Linda Studley

Can't Put the Pen Down…

Ashes

I forgot to post this poem – it was written on the 6th as we were travelling through the Cariboo. The haze made the background seem two dimensional.

 

ashes-smallTreed mountains, layered in smoke,
recede into the haze; cut-out silhouettes; mere jagged,
misty dreams of the real terrain beneath.
And in the foreground emerge the trees, clearer now,
more defined, more detail in their sweeping boughs and
pendant moss; skeletons of their ancestors propped up
in their arms, standing witness.
There is a sense of waiting in the air
and a taste of ashes on the tongue.

Back Eddy Resort & Marina – Chef’s Long Table

Life with a capital L includes enjoying new tastes. I got the chance to enjoy many new taste experiences on Thursday evening at the Back Eddy Resort and Marina in Egmont. I sat, with my sister Pia, at the Chef’s Long Table for a four course seafood experience. Chef Kevin Cooper and Sommelier John Linn introduced each course; explaining the subtleties of the creations and the reasons for, and background on the wine or beer chosen to accompany the dish. We were also lucky enough to have a very knowledgeable representative from Ocean Wise, Claire Lee, who gave us information on the particular seafood used in each dish and how we can ensure that the seafood we buy is caught or farmed in a safe, sustainable manner.

I learned a lot! Including that farmed shellfish can actually be more environmentally friendly than wild caught shellfish. I’d suggest visiting them for more information.

Back to the meal. Here’s what we enjoyed:

Course One:
Line Caught Coho Salmon Tartare, Avocado Mousse, Chipotle Crème Fraiche, and Almond Cilantro Cracker. Along with this course we had a glass of ‘Apothic Winemakers Blend’

Course Two:
Pancetta and Prosciutto, Saltspring Island Mussels – accompanied by Persephone Pale Ale

Course Three:
Vanilla Butter Poached Sablefish, Seaweed Salad, Grilled Broccolini, Basil Buerre Blanc. Along with a Meiomi Chardonnay.

Course Four:
Tropical Scallop Ceviche, Mango, Papaya, Dragon Fruit, and Grapefruit. With 1884 Viognier wine.

I don’t know much about pairing wines and beer with food. All I know is the old ‘white with poultry and fish and red with beef’, and I’m pretty sure even that isn’t terribly accurate anymore. But as I listened to John Linn speak about each wine and beer it was obvious that this is someone who really knows his stuff; not only that, but he is obviously very passionate on the subject and pleased to be able to share that knowledge.

The food was simply excellent. I wish I was more of a gourmet so I could get into detail, but alas all I know is that my palate was very appreciative.  I was a little hesitant about the ‘seaweed salad’ but it was delicious! I asked what kind of seaweed it was and was told “shakimi”. I’ll be looking THAT up – very tasty. Chef Kevin Cooper was also very passionate about his craft and it is very plain that he takes great pains with not only the preparation and presentation of the dishes, but the sourcing of the very best quality and environmentally friendly local sources for the ingredients.

I was enjoying the meal so much I forgot to get a picture until we got to the fourth course, but trust me, it was as beautiful as it was delicious. Thank you Bill, for taking the pictures.

The Chef’s Long Table, to my understanding, happens three times a year so if you’re in the area, check with them to see if there’s a Chef’s Long Table coming up that you can participate in. I guarantee it will be an unforgettable gastronomic experience.

What I Learned Today – PODS

Life with a capital L includes learning new things. Today I learned about a project called ‘Pender Harbour Ocean Discovery Station’ (PODS), an exciting project that is currently in the fundraising phase. They have already raised over $2 million and are closing in on the target amount with only $195,000. left to raise before the end of September.

The property in question is at Irvine’s Landing and the proposed complex is truly an amazing project that will include laboratories, a conference centre, underwater galleries, performance spaces, and restaurant. The link with Simon Fraser University promises some important work will be accomplished and excellent educational opportunities will be made available. The comprehensive array of alternative energy systems will be a showcase unto itself.

pods energy system

I was very impressed with the passion and dedication that surrounds this project. The foresight and potential is significant.

Have a look at the website – https://www.openpods.com/what-we-do/

Donate if you feel moved to do so; I did.

Smoke and Reflections

From a clear, blue sky and green trees to smoke and blackened trunks. There are no blue skieswords to express my sorrow for the devastation that has descended upon so much of our beautiful province.

We didn’t stay in the camper last night; couldn’t face breathing the smoke all night long. We stayed at the 100 Mile House Ramada and turned the air conditioner on full bore.

fire damage

We headed out into the smoke this morning and are still seeing chilling evidence of how close the fire had come to a lot of smoke-heading outhomes. Most of the ones we’ve seen so far were only separated from the carbon blackened landscape by the narrow strip of pavement (Highway 97 and 99). I can only imagine how frightening that must have been. I guess Life with a capital L can be kind of scary at times.

We lived in Lone Butte many years ago and remember fondly the big blue skies, clear lakes, and clean air of the Cariboo region. Here’s hoping for clear, blue skies in the very near future for everyone in BC.

 

 

Soda Creek Sweet Corn!

The sign said “Sweet Corn, U-pick, $4/dozen”
How do you pass up a deal like that? So we turned off the highway and began our descent into a beautiful valley – a microclimate. It reminded me of Bear Flats, up by Hudsons Hope.

going down into the valley

This way

Bill did the picking and I took the pics…

Bill in the Corn

 

OMG now THAT’S SWEET CORN!

Soda Creek Sweet Corn has been run by the Kaufman family for over 30 years, Keziah told me, as we paid for our corn, yellow beans, jalapeno peppers, sweet peppers, tomatoes, garlic, and one lovely little patti-pan squash.

Keziah

This little oasis, at Historic Dunlevy Ranch, is bursting with veggies and flowers and herbs.

I was a bit sorry I could take along so little, but we are travelling in a little camper after all!

So here’s a shout out to Soda Creek Sweet Corn, a stop that we’ll be making whenever we pass by and there’s veggies to be had.

Caution Moose, Where Are You?

     Ever see those signs? The silhouette of a moose with ‘caution’ above, and ‘moose’ beneath. Bill and I agree that having a Caution Moose along these roads would be a great idea


Caution Moose where are you?

     Surely the Caution Moose would be wearing a safety vest, carrying a stop sign, and offering his services to help innocent wildlife to cross the busy highway.
I’ve never seen Caution Moose, but I think this is what he’d look like… (please bear in mind that this was done on a touch screen at 95 km per hour on a bumpy stretch of Highway 97)

caution moose

Bijoux Falls

First Stop – Bijoux Falls

If you live in the Peace Country you know that the first stop when going south is ALWAYS Bijoux Falls. If I had a dollar for every picture of one or more of my kids posed in front of the falls – well, let’s just say it would make a big dent in the fuel bill for this trip.

bijoux falls

And of course the obligatory photo in front of the falls…

Me an’ Bill, diggin’ the falls… lol.

But there’s another spot at Bijoux that I like a lot. Just downstream there’s a spot where you can go right to the edge of the water. Always lots of rocks (I like rocks). I built a teeny tiny inukshuk and then when I turned around I saw someone had beat me to it. Theirs was bigger, but mine was cuter.

my inukshuk

My inukshuk

 

their inukshuk

Their inukshuk.

Next stop Prince George for a diesel top up, then we’ll find a nice spot to pull over and build some lunch in the camper.

 

 

 

 

Heading Out

Daybreak and we’re on the road. Surely we’ve forgotten something, but for the life of me I can’t think what it might be. I’m going to post this short entry, mostly to test out the mobile internet hub.

WIN_20170905_06_36_04_ProBill’s at the wheel and all’s well with our world. 😊

Cheaper Gas and Greener Grass

Apparently smoke isn’t going to be the only issue in our trip down south. Now the fuel prices in the lower half of the province seem to be skyrocketing! Okay, time to do the research… now a site that reports the price of fuel at different gas stations in British Columbia has taken its place in the ‘Favourites’ folder along with ‘Drive BC’ (for road conditions), Environment Canada’s ‘7 day forecast’ (for weather), ‘Air Quality Advisories’ (how bad is the smoke?) and, of course, a listing of every sani-dump in the province.

I don’t remember doing this kind of cramming for a holiday before. Is it just me or has the world become a more complicated place to navigate? I remember previous trips to the coast being, basically, toss the suitcases in the truck, fill up the tank, buy some munchies and start driving. Yes, we encountered high prices that we didn’t expect and flag people with stop signs; we just didn’t know where they’d be ahead of time.

So is it a good thing to be this ‘prepared’ or does it just end up focusing your attention on all the things that could go wrong? The element of surprise is always waiting around the next bend in the road, so, in the end, is it worth it to do all this advance research? Do I run the risk of concentrating so hard on finding the lowest fuel price that, eyes on the webpage or the map, I miss the beauty along the way. Bill doesn’t have to worry about that, he’s driving so he’s aware of his surroundings at all times (at least I certainly hope he is!). But how easy it could be for the passenger to become an obsessive navigator.

I’m going to have to watch out for that.

IMG_3106.JPGAre we seriously considering moving south? Well, it’s September fourth and Bill just came in to tell me the frost f***ed our corn. You figure it out, sigh…
Greener Grass

They say the grass is always greener
On the other side of the fence
and I’ve agreed and thought the adage
made a lot of sense.

Until recently I realized,
much to my chagrin,
that I can’t see the colour of the grass
when the snow’s up to my chin.

 

 

Out of My Head – poem

pen and ink drawing "Bamboo Soul" by L. Studley

pen and ink drawing “Bamboo Soul” by L. Studley

Out of my head grow vines that hang
down and spread across the page
or pluck absentmindedly
at guitar strings.

Out of my head spring thoughts that dangle
ephemeral carrots of enlightenment;
pearls of wisdom that may or may not
have ever seen the inside of an oyster shell.

Out of my head creep words that splash,
images that hum, notes that spell
out the insides of me,
the parts I didn’t realize were there.

Out of my head the procession slows
and I know I need to step out
into the world and refill my pate
so I can go out of my head again.

 

As a writer and an artist I am asked ‘where do you get your ideas?’ (as I’m sure all writers/artists are asked). I just can’t put a finger on it. They’re just there in my head. I don’t know exactly where ideas originate. All I know is that if I don’t go out into the world with my senses on ‘receive’ every now and then, I stop generating ideas; or, at least, they stop coming or start repeating.
Kind of like the self-aware robot in the movie ‘Short Circuit’ I need “input”.  Then somewhere inside my head someone hits the ‘blend’ button and it all gets smushed together and the fun begins; I start using the resulting ideas, images, words, notes to generate poetry, art, lyrics, music – out of my head! What a joyful mess!

 

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