Friday, October 29, 2010

eating out...

We have an invitation to the home of friends for dinner this evening.
I'm looking forward to it!

I'm feeling rather spoiled this week.
Last Sunday night we sat at this lovely table... 

...as the guests of some friends, 
with whom we have enjoyed many wonderful meals throughout the years.

There's something special about being invited into a home...
gathering around the table...
and enjoying someone else's fabulous cooking!
Conversation flows freely...
laughter comes easily.

I was thinking recently that it doesn't happen as often as it used to.
I'm re-thinking that right now!

Last Saturday night we were invited out for a game of Rook...
which turned out to include a buffet of appetizers and a delicious dessert.

Sunday night it was the dinner invitation that I mentioned above.

Tonight is Friday...and we are invited out for dinner.
Tomorrow...Saturday...
we have an invitation to the home of other friends for dinner.
And Sunday we have a lunch invitation...after church.
Sunday night...we are invited to our kids' for dinner.

We are free the following weekend...in case you were wondering!  

Hospitality sitting with gladness. 
~Henry Wadworth Longfellow

I'm not sure what Longfellow had in mind with his quote...
but I will gladly sit with friends and enjoy their hospitality!

Have a wonderful weekend...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

the true colours of autumn...

The burning bush never disappoints!  
Even when the maples are barely blushing...

...the burning bush is fully aglow!
  Add a touch of sunlight...and the bushes are flaming red. 

We planted red sunset maples down our driveway five years ago.
  The wee trees had vibrant red leaves when we stuck them in the ground...
and we envisioned a canopy of red in the autumns of the future.
  
Somehow...our red sunsets are not living up to expectations.
  
Though they have the odd red leaf...many branches are still totally green.
  
It's been the same story every fall...
and the people at the garden shop have no explanation as to why the leaves are not turning red...
before falling to the ground.  

So I asked 'google'...and now I know.

The anthocyanin pigments that are responsible for the red leaves of the maple are formed in the cell sap inside the vacuole when sugars combine with complex compounds called anthocyanidins.  The colors vary because of differences in amounts of soluble sugars in the leaves for anthocyanin production.

 Did you get that?
  
Oh...and there was one sentence that I could understand... 

"As the tree gets older it will show the color better."  

O.K.  I'll wait until next year...and see if they show their true colours!
 
Have a wonderful day...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

cranberry delight...

The cranberry harvest is well under way in our area.
Our province is the largest producer of cranberries in Canada...
but until recently we haven't seen many cranberry fields in our area.

That's all changing!

Where horses roamed not long ago...
a farm just down the road from us has been planted in cranberries.  
All summer I watched as they kept the new seedlings moist.

One day I walked into the field for a closer look...
to see what young cranberry bushes look like. 

It will be at least three years until the first cranberries arrive...

...so these gals told me.  
They were representing the cranberry growers...
and giving out samples of craisins at a food fair I was at not so long ago.  
And they were standing in a sea of cranberries!

On Sunday we drove out to a field just across the river from our place.....
.and brought home a bag of cranberries that had just been picked. 
They don't come any fresher than that!

Today we are enjoying cranberry orange scones
Cranberries are now a local delight!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

really?

After a visit to the doctor's office...I don't usually hear from the doctor again until the next time I make an appointment.  If he were to call...I would think there was a problem.

I visited the eye doctor last week...for my long overdue eye examination.  He thought all was well...no concerns...just a wee switch in the lens prescription.  I was on my way in no time!

Yesterday afternoon I had a call from the 'eye doctors' office.  I immediately knew there was a problem!

What a surprise to discover I was the winner of  a gift basket...one of their promotional door prizes.  So of course I drove into town to pick up my winnings...and immediately unpacked the basket.

I am now the proud owner of a black Nike duffel bag...some great-looking guy's sunglasses...a black t-shirt...a mug...a nifty pen...Diesel cologne for men...Lola by Marc Jacobs eau de parfum...a Juicy Couture compact...and lots of supplies for keeping my glasses sparkling clean. 

I'm just thinking...there are some great items to re-gift! 

Enjoy your day!

Monday, October 25, 2010

a birthday...then and now

We celebrated my daughter's birthday over the weekend. We have done that many times over the years...some things have changed and some haven't!


There has always been a cake...though 'cake' is not in her favorite food group...and so for many years it was a Danish Cream Squares 'cake' instead. 


Some thirty years ago...it was a chocolate Teddy Bear cake...and she seemed quite pleased about that.


And she couldn't wait to open her gifts way back when...and unwrapped her favorite Fisher Price Jenny first thing when she awoke.  By the way...after all these years Jenny is still in my toy box looking much the same...though she could use a new hairstyle. 


Fast forward thirty years...the cake is a strawberry-banana-Nutella split...with a sea of candles on top! 


No longer is she able to blow them all out on her own!


As for the gifts...she had to be patient and wait until  everyone was done their cake.  And she had a lot of help with the unwrapping!


Oh...and she still gets excited about gifts!



They seemed to know exactly what she wanted.


Once the gifts were opened the kids disappeared upstairs.  It seems they got at the tickle trunk...and put on a show for the birthday girl.  There were lots of reasons to smile!

We wish you many more 'happy birthdays' on the road ahead, Heidi...and hope to share in many more celebrations!  May you continue to seek God daily...and allow Him to lead in your life. 


Friday, October 22, 2010

pike place public market...

It happens to be one of Seattle's top tourist attractions...and hosts 10 million visitors annually. The market opened in 1907 and is one of the oldest public farmer's markets in the USA.


From our hotel...it was all downhill to the waterfront...and a visit to the market.

Colourful...lively...and appealing...the market is filled with the bounty of local farms, rivers and the sea.  It was early in the morning...and we were looking for a nice place to have breakfast.  We found just the spot...


...a table with a view on the top floor of the market.  We ate at Lowell's...which claims to be the 'living room' of the market...and has been voted as having the 'best breakfast in Seattle' three years in a row.  We wouldn't know what to compare it to...since we returned to the same spot again the next morning.  Oh...and we sat t the same table and had the very same breakfast again.  It doesn't take us long to get into a rut!

After breakfast we wandered down to the fish market...where fishmongers whip up enthusiasm among the crowds...and throw fish!  A tourism channel was filming a promotional piece on the fish market just as we arrived...


video

...and so I captured it on 'film' to share with you.  After the video clip was done...the reporter was left with a sizable piece of fresh salmon clinging to her hair.  And when we met her at the market sometime later...she was wearing a red coat.  Some jobs require a quick change!

Though Seattle is a large city...it seemed we kept bumping into the same people over our two-day stay.  We met this family at the market several times...

 ...and once again at Beecher's Handmade Cheese.  We watched the cheese-making process through the glass...and then went inside to sample.  And since the samples just barely whet our appetite...we brought some cheese home to enjoy.  Very yummy!


Also at Pike Place Market is the original Starbucks...that opened it's doors in 1971.  It looks much as it always has...and there is usually a musician playing outside the door.  We went indoors and had  coffee...and found musicians inside as well.  A group of Sweet Adeline's were having their coffee fix for the morning...since they were fixing to sing the rest of the day.  Forty-three choirs and seventy quartets descended on Seattle this week...for a five-day Sweet Adeline's International Convention at the Key Arena.  We met many of the same gals time and again...they almost had me singing their songs by the time we parted ways. 


And so ended our most enjoyable visit to the Pike Place Market. 

Have a great weekend...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Space Needle...at long last!

The year was 1962...and though I was but a child...I remember hearing all about the amazing Space Needle.  At that time it was the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River...and hoped that I too might one day visit this icon.

The days and years came and went!  We passed through Seattle often on our way to points south...or made it as far as the shopping malls...but never took the time to be authentic tourists in Seattle. 


It finally happened!  We picked two of the loveliest fall days on record...took along good walking shoes...and did what the tourists do when they visit Seattle. 

We visited the Space Needle...in the brilliant sunshine...and enjoyed the views of the city and out across Puget Sound.  We could see the Cascade Range, the Olympic Range, Mt. Rainer, Mt. Baker and Elliot Bay.  In fact...we enjoyed the views so much...that we decided we would come back a little later...and check out the changing scenery as the sun was setting.

We were so glad we did!  If you ever have a chance to watch the sun set from the observation deck of the Space Needle...some 520 feet in the sky above Seattle...don't miss it! 

Another legacy of the 1962 World's Fair is the Seattle Monorail...the nation's fastest full-sized monorail...a fully self-sufficient public transit system.  We checked it out...making two round trips from downtown to the Space Needle. 

Our driver seemed most relaxed about her job...zipping down those tracks in no time.  Oh...and we shared the train with a horde of Sweet Adelines who descended on the city for a choir festival this week...and broke out in song wherever they happened to be.  It was musical ride...not the Canadian kind though.  They made it most interesting!

Tomorrow...I'll take you to Pike Place Market. 


 Have wonderful day...
and if it happens to be your birthday today...
may it be extraordinarily special!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

travels and such...

At about this time of the year we usually head south...in search of a little more summer.  This year we opted to stay closer to home...since we have a trip-of-a-lifetime planned for the not too distant future.  So instead...we are being tourists in Seattle for a few days.  Seattle is just a three hour drive from our place...and though we have been there often (usually passing through)...we had never visited many of the tourist attractions. 
What fun we are having!  More about that tomorrow.


About the trip-of-a-lifetime...we were told that we would require certain vaccinations to travel to our destination.  The recommended course of action is to pay a visit to the travel doctor...who knows exactly what we need.  The travel doctor works from several offices...and spends a few days each week in our city.  We quite liked his hours...and made an appointment for the wee hours of the morning before any other businesses were even thinking of opening their doors.  His office was a bit of a surprise...somehow not what we expected.  Located far from any other medical services, we found ourselves in a waiting room situated in the loft of a quilting shop.  It gave a new meaning to having 'stitches' at the doctor's office.
Once the necessary forms were filled out...I could browse...from above!

He wasn't much interested and found some reading material.  Soon we had our consultation...and rolled up our sleeves for the onslaught of needles.  We are now protected against yellow fever...and many other horrid diseases.  And while we were there..we had our flu shots as well.  And all that happened before eight o'clock in the morning! 

So...if you are considering travelling to interesting places in faraway lands, be forewarned...you must first visit the travel doctor.  That would be enough to keep my daughter at home!

Enjoy the day...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

free as a bird...

When Ryder comes to visit...and we go for a walk...he has a few favorite pit stops along the route.  One is to check out the chickens...

...the ones that run free!  It's one of those places where the gates are open...and there are no signs warning of 'bio-security'.  It's also a place where the chickens and roosters run at will...and where Ryder can get up close and personal.  The owners were no where to be seen the last time we stopped by...but are always friendly and welcoming. 

We enjoyed sunshine and shirtsleeves over the weekend.  We know that too will end...and so we cleaned up a few things in the garden...and packed away the patio furniture until spring.  The birds are heading south for the winter.  What a great idea! 


Monday, October 18, 2010

Applicious

There's nothing quite like a fresh crisp apple...right from the orchard! 


We have one teeny tree in our garden...and enjoyed every apple...right down to the last bite.
But the last apple...and the last bite...are now gone.

And so it was quite a nice surprise to find our Kelowna relatives on our doorstep one morning last week...
the ones who live in an apple orchard...
and the ones who are so very generous with their most delicious apples.

They stayed for a cup of coffee...
and left us a box of apples.


This is where those apples were not so long ago.


Most of them are now in bins...bound for market.
It seems the price of apples has not been that good these past few years...
and many good apples are being juiced.

Over the weekend...I stopped by my friend's place...
knowing there was an apple juicing party in progress.
I thought I would see how it was done.


I arrived a wee bit too soon.
Bev showed me the truckload of Okanagan apples...
about ready to hit the juicer.
I think I would have been working on the assembly line if I had stayed any longer!
One of these days I'll be back to sample the juice.

Have an apple...they are not only good for you...but so good!
Oh...and be sure to eat the peel...that's where the best nutrients are found.

*Apple orchard photos compliments of Liz.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Lynn Canyon Park

After disembarking from the ferry following our Bowen Island adventure...we realized that the day was still young...and we may just have time to squeeze in another little adventure.  Not too far from the ferry terminal we arrived at Lynn Canyon Park.  It is one of the oldest parks in the area...having officially opened in 1912.


Within a minute of arriving at the park...we were on a suspension bridge viewing the cascading waterfalls some 166 feet below.  White foaming rapids...and emerald green pools of water make for a beautiful sight on a sunny day.


The steel cables supporting the narrow walkway across the canyon looked sturdy enough to me!  Though we have another famous suspension bridge in the same area...this one is free...and amazing.


A number of marked trails proceed from each end of the bridge.  A short walk found us beside the creek in a spot where the canyon was wider.  From there we took a staircase up to the eastern rim of the canyon...

  ...and on through old growth forests.   One can spend an hour or two hiking, as we did...or an entire day. 

Lynn Canyon is featured in the book called 52 Best Day Trips from Vancouver...by Jack Christie.  I think he made a good call!  We've been there before...and we'll likely go again.

Have a wonderful weekend...