October 13, 2013


One year ago, Sherry and I were having Thanksgiving dinner in Dawson City. Snow was in the forecast and it was already cold. An early winter, even for Dawson City, was at hand.

One year later and we are basking in the sun with temperatures reaching a balmy fifteen. It feels good to be here, and we are thankful.

Photos by Jim Murray. Copyright 2012 and 2013.

October 09, 2013

Meinhardt ~ Vancouver Coffee Shops Part 8

At the busy corner of Granville and 14th Avenue, amidst upscale boutiques and restaurants, we find a rather fancy supermarket.

Meinhardt Fine Foods boasts some of the best olive oils in the city, a large take-out deli, along with all kinds of almost-unique items. Once a strong and thriving independent retailer, Meinhardt's is now a division of the Buy Low chain of stores, which in turn is a part of  The Jim Pattison Group, which also brings us Sun Rype juices, Price Smart Foods, Ripley's Believe It Or Not, Save-On Foods, canned tuna and salmon by Gold Seal and Oceans, and much, much more.

Meinhardt's has a neighbourhood feel about it. People are friendly, especially the deli and coffee staff. It's not quite a Montreal deli, and the coffee shop seems an afterthought. Still, the coffee is good, though getting it served in a proper cup might be difficult. According to our barista, all the dishes, save a couple, have been broken, by her apparently.

The espresso is rich, foamy, and certainly adequate, and when it's served properly,in a cup, the cup has a German designation. What does that tell you?

There are better coffee shops, and possibly better delis, though I'm not sure where. But you're here now anyway looking for olive oil or balsamic something. So have a coffee already.

Photos by Jim Murray. Copyright 2013.

October 06, 2013

Colours of autumn & the first of the banana harvest

When it isn't raining, October can be a wonderful month in Vancouver. On this weekend the rains of the past week disappeared and temperatures soared to the low twenties on the south coast.

The colours are glorious with brilliant shades of red, orange and yellow.

And with the drier days, comes the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the local banana harvest. The cultivation of bananas in Vancouver is a relatively recent result of global warming. The residents of this apartment building will soon be picking what appears to be a bounty of the wonderful fruit.

Photos by Jim Murray. Copyright 2013.

October 01, 2013

Why bees are disappearing ~ a TED Talk by Marla Spivak

Bees have been around for about 50 million years. They have adapted and thrived. Until recently.

Bees have been disappearing at an alarming rate for about eight years, spelling potential disaster for all kinds of things, including our food supply.

More than one-third of the planet's crops, such as alfalfa, sunflower and many fruits and vegetables depend on bees for pollination.

In a fascinating TED Talk, Marla Spivak, researcher from the Bee Lab at the University of Minnesota, talks about four reasons which interact to cause tragic consequences. It's a simple, understandable and wonderful talk about something important: our future on this planet.

Check it out here: TED Talk by Marla Spivak.

Photos by Jim Murray. Copyright 2013.

September 28, 2013

One year ago...

One year ago on this day, September 28th, Sherry and I arrived in Dawson City, Yukon. It was cool (minus four) but as the day progressed the sun shone brightly and it felt wonderful: the air was crisp, the leaves on the trees still showed their autumn colours.

It's hard to believe all that has happened since that day, one year ago. We spent three months in the Yukon. We saw the first snow and the freeze-up of the river, went dog sledding and endured temperatures that were often reported as being the coldest for any inhabited place on Earth.

As our Yukon adventure evolved we witnessed the advent of darkness as the sun all but vanished. Our spirits sagged. The locals were friendly, to a point, but also guarded and lost in their own darkness. It was a strange time, including bite collars and slivers of sunlight at high  noon.

Three months after settling in Dawson, we landed in Buenos Aires; from a town of 1400 in the frozen north, to a city of over 14 million in the sub-tropical south. For the past six months we have been home, in Vancouver, and on this day, we remember our first day in Dawson City, Yukon.  The journey continues.

Photos by Jim Murray. Copyright 2012 & 2013.