Thursday, August 30, 2007

Our Titanic Expedition

So, are you looking for a little adventure? Here’s one I’d recommend! Head out to Victoria and check out the Titanic exhibition at the B.C. Museum. Of course, it would be a lot more fun if you left your vehicle on the mainland and went by bike. And make sure you order the perfect weather…high cloud and not too hot or cold (no wind) would be good.

We had great fun last week on our little excursion with our friends, Dave & Janet. We boarded the ferry as foot passengers with bicycles (charge $2.50 per bike…no vehicle charge!). The only hitch was that when we arrived in Swartz Bay, we had to pedal our bikes to Victoria. There is a lovely trail running parallel to the highway which was constructed on an old rail bed, for the most part. It is 35 kms in length and classified as easy. It sounded easier than it was, but I’d do it again anytime. I’d recommend actually cycling a little in preparation though…it would probably be easier on the butt. We traveled light (our possessions in a back pack)…the weather was perfect (cloudy & cool)…but we still got rather warm, so I wouldn’t want to try this in the heat of the summer.

We had lots of interesting stops along the trail. We stopped to watch some pigs wallowing in the mud beside the road…

…and to take in the great ocean views……and to pick blackberries

…& of course, we stopped for lunch at a delightful cafe at Maddick’s Farm.

How's that for a gourmet sandwich ? We shared, of course

e stopped on a trestle bridge to watch the moose across the pond. I never knew they had moose on Vancouver Island...but here's a picture to prove it! We also took an unplanned detour when we missed the trailhead at an intersection and cycled uphill in the wrong direction for awhile. It took us a leisurely four hours to reach Victoria, so we’re not thinking of going in any races any time soon.

We checked into our condo, tried out the hot tub and walked around the inner harbour before having dinner at a great little place called Pagliacci's. It is a favorite of locals…they never advertise & are always full. We were a little put off by the long line-up on the sidewalk when we arrived, but decided it must be worth the wait! Everything is made on site…it’s a real character place with live entertainment. I wish I’d known they were most famous for their cheesecakes; I would have saved room.

The next morning, it was off to see the Titanic exhibition. It was a great presentation! As we ‘came on board’ we were each given a boarding pass of one of the original passengers. (I was Mlle. Henrietta Yrois, a 24 year old Parisian model travelling second class.) We then walked through rooms which were replicas of those on the ship…and saw lots of artifacts which have been recovered from the wreck of the ‘unsinkable’ ship 4 kms below the surface of the ocean. We heard the remarkable stories of some of the survivors and (as we exited) we discovered whether we were on the list of those who survived or met their fate. I never made it! It made the whole story of the Titanic so much more real.

Now it was time for our trip back to the ferry terminal; we were ready for some more punishment.

Why is it that the return trip seems to go by so much faster? We made a few stops at viewpoints that we had missed the previous day, and were back in time for the 5 o’clock ferry. That’s the other positive thing about going by bike…you get on the next ferry (no waiting in line-ups with the car). We had supper at the White Spot Restaurant while crossing the Georgia Straight (I’d say it was a great move to have the B.C. Ferries contract out their food services to White Spot!)...the sun came out just for us, and we had a table with a view! How much better can it get?

We almost made it without a hitch! As we got off the ferry in Tswassen, Janet had a flat tire on her bike. She had to push her bike the last quarter mile to the parking lot.

So that was our Titanic adventure of 2007. It was so fun!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

In the summertime...

I don’t like to think that summer is nearing an end once again! Our bedroom is feeling rather cool these mornings and I’m staying under the blankets again. Yesterday just felt like one of those end-of-summer days. It was sunny & warm, but with that fall feel in the air. Emme & Spencer came to visit, so we did a few end-of-summer things.

They always love to poke around in my garden boxes and see if there’s anything exciting for them to pick or eat. They pick bouquets of yummy smelling things from the herb garden,

They pull a few carrots to eat and check to see if there are any strawberries on my ever-bearing plants. Yesterday they helped me pull out all the beets, which were crowding out the carrots.

Then we went on a blackberry picking excursion-definitely an end-of-summer thing to do. We thought it would be such fun to go blackberry picking in our rental pasture near the mountain…where the bears are known to frequent! So we each took a bucket and Elmer drove us out there in the big red one-ton truck. For some reason there are lots of bushes…but where were the berries? Elmer’s phone rang so we left him talking on the phone and walked on looking for a good place to pick. That’s when our adventure came to an end. No, we never met a bear! I saw some berries inside the bushes, and as I took one step forward I plunged into a ditch (we had no idea there was a ditch under those branches!) The girls didn’t know whether to laugh or not, but it was really quite funny! I really had no idea how to get out of there, because every movement sent those thorns deeper into my legs! Elmer was no help since he was still talking on the phone. I finally pulled myself back onto solid ground and decided we would settle for the few blackberries we had already picked, miss out on seeing the bear, and go home and lick the wounds…well, put some polysporin on them anyhow! I think I’ll be scarred for a while. So ended our blackberry picking adventure for the day (Elmer may not get his blackberry jelly this year).

Emme and Spencer helped me make pizza & we enjoyed a pizza lunch on the back patio. Would they like some apricot platz for dessert? I don’t think so. They opted for ice-cream sandwiches on the back lawn while we ate our platz. After lunch they invented a new game…it mostly involved chasing grammy around the yard with dirty wet wipes. I tried to interest them in a real game (like bolo golf), but they thought this was way more fun! It is sad to think these idyllic summer days are almost over & next week the girls will start grade one.

Last night I made beet pickles with the beets we pulled out. They are a reminder of the ‘good ole days’…both mom and Elmer’s mom always made them. I pulled out the old Mennonite recipe book and gave it a try! I think I’ve made them before, since the recipe had a tick beside it, but that must have been in a different life. I’m sure my kids would never have eaten them. However, I rather like them so we’ll see if they are worth the effort! I used Classico spagetti sauce jars (that’s called recycling) & they sealed nicely. So come for dinner sometime next winter & we’ll have some beet pickles with the roast beef!

The sun is shining & the yard needs some work, so let’s get to it.

Friday, August 24, 2007

View From My Front Porch

Here was the view I woke up to this morning. I grabbed my camera & ran out on the front porch to capture Mt. Cheam peeking out through the morning fog, as the sun was about to rise.

By now I have many pictures of Mt. Cheam from the same vantage point, as I am often struck by the beauty of the mountain right out my front door. It’s funny how it looks quite different in each season, but always so majestic.

Psalm 121:1 I will lift up my eyes unto the mountains... from where shall my help come from?

I am venturing into the world of blogging, inspired by a few other blogs I’ve been following, thinking that maybe my journals could be of some benefit to some of you…my friends and family. If nothing else, they will be a recording of the news and views from my home in the shadow of Mt. Cheam. So what better way to begin than to post a few pictures of the beauty out my front door?

Stop by on occasion & enjoy the views from my front porch.