Friday, September 30, 2011

A beautiful day

I just found a link to this little ten minute film on a blog I follow ( Life in the Second Half) and it was just the break I needed today.  I am filled with gratitude for the blog community and the way these inspirations can be shared.  So I'm sharing it here so you can be inspired to gratitude today yourself.   Here's the link:   A beautiful day.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Some foods from Italy

I'm preparing to make some foods with the peppers, apples and peaches we brought back from our trip to the Okanagan.  In doing so I took a look again at some of the photos from our trip to Italy in June. These are an inspiration to me for my new approach to cooking and eating.

Here are three incredible plates of food  we had for lunch one day--risotto with peas, timbale and a salad with oranges, fennel and olives.

More salads and pizza.  The bottom one is an Italian favorite called Pizza Quattrostaggione.

These delicious pasta purses were served to us at a lovely restaurant just outside Lucca.    

And last, but not least--gelato.  We had this delicious Italian ice cream each and every day we were there.  Harry loved the lemon but I tried absolutely every kind possible.  After eating gelato we have completely lost our taste for ice cream.  I'm researching recipes for peach gelato.  I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Along the Okanagan River

 Oliver calls itself the wine capital of Canada but it has other charms as well.  For me the Okanagan River is also a big draw.  We've walked part of an 18 km trail along the river that goes from Oliver to the north end of Osoyoos Lake.  I love walking beside rivers with their reflections, especially when there's blue sky above, and even better when the leaves begin to turn colour.

Our campground was right beside this hiking trail, which goes through some lovely country, with old barns, pedestrian bridges and vinyards.  Next time we come we're bringing our bikes to do some cycling along the river.

In places the river is very peaceful and obviously a place for kids (and dogs) to swim.

In other places it runs faster.  This sign was beside a bridge with underwater weirs (whatever they are!)--and obviously it's not a place to fool around.

Along the stretch beside the town of Oliver are signs warning against camping, but clearly some people ignore it.  We saw a few people camping and signs of campfires as well.  Oliver is in the middle of harvest time in the orchards, the fields, and the vineyards and we've seen itinerant pickers around.  These guys were picking tomatoes.

Perhaps some of these pickers camp along the river, and I can't say I blame them.  Here's a spot where someone had a little campfire.  Can you think of a more beautiful spot to camp?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Harvest Time in South Okanagan

These are a few images from the many fruit stands that dot the roads in this area.  It's harvest time for sure.  In between the fruit stands are wineries where we stop and sip from time to time.  What a beautiful way to spend a few days!

Here's Mohita parked by one fruit stand.  You can see how dry the hills are.  It's the irrigation that creates the beautiful growing conditions.  This area gets just over 2" of a rain a year.

Last night we camped in Oliver and sat outside as dusk fell and a warm wind sighed through the maple trees.  This morning we took a long walk along a trail beside the river in the warm sunshine.  And we're cooking with these beautiful fresh peppers.  The squashes will have to wait until we return home.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sunset over Osoyoos Lake

Such a beautiful sunset last night over the lake!  Just over those hills is the USA but we're not heading that way.  The weather changed overnight and today it's pretty cloudy but still nice and warm.  Our plan is to head up to Oliver and do a little wine tasting and then perhaps as Stephanie suggests, travel a little further east to Grand Forks on the edge of the Kootenays.  I love having Mohita because we can just go where the spirit moves us--at least for these few days.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A little road trip

The first part of September was extremely busy for me, but this week we have managed to escape to the Okanagan for a few days. On Monday afternoonwe drove to Hope, BC. It's actually a very depressed place without a lot of hope. It's the jumping off place for all roads heading east in BC.

This is the Fraser River seen from our campsite in Hope last night.  The photo above shows the hills above tonight's campsite in the Southern Okanagan.  Quite a contrast!

This afternoon we arrived in Osoyoos, the warmest spot in Canada.  It's actually the northernmost reach of the Sonoran Desert!  Here there's a warm lake, dry hills, and where it's irrigated, incredible orchards.  Tonight we're camped in one.  It's a lovely spot and we're the only ones here beneath the apple trees.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Victoria is not known for its tomato crop.  Our weather is generally too cool to ripen them before the end of the season.  But this year in spite of our slow start we experienced several weeks of warm, dry weather.  And the result is a sweet tomato crop as shown above.

I just love home grown tomatoes of all types.  My favorite way to use them is in fresh tomato sauce on pasta.  I use chopped tomatoes (fully ripe), lots of basil, salt and pepper and mozzarella (fresh if possible, but even the packaged stuff works).  This makes a heavenly dish that shouts late summer.

This weekend we're experiencing more fall-like weather, even clouds, but those tomatoes are keeping summer's memory alive.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Magical Saturna retreat

Last week we escaped to Saturna Island with a few friends for a peaceful time in the late summer heat.  Here are just a few photos to share this magical time.

We spent a lot of time outside at the edge of the ridge, playing with the dogs, taking photographs, sitting and watching the boats down in Plumper Sound, sipping wine, talking and laughing.  The dogs were in heaven, of course, with all the extra attention.  That evening we sat out on the deck as the sun set and moon rose and then the stars.  It was so beautiful and warm and peaceful.  

The next day we took a drive down to Saturna Beach and the winery, where we had lunch on the terrace, and then walked up to my relative's farm.   They've been farming there since 1946.

This is Boots, their newest Border Collie

These last two photos are from the little wharf beside the ferry dock.  There wasn't a breath of wind the whole time we were up there.   Beautiful reflections everywhere.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Hot pink flower

I'm liking my new camera.  It's a Canon G12, small enough to carry easily and use for point-and-shoot photos but with lots of manual options.  Here's a macro of a Spanish Daisy straight out of the camera.  I love the green triangles at the centre.   So far I'm just mainly using the auto function but I will be venturing into the aperture and shutter speed priority settings very soon.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Time of the golden light

This is the view out of my dining area onto the back patio as seen this morning about 7:30.  The morning light streams across the two planters with grasses and at this time of year it's absolutely golden.  I love the light this time of year, especially in the morning and at sunset.

These photos are all of the grasses and flowers in the planters at that special time of the golden light.   What beauty we can find in our own back yards!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The process of elimination

Over at Exploring with a Camera they're considering the process of elimination in photographs.  I can so relate to that.  Kat's post talks about framing and also the cheaters way--cropping.  I have to admit that cropping is something I routinely do.  Here's an example.  The photo of the stunning sky is mucked up by the skyline of trees and houses.

Here I've eliminated most of the distractions.

I left the tree on the right.  I tried a version with it removed but it didn't have the clear detail of the light shining through the cloud at the bottom.

I didn't think it worked as well.  But I'm not sure....   I find I often leave too much unnecessary detail in a photo.  What do you think?

To see more work with elimination of superfluous detail click here .

And speaking of elimination, I'm working hard this week to eliminate stuff that's cluttering up my house.  Son James, who spent the summer with us, has gone back for his last year of school.  It's left a space that I'm determined to keep open--through a process of elimination.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Over the rainbow / It's a wonderful world

I've had a challenging time with my computer over the past couple of weeks.  So challenging that I don't even want to talk about it!  Suffice to say that I have lost all my photographs from 2009 and 2010.

However things are coming together again and I can still take new photos so all is not lost.

Today I am sharing a you tube video of the amazing Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawakiwo'le singing two simple and beautiful songs that bring peace and joy.  I had heard this on the radio a few years ago but didn't know anything about the singer.  He sang with a Hawaiian traditional group but it was this song that catapulted him to fame.  The song was released as a single in 2006.  

May it bring you delight today.