Friday, December 18, 2015

This and That, with a Christmassy flavour

Somehow I have found myself smack dab in the middle of Christmas-as-it-was.  The traditional Christmas open house for family on Christmas Eve - Beef Stew, Oyster Stew and Apple Pie and goodies; 

Christmas dinner right here at Grandma's and me, cooking the turkey (which I haven't done for years) getting out all the good china, polishing the silver, checking lists, doing the old familiar baking.  

It has made December deliciously exciting, and I have managed to keep ahead of myself with posting parcels, Christmas letters and the most traditional baking.

The paper whites are a foot high,  showing promising bud tips that assure me by Christmas Eve they will look like this....

And the white Cyclamen that friends at the Legion sent when Charles died is in glorious bloom.

The early Hellebores which were blooming so beautifully are now under a few inches of snow, and looking quite frail and shaken....

The house is decorated, the outside lights glow in the cedar tree that is finally the way Charles would have liked it, as result of a heavy snowfall last year that changed its design completely from a prim global shape to a free flowing home for all the small birds.  

At night it looks like this, with the reflection of the piano and the music and the house lamps on the lovely great balls the neighbour left with me when they moved.

Yesterday a dear granddaughter invited me to the morning performance of the Primary School Concert, - the performance where it seems all grandparents and great grandparents are present, - at least I saw all sorts of old (in the true meaning of the word) friends, and people who I thought should be parents but were, in fact, grandparents!  Oh, where is time going as it flies past so quickly.

Here is Corbin, our great-grandson, in the middle of classmates, singing the "Rag Doll Rock"!!

This was the theme of the concert.  "TOYS! The Night They Came Alive".  No particular reference to Christmas, or the true meaning of.....  Not a 'Christmas Concert" as I remember them when it was our turn to be parents, but still a great joy to see all the children, so full of vitality and excitement and it was a great gift to all those present.  Phones were raised high, - probably the most photographed and videod event in town this year!!!

So I came home from the concert and filled the bird feeders.  It was so nice and mild outside and the birds all came flocking and provided a nice show for me and for Callie...

Then it turned really nasty out.  A wild wind blew in from the west and swirled the snow around. 

I decided to make mince tarts, and small tiny tart shells for the lemon curd that Charles used to love so much.  And then I mixed up some butter tart filling, - just a tad too much so that the tart shells were TOO FULL and bubbled up all over the pan.  Well,  I got some of the tarts out in decent condition and they should pass muster on the plates, as long as there are lots of other goodies to hide their ragged shells, but the others have ended up as little round balls in golden candy cups, and who will know the difference.  They are delicious.

It was a toss-up as to what I should do this morning.  I thought rum balls would be fun, but then I opened a drawer and looked at the silver, and my more responsible side got the better of me.....

So I spent an hour or two making things shine, including the thoughts I was having about Christmases past, - the reminisence of the friends who had given us all this silver for wedding presents when electrical appliances and other wedding type gifts were not available at the end of the war, - and I remembered Charles buying me the sweet salt and mustard containers that were such a part of the Christmas table.  And the silver cups for salted almonds that were always a tradition at home....

Two hours well spent.....

It is lunch time now - a bowl of soup and then one of those recalcitrant  butter tarts!!!  And maybe I'll have a little nap....

Monday, December 14, 2015

ABC Wednesday
December 16th, 2015

The Letter is W
for Williams Lake

In our story about the towns of British Columbia we leave the south and travel to the Central Interior of the Province to Williams Lake, located in the region known as The Cariboo.

Williams Lake was named in honour of Secweperne Chief William, whose counsel prevented the Shuswap nation from joining the Tsilhqot'in in their uprising against the settler population.  The Shuswap had lived in this area for many thousands of years and were semi-nomadic travelers who followed the food sources during the differet seasons, returning every winter to their permanent villages and their sunken homes known as Akickwillie houses.

We go back to one of those infamous Gold Rushes that B.C. is so well-known for.  The area really opened up when thousands of gold prospectors entered the interior via the Fraser River valley in 1858, and for almost a decade the community grew and supported numerous prosperous businesses.

In 1863 a proposed road (the Cariboo Road) was expected to pass through Williams Lake, but the road builder, Gustavus Blin Wright, re-routed the trail through 150 Mile House, bypassing Williams Lake altogether and nearly destroying the settlement.  However, the railroad came to the rescue in 1919, linking the town to the rest of the province and Williams Lake prospered as a hub for cattle trade in the region.

So much excitement at the laying of the steel rails resulted in the community celebrating with a cowboy sporting event which was eventually organized into an official stampede, attracting the attention of competitors all over the country.  Today the Williams Lake Stampede is rated second only to the Calgary Stampede and has the best Canadian and US Cowboys competing.

and there is a statue in the town to prove it!

This is ranching country,

and the largest ranch in the area is the Gang Ranch, (now owned by a Saudi Arabian business man).

When our family who live some  fifty miles west of Williams Lake on a high Chilcotin plateau talk about going to town, this is the town they mean - Williams Lake....

It is a forestry town, and the pine needle bug left a trail through the country a few years back.

There are any number of sawmills in the town, as well as mining in the vicinity.

 It is a place of wild life and fowl, nature trails and campgrounds, and a wonderful country to visit.

A great number of years ago, 
the sheep Industry in B.C., and Charles, as a Director of the Company,
 played host here, in Williams Lake, to the AGM of the Canadian
Co-operative Wool Growers,
and we had a marvelous time!!

Some seventy miles away, just south of the Gang Ranch, is the
 Churn Creek Canyon, - a protected area.

pictures posted by Chris Harris

and stretching away to the west is the Chilcotin country with many small ranches, much wildlife,  and a wonderful solitude when you want it.  God's country I have heard it said.

Even closer is Scout Island, both a park and a nature area.  It consists of a beach, picnic area, boat launch and several trails through mainly natural environment.  Actually it is two islands that are connected to the west end of Williams Lake by a causeway.

There is a museum in town, and next time around I will tell you about the Xast'sull Heritage Village,
about twenty-three miles from Williams Lake.

In the meantime, click here to visit at ABC Wednesday
and learn more about the letter W

with thanks to Roger and Denise and all their WOW helpers.