Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Mishaps, Mariachi and Musk Ox

April Fools morning - Mother Nature's idea of a great joke.
I've been having technical difficulties (mishaps) with the blog this past week, which is one reason the update is so long in coming. It didn't help that Nature thumbed its nose at us rather appropriately on April Fool's Day.


The day before, this had been the site of a very pleasurable afternoon in the spring sun.

At least the heather provided a lovely touch of colour!

The lot beside our driveway has been cleared of all the lovely mixed-species bush that we'd been enjoying, as construction begins on the last house in the subdivision.

 The snow was all gone by the end of the day, at least around here. We went to Revelstoke to visit Mom G - she still has over a metre of snow in her backyard! More than we ever had here at any time during the winter. Gotta love Revelstuck.

Let's backtrack a few weeks. Three weekends ago, we went on a Sunday drive in the Celista-Magna Bay-Scotch Creek piece of the world. It's on the north shore of the main arm of Shuswap Lake. If that sounds confusing, you have to understand the convoluted nature of Shuswap, tucked in and around the mountains. Google Shuswap Lake and you'll see what I mean.

We had two little dogs with us - Socket and the last of her puppies, as yet unnamed (or at least not with a name that can be used in polite company). I've taken to calling her Little Girl and the new owner (yes, she'll be gone in another week when the buyer returns from vacation) can christen her with a new name.

Anyway, we stopped just outside Celista for a pee break and walk along the shore.


You can see how beautiful it is and why we love it here so much. This is looking west, sort of.


And looking east-ish, down the lake towards Scotch Creek. Eagle Bay and other vacation communities are across the lake to the right of this shot.


There was lots of interesting sniffs for the girls!

The following weekend, we had some culture on Friday night in the form of fabulous mariachi music. Ken Smedley is the artistic director of the George Ryga Centre in Summerland. I won't go into that whole story right now, but Ken and his partner spent time in their lives living in Mexico. Their son is in Los Dorados and is probably the reason they come on tour through the Okanagan.

 

I don't care why they come through. I just know we'll go listen to them anytime they're in the neighbourhood! There were several people in the audience who'd been to Mexico, the couple beside us just recently returned.

"Are they as good as the mariachis you heard in Mexico?" I asked.

"They're better!"

Bryan and I like to be tourists in our own backyard. One Sunday we took off to the south end Kelowna with Carmelis Goat Farm as our designation. As former dairy goat farmers ourselves, we have a keen interest in such things.


 www.carmelisgoatcheese.com

 The taster-lady was every bit as informative and entertaining as any of her counterparts at the many vineyards in the valley. We started with the mild cream cheeses and worked our way through the inventory to the hard ripe romano-type cheeses. It was a successful visit as we had a laden bag heading back to the truck.

St. Hubertus Winery is in the neighbourhood. We had a pleasant tasting here as well, and toted a box of bottles back to the truck.


http://www.st-hubertus.bc.ca 

 I guess more time has passed than I thought! We've been to a lot of vineyards lately. Last Monday, Bryan had an appointment in West Kelowna. We travelled down on Westside Road, and when he was done, we took in a few places along Boucherie Road.

First stop was Volcanic Hills, where Bryan found 'his' Gewurztraminer and we both fell in love with a Cab-Sauv that was sharp and spicy.

http://www.volcanichillswinery.com


Volcanic Hills is where the red pin is sitting. Little Straw is up to the left.


Then we crossed the road and spent some time at Little Straw. And there we REALLY fell in love, with both a blended white they call Tapestry,


 and their Old Vines Auxerrois. That one (or 3) is (are) sitting downstairs in a cool, dark place for about five years. There are some nice vintages nestling down there.



Little Straw also has a nice summer bistro which we are definitely taking some (or many) friends to.

http://www.littlestraw.bc.ca


The most recent of our culinary and cultural adventures was Saturday night at the North Okanagan Community Living gala. The dinner was a five course delight, of which my personal highlights were the gin and grapefruit sorbet - the 3rd course and palette cleanser between the fish and main course - and the musk ox tender loin that graced the main course plate.


We came home with a few baskets of wine from this venture, including some nice Ex Nihilo stuff that's joining its compatriots in the cool dark hiding place.

There are so many beautiful places to visit, people to meet and great food and wine to discover and savor. Life is very good indeed!

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