Thursday, July 31, 2008

Berry picking

This past weekend we went saskatoon and honey berry picking in Elnora. We picked for about an hour, and have lots and lots of berries to eat and make pies from.

Andy and Sam picking saskatoons.

Me and the boys at the honey berry bushes.

Showing off part of our harvest back at home. The smaller ones are the honey berries.

We also visited Sunnybrook Farms last week. There are a few farm animals, and quite a lot of old farm equipment. If you're looking for a specific type of old tractor, they probably have it here!

And this is a canola field. The neon green fields dot the landscape along the highways.

Did you know that canola oil is rape seed oil, and stands for Canadian oil, low acid? Apparently rape seed oil isn't the best name for marketing purposes.

Monday, July 28, 2008


We finally took a day trip over to the Rockies while my mom was visiting. Here are a few photos we took to hopefully lure people up for a visit.

Abraham Lake: one of the longest, narrowest, most teal blue lakes I've ever seen.

It took us a little while longer to make it to Lake Louise than we estimated. And my, was it crowded (though you can't see it from the pictures), but it's just as beautiful as it was when I saw it about seven years ago.

Otto, Andy, Sam, and Mom testing the water.

A chipmunk that was scurrying in and out of the rocks.

Mom and Sam on a two-mile trail that leads from Lake Louise to another lake (anyone?) and has a couple tea houses along the way. I believe this other lake is accessible by foot only. Maybe next time we'll have time to go all the way over!

A pretty patch of Poppies.

Lake Moraine, which according to the toe-testing crew is even colder than Lake Louise.

And we rounded off the day with dinner in Banff. Wow, it's grown since I've been here last!

And it's equally, possibly more beautiful in the winter, so feel free to come for a visit then, too. It's really not bad - it's a dry cold. :o)

P.S. Since we're talking about mountains, here's a shot that I love of the Sangre de Cristo mountains in Colorado that I took on our drive up to Canada.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Making music...kind of

Andy and Sam had a jam session going a while ago.

They actually kept a good beat. I'm pretty sure our next door neighbor heard the ruckus too, because the window is open in that room, and when she's going down her stairs and I happen to be looking out the window, we can plainly see each other, and we wave!

I also wanted to share this picture that I took last week. (Apparently Sam really likes this shirt, Auntie Claire, because it seems like he's wearing it in just about every picture I've posted on here!)

This is in a hotel parking lot, and you plug your car into it during the winter. Yes, it gets so cold here that you must have an engine block heater installed on your car, and the plug comes out of the front grill. Initially I thought these things were everywhere, but I haven't seen them in the grocery store or mall parking lots, so apparently it's only needed if your car will be parked for maybe 3+ hours. Certainly you plug your car in at home once you're in for the evening. Someone that's originally from Nova Scotia was trying to tell me that the cold and snow here wasn't that bad because it was a dry cold. Riiiiiiiiiight! South Texas and New Orleans being my only comparisons, I'm not sure I'll appreciate the wet vs. dry MINUS 40 temperatures (and I don't need to differentiate between F or C because they're EQUAL at this point), but we'll see! :o)

We're also getting ready for Nana (my mom) to come visit. I'll pick her up in Calgary tonight. I'm off to put some sheets on the guest bed!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Unfrozen popsicles and parades

Ever wonder what to do with all those little rectangular baggies of unfrozen freezer pops? Why keep them in the box? Yesterday Sam opted for drinking one over crushed ice rather than eating one from the freezer. Last week they huddled up in the pantry and sorted them by color. And today I was summoned to the pantry to find this: On Wednesday I took the boys to the parade which kicks off the yearly Westerner Days festival. There are carnival rides (I'm pretty sure they are the same ones we rode on in Ponoka a couple weeks ago), a couple stages for shows, animals, arts booth and some pony chuck wagon races. I think Clint Black is even performing on Saturday night!

The parade had not only one, but TWO bagpipe marching bands.

There was a bicycle built for two, PLUS a whole lot more.

And look how cute these teeny horses are!

Andy and Sam sippin' a cold one and takin' in the views.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Pancakes, Farmer's Market, and Fishing

We started Saturday morning with the best pancakes I have EVER eaten. Sweet potato pancakes have been my favorite for several years now. Moist and delicious, with just a hint of nutmeg and warm maple syrup drizzled on top. Well, we had a banana laying around, so thinking of the scrumptious banana pancakes that Otto's brother, Aaron, made for us a couple times (my SECOND favorite pancakes ever) I suggested to Otto that we slice some in to the sweet potato pancakes he was making. Well, I just can't describe how happy I was while I was eating them. Sorry, no picture; I was too busy devouring them.

After the sensational breakfast, we headed to the farmer's market that they hold here on Saturday mornings during the summer. It was a mixture or produce booths, flea market booths, craft/gift booths, and food. And LOTS of people. Here is a raspberry that we bought there.
And here's something I had never seen before:

This afternoon we went fishing at a pond that we passed on a bike ride last week. Lots of casting and reeling in, but no bites.

Sam testing the laws of gravity at a nearby slide:
And after dinner we had a double rainbow out our back door!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Soccer camp

It's a little chilly today. A wicked storm blew in last night. I think we must have been on the edges of it because it turned out not to be too bad, but it sure looked ominous as it approached!

Andy has been participating in a morning soccer camp this week. Here are a few action shots from this morning. Some of them are a little blurry - my camera fits in my pocket, not too fancy. And I've been lax about cropping lately. (If you click on any of the pictures in the blog, you can see the larger version.

Sam fell asleep on the sofa as soon as we got home,

so Andy and I ate lunch, took a picture of ourselves,

got into the chocolate bars,

and we're still waiting for Sam to wake up so he can eat lunch (get into the chocolate bars), and we can go to the library. That's our day so far!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Different topography

There's a terrific trail system that runs through and around Red Deer, and along Red Deer River. You can hike or bike in the summer, and in the winter it can be used for cross-country skiing and snow shoeing. We went for a really nice family bike ride on Saturday morning. Apparently I've always lived on flat land. Never in my life have I had to change the gears on my bicycle. I did when I first got my bike, just to make sure it worked, or in the occasional ho-hum moment, but I have never actually used them. Saturday changed all that.

As we rode down the first hill, thoughts like, "Wow, I don't remember ever going this fast on a bicycle before," and Sam raising his hand in the air while
screaming, "Ahhhhhhhhhh!" in the trailer attached to my bike were my initial clues that we weren't in Kansas anymore. The subsequent ascent was when I fully realized the magnitude of the situation. Once I got my bike on the very lowest gear, we were in business. There was much back and forth with the gear switching for the rest of the ride and by the end I was a pro. My only hiccups were when Andy would get started up an incline and just couldn't make it, so we'd stop and walk the bikes up to the peak and then continue riding. But that only happened once or twice - I was impressed that he was able to keep up most the time! I guess his next bike will have to be a multi-speed. (Do they make multi-speed bikes for 6 going on 7 year-olds?) His current bike is getting a little small for him, and Sam is hankerin' for a bike of his own (he does have a scooter and Big Wheel), but we'll probably wait for next summer since the snow will be coming in just a few more months!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

Well, since this isn't a holiday here, things are pretty low-key. Otto is working, but the boys and I went for a swim at the indoor pool this morning. We also signed them up for a four-day morning summer camp that they can attend together. I think this will be good for Sam; he's a little more attached to me at this age then Andy was, so something they can do together which, I hope, will make him more comfortable.

The most patriotic thing we've done so far is that I sang The Star Spangled Banner to them on the way home from the pool. Maybe Otto and I will sing it again later together along with America the Beautiful to jazz things up at dinner.

Sam and Andy also worked with the Play-Doh while we watched some Wimbledon action.

Look at that - Federer looked right at me!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy Canada Day!

"On June 20, 1868, a proclamation signed by the Governor General, Lord Monck, called upon all Her Majesty's loving subjects throughout Canada to join in the celebration of the anniversary of the formation of the union of the British North America provinces in a federation under the name of Canada on July 1st."
Today is Canada Day, and we celebrated it in the time-honored Canadian tradition of having blinds hung in our house. :o) After we grew bored with that, we watched the end of the Toronto vs. Vancouver soccer game (Vancouver won 1-0).

Then we decided to head to Bower Ponds to take in some of the local celebration. We went paddle boating ourselves here on Sunday. Today they had several food tents set up from some local ethnic organizations and a stage with music. We indulged in some type of sausage and perogies from the Ukrainians, and some noodles and rice from the Chinese. Sam is enjoying the cuisine below.

Fireworks start at 11:15pm, because it won't be dark enough before then to see them! A woman we spoke with said she is a huge fan of the band that is closing out the evening called St. James' Gate, a modern Celtic band with mostly local members. I would have liked to see them, but not tonight - we're already in our jammies!

All this Canada Day business made be wonder what lyrics are to their national anthem. In case anyone else was wondering....

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.

With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!

From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.