Monday, March 23, 2009

remember the alamo

It was more than twenty years ago...that we took our children to visit Aunt Bev and her boys...and explore the treasures of South Texas. We had a fabulous time touring San Antonio... strolling the San Antonio Riverwalk...and having a snack on a riverside patio.

And of course we visited the Alamo...where we had a first hand history lesson.

Here's the thing...the Alamo played a pivotal part in the history of Texas...and it's inclusion in the United States of America...but the facts are all getting a little fuzzy. So it's time to head back...for a bit of a refresher.

I'm looking forward to revisiting those places I fondly remember...and, who knows what other treasures there may be to explore in the San Antonio area? The Hill Country looks most inviting...with ranches...and antique shops...and quaint B & B's.

My bags are soon packed...and we're car, plane...and eventually boat. We will be exploring Texas...and then joining my sisters...and brother...and all the spouses...and some nieces and nephews on a Caribbean cruise. It will be such fun!

We did a Caribbean cruise together as a family 10 years ago...and decided that in 2009 we would do it once again. And we are actually making it happen! Turquoise waters...sun-soaked white sand beaches...and good times together with family from three provinces and two states. What could be better than that?

Ten years ago mom and dad were with us on the cruise. This time we were planning that dad would be joining us...but as he is still recovering from a serious round of does not look as though he will be up to the trip. We are all sorry about that...because he would have so enjoyed himself!

And home on the ranch...all is in good hands...and every detail will be attended to in our absence! I will be away from my office for a wee spell...away from all internet connections...and away from all my blogging friends. So don't have too much fun while I'm gone...and I'll look forward to catching up with all of you on my return!

Bon Voyage!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

taste and see

O taste and see that the LORD is good...
blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
Psalm 34:8

My granddaughter was over for a sleepover...and so excited about making teddy bear pancakes in the morning. She pulled up a chair...and helped with the process...and was thrilled with the result. I was expecting her to dig in...and eat the pancake immediately.

Instead...she checked it out...and smiled...and exclaimed over it...and admired it. Eventually she ate her fruit...and some of Grandpa's pancakes...but no way would she break into her teddy-bear pancake.

I had to wonder if we are sometimes like that in our relationship with God. We get all excited...and go through the motions...we may even talk about Him...but when it comes right down to it..are we 'tasting' and 'seeing' for ourselves?


Saturday, March 21, 2009

supper in south dakota....

What better way to mark the first day of spring...than to have a gourmet dinner at a nice, cozy table...prepared by someone who has a stove that works...and lights to see what they are cooking? Those luxuries were not to be had at home!

We had been waiting for some time for spring to usher winter out...but the first day of spring brought downpours...and winds...and ended in a blackout that we won't forget anytime soon. Toward the end of the afternoon a storm passed through...with incredible winds...and it no sooner arrived then the lights went out.

Just down the road...where once stood a fine machine shop...

...the equipment now sits out in the great wide open. A few scraps of the building remain... ...but most of it is wrapped around a neighbouring home.

The rest sailed across the road...and took all the wires with it...and now resides in the field nearby.

And so the lights were off (and all the rest of those indispensable plugged in tools) ...and I was trying to do farm books...and everything ground to a halt. What to do?

We have a favorite spot to eat in town...called Dakota's. They have now spawned a new one...South Dakota's...and since they had both electricity and good food...we checked them out last night. It was a good place to be...and I will vouch for the butter chicken with naan bread. Hours later...we returned home to more darkness. The generator was running over at the barn...and Jeremy and Broni's house is hooked up on the same line...and so they carried on life as usual. We...on the other out our flashlights and candles...and thought of our ancestors...and how they might have spent their evenings.

This morning dawned bright and fair (with power restored)...and we will keep looking ahead to it unfolds! I don't usually post on Saturdays...but had to document the first spring storm of 2009.

Have a great day...

Friday, March 20, 2009

spring is here?

It's official...spring has arrived. It may not look like spring...or feel like it...but we have crossed the line...and winter is now a thing of the past!

We have had showers and snow flurries...winds and hail...and even a wee bit of sun this past week. It was spring break...but there was no leaving the jackets behind this past week.

The moon in the morning sky looked rather chilly...

...and we had fresh snow on the mountains...and even on our lawn a few times.

The robins are wondering if they possibly made a mistake...and arrived a little too early this year.

And out on our pasture...the trumpeter swans have taken up residence. They rather seem to enjoy the cold and have no intentions of leaving anytime soon...much to the farmer's dismay.

As the sun sets on winter...we are more than ready to turn the page.

Spring is a little reluctant to arrive this year...but we will welcome it all the more when it does.

No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow. ~ a proverb

Enjoy the first day of spring...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Peace Arch Park

We know times are tough...and fiscal restraint is the order of the day...but would they really close Peace Arch Park?

We have a most wonderful park nearby...which straddles the 49th parallel...and is called Peace Arch Park. The Peace Arch itself was erected on the international border between Blaine, Washington and Douglas, British Columbia. It is a most impressive structure...with one foot anchored firmly on American soil and the other in Canada. It stands 67 feet high...and was constructed by an international force of volunteers to mark the centennial of the treaty that ended the War of 1812. The Peace Arch represents the longest undefended boundary in the world...and was the first monument dedicated to world peace ever erected. It was dedicated in 1921.

So much for history. My own history with Peace Arch park goes back to the 1960's. It was our favorite spot to have an annual picnic with the cousins...uncles and aunts...and any acquaintances who happened to be travelling through at that particular time. Every summer we packed up the car...watermelon and rollkuchen were a pre-requisite...and off we went for a most enjoyable time at a park which sat on the fence between our two countries. In those days...we ran back and forth without passports...between slices of watermelon. I'm not sure if it's quite so simple today.

We had fun going through my dad's old slides not so long ago...and found proof of our summertime picnics at Peace Arch Park.

Gotta love those old cars!

The gardens were amazing in those days...and maybe even gave the motorists something to smile about as they waited in the line-up to cross the border. Today, the international park's picturesque gardens are home to over 200 perennials and 55,000 annuals that are planted each year. Over 500,000 visitors tour this international historic site annually.

I was rather surprised to hear that Washington State Parks Commission had placed Peace Arch Park (the U.S. side) on the list of parks that would be closed on July 1, 2009 as part of an effort to cut their budget. A petition was launched in an effort to save the park...and as Washington politicians met these week to endorse the cut-backs...Peace Arch Park was removed from the list. Whew! Wouldn't it be a shame to close this wonderful border park just as the world arrives at our doorstep for the 2010 Olympics?

I'm sure the historical significance of this park had something to do with keeping it open. Somehow it would seem wrong to close this particular park...which has so much meaning for both our countries...and which came to be as a result of donations and volunteers.

Here's a picture I pulled from my files...circa 1977...of my little boys standing inside the historic arch. I'm sure they never really grasped the significance of a message..."May These Gates Never Be Closed"...which not only reflects on the past, but also gives hope for the future.

If you are looking for a great spot to have a picnic this summer...try Peace Arch Park. You will be welcome!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

our blarney stone

Since I have not a speck of Irish in never really occurred to me to do a green post today. And so I posted pillows...but noticed most everyone else in bloggyland had gone green in honour of St. Patrick's Day. Not to be outdone...let me tell you of my Irish connection...just before the clock strikes midnight!

How many of you can say you have visited the Blarney Stone? As you know...legend has it that if you kiss the Blarney will never again be at a loss for words. Since we have our own Blarney Stone right here in Canada...on the shores of Killarney Lake...and since I was staying at the Emerald Isle Motel nearby in Manitoba's little Ireland...kissing the Blarney Stone was quite doable.

I, however, opted to take a, though I may be at a loss for words...I have a good Irish picture for you!

I spent St. Patrick's Day with my wee grandlassie...who came with the appropriate hat. And she thought that we should play 'Patty Cake' in honour of the occasion...and so we did.

I hope you all had a wonderful, green day.

Pillow Talk

I love to travel...and visit new places...and it's always fun to have a little something as a reminder of the places I have visited. And since I'm not much of a knick-knick girl...I usually bring home something useful...or a piece of jewelry. I have a ulu knife from Alaska...a Mayan hieroglyphic necklace...a hand blown glass vase from authentic cow bell from get the picture. When we were in Iowa a few years back...and I brought home some wonderful Amish feather pillows as my keepsake.

Last summer we camped in the Lily Capital of Canada...a wonderful little prairie town called Manitoba. One would think that I would bring back lily bulbs as a souvenir (and I should have). Instead...I came home from vacation with a supply of pillow slips.

I checked out the local thrift shop...and found a huge bag of pillows...each covered in Battenburg lace...some edged with hand crocheted edging. I left the actual pillows behind...and brought home a lovely pile of antique linens for a few dollars. After a good laundering...a little spray starch...and some new stuffing...they have a new life!

There is a 'parade of pillows' happening over at Kari and Kijsa's blog I thought I'd join in the fun. And next time you are looking for a treasure to bring home with you...think soft...think pillows!

Monday, March 16, 2009


As you all is a game for grannies...and smokers. I know that grannies like it...since the only time I've ever played bingo is with my the kitchen table...when I was a kid. She had a few favorite and dominoes...and monopoly. We never played for prizes...we just played for the thrill of being the first to have bingo.

Since those long ago days...I have actually poked my head into a bingo hall on occasion...and noticed that these people really take their game seriously...with signs all over reminding patrons to be quiet (no talking...or laughing). Now that doesn't sound like a lot of fun to me.

So we decided to have a bingo night with our own rules....and threw all bingo etiquette out the window. Talking and laughing were encouraged...smoking was not an option...and eating was mandatory.

We collected prizes from businesses in our area...and had a wonderful prize table. And here's the best part...we played for free.

Every few months, we plan a social activity of some sort for the 'empty-nester' crowd at church. This time it was a Bingo a community hall with a nice low ceiling. I borrowed the authentic bingo spinner from a fellow blogger...found printable cards on-line...and we were good to go. We played until the prizes were all gone...with rules that we made up as we went along...and a good time was had by all.

* * * * *

My weekend was by no means all about fun and games. My dad was admitted to the hospital on Friday after not doing so well for the past few weeks. We now know that he has pneumonia...and are hoping the antibiotics will have him on the mend before long. For a long time we have been planning a family five siblings and all the dad...and some of my nieces and nephews. That cruise is booked for the end of the month (that would be next week)...leaving from the port of Galveston, Texas. So we are still hoping that dad has a speedy recovery...and will be up to making the trip with us. That is the little 'roadblock' to which I referred yesterday...and over which I have no control. But we will leave it in God's hands...and hope that when we meet in Texas next week...he will be with us.

Have a wonderful Monday...

Sunday, March 15, 2009


We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.
Proverbs 16:9 NLT

Our schedules do not always go as planned...things get in the way. I was one block away from my appointment...and right on schedule...and found myself stuck in a line-up with a train blocking the road. There was not a whole lot I could do...but wait! It's really easy to become irritated when we hit a roadblock....whether in the everyday appointments or in the grander scheme of things.

We all face roadblocks in life every so often. I'm dealing with a bit of one right now. But I am so thankful to have a personal tour guide...and I know He will direct me along the way. Ultimately, it is God who determines our steps.

Friday, March 13, 2009

A sad silence on our freeway...

We live adjacent to Highway #1...with our farmland backing up against the freeway. We can see the traffic from our yard...a busy freeway with never a break (well...almost never)!

But yesterday afternoon all was quiet on the Trans-Canada Highway...

...there was not a car or truck to be seen.

Shortly after lunch, I noticed a huge black plume of smoke rising up from the highway just east of our place. It wasn't long before all the traffic was stopped.

A most horrific traffic accident, involving two semi-trucks and a car...claimed the lives of all four people involved. The two trucks exploded on impact and caused a fiery inferno...resulting in the closure of the highway for the rest of the afternoon. We felt the impact of all the traffic needed to be re-routed to the closest parallel road.

Heidi and Maelyn were over and we went for our walk as planned...but wished we had chosen to walk the river trail instead. Dodging traffic along narrow roads without shoulders does not make for a relaxing time!

Our little country roads are not meant for buses...and semi-trucks...but yesterday we once again played host to the freeway traffic.

At the end of the day, I walked to the freeway and took a photo to the east...of our deserted freeway.

Far in the distance I could see emergency flashers...and the reason why the road remained quiet... camera picked up the scene much better than my naked eyes. a moment's time...many people's lives were changed. My heart goes out to all those families who have lost loved ones on that stretch of highway once again....and to the emergency response teams who were on site.

It was a sad and silent highway last evening...and I'll be happy to see the flow of traffic once more.

ETA later in the day...
A reader from Palmer, Alaska sent me a link to the story of the Anchorage couple who lost their lives in this terrible tragedy...they had come to visit their son and meet their newborn grandson. Our prayers are with the families who suffered such a great loss.

To see our local paper's photo coverage of the here.

Drive safely...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Speechless...then and now!

The Year: 1971

The Date: March 12

The Location: Under the Rosedale Agassiz Bridge

The Characters: Elmer and Judy

The Props: 1969 Acadian, blue
8-track cassette, Everly Brothers...'Devoted to You'
And most importantly...

...the ring.

The Question: Will you marry me?

The Answer: I think I was speechless...but he knew the answer before he asked!

The Occasion: Our engagement.

And this morning when I awoke...I was speechless as well. Hmmm...I had no post prepared and wondered what I would blog about this morning. Then I noticed the date...and knew there was something very good about this day. Thirty-eight years ago...I found the right words as well. I said 'yes'...and I'm so glad I did.

There's something good about this day in 2009 as well...I just glanced out the window and saw this beautiful moon this morning...and so I'll share it with you.

Have a wonderful March 12th!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Of friends and treasures...

There's nothing quite like meeting a new friend to warm up a cold March day. We first met some time ago...a virtual meeting over in France. We were there visiting in Elizabeth's garden...and starting chatting...and discovered we lived somewhat in the same part of the world. And as it turned out...she travels to my part of the country on business on occasion. She happened to be in town yesterday...and so we met for lunch. Although it was the first face-to-face meeting...we weren't really strangers...and had no shortage of things to talk about.

After lunch we visited a few of my favorite shoppes in the old part of town. It's really hard to walk past Creekside...

...without taking a peek!

And just down the street...we visited the best little used bookstore around...The Bookman. What fun we had...and we left with a bag of treasures. She found several books that she had been searching for...and I left with one by her favorite Canadian author. What fun!

And before leaving town...she stopped by for a quick little visit at my place. Soon it was time for farewells...

...but the welcome mat is out and I'm hoping Pondside will be back one day. Friends are the best kind of treasures...and blogging has brought me some great new ones.
Have a great day!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

a peck and a cake....

Every day may not be good...but there's something good in every day.

I have no idea who said that...but it's so true. The sun is brilliant today...that's good. Today's temperature is not so's -8 out at the moment and we are hoping that our grass fields which were already nice and green...aren't heavily damaged. Farming is all about know!

But we always have some reason to celebrate over here...and we've been eating cake with everyone we know for the last few days. Today we'll be having a slice for my niece, Gillian...who is having a birthday today...her first birthday as 'Mrs'! Now I really can't imagine Gillian as a Missus...the same girl who wore frilly dresses...and always carried a kitty...who played soccer or basketball with the boys...or took Emme and Spencer on adventures in more recent times. Where did the years go? We wish we could share a slice of cake with you today, Gillian...but we are having Manitoba weather in your honour...and we look forward to seeing you in the near future (somewhere warm). And I'll be posting 'your cake' recipe over at the MGCC blog if you want a piece of'll have to start from scratch!

So we send you our love...and a peck from your biggest fan club...and wish you many blessings today and in the year that lies ahead!

Have a wonderful day...