Thursday, June 30, 2011

Oh Canada!

God keep our land...
glorious and free!

Canada is a country that has been blessed beyond most countries in the world.
It is a country worth working for.
Queen Elizabeth II ~  Canada Day 1990

Since tonight marks the beginning of the Canada Day long weekend...
I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my Canadian friends a very Happy Canada Day!

I'll be off celebrating with extended family...
in a place where the sun always shines...
and the cherries hang thick on the boughs!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

of birds and blooms and such...

 As the month comes to an end...
I'll post a few pictures taken around the neighbourhood these past few weeks.  

One day in the country is worth a month in the city. 

Lupins are in their prime...
adding a touch of colour to the roadside.

And the wild roses are filling the country air with their pleasant scent...
in sharp contrast to some of the other smells in the neighbourhood!

From my spot at the kitchen window...
I have enjoyed the clematis these past weeks.  
She's getting tired now...
but usually blooms once again later in the summer.

I looked out the front window the other day...
and noticed that the starlings had called a meeting in the willow tree.  
A robin sat below and listened in!  
I took a photo through the window...

...and then stepped onto the front porch for a better shot.  
They decided their meeting was over...
though they always come back for more! 

I'll add a picture of a blue heron that we passed on our bike ride the other day. 

Today isn't much of a picture taking day...
with grey skies and rain in the forecast.'s just around the corner!  
Have I said that before? 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

a souvenir from Ritzville...

We were not really planning on visiting Ritzville.  In fact...we had never even heard of Ritzville.  So how is it that we brought home a souvenir from a little unknown town in Washington? Let me tell you. 

We were on our way to Idaho...for the wedding I told you about yesterday.  We had my dad along for the journey...

...and spent the first night in the charming little town of Leavenworth.  Dad quite enjoyed himself...

...and even got a chance to try his hand at fishing while we were there.  They had a 'catch and release' trout pond at the place where we were staying.

Though we had planned to go out for a Bavarian meal that evening...we were so happy with our accommodations that we decided to stay put and order in pizza instead.  Pizza and Bratwurst...das war gut! 

Did I ever mention that Dad likes to tell stories?  When we went to bed that night...his stories were not yet finished...and so he carried on where he had left off the next morning.  We were back on the road...eastward bound for Idaho.  Hubby was so engrossed in listening to stories...that he somehow forgot the car had cruise control.  For miles we stayed behind a bike-toting SUV and as we sailed through Ritzville...several police cars appeared on the highway ahead of us.  An officer waved over the bike-toting SUV...and then he waved us over as well.  An airplane flying overhead had clocked us at 80mph in a 70mph zone.  Distracted by stories is no defense...and we left with a souvenir speeding ticket from Ritzville.  Oh dear! 

We asked the officer to relay to the driver of the bike-toting vehicle that he was to blame for our offense...since we were simply following.  The officer told us that the driver of the lead vehicle was not amused.  Amused or not...we were both guilty as charged.

As we crossed the border back into Canada on Saturday night...we were asked to state the value of all the goods we were bringing back into the country.  Our answer was 'Zero'. 

Our answer should have been -$113.   Thankfully the Canada Post employees are back at work today.  The cheque is in the mail!

If you are planning a road trip anytime sure to use the cruise control.  Better safe than sorry!

Monday, June 27, 2011

a destination wedding ~ Idaho!

As I mentioned in my last post...we were just on a little road trip.  It was a road trip with a purpose!  A wedding.  I had cousins that grew up in faraway California...cousins that I never got to see all that often.  One of those cousins and her husband moved with their family to Idaho a few years ago...just a day's drive away.  We have stopped by a few times to visit as we were passing through...but this time we were not passing through.  We were invited to share in the wedding celebration of Janice and Joe's oldest daughter.  How fun to be a part of festivities...and to meet up with other family that we don't see all that often.

1. The happy couple.  The pastor said that of all the engaged couples he had counselled...they were the youngest.  And of all the couples he had counselled...he felt they were the most ready for marriage.

2. Driving off into wedded bliss under the blue Idahoan skies.  The pop cans dragging along behind...and the nicely decorated car were compliments of their friends.

3. The Sand Ceremony.  His sand...and her sand...became their sand.  Separate...yet together.

4. Cutting of the Cake.  Followed by eating of the cake!

5. Janice (mother-of-the-bride), Wenda (her sis), and Aunt Norma (grandmother-of-the-bride).  It was so good to see my California relatives.

It was a good time all around!  I wish the young couple a long and happy life together.  As for's a great place to visit with or without a wedding as an excuse.  We'll be back one day...I'm sure. 

Enjoy the day...

Friday, June 24, 2011

'wilkommen' to leavenworth...

Greetings from Leavenworth, Washington...a beautiful Bavarian village in the Cascade Mountains.

We are on a short roadtrip...and decided this was the perfect place to spend the night.  Though the town only has a population of about 2000...more than two million visitors flock here every year.  I know why!

More later...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

happy endings...

It's summertime and it seems all the programs are coming to an the same time. 

Maggie put on a 'creative dance' exhibition this week...with her ballerina friends.  It was too cute!

And both Ryder and Ranen graduated from pre-school yesterday.  Thankfully I had just enough time to make it from one school to the take in both ceremonies.

Ryder took the whole thing very seriously...he and his good buddy!  He is very excited that he has been promoted to kindergarten...but just can't understand why he has to wait until the end of summer before he can start!

Ranen sang her heart out with her classmates...and then accepted her diploma saying she had completed all pre-school requirements.  She plans to continue her studies at the same school next year.

Ryder asked me on Monday night if I was coming to watch his soccer game.  Since the sun was shining...and I had not yet been to any of his games...I said, "But of course!" 

What fun watching five-year-olds play soccer!  They needed to be reminded about the game on hand every so often.   

Last night we took in Emme & Spencer's last soccer game of the season.  It looked to me like they had a lot of fun! 

All good things must come to an end (so they say)...but I'm glad I could take part in the 'happy endings'.

Wishing you a terrific Thursday!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

rambling through Ryder Lake...

We have a wonderful garden tour in our community in June of each year...sponsored by one of the local rotary clubs.  My sisters and I reserve the date on the calendar well in advance...and spend the day meandering about in the most beautiful local gardens.  That is coming up on the weekend...and I was quite disappointed when I realized I had a conflict this year...and would not be taking in the garden tour.

But the community of Ryder Lake has their own little garden tour in June...and that took place just recently...and so I talked hubby into joining me on the Ryder Lake Ramble this year. 

Ryder Lake is a sub-alpine hamlet in the foothills of the Pacific Mountain Range...and just a ten or fifteen minute drive from our farm.  Our heifers know it well...since we send them to pasture (summer camp) in the Ryder Lake area for the summer months.  It is a community of small and medium family-owned farms...

...surrounded by beautiful mountains.  We toured on a cloudy day (as most days have been here this spring)...and so the peaks were shrouded in the mist.

Since this area is at quite a high elevation...spring comes a little later than on the valley floor.  The lilacs were in full, fragrant bloom!

We quite enjoyed strolling through the gardens of the homesteads situated in the valley bowl. 

Some had many acres of gardens...and kilometers of woodland trails.  And these are gardens of retired folk.  I don't think they are finding retirement one bit boring!

For years I had heard of a plantation of Siberian irises up in these hills...and was delighted to find the iris garden on the tour.

We strolled through old growth forest to the secluded plantation...which features irises in every colour of the rainbow.  So they say!

Because we have just had the coldest spring on record over here...and because Ryder Lake is at a higher elevation...the irises were just beginning to wake up to spring.  The little bit of blue poking out above...was about all the colour we saw.  But we met the colourful gardener...who was a pleasure to chat with!

He retired twelve years a life of farming flowers up in the hills.  It is far removed from his career in the medical profession...and he loves every minute of it.  He seems to have found a way to do all the work from his tractor seat...and that to him is bliss!

We enjoyed our ramble through Ryder Lake...where their theme is 'a community worth caring for is a community worth sharing'.   So true!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

rollin' along the river...

With a dry and reasonably warm evening on our hands...and no immediate plans...we loaded our bikes and took them to the parking lot at one end of the Vedder River Trail on Friday night.

The trail runs for 15 1/2 kilometers along the north dyke of the Vedder River...and is popular with joggers, strollers, horseback riders, dog walkers and cyclists.  It was rather quiet on that particular evening.

Fed by the huge volume of water coming down the river at this time of the year...the driftwood piles were bigger than ever.

Lupins and other  wild flowers lined  the trail...

...and a few patches of poppies popped out among the rest.

The trail also meanders past Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve...a 130-hectare site known for the breeding colony of Great Blue Herons as well as a wide variety of wildlife and vegetation. We took a little detour through the reserve...and spotted a few herons and several beavers. 

I stopped at this particular viewpoint...a bench that I remember well.  On a Sunday evening in June parents showed up at our place just as we were about to leave for a walk along this very trail.  We invited them to join us...and they did.  But when we got to the mom suggested they might just sit on this bench and enjoy the view, since she wasn't feeling up to too much walking.  She really enjoyed our outing to the river...and it turned out to be her one and only visit to this spot.  One month later she passed away.

It is a lovely trail...and I hope to use it again soon.  But then never knows what lies around the bend!

We do know, however, that today is the first day of summer.  Have a good one!

Monday, June 20, 2011

what is an indoor picnic?

An indoor picnic is what happens on Father's Day...when it is still raining and cold as we are about to leave for the planned picnic at the lake.  Plan B suddenly looked much more appealing to all...including the kids.

The picnic happened around our dining room table...

...with a fire nearby to keep us warm.  None of us longed to be at the lake...not this time.

As for the kids...they ate and ran.  I snuck upstairs to see what the youngest ones were doing...

...and they were managing just fine on their own. 

Emme and Spencer seem to prefer hanging around the 'picnic table'...and listening in on adult conversations.  How did that happen so quickly?

But they are always more than willing to read a book to their wee cousin.

And when the first picnic was over...we headed out the door to my sister's for a planned BBQ with my dad.  Once again we went with Plan B...and had our meal indoors.   

Father's Day 2011...a good day for indoor picnics.  Indoors or's always good to spend time with dad.

Have a great day...

Friday, June 17, 2011

my dear father...

Our daughter stopped by for lunch yesterday...and had a chuckle about her dad's coffee mug. It happens to be one she gave him for Father's Day almost two decades ago...and it's still among his favorites. Here are the words on the side of the mug...

My Dear Father...

As a child, I'd run to you for comfort whenever I felt
unsure or afraid.

You would hold me on your lap and tell me that if I believed 
enough in my dreams and in myself, to reach them...
nothing would be beyond my grasp
--and you were right.

You seemed so wise and strong,
I thought I could never outgrow my love for you...
and that as I got older,
you'd be even more special to me.

And I was right.

I think I know why it's his favorite mug.  It has everything to do with the words on the cup...and the fact that it came from his daughter.

We will be celebrating Father's Day this weekend.

 I am most blessed to be able to spend some time with my dad and with the other four dads in my life...

...the fathers of my grands and the father of my children.  They are a special lot...entrusted with the awesome responsibility of fatherhood. 

Each day of our lives, we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.
 ~ Charles Swindoll

One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.
~George Herbert

And in the end, it's not the years
in your life that count.
It's the life in your years.
~Abraham Lincoln

Those words I leave for all of 'my dads'.

And these three...
I love you!