“Look! It’s low tide!” my husband exclaimed joyfully. Since he grew up right beside the ocean on Haida Gwaii, he has a deep love for the ocean—including the tides. (So do I, actually, even though I grew up in the Okanagan drylands!).
Anyway, we of course had to take a walk along Okanagan Lake beach in Penticton (April 15 2021) and take some snapshots of “low tide” on Okanagan Lake. It would have been perfect if there was a salty ocean breeze, and driftwood, and some seaweed and ocean creatures as well; nonetheless, it brought back wonderful oceanside memories. And at least there wasn’t any squee (sand fleas) biting our toes 🙂
It was really amazing to think back over the past few years when we’ve had a lot of flooding on the lakeshore due to the spring freshet. This year, the powers-that-be have been letting out as much excess water as possible through the dam at the south end of the lake so that the lake level will be low enough that hopefully there won’t be so much danger of flooding when the freshet arrives.
Here are a few snapshots of “low tide” … and a few others from previous years of flooding in the same area. Quite the contrast, don’t you think? (And don’t forget … you can see the pics full size if you click on them!)
After a surprising early blast of winter back in October, we’ve actually had a mild winter … up until the past week or so, that is! A Polar Vortex has blanketed Canada; in fact, yesterday we actually had sub-zero temperatures (Celcius) in all our provincial and territorial capitals, something that has apparently only happened about 3 times in the past 100 years! Even our mild capital of British Columbia, Victoria, which was already enjoying spring blossoms and spring flowers, was hit by freezing temperatures and residents are trekking through snow this morning.
Here in Penticton, the negative temperatures hit on Monday, February 8, and we haven’t seen the positive numbers on the thermometer since then. This morning, Saturday, February 12, snow is gently falling, though the past days have been mostly dry, just a flake here and there teasing us with the possibility of the white stuff (I love snow; some others maybe not so much, eh?). It’s still pretty early, but as soon as the day lightens up a bit, you can bet I’ll be out doing my Penticton Pedestrian walkabout and enjoying the winter wonderland.
Meanwhile, yesterday a friend, Merle, and I (masked and properly distanced, seeing as we are still in Covid days… can you believe it is nearly a year now since we’ve been under restrictions?) went for a walk along Okanagan Lake beach (temperature -10 with wind chill -17). It was an excellent chance to dig out my thick wool-lined parka from the Northwest Territories (I lived there back in the early eighties) to keep warm and snug as we enjoyed our sunny beach-side adventure. It’s usually only cold enough to wear the coat once or twice each winter here, though in my Inuvik days, a parka was an essential for months on end. Actually, the parka I have now was gifted to me from another friend, Yasmin. The parka I had in Inuvik was stretched all out of shape in the middle of the front section during two of my pregnancies 🙂
You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting on this blog for quite some time. First, with the arrival of Covid, I had very little time in those first months to spend time taking photos and blogging, as I had to suddenly switch my busy tutoring business (well, look at that: busy business! Makes sense, right?) to online, a new adventure for me. Then, at the beginning of the summer, I bought a lovely new laptop, which has been wonderful … except that I neglected to make sure I chose one that had a slot for the memory card from my camera. So if I did take pictures, I had to email them to the laptop, then download them and edit. I found it too complicated, other than for the odd picture. And no, I do not have a smart phone. I don’t like people to be able to call me anywhere, anytime; my landline phone has a message machine, so there! My children think I’m determined to continue to live in the age of the hippies … or even the age of the dinosaurs, according to the grandkids. (I also neglected to make sure the new laptop would have a CD/DVD slot. Another pain in the neck, until another friend offered me a plug-in-able player for the laptop).
Anyway, my son Peter gave me a tablet for Christmas 2019, and I could take pictures with it–IF I took it out of its lovely leather cover, since the camera hole in the cover was in the wrong spot. That also was a pain in the neck! Also, I found typing on the tablet was a pain in the fingers with the tiny built-in keyboard. Finally, I got smart and ordered a little foldable keyboard which is what I am using now! Eureka! Such a brilliant idea! (You’re probably thinking by now, quite correctly, that I’m not the brightest star in the sky [well, I was going to say the sharpest knife in the drawer, but then I remembered I should avoid cliches… oh dear, is the “star in the sky” thing a cliche too? Yikes!] when it comes to tech stuff.) (I also use too many parentheses, but that comes from writing this in journaling-style with minimal editing. I love journaling, as my nearly 200 journals attest. But I digress…) (Digression is another bad habit I have!)
Finally, I was watching a Zoom presentation the other day, and being a bit bored, I got a bright idea, and cut a new hole in the leather case for the tablet. Voila! I can now easily take pictures with it! And blog with it, too, thanks to my cute little portable keyboard. Yay!
Anyway, the purpose of this blog post was to share with you the wonderful chilly walkabout yesterday at Okanagan Lake beach, so I better get to it, right? The waves have been piling up ice on the shore of the lake over the past few days, and creating amazing sculptures and patterns, and I just couldn’t resist taking a lot of snapshots. Luckily for you, I have now gone through them and picked out just my favourites … and here they are!
Isn’t nature’s artwork amazing? I have to admit I did get carried away and already posted some of the above snapshots on Facebook and Instagram right away, yesterday. (Did I mention that due to finally figuring out all this tech, I also joined Instagram?) If you saw the pictures on either or both of those sites, I do apologize (a bit) for posting them again. I just can’t help it, though! I am having so much fun with the tablet now 🙂
Well, the sky is lighting up now, and the snow is falling beautifully, so I shall say au revoir for now (I’m practicing my French these days … probably subconsciously dreaming of being able to travel again some day, hopefully soon). A bientot! (I shall have to figure out if I can produce a French language keyboard with this tablet and mini-keyboard…)
Another week has passed, and even though we’ve had night-time temperatures as low as -6C, daytime temperatures in the single digits C, April showers, and … yes, even some snow yesterday! … spring is still springing. A week ago I took some plants from indoors to the greenhouse, thinking night-time freezes were finished. Wishful thinking, I’m afraid. Despite that, the plants are doing well–and the temperature in the greenhouse today got up to 30C (check out that thermometer!) though it was only 7C outside. The smell in the greenhouse was lovely … warm, moist soil and fresh new plants. The garden plants are doing well, too–wild strawberries, chives, green onions, rhubarb, and more. Flowers and bushes … and early fruit blossoms … are in bloom around our complex, too!
Then off for another solitary walk through the neighbourhood oxbows. As usual, I didn’t meet a soul during my trek … at least not humans … but lots of flying creatures (check out the ducks taking off from the pond and the robin looking for worms), beautiful skyscapes (including the man in the moon peering down), and, of course, plants springing forth to welcome the spring! When I was just about home, a man came out of his house and demanded, in a cranky voice, what I was taking pictures of. “Spring!” I announced joyfully … and a smile broke out on his face. “Yes, it is!” he agreed.
Is Spring springing? Well, take a look at these photos, and tell me what you think!
The last set of photos I posted were taken March 15–the beginning of Spring Break here in Penticton. Since then we had a lot of beautiful sunny days, clear blue skies, daytime temperatures around 7 or 8 C. and night time as low as -6 C. In the past few days the clouds have moved in … and temperatures have risen as high as 14 C in the daytime and usually – 1 or -2 C at night — except for last night when the temperature only dropped to +3 C! That must mean spring is springing, right? So how does that explain the weather predictions for tonight for heavy snow in all the highway passes (but rain here in the valley)? Oh right, it still is March for a few more days … and you know what they say about March weather: “Comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb” … Hmm… A bit more “lamb” would be nice, don’t you think?
The photos in this slide show have been taken over the past few days, and it does look kind of hopeful that spring is springing 🙂 Check them out 🙂
It’s been a long while since I’ve walked around my neighbourhood and our Okanagan River Oxbows to snap some Penticton Pedestrian photos. But it’s the beginning of Spring Break, the sun is shining gloriously, it’s warmed up to 3 C (that’s 37 F for you folks south of the border), and despite Covid19 social distancing, it’s still okay to get out and enjoy nature. Lots of snow still up on the hilltops and a forecast of -7 C (19 F) tonight–but still, plenty of signs of spring popping up here and there 🙂
I just received an email from a friend which contained a quotation from an editorial describing Penticton–from, I thought, a definitely “hey there tourists–come and visit us” point of view. It was well done, but definitely not the Penticton this “pedestrian” knows and loves. So I wrote back to my friend, thanking him for sending along the quote … and told him about my “Penticton Pedestrian” site. That brought back memories of writing on here and I thought I’d just send him a general link to the site. But then I couldn’t resist taking a little stroll down memory lane, and–poor guy–I ended up sending him a whole list of some of my favourite posts! And here’s what I wrote:
Good description for a “tourist” leaflet!
Does remind me, though, why it’s high time I re-started writing bits and pieces for my “Penticton Pedestrian” blog. It’s been a whole year since I posted anything, and even those few April 2017 postings were mostly just photos from the Okanagan Valley Writers’ Festival. I started the blog as a “walk-about” to provide a “Penticton pedestrian’s outlook” of the city rather than another “tourist bureau” description. I always took photos, but I used to do commentary—prose and poetry both. Examples (of course I don’t expect you to check them all out; just a sampling of some of my favourites…):
and on and on they go! I even gathered some of them together and published them in a booklet which I sold one summer at the Penticton downtown market…
Well, I’m really needing to get out and about after a slow, rather homebound winter looking after hubby after his knee replacement surgery … so I guess it’s time to grab camera and notebook and head out and get blogging again.
Thanks for the inspiration, Bruce!
(PS. I still have a few paper copies of the Penticton Pedestrian booklet if you’d like one … or you can download a PDF here)
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 🙂
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!