Photo Assignment

I wanted to start this post off with a link to the online edition to the Province Newspaper where the story appeared- unfortunately my photos don't show up there. I guess the photo of the bikini babe with the cowboy hat frolicking in the river was sufficient. (the one photo I did not take lol)

Essentially, the story is about the mayor's ideas of what direction Merritt should be moving in to keep itself viable and garner interest from more investors followed by interviews with the owner of the Merritt Mountain Music Fest (a huge outdoor country music festival) and finally a family run real estate development who are focussed on developing their property into large view lots that will eventually be centered on an equine oriented community that will overlook a vast panorama of ranching country, river valley, and of course, Merritt itself. They also sell organic beef- here's their web site: Ranchland Natural Beef

Bigger Moo Moo

I bought 6 copies of the paper (!) and keep one tucked in my traveling portfolio in lieu of a résumé. I am obviously up for travel at a moment's notice ( anyone having read this blog for the last year will know that! ) and enjoy writing about what I see and do as well. With journalism I believe I would have to learn to express myself in a more objective voice which is actually how I tend to write on my art site...I might try that here. I spoke to the editor of one of the local newspapers and he basically said if I have an interesting story then bring it in at 500 words or less and he would look it over to determine the story's worth and the style of writing.
I also want to thank Blessed for featuring my husband's and my blog at the OBS...hugs to you Blessed!

And now, onto Foraging For Tea.
I was always interested in food from the wild- I liked the idea of being self sufficient if lost in the woods. I never really did get lost in the woods however, until I moved here but there was always a way out but it did occur to me that I knew very little about the flora and fauna of the Thompson Nicola area beyond the lupins and wild roses. As well, about a month ago Jim's wife Fran (you don't know them yet but you will! ) gave me a sample of herbal tea that she makes herself which was delicious. I thought later on "I could make my own tea what with all the stuff growing wild out here!"

Bigger View

Thusly I've been doing a lot of foraging, drying said forage, and researching in between photography, gardening and self promotion. I use a reference called Nature Bound Pocket Field Guide which I've had for over 20 years, the accumulated knowledge from many trips to the library as a kid, and now of course the internet is the most valuable tool for fact finding. On that note, when it comes to foraging it pays to get a wide variety of cyber-sources to glean knowledge from- and the people should know what they're talking about (be educated in botany for instance, or have good strong history's of herbal uses from the native peoples. Preferably both. )

Bigger Hips

So, whats plentiful out here you may ask?
Wild Roses: as in rose hips which are an excellent source of vitamin C and A. This is easy to identify and collect.
Saskatoon Berries: ( June Berry/ Service Berry ) - something I don't recall seeing on the coast. It's kind of like a poor man's blue berry (although wild blue berry doesn't taste as good!)
Wild Current: I had never seen them before- had no idea they were available out here till about last week.
Raspberries: My God! In the wilds off the highway! The sweetest smelling fruit! All broken down from the deer and/or bears in the area.
...and finally...

Bigger Cherries

Choke Cherry: that may sound scary to some and I did a lot of researching on the net and asked at UBC Botanical Garden's Forum to be certain. There are plenty of things that are questionable because of something I had heard or read...some fruits which may contain toxins (usually in the seed) are safe to eat after the process of drying and/or freezing. You have to study.

Close up for the curious...

And those are just some of the fruits/berries around here- I haven't even touched on herbs like goldenrod, sage, mullein, fire weed, etc. I'm focusing for high vitamin C content and am just in the nick of time for collecting as lots of things are on the verge of over ripening and autumn is just around the corner. All these things have to be dried, preferably by the sun but we've had unusually wet weather the last few days so I'm using the food dehydrator I inherited for the first time and the oven for the overspill while the herbs are hanging in the basement.


I have a little work station outside where I sort and clean new items before putting them in the full sun on screening, or plastic mesh trays, or even old metal baking sheets. Actually, that skiff that my husband bought has become quite handy as a drying table! :lol: I'm quite looking forward to brewing that first tea!

And finally, gardening -wise, after being in pots for almost 3 months (and in the case of the maple almost 2 years) my seedlings were finally put into the earth in the dappled shade of the southern perimeter of our yard. 4 cherry s and one maple. I also transplanted a cactus I found on the northern end of town as well- it now matches the first one I planted although its much larger.


Powerful Canada

I wanted to rant a bit about the Olympics but I've kind of rambled on long enough about herbs...suffice it to say that I'm a big fan of China and am thrilled to see them doing so well. I'm not so thrilled about the sour grapes kind of coverage the American stations are broadcasting...so there was some bad luck- you win a few, you lose a few. Don't be so obviously jealous. Newspapers are starting to get some attitude too- so what if a girl is not considered pretty enough to use her face? She obviously had the voice the Chinese wanted and they found a face to go with it. Just like any western pageant. And animations- I don't like that people thought it was part of the opening ceremonies when it was just digital- but the only reason people are upset is that some film company never had the balls to pull off such a stunt for themselves and the Chinese beat them to it.
But Canada got a silver in the diving just an hour ago...so I will finish this off with "GO TEAM!!!"


First Photo Assignment

I was contacted by the editor of a Vancouver Newspaper to do some photography work for a reporter doing a story in Merritt. Needless to say I was pretty pleased!
I obviously enjoy photography among other interests in the graphics field so this is a really wonderful opportunity to put that passion to practical use. :) I won't say much more about this as it's a story yet to be written and the photographs I send them will be theirs to do with as they see fit but I still have plenty of other stuff to go on about!

Just for the fun of it take a guess what this is:

Bigger View Of Scary

On another subject, last weekend my cousin's hubby came out from the coast and he and Othmar went out to a lake called Tyner just north of Merritt to try the new boat out. I came along simply for the opportunity to photograph and hike but next time I think I would like to take that Barbie pink fishing rod along for the trip! It's kind of hard to see it but this skiff is 14 feet long...and moves along rather gracefully on the water:

First Sailing
Better and Bigger View

My best shot was some kind of Queen Anne's Lace type flower which I basically held up against the rays of a setting sun ( thats not cheating either- it's artistic! lol )
Rays On Tyner Lake
Bigger view - click on the picture or the 'download' link at left of page

And here's a picture from last month during a drive through town with hubby of a soon to be decommissioned ( for lack of better word ) beehive burner. These things were used to burn all the scruffy mess from the lumber mill operations but they're not exactly healthy to live around. This is one of the last in the province.

Beehive Burner
Yes, it's even bigger here!

Finally a picture/s from last week or thereabouts: the 'hoodoos' at Nicola Valley. This was composed of about 4 or 5 pictures collaged together since I was right at the base of the formation and couldn't quite capture the whole thing with the Olympus camera. There is another set of still more impressive hoodoos along the Coldwater River which I saw today- it's almost as if they stand guard on either side of Merritt!

This does deserve the bigger look. :)

I also want to point out the Outdoor Bloggers Summit to anyone who may come by these pages- this is a blog dedicated to outdoor pursuits of all kinds- from fishing and hunting to camping and nature appreciation. Its a growing blog that strives to promote an interest in outdoor pursuits of all kinds and blogging about it- check it out!


Cow Country

What I've been up to these days: theres a hitch on the car, a trailer in the back yard, and a skiff ( or John-boat as my husband likes to call it ) sitting next to it. A motor for the boat will be next.
I've become familiar with the print shop where I've had some posters printed out, the stationer (who has a really large wide format photo printer ), and still have to pay the galleryand museum a visit. I have to get proper business cards printed up still and am marketing my skills as a photo re-toucher and photographer. Time will tell how this works out.

Ponderosa Pine
Bigger view here.

My garden is practically non-existent at the moment- I don't even want to post pictures till more stuff is growing. What little there is came out of pots and has not had enough time to thrive. We are slowly, manually hacking out the top layer of soil where we want to seed grass and plant trees- unfortunately there is a lot of trash in the ground in the form of broken glass. Horrible.

We had a yard sale for the first time ever and made a few bucks and met a few neighbors. In fact, one of them decided to sit with us for most of the day and then another showed up who decided our little camp out was a good a place to while away the roasting hot day...it was quite fun actually.
Around that time we met one of the members of the local shooting range and his wife who are quite the characters. Friendly, outgoing and always actively involved in the outdoor sports. Good people to know.

Osprey On Fence
Bigger view here.

And finally, exploring. We do a lot of that together but sometimes I strike off on my own with only my camera and lots of liquids. Eventually I will make a post detailing various route worth driving in this area Thompson Nicola.Yesterday for example. I headed out for Nicola with the intent of re-photographing an osprey's nest which we had passed by before as well as the historic origins of Merritt but seeing as I had time I decided to go down the Quilchena road which theoretically was supposed to come out just north of Aspen Grove.

I had a grand old time photographing more ospreys and picturesque views as well as stopping every now and then to collect sage and rose hips ( for herbal tea ). I eventually entered into an Indian reserve and the road started to climb steeply and get really rough but at the top of the hill was a wonderful view and I was actually thankful to step out of the car to take a set of panorama shots from the cliffs edge.

Church in the desert.
Bigger view here.

But just as I began there was a horrible clatter in the woods behind me and suddenly the dirt road was full of panicked looking cows. I started to get nervous as I'm not really a farm girl at heart and the cows struck me as being...assertive, lets just say. I made a sloppy job of the photos and hastened back to my car in great relief; not just from fear of getting bullied off a cliff's edge but also from the heat which was roasting.

I got back on the road and hoped the cows would get out of my way. They took their sweet time but once I passed them a few meters down the road a massive bull crashed out of the woods ahead of me. Dang. He was bigger than my car. Thats when I tried to call my husband on the cell to ask his opinion on the merits of passing a strange, startled bull on a strange, perilous road but of course there was no reception. I sweated bullets and pressed on weaving the car left and right slightly in an attempt to make myself seem bigger to the bull and tapped my horn lightly every 5 seconds. He made his way up the road in front of me turning and tossing his head back every few seconds as if to say "you follow ME little cow".

Lost In An Unnamed Valley
MUCH bigger view (click download at the left)

Yes, I don't mind saying I was thoroughly intimidated.
When he finally moved off to the side I slowly passed by with my head facing forward but my eyes going sideways never leaving him until I was sure I could put the petal to the metal if need be.
Then I got lost.
The road into the reserve should have branched west but instead I was headed east into this valley and the road was getting atrocious. Plus, it looked like I would go through private land and I had no idea what the etiquette on a reserve was and for all I knew they could have a locked gate on the other end which would have made the whole trip senseless.
So I turned back and headed back the way I came extremely frustrated and annoyed with myself for not having the new map book with me.

Thankfully the bovines weren't loitering around on the return trip and I got out of there in a
quarter of the time it took me to get in.

Fun stuff. :)