Thursday, January 31, 2008

snow beautiful!

When one is a farmer's wife, cheering about the snow is frowned upon! It makes a whole lot more work for the guys at the barns...and they get a little tired and grouchy about it. But secretly, I must applaud the snow on occasion, because it really doesn't get any more beautiful than this!

I whipped crawled into town yesterday to visit my cabinet maker. My antique white cabinet doors above my stove need a little help (they are more antique than all the's called smoke damage!). So while I was out and about anyhow, I took a few pic's along the way.

Our former city hall (now the museum) looks quite stately on any given day...but much more so under a blanket of snow.

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

...and just down the street is this lovely heritage home, that I try not to visit too often (it is actually a interior design shop, which carries wonderful things...although a little pricey).

Across the street is our local 'academy of music'...also housed in one of the heritage homes.

And through this gateway lies a beautiful home...which doubles as an art gallery. Their gardens are incredible...I got a glimpse at last year's Rotary garden tour!

That's a side view of the house behind the gate!

I take the scenic route home along Old Yale Road (which was once the Trans-Canada Highway), and stop at the road of this lovely old farm.

I used to visit here as a kid...and now it is owned by friends of ours, so I still visit here on occasion.

Their house was built in the early 1900's, and is a beautiful old home!

And here is a neighbouring home to the one I just posted...another lovely old heritage home that had Dutch royalty living in it during one of the wars. It suffered some fire damage a few years ago, but has been totally restored. Maria (the owner) spends countless hours in her flower gardens and this place is always amazing in the summer.

Further along the old highway, we pass by another old farmhouse which has some meaning to me...well, it actually has more meaning to my sister-in-law (Liz) who once lived here. I also remember being in this house as a kid.

I'm on the home stretch now...and am thinking this place looks pretty good all decked out in white also!

And since I had to stop for a train...I took the opportunity to get a picture!

Although the snow has turned to rain in the Vancouver area, we had more over night. Our city has run out of salt, which has caused somewhat of a problem on the roads. But for now, we'll forget about the problems and enjoy the beauty of the snow...before it turns to mush!

Have a wonderful day...

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Our blizzard conditions ended yesterday afternoon...a few bright spots appeared in the western sky...the wind died down and temperatures rose.
Why, it began to look like a fun place to play!

And what was that coming across the fields? An unfamiliar tractor was making it's way to my back door...

but the cargo being towed looked very familiar! As it turned out, our vintage Ford 8000 is in the repair shop for some much needed r & r (restoration and repair) the guys are trying out a few replacements in the meantime. Of course, it needed to be tested in the snow!

The girls seemed to be having a hoot...and came running to give Grammy the lowdown!

Some pursue happiness...

others create it!

They just popped by to share a little happiness...and then they were off to finish their test drive!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

wicked and wacky winter weather...

This is the view from my kitchen window this's snowing and blowing and there's not much to be seen! It looks like a good excuse to close the schools (we do that in response to a good snow storm on the west coast)...I haven't seen any school buses go by, but haven't actually heard that classes are cancelled.

Yesterday morning, amidst warnings of the coming snowstorm, I made a quick trip to the Sumas flats with Broni and Ryder. (That is not a place one wants to be when white-out conditions hit!) For Ryder's second birthday, we had made arrangements to have his portrait taken at a studio out in the country. Twice we had cancelled his appointment due to illness, so we were determined to get the job done this time...regardless of the weather. Not knowing we would be in a deep-freeze, we had bribed him with a visit to Birchwood Dairy for an ice-cream cone and a visit to their petting zoo, once he was done smiling for the camera! He co-operated quite nicely, but asked for ice-cream as soon as the photo shoot was completed. What's a grammy to do?

Off to Birchwood we went...the wind was howling and the petting zoo was closed for the season, but there was lots of ice-cream! And we were the only patrons on this blustery winter day.
Ryder enjoyed his cone...we warmed up with some coffee, and soon we were back on the road. While I drove, Ryder amused himself with his new mittens...he found them most intriguing! We made it home before the storm arrived.

In the afternoon Kris stopped by with Ranen. I'm sure she was hoping Grammy still had the 'playground' in her great room. A few days ago when they were over, Ranen headed straight for the 16 foot ladder sitting in the middle of the room and began to climb. She is a determined little girl of 20 months, and wasn't really thrilled to be rescued!

No ladder today...and all her favorite books were missing. (All of Grammy's books have been sent away to be 'refreshed'...they are having the smoke smell removed.) We found some toys, and had a snack...and all was good. They headed for home as the snow was beginning to fall.

So it's been a week since I fumigated our home with a pot of hamburger spaghetti sauce. Bit by bit the smell is disappearing (or we are getting used to it!)...and the house is returning to normal. My area rugs are coming back today...and the rest of our belongings should be back in the next day or two. Last night we were invited out for supper...what a treat on a snowy, blizzarding winter day! Marg (my bloggy friend) decided she would show us what a real spaghetti dinner should taste like...since we never got a chance to try the one I was preparing last week. As soon as we walked in the door, I knew it was going to be good! It smelled great...not at all like what I've been smelling all week. We enjoyed a fabulous spicy meat sauce with pasta and Lovella's famous papaya salad...and finished off the meal with a yummy hazelnut dessert.

Once the table was cleared, we moved right into a rousing game of Rook. How fun to revive the old card game on a snowy winter night! Rook was invented by Parker Bros. over 100 years ago, and has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity these past few years. The game was apparently created as an alternative to playing cards and was sometimes called 'missionary poker'. At any's a fun game. The evening ended a little too soon though, since the guys came out on top...had we had a few more rounds, things would have turned out quite differently, I'm sure!

It was a wonderful way to spend a winter night! The storm brewing outside couldn' t touch the warmth we felt inside the home of our friends. Thanks for the good time, Marg!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Sunday afternoon drive....

Sunday dawned with a blanket of snow over everything. My morning walk was somewhat short lived, as the roads were too icy to walk on. I stopped in at the riding stables down the road, and caught a few horses enjoying their cold cereal for breakfast.

We joined our kids for a gourmet lunch at McDonald's following the morning church service...a good time was had by all (it's the company that makes or breaks a party...not the food!).

We had a most enjoyable afternoon...a circle drive around our valley on a beautiful winter Sunday. The plan was to cross the river and check out the eagles at the salmon spawning grounds.

Once across the bridge, we stopped and took in the view of the valley floor from the other side. It's only a few miles from where we live, yet looks so different from this perspective.

We passed Harrison Mills and then drove up to the Weaver Creek salmon spawning area.

The air was crisp and the snow crunched under our feet as we walked about. It was just wonderful to be outdoors, enjoying God's creation on such a beautiful day.

We weren't quite prepared to have us a picnic...

but we checked out the spawning fish. The eagles were no where to be seen...I'm thinking they have all moved to our farm for now!

We walked through the forest for a spell...and couldn't believe the moss which hung from every trunk and twig!

We continued west along the other side of the Fraser River...the Canadian Pacific railway tracks seemed to be going the same route as we were!

These kids were enjoying a Sunday afternoon walk through the was actually snowing at this point.

We passed by Rolley Lake recreational area...

...and eventually we arrived at the Albion Ferry crossing. I have only been on this ferry once before in my life, so I was thinking it might be an adventure. The sun was sinking as we drove aboard...and our trip across the river took all of about five minutes (so my adventure was rather short-lived!). This ferry is being replaced by a new bridge (Golden Ears Bridge) which is to be completed next year. It is the only remaining ferry crossing on the Fraser River, so it was likely the last time I would cross the mighty Fraser River on a ferry!

As we were about to dock on the far shore, I took a parting shot of Golden Ears Peaks in the distance.

The rest of the drive was under the cover of darkness...not much for views, but the company was still good! And so ended a most pleasant Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Make the call...

Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. Jeremiah 33:3 KJV

God wants us to call on Him anytime...He won't be confused no matter what the clock says.

Whatever the weather (we're back to snow on the west coast)...whatever the to God. Great things come in answer to prayer...things become clear when we talk to Him!

Have a wonderful Sunday.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Cinnamon Loaf

Now that everything is clean (but still smelling a little smokey here and there), I'm open to suggestions for making this place smell wonderful! My favorite room fresheners are the Wallflowers made by White Barn Candle Company and sold at Bath & Bodyworks.

They come in every delicious fragrance you can imagine...and I have one in apple cinnamon and another in the coconut/ lime/verbena scent. But neither will do me much good for long...since they are pretty much empty. And they are not available in until my next trip across the border, I will have to find something else to use!

Someone suggested setting out bowls of vinegar to 'eat' the smoke odor...but I'm thinking the vinegar itself doesn't smell too great! And I'm so afraid of fire at the moment...I'm almost scared to light candles. So if you have any great ideas...I'm open to suggestions.

In the meanwhile, I am baking a few things that smell good. I baked cinnamon loaf the 'morning after', but it got tossed along with all other unsealed food items in my pantry. So I just finished another batch...and have a pie in the oven. I am aiming for 'my grandma's kitchen on Saturday smell' (it smelled of cleanliness and fresh buns). Is it not strange how memories of smells can be so vivid?

So here is the recipe for cinnamon loaf. It's a quick bread...makes two loaves and fills every corner of your house the the smell of cinnamon!

Cinnamon Loaf
2 cups sugar
1 cup cooking oil
4 eggs
3 Tablespoons baking powder
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
Stir together 2 rounded Tablespoons sugar
and 2 teaspoons cinnamon.

Mix together sugar and oil on low speed. Beat in at a time. Stir together dry ingredients and add alternately with milk.

Spray two loaf pans with Pam and layer batter sprinkled with topping. (Cover bottom with batter and sprinkle with topping...repeat and then cover with batter.)

Bake at 350' F for 45-55 minutes.

Enjoy the aroma!

Friday, January 25, 2008

wash away the january blues...

As we read this morning's devotional from 'Our Daily Bread', we had a good laugh. It begins by pointing out that British scientists have calculated the most depressing time of the year is the third week of January. Hmmm...maybe they have a point!

But we're working hard at washing away all those winter blues. After a day of dealing with my 'spring cleaning' issues...we had a most fun and relaxing time soaking away our temporary problems at the hot pools of Harrison Hot Springs Resort.

If you saw a promo that read...

"Relaxation awaits at Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa. Set against the spectacular snow-capped mountains of Southwestern British Columbia, you'll find the source of all that relaxes you. From our soothing hot spring pools that delight visitors of all ages to our tranquil Healing Springs Spa, everything you need to surround yourself in comfort is found here....let relaxation wash over you."

...would you not be inclined to gather your loved ones and head right over?

It is a most wonderful spot right on our doorstep. Here's the catch though...the pools are for hotel guests only. Unless of course you happen to know that in the third week of January the austere public pool is closed for maintenance, and the public may instead use the resort pools.

Wahoo! At the end of the day, our kids and grandkids joined us for a grand time at this wonderful resort located at the southern tip of beautiful Harrison Lake.

A jogger was enjoying an early evening run on the beach (which reminded me that it has been several days since I've even thought about walking!)...

...but across the road the resort pools were calling! We announced our intentions at the reservation counter, only to be told that the public was not allowed in after 4:30 pm (that was an hour ago). Excuse me? We had driven all this way, with the whole gang and now were being turned away? We then tried booking a day room...that would make us hotel guests and permit us to use the pools. Sorry...the hotel has no vacancies tonight. By this time the staff took pity on us, and made an exception to the rules which are normally written in stone...and allowed us in to use their wonderful pools. People are nice!

We had such a good time in the outdoor pools! Emme & Spencer are practising their swimming skills...they were thrilled that they could touch bottom everywhere this year.

Here's all my girls in the 'tepid water' pool....while the guys are scalding themselves in the HOT pool. We all had a great evening...washed away all our cares for a few hours!

As we were ready to leave the resort, Ryder noticed his boots were like Uncle Tim' cool is that? Oh...oh. He'd had just a little too much fun and excitement today (or maybe swallowed a little too much water), and suddenly his 'stomach flu' returned with a vengeance.

When all else fails, Emme's bathrobe does the trick. Ryder was quite happy with the arrangement...Emme, not so much. Daddy called him Ryder Hefner!?! And since we were all starving, we stopped for a bite to bathrobe and all!

So if you are having the 'third week of January blues'...gather your family and have some fun!