Friday, July 30, 2010

Salad Days

I don't usually do recipes...but after Gill's question about the grated beets,  I thought I'd share two wonderful salads that fed our multitudes.  And there were leftovers.

Deb brought pre-mixed dressings for both of these recipes.  Summit Salad includes grated beets, carrots and chickpeas and is really, really good.  Click the link for the recipe.

And I had to grate those darned little carrots for this recipe, too.  Hail to the Kale is mostly about the kale but it also has a mountain 3 cups of  the orange bits.  Deb also did the seed roasting at home which made it easy to put together.  Again, click the link for the recipe.

Enjoy!  We did.

Out trip

Today is a travelogue of a place we've often talked about seeing.  Since it was close by...

We hung out by the lake every day but we did take a few hours to visit  a part of the old Kettle Valley Railway.  Where we jumped on was at the Myra Station which is high above Kelowna, BC.  This part of the rail line now forms part of the Trans Canada Trail.

Here we could hike walk along the old rail beds, go through a couple of tunnels and cross several trestle bridges as we retraced the route of steam trains through the Myra Canyon.  There were many people on the trail that morning including our big group of 6 adults, two kids and two dogs.

In the summer of 2003, there were many large forest fires in the Okanagan, destroying homes as well as forests..  You can see the stands of burned trees everywhere as a reminder of those frightening days.  But you can also see the green returning everywhere.  The new trees will grow. In fact, the lodge pole pine requires the heat of the fire to release its seeds.

Among the casualties of the fires were the old trestle bridges in Myra Canyon.  The burned trestle supports and bridges have since been rebuilt in the same style.   It was a huge effort of volunteers, donations and time.

You can see how long and high in this slightly hazy long-shot photo.  Two of us didn't get all the way to this bridge although everyone else did.

All along the trail you can see right down the valley to the city of Kelowna.  It really seemed more than just miles away from this high mountain experience.

It's not only walkers that you meet on the trail  It's a very popular cycling trail as well.  Since it is a rail bed the grades are never very steep.  And you can leave the bike at home and rent one at the trail head.  That's for another adventure, though.

And as always, we found daisies.  They are everywhere in this high country.  I love the contrast with the burned tree trunks. 

Our one day in 'civilization' was still pretty isolated.  Even just driving through the city on the way home made us look forward to returning to the lake and our peaceful days.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Every picture tells a story

We have lots of photos from the week at Lake Idabel.  They all tell stories and I could be here all week sharing them.  But some will always bring a smile at a special memory.  Serious, funny or tender, getting out the photo albums has changed a bit from when I was a kid but I still love to browse through the pictures.  Here are some special memories for me...

My favorite for the whole week is Anne's daughter helping her fasten her life jacket before a canoe adventure. Just so gentle and loving.

They made it to the edge of the marsh.  Since they are  both accomplished paddlers so that was no surprise.  The weeds did surprise a bit as they caught the paddles.  And they didn't see either the moose or the beavers which live and visit the marshland.

Alison and I investigate the pirate ship - complete with a Jolly Roger flag on a paddle.  The kids drag this ship back and forth across the water with the tow rope.  Seems to be great fun judging by all the shouts and screams.

Anne & I took a walk and found an old corral full of daisies.  No horses had been there for a long time, I think. This was one of my favorite places near the lake. We liked it so much that we chose this location for our photo shoot with Wendy.

If you're going to grate beets by hand you have to suit up.  I wrapped a towel around me and stood over the sink.  Grating was my special job this week as some salads needed grated carrots.  I had stupidly (well, I thought it was clever in the store) bought the little snacking carrots instead of normal garden variety. So, I was allowed to grate them.  And, if you can grate those tiny nubs, you can grate anything.  Beets?  No problem!

 She's an accomplished paddler.  But some skills do leave you, apparently.  Like how to get in the end of a canoe when you don't move as quickly as you did a few years ago.  The sinking canoe at the dock is what I saw from our window .   Then I spied a head in the water.  Bob up - then down - then up again.  I grabbed a towel and ran. Here the canoe floats a little low in the water.  Definitely needing a rescue.

It was not a true disaster - just a funny story. With bruised arms and ego.  The clothes and shoes dried very fast in the hot sun.  I confess that I was really quite worried at first.  It was a great relief to pull Anne up on the dock even if she was streaming with weeds and water.  Even the resident mallards were curious about this creature I hauled out of the lake.  They quacked and paddled over to see what all the fuss was about.

Like camping everywhere, meal time was a constant activity.  This was our pizza night with everyone getting in on the act.  Even a well-stocked cabin like ours has a limited number of pans to cook with.  Every flat pan was pressed into service.  We had brought homemade dough, frozen, and I didn't have to grate the cheese!  The pizzas were delicious, by the way.

It wasn't all reading and knitting.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Slow return

I think this is one of the best vacations I've ever had.  The location was beautiful and serene.  Idabel Lake seems to be almost unknown - even to those who live around the Okanagan. 

I woke up every morning to this view.  The sun created an amazing golden glow on the other side of this lovely little mountain lake.  The elevation here is over 4000 above sea level but never cold.  The sun shone every day but one!

And while I had breakfast I could look this way.The boats were available to take out at any time.  I'm not comfortable in these little boats so I just watched.  It was fun to see how they drifted and shifted with every little current.

My first morning I did my tai chi on the dock but that did have some limitations in size.  Not to mention the very real risk of falling in the lake.

So, I changed it up and started walking to the end of the paved road which was about 15 minutes.  There, at the intersection with the dirt road that ultimately led to civilization, I could practice with my enthralled audience.  One morning a white-tailed deer emerged from the trees to have a look at this strange creature.

I think the many members of the gopher and ground squirrel families  - they were everywhere - must have been chattering through the forest about me. 

At night the mist descended to the lake.  It became very quiet and all through the night we could hear the haunting call and laugh of the loons.

The scariest part was when we arrived and discovered that there was no cell phone reception, no internet and no newspapers.  What's an information junkie like me to do?  I fretted a bit at first but soon came to appreciate the total quiet.  I knit - more in another post - and talked and watched the tiny changes in the scenery.  I walked, helped cook meals and finished two novels.   It's actually been quite hard to come back to the world.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sunday Wonders - Q

Q is for Quest.  This weekend, we have a visitor.  She's been here before and so we went questing for something new.

We began with brunch at Fraiche high on the hill in West Vancouver.  This is a very fine restaurant where my son just happens to cook.  Here's a view from the dining room.  It overlooks the city of Vancouver, Stanley Park, Lions Gate Bridge and Burrard Inlet. Sorry about the hazy photo quality.

Then we went to the waterfront where there's always something interesting going on.  We spied some naval officers from a Korean training ship. It looks like they were all buying shades and they were so-o young.  I loved their shoes - white patent leather for officers.  The sailors wore black patent leather and the Honor Guard wore black suede desert boots!

There were two in port - the Yang Manchoon and the Hwa Cheon - and they were celebrating 60 years of friendship with the many countries who participated in the Korean War.  Vancouver was the first stop on a round the world tour.

This was really interesting and fun except for the several flights of stairs ladders which we had to climb up (not too bad) and climb down again.  Do we go front down or back down?  No easy decision because there was no changing once you committed.

Here's a view from the ship. This yacht is the Atessa.  This seems to be an almost permanent home for her.  I'm so impressed with the helicopter.  Can you see it?

More naval officers - these were the only women we saw.

After touring the ship, Penny searches for the perfect olive in the market. 
Tomorrow, we set off on our own quest: a road trip to spend a week in the Okanagan.  I'm not sure of the internet connections so posting may be sporadic to non-existent.  See everyone when I get back.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Out of Practice

The other day, there was this very odd smell in the air.  Kind of like hot plastic or glue.  You know how you keep trying to figure out what the smell is by relating it to other things?  I was convinced it was coming from the outside since all the windows were open and the wind was blowing through the house.  I was wrong.

The dishwasher was doing something which means we're washing dishes the old-fashioned way for a few days.  It's not true that old habits die hard.  I hand washed dishes for many more years than I've let the dishwasher do the work but I'm definitely a dependent now.    Oh, heck, we don't even have a dish drainer. 

Off to get my hands all prune-y...

Sunday, July 11, 2010


I picked these berries for our dessert.  The strawberries are so small but very sweet - like wild berries.  

And while I was standing in the hot sun picking the blueberries, I was carried back in time to when I picked blueberries as a kid - for money, not dessert!   It felt just the same: walking on field grass and carefully taking off only the ripe ones.  I must be older, though, since I wasn't eating any while I picked. 

Walking through the tall plants in the garden, I brushed against the lavender.  Such a wonderful scent rose up.  Lavender in the sun is way more exotic than my old days on the blueberry farm.

I'm celebrating Mellow Yellow Monday and Ruby Tuesday with this photo.  Do visit and see what other people are celebrating.

Sunday wonders - P

P is for Promises.
With the sun finally warming the earth and the air, the veggies are tripping over themselves to get growing.

Blossoms are everywhere and they have wee green fruit which will grow into ripe, red tomatoes.

I love the intricate architecture of the kohlrabi.  When they're just forming, the swirls remind me of the tops of chocolates displayed in a fancy box.

And this is our first cucumber.  So tiny yet ferocious with its little spikes.  The paper on the ground is about 1/4" wide so you have an idea of the size of this baby.  We know it will grow up to be part of a yummy salad or maybe a sandwich for tea?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Mostly pink and purple

The summer garden is always changing color.  Today it's mostly pink and purple with a nice contrast of white daisies.  My favorites today:

A clematis that we rescued.  Actually there are two the same...I think it's called 'Nelly Moser' which is one of the oldest named varieties.  In the spring after we bought the house, I noticed these spindly little tendrils that popped up under the fir trees.  They looked like clematis and we tried to encourage them to grow.  They didn't.  The next spring was the same story so that fall I dug them up and moved them to a new home.  I think they like it, don't you?

This clematis was purpose-bought.  I loved the name 'Etoile Violette' and it surely does produce hundreds of purple stars for us to admire. Since it grows over the deck rail we have the blooms nice and close.  But this is our neighbor's view - pretty nice.

The raspberries are not as good this year as last.  Only small amounts to go on cereal...if they last that long in the hand.  We'll have to do some work with them this fall.   

One of our blueberry bushes is loaded but the other we pruned right back this spring.  The theory being what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, I think. 

And this poppy is our summer surprise.  Many years ago we bought some poppy seedlings at a garden club sale.  They were called 'Springer Grape' and they bloomed for many summers.  Then they just disappeared  about five years ago.  This spring, we noticed a forest of poppies growing up amongst the leeks.  It looks like they are this same beautiful poppy.  Did the seeds lie dormant all those years?  Were they in the new soil we put down for the leeks?  No idea...I'm just glad they're back - and I'll save some seeds!

Friday, July 9, 2010

The heat is on!

Too hot to do anything requiring energy.  So, we met up with a friend and went for a little explore.  We've been to Fort Langley many times but we've never walked along the Fraser River.

These kids were having kayaking lessons across from where we ate lunch.

And these boys were jumping from a bridge into the river then scrambling up that path to do it all over again.  Ah, youth!

We visited Derby Reach Park with shady walks along the river with the promise of blackberries in a few weeks.

Work never stops along the river...

A film crew creating a faux cemetery for the 'Supernatural' TV series....

A Douglas squirrel works, too.  The white stuff on the ground is actually fluff from the cottonwood trees.  It was thick like snow but not as cool.

Two friends, deep in conversation, walk by a barn from the original farm on this property.

On the way home, we took the new bridge that has replaced the old ferry that carried cars and people across the river many times each day.  Zip! And we were over.  No waiting in a lineup, no traffic jam to get on the other over-crowded bridge.  Just pay your toll and you're good to go home.

*bridge photo from CBC files

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Can't seem to get enough of those points, balls and I-cord. 

Back when I made these apres-sledding socks for the Project Yarnway challenge on Ravelry, I thought there might be some mitts to go with.  But when I started knitting up the yarn, I realized that it was slightly more purple than the socks. 

I didn't quit, though.  In fact, I was on a roll and I made a hat, too.  I kind of like it - the fit is quite close like a beanie.   With the points, it reminds me of Jughead's hat.  So that's what it's called.  The mitts have a loop to keep them in place - and were way too hot to wear for the photo shoot this morning!

The next Yarnway challenge is for a Christmas design.  I'm having a hard time getting very excited about this one.  But, the month is still young...who knows what can happen? 

BTW, if you're a Raveler, please put in a vote for your favorite design.   Just go to the Project Yarnway forum and click on the Amateur Runway.  There's some interesting stuff there.  You have til the 15th to vote for the June challenge. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ruby Tuesday

I'm not sure what this is but it was painted such a nice red.

We actually found several dotted around the historic shipyard site.  This one is in a flower garden.  Could they be emergency water sources for fire-fighting? 

It's Ruby Tuesday and there are lots of people showing off their reds.  It's not all mystery, though, and Mary t leads the way right here.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Mellow Yellow Monday

I know I'm pushing the 'yellow' boundary a bit here...

but I really wanted to share this gorgeous photo from the veggie garden.   Who knew that pea flowers had such beautiful veining?

For all the varied yellows in the world, click here and pay Drowsy Monkey a visit. 


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