winter solitude – par 72

hope golf course – photo taken january 2, 2016 facing northwest.


a beautiful 9-hole golf course that anyone can afford to play.  the coquihalla river runs the length of the course on the south side and on the east, thacker mountain provides a scenic backdrop.

for more information visit their site:

fraser river bridge – hope, b.c.

The attached photo of the “water avenue bridge” was taken january 1, 2016, looking north. The fraser river is at its lowest during the winter months, a steep path on the south entry of the bridge gives access to the river’s edge.

water avenue bridge
water avenue bridge – crosses the fraser river as the trans canada highway entering the fraser canyon.

Source: wikipedia
The Water Avenue Bridge is a highway bridge that carries the Trans Canada Highway across the Fraser river. It was built around 1916 to carry the Kettle Valley Railroad out of The town of Hope to the CPR mainline on the north side of the river.[1] It is a two level bridge with the highway bridge on top. The railway, which was long ago removed, ran on the lower level. If you pull off the highway on the north side, eastbound on the highway, and explore under the bridge, this can be clearly seen. The rail bed can be followed a short way west until you come to private property. Little if anything remains to show that trains ran south and east of the bridge into town.

a very big circle tour….

a very fast trip to northern alberta to see family. along the way i took too few photos and missed far too many to make a better photo essay. we drove north through the yellowhead highway 5 from hope to jasper, this is quite scenic and one of the few times we’ve driven it in summer, following the north thompson river until we head east and the beginning of the mighty fraser at valemount. the segment through jasper national park is too familiar too us and we slowed only to grab a couple of shots of elk and mountain sheep…and a raven. the mountains were spectacular and the weather was with us all the way.

our first stop was a charming setup on the banks of the Athabasca river. we had a “rustic” cabin on a high ridge with a clear view of the river and the sound of rushing water. rustic…no running water, outhouse and all the senses of nature, including a rumbling thunder storm (poor max).

a three hour drive up highway 40 and we’re in grande prairie and wide open spaces, big skies, lush fields and oil wells. as you’ll see, I have a thing for the prairies…they are awesomely beautiful and ever-changing. the sky is spectacular and the colours of the fields and trees are a painters dream.

heading south we followed the banff/jasper parkway, a spectacular valley of mountains and glaciers, the blue grey rivers fed by the glaciers and the turquois lakes, inviting but oh, so cold. we were fortunate to see a mother bear and cubs and some very large big horn sheep who appeared right beside the car while we were waiting for traffic.

highway 1 to the beautiful town of revelstoke. revelstoke is located at the headwaters of the arrow lakes surrounded by high mountains and the mighty columbia river. the town itself is a picture postcard with tin roofs for the high snow fall, well cared for yards and home which are most Victorian in style and date back to early 1900’s. the downtown section is truly a postcard setting, revitalized and perfect for visitors. an architectural highlight was the old courthouse located on the south edge of the town. a great place to visit.

ever southward. we caught the early morning ferry south of revelstoke, then a leasurly drive to kaslo, b.c. via nakusp and new denver, both quaint and charming lakeside towns with a strong connection to mining and b.c. history.

kaslo, my old home town (for a while) a perfect village of about 1,000 souls nestled on the shore of kootenay lake. the old building have mostly been restored and the homes are a fantasy for lovers of early architecture. the town hall is the oldest of it kind on the b.c. mainland. too many restaurants (the tree house is my fave), a beautiful golf course and hours of exploration if you have the time.

home via highway 3. all mountains and climate changes along the way. here are a few, or too many photos from the trip…in no particular order.



































this morning in the garden…

we’re ahead of schedule with almost everything. the fennel has overgrown and new seedling are planted, beets and greens ready for canning and soon the tomatoes. this morning we picked 5 kilo of tomatoes and figure we’ll have about 35 or 40 kilo by the time we’re done. I’ve pulled all the second batch of onions and all the garlic for drying, also digging up potatoes as needed. a second crop of green and yellow bush bean went in a few days back as we harvest the bounty of the first crop. peppers, cucumbers and zucchini are overflowing….how to get it all dried, canned or frozen in time! my turnips are ready and a second crop planted as is another crop of beets. remarkable what a handful of seeds will produce.

beans garlic onion pot tom5

rhododendron flats

on a short day trip we had the chance to stop at  rhododendron flats in manning park.  the grove of pacific rhododendron is just off highway 3 (the crowsnest) highway.  there is a small parking lot and toilet along with information signs about the grove.  as they are natural/native only one colour grows, however the beauty of them at different phases of development are as diverse as any garden.  it is a pleasant 15 minutes stroll around a well maintained path amongst the pines and cedars.  the grade is gently but not suitable for wheelchairs or someone with difficulty walking.

m1 r1 r2 r4 r5 r7 rh7 rh8 rh9 rh10 rh11 forest floor

the ubiquitous max
the ubiquitous max

may has busted out all over!

…if you know the song…it should be june😉

the flower gardens are way ahead of themselves and I fear come august or even july the flowers will be spent.  for now the colours are bright and the buds prolific, alas there is lots of deadheading to do and of course there’s weeding, obnoxious weeds that grow as fast if not faster then flowers.

for both the vegetables and flowers the bees and hummingbirds are have a heyday. the veggies are well established with many already in flower.  were presently eating lettuce, radishes, green onions and herbs. the tomatoes and potatoes are in flower and they should start setting fruit soon.

I took a few shots earlier this this afternoon 29/05/15. I hope you enjoy them.

b4 cpallover dora loaded lovely moreplease pclem pinks pop sweet what whclem wl1 wl2

Tie up your staked veggies with….

…painters tape!

having lost or used up all my velcro ties i was desperate to get more, then realized i had rolls of left over painters tape.  (it must have been the colour that clued me to the idea) the adhesive on the tape is not strong enough to stick to the plants but when wrapped around a stake and to itself it holds the plant securely.  a one inch roll would likely be better than the width i had on hand and it will last you several season, depending on the size of your garden.

max2veg tape

spring planting

will it or will it not…stay this warm for another month? a big question as i’ve planted some cool weather crops: potatoes (red pontiac and yukon gold,) onions sets, peas and some lettuce in the greenhouse. i’ve also stuck some chard seeds in the ground, hoping for the best.

indoors, under lights, i have a robust crop of bush tomatoes, peppers, parsnips and cress with some lettuce. if the weather holds i’ll be able to move them to the greenhouse in early april.

last years planting of garlic is looking good, however the leaf tips are yellow and i’m not sure what the cause is.

the rest of the veggie garden has been dug over but i’ll do one more dig to work last falls mulch in a little deeper before planting more seeds.

as for the flower beds…a bit of weeding and a lot of anticipation as to what did or did not survive the ice storm. right now my lavendar and sage plants are looking the worse for wear. the tulips are in full leaf and the daffodils are coming into bloom.

La mousse d’Odette

the wife of my french language buddy in montréal is, i believe, a marvelous cook. she has sent me several recipes over the months, however this is the first i have tackled. i thought it would be fun to share with you, including Odette’s step by step instruction, with my pictures.

this is remarkably easy and fast to prepare…only the anticipation takes time.


  • 6 egg whites (large eggs)  chilled overnight. (freeze or use yolks in a main course for the same meal)
  • 200 gm dark chocolate 75% cocoa
  • 200 ml heavy cream
  • 60 gm sugar
  • pinch of salt – 1/16 teaspoon

  1. vinegarclean
    clean, clean, clean! make sure no grease is in the bowl or on the whisk,wipe bowl and whisk with vinegar after washing to ensure no oils are left on the bowl. after cleaning, i chilled the bowl for an hour then before adding the egg whites i put a single drop of vinegar in to help with the stiffening.

    why add vinegar? adding vinegar (acid) makes the foam less likely to get lumpy, lose moisture and collapse. this happens when over-beating and egg-white proteins start to congeal.

  2. 75percent

    use a good quality  dark chocolate. i used 85% cocoa (because i sent rick to do the shopping😉 however, the recommended is 70% to 75% cocoa for this recipe. chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl, large enough to hold the mousse when complete.

  3. 6eggwhites

    whip the 6 egg whites with a drop of vinegar and a pinch (1/16 spoon) of salt. slowly add the 200 grams of sugar (4 tablespoons – you could add a couple more if you prefer sweeter) until the volume has increased to a fluffy, but stiff state (about half the depth of the mixing bowl.)

  4. hotcreamtochoc

    bring the 200 ml of cream to a boil. i used a double boiler to prevent scorching. pour the hot cream over the chocolate in three batches, stirring the chocolate mixture each time until all the chocolate has completely melted.

  5. mix1-3eggwhite

    load the whisk with a 1/4 to 1/3 of the meringue and whisk it into the chocolate cream mixture by hand until fully incorporated.  using a large spatula, fold the remaining meringue gently into the chocolate mixture…be gentle, you want it to stay fluffy. cover the bowl with parchment an leave overnight in the refrigerator.

  6. cookstreat

    don’t forget to reward yourself for your efforts🙂

  7. mousse

    the following evening, serve the mousse with a garnish of chocolate shavings and a dollop of whipped cream.  a side of raspberries would be nice too!  bon appétit!

“mousse au chocolat légère comme une plume”

originally sourced from:

unique bird house

recently i posted on my facebook page about the generosity of neighbours. this has been an ongoing theme for us since moving to hope, three years ago this month. Randy, a local carver has been exceptionally generous. in the last two weeks an early easter bunny arrived mysteriously on the doorstep; he’s since migrated to the pond, but is still looking for a permanent home. yesterday, i asked a favour, looking for a small round of wood to add to a birdhouse i was working on….a few hours later i got my round, and a whole lot more! i think I’m safe in saying i may have one of the most unique birdhouses anywhere.

all i had to do was cut the opening in the mouth and assemble the pieces!