Saturday, 30 March 2013

Good Friday and finally some sunshine

Yesterday morning I held my coffee as usual while at the front window looking out on the street.  The lovely early sunshine filtering through the forsythia told me it was time to prune the roses.  Spring really is here.  Yesterday we walked down to the complex by the cemetery.  It is a 55+ strata-type where you pay a monthly fee to never have to cut grass or prune trees again and get your building power washed etc. etc. etc. by a maintenance crew.  We are hoping our house will sell and we can go into a place like this.  All we really need is 2 bedrooms, a livingroom with space for armchairs and a gas fireplace, plus laundry room, one-car garage and a sunny breakfast nook.  Bathrooms are good too.  I could see us settling there as we practiced living simply and with fewer 'things' in the |RV.

 This morning I walked over to the United Church as we were sharing the Good Friday service with them.  The manse is on the left.

 The cross was draped in black with a crown of thorns on top.  A table at the front held many stones for us to write prayers on slips of paper to hold them down and that will be shared on Easter Sunday. 
 For some reason I wrote a request for healing for all people affected by ethnic cleansing attacks.  Maybe it was triggered by all the bullies in the Good Friday story readings.

On the way home I had to take a picture of the local dog catcher and plumber who had his car in the middle of the road to wash it.  
 laughed with him as he said there wasn't much traffic in the village and they just go around him.

We are busy packing up our belongings to haul them back out to the RV and put them away.  I am looking forward to fishing for trout if I can find a lake where the ice is melted.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Village life again

We are winding down our winter session of living in the village of Ashcroft, which is a 10 minute drive from our house in the northern village.  Old Man Watching was born here 75 years ago, on the steps of the old Lady Minto hospital, and hopes to die here.  Some days I feel like helping him with that request, and then he will say something hilarious, and I get over it. 

We have a lot of organizing to do before going out to help at the ranch in the "bush"  (sage hills, cattle range land, forests and gullies actually).  

Over the winter I have become more involved with different activities and my calendar just filled up.  Soon, everyday I had commitments.  I will look forward to being in the bush where I don't look at calendars and forget what day it is.  

Our special Deacon, Lois, was voted the village's Citizen of the Year.  She too is slowing down, becoming deaf, but so many still depend on her.  She did a funeral for a friend's husband last weekend.  Cliff Moore was a naval man so the Legion were involved and Lois is the chaplain for the local Royal Canadian Legion.

Tanya Wong, beside Lois, was voted Citizen of the Year for our home village of Cache Creek.  Tanya works hard for the disabled children's societies and for the community.  I was so proud of both of  them.  So of course I had to go to the Rotary luncheon for them.  All these food celebrations are making weight loss impossible.  Getting out to the bush may be a big help.

For the last two 'Soup's On' days I went down the street to the church hall to help set up and prepare and dish up individual portions of salads/vegetables/fruit/desserts etc. at 9:00.  The tables were set and the 2-4 soup choices were heated to government regulations.    We must always have one vegetarian soup as so many folk want that, even the street people.  We are happy to give them choices.  

Then I took on the job of greeting at the door.  My leg is still not back to normal so I could sit on the foyer bench in between greetings.  Some come before the door opens at 11 but the door is never closed, so we welcome them in. The head cook was Gerda on Friday and she made a wonderful lentil, barley and ham soup.  So (as a joke) I wrote on the chalkboard that we were a sponsor group called Gerda's Galloping Goddesses, although we were really all a cell from St. Alban's Church.  The customers like to know who is cooking each time.  Then wonderful, wandering, but not-quite-homeless, Mike, came to help with dishes and to do the heavy lifting, so I quickly changed 'Goddesses' to 'Gleaners'.   Although 'Big Mike from Wales'  said he wouldn't mind being called a goddess.  Gerda is from Germany and works hard for this soup kitchen at 78 years of age.  She organizes one lunch a month.
We did glean a lot of free desserts and salads and a big vat of soup from folk who dropped off donations.  That was a good thing as it is Spring Break from school, so we fed over 90 people and ran out of everything.  The last latecomers at ten to 1:00 only got to have a bowl of soup and a bun.  Two other latecomers forfeited their bunny-decorated desserts to the last arrivals and there were some apples left over for them.  Actually the last folk get to take home all the leftovers so we seldom have any.  Some of the homeless (and old, lonely, senior bachelors) wait until the end to visit for that reason.  We have a lot of donors of plastic bags and plastic cartons of different sizes and they get well-recycled...filled with food.  

When you look at this crowd you can't tell who are the ministers and who are the ministered-to.  That is not a focus although it happens.   The first in line here is the United Church minister but she didn't arrive until after 12:00.  All are welcomed in and thanked for coming as they leave.  We have welfare folk who can't donate and folk who just like to get out every Friday and visit with friends.  Some put $10 in the pot and some put more/less or nothing.  Any profits go to the food bank.  It is amazing that every few months we can vote to send $300 or more over to the Elizabeth Fry Society and the Food Bank.  One of our church men put tissue flowers and butterflies on the walls for Spring decorations.  The visitors/eaters noticed that nice touch.   It is just a good social time for all, especially the old age pensioners who find it difficult to buy fresh fruit and vegetables.  Hcre they get a choice of cleaned and cut up and prepared fresh food.   I noticed that this week folk seemed to linger longer over lunch and enjoy the socializing more.  Maybe folk are glad that winter is almost over.  Next week the Free Evangelical's Church group will be doing the lunch for Good Friday.  
I will stop in after the community Good Friday 11:00 AM service. 

 It took me 40 minutes to clear the tables, sweep the floor and wipe down the table tops with bleach/soap water.  We need to leave everything tidy for the next group.

This is the last time I will help with this worthy project until after Halloween next fall.  I will miss the joyful working with friends in the kitchen.  I will also miss talking to some of the folk who hide in the community for the rest of the week.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Walking to get the kinks out

Spring is coming.  I have been able to walk a lot as the snow is gone and the village crews have hosed down the sidewalks and are now using a big machine to sweep the streets.  
It is safer for me to walk about now.  Many of the local buildings have been built to reflect a western flavor from the gold rush era.  
Above is the family services building.  Below is a photo of  the big mining truck by the local heritage park.  There is a huge copper mine up the mountain so many of the local folk work there.  A retired truck has been painted and parked by the Heritage Park.  The tires are taller than I am.  I have been taking pictures as I stretch the leg that I pulled falling off of a step stool on the last day of November.  It is still a little stiff in some spots so I don't feel safe to climb hills yet.
Below is another heritage house that has been made into a gallery and tea house.  It is only open in the warmer months.

Our little village bakery is a great place to stop for a coffee or tea and even a simple lunch.

The Central Cafe is also redone to reflect its heritage.  For many years it was run by Chinese owners.  Note the dance hall girls on the balcony.  That is a group that goes to parades and kicks up a storm with their leg displays.

Somedays the only excuse I can use to go walking is to visit the recycle depot.  I like to have a destination or reason for walking.  It is good for my leg to climb the incline behind the yellow blocks to dump recyclables in the appropriate truck bins.  The bins are emptied and hauled away to be sorted when they become full.  It is actually a tidy site but I am glad I don't have to do the sorting.

A gentleman, Tony, died just down the street.  Our landlord had been helping him in his decline and while cleaning out the house for the new buyers, brought home this stand.  It was on the front porch so I said I knew just the spot for it...a corner of our kitchen downstairs.
   I dusted/wiped it down and put a plant on it and pruned the plant.  But then a friend came along and decided a different plant would look better in that corner.  It is a faster growing plant that will bush out and droop gracefully in short order.

We have had a peaceful and 
delightful winter in this Bed and Breakfast Inn, even if we have to do our own breakfasts and meals.  There is a lovely soft Spring rain falling right now.  What a lovely sound to end the day.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

I need to start doing a blog here

There are so many things to learn on this new computer and at Windows 8.  The left little finger shift key for a Capital letter  is so small and I kept touching it and the / \  and stuff on the key too close to it.  So it is annoying to have to go back and fix my print all the time.  It is starting to annoy me.  I put a little felt pad on the left shift key so I can do capitlals without having to keep erasing and re-doing the word.  The felt pad makes it easier for me to stop and assess if I need a capital letter.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

It has been a busy few weeks.  I took on the job of co-ordinating our church's and the neighbouring church's collection of household staples to be given to the young couple with 3 small children that had their house burn down last month.  They lived with friends afterwards and are now in our village in an apartment.  They are from the Ascroft Indian Band.  The mother was very thankful for the sugar, and oil and toilet paper and spices and sewing kit etc. etc. etc.  It is hard to start from scratch to stock a house.  It is hard enough just to keep the larders re-stocked on a monthly basis.

Then I did a road trip with a friend to go 3 hours south to the coast where Spring is a month or so ahead of 

us.  We stayed at my sister's but didn't get to sit outside drinking wine by the carp pond as it drizzled most of the 3 days.  Still we did get some spring-time eye candy delights at two nurseries and bought ourselves some hyacinths.  They are scenting my back porch wonderfully. We also had a lunch visit with my old friend Rosie, the former RCMP officer, in her new orange jeep.  Somehow she is not the princess type to be riding in a big orange pumpkin.  She takes a lot of kidding over her choice of vehicle.  At least you can't miss her.  It was good to get away for a few days and the roads were clear and did not have much traffic, which was a plus.

I also needed to give my bigger-screened laptop over to Old Man with his eye troubles.  My old computer that he was using is 7 years old and groans and is so slow booting up and bringing up e-mails or anything actually.  It groans like an old man.  I bought it when I retired.   He can see the cards on mine much more easily to play his games and majhong.  I on the other hand am suffering through a crash course in using Windows 8.   I am not keen on change so am doing this blog on my old machine which we shifted to the kitchen.  I did write some notes to folk on blogger posts though, using the new machine.  I will adjust but I am still being dragged into this decade, and century for that matter.  

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Accomplished Women

I met Monica when I met my still-current husband 50 years ago, and she was a bubble-gummer (pre-teen) then.  She became my niece.  My husband and I attended the same dance after the Clinton Ball/Rodeo in 1965.   We were legally married a few years later at my childhood parish church on Vancouver Island.  Monica wore a pretty little skirt and straw hat.  I wish I could make a copy of that as her rodeo friends and relatives would laugh.  Then I moved out to the Bryson's Empire Valley Ranch. It was sometimes called the 'edge of beyond' for most women.  But I loved the silence and the ranch lifestyle.  Monica was a lovely little girl who loved horses then and Bean Belly was one of her favorites.  I wish we had a picture of Bean Belly. She was also a very good deer shooter, at an early age.  She had an 'eagle' eye  when using a rifle. 

The notes below are lifted off of Google

Monica Wilson grew up on one of the largest ranches in B.C. where she learned at an early age how to break and train horses. She was one of the founders of the B.C. High School Rodeo Association. She eventually moved to Cardston and began her successful rodeo career. She turned professional in 1990 and competed at 9 consecutive Canadian Finals Rodeos in the Ladies Barrel Race.

Monica was the ladies barrel racing director for the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association 13 years. She was very instrumental in getting ladies equality at the CFR and at the Calgary Stampede.

She has been very involved in the Indian Rodeo Cowboys Association for 12 years. Below is her daughter, Randa, who also loves horses.

She won the acclaimed Guy Weadick award at the Calgary Stampede in 1996, which is awarded to an individual who best shows sportsmanship, ability and leadership qualities. To date she is the only woman to receive this honor. Also, she won the “Cowboy of the Year” in the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association, which is awarded for ability, leadership and rodeo accomplishments.

In 2003 Monica was honored by being invited to judge the Miss Rodeo America contest in Las Vegas. She is the only Canadian to have ever been asked to complete this prestigious task. She did not care about make-up or costumes, or the thousands of $ spent on saddlery and fancy tack.  She would only judge on how those girls could ride and move a horse gracefully.  She was looking for real cow-girls, who could work all day on horseback to herd cattle.

I am proud of all my relatives and all their various skills.   I can  say cowboy prayers for them every day of the week.  

Friday, 8 March 2013

International Women's Day

As the world marks this 102nd International Women's Day, we wonder as Canadian women, how having an education shaped who we are.  There is a need for an education in every girl's life.  Personally, I feel that my education is the only possession I have that NOBODY can take away from me.  The banks can go into recession, and take away my house and job, but I will still have those 5 years of University level education inside my head.  It is a very precious thing, more-so than even my wedding rings.  Diamonds and jewellry are really just 'things'.  An education is key to transforming lives and supporting a generation of empowered women, mothers, workers and leaders.  Yet, 66 million girls do not attend primary and secondary school in the poorest countries of the world. More specifically, in developing countries, girls are often forced to leave school at the age of 14 to take on household chores, to get married, or simply because their parents cannot afford to pay for their school fees (even at the Primary school level.)

If you were forced to drop out of school at age 14, what would YOU have missed out on? 

Canada is not perfect though, and we have much more work to do.  Aboriginal women are 2.5 times more likely to be victims of violence than non-aboriginal women, and Regina has the highest numbers in Canada for sexual assault against women.  In the Saskatchewan context it’s apparent that violence against aboriginal women goes beyond abuse. According to a report by the Native Women’s Association of Canada, an alarming number or aboriginal women have gone missing or were found murdered. Aboriginal women make up four per cent of Canada’s total population, but in 2011 they accounted for eight per cent of all murdered women 15 and older.

There are so many women around the world who have made differences to our world, and they need to be respected.  We do admire so many women. We need to tell their stories so their lives seem normal for humanity.

Where are the best and worst places in the world to be a woman? 

On International Women’s Day, we take a look at some surprising statistics – from the country where women hold more than 50 per cent of the seats in Parliament (Rwanda) to where it's safest to have a baby (Estonia).

The best place to be a woman:
It’s Iceland, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap report for 2012. The country has claimed the top spot in the report since 2009. Finland, Norway and Sweden round out the top four. (Canada fell three spots to land in 21st place out of 135 countries, one above the United States. What hurts us: the lack of female politicians. The good news: Take a look at the premiers of British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nunavut right now since the last scores were tallied.)

My Crone friends met today to tell stories and share food and wine and re-connect as spring is arriving.  I heard a cricket today.


We too have many Canadian female heroes.  My niece was written up in a book about 100 Influencial Canadian Women.  She became the first female 'Cowboy of the Year' at the Calgary Stampede a few years back.  I will write about that tomorrow.  She is in Toronto right now at the book signing.  Some-body else wrote the book but I still want to read it.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Harbingers of Spring

Robins hang around for most of the winter down in this river valley so the real harbinger of Spring for me is the song of the red wing blackbird.  While out doing an afternoon walk in the sun earlier this week I could hear one's song but couldn't find it.  Usually they travel in groups.  Eventually I spotted one lonely blackbird in a bare tree.  One warm afternoon last week, a bee flitted by as I sat on the back porch to soak up the first warm rays of the year.  The maple bugs were crawling all over the house siding that was being hit by the sun this morning.  It has been a mild winter but even so, these things are early for here.  

I spotted house finches gathering nest bits to take to the birdhouses in the back yard.  One had a piece of cloth so large he looked drunk as he reeled around trying to pack it home.  I laughed.  It doesn't take much to make me laugh does it?

There have been small birds at the feeders all winter but the numbers have grown the last few weeks of warmer weather.  Some folk dislike the mourning doves and their cooing but I find it soothing, even at 5:00 in the morning.  Mind you, I don't have to get up to go to work later as I am retired and can roll over and sleep some more.
But then I find train sounds soothing too if I have earplugs to dull their toooooottts  a bit in the middle of the night.  In the daytime I just enjoy the sounds.

We are bound to get more snow here in Canada before May.  The Queen's birthday long weekend in May is considered to be the time when  it is safe to plant vegetable gardens.  I can never wait that long to put some annual flowers into the beds closest to the house.  It is also safe to plant sweet peas then.  They remind me of the Queen Mother and my Nanny for some reason.We also noticed some snowdrops 

out in the front of the B/B we are living in for this winter, and some crocii patches have begun to pop up.  Joys and more joys.  The lilies and irises are poking up too.  Now we need some good soft rains.  

Spring is coming and March came in like a lamb, so that old saw may mean nothing this year, we hope.  But today the wind and rain are like the Lion.... so that says winter is not over. 

I need to research some of the biblical references for these sayings and old teachings.

I was  fortunate enough to have another study session with Aelfric to discuss the course he is taking and I am auditing.  It is fascinating.  However, as I read the history I tend to get a little disgruntled with all the quibbling over what now seems to be minor issues.  I have to remind myself that people fought over these, to me inconsequential issues, so that I might have the freedom of religion I do now.  It is much like the women's  Movement and their right to vote and be classified as full citizens (not chattel) and entitled to all human rights.  Each of those little quibbles took years of wrangling to open our brains to the human rights issues that needed righting.  I won't start on the Civil Rights issues.  Christ was the radical who tried to tell us all this about Justice and Human Rights and He was killed for it.  Some of us still don't get the main messages he was trying to teach us.