November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Aya's amazing menu for eight people. All made from scratch over four days.

Stuffing the turkey with Pinot Noir grapes from Foxtrot Vineyards.

The turkey had soaked in brine overnight and here gets extra stock injections along with butter, herbs and garlic under the skin.

Aya's first roast turkey, with parsnips, carrots and roast garlic.

Foxtrot Pinot Noir Harvest

Our favourite Okanagan Pinot Noir comes from Foxtrot Vineyards on the Naramata Bench. We love it so much that we volunteered to help with their harvest this year, which took place over a frosty weekend in October. The grapes were fat and sweet and Gustav Allander, Foxtrot's winemaker, was very generous in answering our many, many questions.

Looking west, the vineyard sloping down toward Okanagan Lake.

Sunrise behind ice on the apricot trees. The sprinklers had not been drained and so had to be turned on overnight to keep the pipes from bursting.

The white crates hold about 500kg of grapes. We filled seven crates in a day and a half of picking.

A beautiful example of a ripe, juicy bunch of Pinot Noir grapes.

The grapes are loaded into the de-stemmer, specially designed for Pinot Noir.

November 20, 2009

Red Capped Mushrooms

November 01
All along Ontario Street these incredible, inedible rep caps popped up in close little gangs, like alien tourists. They seemed to be mostly near the roots of different trees and were in all states of development. People wondered what we were taking photos of and once they realized, the fungi drew quite a crowd. For about a five block stretch they seemed to be under every bush.

November 14, 2009

Main Street Fire

Aya woke up smelling smoke at about 4:30. Then the power went out about an hour later. We realized the fire wasn't on our block but was still quite close so we went to have a look. The flames were mostly out by the time we got there. It started in Kishu Sushi then spread to Slickety Jim's restaurant and an accountant's office. Lugz Coffee was also destroyed but they had already gone out of business a couple of weeks before. This was the fourth fire in that two-block area in the eight years we have lived here. Glad no-one was hurt but it is very sad to lose such unique local businesses.

Looking west at Broadway and Main.

The Globe And Mail had a very good illustration of the businesses lost. Let's see how long they'll let me embed it here.

November 11, 2009

Scotland, Part 1

In late July and early August, just when Vancouver was remembering how to do summer properly, turning hot and lush, we left for Scotland. We had a very good reason: the Wem Family was having its first-ever reunion, and we were keen to meet Keith's mother's relatives.

The reunion was in the Peak District, in England, but we flew in and out of Glasgow. We had a very good reason: whisky. We took the ferry from Kennacraig to Port Ellen, on Islay.

These photos are just a taste of what is in our Flickr set. We'll update here when we add more.

Beinn an Tuirc, Scotland. From the ferry to Islay.

Tasting the goods in Lagavulin distillery, Islay.

Best breakfast ever. Burnside Lodge (bed and breakfast, really) in Port Wemyss, Islay.

The ruins of Kilchurn Castle.

Highland cattle getting curious.
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