Search

naramata-blend

Life in a slow place that quickly steals your heart.

Bottling Summer — Legend Raspberry Jam Recipe

 

IMG_9891.jpg

Take just picked raspberries from our Naramata berry farm and a craft-distilled slowly infused Farm Berry Vodka from our neighbour Legend Distilling and bottle it. Think toast on a cold January morning in front of a fire slathered with the colours and aromas of a hot summer day – elegant and not oversweet.

This easy jam recipe can be adapted for ingredients you have easy access to if you don’t happen to own a berry farm or live near a distillery. There is no substitute for the Wine Glass Writer pens I used to mark the jars with, however. They are invaluable for canning, as I like to re-use jars and scrubbing sticky labels off is an unnecessary and annoying step.  The writers are fun to use and lets you be creative, jazzing up and customizing your jars.

 

Adding a soupçon of a summer wine like rosé or a fruit-infused spirit like Legend’s Slowpoke Farm Berry Vodka plays well with the beautifully ripe fruit. Legend’s limited release handmade vodka – slowly infused with the best local fruits, is the distillery’s tribute to those who value the slow and steady – acknowledging that all great things come to those who wait.

The berries in Legend’s Slowpoke come from our farm, which is a cool fact I brag about a lot. I think this makes the jam especially nice. Our berries are hand picked in the mornings and delivered to the distillery that same afternoon. Distiller Doug Lennie does his magic and now I’m adding this infusion into more fresh picked berries with some sugar and a dash of lemon juice. It’s like raspberry essence distilled, given a kick and married with yet more raspberries.

 

I like using a touch of alcohol in sweet preserves to give them a certain je ne sais quoi. It elevates a nice jam to an extraordinary one. A half cup for the jam, a small glass for me…

 

Like all cooking and baking, the end results are always, always about using the best quality ingredients you can source. Pick your own raspberries, buy them from a local farmer at the market, buy organic ones from the supermarket or as a last resort, use top quality frozen berries. Choose a hand-crafted spirit or a nice bottle of rosé.

Legend Raspberry Jam Recipe

Makes about 12 small jars (125 ml) of jam or six to eight larger jars.

Ingredients

  • 16 cups raspberries
  • 4 cups sugar
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • ½  cup Legend Slowpoke Farm Berry Vodka (or another berry-infused spirit, Kirsch or a nice dry rosé)

Directions

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Using your hands, crush the raspberries until completely broken down.

2. Transfer the raspberry mixture to a large saucepan and bring it to a boil over high heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to medium-high and continue to stir until the jam has thickened, about 12 minutes. During this 12 minutes, I like to ladle about the half the jam mixture through a sieve placed over the boiling jam to remove some of the raspberry seeds.

3. Transfer the jam to a sterile airtight container and let it cool to room temperature. Store in the refrigerator and use within a month.

4. If you wish to store the jam for up to a year as I do, follow these canning instructions.

Tip

To check if the jam has set, place a teaspoon of jam onto a chilled plate and place in the freezer for a few minutes. Using your finger, push through the jam. If it wrinkles, it has set; if not, cook the jam for an additional minute or two.

Canning directions

  1. Fill a canner or stockpot half full with water. Place lid on canner. Heat to a simmer. Keep canning rack to the side until ready to use.
  2. Wash jars, lids and bands in hot, soapy water. Rinse well.
  3. Keep jars warm until ready to use, in order to minimize risk of breakage when filling with hot jam or jelly. Set the jars on a cookie sheet in a 250F degree oven.
  4. Boil some water in a kettle and pour over the lids placed in a heat-proof bowl. Set the bands aside in your work area. Use a canning magnet to easily remove the lids from the hot water with out touching them.

Fill your jars

  1. Ladle hot jam into hot jars, one at a time, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe any jam or jelly from the rims of the jars. Center lids on jars. Twist on the bands until fingertip tight.
  2. Place six filled jars in the canning rack inside the canner, ensuring jars are covered by 1-2 inches of water. Place lid on canner. Bring water to gentle, steady boil. Repeat until all your jars have been boiled.
  3. Process jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 12 to 24 hours by pressing on centre of cooled lid. If the jar is sealed it will not flex up or down. Store any un-sealed jars in the fridge and use within a month.

 

 

 

Lake love and the 52 handstands

IMG_2243.jpg

 

 

IMG_2504.JPG
October swim.

This summer I went swimming. I swam and swam and swam right into fall. I swam in Canada’s largest open water swim race, Across the Lake in Kelowna and I swam 12 kilmetres in Canada’s longest lake swim, the Skaha Ultra. When all the training was done I decided to swim every single day in the lake until October just for the love of the lake. For the love of swimming. My 52-day streak had no fixed swim distance but each swim ended with a handstand. Why? The answer is as unfathomable as the streak.

IMG_0934.JPG“If all you did in your lifetime was enjoy the beautiful things around you — the sunset, moon and clouds or all the plants and animals — that would be a worthy life.” Laird Hamilton

I’ve swum in the English Channel, the Hudson River, the Med, the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Caribbean and in countless Canadian lakes. Anywhere. Everyday. Always. It’s who I am.

IMG_5015.JPG
At the cottage, with my mum and dad (left) looking on.

Of all the places I’ve swum Okanagan Lake is as perfect as it gets.

IMG_1606.jpgIt’s clean, big, deep, varied, gets nice and warm in summer, has few weeds, no predators, changing weather conditions to make it feel like an ocean some days and the scenery is spectacular. I’ve seen eagles and osprey fishing, loons diving, vintage planes flying overhead, sailboats, windsurfers and kite boarders playing, outriggers, kayakers, dragon boaters, paddle boarders. I’ve swum beside an historic paddle wheeler. I’ve dodged sunbathers on rafts and talked to triathletes. I’ve occasionally collected beer cans to recycle and dove down to add to my sunglass collection. I watched water bombers fight a wildfire. One awful day I kept an eye for a dead body as searchers looked for a drowning victim.

IMG_1879.jpg
Sometimes the lake is silver.
20819049_1538350012893250_7417692682044144236_o.jpg
Sometimes I wear at wetsuit but not on my streak.
IMG_1284.jpg
During the wildfires, sometimes the lake was shrouded in smoke.
IMG_1805.jpg
Other days it was blue.
IMG_1889.jpg
Calm as a mill pond…
IMG_1742.jpg
Choppy like the ocean.

I like to watch the water drip off my arms and sparkle in the sun. One magical day during a sun shower, raindrops splashed back off the lake like diamonds. I’ve seen small glowing yellow leaves suspended in dark waters.

Not to over romanticize it, the last two weeks of the streak took some moments of courage to enter the bone chilling water.

IMG_2471.jpg
One, two, three and swim like hell.

On the plus side, I have had lovely Manitou beach and her sheltered bay all to myself. My swim three days ago was the nicest of the year. The sun was warm, my skin burning in the cold water and I was feeling uplifted, clean, happy, energized and calm all at the same time. It’s a sensory deprivation and sensory overload.

IMG_2449.jpg
And then there is cake! Time to celebrate the end of the streak with a spiced apple caramel handstand cake. 
IMG_2456 2.jpg
Thanks to the Handyman for the lifeguarding when it got cold and for the HandstandCam photography!
IMG_1748.jpg
Bring on Spring!

R.I.P. Baroness

IMG_1561.jpg
Just a pile of feathers…

The Baroness is Resting in Peace all right. She is resting…not having any eggs…trying to re-grow some feathers. Having gone through 21 one days of broodiness, with not a nice warm brown egg in sight, she is now post-Henopasual and has decided to go bald…otherwise known as molting vs. melting. 

The chicken keeper is the one melting down. During the molt lots of nasty stuff can go down, including and pretty importantly, still no eggs for cakes.

IMG_1555.jpg
Just when I thought I was out of the woods…The Baroness takes herself off her imaginary eggs after a normal hatching period of 21 days and decides to give up her broody nasty ways. All my folk remedies including frozen peas and ice cubes under her ass…had no effect. Times up. She takes herself out of solitary and begins hanging with her pal Maria doing happy chicken things like scratching around for bugs, chatting with friend, and chilling. Yippeee! Problem solved. Time to start laying eggs again which usually takes three days after the broodiness ends. Not.   Feathers, feathers everywhere!
IMG_1511.jpg
So many feathers that I feared a predator had snuck in the coop and ended it all…
IMG_1542.jpg
Still here…just super itchy.

IMG_1541.jpg

IMG_1523.jpg
Looking bedraggled

Putting myself in her claws life sucks right now. She has just spent three weeks alone, hardly eating or drinking, fighting with me when I try to remove her from her fake children and now she is loosing her crowning glory, one feather at a time. It’s so much worse when hens loose their hair. Bald is in for men and they boldly own it. Not so much for women…

Molting can also cause bullying. It’s even more sinister than you think. The bullying is not about picking on the hen because she is not looking her best. The bullying is related to cannibalism! New pin feathers growing in have visible blood showing which brings on some survival base instincts. Other chickens want to eat their molting friend and peck them mercilessly.

IMG_1567.jpg
So far Maria is empathetic and is not shaming or trying to eat The Baroness.

IMG_1519.jpgSo, my chicken research says molting is pretty common after a broody hen hatches her chicks. The Baroness bought into this whole hatching thing despite no fertile eggs to sit on or any eggs at all…big time… so it’s not surprising that her changing hormones triggered a molt. It’s also a pretty common time of the year for molting as well. The molt happens not only for aesthetic reasons but also for health reasons. Brand new feathers help trap warm air during the cold winter months better than old feathers.

Now she needs my help in the form of extra protein. One book offers a helpful recipe for Molt Muffins which include oats, sunflower seeds, raisins, coconut milk, peanut butter and…. mealworms. Don’t think I’ll be baking those anytime soon but I will offer her some of the ingredients.

IMG_1150.jpg
How do you solve a problem like Maria? You don’t have to. She lays her egg, every single day, without fail or fuss. The Baroness is the high maintenance one….

Where beer begins – hop harvest on the Naramata Bench

It’s harvest time on the Naramata Bench and Square One Hops is an anomaly where it’s vines, pears and apples being harvested. The only hopyard on The Bench makes an interesting photo essay subject.

IMG_1398.jpg
The bines are cut from the trellising and a tug-of-war ensues.
IMG_1337 2.jpg
The bines grow to a Jack-and-the-beanstalk towering height before harvest.
IMG_1338.jpg
The aromas in the hopyard are a wonderful mixture of citrus, herbal, piney, spicy, garlic, onion, grassy and tobacco. Each step I take on left-behind hops and bines releases these subtle yet heady IPA scents.
IMG_1367.jpg
A season’s worth of growth is astounding.
IMG_1333.jpg
Part of the crew cutting the bases of the bines. This perennial plant will tower again next year.
IMG_1429.jpg
It’s a science to determine when the hops are at their hoppy best.

 

IMG_1419.jpg

 

IMG_1352.jpg
Smoke from area wildfires makes for some moody photographs.

IMG_1410 2.jpg

 

 

IMG_1453.jpg
Feeding the beast. The hops harvester is a beautiful thing as many small operators pick the hops off the bines by hand.
IMG_1471.jpg
Brian Tarasoff, who along with wife Kari, own and operate the two-acre Square One Hops operation in Penticton, is in his element and covered in hops.

 

IMG_1475.jpg
The hops will then be dried and most pelletized.

IMG_1477.jpg

IMG_1476.jpg
Hops pellets are preferred for use by many brewers.
IMG_1363.jpg
Perfectly ripe hops awaiting the crew and ultimately the brewmaster.

Garagiste North – the small guys’ wine festival with big beautiful wines

IMG_0975.jpg

IMG_0976.jpgGaragiste North brought together 28 small producers and a highly appreciative group of wine lovers in Penticton on Sunday to offer a sampling of why small is better — Carpe Vinum indeed. The first of its kind in Canada, in it’s fourth year and sixth festival, Garagiste North, The Small Producers Wine Festival, celebrates the artisan winemaker creating commercially produced small case lot wines (under 2000 cases). The term Garagiste (gar-ah-jeest) comes from a group of winemakers in the Bordeaux region of France, producing “vins de garage” or “garage wine.” They were small-lot winemakers, sometimes working in their garage, who refused to follow industry laws and protocol.

IMG_1056.jpg
The event took place in Penticton under hot and sunny skies

 

 

Garagiste Guild LOGO_GRAY_REVISED.jpg

The Garagiste pop-up wine store was on site and I chose three of my favourites to take home: Black Cloud‘s Red Sky (Bradley Cooper & Audralee Daum), Schell Wines inaugural Chardonnay produced by the event’s co-founder and author Jennifer Schell (The Wine Party) and her brothers Jonathan and Jaime and a Forgotten Hill Wine Co.  Pinot Gris (Ben and Maya Gauthier).

IMG_1080.jpg
My take-home treasures to be savoured in a more leisurely fashion.

 

Partial proceeds from the event will benefit the Garagiste North Wine Study Scholarship at Okanagan College, which is great.

IMG_0983.jpg
Maya Gauthier and her amazing Pinot Gris

“Being a small producer means giving everything you’ve got,” says Forgotten Hill Wine Co.’s Maya Gauthier. “You’re not starting with big money and you have to love what you do to make it happen. The learning curve is incredibly steep and the workload is so high that only those with a major passion for wine are willing to take it on.”

Forgotten Hill Winemaker Ben Gauthier says, “The result of that is that these small winemakers are putting their heart and soul into the bottle and it really, really shows in the finished product. Every wine has a different, individual story to tell. At the same time, we have the advantage of not being bound by any (or not many) rules: no one is telling us what to do!”

The Forgotten Hill’s Vineyard is a four acre plot on their property, planted in 3/4 Pinot Gris and 1/4 Pinot Noir. “Ours is the highest vineyard on the Naramata Bench, sitting at over 2100 feet,” says Maya.  “We balance out our high elevation by having an enormous rock face behind the vineyard, which reflects heat during the day, and radiates heat into the evening. Our soil is predominantly gravel and sand, which allows us to control the vigour and produce small grapes, and low yields, with intensely concentrated flavours. We also make use of deficit irrigation, meaning that we water very sparingly, which helps to enhance the varietal characteristics of our grapes.”

Ben’s style is “meticulous minimalism” with the goal of  showcasing the varietal and the terroir, without any interference. “We want the winemaking to be true to what the vineyard delivers, to the season and to the soil. All we want to do is coax things in the right direction. ”

The Gauthiers planted the vineyard in 2008, with a winery in mind as a long-term goal.  Since planting the vineyard they have built a home, a bed & breakfast, and had two daughters, and now, finally, the winery has come to be. They opened in June and have a lineup that features Pinot Gris, Rosé and Pinot Noir. A Syrah and another Pinot Noir will be released in Spring 2018.

“We really enjoyed the event, and loved having the chance to interact with likeminded wine peeps,” says Maya. “We are able to swap stories, build a personal connection with each other and with the customers, and strenghten the ties in our community of small producers. Vive les Garagistes!”

IMG_1046.jpg
Schell Wine’s t-shirts were a hit. They were designed by Jennifer Schell’s niece, Hillary Schell, a doodle artist.

 

“It is a really is a unique community – and a super passionate one,” says Jennifer Schell of the Garagiste. “This is what makes our festival so different and why we attract the real wine lovers to the tasting. The name Garagiste (going back to its origins from Bordeaux) represents the renegade winemaker and those who experiment with new blends and varietals. The is what is also happening here and what defines our group, our Garagiste Guild as we are calling it.”

Jennifer says plans are in the works for the first Garagiste Symposium and trade show this January focussing on the needs and culture of the small producer. The event will be taking place at Okanagan College in Penticton who are the event venue sponsors. She is also signing a new book deal — Garagistes of British Columbia.

“We also enjoyed the first event yesterday with our Riedel sponsor on board. So fabulous having our high quality wines tasted in the highest quality crystal glassware.  Our focus is also to educate wine lovers about the entire process of winemaking from vine to bottle by allowing them the opportunity to talk directly to the growers and winemakers behind the label.”

IMG_1084.jpg

“As for Schell Wines … after working with the Garagistes and putting these festivals together for the last few years with my event partner Terry (Meyer-Stone), I wanted to become a Garagiste,” says Jennifer. ” I called my two brothers to ask if they wanted to start this new adventure together and they were in. I love that we have this family project together – gives me more time with them in a very busy world. I signed up Rob Westbury at Nagging Doubt Winery as our winemaker – he is a Garagiste and also my brother’s neighbour. So this made the perfect match for us.

“We purchased the Chardonnay grapes from Kitsch Wines that is on East Kelowna Road- just 2 minutes from my parents’ farm and where my brothers and I grew up. So, this felt right with fruit from our neighbourhood representing our unique East Kelowna terroir and what wine from grapes grown on our family farm would actually taste like.

“I am also known for being a huge fan of Chardonnay – so this first wine had to be a Chard. My niece designed our logo and also the ‘doods’ for our Chardonnayism and Chardonnayist t-shirts.”

IMG_1037.jpg
Artist Hillary Schell and the label she designed.
IMG_1021.jpg
Audralee talking Black Cloud.

“We find the Garagiste events to be the most ‘real’ interfaces with the wine consuming public,” says Black Cloud’s Bradley Cooper.  “There’s none of the that ‘we’re here to get a buzz and catch up on gossip’ at the other big shows.  The average Garagiste attender is engaged, curious and aware.  They’re ready to try and discover.  Since we’re still unknown to many people despite starting up in 2008, we value the kind of exposure Garagiste affords.

“Small producers can sometimes innovate in ways larger operations may find difficult.  There’s a certain agility with being small production,” he says.

Bradley’s winemaking philosophy is “…start with the finest grapes you can afford which will solve or eliminate many issues down the road. After that, intervene only when you must, but if you must, don’t hesitate or waffle. Wine doesn’t favour procrastinators in its formative months.”

Black Cloud’s Red Sky is pretty special. Wine people in BC and beyond will be talking about 2015 for decades to come.  As Brad says, “Was it the first of many warmer vintages or was it an anomaly, a gift from southern climates? What we know at this time is that it was warmer and earlier than just about any growing season in the modern era (post 1988). Which resulted in some unusual circumstances.”

“The 2015 RED SKY started out as juice bursting with flavour and plenty of Brix, or sugar in solution.  Unusually, it was also a little higher in the pH department.  To avoid having a flabby rosé (who likes a flabby rosé?), we cold fermented at about 12C and boosted the natural acidity by about half a gram per liter.  Cold fermenting helps lock in the fruit flavours. Yeast selection was initially feral but to ensure a strong finish at the end of the race we added our old pal Romanée Conti 212 when about 1/2 half the sugar had been depleted. The result of the yeast family feud is the complexity and savoury nature of this rosé.”

Brad describes The 2015 RED SKY as strawberry, cherry, rhubarb in the nose and in the palate. And enough tannin to stand up to just about any casual food pairing from pizza to picnics to pastrami. “Unusually, the alcohol is on the high side but the big, round body of the wine manages that with considerable aplomb.”

IMG_1008.jpg
Organizer Jennifer keeping her cool on a scorching hot day

Here are some other highlights of my tasting day…

IMG_0998.jpg
Tall Kyle Lyons of Tall Tale Wines from Okanagan Falls. They produced 290 cases of Pinot Noir Blanc and Syrah Nouveau with an interesting fermentation method hailing from the South of France.  The red is best served chilled and has a fresh, fruit forward taste.
IMG_0993.jpg
Love, love, love their labels. How Canadian is this or what?

 

IMG_1047.jpg
Wendy Coulombe of vin Amite Cellars Inc of south of Oliver pouring Compass, a Merlot, Cab Sauv, Cab Franc and Malbec blend that generated a lot of buzz at the festival.
IMG_1004.jpg
Kristine Witkowski talks with Naramatian Pam about their Bottega Wine Studio‘s Seven Directions and Bottega. The wines are made in the North Okanagan. Seven Directions is Rosé exclusive and  Bottega’s winemaker Daniel Bontorin crafts small lot red and white wines from grapes from the Okanagan that he feels display the highest potential for great Merlot, Cab Franc and Viognier.
IMG_0992.jpg
Anthony Buchanan Wines produces 300 cases in Penticton from grapes northwest of Oliver. Anthony specializes in single vineyard, site specific wine. Amazing.
IMG_1029.jpg
Andrew Stone of Anarchist Mountain Vineyard produces 400 cases of unbelievably good Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and a red blend called Mayhem in Osoyoos.
IMG_1014.jpg
Nighthawk Vineyards, five years in the making,  from Okanagan Falls has awesome labels by Kelowna artist Alex Fong. “The Chardonnay has a beautiful nose,” says festival guest Chris from Kelowna. “This is the kind of wine that I immediately begin meal planning with. I would love this with a pasta in a beautiful cream sauce.”
IMG_1054.jpg
Roche Wines Dylan Roche showing off two beautiful bottles, a 2016 Rosé and a 2015 Pinot Gris. Their gorgeous winery on Upper Bench near Naramata opened just recently and is an instant hit.

 

Henopause — When a chicken goes broody

IMG_0537.jpg
Going all Linda Blair on me.

Out of the blue, The Baroness has turned into a maniac. She won’t leave her nest and growls and bites when you try to dislodge her. She is no longer the docile chicken who follows me like a puppy making happy chicken noises.

This new creature has gone broody. Her biological clock has flipped some weird switch and she has stopped laying and is desperately protecting one of Maria’s infertile eggs. When that’s removed she is as hell bent on protecting absolutely nothing and is a fowl in a foul mood.

I now use gloves as I lift her from the nest dodging henpecks. Once out she screams and flaps her feathers indicating her frustration at being ousted from her invisible eggs with their invisible chicks forming in them. She clucks worriedly.

IMG_0517.jpg
Pacing all around the run she is locked out of.

Since a setting hen only takes short breaks to eat and drink a bit and stretch her legs, most broodies get skinny. She is not herself when she is hungry. She is also making life difficult for Maria by hogging the prime egg laying box. Maria waits patiently for her turn and then finally squeezes in and awkwardly gives the Baroness another potential chick to hatch. Oh and I’m down to one egg layer now as broodies don’t offer up poached, fried, scrambled or egg salad. The broodiness is also catching and sweet-tempered Maria may fall prey.

IMG_0554.jpg
She tries all sorts of crazy cirque moves to try to get back to her invisible clutch.

IMG_0539.jpgIMG_0572.jpgIMG_0565.jpgIf not for the growling and biting I might feel sorry for her.

The cure includes:

  1. Gloves and courage and picking her up out of the nesting box
  2. Remove Maria’s egg out from under the Baroness pronto
  3. Locking them both out of the coop after Maria has had her morning egg
  4. Inserting a bag of frozen peas or ice cubes under her tummy
  5. Pen the offender in a cage — solitary confinement – with no nesting material

The results:

  1. She sees me coming with the gloves and we go at it until she is removed from the box…literally kicking and screaming.
  2. Baroness doesn’t really care if she is laying on an actual egg or not. She has a vivid imagination.
  3. She finds a suitable “nest” pretty much anywhere, fluffs up her feathers and sits ALL DAY in that spot.
  4. The peas melt and are canabalistically and joyfully eaten by Maria. The ice cubes happily turn into nice warm water in a ziplock.
  5. Last resort… solitary… coming up

“I find that gently removing the broody hen from the nest, taking any eggs she is sitting on, and then releasing her at the far end of the run where I have some special treats for everyone, generally works in just a few days,” says Lisa Steele in Fresh Eggs Daily. Clearly she has not encountered The Baroness. We are on day eight of the battle. She has taken to sharpening her beak on any solid object.

IMG_0579.jpg
Steely-eyed determination
IMG_0525.jpg
The flap after the scream.

So much for “How do you solve a problem like Maria?” The Baroness is haunting my dreams.  My Rent the Chicken  farmer says I can send her packing and get a replacement if she doesn’t get her act together and give me eggs to make fluffy cakes again. Mmmm…would you do that to a friend with Henopause who becomes ill tempered as she copes with a hormonal issue? Maybe if the friend bites…

Cardboard, duct tape and hope – Naramata cardboard boat race

IMG_0236.jpg
Never surrender
IMG_0114.jpg
Uber Canadian…celebrating 150 at Manitou Beach flying the cardboard flag proudly.
IMG_0306.jpg
Some solid engineering here and great paddling by the beaver
IMG_0061.jpg
The S.S. Sink  a Moose…this year’s winner
IMG_0072.jpg
Stanley Cup hats?
IMG_0163.jpg
Amigos before they sunk
IMG_0075.jpg
Shark heads proved to be a bad idea

IMG_0198.jpg

IMG_0214.jpg
Bermuda Triangle
IMG_0087.jpg
Prow detail
IMG_0115.jpg
This team launched before the bell and quickly sank re “Cheaters Never Prosper” right?
IMG_0194.jpg
Bail, bail, bail
IMG_0246.jpg
Better engineering next year Dad

IMG_0253.JPG

IMG_0230.jpg
Que Syrah indeed
IMG_0270.jpg
Pirate Power — The Zac Pearl stayed upside right

Sunset dinner in the vineyard at the Vanilla Pod

IMG_9482.jpgLingering over dinner at Poplar Grove’s Vanilla Pod restaurant during a warm smoky summer sunset is one of those memories to be teased out on a grey January day.

IMG_9468.jpg
Summer in a glass.
IMG_9467.jpg
Negroni sunset
IMG_9474.jpg
Creme brulee with namesake vanilla pod. Tastes even better than it looks…

IMG_9476.jpg

IMG_9484.jpg
Poplar Grove is perfectly positioned for its views of Okanagan Lake.
IMG_9488 2.jpg
Post dinner trip up Munson Mountain to watch the strange sunset.

IMG_9495.jpgThinking of all the evacuees worrying about their houses and their land and the hard working fire crews and wishing for a good soaking rain…

Lavender harvesting with every bee in Naramata

IMG_9306.JPGHarvesting lavender…those words together sound pretty idyllic. Even in the heat and smoke from Okanagan fires it is a pretty amazing way to spend a morning. It is the only farm work I’ve done where you come home hot, dirty and sore but smelling better than when you started.

In movie speak It’s The Colour of Purple, Scent of a Woman and Attack of the Killer Bees all rolled into one. The glorious purpleness of the fields, the clean, stringent and all encompassing lavender aroma and the buzzing of a zillion bees make the time spent at Forest Greenman Lavender Farm in Naramata an intense sensory experience. This photo essay captures the sights of the morning…your imagination will have to fill in the rest.

IMG_9041.JPG
The bunches are left to dry in the sun before being collected to hang to dry.
IMG_9012.jpg
Farm owner Doug hams it up while Brian does all the work.
IMG_9072.JPG
It was about 30 degrees by quitting time.
IMG_9330.jpg
A neighbour, aptly named Harvest, dropped by to help.
IMG_9061.jpg
Doug felt the bee population had never been as high. Two harvesters got stung, an occupational hazard.

IMG_9068.JPG

IMG_9372.jpg
It takes several passes with a scythe to collect enough lavender to make a big fat bunch.
IMG_9089.JPG
The bees were everywhere. They seem to move along as you work and only sting if they get caught up while you are gathering the stocks or while transporting the bundles.

IMG_9333.jpg

IMG_9315.jpg
It’s the last year of Forest Greenman Lavender Farm for Doug and Karolina as they have sold the farm. Be sure to drop by this season to get your aromatherapy.  It’s not the last year for lavender though as the couple have a new venture in the wings involving this amazing plant.
IMG_9344.jpg
Some of the lavender we harvested will be distilled for its essential oils.
IMG_9352.jpg
Some will be sold in dried bunches.
IMG_9348.JPG
The lavender fields are rimmed with lovely fruit trees.
IMG_9336.jpg
This old Massey-Fergus is a beauty.
IMG_9116.JPG
These are special cherries, Balatons. I traded my labour for some to make the best jam in the world.

IMG_9140.jpg

IMG_9381.jpg
A few bunches came home with me!
IMG_9345.jpg
Thanks Doug and Karolina for letting me pitch in.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑