Monday, August 3, 2009

Family Reunion

Also in July my mom, my son and I traveled to Moose Jaw for a family reunion. This was a reunion of some of Scots side of my family and a group of people I got back in touch with thanks to I had sent a message to a man about our common relatives only to find out that we were indeed related and there was a reunion coming up!

It was so nice to see family in a place that means so much to me! I saw my Great Aunt Olive, who I haven't seen in probably 20 years and met family that I never even knew about. It was great to hear stories and connect with another family historian. Funny that we travel to Moose Jaw 4 or 5 times a year and never knew all these people were close by.

Lately when we've been going to the farm (which is south of Moose Jaw), if we find ourselves in town we try and do some of the more "touristy" things that you never do when you live in an area. So we went on a trolley tour. It was so very cool to hear more about the history of the city and see some of the historic houses of the Avenues. One of our favourites was the wedding cake house... I can't remember the whole story behind it because so much happened that day except that there used to be two of them. I think it's pretty cool:

Even though it was a whirlwind of a trip (out Friday, back Sunday) it was a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to the next reunion in a few years time. I'm looking forward to a relaxing trip to the farm again soon as well...

Canoeing and Quilting - OR - The Perfect Creative Retreat

Back in July my mom and I headed north to Pigeon Lake for a women's creative retreat. She goes every year with her friends and after three years of dropping hints I finally got an invite this year. It was so amazing!!

We went for five days, to a Girl Guide campsite at Pigeon, where we had rented the lodge (my mom and her friends are all past and present Girl Guide volunteers) and set up the common area for everyone to work on their related craft. We had mostly quilters, but there were also a couple of scrapbookers, a graphic novelist, some bakers and some relaxers (which can be an art form all on it's own... trust me).

In addition to working on our craft we had access to walking paths, shopping and canoes on the lake. It didn't look like the weather was going to cooperate for too much canoeing as there was lots of wind. By the second last day mom and I made a deal that if at any point the water was calm we would drop everything and grab a canoe. Just before sunset we went for a walk to calm my frustrated mind (my sewing was not going well). We got down to the dock and the water was as smooth as glass. We took one look at each other and practically ran back to the lodge... "To the canoes!!"

It was a glorious sunset canoe! There were fish jumping out of the water catching bugs, loons calling and not too many power boats out. (The part that mom would probably prefer I didn't mention was that we had the canoe backwards the whole time! She's supposed to be the expert here... and we couldn't figure out why I had no room for my feet!! LOL)

The next day was our last so we took one more afternoon canoe trip, finished working on our projects and had to pack up. I was very sad to leave. It has been a long time since I spent that much time with a group of such supportive women. The caring, respect and fun spirits of all these women was amazing and I left feeling refreshed and renewed. I'm already looking forward to next year! I also left with new pride with myself. I not only accomplished my goal, but exceeded it and woken the creative spirit in me once again. Here is what I have completed so far (there's still a long way to go):

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Poking Around in the Garden

It is such a beautiful night! I decided to take a wander through my garden (around my garden I guess... it's not much).

Picked a few chokecherries this evening. It seems early, but they're starting to get ripe already and if I don't get them the robins will!! (There are still millions up where I cannot reach them so don't worry about the birds too much). I couldn't get a picture of the robins that were scolding me, but I have begun to think there may be a nest just over the edge of my roof. I planning on making some jelly and syrup this summer. YUM! I've had this tree in my yard for 12 years now and never done anything with the berries so it's about time!!

Also, my tomato plants have almost doubled in size so I have let them start flowering so I can get some delicious tomatoes this summer (so excited). I'm hoping I'll have enough to make some salsa, but we'll see.

My clematis are blooming like crazy right now!! They are really late, but they are gorgeous.

I've had a very exciting July, I went on a creative women's retreat as well as a Cairnie family reunion... I will have to write about those adventures another night (soon).

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Another JAKT Adventure

What or who is JAKT?? Just a group of the coolest girls to spend time in the mountains with (or pretty much anywhere else)!! JAKT is comprised of JoAnn, Aimee, me (Katharine) and Theresa... get it yet?? JAKT is pronounced jacked and we have many slogans for our group, our favourite being "Get JAKT in the woods"... LOL. (We also think we're pretty funny) On occasion our good frined Lance also joins us, in which case we become JAKLT (jacklet)... not as catchy, but equally as much fun. One of the reasons we started going on these adventures was for Theresa, out here from Ontario for a work practicum. There was no way we could let her head back home without seeing some of the best of what Alberta has to offer.

Together as a group we have explored Elbow Falls and hiked the Diamond T loop by Bragg Creek.

Our next adventure was Grotto Canyon by Canmore (this was a JAKLT adventure).

Yesterday JAKT climbed Sulphur Mountain in Banff and went up to Sanson's Peak. There may not be big animals on Sulphur Mountain, but the ones we encountered were fearless and crazy. We were swooped by grey jays and nutcrackers and had a very brave ground squirrel hop up on our picnic table and try to steal our cheese and crackers!! Mother Nature was great to us. We had beautiful weather for our whole hike and didn't get any rain until we were almost back to the car.

After 13.2 kms of hiking we went to the hot springs to try to recover. When we were getting out of the car it decided to pour ice cold rain on us! It pretty much stopped by the time we were in the water, just a few sprinkles. The warm water (39 degrees) felt so good on our achy muscles! After a good soak we were so hungry that we decided to get our feed on at Earls in Banff. I think Aimee will agree with me when I say that campfire s'mores are one of the best desserts on the planet!!

Sadly it was time to head back to Calgary. Just as I said to Theresa, "This is the best time to watch for wildlife by the road." BOOM!! There were two elk right by the road.

The rest of the drive was filled with hilarious laughter, crazy games and good music. Just what can always be expected when you adventure with JAKT.

Update on the Veggie Garden

Oops... I am going to be in so much trouble when my son gets home from his dad's!! We have suffered an almost total loss on our balcony garden because I went away for a weekend and the plants dried up. :( Can we say, "Ooooo... you're dead meat!"

At the moment all we have are two Early Girl tomato plants left... the rest have added some brown materials to our composter.