Sunday, July 18, 2010

Whale Watching!

I spent the day with my family whale watching with Prince of Whales, a local company here in Victoria, B.C. The weather was perfect and the water was calm. The on board naturalists were Rhonda & Mika. They are a part of the great team that explain and teach us about the wildlife and of course keep us safe on the water. We started out at 3:30 pm out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca (which is now part of the Salish Sea) and headed for the San Juan Islands. At the time of departure there was a lone grey whale near Oak Bay but while in transit our friendly guides heard over the radio that the Killer Whales were in Vancouver and heading our way! We found them in the Strait of Georgia (that's between Vancouver/Tsawwassen and the start of the Gulf Islands (Canada) and San Juan Islands (USA) also a part of the Salish Sea). We were told that we going to be late getting back to Victoria (oh rats!) but there were no complaints on that boat!

As we motored along in search of our whales we passed by this island with Tipi along the shore line. It turns out it's a summer camp for kids! How cool is that?!? For a brief moment I was wanting to be a kid again and camp there. But, like I said "for a brief moment" common sense took hold and all is well with the world again ;-)

It was a very enjoyable 3 hour trip and I would recommend this company to anyone wanting to go out for a real west coast adventure! They also have zodiac's for the thrill of it all and who knows, maybe the whales will be curious about the boats and come by for a closer look.

I hope my pictures will give you a sense of how big and majestic these mammals are and the feeling like you were there with me having a blast!

Ruffles J1 pod (we met him in 1990)

Ruffles and younger calf

Coming up!
Young one slapping its tail

Gathering. Could have J & L pod in the mix...

Spy Hop. Basically checking us out.

Breach! Must feel good on the back...

Tipi for the summer campers... Beautiful spot!

When we arrived back into the inner harbour, there were these musicians doing their thing on a yacht. Welcome to Victoria folks!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.

Justify Full

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.

When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.

They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done.

The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your time has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it, it is real. But only for a season!

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

Thank you for being a part of my life, whether you were a reason, a season or a lifetime.

-Brian Andrew "Drew" Chalker

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Lavender Tea for Two

Ahh, I LOVE lavender! It has many special memories for me. Interesting how a scent can throw you back... We were discussing lavender in our Sidney Eagle chat room the other day and someone had asked for the recipe so I thought "why not make a batch"? I must say, we (hubby and I) have enjoyed munching on them, so I hope you'll enjoy the shortbreads as well...

This wonderful lavender shortbread recipe comes from a local lavender farm here on Vancouver Island Happy Valley Lavender Farm. I tried this recipe for a cookie exchange a few years ago and haven't looked back.

If you enjoy the scent of lavender flowers and love shortbread, I can confidently say you'll love these!


3 tsp fresh organic lavender flowers OR
1 1/2 tbsp dried organic lavender flowers (culinary)
1 cup butter
1/2 cup (scant) cornstarch
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 1/2 cup white flour
1 tbsp lavender tea *

*lavender tea ~ place 1 tbsp dried lavender flowers in cup and pour 1/4 cup boiling water over it. Cover cup and let steep for 5 mins. Strain & measure 1tbsp for recipe and drink the rest (add some honey though), simply divine!


Set oven at 325f

Use food processor to blend chilled butter (not room temperature) plus lavender flowers, icing sugar & cornstarch. Add half the flour amount and lavender tea. Pulse gently until roughly cut in a "crumbly" texture. Blend in remainder of flour until it "balls" into a smooth dough. Roll in a wax paper log (like frozen cookie dough). Chill for 30 minutes. Cut into 1/2 inch rings, bake on ungreased cookie sheet until just golden on the bottom. Approximately 20 minutes. Cool before handling. Makes approximately 30 cookies. Store in air tight tin.

Voila and Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I wanted to share with you a very simple and healthy pancake recipe that my family has enjoyed for many years. We use organic flour and maple syrup and only fruits that are in season...


2/3 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup wheat germ
2/3 tbsp baking powder
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
fruit in season ( apples, pears, blueberries, peaches)

Blend all ingredients (except fruit) in mixing bowl just enough to remove any lumps. Gently mix in or place on top of each pancake the fruit. Heat skillet on med/low and add a little grape seed oil (this gives a nice crisp edge).

Makes 8


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Stolen Kiss

Savour the precious moments... like this kiss...

As she approaches with slight apprehension and with a cautious eye on the prey, she bent over and stole a kiss. Was a precious moment indeed!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Feast of Fields Summerland, BC

We had the priviledge of being able to attend this first annual event in Summerland last month. Event organizer Rhys Pender did a great job. I know what it's like to put on a huge event and this ran very smoothly. I'm sure that it will be a well oiled event for many years to come! The event was held at Valentine Farm where they make their own vinegars. A beautiful spot to hold such an event!

We missed the event at UBC in Vancouver but are really excited to be attending the event at Providence Farm in Duncan where event organizers Jason Found & Melanie Banas having been putting on Feast of Fields on Vancouver Island since 2006.

I've attached some of my photo's from the Summerland event. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did shooting them ;)

Butter Chicken from Waterfront Restaurant/764 Restaurant

Beautiful dried mushrooms

Vinegar Works made at Valentine Farm

Kettle Valley Steam Railway passes right past their farm. How cool is that!

Home made honey ice Cream, raspberries & chocolate sauce & beautiful topping provided by Cabana Bar & Grille

The handoff of the completed creation!

Heirloom Tomatoe & Gouda Pizza made by Okanagan Grocery. They rocked!

Summer apple, brown butter streusel & caramel pizza... Need I say more?

Preparations for the after party ~ Pig on a spit but we had to split!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Fall - Harvest

I am wondering where did our summer go? With the blink of an eye there was fall! It's okay actually, as I find it to be my favourite time of year. Soft light of the sun hitting the orange/brown/mauve/yellow colours of the leaves on the trees. It calms my soul... Going for walks near the forest or the ocean, hearing the rustle of the fallen leaves or the swoosh of the waves, being one with the earth...

Fall also brings on the delightful apples, pears, pumpkins, squashes and still the favourable corn! Sweet corn smothered with butter and salt. That says fall to me... Share with me what reminds you of fall, I would love to hear

Gerbera ~ they look so cute in my cow creamers :)

Acorn ~ they are still quite soft and squishy. Can't wait till they are ready!

Sunflower ~ it is such a happy flower

Salmon BBQ ~ it looked and smelled delicious!

Lamb roast ~ it is quite a sight seeing all these lambs on the spit. I could not bring myself to eat any...

Black Gold ~ making ourselves a cup of coffee wherever we stop, this is my favourite thing to do any time of the year :)