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Watching Kokanee Salmon……

I forgot to post on Sunday, but we took a trip to Hardy Falls Park to see the Kokanee salmon making their journey upstream, to the place of their birth, to lay their own eggs and rather sadly, die. This ritual starts towards the end of September to early October.

On Don’s advice we steered clear of the Mission Creek area, as it would have been busy, and headed for the creek on our side of the river. The prospect of sneeking up to view a bear in the pool at the top of the stream was all the bait we needed. We were hooked, and set off.

From the start of the trail, the stream was packed with salmon, of all sizes fighting to make headway in the stream, leaping out of the river to get over the small dam walls dotted upstream. How they know how to do this amazes me.


Sam, was a little distraught by the odd few salmon, who had become trapped onland, or between logs, and dispite telling him to leave them alone, and that it was just the way nature was, that some were not going to make it, I only had to turn my back once to take a picture, before I heard people encouraging and cheering a small boy, dangling from the bridge, leaping across logs and then astride rocks, helping trapped fish escape plunging his hands and sleeves, into the stream, to grab the fish and to return them swiflty and gently back into the flow. I was a little proud of him at that point, despite telling him that he should’nt be down there for fear of distrubing any eggs already laid.


Finally at the top we found the waterfall, but despite ripe fruit on the trees, and a pool packed with bright red kokanee samon, no bear was to be seen. There were too many people around the pool, as well as up the paths.

The bear alludes us for the moment, my friends, but I will get you a picture of one soon. I am hopeful that our vineyard excursion today will, bear fruit as they say. One has been known to sit eating the apples in the orchard next to the grapes, before moving onto some ripe grapes. I will have the camera, as well as an escape route ready……

Taken from the Hardy Falls website;
Hardy Falls Park
in Peachland, is a cool oasis in what can sometimes be a hot landscape. A pleasant walking trail (easy; 2 miles/3 km return), complete with seven footbridges, leads to a splendid little waterfall hidden away at the head of a narrow canyon. The shade and the cool water attract a wide variety of wildlife as well as human visitors. In the spring, wildflowers brighten the canyon walls and the underbrush along the trail. Carp spawn in the creek and dippers nest in the cracks of the waterfall. In October, crimson kokanee dart among the riffles in the creek. Harry Hardy was one of the first orchardists in the Westbank area, and Hardy Falls Park is named in his honour. The park is adjacent to Antlers Beach Park, where you can head for a dip after your walk. ( Click for more info )

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Reading the online version of the Ecologist magazine, and came upon an article, which struck a chord, as I watched my 2 kids walking up the road with the daughter of our new neighbours, with her dog. I figured it was worth a post.

IF YOU GO DOWN TO THE WOODS TODAY
Fear of traffic risks and ‘stranger danger’ are holding our children captive indoors. For the sake of their health and development, and for the environment they will one day need to protect, we have to find ways of getting them into the wild. (Read the Article)

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A few bits of news, mainly for the folks back home;

Holly has started gymnastics again, so we are starting to feel more at home, as if we didn’t already. The club, I’m sure you are going to be fed up with hearing me say again, is friendly and more inviting than the one she used to go to. More points for the area. (Leigh and I have had a couple of discussions on the subject, and she is begining to say she thinks we have been spoilt by coming to the best area first and that we are going to find it hard to go anywhere else! Just the climate is enough, let alone everyone, of all ages telling us we have come to the finest place in Canada.)

Leigh has been called up again, by our friend, Annabel, who owns a small vineyard (She starts every conversation, we have noticed, by stating “It’s another day in Paradise!” Yet more days of clear blue skies, warm late mornings/afternoons, and she is not far wrong.) Payment is in bottles of wine, said to be some of the finest in the Okanagan, so there’ll be no complaints from us!

Sam has been given his first ice hockey stick today, by our neighbour, Don. We started to wash the car togther, but he soon disappeared over to Don’s, as he was clearing out the garage and asked Sam if he would like an the ice hockey stick. With a grin wider than his face, my son bolted across the garden shouting, where upon sawing noises could be heard from the garage, as Don cut the stick down to size. Sam emerged with a tennis ball, and his new stick, as Don began, a previous hockey coach, to show him how to control a puck (the tennis ball). That kept Sam busy for the next couple of hours.

And me, I’m awaiting details of interviews for jobs in Kelowna and Vancouver, ads to go out for tutoring, doing some tutoring online, exploring the area, making coffee with the new maker, pancakes and generally trying to keep occupied, until I can get work. I have a couple of web design orders from some of the people we have met at the farmers market, which should keep me occupied for a bit.

So things are slowly coming together.

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Mountain Climbing!

Nearly at the top!

A view of WestBank.

This one, is looking out towards Kelowna, you can make out the floating bridge, that takes you across Lake Okanagan, to Downtown Kelowna, and the rest of the city.

You can just make out a little brown patch to the right of the photo, which is where the forest fire started, when we first got here. Lucky it didn’t spread through the entire region as it’s full of trees, as you can see. They did a damn fine job! I’ll get something on here soon, about the big fire from a couple of years back, that almost wiped out the eastern side of the lake. Scary!
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What did I tell yah? No sooner had I posted the update than one of our new friends call us up to see if we want to go for a hike up a nearby mountain. We were up late, and she’s given us 20 mins to get ready.

I’ll get some pics, I’ll stick ’em on here, and then we’ll see how the rest of the day pans out……

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A Month Has Gone By……

So, (as the Canadians say!), we’ve been here a month. The longest that either me or Leigh have gone, out of the UK. It certainly doesn’t feel like a month, eh.

And what have we managed to get done?

We’ve met and made some new friends, faster than we thought would happen. (A real bonus if you have kids I guess, which is another reason for people with them, to get a move on and travel. The little blighters come in handy sometimes!). We’ve been to barbeques, dinners, coffee in the morning and more, with new people, only to pleased to welcome us.

The kids have settled in to school life. The teachers are friendly, pleased to see the kids, and the parents, the headmistress seems like she loves to be there, although we did get roped into the Parent/Teachers Association meetings! But they were fun so there wasn’t a real problem and that led onto Leigh and me manning the drinks stand whilst 300 kids and their parents streamed past with their pizzas.

We seem to have a handle on the food shopping, doing most of it at the famers markets, something which we enjoy doing more and more, meeting the actual people who are growing the great tasting, and in our case, organic fruit and veg. Why we didn’t do this at home amazes me and more people should do so. Forget going to the supermarkets, please, and get out to the markets, the grocery shop, the butchers and so on. It’s time to get back to this way of life. It is very hard to beat. (Check out my other blog, organicworld.blogspot.com for more info on organic food and ecological news and views.)

What are we missing? At the moment, nothing. Of course friends and family back in the UK, but other than that, actually nothing. Not even the TV. We pop to the local rental place for a couple of movies here and there, the libraries out here are totally free, so we rent books, CD’s and videos, and thanks to high speed internet, we get BBC Radio via the laptop. (Could do with my speakers though. The latest albums I have downloaded from iTunes are sadly represented through the tiny little ones on the laptop!). So we can actually listen to Wogan in the morning same as the UK! But there is such a wide variety of stuff on the BBC Radio site that you hardly need to venture anywhere else. But we do, and there are just as many great independent radio stations as well. Get in touch if you want to know where they are.

I keep asking the kids when should I book the flights home? And the response so far is the same.

“Nah, let’s stay for a bit longer!”

So we hope to see some of you out here soon. We’ve got plenty of things to show you already.

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Kelowna, Land of Orchards

Whilst Leigh has been reading the latest gossip in the National Enquirer of all things, and the kids are at school, I started reading about the history of the area we are in, with it’s 100th birthday this year. Thought I’d put some more of it on here.

In the begining….

Kelowna, meaning “Grizzly Bear” in the language of the Interior Salish people of the area, was incorporated in 1905, just 13 years after being surveyed and named by Leon Lequime, but in it’s 100 years has grown to be the largest city in the interior British Columbia.

At the time of incorporation, the not only was the city on the brink of a mew and major economic changes, but the entire Okanagan Valley was in the process of shifting from cattle ranching and grain growing to orcharding. Large, expensive irrigation systems were laid out across the benchlands and valley bottoms helping turn the brown, arid, and desert like landscape to a lush green.

Land of Orchards!

Through the First World War, and into 20’s and 30’s the orchards continued their expansion, and accompanying this growth was an equaly impressive expansion of packinghouses, canneries, box factories and cold storage builidings. In the 1920’s a new rail system cnnected Kelowna to the C.P.R mainline, folowed in the 1930’s by new fruit tree marketing systems being put into place. ALl these developments secured Kelowna’s place as the “Orchard City”.

In the 40’s and 50’s the development of tourism was supported by new highways and with the consruction of the Okanagan Floating Bridge, in 1958, the city became ever more conected.

The city received the welcome atentions of both the federal and provincial government programs, in the 60’s and 70’s, enabling further speed in the industrial area’s growth.

In less than a decade tens of millions of dollars had been invested in manufacturing, and with that expansion came people resulting in the residential population growth in surrounding areas.

The city has continued to grow and diversify, as well as strengthening it’s cultural, sporting and leisure services as it ensures residents enjoy a lifestyle not found elsewhere in Canada.

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The Gallery


Leigh has started painting again, and selling some of her stuff via the net. If goes well, she’ll be able to keep me in the life I’m accustomed too! If you like anything, get in touch, or visit her blog or online store! Yep, she’s going from strength to strength when it comes to the computer. Next she’ll be able to reply to her emails…….