Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I'll eat to that!

Every birthday deserves a celebration...
and every celebration involves food...
and we have had many birthdays to celebrate these past few days...


...and so I have simply been moving from one table to the next!

We have family visiting us this week...
and are celebrating milestone birthdays all around.
My sis-in-law is turning seventy soon...and wants to keep it really quiet...
so we are just eating to that one as well.

It's all good!

Have a wonderful Wednesday...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

ladybug birthday...

Guess who is one today?

How time flies...it seems just a blink ago that she arrived...and already a year has gone by.



We celebrated the occasion with a big bash...a ladybug themed party at our place on Sunday night.

Maelyn happens to like all things ladybug...and so it was a 'ladybug picnic'.



She arrived in a ladybug tutu.  It was cousin Ranen's dress originally...but we added some red toulle and new ribbons...and a #1 monogram...and made it Maelyn's. 

Her mommy came early...and put out a big spread.

 
Are you seeing red yet?

Cousins, aunties and uncles and friends all came to join in the celebrations.


We decided a kids table might be a good idea...and they thought it was!

 

It was such a beautiful evening...we landed up moving the party outside...where we stayed until the lights went out...and it began to cool off.


Maelyn is thinking it would be nice to be upright...which works well with a hand from mommy and daddy.


But skootching seems to do the trick...birthday dress and all!


She was more than thrilled with her little ladybug ride-on toy...but thinks rocks make the best toys ever!

As the sun was setting...we brought out the birthday cake and sang 'Happy Birthday to You'...


...and she sang right along.  It's one of her favorite songs.
 

She wasn't too sure about eating a ladybug cupcake...or what to do with it once it was in her mouth...but we can say 'she had her cake and ate it too'.



And gift opening was such fun...with the help of friends and cousins.

She tried her new wagon on for size...and found she could take a whole bunch of friends along for a ride.

  With a GVW of 245 pounds...she could probably invite another friend or two.


And so ended the first birthday celebration for our sweet little ladybug!

But it seems she's not the only one celebrating her first birthday...
her little friend turned one just a few weeks ago.


They threw a little luau.
It seems the birthday girl wasn't all that thrilled (in the purple muu muu)...
and the rest wondered what all the fuss was about.

Ladybug parties and luaus...
first birthdays are a big deal these days.

Happy first birthday to my sweet little ladybug...
and many blessings in the year ahead.

Love,



Monday, September 28, 2009

bean time...in the meantime

I'll be back tomorrow to post the happenings of the weekend...but in the meantime, I'll just post a little coffee shop story for a Monday morning.

While we were vacationing on the island last month...we discovered that everyone and their dog likes to go for coffee. It seems there is something very special about Bean Time!


As we approached the coffee shop, we saw a little pooch standing guard. Just then...we heard squealing brakes and a pick-up truck (that had been around the block a few times) pulled to a stop. The owner jumped out and ran to grab the dog....all the while giving her a much-deserved scolding. Thinking we might need an explanation...he told us he had missed the last few hours of work while he cruised the streets of the city looking for his beloved pet. She had simply vanished from home. He could not believe his eyes, when he found her clear across town...sitting in front of his favorite coffee shop. She had simply gone out for coffee.

We go to great lengths for a good cup of coffee...and it seems some pets do as well!

Have a great Monday...and a good cup of coffee.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

blessings...

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you.
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26 NIV


May you delight in God's favour today...
and know His peace in your life.

I'll dedicate today's post to my sister...it's her special day!

I won't take credit for the photo...it was sent to me in an e-mail
 ...and the photographer remains anonymous.

Sunday blessings...

Friday, September 25, 2009

farm tour today...

From time to time we give farm tours over here...and today is the day.


 
So put on your coveralls...we'll supply the plastic booties...and you can join us for a tour of the dairy. 


We'll start with the parlour...where the milking happens twice each and every day.  There are very few visitors at the morning milking...since it begins at 4:30 am.  I know...it is an unearthly hour for both the cows and the milkers! 


This is the holding area...the 'waiting room' so to speak...where the cows hang out before they are allowed in to the parlour.  They are all out eating breakfast at the moment...and so the holding area has been washed down...ready for their return.

Let's go back to the parlour for afternoon milking...which begins at four o'clock.  It is always the same eager bunch that arrives in the first lot!  We milk sixteen cows at one time...eight on each side.


Never camera shy...they are all quite eager to be in the picture.  They can't really leave at the moment anyhow...


...since they are in the process of donating milk.  Corina...our most excellent milker...has a way with these gals!



The milk is pumped via pipeline to this milk tank...we are actually only seeing the very tip of it...since the rest lies on the other side of the wall.  Here it is cooled quickly to 3° degrees Celsius...


...where it is maintained at that temperature until the milk tanker arrives to haul it away every second morning.


I know you would like to hear that during the day the cows are all out on the pasture...romping and frolicking...but it is not so.  They relax in a loafing barn...complete with comfort stalls......and have their ration specially prepared in a mixer wagon...


...and delivered to them along the feed alley. Meals on wheels!

I gave you a sterilized version of the tour that is really happening this morning.  We have two buses arriving shortly...of community leaders who are eager to learn more about farming.  They will be visiting farms of all kinds...and we are the dairy stop on their agenda.  They will not be seeing the cows being milked...as it seems they were not prepared to begin their tour in the wee hours.  We'll serve them cookies and milk...of course...and coffee...and send them on their way knowing a little more about what is involved in getting the milk to market these days.
 
For the record...our dairy farm is an average sized farm in British Columbia.  There are still many small family farms in this area...but they seem to be increasing in size rapidly.  The largest dairy in Canada is just down the road from our place...and they milk about 3000 cows.  One of these days I'll take you on a tour over there...and show you what a mega-farm looks like.  They milk around the clock over there.

As for our farm...it is the same farm that I grew up on.  We bought the farm from my parents when they retired...and have been here for some twenty odd years.  Five years ago we built a new home across the back fields from the farmyard...and our son and his family now live in the main farmhouse. 



The aerial photo above is much how the farm looked when we took over in the late eighties.  The dairy barn we toured today was added six years ago.  We milk about 130 cows...and raise all our replacement animals. 



And that, my friends, is where our bread and butter comes from!  Hope you enjoyed the farm tour.

Edited To Add... 


They came...they saw...they went.  And maybe they learned something as well!



Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chilliwack corn...

Chilliwack...the great outside...famous for sweet smelling country air and Chilliwack corn! From early July until sometime in fall we enjoy the best sweet corn around.


In Vancouver...at the PNE...there was Chilliwack corn on the menu.  And we heard from reputable sources that even in Alberta...where they claim to grow great corn in the Tabor area...it was Chilliwack corn that was stealing the show. 


It seems we have corn shacks at every intersection...we never have to go far in search of corn.

I'm quite happy to pay for my corn these days...as we once grew corn for the fresh market.  It involved a lot of corn picking at the crack of dawn...from early August until Thanksgiving.  We sold corn for one dollar per dozen back in the day...now we pay seven dollars a dozen.  Things have changed in the last two decades!


As for the corn itself...Chilliwack corn is still the best!  So good in fact...that one can eat it with or without teeth. 

We had a picnic dinner out on the patio at the home of friends last night...and enjoyed rotisserie beef and fresh Chilliwack corn grown on their farm.
 

We watched the sun set over the corn field at the end of another beautiful sunny day in the valley.  It was all good.

If you need an excuse to visit Chilliwack...come for the corn!






Wednesday, September 23, 2009

sweet autumn

Sweet autumn...a fall blooming clematis with a heavenly fragrance...is putting on a show. 

The show is rather incomplete this year...as last winter's deep freeze stole one half of the arbour cover.

It will be back in full force next year...guaranteed.


Few clematis bloom in fall...and most have no fragrance
...but this one has it all.



And in the corner of the garden...the grape arbour beckons these days.


I'm thinking I may need a little help with cleaning up the grapes this year.


And the apple-tree-of-many-stripes is about ready for it's first big harvest.

It is my fun tree...with five varieties on one trunk.

The yellow transparent branch produced only one apple this year...
and now we will try the Cortland, Macintosh, Liberty and Jonagold...soon.

 
The herb garden is not yet in fall mode...and grows faster than I can snip.



The grasses are in their glory...
and will look like this through the winter months.
 
It's Hamlin fountain grass...in case you were wondering. 



As for these...they have me wondering as well!
Maybe the lawn is missing some nutrient or other...
and is sending up these specimens as a signal.
I'm mowing over them regularly...
but they keep coming back.

As you all know...
I mow over all kinds of things!

Some never come back.

I'm still sad about my missing camera...
but my old one is not too bad.

I'm almost getting used to it...duct tape and all!







Tuesday, September 22, 2009

easy rider...

We get around in this day and age...usually by road or air...but travel by rail is not so common in our part of the world.  Passenger trains are all but a memory on Canadian tracks...with a few wonderful exceptions.  In the city of Vancouver, we happen to have the world's longest automated light rapid transit sytsem...


...known as Sky Train.   Built for the Expo 86 World's Fair, it uses motor-driven trains that are similar to those of the JFK AirTrain in New York.  For these past twenty-plus years SkyTrain has moved passengers quickly across the region along 49.5 kilometres through 33 stations.  One month ago...the new Canada Line rail was completed and now links downtown Vancouver with Richmond...and the Vancouver International Airport...adding an additional 19 kilometers and sixteen more stations.

For those of us who live out in the country...it is a novelty to ride the rails.  On Sunday a group of us chose to do just that.  We car-pooled to the nearest Sky Train station (about an hours drive)...bought an all day transit fare for nine dollars...and began our adventure on the rails.


We country folk are not always so savvy when it comes to ticketing machines...but the kind man from BC Transit was ever so willing to help out.  Soon we were on our way!


We had us a fine time...cruising from Surrey through to the waterfront in Vancouver on mostly elevated rails.  It is a most relaxing way to get downtown...no traffic or parking woes!  The Waterfront Station was built by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1910, and was the Pacific terminus for the CPR's transcontinental passenger trains to Montreal and Toronto until circa 1979. 


It is a lovely old building...and is now the hub of all transportation in the city. It connects Sky Train, Canada Line, Sea Bus, West Coast Express and many commuter buses. Our all-day pass allowed us to pick and choose any of the above options...but we were here to check out the brand new Canada Line...which has been in operation for only one month.

There was a train leaving every four minutes...and in no time we were on our way to the airport.  Where before we were riding high above the city...the Canada Line is mostly underground...18 meters underground at Yaletown. 


This was the view in the tunnel...but inside the train it was bright and cheery.  The cars are modern...ride smoothly and quietly and have room for luggage and wheelchairs. 


 Once out of the tunnel...the views were amazing on a warm September afternoon.


Canada Line crosses two bridges...with the highest point on the line being the two sixty-meter towers in the middle of the North Arm Bridge. This bridge is also open to pedestrians and cyclists...we'll leave that for our next adventure.



Twenty-five minutes after departing the waterfront...we arrived at YVR.  It looks rather different from this entry point...and would be a most convenient way to travel to the airport when leaving on a flight.  As for us...we were just here to explore.  Who would ever have thought of the airport as a destination for people who are not airline passengers? 

The airport has undergone big expansions in the recent past as well...and features a wonderful new observation deck.  We spent some time there...watching planes coming and going...and making use of the telescopes set up there for the convenience of children and adults.  It is quite a lovely spot...and couples are actually booking this area for wedding ceremonies. 


YVR has always been one of my favorite airports...and there is so much more there now.  If you appreciate art...you will find some wonderful pieces at the airport as well.  The owl in flight shown in the mosaic...is made from an old growth cedar stump...and arrived at the airport as part of the new Canada Line. 

And food...there are lots of options.  We chose to visit Milestones and enjoyed a lovely dinner before beginning our return trip.


We rode the rails as the day was ending....






...thoroughly enjoying the sights of the city and the riding experience itself.


And so the sun set on the last Sunday of summer 2009. 
 


Our adventure ended where it began...at King George Station in Surrey.  We rode the rails just for fun...and so can you.  It's a great way to see the city.