Monday, September 30, 2013

No Rest for the Wicked

We always have great intentions for projects in the yard, around the house and generally. As the light grows less, the days close in and the weather chills; we realize we are out of time for many of those projects.
This is me, standing in our top dressed, watered mowed and tidied garden. There was more work yet to happen, but this was the last photo we got.

Cabin Countertops

We are so close to finishing the cabin at the bottom of the garden. The countertops are just in. Long debate about a back splash. We didn't think forward enough to anticipate the depth necessary for the electrical outlets so we are hoping for a slim, sliver of stone along the back...

Soon we'll have the light fixtures up and get the final inspection!

Crab Apple Jelly Part 2

Tonight we finished making the crabapple jelly. The process included 24 hours of dripping - the unsweetened crabapple mash slowly leaking through an old pillow case. I think I'll invest in some cheese cloth for next year - it's got to be faster.

Once we had all the juice from the crabapples, the next part was pretty easy too. Measure the juice, warm it up, add sugar, cook until it makes the 'soft jelly stage' as described in the Joy of Cooking, and jar.  Aren't those jars of jelly beautiful? I only hope it jellies and doesn't make a solid cube of jelly.

Funky or Fugly?

 In our yard sale travels I came across this little winner;

 I didn't buy it, but mostly because I've already got one. Albeit minus the eyes and the paws...

And then at another spot I picked up this light shade for $3. Less than the cost of a cup of coffee most days, so worth a flutter. We'd been living with bare bulbs in 2 rooms for almost 10 years because we just couldn't find what we liked lighting wise. It reminded me of 1960's rooms, especially the gold paint, and it fits the style of our house - completely eclectic. What do you think?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Similkameen Wineries

 We had a great day last week adventuring around the Similkameen Valley, one of B.C.'s newest wine producing regions. The valley itself is beautiful and less filled with neon, gift shops and other paraphernalia.
 Our first stop was at Seven Stones, owned by George Hanson, a former Yukoner. He's constructed an amazing new wine cellar. I was particularly astounded by the finishes - I asked why the stucco was so shiny - because it includes a zinc over coat to restrict mold growth in case the humidity gets too high. The boxes in the ceiling are for a Bose sound system to entertain guests and the wine in lonely moments.
 This is the view from the picnic area of Seven Stones. Not bad eh?
 Doors that have hand forged hinges, clasps and lintels. Each door weighs an astounding amount, but swings as if on gimbals.
Our next stop, just down the highway was at Orofino
After tasting their bubbly, I was in love. The owners run the shop and make the wine themselves. Their home and the shop are made out of straw. Their location is beyond compare, as you can see from the photos of their picnic area. We bought a bottle of frizz for the picnic and entertained ourselves. An excellent experience. I'd recommend them as your doorway into Similkameen wineries. We then headed down the highway to attempt another tasting. Many of these wineries are very small, family owned enterprises, so you can expect that not everyone will be open for tasting when you drop by.
Can you imagine this as your view? Herder

 Then on to Robin's Ridge, with the tasting room run by the wine maker and proprietor, Tim.
Tim's 2010 Gwertz and his 2011 Gamay were astounding.
 Our final stop was at St. Lazlo's run by Joe and his family. His wines are an adventure, as is the tasting. His vineyard was the first we stopped at 3 years ago when we began our wine tasting adventures. We remain fans of his eccentric, idiosyncratic style. He certainly marches to his own drummer an makes the kind of wine he likes an sells it to others who enjoy it. We particularly like his fruit and desert wines. He even made a walnut liquour, which we first tasted 3 years ago and he declared as ready for sale this year. 

 Jo's got lots of wine, many different types of heritage European grapes and an amazing kitchen garden. He welcome's all comers, be they lawyers or drifters. We like his style. He took us on a tour of his vineyard, proffering grapes by the bunch. By the time we got back to Osoyoos, we'd forgotten their names, but their taste was amazing. Our Italian friend, also a Joe, named every one of those grape varieties by tasting the delicious grapes. Other Yukon friends who were also in Osoyoos at the time devoured the grapes like candy.
We were very lucky to get out of there without a kitten. In the photo I'm cuddling an adorable tabby kitten whose eyes were barely open, who decided that our dog, Isla, pictured below, was not to be tolerated. The kitten hissed and had his claws ready to deal with the marauder (dog) who was thinking her death was imminent. We didn't get a photo of Chris putting the kitten on top of the dog. Neither animal was impressed by this. We figure this kitten will be a well adjusted soul, agreeable to most things.

Crab Apple Jelly Part 1

Our lovely hoppa crab-apple has produced a bumper crop this year. Today was our second harvest of the tree. Our friend's daughter, our honourary niece, helped with the picking and stirring. Later we'll make the jelly and jar it.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

East Kelowna Wineries - A lovely sunday drive

We started with lunch at McCullough - a pub with a nice atmosphere and good food. I have developed a simple scheme, 'meh' for I don't really like the wine; a capital initial for 'I like it'; that capital initial circled for I really like it; and finally lately, I've added a "Q" for quaffable - something that can be drunk independent of food, just on its own.

After our lovely lunch we headed off into Kelowna wine country. There were vines, but were there tasting rooms? From the pub we stumbled upon the Vibrant Vine - which has a 3d theme for its bottles.

From there we realized we were on the Fabulous Five Wine Trail. 6 vineyards in 5 miles.  

The 2012 Reisling was quaffable, limey and delicious. We also liked their 2011 Pursuit.
SpeirHead Winery

Then we were off to the Sperling Estate Winery. They are one of the oldest in the valley and have some lovely old vines. We were all BIG fans of their 2012 Pinot Gis, their 2010 Gwertz, the 2011 Speritz ( a sparkling lovely), and their 2009 Old Vines Foch.

Then we had to check out The View. Their wines are equally distinctive. We all loved their 2012 Frizzante - in fact, I'm enjoying a glass right now. I was very fond of their 2011 Gwertz, and at $16 it was very affordable. Their 2012 Gwertz was equally tasty, although it didn't get a "Q" on the quaffable scale. Christopher and I also quite enjoyed their Fossil Fuel which includes a smidgen of  
 Baco Noir grapes to give it a nice full mouth and finish.
And then we were off to the Camelot vineyards. Our timing was perfect as they'd just released a very nice 2011 Chardonnay. We were also quite fond of their 2010 Merlot. Last but not least, was the House of Rose winery. Today they had a fund raiser for the local women's shelter.

Here we quite enjoyed their 2011 Reisling, which was sharp and spritely, not sweet and cloying. We also enjoyed their much touted Hot Flash, which I remember including mostly Pinot Noir. Their Grapes with Benefits was also quite tasty, a Pino with a hint of Foch. They also make a very lovely Foch. They'd opened for tasting the 2011 Foch, having sold out of the 2010. I think it will benefit from a bit of rest in cellar at casa Alway.  

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fernandes Fruit Market

Our very favourite fruit market here in Osoyoos. Always good, always local.

Rock Creek Fair

It was just as much fun as I remember from last year. Fred Penner was on the main stage and there were 6 pies to choose from at the pie place. A pot of tea and two slices of pie (one with ice cream) was $6.50. Then we wandered around some more.

There's plenty of great food and fun times available.


Can you see the clothes being washed? We figured they'd be pretty dirty and greasy by the time anyone ran them through the wringer. Lets not even talk about the 5 meters of exhaust hose leading away from the contraption that made incredibly loud explosions very 30 seconds or so.
 I've always enjoyed fairs and all the fun stuff at them.

Largest Pumpkin at 170lbs

Largest Zuccini left already - it was bigger than Christopher's Thigh!

Picnic in Wine Country

Yesterday we drove around a bit looking for a nice spot to picnic. We had a lovely picnic hamper on loan from Chris' Auntie Nicki which she'd filled the day before with some tasty road snacks. I added a bit more to round out the lunch. We started out a Quinta Ferreira, but the Akita

 dogs there were not welcoming to ours. We hit the highway after a few lovely tastes of wine. Not far away we stumbled upon Cana Vines. Their little picnic area is lovely.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Skagway Calling

Christopher and I were drawn to the ocean for the long weekend. Unfortunately, Chris had to be back on Sunday afternoon to leave for a week long camping trip. He was kind enough to camp with me for two nights any way. We were so late getting out of Whitehorse that we ended up pulling off the road and sleeping in the camper beside a lovely lake.
 Here's one of the reasons I had a draw to go to Skagway - wool was on sale!
 It's salmon spawning season on the west coast. Pacific salmon spawn and die, unlike Atlantic salmon. The creek running through downtown Skagway was just choked full of fish, both alive and expired. The photo is Pullen Creek.
And here is Isla checking out the fish in Pullen Creek. She was quite taken aback when the water she was drinking started to move around...