Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Chocolate and Cheese


If you’re looking to find something a little different to serve your guests this season, you may have some fun by slicing up some chocolate cheese. A little goes a long way, as this is a very decadent treat which is paired nicely with wine. This one of the many items that can be found out G&S Quality Meats & Deli on Gabriola. In the deli you’ll also find some of Gord’s fresh home-made sausage,a variety of cheese, premium cuts, and an assortment of marinated meat & chicken. The store is located at #1-590 North Road or you can reach them for any special orders at 250.247.8828.

Monday, December 22, 2008

"Just one more run ?"


This is a common phrase heard by the parents on Gabriola as the current snow conditions are perfect for getting in some sleigh rides. The kids have been busy at work making runs through the yard to find the perfect place to go down with a little extra speed. After a good time in the snow, it's a great feeling to warm up by the woodstove and sip on a cup of hot chocolate. It's not just the kids that are having fun, parents are on sleds, neighbors are out for walks and a few are out making tracks for cross country skis. With people choosing to stay at home and enjoy the winter activities, the spirit around is joyful.

Gabriola Elementary School Christmas Concert


In the midst of a winter snow storm, the show still went on. There were a few changes as the rehearsal quickly turned into the real show as snow accumulated outside of the school doors. In less than 2 hours the school contacted enough parents to notify them of the time change to fill the school gym. It was an impressive display of young talent that included all the children, mice, reindeer & villagers set against a beautiful hand painted back drop. The school’s music teacher Rose Topp was to thank for the heartwarming production that set all in the Christmas spirit !

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mark your Calender!

It's that time of year again, when our friend & well known Gabriola artist, Sheila Norgate will be opening her studio for her annual sale.

Make sure you mark it on your calender, it's an event that you won't want to miss....


2531 Tyee Drive, Gabriola Island

Saturday 13 December 2008

11- 5

For those over in Vancouver, Sheila also has an exhibition currently open at the Atelier Gallery...

SHEILA NORGATE
Mixed Bag: New Work
December 4 – 24, 2008
Opening reception: Thursday,
December 4, 6-8 p.m.
(Artist in attendance)

The Atelier Gallery is pleased to present a small solo exhibition featuring new work by Sheila Norgate. This latest series of text-based paintings sees her menagerie of birds and dogs continue to be a central theme. Working primarily in acrylics, each canvas delivers a narrative stamped with Norgate’s signature wit.

“Over the years there have been what you would call recurring motifs appearing in my work. Hearts and birds have pretty much been there all along, but the dogs are a more recent addition. I’d love to be able to attribute this to some more exotic phenomena, but truth be told, it is a simple case of art imitating life. We adopted a small Maltese-poodle cross in 2001 and life has never been the same.”

Sheila Norgate is a long time resident of Gabriola Island and a prominent member of its vibrant arts community. Despite roots firmly planted on an isolated and idyllic Gulf Island, Norgate exhibits in numerous galleries across North America and attracts a large and enthusiastic audience. Mixed Bag: New Work, will be on display from December 4 – 24, 2008.
Image information:
Sheila Norgate, The Heart is a Fervent Songbird, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 36 inches, 2008

ATELIER GALLERY
2421 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC
V6H 3G5
604-732-3021
info@ateliergallery.ca
www.ateliergallery.ca

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A great place for Animal Lovers

Gabriola seems to draw quite a number of people with a love of animals. It's noticeable by the number of organizations you'll find here that are devoted to helping and rescuing our two & four legged friends or our winged companions.

Gabriola Rescue of Wildlife Society provides care for injured or orphaned wildlife, to find more about them or join them as a volunteer visit http://www.growls.ca/about.php .

Big Heart Rescue recently raised over $4000.00 at the Skol pub in one night, this organization is dedicated to helping animals in BC that are in need, to find out about adopting or fostering one of their rescues please visit http://www.bigheartrescue.com/aboutus.htm .
If you like cats, Gabriola Cats Alive rescues abandoned cats. If you've lost an animal, the first place to check is Gabriola Pet Find the number to reach them at is 250.247.8654.

In addition to the many organizations, the island also has an amazing vetrinary clinic, run by owners Thomas Uhlig & Patricia Leather, Twin Cedars, #250-247-9185. The island is lucky to have their services as they offer exceptional care of our favorite four legged friends!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

BC Ferries - Winter Super Sails

BC Ferries Winter Super Sail runs from December 1, 2008 - January 31, 2009

BC Ferries is making it easier for you to visit families, friends and loved ones during the holidays with the BC Ferries Winter Super Sail. From December 1st until January 31st 2009 you can save 33% on all fares and all routes. These savings apply to all passengers and all vehicles on all sailings from Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland to the Gulf Islands and the Sunshine Coast.*

On Gabriola, with a pre-paid pass, that means that a car & driver return is now $12.45 reduced from $18.55 - Christmas has come early to the islanders...

If your planning on travelling on the mainland ferries over the holiday season, you may want to make a reservation, and check the schedules for any additional and cut sailings, to help ensure your travel plans go smooth, you can make your reservations online at: https://www.bcferries.com/bcftravelcentre .

*Assured Loading Tickets and reservation fees for the Vancouver-Vancouver Island and Horseshoe Bay-Langdale routes are not included in this promotion.

Monday, December 1, 2008

December 1st - Countdown to the Holidays...


Living on Gabriola, known as the Island of the Arts there is never any shortage of great local gift giving ideas... With the holiday season approaching so quickly, here are a few more of our favorites...

Music CD’s – the Kerplunks http://www.thekerplunks.com/
Kerplunks: If you have kids on your list then the kerplunks CD is a great gift… The Kerplunks play fun and educational kids' music focusing on all the different musical instruments. Toot your horn and strum that bass, The Kerplunks really get you groovin'. The Kerplunks were recently Canadian Folk Music “Children’s Album of the Year”. You can visit their website online to hear a sampling of the cheerful and upbeat music of Dinah D and Tina Jones.


Jewellery @ Artworks
On display & sale currently at Artworks you’ll find a spectacular jewellery shoe featuring some of the islands most popular artists including; Paprika, Moonshine Studio, Yuma Designs, Kate Woods, Lindsey Godfrey & Maureen O’Connor. The stunning creations are sure to light up the face of your loved ones on Christmas morning!


Merrell Shoes @ Colleen’s located at: 580 North Road
Since the island is so full of places to explore a good pair of walking shoes are always appreciated… “MERRELL is dedicated to the outdoor journey of discovery -the search for self-knowledge, meaning, friendship, and fulfillment that links the world's people who enjoy the outdoors. Whether born on the mountain or raised in the city, enjoyment of the outdoor is independent of age, income, occupation or culture.” On the island where we love our time outdoors this may be the perfect gift of comfort & Colleen’s has lots of styles to choose from, in addition to her family fashions & home furnishings…


A Gift of Relaxation Registered Massage Therapist: 250-247-7667
How about an hour or a half hour massage from one of our islands registered massage therapist, Tammy Birch. Melt away your stress. Feel the tension just slip away as you experience a blissfully luxurious session…


Gabriola Elementary School Craft Fair December 6 @ Gabriola Elementary
This is an exciting opportunity featuring a variety of island artists so you can do your shopping all in one place! In addition to the craft fair the famous cookie walk is a great way to support school activities, while avoiding the Christmas baking – but be early the cookies disappear quickly & the doors open at 10:00 am. There is also the very popular silent auction table with all sorts of some of the best the island has to offer, and because the money is going to such a worthy cause, you can feel good about your Christmas shopping!

Happy Holiday Shopping!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Life's treasures & simple pleasures on the beach!

We've recently been working away on renovations to our home and had a local stone masonry suggest that we send the kids on a treasure hunt to find some old spikes to use around the mantle piece.

The exact location for this treasure hunt, the beach in front of Degnen Bay Road, on Gabriola. The kids were in search of long rusty spikes that once were used to hold together a boat, while they aren't something we'd like to see on our shores it's something that can be taken & reclaimed as long as your careful. For us the transformation of these spikes was from garbage on the ocean floor to hooks for our kids Christmas stockings. Submitted by: Tina Lynch

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gabriola Players presents "Rumpelstiltskin"

The Gabriola Players are set to present “Rumpelstiltskin” at the Gabriola Community Hall. Last year, they did an amazing performance of Cinderella that entertained a very pleased audience, at the end of the performance the Fairy God Mother in true style handed over her wand to a very delighted child, proving that dreams do come true!

Tickets are at Artworks and are $12 for adults, $5 for youths and children 5 and under are free with a food donation that will go to the People for a Healthy Community. Evening performances on Thursday Nov 27 & Sat Nov 29 at 7pm, Matinee will be on Sat Nov 29 & Sun Nov 30 at 1:30.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A boat seems to sit perfectly with the Island Life.

You’ll find a variety of options for boaters when you arrive on Gabriola, BC offers one of the best coastlines to explore. Courses are offered for novices and those wanting to learn a bit more, you’ll often see a Boat Safe course or Power Squadrons course advertised in one of the local papers. You may want to moore your boat at Silva Bay Resort & Marina or Pages Marina, or put a mooring buoy in Degnen Bay to make your boat excursions a little easier. You’ll need to ensure that your mooring buoy is properly marked and maintained, to ensure that you are in compliance with the Private Buoy Regulations in the Canada Shipping Act2001, this information can be found on Transport Canada’s website @ http://www.tc.gc.ca/actsregulations/GENERAL/C/csa/regulations/050/csa053/csa53.html.


If your interested in sea-going adventures, you may consider joining the Silva Bay Yacht Club http://www.silvabayyachtclub.com/ , a great place to meet other Islanders that share the same love of the sea.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Free Range Eggs

These eggs come from a charming hobby farm in the south end of Gabriola, located at the corner of Islands South Road & Islands View. They make great omelets, waffles and most of the baking. One of the great things about them is they didn’t have to travel far, about 75 feet from the chicken coop to the stand.

I notice that they have a light on in the stand now, a great way to take advantage of the shorter day light hours and extend the shopping hours for neighbors & tourists alike. You’ll find a variety of road side stands on Gabriola, giving you lots of choices & opportunities to support the people in the community and appreciating local food.

Monday, November 24, 2008

It’s blue skies today!

Gabriola is fortunate to have a climate with moderate temperatures, with dry summers and wet winters. The average summer temperature on the island is about 20-25°C, and although our winters may be wet at times they seldom go below freezing. The average annual rainfall is about 34.5 inches, giving Islanders the perfect opportunity to stay by the fire and read a novel. For now, it looks like more sunshine heading our way. To view the 14 day trend visit the Weather Network http://www.theweathernetwork.com/fourteenday/cabc0108 .

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Gabriola Island - Holiday Shopping Continued

With the holiday season upon us, we wanted to continue sharing some of “island ideas” & showcase some island businesses, to help make your holiday shop easier.…

Gabriola Island Winery http://www.gabriolawinery.com/
This new family based business, has just released a Merlot & Port this year, we are very excited to support the islands first production vineyard. There is a limited quantity, so you’ll want to get your hands on a bottle or two! They opened a tasting room in Summer 2008.

These are only a sampling of what is available. On an island with so many talented artisans, musicians, popular Bed & breakfasts, retreats, health & fitness opportunities, local merchants & entrepreneurs - there are no shortage of gift giving ideas, and how better to support the community than by buying local.

Gabriola Shale www.gabriolamuseum.org/shale.html#To_Buy
How about a subscription to SHALE, the journal that celebrates and records the rich ecology, history, and pre-history of Gabriola, Mudge, and De Courcy Islands, and the surrounding area of the Strait of Georgia, on the northwest coast of North America. These are a very interesting read, and give lots of history about the island and surrounding areas.

The last one isn’t from the island, but makes a wonderful gift…

Eco-friendly reusable bags. Billions of plastic bags end up in our landfills each year. There are a variety of different bags to suit individual tastes. One
of the website that sell these bags are: http://www.reusablebags.com/store/shopping-bags-c-2.html

Happy Holiday Shopping!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gabriola Island - Holiday Shopping

With the holiday season upon us, we wanted to share some of “island ideas” & showcase some island businesses, over the next couple of weeks, to help make your holiday shop easier.…

New Society Publishers http://www.newsociety.com/
New Society Publishers, is now a 20 year old island company who’s mission is to publish books that contribute in fundamental ways to building an ecologically sustainable and just society. They employ approx. 12 island residents, including the two owners. They offer a wide variety of books & some fabulous green building books & cookbooks – that we have in our personal collection.

Greenbeans http://www.greenbeans.ca/
This relatively new island online company offers a healthier more environmentally friendly alternative to plastic water bottle & thermos bottles. They also offer hemp bags, everything from market bags to backpacks. We have had opportunity to use the klean kanteens that they offer for sale, and would highly recommend them!

Gabriola Coffee Company e. organiccoffeeongab@shaw.ca
Gabriola Coffee Co. features 100% Certified Organically grown coffee beans, custom roasted and blended to please the most discerning coffee lover. Their roasting process develops the coffee's peak aromatic characteristics resulting in the perfect cup, smooth and rich in flavour and aroma. Email Di for additional information on their variety of offerings – this is a great way to wake up on Christmas morning!

Happy Shopping!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Local Government Elections

Greetings Islanders -

Just a reminder that Election Polls are open Saturday November 15th, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

All residents and non-resident property owners may vote at the following locations:

* Gabriola Elementary School - North Road, or
*
RDN Admin Office - 6300 Hammond Bay Road, Nanaimo.


VOTE EARLY if you can, as this greatly reduces the demands on volunteers & scrutineers on election day.

To vote, take two pieces of ID to the polls, one with photo ID, in case you're not on the Elector's List.

Official voting details, including voter eligibility and how non-resident property owners can vote, are available at the RDN website at: www.rdn.bc.ca, or by calling 250-390-4111.

Submitted by: Vote Rural Organizing Committee

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Growing Beyond the Market Place...

With the current situation in Real Estate we have decided to focus on marketing Gabriola Island in other areas and to investigate marketing tools and trends. Randi & Jennifer have just returned from attending NAR (National Association of Realtors) in Orlando. This 4 day event features key note speakers such as Lance Armstrong and Joe Theismann, provides numerous seminars in marketing, green sustainable living ideas and technology, and has an expo with over 500 exhibitors with leading edge products.

We also plan to have Jennifer & myself attend the BANFF Western Connection from Jan 31- Feb.2, as we feel networking locally & internationally are both key components in our Real Estate business.
During the next few months you'll see that we'll be implementing some of the new ideas that we learn and we will be working on integrating new technology into our business.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Getting Rooted in Community…

In keeping with a tradition our family has started, and wanting to help share & create something for future generations on Gabriola, we have made a donation this year of the Blueberry plants to the Gabriola Commons, an organization committed to community service & sustainable living.

Next Saturday, October 25th after much planning and preparation by the volunteers of the Gabriola Commons, the Blueberries are going to be planted. If you have some time to spare between 9:30 and noon, we could use some extra hands (green thumbs or not) to help with the planting. For newcomers & long time residents this provides a great opportunity to help create something for future generations, as well an opportunity to meet some new people and get rooted in the community.

While there make sure to check out the Apple Orchard, the community garden, the new beautifully crafted cob fence, and the many upcoming events and volunteer opportunities.

We look forward to seeing you there! Remember to bring some garden gloves & gum boots (in Gabriola fashion)…

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Gabriola's Green Parade

Gabriola Islander Day was a huge success again this year, thanks to the efforts of the many volunteers! One of the most significant evolutions of the Fall Fair was the change to a “Green” parade, as thought up by one of the events committee members.

The idea behind the green parade was to park all the vehicles that would normally be traveling in the parade, turn the engines off, and instead have the on-lookers do the walking. This year the route went from the Village to the Gabriola Commons where much of the events took place. The Fire Department was at the start, so we had the opportunity to enjoy the drumming that was happening at the Village, and the amazing costumes that the stilt walkers wore, to lead the parade…

Even in it’s first year, the Green Parade was a hit, instead of the Fire Trucks driving down the road with sirens and lights, (which is my favorite part) we had the opportunity to show the public some of the equipment we carry on the truck, give tours of the truck and hand out public safety brochures…

In the afternoon the “green” parade shifted to a Fashion show, made up of local islanders on the runway, modeling an array of new fashions produced by the islands artisans, and gorgeous recycled outfits from GIRO (Gabriola Islands Recycling Organization) that looked like they were straight from the pages of the latest fashion magazines!

I’m looking forward to seeing what the many volunteers come up with next year in carrying the theme forward!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Gabriola Studio Tour 2008 - October 11, 12, & 13

It’s hard to believe that it is coming up to that time of year again, where for the Thanksgiving weekend the island is a buzz as the artisans open their studios to the public.

As you open your homes to family & friends visiting, it is a great opportunity for them to explore all the talent on this island, and with 1/3 of the artisans being new on the tour this year, it is also a great chance for islanders to go and meet their new neighbors!


This year, over the long weekend, 96 local artists will participate - you will see them creating their work, including furniture, oil, water colour, acrylic, and encaustic paintings, mixed media constructions, pottery & so much more…We have found that the artists are happy to answer questions, share techniques, and a few even do demonstrations to highlight their skills. You will have the chance to view and buy work from each artist.

Tour head quarters is at Artworks, the perfect place to pick up your coffee before heading out on the self guided tour. They will also be featuring a variety of the works so that you can pre-plan your trip. If you stop into Artworks make sure to thank Kathy for all her amazing hard work that she does all year long in prepping, not only for the tour, but celebrating and sharing the works of art & the artisans in our community.So, please join us in enjoying the beautiful fall weather while discovering the wealth of talent that lives and works in our community. Admission is free.


Your participation supports local artists, and is a great opportunity to learn more about their work. Studio hours for the weekend are between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., there is a great opportunity to meet the artists this year before the tour on Friday October 10 at the Surf Lodge.

See you on the tour!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Avian Apparition

As the sun set & the skies cleared on Friday night, Degnen Bay was alight with flocks of geese lanterns scattered throughout the Bay. Part of the Elements Festivals celebration of nature in performance, this was truly a spectacular performance.

In the week prior, several Gabriola islanders & tourists took opportunity to learn to create the exquisite geese lanterns at the Commons. On Friday night as it turned to dusk the lanterns were lit and the geese were gracefully scattered by canoe throughout the waters of Degnen Bay. Complete silence fell over the crowd that hugged the Gabriola shoreline gathered to hear the soundtrack that echoed from all corners of the bay including instruments to generate a bird like soundscape.

The evening was magical, and the scenery amazing! A kudos to the many volunteers it took to put this event together!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Firefighters Community BBQ a Huge Success!

Thanks to all the people who came out to support the annual firefighters community BBQ. The Kerplunks were a huge attraction for both kids & parents, their stage set against the shores of Gabriola was spectacular.

Our face painters did an amazing job, there were beautiful roses, butterflies, dragons & Sparky the fire dog - everywhere one looked. Our balloon entertainer, had a stream of kids following his every step!

On the grill Tim & team were cooking up hamburgers & hotdogs as dinner approached. We have to send out both HUGE thanks to Surf Lodge for not only helping facsilitate the whole event, but also having all the food donated through North Douglas - which was amazing.

Many of the islands local businesses got together to donate prizes for the silent auction table, and they were bid up & up, some by family members bidding against their significant others!

The dunk tank was a hit! After being nervous all day, I was so happy when my friend (who kept raising the dunk tank anti) showed up with a very overgenerous donation to by me out of the dunk tank, thanks Kazlowski family , I was so excited I must have told everyone there! Wow, am I blessed with good friends! Then when everyone knew, I watched Caroline a fellow firefighter take her spot on the seat, she was such a leading example, that I followed her lead… I had my husband who was nearly first in line, but I was thankful that his aim wasn’t as good as it normally is on the ball field, so I got dunked but by the kids mostly, and hey after the 5th dunking I was wet anyway for the 6th,7th, 8th & so on…

Thanks to the exceptional photography of Matt Simms, GVFD Firefighter, who took the photo I've posted today of me in the dunk tank (post dunking) & all the photos of the days events which can be viewed online through Budda Belly.

The Surf Lodge staff was exceptional… It was definitely the place to be on Sunday - thanks to all those who came out, who helped out, who passed on the word, who donated - this was a great kick off fundraiser for the community Halloween Fireworks put on by the Gabriola Volunteer Fire Department!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Night…

A great venue for Friday evenings on Gabriola is the Surf Lodge. With the new menu both tourists & locals alike are attracted to enjoy all the tempting treats. Or enjoy the Friday night summer feature of a Burger & a Beer on the newly licensed front lawn/patio. The gorgeous setting is situated on what neighbours refer to as Gabriola’s magic mile, and encompasses the panoramic ocean views and spectacular summer sunsets.

Tonight after work we headed down there to take in the setting, in honour of a good friend & colleague who passed away. Even though the years pass by, we remember her & think about her often, she was a mentor & an inspiration to many of the lives she touched.

It was great to see so many people out on a Friday night, and everyone coming together to enjoy the company of friends, good food, very friendly staff & this amazing setting!

If your on the island this summer & looking for breathtaking island scenery & delicious menu try the Surf Lodge. With their newly refinished accommodations you may want to book ahead and make a weekend of it!

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Oceans Glittering Phosphorescence

I love watching the different phases of the moon. In the evenings it can be viewed to the east over top of Valdez Island, as the darkness approaches, the light is amazingly reflected off the waters of Gabriola Passage.

On an island where we have one street light we are used to seeing beautiful star filled skies at night, but near the full moon the island is amazingly lit up by the natural light… No where is this more perfect than walking under the full moon on the rural roads or trails. Or on the water, under the moon light kayaking with the lapping of the ocean against the boat or paddle creates movement to show phosphorescence that sparkles in the lingering sunset - it’s one of the most spectacular summertime activities!

If your on the island this weekend, you may want to contact one of the islands kayak rentals either Jims Kayak rentals or Casa Blanca Kayak rentals & guided tours. See you on the water!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Gabriola Firefighters Fireworks Fundraiser

Bring yourself, your friends, company, visitors, family & appetite to the Surf Lodge this Sunday, 20 July 2008 where the Gabriola Volunteer Fire Department will hold their annual community BBQ.

Your local Fire Fighters will be serving up hamburgers, hot dogs & soft drinks, on the Surf’s new patio from 4:00 - 8:00 pm. The event features live entertainment of the Kerplunks, there will be face painting for the kids, and a Silent Auction.. There will also be the opportunity to dunk your favourite fire fighter or local island character in the dunk tank. (I’ve agreed that if the bounty is big enough even I’ll climb in the dunk tank - but it’s got to be a nice donation to make me climb in and get wet!)

Tickets for Hamburgers are $10.00 & $3.00 for kids Hot Dogs, with all net proceeds going to the Fire Fighters Fireworks Fund.

The Gabriola Volunteer Fire Department stages the Halloween fireworks display at Twin Beaches Park each year which is an evening for the community.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Gabriola Ferry Cam

Years after an initial thought of having a ferry line up web camera on Gabriola, it’s now a reality. The camera updates every 30 seconds, so one can check online to see how busy the ferry line up is on the island side. It will be nice for residents to check the ferry line up before heading down there.

Thanks to “the Lunch Bunch,” a small group of retired local residents who meet for lunch once a month & wanted to give something back to the island – and found a way to make this happen.

The web cam is located so it takes a shot down Taylor Bay Road, just as it leaves off North Road concentrating on the “cusp” are for making the ferry.

Thanks to all those involved… So if your in the ferry line up, make sure to smile – you never know who may be watching!!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Canada Day 2008

Gabriola is a great place; we celebrate all occasions, in our own special way! Canada Day is no different; the Gabriola Ratepayers for many years have sponsored the Gabriola Potato Cannon Contest.

Each year several competitors (which has grown to an international level) show up at Brickyard Beach on the island, to fire their home made cannons complete with potatoes at Mudge Island. Over the years, the canons (made out of PVC) piping, have become more refined & the distance the potatoes travel become greater. It’s a hoot – the only propellant that can be used is hairspray, & there are lots of theories on which hairspray is the best to get. Other contenders will tell you that it is the length of the pipe that is important, or the way the potato is loaded.

Each contender gets two shots at it; the furthest of the two potatoes is the winner. The photo I’ve posted was with my niece last year; we placed in the top three! If you want to watch this great event, it’s being held at Brickyard beach 2:00 pm precisely (not the normal Gabriola time)! I’ll be out with the same big pink & black cannon as last year so cheer loud (especially if it fires)…

Saturday, June 28, 2008

An Amazing Community...

I’ve always known that Gabriola’s community is amazing, having had the opportunity to be part of it for the past 29 years. Well this week, has really made me aware of just how important it is to be part of a community, especially one that is like an extended family.

Earlier this week my brother in law was involved in a single vehicle accident. The emergency crew on the island were first rate, starting from the Fire Department that arrived on scene only minutes after the accident, and were able to remove him from his vehicle. Many of the firefighters were friends, and it meant so much to our family to have them on scene, as hard as it was, helping out. The paramedics were there shortly after and did an amazing job getting him packaged up & ready for transport. I also have to thank Dr. Bossman, who often comes out on calls in the best interest of the patients, Gabriola is fortunate to have such caring Doctors.

Thanks to the great care he got early on in his accident, he is recovering well - on Friday he was moved out of the ICU. So we are feeling so fortunate!

The overwhelming support we have received from friends, co-workers, clients & fellow islanders, has been such a comfort. (At times, we've been hiding behind the sun glasses, yet it was nice to see so many frienly faces, even when we couldn't talk about it, it just made it easier to see everyone...) My sister extends her thanks to everyone who has sent wishes, food, offers of help, play dates, and so much more… We are truly amazed, and feel so fortunate for living on Gabriola and for the amazing community that everyone on the island is a part of.

Thank you Gabriola… & to Guy we're sending our love & best wishes!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Artworks “Keyed Up”

It seems like only days ago (although I know weeks have passed) since Tina & Randi walked into the office and put a key on my desk. I knew exactly what was up, they had gone for coffee at Artworks, and Kathy had given us a key for the group “object” show.

I pondered, for far to long, what I was going to do with my key, when the idea struck me! My nephew is infatuated with pirates; I have a new fascination with sock monkeys so I was going to incorporate the two into a “monkey” project.

Thursday, June 26th marks the opening of this show, it will be a great evening with 29 artists work (and one wanna be artist) on display. If you haven’t been an opening show for Artworks on Gabriola, this definitely one of the social outings on the island not to be missed. Mark your calendar for Thursday evening 7:00 – 9:00 & we’ll see you there!

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Mid-Summer Nights Eve at Ship's Point

This weekend the weather on the island, was fabulous - summertime on the island has arrived. Our mild temperate climate on Gabriola, means that we spend a great deal of time living outdoors - our front deck is one of my favorite spots…

Of course living on an island, we tend to attract a lot of friends visiting in the summer so our BBQ is going constantly! Last weekend was no exception, the near full moons reflection bouncing off the water, long daylight hours & the sounds of the kayakers paddles lapping against the water providing the perfect backdrop.

We fired up the outside fireplace & sat out enjoying the setting & company long into the night… (I have to plug Chris Bell for the amazing fireplace he built us, he is one talented stone mason). We are looking forward to more nights of enjoying the natural scenic beauty the island has to offer!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Dinner Out...

It’s been a while, since we’ve been to Silva Bay Marina, but tonight we took the kids out, to give their parents a night off, and they suggested we go for dinner. It couldn’t be just any place, but somewhere they would serve “Shirley Temples.”

So off to Silva Bay we went, we were greeted by the warm friendly staff (who are made up of neighbours & friends), a new menu... On top of that very exciting news that executive chef Chuck Currie was coming to the island to work with the kitchen staff there over the next few days… Just in time for summer season!

Overlooking Silva Bay marina on Gabriola, this location is a favourite destination for boaters, islanders & tourists alike with the exceptional deck that encompasses this setting.

Tonight we while the restaurant pub was packed, for Jam night, we were up in the family section. I’d highly recommend the Chicken Burger, but my niece, says the Shirley Temples are a must try – nice and sweet!

If your on island or visiting the island in the upcoming months, make a stop at Silva Bays large deck off the restaurant, it’s the perfect summertime place!

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Leisurely Cardio Workout

I’ve been trying to take my fitness regime out of the gym, and into the fresh air for the summer.

So, I put the sneakers on and started jogging in the neighborhood. At the end of Sir Williams Drive on Gabriola, there is a road allowance, a foot path has been carved out which leads to a beautiful south-easterly facing beach. If you manage to make it past this point & to the end of Stalker Road, begins the path to Drumbeg Park.

One of Gabriola’s provincial park, Drumbeg is a favorite spot of both locals & tourists. The level path carves around the forest of Douglas firs while encompassing the scenic views of the sandstone beaches & Gabriola Pass. Winding your way through the park, there is also a wonderful picnic area, and the pebble beach in the bay offers great swimming waters.

Over the quaint walking bridge, leads to the other side of the park, which has more open field, in this area, you’ll see the Garry Oaks & some Arbutus which hug the shoreline. At the end of the path sits a bench, around the bench and back through this majestic park, & it’s home bound again…

The setting of this jog, makes it realtively painless (perhaps that & the fact that it’s only 20 minutes!)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Tour de Gabriola

The “Tour de Rock” was held today on Gabriola. The weather was absolutely perfect for the event, as it was a moderate temperature and over cast skies. The three Lynch girls, sometimes referred to as the sisters (but really it’s Mother & dauthters) decided to bring the kids along for the full 27 km ride.

We had contemplated pulling the chariot, but at the last minute, Bianca whose all of 4 ¾ decided she was going to ride with myself on as she calls it the you & me bike. Micgill whose nearly 3 decided he would sit in a seat behind Randi, and let her do all the hard work (smart kid!) I am absolutely so proud & amazed that the both of them finished the full trip around the island…

The kids were great, they knew we were trying to raise money for a Health Care Clinic on the island, so they kept saying to pedal faster & raise more money! We believe though we didn’t get the final numbers, that there were more participants in this years event, and it was evident biking around all the smiling faces on bikes that we passed going the other way. In addition the vehicles out on the road this morning, gave us lots of space – so thanks to all the motorists!

In it’s 4th year, the event was once again extremely well organized, and it was amazing how many volunteers came out to look after the sign up, cheer everyone on & all the refreshment stops. Thanks again to all the volunteers & organizers, it was so much fun & such a good cause!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Tour de Gabriola

Join us on Sunday for an island fundraiser, and a great way to see Gabriola... June 1st marks the annual Tour de Gabriola, a fundraiser for Gabriola’s Primary Health Care Clinic http://www.ghcs.ca/ .

This year there are three tours, geared to all levels of riders. For those wanting to tackle the ride around Gabriola, registration will occur between 9:30 – 10:30 at the Gabriola Elementary School from their they will send you off on your trip around the island, which takes about 1 ½ – 2 hours, (longer if you stop for breaks). My 3 speed cruiser is coming back on the road for the event, it’s a challenge with the terrain having only three speeds, but “Bad Betty” is a very comfotable ride. If all goes well we’re going to load up the kids and bring them along so we’ll be pushing the back end of the tour!

For those kids wanting to participate, but maybe want a shorter ride, there will be a route leaving from the Twin Beaches down to Olebar point & back. Last year, we decided that the kids might want to ride so we walked along as they rode, at 3 ½ years old my neice did a great job, she rode most of the way down Olebar & we carried the bike back – for those with pre-schoolers, this route can take much longer than the island loop! This ride is stunning with the waterfront backdrop along most of Berry Point Road.

There is also a South End tour, which is new this year. If you are interested in this tour, the registration will take place at the Silva Bay Inn driveway, from here riders will cycle and do the Peterson Road loop, this is a fairly level(ish) & shorter ride than the full tour, and you should be back in time for lunch, one of our local favorite restaurants is right next door to registration at Silva Bay overlooking the Marina.

To help fundraise, you can pick up a registration form at the Medical Center or just at various start points on Sunday morning, there is also the opportunity to collect pledges on the registration form, or you can simply join by donating $20.00 which benefits the islands Pimary Health Care Clinic…

See you Sunday!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

As biased as I may be, I think I may be surrounded by the best Moms in the world. My immediate family, is very close, we still all live on Gabriola. As a close family unit, when my sister, my mother & myself are not busy working together, as best friends you can usually find us also hanging around together in our time off as well!

My Mother is an amazing person, there are not often days that I don’t reflect back to growing up with my sister, coming home after school to a fresh baked batch of Mom’s oatmeal cookies or the special notes that she used to put in our lunch boxes reminding us how much she loved us. All her artisan creations she would make us in all the various mediums. I remember from a young age realizing there wasn’t anything my Mom couldn’t do & do the best. Her strive for perfection in everything she did & still does is evident, I think it is especially emulated in her being a Mom – her endless support in all that we want to accomplish & helping us find a way!

To Mom, you are an amazing person, I thank you for still always being there to help us,to teach us something new,& for showing us how to just be better… You always lead by example.

In thanking my Mom for all that she is & everything she has done continues to do, I also need to thank Mr. Mom, who had a hard role to fill when Mom was away but always tried. Dad thanks for trying to teach us how to spin, (even if it was elastic), or making waffles when Tina & I asked – even if you used icing sugar instead of flour, you always tried, and never said no… I love you for that!

I now look at my sister, and see her following in my mom’s foot steps with her children, who I am watching grow up to be amazing little persons...

So to the Mom’s in my life – I am so proud of you & fortunate to have you in my life. Happy Mothers Day!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Gabriola Volunteer Fire Department Open House

This week is “emergency preparedness” week, so today at the Firehall we had an open house & put on a fire extinguisher course. For those who haven’t had an opportunity to use a fire extinguisher, it’s better to know how they work so that in the event of an emergency you are better prepared.

Firstly, it’s important to know that there are different types of fire extinguishers for different fuel loads. Most of them will operate in a similar manner, but it’s good to read the instructions so you are familiar with the type you have.


If you have a kitchen fire in a pot, you might want to consider whether it is safe to slide a lid over it – this sometimes can deprive the fire of oxygen and put the fire out. ***Don’t try to pick up the pot to move it! If is unsafe to slide a lid over the pot, then you will need to make a quick decision on whether you can fight the fire with a fire extinguisher, or if you should call 911.

So, you’ve decided that you can fight the fire then grab your extinguisher, which you keep in a handy location to the kitchen, and remember the acronym “PASS”.

Pull the Pin at the top of the extinguisher. The pin releases a locking mechanism and will allow you to discharge the extinguisher. Try to squeeze the lever prior to trying to put out the fire just to ensure that it is working.

Aim at the base of the fire, not the flames. This is important - in order to put out the fire, you must extinguish the fuel.

Squeeze the lever slowly. This will release the extinguishing agent in the extinguisher.

Sweep from side to side. Using a sweeping motion, move the fire extinguisher back and forth until the fire is completely out. Operate the extinguisher from a safe distance, several feet away, and then move towards the fire once it starts to diminish. If this does not put the fire out call 911 right away, and make sure everyone is out of the house. Your safety is primary.

Once the fire is out, don't walk away! Watch the area for a several minutes in case it re-ignites.

Once you’ve used your extinguisher it will be important to recharge it after use. They can be recharged at MIFEL (Mid Island Fire Equipment Ltd.)
at 273 Selby Street in Nanaimo, it’s the same place the Gabriola Fire Department refills theirs.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Composting 101

Composting is a great way of reducing the amount of organic materials going into our landfills.
Not only can composting significantly reduce the amount of waste – compost can also be use to amend soil or as a soil conditioner, which returns valuable organic material to the soil.

When we moved from our “hobby farm” on Gabriola years ago, the first thing we did in our new home was to build a composter. With our challenging gardening conditions, we saw the great benefits of being able to add compost to our soil to improving soil structure, aeration & water retention.

Materials that can be composted include;
* Grass clippings (not wet) up to 6 cm deep
* Leaves (chopped to speed their breakdown) up to 15 cm deep
* Plants and weeds (without ripe seeds), shred weeds/trimmings
* Food scraps, fruit scraps, vegetable trimmings (small pieces/uncooked)
* Egg shells (crushed)
* Coffee grounds & filters
* Manure, straw/hay
* Shredded paper

The first step to composting is to decide whether to build a composter or purchase one. Gabriola is in the Regional District of Nanaimo, who has put together a list of local suppliers of composter which can be found online at: http://www.rdn.bc.ca/cms/wpattachments/wpID103atID889.pdf

Once you have your composter the next step is to place your composter in a sunny area with good drainage. Make sure that the location is convenient and accessible year round.

Turn soil where composter will be located. After placing composter, cover floor of it with layer of small branches – allowing for air movement and drainage. Alternate wet and dry waste. Adding some finished compost, or garden soil will help speed up the start of the composting process.

Have fun composting!

Monday, May 5, 2008

It’s Fishing Season…

Well, for a fairweather fisher like me, with the warmer weather, I’m all geared up & ready to get out onto the water!

We are forunate to live in an area of relatively good fishing year round. Just off the shores of Gabriola there are several fishing “hot spots” including; Thrasher Rock, Entrance Island, the Grande. Add to that some exceptional prawning, if your willing to pull the traps from the depths of the bottom (over 300 feet).

While some rely heavily on the fish finders, and others look for the cluster of boats indicating a good spot, we have the knowledge & expertise of our brother-in-law a long time fisherman, who had a local guide company on the island in the years past. I’m not sure how he’s going to feel about my new “hot pink” lures, but I’m sure the fish are going to bite, and if not at least my neice will think I’m cool.


I hope to be posting pictures in the upcoming weeks about the big catch!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Tulipa commonly known as Tulips

My sister brought me the most beautiful boquet of tulips today, handpicked by my neice & nephew from their garden.

Gardening on Gabriola has it’s challenges, the deer tend to eat

everything (even the things they aren’t supposed to like!), water
conservation is a high priorty, the soil on the island tends to be full of rock, not to mention the rabbits & peacocks that have taken residence in some neighborhoods on the island.

If you have some soil, and a fenced in area, tulips are a great choice of flowers to grow, these early blooming bulbs, seem to thrive in the islands mild climate. They are easy to grow, and you don’t have to have gardening experience to plant the bulbs in the fall & watch in amazement as they grown in the garden in Spring. Tulips can also make a great gift by potting up the bulbs in a nice pot, or additionally then can make the most beautiful fresh cut flower arrangements.

I have two all time favorite types of tulips;
1) The double tulip – that has a full body, and reminds me of one of peonies. Mass plantings of these in the garden are especially attractive.
2) The fringed edge tulips – which has fringed petal edges. They make a beautiful focal point & are unusual and elegant.
One of the nicest pairings in the garden with tulips can be pansies which can offer a contrast in color & height.

I’m almost looking forward to the fall to introduce more plantings of more tulips into the garden!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

One of Gabriola’s Tastiest Treats

There is nothing like starting the morning right, and no better way to start than with treats from Gabriola’s, Slow Rise Bakery.

Waking up this morning the sun was shining, it was another beautiful day in paradise, the trees outside were in full blossom and the garden was finally starting to grow! On route to an early morning house inspection, I made a detour to Slow Rise Bakery. I was glad to see the welcome signs of their wood fired oven – which meant it was a baking day! Stepping into this beautifully created building, I was greeted by the smells of a combination of granola, brea, chocolate pannini's & scones, and the two smiling faces of the bakers, Dimitri & Paul. Only a 5 minute wait for the fresh triple berry and white chocolate and berry scones, it gave me an opportunity to see the baking in process. I was intrigued by the flow as I watched them work, and was firing a million questions at them, which they seemed happy to take the time to answer.


Slow Rise Bakery products are available at; Village Food Market, Artworks, & starting the May long weekend they will be at the farmers market. No trip to the island is complete without sampling their offerings! But be for-warned its highly addictive it will keep you coming back to the island for more!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Administrative Professionals Week


This is a salute to our two office personnel and the amazing job they do not only this week, but every day of the year, to keep our office co-ordinated, running smoothly, and for them going above & beyond to ensure the success not only of our company but off all the individuals in our office.

Their knowledge & customers service skills are invaluable, as they are the greet new people to the island, I think of them as embassadors for Gabriola! They are a vital part of our business, and we are fortunate to have the best of the best!

If you haven’t done something nice for your office administrators, it’s not to late to recognize, everything they do. It can be simple; take them out for lunch, spa services (tend to be a favourite), who doesn’t like getting a beautiful arrangement of flowers, a gift certificate to a local nursery, or perhaps some time off… & don’t forget the card with a personal note!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Gabriola - More than a place to live!

Being a Realtor on the island, I am often asked what I like best about living on Gabriola; of course it’s hard to sum up all the things I like about the place I’ve called home for 29 years. Other than the islands inherent beauty and the amazing people that make this island what it is, I would have to say the amazing sense of community!

With a base population on the island of approx. 5500 people, made up from all walks of life, there is a fantastic sense of community. A simple visit to the islands local grocery store is changed from a mundane task, to an opportunity to visit with friends, catch up with what’s new with the cashier, or visit with your “neighbor” in the line up.

For me one of my favorite spots is the Co-op, where at 9:00 am you’ll find the friendly faces of the same crowd nearly every morning, there to get their morning coffee fix & catch up on the local happenings.

It’s not hard to become part of this community, find a hobby, interest, or volunteer (there’s always plenty of organizations looking for assistance) – it’s a great way to meet new friends and integrate into the community… What's your favorite thing about Gabriola?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Gabriola Novelty Map

I was so excited to receive an email that Gabriola’s Novelty Map, created in the 1980’s by island artisan Edd Ulushak, is back by popular demand.

When the opportunity came along for local businesses to mark their place on this artisans map rendition, amidst the Gabriola scenery – we just knew we had to take the opportunity to get involved. The Chamber of Commerce teamed up with Ed to get local businesses involved. These are sure to be a collectors item, we still have an original in the office, and often get queries from both locals & tourists alike where they can get their copy of the map. There will be a limited quantity available, and they are likely to sell out quickly!

Whether you are a business wanting to participate & be a part of island history in this unique way, or if you are looking at getting your copy of the map check it out online at: http://noveltymap.org/ .

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day 2008

Earth Day has spread all over the world since it’s inception in 1970, as people made promises to help the environment. It’s amazing how everyone stops to recognize that there are problems we need to work on & look at the planet and identify those things that need to be changed.

On Gabriola, today in the grocery stores they were encouraging the use of paper bags decorated by school aged children of the island, these bags were pieces of art, each with a colourful and vibrant message. What a great way to educate kids by having them participate in one way to help the environment by using less plastic bags.

We are fortunate to have many businesses on the island that focus on a greener lifestyle choices and living with a lighter foot print. Many of these businesses are home based, or web based I’ll be featuring them in future blogs – so make sure to stay tuned for some exceptional island offerings.

It is truly amazing to think that this day was started by one person who had an idea & kept working on it as it became an international event of people working together - it’s amazing what happens when people care about our world!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

There is nothing better, than those things that make us reminisce about our childhood. For me it’s the smell, well that and the taste as well of Mom’s chocolate chip cookies. We were fortunate to have a Mom that enjoyed baking, so often times after school we would come home to her freshly baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I thought I would share her recipe with you:

Ingredients.

1 ¾ cup Flour
½ tsp Salt
2 cups Quaker Oats
1 pkg Chocolate Chips (or less)
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup Butter
1 tsp. Baking Soda
¼ cup Boiling Water
1 tsp Vanilla

Directions.

Cream sugar & butter, add vanilla. Blend in flour, salt, quaker oats. Set aside.

Dissolve baking soda in boiling water. Gradually stir into creamed mixture. Mix chocolate chips. Spoon heapfuls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes & transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Makes approx. 18 – 24 cookies.

Enjoy!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Green Solutions Demonstration Home

Today we visited the Green Solutions demonstration show home in Fairwinds. It was amazing to to see the developers team with local contractors and designers to showcase products & design; that respect the natural environment, incorporate “smart” technologies, conserve water & energy, and allow for the opportunity of aging in place.

The home is absolutely stunning and featured an array of energy efficient products, including energy star appliances, solar tubes allowing the natural light to filter into the home, West Coast Design windows with low E glass & so much more…

Among the most popular features in the homes was the engineered hardwood flooring, which I have been recently seeing more of in homes. It is an environmentally conscious alternative to solid hardwood flooring, it is very durable & conserves natural resources.

If you have been thinking of building or renovating, it is well worth the trip up to this show home, where it is easy to view the many practical & easy ways to incorporate greener building practices.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

MS

Tomorrow, my sister & I are loading up the kids and heading to town… We’re going to meet up with our good friend Jodi, and do the 10 km walk to help raise money for MS.

Jodi, was diagnosed with MS when she was only 31, she is an amazingly vibrant person who has not let it affect her day to day living, or her attitude on life. She is a hard individual to keep up with as she is very athletic & outgoing, when she sent out the email, Tina & I decided to walk with her, in hopes to raise some money & awareness, and to also for the opportunity to spend a couple of hours with a good friend!

So tomorrow, we are walking, to support our good friend Jodi and the other friends, co-workers, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters out there who are struggling with this… We want to let you know, we care and we are with you every step of the way. We are walking in hopes that a cure can be found!

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Call of the Bald Eagles…

It’s always such a welcome to arrive home at the end of the day, especially to hear the eagles calling. We are so fortunate to share where we live with several bald eagles, and it’s not an uncommon sight to see them diving towards the waters with their amazing 6 to 8 foot wingspan, poised to catch a salmon.

No matter how many times you’ve see a bald eagle, it is an absolutely amazing experience to see these majestic birds in their natural setting. There are many good areas to see the eagles on Gabriola, Drumbeg Park, is one of the areas where the combination of the old growth forests which provides trees for the eagles to perch in, the open fields & oceans for them to feed - is an amazing setting to experience the spirit of the birds in their natural setting.

I always know I'm close to home when I hear the amazing sounds of the bald eagles!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Trendy & Re-usable Bags


A year ago, a friend introduced me to my first, yes very trendy, but re-usable bag. After I started to use it, my sister decided that she needed one as well… These eco-friendly bags are catching lots of attention – with their vibrant colors & patterns their like a new fashion accessory while persuading individuals to make a small and easy lifestyle change to benefit the environment.


On Gabriola we are lucky to have the support of our local grocery store, Village Food Market. They have just announced a contest, looking for the artwork which will appear on their re-usable shopping bags. They are challenging artists to portray an image of what Gabriola means to them, and are offering a $500.00 prize for the image they use. I’ve been encouraging Tina, to get out the paint brushes and put something together – she’s a fabulous artist. ..

I can hardly wait to get my hands on my trendy uniquely Gabriola “Green “ Bag!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

What are you doing on Saturday night?

On Gabriola, there is never any shortage of things to do… Known as the “Island of the Arts” every weekend seems to bring, new plays, presentations, art displays, workshops & so much more…

One of my favourite Island Artists, Sheila Norgate is giving a special presentation this weekend with all proceeds being donated to People for a Healthy Community. When the opportunity came out to hang out with the girls on Saturday night and see “Charm, Beauty & Poise, timeless tips for girls who have let themselves go,” we couldn’t resist the opportunity. Not sure whether to get out the Birkenstocks & put on the house coat, or put on a pair of heels & maybe even a skirt – the dress code is sure to be all over the map!

Sheila Norgate, is one of the islands gems; an amazing & very accomplished artist, community volunteer, friend, and a brilliant presenter – this show is a must see! Tickets are available at Artworks (in the Village) and are a bargain price at $10.00, however, this show will set out FAST, so make sure to pick up your tickets right away! See you Saturday, April 12th 7:30 at the Roxy.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Adopting a Polar Bear

It’s quickly approaching my brother in laws 41st Birthday, since I don’t think he knows how to google, I don’t think there’s much chance of him reading this, I hope he doesn’t prove me wrong! I was trying to come up with some gift ideas, when I thought about my niece & nephew and what they might like to get their dad as a gift, and of course that’s when it came to me...

My brother in law has an amazing fascination with Polar bears, my neice and nephew share his enthusiasm of all animals. I quickly did some research online to come up with the idea of “Adopting a Polar Bear.” For a $40.00 donation, you can help the WWF in their work to save wildlife & help in protecting their habitat. This is a gift that keeps giving, in helping to preserve the natural heritage for generations to come – and how can that be more suitable than getting this gift from his children!

The WWF also has a polar bear tracker, so you can read the biographies of 6 female polar bears & cubs in the Hudson Bay area & track their migration at; http://www.wwf.ca/polarbears/tracker.html .

I’m looking forward to the shared enjoyment the family will get from their adoption kit, including a photograph & adoption papers, a plush animal, along with a brochure outlining the work that is being done. Happy Birthday Guy!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Humming Birds are Back!

Every April we eagerly await the return of our hummingbirds to Degnen Bay on Gabriola, yesterday we saw the first two return. To us it symboloizes a sure sign of Spring! So we quickly got out the hummingbird feeder and made up some nectar.

Directions: One part sugar to 4 parts water, you can boil the mixture to help it dissolve, although it’s not necessary. (There is no need to put red food coloring in the mixture!) At this time of year, the birds are not feeding as heavily, as well all of them have not yet returned, so we usually have extra syrup, the syrup can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks. In another couple of months, we’ll have to put up additional feeders as they go through the syrup in a matter of hours, and we want to ensure we keep them around.

There is little maintenance to do, however, it’s important that each time you re-fill make sure to rinse thoroughly with warm water, don’t use soapy water – the birds seem to be detracted by it. Once a month, it is necessary to clean the feeder, any easy way to do this is to soak it in a bleach/water solution for at least a ½ an hour and rinse thoroughly before re-filling it.

In my garden, I have also included some flowers that attract hummingbirds including; Bee Balm, Columbine, Foxgloves, Nasturtiums (I just spent the morning planting 750 seeds – hope there’s no more frost!) & a butterfly bush. I’m hoping the abundance of plant nectar & syrup will increase the buzz of these amazing creatures at our feeders! Just another spring pleasure here on Gabriola.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Bling

I heard someone once say that they thought that in a past life they were a crow, I was intrigued to hear it was because in this life they were attracted to shiny objects.

My fascination with shiny objects usually is of the wearable variety, mostly jewelry and particularly necklaces. It started some time ago, by a piece I received from family back in Norway, I was so intrigued by the uniqueness that I found the designs online. I’d like to warn you before visiting this site that it is highly addictive, but absolutely beautiful quality pieces http://www.pilgrim.dk/Womens/en-GB/Home . I am amazed how many times when I wear these accessories I am asked where I found them.

Of course living on an island with so many fantastic jewelers, the collection gets rather large, as it’s nice to support all the local artists, a visit to Artworks on Gabriola will give you a sampling of the wide variety of offerings. Many of the jewelers on the island also have studio’s, at their homes that they open on occasion & some exhibit their works at the Farmers Market. A trip to the island isn’t complete without discovering the amazing talents of our local artisans.

With my deep attraction to shiny things, I also believe in my past life I was a crow!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

BC Ferries Coast Card

The new BC Ferries Coast Cards are now in circulation. There are a few places you can get you card, including at the Nanaimo terminal of the Gabriola Ferry.

After 29 years I’ve become a creature of habit. it’s going to be hard to give up the paper tickets & replace them with an electronic swipe card, but I’m making the transition. On the brighter side I’m trying to sell myself on the benefits including the ability to register them. In addition to the loss protection it offers, these cards will offer islanders & tourists (who are planning to do some travel) an opportunity for reduced fares, on participating routes, by loading a minimum amount of $40.00 for Passengers or $75.00 for Vehicle & passengers. This is a considerable savings over the posted fares, and even the long time islanders, who see how long we can go between trips to the “big city” aka Nanaimo – the savings are appreciated.

For daily commuters who want to keep an account of their travel - there is the possibility to use the travel account history report. You can even have multiple cards for different uses!
If you’ve got your card make sure to register it online at: http://www.bcferries.com/ .

Planning a trip to the island this summer? Consider taking advantage of the savings offered by the Coast Card, after one visit your sure to want to come back again soon!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Realtors Safety


I was alarmed to hear of the death of a young Realtor in Victoria, earlier this year. Coming from a small community, we tend to feel very safe in our surroundings; it’s one of the islands attributes that I like best! It’s unfortunate that something so drastic occurred before beginning to review & consider the way we do our business…
Around the office we started discussing safer business practices; meeting with clients at the office, keeping showing hours during daytime, client screening, & accountability measures. On the island, open houses are a rarity so we are blessed not to have the additional safety concerns associated with sitting alone in a home – which I am thankful for.

Today I had the opportunity of taking the SAFER program offered down in Victoria, which provided some additional ideas to Realtors in their day to day practices, focusing on awareness & prevention, we’ll be taking that information, along with researching what is being done for Realtors safety elsewhere throughout BC & abroad, to a newly struck, Realtor Safety, task force & bringing recommendations back for the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board of Directors to consider.

I feel fortunate to belong to part of an organization that cares about its member’s safety!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Gabriola Home & Garden Tour

Mark your Calanders, the Gabriola Home & Garden Tour takes place this year on Sunday, June 29, 2008.

Planning is underway for the 10th annual Home & Garden Tour. This this self-guided tour of island homes & beautiful coastal gardens will give you an unforgettable taste of island life including local musicians & artisans at featured sites. Organized by People for a Healthy Community to benefit the Emergency Food Depot, the Christmas Bureau, Violence Prevention and Response Program and other community support programs and services on Gabriola Island.

As the tour draws nearer, I'll be sending out some "teasers" on the sites for this year, so stay tuned.

It's a great way to explore the island, and support local programs!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Earth Hour – a HUGE success!




On March 29, 2008 as 8:00 pm approached, we were busy ensuring all the lights were off in the home so that we could participate, with the millions of other people around the world, in turning off our lights in support of Earth Hour.

On Gabriola we have been accustomed to the occasional power outage, so are well equipped when there are no lights on… That, and the fact that the island does not have any street lights. Candlelight, good company, beautiful star lit skies – what more could one ask for!

BC Hydro calculated that by turning off the lights from 8 to 9 p.m., British Columbians saved 125 megawatts of electricity during Earth Hour, the same as switching off 2.5 million lights.

It was so easy to do that we are looking at ways of incorporating earth hour, into our daily lives!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Scavenger Hunt…

Today we held our Fire Departments, first Scavenger Hunt. What a great way to spend such a beautiful day trying to find obscure items, sliding down a slide (with an audience), & there were even points for having a coffee, upstairs in Artworks. Since we helped organize it, we spent our time at the coffee check in point, attempting to slow the teams down to chat as they came in. The event all ended back at the hall, where we tallied everyone’s amazing finds, and I think most of the participants found out something they hadn’t known about the island before, ie. the address of the “golf ball” home, the hours of the Museum, how far it is from the Hall to Peterson Road, and what is on the plaque at the end of Berry Point.

The kids who participated did an amazing job on coloring in fire trucks, as did some of the older kids as well. The event finished off with the flying of the paper airplanes that were created on route, we were amazed how many of them crossed the 20 feet “fire” line that we put out. Just another day of island life!