Saturday, May 31, 2008

Let's Take a Trip!

Pack your bags...we are going on a trip! June 2 ~ 6 is travel bonanza week at My Front Porch.

All week we will re-visit the places we have been...and the things we have seen!

If you have a favorite vacation spot that you would like to share with us...tell us all about it. Whether you've travelled by train, boat, plane....biked or hiked...or taken a road trip...let's hear about some of your favorite spots.

I'm thinking of taking you to Vancouver/Whistler (since we are inviting the world here for the 2010 Olympics), Newfoundland, Hawaii...and who knows where else? And you can be our tour guide to some of your favorite spots!

Once you have posted your travel feature, be sure to come back and leave me the link to your post...either as a comment or send me an e-mail. I will be displaying the links prominently on My Front Porch.

And for all of you who don't have a blog of your own...feel free to send me a photo and description of your special vacation by e-mail. I'll have a non-bloggers travel report on Friday...I have already received some info for Friday's page...should be fun!

Only two more sleeps...and we're off on vacation! Oh yes...and don't worry about the price of gas...fuel is free on this trip.

As you can tell...I'm ready to travel!

Friday, May 30, 2008

the colour purple...

Although you won't find any purple in my closet...'s my favorite colour out in the gardens at this time of the year!

I believe the tree is an Empress reminds me of the jacaranda.

From the blooming chives in my herb garden... the irises

and rhododendrons...

...the wisteria the fragrant blossoms of the heliotrope

...the lilac in myriad shades of mauve

and lavender...
the colour purple is perfect in the garden!

Hubby, on the other hand, has mostly been enjoying
the colour red lately.

He has spent a good deal of time perched on his tractor...
working at getting the last of the corn planted this week.

There's one field left to go...
and if those grey skies don't produce rain...
the planting will be done before June first.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

on this day in history...

May 29, 1948

William Baerg


Helen Isaak

were united in Holy Matrimony


East Aldergrove M.B. Church

And that, my friends, would be sixty years ago today that my parents were married. They were married on a Saturday...and moved right into a brand new home in the Greendale area. Two days later the dikes along the river broke...and the mighty Fraser River had free rein in this valley. We may not normally have tornadoes, but every year we fear the flooding of our river! Their new home was under water...and their community was accessible only by boat. And so started a marriage that lasted through sickness and health...for better or worse...for richer and long as they both lived. My mom passed away suddenly eight years ago...but until that time my parents enjoyed a good life together. So on May 29th I like to remember the marriage of my parents...and the example they set for us as children...and for all the good things we have enjoyed in this life because of mom and dad.

I cut a bouquet of peonies...from plants that were once growing in my mother's garden...and I placed them in a vase that was once in my mother's cabinet. As I set the vase on a table runner that my mom crocheted...

I remember and am thankful for the vows that were made 60 years ago today...
and kept faithfully for all those years.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

tempests...tornadoes...and travels

There's nothing quite like a prairie storm! We passed through one shortly after we arrived in Manitoba last summer...the bright skies disappeared and suddenly everything was grey. All seemed very still...and then the thunder roared....and roared again. Before we knew it...the storm had rolled on and we were back in the sunshine.

Shortly before our time there, a tornado had worked a destructive path through southern Manitoba. We were invited to a barbecue at a farm where a tornado had paid a visit the previous week.

The trees which had sheltered their back yard were all gone...the grain bins lay in a crumpled heap. It had happened in a matter of minutes!

As we watched the news on Sunday evening, we heard of a devastating tornado that had left of path of destruction in northeast Iowa. I immediately 'googled' the story to see where in Iowa the tornado hit...since my brother Bill, and his family farm in that area. From what I could gather, it appeared that they would have been outside of the strike zone.

As it turns out...they were just barely outside the path of the storm. The tornado struck within two miles of their farm. Just as they learned the tornado was heading in their direction, their electricity went off...and they headed to the basement to wait out the storm. They heard hailstones pounding and thunder crashing...and when it appeared the worst was over...they went outside and collected hailstones...

...almost the size of a golf ball. Other than hail damage...they had escaped the fury of the storm. But neighbours were not so fortunate! At one farm, all that remained was the basement of the house...every tree and building was gone. Seven lives were lost in Parkersburg, Iowa...where 220 homes were destroyed. Let's remember all the families who are dealing with sorrow...and trying to pick up the pieces of their lives.

Those of us who live far removed from tornado alley, can't begin to imagine what it must be like to always be on the alert for tornado warnings...and ready to find shelter!

On to another topic...that of travelling...

Here's what I'm planning to do next week. As I was re-living our trip to Alaska for my post on Monday...I was thinking of some of the interesting places I have visited...and of the many more I would still like to visit one fine day. So I'd like to invite you all to join me for a week of travels...June 2-6. If you've got a favorite vacation spot that you would like to share with us...tell us all about it & we'll have a week of travel posts. Whether you've travelled by train, boat, plane....biked or hiked...or taken a road trip...let's hear about some of your favorite spots.

I'm thinking of taking you to Vancouver/Whistler (since we are inviting the world here for the 2010 Olympics), Newfoundland, Hawaii...and who knows where else? And you can be our tour guide to some of your favorite spots! I'll find a way for you to leave a link to your travel post on my blog...and if you don't have a blog, feel free to send me a photo and description of your special vacation by e-mail. I'll have a non-bloggers travel report on Friday.

Today I am off to buy a few flats of petunias...the pansies will soon be history. And on the farm, another field of corn will be planted today...and eventually the spring planting will be done!

Enjoy your day...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

mushrooms...moss...and more!

On Sunday morning, shortly after the crack of dawn Heidi and I hiked up Teapot Hill...a hiking trail near Cultus Lake. The sun was was warm out even at that time of day...and it couldn't have been more perfect. The trail is a moderate climb...2.3 kms long...with a 300 meter rise in altitude. We did it at a leisurely pace...

...and spent some time enjoying the views of the lake and Columbia Valley at the top.

Ellie Mae was along for the adventure (Heidi's golden retriever)...and had energy to burn!

What always strikes me at this time of the year, is the abundance of moss covering everything along the trail. We live in a region surrounded by temperate rain forests...we receive over six feet of rain annually. Yikes!

Small wonder there is moss clinging to every limb...while ferns provide a carpet throughout the forest.

Ellie Mae was none too thrilled when the hike came to an end...but she will be happy to know that she's welcome to join us on a hike up Mt. Thom next Sunday morning.

Wild mushrooms are another product of our wet climate. There are over thirty-five varieties of edible wild mushrooms harvested from the forests of British Columbia...and exported as delicacies to Japan. I was rather surprised to find I had a bumper crop of my own, which seemed to have popped up in my garden overnight.

The ornamental grasses may have to struggle for survival if the mushrooms have their way!

After being documented by my Canon...the offending mushrooms will be removed and exported (straight to the compost pile!).

And, lest we forget we are living in a temperate rain forest...there is some precipitation in the forecast for every day this week (not what the farmer ordered)!

Have a great day!

Monday, May 26, 2008

a postcard for Ute...

On occasion we meet someone that becomes a friend for a lifetime...despite the distance between or the time from one visit to the next! Let me introduce Ute...

I first met Ute when she was just a young thing...and I was a young mom of three. She was on a Canadian adventure...carefree, outspoken and having fun! She was from Germany...working in Canada for a year through an MCC trainee program. At the same time we were hosting a Swiss trainee on our farm...and Ute came by on occasion to see Pierre. Their year in Canada was over before we knew it, and both Pierre and Ute returned to Europe to carry on with their education. We hoped we would see Pierre again one day...we did not expect our paths would cross with Ute's in the future.

However, five years later, Pierre and Ute were married....and came to Canada on their honeymoon. How good it was to see Pierre again...and to get to know Ute.

Since that time we have been to Switzerland twice to see them...and they have been back here twice to visit us. We have seen Switzerland with our own personal tour guides...and been where no tourist goes. We wandered about with the cows and their infamous bells on the high alpine meadows and visited the caves where Anabaptists once met to worship when they were forbidden to meet publicly...and visited one of their famed ski areas. We were introduced to racqlet, fondue and muesli...and even attended a Swiss schwingfest (traditional Swiss wrestling). We experienced exquisite French cuisine...toured cathedrals and castles..and saw where the famous Swatch watches are made in Biel. We had a marvelous time with our hosts!

Ute is never shy about expressing her opinion...and explained to us why this sign would be posted at the very peak of the Schilthorn. Why would anyone even think of wearing high heels on the rugged terrain of the Bernese Oberland? She informed us that the signs were necessary for the American tourists.

We have so many good memories of our travels in their fine country.

In 1999 we rented a motorhome together and travelled to Alaska...and what an adventure that was. We swam in the natural pools of Liard Hot springs, visited Dawson City...

...drove the Top-of-the-World Highway, cruised the Kenai fjords...saw sea lions and killer whales.

We hiked the Exit Glacier...and spent a glorious day in Denali National Park, where we enjoyed Swiss fondue late at night.

We fished for salmon in Prince William Sound (and caught more than we should have!)...and went for a run at midnight in the land where the sun never seemed to set.

We made many stops at little towns and villages along the route...always looking for a post office for Ute..who usually had a bundle of postcards to mail. If you know know that she will send you greetings from the uttermost parts of the world.

She also thought that there should be fresh flowers in our travelling home at all we always had an arrangement of wild flowers compliments of Ute, in our cup holder.

We shared the world's largest cinnamon bun somewhere in the Yukon...we visited North Pole, Alaska...we watched black bear eating berries beside the road...we fought off mosquitoes...and we made memories to last a lifetime. And when our trip was over...we were still friends!

Many things have changed since that time. Pierre and Ute now have a son, Marc...who is hiking, biking, skiing, skating, and swimming right alongside of them.

They came for a visit last summer...and we had a wonderful time exploring the lakes and trails of British Columbia together. My granddaughters had a fine time with Marc...he speaks French and German, while they speak only English...but that did not seem to be a problem for them. Laughter is a universal language...and what fun they had!

Ute recently completed a solo bike trip across Switzerland...she rode the 200 kms across and returned by train.

Always up to an adventure...always a word of wisdom...eager to learn and try something friend Ute, with a wonderful sense of humour, is celebrating a birthday today. So, in honour of the occasion I thought I would send her this little 'cyber postcard'...and wish her a Happy Birthday!

May the year ahead hold many wonderful adventures and may you know that you are always in His hand. May there always be a rainbow in your sky.

I look forward to sharing Swiss fondue again with you one day, Ute!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I feel the winds of god

"...put a fresh wind in my sails."
Psalm 51:12 ~ The Message

We sang a beautiful old hymn in church last which was new to me.

It sounded so Celtic...and somehow made me feel like I was down by the sea on the east coast.

I did a little research...and found it is one of the great old maritime hymns...and is also on albums by Phil Keaggy and Steve Bell.

As you read the lyrics below...imagine a few fiddles for accompaniment.

But mostly...hear the words!

I Feel the Winds of God
~lyrics by Jesse Adams 1906

I feel the winds of God today
Today my sail I lift
Though heavy, oft with drenching spray
And torn with many a rift

If hope but light the water's crest
And Christ my bark will use
I'll seek the seas at His behest
And brave another cruise

It is the wind of God that dries
My vain regretful tears
Until with braver thoughts shall rise
The purer, brighter years

If cast on shores of selfish ease
Or pleasure I should be
Lord, let me feel Thy freshening breeze
And I'll put back to sea

If ever I forget Thy love
And how that love was shown
Lift high the blood red flag above
It bears Thy Name alone

Great Pilot of my onward way
Thou wilt not let me drift
I feel the winds of God today
Today my sail I lift

Saturday, May 24, 2008

no longer seeing red...

Like I said yesterday…time changes things! Sometimes, with little or no effort on our part…things seem to improve all on their own.

I just have to give you an update on the John Deere situation over here. I decided I better mow the lawn once again before the load was too heavy. I’m just here to report that all went well…and in one hour the job was done.

As you can see, I managed to get all the clippings in my little trailer this time…oh yes, and the sun is shining…and it's all good! I’ve been told that if I mowed a little more often, the JD mower would thank me. This mowing lawn all the time really cuts into my schedule. Sigh!

So, Marg…maybe we can postpone the shopping trip until next season. Or maybe we could just go shopping for something besides green and yellow toys!

Have a wonderful weekend...

Friday, May 23, 2008

time changes things...

What a difference a few months can make!
Time changes things...sometimes it takes no effort on our part.

I gave you a tour of the stately homes in our community a few months back.
Those same places look quite different today!

St. Thomas Anglican Church is a landmark in our downtown area...built in 1897.

Wisteria Lane Gallery

Academy of Music

This lovely old heritage home once housed Dutch royalty. Maria...who now lives here...spends countless hours in her flower gardens and the place always looks amazing!

Our city museum stands tall behind a small park...beautiful in and out of season.

The trains still roll down the track...but it's a new season and everything looks different today!

Enjoy the weekend!