Sunday, May 3, 2015

Spring Has Sprung

Over night, under the full moon, spring crept in and exploded in my neighbourhood!  
Warmth, colour, joyous excitement...summer is coming at last.

Gone are the dismal, dreary days of winter:  brown, grey, white (a lovely pallet in their own right, but after a gets OLD).

Don't you just love SPRING?????  
The invigorating promise of more.  
The sweet smell of newness, rebirth.  
Light, unencumbered frolic in the open air. 
Ahhh...delicious greens, pinks and yellows.  

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Cauliflower Pizza, or How to Fumigate the House

I live with men who pale at the thought of a vegetarian supper  (read: ashen and gasping for breath).   No way would they even entertain the thought of a cauliflower crust pizza.  It happened that I was home alone on a Sunday evening and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try out the new recipe.

Back in the day, TV recipes almost always produced an embarrassing occasion.  Never, ever would we be caught serving and untried TV recipe to company on the Sunday evening!  These days, it's when I find a recipe on Facebook that I get in trouble. 

The first hurdle I had to clear, was the fact that I have no working food processor.  Is this chopped finely enough?

After chopping the cauliflower by hand, to minuscule, tiny pieces, it had to steam for 15 minutes. My entire house reeked of cooking cauliflower.  As it turns out, this was the MAJOR drawback of the whole exercise. My second problem is, my house is not equipped with gas masks.

The smell dissipated some, or I became innurured to it. Cheese and basil pesto now wafted through the air. How bad could it be? Pizza is pizza, right? Have a glass of wine and....  You know, I cook with wine. From time to time, I even added to the food.

The moment of truth.   I was starving. I couldn't wait until it cooled to became "a foldable pizza crust".  Initial reactions were: I need a fork, this is a veggie medley with cheese, it's certainly edible, nothing like pizza! Good thing the guys weren't here.  I won't make this one again.

Let's have another glass of wine.

When I woke up burping cauliflower gas at 3am, I decided: I definitely will not be making this again!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Off Grid Beauty

In my last post, I alluded to a cabin with no water or electricity.  Today I want to tell you about it.  It's not mine--I was privileged to spend a weekend there and I was blown away.

High on the side of a mountain, open to grazing cattle, deer and bears, this snug, log cabin is a refuge from city life.  A place to practice a simpler life.  An oasis of quiet, communing with nature and a challenge to living off-grid.

Water and energy conservation rise to a higher level here:  "If it's yellow, let it mellow..." goes even further.  Want a shower?  Need a bath?  Let's make the 20 minute drive to Radium Hot Springs and take a dip.

A new, deep well is in the plans.  Check out this professional Water Witcher.  He claims to be quite accurate in locating underground water.

As far as electricity, a hard working generator comes into play during the breakfast and supper hours. No TV, no stereos, no electric toothbrushes.  Thank goodness for the wood stove and polar down slippers.  People resort to old-fashioned play and get creative when 21st century options are out of the question.

Outdoor play leans towards clearing rocks, chopping and stacking wood, hiking, collecting water and archery...not the usual urban pursuits.

Tree forts anyone?

Careful, extensive planning is in the works for a solar installation that would allow for modern appliances, like a working fridge, a microwave and a deep freezer for food storage.  Until then, there is an abundance of free firewood.

Adjacent to the property, active logging operations are ongoing.  Once the desirable trees are logged out, what remains is gathered into enormous piles and eventually burned.
I was told, this IS NOT clear cutting.  What do I know????

Down the mountain and below the logging areas, is the Columbia River.  This 150 km. long, continuous wetlands is the longest in North America.  All the migratory birds of the Rockies are regular visitors here.

The logging haul is used, practically onsite, to produce plywood, which is stockpiled next to the railroad for shipment, all against the glorious backdrop of mountain vistas.

We went hiking.  April, mountains, snow.  Wonderful sunshine and four-wheel drive trucks made for a pleasant trip.

We found some it from a dog relative, like a wolf maybe?

 The views are breathtaking!

We met a truck descending the mountain as we made our way up.
-You going up to the mud????

-We thought we'd go to the top, our driver said.

-You won't make it.  I had all four wheels spinning.  It was hopeless.

-What'cha doing up this way, asked our guide?

-Well, I won the draw this year, at last!  I'm hunting Grizzlies.  I'm after a particular big, bad guy.  If I don't get HIM, then I don't want any at all.
We ventured on, passed the Grizzly Hunter's tracks, but didn't make it all the way to the top.  We didn't see any Grizzlies either, thank goodness.

Mountain Men, my collection:

Snack time around the fire...

which led to silly pursuits:  Pile on Grandpa!
It was deliciously warm in the sun, by the fire.  Some people even thought they should hide in the shade.

The exciting weekend was over too soon.  We headed down the mountain and back to civilization (although, I would say, life in this cottage is pretty civilized.)
What about you?
Could you go off-grid?
Would you live in the wilderness with the wildlife on your doorstep?