Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Summer in the Kootenays

The immersion has happened. A slow start to summer and then the sun has come out in full force. Now it is 45 minutes until the sun sets and it is 33 degrees outside. The best place to be - the beach. Or perhaps in the garden. The tomatoes are taking off, and yesterday I ate my first cucumber. In the midst of the new tomato patch is...

Many people have a Garden Gnome but I have a Garden Cat. It would seem that lying on wet dirt might not be ideal for a cat, but this one is happy.

During the long weekend at the beginning of July, I headed west to my friend's new home on one of the San Juan Islands. What is intriguing is that Victoria, BC is more south than Lummi Island. I drove through Canada heading west as a significant number of lower mainlanders were heading east; it was Canada Day so I got to see a lot of celebrations. By the time I got to Oosoyoos, it was time for the parade, so we had to detour. I followed the pack through the back streets, and found myself at the back of one of the floats - the Shriners' Band was on a trailer being towed. So the fellows and their instruments didn't get a spill, the truck had to go slow - real slow. Another float joined the mix, and I realized I was in a parade. Which is hardly the speed you want to be going if you want to get to the coast. Parade Speed. I was relieved when they finally turned off to join the rest of their kind, and I resumed my speed. Canadians were celebrating in abundance, so even though I never got to see the fireworks since they happened when I was already in the US, I had a good sense of Canada Day.

The island is inspiring with all its lushness. Here is a picture from the deck of BJ's new home:

We spent the next few days hanging about eating strawberries, raspberries and drinking green smoothies. I met up with Ryan and Julie in Mt Vernon, where we had some grand pub food and saw one of the best food co-ops in the land. I celebrated an early birthday, with a wondrous assortment from Sephora. And I saw Toy Story in 3D!

I decided to go back via the US to avoid border lineups. The day was grey and rainy as I headed out; once I got over the mountains, this was my view:

Nothing like those wide open spaces. I travelled on July 4, as Americans were celebrating their birthday, so I got to see a lot of excitement along the way. I didn't actually see the fireworks because the time they happened, I was in Canada.

Somehow it seems a bit puzzling how I could be travelling in both Canada and the US on the July long weekend and not get to see any fireworks.

Four days after arriving home from the Pacific Northwest, Aimee and Josh arrived for a 2-week vacation in the Kootenays. I chose a picnic for my birthday; Josh made Potato Salad and Egg Salad, both with bacon. Josh has a knack for putting bacon into dishes... Yum! (Isn't there a Food Network show about that? Perhaps he has a new career ahead.) Kokanee Park was the picnic choice. When we got there, there was a little sun and a little cloud. And then there was a little wind. And then a lot of wind. And then...

We decided to abandon our idea... and headed for the car, which was quite lonely in the parking lot...

The birthday dinner was a feast, thanks to the Great Chef Josh and the Best Sous Chef Aimee..

The menu: Coconut Shrimp, Mongolian Beef, Baked Garlic, Salad, and for dessert Homemade Caramel and ice cream.

A few days later, we went to one of the favourite beaches on the West Arm of the Kootenay Lake - Six Mile Beach...

After a few days, Josh was back in the kitchen with his newest creation:

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie

The best!

It has been a fine launch into summer. And I haven't started my holidays yet!

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