another penandpapermama site

Easter Sunday and April Fool’s Day happened to land on the same date this year–and I’m thinking that momentous event totally messed up Spring! How else could it be that here in Penticton in the sunny South Okanagan, four days later, the weather forecast reads “rain showers or wet flurries.” Come on! It’s April! Easter has come and gone! This isn’t Alberta, after all 🙂 Check it out:

 

Well, at least the ice has melted off the oxbows … and the turtles have come out of hibernation and are hopefully trying to catch a few rays….

The urban deer are looking chipper, too — and I see they’re mighty pleased to be able to nibble at the fresh green tulips … and have even left a few buds behind to let us humans enjoy the flowers when they finally get around to blooming!

A few brave souls figure that if they get outside and pretend it’s Spring, the weatherman might take the hint and send some truly Spring-like weather along.

Oh! Check it out! Lots of flowers! It must be spring after all! Or is it?

 

But wait! Maybe spring is springing after all! Looks like Mother Nature isn’t going to let Mr. April Fool get away with his tricks altogether …

Yes! Spring has sprung!

 

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…):

https://pentictonpedestrian.wordpress.com/2016/08/08/green-okanagan-summer/
https://pentictonpedestrian.wordpress.com/2015/06/02/penticton-oxbows-tour/
https://pentictonpedestrian.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/summerland-experimental-station-ornamental-gardens/
https://pentictonpedestrian.wordpress.com/2014/06/15/urban-gardening/
https://pentictonpedestrian.wordpress.com/2014/05/22/writing-in-nature/
https://pentictonpedestrian.wordpress.com/2012/07/02/junuary-30-downtown-market-in-penticton/
https://pentictonpedestrian.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/penticton-people-at-the-beach-in-october/
https://pentictonpedestrian.wordpress.com/2011/10/24/late-fall-farmers-market/
https://pentictonpedestrian.wordpress.com/2011/09/20/signs-of-autumn-vegetation/
https://pentictonpedestrian.wordpress.com/2011/09/02/lots-to-do-with-the-grandkids/
https://pentictonpedestrian.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/science-nature-walks-in-your-neighbourhood/
https://pentictonpedestrian.wordpress.com/2011/07/02/aliens-invade-penticton-on-canada-day-2011/
https://pentictonpedestrian.wordpress.com/2011/04/14/seniors-in-the-sunshine/
https://pentictonpedestrian.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/scruffy-end-of-winter-days/
https://pentictonpedestrian.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/poem/
https://pentictonpedestrian.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/another-chance/

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)

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 🙂

 

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.

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!

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!

In the past, I have posted photos and commentary on the Okanagan River oxbow at the foot of Brandon Avenue. Much of the oxbow was extremely overgrown with bulrushes, and filled with silt from street runoff. Fortunately, the City of Penticton, working with the Friends of the Oxbows society and other concerned citizen groups, has placed a filter in the run-off collector at the foot of Brandon, to prevent more silt buildup. Once that was done, this oxbow underwent a major reconstruction, bringing it back to much the way the Okanagan River oxbows must have looked prior to being cut off when the “channel parkway” was put through from Okanagan Lake to Skaha Lake, with the highway running along beside it.

As Friends of the Oxbows member, Randy Manuel, explains: The City of Penticton and the Penticton Indian Band cooperated in the removal of 360+ cubic meters of debris, sand from street runoff, and overgrown bulrushes. Now we have a very vibrant oxbow at the foot of Brandon Avenue, with nature returning. Where machines had to access the oxbow from the west (reserve) side, their intrusion has been replanted with riparian plants.

I took a walk down to this oxbow today and took some snapshots. In the following photos, you will see the amazing difference from just 7 months ago, with before (April 2016) and after (November 2016) photos! (You can see other posts about this oxbow at “Perfect Time to See the Oxbows,” “Oxbows or Progress?” and “Penticton Oxbows Tour“). To get a really clear view of the photos, click on the first one, and then you can click through them with larger and brighter views. You will also notice that in the “barren” area where the machinery had to come in, there are wire containers, each of which has a riparian plant native to this area. The final photo shows a view of the new container growth from above.

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 🙂

Green Okanagan Summer

This summer of 2016 is the greenest Okanagan summer I have ever seen … and I’ve lived in the Okanagan, or visited it in the summer, for most of my 61 years. The weather has been pleasant, but it hasn’t had the usual Okanagan heat. Oh yes, it did start off with a hot spell, mid to high 30s Celcius, in early May, and folks were predicting a long dry summer, drought, and probably wildfires.

But ever since then, we’ve had mostly pleasant mid-20s days, with summer showers often enough to keep the hillsides green–hillsides that are normally brown by early June. Now we are into August and they are just starting to brown. Every so often we have a few days in the low 30s, but even then, they’ve often been accompanied by thunderstorms with downpours just strong enough to prevent any major fires from lightning strikes. Most summers here in Penticton we’re under strict water regulations by early July, but this summer we’ve hardly needed to water our lawns and gardens.

What’s really amazing is the changes in the natural vegetation. Trees and bushes have sprung up. creating green oases where normally one night find thin, scraggly vegetation. The oxbows are coated in thick algae in any places–so thick that the usual ducks, turtles, and other wildlife have moved away. Even in more open water in the oxbows, there is far more floating vegetation than usual, and the bulrushes are tall and thick. The branches of berry bushes are hanging low, with heavy and very early crops such as I’ve not seen here before. The deer and bears are going to be plenty fat before winter comes.Even tree trunks have unusual growth of moss.

Gardens are amazing, too. Everywhere you look, there are amazing tall, thick-stemmed sunflowers. The fruit crops gave been thick and heavy-laden–and far earlier than usual. Despite very little watering, compared to normal summers, strawberries and vegetables are amazing. Along fence lines, flowers and crops are escaping their bounds.

What do you think? Is this just an unusual summer, or is this part of climate change? The thing is, the past few summers have been drier and drier, and the Okanagan has experienced some pretty devastating wildfires … yet now we’ve had a summer that, while pleasant, has definitely not reflected our semi-desert reputation!

Festivals are celebrations.  And this past weekend’s 2016 Okanagan Valley Writers’ Festival was truly a celebration of writing in many of its forms–novels/fiction, poetry, lyrics, non-fiction, screenwriting.  Writers, agents, publishers, musicians, film-makers, poets, all story-tellers no matter the format, joined together to learn, share, and celebrate their art.

Friday evening featured registration, book sales, a meet & greet with the presenters–and wonderful food! In fact, the food was fabulous all weekend, thanks to the Shatford staff and volunteers. CBC personality and author of two award-winning books, Grant Lawrence, hosted an evening variety show with readings, music, a short film and more. The event was opened by Penticton syilx elder Richard Armstrong. The show included author Adam Lewis Schroeder, author Jonas Saul,  author Gerry William, international poet Daniela Elza, screenplay instructor Kat Montagu, and musician/songwriter Will Schackl.

Saturday breakfast featured Grant Lawrence speaking on “Rejection, Reflection, Reward–A Keynote on Writing Successfully.” Saturday lunch featured author Roberta Rich presenting on the topic, “Unleashing the Muse.” A Saturday afternoon panel discussion allowed attenders to submit a query letter or the first page of their story for a “Slushpile Challenge” featuring moderator Kat Montagu and panelists EDGE Publishing owner Brian Hades, author and Imajin Books publisher Cheryl Kaye Tardiff, and Seventh Avenue Literary Agency owner and agent, Robert Mackwood. The Festival bookstore was open throughout the weekend, and everyone was invited to the “Green Room” on Saturday afternoon to a book signing with the authors. Saturday evening supper featured guest speaker Gerry William from Enderby’s Splat’sin Reserve, sharing his perspectives on writing humor and sci-fi, with examples from his novels. Saturday evening’s entertainment was an Open Mic 8×8 event at which 8 Festival participants had the opportunity to do 8 minute readings from their poetry or stories.

Sunday’s breakfast speaker was Robert Mackwood, sharing “Current Trends in Book Publishing.” A panel discussion later in the morning was on “Marketing to Your Audience,” with moderator Grant Lawrence, and panelists Brian Hades, Cheryl Kaye Tardiff, novelist and non-fiction writers Denise Jaden, children’s and YA author Lorna Schultz Nicholson, and Robert Mackwood.

Throughout Saturday and Sunday there were plenty of workshops to choose from. Kat Montagu spoke on “Screenplays” and “Selling Screenplays”; Daniela Elza spoke on “Poetry: What’s in an Image?”, “Poetry Salon” and “Selling Poetry”; Brian Hades spoke on “Fantasy”; Denise Jaden spoke on “Characters” and “Outline in a Week”; editor and writing craft author Jodie Renner spoke on “Spark up Your Story: Adding Tension, Suspense & Intrigue” and “Writing a Winning Short Story”; Roberta Rich spoke on “Historical Fiction”; Will Schlackl spoke on “Song Lyrics”; Lorna Schultz Nicholson spoke on “Writing for Young Readers”; and freelancer and Okanagan Life Magazine editor, Laurie Carter, spoke on “Magazines and Newpapers” and “Selling Non-Fiction (and Fiction!).” Lorna Schultz Nicholson and Roberta Rich got together to do a presentation on “Selling Your Fiction.” Festival participants also had the opportunity to meet with individual presenters for one-on-one sessions.

On Saturday afternoon, the public was invited to “Paper Trails: An Afternoon of Poetry and Prose,” a set of author reading moderated by Penticton food writer, Roslyn Buchanan, and featuring Penticton author and poet Michelle Barker, poet Daniela Elza, and Penticton novelist Barbara Lambert.

It may have been the first time for this event in beautiful, sunny Penticton, but due to great planning by director (and author, editor, book designer, and owner of d’Elan Publishing) Dawn Renaud, the staff of the Shatford Centre and many volunteers, the Festival went off without a hitch. It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, so here you go! Enjoy–and think seriously of signing up to attend next year’s Festival. You’ll be glad you did!