Thursday, September 28, 2006

Pickin' & strippin' basil....musings....

So I found out today that pulling up basil (or pickin' it) and stripping the leaves off the plants is a process that provides a good deal of time for musing...reflection...or whatever!!
  • I have this pain in my pinny (as my mother used to say) and I've learned that it usually means that I'm stressed over something. So...I think tonight, I will carefully go over the landscape that is my life and try to figure out what the problem is. In the meantime.... I drink water....lots of it!!
  • The neighbours have their back door open and their voices are carrying over to our yard. This is a new experience for me as our previous house was on 3/4 acre and we either didn't hear our neighbours or weren't around when they spoke loudly enough for us to hear. In any case, I can't really hear what's being said apart from the fact that the father seems to be on the phone a lot (I keep hearing him say things like "See ya Monday" "Is that all good then, See ya later" etc, etc, etc, ). The dog keeps wanting out and then when they let him out he turns around and wants back in again, so the screen door is opened by an unseen hand and he's back in again....and then it happens all over again.
  • We have these unusual little bugs that have arrived on our deck....they fly, and they're red, and they crawl....sometimes on my foot!! We have a container on the deck that we use for water for the dog and cats and it has become unwittingly a receptacle for bugs who have "drownded"....I try to deter the animals from drinking before I can empty it, but my mate says...."Ah, don't worry...just more meat" Eeeewwwww!!
  • My fingers are greeny brown and smell deliciously of basil....
  • Why does our patio table get a coating of something dirty on it that you can't see unless you feel it and/or wipe it? Where does it come it something to do with the mill that spews that atrocious odour which we get if the wind is blowing the wrong way? Is this something that we are breathing?? Scary......
  • Nice new computer....reeeeally reeeeally fast....keyboard doesn't stick and we finally figured out (with nephew's help) that our optical mouse skips because it needs a texture surface, not a smooth mousepad surface. I guess that's why my laptop one worked really well when I was blogging in the car in Osoyoos and using it on my leg!!!
  • Lady on t'other side of us has emptied her swimming pool. It's quite a least we think it is...we watched surreptitiously and intermittently (from our bathroom window) as she cleaned the pool with that long pole thingie and then she fiddled with the pump and then she covered the pool with the winter tarp....and put the weights around the edge. So, over the past few days we have watched the water level descend slowly and I expect if I looked now or tommorrow it will be empty. My question is....where does it go....does it go so slowly that it doesn't affect the city's sewer system? In any case, when her pool is empty, you just KNOW that summer is over, even if the temperature is 27 deg. outside.
  • I have started practicing again.....concert at the end of the month. It wasn't as horrible as I had imagined...I expect that the interim practice sessions that I had during the summer kept the embouchure from totally withering!!
  • Going to the coast and staying at J Little Bro's place on Friday and Saturday nights. We are heading to Victoria for the day on Saturday for a 75th birthday celebration. Yes, Travelling Offspring...we will say hi to Victoria for you!! Chauncey's in the kennel to catch up with little friends during our stay. They say that dogs don't have any sense of time and that when we return to pick him up, he doesn't really realize how long we've been gone. It's nice to believe that...cuts down on the guilt a little.
  • So, one thing about the new mate has been able to install his Age of Empires III. My question.....when will the novelty wear off??
OK, my musings are scattered and somewhat disjointed....but then that's the condition of my mind. I have basil left in the garden (purple variety, which is hardier) so I expect at a future date more things will be contemplated, blogged or not . Now it's time to go up and try to grind up the leaves that I have so studiously picked and sorted, add the oil and put in the freezer for winter pesto..


Saturday, September 23, 2006

As requested......PLATZ!!

  • The recipe isn't the original one that I got from Country Woman that was sent in by a lady in Yarrow, BC (I lost that in the move!).....however, it is virtually identical and I have cut and pasted it as posted by a lady from UVIC.
  • I apologize for the metrics...although I know that those of you MUCH younger than me will have no problems with that....I did...... so... I'll let you figure out the equivalents!!
  • She does give you full rein on the fruit you can use.....I have used blueberries, blackberries, plums, apricots, apples, peaches and actually mixed several types of fruit, sometimes blueberries fill in the gaps between the big fruit quite nicely.
  • It fits into a jellyroll pan and when cut into sections freezes great. Travelling offspring and J little bro used to eat it for breakfast do I. I presently have a peach platz in the fridge AND freezer.
  • You can double the quantity of topping to totally cover the fruit or you can use it sparingly...whichever takes your fancy. I have never grilled the top....but I think that's "taste" thing....whatever suits you.
Fruit Platz


125 mL butter or margarine
125 mL sugar
2 eggs
5 mL vanilla
500 mL flour
10 mL baking powder
180 mL milk
1 L fruit (sour cherries or apricots are recommended)

The batter should be thick but not really pourable.


250 mL flour
250 mL sugar
125 mL butter or margarine

- Spread the batter on a baking sheet (about 1 cm thick)
- lay the fruit on the batter
- top with the topping
- bake at 175 C for 30 minutes.
You might want to grill the top a bit (carefully).
- I recommend sour cherries, apricots or plums for the
filling. Apple would also work well. Try any fruit
you like! Apparently the South American Mennonites use
bananas or other tropical fruit.
- Using canned apricots will not give you a good result.
I freeze a bunch in July and ration them all winter.
Home canned, fresh or frozen sour cherries work really


...and feel free to ask questions!!


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

New computer...old exhaustion!!

So...we're getting this awesome new computer tomorrow. Built to order it is... with a 19 inch LCD monitor and other cool up to date thingies (as you can see, I'm really computer-literate!! :-0)).
Anyways....we've known that it was coming as of last I've really had a week to sort through and eliminate over 5 years of CRAP!!

We decided to have the computer guy transfer over our data from old to new....but still I felt I should back everything up and/or delete "just in case" and to "make things easier" It was an exhausting process.
King D..... I don't know how you can sit at the computer for so long without collapsing.....I guess it's about're younger and able to absorb all the data and info and spend time looking through things and figuring out if you can do this or that....but at my age....I think I need to do it in 15 minutes segments with 2 hours rest in between!!

I finally got smart this morning and phoned the computer store and asked what exactly they would be transferring over from our old hard drive. Well....let me see....all My Documents....emails....bookmarks....address books....and they will install my email program and browser for me..(you see I don't go with the flow...I use Mozilla for both), and anything else that they think should be transferred except installed programs..... so I breathed a sigh of relief.

Then my mate said....."Well...if you're doing it anyways...wouldn't it be a good idea to just "clean up" the email and stuff ??" This was after burning umpteen CD's of pictures in the High Mat format (which took FOREVER!!) I did some more email.....then said "That's it...I'm done. I have faith that they will transfer all safely...and if they don't....tough toenails!!"

So...we bought a cheap Zellers bookcase for all the odds and sods paper and stuff and we re-styled the computer desk (took the hutch off) and now we have a bright new computer room just waiting for the new stuff!!

And where do I go when I'm finished....???

.........downstairs to write my blog!!

Ahhhhh.....but this is FUN!!


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sleepless in Kamloops........again.......

It is yet again one of those nights where I lie awake with my mind going full speed ahead, while my body is saying ...."puleeeze.....let me rest!!!"

So I come downstairs, and putter on my laptop, play FreeCell......and come up with a blog...of sorts.

As I sit here, I always think I hear weird noises upstairs.....but it's usually the cats calling each other.....House noises seem to be amplfied when I'm on the lower level....not sure why that is....probably something to do with furnace noises. The house speaks through the furnace...I'm totally sure of it!! Definitely a language all it's own though!!

I am sure when I go back upstairs and look out the front window, a glow will be starting behind the mountains down the valley, reflecting the sunlight to come. It's now 3:53am

I don't have much else to say, except that life continues to be good, peaches and plums are delicious (we picked lots today!!) it's cool outside, and I think I will try going back to bed!!


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Touring the Okanagan......where wine is king!!

These are some pictures that we took on my digital camera (when we remembered) of our tour around the wineries.

So we start this short picture essay at St. Hubertus on the Okanagan Mountain side of the lake. This was a winery affected by the fire of 2003 (They have pictures as you enter the shop) and in the background you can see the remnants of the fire on the mountainside. The winery is run by two brothers, one using the label of Oak Bay and the other using the St. Hubertus label.

These are two pictures taken from the Noble Ridge Winery above Vaseaux Lake. Absolutely stunning was taken about 11:30 am on a beautiful sunny morning. The second picture shows the netting over the vines to prevent the birds from feasting!! There were varied methods to combat birds.... cannons, netting (various setups) and I have even seen glittering strips, although I think those are more for the orchards. Interesting that in Langley, so much is made by the neighbours of the noise of the cannons for the blueberry farms, but up here, it's just a matter of course....but then vineyards are probably so much more prevalent up here and it's all a part of the live here, you accept it...simple as that!!

These next few pictures were taken at Red Rooster winery....the home of "The Traveller", which, if you're wondering, is not available because he is presently in Langley getting bronzed!! However, these gorgeous bronze art pieces more than make up for his absence.

This is my mate pretending to take a bronze suitcase statue into the winery.
There are, as you can see, suitcases lining the walkway into the Wine Shop

Front view of a rather tousled mermaid....and you can see in the background the big doors of the winery and the bronze harp next to it.....a pic of that is coming up....

Side view of the same....

I noticed that a lot of wineries carry a wonderful selection of local artwork. Nk'Mip in Osoyoos is especially notable for their aboriginal artwork, one of which I bought on our trip last year.

These next two are on either side of huge doors leading into the actually winery part (not the shop).

I think the sculptures are pretty much life size.....but the doors are huge.

Apparently the little bird here (it's not real) is a type of quail that is the official regional bird....and those are arms playing the harp.

This was an intriguing little bench at Red Rooster...not sure if it would hold me....but I'm sure it would work for someone....and I do like the music motif....

A little bird house of sorts....note the suitcases...and ignore the dear lady who unknowingly got into my picture!!

This is our wonderful little Bijon companion for the trip...Chauncey....and those of you who know us, know that he is spoiled.....but... ooooh sooo cute!!
While we travel he sits on my arm resting his paws on the edge of the car window surveying all as we tootle along. Then slowly his head sinks to rest on his paws and the eyes close .....all is well in his world for a time. Whatta dog!!

And then there is this mate took it of me feeding the fishies and the ducks, whilst Chauncey waits for any crumbs!!

I have made it my desktop background, primarily to remind myself of how broad my backside is!!!

And so, there we have it. Not a lot of pictures of wineries....but some. It was definitely all we had hoped for and now we must get back to the business of being home!!


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Home again....

So ....we are home again.....and again I am in the "Sleepless in Kamloops" mode...which actually works well when you want to catch the Travelling Offspring for a chat on MSN.

I have repaired the awful formatting on my last two blogs....I gather the formatting from Word carried over into the blog and I only just figured out how to get rid of it. They now look somewhat normal.

To recap the last few days....

Naramata winery trip.....wineries visited...Noble Ridge, Wild Goose, Tangled Vines, Blasted Church, Hillside Estate, Red Rooster and Lang Vineyards. There were so many more but our budget was waning so we went for ones we knew....hopefully next year we will go for ones new to us. We also had lunch at the Naramata Heritage Inn and Spa in their Wine Bar in the basement...actually we were on the patio.

I won't go into the type of wines we got....but just a few notes on that trip....

We took the route from just before Okanagan Falls up over the hill to the wineries up top....the first one we visited was Noble this least to us. Beautiful winery and view and nice wine. Wild Goose was also in that portion of the trip and across the road from W.G. was Tangled Vines which had only been open for a day and specialized in white and rose wines.

Then we headed down into Okanagan Falls and through over to Blasted Church with their lovely sweet dog who greets everyone. We then tootled down the lakeside to Penticton and through and up to the Naramata Bench. Hillside was the very first winery we ever visited so we paid it a return visit. Then it was down to the Heritage Inn for lunch....sooooo good spinach and artichoke heart pizza with the Lang Vineyard Foch mate had a lamb sausage penne. We then went to Lang Vineyards and finished up the Naramata tour with a visit to Red Rooster (wonderful bronze artwork).

Monday we spent the day resting, reading and doing a few postcards, and swimming and sketching....and the day went so fast. Dinner was at the Wildfire Grill in Osoyoos, delectable as always.

We headed out Tuesday morning (yesterday) and visited the Golden Beaver Winery in Oliver....we just had to go there just because of the's new owners of an old winery.....and then we went to Hainle Winery in of our staples...Zweigelt!!

On the way out of Oliver we stopped at Covert Farms which is actually Pancho's Market up in the hills and picked up some yummy Roma and regular tomatoes for canning and sauce, and Gala apples for pies and some more bread dipping sauce. They also had the BEST Berry Zuchini muffins of which we got two of for our lunch.....with a Starbucks coffee....eaten at the Pyramid Rest Area on Okanagan Lake.

After visiting some friends in Vernon, we were home in Kamloops by about 8:30....feeling rather exhausted.

Our total take this trip was about 3 cases of wine....not including the few bottles we had whilst staying in Osoyoos. Less than last year...but we learned more about wines this trip...which are keepers and which are good for the cellar. I've also got the most recent Wine Trails news and have found lots of interesting infos on what's out there and what's popular. A good trip all round and to top it off, the delightful lady that runs our motel has told us that next year we can stay for a week and add an extra night for eight nights for the price of seven. How cool is that. We just love it there.

So, the pictures I have posted here are of the motel in Osoyoos. I have great pics of the carp swimming in the water, but they seem to want to post those pics upside down and I haven't figure out how to fix that yet. I have a few pictures of our trips in winery country and I will post those tomorrow.

In the meantime....I should really hit the hay.....
....or have coffee!!


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Now the car is fixed….

So finally my mate returned home with a car that charged up nicely….and left us a few dollars poorer!!

Today (being Saturday) we decided to head to Kelowna and check out a few of the bigger wineries that we usually avoid. Those were, Summerhill (Pyramid), St. Hubertus and Cedar Creek .

Summerhill (despite the “Pyramid” ) had little that we took a fancy too, in the way of wine that is. The gift shop however, was another story. We picked up some good wine glasses, Raincoast Crisps by Lesley Stowe and Dagoba dark chocolate (3 bars…one with chiles in it!!).

We then headed to St. Hubertus (which I gathered had been rebuilt after being destroyed by the 2003 Okanagan fire) and picked up some Oak Bay Merlot, 2004 and 2005…..and finished off the wine part of the journey at Cedar Creek….where my mate picked up a cheap Proprieter’s Reserve for dinner tonite and then 2 bottles of Cabernet Merlot along with my two bottles of Wineland Dressings, Roast Garlic Balsamic Vinaigrette and Raspberry& Black Pepper Vinaigrette.

We finished off the journey at Carmelis Goat Farm with two different types of soft goat cheese, some Asiago and Artichoke Chardonnay Bread Dipper and Franciscan Fig Balsamic Vinegar.

So having done our yuppy and yummy shopping, we headed back to Peachland for a very late lunch!! I had never been on that side of the lake and so seeing the damage of the 2003 fire up close was a new experience. Lots of rebuilding has been done, but it’s still very evident….as they usually are.

We have a favourite restaurant in Peachland…it is called the Blind Angler and it’s right on the lake. We sat on the patio and so enjoyed our lunch/dinner. All wonderfully home made and the older jazz music quietly in the background…it was a great way to finish off the journey of the day.

Weatherwise..the much needed rain did appear and it was much cooler, which was good. Nevertheless, we still went swimming went we got back to the motel…it was chilly but really refreshing. Having hot tea when we got back to the room was a perfect antidote…..along with pie that we had got at one of the markets. So today has been a good day…..

Tomorrow we are going to Naramata and hoping to lunch at the heritage inn there in their little wine bistro in the basement. A few of the wineries we are planning on visiting….Red Rooster (a wonderful Foch last year), Lang Vineyards (ditto with the Foch last year) Blasted Church, Stag’s Hollow, Wild Goose and I’m sure there are many others….we are going to try to visit a few we have not visited before.

On Monday we plan to just hang around the motel and dine at the Wildfire Grill in Osoyoos… least that’s the plan. Time to head home on Tuesday with a stop to visit friends in Vernon. This will be posted the same day as the last blog….but they have been written on Friday and Saturday and posted on Sunday. I’ve been writing in Word and cutting and pasting into the blog. My internet time is limited, so I try to be as quick as I can.

Anyhow….Sorry M….we didn’t see Orofino, but hopefully next time.

So glad we have heard from the travelling offspring and that things are starting to pick up in Shrewsbury!!

J little bro and his lady are having a weekend away from Baby J to recharge and recoup….good for them.

No other bizarre occurrences involving air mattresses and cigarettes…but the ducks and carp are very friendly!!

Chauncey has been behaving wonderfully and everyone at the motel loves him….what a sweetie he is!!

Till next time...


Holidays are …..interesting???

So we started our holiday in a haze of smoke….slightly smoky in Kamloops and then progressively smokier as we headed off the Coq..down 5a to Princeton. It was quite bizarre….the scenery had this kind of matte blah look to it….all the same…no depth and the colours were all muted. It got better as we headed from Keremeos to Osoyoos and for some reason, it was smoky in Osoyoos, but the lake seemed quite clear . The only way you could tell the smoke was around was if you looked at the mountains…which were just ghostly shadows and the sun was obscured…..and the moon was bright red. However, around the lake, things were quite clear. As our days have progressed things are a tad better. We actually got to SEE the sun yesterday and it’s amazing how much warmer it was…and just heat….less mugginess.

We visited three wineries on our way through Keremeos….St Lazlo’s…which was a total bust for us, Crowsnest which has improved soo much since we last visited and the wine was excellent. We picked up some Chardonnay and their 2003 Barcello Canyon Merlot. We also visited Forbidden Fruit Winery which is tucked away in the Similkameen valley and has the most delectable fruit and dessert wines. We picked up their Asian Pear wine “Impearfection” and a peach wine “Crushed Innocence”. Both will go well with nice sharp cheeses and crackers….wonderful ending to a meal!!

Since arriving in Osoyoos we have visited four wineries, Desert Hills (1st on our list!!), Silver Sage, Carriage House and then Nk Mip in Osoyoos.

We were disappointed that Desert Hills was sold out of his red wines including his incredible Gamay, so we tried the Chardonnay, which was excellent. So we got 2 bottles of the Chardonnay and he rushed into the back and came out holding up a bottle of Gamay, so we managed to get one bottle. He advised us to drink the 2004 we had in our cellar and store the 2005. We have also been put on his email list to get first divs when his next lot is ready.

Silver Sage, used to be primarily a fruit winery, but now it has included some nice grape wines….we got two of their Pinot Noir and we then headed to Carriage House and picked up a Merlot. The lady at the Carriage House was nice, but not happy about the advent of four new big flashy wineries that will be going up in the area. She gloomily predicted that all the cottage wineries will be history in a matter of years. Oh I hope not!!!!

Our final winery so far has been the Nk Mip…..which is expensive but oh so worth it if just to see the native artwork. We did buy some of the less expensive Chardonnay, which was not bad at all.

So…as to other areas of this holiday…our car has been a naughty Volvo!! Unfortunately we have a history of discharging batteries (three in the last 2 years) and the dealer where we get it serviced can’t find the problem. Well it discharged the third one yesterday and presently my mate is sitting in Oliver awaiting the new one which, hopefully will arrive in short order. Needless to say, we will be finding a new repair shop in Kamloops when we get home.

Other than that….we have been swimming everyday, walking everyday (that’s ‘cause of Chauncey), reading a lot, and sitting on the patio at night before bed. I’m starting to sleep better, it is hot, but luckily we do have an air conditioner in the bedroom, which is loud, but ….hey….you get used to it!!

I leave this blog with a vision I have to share….picture this….. Gorgeous hot day….lake gleaming in the sun….and in the middle of this… a lady…with bleached blond hair…in a bathing suit somewhat on the too small side…...lying ACROSS an air mattress on her stomach…. in the water….with a 4 inch long cigarette in her hand, puffing away!! I mean…..sigh….what IS the world coming to!!


Saturday, September 02, 2006

A time for us..........

So......the travelling offspring are safely (if not necessarily totally happily as yet) esconced in Shrewsbury, J little bro is in his new apartment (although not yet unpacked) and we......we the parents....are now preparing to take our annual little R&R in Osoyoos. It's only for a week, but in relaxation years, a week is pretty close to a month.

It's been a spring and summer to remember... in all aspects.....happiness, sorrow, stress(read worry) adventurous and many other adjectives that my mind just can't come up with right now.
However, we made it through and now it's time to take time....for ourselves.....and do what we love to do....which is travel and taste wine and read books and in my case, varied artistic pursuits. We will have our little Bijon Chauncey with us to keep us sane (or insane as the case may be) and so we leave the house and Chloe and Mrs Tubbytoes (Putz) in the capable hands of my dear brother, fill up the CD player with travellin' music and skip town, kicking up our proverbial heels all the while!!

We are planning to travel down to Merritt and then take the Old Princeton Highway from Merritt to Princeton and then through to Keremeos and Osoyoos. A little different route for us as we usually just take the connector from Merritt to Kelowna and then down through the Okanagan. This time we want to just drift and of course there are at least four, if not more, wineries on the Princeton a good time to pick up something to try for our first meal there.

We stay in a one bedroom unit at a nice little motel right on the lake with it's own beach and friendly carp and a huge patio with BBQ's for resident's use. The patio is festooned with fairy lights at night which give just a wonderful romantic air to the night when you're nursing a glass of Gamay on the lounge chair, trying to figure out what lights are coming from where across the lake...and watching the traffic come up from the border. We swim everyday, and walk every day, and then head out round and about to various and sundry wineries, wending our way up through Oliver and onwards to Naramata and around Kelowna. The more northern Okanagan wineries we leave until we're heading home up through Vernon and across to Kamloops.

Sometimes we just stay around the motel and catch up on our reading.....or sleep.....or swim....or whatever takes our fancy!!

The nice thing about going just after Labour Day .... the weather, for the most part, is cooler, and all the people are's mostly couples like ourselves who have the same ambitions as ourselves.....relax and recuperate.

Last year the motel did not have internet access and may not have it yet or ever (much to my mate's delight) if I feel the need, I know there is (or used to be) an internet cafe......otherwise I will be "offblog" for a week from Tuesday.

Enjoy the weekend all!!