In case you missed this post, click here to read it on red feather smooth stone.
Over Christmas holidays I went sledding two days in a row with my favorite lake family. On the second day, we spent four fun-filled hours vigorously sledding through Battle River territory, through a beautiful canyon and up what we call “Battle Mountain”. When we reach the top of the mountain and were taking a break to enjoy the view, one of the men started talking about the cache that was hidden there. I had no idea what a cache was, so one of the girls crawled under a large spruce tree and came out with a metal box, looking a hundred years old and painted in ‘camo’ colors. Apparently geocaching is a very popular sport among people who love treasure hunts and who regularly travel through wilderness areas around the globe via sleds, quads, jeeps, skis, horseback, by foot, etc. One is given the geographic coordinates of the cache and then must use all of their orientation skills (and/or a good GPS) to find the hidden cache. Once you find the cache, you can open it and can take anything out of it as long as you leave something of equal or greater value. (Our cache had a few hot wheel cars still in the packaging and a cigarette in a ziplock bag.) Of course the main reward is the satisfaction of the finding.
I loved the idea of a cache hidden away with treasures stored within… I had already begun Christmas shopping for little gifts for Mitch and Erin, mainly for practical things that they can use at their fort. I decided to create a cache tin for each of them to hide at the fort. That way they can store their treasures and supplies in a way that is safe from weather and animals, and is easily hidden.
I started with a brand new, empty paint can. You can buy these in a variety of sizes at your local hardware store for under $5 in the paint section. I also bought 3 different colors of ‘camo’ Tremclad (for metal) spray paint. I began with a few coats of the light green.
This year the Saskatoon berries in my backyard are huge and plump! B and I got on ladders yesterday and picked three full basketfuls. I froze them for smoothies and pies and made a small batch of tarts for immediate enjoyment. I like to freeze the berries one layer at a time on cookie sheets and then place the frozen berries in large ziplock bags. This way they don’t stick together or freeze into one large lump and I can easily reach in for a handful of berries any time for smoothies. Last weekend I picked Saskatoon berries at one of our many beaches here on Pigeon Lake. There were many ripe berries and as these ones were a little smaller in size, I decided to make this jam with them.
4 cups Saskatoon berries
3 cups raw cane sugar (less if, like me, you prefer the jam a little less sweet)
1 tablespoon lemon juice, fresh or bottled
Place Saskatoon berries in a large pot, add the lemon juice and cover with the sugar. Heat on medium-high heat and stir until the mixture begins to bubble. Allow mixture to boil hard for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until it thickens. Pour into hot, sterilized jars to within 1/4 inch of the top. Yield: 2 half pints and 1 small jar.
So there I was yesterday, enjoying the reasonably warming temperatures so welcomed in April… In the mood for some spring-cleaning chores, I tidied and swept out the garage, then washed and vacuumed the interior of my truck. I kept eyeing the herb and tea garden in the front as it was entirely free of snow but as I had other projects to attend to, I decided to save it for another day. There was a spring in my step as I daydreamed about this year’s garden and all of the exciting plans we have for it…
Then… this morning, I awoke to THIS:
Actually, it’s all good! In central Alberta, Canada this is quite normal (we’ve even had snow in July in the past!) and I am happy for more moisture. I’ll start some seeds indoors soon and that will give me something to grow while I wait for the weather to catch up.
Happy Easter, everyone! Keep warm!
Today I dropped in on the Pigeon Lake Sled Dog Classic, an annual event since 2007! I had such a great time mingling with community people, meeting new friends, warming myself by the gigantic fire pit while enjoying a cup of hot chocolate, watching the teams prepare for their race and especially seeing the dogs, so full of excitement and vigor, ready to take on the race!
There are a few different races, including a 4-dog open and a 4-dog purebred; a 6-dog open and a 6-dog purebred; skijoring (people on skis being pulled by dogs or horses) and a junior competition. There are $1000 worth of cash prizes ($100 at the junior level) divided amongst the first seven competitors in each race.
There is also a banquet each year for both competitors and spectators, which costs $20. Thanks to the community volunteers and sponsors, this event has been a great success each year.
This Classic Race is promoted as a Fun Race, where new Mushers can mingle, learn and race along side the more seasoned veteran Mushers.
While in attendance at the Race you will see the beautiful traditional Siberian Huskys, Malamutes and the cross bred hounds known as Alaskan Huskys, thoroughbreds of the Sled Dog World
There’s another full day of races tomorrow for anyone interested. The first races starts at 9 am and there is a new race hourly until 1:50 pm. Prizes will be awarded at 2:20 pm. To view the schedule or more information and links to other dog sledding events, click here to visit the Pigeon Lake Dog Race.
If you enjoy delicious high quality food and are committed to supporting local foods and “independent local farmers who share our vision about the environment and the philosophy of eating healthy safe foods” then I highly recommend the ECOcafe.~Delena
Residents of Pigeon Lake, Alberta and the surrounding area are extremely lucky to have the ECOcafe in our neighborhood. The ECOcafe has been offering a unique and ethically-conscious dining experience since it opened its doors in 1997. Believing in “Food as Community”, this locally-owned restaurant is committed to serving naturally-raised foods and promoting local rural sustainability. Each of the items on their menu is a wholesome and tasty adventure and also includes a wide variety of choices for vegetarians.
The ECOcafe also offers items to buy and enjoy at home, including breads, desserts, and meat and fruit pies. Below are pictures I took this afternoon of their famous Elk Pie that I bought frozen a few weeks ago and then baked at home today for lunch.
The ECOcafe has been featured in many newspapers, magazines and even on television. Click here to find out more. Aside of the delicious food, another thing that impresses me and inspires my loyal patronage is the ECOcafe’s commitment to the community. According to their website:
The ECOcafé has worked with University students participating in mentorship’s and internships, as well as school lunch programs, cooking classes, complimentary yoga classes, speaking engagements, volunteer programs, fundraising and a host of other programs, directly and indirectly.
Even when the cottagers and tourists have left at the end of summer, there always seems to be something exciting going on at the café throughout the entire year. For example, there are monthly wine tastings, ‘open-mike’ nights, and on the first Saturday of every month they feature the cuisine of another country. Sunday mornings showcase an Eggs Benedict brunch, on Monday afternoons you can get an Intuitive Reading, and if you enjoy seafood, be sure to pop in on Friday evening for the Chef’s fabulous seafood creation. There are also special one-of-a-kind gatherings, such as last month’s Conversations with Marg.
Here is a picture of the restaurant as seen on their website:
I love dining at the ECOcafe. Not only have I met some great new friends there but I feel good supporting a local business that in turn supports my local community in many different ways. I always leave feeling nourished, both in body and in spirit. ~Delena
For Your Unique Dining Experience
Contact ECOcafe At:
#10 Village Drive, R.R.#2
8 am-8 pm Sunday through Thursday
8 am-9 pm Friday through Saturday
8 am-9 pm Sunday through Thursday
8 am-10 am Friday through Saturday
This morning I had the privilege of being the first to ski the newly groomed Rundle Mission ski trails (these are the trails that I walk or ski everyday, all year round). An avid skier, I must admit that I am very spoiled living right next to the Rundle Mission, who find funding (and continue to accept donations) to maintain these wonderful trails for general public use.
This morning was one of those memorable mornings: mild temperatures (only -5 degrees C), a gorgeous sunrise over the lake just as we were leaving the cabin…
…freshly groomed ski trails, lots of glide, the warm sun on my face and lighting up the natural world around me, appreciating my health as I glided up and down the slopes, Lucy carefree and happy, and the general feeling of peace and well-being that comes from doing something that I love (playing outside… and skiing!).
It was not a surprise that the trails were groomed today (the first grooming of the season!). Mike, from Trax Unlimited, had stopped by the cabin last night to introduce himself. He had noticed (by my ski tracks) that I frequently skied and wanted to invite me to join the Pigeon Lake Nordic Ski Club, a “loosely organized group of skiers who live in the Pigeon Lake area”. This group sets and maintains 10 kilometers of trail at Pigeon Lake National Park. There are no fees in becoming a member. Simply email Pat or Shirley to get on their mailing list and be notified of special events.
Visit their website to see their blog, photos, trail and area maps, contact information and other helpful links.
TRAX UNLIMITED. I also noticed that Mike offers his services for Professionally Groomed Cross Country Ski Trails for schools, clubs, or holiday gatherings. You can contact him by phone at 780-586-2077 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org
So, my fellow cross country skiers out there, there are two great public places to ski on groomed trails here at Pigeon Lake: Rundle Mission and at Pigeon Lake Provincial Park, both just one hour’s drive from Edmonton. Today is a particularly warm, winter’s day… perfect for dusting off those skis… 🙂
Mindsprings ‘magic’ happens when ideas spring from mind to mind in conversation.
Yesterday, it was my privilege and pleasure to spend part of an afternoon with a diverse group of women at the ECOcafe (located at the Village on Pigeon Lake). We had all come in response to an invitation by Marg Sanders of Mindsprings to ‘Remember and Be Remembered at Christmas: Receiving the Gift of Good Conversation’. I had met Marg and her husband, Hugh, last winter at another ECOcafe event and was really looking forward to see her in action.
The event was fun and very meaningful to all who participated. It was refreshing to share my own Christmas story and then hear the personal stories of others. Before we began, Marg gave us time to reflect on a few questions. Then she coached us on active, intentional, nonjudgmental listening– truly a rare quality found in people and a gift that we can give ourselves and others! By the end of the session, each one of us felt enriched by the time we had shared in creative expression and good conversation.
Marg and Hugh of Mindsprings offer conversational coaching, both for individuals as well as for groups. For example, individuals seeking personal growth, or for work groups as team-building or thinking about challenges in new ways, or even at family gatherings to focus on the gifts that each member brings to the group. There are many other applications for coaching conversations and their website is full of information. Both Marg and Hugh are skilled at helping you discover:
Upcoming Events at Mindsprings:
We believe that the knowledge you need to achieve your goals is hidden and waiting to be uncovered within you, both as an individual and as an organization.
Even in this short time spent with Marg I have learned (and remembered) so much. During this holiday season, I would like to be remembered as giving the people in my life the gift of good conversation…
Last Saturday, I braved the heavy snow and headed out to Lakedell Arena (close to the Village on Pigeon Lake) for their annual Country Christmas Craft Sale & Celebration. I had just run out of my favorite hand and face creams and was desperate to find Lynne of Wizard Lake Soap & Body Products and Dragonfly Lane Teas to stock up. I also wanted to buy a few items as stocking stuffers for my loved one. 🙂
Click here to see a previous post on Lynne and her products.
I love giving gifts that promote health and healing. Lynne makes this easy as everything that she offers is natural, organic (where possible) and highly practical.
You don’t have to study herbal medicine to know which herbs to brew for certain ailments. Lynne has done this for us, using her extensive knowledge of herbs to hand-blend her own delicious teas to treat whatever ails you, whether it’s fatigue, a cold, anxiety, trouble sleeping, or simply wanting to boost your immune system.
I was quite excited to see the three sea salts that Lynne offers: smoked, Pink Himalyan and black lava. These would make great gifts for the ‘foodies’ in your life.
… and face creams. Along with a few stocking stuffers, I picked up a jar of my favorite Acai Sandalwood face lotion and Healing Hands Gardener cream, and I couldn’t resist picking up a bottle of Sun God’s to try out during these cold and dry winter months.
It’s November and many of us are beginning to hunt for Christmas gifts and treats. I like to give consumable gifts- either something edible (like jams, wine or dried herbs) or something to use (like candles, incense, soaps or handmade cards). Christmas craft sales are a great place to find unique gift items and are also a great way to buy ‘organic’, ‘handmade’ and ‘local’. I asked Lynne of Dragonfly Lane Teas and Wizard Lake Soap and Body Products to let me know when she has her pre-Christmas sales schedule so that I could share it with you. I will definitely be shopping at her table for ‘stocking stuffers’. If you don’t live near any of these locations, see your local newspaper for a craft sale near you.
November 6: Small Business Expo at Wetaskiwin Legion 5003-52 Avenue, hours 11 am-4 pm
November 12: Arbor Greenhouses Highway 2A, hours 9 am-4 pm
November 19: Rundle Mission at Pigeon Lake, hours 11 am-3 pm
November 26: Mulhurst Bay at Community Hall, hours 10 pm-4 pm
November 27: Falun Community Hall on Highway 13, hours 11 am-4 pm
December 3: Lakedell Agricultural Society Christmas Craft Sale at Lakedell, hours 11 am-4 pm
I will be volunteering at the Rundle Mission at Pigeon Lake craft sale which is just down the road from the cabin. Perhaps I’ll see you there!