Nicola Valley British Columbia Canada including the City of Merritt, Lower Nicola, Quilchena and the surrounding First Nation lands.

Restaurants in Merritt BC – Crystal Gardens

Places to eat in Merritt

Great Chinese Food

There are plenty of different restaurants in Merritt BC Crystal Gardens Chinese cuisine is one of my favorite to go. Located at 2226 Nicola Ave in Merritt BC Canada. Crystal Gardens is easy to find and easy to access. 

If you are looking for a great Chinese food buffet then Crystal Gardens in Merritt BC is a great choice. As soon as you walk in the door you are hit by the amazing aroma of Chinese food. The dining room is very spacious with plenty of booths and seats to choose from. The restaurant is very clean and welcoming. Walk in and choose a place to seat yourself. Nice clean tables and booths throughout the restaurant. Servers are always friendly and will help you out in any way they can.

Chinese food Merritt BC

Crystal Gardens Chinese cuisine Merritt BC

Have a look at the buffet. With so many items to choose from your palette is not left wanting. One of the best parts about this restaurants in Merritt, BC is that fact that it is the only one that allows you to take the buffet as take out. Yes that’s right. In a hurry but would love to have a choice of all those delicious menu items, including the soup. Well, look no farther. You get a container for your choice of buffet items and a bowl you can put more in or soup. Its such a great thing to be able to just go in and choose items that you love. All for a great lunch or dinner buffet price.

Buffet

The buffet includes all the usual menu items like chow main, rice, spring rolls. There are also items like deep fried prawns, chicken or pork with veggies in black bean sauce, sweet and sour pork. And don’t forget the mixed veggies, dry garlic ribs, deep fried chicken wings and egg foo young. Some of my favorites are ginger beef and breaded almond chicken. Furthermore you can’t forget about the won ton soup. It’s always a nice light addition to any meal.

chinese buffet table good good

Buffet Table

Desert

Desert is also on the buffet menu. There is jello, home made cakes fresh vegetables as well as fruit. I have also seen different types of tarts on different occasions. With so many different items to choose from. How can one decide? Unfortunately I am usually so full from the amazing lunch or dinner items that I rarely have a chance to have any of the deserts.

Chinese food Merritt BC

Desert buffet at Crystal Gardens in Merritt BC

Not up for the Buffet

There are so many wonderful and tasty items on the menu you don’t have to choose to have the buffet. Crystal Gardens offers combination meals, family meals as well as single entrees’. Weather you want to eat in or take out Crystal Gardens Chinese Restaurant is an excellent choice.

A few of the menu items

Combo A – $11.99

Sweet and Sour Pork

Chicken Chow Mein

 

Combo B – $13.99

Sweet and Sour Pork

Chicken Chow Mein

Prawns

Combo C – 15.99

Sweet and Sour Pork

Chicken Chow Mein

Prawns

Sesame Chicken

Children Combo – $10.99

French Fries

Chicken Nuggets (5 Pc)

 

 

Dinner for 2 – $34.99

Spring Rolls

Sweet and Sour Pork

Chicken Chow Mein

Beef Chop Suey

 

Dinner for 3 – $47.99

Spring Rolls

Sweet and Sour Pork

Chicken Chow Mein

Beef Chop Suey

House Special Fried Rice

Dinner for 4 – $63.99

Spring Rolls

Sweet and Sour Pork

Chicken Chow Mein

Beef Chop Suey

House Special Fried Rice

Deep Fried Chicken Wings

 

Dinner for 5 – $76.99

Spring Rolls

Sweet and Sour Pork

Chicken Chow Mein

Beef Chop Suey

House Special Fried Rice

Deep Fried Chicken Wings

Deep Fried Prawns

Dinner for 6 – $89.99

Spring Rolls

Sweet and Sour Pork

Chicken Chow Mein

Beef Chop Suey

House Special Fried Rice

Deep Fried Chicken Wings

Deep Fried Prawns

Almond Chicken

 

 

Dinner for 8 – $125.99

Spring Rolls

Sweet and Sour Pork

Chicken Chow Mein

Beef Chop Suey

House Special Fried Rice

Deep Fried Chicken Wings

Deep Fried Prawns

Almond Chicken

Sesame Chicken

Dry Garlic Ribs

For more information on places to eat and stay in Merritt BC Canada check out the blogs on Experience Nicola Valley. We are all volunteer bloggers that enjoy sharing our experiences about this amazing little City. Thank you for reading, please share for others to enjoy as well.

Places to eat in Merritt – Crystal Gardens

Experience Nicola Valley Community Website

Your Community. Your Voice. Its Time Merritt.

Unveiling and launch party April 15, 2019

MERRITT, BC. APRIL 15, 2019 – Tourism Nicola Valley will be hosting the unveiling and red-carpet launch party for a new interactive and digital community tourism website called Experience Nicola Valley. The event will take place on April 15, 2019 at the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame . There are  appys, entertainment, door prizes and an unveiling. 

The hall is located at 2025 Quilchena Avenue in Merritt BC.  Most importantly, the event is open to Nicola Valley businesses, non profits, clubs, societies, associations and events. Above all, look for your invitation in your email inbox or get one hand delivered (invitation below)

Tourism Nicola Valley presents the Experience Nicola Valley Website

Tourism Nicola Valley presents the Experience Nicola Valley Website Launch Gala

Travel Merritt BC In Real Time

The digital platforms, which are the first of their kind in Canada, is in partnership with tourism marketing consultants Greg and Colin Girard from ‘eh Canada Travel’. More over, the new Experience Nicola Valley Blog and Website platforms use state of the art technology and content writing techniques to publish in real time. In short, authentic content is created and developed by community members in the form of informational pages and blogs.

In addition, the Nicola Valley website will feature tourism related information about events, activities, restaurants, hotels, as well as, other tourist related businesses. Best yet, the new interactive website is an opportunity for local businesses, non profits, clubs, associations and events to participate too. It is an opportunity to educate, self market, as well as, generate awareness in real time. 

Merritt BC Website Launch

Travelers want it now and in real time

“ Firstly, 74% of travelers plan their trips on the Internet. Secondly, 89% of millennials plan travel activities based on authentic content. Travelers of today and tomorrow research prior to visiting a destination. To clarify, they want it now and in real time”, states Greg Girard. “Most importantly, these people are looking for authentic stories and experiences from their peers. They are not looking for “corporate speak”.

Community and Technology Working Together in Merritt BC

The Experience Nicola Valley platforms create authentic content covering everything that visitors want to do in Merritt BC & the Nicola Valley including fishing, snowmobiling, mountain biking, and cultural events.

Experience Nicola Valley – New Merritt BC Website Launch

The “Experience Nicola Valley” Blogging Program hosted by “Tourism Nicola Valley” and led by the brother team of Greg and Colin Girard from “eh Canada Travel” is one of the most satisfying programs I have ever been involved with. The program commands your thoughts, inspires your hopes, as well as, creates faith in yourself and your abilities. The stories and experiences are positive, inspirational and motivating. Furthermore, the feeling of watching your blog position on the first page of searches is exhilarating. I would recommend everyone give this program a try and see for themselves.”, Melvina White (Merritt City Counselor)

Merritt BC Canada

Meet the Experience Nicola Valley Bloggers.

Proud to be working with eh Canada Travel

“Tourism Nicola Valley (TNV) is proud to be working with ehCanadaTravel in presenting this new and exciting venture for smaller communities. TNV is impressed with the quality and speed eh Canada implemented the program and with the support they have provided. The volunteer Bloggers are a huge asset to the community and we look forward to seeing them flourish further under the guidance of ehCandaTravel.” Anoop Sehon (President – Tourism Nicola Valley)

Showcases and supports local Merritt BC businesses

“We are very excited about this project and specifically how it showcases and supports local businesses here in Merritt. Tourism dollars are such a huge source of income for so many of Merritt’s business owners, but the work that Tourism Nicola Valley and Eh Canada Travel have done on building this “Experience Nicola Valley” brand is also keeping people here to shop local and renewing interest in exploring their own back yards, which is amazing.” Meagan Preston (Merritt Chamber of Commerce)

Excited about the future

“I am really excited about the future of tourism in the Merritt and the Nicola Valley area. A strong team of bloggers are writing almost daily about the many opportunities and adventures we have to offer in this area. In short, the opportunity to tell the world about our hidden gem by local residents is, to me, priceless.” Tony Luck (Merritt City Counselor)

Proud of the successes of Experience Nicola Valley

“I am very proud of the successes of Experience Nicola Valley team. They continue to share positive stories and experiences about all that is good in the Nicola Valley. Furthermore, the new interactive website is going to add to this “feel good” story,” Greg Girard (cofounder of ehCanadaTravel.com / Small and Rural Community Tourism Consultant – Top Ranked Canadian Travel Blogger).

Tourism Nicola Valley – Merritt BC Community Website 

Merritt BC Non-Profits  

Community Futures Engagement Fair 2019, a real success!

 

“It was a lively, colorful, noisy-with-talk event…”

Merritt BC Non-Profits

Conayt Friendship Society

Merritt BC Non-Profits are like non-profits everywhere…contributing to the vitality of their community! These essential groups provide the good works and the enjoyment that cities, towns, and villages need and want. As my partner always said in his coffee paper, the Merritt Morning Mirror, “Have some fun, do some good!”

Last weekend, Community Futures Nicola Valley put on a great event showcasing the Merritt BC Non-Profits. The Nicola Valley has a lot of non-profit groups and the Civic Center was full of tables, volunteers, posters, pamphlets and sign up sheets…. 

Non Profits depend on volunteers….

Non-Profits depend on volunteers, the heart-blood of any organization. And that March Saturday was a congregation of well-doing individuals, committed to providing good works, and fun to young and old. General organizations and specific, from the Chamber of Commerce, to the Curling Club, to the Old Time Fiddlers, were represented at this successful event by dedicated volunteers.

Merritt BC Non-Profits

Merritt Dance Society

 

What Merritt BC Non-Profit group do you belong to?

Almost everyone I know belongs to one, or more, of the Merritt BC Non-Profits. So the Civic Center was full of friends and colleagues, all dispensing info and enticing passers-by to be a part of their organization.

I did my part at the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council tables, helping with set up. And I did my best to stay put at the table and tell people what we are up to and wave membership forms at potential participants. And as I wandered myself, I gathered info and stories from the reps at the tables. 

There were groups there I had heard of, but hadn’t chatted with. And groups I have participated with since I moved to town with my just-starting family in 1979!

I know a lot of these groups…

Merritt BC Non-Profits

Merritt Centennials Hockey

So I found that I know a lot of these groups, and the volunteers who run them and their events.

I attend Community Futures events. I am a Patreon for the Love to Dance Academy and their organization the Merritt Dance Society. The Old Time Fiddlers’ get-togethers at the Seniors Center get my support with announcements and posters. I encourage friends to spectate and cheer for the Centennials Hockey Team. I participate in Chamber of Commerce Friday Night Markets, send interested beginning entrepreneurs to CFNV, give kudos and items to the local Nicola Health Care Auxiliary.  Groups like the Search and Rescue, Scw’exmx Family Services, Nicola Valley Food bank, and the Citizens Patrol do so much good in the community! 

I bought my membership for the Canadian Country Music Heritage Society there, one of my favorite non-profits in the community. I have loved volunteering at and supporting the Country Music Hall of Fame over the years.

While I was wandering, taking photos for my personal no-profit endeavor, Creative Community, I was impressed with the time and energy all the groups took with their displays. Several groups even had technology set up…TV’s displaying videos and slide presentations, like the beautiful, so-local, and very-worthwhile Nicola Valley Fall Fair Association.

Merritt BC Non-Profits

Nicola Valley Fall Fair Association

Bricks for Sale…

Let’s stop for a moment here and let you know, if you don’t already – the Nicola Valley Fall Fair Association is fundraising for an Infrastructure and Washroom Facility. This is a much-needed essential for this organization, and for the whole town! I would like to encourage all of us to get behind this fundraiser, and look after the basic needs of all the visitors, local and not, attending one of the oldest and most beloved events in our community, and in so many rural communities. 

(A bracketed appeal…

A while back I attended a Chamber of Commerce Grant Writing Workshop, and really enjoyed being in the room with other groups detailing their needs in a grant writing session. From requests for bathroom facilities to setting up programs for kids with special needs, to support for young musicians and artists I was impressed with the dedication of these volunteers to our community well-being.

That workshop and this Community Futures Community Engagement Fair offered insight into the complex and worthwhile projects our community is willing to dedicate their time to and are willing to work on.

But let me say that groups in our community that are working to provide basic necessities like a place to pee, is needed as much as, OR MORE THAN (or at least BEFORE) the enhanced events and activities we are all working on. We can’t invite people to our events without providing the basics. So, if you hear of a group asking for bathroom facilities, perk up your ears and reach for your wallet.

Thank you. This has been a public service announcement…or a-pee-l.)

For this Fall Fair Association worthy fundraiser… buy a brick for $10! Call 250-378-7270

 

Merritt BC Non-Profits

Networking at the Community Engagement Fair

Merritt BC Non-Profits Opportunity to Network!

It was a lively, colorful, noisy-with-talk event, and afterward the feedback about it was…great! A GREAT opportunity, not just to inform and invite the general public to participate in the non-profits, but to network and exchange possibilities with like-minded groups populating the room at the Civic Center. 

After cruising the room, taking photos, enjoying the chats, listening to the music by the Community Choir, the Old Time Fiddlers, the Strings Plus, and watching the dancers from Love to Dance, I settled in at the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council table, the non-profit where I spend most of my volunteer hours. 

NVCAC’s Nicola Valley Talent Network project…more info coming!

We talked to lots of people about our Nicola Valley Talent Network project. So exciting! Got a talent? Are you an artist? A musician? A performing artist? Into theater? Or aspiring…? Get in touch with us at nvcac.talent@gmail.com 

Merritt BC Non-Profits

Nicola Valley Community Arts Council

By the way, at the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council’s home, at the old Courthouse, 1840 Nicola Avenue we have basic facilities. Come and visit us there! We are busy reaching out to the community for interaction, memberships from individuals, groups, and businesses at the Courthouse, and also at events like the Community Futures Community Engagement Fair

  • Visit us at the Courthouse Arts Gallery! Thursday to Saturday 12-6pm
  • Want to put on an art show? (Booking almost a year ahead!) Email nicolavalleyartsgallery@gmail.com
  • Got an arts program you want to develop? Email nicolavalleyartscouncil@gmail.com
  • Want to know more about the local Arts Council? Visit our website!
  • Want to Plan and Relax with creativity? Tuesday mornings with me (Jano) at the old Courthouse. Call 250-315-3437
  • Visit my Creative Community facebook page.

Have a creative, satisfying day! 

Your Arts and Culture…and Non-Profits fan Blogger, Jano Howarth

Let’s get out there and…. Have Some Fun, Do Some Good!

Merritt BC Non-Profits

Jen from Creature Comforts and Mischelle for Nordic Ski Club, networking

Merritt BC Non-Profits

Nicola Valley Search and Rescue

Community Futures Nicola Valley

 

Great places to go camping in the Nicola Valley.

Some great camp sites around Merritt.

Never a lack of things to do while out camping in the Nicola Valley.

Camping in the Nicola Valley is by far one of the best pass times in the spring, summer and fall.

You can start by checking all the provincial and forestry camp sites. There is a great map to look at and see what they have available at each. You can take a look at the interactive map from Ministry of Forests. From there it would be easy to decide on which site has what you are looking for in terms of hookups, power, showers, lake , fishing hiking etc.

I have done this a couple times and it can be very convenient. I may decide to do this again one day. But right now I prefer a little more rustic way of camping in the Nicola Valley. It opens up so many more options and places that you can go.

Provincial Camp sites.

Some great provincial campsites around the Merritt area include Kentucky Alleyne. Located off of highway 5A between Merritt and Princeton. There are some great hiking trails, fishing and geocaching. There is also a great kids pond between the two lakes where children can fish in the stocked trout pond.

fishing kentucky lake

Photo credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

Another great site is Monk park on the north west side of Nicola Lake. There is also great fishing here and if you have a boat you can get out into the deeper channels to fish. Rainbow, and kokanee are among the fish you can catch in Nicola Lake. You can get there by following highway 5 from Merritt towards Quilchena. Then take the Monk Park turn off just before the Nicola Lake dam.

fishing Nicola Lake

Photo credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

More rustic camping in the Nicola Valley.

There are plenty of great forestry campsites through out the Nicola Valley as well. Some of them include Tyner, Boss, Shea, Davis, Kane, Lundbom, Marquart and so many more. Each of these lakes has it’s own pro’s. There are usually quite nice set ups for camping at all of these forestry sites and each lake has good fishing, trails and an abundance of wildlife.

Lundbom is a great place to camp for those who love to take their horses along. There are corrals and some great trails and open range land. Makes for an amazing camping trip.

Rustic Camping

We usually just drive to a nice spot in the bush by a lake and camp. No power, no hookups, no water. Sometimes we are not sure if our trailer will make it in but we do. If for some reason the road it not safe to take the trailer we will take the tent.

camping Helmer Lake

Photo Credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

Our trailer is always loaded with food.

We always bring our own water, propane, battery or solar lights. We even make a portable out house. And last camping trip we lined the path to the outhouse with solar lights. It was great.

camp at Rey Lake

Photo Credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

Canoeing, kayaking and boating

All of these lakes would be great to take your canoe, kayak, boat, belly boat or even pontoon boat. They are all easy to access. There are so many lakes close to these lakes as well so you can travel a short distance to a new lake and a new experience.

Loons

We love going fishing to catch our dinner or just catch and release. It’s all about getting out and enjoying the day. One lake we go to has a resident loon that will come and try to steal the fish right from the side of your boat or belly boat. You have to be very careful and keep a watch or your fish will either get taken or have some pretty good marks in it from the loon’s beak. It is quite exciting and kind of scary at the same time. You can get some great photos of the loon though. 

loon wanting to steal fish

Photo credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

Eagles

I remember another lake where you had to be careful as the resident bald eagle likes to come and steal the fish right off your line. Have to keep your eyes open and reel like crazy to get the fish in before the eagle steals it. It makes me laugh every time I think about it.

We are seriously so lucky to have what we have in our back yard. I remember setting up camp one summer and just going back and forth to work right from camp.

Bruce the Spruce

I have to tell you a fantastic little story about Bruce the spruce grouse. While out driving around, there is one road we always take to see what wildlife we can capture. Once particular day when we stopped at our normal corner I heard a grouse. I started to call it to see if it would come closer and what do you know. This grouse came right out strutting his stuff. He would follow me and even the truck for a little ways up the road. 

NO WAY!!!

On our way back down I didn’t see the grouse again but told my boyfriend to stop and I would try calling him again. My boyfriend said no way is it going to come back again. I got out of the truck and started to call “Bruce…come on Bruce where are you” Well, wholly crap. Here comes Bruce strutting his stuff again. We couldn’t believe our eyes. I got a few more photo’s before heading home for the day.

Week Later

Thinking there is no possible way Bruce would still be there I decided to take my daughter for a ride up the road a week later. I needed some better photo’s. The ones I took the first time were not as good as I wanted. We got to the corner and I got out. My daughter must have though me to me crazy to be calling a grouse. “Bruce, come on Bruce, where are you” My daughter was just floored as out of the bush comes Bruce the Spruce. I got some better pictures this time. Had a little visit and left for home.

When my boyfriend got home and I started to tell him that Bruce was still there. My boyfriends daughters were listening couldn’t believe that I was calling this grouse in. I let them know that we would go out again as soon as we could so they could also see.

Couple weeks after that

It wasn’t until a couple weeks later that we got to head out again. I thought for sure this time Bruce would be gone. But he was still there and came out when I called him. My step-daughters thought it was the craziest thing. I also thought it was pretty wild how this grouse would come out when I called it. He was there and kept coming out for about a month and a half. We would go up and visit for a while and get some photo’s and a couple video’s. 

I am not sure what ever happened to Bruce but he finally did disappear. It was a sad day when I went to see him and when I called he no longer came. I can only hope that he just moved on.

Gardening

I was pretty much ready to start planting a garden out there. Although we were back and forth I did plant some potato’s and lettuce. Our trailer stayed out there from April until the first snow in October. It was the best summer I have ever had. I think  this year I will bring some planters out and have a bit of a container garden. 

Property

Now we live on property and I thought by having property I wouldn’t want to go camping in the Nicola Valley anymore. So I started to get animals to sustain us on our own land. Well, I was wrong. I miss camping in the Nicola Valley. Quading, fishing  going on hikes from out in the bush some where. There is absolutely nothing like it. I love being able to see all the amazing wildlife when I am camping in the Nicola Valley.

bull moose calf

Photo credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

New places to explore

Usually we always camped at Helmer Lake. Unfortunately there was a bad flood that took out most of the camp sites as well as the road. Forestry has not fixed it for the past 3 years. So on to new and exciting places.

We decided to sell all the animals so we can do some serious exploring again. Some of the lakes that we are looking forward to checking out this year are forestry camp sites. But that’s okay. I am looking forward to picking fresh berries and catching my supper again.

Can’t wait to share with you all what I have experienced over the spring, summer and fall and which ones we love. There are so many places to check out when you go camping in the Nicola Valley. Some you may have heard about. Some maybe you haven’t. I will tell you about all of the ones I visit and what I see and experience at each.

Take Care

Please take care of our country so that others may also enjoy it for generations to come.

I would like you to make a promise. When you go into the back country please, leave it like you were never there.  Always make sure your camp fire is out before you leave. If you see someone else has left a mess behind, please make an effort to clean it up then make a note and message me at Experience Nicola Valley. I will make a point to go back and see if there is anything else I can do. Thank you all so much. 

Great places to go camping in the Nicola Valley.

Merritt, B.C., seniors repurposing furniture

I like today’s weather forecast- snow; and tomorrow’s- more snow!

The choice

As one of our Merritt, B.C., seniors repurposing furniture, I decided to cook up some chicken and dumplings and use the next couple of snow days to work on one of my furniture projects. I keep trying to make time to renew a small, decorative shelf.  Want to follow along with your own project?

Merritt, B.C., seniors repurposing furniture

The original piece

Step1- wash the shelf

The first thing I did was wash the shelf. If there is any grease or dirt left on your project, you are only giving yourself potential problems by skipping this step. T.S.P. will clean dirt and grease off most things quickly and easily. Rinse well and allow the piece to dry. Do not soak wood items!

Although water raises wood grain, this is not a problem because we will sand the piece before priming it.

Step 2- fill cracks and holes

The next step is to fill any cracks, holes or imperfections. I chose a quick- drying wood filler and applied it with a metal spatula. Both are available at most home improvement stores around town.  Since I live close to Home Hardware, it was easy for me to get all my project supplies there.

I spoke to Clara Moyes at Home Hardware after getting really good help (as always) from some of the other staff. I asked her what makes Home Hardware different from their competition. Her reply? 

“It’s the customer service!”

She is so right! Great service all the time, every time.

If there are any deep holes, and this project had several, I partially fill them and allow the fill to dry. Then, I fill them the rest of the way. Trying to do this in one step only leaves the fill inside the hole still moist and subject to cracking. If you are a Merritt, B.C. senior repurposing furniture, you know it is worth the extra time it takes to do it right!

Step 3- sand it smooth

Merritt, B.C., seniors repurposing furniture

Filled and sanded

Now comes the messy bit. Please, everyone, use a dust mask for this step! I have a little electric sander that has a dust catching bag attached. Although I love it, it doesn’t get into all the tiny places. I still need to use a sanding block (and a dust mask).

As a Merritt, B.C. senior refinishing furniture, I have a nice collection of sanding blocks, both home made and store bought. I have used them for years. Whichever sander you choose, use sandpaper made for your project. Choose a 100 to 150- grit paper. Sand your project well. Dust it off with a dry rag if you are using a water- based primer, or with a tack rag if your primer is oil based.

Step 4- prime the project

So far, so good! Now, my fellow Merritt, B.C.  seniors repurposing furniture, it is time to prime the piece. In my case, there were quite a few knots in the wood. When you have this situation to deal with it is a good idea to prime the knots first and let them dry before then priming the whole piece. Use a stain killing primer such as “Kilz”. If there is any sap left in those knots, the extra layer of primer will prevent it from “bleeding” through the paint and spoiling your project.

Merritt, B.B., seniors repurposing furniture

Primed and ready to paint

 Step 5- paint

This is the rewarding part. By now you have chosen your colour.  I decided on paint (a soft mauve colour). Because the holes and knots in the wood required a lot of filling, trying to stain so much spotty fill would likely leave me with a hot mess! Later I will hand- paint some leaves and flowers on them (maybe).

The easiest way to paint a small project is to just spray it.  On a small project like mine, one can is all you will need. Spray paint gives a nice, smooth finish, covers well and dries quickly. In warm weather you can take your project outside to spray it. In winter, see if you can score an appliance-sized box and use it as a spray booth for small projects. Be sure to wear a mask and ventilate the room. Two or three light coats of spray paint and the job is done!

Merritt, B.C., seniors repurposing furniture

All done!

Step 6- protective coat

If you want your project to have extra protection, it is very easy to spay it with a clear varithane. Today’s varithanes come in several sheens so ask the paint experts to help you choose one that suits your project. Be sure to let everything dry well and give it a week, or better yet two, before subjecting it to heavy use.

Now enjoy being one of our Merritt, B.C., seniors repurposing furniture!

Conclusion

I am the proud owner of a refinished (and repurposed) shelf. It sure is great to be a Merritt, B.C. senior repurposing furniture! Also, this is an inexpensive way to get “new” stuff for yourself.

How did your project turn out? Send some photos and share it with us. Show off what you can do!

                            Merritt, B.C., seniors repurposing furniture!

Your senior blogger,

Diane

 

    

 

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Mark Nendicks Story

Mark running a race in 2018

 

Local Merritt resident Mark Nendick is the owner/operator of PFN Coaching (Priority Fitness Nutrition). A successful Merritt based company that focus’s on helping people reach their greatest potential through diet and exercise.  

       While working a full time job at Highland Valley Copper and raising 3 kids, Mark has still managed to find the time to start and maintain his business. Showing that hard work, dedication and passion really do bring results. 

        Today he is in the best shape of his life but most importantly he is enjoying life on his terms, but it wasn’t an easy journey. I had the opportunity to meet up with Mark at a local coffee shop and ask him a few questions.  Below is Marks story:

The Transition

In 2007 Mark found himself weighing 260 pounds. Standing at the starting line of a 5 km run, his daughter strapped in her stroller, with a Venti Java Chip Frapuccino in his hand. He thought this race was an easy feat. However, unable to finish the race, and with no energy or self esteem he was fed up with how he felt both physically and mentally. So it was at this moment he realized he needed to make some drastic lifestyle changes.

        In 2010, he embarked on a health and wellness journey. Overweight and riddled with anxiety he knew there had to be a better way to live and feel.  Therefore he committed himself to learning as much as he could about making healthy choices and personal well being. Realizing he was not alone with these struggles, he created PFN Coaching to support others in achieving their lifestyle goals as well.

PFN coaching founder Mark Nendick

 

COACHING

 Mark began eating a healthier diet to lose some weight and started running to help his cardio, he also incorporated strength training to offset muscle loss. In 2016 he became a Certified Personal Trainer and took on his first client who had an amazing results. Converting his basement into a gym he holds 4-6 classes per week and now has over 100 clients.

Mark is 55 pounds lighter today and feels amazing. However, he had to constantly reach out of his comfort zone so he could achieve the goals he did. The end result was definitely worth it. PFN Coaching is growing stronger as are the people who are apart of it. It took a lot of hard work and dedication, this is a great example of how hard work truly pays off. 

 

Corporate Health

In 2018, Mark joined with a friend of his from Austria and became a senior partner in a Corporate Health Business. The goal of the program is to teach employers and their employees how to create a healthy atmosphere. While boosting morale and improving productivity, the employees felt more valued and the companies also noticed a reduction in sick time. It only makes sense to maintain a healthy lifestyle at home and at our workplace.

 

       Mark is currently training for this year’s 2019 Los Angeles Marathon. When he meets the qualifying time in L.A he will then be eligible to run in the 2020 Boston Marathon. Which has been a dream of his for years. Knowing Marks focus and dedication I have no doubt he will make the qualifying time in LA, setting a target time for him to beat in Boston I’m sure. PFN Coaching is more than a local business. It is a lifestyle transition for those wanting to improve their physical health and well being. 

 

 Merritt BC Bakery-Confessions Of A Baker 

Confessions of a Baker, Merritt, BC Bound!

Dessert Tray made by Marie’s Sweet Shoppe

 

Confessions Of A Baker-Merritt BC Bakery

When I was a little girl, living in Merritt, BC. I was always in the kitchen helping my Grandma, my mom, and even my Foster mom cook or bake. Whether it be adding ingredients for them or mixing it up for them.

Even-though I was always in the Kitchen helping didn’t mean that baking was my passion, I just enjoyed helping and learning at all costs. I felt if I was not helping then I was not accomplishing anything, or contributing my part in the house hold.

Back in those days though; we were not asked to come in the kitchen, we were told not to get in the way, or not to play around the stove! I guess those rules are still in play with families today!

If we wanted to learn or even to be apart of the crowd so to speak, we would have to ask! Even show a little interest to learn what or how they made everything taste so good.

Confessions of a Baker# 1: I was more interested in playing and exploring the outdoors getting into trouble so to speak! The street lights were our window to curfew! Dinner Time!

First Attempt To Cook!

I was 7 years old, when I first used a stove on my own! Paying attention, or being observant paid for a great cause!

Both parents were working and the babysitter didn’t show up! We, (my sister, and I), were home alone. It was  late, and my sister was on a schedule, due to her medications she had to take. 

Anyway, my mom had made extra meat pot pies! First time I ever had to used a stove or oven, I was scared shitless! But someone had to feed us right?

 Can you imagine what was going through my mind at that time? That was a lot of pressure for a 7 year old, but I was determined to succeed!

My main concern was to feed my sister because she had to take her medicine. She has epilepsy! Guaranteed, her having a seizure was more scary to me than burning a house down, trust me!

Although, the countless things going through my head at the time was overwhelming, I did get it done. My sister was fed, she got her medications, and I was quite proud of myself in the end!

Confessions of a Baker# 2: I did get into a lot of trouble when my mother found out! I got grounded! But on the other hand, she was proud of me. Knowing that no matter what, I did what I had to do!

Chocolate Brownies, By Marie’s Sweet Shoppe

First Time Following a Recipe!

At the time, I was 10 years old. I was living with my Foster Mom, Joan Lawrence. This was the time I first learned how to bake! Joan was baking some bread and buns that day, and I has asked if I could help.

“Not with the bread!” she said, ” But how would you like to learn to make some cookies?”

Joan saw the interest in my eyes, at the time I was not sure how she did it, but she knew. However, she opened a cook book and gave it to me. She told me that all I had to do was follow the instructions.

 All we had to do now was place the cookies on to the baking sheet and bake. I was pretty excited that I actually followed the recipe step by step, well… at least I thought I had. 

Confessions of a Baker# 3: She told me they were very good! But they were hard as a rock! She didn’t know that I knew, Baking disaster….. What a Kind Soul She Had Though! I had forgot the baking soda!

Baking Was History!

A little bit of History of the first time I started to bake! There you have it, I lost interest after the last Confession. I took for granted how much work baking would be, thinking it was easy.Who was I kidding!

From then on, I enjoyed every moment of eating the baking everyone else did.

 

Confessions of a Baker# 4: I never started to bake again until… Until I became a mother myself. Of course it was not on a regular basis either!

When My Passion Came To Light!

The first time, I ever decided to try and be creative, when it came to baking, was is 2009! I was living in Kelowna, BC.  That was when I created a recipe, no cook book, no instructions, just the idea that flowed through my head. The idea came to light, and I even searched it, online, in every dessert cookbook out there! Could not find not one recipe that even came close to this idea.

My very first Creation! That was when everything changed for me. From then on, I dedicated, all my spare time I had baking and creating.

Edible Bouquets, By Marie’s Sweet Shoppe

That is also when The realization came to me as well. Every time I felt alone, sad, angry, and disappointed; my go to thing was baking! Yes Baking! I felt so much better after losing myself in creating new recipes,and baking up a storm. So much so that at the end of the day I started to give it away because I had too much, haha! Go figure!

Confessions of a Baker# 5: At first I was convinced I was going crazy, or thinking I had some kind of Compulsive disorder, or even a never ending baking frenzy! HAHA! Baking more than needed or necessary!

Therefore, this is how it was going for a few more years!

My First Business Was Created!

So after years of baking and creating, I thought what if…. Well that what if if, lead to getting a business setup! Such as a Business name, a business number (through Revenue Canada). Then finding the clientele, because first step, clients! Who else right? It takes a lot of work to get a business set up, it takes time and a lot of time. Learning all the rules and regulations, the laws, the city bylaws, and well you get the picture I am sure!

The most important though…. is you have to be completely committed…..you have to believe in yourself as well as your faithful clients! It all takes time, effort, and passion to be completely successful.

Learn as much as you can, put your heart and soul into your work, because if you don’t then you really are setting yourself up for failure and disappointment.

Confessions of a Baker# 6: I have made this very Mistake. I had to Learn the hard way! My First Business failed because I did not put a lot into my business. I actually lost Faith in myself, NOT A GOOD THING TO DO!

Therefore I learned that before you get yourself into a loaded ship, and before you sail, make sure you put 110% into it all! Lesson Learned!

Success Of A Baker And Her Confessions

Today! Not only Have I succeeded, I have more experience, more Faith, and more clients! As the years go on, it only gets better! Although it is a lot easier now than it has been, the pride I have now is worth every moment this path has taken me thus far!

 Today I get more request, more happy clients, and it feels so good to see that thinks can only get better with each passing day! As along as I keep working on not just what I love, but constantly working on improvements and feed back from my customers.

Confessions of a Baker# 7: Never be afraid to ask for help! I learned this lesson along the way, and believe me the help and support from other bakers whom are more experienced is the best way to help you succeed!

Marie’s Sweet Shoppe did several Cakes in the past few Months!

Merritt

Cake made by Marie’s Sweet Shoppe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miss Georgia’s style 

“The laws of attraction are very strong with this old house.”

Her story

Laurie Turmel’s story is an inspiration on never giving up on your dreams. ‘ Miss Georgia’s style’ story starts when she was  a young girl growing up in the Nicola Valley. At a young age,  she had fallen in love with a home in Lower Nicola. She knew that one day she would own it. She did not know the man that lived there, all she knew was that he had no electricity or water.  The house is  roughly 75 years old.

When Laurie and her husband bought some acreage, she wanted to buy that home and move it on her property. The man who had been living in the home had died, and he had left it to family.

The family told Laurie that she could not buy it. However, she could go visit. Laurie would visit the home and sweep the floor, dreaming of owning it. At the same time, she had started her own paint line called ‘PIY Paints’.  After the man who had inherited the house had died, Laurie contacted his wife asking if she could buy it, and finally she said yes.

After decades, she finally got the home that she dreamed of. I was given the opportunity to interview Laurie and ask her some questions about the phenomenal home in the Nicola Valley. 

My interview with Laurie Turmel

Miss Georgia's style

A beautiful photo of Laurie in Miss Georgia’s Style

 What inspired you to start ‘Miss Georgia’s style?”

Laurie: . My dad built me a little playhouse, I started painting it and making it comfy with things from the dump that I would find with my grandma.Which later, gave me  passion for decorating.  By my late 20s, I was collecting things for the old house. 

 Where does the old fashioned appliances and furniture come from? are they donated, passed down , or do you buy them?

Laurie: It was a dream of mine owning ‘Miss Georgia’s style’ for over 50 years. In the last 20 years I have started collecting items for her. Every item has a story. The fridge was from the home my Grandmother was born in. The outhouse is over 100 years old which was given to me for Christmas a few years ago. My son found it on an old logging road, asked the owner of the resort if he could buy it. Which Afterward, He rolled it down a mountain with my grandkids and brought it to me.

 What is it about the “Old fashioned home” that intrigues you? Do you prefer the older home style compared to modern day?

Laurie:  I don’t really have a style per say, I love all styles. It is the feeling you get when you walk into a home that matters to me. Warm and cozy, a small voice that whispers, sit down relax, and stay awhile. A house is a house, It is a home that I love. 

 Where does the name ‘Miss Georgia’s style’ come from? does the name have a special story to it? 

Laurie:it sounded like a strong Southern woman. It’s iced tea on the porch. I told this to the woman I got the house from. She looked at me kind of funny. She said, ‘Do you know what the man’s name was who built the house? It was George.’

If you could go back to to any era in history, which would it be and why?

Laurie: I would love to go back to the times when families ate at the dinner table. An extra potato was always close at hand to add to the pot. Home baked goodies were always offered when a visitor came over. 

If Miss Georgia was a person, what would  her personality  be like?

Laurie: Miss Georgia’s style would be a strong women. A women who could go outside in the snow and milk a cow, Or help a mother farm animal deliver a baby. Yet still put on her Sunday best and love to look pretty. She would be comfortable in gumboots and heels sort of women. 

This story is truly magical. The aesthetic of Miss Georgia’s style is awe-worthy. It is interesting how a couple years later I am writing about this story. I too grew up in the Nicola Valley, I would drive by that house

The beautiful aesthetics of Miss Georgia’s Style.

 everyday going into Merritt. Suddenly the home was gone! I had always been curious of where it ended up. Laurie, you have done an excellent job on preserving that home and showing it’s true beauty. 

 

Nicola Valley Women’s Fair, Merritt, BC

A place for women to get together with friends and family.

“A Place to forget all the pressure and responsibilities at home and have a day to unwind.” Ellen Miller

Nicola Valley Women’s Fair is a wonderful idea in bringing people and different vendors together. Therefore, people will have a chance to see the different businesses in the community all in one place.

Curious as to how the Nicola Valley Women’s Fair came about, I decided to do an interview with Ellen Miller from Miller’s Farm. Ellen is the brains and brawn behind the making of the first Nicola Valley Women’s Fair come about.

Miller's Farm Lower Nicola BC

Miller’s Farm in Lower Nicola BC photo credit Ellen Miller

(MB) I understand that this is the first Nicola Valley Women’s Fair?

(Ellen Miller) Yes, this is the first Nicola Valley Women’s Fair.

(MB) What made you decide to put on a women’s fair?

(Ellen Miller)  I was involved with the Business & Professional Women’s Group (BPW) in the Fraser Valley in the past. BPW promotes the rights of women across the world as well as encourages young women to be the best they can be. They are advocates for health, safety, and learning opportunities of women and mentor wherever they can. I would like to see more opportunities here in Merritt for women to be able to promote themselves and their business or ideas.

(MB) And can you tell us what the Nicola Valley women’s fair all about?

(Ellen Miller) The Nicola Valley Women’s Fair is a day for women to get together with their friends, family, workplace companions and just relax and take a day to pamper themselves. To forget all the pressure and responsibilities at home and have a day to unwind.

Sounds so exciting. Hope you are all just as excited as me.

(MB) What can we expect to see at the Nicola Valley women’s fair?

(Ellen Miller) At the Women’s Fair you can expect to see vendors representing health, beauty, fitness, clothing, jewelry, financial advice, home decor, flowers and so much more.

(MB) Did you organize and put on this women’s fair or is it affiliated with something else?

(Ellen Miller) I organized the women’s fair on my own. I love planning events and then watch as people enjoy them.

If you want to get involved in the women’s fair contact Ellen Miller at Miller’s Farm

(MB) When is the Nicola Valley women’s fair.

(Ellen Miller) The fair is on March 30th 2019 from 10 am to 4 pm.

(MB) How much is it to attend the Fair?

(Ellen Miller) Admission is by donation to the Nicola Valley Food Bank.

(MB) Where will the Nicola valley women’s fair be held?

(Ellen Miller) The Nicola Valley Women’s Fair is being held at the Merritt Civic Center at  1950 Mamette Ave, Merritt, BC V1K 1R6

Merritt BC Civic Center

Front of the Merritt Civic Center Merritt, BC

(MB) Will there be food at the fair?

(Ellen Miller) Yes, Mary’s Catering will be running the kitchen to provide everyone with some delicious treats.

food catering corner cafe

Mary’s Corner Cafe and Catering. Photo credit Mary’s Corner Cafe and Catering.

(MB) I understand you have quite a few vendors for the first Women’s Fair. Can you tell us who they are?

(Ellen Miller) We have 31 vendors coming to the fair along with four guest speakers.

Opening Remarks

Our very own Mayor Linda Brown and MLA Jacquie Tegart will be onsite at 10 am to give the opening remarks for this great event.

Guest Speakers  at the Nicola Valley Women’s Fair include

Friday March 29th

Please join us. RCMP representative Tracy Dunsmore along with Tracy Auclair from Merritt Victim Services will be on site to speak about Domestic Violence. Room 4 at the Civic Center from 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm.

Saturday March 30th

11 am

Morgan Sparrow – Tips and tricks for a healthy lifestyle. Morgan discovered her passion for inspiring healthy living at a young age. She views health very important as a whole and finds purpose and passion impacting others in all aspects of their wellness. She is passionate about inspiring other women to live their best lives and empowering them to become capable of achieving all goals and dreams.

Morgan Sparrow

Photo credit Morgan Sparrow

12 noon

Leslee Lucy – Sunlife Financial – Planning your finances. Leslee is a certified Financial Planner with 20 years of experience with Sunlife Financial. 

“I live and work in Merritt, B.C. – You don’t plan your finances  – you plan your life. Whether by choice or circumstance, more and more women are taking charge of their money. I will give you a few simple steps to planning your finances and what to look for in a financial planner. If you don’t take care of your self – who will?” Leslee Lucy

Sunlife Financial Investing Merritt BC

Photo credit Sunlife Financial

1 pm

Joleen Morrison – Benefits of growing a garden. Joleen is no stranger to gardeners of Merritt and will be happy to tell you the health benefits of gardening. She is a graduate of U.N.B.C. with a Bachelor of Science majoring in Natural Resource Management, wildlife and fisheries. 

benefits gardening healthy lifestyle merritt bc

Photo Credit Ellen Miller

2 pm

Sheri Simson – Keen Fit Walking Poles – How to be fit! Sheri is a Health and Fitness Ambassador. She will be sharing with us how by just “Walking” she lost over 50 lbs. Sheri will also be demonstrating the secret techniques she uses to tone and sculpt her arms, stomach and back.  Want to know how 30 min can make a difference? Sheri will also be talking about that, so you don’t want to miss out.

Sheri Simson Health and Fitness Ambassador

Photo Credit Sheri Simson

Here are some of the Vendors that will be in attendance.

Sandy Labermeyer – Ki Essentials, Reflexology, Ellen Miller – Fused Glass, Jacquie Hall -Scentsy, Sue Thomas – Juice Plus

fused glass womens fair Miller's Farm

Fused glass from Miller’s Farm. Photo credit Miller’s Farm

Amy Douthwright – Custom made Tees, tank tops, baby items, Alycia Kempf – Seacret, Molly Toodlican – Watkins, Kathleen Courtoreille – Kathy’s Epicure Selections, Nicole Neufeld – Photography, Michelle Bacon – Bear Essential Apparel, Jamara Joyal – Massage Therapy, Megan – Akasa Yoga Studio

bath bombs soap lotions

Bath bombs, soap, lotions and more. You won’t be disappointed. Photo Credit B’s Bath

And a few more vendors

Pauline Ouellet – Hand Painted Jewelry, Julia Ahlin – Banana Bellem, N.V.I.T., Dawn Demuriak – Silk Flower Designs, Planet Women Ladies Fitness, N.V. Paddleboard, Primerica Financial, Vicki’s Petals and Flowers, B’s Bath products,  Florine Walkem – Native Arts, Deadman Valley Botanicals, Sara Vigh – Mortage Specialist, 31 Gifts,  T.O.P.S., Susan Riddle – Home Decor, Double Take Beauty Bar, Young Living Essential Oils.   

epicure selections spices women's fair

Spices from Epicure Selections. Photo credit Kathy’s Epicure Selections.

I have one more question.

(MB) Do you plan on having a Nicola Valley women’s fair every year?

(Ellen Miller) I plan on making this an annual event. There are already have ideas for next year to increase the speakers, provide mini learning experiences and add more categories – ie: wedding planners, mobile clothing vendors, resource information etc. I don’t want the event to take on the role of a craft fair. It needs to be a day of learning, having access to programs and resources available in this area, pampering and relaxing.

In Conclusion

Thank you Ellen Miller for speaking with me about this wonderful event.

The Nicola Valley Women’s Show is coming up on March 30th, at the Merritt Civic Center from 10-4. You won’t want to miss this! Lots to see and learn. I am really looking forward to this event and hope to see a lot of familiar and new faces.

If you are a vendor, we would love it if you would please share the link to your face book or website. Share this blog on your page will give people a chance to see where you will be on March 30th.

If you would like to see more blogs about Merritt and the Nicola Valley please follow me or one of our other bloggers at Experience Nicola Valley

Nicola Valley Women’s Fair

Bees in the environment

The Future of bees

“Here in the Nicola Valley and all over Canada bees are on the decline.”

There are a number of different species of bees in the environment across Canada. These bees can be divided into two different categories, social and solitary. Social bees share the work of building and taking care of the nest while solitary bees have a very short lifespan in the air consisting of only 2-3 weeks.

There are over 450 species of native bees in BC and over 800 confirmed species of wild native bees in Canada. I am going to share a little info on two of the ones I like and will be adding to or helping on my little homestead.

Bees in the environment Nicola Valley BC Canada

Bees in the environment are so important – Photo credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

Most people already know about honey bees in the environment. I myself am not going to talk to much about them in this blog. I am more interested in a couple of the native species of bees. The mason bee and the bumble bee.

What I was looking for

I live just outside Merritt, BC on a 10 acre farm and enjoy all kinds of wildlife. Not many people take the time to notice the little things like bees.

I always thought if I wanted bees to pollinate my flowers, fruits and vegetables that I would need to get some honey bees and learn how to keep them and produce honey for my family. While I was researching about different bees in the environment and one we know the most about (the honey bees), I came across some information on mason bees. This intrigued me because I didn’t have to do near as much work to keep them.

bee collecting pollen in the environment Merritt BC

Bee with a load of pollen- Photo Michelle Lea’s Photography

Mason Bees

These little creatures are quite amazing. They are a solitary bee but do so much in such a little amount of time they are here.

Life Stages of the Mason Bee

Mason bees go through four stages of life egg, larva, pupa and adult. The first stage of life is spent inside the cell of the nest. The nest looks like a long straw divided into cell’s. Each cell has an egg and food left by the mother.

When the egg hatches the larva will have food inside the cell in which to eat. There is a rapid growth spurt during the larva stage. Once the larva goes into the pupa stage it can lay dormant for eight to nine months as it turns into the adult bee.

Once they emerge from the pupa stage they are ready to feed, mate and repeat the cycle. I am not sure if I have ever seen mason bees around Merritt or the Nicola Valley but, I will soon because I am getting some this spring.

The houses are so neat looking and they seem very easy to keep. The most common types of Mason Bees in the environment in the North West is Osmia Lignaria; Orchard or blue orchard mason bee.

Tips for Keeping Mason Bees

  • Don’t be afraid of mason bees. Male orchard bees do not have a stinger and they are not aggressive because all the females are fertile so there is no fighting over mates.
  • Make sure you have enough pollen. If there is not enough the bees will move on to other areas.

Nesting

  • Nesting boxes. Keep them facing south on the walls of a garden shed, garage or other building. Make food available from with in about 300 ft of the nest. 
  • Mud. Mud is very important for bees in the environment as they use it to block the eggs into individual chambers. You or your little ones can make some mud pies. Keep them moist but not soupy and keep them away from the openings of the nests because the newly emerging bees are weak and you don’t want them falling in.
  • Nesting material. Nesting material can be drilled out holes in logs (replace each year). You can purchase houses that have tubes in them or you can use pull apart wooden blocks. These can be great because they are easy to clean and sanitize. They are porous allowing moisture to escape
mason bee home and guide

Photo credit Miller’s Farm Merritt BC

Watch your bees

  • They are fascinating, seeing all the different stages and watching them build their nests. Coming back with pollen. Watch her finish the last mud plug, use a flash light at night and see the bees peaking out of the chambers at you.
  • Keep your eyes open for predators. When they emerge from their nest birds like to go for the easy meals. They are like sweet little candy to them. You can try to avoid this by putting chicken wire over the tubes so birds can’t pull them out and eat the contents. You can also move them into a shed or garage once the busy season is over.

When to get ready

  • Get your materials ready for spring. Keep the units in an area that will protect them from the wind and rain. Secure them well and on a bit of an angle outwards so the rain will drain off and keep the tubes from molding. Set nesting material out mid to late March.
  • Don’t put it out to early or all your progeny could be mostly male. Make sure its on the South facing side as the bees need to warm up to 80 degrees for their wings to function.  Exposure to direct sun is very important as they can  soak up the sun even it’s only 58-64 degrees.

Harvesting your bees

  • Remove the tubes when the bee tunnels are all sealed up. You can leave them out until the end of summer but run the risk of loosing them to predators.
  • Give your cocoons a cool water bath 1/4 cup of bleach added. This will kill any fungus spores. Stir the cocoons for about 2 min and remove with slotted spoon and allow to dry.
  • Select the best cocoons. Cocoons that sink in the cool water bath are not good. C-shaped cocoons can be a sign of fungal infection. Holes in the cocoon can be a sign of parasitic wasp infestation. Discard all of these.
  • Refrigerate your cocoons. Store them in the fridge between 30-40 degrees F and about 60-70% humidity. By placing them in a plastic storage container with some small holes for ventilation and a damp sponge you should achieve no problem. Check now and again to make sure the sponge is still damp.
  • Store this way until the outside temperature is a constant 50 degrees F.
  • Nests need to be cleaned once all your bees in the environment have emerged. You don’t want to run the risk of pests, mites or fungus growing when the queens start to lay their eggs again. 

Releasing your Bees

  • Place the cocoons near the bee house you have set up. Putting them on top of the tubes inside the house until the bees emerge. This is a good way to protect them.

Attracting bees in the environment

  • Attract different bees in the environment. Fruit trees, and native flowers with a variety of colors like blue, yellow, purple. Dandelions and clovers are great. 
native wildflowers bees pollinators

Photo credit Miller’s Farm Merritt, BC

How to make sure they have what they need.

Keep an eye out on which flowers and plants they frequent to learn which ones they like the best. Although they look like house flies you can distinguish them by looking for their antennae. The males you can tell apart from the females by the white hairs on the males’ heads.

Bees in the environment are very important. They are considered the best pollinators and help to grow our crops for food that we eat and feed to our animals. You can help by planting flowers that help the bees. 

Bumble bees

Here in the Nicola Valley and all over Canada bumble bees are on the decline. But there are things that we can do to help. Plant a flowering garden with native plants. Use pesticides sparingly or better yet not at all. Look for and use natural ways to get rid of unwanted pests.

Bumble bees are the only truly social native bees. And to my surprise, the only native bee species that make honey.

The main difference between the bumble bee and the European honey bee is that the only one that survives to hibernate through the winter is the fertilized queens. Come spring she will find a new nest that may grow to include dozens of individuals and occasionally a couple hundred.

Bumble bees in the Spring

In the spring the queen will search out a suitable place to make her hive. Usually it will be underground in an old mouse burrow. She will lay around six eggs and when they hatch she will encase the larva in a cell with some food she has created from a mixture of pollen and wax.

Once the larva pupate she creates a cocoon. After a few days the Pupa emerge from the cocoon fully grown worker bees. They are ready to create a colony with their queen. The queen will keep laying eggs and repeating the process until the colony is the size she wants.

Summer

Summer the queen will start laying eggs that are intended to become worker bees and queens for next year. Once they hatch and become adults the worker bees will leave the nest in search of young queens to mate with.

The young bumble bee queens however will continue to live and work in the colony through the rest of summer and fall.

Fall

Once fall hits the young fertilized bumblebee queens will find a safe place to hibernate for the winter. Only these fertilized queens will survive for the winter.

Some interesting facts; Bumblebee’s don’t have a barbed stinger so they can sting a number of times. Male bumblebees don’t have a stinger at all.

Future of Bees

We can play our part in helping bees in the environment. The future of bees depends on what we do. Plant flowers, stop using pesticides that will kill them and make some places around your homes that will be inviting and safe for them to nest and reproduce. 

There are so many species of bees in the environment, research and find a species that you can connect with. Do what you can to help that species. Above all, have fun. They are quite fascinating to study and watch.

How can you find out More?

There is a Bumble bee watch group where you can record and report when you have seen a bumble bee. The group is Friends of the Earth The Bee Cause. There is also a chart so you can identify the type of bumble bee you have seen. This will be very helpful with statistics and keep records of how many of the different species of bees in the environment there are.

Here is another way you can find out more information on bees.  Ellen Miller from Miller’s Farm in Lower Nicola, BC is wonderful and so helpful. They hold a number of different bee keeping workshops. You can also purchase bee supplies and bees from Miller’s Farm when available. They will be reopening March 13, 2019

“We are having a free seminar on all types of bees, attracting them to your yard,on Sat April 27 from 1-2:30 pm. Also on May 4 from 1-2:30 we have a free seminar on honey bees for kids age 8 and up. Must be accompanied by a parent.. Our 6 week bee keeping course starts on Feb 19th and is $240.” Ellen Miller

Keep your eyes open for my upcoming blog from Miller’s Farm on the bee seminars and bee keeping course

In the mean time, I would love to hear what types of bees interest you, comment below. What are you doing to help the bees in the environment? You can also follow us on Experience Nicola Valley.

Bees in the environment