Tuesday, May 26, 2009


My Clematis burst into bloom this weekend. Just in time to dazzle our family and friends as we gathered for a Saturday afternoon BBQ. There are two varieties planted on the same trellis although the white one isn't quite open yet. Right now this one takes centre stage and I just have to share it with all of you.
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Weekend on Mayne Island

May long weekend. A weekend to remember my Mom who passed away a year ago; to spend time with family; to enjoy Island beauty. My sister and BIL have a cabin on Mayne Island - a small island off the BC coast between Vancouver and Victoria. We traveled as foot passengers on the ferry - winding down from the week's busy-ness as we enjoyed the lovely scenery. The sun shone almost all weekend and it was warm enough to need sunscreen.

There was a steady stream of visitors at Janet's birdfeeder - Chestnut Backed Nuthatches, Wrens, Chickadees, Green Backed Warbler, Thrush and Spotted Towhees. (I hope I have all those names right.) We had the bird book out checking their identities as they lined up to feed.

A trip to Mayne Island is not complete without entering the impressive gates of the Japanese Gardens, strolling through and taking note of the seasonal changes. These Gardens are just down the road from Ernie and Janet's cabin and were set up as a memorial to the Japanese families from Mayne Island, many of them vegetable farmers, who had their land seized when they were sent to internment camps by the BC Government during World War II. They are open to the public and are a serene place with a traditional Japanese inspired landscape and a wide variety of both indiginous and rare plants. The Cherry Blossom and Rhododendrons were in full bloom along with many other flowering plants. There were also some of these plants which also grow along the road near the cabin. Some call them Elephant plants but I think they are known as Wild Rhubarb.As you can see they are worth of the "Elephant" name and have gigantic seed cones.The Apple Blossom was also in full bloom in a neighbour's garden.A visit to the Springwater Lodge is another tradition. Sitting on the deck we can watch the BC Ferries go by. This time we saw 4 of them at one time - from the small Inter-Island Ferry to the large Super Ferry bound for Victoria. There's always lots of activity in Village Bay with sea planes, boats of all kinds and seabirds to entertain us. The bay has become home to many sets of the endangered Purple Martin which swoop overhead.We had time to read, watch the deer, who pretty much go where they please, and gaze up at the stars from the hot tub in the evenings.
We played Bocce Ball at the community park and Crokinole (known to Mennonites as "Knipsbrat") with Dad winning all the games until the last round when Ernie took the top honours.

Of course, one of the great pleasures is eating together; good food, good company -a winning combination. After supper we walked down to Dinner Bay and watched the sun set over the water.

Thank you, Janet and Ernie for sharing your special place with us. It is always so good to be together as a family and I think I can speak for all of us that the Island's beauty and each other's company went a long ways to comforting us at this difficult time.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Remembering my Mom

My Mom, Lydia Boldt (1925-2008)

This has been a week to remember my Mom. Of course, Mothers Day has just past - our first without my mom. Then, this coming Friday would have been her and Dad's 61st wedding anniversary and Saturday will mark the day she left us and was welcomed into her eternal home.

My wonderful neighbour dropped by on Mothers' Day with this lovely bouquet and a warm hug. Thank you Beatrice, you are always so thoughtful and sensitive to those who are hurting. Your friendship is so precious to me and your gift means more to me than I can express.
My Dad, sister and BIL and Harv and I will be spending the weekend together on Mayne Island.
How blessed I am to have a family who are so loving and supportive. We have always turned first to each other in times of trouble and in times of celebration. In a way this weekend will encompass both.
With her 2nd Great-grandson.

Dearest Mom -
We have missed you so much this past year. You would have been delighted with our newest Grandboy, you would be so thrilled with the way the other 4 are thriving- all healthy and happy and you would be so proud of the way your grandchildren are raising their families.
I miss our times together - enjoying a drive in the VW convertible, going shopping together, those special meals you made and served so that each of us felt like an honoured guest. I miss not being able to call you for cooking advice, or to share the latest bit of news.
Thank you for being such a great mom. You loved us unconditionally and supported us in all our endeavours. You modeled sacrifice and commitment and encouraged us in our walk with God.
I know you are enjoying all the delights of being with your Saviour and I look forward to the time when we are together once again.

Your loving daughter,

Mom and me.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Trip to Alberta and Saskatchewan - Part 2

We arrived In Waldheim Sask. on Friday evening and spent the next 4 days camped on our daughter's driveway. We were so happy to see Dave and Chris and our two grandboys again.
What a great time we had with them all.
Saturday was the annual spring Garage Sale Day in their town. The town was full - people came from as far away as Saskatoon and the streets were lined with cars and trucks loaded high with "treasures". Dave and Chris's church served up Hamburgers, fresh cinnamon buns and homemade donuts still warm. The boys were given $5. a piece for treasure hunting. But Grandpa and Mom out did them in "finds".

Harv bought great speakers ($5. each), a ride on lawn mower and a fun remote controlled dune buggy for the boys in the first half hour. The lawn mower was just like our 2 year old one at home but this one was only $25. It wasn't running but Harv put 2 hours of work into it and now it runs like new. So Dave has a great Lawn mower now! He also found a bicycle for Dave. I had to laugh when Chris said, "I love going garage sale-ing with Dad, He's SOoo out of control!" Harv and Chris both come by it honestly as Harv's Mom was a dyed- in- the- wool garage saler. Chris found everything on her list and I found a lovely depression glass vase and a set of brand new mixing bowls, in exactly the sizes I needed.

Harv had brought along a shark kite he'd found in Palm Springs for the boys. They put it together and gave it an inaugural flight.

As you can see, we had great weather all weekend. The wind was a little on the cool side on Saturday but Sunday was glorious. Sunny and warm. We spent the afternoon at friends of Dave and Chris - the men did some skeet shooting and we girls/ladies, soaked up the sun and watched the kids play.

Monday brought Grandson E's first soccer game. What fun! Of course, Grandma got a little carried away and had to be reminded to pipe down a few times. He scored 2 of the 3 goals so she was pretty pumped. Number 6 in red is the one to cheer for.

Monday Chris and I went to local playgound where Grandson K showed off his jungle gym skills.After warm hugs and good-byes we set off for one more business visit and then home.On the way home we stopped and camped just past Hinton on a little road just off Hwy 40. We had a great view, high above the Athabasca River. It was a wonderful trip - part work and part holiday - the best of both. Now it's back to yard work and office work and the everyday pleasures life brings.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Trip to Alberta and Saskatchewan

We're home again from our working holiday to Alberta and Saskatchewan. And once again we experienced God's gracious protection - something we don't take lightly. I wonder how many times we've driven those roads? I only know that God has brought us back home safely many, many times.
We took the Coquihalla and Yellowhead Highways heading through Jasper, Hinton and just before Edmonton we spent the night at the Pembina River Provincial Park. and It was still closed for the season but we were able to find a quiet alcove just beside the main gate and spent the night there. The next day we visited the Sundance Power plant where Harv had a scheduled meeting before heading north to Fort McMurray.
The mountains going through Jasper National Park were spectacular.As we drove north we traveled backwards through spring back to winter. The trees were still in their winter austerity with only a hint of the new life to come.

There were pockets of snow still piled in sheltered spots and many of the lakes and rivers in northern BC and Alberta were still frozen. In Jasper we drove through a snow shower but after that we only had one or two nights of below freezing temperatures. The sun shone with more warmth each day - even up in Fort McMurray and by the time we got to Saskatchewan, we were shedding our jackets and long pants. Coming home we braved 2 degree temperatures on the Coquihalla and met the inevitable rain that the Lower Mainland believes is necessary to Spring.

Our camping spot beside the Athabasca River in Fort McMurray.

We had some memorable "5 star" meals in our camper.

One of the meetings Harv had was at Syncrude - a huge facility north of Fort McMurray.
These are huge stone sculptures which stand guard on both sides of the highway north of the city.

We had to pull right over several times to let these gigantic loads go by. They take up almost the whole 4 lanes. Everything about the Oil Sands is on an incredibly LARGE scale.

After several days we left Fort McMurray and headed east again. As we traveled the road between Lloyminster and North Battleford, we enjoyed the wide open vistas of fields - some still in their winter dormancy and others being tilled and seeded. Even here, the equipment is large. Farmers till, seed and spread fertilizer all in one go and the tractors and equipment dwarf any other vehicle on the road.

We have passed this little Ukrainian Orthodox church many times. It is in the town of Krydor which we drive past to get to our daughter's home. I love the silver dome and have often wanted to stop and look inside. We have been inside a similar church nearby which stands on a small hill above open prairie. It has not been used now for many years and it stands as a museum and memorial to the many Ukranian families that settled in this area. The doors are open and anyone can go inside where the candlesticks and table linens still adorn the communion table and the priests vestements still hang in an adjoining room.

We spent 4 days at our Daughter's home in Saskatchewan before heading west again. I'll share a few pictures and stories of our time there on my next post.