Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Beware the Crows

Duncan, 16; Alice, 4; Michael, 5; David 11
In this picture I was trying to capture the number of cousins and the ranges of their ages -- at least the ones that are left on the property at my house.  I thought I was getting 5 cousins, but Betty is in the viewfinder one second and then she is gone.

At any rate, from Duncan to Betty there is a range of 14 years and to get a picture of 4 out 5 is the best I am going to do.

Michael is wearing beads, and on this day they are on the outside of his shirt.  Usually they are inside and I am trying to get him to bring them to the outside as ornamentation.  He just can't do it.  He made this jewellery in Forest School.  His teacher told him that crows swoop down and take shiny beads.  He values the work he did in Forest School.  And so under his shirt it goes as protection from the crows.

Yes, even inside the house, beware the crows who will swoop down and take shiny objects.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Secret Stream

Everytime a little soul is out having an adventure with their parents and walks by my house I try to tempt them into The Secret Stream (formerly known as the Love Stream and before that, Campbell Spring). I show them the secret path to the stream, then the stream and I usually end with “this is a good place to come and play Goldilocks and the Three Bears”.

Photo: Judy Weidlich
... and into the woods the Woods go ...
The last troop that entered the arches of the cedar trees were Moiya’s little grandchildren – this time a walk of only girls: Celeste, Sidney, Nora and Evangeline. I like to have the chidren walk along the stream and come out where the water goes under the road. But this group were out to explore.

 Celeste started the adventure, hopping from one side of the stream to the other. Sidney joined her, and soon Evangeline was on the other side, climbing the steepest bank on the far side of the stream, hanging onto Celeste's forearm who was in front of her, with Celeste ripping Evangeline’s weight off of her and telling her to climb on her own.

That wouldn’t have worked for Evangeline for she couldn’t get her footing, so I let get of Nora’s hand and reached for Evangeline. I felt my foot go into the stream.  What the heck, none of their shoes were dry by this point.

Celeste had gone ahead and I could see her off through the trees where the sunlight was streaming through the branches of the trees. She was calling to the rest, “Come over here. It is beautiful.”

Photo: Judy aka Nanna
Maxwell, Moiya's "smart" baby

... the little boy left on the outside
of the adventure ....
Celeste had found a secondary stream, a tributary, one I had never noticed before. The girls were out of my control, each taking their own path through the woods. No single file for them.

Spread out and see the world.

The large wagon that had been left on the road broke loose and I could hear an alerting call  from their mother or their nanna and the rumble of wagon wheels as it took the curve and proceeded down the hill that it had just been pulled up.

At least there was no baby in the wagon.

Another lovely day in the woods and with the Woods.


A Day of Gaming

Michael checking with the gamers,
wondering if anyone wants to come downstairs
and play on the Wii.
No takers.
We have done a lot of gaming today: two games of Lords of Waterdeep and one game of Sheriff of Nottingham. The latter was the game that produced the most talk -- buying, selling, sneaking contraband goods passed the sheriff, bribery, that game has it all. We have one job for tomorrow. That is to teach David Camps to lie. He just can't tell a half truth, even. At least not in the game.

Lords of Waterdeep is a Dungeons and Dragons game, a game of wit and strategy. There isn't much talk going on, just the buying and selling of goods. Duncan is so good that he lapped me in points. I didn't really like that. This is my fourth time playing the game. My greatest compliment was when trying to cheat, Duncan told me that I am just like his mother.

Michael got a whole day of Smash Brothers on the Wii.  He has been thing for total immersion and he got it today.  What a grand holiday!


Gratitude List

Hard to keep a gratitude list going. Hard to keep a blog going Not that there isn’t a lot to be grateful for. And not that there isn’t a lot to see and write about, especially if everytime you see something you can feel your hand looking for a scrap of paper and any pencil that doesn’t have its lead broken.

Even having no water pressure is blog worthy. I couldn’t get the pressure on the hose that is connected to the sprinkler at noon. And by night I had no water pressure for a pan full of dishes. When I called to Dave, he said they had plenty of pressure, but he came right over to show me that my problem is changing the water filters. I have no idea how to do that, nor any idea how to do a number of things: patch the fiberglass on my deck, get the moss off of my roof, oh yes, even how to find a contractor and jusr get a new roof. Eventually of this will come, but the water pressure suddenly came to the top of any list. Dave brought Duncan and me to the furnace room. “I didn’t even know this place existed,” said Duncan. That was a head shaker to me, since he has lived here most of the summers of his life. Dave showed Duncan how to check the water pressure, how to give the toilet a flush to make sure that was the problem, how to turn off the water, how to put a bucket under the faucet when pulling off the blue casing, so that water doesn’t get all over the floor. Duncan and I learned it all. Duncan even changed the second filter and turned the water back on and finished with articulating all of the steps in case he is alone and has to do it some day.

Thank you, Dave.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Watching Out for Our Neighbours

Lurene's Car
Art work:  Anonymous
Title: Who is eating whom?
I like the morning walk, especially the part of it where we pass by the Woods, the Bates and the Pillings.

Something interesting is going on in every yard long before 8 am.  Right now the Woods have lot of children 10 and under out on their decks, rolling on their tricycles and roller cars.  With the noise that the wheels of the vehicles make, there is no doubt that everyone is already up at their house.

A couple of days Lurene was filling her car with garbage to go to the dump.  "Which dump?", I asked.

"Salmon Arm," she replied.

I just don't get it why everyone doesn't go to the dump at Two Mile.  That is the dump with the best view in the world.  Try it and you will agree.

And this is the season for the kilns to be going full tilt before the Roots and Blues Festival begins on the weekend.  After that, summer pottery making takes a big slump!


Bumper Stickers

Lurene's bumper sticker
Last month Richard told me that Lurene's vehicle had driven by him and it had a bumper sticker that stumped him.

He said it took a while before he got it.

Here it is.

Pretty funny!


Tiger Tiger

 ...Alice getting to the very last drop of Tiger Tiger ice cream ...
We have run the gamut of ice cream choices this year.  Ice cream has been served in plain cones, in sugar cones and in waffle cones.  We have had ice cream in sundae dishes and in banana split dishes.

Yesterday I saw a ball of it picked up on a fork and delivered to Betty's mouth.

"That girl is going to have one womping headache if I don't take some of that out of her mouth," I said to whomever was sitting beside me.  And then I dove for her mouth to see if I could get some of that ice cream out before the great ice cream headache started for her.

The one way we haven't eaten ice cream is out of a cereal bowl.

Have we lost our very best of the good traditions!


Wind, Waves and Water

 ... blackberries sitting in a salmon berry cup ...
I was late doing my 10,000 steps today. I was so late that I had 9,500 to go and it was already 5 pm, so I started the steps on the shady side of where Pillings Road connects to Bernie road. Near the end of my journey I could feel the wind in the trees and I wondered if the waves would be on the water. So Joan, Betty, Alice and I walked down to the beach, Betty pulling a small wagon and Alice skipping ahead until we had to stop for a train. We stopped to look at the wood that had been bucked up and is ready to go back up beside some house for winter. A couple of days ago I was walking down the same road and heard a chain saw ahead. I know enough to turn around and walk somewhere else if I heard the buzz of a saw.

The wind had already brought a tree down, a large one, and it fell across the road, just missing the trailer where the Wood Families store their life jackets. A blessed save. Alice and Betty ducked under the tree and I found a way around it, bypassing the Wood trailer and ducking under the still immature cherry tree. I sat at the water’s edge and watched Alice, now in a life jacket.

She was learning how to let the waves bob her back into shore. In a storm and at the water’s edge they grind a person right into the cement and make it impossible to stand up, one wave over-taking another. Baby Betty, barely two years old joined the fabulous fun but when the waves broke at her knees, she turned and ran back up the ramp. I loved the feel of the warm wind and of the waves breaking at the shoreline. I loved watching the two little girls learn about the power of the waves and the wind.

Alice also enjoying blackberries
eaten from a salmon berry cup.
The wind was still high as we walked up towards the houses. I could see the wings of fireweed seeds in the air as I looked up the channel of space between the trees that is the road. I took some fireweed stalks and gave them to the girls so they could fling them through the air and multiply the parachutes that were rising to the sky and then tumbling with the wind along the expanse of the road.

I stopped to pick some handfuls of blackberries.

Two times. Both going down to the lake and coming back up.

I only have to touch the vine and the berries fall into my hands – so sweet.  I wondered if I will pick enough to make jam.

By the time I got to the stairs my fitbit was buzzing on my arm: 10,000 steps.

The finish to a lovely hour of wind, waves and water.


Shuswap S'more Competition 2017

We had our first (and hopefully annual) s'more roasting competition this year at the lake.

Wyona managed the s'more making station.

Many s'more artists were hard at work.

We were judged on appearance and taste.

Some received extra marks for charm and enthusiasm.

As one s'more was being marked on appearance, it fell to the ground.

I entered my flaming hot cheetos s'more as a joke. Unfortunately, the judges liked it!

The judges ate and licked and filled their tummies to the breaking point.

They gave some wonderful awards to many hardworking s'more makers.

Ultimately, Gabe prevailed and won the silver s'more stick (I hear he brought the judges ice water... bribery works sometimes).

We have a whole year to try out new candies and perfect our s'more recipes. Fun was had by all!


Our New Digs

We arrived in London today at noon. We took the tube to our new digs few blocks away from Ladbroke Grove, and in walking distance to Portebello.

We unpacked and walked over to Portobella.

 The weather is beautiful. The apartment we are staying in is old, like London.

More when I can stay awake.


Duncan’s Bionicals

Well loved but no longer used toys circulate in our family. The lake houses many toy collections. One or two box loads of toys is dolls, since I didn’t think these little girls had enough to play with. So I have been to the thrift store buying Barbies, baby dolls and doll clothes. I just take the dolls by the handfuls and then sort out which clothing fits what dolls when I get home. This is much easier than sewing doll clothes.

Tarix, the Bionical
On the bionicals side, we have all of Duncan’s old toys.

I sit down at the table and can sort by colour, getting some of the pieces into the general vicinity so that Michael can make some good choices and get these bigger models of Lego into some sort of order.

I am a good player at the table. I do what Michael says and we have wonderful wars with the guns, ships and aliens. I am defeated many times, which works for him.

Playing with the dolls is a different thing. The dolls can sing nursery rhymes, do modern dances, go to dance lessons, go shopping for the vegetables and sometimes there is a clothing exchange, which really means Alice takes the clothes off of the dolls and I try to put them back on. A thankless task and one that is not well received by her. Still, I try.

Concerning the dolls going shopping for food, on the doll list has been watermelon for quite a long time. I must tell Alice’s mother so that our fantasies can be realized.



Like everyone else around here, my sleep pattern is off. But unlike everyone else, that doesn’t matter to me. Sleep now, or sleep later, it is all good. So at midnight when Duncan suggested a family game, I was able to stay awake, since I was just getting up from a nap.

 ...a quick 30 minutes game...
After seeing how many wonderful games there can be when Doral was here, Duncan went home and bought Splendor. I have played it before, but none of the rules stuck with me. I just recognized that there were some jewels on the table and that there was a way I could collect them. In fact, I could even own mines that extracted rubies.

The good thing about loosing in a game like this is the fact that I couldn’t have been loosing, since I was playing a different game than Rebecca and Duncan who were out collecting points.

I was just so thrilled to own diamond, onyx, emerald and ruby mines that at the end of the game.

If there is another midnight round of Splendor, I am in.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

My favourite parts of the day

Marcia, Lissette, Rebecca, Arta, Tonia,
An amazing picture since Rebecca's selfie function is broken.
She has learned to take a selfie as though it is a regular picture.
Sorry to say this is the best take we could get in five shots.
Rebecca likes to ask what is the highlight of my very ordinary day.  Here the highlight is -- more than one, though.

1. The early morning walk was 5 women:  Marcia, Lisette, Tonia, Rebecca and me.  We did the full 10,000 steps in no time, for we were talking so much.  One of the interesting parts of the morning was Lisette's introduction.  We tried to do it the Secewepmec way, that is they don't tell where they are from, but who they are from.  So we know Lisette has a New Zealand father and a Belgian mother, and is one of four children.  I had to rethink how I am going to introduce myself when it is my turn to do introductions.

2. Our indigenous story of the day was Wolf and Little Leader.  It would go without saying that the highlight of the story is when we all get to howl like wolves.

3. I spent the afternoon on the beach, some of the time with Michelle Wood, some of the time holding Tanner Wood (Des's baby) on my lap, some of the time eating Moiya's home made pizza sticks, some of the time watching people tubbing.  Perhaps the most interesting grouping of people was 7 children right in front of me,  5 and under, playing in the same sandpile. They were squatting together, only inches apart.  "Is this normal," I asked Michelle.  She said no, this is the first time they have all needed to play in the same place at the same time.  Dave Wood said he is going to bring in another load of sand next year.  I counted 31 people in all on the beach.

4. The evening before we had gone to the beach and we were alone.   We had begun to change the course of the Little Canadian stream.  Tonight there were at least 21 people on what had been a deserted beach yesterday night.  Art came down with Gabe and Lisette's daughter for an evening fishing trip.  They came back with a rainbow trout and a kokanee.  A group were out riding in the tube, and then water skiing.  Duncan took the water board and paddled down to what he calls "the broccoli tree".    Alice spent some time walking along the top of a log.  Kalina sat under the transparent apple tree, picking apples and shinning them on her dress.

I was just a spectator to everything (except the wolf howl), and the whole day looked good to me.


The Little Canadian Stream

I have had fun again, evening fun, when the meal as done and there was time in the day left to go down to the Little Canadian Stream.

I don’t know how many times the bed of that stream as been changed; probably as many times as a child with a shovel has stopped by and had a dream about it.

We took down a hoe tonight and some sand toys.

Everyone found a different space to work in.

Alice found the circle of sand and Betty and she made sand castles. 

Miranda worked to bring a tributary of the stream, back on course, up high by the snake grass and the flowering dogwood bushes.

I moved stones into a straight line – not a particularly beautiful architectural feature, but that seems to be what my body wanted to do: either throw small stones out of the circle of sand, or move big stones to make a bank for a stream.

There is no dream for that stream that the next person walking along the beach hasn’t changed.

When we left there were some tributaries near the snake grass and flowering dogwood that now joined the stream.

And is a small pool for the minnows, which we shall catch tomorrow.


Walking Bernie Road

Marcia and I have a new starting time for walking in the morning: 8 am, a somewhat more genteel hour though our pace hasn’t changed. I have to get my heart beat up into an aerobic range. Marcia could probably go faster, but she slows down for me.

This morning I wanted to stop where Bernie Road meets the trans-Canada Highway and have a selfie.

That is because I wanted to show how smoke-filled the area over the water looks.

There is no sign of the hills that are usually seen there.

The gap there is white-filled – just smoke. No beautiful view. All summer this has been the scene. 


Such a surprise to see no view there.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Cleaning is Cleansing

There are some spaces that need yearly attention.

One of them is the space under the huge fir trees, the space that has traditionally held hammocks.

The two hammocks the grace that spot now come from Mountain Equipment Coop, single size, ultralight, top quality and ideal for backpacking.

Bonnie bought four of them.

There were used at the LaRue 50th Birthday party between the cherry trees.

Now they are being slung between taller trees and in darker spaces.

Richard says he is now on the outlook for the other style.

The kind that has two poles and the hammock is spread between the two poles.

That is the kind of hammock that is meant for two people.  These can hold three in a pinch, but for sleeping, one person is better.

If one hammock is good, four are better.

Just two more to put up and there is space for all under those spiring trees.

Sometimes cleaning under trees is cleansing.

"Hey, I'll get the branch that dropped off"
We have had spots at home that require multiple brooms, garbage cans, detol, bleach, hot water, mops, brooms and rakes.

But this day we were pulling out deadfall, loose branches, and twigs from the occasional wind storm that brings down limbs.

... the more hands, the less work ...
Bonnie and Richard used the old method of putting trash on a canvas and then pulling it down the hill.

This was not Richard’s preferred method, but Bonnie had it going up the gentle slope and down the hill while he was protesting.

Again, evidence that sometimes just doing it is the right thing.

... Alice and Betty find the best stick ever ...


 ... mimetic desire at work ...
Sticks are made for hitting, grabbing, poking, giving, withdrawing, and holding.

Sticks are made for drawing lines in dust, for poking into cracks, for gathering and for sharing.

Sticks can carry bugs, can poke at slugs and can be used to investigate the insides of dead animals.

Sticks are made for girls to play with.

And for boys.


The Ultimate S’More Cook-Off

The Ultimate S'More Trophy

Tonight was the Ultimate S’More Cook-Off Party.

Families have been gathering at the Bates night after night, practicing for this moment.

The prize was a gold-wrapped marshmallow stick springing from a silver vessel, a trophy to be desired and sitting on a table for all to see.

Supplies have been purchased at No-Frills and at the Bulk Barn, each time with even more thought and acumen, knowing that this night was about to happen.

There were two sets of judges, a younger set and an older set.

The Challenge Begins
The latter had pens and paper in hand, as did the younger set, who were to give marks out of 10.

That was only possible for the first contestants, but soon the younger set of judges were giving 20’s and 100’s and soon thousands for the presentation of the s’mores that were passing their way.

... 3 intense marshmallow roasters ...
The older judges were Art Treleaven, Glen Pilling and Laynie Hicks.

Their job was to taste each S’More, judging quality of ingredients, quantity of ingredients and quirkiness.

The night wore on as individuals from all age categories were toasting their marshmallows to perfection and then building the s’more of their dreams.

...judging and eating a s'more at the same time ...
When the party was all-in, the judges went to confer in the house, looking at pictures that had been taken and tallying marks.

The winners were Michael Johnson, Teresa Oldham, Annalisse Bates, Alice Johnson, Zoe Bates, Tonia Bates, Marcia Bates, Ezra Bates, Ivan Bates, Senya Bates, David Camps-Johnson and his friend, Connor.

The categories included the sweetest s’more, the fluffiest, the tallest s’more and the best presentation of a s’more.

There was also a category for the s’more illustrating nepotism (Zach who built his out of a dad’s cookie).
... the ingredient table ...
This was a serious contest with marks being carefully calculated.

Tonia won for a category which I can’t remember but I do know she had her prize withdrawn for being a teacher, which, with slumped shoulders, she sadly acknowledged as true.

The ultimate prize went to Gabe for delivering the most influence to the judges. I asked what that was all about.

Someone answered that he kept bringing them drinks of water.

Little Alice was afraid to enter.

I went to the ingredients table and brought her a wide selection so that she could at least taste what might have gone onto a s’more, if she had had the courage to make one.

Maybe next year.

And thus endeth another of the best parties ever.

... starting to build a s'more ...
I heard Graham say, “no other family has parties like these”.

I don’t know if he was referring to the decadence of the ingredients, to the spontaneity of the laughter at many moments, to the inter-generational character of the attendees, to the hours of repartee over the selected ingredients, or to the intensity of the participation.

As the party closed I heard Jeremy say, “I can’t believe no one built a s’more out of ice-cream”.

Now there is an idea for next year.

... Michael getting first feedback from Glen about his s'more ...
... judge taking careful data ...
Judge #2, Art Treleaven inspecting s'more
Oh yes, the judges were in agreement.

 Next year they are stepping down and letting a different set of judges taste that many s’mores.

Enough is enough.

Laynie takes a bite and prepares to give careful feedback to Michael.

In the background, Graham wonders how the judges will hold up
to the amount of sugar they are eating.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Jarvis Vacation - The Last Supper

The Last Supper - at least in Iceland.

Here are the last photos in our vacation series. We have been home for 5 days, and there hasn't been a spare moment to sit down and write this last post. Sigh. When is the next vacation? I love vacation for the simple reason that I can sit and write, and take photos all day long if I want to.

The last supper in Iceland was of course FISH AND CHIPS. 


The restaurant is called Icelandic Fish and Chips and is right on the Reykyavik Harbour.

It only cost $150 dollars for 6 people and that is why it was the last supper - no one had any money left for food.

So the lesson learned here is that when you see an airline advertising a free stop over in Iceland, just remember that nothing is ever really free.

Hebe, Catherine and Catie
Eric, Tom and Rebecca
Before we ate our last supper we went to the Settlement Museum.

Hebe making a Viking stew
This might be the best museum I have ever been to, and I've been to a lot of museums so that is saying something.

This is a small museum built around an archeological site.

It takes only 1-2 hours to see the whole museum, so it is the perfect amount of time before one gets museum fatigue.

Additionally, they get kids.

They have so many interesting things for people of all ages.

Here were the highlights: A kids corner that occupied Hebe for more than one hour. Almost miraculous. Above, she is making a Viking stew.

 Getting ready to go to war.  Not sure I would want to fight this Viking.

 Hebe playing Fox and Lambs.   
I think I will try to recreate this old VIking Game at home.  The rules are below.  So much fun, and all you need are 14 rocks and a piece of cloth with the grid.  Thirteen rocks should be white and one should be black.  Hebe loved it.
Rules for Fox and Lambs
For the adults there was the archaeologic uncovering of a Viking Long House from AD 831 +/- 2 years. They know this from the layer of ash that covered the home following a volcanic eruption around 831 AD.

Eric sat at the museum computer reading up on Iceland and it's Viking history. He almost missed the museum because he was so interested in what he was discovering online.

Learning about the Viking Ruins. Wish I had known about this days earlier when I was trying to pronounce the various places we were visiting.

Where will our next adventure take us? Well for now back to Montreal to plan our next vacation.