Saturday, April 30, 2022

April ~ a few moments in time


I would like to remember April 2022 as being bright and cheery...


...rather like this photo.

But truth be told...
there were many days that were cool and grey and not so conducive to riding bike or even spending time outdoors. 


But we know that there is light even on the darkest of days...
sometimes we just have to look for it. 


We had fresh snow on the peaks...
and blossoms in the valley.


One chilly April evening we met up with friends at the Baron Bistro in Abbotsford...
with plans to try out their new patio domes.

They tried to discourage us from eating on the patio...
it was far too cold!

But we came bundled up and stuck with our plan.

It was a wonderful adventure in dining! 
We will do it again.


Ranen invited us to the Abbotsford Youth Orchestra performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. 
What a delightful evening...
with such gifted young musicians. 

I think the loveliest of day of the month was Easter Sunday.
It was so good to be back in church on after missing the Easter service for the past two years.



It was also good to gather the family around the table again for Easter dinner...
after a few years of 'pivoting'.


They had their Easter egg hunt...


...and most eggs were found.

I think Grammy will be finding a few treats as she gardens this spring!


How did these sweet littles of yesteryear grow up so quickly?


They had their Paska and ate it too...
...and took home the leftovers!


We did a little biking...


a little hiking...


(Dunville Creek forest)

...and even a min-cruise.


Who knew you could board the ferry with your bike at 11am in Vancouver, cycle to Sidney for lunch on the pier and be home in time for a late dinner?


The best part was meeting up with friends for lunch...
friends that we had not seen for several years.


I had a delivery of flowers at my front door every Thursday this past month...
a birthday gift from my kids that 'keeps on giving'.
So beautiful.
So appreciated.

On the farm, most of the spring fieldwork is still waiting to happen.
We are hoping for a warmer, drier May. 


I'll end with a photo of a neighbouring farm...
the golden field of dandelions that has been my 'front porch view' this past week.
The floods of last fall destroyed the grass...
but the dandelions came out in full force.

Welcome May...
and may it be a cheery and bright one for all of us!

Thursday, March 31, 2022

March ~ Come and Gone

‘Spring flowers are in blossom all over. 
The whole world is a choir…and singing!’ 
Song of Solomon 2:12


And just like that...
it is spring!

Since we were away for the first half of March...
this seemed like a very short month!
So I will keep this short.

The grands have mostly been out of school these past two weeks.
Spring break!
They have longer breaks in spring than 'back in the day'.

We began a spring-break wiener roast tradition some 15 years ago...
and have kept it up (rain or shine) ever since.


Here's a March wiener roast photo from a decade ago.


A few things have changed over the years.
We added a few more grands to the party...
and changed up the venue from our backyard to the banks of the river.


The family is bigger.
The fire is bigger.


The dog is bigger.

Actually...
it was Chester's first wiener roast and he quite enjoyed himself!


Apparently it is never too soon to have Paska buns!
Why wait till Easter?


On this last day of March...
I had a lovely bouquet delivered to 'my front porch'.


These are no ordinary daffodils!
I am looking forward to a bouquet of locally grown blooms every Thursday for the next six weeks.
How special is that?
It was a birthday gift from my kids.

'Where flowers bloom, so does hope'! ~ Lady Bird Johnson



'Can words describe the fragrance of the very breath of spring?' ~N. Blanchard

Spring.
New growth.
Hope for tomorrow!



Thursday, March 17, 2022

Texas ~ the long road there and back


Every journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
So they say!

Our journey of 10,000 kilometers was a while in the planning.
One month earlier we still weren't sure it would happen...
with pandemic concerns and a travel advisory in place...
nothing was certain.

My sister passed away in south Texas in August of 2020.
The plan was always to have a memorial service once it was safe to do so...
and when those of us from Canada would be free to travel.
Last fall we it was decided to set the memorial date for February 23, 2022...
which was Bev's birthday.


In the end...
things fell into place...
and on February 16th we rolled out of the yard and down the road.


Though the shortest route to Texas would have taken us cross-country...
we chose to avoid the mountain passes...
and followed the I5 south the California and the I10 east to Texas.
One can never be too cautious when travelling with an RV in winter!

The first day took us to southern Oregon...
where we were discovered that our credit card was frozen due to 'unusual activity'.
Yes, very unusual for us to be in USA!
It took us all evening to sort it out with 'the powers that be'...
since the primary cardholder had no idea how to answer the security questions.
How would he know the balance on our account...
or the date of last credit?
Feeding him answers in the background was not the solution!
Despite their assurance that we no longer need to notify our credit card company before travelling...
I will always be doing that in the future.


We carried on past Mt. Shasta...


...and almost took the exit to Gibson Road.
Home...to us!


We always find the drive to southern California interesting...
past blossoming orchards, ranches and dairy farms.

From Palm Springs east...
through Arizona, New Mexico and an endless stretch of Texas...
there is not a whole lot so see along the I10.

We had planned to take a side trip to the Carlsbad Caverns on our way by...
but discovered we were required to reserve tickets online 48 hours in advance.
Next time!

We arrived in McAllen, Texas and booked into an RV park right close to my nephew's place....
where we spent a week.

How good it was to see Lenny after all the happenings of the last few years!
I went with him to make the final arrangements for the memorial service...
and then we drove to Ricky's group home where arrangements had been made to pick him up and take him 'home'.
We wondered what his reaction would be...
when he saw us.
He calmly looked at us and then said our names.


He spent most of that week with us...
quietly sitting or standing for hours wherever we were.

So thankful that he has adapted to life without his mom...
the one who looked after his every need until shortly before she passed. 


The service was lovely...
at the Baptist Temple in Sharyland. 

Bill (my brother) and Jeanne drove down from Iowa and my Dot (my sister) and Terry also made the long drive from BC.  

One of Bev's good lifelong friends from Chilliwack and her husband also came for the memorial...as well as a few friends and acquaintances for McAllen.

We all shared our memories and a few tears.


Lenny honoured his mother with a beautiful tribute.


Her legacy lives on in her boys.

The day after the memorial...
we thought it would only be fitting if we drove out to South Padre Island for the day...
since it was Bev's favorite spot.

We had not expected it to be so cold!
I have been to Texas a number of times in February or March...
and it has always been warm.

8C (46F) is not exactly beach weather...
especially when the wind is howling!

But we dressed in our Canadian woolies...
and headed for the beach!


We deal with drifting snow back home on occasion...
here they deal with shifting sand!


We were the only brave souls on this beach at the north end of the island...
and Jeanne was the only one who 'stuck her toe' in the water.


We had lunch at Bev's favorite seafood place before leaving the island...
where you could have 'the catch of the day' served up on a platter. 
My brother quite enjoyed it!
 I prefer not to see skin or eyes when I eat fish...
and opted for a traditional fish 'n chips basket.

We were thankful for the opportunity meet in South Texas and 'remember Bev'...
and spend time with Lenny and Ricky.
This had been a long time in coming!


We left South Texas for points further north.
Specifically...
Waco, Texas.

It wasn't that much of a detour...
and the silos at Magnolia were calling!

What a great place to visit!


Magnolia Market occupies two city blocks in downtown Waco...
and is owned by Chip and Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper fame.
The silos belonged to the Brazos Cotton Oil Mill...
which closed some 60 years ago.

There was lots to see and do on site...
from home decor shops, to garden shops...


...food trucks, bakery, coffee shops.


Even a church...
if one wished to sit and be still.

It was a great place to visit and worth the slight detour!
I came home with a few souvenirs.


We found a nice RV park along the river in Waco...
and enjoyed beautiful sunsets both nights we were there.


We left Texas...
departing for Mesa, Arizona...


...where we camped near Superstition Mountain and Lost Dutchman State Park.


It was a great place to hike...


...with vegetation so unlike that back home.

We met up with good friends who make Mesa their home for a few months of the year...
and now know why they keep going back!


Our next stop was Indio...
where my sister and her family were staying.

We spent a few days with them...
before they flew back home.


This place never disappoints!

Bonus...
we met up with friends from home for Mexican food one night.


Petunias in March.
Only in Palm Springs!


Our last stop before heading home was Sky Valley Resort in Desert Hot Springs.


It was surprising to find the warm mineral pools empty quite often.


It was a great place to relax on the tail-end of our long road trip...
play pickleball, soak in the hotpools, and even take in a free concert.

Oh yes...
and meet up with friends and cousins that we never even knew where there.


We made ourselves at home on the back deck of an Airbnb that belongs to acquaintances from back home...
and sent them a pic!
It looked like a great place to stay.

And just like that...
it was time to leave for home.

We stocked up on sacks of oranges...
and returned the way we came.


We stopped for lunch in the shadow of Mt. Shasta...


...and carried on homeward.
 Audio books and coffee mugs make the miles zip by!


Four weeks after the journey began...
our road trip USA of 2022 came to an end.

We are grateful for the opportunity to travel again...
and for all the memories that we will treasure.

Until next time...