Monday, August 31, 2009

Mickey and the Dragonfly

Mickey loves playing outside and spends hours chasing the flying moths and whatever other insects she can see. We watched her today as she ran and leapt and jumped at a huge dragon fly that was exploring the back yard in search of mosquitos and whatever else dragonflies eat. After awhile her persistence paid off and she captured the beautiful insect and ran inside with it.

In typical cat fashion she tossed the poor creature around, jumped around it, batted it around and seemed to enjoy her new toy. The following pictures are a bit blurry because of the kitten's movement, but they tell a natural history story.

After playing with it in the house, she carried/batted it outside for a play session.

Then she brought it back in the house and ate it.

And then curled up in her bed for a couple of hours of sleep where she dreamed, no doubt, of further successful hunts.

I can't decide whether or not this blog is in poor taste. Some readers may think it is. I hope no one is offended by it. Let me know.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Okanagan Beauties

Lloyd and I spent a beautiful half day exploring around the off-roads in the Osoyoos/Oliver area. It really pays to get off the main road and see what treasures of nature you can find.

Like these apples. I love seeing fruit on the trees - don't know why, but it pleases me in a very basic earthy way.

And these apricots...I had noticed the trees with the long slender leaves but couldn't identify them until we got up close and could see the apricots (or nectarines, I'm not sure which) peeking through the leaves.

More apples I think, or maybe peaches??? I'm not a very good naturalist but I know what I like!

A close-up of the above picture. I guess they're apples after all.

It was amazing to me to see how heavy they were on the trees - great large clusters of the fruit just waiting to be picked.

I really loved how the grapes looked hanging on their vines...

...especially this bunch which contains the whole spectrum from green to red to mauve and the lovely blue/purple color of ripening grapes.

In the midst of the orchards we found this quaint little church. The sign on the front of it said "The Little Brown Church". It was beautifully kept with well tended gardens surrounded on all sides by fruit orchards.

We went down a non-road, a trail really (thank goodness for a 4-wheel drive truck) which led to this lovely lake. And this fellow who's been following me around this week was there so I took his picture too. Hi Lloyd!

And then I gave him the camera and he took my picture as well.

Across the main road from, and surrounded by orchards, we found a desert reserve. This valley is Canada's only desert - an extension of the Sonora Desert which extends from Mexico, through Arizona, California and up into the Okanagan in BC. There was lots of prickly pear cactus growing there, although smaller than the variety we have in Arizona. We did a very interesting self-guided tour there.

It's interesting to see the desert give way to the orchards, with the lakes, vineyards and mountains in the background.

We would have liked to have had more time to explore this fascinating part of Canada, and now with a daughter and her family living there we'll have more reason to come here to visit and explore. It's no wonder Mary and Greg love it so much.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Kids, Grandkids and Dog

It's been a good day here in Osoyoos/Oliver. Lloyd and I spent the morning exploring, taking pictures of scenery and fruit on trees, which I'll post another time. Today was about spending time with Mary, Greg and the kids.

Lloyd, Mary and Greg went golfing this afternoon while I stayed home with Layla and Baron. We all had an enjoyable time. Mary took pictures of the golfing and will publish them on her blog in the next day or so. Following are random shots of the family.

Greg barbequed ribs for dinner and after Baron had gnawed all the meat he could from the bones, he wanted to share with Chester.

Here Baron is working on the ribs under the watchful eye of his Papa.

He even fed Chester some potato salad.

Lloyd and I with Layla and Baron.

Greg cooking dinner for us. Those grilled tomatoes with cheese on them are sooooo good.

Mary, Layla and Baron. Layla was taking pictures of me taking pictures of them.

Chester is so patient and gentle with the kids. Baron is all over him, just as Layla was when she was a baby.

Layla - 5 years old

Baron - 1 year old

Layla keeps a close eye on her baby brother and likes to blow on his belly when the chance presents itself.

Before we came to visit them, Layla told us that she wanted to show us what she wanted out of the Sear's Wish Book. It's her favorite book and both Lloyd and I had to sit with her at different times and go through the whole book. She had circled everything she wanted. I've never seen such a marked up wish book in my life!

Already Baron is following in his father's footsteps by developing an interest in basketball. He does his own version of dribbling, catching and shooting the ball. So cute.

Tomorrow morning the family is coming to the resort to join us in some pool fun - Layla loves the water slide here - then we'll go to Okanagan Falls to watch Mary and Greg jump off the bridge. And then it'll be time for us to leave. We're really enjoying our stay here.

Welcome to Osoyoos

We arrived in Osoyoos early yesterday afternoon and spent a few hours wandering around town. It's a very busy resort town filled with tourists taking advantage of the last week to play before school starts.

It's beautiful drive down the mountains and into the Okanagan Valley. The desert landscape was mixed with the acres and acres of vineyards and orchards. Fresh fruit stands line the roads and every vineyard/winery advertises wine tasting tours. There's a lot to do and see here.

This picture was taken on the overlook where the Welcome to Osoyoos sign stands. It's a beautiful view of Osoyoos at the foot of the mountain.

Just us, squinting into the sun at the same spot overlooking the valley.

There's a beautiful walking path along the shore of the lake.

This remarkable fountain stands at the entrance to the walking paths. When the wind came up in the evening, the water seemed to dance around the fountain.

A pause along the walk for a photo shoot.

So that's how we filled our time before checking into the Spirit Ridge Resort. My next entry will feature kids, grandkids, and dogs. Stay tuned...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Christina Lake, BC

After a lateish start this morning Lloyd and I enjoyed a peaceful drive from Lethbridge through the mountains to Grand Forks, BC. Tomorrow we'll finish the drive to Osoyoos to visit Mary, Greg and kids.

Driving through the mountains is always an adventure. I drove for the first 4 hours and quite enjoyed the changing sights. It's really a beautiful drive, although some of the roads seem to be carved out of avalanche spillways. There are many beautiful lakes through the mountains, some with the most amazing turquoise colored water. Some of the little towns we drove through look like they'd be inhabited by hippies from the 60's - there were art shops, soap shops, bead shops, paper making shops - everything artsy and creative and very little else.

We stopped to take pictures at a viewpoint above Christina Lake. This handsome guy was standing by the sign so I had to take his picture :)

When I figured out how to set the timer on my camera I took this picture of Lloyd and me relaxing at the rest stop above the lake.

This is the lake - the warmest tree lined lake in Canada, according to the sign. It seemed like a very peaceful, restful place.

We drove another hour down the road to Grand Forks and stopped for the night. Tomorrow we'll drive for an hour and a half to get to Osoyoos.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Project Completed

The reason we came to Lethbridge this weekend was to get the patio extension built. Rob joined us here and did an amazing job of laying the patio and levelling the stones. It was a heavy, hard job but we're very pleased with the result. Now we can put the patio furniture on it instead of on the grass, and the barbeque remains on it's portion of the original patio.

After using the sod cutter to lift the grass, laying landscape fabric and dumping wheelbarrows full of gravel in place, Lloyd raked it as level as he could.

Rob very meticulously maneuvered each 18" square into place, making sure each one was level. They all fit so tightly that there is absolutely no movement on the patio. It took all day yesterday and a couple hours this morning to get it completed.

I had the most difficult job of keeping the working men hydrated. That limeade sure was delicious. They went through a lot of bottles of water too.

And this morning we were able to enjoy the results of their labor by having breakfast from Tim Hortons on our new patio. Good job guys.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cactus Cookies

It's been several months since we've been to Arizona so I thought the kids and I could make cactus cookies as a sweet reminder of our fun times there in the colder Canadian weather.

Charlie very carefully sprinkled decorations on the freshly frosted saguaro cactus cookies.

Then she 'supervised' Max as he tried his hand at decorating.

So far, so good.

Max tries it solo.

And Charlie beams with pleasure over the finished cactus forest. The sweet treats didn't last long. By the time I left their house at 5:00 there were only three left. I'm glad they enjoyed them.