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 .

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:

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!