Sunday, December 31, 2006

Saturday, December 30, 2006

TURKEY SOUP


Today I brought the frozen mush of simmered turkey bones and leftovers in from outside on the front porch.
It was frozen solid and I had to thaw it over the kitchen stove in order to separate the stock.
Now it's back out in the cold on the deck to gel to separate the fat from the stock.
I've made a two-step process into a more complicated three-step operation simply because I had to go skiing the other day!
This evening, after I skim off the top layer of fat, I'll add the vegetables and seasonings to complete the soup.

Over the Holidays we took my sister, Lesley, on an adventure from the bottom of the mountain up the three lifts to the Summit Hut for hot chocolate.
After warming up, we then skied back down the mountain to the base lodge for a total of approximately 7,600 vertical feet round trip.
Way to go, Girl - rubber legs and all!

Christmas Day was fun with the kids waking us up at 7:00 a.m., then rushing upstairs to see what Santa had left.
To their delight, there were more gifts than would fit under our little decorated tree.
We had such a great time watching them unwrap the gifts accompanied by exclamations of oohs and ahhs.
I stuffed the twenty-pound turkey and put it in the oven at 11:00 a.m. to let it roast slowly until done.
Dinner was delicious (if I do say so myself) and everyone ate until stuffed - of course!

The kids have spent quite some time, as well, down at the beach skating on the frozen lake.
It's only a two-block walk to the lakeshore and an industrious soul was out there keeping the ice clear with a snow blade on his ATV - I don't know who was having more fun, he or the kids!

There are only two more days of the year 2006.
It has been an eventful year and a bit of a rollercoaster ride from my perspective.

I am hoping that 2007 will be a good one for my loved ones and friends and I wish everyone a year of prosperity - but most of all a year of happiness and contentment!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Friday, December 22, 2006


Merry Christmas
and
Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas Rush


Like most people out there, I am doing a bit of last minute running about looking for "that ideal gift for that special person"... and hoping I have enough money to do it.

We have had to tighten our belts this year, so the season will not be as extravagant as past ones.
But who says we have to have lots of things?
I really believe that spending time with family and doing the things that make us happy are what it's all about.
It's not the receiving, nor is it the giving - it's the simply being there and sharing.

I am looking forward to our holidays!
This evening Bobby and Jenny have their school Christmas concert at the town hall which we shall be attending, of course.
Tomorrow evening is George's Christmas party at the shop - always good for some (crazy) fun and laughter.
On Friday evening we are looking forward to my sister Lesley's arrival from Toronto, as she will be spending a few days with us.
On Saturday no skiing... WHAT?
We will be preparing for our annual neighbourhood cocktail party to be held during "happy hour" on Saturday evening.
On the day of Christmas Eve we WILL be going skiing...
Then the next day is the Big One for the kids - large and small!

So, if I don't get back to post another line...

I wish all my special blogging buddies a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

* Photo: Sunset over the Purcell Range - December 16, 2006.

Friday, December 15, 2006

"Why?"... you ask

It's the controlled reckless abandon!

The scent of cold, snow and pine.

The feel of the wind on my face and the sound of it whistling by my ears.

To float effortlessly (well, mostly) over the snow.

The adrenaline.


The breathlessness and the laughter.

The challenge to myself through every new turn.

To conquer the mountain!

...and then do it all over again.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Woo Hoo !





Day One!

The real View of 1000 Peaks...

You better you better you bet!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Never Never Land

1. I will never be able to lick my elbow... and not for lack of trying.

2. I will never give up drinking wine... it is such a nice smooth drink. I can sip lightly upon a glass in a social setting or simply at home while I am making dinner.

3. I will never miss a ski season on purpose... I will beg or borrow, but a season will not go by without me gracing the slopes!

4. I will never take illicit/recreational drugs... I have experimented in my youth, but my lifestyle has no room nor time for that. I also have to set an example for my children - how could I tell them to not do drugs as I puff on a reefer or snort a line?

5. I will never cut my hair short... I look too much like a boy. I think my hair looks better longer and I can do more with it when it has length.

6. I will never eat liver... I could never figure out how my Mum could go to a restaurant and order liver and onions - when at a restaurant I order something I really like.

7. I will never leave the mountains... they are such a part of me that it would be like ripping out a vital organ. I belong here.

8. I will never leave my toenails unpainted... my finger nails are not the sort to grow and varnish, so I leave it up to my toes.

9. I will never be without a vehicle... the rural area where I live has no public transit and the one taxi service is undependable. Having a vehicle is vital to our survival.

10. I will never stop loving and learning how to live life and doing it all to the fullest... take it from there.

11. I will ALWAYS love my children more than life itself!


* Never say never...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Pooped

I woke up at 3:00 a.m.
I got up at 4:00 a.m.
I did books until 7:00 a.m.
I got the kids off to school.
I worked all day.
We drove up to the ski hill after work and school.
We got our photos taken and our ski passes secured.
We stopped in the pub for a beer and snacks.
I drove back down the mountain.
On the way we picked up a ski hill employee - fresh from Sydney, Australia - on his way home.
We also dodged two vehicles in the ditch and another couple of vehicles stopped to look after an injured deer in different ditch.
We picked up pizza on our way through town.
I am now home, cosy in front of the fire, full of pizza and an ice cold glass of milk.
I'm ready for bed...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

SIX !


This is right there and right now at the top of the second chairlift at the ski hill!

It looks as though there's a bit of an inversion.
That's where the cloud sits low over the valley, but it's clear at higher altitudes - and often warmer.
As I am in the valley right now, it is cloudy with a few snow flakes floating down.
It's hard to imagine it's bright sunlight at the summit!

After work yesterday I went for tea at our local coffee shop/health food store.
(The shop is owned by a local girl who is now in a wheelchair following a tragic mountain biking accident just over a year ago - see my post "Spring and Infinity".)
As we sat there while sipping upon our hot beverages, our eyes focused upwards towards the peaks and all talk turned towards skiing.

There is most definitely a certain excitement in the air!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

F**G



Oh stop complaining, Dale.

LOOK AROUND - and LIVE HERE... :)

Snowed In, Sinking Temperatures and Sick Kids


It has snowed six inches - that is good!
The temperature has dropped to minus twenty-seven - not so good.
We have three sick kids - not good at all...

The weather has been very wintery and has brought us all into the spirit of the season reather early and we have our outside Christmas lights up. They look lovely against their backdrop of snow.

I had to plug my van in the other morning to help it start in the bitter cold and the snow is squeaky beneath our boots.


Beth, Bobby and Jenny are all suffering from fever, sore throats and terrible coughs and I am keeping them home from school.

It has been very busy at work, as well.

As you can see, the above photo shows many snowboarders out on the hill before the season has officially opened at Panorama.
These brave souls have spent more time boot-packing it up the slope to slide back down in a fraction of that time.

It sure is good to see all that snow... and it's puking snow as I write this!

ONLY EIGHT MORE DAYS !

Sunday, November 26, 2006

TWELVE !



Very First Fresh Tracks - the perks of being a patroller!
View of 1000 Peaks.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006.

There's over 75cm of snow at Panorama's summit!

Another 9cm fell through Wednesday night and there's more in the forecast.


This is just below the summit of the ski run for which I named my blog.
It's snowing right now in the valley, too!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Who is that?

I was watching CSI (Vegas) the other night and there was this goofy-looking fellow singing karaoke in one of the casinos...

I was watching him and commented to George, "He quite reminds me of Roger Daltrey, but it doesn't really look like him..."
Well, apparently is really WAS Roger. He played in the most recent new episode of CSI.

... but of course he would - has anyone seen him acting in past episodes of Highlander?
He's great!

It's funny how I recognised Roger more by his mannerisms than by his looks.

But of course!!

Thirteen

It has been a bit of a rough week...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

This From My Dear Friend Val

Okay, Dale, here's a saga fit for a mountain girl....
well, it's me best shot, but still not a Margie ;-)

There once was a wild one called Dale
Who rambled o’er hillside and vale
But wandering one morning
She heard a loud gnawing
And turned most incredibly pale
Cos there on the hillside up high
A bear was just chewing the thigh
Of the meat she’d left sadly
When the urge got her badly
To strip all her clothes ‘cept a tie
So then did she dig out her skis
From behind the big rocks and the screes
And with blonde hair a-flying
And her tie all untying
She flew through the snow and the trees
But when she got back to her cabin
She realised much to her chagrin
That her Georgie was there
To see her all bare
But not what had got her all quiv’ring

Why do you all insist that I ski naked?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

NOVEMBER and WHY I CAN'T WAIT TILL DECEMBER...




November can be a very dreary month here.

It is the time between when we are not able to do any of the summer and fall activities, yet the ski hill is not open.

We do our best to take advantage of the short days and long nights.

When I get home from work at 3:30 in the afternoon, the sun has already sunk behind the peaks and the chill in the air has become more palpable.
The interior of our house is dim and cool, so I have to split wood in order to light a fire in the woodstove to warm us up.

The magical thing about firewood is that it can heat us more than once - we warm up while bucking it up, again by stacking it, a further sweat is generated while splitting it, with the desired result being a comfortable radiant heat emanating from the fire in the stove.

By the time dinner is ready, it is already completely dark outside.
I know of no better opportunity to take advantage of the shadows than to light a myriad of candles about the room.

Candlelight holds its very own magic, as well.

Another advantage of the lack of daylight is that the kids are more likely to want to put on their pyjamas and get ready for bed.
Lately they have been known to go down to their bedroom with a couple of good books at only 8:00!
They get no argument from us at that time...

It is Grey Cup day and I am torn... I live in British Columbia, but I was born in Montreal.

Both teams are vying for the championship, but I think I'll go for Montreal, because they are my original home team.
I admit I do have trouble watching, because I'm just not into football, plain and simple - nor any other armchair sport.
But I do get a kick out of listening to others watch...

Right now the fire is lit in the stove, the wind is howling outside and the snow is advancing across the lake...

Only nineteen more days until the ski hill opens!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

LURKERS ANONYMOUS - a 12 step program

1. I admit that I am powerless over my addiction.

2. I believe that a blogging power greater than myself will be my salvation.

3. I have decided to turn my will and life over to that blogging power.

4. I have made a moral inventory of myself and realise that I have not done enough posts on my blog site.

5. I admit that I have done blogspot a terrible wrong by not using my site to its fullest potential.

6. I will allow that higher blogging power to remove the above defect in my character.

7. I will humbly ask that blogging power to remove my shortcomings.

8. I have made a list of all of you whom I have harmed, and I will make amends to you all by posting more consistently.

9. I will make direct amends to you all.

10. I will continue to take a personal inventory and admit it when I do not post with consistency.

11. I have sought through prayer and meditation to improve my conscious contact with that higher blogging power.

12. I have had a spiritual awakening as a result of the above steps.

Look out blogging world!

... now excuse me while I remove my tongue from between my teeth and the inside of my left cheek.


TWENTY !

Thursday, November 16, 2006

TWENTY TWO

It's getting closer...

The past few days it has been a mix of wind, rain and snow here in the valley, but the peaks have been getting quite a bit of snow.

Panorama Mountain Village Snow Report:

November 15, 2006, 8:30:19 AM
New Snow (24 hrs)
5cm (2")
New Snow (5 days)
25cm (9.8")
Snow Base (Village)
15cm (5.9")
Snow Base (Mid Mtn)
25cm (9.8")
Snow Base (Summit)
57cm (22.4")
Mountain Forecast
Snowing steadily in the village with much more forecast over the next few days!
Forecast Temp
-3°C (26.6°F)

I will be blogging off for a little while now.

There are some things that need my full attention at the moment, but I hope not to be away too long.

Of course I will remain as a lurker and, if anyone knows me, ready to put my two cents in at any time.

See you soon!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Nine Weird Things... oops ten

1. When I sleep on my side, I always have to have the blankets tucked between my knees - I hate the feeling of my knees touching each other - they're too bony. It does pose a problem in summer when it's too hot to sleep with a blanket...

2. This one is from my husband. He says I run like a bunny - or a deer. Every few steps I have to take a leap into the air. That poses a problem when I play baseball, but I don't play any more, so it's a moot point...

3. No matter where I go, I have to have my lipsyl with me - I hate having dry lips. That only poses a problem when I don't have it with me...

4. Whenever I'm wearing socks and shoes, I have to wear my thick woolly thermal socks and I wear sheepskin lined winter riding boots all year round. That poses a problem only to others who think I'm weird...

5. I have to have my bedroom window open at night all year round, no matter how cold it gets - keeping in mind we have no heat in our bedroom. It does pose a problem when the window ices up over night and I can't close it in the morning...

6. When I'm at home I hate wearing clothes - I've learned to compromise by wearing a little summer dress over nothing. It poses a problem in winter when I have to go outside and split firewood or make a quick trip to the store...

7. I have been known frequent our local little store wearing only long underwear under a dress, and bare feet in my Sorels during winter...

8. No matter what, I have to drink wine from a wine glass - I simply cannot drink it from a tumbler nor any other vessel - although I have been known to toss it straight back from the bottle. It only poses a problem after spring skiing at the tailgate party...

9. I think Angus Young is hot. That poses a problem because he lives in Australia...

10. I don't think I'm weird at all...

NOVEMBER

The time between

When our world

Lies back

And heaves a great sigh

Preparing

To ease beneath

Its icy blanket of snow

For the season

Friday, November 10, 2006

MY FAVOURITE POEM

IN FLANDERS FIELDS

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead.
Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

- John McCrae

Thursday, November 09, 2006

It Can Happen In An Instant

One never really knows, do they?

We can be laughing and joking one minute, then in a blink it can be gone.

Our closely-knit community is reeling in a state of shock and is in mourning after learning about the tragic events of last evening.
Two teenage girls, one of them a friend and classmate of Beth's and the other from a town north of here, were on their way home from Calgary in their SUV when they were involved in a fatal accident - both girls were pronounced dead at the scene.

It happened on a stretch of highway through Kootenay National Park on a snowy and treacherous descent from Storm Mountain about and hour and a half from here. The young driver of the SUV lost control of the vehicle on the ice whereupon it crossed the centre line into an oncoming fully-loaded mine truck. According to the semi driver, it happened so fast that there was no time to react. He is in hospital at present recovering from non life-threatening injuries.
Ironically, the truck driver is also a local man.

Beth's friend leaves behind her Mum and Dad, one older and three younger sisters, a young niece, more extended family and many friends.
The high school has been let out so the children may go and spend precious time with family and to have a chance to think and somehow come to grips with this tragedy.

Beth is devastated - as are we.

Please God, accept my prayers for Carley, her family and for her friends.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

THIRTY TWO

Even after an night of pouring rain, there is still snow at the ski hill...

Our poor jack-o-lanterns wilted in the wet weather.
They began as proud creations - glowing eerily on Halloween - but ended up as flat, soggy, sorry-looking piles of mush!

It was sunny and warm down in the valley today - even the bugs came out to enjoy the last of the good weather.


* Photo courtesy of Panorama's Champaign Chair webcam - at present.

Friday, November 03, 2006


THIRTY FOUR !

It snowed yesterday afternoon and last night!

The weather has been cold enough that the snowmaking at the hill has been going full-bore for a couple of weeks now.

Although it warmed up over the night, it is still minus 5 degrees C, therefore it remains cold enough to keep the snow!

Imagine that - me wanting it to stay cold!

Am I mad?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

NO MORE WINING...


I am now officially in training for the ski season.

Firstly, I am cutting out all alcohol - that means my lovely evening glass of wine.
Secondly, I will be doing my stretches on a daily basis.
Thirdly, my abdominal exercises are a must.
Fourthly, I am going to begin a running routine... oh help!
Fifthly, there will be more fruit and vegetables included in my diet.
Sixthly, I am going to curb my carbohydrate and protein intake.
Seventhly, I am going to go to bed earlier at night and get up earlier in the morning.
Eighthly, I will remember to practice "everything in moderation, including moderation itself..."

So I have only THIRTY-SIX DAYS in which to practice my new lifestyle!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Sunday, October 29, 2006

FORTY


This is where I like to be...

Soaking in a hot tub with the mountains as a backdrop.

In this case, Cascade Mountain, Banff, Alberta.



* Photo courtesy of Rocky Mountain Vacations.

Saturday, October 28, 2006



NOW ONLY FORTY-ONE AND A HALF DAYS TILL THE SKI HILL OPENS...

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Forty-eight...


This is a view of Mount Rundle taken from Centennial Park in downtown Banff.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

WELL, HERE GOES...




The countdown begins...


Fifty more days!



.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006



If nothing else...



I Can Dream...







.

Monday, October 16, 2006


The second installment of my Who Concert post will be up soon.

I've been too busy falling off my mountain bike...


*That's not really me in the photo - I nicked it off the Web.

Friday, October 13, 2006

FRONT ROW - CENTRE STAGE...



Well... second row centre stage, to be honest...



The Who were magnificent!




We rose early in the morning on Thursday 5th October 2006.

It was a beautiful clear day in the Rockies and there was a feeling of anticipation in the air.
The two little ones had their breakfasts and we saw them off to school.
I had made arrangements for a friend to pick them up after school and take them to where they were staying overnight.
Bobby and Jenny were looking forward to staying at Adriana's for the evening, as she was their babysitter for many years and the closest thing to a Grandma where we live.
But don't tell Adriana I said that...

Beth had the day off school and George and I both went into work until noon.
Once I was done work and had been seen off by my colleagues - they all know of my crazy passion for The Who - I sped home to finish packing and prepare to leave.
It's a three hour drive to the city through some of the most beautiful country in the world.

...tall granite snow-capped peaks with shoulders draped in evergreen velvet.
...verdant valleys with ribbons of vermillion foaming softly amid their folds.
...vast cobalt skies.

I consider myself ever so fortunate to have the opportunity to describe my backyard in those words!

We arrived in Calgary in time to face the rush hour traffic, but face it we did, as the flow was traveling in the opposite direction.
We arrived at our friends' house in time to put my make-up on (Gypsy) and have a sweet glass of wine (Anne-Marie).
I even bought myself a new sequined pair of jeans - seat intact - and a black rib knit sweater to wear to the show... just for Pete, of course.

Due to a series of unfortunate events, I had been unable to purchase tickets in the beginning, but we were very lucky indeed.
We have some friends with strong connections to Pengrowth Saddledome and it was no time at all before I was informed that we could pick up some tickets with our name on them at the main wicket.
I was nervous because I had no idea where our seats would be...
Imagine our surprise when we saw that our tickets had FLOOR - ROW 2 - SEATS 21/22 printed upon them. I was completely floored...

My hands were shaking and, even though my short little legs usually have a difficult time keeping up with George's longer appendages, I leaped ahead of him, nearly getting myself run over by a truck!
My enthusiasm unthwarted, I bounded on.

We purchased a couple of handfuls of beer and made our way through the crowds and descended down and down and down the long steps to the FLOOR.
At the entrance to the FLOOR we obtained our make-us-feel-important wristbands and pushed on toward the stage.
As we neared ROW 2 there was another security point where we proudly showed our wrist bands and ticket with FLOOR printed upon them.
I was feeling rather cocky by then.

Seats 21 and 22 were right smack-dab in front of Zak's drum kit!

I could hardly contain myself, but managed to enjoy the opening act - a very good young three-piece band from Winnipeg, with strong AC/DC and Who influences.
The lead singer was so proud to be opening for his heroes!
...I felt his pride.

The next thing I knew, there was my favourite sound man, Bob Pridden, and his staff running about testing this and testing that, tuning this and tuning that.
I just about died when he picked up Pete's red Strat and let a blast at it!

Then there they were! We stood up and cheered, yelled, sang and whistled!

Pete was at stage left and Roger at stage right - of course.
...we were at stage centre, looking right up their trouser legs!

Pino was tall and stoic behind Roger, holding it together with his powerful bass - he has some big shoes to fill and fill them well, he did!

Zak was tight and not a bit unlike Moon - but of course!
Keith was his childhood hero and close friend to his father, Ringo Starr - I smile to see things go full circle like that...

Simon was, well, Simon!
His trademark cap and tight nylon jacket making him a familiar sight for me.
His rhythm helping to lift and carry The Who through the evening.

Rabbit was having fun on keyboards and I have always had a soft spot for him.
He laughed and played through the entire concert.

After being in such close touch through Rachel and In The Attic it was like being with old friends!
I felt I was with family.
I wonder if anyone else in the audience felt the same... I'm sure on some level.

It was amazing to be able to see The Boys right there - singing to and for us!

... and Pete still has the most amazing Pete's Eyes!



End of installment number one.

* I nicked the photos of Chicago from Pete's site, as I have no pics of Calgary yet.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!



Thanksgiving is one of my favourite holidays.
I believe that the fact it occurs in the autumn might have something to do with it - my favourite season.




The leaves are quickly changing to glorious shades of copper and gold.
The mountains are sprinkled with yellow upon green velvet and set in contrast against the brilliant cobalt sky.
The rolling meadows have softened to hues of tawny amber.
The air is crisp and clear with a hint of frost drifting down from the pearly glaciers, as they lay waiting - massive and patient - between the stark granite peaks.

In the evening, the harvest moon looms large above the jagged alpine horizon and, while sailing higher into the indigo evening sky, it lends a sharp silver tracing to the shadows of the landscape.




Our home is cosy with the warm scent of baking pies mingled with burning firewood from the stove.
The sun is shining through the windows, adding to the brilliance of the morning.
The cat basks and grooms himself contentedly in a patch of warmth spread upon the kitchen floor.
The guinea pig alternates between sleeping and crunching upon her lettuce and fresh vegetables.

Tomorrow's turkey sits in the refridgerator, waiting to be stuffed and cooked for Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings - pototoes, sweet yams, garden fresh peas and carrots with tasty pumpkin and apple pies to follow...

Shall I go on?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Wooo Hooo !


We're goin' to see The Who!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Salmon Run or Why I Love Fall


I have never been able to explain my love of autumn.

Yesterday morning, while having my coffee on the deck, I watched the sunrise touch the peaks with gold as the light crept down the slopes across the lake.
The mountains are now rimmed with the flaming colour of the larch trees as they prepare to shed their needles for winter's hibernation.
I can hear the honking of the geese as they wing their way north... they will fly north in the fall when searching for food while on their journey south.
The leaves are piling up in the yard and I can now see all the way to the road.
I've been busy in the kitchen stocking, storing, making preserves, spaghetti sauce and baking pumpkin pies.

The true sign of fall in my neighbourhood is when the Kokanee salmon begin their run upstream to their spawning grounds.
Our creek is directly across the road and, if we had a larger property, it could be considered as running through our front yard...
I spent quite a while this afternoon sitting on the creek bank watching those amazing fish struggle doggedly against the current, driven entirely by instinct.
Their skin has turned a bright red and their lower jaws have grown outwards and upwards in the typical way of a spawning salmon.
Kokanee are a fresh water fish, so they never make it as far as the ocean after hatching, preferring large lakes in which to live out their four year life cycle.

We are being visited by different kinds of birds as they pass through on their way south and their unique calls are carried upon the tangy autumn breezes.
Bear sightings are more common now, as they hurriedly search for sustenance to bring them through hibernation.
The deer are beginning to congregate, although only the does and fawns are prevalent - it is hunting season and the bucks know to remain hidden at this time of year.

Now that I think of it, I may just have explained my love of autumn!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

CURVES

"When something seems to change in the world... it is really you that is changing."

DEEPAK CHOPRA


"Cos I'm praying, holding on to, a lifeline and a vision of you..."

RACHEL FULLER

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Please pass the potatoes...



Some of you were wondering what a potato gun is.

Before I go any further into my explanation, I would like it to be known that this instrument belongs firmly within the realms of the male psyche. It is one of many bonding rituals between men that occur around the world - another example being the ceremonial Australian barbeque circle of which Margie has spoken.

I believe the making of any particular potato gun begins with a touch of boredom on the men's part. While we women are busy with the housework, the cooking and the caring for the children, the boys are looking for something to do...

Hence, they seek out a long piece of PVC tubing, an assortment of plastic items that resemble bathroom plumbing and, of course, the all-important striker. It also involves a fair amount of drilling holes, gluing, taping and fitting all the above pieces together into something that resembles, well... a piece of bathroom plumbing. Once the gun has been assembled, it is the women's turn to be invloved when their male counterparts come searching for hair spray - the kind that has the distinct warning... keep away from open flame.

The firing instructions are as follows - place the potato over the end of the barrel and beat on it until the barrel has cut a hole through the vegetable. Use a broom handle, dowel or curtain rod to ram the spud plug down into the barrel. Go to a safe place - away from small children and pets. Spray one to two second's worth of hair spray into the open clean-out end of the chamber. Quickly screw the cap on the clean-out, aim high and give the striker a flick. Immediately a sound akin to a small sonic boom will follow, with one good-sized potato taking flight in the direction the gun is pointed.

As with most male bonding customs, it is quite simple...

* Many thanks to the Jersey Coast Sports Fliers page for the photo and to Steve's Potato Gun Page for the firing directions.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

You know you live in bear country when...



...your kids come home from school with bear alert notices.

In the late summer/early fall the bears are hungry and fattening themselves up to prepare for the long winter hibernation.
They feast on the ripe wild chokecherries, saskatoon and huckleberries and raid the local apple, pear, cherry and plum trees.
Residents are forced to lock down their garbage to prevent marauding bears from rooting through the refuse.

Bear sightings in the autumn are frequent.
The most common are the smaller black bears that flourish in the valley.
Grizzly bears prefer the high country and sightings are less common, but they will travel to lower elevations to find food at this time of year.
A black bear would rather run when encounted by a human, but a grizzly would not hesitate to attack in order to protect its territory and its young.

Last Friday evening, while on our bike ride, we encountered bear signs, such as scat (poo) and hair, along the trail.
I also heard a bear's distict woof from across the gully as we rode along the ridge, and we made certain that we caused as much noise as possible so not to surprise any dangerous wildlife along the way.


I have discovered that singing and mountain biking can be a challenge, especially when pedaling up a long, steep grade...

At the same time, my husband found himself stranded at the post golf tournament party when his ride left him there.
He decided to walk the seven or eight miles home, but had to do a bit of bushwacking in order to reach the highway.


Along the way he met a black bear...

"Yikes, a bear!", thought he.
"Yikes, a drunk golfer!", thought the bear.

The bear crashed off into the bush in one direction and my husband fled in the opposite, ripping the seat from his pants while leaping a barbed wire fence and skidding down the hill, before reaching the edge of the road.
Luckily enough, a kind motorist gave him a ride home the rest of the way.

This is a fine example of some of the challenges we encounter here in the mountains...

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Summer ? and Mountain Biking


This is the view from our back porch this morning.
It began raining during the night on Wednesday and the temperature dropped to five degrees C down here in the valley.
Apparently it is even colder at higher elevations...

On Monday I wore a summer dress and sandals to work - in my air conditioned office.
Last evening I went mountain biking wearing long biking pants, a fleece sweater, followed by a sleeveless vest and a heavy duty windbreaker over that.

My bike rides have been few and far between this year - life has a tendency of getting in the way.
A couple of years ago there was a group of us who used to meet every Friday evening for what else - the Friday Night Ride.
This week we decided to gather a few souls together for a ride, but in the end there was only a group of two that tackled the wet, slippery trails.
My husband opted to golf in a tournament instead, another couple were out of town, and others had prior committments.
So it was down to me and another buddy to hold to the Friday tradition.

We almost decided against riding because of the rain, but we were already at the trailhead and pushed on despite the wet.
It was great to be on the trails again - I've missed it.
After the ride we drank our requisite glacier fresh Kokanee then headed back into town for the best pizza our world has to offer.
The evening was topped off by a warm, soothing soak in the hot tub.

I cannot think of a better way to end the week and begin the weekend.


Unless it's skiing...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Oi Val



I wanna be either old or young (not 60)
Don't like where I've ended up or where I begun (not really)
I always feel I must get things in the can...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I Am Famous !

I will now let the cat out of the bag - I am famous.

The paparazzi came banging on my door last week with cameras flashing.

Well, one reporter from our local newspaper came with her dog...

Somehow word got out that I had done a sketch of Pete Townshend and sent it to him for his sixtieth birthday. That is true.

Apparently it got blown completely out of proportion and it was later rumoured that Pete was my real father. Not true - I borrowed that from Neil.

What did get rumoured was that I have a blog site and have been known to rub shoulders with such celebrities as Rachel Fuller and Pete Townshend, Gypsy Noir, VallyP, Koos F, Anne-Marie, Neilbymouth, Mary Beth, Lannio, Delbut, Metal Chick, Greek Zoe, MargieCM, Bex, PTfan, Marietta, numerous family pets and Angus Young...

You see, I live in a very small town and news is often hard to come by. Hence the article about me and my shoulder rubs.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to finish eating my bowl of chicken skin.

...we famous people can do eccentric things like that.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006







The
long
and
the
short
of
it...


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Have I Lost My Mind?

I just did a survey to find out how open minded I am...

Ha Ha Ha!

The results are as follows:

"You are so open minded that your brain has fallen out..."

ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER !




I've added theses pics of Jenny and her "baby" scarecrow.

She made it (and 2 others) for our annual Fall Fair and Scarecrow Festival that was held yesterday.

These are the first photos I've posted from my new digital camera!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Phases of Our Moon...

Waxing Moon...




Full Moon...



Waning Moon...


Dark of The Moon...