Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Mighty Mighty Honda

Many, many motorcycles have come and gone through our lives. 

Some stay for but a short time. Others last for years. 

Some carry special memories while other are never to be spoken of again.

They have ranged from the little 'suitcase' di Blasi to scooters of every size, cruisers, sport bikes and 1100cc sport touring bikes.

It was no surprise when this little vintage bike showed up a few months ago. 
This model was produced in 1982-1983. It's a 450A, and the A stands for automatic. Yes.

Back in the day when I was dating The Not-Yet Husband, he was encouraging me to become a rider. I grew up riding horses, not motorcycles, and so was a bit intimidated. 

Then one day in 1982 I saw a brand new 450A in the Grande Prairie dealership. 
I called The Then-Boyfriend, all excited about the bike, and he promptly popped my bubble with a disdainful "That's not a real bike!"

Fast forward 35 years, and imagine my thoughts when one of those not-real bikes came into our garage.

"What?" was his genuinely surprised question when seeing The Look on my face.

"Really? You have to ask?" And then I reminded him of the incident back in the day, which apparently left a bruise which still twitches when poked.

"But it's a classic!"

Ah. From not-real to classic.

Never mind. He loves it and it stands proudly beside the Triumph sport tourer and the Kawasaki Widow Maker.

He left early yesterday for the Kootenays to meet up with a friend from Calgary. I'm sure the friend is going to stain his knickers with laughter when he sees the Mighty Mighty Honda charge down the road.

I've taken it for a spin, and it's alright. Turns out it really isn't my kind of ride after all.

Saturday, August 12, 2017


What do you do when it's 32C outside - again - and you're 9 months old?

Get mom and grandma to take you to the pool.

Of course.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Prairies and Ferries

The Husband and I have been on a little jaunt for the past week. Out to the prairies to celebrate an 80th birthday party with the distaff side of my family; visit the brothers; take a drive through the grasslands, Porcupine Hills and the mountains: the Columbia Range, the Rockies, the Purcell Range, the Selkirks and the Monashees. And all the way, the air is laden with light-to-heavy smoke from the multitude of wildfires ravaging this country.

Thousands of Painted Lady butterflies were feeding on the alfalfa flowers at
Brother Scott's place near Standard, AB.

Crop land ready for harvest, somewhere south of Carmangay close to Highway 23.

I get homesick for this landscape every so often; a visit is good for the soul.

And the next day was completely different landscapes.
Waiting for the ferry at Kootenay Bay to cross the lake
on our way to Nelson and points north.

We meandered our way through cropland and pasture land, passing through Claresholm and taking SR 520 through the Porcupine Hills to Highway 22; hence towards the Crowsnest Pass and points west. Spent the night at Cranbrook and as is our wont, delayed breakfast whilst travelling until we got to Creston. Up to Nelson, over to the Slocan Valley and a night at Nakusp.

The last leg was a short one, from Nakusp to Vernon and home again. Thought I'd take a minute and share some photos of the cable ferry that crosses Arrow Lakes from Fauquier to Needles.

Arrow Lakes was once two separate lakes, until it became a reservoir for a hydro dam. The Needles Ferry is cable ferry, and of all the ferries we've used in BC and Alberta, this is one of the very few cable ferries.

On the Fauquier side of Arrow Lake, looking west.

Cable anchor on the north side of the east launch.

Cable line extending down into the water and across the lake.

Ferry approaching the Fauquier side;
see the cable line beginning to rise out of the water.

You can now see that there are three lines: one to either side, and one in the middle.

As the ferry approaches, the ramp begins to lower.

The ramp and launch are mated ...

... the barrier arms are raised ...

... and the vehicles disembark.

Westbound traffic waiting to embark.

The ferry empty and waiting for its next load of vehicles.

The Husband checking out landmarks on the eastern shore.
Not the heavy smoke making the skyline hazy.

Smoky hides the view, making it mysterious.
Let's pray for lots of rain, and soon.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Watching the Hummers

Sometimes summer gets so full of busyness that we forget to kick back and enjoy a slower pace.

A wee fellow who's recently learned to crawl can be both the most exhausting and the most relaxing of companions.

Mr. K was 'helping' me hang washing outside on the railing to dry (the clothesline was full ... but that's another topic), when he became transfixed by the hummingbirds hovering around the feeders and flowers.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Diner en Blanc Kelowna

Some call it pretentious or elitist. I just call it a lot of fun. 

And in the case of the 5th Annual Diner en Blanc Okanagan - hot.

Shannon's crew from the McCurdy Corner bus,
set up and ready for the napkin-wave to start the diner.
Diner en Blanc seems to have become the event that people love to hate.

You know what? You don't have to go. No one is forcing you to take part. So if you don't like the theme, the idea, the 'rules' (oh, the whining about the rules), then don't register.

Those who do attend, for the most part, are those who love a theme event, and have a great time.

Post meal visiting, as the dancing is about to start.
Yes, you bring your own picnic (but boy, is that open to interpretation!) and table and chairs. 

I've seen more hoopla over a trip to the beach with cranky relatives.

This was good-natured, everyone (mostly) knowing what was expected, and the venue was pretty nice: Quail's Gate Winery, in the vineyard overlooking Okanagan Lake.

I was a little worried earlier in the afternoon. While driving through Lake Country on my way to Kelowna, the little thermometer in my car registered 41C. A bit hot. 

When we arrived at the vineyard, people were melting in the heat. I thought there might be some heat exhaustion emergencies, but then oh then blessed relief came from a light cloud cover.

There were entertainers, a photo booth, free gelato, and music.

Many people came with groups of friends, but it doesn't take long to make new friends at an event such as this.

Some of the outfits were stunning, and the white dress code was no constraint to imagination and style.

The accessories were wonderful, and everyone was lovely in their own unique way.

There were a few faux pas, such as forgetting one's table ... 

... and some great innovations such as made-on-the-spot creme brule.

The table centerpieces that people brought were amazing (did I mention that everything is brought and taken back by the participants? Nothing but the DJ and wine service is onsite.).

Some people had an interesting style!

Would I do it again?


Of course.

Why not?

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Oh Summertime

I think summer has finally decided to visit the Southern Interior.

Vernon weather forecast for this week.

Kelowna weather forecast for this week.

I'm going to the Diner en Blanc in Kelowna on the 6th. Don't think I'll need a brolly.
Perhaps some sunscreen, though!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Beautiful, Entertaining and Just Fun

It's been a cool, rainy day - the kind of day when one is tempted to troll through the internet.

I was looking at what TED had to offer, and the short video linked below was one of the 2017 TED film festival shorts. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Wouldn't it have been grand to be one of the passersby who saw these performers 'in their natural environment'?

I'm hoping this video link worked; if not, go here.

Reminds me of a scene from 'Northern Exposure' (how I loved that show) when Chris and Ed teach Ed's sandhill crane how to do the cranes' mating dance: "Dance with abandon." is Chris's instructions.

Dance with abandon indeed.

Live like there's no tomorrow. Love like your heart will never be broken. Dance like no one is looking.

Travellers and Stellar Advertising

Summer has finally decided to visit us and the heat is much welcomed. Those getting hay crops off the fields and those growing silage corn will be especially pleased. (You can take the kid off the farm but you can't take the farm out of the kid!)

And of course, summer brings visitors to the Southern Interior. It's been quite busy for us lately, with guests from Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany, Illinois, Thailand, England and China. July will be just as busy, so I've blocked off the calendar for the first week of August, just to have a breather.

We did have a special visitor last week. Friend Steve is on his way home to the north country, after 17 months on the road and over 75,000 km travelled. He's gone all the way to Ushuaia, the furthest south you can drive to in the world, at the tip of South America, and criss-crossed South and Central America, Mexico, some of the islands and the USA.

Almost home - first stop back in Canada.
The riding jacket and pants were black 17 months ago,
now a bit weathered and faded!

It was nice spending time, hearing about his travels and experiences.  As he has been a faithful correspondent with friends and family throughout his journey, I found it more interesting talking to him about what impact the trip has had on him emotionally and spiritually. He summed it up when he said, "I am now comfortable in my own skin, for perhaps the first time in my life."  And the humorous observation that was both literal and metaphorical: "I've been lost for a year and a half!"

And off again.

All the rain of the past few months has made the area lush with growth. Now, of course, I'm constantly watering the yard to keep it from burning up, but it's still looking pretty nice.

Jing and her husband are from China, visiting their daughter who is studying in Vancouver. They really enjoyed being outside in the front yard, basking in the morning sunshine, so I told them to take their breakfast out there ... and they did. Apparently they live in some enormous city in China (they're back tonight, returning from a few days in Banff) so I'll find out exactly where on the wall map) so being out in the fresh air of our mountains is quite a change.

I've included this for no other reason than I saw it while flipping through news sites this morning. With a long former career in advertising, I'm drawn to good ads, and this one is stellar on many fronts. If you're attuned to the current political scene in the USA, you'll get it.

Currently reading "Whirlwind" by James Clavell and "The Red Queen" by Margaret Drabble.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

2017 Falkland Stampede

The 99th annual Falkland Stampede was held May 20-22. Yes, it was a few weeks ago, but it's only been a few hours since I've been able to see the top of my desk again, so bear with me.

Now that I've had time to go through my photos, let me share a few with you. These have a unique angle because I'm up in a room beside the announcer's booth, above the arena. And not all the events are represented because I can only take photos when I'm not working ... which is why I'm there in the first place, as rodeo cashier.

The weather was perfect. The crowds were great. The volunteers are mostly rested and recovered. Here's a little bit of what happened in the arena.

The Falkland Stampede is a three day professional rodeo.
Some of the competitors you'll see competing here - and even some of the animals -
 will also be in the Canadian Finals Rodeo, the National Finals Rodeo and
the Calgary Stampede.

The action is fast and furious.
And lest you feel sorry for the animals, remember that most of them
work less hours in a year than regular ranch horses do in a month.

... and oftentimes, the rider doesn't win the contest. 

Calf ropers waiting for their turn.

... and watching how the other guys are doing. 

The stands were full to capacity on Sunday. Great crowd.

Trick riders entertained each day during intermission.

And then came the calf scramble, where sheer numbers of kids
finally win against the long legs of the "magpie" calves.

Three dairy calves have ribbons tied to their tails, and the kids
try to grab the ribbons for prizes and glory!

"It's all good!" says event co-organizer Stacey.

Bull riding is the last event each day of every rodeo.
It's the main event for many folks.

Again I say, if you were ever to feel sorry for the bull,
check his size against the kid on his back.

These bulls are serious athletes, and they generally win.

The longhorn blood in this fellow adds to his spunk.

The kid is giving it his best ...

... but he's down ...

... and that bull wants to eat him up.
The bullfighter coming up on the left keeps that from happening.

It's not all rough-and-tumble.
Early Monday morning, the heavy horses come into the arena to compete.

They work hard and are lovely to watch.
Most of these teams are working teams, on ranches or in hand-logging operations.

It's sometimes hard to figure out how these cowboys stick to the horses.

Makes for very dramatic photos!

Especially when they explode out of  the chute.

Rodeo manager Jason Churchill with this year's Life Membership honorees:
CPRA rodeo secretary Marion Pippolo (my hero), and local long-time
volunteers Gayle Carson and Dari Churchill.

Time to go home. See y'all next year!

Next year is the 100th rodeo. Not bad for a place with less than 1000 people.