Friday, 28 September 2018

High River Balloon Festival

Jody Bossy Photo
Jody's photo above is from last year's balloon festival and it was used for this year's calendar. Other photo's are my own. 

It's the first year Andree and I attend and it was a blast. Cold but a whole lot of fun to watch and be part of.

These first few photos are from the morning launch. I snapped those when my daughter Brenda and I were walking my grandson Finnley to school.

This guy dipped down to the river with his balloon then magically brought it back up again. 

Here's one when all the balloons are up for the morning launch. So beautiful with all the fall colors.

Getting all the balloons blown up before dark and before they let the crowds onto the grounds.

Getting darker now and they've let the crowds swoop down on the grounds.

Big puppy balloon with his tongue hanging out.

And here they are all lined up just before the sky got dark. We were getting pretty chilly by then.

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

It's Beginning to.....

It's beginning to look at lot like fall around here. But, the leaves that are falling are just as green as the lawns they are falling on. It's a little weird really but lots and lots of rain this year and with the heavy frosts we've had lately, this is the result. Picked my first two bags of many more to come. A good arm exercise all that raking.

I wish I could have stopped on my way down the Peace River hill when I was going to work this morning. Oh my goodness. It's a very different scene there. The hills are covered with a bight yellow glow. It's a sight to behold.

An old farmstead that I drove by on my travels somewhere this fall. I can't for the life of me remember where I saw this place but it reminds me of how things were different back then, More simple in some ways yet much more difficult in other ways. For sure things are different. Things have changed.

It's a constant isn't it? Change, changes, and more changes. It’s part of life. It’s what makes a person grow. It’s where the power is. In the force and swiftness of the river raging through with all it’s aches and pains and difficulties and challenges along the way. Without it, would we even see or appreciate the sunshine and calm waters on the other side of the rapids? Would we come to appreciate the gifts that the present moment holds? Would we even see them if it were not for change coming our way? Life is meant to move and shift and change. It’s the natural order of things. 

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Stocking Up

The pile isn't high enough yet. Hoping to get more before the snow flies but this is our first delivery. It might not be more of this kind though. Birch is the most expensive stuff to heat with but, man, does it ever give off an intense heat and it burns so nice and clean in our inside wood burning stove. Not that I want to see winter coming. but since we already had a rude awakening of a dump of snow earlier this month, I'm taking it as a warning sign to get my butt in gear and stock up so we can hunker down and cozy up with a nice warm fire when the time comes.

When the sun hid and the rain started coming down again this afternoon, I decided I was going to give up on the hopes of another weekend camping trip so I pulled the motor home up in the front yard and, with the help of my brother, got the darn thing winterized. Break my heart.

Coming back home from going to wash the truck I met up with this nasty looking cloud with a bright colorful rainbow coming out the bottom of it. Strangest thing I ever saw. Nasty and pretty at the same time. Kind of like us humans sometimes I think.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Flowing, Listening, Reflecting

Going with the flow. Last night we planned what our day would look like today. This morning plans were changing as quickly as the weather.

A person who was supposed to come in the early morning decided they couldn't come till late afternoon. Another person who had said she wasn't coming, showed up and stirred the pot resulting in unnecessary drama. And a caller who we hardly ever hear from called in the midst of it all. Some mornings are like that. Needless to say, we got off to a much later start than we had anticipated.

As I moved through the day, I listened closely. This is what I heard. 

Sometimes it’s best to stay out of the way. Family relationships can be fertile ground for growth and healing to take place. Not taking things personally can save you and also save the day. Helping each other out is like a warm cozy blanket on a cold night. Exploring new places opens the mind. Listening to people in order to hear rather than how to react is a skill worth learning. It’s a peaceful place to be content being in the moment.

Even thistles in bloom have their own beauty.


Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Little Free Library

For at least three years now I've wanted to set up a free library in my yard but it was a dream that always got put on the back burner due to financial reasons. Meaning spare funds always went to another cause. 

This year I finally got this project off the ground. Hired a handyman to build it. I sanded it down. Andree and I stained it. My handyman came back to help me dig a hole and install it. I made a pathway for people to access it. I filled it with 45 books. The newspaper guy came to do a story on it. And there it is. Another dream realized.

Then I wanted to take it a step further. So, I got the library registered with it's own charter number and I finally got it in the mail the other day and now the town of Donnelly is on the world map of little free libraries.

As of the writing of this post, it's still not showing up but it should be active within the next 24 to 48 hours or so. Check it out see if it works. Just click on the above World Map link. Then click on Charter Number at the far right on the top bar. Enter the charter number 77838 and you should see it.

On another note.

OMG! My spirit was totally rejuvenated today. Sun worshiper, Andree calls me. She's right. I had to work in the early morning but the minute I was done, I spent the rest of the day outside. Put some outside stuff away, pulled some carrots and potatoes from the garden. Went for a long walk. Then mowed all the lawn. By the end of the day, my Fitbit said 16,500 steps or 10.5 km.   

Met this furry little creature on my walk down the dirt road by the canal. And when I was cutting the grass, to my total surprise, I found this little snap dragon flower by the edge of the house. I think they were just as glad as I was to see the sunshine. It's the little things that warm my heart.  

Monday, 17 September 2018


Look at that strange light in the sky! I got a glimpse of it when I was out walking after supper. The wind calmed down and the rain finally stopped, and, Voila! I'm quite sure it's that thing called the sun hiding back there behind those nasty clouds.

I'm the eternal hopeful. So much so that when I got back from work, I cranked up the motor home, took it for a spin to town and got the propane tank filled. Two reasons for that. One to keep the furnace on low so the pipes in the motor home won't freeze. And two, because I'm bound and determined to get one more weekend or at least one more night out camping before the snow comes flying at us again.

I went to the garden and pulled a plant of potatoes for supper. Holy Toledo! Some of those are humongous. The one in the picture below weighed in at 2 lbs. One potato can feed 2 people a good couple of meals.

That bunch are all from the same plant. I threw an apple in there just to show the difference in size.

Busy day with seven sessions tomorrow. It's a little challenging getting back into the swing of things but I'm not complaining. Keeps me out of trouble and helps replenish the bank account. Gratitude for meaningful work I love doing. 

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Gifts From Friends

Photo Credit goes to Marcel Tanguay
Even nature takes time for reflection. So should we. This morning I sat with my journal and I reflected on how contentment is a choice. Although I usually really enjoy fall, these wet, colder, cloudy, bleak kind of gloomy days suck my energy and don't rate very high on my totem pole of what ignites my zest and passion for life.

Still, as one can see in Marcel's photo, there is beauty and gifts to behold in the unpredictability of nature. Nothing has been as powerful for me as nature to teach me about respect, humility, and acceptance. Nature, like music and words, have also been and continue to be, my greatest provocateurs of emotions.

At times, I stand in awe, in disbelief, in wonder, in total amazement, connection and in love with nature. Other times the force of nature makes me fume with anger and a compassion that reaches down to my toes when I see the destruction, pain, and loss of lives it can leave in it's path.       


Two different nature scenes. The first as I left Edmonton earlier this week. The second taken the same day in front of my home 5 hours away from the first picture. While I was rejoicing in the gorgeous multitude of colors in the cities river valley, a heavy wet blanket of winter snow was creating havoc with the trees and farmer's crops at home.

Being there was no hurry to get back home to cut the grass or do any other outside chores, I thought, why not take the time to go visit the Cat Cafe! It's amazing to me how something as simple as spending a half hour with a dozen or so cats in a Cat Cafe, can awaken our child like self and ignite a whole other world within us. What an opportunity to share this time with a 93 year-old friend who also has an appreciation for the smaller gifts of life and getting totally lost in the present moment. A worthwhile stop indeed.

On one of my stops in Edmonton, another friend, Jeannine, gifted Andree and I with this absolutely adorable little bird feeder. I wasn't decided if I would continue to feed birds this winter, but this timely gift cinched it for me. I bet the chickadees will love this one. Thanks Jeannine and it was great to see you again!

But that wasn't all, I also got to spend a bit of time with my daughter Karen and her partner Steve. We shared good conversations and a meal together at Sparta Greek Grill. I enjoy being able to catch up with them and hear about how things are going in their lives. With our tummy's full all three of us headed to St. Albert to pick up a bike that Andree's friend was looking to get rid of. Lucky me! Now I have a bike that is easier to use on the gravel roads around here and a spare bike if company wants to join me for a ride around town. 

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Back Home

I had a pretty good sleep in the back of my SUV at the Yellowhead campground last night. I am however, looking forward to sleeping in my own bed tonight. The journey back to Donnelly was quiet, scenic, sunny, cloudy, contemplative and uneventful except for some wildlife which is always exciting to see. 

What a beautiful huge handsome fellow this elk was. He had a lot of admirers stop for a closer look. One of them being me but from inside my vehicle. Some tourists, with half a brain, got up close and personal, standing only a few feet away with their cameras like it was a stuffed animal they were doing a photo shoot with. And then they blame the animals when someone gets hurt. These are wild animals not household pets people!

And of course the even more frequent and just as admired sheep made an appearance too. There was a whole herd of those. I was also hoping to get some pictures of the Rockies but it was quite cloudy when I took off early this morning.

What a difference to leave the 26 degree weather and to get home to 10 degrees, wind and misty rain. I did NOT miss the wind.

It didn't take me long when I got home to have everything unpacked and put away. The only thing left to do is to unload my bike. Tomorrow I will be catching up on some stuff around here and Monday morning it's back to work. Back to reality. Busy times ahead I believe. C'est la vie!

Friday, 7 September 2018

Day Five - No Bike Ride

Didn’t bike ride today. Pointed my nose towards home around 9 am. Stopped at a well-known fruit place that has the best peaches ever. The it was a stop in Vernon at one of my most favorite bookstores, followed by a little farewell visit to my friend in Armstrong. By 1 pm I was on the road again and I made it up to Valmount which is the half-way point to home.

Although it’s supposed to start raining here tonight, it was a glorious day travelling through the mountains. It was an opportunity for reflection and integration time of my past few days. How fortunate and grateful I feel to have been able to do this.

I could have driven further but I didn’t want to drive in the dark through the mountains and through Jasper Park. I’ve already hit a deer this year and that’s enough for me. I don’t wish to do that again. So I pulled into what’s called the Yellowhead campground just on the outskirts of Valmount.

And look what I found here. A creek where the salmon come to spawn. So beautiful. Never knew that spot was here.

 At my campsite, I searched my back pack and found a lighter, then I gathered various garbage papers in my car and scavenged through the bushes to find some twigs and I had myself a little campfire.

 Now I’m settled into the back of my SUV under my down filled quilt with my laptop and my book. There’s internet here but it’s not powerful enough to post to my blog so I’m writing this out and will post it in the morning when I have a better connection. It’s been a while since I’ve slept in my vehicle. I’m discovering I’m not as pliable as I used to be, but it will do. Oh, here comes the rain!

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Fourth Riding Day

Mission Creek Greenway. That was our ride today. It was familiar territory for me. I did that ride often when I lived in Kelowna and I enjoyed it again today.  It was a beautiful, sunny, hot, 27 degree kind of day, of memories of nurturing things I used to enjoy when I lived here, one being this stunning long-stretch of linear trail that runs 16.5 km. along Mission Creek. 

One of the bridges to cross over to the other side of the creek. There's a long stretch where there's a pathway on each side of the creek.
It doesn't matter what time of day you go there, there's always people of all ages either walking, running, hiking or biking on the paths. This creek is the largest tributary to Okanagan Lake. A lot of water flows through there.In the spring this creek is like a roaring river but in the fall it's a much more gentle soul.
Still a strong current even though a lot of rocks are showing. It's crystal clear water.
There was four of us on today's ride. We parked at one end of the Greenway and biked to the other end, had lunch at Creekside Pub outside patio. Then we mounted up again and biked back to our vehicles.
This part has always been my favorite part of the pathway.
After doing 120 km or so in the past few days, my "derriere" is rather tender in some places. Even sitting in my SUV doesn't feel all that comfortable. But, it looks like the Penticton to OK Falls ride planned for tomorrow is not going to happen. Some of the riders are saying there's a possibility of rain tomorrow, although I haven't seen it in the forecast. I think it's more likely that these retired people are feeling the need to get on with their lives, which I understand and is okay too. Even though I hate to see this end, I'm kind of feeling like I should get on with my life as well since I'm not even retire yet.
A spot where I often sat to journal when I lived there.
Work emails and calls are piling up and it's kind of difficult to take care of business on a bike. So I'll start making my way back tomorrow. I'm not planning to leave early and I will take my time. There's a couple of pit stops I want to make along the way so I'll see how it goes. More than likely I will stop and catch some sleep somewhere along the way. 
A blue heron on the edge of the lake in front of my sister's house. 
Tonight, I had dinner with my friend who is also one of my writing group people. Jackie is the one who opened up the evening at my Kelowna book launch by introducing me to the people, and her husband and his fiend were the musicians. It was a nice finish to my day.

And here's how I'd like to finish my blog this evening. With a quote by Leonardo da Vinci. "When you put your hand in a flowing stream, you touch the last that has gone before and the first of what is still to come." I did that today when I knelt by the creek at the end of my ride.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Third Riding Day

Finally - we went to the trestles today. And what a glorious, super fantastic riding day it was. Everyone else bowed out for today so Diane and I went ahead as planned and am I ever glad we did. It was rather smoky in the Kelowna valley but once we started our trek up the forestry mountain road to Myra Canyon the smoke dissipated. Up on top it was a crystal clear sunny day and we could see forever. It's like being on top of the world up there. Breath taking.

It was a more relaxed ride being only us two. Stopped a lot to admire the beauty and the unusual wonder of this deep canyon, the 2 tunnel passages and 18 trestle bridges that wrap around the canyon for 10 km. Pictures taken with a phone just doesn't do it justice. As one of the descriptive sign says; "The construction of the Kettle Valley Railway line through the spectacular Myra Canyon was an outstanding Canadian engineering achievement." It took place between 1912 and 1914. A time when there wasn't the modern technology or machinery of today. Yet man built somehow engineered and build this amazing feat.

Here I am about to ride through the first tunnel. First thing is to stop and remove the sunglasses otherwise you can't see where you're going.

Here, I am approaching the exit. Let there be light! These tunnels were blasted through the mountain. It is said that many lives were lost during the construction of this railway that provided a vital all-Canadian link between the West Coast and the southern interior of British Columbia.

This is looking back to where I first entered the tunnel. It was surprising to see quite a few people up there today. Usually by the time the summer holidays end there's not too many tourists up there. We were expecting to have some chance encounter with bears but instead there we encountered a lot of humans. Likely a better alternative to the furry four legged creatures.

Once we had biked the 10 km to the end of the trestles we stopped and had lunch in a sunny spot on one of the benches where we had a view of the valley below. Then we turned around and rode the 10 km back to the parking lot. So only 20 km today. A much shorter and easier ride and a very different one than the lake rides for sure. Each very different yet very special in each their own way. 

I had to snap a picture of this little tamarack tree growing right smack in the middle of solid rock. If only we could all be so determined to grow and become all that we can be regardless of how difficult and challenging the journey can sometimes be.

A perfect way to end another absolutely life giving day. Oh, and I should mention that when we finished loading up the bikes and we were ready to drive back down the mountain, my sister handed me the keys to her car and asked if I wanted to drive. I think maybe she saw I was a little green around the gills after the morning drive on the windy roads to get up there. 

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Second Riding Day

The first day was a gentle intro. Today didn't follow in it's footsteps. It was a much more demanding ride today. Our plan for the Trestles got ditched due to a lot of smoke in that area and we did a longer ride, the one from Oyama to Vernon. Our first ride was only 20 km. Today it was 40 km. with a head wind and an incline all the way to Vernon.

My butt and my knee were doing a little complaining by the time we got back to our starting point this afternoon, but I was expecting that since I haven't done much biking yet this year. It's like riding a horse. The first few rides you can expect saddle sores but after riding for a while the bum muscles toughen up and you're good. I don't expect the saddle sores will be gone by tomorrow's Trestle ride though.

A hard packed gravel rail bed was what we were riding on today. A brand new section that just opened up that runs all along Kalamalka Lake. One of the most beautiful lakes in the area. The crystal clear water is a bright emerald green, the result of limestone deposits left by receding glaciers.

In some sections of the trail there are huge walls of rock with unusual and interesting formations. There's so much beauty that a person doesn't get to see when travelling by car at 100 km an hour on the roads high above the lake.

There was five of us on today's ride. Betty, Kathy, Wendy, Diane and I. We had lunch at Alexandra's Pub then we checked out this little Rail Trail Cafe (shown below). Cute little coffee joint for bikers, or others, to stop and chat, or pull out a journal and write, while enjoying a specialty coffee or other beverage of one's choice.

By the time we got back to the house I was ready to go spend a relaxing hour or so by the lakeside of Okanagan Lake. I sat out by a tree with my book and journal until it was time to go help out with preparations for dinner.

Next we loaded up our bikes on Diane's bike rack on her car as she days it's her turn to drive tomorrow, (wish I had brought my nausea bracelets). Kind of her to offer but not necessarily a good thing for me since I can get car sick quite easily.

We finished off the evening with taking Gypsy for a walk. Then I retired upstairs to have a short soak in the tub, and now it's read and write time before I hit the sack and get some rest for tomorrow's adventurous day.