Showing posts from July, 2017

New Westminster's Waterfront

Last weekend, before the anniversary party, we spent a day in New Westminster, part of Greater Vancouver, BC. The town stretches along the Fraser River, and continues to be an important shipping port. The north side of the riverfront has been revitalized; a long walkway extends beside the water, with pretty housing, flower beds and baskets, and lots of bird life.

Above you can see a heron, the walkway, a CPR train (we had to cross the tracks to get from our hotel to the town), a tea shop in River Market, and a fence of lovers' locks. 

A very tall tin soldier stands guard over the children's play area. 
In 1859, New Westminster became the capital of British Columbia, a short-lived honour once the Island joined the province and the capital moved to Victoria. The city was named by Queen Victoria for her favourite part of London - Westminster. 

One of the gardens planted along the walkway, with the river in the background. 

I recently discovered a Canadian connection to Highclere Castl…

Summer Days

While walking these summer days, there are so many flowers to see. How colourful the world is just now. We had invasive morning glories on this property when we bought it 15 years ago, and I still find the odd vine sneaking up here and there, so I've been reluctant to plant any type of morning glory. The pretty colour of this blossom has me re-thinking that decision. 

Almost every meal these days must include kale. It's flourishing in my garden. I gave a huge bagful to a Dutch friend in hopes of thinning it out a little. Connie said that it's a Dutch custom to cook kale and combine it with mashed potatoes and eat it with a fat sausage.

I offered a big bunch of kale to one of our neighbours who was visiting with Tim. When I asked if they ate kale, he replied with an emphatic "NO." Do you eat kale? Cooked or raw? 

I've been making kale salads. One trick I learned is to massage the cut kale with olive oil and coarse salt to soften it a little. Then I add other ingr…

We Went to a Garden Party

My heart is full to overflowing with gratitude and joy. On Sunday afternoon our children threw a garden party. Oh, what a party it was. Beautifully decorated tables, delicious food, and the very best of guests.

The party took place in Vancouver and my siblings and parents from Chilliwack attended, as well as one sister-in-law from Alberta. We were all asked to dress in blue, for this was a "dinner in blue," a riff on the "diner en blanc." 

The three grandchildren were completely enchanted with Auntie Ashley's chickens to the point that they barely engaged with anyone else. Greatest child-minders ever! They picked bits of grasses and leaves to poke through the holes - a sample menu - said the 6-year-old. 

The celebration was in honour of our 40th wedding anniversary. I just can't quite believe that we've been married that long. It's been full of more ups than downs, more laughter than tears, and more joys than sorrows. 

There's something utterly eleg…

Rambling Here and There

On Saturday, the wind blew in from the Pacific; a steady stream that boded ill for the wildfire situation in the interior of the province. The fires continue and about 45,000 people have been evacuated from their homes. We here on the Island are a bit distant, but no less concerned. Thankfully, no lives have been lost.

Saturday evening Tim and I went downtown. It's fun to mingle with the tourists and walk along the waterfront. The world comes to Victoria in the summer, via cruise ships, bus tours, and independent travelers. We welcome them. Dinner, for us, was at a favourite Mexican restaurant on Fisherman's Wharf, a bustling community where commercial fishermen dock their boats, people live on float houses, and a number of great seafood restaurants ply their wares. Combine that with live entertainment and the dramatic skies seen above, plus fish tacos, for the makings of a fun and casual evening.

On Sunday evening friends came for dinner. A pitcher of mint-raspberry water was b…

Floral Bliss in a Large Garden

Since I didn't seem to be accomplishing too much at home this afternoon, I decided to take my camera to Butchart Gardens. En route, while waiting to turn left, I glanced at the car to my right and encountered a friend. A quick chat and Sandi met me at the gardens for a stroll. 

This is, of course, the time of year when many, many people from all over the world visit the gardens. I enjoy mingling with the crowds and hearing all the different languages. Everyone, it seems, loves flowers.

Bees, of course, thrive on flowers. The dahlias are just beginning to bloom and this particular bee is very happy about that.

A richly coloured Black-eyed Susan (I think) grew in a raised bed at my eye level. Blue eyes met Black eyes..

Every rose bush is blooming with colour. I particularly like the pink of the Frederic Mistral rose above.

The Butchart's home (now a tea-house and restaurant) seen from the Rose Garden.

Arches in the Rose Garden are appropriately covered with roses, great sprawling bunc…

Abandoned Dreams

One might think, traveling off the beaten path, that few people have been to certain places. But up and down this coastline of ours, all 27,200 kilometres (16,900 miles) that wind in and out of deep inlets and fjords, and around some 40,000 islands, big and small, one finds evidence of past human activity. 

Midden beaches mark the spots where First Nations harvested shellfish. Crumbling villages and rotting totem poles are all that remain from many settlements. 

From the nearer past, boarded up and falling down structures are all that's left of many people's dreams. On Tumbo Island, accessible only by boat, a house, a barn, and a tottering stone chimney bear silent witness to someone's hopes. 

Whoever lived in this cabin planted a couple of rosemary bushes that are now sprawling wildly. I picked a few sprigs and took them back to the boat. That same someone planted lavender, too, whose long spires were busy with bees. 

And who chose the colour of this door? She, or he, and I h…

Cruising Down Memory River

Just one year ago we were in Europe. I've been reading my travel journal, remembering, and enjoying the trip all over again. Today's post features photos taken during our Avalon river cruise up the Seine. I can't say enough good things about the cruise. It's a good thing we can enjoy it over and over again in memory. The sunflower bloomed in Monet's Garden. 

Close to where our ship docked in Vernon, this house, bordering on the river, had an "Â vendre" sign out front. The gate was open, and the front door, so my friend and I walked into the garden and up the stairs. We were not quite brave enough to walk in the door, but we did peer in a little. Were we brash? The idea of purchasing such a house and renovating it occupied an hour or two of pleasant conversation later. Our husbands were not so enthralled with the idea. 

Wrought iron fences are a weakness of mine, and this one, painted robin's egg blue, went to the top of the list. 

I think my favourite co…

Home Keeping

I love teaching, and I also love puttering at home. Balancing the two takes effort. Summers are wonderful times to do the things I don't have the time or energy for in other seasons. 

Tea on the patio with raspberry scones felt like a luxury. I'm planning to do more of this.

On the last day of our boating trip, we met these sweet faces (and their father - their mother was working) at the dock and took them to Sidney Island for a few hours. They were quite intrigued with the little dinghy bobbing along behind the boat. I suggested a little rowing excursion. This is a new-to-us dinghy and the oars are MUCH longer than the old ones. I'm having a hard time getting coordinated and our trail through the water looks quite wobbly. One of my passengers inquired why we were going so slowly! I thought I was doing well just to get back to the boat!

Anyone want kale? The garden is producing mountains of it. I'm thinning the plants and making kale chips (no substitute at all for potato…