembered that he had a birthday!
We will do better at celebrating it next year.
Thankful for him and the blessings of this past year.

And then there was our sweet Maggie who had her 12th birthday.
She loves soccer, and long-distance running, and swinging with her sister.
She loves to win at games.
She is kind and cares for those on the sidelines.

 She celebrated with her cousins...
since parties aren't encouraged this year.
She documented the fun with her birthday gift.
Who knew that Polaroid cameras would be a big hit again one day?
 We ended the month with a little getaway to the Okanagan Valley...

Gallagher Lake in Oliver.

What a surprise to meet up with good friends at the campground when we arrived!

We cycled the trails together...

 ...past vineyards

 ...and orchards.
Up hills and down.

Until we could cycle no more!
What are the chances of us both getting flat tires on our bikes?
His tires are both flat...
despite the 'puncture resistant' label.
My bike has a flat rear tire.
I won't even go into the saga of how that unfolded...
except to say that I sat beside the road waiting to be rescued for a few hours.
Until darkness arrived! 
If you ever cycle in the desert area of our province...
beware of puncture vines!
As for Gallagher Lake...
we really enjoyed our stay and would love to return one day. 

We stopped in Keremeos to stock up on plums, peaches and nectarines...
known as the fruit capital of Canada for a reason.
Maybe the pumpkin capital too?

As the sun sets on September,
the corn fields of home are ready for harvest.    

October has arrived! 


Thursday, September 17, 2020

Islands of BC ~ Hornby and Vancouver Island

What could be a better 'close to home' end-of-summer getaway
than a visit to a few of B.C.'s beautiful islands?

The sun was shining when we set sail...

...and with many passengers staying in their vehicles, we had the top deck almost to ourselves. 

It felt rather like we were on a cruise ship!

Three ferries and several islands later...
we arrived on Hornby Island.

It was our first visit...
but we had heard many stories from others who go often.

It seems most visitors book a cabin...
but we brought the RV and booked a site next to Tribune Bay Provincial Park.

The location was perfect...
and our bikes took us anywhere we wanted to explore on the island.

Tribune Bay beach on Hornby is known as Canada's 'little Hawaii'...
with its white sand and warm salt water bay.

Helliwell Provincial Park was a great place to go for a walk...
a 5 km loop took us through old growth forests and along the bluffs
...with a view of Vancouver Island, Denman Island, Georgia Straight and the Coastal Mountains.

Along the trail we happened upon a totem pole erected by the Comox First Nation a few years ago.
Helliwell Park was once a farm...
and was donated to the people of our province by John Helliwell.
We say thank-you! 

Just before we left for Hornby Island...
my dad asked us to see what we could learn about his old friend Keith who once ran a lodge on Hornby Island, and who he had not heard from in years.
Why had we never heard of this friend and hunting partner before?
We thought maybe dad was making up new stories in his old age.

We found the lodge which Keith had operated for 28 years..
before it was sold to the provincial government for a park in 1979.
It is now part of the outdoor education program at Tribune Bay.
We also learned that his friend spent the next three decades training and racing horses on Hornby Island...before his passing in 2010.
I called dad and shared our findings with him...
and he shared stories from his hunting trip in 1949. 
There was always another story!

We packed a lot into our four days on the island.
We lunched on the patio at the Seabreeze Lodge,
had fish 'n chips at Ford's Cove Marina
and had ice-cream cones at the Co-op store.
As we were told we should! 
Good recommendations all around. 

If we go again...
we will know that it is hard to conduct business from Hornby with no wifi and spotty cell service.
We may also think twice about taking our RV to the far reaches of the campsite...
which felt rather like squeezing an elephant through a rabbit hole.
We will also know that generators are not allowed...
and that e-bikes are hard to charge without power.
And we know that the slide-out will not retract if the the motorhome engine is running.
 Oh yes...and we will not store a watermelon safely above the dinette table. 
We spent our final evening at Whaling Station Bay Beach.

...and just like that, the sun set our our Hornby Island vacation.

It was memorable adventure!

Once we left Hornby Island behind...
we parked for next to the Nanaimo River on Vancouver Island for one night.


It was such a quiet, peaceful place.
'He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul.' 
We had plans to cycle the Cowichan Trail the following day...
but that day never went as planned.
Early the next morning I received news that my sister had passed away.
If life was 'normal' we would have gone to be with family. 
But nothing is normal this year!
I spent a good part of the day on the phone...
with family.

We decided to do one short section of the trail that took us from Shawnigan Lake park to the Kinsol trestle.

This restored historic train trestle is one of the tallest timber rail structures of its kind in the world.

 It was built by local farmers and loggers and completed in 1920. 

It has been part of the Cowichan Valley trail system since it re-opened in 2012.

From the Cowichan area we travelled south to a lovely RV resort right on the ocean near Metchosin.

From our campsite we had easy access to the Galloping Goose trail
...a 55 kilometer rail trail between Victoria and Sooke.
One day we cycled the trail to Sooke...
past Matheson Lake and Roche Cove...
side by side along a forest trail. 


In Sooke we enjoyed a lunch of shared appies on the patio of a bistro. 

The following day...we cycled the other end of the trail...from Sooke to the Victoria harbour.

 We ate our picnic lunch in the shadow of Hatley Castle...

 ...and then toured the gardens. 

Hatley Park is a national historic site and so worth a visit!

As we neared the city of Victoria, the bike trail became more urban and busy.

We found a park bench on the inner harbour.

Much of what happened that day is a bit of a blur...
since I was on the phone making arrangements for my dad who was ill back home and needing to be hospitalized. 

We cycled back to our spot on the beach...

...where our kite-flying neighbours were from our hometown.

This was the scene right near our campsite...
such a peaceful one!

We had reservations for the homeward bound ferry the following afternoon... 

 ...and an invitation to join friends for lunch at their home in Victoria en route.

How lovely to have lunch on Honora's back patio
...surrounded by beautiful gardens.
It was just what I needed.

Is that not a fun backyard...with the cutest garden shed?

We arrived at the ferry terminal plenty early and were lucky to find a spot on an earlier ferry.

I won't be getting on a cruise ship anytime soon...
but I highly recommend a little jaunt on BC Ferries to some of our beautiful islands.
I'm thinking we may just sail across to the island again sometime...
when things aren't quite as stressful on the home front!

The ferry docked in Tsawwassen and we drove straight to the hospital where I had been cleared to see dad.

And so ended our most memorable RV trip to the islands...
which has taken me awhile to journal!
Until next time...