Showing posts from August, 2011

Tides of Change

After a day at my desk, I went out around mid-afternoon to pick up a few groceries. On the way home, while sitting at a red light, I glanced over and noticed the tide was coming in, but there was still plenty of beach left.

And so, I rushed home, threw the perishables in the fridge and went to the beach. 
Late afternoon sunlight slanted across the water. A few solitary walkers and sea gulls were the only other creatures there. 
I walked, then stood for awhile in the shallow water, feeling the waves lap against my ankles. The tide encroached upon the sand, little by little. And I thought about summer's end, how I don't want it to leave, yet I know it's inevitable. 

The beach has treasures year round. A perfect mussel shell. Rocks round and smooth. The vast ocean. 

And a reminder that change is coming. 

All the Way from France

Do you read Sharon's blog My French Country Home? She writes from her home in France - about her family, her horses, cooking, the brocante (flea market) and more. Her photos are gorgeous.
Not too long ago she held a giveaway - and I won this vintage French grain sack. It arrived recently, while we had guests. They, along with my husband, wondered why on earth I would want an old burlap sack.

For so many reasons - it's from France! (and they laugh) And the little fleur-de-lis symbol. And what I love most of all is imagining how its been used - over and over again. See the mending on the sack? There are several spots like that - a reminder of a time when people mended instead of throwing away. I like that. (although I dislike mending) 
And then the question - what will you do with it? I'm not sure yet. There are some ideas floating around in my head - you know that whatever I do, I'll blog about it.
Thank you, Sharon - I'm thrilled to have won!

What are the Chances?

Memory is an odd thing. Or at least, mine is. I might forget what I went to the store for unless I rehearse the list in my mind or write it down. 
But I took a British Country Living magazine out of the library recently and thought the front cover photo looked familiar. Well, maybe that was because I'd seen it in Marie-Claire Idées, in the September 2009 issue, seen above.

Here's the cover of Country Living, March 2010. C'est intéressant, n'est-ce pas?
I looked at the publication information, and Country Living is part of the massive Hearst conglomerate, but Marie-Claire is not. 
Anyone in the publishing business out there? How often does this happen? Do magazines often sell photos/articles to each other? Or the photographer? I know that in writing articles, a certain time period has to pass before one can resell an article to another publication - if you've retained the rights to do so.
Regardless, I like the plates on the wall.

Sunny Sunday

Summer has fully arrived, just in time to start saying farewell. A Sunday afternoon drive took us to Loon Lake, also known as Summit Lake, just off the Alberni Highway near Cathedral Grove. 
We ate our picnic lunch beside the lake, then hiked around the lake, enjoying water, mountains, ferns, and trees. 

We noticed a number of trees with scars on them. The First Nations people harvest bark for making baskets from these trees and know how to remove just the right amount so as not to damage the tree.

After hiking most of the way around the lake we realized that the trail was taking us away from where we needed to go. And there was a swampy creek to get around. A little bushwacking brought us to this tree, fallen right across the swamp/creek, about 10 feet above it. Tim sauntered across with little concern - I walked across very slowly, hanging on to spindly tree branches, which didn't provide me with much help, except in my mind.

The lake teemed with life. Red salamanders swam in the sh…

Delicious Summer

Thank you for all the suggestions on what to do with the bounty of crookneck squash. Tonight for dinner I combined it with red onions, green beans, chicken broth, then finished it with a little balsamic vinegar and basil. It was delicious.

I've made cherry clafoutis and peach clafoutis, but never blueberry clafoutis. That changed tonight. Blueberries are one of my favorite fruits. Combined with a light eggy batter and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar - delectable.
Squash and Green Bean Recipe
Blueberry Clafoutis Recipe

Today in the Garden

I harvested the first ripe Early Girl (I think) tomato. Enough green beans to freeze 2 small packages for soup. One cucumber. A few cherry tomatoes.

And a LOT of squash. I thought I planted yellow summer squash - like zucchini, but instead I have this crookneck squash that has a taste and texture that is a cross between summer squash and winter squash. I like it, but I'm running out of ways to cook it. Any ideas out there?

First Sleepover at Nana's

It would be easy to turn this into a baby blog, but then most of my readers would lose interest. But Adria's first sleepover requires at least a passing mention. While her parents enjoyed their anniversary in a local resort, Nana and Grandpa looked after baby. She was an utter delight. Happy, smiling, charming us with smiles and crawling antics. I'm looking forward to many more grandbaby sleepovers!

In addition to grandbaby, good friends came to spend the weekend. Don and Phyllis are the friends we've had for the longest length of time (as opposed to our oldest friends - which could be taken two ways.) On Saturday afternoon, grandbaby's parents took her for a couple of hours and we took our guests to Englishman River Falls for a short hike. 

Cool green water, warm sunshine, earthy forest smells - all delightful.
On Sunday afternoon grandbaby's parents plus our eldest daughter and her husband joined us for lunch. Our children think of Don and Phyllis and their family a…

Beautiful Day, Beautiful Couple

Five years ago, our family gathered to celebrate love and commitment.  It was a beautiful day and a beautiful wedding.
Our little family then. Families change over time, growing with love. Sometimes, it's hard not to look back and yearn over those days. But life moves on, bringing even more joy, and yes, difficulties, too. 
The groom in this photo had a little biking accident on the way home from work this week. He's now wearing, in place of a tux, an immobilizer, to help his newly RE-located DIS-located shoulder heal. 
Happy Anniversary, Katie and Travis!

This and That, Here and There

Happy Birthday to my wonderful Mom! While they were here earlier in the week, I baked a cake and we sang to her. Doesn't she look great? And my dad, too. Mom is 75 today, and young at heart.

After the cake, we drove out to Cameron Lake, just in time ...

... to see the sunset! It's coming earlier and earlier, and we know what THAT means. But we won't talk about it, not yet.

In other news, when Tim comes home from work on the days I bake bread, there's usually one crust missing, sometimes, ahem, two of them. How can that have happened? Is there anything better than warm bread with butter? It's one of life's little pleasures.
I'm getting ready for more house guests this weekend. Good friends from Ecuador days, eldest daughter and husband driving up to spend the day on Sunday, plus - Nana is looking after Adria this weekend while her parents have a little anniversary getaway. Fun times ahead!

In Veronica's Garden

"How wonderful yellow is. It stands for the sun."  Vincent Van Gogh
I'm not usually a fan of yellow flowers, but lately I've been drawn to their sunny nature. When we visited Milner Gardens on Sunday, the yellow flowers seemed to say, "Here I am - notice me." 

I read the book about Veronica and her life shortly after we moved here. Pondside recommended it to me. I find that knowing more about the places I visit gives me a greater context and more enjoyment.

There's an area cordoned off for a vegetable and berry patch and in it is the Children's Garden. School children come and plant flowers and vegetables. Throughout the Children's Garden are tiny rubber boots filled with flowers. Utterly charming.

This loose arrangement of flowers, some wild, some planted, sat on the weathered, 17th century refectory table in the dining room. Most, if not all, of the furniture in that room is 17th Century English. The house is open to visitors, and tea is served in …

Willing Hands

Front doors are like first impressions. For too long the front entrance to our home has perhaps said something different than what we'd like. This weekend we started to remedy that. Above is the color of the door BEFORE. It was dented and the reddish marks you see are fill.

And here is the AFTER - from blue to mellow gray. Now the door matches the eaves-trough. 

It's not often that you can invite guests to do yard work. But thanks to my parents, this section of the front yard (and more along the side) looks neat and tidy. Weeding, trimming, cutting and laying landscape fabric, adding bark mulch and sweeping it all clean - that's what my wonderful parents did this morning.

I'm not much of a fan of bark mulch. But in this area, it's the best solution. And it will keep the deer out of the rhododendrons - they don't eat rhodos, but they crash through the bushes looking for weeds they do eat. Oh those deer!
Max Eastman said, "A smile is the universal welcome."…

In a Garden

Milner Gardens is labeled "An ancient forest and garden oasis by the sea." It was a beautiful place for a Sunday afternoon stroll with my parents, visiting from the mainland.
The gardens are a combination of natural forest, some of it old growth, with trees estimated to be over 500 years old, and planted beds. Rhododendrons tower like trees, ferns cluster thickly in the undergrowth, and hydrangeas add delicate color.
Tim and I visited the gardens last December, but only the lighted section. This visit was much more extensive. It's a restful, calming place, full of peace and quiet beauty. 
Linking again to Mosaic Monday, hosted by Mary at the Little Red House.

Words to Inspire

"How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them. Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand."
Psalm 139: 17-18a

Little Golden Fruits

Two apricot trees grew beside the house I grew up in. They were not very big, but every summer they yielded bowls and bowls of little golden fruits which my mother made into jam, platz, and upside down cakes. 
This tart is another way to enjoy the flavor-packed globes of summer. I found it on the Epicurious website. It's not very sweet, in fact, some of the reviewers  found it too tart. I adjusted the recipe slightly from the original. My personal reviewer thought it was just perfect! But then, he usually does.
Apricot Tart
Pastry: 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled 1/2 cup sugar 1/4 tsp almond extract 1/4 tsp vanilla extract 1/2 tsp salt 2 Tablespoons finely ground almonds 1 1/2 cups flour
2 additional Tablespoons ground almonds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the melted butter and the sugar in a medium bowl. Add the extracts, salt, first amount of almonds and the flour. Stir to form a soft, cookie-like dough. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 inch fluted tart pan with a removable botto…

Sweet Summer Days

These August days are flying by. We made a very quick trip to the mainland last Friday and back again on Saturday. It was good to see my parents and other family members - just not nearly enough time for a proper visit with anyone.

Home to a house full of guests. Most welcome guests. A niece and her husband from Alberta, youngest daughter and her husband, son and granddaughter (grandbaby's mother stayed home, just in case her sister decided to have her baby). This little one is always in motion, and my camera setting wasn't correct, hence the blur.
Here Daddy thought that the toy basket might make a nice hat for Adria. I don't think her mother would approve of the style.

Elizabeth, from French Village Life, initiated a buttons and bows swap. My partner was Jane, from Marigold Jam and she sent me, from England, this lovely assortment of soft ribbons, laces, buttons and more. I'm looking forward to using them in some stitchery projects come fall.

The guests left in batches. …

An Evening Walk

These days are busy ones. Tim works long days and frequently brings work home in the evenings - reading that needs to be done, or catching up on emails. For me, it's study, study, study, with a little gardening and housework thrown in as I plod away on my last three courses. 

But without fail, around 8:30 or 9:00 pm, we turn off the computers and head for a walk. Lately, we've been going down to the marina, about 20 minutes away. We stand and look at the water, the mountains and anything else that happens to be in the landscape. The other day a cruise ship sailed by, en route to Alaska.

This young gull has literally bitten off more than he can chew. We watched him for the longest time as he attempted to swallow a starfish. He didn't make any headway at all, and finally, feeling sorry for the starfish, we flapped at the bird, hoping he would drop his prey. Alas, he flew off, starfish still firmly in his beak.

The marina is quiet in the evenings, masts reaching high, boats gent…

August Delights

Although it's already August it feels like summer is just beginning here. I'm loving the sunshine and warmer temperatures - still nothing like what much of North America is facing. 

So when I hear talk of "back to school" and "fall decorating" I think, "NO, not yet." I wail inwardly at the thought of summer ending before it's barely begun.

And so I'm refusing to jump on the fall bandwagon and am banishing all thoughts of that season (which I do love), until I have my fill of August's delights. Why rush the days? They pass all too quickly as it is. 

One of my delights is a daily stroll through the yard, admiring the cabbages, pulling a weed or two, looking for a lurking zucchini that has grown enormous in the night, and of course, ooohing and aaaahing over the flowers. Just now, it's the dahlias that are taking center stage. And the columbines. 
How are you delighting in this wonderful month of August?

And one administrative note: severa…