Friday, July 31, 2009

going away...

On July 31, the end of a very hot wedding day...we donned our going away outfits...before leaving for a honeymoon on Vancouver Island.

Fast forward thirty-eight years...a few things have changed and some remain the same. It is a very hot July 31st once again...and we are leaving for a vacation on Vancouver Island. Our 'going away outfits' are not nearly so co-ordinated...but much more comfortable and cool (well...actually nothing is cool out here these days). We are looking forward to exploring the island...from the southern tip to the most northerly point...just the two of us in our air-conditioned motorhome. We travel well together...and look forward to the road that lies ahead.

I may be checking in on occasion...and have a post or two scheduled in my absence...and I'll be sure to have lots to share when I return.

Enjoy the summer...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

picks of the season...

The fruits of the season are ready for the pickin'...and so I'm doing just that!

I was in the backyard a few days ago...and caught a whiff of first sign that they were ready for harvest. We have been enjoying blackberry ice-tea this summer...mostly from last year's crop...but now we can use them right off the canes.

I simply cook up a blackberry concentrate...simmer equal parts of blackberries and water for about fifteen minutes...and strain. I've been adding a few teabags to my hot concentrate...and steeping for some 5 minutes before removing the bags. Sweeten to taste. Refrigerate pitcher of blackberry/tea concentrate. To serve...pour a small amount over ice in glass...and top with Sprite Zero for a most refreshing drink on a sweltering summer day!

The yellow transparent apples are falling off the trees on the farmyard...and soon the season will be over again. They make the best pie...since they are rather a tart apple...almost as tart as rhubarb! Yesterday I made up my annual batch of apple fritters...for old times sake (I always enjoyed them as a kid)...and the grands from next door came to help with the sampling...and what was left went home for their daddy.

The birds have helped me harvest the blueberries from our few we are all done. But just down the road...

...the birds couldn't quite keep they have brought in the big machines. Machines are more reliable than people...especially in this heat! Speaking of which...Vancouver recorded the highest temperature EVER yesterday. It's hot...and with no end in sight...I am packing the RV...and dreaming of ocean beaches!

Last night we enjoyed supper air-conditioned bliss...

...with old long-time friends of ours who also happen to celebrate their anniversary in July. It was a triple anniversary commemoration supper ...although it was mostly about catching up on what was happening in everyone's life!

Friends and fruit...the best of the season.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

beating the heat...

The temperatures are rising...and the weather records in our area are falling...and we are just trying to survive with fans...and ice-cream (make mine an orange float)!

It's too hot to think...too hot to cook...too hot to write...and so I'll just share a few excuses for today's non-post.

At 8:27 pm last was still above 35 degrees Celsius...and 44C on the humidex scale. For those who are not metric-minded...I'll do the math for's about 100 degrees Fahrenheit and 112 with the humidity factored in. And a goodly number of us out here do not have central air...because it is not needed that often. We are re-thinking that position...and may just have a cool house by next year's heat wave!

For now...the fans are going non-stop...and we are considering sleeping in the crawl space. Escaping in the RV is looking more and more it becomes cool on command. I may be back with something of a little more substance tomorrow...but for today...I'm just concentrating on beating the heat.

Stay cool...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

101 relations...

And we all tried to get in the picture on Sunday.

Everyone is busy...and some came and went...but as our Baerg family reunion ended...those who who were there met on the steps for a parting shot. That's right...there were 101 of us in total...of all ages. We spent the weekend at a retreat centre (read college campus) a parklike setting on a very hot and humid weekend in July. We rekindled old acquaintances...and met a few faces we had never seen before. We played ladder golf and bocce...Rook and Mexican Train...and we ate...a lot. We heard stories from the past...and shared life experiences with one another. We had our own band...and when they weren't singing with us...they were jamming on their own in a corner. And we discovered that we had a lot of artists and artisans in our group.

We also joined together in an effort to raise funds for a new gravestone for my great-grandparents.

They are buried in a little country cemetery...not far from where we met...and their graves are no longer identifiable. My dad has made it his mission to see that they have a proper gravestone...before all evidence of their burial spot disappears.

We have been meeting like this every three years over the past two decades. We have met cousins we never knew...and heard stories that had never been told. It takes a lot of work to make these events happen...and we always wonder if it will be the last one...but the plan is to gather the family from across western Canada and several American states again in 2012.

We have no idea what the next three years may bring...or how many of the 101 will be there in 2012...but as we ended our reunion...we sang together "We Have This Moment Today". It was a wonderful reminder to enjoy family...and the music of living...the everyday pleasures that are ours to Don't wait for look back...and wish for today!

Monday, July 27, 2009

on this day...

Born February 9, 1926 ~ Died July 27, 2000

Helen Isaak Baerg

Nine years July of mom was eagerly anticipating the arrival of the entire family. Two sisters and their families were coming from brother and his family from Iowa...and Bev and her boys from Texas. She was busy filling up the freezer...baking pies and making cabbage rolls...and getting ready for the Baerg reunion...which was the reason they were all coming home. At the beginning of the month she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer...and knew this might be the last time she would be hosting the family. They arrived by the Sunday...we all went to Minter Gardens together...and mom had us all in for supper...because she wanted to! On Monday she took very ill...and a few days later she was gone. They had come for a reunion...but instead we were all together as our mother passed away.

We spent this past weekend at a family reunion...and I had to think of the one nine years ago...that never turned out as we had planned. Now we are left with the memories...but one day we will be reunited again.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

the voyage...

Approach life like a voyage on a schooner.
Enjoy the view.
Explore the vessel.
Make friends with the captain.
Fish a little.
And then get off when you get home.

-- Love God more than you fear hell.
-- Once a week, let a child take you on a walk.
-- Make major decisions in a cemetery.
-- When no one is watching, live as if someone is.
-- Succeed at home first.
-- Don't spend tomorrow's money today.
-- Pray twice as much as you fret.
-- Listen twice as much as you speak.
-- Only harbor a grudge when God does.
-- Never outgrow your love of sunsets.
-- Treat people like angels; you will meet some and help make some.
-- 'Tis wiser to err on the side of generosity than on the side of scrutiny.
-- God has forgiven you; you'd be wise to do the same.
-- When you can't trace God's hand, trust his heart.
-- Toot your own horn and the notes will be flat.
-- Don't feel guilty for God's goodness.
-- The book of life is lived in chapters, so know your page number.
-- Never let the important be the victim of the trivial.

(excerpt from 'The Eye of the Storm' by Max Lucado)

We may not always sail through smooth waters...but we have many God-given truths that help us navigate around the ragged rocks of reality. I like Max Lucado's list...signals he follows to help steer his vessel through the rivers of life. And I like the advice given in Jeremiah 33:3...

Call unto me and I will answer thee...and show thee great and mighty things...which thou knowest not.

Friday, July 24, 2009

we are family...

Sometime last year this invitation arrived in the mail...and has been on my bulletin board since that time...

...reminding me of the last family reunion in Pinawa, Manitoba three years ago...and another coming soon.

The time has arrived...and I'll be away this weekend...meeting with uncles, aunts and cousins...nieces and nephews and siblings...and anyone else who calls themselves family. We come from near and connect with each other...and remember the tree from which we all came. To know where we are helps to know where we come from. Families are a good thing!

Have a wonderful weekend...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

getting wet!

We don't mind getting wet in the summertime...not when it is 29 degrees Celsius...and we are in our swim suits. And it's all the more fun if we are in good company...

...and at a place that we have frequented since our children were little. It was known as the Trans-Canada Waterslides in those days...and was quite close to home...and had evening rates of $5...and so we went as a family. It seems we once went while Heidi was at a friend's place...and so she missed out on one occasion...and for all these years we have been accused of planning family outings to the waterslides without her. Yesterday we had a family outing to the waterslides...and no one was left out!

Baby Maelyn came for her very first time...and thought it was most fun!

Ryder and Ranen took very good care of their cousin...

...when they weren't too busy frolicking in the water.

What fun those two have together!

Emme and Spencer brought a friend...and tried every slide on for size. I caught them on the they were off to make the next trip down.

As for Grandpa...Ryder took him down the slide...and they were both all smiles...before they hit the water. And Grammy's favorite tube ride was still there...unchanged after all these years...and so she took one ride down for old times sake. Thankfully I left my prescription sunglasses behind...because they would have been lost in the rapids! I had visions of riding down...sitting nicely on the tube...and sailing smoothly across the last pond. It didn't quite turn out that way...but I did finish together with my tube!

It was a fun time! We hadn't been there since 1991...and it seemed like yesterday. The rates have gone up a little (quite a little)...the park is now called Bridal Falls Waterpark...but the fun remains the same. Maybe we'll go again one day...if our grands invite us. Getting wet is quite okay once in awhile!

Have a great day...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Grouse Grind...

I We did it! Perched 4100 feet above the city of Vancouver is Grouse Mountain.

With amazing views of the city, the wilderness, and the Cascade and Olympic Mountain ranges...more than 880,000 people take the skyride to the top annually. Then there are another 100,000 every year that take the alternate route...

...the Grouse Grind. I'm not sure why 100,000 crazy people would attempt this steep, mountainous trail annually...but we did it ONCE! People come from around the world to try to reach the mountain peak in record time. For was just about getting to the top...and enjoying the journey. We soon figured out that the only enjoyable moments...were those where we were resting...or taking photos...or having a drink. was pure torture...all 2,900 upward steps.
We moved aside to let many hikers by...and were so thrilled to actually pass a few people near the top. And once we was worth every moment of pain. We sat on a deck...enjoyed a snack...

...and took in the amazing views...the city of Vancouver...

...the harbour...

...and a few paragliders taking a joy ride down.

The wildflowers are in full bloom....

...and the bees and butterflies had found their way to the mountain peak as well.

We have some amazing artists in this area...

...and the wood carvings on Grouse mountain are incredible!

Once we finished our 'breakfast'...we decided to do a little mountaintop exploring. Once you have conquered the Grouse Grind...everything else is gratis. We were not expecting to see grizzly bears...

...but as luck would have it...the two grizzlies that reside in the Grouse Mountain grizzly bear habitat...were just waiting for visitors!

It was rather hot...and so one of them decided to take a dip...

...and the other one put on a show for us. They weigh between 750 and 900 pounds...and are about 8 years old. Both were orphaned cubs...and have been raised right the top of Grouse a five acre retreat centre.

They are amazing...and agile. I took lots of pic's...since Ryder will want to hear every detail about the bears!

A little further down the trail...we discovered we could take a scenic chairlift...

...with more amazing views (no tickets required). I'm not sure why I had this fear...that I might not be able to dismount at end of the ride...but everything turned out just fine!

Oh yes...and there was even a little and there.

Grouse Mountain will soon be home to a wind turbine...and the bits of pieces of the first tower lay on a pad...ready to be assembled.

We returned from our scenic chair ride...

... just in time for the famous lumberjack show. Logging in British Columbia may not be what it once was...but these loggers are good!

This guy knew how to give us all a good fright...

...I'm hoping his wife was no where nearby.

We spent many enjoyable hours on Grouse Mountain...and know we will be back again...soon. I think we will take the easy way up next time...but who knows?

On the way home...

...we made a quick stop at Capilano Suspension Bridge.

The 450 foot long suspension bridge spans the 230 foot deep canyon. They happen to be celebrating their 120th birthday this year...

...and since neither of us had been here since we were kids...we thought it was time! As you can see...we were in good company. Once across the bridge...

...we took a short 'walk in the park' hike through a forest of ancient Douglas fir and western cedar. And before we left for home...we sat down in the shade to enjoy a nice cool ice-cream cone. As I was nearing the final lick of my cone...I looked up to see a crow perch on the shingles above me.

Oh yes...I have lots to crow about. It was a great day!