Saturday, July 25, 2015

Rain, rain, - glorious rain!

It is evening, and the nicotiana and evening scented stock are perfuming the night air.

I wend my way through the garden and note the dry soil, hear little gasps from the newly opened lilies, and see the barn flower dropping its golden head over the fence.

Even though the weatherman has promised rain for tomorrow I remember I have been down that road before, - promises, promises, and then no reward.  So I start the sprinklers on the back beds, and again at the front I hook up the hose with little sprinklers every few feet, - the one that Charles secured to the front fence to water the flowers along the roadway.  The one that I bless him for.....

However, this time the forecaster was true to his word, and I woke to the sound of raindrops on the sunroom roof (not that I can hear them, but I remember what they sounded like when my hearing was A-one.....)

Wonderful, - a chance to get out my umbrella, go to the church to do Pew Bulletins, stock up on fruit and veggies at the fruitstands and visit the library where I have two books awaiting me.

That will make six in my 'must read' stack, and the one that is getting immediate attention is Alexander McCall Smith's new Isabel Dalhousie novel,  "The Novel Habits of Happiness", which arrived in the mail on Wednesday, as Amazon promised.

I have, also, Horatio Clare's "Running for the Hills" - a memoir of the years he spent 'growing up on his mother's sheep farm in Wales'.  I put it aside at chapter two to devour McCall Smith, but I haven't lost my enthusiasm for these memories of the wild mountains of Wales, and one families' experiences, "tender, bleak yet bountiful".  I compare them with the enthusiasm my children have for growing up with sheep, on a mountainside, and the life-long memories they cherish.

And then I have "Grass beyond the Mountains" - Rich Hobson's account of his escapades and adventures pioneering the Chilcotin country of British Columbia - a re-read....and I am still dipping into "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell" by Susanna Clarke, - 1006 pages and my summer's challenge.

Well, the morning wears on and the library will be opening in another half an hour,  so I will go and get my umbrella from the doorway and take it out for an all too infrequent outing!

Bless the rain and the satisfaction it brings to thirsty flowers, and the relief that must be heaven to those who fight the dreadful wildfires in British Columbia this summer.  And that wonderful scent of raindrops on dusty leaves and lanes.....

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


ABC Wednesday
July 22, 2015

The letter is B

B is for Barriere, Beaverdell, Brackendale, Burnaby, Burns Lake, Barkerville and Brantwood Bay - all towns in British Columbia - but today let's visit...


A preserved and dynamic goldrush town declared a national historic site in 1923 in recognition of the role it played in the development of British Columbia and Canada.  In 1958, to mark the province's centennial, British Columbia established it as a provincial heritage site, and today it is the premier historic site of western Canada.

This is what it looks like today

But what about its history??

Imagine you are digging through layers of soggy, worthless gravel, hoping that the next shovel full with contain the gleam of gold.  You persevere!  Just when the outcome seems impossibly bleak, at a depth of 52 feet, the ground begins to pay and the greatest creek side placer gold deposit the world has ever seen is suddenly yours for the taking.....

Barkerville was the main town of the Cariboo Gold Rush in British Columbia,
located on the north slope of the Cariboo Plateau near the Cariboo Moutains, 
eighty Kilometres east of Quesnel.

Here is the original Cariboo Wagon Route which was the conduit by which fortune seekers and freight reached their destinations and opened up the interior of B.C.

The Fraser River Gold Rush excitement in 1858 drew thousands on to the British Columbia river systems in search of the 'mother lode'.

In 1862 William "Billy" Barker registered a claim downstream from Richfield from which $650,000 in gold was recovered.  His discovery ultimately sparked the recovery of more than five million ounces of gold from the Cariboo goldfields.

Barkerville in the 1800's was a jumble of log and false fronted shanties perched on stilts along a narrow muddy street.

There were hotels, restaurants, stores, dance halls, saloons, billiard rooms, laundries
and gambling houses dotting Williams Creek.

Church, theatre and library groups were formed to meet the needs of the residents,
 and a Fire Brigade.

People from all over the world converged on the creek.  The initial flood of miners, mainly from California, was balanced by the British constabulary and justice system;  people from eastern Canada, Chinese from Guangdong, China, First Nations people worked in the region, and
Blacks, seeking freedom and a new life, along with people from Mexico, Australia and Europe.

It was a cosmopolitan town 

After the initial rush fluctuations in mining activities affected Barkerville's population levels.
The two World Wars affected gold mining in Canada and there was a subsequent drop in the local population that continued well into the 1990s, when it levelled out to around 250.

The last full-time resident of Barkerville died in 1979 and today year-round staff preserve and develop this major historical site.

Each summer this rich history during the Cariboo Gold Rush is demonstrated for
visitors from all over the world.


The town has  one hundered original and twenty-one reconstructed buildings, 
a large collection of artifacts and documents to help trace the evolution of the
community and the Cariboo region from the initial gold rush, focusing on
placer mining through the continuing exploration for gold in lode and placer deposits.

It is an historic site like no other, remaining a thriving place, rich in history and full of life.

You can tour the town with one of the colourful characters from Barkerville's past 
and  enjoy gold panning,

 see a real Cornish Waterwheel in action, 

visit Barkerville's well preserved Chinatorn

and go back to school in the 1800's.

You can celebrate Dominion Day the way they did in 1870 

and in honour of Barkerville's Chinese heritage there is a Chinese Mid-Autumn
Festival, beginning with a lantern parade
through the streets.

Many of the Barkerville businesses are open for Christmas, 
with Carol Singing at St. Saviour's church, and
special Christmas sleigh rides.

A special spot in British Columbia
with an aura of the past.

For more Bs click here at ABC Wednesday

Thanks to Roger, Denise and all their blessed helpers....

Sunday, July 19, 2015

To be thankful for.......

Sunday, July 19th, 2015.

The list is long and open-ended - the things I have to be thankful for....

At the moment the main reason for gratitude is the amazing way our dear granddaughter of 34 is recovering from two major strokes!!!

Here she is with her grandfather, many years ago......

And in the last few months as she works at her art of wood sculpture....

The sweet work she did in honour of Charles, when he died......and to comfort me.

And following close behind on the thankfulness list  - the many things my family does to make life pleasant and easy!  And the thoughtfulness and love each of them express...

The daily visits...loving and reassuring and helpful and such a good part of every day....

The house I live in and the garden I can call my own, to add a little zest and beauty.....owned by family and lent to me to make town and church accessible as I drive less and less.  So much appreciated.....

All the help I have in keeping the garden looking respectable .....

The phones calls, night and morning.....

The sunset evening calls on Skype that share with me the marvels of the Chilcotin sky, painted with purples and blues and mauves and rose and cream, - changing momentarily as the camera moves across the sky...

The weekly loaf of bread from DIL's contribution to the Farmer's Market in Penticton.

Tall sons to change lightbulbs!  And to put railings along the long hallway that I find assurance in and unexpectedly use much more than I ever thought possible......

The thoughfulness of family who ask - would you like to see the Columns, or go on a little road trip in the countryside with the camera, or go shopping, out for lunch, visit the garden shop, see an art exhibit, share a holiday with us.

Books, - always books....

The marvelous contraption the Meadow son attached over my bed that holds the Ipad and puts me to sleep at night, as I watch as much as I wish, and when my eyes grow heavy just press the close button.  A nice Spanish TV series right now, - The Gran(d) Hotel....

Weaving - that keeps my mind working as I plan warps and dress the loom and delight (mainly) in the finished product.

Friends - and the memory of friends who have gone on ahead of me.  So many of them, but they leave behind wonderful remembrances of a life shared...

The opportunities the internet provides to keep in touch with new friends and old, and the surprising peek into the way the world goes round!!

Grandchildren - and great grandchildren.  The lovely continuance of life - the world as seen through the eyes of a child.....

Good health - a blessing I am always aware of and for which I am eternally grateful.....

Snapshots, that remind me what a wonderful journey it's been through life....and how fortunate I was to have that lovely man to share it with!

Music!!!!  The piano, - when I am sad I play Albinoni's Adagio, - when I am happy or reminiscing I play some Scott Joplin.  Or jazz up hymns on the organ.....

The humming birds in the Bee Balm....

The scent of Phlox and evening stock and nicotiana in the evening...

And the Abraham Darby rose....

Only the beginning of a long list, but certainly enough to remind me what a lucky old lady I am!!!!

And how love sweetens life....

Praise What Comes

surprising as unplanned kisses, 
all you haven't deserved of days and solitude, 
your body's immoderate good health
 that lets you work in many kinds of weather.  Praise

talk with just about anyone.  And quiet intervals,
 books that are your food and your hunger;  
nightfall and walks before sleep. 
 Praising these for practice, perhaps

you will come at last to praise grief 
and the wrongs you never intended. 
 At the end there may be no answers 
and only a few very simple questions:  did I love,

finish my task in the world? 
Learn at least one of the many names of God? 
 At the intersections, the boundaries 
where one life began and another

ended, the jumping-off places 
between fear and possibility,
 at the ragged edges of pain, 
did I catch the smallest glimpse of the holy?   

Jeanne Lohmann