Tuesday, June 30, 2009

life is a bowl of cherries...

Never mind the pits!

We spent the weekend camping ...in a cherry orchard...in the middle of British Columbia's desert...uncles, aunts and cousins gathering intentionally...for a family reunion.

We arrived by car, truck or RV...and one travelled four hours by bicycle...just to spend time with family among the cherry trees. (Don't feel too sorry for he who pedalled the distance...as he spends his vacations pedalling the highways and bi-ways of distant lands...just for the fun of it!)

We caught up on the latest...the vacations and vocations...family trials and celebrations...and spent a lot of time around the table. There was a 70th birthday that needed to be marked...and another who was turning fifteen. We all got wet...whether we wanted to or not...and we ate as many cherries as we pleased! We've been meeting like this around the first of July for many years...and we all know each other better for it.

For Maelyn it was a first visit to the cherry orchard...

...and she wasn't quite sure what to make of the whole thing. Dark sweet cherries...

or bright pie cherries...she rather liked those little red balls.

Our cherry fest is behind us for this year...and it was good!

Have a great day...

Friday, June 26, 2009

camping...a first

A couple of three-year-olds have been looking forward to a camping trip with Grammy and Grandpa this summer. It may not have been stellar camping weather...but the promised trip went ahead nevertheless...

...with hardly a hitch. Three-year-olds don't mind one bit if it is drizzling...or if the slide is wet...as long as there is a campfire...some treats...and lots of bedtime stories!

There were a few moments I won't be forgetting any time soon. Picture the two of them...sitting like a little old couple...waiting for Grandpa to roast their wieners. Just as Grammy was taking their picture...they are both fell to the ground. Next came loud wailing...all bears within earshot made a hasty retreat deep into the forest. It seems Ryder's chair toppled into Ranen's...and they went down like dominoes. I couldn't laugh at the moment...but have chuckled often since.

I questioned Ranen's choice of clothing for a camping trip...but soon discovered that she wears only dresses...and no amount of persuading will change that. I'm thinking jeans would have made the trips down the slide a little more fun!

I'll leave you with a tip on making s'mores...an easy, peasy and delicious method. Traditionally, s'mores are made by toasting a marshmallow...and squeezing the toasted marshmallow between two graham crackers together with a piece of chocolate.

Thanks to a tip from my DIL...I am now purchasing some yummy French cookies with one side coated in chocolate...that work just perfectly for making s'mores.

We are off to the desert today...where we will be camping with family...in a cherry orchard. And yes...the cherries should be at their prime...and I am ready for a feast!

Have a great weekend...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

ready, set summer!

Two girls...who are very dear to my heart...say good-bye to the second grade today. Where have these years gone?

This postcard announcer arrived in my mailbox the other day...and I thought I recognized the sprinters. It seems they did a little running...and a little promotion...for an event at Auntie Heidi's boutique.

Last week they invited their class to the farm for a year-end party...

...where their dad took them on a hayride. They had a chance to see the cows being milked (a few lucky ladies got an extra milking that day)...took part in a scavenger hunt...ate s'mores...and played.

I laughed to see eight children using the old swing set...

...all at one time...and wondered how much longer that piece of equipment would continue to provide amusement for kids. It was purchased a very long time ago...when our children were little. We passed it on to friends when we were done with it...but they delivered it back to the farm when the grands arrived on the scene.

And now summer is in full swing...and we are in camping mode (as we speak)...come rain or shine.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

unpacking a good summer read

I'm busy packing...it's time to get the RV ready to hit the road. So it was with great joy...that I discovered a package left behind by the mailman. I knew exactly what amazon.ca might be sending me...

...it was my vacation reading material. And it arrived just in the nick of time!

A few books for her...a few books for him...and "The Farm Chicks in the Kitchen"...which I am looking forward to breaking into real soon!

We are off on a camping adventure today...with two three-year-olds who have never been camping! I'm thinking there won't be much time to read...maybe just a few pages of 'Farm Chicks'. Then for the weekend...we will make our way to the desert...to join family at a cherry orchard campground. How much better can it get?

Sometime this summer...I plan to read those books!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

a special luncheon...

Monday...June 22nd...had been circled on my calendar for a very long time. I had an invitation to join a group of friends for lunch at the home of Anneliese. These friends have...for the most part...just become friends over the past year...as we are all contributors to the Mennonite Girls Can Cook recipe blog. Planning a luncheon that we could all fit into our schedule, proved to be a difficult task...since it seems we are all coming or going at this stage of our life. But yesterday was the day...and what a fine time the seven of us had (three were unable to fly in for the occasion)! There was so much to talk about...and when we finally parted ways...we all knew there was still much to be said. So...I'm thinking we may meet like this again...sometime soon.

I am not accustomed to having a table set this way for lunch...or having a place card at my spot...or sitting at the lunch table until almost dinnertime...but I think I could get used to it quite nicely!

If you would like to check out Bella Bruschetta Salad...part of our luncheon menu...you can find it posted right here. Or...maybe I could interest you in trying Anneliese's Raisin Apple Bread, which was also on the buffet table...and was most delicious. Thanks, Anneliese, for having us...we had a wonderful time!

Have a great day...

Monday, June 22, 2009

garden tour extraordinaire...

It was time again for the annual "Great Garden Escape" in our community this past weekend...a fundraiser sponsored by the Rotary Club in our community. It's an opportunity to tour some of the most fabulous gardens in our area...and three of us sisters make it an annual outing.

So...I'll take you along on the garden tour today...no tickets required...and you can leave your umbrellas in the trunk. (That's right...after a month of no measurable precipitation, it is raining!)

One of my favorite gardens...was that surrounding a century old Tudor-style home...situated on a creek that flows through the city.

With new sub-divisions totally surrounding this property...one would never have known what lay hidden at the end of the lane.

The gardens sloped down to the water...where the ducks played.

The large trees...this one was on English chestnut...were likely as old as the house...but most of the shrubs and flowers had been planted within the last nine years.

We visited several amazing gardens on tiny city lots...where every square-inch was utilized in creating a garden paradise. The most amazing small-yard garden...was one located in a sub-division which was part of our raspberry farm a long time ago. Where once raspberries flourished...someone with a creative bent and a passion for passion for plants...

...has a unique garden with many delightful nooks and crannies.

Featuring pools, ponds, outdoor dining rooms and sitting areas...there was no need for a lawn mower. This garden has been featured in the "Gardens West" magazine...for good reason!

It's always fun to see the garden art ideas...things like a a garden bench made from a recycled door.

One of the larger gardens on the tour...was that adjacent to a large commercial 'gerbera daisy' operation.

How nice to wander through the gardens...and be serenaded by a young violin trio as we toured.

The gardens were designed by the owners...and included water features and bridges...

...and horses grazing in adjacent pastures...

...and inviting spots to stop...and rest awhile. Who wouldn't find this yard appealing?

After completing our tour of their private gardens...we discovered that we were welcome to tour the greenhouses as well...and what a treat for the eyes that was!

Under acres of glass...we discovered daisies in every shade imaginable. They are grown for the wholesale market...finding their way to flower auctions and on to a florist near you.

Not on our tour...but also along our route...

...we passed by this duck pond which is covered with a mass of lily pads...all in bloom. The pond lies behind our public library...and is a fun place for kids of all ages to feed the ducks.

We ended the day with a tour of my sister's garden...

...and it's not at all shabby! Maybe it will be included in the official garden tour one of these years.

Have a great day...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

honouring dad...

On Friday I paid tribute to my father...so today I would like to honour the other four dad's in my immediate family...that would be the father of my three children...and the fathers of my grandchildren.

Children are an inheritance from the LORD.
They are a reward from him.
Psalm 127:3

Today I'd like to leave the dads in my life with a reminder of God's faithfulness...Faithful Father by Brian Doerksen. Whatever your role as dad may require of you...God is faithful!

You may think that it is easy for a renowned worship leader to sing of God's faithfulness...since he likely hasn't encountered hard times in his personal family life. Well, think again! I was so touched by Brian's story...you can read it here...and particularly his challenges as a father to two sons with Fragile X syndrome. What an inspiration he is to all dads...to be faithful to the calling of fatherhood.

So to all the dads in my life...Happy Father's Day and I love you all!

Friday, June 19, 2009

celebrating dad...

Many of my friends no longer have a father with whom to celebrate Father's Day...for them it is all about memories. As for me...I will be spending time with my dad this weekend...and making new memories. How special is that?

It's been a tough ride for dad this past while...but after two bouts in hospital dealing with pneumonia...and another to address the side effects of med's...he is back at home once again. I have a storehouse of good memories...and pictures from the past...and most every time we are together, I hear more stories...and so my dad has written the book of his life one chapter at a time. But here is a chapter that has never been written...going shopping for clothes with his daughters. We thought we would get him some clothes for Father's Day...and allow him a little input...and so we are taking him shopping this afternoon. He is much more comfortable in Lordco or Home Hardware...but tonight we will go to a clothing store.

We thought that if we combined the shopping with a little eating...it would be much more palatable for him...and so we will go out for dinner. We will try to stay away from ABC Country Restaurant...his favorite spot for pie and ice-cream. That may just be a little too painful...since pie à la mode is now on his forbidden food list. Tonight we will try something new!

We will be making new memories...and adding another chapter to the book.

He has been a great dad...a provider and a support...a jack-of-all-trades...a dad who could fix anything...a story-teller extradaordinaire...the No.1 Toronto Blue Jays fan...one who delights in his family...a beloved dad, grandpa and great-grandpa. I am so glad I can celebrate Father's Day with him again this year!

Have a wonderful weekend...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

still truckin'...

We think trucks get better with age...and so we tend to keep them around for a very long time.

Our pick-up truck came home from the 'spa' the other day...

...looking...oh, so much better! Here's the thing...it is a 1993 model...which doesn't seem all that old to me...but I guess it is getting on. GMC seemed to have an issue with peeling paint for a few years on their pick-up trucks...and so we thought we would 'touch up the grey' that was showing all over the hood.

I still recall our first truck...

...a vintage International. We didn't actually drive it much...but on occasion needed a truck on the farm...and this one did the trick. We actually sold the farm...and left the truck for the next owners...and have often wondered why we would have done that.

We had a raspberry farm 'back in the day'...and needed a big sturdy truck for hauling tons of berries to market...and so this was our next upgrade.

The multi-purpose three-ton truck was used in season...and out of season. I'm not sure how the calf rated...to ride in first class...but the picture shows that it happened.

We switched to a Ford 3/4 ton pick-up...and used trailers for hauling farm produce and cattle.

In the mid-seventies we bought a camper that fit nicely on our pick-up truck...and served us well...for three decades! While our friends went from campers, to trailers, to motorhomes, and back to trailers...we used the same camper. Every year we would go to the RV show...and dream about what would one day replace our camper...but it was all looking...and no action. The camper made it's last trip...from the west coast to Iowa and back a few years ago. When we got home we put it up for sale...and it sold in no time for just a little less than we paid for it thirty years earlier. Sometimes things become more precious as they age!

We have another truck that has been around the block a few times. It was my dad's....and he repainted it several decades ago...and now we find many uses for it around the farm. What could be handier for getting bark mulch than a truck with a dump box?

So...as you can tell from our tour of trucks today...nothing at this place is disposable! We keep everything for a very long time. Who knows...maybe we'll still be driving the GMC pick-up truck when there are no GMC trucks left on the road. At that point it will be a treasure, right?

Oh yes...and just so you know...I'm not usually the truck driver around here!

Have a great day...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

down on the farm...

It seems there is always something that needs to be harvested on the farm...from April through October we are seemingly always cutting grass. (I use the term 'we' quite loosely!)

Yesterday the field right next to our house was being chopped for silage...for the second time this year. Ryder came to spend some time with Grammy...

...and we watched from the distance for a bit.

And then we hitched a ride with Grandpa for a spell...

...and watched the grass being chopped and blown into the wagon...

...before being trucked off to the bunker. (I'm thinking Grandpa should clean the tractor windows before taking Grammy for a ride!)

Also down on the farm...

...the raspberries are nearly ready for harvest!

Ryder thought they were plenty ready...

...and can take credit for eating the first raspberries of this year's crop.

Once the raspberries were down the hatch...he was wondering if there might possibly be time to bake chocolate chip cookies yet...before mommy came to get him. Grandpa suggested maybe we try raisin oatmeal cookies this time...

...but he stood his ground!

The grass is in the bunker...the cookies are in the jar...and on the farm, we are waiting for rain. Did I really say that? Normally we are praying for the rain to end at this time of the year...but this year is anything but normal. It has been almost a month since we had a good rain...very strange indeed for the west coast. By the time you read this post...we may even be getting wet...as there is a slight chance of showers. I'm not getting out my umbrella just yet!

Have a wonderful Wednesday...