This year's 6th Annual Garlic Festival at the Terra Nova Sharing Farm was a family affair. Both boys volunteered, Neil biked around it and I stocked up on garlic and attended a gardening workshop.
Colin was volunteering all day as a first aid attendant and I had to drop him off early. This gave me a chance to walk over to the new playground by the dyke. Amazing.
The community gardens were lush, colourful and full of flowers and produce. It's great to see how this farm has grown over the years.
And then the star of the day...garlic.
I bought bags of garlic to last me for awhile and one XL bulb to plant in the garden this fall. This festival grows and grows every year with thousands of people descending on this lovely spot in our city. I heard so many comments from first-time visitors about what an amazing setting and event it was.
I have had it in my head that I wanted to get to Victoria this summer. It has been a few years since I have been and there was a museum exhibit I really wanted to go to, so I almost had my family convinced to join me for one last summer adventure. The boys, that would be all three of them, just didn't seem into it when we got back from Oregon so it became a girls' trip instead and my good friend joined me for a day away.
After a lovely ferry ride over, we were heading down the highway and saw a sign for a lavender farm so we veered off the highway and had a look around. I guess its been a very hot summer in Victoria because the farmer explained to us that the lavender was already done blooming, three weeks early and that he had actually lost much of his crop to heat burn this year. He grows 30 species of lavender and extracts lavender oil on the farm to create all sorts of food, health and beauty products. I'd like to go back to Victoria Lavender when it is in full bloom!
We found a great place to park and headed to the Royal BC Museum for the Our Living Languages exhibit, the main reason for my wanting to go to Victoria. The exhibit was interactive and well-done highlighting the importance of language to culture and the role place plays in language as well.
After the exhibit and a stroll through the Empress rose garden, we ducked into a washroom to change into dresses for afternoon tea at the Empress, a very special treat. I've never been before and may never go again but in the spirit of seizing the moment and living each day like it might be your last, we went for it. Such a lovely experience.
The Empress Rose Garden
The Empress Blend Tea
After our leisurely tea, we wandered around the harbour a bit, commenting on what a beautiful city Victoria is.
And then we headed home via BC Ferries, so lovely and peaceful and beautiful.
We commented on how just a day away seemed like we had been on a holiday. Such a nice end of summer adventure in beautiful BC.
Some things come full circle. On Friday I took Colin over to the Maritime Festival where he was volunteeting for the afternoon as a first aid attendant. I reminded him that we used to come to this festival in its early years, when the boys were young. He didn't remember. There was a time for a couple of years where we found a festival in the Lower Mainland almost every weekend and it was all a big adventure for the boys then. Now, not so much. We did go back and enjoy a snack from a food truck with Adam when we went to get Colin and walked around a bit enjoying the live music.
The festival will be crazy busy on the weekend so I took some time after I dropped Colin off to wander around with my camera.
The Britannia Heritage Shipyards are 125 years old this year and although I walk by them very often along the boardwalk, it was great to see them from a different perspective at the festival.
It was a beautiful sunny day along the river and made me feel all nautical and maritimey and such. Love where we live.
Our backyard was full of fresh ripe fruit this August...it has been so hot! Lesson learned though...the perfect looking fruit just on the verge of being too ripe can be there one day and gone the next thanks to the family of raccoons that frequents our backyard. Alas, the few ripe tomatoes that I left too long on the vine also got snatched before I was able to take photographs1
The blackberries are not raccoon friendly though so we have an abundance of those. Blackberry jelly for sure this year!
The boys have made lots of comments about Segways over the years and I have always been curious about what riding one would be like. When a groupon came up this spring for guided tours of local natural areas on Segways, we jumped at the chance to do this as a family. We made the drive out to Pitt Meadows and were greeted by our WildBC Glide guide, Chuck who gave us our "training". I guess the boys already knew how the Segways worked but I didn't really so was quite surprised that both a computer system and gyroscopes controlled things. The slightest movements forward and back with your hips make the thing go. Took a bit to get it figured out and then we were off along a dike along the north arm of the Alouette River.
It was a beautiful area but not much wildlife was out in the mid-afternoon blazing sun! We saw many beaver lodges, herons, a falcon, an osprey catching a fish in the river and two river otters playing in the river.
Segways have been one of those things on a life list...things you want to do or try at some time in your life. And now, we can tick that box!
We picked Adam up from the airport on Tuesday...he was exhausted but it was so good to see him! He had an amazing experience playing his favourite game in Japan. The hockey was tough but Adam felt good about how he played and they ended their series wth a big win. They played 6 games in ten days, on international ice against the best high school teams in Japan. Such an honour!
A bit of a summary with some comments from Adam...
Tokyo was huge and hot and crowded. Adam said that on the subway train it took two hours to get across the city. He loved the authentic Japanese food, particularly the ramen. The team had fun visiting the different districts - electronics, fashion, etc.
The trip to Hokkaido was a great experience...it is a hockey crazy island! The town of Kushiro where they stayed has many hockey teams and the boys commit to extensive training and practices. Adam spent one night in a homestay situation and the family had converted their barn into a hockey training space , with an ice-like surface. The photo of the boys in their bedroom shows the level of hockey craziness...look at all those sticks!
In Kushiro, Adam had many interesting cultural experiences. He really liked staying in the onsen, a traditional Japanese bath house, once he got used to all the men walking around naked. They visited several high schools in both Tokyo and Kushiro and participated in many activities at the schools, including kendo, which Adam did here for three years!
Adam said the boys were like celebrities in Kushiro. They were greeted at the airport, met the mayor and "fans" showed up unexpectantly at their different events. They even made the local newspaper.
Adam brought home many souveniers for family and friends...
but most of all, I think he will always have the memories of this once in a lifetime trip!