Horseshoe Lake, Alberta

I think my favourite part of Horseshoe Lake is the amazing drop off that happens. This lake is so deep and so clear you can see exactly how the edge of the cliff your standing on extends down into the depths. The freezing water made it a popular swimming hole on this hot day and while I don't swim, I did dip a toe in to try and stay cool. We managed to pack in two more lakes on our short trip so I hope you're not sick of them yet!


Resolutions V.5.1 - More Pottery!

This is my favourite little set from my attempts at pottery this year. I loved this combination of glazes. They were dipped in midnight blue with red/green glaze dipped overtop. If you decide to take a pottery class I would suggest using your first separates to find out what glaze combinations you like and then focus on making a set. Part of the reason I love my cream and sugar containers so much is because they are more usable than the random stuff I started out making. You have to start somewhere though!

I ended up making a few bowls but only got to make one plate and I was kicking myself as they are so easy! Excellent for using left over clay!

Another functional piece I made was a simple spoon rest. I made a small plate and then pushed one section out flat. I love the simplicity and if I take the class again everyone will be getting them for Christmas.

These are a few of my first wheel attempts..... not very good at all! Lopsided and uneven. I did use them to try out some glazes though!


Medicine Lake, Alberta

Last weekend we took a little road trip into the Rocky Mountains. It was a scorching hot weekend so our time was mostly spent lake hopping. We decided to head up to Maligne Lake. The road is winding and beautiful and takes you by Medicine Lake (pictured here). As we drove up into the peaks we ran into not one...not two... but three separate bears! We only stopped to take photos of one since he was a safe distance from the car. The others were literally less than a stones throw from the road.

That didn't seem to deter people from getting out and walking their kids less than 5 feet from it!! I was honestly shocked with the stupidity of people repeatedly on this little trip when it came to wild life! In what universe is walking you or your child up to a wild black bear ok?! No universe.

Anyways! These photos were safely shot from the vehicle with the zoom lens 100% zooming!


Elk Island National Park - Part 2

After our walk around the lake we finally came to the other side and eye to eye with a herd of buffalo.  We knew there was a chance to see them but after 2 hours of no wildlife we figured we were out of luck. They were generally uninterested in us. Some would stare as they chewed away and we kept a safe distance. 


In The Garden V.6 - Rhubarb

This is our rhubarb plant. It is huge! It was left to it own devices for about five years and only in the last couple years we have been harvesting. I noticed that down wind there are at least another eight rhubarbs starting up so we are well on our way to being rhubarb farmers.

You want to pick the rhubarb when the bottoms are nice and red. Just pull on the stems lightly and they should break right off. I made a delicious rhubarb/strawberry crisp (from here) and then packed up the rest of my haul in freezer bags. I only froze three bags worth which didn't even make a dent in the plant but you don't want to excessively harvest as the left overs create compost for next year. If you do have a rhubarb and you don't have space for it to reproduce just wait for the seeds to sprout and cut off that stem before they start falling. 

To freeze give them a wash and cut off the leafy tops where it starts to go from red to green. Some people suggest peeling the stalks but I find this way to messy so I just start chopping into 1" sections. As you chop you will notice the stringy top layer gets loosened and you can just pull it off rather than covering your entire house in rhubarb splatters! You do need to blanch your rhubarb before freezing it so drop them in some boiling water for a minute or so and then an ice bath before they go into the freezer bags. I had to do a couple batches. Suck the air out with a straw and they will stay fresh for months. 

Afterwards put your cuttings back under the plant for compost and don't just dump out that nice rhubarb-y flavoured water you blanched in. Let it cool and use it to make rhubarb lemonade! It is so refreshing on a hot day!


Elk Island National Park - Part 1

On Canada Day last week we decided to go for a little hike in Elk Island Park. It was definitely one to remember.

We started out along what we thought was going to be a lakeside trail but after a brief glimpse at the beginning we didn't see the lake until we got to the full other end...2 hours later. That first half of the walk was fine and dandy. It was very hot out but the woods shaded us enough that it wasn't too uncomfortable. We then got to the large open grasslands we had to cross to get to the other side of the lake for the walk back. It was scorching in this big open space so we stopped for another drink before we carried on to the other side. There were lots of animal trails in the grassy area and somewhere along the way we veered off the hiking trail (which really isn't well marked in the first place) and onto an animal trail which lead us way out of the way and into a bog. An awful smelly bog. Towers of mosquitos then converged onto us. Deep Woods had no effect. We ran in an attempt to stop ourselves from going batty with the biting and buzzing. While running my shoes sunk into the bog and I ran right out of them! David went back and got them for me even though I was fully prepared to walk back shoeless if it meant no more mosquitos. Now I had bog soaked feet in bog soaked socks in bog soaked shoes and I smelt awful. After about an hour running away from bogs we gave up on finding the trail at the other side of the grasslands and made our way back to trail we came in on. Another 2 hours later and some mild heat exhaustion we made it back to the car!

I am not made for hot weather!

These photos are from the fine and dandy first part of the walk. Next week I will have part 2 of the grassy area with the special wildlife we ran into! There is no photographic evidence of the walk back as I was too distraught! Ha!

Cool hat.