Saturday, August 31, 2013

Somethin' Red

It was a great time, a wonderful evening. Lots of liquor and laughter. 

And food. 

Oooh, too much food.

Borrowed a table to make enough room for 12.
Moved furniture and set up on Thursday night so that I had Friday night to prep food.
Good thing, because the skies opened up Friday afternoon.

The theme was Italian (or as close to that as someone with a Scottish-German-Russian-English background raised on a cattle ranch on the prairies and who has never been to Italy can come to producing an Italian meal).

Somethin' Red was a nod to the mother event - Splash of Red - and only required that the guests have something red in their attire (and no, marinara sauce splashed on one's bodice doesn't count).

 Friday night: Browning the first batch of veal shanks for osso buco.

I invited 12 people: a small number for an inaugural event so it wouldn't become cumbersome, as many didn't know one another and in case it became an indoor event, which it did.

I've hosted much larger dinner parties but always with people who already mostly knew each other, or were related.

This was different. This was the creation of new friendships and the establishment of a tradition.

Sofa pushed aside, tables set, vessels collected in one spot. Ready to party.

We started with Italian prosecco and Spanish cava (of course) with an array of olives and tapanades, breads, oils and vinegars.

As the last of the guests arrived (yes, you Katherine and coterie) we proceeded to salad made by Adrienne, followed by linguini with marinara sauce (made with tomatoes from Adrienne's garden and oregano/thyme from mine). Made a cranberry-pomegranate sorbet for the palate cleanser, then moved on to the main course: osso buco with risotto and fresh peas & carrots. Deep breath, and tiramisu cake courtesy Katherine.

Understand that we didn't eat this all in a rush. This was a slow meal - both in the delivery and the consumption. Time for visiting and wandering out onto the deck and exploration of the house. Very relaxed. Very 'family.'

Barbara, her daughter Lisa (one of our artists) and Kristin.
Mellow moment before the feast began.
And yes, that is sunshine in the windows ... after a entire afternoon of thundershowers!!!

There was also an art exhibit. Stephanie and Lisa Rae are sisters and artists. I've purchased one of Steph's works and have it proudly displayed in our home. I gave the girls free rein of the house and they had pieces set up everywhere including bedrooms.

The ladies were very appreciative of their talents.

Katherine - our own Force of Nature (I have no idea what she was asking me)
and Elaine, obviously enjoying some comment from a new acquaintance.

There was also entertainment of a sort, in lieu of the singers who entertain guests at Caetani House. We didn't have singers ... let's just say we laughed until we couldn't breathe, and I think next year (yes, there is a next year) we'll try to lure in a singer. And more artists. And more guests. The seed has been planted.

Sisters and artists Stephanie and Lisa during the entertainment portion of the evening.
I promised, cross my heart and hope to die, not to take nor publish any more photos
but these should give you an idea of the evening.
There were several more ladies present not represented in the photos.
Note the girls' red cammies - their touch of red!

Probably could have taken more photos but I was occupied with cooking, drinking and visiting, often all at the same time - no complaints, but when you have a glass of wine in one hand and a wooden spatula in the other, the camera gets ignored - and I also believe one must be completely in the moment, and that often precludes camera operation. I'm just too busy having fun.

Already at work (three of my guests were co-workers) I've heard comments like: "I've found the perfect red necklace to wear next year." and "So instead of you doing all the cooking, next year we're going potluck."

I love these women. Truly.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Baby Pool update

Pretty visitor

This gorgeous fellow was resting on the door sill when I came home from work yesterday. 

About 2 cm long, the bright green caught my eye. So pretty, I might even forgive it if it's a garden-eater.

Unlike the voracious and truly ugly grasshoppers that are devouring everything in sight.

Among them the red-shank grasshopper. Ugh.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A little vision of paradise

We have some fabulous photographers on our staff. Lisa took these pics while covering a golf tournament at The Rise, high above the city of Vernon. It's a lovely place to go even if you aren't a golfer - the club house patio has a panoramic view of the valley at the tippy-top of OK Lake.

View from The Rise Golf Course in Vernon, looking SE over Okanagan Lake towards the Landing.
Heavy, heavy humidity in the air, making everything hazy. 
The Rise (I don't know which hole) looking NW over the city of Vernon.

Come for a visit and I'll take you for lunch. You're on your own if you want to golf.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

... and the race is on

Well, not really but there is money on the table. There's a new baby due to arrive in our At The Office family and being us, we've got a 50-50 pool going. $62.50 to the winner. Bets were placed on date, sex and weight of the baby. The parents already have a daughter who had her second birthday in July, but her arrival was no prognosticator for her sibling's arrival date.

This was from Father-to-be's Friday email, so as of midnight tonight a whole lot more people became Also-rans.


As a note, the quilt for this baby is far behind schedule (as in, I'm still working on the one for a baby who arrived two weeks ago). Blame it on hot weather, cold beer and good books. Or poor attitude. You pick.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Kootenay video

On my way to work, if I'm in the car, I listen to CBC radio. This morning, I heard about this
Amazing video of the Nelson-Kootenay Lake area. You gotta see it!

Near Kaslo (from the Nelson Kootenay Lake website)

Nelson, BC (from the Nelson Kootenay Lake website)
It's also great motorcycling country. Come on, we'll show you!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

New Highway Opens and We Are SO Happy

There will be jubilation tomorrow when the 9km stretch of Highway 97 between Oyama and Winfield opens tomorrow afternoon. 

The old highway, picturesque as it is, is a scary piece of road when there is heavy traffic (all summer and fall) or icy (much of the winter). It runs right beside the lake in many places without any barriers, and more than a few vehicles have gone into the drink.

Old portion of Highway 97, now called the Pelmewash Parkway, heading towards Kelowna.
Kalamalka Lake to the left foreground, Wood Lake in the distance.

The new road will relieve congestion, especially during the busy tourist season, for those who regularly travel from Vernon to Kelowna.

New Highway 97 looking south from Oyama, travelling towards Vernon.
Kalamalka Lake to the right.

 Pelmewash Parkway will be a 50 kmh stretch, perfect for those who want to enjoy the lake views.

Portions of the old highway in Peachland and Summerland have been transformed this way. They are relaxing oases along the way.

The new portion of road will be left of Hwy 97 as shown on this map,
on bench land above the lakes.
The large body of water on the left is Okanagan Lake.
Now if there was only a way of getting past Kelowna without going straight through the city!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Dog Days of Summer and Schaubel Zup

The summer vacation schedule at work is a finely negotiated thing - I can't overlap or be away immediately before/after two people on one part of my job, three on the other.

What that ultimately means is, I seem to spend a lot of time on this:

while others are playing in the sun and water.

Not strictly true but a girl is entitled to a wee bit of pouting when, after a long day of covering other peoples' work in addition to one's own, she opens her car to return home and sees this:

Just another day in paradise.

And why, you ask, am I not on the motorcycle? Because I had errands to run that required cargo space. Alas and alack.

Today, I spent time here:

as in both the garden in general and the table as a resting place between runs with the wheelbarrow - from the flower beds where I've been deadheading roses, trimming back lavender and generally whipping things into shape to the compost pile in the backyard. The yard will not look like a party-worn floozy when September rolls around this year.

The thunderheads behind Tuktakamin are rumbling. I heartily wish we'd get some rain from them as we've had no precipitation for over 5 weeks and it's frighteningly dry.

Last night when things were cooler, I went out for a walk and a bonus visit with Bunny, my neighbour's 84 year old mother (who spends part of the summer at her grandmother's (yes!!!) small house down by the tracks south of the main street; she lives on Vancouver Island). While I was out, I had the stockpot on the stove simmering all the goodness out of these lovelies, smoked pork hocks:

Put the pot in the basement to cool, then in the fridge. An hour ago I skimmed the fat off the congealed stock, removed the skin and bones, shredded the meat and then added:


summer savoury


washed and diced, and:

sorrel - not usually used but I like it, esp. with potatoes

plus a diced onion, a handful of diced carrots, and a little extra salt, so that this evening and tomorrow I can enjoy this:

Stole the pic from "Mennonite Girls Can Cook" because my soup isn't ready yet and I knew they'd have a picture of Schaubel Zup - green bean summer soup.
Yes, there is cream added - sour cream traditionally, or creme fraiche if you can get it, which I prefer; but tonight it will be a dollop of unflavored balkan-style yogurt.

All very, very worth the trouble of heating up the house for one evening.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Pics of Days - This 'n' That

The old chestnut a picture says a thousand words will suffice for today.

The roses have been exceptional and the lavender prolific this year.
Can't you just smell these ones?!
I've had bouquets in the house and at the office most days. 

Went for a ride to Sun Peaks Ski Resort north of Kamloops a few weeks ago.
This was one cheeky chipmuck.

Having a beer in the village, watching the mountain bikers fly down one of slopes
(much steeper than appears in this photo, and this is the bunny hill).

One of many lovely meals on the deck.
The wine steward is a crazy ol' bugger.

Hit the library's book sale and scored some great reads.
Summer means nose in book.

Thunderheads building up in the west. Lots of noise and bluster, not much rain (alas)
or fires (thank goodness), but lovely cloud-watching.

Simple ingredients for tonight's supper of roasted fresh vegetables,
 from my garden and the produce market:
potatoes, beefy tomatoes, eggplant, onions, pepper and herbs.
Add some olive oil and salt, then top hot veggies with chunks of feta.
Serve with a glass of wine. Heaven.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Best Line of the Week

Sean was called in to the boss's office one day this week to discuss a project.

When the discussion was concluded and Sean got up to leave the office, the boss said, "Close the door behind you."

"Why?" replied Sean, "Do you want to take a nap?"

Our hero.