Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween !

Oh fairies, pixies and elves tonight
do not venture out or you may get a fright
‘tis an evening for witches on broomsticks to fly
and phantoms to whisper and gently drift by
do not be frightened by the lament of groaning trees
or the screeching owl or rustling of leaves
uneasy winds rattle doors and swing lonely gates
causing villains and goblins to run in haste
shadows are cast and the moon is aglow
this evening is ready for its spooky show
oh jack-o-lanterns help light the way through
this dark and chilling night
protect fairies, pixies and elves
from too frightening a sight!
- by Michelle (me)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Diana Gabaldon

A couple of evenings ago the Alix Goolden Hall in Victoria hosted a reading by Diana Gabaldon, author of the award-winning Outlander series. The Hall was packed with her adoring fans, everyone anxious to catch a glimpse of beautiful Diana and to hear her speak. She spoke of and read an excerpt from her latest novel "An Echo In the Bone". My daughter and her two friends were so excited to see her in person and to have their books signed. I don't know how this woman keeps up with such a busy schedule and how she managed to sign so many books! It was a fun evening out with my daughter and I did buy Diana's latest novel. I look forward to my quiet time with An Echo In the Bone, nestled by the fireside with my hot cocoa. Here are a couple of pictures from that evening. I will mention here that there are some interesting upcoming events at the the Alix Goolden Hall, especially for the Christmas season. It is an elegant, and not too large, venue for hosting special events and concerts in the Victoria region - and also has a very nice 'warm' ambiance. Thank you. Michelle

Diana Gabaldon

Danielle and Diana - book signing

Alix Goolden Performance Hall

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Glorious Pumpkin

A couple of days ago my daughter and I ventured out in the car and we stopped along the way to admire a couple of lovely sights. We spotted a pumpkin field, a vast field of orange as far as the eye could see. The pumpkins were ready for picking - some large and plump, others small and delicate. Amidst the orange field were pumpkin pickers, parents with children - each examining these orange delights to find the perfect one to take home - for pumpkin pies and upcoming Halloween. I love this time of year, I wish it would not end!

Pumpkin Pie - click here for recipe
(courtesy of 'Sunshine Farm' in Kelowna)

These pumpkins were made into 'pumpkin ale'

My husband loves to make beer - one of his favourite hobbies. Every year during harvest season he gathers up pumpkins to make a home-brew of pumpkin ale. These four pumpkins were the victims. I wish I had taken photos of his beer-making, it would have been a perfect addition to this post - next year! I will try and remember to take photos of him brewing 'cranberry-ale' - coming up for the Christmas season.

Autumn Maple

Japanese Maple and Ferns

Autumn Colour

A giant orange pumpkin is pleasing to behold.
More than just a lowly squash;
possibilities unfold

It can decorate an entryway,
eliciting a welcome,
or, as a quick-change artist,
become a Jack-O- lantern.

Roasted pumpkin seeds;
a delicious, salty treat.
The insides of the pumpkin
convert to something sweet.

A smooth and creamy filling,
add sugar, spice and cream.
Spill into crusty dough,
creating a dessert supreme.

I overlook the main course, impatient for the prize.
My favorite treat the year 'round

homemade pumpkin pie

-Carol Gioia

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Autumn's Rainy Day Delight

Today was a wet autumn day, we received quite a sprinkling these past two days. Regardless of the rain and white sky, I was drawn outdoors with my camera to capture a few photos in our yard. The colours of the trees are so beautiful this time of year and it would be a shame to miss a minute of their beauty. I was reminded of Spring where flowers provide their showy colours, but instead the leaves on the trees provide this spectacular show. I will post a few photos from today which I would like to share - but I am really hoping for blue skies where I can venture further afield to take more pictures. Vancouver Island is such a beautiful place to live and I hope that we can all take some time in our busy lives to spend outdoors - get away from our computers and indoors (parting from our computer is difficult at times, I know!). Michelle

"I am rich today with autumn's gold,
All that my covetous hands can hold;
Frost-painted leaves and goldenrod,
A goldfinch on a milkweed pod,
Huge golden pumpkins in the field
With heaps of corn from a bounteous yield,
Golden apples heavy on the trees
Rivaling those of Hesperides,
Golden rays of balmy sunshine spread
Over all like butter on warm bread;
And the harvest moon will this night unfold
The streams running full of molten gold.
Oh, who could find a dearth of bliss
With autumn glory such as this!"
- Gladys Harp

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Thanksgiving........what does it mean?

It is a time for preparation.....for harvest, for the gathering of family and friends, for collecting wood to comfort us with warm fires and baking, for venturing outdoors to enjoy the beauty of the autumn season. Most of all, it is a time for giving thanks to the very special people in our lives..... our family and friends.

It is a time to remember our loved ones from times gone by, who are dear to our hearts, and for their love and wonderful stories which they have passed along to us, which we in turn will pass along to our children. We cherish these fond memories and love of our family. Thank you for all that you have done for us.

It is a time to count our blessings and accomplishments - no matter how small or large they may be. A time to give thanks for every kind word, deed, smile, helping hand, friendship that comes to us - for these are wonderful gifts.

Thanksgiving is a time to share our joy of life with one another.

This is what it means to me.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Salt Spring Apple Festival

'Tis the season for rolling in apples! I was reminded the other day of the Apple Festival on Salt Spring Island while listening to the CBC All Points West radio station on my way home from work - I was so happy to be reminded as I did not want to miss this yearly event - and it was a very good reason to visit my favourite island. Salt Spring Island is known for its heritage apples, more than 350 varieties that are grown organically. Though the festival is over, here is a link to the event with a few highlights from previous years and upcoming events....... Salt Spring Island Apple Festival (note: link updated 2010).

The weather has been amazing these past few weeks - blue skies and sunshine - it was perfect for the apple festival - and for a motorbike ride to the island! We caught the morning ferry from Swartz Bay which took us to Fulford Harbour - only minutes away from the Fulford Community Hall where we started our apple journey. Though we were pressed for time (no pun intended!) and could not visit all the different venues - we did manage to see a few apples! Richard was thinking ' cider.....' and I was thinking ' pie.....'! The pies looked delicious but the line-up of hungry patrons was a little overwhelming for me. I did manage to sample a piece of apple cake at the Apple Luscious Organic Farm and some goat's cheese topped with apple and blackberries. It was a lovely ambiance and there were moments when I felt I was back in the Mediterranean countryside, where I once lived. I especially loved to see the children running about and the warm smiles on faces. It was a magical day for the both of us.

I will post a few pictures of the day in my journal (blog) and will try to include any notes of where and what they are of. We were not able to visit all farms and orchards listed on the tour - so sad - as there were too many to view in one day. One place I would like to include here is the Foxglove Farm - I have added the link for you to read. Thank you for viewing! Michelle

Sampling the Goodies!

Apple Luscious Farm Heritage Apples

Fulford Community Hall - Heritage Apples

Fulford Community Hall - Apple Pies

Wave Hill Farm - click to view website

Watching the Chickens at Wave Hill Farm

Ruckle Farm - one of B.C.'s Oldest Working Farms

Ruckle Homestead - click photo to enlarge

Ruckle Farm Homestead - Today

Ruckle Farm Apple and Pear Trees - over 100 yrs old

Highland Cattle - Ruckle Farm

Saturday, October 3, 2009


With the Fall season we see pumpkins, apples, squashes of all kinds, trees changing their hues to golden yellow, reds and browns...everywhere can also be seen the delightful and colourful chrysanthemums! I love the variety of colour and daisy look of these plants. They are interesting and certainly add to the autumny feel in a garden and are a warm welcome to this season. I was reading the history and uses of chrysanthemums through Wikipedia and it is an interesting read - have a glance when you get a chance. The other day my daughter and I visited a local nursery in Victoria and we had a little fun in the chrysanthemum section - fortunately I had my camera with me. I will post some, not all, of the pictures we took. Not only does variety of colour and form of these beautiful plants surprise me but the complex design of each flower and petal when seen close up never ceases to amaze me. I have a few of these lovely flowers potted in my back garden and front of the house - they blend in nicely with my other potted plants and offer a splash of warm colour. Happy Fall everyone.........thank you for viewing. Michelle

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