Monday, September 29, 2008

Isn't this just grand?

It seems I've waited a long time to bring you this news...but our new grandbaby is finally here!

Magdelyn Anne...
arrived on September 29, 2008
at 3:35 pm
and weighed 7 lbs. 8 oz.

Tim & Heidi couldn't be happier...and we share in their joy!

I slipped off to the hospital as soon as I heard the grand news. Grandpa was busy harvesting corn, but Grammy had no time to wait for him!

After one quick stop for some pink roses for the new mommy...bearing a pink gift bag with the baby shawl for our new granddaughter...I arrived at the hospital to find them still in the delivery room.
Proud father...holds a little girl who is already looking up to him!
The baby is wrapped in a blanket made especially for Heidi by her grandmother (my mother-in-law) way back in March, 1994. Grandma was quite sure she would not be around to see Heidi have she made the blanket in advance and it has waited in the cedar chest all these years. Grandma would be so thrilled with your little girl, Heidi!
Grandpa couldn't stay away for long...and soon we were all back at the hospital.
We are so blessed to be grandparents...and incredibly thankful to God for this special gift.

A new little hand for us to hold... her love is grand, precious as gold.

a daytripper's delight

We couldn't have asked for a more spectacular autumn day than we enjoyed yesterday...a sunny and warm September Sunday.

I purchased a book of 52 fantastic daytrips in the Fraser Valley earlier this year...with plans to visit some new and interesting places over the summer. Somehow summer came and went...and the book remained on the shelf. Yesterday we decided to follow Jack Christie's advice...and pay a visit to Mission and area. We left home shortly after lunch...and found we couldn't drive past our local show gardens on such a beautiful day without doing a quick walk-through. We always buy season's passes and stop by several times throughout the summer. It's beautiful and ever-changing landscape!

Started by a local couple with a dream in 1980...this unique property, set against 7,000 foot Mt. Cheam, has become a world-class destination garden. I've taken you there before...and I'll take you there we'll just do a quick walkabout and carry on.

This was the original barn on the property...and now sits near the garden entrance.

The bees were out in full force...travelling in pairs it seemed!

I have pictures of every theme garden by now...but can never resist a few more shots!
And I know for sure that these two were not sitting on that bench the last time I visited! Don't they make a tranquil picture?

The problem with taking a quick garden tour on a Sunday is that you are bound to meet people you know...and haven't seen for a long time...and need to catch up with.

Fancy meeting Uncle Jake here...we may live in the same community but rarely see each other, so we had a nice little visit. I was surprised to see him touring the gardens all on his own...

...but then we met a nice lady sitting on the garden bench and waiting (that would be Aunt Maggie)! After chatting for some time, we hustled back to the car to carry on with our planned agenda.

Thirty-five miles down the road we approached our next stop...Westminster Abbey...clearly visible on the hill.

Westminster Abbey is Mission's most imposing landmark...a beautiful monastery that attracts thousands of visitors annually. The Benedictine monks who inhabit the Abbey have created a self-sufficient pastoral lifestyle at this inspiring location, and welcome visitors to their grounds and for services.

The Abbey itself was designed by a Vancouver architect and completed in 1982. The monks show hospitality to guest of all faiths...and the monastery is open to the public every afternoon (except Saturday).

The slanting rays of the late afternoon sun through the beautiful stained glass bathed the abbey's interior in shades of burnt oranges and cool blues.

Inside all was still...not a sound to be heard!
It is a lovely spot...and worth a visit. We never stayed for the Sunday afternoon vespers...but guests are welcome to attend.

The Abbey sits high on a ridge above the Fraser River, on a 200-acre site that includes the abbey grounds, farm and seminary campus. Guests are free to stroll the paths...and take in the panoramic views of the Fraser Valley from the lookout.

As we were strolling...we enjoyed the toll of the ten tower bells! We saw young men in black suits making their way to the Abbey...and yes, we saw monks in their long black cloaks.

And we met other guests out on the paths...all carrying cameras. It was a wonderful place to visit...but if you plan to tour the Abbey, be sure to leave your shorts at home. The sign on the door states that those wearing shorts are not allowed inside.

A short distance from Westminster Abbey, is Ferncliff Gardens. Started in 1920, and lying just two miles east of Mission...the garden specializes in irises, peonies and dahlias. Since we were in the area, we stopped by to see an intense patch of colour...acres of dahlias in bloom (and that's Mt. Cheam out in the distance).

With countless varieties of every shade but blue...I picked a spiky yellow/peach one to zoom in on.
The colours were amazing...and I noticed that they had a few plants besides dahlias.

Nearby we found a perfect picnic spot...Nielson Park. Unfortunately there was no picnic packed...but it would have been nice to enjoy Vee's spread from her recent picnic at this lovely spot. Oh well...we watched a family picking apples by the lake and then went in search of some ice-cream. Waffle sundaes were the perfect end to a September Sunday daytrip.

And that, my friends, is all I have to report today. But one of these days....there'll be more! The corn harvest is underway, so I may just take you to the field tomorrow.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

running the race

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run,
but only one gets the prize?

Run in such a way as to get the prize.
1 Corinthians 9:24-25

I was so proud of my two little granddaughters on Friday. They ran the entire two miles of the Terry Fox run at their school...and they came in near the front of the pack. At six years old...that's determination! I'm sure it helped to have a few cheerleaders to encourage them along the way. Daddy ran alongside...Mommy and Ryder walked the route...Grammy and Auntie Heidi waited for them at the half-way mark and cheered them on.

And so it is in the 'race' of life...we must run to win. A few cheerleaders along the way make a huge difference...if we surround ourselves with friends who encourage us on our journey, the road is so much easier. So set your sights on the the pain...don't look back...and let's meet at the finish line!

Friday, September 26, 2008

then...and now

My little Ranen came for a visit yesterday...

...and her first stop was the garden to check out the grapes.

She absolutely loves grapes, but they aren't all that sweet just yet...we need a little more sunshine!

But surprise of surprises...she found raspberries out there. I gave her a bowl to pick them into...but they went straight to the mouth just as fast as we could pick them. It's rather nice having everbearing raspberries...and having fresh berries right through the fall. While Ranen and I were enjoying our fall feast, I got this feeling we had done this seemed like yesterday.

I checked back in my blog...and exactly one year ago I posted this photo of Ranen eating grapes in the garden.I was right...we've been here before.

Time flies...enjoy the moment!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

sweet autumn

Few clematis bloom at this time of the year, but my 'sweet autumn' is covered in thousands of tiny white fragrant blooms blooms...I know fall has arrived!

When most of the garden is slowing down for nice to have a plant that puts on a spectacular show! Now that my pink petunias are gone....and the winter pansies have arrived, I'm ready to do some fall decorating. It's time!

Another sign of fall...ladders and baskets under the apple tree (the neighbours tree, that is).

And in the kitchen everything is coming up apples! We've had applesauce, apple cake, apple fritters and apple pie.

The Italian prunes are nearing the end of the season...and I used the last of mine in galettes yesterday. Galettes are simple, rustic tarts...rather like a free-form pie without the top crust. I've made them with apples, peaches and plums...check out Betty's recipe here if you need a guide.

It may be cool and damp outside...but we've got the fire going...I'm wearing my slippers...sweet autumn is here!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

valley corn...

We are famous for our corn in these parts...and as was I out and about yesterday, it was hard not to notice corn fields at every turn.

"The valleys stand so thick with corn that they laugh and sing." Those were the words running through my mind...they seemed appropriate.

Yesterday was a beautiful fall day...the low lying morning cloud disappeared and we enjoyed autumn in all it's splendour.

The yellow corn barns are still selling sweet corn throughout the community...and I've been a regular customer!

We've enjoyed Mexican Tomato Chowder this week...with fresh tomatoes, fresh corn and fresh herbs, it is one of my favorite soups. (I posted the recipe on the MGCC blog.)

Many corn fields will be around for awhile yet. With our lack of 'heat units' over the summer, most cattle corn is not yet ready for harvest. We are having our fields opened up today...and plan to harvest the field closest to the mountain. The bear have been busy harvesting there for the past few weeks, so we need to get it off as soon as possible.

It's September 24th...I'm off to pull out the petunias and plant some winter pansies. That's it for my news of the day.

Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

MCC Relief Sale 2008

Over the weekend, I jumped at the chance to attend the annual MCC Relief Sale at the Tradex Centre in Abbotsford. I was in good company...lots of company!

The local MCC relief sale began thirty-nine years ago. I remember it well! My dad was on the first organizational committee...and I coerced many of my friends to volunteer their time at the sale that year. I recall counting the proceeds from the sale at my parent's dining room table in those early years. How it has grown from it's humble beginnings!

It is now the second largest function at the Tradex Centre...drawing over twenty-thousand people. Last year's sale raised over $600,000 for people in need around the loaf of bread alone sold for $200,000. It is largely a community event that draws people in with the opportunity to buy Mennonite foods, crafts, some of the famous handcrafted quilts and to share in the spirit of giving.

Oh yes...and there's always the chance you might bump into someone you know!

Could that possibly be Pastor Ron selling jewelry over there? He seemed to have a way of drawing the crowds to his stall...there's nothing like enthusiasm to make a sale! Sorry, but I had no time for jewelry...I had to run check on my silent auction bids. It was my lucky day...and I came home with a few treasures.

The antique plant stand was mine for $50...freshly stained and ready to hold the fern in the corner of the great room.

And no one else seemed interested in a porcelain doll. I didn't really care for her dress, but left her in her petticoat...and added a crocheted cape that was once worn by my daughter. One day she will find a home in my antique doll buggy...handmade by my father-in-law over sixty years ago.

Our last stop before we left the sale, was the 'porzelky' booth. We picked up a dozen of those wonderful deep-fried fritters to go...and had us a little feast when we got home.

It's a great event...and a place for guilt-free shopping! Since when is helping people around the world this much fun?