Salmon Arm Snail Shells

Last week Zana and I went into town for groceries, parked the truck and went in to shop. When we came back there was a little pile of snail shells on the concrete in front of the truck.

 

Random act, magic spells, or a child unloading her pocket ? Doesn’t matter. But I tell you, the snails in Salmon Arm are spectacular!

Welcome Opal

Opal comes home, and the midwife Ariel coming by to check on things.

I want to quickly share the news that my daughter Zana just brought her new baby girl home yesterday! She and hubby Don already have 22 month old Saylor who has become a big sister overnight!  I intended on staying with them a short time at their home in Salmon Arm to help out  just until things got settled in, then head home, but Zana wound up needing a C-Section five hours into her heavy contractions! No one saw that one coming. All went well thankfully, but it was an excruciating labour for her.

She stayed only one night in hospital too because the bed was sooo uncomfortably hard and the room dreary (which it was). Now she’s faced with 6 weeks convalescence with absolutely no lifting, like 30lb toddlers!  And as we all know, toddlers are spastic balls of energy, and Saylor is no exception.

So, it looks like I may be staying on with them a little longer unless plans change, we’ll see. So far I’ve been taking care of the cooking (which I enjoy!) and keeping things tidy while helping out with Saylor during Zana’s final pregnancy stages, so i’ll just carry on. Typical Mother/Mother-in-law/ Grandmother protocol.

I’m happy to be in a position to help out. Fortunately I retired early so have no pressing time line I have to adhere to. There’s Bob of course, back on the island, but he understands fully. And he is only 5 hours away.

We’ll see how things pan out~

 

 

#How I spent my summer vacation

It’s been a busy time for me! But it isn’t over, even being well into August with summer winding down and Autumn fast approaching, still I’m not even home yet. And the best is soon to come, which will be evident at the end of this post.

The road trip began July 20th when Bob and I went to Vancouver to spend a weekend with our son, his wife and our fourteen month old granddaughter that included a day and evening at the Vancouver Folk Fest. Then, leaving Vancouver, we stopped in for an over night at our daughter, her husband and our 22 month old granddaughter’s house in Salmon Arm BC. before heading off to cross four provinces, part of Ontario, over the Superior Lake Head and down to Parry Sound where we had a rented cottage on Georgian Bay waiting for us. Ok, not so much a cottage, more an 1890’s farm house that may have some skeletons in all the closets. But I believe they were friendly.

We did the drive in four days, taking shifts, 10 to 12 hours a day and had no problems finding hotel or motel accommodations along the way, nothing fancy, just a clean place to sleep. Once in Parry Sound family and friends showed up and we spent a week swimming, reconnecting, kayaking, fishing, lots of eating, and playing a lot of scrabble. I won one game. I have sworn myself to hone up to dethrone Crystal and Mel the next time I see them. In about three years. I should be ready by then.

Below follows more of a photo narration because I don’t have a lot of free time at the moment to weave wondrous tales to describe each photo. Why? Well, like I mentioned earlier there is still stuff going on here. So with that said, here is what I have so far ~

Vancouver Music Fest 2019 

 

The Three Sisters, Canora, Alberta. Winding through the rockies, heading east. 2019

 

Then it gets really horizontal from here on out. Boring to most but a joy to me. #prairielove

 

Gassing up in Saskatchewan. Remember when someone used to come out to fill your tank? I barely can.  Not one but two guys cleaning the windshield while a third pumped the gas. I nearly squealed for joy. Because I dislike pumping my own gas, especially in winter, with freezing wind whipping at me. Or any other time.

 

My attempt at upholding a particular Canadian tradition while in transit. Meh.

 

The Assiniboine River runs through Portage La Prairie, Manitoba.

 

A Superior dip. Lake Superior, Ontario. The lake head part of the drive is a long bit, but a beauty. Water was perfect for swimming.

 

Lake Superior, Ontario. Old Woman Bay.

 

We have a stupid, no, totally perverted memory of Wawa, Ontario. And that’s all I’m gonna say about that. But this place has great fudge 🙂

 

We stopped in Webbwood, Ontario for snacks at ‘ol Tom Stewart’s- and Wife. Must be a marriage made in heaven.

 

Our destination. The big old house in Parry Sound Ontario has 5 bedrooms, creaky floors, tons of homey funkiness, a secret stairway off of the kitchen to one of the upstairs bedrooms, an interior that’s a tad spooky and looks as though the family just left the key and took off. It had plenty of room for everyone. Right on Georgian Bay, minutes from downtown. Perfect.

 

Ideal. Our own dock and swim platform along with a canoe and aluminium skiff to use too.

 

We were treated to a harbour cruise too! The black triangle in the centre of the map shows where our boat is on GPS

 

Bob and his daughter crystal.

 

Bob’s family roots go way back in Parry Sound. Parents born and raised there. Grandparents raised their children there, and this is his grandfathers bakery. Even Bobby Ore’s dad was Bob’s Pee Wee hockey coach.

 

Georgian Bay, Muskoka, known for the iconic wind bent pine trees, Tom Thompson, and the Adirondack chair at the lake cottage.

Tom Thompson painted from this exact spot, and you can too. There is even a little easle-table handily installed if you’re suddenly struck with inspiration.

 

The main motivating factor behind the road trip- to see the newest member. Great granddaughter Arabella cuddling here with her momma Shannon and grandmother Crystal relaxing in cottage’s enclosed porch.

 

Bob’s Aunt Lillian’s Flea Market. A cornucopia of cottagey things. She’s closing down in September for good. 90 years old, she could use a rest. She also was born and raised in Parry Sound, and is the last of the elders in Bob’s family.

 

We attended the Wasauksing First Nations Pow Wow. I was really moved by the ceremony and traditional dancing. Goosebumps happened.

 

Bands from far as Oklahoma and Kansas gathered.

 

 

Bob revisited the swimming spot of his youth at Depot Harbour on Parry Island.

 

Yep- won ONE game. “RUBE” that was my word. Pretty fitting considering I was learning the game.

 

What it took to feed the masses. I know, it looks a mess, and as a chef, for me- nearly cringe worthy, but it was daily managed because we ate and ate, and ate.

 

Sunset on the Bay.

 

Heading home west. The Saskatchewan Prairie really speaks to me. I find this land an inspiration on a profound level.

 

Val Marie, Saskatchewan. Main street. Val Marie is situated right up next to the Grasslands National Park Preserve. Stunning area, in my eyes.

 

Val Marie Saskatchewan. The distant glowing bluff in the horizon is part of the Grasslands Preserve.

 

Old Wheat Pool at evening time, Val Marie Sask.

 

Morning rise. Val Marie Sask.

 

Where we stayed the night in Val Marie, Sask. The Convent Inn. A great story lies within these walls of what was a catholic school for the resident youth of Val Marie. I will likely write a post just on this place in the next months.  A great place to spend a night or three, and explore the grasslands.

 

The school chalkboard at The Convent Inn , guests leave words of wisdom and inspiration.

 

Val Marie, Sask.

 

Val Marie, Sask. I found beauty everywhere my eyes fell.

Arriving at Salmon Arm B.C. once again Bob, after a few days visit, leaves me at our daughter’s and heads back to Vancouver Island. I’m staying here to help out while she gets ready to have their second baby- any day now, and help look after their toddler. I’ll stay on after the birth for a short while before finally getting back to my island home on the West coast!

So now we are all on stand by for the reveal. In the meantime, how could I have forgotten how much energy it takes to live with a toddler!  Sparky little dynamos-  I’m pooped out by night fall. But I think I’m catching my second wind after two weeks here, should be toned up and primed by the time this second one arrives. I hope. For now, I’m in bed at 8:30.

 

 

 

Coffee Snob

Hi. That would be me. And I remember the bean that made me thus. It was the Kicking Horse Coffee “Kick Ass” and “Grizzly Claw” dark roast, spoiling me to never let another dusty dry, pale bean pass my lips aaaaagain.

It cost’s more, yes, but it was manageable, and it’s organic and Fair Trade!  It’s also a company that started and has stayed in Invermere, British Columbia ,so, you know, buy local!  I’d buckle down and fork out the extra Loonies (Dollars), and when it goes on sale I buy a few. As time passed the cost eventually crept up to $16.99 a pound. There are limits. I have some self control. Now I only buy it when it’s on sale. But luckily I have a back up brew, Tribal Java’s Ancient Ritual, also organic and fair trade, also out of Invermere and almost on par with Kicking Horse in flavour, and body – almost- and a few Loonies less.

I was at Costco and had a look at their big bags of coffee, thinking maybe, maybe one of these brands would be as good as Kicking Horse and for a lot less money. I picked up a 2 pound Italian bag of beans. Italians know their coffee right? Next morning I pour my Italian morning cup, take a sip…. ok. it’s uh… yeah, it’s all right. I guess. My husband sips his. Hmm, he says, only he’s wincing while doing it. Another few sips and we shake off the charade. This is the worst coffee we have EVER had. Instant coffee would have been better!

But we endured through a half a pound. Because you know, bought it, must finish it.

But we couldn’t finish it. Instead we cut our loses and relegated the rest of the bag to the freezer as Desperation Coffee. For emergencies, when out of coffee and unable to get to town for days due to hurricane, gale, or twenty foot seas. (see my About page) I picked up my Tribal back-up brand, and the next morning there was bliss back in my cup.

Life is waaaay too short for horrid coffee. I learned my lesson.

Then just the other day when grocery shopping I turned down the coffee isle and walked right into a small crowd. As I waded into the fray I saw that Kicking Horse was on for $9.99 ! So, seems I am not alone in my brand obsession. A man who looked like a runner; slight build, spandex, you know the look, was literally embracing -as in using both arms- bags of coffee and scooping ALL remaining eight pounds of Kicking Horse Grizzly Claw off the shelf and into his shopping cart. The other folks had theirs in cart and were dispersing. One pound of Kick Ass left, the rest was light roast. Which won’t do.

When he realized I was wanting some too he offered to give me a couple of his. “No,” I said, “that’s fine. I’ll take the Kick Ass.” This guy was evidently excited about his bounty, and on some sub level I could kind of understand his glee; like a mother watching her child pick out a puppy from the litter to take home, like a kid given 20 dollars to spend on road trip snacks. And he got there before me.

I was happy enough to have even one at that price. I put it in my cart and made my way to get in line at the check out. A moment later the runner-coffee-hoarder guy whizzed over to me, his face all lit up with  joy mixed with relief, to say there was another Kicking Horse display over by the entrance with lots of Grizzly Claw!

Yeah, I left the check out line and grabbed three pounds.