Sunday, August 27, 2017

Park Hill Trails, North Loop, Canoe, B.C.

From Arta:  I look like I am leaning against a tree, but no, this is a 
trick selfie.  The truth is, that tree is three feet downhill and I am so 
tired on that bench that I can just barely turn around for the shot.  
Luckily Bonnie pulled out a sandwich: deli meat, cheese
and a tomato on French bread.  
Enough sustenance to get me back to the car.
From Bonnie:

After walking in the forest across from my house and then circling the  McGuire Lake Trail three times, Arta and I still didn't have our 10,000 steps in for the day.

Off we went to Park Hill Trails over by Canoe, B.C.

I had been on the Northern Loop once before with my friend Anita, so feeling confident I led the way.

Even if you've been on a trail before, that doesn't mean it's going to seem as familiar as you hope it will feel.

On this time up the trail there were two sets of trees laying across the path. We had to go under or climb over them. We both went over the first set of trees.

... under or over? ...
The second tree look like a tuning fork, I went through the middle and Arta went under. As she was under a branch and I was over the same branch  going over, at that time I thought, "I really hope I don't put too much pressure on this branch. If this hard-working person dies in a tree accident let it be mother nature and not me who takes her out.

Thanks to Arta, we got to rest on a wooden bench she spotted off the trail. We had a beautiful view of the Anglemont community on the shore opposite us. The Shuswap waters didn't have the glassy look of the early morning.  Quiet ripples on the lake were from boats long gone by.

We stopped long enough to see a couple of birds swooping down close to the water looking for an afternoon snack, and a canoe and a paddle boat board passed through our view.

The beach on this side of the lake is just visible and it looks so inviting, but if I'm going to take a dip it's going to be in  Annis Bay.


10,000 +

I received my favourite bear bell from
my brother's treasure chest of outdoor equipment.
I have a lifetime of middle of the road exercise.  I have a spurt, keep it going, then a few days of rest which turns into too many days of rest.  I begin my spurt again.

Now I have a Total Cardiology nurse calling me which broad questions like "how are you doing".  I say just great but yesterday I looked at my Fitbit and it said 9, 454 steps.  Not good.  I started walking around my kitchen island for it was 11:30 pm and I wasn't in for walking up and down the driveway.

Bear jumpy, even if the bears are asleep and I am ringing my bear bells and shouting,"Go bear, go."

Five hundred steps around a kitchen island.



Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Where Two Seas Meet

From Wyona

Today we spent the day in Denmark, going to the tip of Denmark where the Baltic Sea meets the Northern Sea. The tip of Denmark is becoming larger as time passes. Our bus went to a parking lot where we picked up the 'Sandormen', a trolley car which is pulled by a tractor. The ride is very bouncy and very noisy. The Sandormen takes people out to the tip of the sandbar where one can walk of the tip of the sandbar out to the point where the two seas meet. It was a fascinating experience. 

There were two baby seals laying on the sandbar doing a few tricks for the tourists. The seals were absolute hits. 

As I was walking I had to examine the weeds and any shells, very few of them and one small rock. I did manage to find a razor mollusc shell and one black rock with a grey centre in it. I like to put rocks in my world rock collection at Shuswap.

There is no swimming allowed on the sandbar because it is too dangerous. A hundred years ago there were many shipping accidents at this place. This is the first light house that was built to warn ships of the dangers in these waters.

We then toured around Skagen to view the typical yellow houses found there. 

Greg came upon a Schmidt residence. 

Tomorrow Norway.


Boys and Blackberries

Bonnie, David and Owen left the house to pick blackberries. I was to find out how to wash blackberries. I didn’t mind my task. I had no idea how Bonnie was going to get the boys to pick blackberries, given the ones they were going for are the ones on my hill, planted years ago from 3 pieces Glen brought over from the original patch by the original house. These are the thorniest blackberries in the world.

Even bears don’t want to go into the patch.

Bonnie, Owen and David came back with about 4 cups of blackberries. David and Owen may have picked 5 each. I couldn’t see any visible wounds on Bonnie.

Apparently blackberries are not to be sprayed but dipped. Put them in a colander and submerge them gently into a larger bowl of water. To get the bugs out of the berries dissolve 2 tablespoon to ¼ cup of salt in the water. Who knew? We dried the berries on some paper toweling and divided up the very last of the ice cream left from the summer. Just enough to make 2/3 of a bowl of ice cream each and then we topped the bowl up with those blackberries. No sugar. There was enough sweetness in the ice cream and in the berries for me to have called my bowl ambrosia.

We added extra berries as the contents of the dishes went down.

What is there to say except that it was a perfect moment together.

Fire in the Sky (a summer of smoke)

It was a smoky summer indeed.   Here are some photos!


Monday, August 21, 2017

The Welder's Mask and the Eclipse

"And I thought I would be on the road to Victoria and
miss the eclipse.  Just one more wonder to my day."
Tonia came over to alert us that the welder's mask was being used over at the Pilling's to see the eclipse.

We gathered up our things to run over there, but before we could get up the driveway David Pilling had brought the welder's mask over to our house.

What a grand way to see the eclipse: Duncan, Tonia, Rebecca and I, all being amazed at the sudden chill that came over the earth and then the warming again.

There will be more spectacular renditions of what happened in other parts of the world.

On our driveway, we all stood amazed.
Our view of the eclipse as captured in a phone
held up to the welder's mask.
We just couldn't help ourselves.
Then we chatted about the wonders of science, about this phenomenon when it would have been explained to us in our junior high science classes, and we talked about the general beauty of the spot where we live, of the spectacular sunsets, of the light shimmering across the water.

Rebecca gave us a further explanation about phonemes found in other a native language and how the words spirit, day and eye are all connected.

This other way of viewing the world was in response to David wanting the world to fast forward just one year, but then taking it back and saying that he must believe in others who say it is the process that is going to matter.

Rebecca, of course, wants the world to rewind in the same way.


Sunday, August 20, 2017

Boyce Kendall Johnson - passed August 18, 2017

Kelvin, Boyce and his cousin, Catherine
Boyce passed away this week.

I don't know exactly how old he was.

I think he was born in the late 1950's.

He was part of a large extended family.

I think he had 42 first cousins just on the Johnson side.

I got to know him when I married into the family and I think he was about three when I went to watch him while his mom and dad went to Banff for a summer symposium.

He was little, still in a high chair.  He needed to be hand fed still.  I got to know him well.  At least the baby Boyce.

Over the years I would tell him that I was his favourite aunt.  I told him that enough times that he began to believe it.

At least he told me so.

Over the years I  used to send a mimeographed copy of my family letter monthly, maybe even oftener to my own siblings.  I would always send a copy to Boyce, for he seemed to either read it, or know that I was trying to send him my own family news.  I tried to include a note somehow, telling him he was my favourite nephew.

My most vivid memory of an interaction with him was when he was older, but still living at home.  Kelvin and I went to visit Grant and Elmoyne but they weren't home.  Only Boyce was there.  I hadn't come bearing gifts, but I wanted to leave one, so I told him that I was going to give him a whole bag of oranges that I had just purchased for the trip.  He said his mom wouldn't let him have a whole bag.  I told him, then lets hide them in a drawer in your room and you can eat them when you want to.  He said that wouldn't work for Elmoyne would find the orange peelings in the garbage in his room.  I told him then he should take the peelings right out to the garbage in the alley and throw them there after he had eaten each one.  He was okay with that and so was I.  Kelvin and I continued on our trip home.

Months later I was with Grant and Elmoyne again.  I told her the story of how hard it was to give Boyce a bag of oranges.  I told her every detail, right down to the deal of getting those peelings out to the garbage in the alley.

She smiled and said, I wondered why one of my neighbours was putting their orange peelings in my garbage can.

What I take from this story is that I wasn't smart enough to show him how to put his contraband orange peelings in the neighbour's garbage.

The funeral will be held in Lethbridge Sept 1 at 11 am at the Stake Centre (the one that is on Scenic Drive, close to the Enmax Centre).

There will be no viewing.

The interment will be at the Cardston Cemetary at 4 pm.

Please stay for lunch with the family when the funeral is finished.  There will be lots of food.  If it is at all possible for you, please stay for a couple of hours and visit with family and friends.


The Case of the Soft Brown Sugar

First of all, no one has 5 two pound packages of brown sugar in their house but me.  I didn't buy them all.  People who have shopped this summer all come home with another package saying to me, "This is so you don't run out of brown sugar for cinnamon buns."  I will never run out, and that is when I shop on my own.  But when every family buys another, I get a back up, and so store some of them in the 2 1/2 gallon ice cream tin and put an apple in their to keep the sugar soft.


I haven't made any cinnamon buns since Ceilidh left.  I did go to grab 2 1/2 cups of brown sugar to make brownies last night and out came flying the best collection of fruit flies I have had since I did a science experiment with them in my first year college biology class.  Had chloroform been present I could have seen which had blue eyes and which had black, and had enough specimens present.

At any rate, I spent some of last night getting rid of them and that apple which now had the texture of an over baked apple, soft and wet.

The brownies were good though.

However I made them for Duncan and now wish I hadn't for we played a game of Spendor and a game of Waters or the Deep, in both of which he whipped me.  He has no mercy for the aging.  And no gratitude for warm brownies presented alongside Island Farms Vanilla Ice Cream.


Saturday, August 19, 2017

Splatsin Centre Event

Photo: courtesy of
There have been two events of the month that were high on our calendaring. One was attending a show at the Splatsin Centre in Enderby, B.C. which is only a short hour’s drive from us. We wanted good seats so we left in lots of time, arriving there before the performers, the rest of the audience and the ticket taker. We had to search him out later to pay our fee.

Two things were on my mind: seeing their beautiful new round-house where the events was to be held; learning more about this band of the Secwepemc First Nation. I was not to be disappointed in either.

The size of the roundhouse is breathtaking, as are the pillars that hold up the roof, and the architecturally grand hole in the top that leads to the sky. Room around the outside of the circle would hold the break-out sessions for any conference.

The Splatsin (pronounced splat-chine) Facebook page promised dancing, story telling, a history lesson, bannock and tea – all for $10 or pay what you can. The dancing was the culmination of work done during the school year by people 14 and under – the boys doing the grass dance, the girls doing both traditional and fancing dancing. I was studying the regalia, looking for what distinguishing marks they would have. I have been to lots of pow wows, probably more than any settler in the room, and have had lots of chances to look at both beadwork and design. In this case, one woman has spent the last ten years designing and executing most of what was worn. What was common to all of the dancers were beautiful moccasins. I studied their feet for there was a 45 minute wait for us for the programme to begin. During that wait one of the young dancers grabbed a stuffy and got a game of Pig in the Middle going. So I watched those feet run back and forth for a long time. Quite a show. The part I liked best is that they let everyone join and made sure that the youngest got his turn to be in the middle and on the throwing sides of the game.

Rebecca, Bonnie, Arta, Duncan
Ann Cook was the story teller, along with her grandson Braden, whose help she often interrupted, telling him (to the pleasure of the young kids listening), “No, that is not the way the story goes”. The story was the The Liberation of the Chinook Wind and is now in the collection called Secwepemc: Lands and Resources Law Research Project (p.138). Old habits run deep. I could not help but read  the story, more than twice, in preparation for the event. I was glad for her telling of the story fleshed out questions I was left with after reading both the story and the case brief in the book.

It has been a few days now since we went to Enderby and I have had time to think about the highlights for me. One was the history part of the show. The students marched 7 placards around the room, each one of a different image of a place in their traditional territory: the Enderby Cliffs, Sicamous, Eagle River, Splatsin, the cemetery, sunflowers. That was the piece of the programme that Rebecca loved and she wanted to see the text written down so that we could remember all that was said. I do remember the Sicamous means the narrowing of a woman’s waist, and then came the explanation that the waters around Sicamous could be seen as representing a whole body. And the space around the Eagle River has a folk tale concerning a woman dipping her hair in the river and then running to the top of the hill before it dries.

Re the sunflowers, when we drove into the centre another building to the east had a garden of 10 foot high sunflowers, maybe higher. That was stunning.

I was taken with a six foot pole onto which were hanging strings and pieces of material that sparkled. When the story telling was performed, at one point Braden Cook went to the pole, brought it close to the audience and pointed to a small bag on the pole, one which represented the bag that held the Chinook wind. I noticed that other strings coming from the pole held sparkling representations of fish. Those didn’t get into the story about the Chinook wind.

Drinks? Bannock and drinks was the half time snack. I didn’t realize that what was being offered were traditional drinks. One was soapberry tea. I passed on that one for the second looked more interesting, a tea made out of 10 items collected from the land, one of them being devil’s club. Of course that is the one I chose.

The evening ended with a traditional friendship dance, everyone in a circle, holding hands and doing one of two steps that were demonstration. The second was for those whose knees or ankles are weak. I danced the first.

Just when I think I have told about the outstanding moments another one comes to mind. A former law student at UVic was there helping with the traditional dances. When the evening ended she chatted with Rebecca and said, “Too bad I didn’t know you were here. We had a Harpoon Making Class this afternoon with my uncle. Look at the burn marks on my hands. You could have come.” Yes. Too bad but hope for next time on that one.

Photo: courtesy of
The last event of the evening was themed in a traditional way, but far down the road we were travelling home. Two cars were on the left side of the road and two were on the right, but those were facing into us. People were milling around, someone was looking under one car and the people looked in shock. “Looks like an accident, but I don’t see the damage,” said Rebecca. She slowed down in another 30 metres and there was a dead deer on the road. “If we stop to get that off the road, we will be of no help. It will be more than we can pull,” she said, slowly driving on.

I spent the rest of the drove home trying to think of ways to make the carcass of the dead deer into moccassins, but all I could think of is that Richard told me that massive bruising spoils the meat.


Friday, August 18, 2017

Bear Spottings

Arta, Tonia, Arta ... taking a break on the walk
We have a sign that is posted when there is the spotting of a bear. I didn’t really see a bear. Just its aftermath, my black compost bin swatted from its usually space and now lying on its side, the compost somewhat smaller so there must have been quite a feast in it.

I was going to take a close look at the apple tree on Lot 4 but I could see the apples from the road this morning, so the bear must be saving those for another day. Tonia joined us on our 8 am walk. She is the one who spotted the small snake going across the road.

In another world I would have rushed down to grab it so that I could show it to someone, but Rebecca and Tonia would not have been impressed enough to make my effort worthwhile.

... some pendants fire and are broken ...
As usual our small talk shifted from last night’s Caravan Farm Theatre Performance of "The Ballad of Weedy Peetstraw", their 39th performance, and a chance to do some soul searching. Then talk on the walk moved to the number of pies Aunt Erva could make in a day, the hope for cooperative labour, who is having visitors for the Roots and Blue’s Festival (Carlie’s parents at the Pilling’s, Moana Rasmussen’s family at the Wood’s, Lurene is coming back out, Tonia is hosting people), and how the firing of the ceramics is going.

Not good news news on that front. Lots of the rocks on Rebecca’s pendants shattered under the heat.

Moiya and Dave are going down to Washington to see if they can catch part of the eclipse in a few days. Walks are a perfect chance to catch up on community chatter.

Re Super Smash Bros

Video games vie with board games for entertainment at our house. We used to have Rook and Bridge as the games of choice. Now the kids here don’t even know those games.

David owns Super Smash Bros. for WiiU. Michael has been studying its manual, even though his older cousins tell him that going to the book is not really the way to learn to play the game. Michael and Alice play in the morning until Duncan wakes up – really they are lying in wait for their older cousin to join in the fun.

I did have a major show down with Alice. She was taking apart the controllers in what seemed to me like a major tearing apart of the equipment. She headed off to find her mother and tell on me.

Why should I have tried to interfere? I don’t know the difference between a Wii Remote and a Nunchuk. At any rate, she went right to her mother to tell on me and I went right to find someone who could be a Help Desk to me. All I found out was that I was wrong, that equipment can be assembled and reassembled by a four year old, just not by me.

I can also sit on the couch and attempt to play. So many characters are bouncing around the screen that I think I am winning until the final scores come up at the end of the game.

The day has come that I fear – the day when I find out that this tiniest little family is leaving. They are my reward for having a baby when I was forty. Now I am closer to double that age than not, and I get to have the joy of having grandchildren, though I am old enough to be their great-grandmother. 

This morning when I found out that their departure time is tomorrow morning I started plying Michael with offers of happiness if he will stay for an extra week with me. I am the kind of grandmother who would let him play Super Smash Bros 24/7.

A certain fear enters his heart that I will be able to convince him to stay for a red colour tips his ears and he leaves his play and goes and stands close to his mother. He also tells me that I can’t fool him, that I am just like Wyona. I told Michael if he stays we will have ice cream sugar cones twice a day, hot dogs and lots of pop.

And to keep Duncan as well, I said that the menu will be beans and rice. That was enough for him. I have one taker who will stay with me longer.

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 thimble 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 thimble 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.