Thursday, 12 December 2013

Mary Maxim Moves to New Millenium

 I know that there are lots of people still knitting Christmas socks out of old Mary Maxim patterns but I just got sent this picture from NJ and I'm very happy to see that these Christmas stockings still stand up!  We're now on the second generation and it appears that this is one old tradition that intends to last in our family.  I guess if something remains for two generations in this fast-changing world, well, I'd have to call it a tradition.  Happy Christmas, all!
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Sunday, 1 December 2013

December Gardening

Other than my year in Isle of Man, I can't recall doing any gardening in December.  Today, I dug the carrots. This event took place because I fear the colder weather arriving and we won't have snow cover.  We seem to be on the fringes of the snow area, although tonight's forecast says that it is coming.  We shall see if it arrives.  If it does, fine.  My carrots are cleaned and currently stored in the fridge.  Plan to make a carrot, cashew and curry soup later in the week.  Nice to have 9 gardening months here in the Kootenays.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Remembrance Day, 2013

I'm always a little surprised at how many younger people will come out to honour Remembrance Day.  In Kaslo, there is about a 15 minute outdoor commemoration with the placing of a number of wreaths around the cenotaph.  Yesterday we had a beautiful sky day, with a very brisk wind off the lake, and fairly cool temperatures.  People stood respectfully and watched.  Following this, many people go into the Legion Hall for a more formal "service" with some music, an address, and the national anthem and a prayer or two.  I find it refreshing that young families will bring fairly young children to this event - not many, but there are a few.  I was also pleased to see the degree of respect shown by adolescents and youngsters who attended the outdoor ceremony.  In fact, I only heard one cell phone ring twice just before the Kuimba choir was about to sing.  There were actually considerably more people at the Remembrance Day service than showed up to support our protest over the cancellation of 24/7 ER care here in Kaslo.  Interesting.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Thanksgiving, 2013: Flying Solo

Dave left for Nepal on the eve of Thanksgiving weekend so it has been a very different weekend for me!  I didn't cook a turkey, nor bake a pumpkin pie.  I did buy a pumpkin pie in Trail and have been enjoying it in bits over the entire weekend.  Not as good as homemade, however.  Had a great run with Jennifer on Saturday a.m. and then spent Saturday p.m. reading and snoozing in the armchair.  Headed off to the launch of Requiem for A Glacier at the Langham - will have to revisit it because it was CROWDED!  Sunday, I made squash soup for my Thanksgiving supper and it was divine.  Thanks to Gerry and Pete Burgess for that recipe so many years ago and thanks to the earth for growing those great squash!  I planted spring bulbs on Sunday p.m.  Today, I did more work in the garden, had a nice run around Mirror Lake and rode my bike into Kaslo to see my hospice client.  Even got to watch some of the movie, Secretariat, while holding her hand. Whenever  I visit, I'm always thankful for the good health of my parents, both mentally and physically.  I had a fine conversation with my Dad on Sunday.    I'm ever so thankful for the beauty of the land where I live.

Monday, 30 September 2013

SUFFERfest 2013

There was a pretty good amount of suffering that went on during this year's SUFFERfest.  After a beautiful summer and September, the weather turned ugly on Saturday.  I was busy all week with pre-registration which basically meant getting the bags prepared for each athlete to pick up.  I had a great team of workers for the bag packing and we got everything arranged alphabetically.  The other big job was to get the bags distributed and we had pre-arranged pickup times.  All of my workers at these sessions were great and I don't think we had any major screwups.  A couple of people didn't get their pre-ordered t-shirt, but otherwise, things went smoothly.  With the poor weather, quite a few athletes didn't show up but on Sunday morning, the other worker and I had a steady flow of people coming in to pick up their bag for the 10 km run and the 25 km run.  For me, the hardest task was to "balance the books" at the end of the day and I'm always nervous working with money.  Because of the weather, we didn't get a ton of walk in registrations or event changes so it was good year to find out what it's all about.  It was fun talking with the athletes and on Sunday, when the weather cleared up a bit it was good to see the SUFFER fever in town!  Andrea participated in the 45 km bike ride and the 10 km run.  Congratulations to Janis for another successful year as Race Director for SUFFERfest.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Blue Heron Run

Sunday, Sept. 22, I participated in the Blue Heron Run (10 km or half-marathon) in Creston, B.C.  The run takes place at the Wildlife Centre outside of Creston and I had anticipated that at least half of it would be on trails.  It isn't - the entire run is on pavement.  My goal early in the season had been to do the half-marathon, but a cranky knee has kept me from running as much as I would have liked so I opted for the 10 km.  It's a pretty enough place to run and it's mostly flat.  I surprised myself right at the start by finding myself at the back of the first third of the runners, rather than at the front of the last third of the runners.  This wasn't a very elite group, but it still felt good to be seeing the leaders up ahead.  At the turn around point, I could actually see most of the runners other than the first 3 who were way ahead of the rest of us.  I was able to maintain a steady pace and felt good throughout.  I was very pleased to have a finish time of 62 minutes when my goal had been 65 minutes.  Cool, cloudy weather helped too.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Hiking at Top of the World

 Last week, Dave and I did a backpacking trip into Top of the World Provincial Park in the East Kootenays.  This is one photo that does make it appear that we are at the "top of the world".  The hike into the campground is in excellent shape and is an easy hike.  The campground, located at Fish Lake, was lovely and clean and not very busy while we stayed (3 nights).  We enjoyed hikes to Sparkle Lake and to the top of Sugarloaf, where this picture was taken.  I also hiked to the Alpine View.  One thing I found to be a bit frustrating is that two trails were starred as "not maintained" so I expected to find a poor trail.  It was fine.  The hike to Sugarloaf, which is supposed to be maintained, had 64 things to climb over or go under.  It is also largely "in the woods" so the final destination is what got us to the top of the world.  We were surprised at how low in the alpine terrain we found ourselves most of the time.  It's a nice place but doesn't feel too much like the "top of the world".  A great place for a beginner backpacking trip.
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Sunday, 11 August 2013

Salmo to Nelson on the Great Northern

Yesterday, three of us biked from Salmo to Nelson on the Great Northern Rails to Trails.  I'd say that the first 4 km were not that interesting and a bit rough.  Our first "stop" was in Ymir where we were able to visit the General Store and purchase goodies.  The trail was in excellent shape, following the Salmo River for a good bit.  When we couldn't see the river, we could hear it.  The trail then passes through part of the Apex cross-country ski trails and it was lovely to ride through tall grass and goldenrod - very much like riding on the prairies!  The last piece of trail, from Cottonwood Lake to Nelson was lovely and fast.  We decided to travel all the way to mile 0, expecting to end up some place.  The trail simply ends as it meets up with the currently used Creston-Nelson railway track. I guess that is "some place" - but really the middle of nothing.   That meant a bit of a climb back to an exit point for the city of Nelson.  I'd recommend this trail to others but would probably do it as an out-and-back from Nelson to Cottonwood Lake.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Harvest One

 I did this over a week ago - managed to buy wonderful organic peaches from the Similkameen Valley and get them canned.  It worked wonderfully and I didn't peel them - we'll see how that turns out, but Dave and I tried it last year and didn't find it that distasteful.  It's not something we serve to company but we get all that extra goodness.  This was my first harvest job of the season involving the canner.  This weekend I plan to make the zesty zucchini relish and all I can say is bring it on!  I love harvest time!
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Thursday, 8 August 2013

Mt. Willett

 Here's the view from the top of Mt. Willett - a bit hazy yesterday, but generally perfect weather for hiking.  It's a fairly long day - we were 4.5 hours up and 4 hours down.  My knees and quads are feeling it today!  This is the third of the "big" peaks in our area that I have managed to climb and each gives a different perspective of the area.  This picture looks south down Kootenay Lake right above and across from Lardeau.  Four of us completed the hike yesterday and one of the party had brought his son's boots so ended up doing the hike in his sport sandals - pretty good for a 60 plus individual!  Meadows were lovely, air was clean and clear and we had a good time on this hike.  Enjoyed the "new" hiking trail put in by the young crew working for Kaslo Community Forest.  Thank you, young Trail Blazers!
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Monday, 29 July 2013

State of the Garden: End of July

 It was so good to see that my granddaughter Callie has the love of watering and being with plants.  We had some garden time in July and she really enjoyed using her watering can.  Me, too!  We hosted part of Kaslo's edible garden tour yesterday and Callie would have been a perfect companion to have in the garden and more of showstopper than the oakleaf hydrangea. 

The blueberries are almost completely picked as July comes to a close.  The raspberries and peas are pretty much finished as well.  Beans are getting picked daily, the zuccini are just starting to emerge and the carrots have been thinned with lots of good eating involved.  Yesterday, I was able to harvest some of the larger beets, we picked the garlic today (and it's twice the size of last year), and peaches (purchased at the Kaslo Market) were canned today.  The garden is keeping us very busy.  Wish we still had busy Callie here to help out with the watering!  The perennial border is stunning, thanks to all of your watering, Callie.
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Monday, 22 July 2013

Kaslo Community Garden

I didn't have my camera with me (I rarely do when I go to town to "garden"), but Kaslo's Community Garden is a wonderful work in progress.  It's been spearheaded by a few people who know something about gardens and are hard workers.  The people who have purchased a plot for the season are keeping their gardens looking good and there is a good portion of the garden given over to community food security.  The crops grown for these projects are garlic, squash, potatoes, beets, onions, and greens.  It's been a joy to work in the garden this summer, although it can be a bit noisy with all the motorbikes going through town.  However, what a lovely welcome to Kalso as visitors approach from New Denver.  The sunflowers have started to bloom and things are looking very summery in upper Kaslo.  I can only think of Margaret Mead's remark about what a group of committed individuals can do!

Friday, 5 July 2013


 Finally managed to finish off the Christmas stockings for the grandchildren.  I actually ended up making four of them.  The first one for Callie, with a bear inside a wreath,  really didn't come out all that well so I knit her a second one with the snowman.  I really like it.  I hope she will be as keen about it as she grows older.  My first attempt at "carrying colours" in about 30 years, left my knitting with a really uneven look.  That is why the first stocking didn't really go all that well.  With help from my friend Effie, things improved and I'm pretty happy to have made the stockings.  I'm counting on those little 'uns to be equally impressed!
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Sunday, 30 June 2013


 I guess that I really should have thought about a pea with the name "Skyscraper" - it would be tall.  It's much too tall for my pea stakes.  I spent a few minutes this morning connecting the peas to the upper part of the stakes with some string and I hope they'll survive.  We had a bit of a windstorm yesterday for an hour and they did get messed up a bit.  Today they seem good.  This is the first June that I've ever picked peas pods and I've had 4 pickings of sweet peas so far from the plants that I seeded last November.  They probably got a 3-week jump start on flowers compared with spring planted sweet peas.  Happy Canada Day, everyone!
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Friday, 21 June 2013

The Rain Gauge

 This is my Lee Valley rain gauge and even though it's in inches, there was one heck of a lot of rain.  It's actually full.  There's been more than 100 mm of rain over the past 3 days (that's 5.5 inches in my rain gauge).  We did need this rain - just not so darn much at one time.  It will keep the forest fires at bay for another week or two and the garden wet for another week.  I've learned that water is feast or famine.  There's lots of road closures in the area and our dear river trail has been partly washed away, but compared to the devastation of so many other places it's very calm in our neighbourhood.
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Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Using Mirrors

 My favourite garden on the tour was at the Slocan Valley version of a guest home known as The Artful Lodger.  The owner is a an artist and her place was full of interesting sculpture, tile work, hanging items and design.  I have never thought of using mirrors in a garden, particularly when this was a large, open space, but it really works.  The wanderer has the opportunity to view sky, garden and vista while approaching the mirror.  The artist sells many of these tiles mirrors and I just may chose to put one of the designs on my Christmas list.  This garden had something of interest every step of the way.
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Sunday, 16 June 2013

Slocan Valley Art & Garden Tour

 Father's Day is the traditional day for the annual Slocan Valley Garden Tour.  For the first time I attended, along with 3 other women from the Kaslo area.  We couldn't have asked for better weather and the gardens were an interesting combination of food, perennials, water gardens and greenhouse/commercial market gardening.  The Slocan Valley does seem to be hotter than our valley and everything is slightly ahead of the Kootenay Valley.  The garden pictured here is at Valhalla Ranch, right on Highway 6, south of Slocan City.  It was enormous and so well weeded.  I admired the religiously straight rows (some thing that I can never achieve no matter how short).  These folks had chickens, cattle, horses, huge gardens and bees.  They are making a living (?) the hard way and thankfully there are still a few people left who are willing to work that hard.  They had a gorgeous view of the Vahallas across the Slocan River.  Quite a slice of paradise.
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Friday, 14 June 2013

State of the Garden 3

 The first pea flower opened on the pea plants so it does really feel like the growing season is well under way.  I actually have two flowers on the sweet peas that I planted in the fall - they aren't open yet, but they are going to be red!!  I love it!  The greens continue to produce well and we're getting a bit sick of beet greens after thinning the beets last Sunday.  The carrots are one crop I'm a little concerned about - they are growing, just not well.  The zucc and squash have been slow and heat will help immensely.  The tomato plants all look healthy.  Garlic scapes are beginning to appear.  In the perennial border,  the Siberian irises are at their peak and the daylilies are setting up for their big show.  The smell of roses is everywhere along the roadsides; a joy when hiking or biking!
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Friday, 31 May 2013


 The first raised bed that we prepared and planted full of "spring greens" has done very well and it's been such fun watching it grow and eating delicious salads.  The germination on the beets wasn't quite what I expected but they are ready to be thinned and I hope to get some good-sized beets in a couple of months.  Spinach is doing so well and that will be the mainstay of our meals for the next week.  Happy salad eating, everyone!
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Friday, 17 May 2013

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like...

 I completed this stocking a couple of weeks ago and was pretty pleased with how it turned out.  I wasn't pleased with the first one that I did for my granddaughter.  I'm actually knitting a similar stocking to this one and going to let her take her pick in a couple of months when she comes to visit.  These are the really old Mary Maxim knitting patterns that a few of the Kaslo knitters still have kicking around.  I can't find any of my old patterns.  Since gardening has taken over my life for the month of May, it will be a long time before I get to Miro's stocking.  Good thing I've still got 6.5 months to go!  What an honour to be asked to make Christmas stockings!
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Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Seventy Bulbs

 Last week was the week that I needed to have "At Home and In the Garden", but it simply didn't get done.  In September of 2012 when we celebrated my parents' 70ieth wedding anniversary (yes, it really was 70 and this is not a typo) they honoured all of their kids and grandkids with a package of 70 bulbs.  Mine came up beautifully and last week was the peak of their achievement.  It was hot and sunny all of last week so it was a quick display.  However, those of you on FB can see a good number of them here.  Thanks, Mum and Dad for this fine gift!
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Thursday, 9 May 2013

Kootenay Camping

 We had 3 campsites on the Kootenay River and this is the picture that I took that turned out the best.  Each campsite was lovely in its own way, but this one had such a beautiful evening sky.  We're just south of Wasa on the Kootenay River (before entering Bummer's Flats).  Three of us enjoyed a quick swim in the river (yes, it was frigid) and we all enjoyed campfire singing and great food.  I like these cooperative trips where each party prepares an evening meal and it is shared by all. It's very meditative to paddle down a calm river.  It was exciting to paddle down the more vigorous parts of the water.  A great experience for me.  Thanks, canoeing campanions. 
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Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Canoeing the Kootenay

 We selected 4 perfect May days to do our paddle on the Kootenay River from Canal Flats to Wardner.  The first day was basically a "get there and shuttle vehicles", but we did manage a couple of hours on the river.  The first 5 hours of the paddle were definitely the most interesting - the river is fairly quick without any major rapids or anything too scary.  I was surprised that it did take nearly 5 hours to get to Skokumchuk (location of a pulp mill).  After the mill, the river slowed down considerably and we had a pleasant paddle for several hours.  The slow part was Sunday where we paddled through the aptly named Bummer's Flats.  It was HOT!  Reaching Fort Steele and the junction with the St. Mary's River was great - speed increased and we found a terrific camp spot on the river with a grand view of The Steeples against a true blue sky. 
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Monday, 29 April 2013

State of the Garden

Hearing about all the snow today everywhere in the west, I'm happy to report that we didn't get any.  We even got some rain, something that I am almost always thankful to receive.  The peas that these guys planted on April 7th appear to be coming through and I have quite a lovely perennial border right now.  The tulips are nearly all blooming, the bergenia is beautiful, candytuft is just opening and the daffs and heathers are really lovely.  The rock garden plants have just started to bloom and it is truly a lovely time of year! Just picked a wee bit of swiss chard that overwintered so plan to try it tonight.   Happy Spring!

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Spring Days

This is spring in Rossland a week ago and it was quite a bit better by the end of this week.  In their mud suits, this is one time that our twins dress alike.  I know that it's been a very late spring all across Canada but I do find that it takes forever for the greenhouses in our area to get any bedding plants.  I've been ready to put my deck pots together for a couple of weeks - with expectations to have to cover them or move them inside once or twice - and I haven't been able to get any plants!  I never would have thought about doing pots in SK prior to May, but here I think I could have safely put some pots together at the end of March this year.  We've had frost since then, but not a bad frost and many things can handle it.  Bring on the spring planting, growers!

Saturday, 20 April 2013


 This is a really good way to know that your grandchildren have come to visit - for those of us with the under age 2 set.  We finally had the grandchildren visit two weeks ago - if there isn't a bike or running race in Kaslo,  it's way easier for us to go to Rossland.   We do that pretty regularly.  The past two Fridays we've been able to take the boys to visit the Thrift Store (best bargains in the Koots) and to storytime at the library.  My favourite grandparent story is this one.  Miro had his fingers caught in a door jam a few days ago - he's been warned hundreds of times.  At Strong Start last week, Atley had his fingers in the door jam at the school and Miro raced across the room and pulled Atley's hands out!  Mi nieto es mucho sympatico, verdad?
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Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Maryhill Museum

 The Maryhill Museum - or the Maryhill Art Gallery as I think it should be called - is worth a visit if travelling in the Columbia Gorge.  It's on the WA side of the river and has an interesting array of different objects.  The museum itself has an interesting history because its founder, Samuel Hill, became a patron of the arts. He was supported by a couple of influential people in Europe who were friends and either art boosters,  or artists themselves.  If you're "cheap" and want a free visit, the sculpture garden isn't huge, but it's got some neat stuff.  The views are tremendous and there are interpretive signs as well as a picnic area - all open to the general public. There's a big tribute to Rodin, examples of art from indigenous peoples, and some travelling exhibits.  My favourite piece is Robert Douglas Hunter's, "Peter, the Little Leaguer".  I enjoyed my visit and encourage others to take the time to see it.
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Monday, 15 April 2013

Signs of Spring

 No, this isn't Kaslo!  I discovered a few balsam root and lupines in bloom in the Columbia Gorge in late March - it's such a great place to visit to warm up!  We enjoyed a couple of days of biking and walking near Deschutes State Park and I love getting that early taste of spring.  It was good to get home to several plants blooming in my own garden.  Two weeks later it isn't nearly so colourful and my poor daffs are struggling to open while shivering in the breeze.  It beats the prairies this year, however, so I won't complain. 
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Saturday, 13 April 2013

Yamhill, OR

 I had to visit Yamhill, Oregon while on our trip because this is where Beverley Cleary, the wonderful children's author, grew up.  I love to pay homage to authors that I particularly like and Beverley Cleary makes the cut.  We didn't have to go too far out of our way to go through this town.  The "general store" here was very interesting in terms of old-fashioned stuff - main street of the town was pretty run down.  There is absolutely nothing in town that recognizes her stature in the world of children's literature but the Portland Public Library (main branch) has named the Children's Department in her honour.  If you are scrambling for thoughts about what she wrote:  Ramona, Henry and Ribsy may ring a bell for you.  Her autobiography is called The Girl From Yamhill.
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Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Eating From the Sea

 We had a mid-morning "snack" at this place while we visited Oregon.  It's just south of Newport, OR, a popular place to visit because of the Oregon aquarium.  We stayed at the state park just south of here (South Bay State Park) and I wouldn't really recommend it - a bit too insane with people and I've seen nicer beaches.   It does have a long sand beach, but there's too much growth along the shore around here.  There are parts of Oregon that are way too built up.  I wouldn't say the food was fantastic here - way too much of this "dipped and fried" variety, but the smell was heavenly.  I don't tend to eat a lot of seafood because of the polluted environment we've given to all the animals who have to live there.  I enjoy the bits that I do eat.  When we ate, continuous Beatles were playing and that's never a bad thing.
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Friday, 5 April 2013

Cape Lookout State Park, OR

 We like the Oregon state parks and Cape Lookout is a favourite.  It had a bad windstorm come through the area a few years ago and there are quite a few dead trees near the campground, but I like its brightness, its promixity to the beach, and the great trail nearby.  We had a nice bike ride along the beach here, too.  This is an easy place to catch the Oregon Coast Trail and there's a short hike (about 5 km) over to the hike out to Cape Lookout.  The Oregon Coast Trail continues to another huge beach and how far one gets to walk on the beach I will probably never know.  We found the park relatively quiet after Nehalam Bay State Park which was crawling with people.  The spring break in Oregon schools begins the week PRIOR to Easter so the parks were busy.  We had a "rest day" here and enjoyed some hiking and sitting around.  Lots of trillium in bloom along the trail.
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Monday, 1 April 2013

First Leg of Trip West

 There are many times when I actually do like B.C. Ferries.  We were fortunate enough to get a sunny, uncrowded, relaxed crossing on March 17th.  I was only able to identify one leprachaun on the ferry.  I love the ride through Active Pass and always enjoy looking at the fancy homes on the islands and seeing the "other" ferry passing in the opposite direction.  Our brief time on the Island worked out well with a couple of days of sunshine and some good walks.  I managed to run each day on The Galloping Goose Trail near Newton X Road to Island View Road and my dad and I did some nice walks in Elk Lake and Centennial Parks.  It was good to get that head start on spring.  Even though it rained heavily at night, the morning we left, the sun shone over Victoria harbour as we took the ferry to Port Angeles, WA.  Victoria's harbour is a very pretty one when you get to see it. 
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Sunday, 31 March 2013

It's Easter

 A very early Easter this year and I have more things blooming in the garden than I've ever experienced in 62 years!  Came home from the west coast last night and today was able to enjoy some crocus, iris reticulata, heather and a couple of pulmonaria (in hot micro climates) in bloom.  It really does feel like spring here.  It had definitely arrived in the Columbia River Gorge and southern WA state.  Yesterday, we visited our favourite people in Rossland and there's still a good pile of snow but you can pretty much walk around on the roads in running shoes or sandals.  I was thrilled to be able to work in the garden today - getting ready to plant peas tomorrow - and most of the perennials are starting to grow.  I know that all my SK friends are waiting for mountains of snow to melt.  I sympathise.  I remember it all too well.  Happy holidays to my teaching friends in SK and let me remind you about Connie's Kaldor's song, "Spring on the prairie comes like a surprise."  Let's hope that it is soon. 
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