August 07, 2014

Fishing on Idabel Lake

As most of us probably knew by now, and as Jeem learned yet again for the first time, the best time to fish is when the mosquitoes are biting. There's nothing like a hot summer night, fish hooks getting caught on whatever you happen to be wearing, or body parts as the case might be, and the buzz of the world's most irritating insect.

Idabel Lake is amazingly clear, clean and cool and it's perfect for a dip after a long, hot day visiting wineries, especially as the sun dances on the surface of the water. But enough with the swimming... the fish are jumping and the mosquitoes are biting.

Our fishing guide in this nightly endeavour was Jeem's brother-in-law Rich. Patient with Sherry, less so with Jeem, Rich offered wisdom and gentle direction. "I think maybe over there..." Jeem wondered how in the world he was going to cast a line way over there, never mind getting the hook out of his right ear lobe. As Rich said, "There's an art to this."

We never did catch anything, though Jeem did reel in a floating diving platform by mistake.

The lonely call of the loon, a magnificent night sky and the peace that comes from being in a special place ... that's "the art to this."

Photos by Jim Murray. Copyright 2014. 

August 06, 2014

Idabel Lake Resort

Those who follow these chronicles will know my love for Lakeside Gardens Resort on St Mary Lake on Salt Spring Island. We found another resort about 40 km southeast of Kelowna in the Thompson Okanagan and this one is slightly different from Lakeside Gardens.

Idabel Lake Resort is a group of privately owned cabins and suites clustered on the eastern shore of Idabel Lake, and most are rented out throughout the year.

Very much a family place, this is, like St Mary Lake, a fisher's paradise with Idabel well stocked with Rainbow Trout and Eastern Brook. It's a place to do nothing too.

The lake is about 45 ha in area, at an altitude of 1290 m. During our three days at Idabel daytime temperatures ventured into the low 30s and evenings cooled to the lower teens. In the heat its hard to believe this lake is covered in ice from late October through part of May.

A pirate ship makes its way back and forth with a crew of kids a hundred times or more through the day. It's the same boat that was here twenty years ago.

The lake is pristine, quiet and beautiful. The water is clear and clean and slightly tea coloured, depicting the vegetation of the area. While logging occurs in the region, Idabel offers the sense of serenity and peace. The call of the loon greeted us each morning and again at sunset. There is something wonderfully Canadian about hearing that forlorn voice echo from across the lake.

The accommodation varies of course with each owner. Our place, which we shared with my sister and her husband was complete with satellite television, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, barbecue and hot tub. Not bad digs, and yes, slightly different from Lakeside Gardens.

And like Lakeside Gardens the real treasure of this place is the lake itself. Close to the urban sprawl of Kelowna, yet conveniently out of cell phone coverage. Just a few klicks off a provincial highway, but a universe away from all the cares in the world.

Photos by Jim Murray. 
Copyright 2014.

August 05, 2014

BC Day ~ the flag in tatters and a province too

This BC Day, a provincial holiday to celebrate all that is beautiful in British Columbia, found us looking at the province's flag at the dock on a wonderful lake in the interior. To be sure, there is no excuse for finding a flag in such poor repair; this is not acceptable by any means. However, there is something symbolic about seeing our flag in tatters.

While we were staying on a pristine lake full of trout, with deer and moose nearby and the call of the loon signalling the end of each day, another river system further north was being damaged by the pollution of a mine spill quite likely avoidable if only our government had acted in the interests of the environment. At the same time, beaches in Metro Vancouver are being closed due to high E. coli levels; people are told to avoid swimming or even wading in the water.

Meanwhile BC appears on track to continue to top the nation in poverty rates among children. Fully twenty percent of children and families in this province live below the government's own poverty line.

Services for seniors and families continue to be under attack from a government that seeks to reward its friends at the expense of its citizens. In its continuing war on education the Christy Clark's government has taken to offering bribes to the parents of children during the teachers' strike instead of negotiating meaningfully for the benefit of all British Columbians, including our children and our teachers.

Our beloved leader has even taken to publicly supporting Israel in its war in Gaza, which is not really in the bailiwick of any provincial premier. Christy Clark can choose to speak personally and that would be admired, perhaps, but to speak for all of BC in a matter clearly of external affairs does not show good judgement.

The flag at our beautiful lake needs attention. So too does our province.

Photos by Jim Murray. Copyright 2014.

August 04, 2014

Lucky's Doughnuts on Main Street

Open for a couple of years, Lucky's Doughnuts is a part of 49th Parallel Coffee. We've been to the coffee shop several times and the quality and presentation of the coffee is probably the best in Vancouver. While tempted to try the doughnuts we have always resisted, until today.

We were on our way to the Okanagan and, needing a coffee before leaving the city on a five hour drive, stopped at 49th Parallel. Jeem instantly noticed the apple bacon fritter and was compelled to have one. Really. Bacon, maple glazed, the genuine goodness of apples of course, and more bacon.

Sherry chose a more traditional scone or biscuit or something equally as healthy. Delicious too I suppose. Lucky's Doughnuts shares the coffee shop's dedication to quality and presentation. You won't find doughnuts like these at Tim Horton's. Authentic comes to mind, as does hand-crafted. In the case of Jeem's fritter, artery-clogging might also apply.

As usual the coffees were fantastic, sweet, rich and creamy. The fritter and the scone were both excellent; an indulgence that could become habit forming. Now if only they would make medialunas like our favourite place in Buenos Aires....

Photos by Jim Murray. Copyright 2014.

August 03, 2014

Man on a couch by Jesse Rubin ~ in VanDusen Garden

It was a hot long weekend Sunday. Stifling perhaps. From the Okanagan through to the Sunshine Coast it has been a long dry spell of sun and heat, and on this day temperatures in MetroVancouver would again approach 30 degrees.

On this Sunday morning we enjoyed a coffee at VanDusen Garden, as is often our custom on a Sunday morning. We then walked through the garden seeking out the coolness of shade wherever we found it.

The colours were bright and bold in the sunshine, almost too brilliant to be taken as real.

Some of us found shade along the paths, others donned straw hats and discovered the coolness of the lawn.

Still another lone soul gave in to the heat, threw a blanket on a park bench and went to sleep.

Or so it seemed.

The Man on a Couch is actually a 45 cm sculpture by Jesse Rubin and was one of many featured at the 7th Annual Show and Sale by the Sculptors' Society of BC .

Photos by Jim Murray. Copyright 2014.