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Archive for the ‘activities’ Category

Dreaming of Coastal Walks … but Lake Ones Are Awesome Too

It seems like forever since I’ve been on a true coastal walk on a remote wild, windy, salty beach. But … if I can’t fulfill that dream, with Covid-19 still hanging on, a fun walk along Skaha Lake beach in Penticton on a breezy late winter day, with my good friend Merle, is a great alternative.

Wild grasses on sand dunes (or at least on stretches of sandy beach),

floats washed up on the beach (even if one is a marker for the swimming area and the other is a tiny fishing float for lake trout),

driftwood (well, okay, trees falled for beach campfires),

a shipwreck (or at least an old wooden boat abandoned on the sand),

and waves on the shoreline.

All these remind me of ocean beaches. Now if only there was the amazing scent of the salty ocean winds, it would be perfect!

Still, lakeshores are beautiful, too. Instead of seeing misty islands off in the distance, there is a misty view—enjoyed by geese and swans—of lovely mountains in the distance.

Branches cut down by beavers have intriguing teeth marks.

Waves may be small, but they still provide amazing reflections and patterns.

Speaking of patterns, check out these old gnarly trees, windblown and hanging onto the sand for dear life, and sheltering tiny creatures in their bark.

And last but not least, an amazing bush with brilliant scarlet flowers (even when other plant life is in the grey depths of winter sleep) … with its branches covered with soft tiny hairs reflecting the sun.

Yes, I would love a walk along a wild coastal beach, but there’s special beauty here, too, in our lovely Okanagan Valley.

Okanagan Valley Writers Festival April 9

A wonderful final day of the Okanagan Valley Writers Festival! Enjoy the photos!

For more information about the event, check out the OVWF website and the OVWF Facebook page.

If you’d like hi-res copies of any of these photos, send me an email listing the row of the photos and the number in the row (eg 1st 2nd 3rd) … OR send me your email address and I can Dropbox all the photos to you 🙂


Okanagan Valley Writers Festival April 8 Part 2

More pics from day 2 of this wonderful festival! If you want copies of any of the pictures, please email me, listing the row # (from the top) and the number(s) in the row (1st 2nd 3rd). Thanks.

Okanagan Valley Writers Festival 2017 Day 2 Part 1

Wow! What an amazing second day at the Okanagan Valley Writers’ Festival! Just look at the people’s faces! Enthusiasm, laughter, intensity, deep thinking, friendship! If you’d like hi res copies of any of the pictures, please email me and indicate row # (from top) and number in row (1st, 2nd, 3rd). Thanks!

Okanagan Valley Writers’ Festival 2017 April 7

Welcome to the Okanagan Valley Writers’ Festival 2017 at the Shatford Centre in Penticton BC! Off to a great start with Friday night registration and entertainment 🙂 If you’d like a hi res copy of some of the pictures, please  email me and indicate row (from top) and number in row (1st, 2nd, 3rd). Thanks!

Penticton Downtown Market in October

What a beautiful autumn we’re having! Snapshots of the Penticton downtown market the first weekend of October. Around 10 am, and already about 20 C.  Lovely sunny South Okanagan in British Columbia.  Oh by the way–northern BC got about 18 cm of snow the same day, I’m told 🙂

Hike North of Skaha Bluffs

Another wonderful hike with my friend Cabrini, this one on November 26, on the hillside at Penticton’s south end (just north of the famous Skaha Bluffs).  Along the trails (which are mostly narrow “deer trails” in a very natural environments), you’ll find little rock towers left by previous hikers, to mark the way forward). The views of Penticton and Skaha Lake beach are spectacular–and on this late November afternoon, a brisk wind was blowing, and hardy sailboarders were getting lots of height above the water!


Summerland Experimental Station Ornamental Gardens

When I was growing up, a favourite family activity — extended family including grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins, and lots of friends — was to go to the Summerland Experimental Station (or “The Farm” as the older folks called it) for a big group picnic. The children would have a wonderful time running down the many paths, playing hide and seek among the bushes and under the huge weeping willow trees with branches hanging to the ground, and of course rolling over and over and over down the long, long sloping lawn. The young adults would meander among the gardens, while the oldest folks would sit under the shade of the beautiful trees and admire the gardens. Then we’d all gather together around the many picnic tables and have great picnic lunches.

As I was a “July baby” we also celebrated many of my birthdays at the Station, along with my cousin Kathy, whose birthday was one week before mine. And our family had a special connection to “The Farm” as my grandfather, John Mott, had worked as a gardener there, and helped develop some rose varieties that later became widely known.  Also, my mom often told us of how, when she was young, they would walk to the Station from Summerland, following the railway track, and walk across the railway trestle — a very long trek from their home down on Sully Road across from the old Summerland Hospital.

The Summerland Experimental Station was also a great place for groups of people to gather for events like Sunday School picnics, and for school classes to go for field trips.  I remember, in grade 7 (spring 1968) our adventurous young teacher, Mr. Seymour, taking us on our very first school field trip all the way from Rutland to the Summerland Experimental Station (now known as the Pacific Agri-Food Research Center) and then on to the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory south of Penticton. At the Station, we all got to eat apples grown there — new varieties not yet commercially available — and we got to see the “cow with a glass stomach.”  All very exciting!

Today, the beautiful garden and lawn sections of the Experimental Station are kept up by a group of enthusiastic volunteers, and are known as the Summerland Ornamental Gardens. They are open to the public most days, and are free to visit, though donations to their upkeep are of course welcomed — and most worth it.  My sister and I went up to the Station the other day and enjoyed the combination of xeriscape gardens and traditional gardens, and the many memories from our childhood which they brought back.  Please enjoy the following slide show, which features the gardens today, and snapshots from as far back as sixty or more years ago!

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Urban gardening

Four and a half years ago, we bought a small townhouse with a “postage stamp” backyard.  That backyard had a cement pad that we could place our gazebo on, and a bit more of a yard that had a brick path to the gate, and on each side barren strips of lava rock landscape.  It seemed so small that I figured there was no point in even trying to garden.  And so it sat like that for 2 years until a friend gifted me with some containers filled with soil.  I figured, “Well, at least I can grow some herbs.”  So I did.  But still, I couldn’t imagine how to turn that wee bit of space into a “real garden.”

But the following spring another friend encouraged me to join the Penticton Urban Agricultural Association (PUAA). I did like the fact that they were growing large amounts of vegetables and herbs on the C.URB site in downtown Penticton, that had generously been provided by the City of Penticton.  On this site, they not only grew fresh, organic food that was donated to the local Soup Kitchen, but they also provided wonderful lessons on how to garden with our particular climate and soil types. At these teaching garden lessons, community members were not only “taught” but also had the opportunity to dig right in and learn “hands on.” Furthermore, PUAA were encouraging local individuals, organizations, and companies who might have land available for urban gardening, to join in making that land available to raise healthy food within the city.

Now I had gardened in the past, pretty large scale, in coastal climates, but it was great to learn to garden in a way in which I could conserve water – a very important issue in our area – and could use local soils and improve them with locally available mulches and composting materials.  I also realized that, small as my little backyard might be, I could probably create a productive garden of my own.  And so I started to plant.  PUAA had wonderful “raised bed” garden boxes available for a small fee, donated by a generous local company. And so in the past year, my garden started to grow.

I was so excited for the 2014 year at C.URB, looking forward to more wonderful lessons, and to working at the site with master gardeners with many years of experience gardening with our local conditions, and great enthusiasm in developing in Penticton, as is happening in major cities and small towns all over our country and throughout the world, urban gardening for health and self-sufficiency and sharing with those in need.  It was a great shock, then, when the City fathers decided not to renew the lease on the land.  PUAA had to vacate the property, and sold off, for very low cost, soil, compost, garden boxes, tools, and more.  One of the good outcomes of this unfortunate situation is that a lot of people who were just “thinking about gardening” in the past came out and got the supplies that they needed to start!

And PUAA is NOT folding!  They are looking into how to develop and grow in new ways, and are working together with other local like-minded organizations, as the “Community Food and Resilience Coalition” in which each group focuses on its own projects, but all work together to educate the public and help each other out. The Coalition includes Penticton Fruit Tree Project (harvests unused fruit and redistributes it to local community organizations), Health Action Network Society (alternative medicine, alternative treatment,natural health, holistic health, natural remedies, and more), Shatford Centre, Okanagan School of the Arts (dedicated to creative well-being and is fundraising for a community learning kitchen), Penticton Urban Agriculture Association (increasing the awareness of the need for local food security and the availability and diversity of locally grown food in the community), Food Forester Society (promoting the propagation of beautiful edible landscapes on private and public lands using combinations of perennial and annual species of herbs, bushes, vines, shrubs and trees; ideal for our dry climate and for communities moving towards food security), Okanagan Master Gardeners (provide horticultural advice to the gardening public in the Southern Interior, from Osoyoos to Enderby), Incredible Edible Penticton, Transition Towns, Upcycle Resource Society, beekeepers, and more.

Anyway, thanks to PUAA and CURB, my “postage stamp backyard” is turning into a wonderful bit of urban garden, and I’m looking forward to being able to share my bounty with others!  Below is a little picture history! (click on the 1st picture, and you can see them all full size!)

Skaha Beach is Fun!

July 30, 2012

Hello again!  My name is Madison, and I am nine years old.  A few days ago, I told you a bit about Penticton, on my blog post, Here’s Penticton!    Today I am going to tell you about Skaha Beach at Penticton, and show you some pictures of it.

Skaha Beach is a really fun beach because you can go swimming.  There is a kilometer of sandy beach to sunbathe.  There are docks you can swim out to and jump off.  There are lots of buoys you can swim out to.  You might want to be careful because there are a lot of boats, jet skis, and parasails in the summertime, past the buoys.  Please keep an eye on the swimmers, because they could go missing, and that would be sad.

At Skaha Beach there is a tennis court, food vendors, and a little shop area to buy bracelets and all kinds of other things like hair feathers.  There are volleyball nets and there is a water park.  There is a big playground with slides, swings, spider webs, and other things to ride and play on.  There is a pond with two fountains.  You can fish in the pond.

At Skaha Beach there are beautiful lawns, shady trees, benches where you can relax and look at the beautiful scenery, and picnic tables where you can eat your lunch.

I love to go to Skaha Beach!

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