Sunday, September 30, 2012


This is the true story of a young Ukrainian boy who survived the horrors of war. It was the Bolsheviks who first brought famine and devastation to his small village, and then the Nazis. It was a toss up as to who was worse. Children are resilient and still manage to play and have fun even in the worst of times, but even that was taken away when the threat of a firing squad forced the young lad and his father to run away from their village.
They are then refugees, seeking safety anywhere they can find it, but hoping that the war would soon be over and the allies would be in Germany giving refuge to the thousands of displaced persons that were flooding into the country. His father is killed in an explosion, his brother taken by the Nazis to work in a factory, and his mother was abandoned in the old house that had been their home for generations.
The war is over and he settles in England, but because of the Iron Curtain, he is unable to find his brother or even hear anything about his mother. At the end of the book, there is a reunion and the pieces come together.
It is a story of suffering, survival, and patriotism. It is an interesting story, but so similar to many others of its kind that I have read. It sounds a lot like my own father-in-law's story. In a group of one thousand refugees, there are one thousand stories, all the same, with the small details changed. It is important to know history, and the suffering that war causes, and that is why these stories should be read and passed on and learned from. How sad that these people would have suffered for nothing.
3 1/2 stars  

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Has your bunny gone missing?
I think I found him in Oroville, stuck in a tree.
Can you see him?   Look close.
How about now? He's wedged in there good and can't get out.
We may have to cancel Easter next year.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Tortoise and the Scare

We were walking along Highway 97 when we saw a turtle on the center line. We wanted to step onto the road and rescue it before it got run over. But first a big white van had to pass. The speed limit here is 100 km/hr. As the van approached, the turtle darted (Yes, darted. It was a hot day and being cold blooded it was quite active and very fast) toward the lane of the oncoming truck. I watched as the two converged, certain I was going to witness a death. The van just nipped the edge of the turtle shell and flipped the turtle back to the center line, landing up-side-down. It was then that we saw the beautiful underbelly of this Western Painted Turtle.

We carried the uninjured creature across the road, where it was headed, and set it down on the shoulder of the road. It immediately darted back onto the road. It obviously had a death wish. We then carried it through the ditch and across a parallel road and into another ditch, where it finally "caught on" and headed into the wild country.
It just seemed the right thing to do.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


We enjoyed a very special occasion last night, our youngest grandson's fourth birthday. Liam is growing so very rapidly in every way. He is a strong, healthy, and active boy, all boy. His request was a chocolate cake with racing cars on it, and his mom made him one. It was delicious. It was so much fun watching Liam open his gifts and just be the life of the party. He got plenty of action toys, gifts that you would never get a young lady, unless, of course, you were trying to turn her into a tomboy.
Having eleven and fourteen year old brothers, he thinks he is much older than he really is and doesn't believe there are any limitations on anything he can do. So, it was with great gusto and a total lack of trepidation that he not only started his first days of school this month, but also started Wee College, following in the footsteps of his older brothers.
My little super hero is moving onward and upward.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Weekend With Friends

We met in Hope for breakfast and then headed to the lake for a quick weekend of doing nothing.

A Sunday morning walk in the 25C sunshine.

On the way home we stopped in Keremeos to buy apples. We brought home 10 boxes for ourselves and some other friends who gave us their orders.  

Oh, and a basket of Prune Plums. Yum!

A quick stop at Mariposa Fruit Stand to see if they really did have cherries. They certainly did have plenty of pumpkins and 50 varieties of squash.

busylizzy is done and just wants to get home. We had fantastic weather for travelling and the traffic was light. It was a great trip.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sunday Morning Brunch

Early Sunrise with a smoke haze.

Two cooks are better than one.

I think the recipe is turning out.

Beautiful! Waffles with plenty of toppings, bacon, and gourmet coffee to get our morning off to a great start.  

Monday, September 24, 2012

Never Enough

I drove this valley twice in the last few days, which makes five times this summer. I can never get enough of this desert country. This photo was taken in August. Yesterday there was no green tinge left on the landscape. It is very dry, crispy and brown. There was a smoke haze in the air also, from the fires near Wanatchee Wa. But, there are degrees of beauty and even in the rain this would be a marvelous drive. More fresh photos from Oroville later.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Mountain Village

If you have never been to Keromeos, you should go. This is a view from the east, as you enter the town on Highway 3, driving down into the village. The setting is beautiful, the weather is dry and warm, and the fertile soil is ideal for orchard fruits and produce. There has been a mini boom lately as a result of the construction of a regional health care facility. We see a revitalisation of the downtown area, and some newly constructed homes, but all on a very small scale. It has lost that depressed look and now looks spiffy and inviting without the big malls and super highways that sometimes come with growth. There are many good fruit stands along the highway, but we have a favourite farm that we go to directly to purchase our fruit.
We are driving through here on Saturday morning on our way to Oroville, and on the way back will be stopping at the farm to load up with cases of apples, tree ripened and sweet. I love this little place, nestled beneath towering mountains, beside the Similkameen River, and about half way between Princeton and Osoyoos. I always get a good feeling driving through this little town.   

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Garden Symmetry

As I do every day after work, I checked our cherry tomato plants for ripe tomatoes. I spotted this symmetrical vine of green gems and remembered something I had read in a photography magazine a while back

The author of the article stated that a nature photographer should always keep an eye out for symmetry in nature as it always makes a good photograph. I did not have to look far to find this second example in the Sun Flower seed pattern. Apparently, most of the patterns in nature follow a very complicated mathematical formula that provides a commonality. We see it in leaves, blossoms, bird's feather patterns, and on and on. Watch for these patterns and you will be surprised how often you come across them. I believe they are a message to us that there is intelligence, and not randomness behind creation.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Harvest Time

Early this spring, busylizzy and her green thumb talked her brother into letting her grow a garden on his five acres. It was formerly an organic farm with berries, produce and free range chickens. The payoff started a few weeks ago with potatoes and cucumbers and now continues with carrots, beets and corn.
Jubilee Corn that started late and is just now filling out. Hopefully, the extended warm weather will help with the ripening. We had some on Sunday and it was lacking.

The beets got humongous a little too quickly. busyizzy's niece's daughter, Karisa, is the little princess helping with the harvest.
There are a few pails of cucumbers, again.  They are good fresh eating and we have plenty for pickles too.

In case you hadn't noticed, there are more weeds than veggies. This is the organic method and it all grows well together. If we lived beside the garden instead of many miles away, we would be on top of it with a hoe.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Strongman (?) Champ

My niece, Carly, is a most remarkable woman. Her father never had a son, but had four daughters. That did not stop him from bringing out the characteristics in his children that he admired, that of strength, endurance, and competitiveness. Carly excels at all three. Her career is truck (big rig) driving. Her second job is being one of only three female firefighters in the Abbotsford Fire Department. Her other passions in life are working out, riding her bicycle great distances when she is not driving or fighting fires, and now competing in Strongman competitions. Her theme in life is that anything a guy can do, she can do better. 
She entered her second Strongman/Strongwoman competition in Kamloops this summer and this is a snapshot of what she did there.
Flipping a monster tire to the finish line
Pressing weights

Pulling big pick-up trucks

Lifting more weights

Hauling more weights

Using her shoulders

And grinning from ear to ear when she achieves first place in her division

She can stand proud among the strongest people in BC
Did I mention that she is intelligent, friendly, funny, and has the sweetest personality? Just don't challenge her to a bike race. She will humiliate you.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


A farm building just west of Omak Wa.
Our clients, last week, did so much preparation for our arrival that it could not go unrewarded. Re-decorating some one's home is very disruptive, a lot like moving. These people had piled everything on their deck, and what was left was in the middle of the room. Even the king sized bed was out of the master bedroom. Everything was dismantled and we could just get right to it. It saved us a lot of time and usually when this happens, I give a bit of a break, or rebate, on the contract price. This time I did not, but, instead bought a hefty gift certificate and mailed it to them. This was their reply, just received today.
Hi Terry,
Thanks so much for the White Spot gift certificate.
That was so thoughtful of you.
We never get presents, it means a lot to us.
We love the paint job and having you and Andrew do it was priceless.
All the best to you and Andrew in the future.
Keith and Della
It looks like everyone is happy, and that is the best advertising there is.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Cracking Good

Sadly, the Khan series of books written by Conn Iggulden is now complete. Having read all five volumes, I am anxiously waiting for this author to write more books. This is Historical Fiction at its best. After each book, there is an epilogue where he explains what parts of the story he changed or filled in from the historical record.
This series, starting with Genghis Khan as a young lad, and ending with his grandson Kublai, the leader of a nation larger than those of Caesar or Alexander, gives amazing insight to the culture and history of the peoples of those times. These books are truly hard to put down. The stories build with suspense and intrigue. The characters, whether villains or heroes, are bigger than life, and we take sides quickly as the story unfolds. These times were full of war and expanding empires and the battle scenes are epic in proportion, fascinating, and leaving one almost breathless. There is plenty of family dynamics, politics, and back stories. I love this kind of writing as both entertainment and education.
Kublai is youngest of four grandsons to Genghis, and any one of them could possibly become the next Great Khan. Kublai was a scholar and was steeped in the ways of the Chin (Chinese) and was considered a poor candidate. Until his brother sent him to a war campaign deep in Chinese territory, the Sung lands. He was hardened in battle and developed his superior intelligence, coming back to a civil war in his homelands and a complete surprise to those who thought they knew him.
This is a good read and I give it 5 stars.   

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Good Light

Old cat tails, and new cat tails.
I like the lighting on this photograph. It almost looks like it was taken in a studio with controlled conditions. It was not. It was mid morning and I thought the light was harsh. Sometimes, the angles and reflections are just right.
I did not get out with my camera nearly enough this summer. My intentions were to do more, but work got in the way. There were many times when I came across lighting, or scenes that demanded a camera, but due to traffic, or schedules, or the fact that I do not have my camera with me at all times, I missed the shot. I know that anticipating something is half the pleasure. I look forward to Autumn colours which are just around the corner and as usual, my intentions are to take more time to capture the beauty.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Special Day?

A very old tree house near Nighthawk Wa. that my grandsons would love.  
I don't know how she does it, but busylizzy always seems to know what special day it is. I think she owns shares in Carlton Cards. They are the inventors of these days, all for the intent purpose of getting people to buy cards.
Apparently, yesterday was "Grandparent's Day". This should be common knowledge for all grandchildren, but apparently it is not. We did not hear "boo" from our grandsons, and busylizzy's parents did not hear "boo" from even one of their 16 grandchildren, or 18 great grandchildren. What to do? We had her parents in and celebrated Grandparents day without any of our grand kids. That should teach them a lesson.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Trip With a Purpose

I decided, at the last minute, to take a quick trip to Vernon, on Friday, to attend the memorial service of my Aunt Eva. My sister came with me. I met four cousins who I had not seen since the late sixties! It was their mom who had passed away at age 94. It was a small affair, in a lovely facility called Bethel Chapel.
There were tributes and memories, all recounting what a wonderful woman my aunt was. And that was certainly my memory too. She was a gracious and generous person, always wearing a smile and having a positive word of encouragement. And, she was my own mother's soul mate, a very dear friend and confidant while their husbands schemed and dreamed some very large projects that did not pan out. Her solid faith was the cornerstone of her life and it was quite evident in all that transpired at the memorial.
She has left a wonderful and lasting legacy with her family, and many wonderful memories that will endure. It was made abundantly clear that there will be a re-union one day.
It was a trip well worth the taking.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Who Took Us Down This Road?

Bill Clinton was quite a hit at the big party put on by the Democrats two nights ago. He spouted some crowd pleasers that didn't ring true. The most obvious was the comment about how Obama had created 23 million jobs. Is it a real job when government stimulus pays someone to count potholes in the freeway? A job like that produces nothing and is paid for with printed dollars. Another thing. How is it that there is 20 % unemployment (8.3 % if you only count those that are still on benefits and are actively looking for work)? Obviously there was  a net loss of jobs. Is this something to be proud of? Obama says he inherited a mess from the Republicans and now they want to get back in power so they can continue the mess they started. And in four years, what did Obama do but make it much much worse than it was or than it had to be.
Besides, how did America get into the mess they are in now in the first place? It all started with Clinton who said "Every American deserves and has the right to own a home" That statement became policy and the whole banking structure changed to allow easy credit. Then came the credit bubble of '08 and now here we are today, still suffering the consequences.
At least the Republicans are going to consider going back on the gold standard. That would be a step in the right direction. Otherwise, they are all, on both sides, a bunch of power hungry, greedy, incompetent truth benders. I'm glad I do not have to vote down there.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Senior Residents

Again, as in years past, the squirrels have cleaned off our Hazelnut tree before the nuts ripened.
Old folks, you gotta' love 'em. We are working in a seniors condo complex and are running into them constantly. There is a lot of potential for them getting into our work, but so far, no incidents. We are heavy on signage and still some of them have no clue. They are only aware that something is going on in their home and they are ready to offer an opinion. "That is the ugliest colour I have ever seen." to "My, isn't that going to be lovely."
I met someone there who I have not seen in many years. I heard a voice ask, "How is your dad?" We had a nice chat and caught up with the last 30 years since we had seen each other.
We had a very long chat with one of the outside staff. She was free with her assessment of the place. She named the best and worst people as well as the best and worst of the three buildings in the complex.
"Now that one over there is the most religious building. They are all from the same church. They are the meanest and grouchiest and most unfriendly people I have ever met." Knowing two of the couples in that building, I asked about them. "Oh, those people are very nice." Well, you can't have it both ways.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fixing a Marriage

We were together with some friends the other night and they were talking about a movie they had just seen, "Hope Springs". Not a TV watcher, I rarely see trailers for the latest movies so I do not know what is out there. After hearing the premise of the movie and also being told it was a good laugh, we bit and went to see it on Monday night with another couple. Thinking it would be a romantic comedy, I was surprised that it was much more than that, and maybe not that at all.
Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep play a couple who have been married for 31 years and their marriage has gone stale, I mean really stale. Meryl's character is the one who wants it fixed so she manipulates her husband into a intensive one week marriage counselling session in a remote village on the east coast.
What unfolds is an anatomy of a union gone cold and lacking in any intimacy or fun. Steve Carell (The Office) as the counsellor, is playing a straight laced figure, which is a surprise. I kept thinking he was going to come up with a zinger at any moment, but he never does.
The story gets intense and emotional as the couple struggles with honesty and intimacy. While it is at times quite funny, it is also uncomfortable because of its truthfulness.
My assessment of this movie is that it is marriage therapy, just watching it. If a couple is not helped by it, they may get help as a result, that is, if they are at all like the couple portrayed so well by Jones and Streep. I have no doubt that this movie will actually help some marriages, a change of direction for the intentions of Hollywood.
3 1/2 stars  

Monday, September 3, 2012


We have a hummingbird that visits our garden regularly, two or three times a day. I recognise his sounds, the clicking chirp and thrum of wings, but he is not easy to spot. I have discovered a sure way of getting really close to him. I sit, very still and quiet, beside this red flowered plant and wait, book in hand. Sure enough, he eventually comes, and within arms reach, will dart into and out of the red tubes on the blossoms. But here is the secret. If I have my camera in hand, he will not come. I took this photo from a distance with my 200 mm lens and then blew it up a little. I am still trying to get that really great hummingbird photo.  Perhaps I could somehow disguise my camera to look like a book.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


My electronic Franklin Language Master calls it labor and the definition is "physical or mental effort". This is Labour Day weekend and aptly named because I am working through it. Today, Sunday, will my resting time and tomorrow, when others are recreating, I will take up the slack of all those out there who should be working and paying taxes so our various levels of government can continue to spend. 
I started collecting CPP early as it was a great advantage as a self-employed person to not have to pay into it anymore, and start taking out. And then this year they changed the rules. Even though I am collecting and should no longer have to pay into the plan, they now say that up to age 65, if one continues to work, they must start contributing again. All of 2012 and the first three months of 2013 will be seeing me pump a lot of money into the plan again as I have to pay employee and employer portions. And all this so I get a monthly cheque that will be about 49 cents larger. (This is my estimate and I hope I am wrong :)  One day this will all be behind me and I will be able to look back with fond memories of working weekends and holidays, hoping our government does not run out of money for the pensioners.