I went for a quick morning walk along the spit yesterday before work. The sun was coming up, the air was cold, the water intensely blue. There were mountains in crisp white covers to both sides of me, the coastal mountains behind the islands and the Central Vancouver Island mountain range beyond the fringe of the city. As I walked two bald eagles squawked and cried in the sky before settling down on a pole near the path.
There are times this place takes my breath away. Times I am overcome and unable to believe this is where I live, that this is my daily luck, my never-ending back yard.
“…she closed her eyes for a moment and saw the hills, and the burns tumbling down, and the veils of fine rain. And she thought, One can love a country until it hurts.” – Alexander McCall Smith The Careful Use of Compliments
That quote has stuck with me since I read it earlier this year. I understand it, I get it deep down inside of me, because I feel that way when I look around me. I hope everyone gets to experience such a connection to their ‘country’ – the place they call home.
Happy December! This can be such a wonderful month, a time of celebration, decoration, tradition, parties, family time and more. It can also be a month of stress, frustration, sadness and disappointment. The trick is, how to keep it more of the former and less of the latter.
For me, my word of 2013, HEALTH, is never more important than in this month. Keeping moving, keeping hydrated with water, eating healthy, crafting, spending quality family time with my boys, and giving myself lots of down time will all lend to a wonderful and magical December. So that is my goal for the month, to be mindful of my health, and enjoy the month of December.
What things do you need to do to keep December a joyous month instead of a stressful month? Let’s do them together!
There are many great things about the United States that I am glad Canada has embraced. I am not naive enough to think that we can be unaffected by our much, much larger (population-wise) neighbour to the south.
So when some of the larger American-based stores starting advertising up here for Black Friday sales, I thought “well, we can’t get only the good stuff after all. And they are American companies.” However, now the local malls in Victoria are all doing Black Friday specials. What?!
Keep in mind, our Canadian Thanksgiving is the second week-end in October. We don’t celebrate American Thanksgiving. So this day has no significance to us as a country. But apparently, instead of eating turkey on the Thursday and adding another family meal to the calendar, we decided we needed to shop like maniacs on that specific Friday in November.
There is already a lot of debate around, as Christmas seems to have started earlier than ever this year in the retail world. Some stores already have all their Christmas decorating stock at 50% off (Target I’m looking at you). That used to be the deals on Boxing Day (for my US friends, Boxing Day is the day after Christmas and is an official holiday, and often a family bargain shopping day). I wonder how far we as consumers are willing to let this trend go … buy your Christmas decorations in July? Halloween costumes in February?
I for one will not be out there on Black Friday, on either side of the border.
Having traveled and camped across a lot of this amazing province, the one thing I have learned is that for many many people in BC, the time off begins where the paved road ends. Our province has two road networks – the one that is paved and the gravel and dirt roads that make up the backroads.
Backroads here are not the same as dirt roads in farm country. Backroads here are usually roads that were put in by forestry companies, rightfully called Forest Service Roads. The public is generally allowed access to these roads (although some get closed off when active logging is happening in the area). These roads are the life lines for hunters, fishermen/women, mountain bikers, atv/dirt bike riders, and campers. They lead to the wonderful camping spots, the most beautiful lakes, and amazing rivers. Step foot out of the urban areas, and sooner or later you’ll be on a backroad.
Some of our best adventures have come from exploring the backroads – this week-end was no exception. The adventure took us 8km off the paved road, and along some narrowing gravel roads. But look what we found at the end of the road.
Two mornings a week I drop Bushboy off early for jazz band. I don’t have to be at the office for another 30 minutes, so I often go down to the water to read, watch the birds, knit or listen to CBC. It’s a nice way to start my day, especially when we have a crisp, clear morning as we did today.
As I was taking pictures down at the water, my eye was caught by something bright. On one of the many memorial benches placed along the path, someone had left a pot of flowers. The sun was glistening off the wet petals, and lending a lovely warmth to the scene. I found myself really drawn to the simple scene, and thankful to the person who left such a nice gesture for everyone to enjoy. It really did make my day.
I had access to a number of pears this year, and so decided to try my hand at pear butter. I don’t have a slow cooker, so I made it in the oven using this Farm Girl recipe.
First we had to use a food mill, which I borrowed from someone at work. It got the job done amazingly well, once we figured out the technical aspects of it!
It’s such a simple recipe, I added some cinnamon because I love the flavour, and about a 1/4 cup of sugar. That’s it! I made 5 small jars, and have enough pears ripe again to make the same this week. I might add vanilla this time. It smells amazing in the house as it’s cooking, as well.
PS Remember the bean chutney? Well after some time mellowing, I ate the jar in the fridge. It was awesome!! My favourite is with a grilled cheese sandwich.
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