People in Merritt and the Nicola Valley

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Shop Local in Merritt, BC – Vision Quest Optical and Gifts

Looking for Things To Do in the Nicola Valley? 

Shop Local in Merritt, BC – Vision Quest Optical and Gifts

“Come Downtown and Buy Something!” 

Shop local in Merritt, BC

Decorative BC designed drum bag

Jeanine Gustafson, owner of Vision Quest Optical and Gifts, encourages people to shop local in Merritt BC and support our businesses. That’s the message she would like to send out to the people who live in the Nicola Valley.

Vision Quest is an eclectic shop right on the corner of Quilchena and Voght Street, a corner everyone passes when they are downtown Merritt. Jeanine has a prime location on the main block, and fills her windows with a lively display all year round. If you pop in to see what’s there, you’ll find jewelry, gems, glass frames, toys, cards, books and local art.

On the Quest for Vision Services? Glass Frames? 

Jeanine is an optician with 30 years experience and her shop began as a way for her to offer optical services to the people in the community. You can find a room full of diverse frames for children, women, and men in Vision Quest shop, and Jeanine can help you find a frame you like and fulfill your prescription. She offers one more great choice in the community before a person decides to head off for Kamloops or to online services. Definitely worth checking out!

Looking for Local Art? 

Shop Local in Merritt, BC

Bead Jewelry Galore

Over the ten years Jeanine has been providing options for vision care, she has expanded the offerings in her shop. Vision Quest is full of art, crafts, and jewelry created by about 40 local artists. 

All year round there are gifts, mementos, and useful items to choose from: cards by Marilyn Lytton, blankets from Amelia Washington, handmade soap from Les Keys, baskets and beading from Charles McKay. 

Jeanine herself creates feather earrings and other jewelry. There are painted tiles and jewelry by Pauline Ouellet, cards by photographer Heidi Koehler, beading by Ashala Harvie. And beautiful pained rocks by local artist Georgina Beatty! 

1st Nations Art 

Jeanine says the majority of the artists showing their work at Vision Quest are 1st Nations from the Nicola Valley, and some

Shop Local in Merritt, BC

1st Nations Art

from nearby regions like Lillooet. Her contacts also provide her with 1st Nations items designed in BC to satisfy her visitors from other provinces and countries. Look for beautiful designs on drum bags, a red lampshade, beaded earrings, medallions, baskets, cards…

The prices at Vision Quest are reasonable and range from about $5 to…more. I was very taken with a gorgeous across-the-shoulder bright turquoise suede bag, for just over $100. 

The local work in Jeanine’s lively, full shop is worth a leisurely search.

But I will admit that the jewelry, especially the gem jewelry, at Vision Quest often draws me through the welcoming doors on Quilchena Avenue.

Gems and Trinkets Galore!

Shop Local in Merritt, BC

Gems and Jewelry

Jeanine’s windows are full of her jewelry, hanging or displayed in photo frames. And once you are in the shop, the jewelry is displayed in every cabinet, and in every nook and cranny. Amethysts, rose quartz, topaz, garnets, you name it. There are simple pendants to elaborately set jewelry, rings, earrings, bracelets in all shapes and colours.

There is also a diverse assortment of costume jewelry and a variety of pretty bags for storing your gems and trinkets.

What else? 

Jeanine carries local books from local authors when possible, fun toys for kids, guitar pics…

And a good supply of beading supplies: seed beads, gem beads, and others, and lots of supporting items like thread.

Business in Merritt 

I asked Jeanine what support she gets from the community. And her reply, “I am still open.” 

Shopping Local in Merritt, BC

Tiny decorative painted bird houses

In my opinion, with years of experience in owning a retail business myself, ten years is a success story!

Jeanine Gustafson is the owner of Vision Quest, renting her prime location from the local owners of the building. She has been open for ten years and is very familiar with what works downtown, and what doesn’t. She talks about how she is supported by the City of Merritt’s policies and attention. 

What can be better? 

However, Jeanine is very clear about what does not work and the trouble she has sometimes in her dealings with the City, like keeping the cobblestones level to reduce hazards to pedestrians and make it easier for wheelchairs and walkers. 

She discusses things that a city and the locals can do to support business in the community. What Jeanine chats about sounds a lot like the discussions that I hear happening at group meetings like the Business Resurgence, Vision Merritt, and the talks of

speakers at the Community Futures seminar.

We talked about business licenses, signage, opening days, first impressions…

What Works? 

Shop local in Merritt, BC

Hand made baby moccasins

Jeanine talks about other businesses and organizations which are supportive. For instance, she mentions how helpful the Open Door was to her. And comments on the support that Work BC has given to people she knows. 

“All sorts of fun people come in!” 

Jeanine enjoys the people who come in. She has regulars who pop in for tea and chats. She serves a steady flow of people coming in for optician services. And she welcomes all the visitors to town who make their way through her doors.

As we know, Merritt attracts people from all over the world. Jeanine often acts as an ambassador and tells people where to go in town, and what is happening locally. She has stories she shares with visitors, things I didn’t know about the history of some of the surrounding buildings and I’ve lived here for a lot longer….

What do you enjoy the most?

I asked Jeanine what she enjoys most about her business. After a moment’s thought, she describes the fun she has setting up

Shop local in Merritt, BC

Feather earrings by Jeanine Gustafson

the Christmas windows! Jeanine possesses the considerable Christmas village collection of the late Marguerite Kempin, a long time resident of the valley. It takes Jeanine a month to set it up, with no days off! And it will take a month to take down, ready for the next display! So it was great to hear that is a favourite part of her shop experiences.

I enjoy the Christmas window! And I know others who do too, some who take their grandchildren downtown to view it all.

Have you seen it? Whoops, it may be too late for this year. But the next display in Vision Quest’s display windows, on the corner of Voght Street and Quilchena Avenue will be there soon. Stroll by! Pop in!

Vision Quest is open Tuesday to Friday 10am-6pm, Saturday 11am-5pm. Closed Sunday and Monday.

But Jeanine is open on Mondays in the summer months. She says Monday is a busy day in Merritt in the summer!

And how will she keep going in the slow months? Jeanine’s message to the locals: “Come downtown and buy something!”

Now that’s a positive message that supports all the shops in Merritt!

Thanks, Jeanine! Good visit! 

Shop local in Merritt BC

Blue suede bag

 

Contact Jeanine Gustafson at Vision Quest visionquestoptical@gmail.com 

Vision Quest Optical and Gifts Facebook

More on the arts and culture scene in the Nicola Valley

And if you want to see more local art visit our local Arts Gallery at the heritage Courthouse on Nicola Avenue. 

And visit our Nicola Valley Arts Council site, to see what’s happening in the arts in our valley.

The NVCAC is also on Facebook. 

And check out my Creative Community Facebook page.

Shop local in Merritt, BC

Shopping at Vision Quest

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Growing up in Merritt, BC

Growing up in Merritt

Why I love growing up in Merritt

 

“…I never had any friends later on like the ones I did when I was twelve..”Richard Dreyfuss spoke these words in the final scene of my favorite movie “Stand by Me” . For me this quote reflects my growing up in Merritt with my friends. While we may have never searched for a dead body, we did have some memorable adventures. Whether it be getting my two friends and I lost on a mountain and picking ticks out of our hair on the way down, or floating down the Nicola River in dollar store rafts, my group of friends and I did it all.  

 

Being raised in Merritt, My playground was the outdoors. Everything was in walking distance, and even if it wasn’t, we would still walk 2.5 hours in the scorching 40-degree weather to find a new cliff to descend into the river.  Summers were spent playing on the river, or trying our best to leave early to get the ‘perfect’ spot under the shady tree at Monck Park beach. Dirt biking up to the lookout point up Promotory , and geocaching in Lower Nicola.  

Hunting season in the Nicola Valley

As the leaves changed colours, so did our interests. I had completed my hunting core that past April. All I wanted for my birthday was to do an overnight hunting trip with my dad. On one brisk September’s day my father and I set out for our overnighterWe set up our camp under an old fir tree, 15 minutes outside of Merritt.

After we finished setting up, with a few hours of daylight left, we started down the rough terrain below us.  Although we never shot anything, we did come across a small group of mule deer heading towards the timber. About 15 minutes after we had spotted a beautiful large black bear. We sat and watched the bear in admiration for quite some time. When we got back to camp, I sat underneath the fir tree with a breathtaking view of the Nicola Valley. I relaxed as my father prepared supper. The trip is one I will never forget. 

Wintertime in Merritt

When snow starts falling in the Nicola Valley and winter approaches, Doug’s once green lawn turns into an ice rink. If you don’t have skates to wear, he supplies them without charge.  Sledding and snowshoeing in the Nicola valley are a thing my family and I have always enjoyed and now it is our family tradition,

it’s not a successful sledding trip if you’re not leaving without a black eye (at least in my family anyway!) .

Kane valley in Merritt

The lights when I come into Merritt always put a smile on my face; the streetlights are always so beautifully decorated that you just can’t help feeling that Christmas spirit. Of course, my most favorite thing about living in Merritt at Christmas time is the parade. It’s usually me, my mother and brother’s tradition to go every year to the Christmas Parade. I wouldn’t miss it for the world. No matter how old I get, I will still get that feeling of pure joy when I see the ‘Frosty the Snowman’ Norgaard truck float, and even at the end when Santa appears.  

  

I really couldn’t wish for a better place to grow up in. I know that when I get older and leave for school, a part of me will always be here in Merritt. There are so many memories and adventures built here and I’m so proud and grateful to be able to explore The Nicola Valley and call it my hometown. The mountains and lakes have so much to offer that I hope that in the future more  kids grow up and have a similar childhood to mine growing up in a small town.  

  

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Country Christmas – Things to Do in Merritt, BC!

​Country Christmas Week Here in Merritt, BC!

Country Christmas delivers fun and community spirit…

​With a Festival of Trees, a Community Choir event, the Love to Dance Performance, our fabulous Christmas Parade, and shopping til midnight!

“We keep having to paint more little festive canvases as people buy them right off the tree!​”

Country Christmas

Tiny Painted Canvas Decorations

Our Country Christmas week is spectacular! It takes place during the last week of November and is one of the best things to do in Merritt.

My own experience started a few days before the week of celebration with the arrival of our tree at the Courthouse Gallery. For several years the Festival of Trees has involved an inspired number of businesses and non-profit groups. The groups each decorate a tree in their own fashion, from classic to creative, 

This means we have trees decorated with hockey pucks, ballet slippers, and peacock feathers-and everything in between. One year I decorated our Pop Up Shop tree with little dolls and teddy bears (all with sparkle halos on their heads) and rainbow feather boa garlands.

Festival of Trees 

Country Christmas

Festival of Trees Past at CMHF

For the first years of Country Christmas, all the trees were set up on the main street of town, in the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. It’s a beautiful building with hard wood floors, high ceilings, and western-style chandeliers. The venue attracted locals and visitors from neighboring towns to see our Festival of Trees.

This year for the Festival of Trees event, all the decorated trees are spread out around the town, and people head out to do the tree tour. We adorned our tree at the Courthouse Gallery with tiny canvases, painted by local artists and interested Creatives. We keep having to paint more little canvases as people are buying them right off the tree! And all the money supports the Gallery.

Love to Dance Performance

Country Christmas

Love to Dance “Museum of Art”

This year, for the Country Christmas festivities, the Love to Dance Academy​ presented “Museum of Art”. Dance teachers Lizette Nel and Vanessa van Rensburg choreographed the dances which involved dancers of all ages, from adorable tots to graceful seniors. 

Herman Nel looked after the creation of the sets designed by Vanessa and Lizette, as well as the lights and music. Over a hundred colourful and gorgeous costumes and dresses were designed and sewn by talented members of the Merritt Dance Society. And there were plenty of volunteers, parents and dance lovers, who helped pull off the beautiful event. 

The two-hour long performance was presented at both an afternoon matinee, with classes of children arriving on school buses, and a stellar evening performance. 

Michelle Etchart, local songstress, performed two moving pieces while dancing continued around her. 

Country Christmas

Michelle Etchart

The night performance was captured on video, with CD’s available. I attended the matinee, and will be sure to acquire the evening performance CD. Worth watching again! And kudos to all those involved, with special recognition to the dancers showing such professionalism in putting on the two events in the same day!

Thanks to the Love to Dance Academy!

Christmas Concert!

Talk about things to do in Merritt! The night after the dance performances, several choirs and singing groups, duos, and soloists, provided a soul-satisfying musical evening to a large crowd at the Merritt Civic Center. (That’s the farthest away from the doors I have ever had to park in my many years of Merritt living!) 

Country Christmas

Merritt Community Band

The Merritt Community Band was there, the Community Choir, and more…

Also, Cecilia Dyck and Caitlyn Stephanie Walsh played piano duets, the four Snees entertained, and Michelle Etchart again performed with her spot on renditions.

And not only did the groups and soloists perform their own pieces, but the collaborations amongst them, and even the audience, brought the community together in inspired evening of music.

Well done! Bravo!

Then the Santa Parade…

I have heard that our Santa Parade is the largest in the world! The country? Our province? Well, I’ll wait to be informed properly but I do think the Nicola Valley Santa Parade is one of the best things to do in Merritt!

Country Christmas

Santa Parade 2018, Merritt Herald photo

​The Merritt Country Christmas Santa Parade’s success shows what stuff our community is made of. We are tough, determined, hard working, creative, and ready to have fun…and all in support of our businesses and organizations.

And this year’s parade tested all of those qualities because it started to rain as the parade entries were lining up, started to pour as it got going, and the rain didn’t quit until near the end, when big fat snowflakes started to fall. People knew they’d get soaked, but they didn’t stay home. The floors of the shops, open for business until midnight after the parade, had puddles from the rain soaked customers….

Check out the photos of the rainy event on Merritt Herald‘s online coverage.

Open Mic Night, one more thing to do in Merritt during our Country Christmas week!

Country Christmas

Donna Dixon, a regular at Open Mic night

On the Friday night of the Santa Parade, I jut got wet running out to my car, and then dashing in to Kekuli Cafe. We put on a special Open Mic night that night! And we watched the rain come down, then the snow, and then mopped up the puddles that our audience left on the cafe floor when they poured in after the parade and settled in to the cozy venue.

 Mugs of hot coffee, tea, and hot chocolate were in high demand! And we invited our musicians to warm up the crowd. Al and Denise, Robert Bertrand, Willard Wallace, Quade Lindgren, Jim West…

And regulars like Doug and Donna Dixon were there to enjoy the live music.

 

It was a special Country Christmas 2018 

Pouring rain during our Santa Parade only adds to the memories!

I hope there are always Country Christmas planners and volunteers. This week is a highlight in our community. It gets all of us who participate in any way, from young to old, in the mood for the holiday season, whatever our beliefs. We come together, show off our talents, have fun, support each other and are inspired to be thankful for each other. 

So kudos to the people in our community who plan Country Christmas, who put on the events, and who participate in them to make them all worthwhile. 

Let’s recognize each other for the contributions to community that Country Christmas brings!

Country Christmas

Painted Canvases on our Gallery tree

Now, does anyone want to come to the Courthouse Gallery to paint a little canvas for our tree? I found some empty spaces again! All welcome!

And you can wave to the LTD dancers while you are there. We share the Courthouse space.

Life as I know it, Jano Howarth

Creative Community

Nicola Valley Community Arts Council

 

 

 

Country Christmas

Phyllis Laage’s Tree Decoration

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WILD! Flies, Skins, and Skulls…

WILD! Flies, Skins, and Skulls…

Creative Exhibition at the Courthouse Arts Gallery, Merritt Canada

Fishermen, Hunters, Photographers, Collectors, Artists…

Things to do in Merritt

Taxidermy, fly ties, carvings

Things to do in Merritt…A nature exhibition Nicola Valley style: taxidermy, fly ties, rods, skulls, pelts, eagle photography, moose airbrush painting. Collections of stuffed birds, birds’ nests,  shells…lots to see!

Who’s showing their nature art and collections at the Gallery?

  • Peter McVey, fly tier and fisherman extraordinaire. 
  • Willie Kiegerl, providing us with a variety of animal skulls to identify. And other wildlife. 
  • Dawn Shackelly’s eagle photography, and owls, big horn sheep, baby ducks… 
  • Jessie Rabbit with her bull calf and fireweed, her beautiful airbrush painting. 
  • Cindy Trent with collections: skulls, BC shells, sea stars, and bird’s nests 
  • Rory Hepner has provided beaver and coyote pelts, and animal skulls 
  • Artist Renee Hartwigs’ tri coloured owl and Joel Reid’s “find the bird” painting 
  • Mischelle and Bill Pierce have contributed both creatures and colourful fly ties 
  • Fran McMurchy created three small watercolour creeks for three fly ties in oak frames. Unique! 

And Murphy Shewchuck, who put down his fly rod years ago. And picked up his camera… 

A nature exhibition Nicola Valley style…

Things to do in Merritt

Nature collections and Renee Hartwig’s Owl Art

Our Nicola Valley, surrounding the town of Merritt Canada, is filled with hunters and fishermen and women. Lots of families in the area raise their children with skills to provide for their families from the land around. From berries to deer to lake trout. Children and adults alike celebrate bringing down their first deer, or catching their first salmon.

We are set in a grassland valley, filled with creeks and lakes, surrounded by rolling hills and mountain ranges. There are a lot of choices, many paths to take, and backroads to follow- to hunt, fish, gather. Lots of nature.

Our exhibition reflects this focus on nature in the area!

I have long been fascinated with the art of fly fishing and fly tying. As a child, my family just fished with rods that fit in our Rambler. We fished enough, and I enjoyed it enough, to make sure my own kids had rods and gear enough to catch Lake Trout at Monck Park, which we ate for supper on the camp fire.

But we had friends who were hooked on fly fishing, and I watched movies with fly fishing action (looks close to meditation). And I could see the charm of those long, supple rods flashing the line out over water. And the flies…

We have one of the most well-known fly tiers in our area displaying his flies, ties, and accoutrement. Peter McVey not only told stories at our WILD! Reception, but left his book so we could read more about his adventures…

We have vintage suitcases displaying flies that others have created. Works of art!

What if you wanted to get started on fly tying?

From Gear Junkie

Catching your first fish on the fly will embed new levels of appreciation for all things fly fishing.

Things to do in Merritt

Fly Tie Watercolour art by Fran McMurchy

Most fly anglers hit a point in their fishing career when they think about tying their own flies…. There’s an entirely new level of satisfaction from catching a fish on a fly you tied yourself.

The path to tying amazing flies isn’t the easiest. And the reward is 10-fold compared to that of storebought flies.

Fly tying is an angling tool that can empower you to catch more fish. Tying flies enables an angler to not only replicate their favorite bug at the fly shop but also create their own custom patterns no one else has. The only limits you face at a tying vise are imagination and creativity.

Anglers construct flies to replicate the exact bugs found in streams.

Tying also offers the avenue to get in touch with the most artistic side of fly fishing. Fully dressed Atlantic salmon flies and modern articulated streamers can be just as artistic as painting, with the hook acting as your canvas. 

Yes! That’s what I thought when, as art gallery director in our small community, we were brainstorming Art Exhibitions.

This area is filled with fishable lakes and streams. One of our oldest slogans is “A lake a day, as long as you stay!”

The Nicola Valley is a perfect place for a Fly Tie show!

Things to do in Merritt

Ruffed Grouse, birds’ nests

And, my buddy said…taxidermy too! Well, sure!

Most of us have seen taxidermied creatures, in museums, at our uncle’s house… Taxidermy is an art in itself.

What does taxidermy mean? From answers.com

Taxi is Latin for move. Dermis is Latin for Skin. Taxidermist is a mover of skin. Taxidermy is what he does. A taxis is a division of classification especially when concerning animals. Dermous means skin, Dermy is an activity concerned with skin. So — Many types of animal skin activity.

In the Nicola Valley, we have several taxidermists. They do work for locals and also do spectacular mounts for clients outside our area. I’ve seen photos…

At the Gallery we have stuffed birds: ptarmigan, ruffed grouse, blue grouse (the smart ones), a beautiful owl… And a mounted fish.

We also have amazing carvings of birds and fish that look like the real thing…

And if you want a taste of the big critters, we have photographs of mountain sheep, bald eagles, an air brush painting of a moose calf. And real antlers of moose and deer, a buffalo hoof, a coyote and beaver pelt, two bear skulls…

Lots of skulls! Of all kinds! Coyote, beaver, raccoon, fish… Hummingbird skeleton! You can barely see it!

So here we are, in the middle of an exhibition showcasing the work of many people local to our area. Collectors, painters, fly tiers, taxidermists.

Things to Do in Merritt… Come and Visit & Get Involved!

From Oct 11-Nov 3, 2018, at the Courthouse Arts Gallery.

Things to do in Merritt

WILD! Poster by Kim Leclair

Got skulls? We are looking for donated animal skulls, bones, antlers, for a painting workshop!

This should be fun…. Want to join us?

Register for Saturday, Oct 27/18. 1-3pm at the Courthouse Arts Gallery in Merritt. $20. $10 if you bring your own skull…

Go to Nicola Valley Arts Council Facebook Page for more info!

And if you miss it, we’d love to collect skulls and antlers for more artwork, for another time. Call 250-378-6515 to donate.

Also fly tie expert and fisherman extraordinaire, Peter McVey, is telling stories, Friday Nov 3/18, 4-6pm at the Courthouse Arts Gallery, 1840 Nicola Avenue, Merritt, BC

Visit Nicola Valley Arts Council‘s site for more about the arts in the Nicola Valley.

Read my blog about Open Mic Nights in Merritt, held every Friday night at Kekuli cafe 7-9pm. Come on out!

Jano Howarth, promoting creativity in our community

Jano Howarth

Jano

Welcome to Experience Nicola Valley, with news about the Nicola Valley in BC, Canada. A great destination location! I love living here...
Jano Howarth
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Living and Cowboying in the Nicola Valley

Living and Cowboying in the Nicola Valley

When you hear the word “cowboy” what is the first thing that comes to your mind?

Did you know that the term cowboy was first documented in the English language by 1725? It was a direct translation of the Spanish word vaquero — one who manages cattle from horseback, cowboy has the same meaning. Vaquero is rooted in the word vaca, or cow, and stems from the Latin vacca.

For some of us, it is not easy to develop trust when we are dealing with something or someone new. Dealing with a horse is not different. How can you communicate with a horse? How do horses communicate with us? To learn more about horsemanship, let me introduce our guest blogger Miles Kingdon, from Miles Kingdon Horsemanship.

I wanted to cowboy on a big ranch…

cowboyI came from Saskatchewan to the Nicola Valley, in March of 1981,  because I wanted to cowboy on a big ranch.  Most importantly, I wanted a full time cowboying job in cow country.  To live in a land where I could see the mountains and ride my horse across creeks and streams, and view wildlife year round.

I had been a cowboy on the big government pastures in Saskatchewan, but that job was seasonal; finishing for the year when the farmers took their cattle home in the late fall.  Besides, the winters were bitterly cold there, and not conducive to riding year round. 

So I headed to B.C.  When I drove into the Nicola Valley from Kamloops, on Highway 5A (the only highway at that time), I saw vast, beautiful rolling hills of bunchgrass.  I knew that this was the place I wanted to stay.

Streams, lakes, and beautiful wooded hills

My first cowboying job was at the Douglas Lake Cattle Company.  Every day, I rode out in the early morning to look at a new range; with creeks, streams, lakes, and beautiful wooded hills to look at.  Other days, I’d be riding across a sea of grass, and knew I was in the best cow country I could ever see.

It was a good life at Douglas Lake, but I was still hungry to see what was on the other side of the ridge, so I hired on at Nicola Ranch.  I had a family of my own by then, and being at Nicola Ranch exposed me more to the Merritt Community.  Our children were born in Merritt, went to school and were involved in sports in Merritt. 

A cowboy may not plan on involving himself in the community too much, because of his time spent at work, but he will, through the love of his children and interest in their daily activities.  It is inevitable for the parents.  They will rub shoulders with other parents and become involved in community functions, and as a result, feel like part of that community.

A new learning curve for this cowboy

cowboyAs the years rolled by, my interest in other ranges, and the desire to do better for my family, led me to the other big ranches across BC; the Bar K Ranch, Empire Valley Ranch, and the Gang Ranch.  These places were all a new learning curve for this cowboy.  Learning how to fit into a new environment, and acclimatize to each new system’s way of doing things; all were good for me.  I gained more knowledge about grasslands and different herd management practices. 

Also, very important to me, was making a new string of horses for me to go to work with.  Taking the horses from being young and inexperienced to a finished bridle horse, at each ranch. 

Cowboys and cowgirls from all walks of life passed through our pretty valley. 

A horse experienced at roping and doctoring cattle, cutting, and sorting cattle, and eventually becoming a willing partner that anyone, even my children,  could eventually ride.  And they did.  And until my children gained enough experience to be good help to the crew, the horses would take care of them throughout the day at work, and bring them home safely.

Not only did the horses watch how they carried my children through their formative and impressionable years, but so did the cowboys we rode with, always watched out for them.  Each of those hands became like uncles or aunts to our kids.  This is part of what makes our community so unique.  Cowboys and cowgirls from all walks of life passed through our pretty valley. 

At one time, the native community provided most of the recruits for the cowboy crews, and as the years rolled by, people from all over Canada, the US and beyond came to ride on these legendary outfits; some to move on to new ranges, some to stay and raise their families.  Ultimately, my family and I always came back to the Nicola Valley.  It wasn’t just the ranges and the scenery, the forgiving environment, and the horses, it was the community.  The people, and their empathy for others held us here. 

Back when I was younger, and cowboying at Douglas Lake, one of the older hands did the math and figured we were riding an average of 5,000 miles/year horseback.  Some of us questioned that, but the elders on the crew attested to that figure.  Some outfits were less distance covered on horseback, while some, like the Gang Ranch, were a bit more.

I understand the horse…

So, after over forty years of cowboying for a wage, I’ve come to make a lot of friends in the cattle industry, and I’ve gotten to a place where I understand the horse quite a bit better.  It makes a difference in me, at days end, to count my blessings and tally up how many things were a bit better today than yesterday, with my horses, dogs, saddle partners and life.

It seemed the natural thing to do, once I left cowboying for the outfits full time, to hang my shingle out doing workshops.  To teach the skills we learned going places on horses, and making a living as a cowboy.  So, today, my wife and saddle partner, Possum, and I are making a business of that.  We have two more horsemanship/stockmanship workshops coming up this summer in the valley, at Seven Half Diamond Ranch. 

There’s always a horse, and a person, who could use a hand.

cowboyNow, I can pass on these skills to whomever may be interested in working with horses and cattle.  There’s always a horse, and a person, who could use a hand.  And I really enjoy passing on knowledge to our youth, who, during their impressionable years, grow and gain knowledge the most. That is what they really desire.

Ultimately, after years of freedom and adventure, going places horseback, I had a few good stories to tell, and my wife pushed me to write them down.  As a result, we are looking at publishing our first book later this year.  It will be stories of life horseback, mostly situated in this valley of ours.

Many great adventures

The horse has brought me to many great adventures, and contact with a lot of good people.  The horse will do this for others as well. As long as there’s these grasslands and cattle that need to be maintained, there will be men and women riding down a trail and listening to their spurs chiming in time to their horse’s stride.  I have been blessed to grow in this community, and have come to love this valley, and the people in it.

Thanks, Miles Kingdon! We look forward to your book!

Click here for more info on Miles’ workshops. “Miles Kingdon Horsemanship offers a wide range of clinics, camps and workshops.”

Miles Facebook Page

For more reading on the cowboy experience in the Nicola Valley, read Etelka’s blog on the Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo.

cowboy
 

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A Nicola Valley Perspective on Youth Entrepreneurship

A Nicola Valley Perspective on Youth Entrepreneurship

When we are young, we feel we can conquer the world. 

Not that long ago I was part of this vigorous demographic. Time flies eh! When we are young, we feel we can conquer the world but it’s not until we struggle accomplishing our own goals that we realize growing up may not be as easy as we thought. Let’s invest in our Youth (Youth Entrepreneurship). Give our Youth the opportunity to remember us because of the positive impact we had in their lives.

Entrepreneurship

From left to right: Carlos Olguin, Nathan Olguin, Alexander Olguin and Daniel Olguin

One morning I asked my 11 year old son what entrepreneurship meant to him?

We have different opinions for everything. Many times it depends where you are coming from and how life has treated you.  Entrepreneurship is no different; it might mean something different for each one of us. As an example, one morning I asked my 11 year old son what entrepreneurship meant to him? His answer was, “I know what the word means, but I keep forgetting. Entrepreneurship I think means like I heard it in the TV show Shark Tank. It was like learning to start a business and making your business. Kind of what you do at Community Futures helping people grow businesses”. 

If you had $50.00 dollars to start a business what kind of business would you start?

I was not expecting this answer so I had to ask a second question to my son. So Nathan, if you had $50.00 dollars to start a business, what kind of business would you start? This was his answer. “With $50.00 dollars I could start a lemonade stand and I could start selling lemonade. I would probably locate my lemonade stand in a populated area on a really hot day when people are rushing with their kids willing to pay 25 or 50 cents for an ice cold lemonade”. If we think a little bit about his answer, he not only thought about his target market, he also thought about the ideal location with the right foot traffic under the right weather condition to succeed in his business. Way to go Nathan!

What kind of programs and services are we offering to our Youth in our Community?

What are we doing to provide our Youth with the tools and resources they need to develop their entrepreneurial skills?

According to tradingeconomics.com “Youth Unemployment Rate in Canada remained unchanged at 11.10 percent in May from 11.10 percent in April of 2018. Youth Unemployment Rate in Canada averaged 14.04 percent from 1976 until 2018, reaching an all time high of 20.70 percent in October of 1982 and a record low of 10.30 percent in September of 2017”.

The option to invest in our Youth is no longer a choice but an essential need.

Given the high rates of Youth Unemployment in Canada, the option to invest in our Youth is no longer a choice but an essential need.  They are our future business owners that will represent the back bone of our local economy.

As mentioned by Will George, manager of Economic Development and Tourism for the City of Merritt “As a community we need to be open and eager to help assist Youth discover what entrepreneurship is all about. Starting a business is not just for adults but for anyone who has passion of starting their own business. Commencing at a young age helps Youth think about other opportunities besides just working at their typical jobs. Starting a business is not for everyone, but everyone should have an opportunity and resources available to them to make up their own mind on the matter.”

Entrepreneurship

Mark Nendick (PFN Coaching), Sarah Forsberg (Capital Cake Company), Travis Fehr (Breathe Bikes), Ashley Dearden (Sinfully Sugar’d), Preston Customs (Darren Preston).

Job creation is the opportunity to create local jobs for local people.

Part of my job at Community Futures is to help entrepreneurs start their own small businesses. Throughout the last eight years, I have helped numerous people start their own business. It is gratifying to see my clients succeed while running their own businesses, but I have also seen them struggling or breaking even especially for the first few months in business. 

Job creation is an important component within our community. It’s the opportunity to create local jobs for local people. There are some awesome programs that help create summer student positions such as the Summer Student Program. This program provides wage subsidies to employers to create employment for secondary and post-secondary students. I am all in favor of job creation, but I think we also need to incubate our local entrepreneurial talent.

Entrepreneurship

Merritt Youth Entrepreneurship Program 2018. From left to right: Manuel Olguin, Bryan Chavez, Sajjin Lali, Amrit Samra, Kara Wright, Julia Smith & Jacob Schultz.

Five young minds embracing lawn care, photography, web designing, and retail.

With this in mind, Community Futures Nicola Valley in partnership with the City of Merritt and the School District 58 this year launched the Merritt Youth Entrepreneurship Program.

This Youth Entrepreneurship initiative was offered to all Nicola Valley students in grades 8-12 who were looking for some extra cash this summer. This program not only provides up to $200.00 start-up funding but also provides business resources to support our students in their entrepreneurial path. 

 These five young minds will have the opportunity to run their summer business for the months of July and August. Four different industry sectors will be represented by these five entrepreneurs: lawn care, photography, web designing, and retail. These students will also have the opportunity to showcase their businesses at the next Provincial Community Futures Conference on September 13-15, 2018 here in Merritt, B.C.

Entrepreneurship

Photo courtesy of Junior Achievement

Junior Achievement has several programs such as Dream Big.

Junior Achievement has been working actively in our Community for the past years. They have several programs that include: A Business of Our Own, More Than Money, Dollars with Sense, Be Entrepreneurial, and Dream Big amongst other programs.

In 2016 I started working closely with Kara Wright the Program Coordinator for Junior Achievement office in Kamloops. We successfully delivered the “Be Entrepreneurial Program” to grade 9-12 students at Merritt Secondary School. While working on the Merritt Youth Entrepreneurship Program, Kara and I successfully delivered the business model canvas. This business model canvas was delivered to five successful students enrolled in the program. For those of you who may not know, a “business model canvas” is a business model all on one page. 

4-H Club in Canada.

A few years back, I remember reading about the 4-H Club in Canada. It’s great to know that this club is finally back in Merritt. In the near future, I will be blogging about the 4-H Club in the Nicola Valley. Stay tuned!

The lack of initiatives to support the Youth in my home-town discouraged me from starting my own business.

For those who do not know me, I grew up in a small town close to Mexico City. Thinking back in time, I wish I had such programs as all those mentioned in this blog. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial mindset, but lack of initiatives to support Youth in my home-town discouraged me from starting my own business. I am glad my children are raised in Canada where I can let them explore their entrepreneurial skills by shoveling snow or cutting the grass in my neighborhood without being concerned about their own safety.

We just might figure out a way to make the world a better place.

Entrepreneurship may be kids selling candies or home-made popcorn to their classmates at school, or having a lemonade stand on a sunny day. It’s Youth with the courage, creativity and drive to face the potential setbacks along the way of their entrepreneurial path. 

By supporting and recognizing what our local Youth Entrepreneurs are bringing to the table, we just might figure out a way to make the world a better place.

Supporting our Youth! What a great legacy to leave behind us. 

MOR

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Coffee House Music in Merritt, Canada

Coffee House Music in Merritt, Canada

Another Great Thing for Seniors to Do in the Nicola Valley

Coffee House Music – On to the Future

Remember the old underground Coffee House of the 60’s and 70’s? Come with me and enjoy all the nostalgic fun of that era minus the toke smoke and obscure poetry.

No sneaking around in dank, dark cellars either. This Coffee House is in the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame at 2025 Quilchena Avenue, smack in the heart of downtown Merritt! It’s a spacious well- lit venue with great acoustics and good lighting. Add live, mostly country, music, a mix of songs from earlier times, some blues, a bit of sing-along fun and of course, coffee. Welcome to the future of the 1960’s coffee house, Merritt style.

Coffee House

Coffee House Jam in Merritt, Canada

On June 23rd, we went to check it out. Not only did we have a fantastic time, we also met several old friends and made a few new ones. Imagine my surprise when I looked around the room to discover not only the expected seniors, but also a family with five (very well-behaved) little boys and a good mix of younger people. It seems that everyone loves coffee house music!

Coffee House Entertainment

Al Horne and his wife Denise hosted, and they entertained us royally! Everyone enjoyed their music. We seniors because we remembered most of the “oldies” they sang and could sing along. The kids caught on to the chorus quickly.

They especially loved the hand clapping and foot stomping bits.

I so love to watch Denise and Al perform. A sweetness shows between them as they peek at each other for cues or just flash a quick, encouraging grin back and forth. Their give and take banter always gets a laugh too. They offer us these naturally, warm, “feel good” moments without even realizing they are doing it! It’s obvious to everyone that they’re having as good a time as we are. Makes the coffee house atmosphere so friendly and personal.

Coffee House Feature Act – Bobby Garcia

Every coffee house needs a feature act and Bobby Garcia certainly delivers! In person he

Coffee House

Bobby Garcia

seems quiet, polite and a little shy, but on stage he sure can sing up a storm! Backed by Herb MacLellan, we were surprised and delighted to hear this young man sing the oldies that we grew up with, as well as some modern country. This talented entertainer not only writes a lot of his own songs, but sings them as well! He was nice enough to let me take his picture during the break. And as you can see, he’s a cutie!

Bobby has been a popular singer/songwriter in Merritt for some time. But did you know that he recently recorded an album in Nashville, which is  available online and here in Merritt? Nashville’s interest can only be a good sign! Best of luck to Merritt’s own Bobby Garcia!

Coffee House Entertainment – Robert Bertrand

Coffee House

Robert Bertrand

What fun we had with Robert Bertrand on stage. That truly was a trip down memory lane! I have to admit I’m pretty good at recognizing country songs as far back as the 1930’s. My dad used to sing them to me when I was a baby and they really stuck! Robert stumped me but good though when he took the old cowboy songs and blues back past that era. We all enjoyed the music but some of the older audience really got it! I wonder, did their daddies sing to them too?

If you like Kenny Rogers and Willie Nelson, you would certainly enjoy Robert. He sings like a bit of both of them, with a little gravel of experience in his voice. All those “Don’t love me honey or “I might do you wrong” lyrics are delivered with a twinkle in his eye and a wicked, knowing grin. He sure can get the crowd smiling and toe tapping! No wonder he is asked to play so often.

During the break he, too, was nice enough to let me take his picture. Doesn’t he look as if he would fit right into his songs?

Coffee House in the Hall of Fame

Al and Denise, and the Coffee House crew, host a monthly coffee house at the Hall of Fame here in Merritt. Featuring both new guests and repeat favorites, it isn’t just an entertaining evening, but a social event too. In this coffee house, visitors are welcomed, friendships renewed and new friendships formed.

If good friends and entertainment aren’t enough, there is always the Hall of Fame itself. The exhibits tie in nicely with the music and atmosphere and are worth exploring in themselves. Quite a few of the the exhibited stars are seniors. I was glad we arrived early so I could check out some of the costumes that I missed last time. Some of those women were so tiny! Hmm, maybe I should take up guitar and singing.

Coffee House Wind-up

What did this senior learn from doing an evening of coffee house music, Merritt style? This is one experience I will definitely repeat.

Do you enjoy coffee houses?

From your senior on the go,

Diane

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Merritt Summer Nights Market

Merritt Summer Nights Market

“People like to have a place to be able to shop unique items and congregate.”

Starting Friday July 6th, 2018

Small town summer nights markets…… if you haven’t experienced at least one, you should! StartingMerritt Summer Nights Market Friday July 6th, 2018 there will be more than ever to experience in the Nicola Valley. We want something new and exciting. Something to do on Friday nights. Merritt Summer Nights Market! A place to congregate and encourage business, and what better place than right down town Merritt?

An opportunity for local downtown and home businesses

There are a lot of small home businesses in Merritt, but not many platforms to sell their products. In the day and age of social media, it is easier than ever to get your business out there for free. But really, where else can you go to sell your products? Sure there is the odd craft fair. Maybe an event every so often like Canada Day in the Park, the Garlic Festival or the Fall Fair. But other than that, where do you go?

Merritt Summer Nights Market

Looking east down the stroll

The reality is, people like to have a place to be able to shop unique items and congregate. To take a little cash and maybe buy themselves something you can’t buy in a general store. Maybe it is just a garage sale antique, or something nostalgic from their childhood.

For me I like to find unique gifts for Birthday’s, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day etc. I like to find unique jewelry for myself. I love my “real” jewelry, but I am a lover of “junk jewelry” and hand made items. I like things that are different, often statement pieces. I often find it is the cheap earrings that I just happened to stumble upon on some crazy clearance that often are the ones people admire most!  

And there’s the food…

Then there is the smell of a Summer Night Market. You know the one- the fried onions, pulled pork,

Merritt Summer Nights Market

Will there be fresh berry pie?

donairs, hotdogs, and mini donuts. The smell of fried food we all know we shouldn’t eat, but secretly relish in enjoying.

We are inviting vendors for different food. And for now we know we have…home baked goods. Love home baked goods. The banana bread, zucchini loaf, cookies, pies and squares we all take home in two’s so we can eat one to ourselves, and serve the other to guests so they think we baked (or at least I do LOL).

Stroll down the middle of the road.

Merritt Summer Nights Market

Cars now…but wait!

There is something to be said about being able to stroll down the middle of a road. One that is otherwise occupied by cars. That feeling of seeing the road as something different than a path for cars. It is now a place to greet people, stop and have a chat. Seeing the businesses that line the sidewalks with their doors open letting the cool Merritt Summer Nights Market air in after the sweltering summer heat has eased off. I don’t know about you, but I always feel more prone to walking in to a business with the door wide open. Almost like they are inviting you to come in and browse without pressure. Somehow it seems friendlier, and I find it’s amazing how such a small gesture subconsciously makes you want to go inside.

 

Let’s get this going! Participate in the Merritt Summer Nights Market!

We are just starting out. We’ll see if we can attract all the amazing small businesses, nonprofit orgs, the delicious food vendors and music to make this a small town success in our town of Merritt. Join us in making this Friday night event a success!

I invite you, I encourage you, to come down to Quilchena Avenue and enjoy a Merritt Summer Night Market. Shop all the local businesses, come for the food, the fresh produce, and some great finds, but stay for the experience. The experience of the Nicola Valley!

See you there!

 

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Merritt Canada Art Walk 2018

Merritt Canada Art Walk 2018

“If you want to collect the beads for a bracelet, come early!”

Time to get out and see our local artists! July 3rd to July 31st.

We are excited to begin Art Walk 2018 in downtown Merritt! We want to show off the local art and culture. Our art walk this year has 19 artists Art Walk participating in several mediums.

  • painting on canvas
  • stone painting
  • tile painting
  • photography 
  • mixed media 
  • fabric art 
  • woodwork 
  • and pebble art! 

Seventeen businesses, services, and our Courthouse Arts Gallery are hosting the artists and supporting both the Chamber of Commerce and the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council.

In its sixth year, the Art Walk attracts community members and visitors alike. Our community is introduced to artists new to the local scene and well-known favorites. And some locals pop in to see businesses they haven’t visited yet.

Our visitors enjoy a walk around our downtown, seeing both sides-art and business.

Art Walks are everywhere!

One of the benefits of our Merritt Art Walk, is hearing the stories of other Art Walks elsewhere! From big to small, the opportunity to connect art to the workings of a town or city is a big attraction. Some of the people we meet are Art Walk buffs, and travel to different communities to take in the art scene.

There are communities with themes, like local landscapes. And contests for prizes, from the businesses for art pieces. And event hook ups like art auctions and dinners.

We love to visit Art Walks when we are visiting other towns, but our favorite is our own, in Merritt, Canada.

How about a Bead Bracelet incentive?

Art WalkIf you have heard, or read this in time, or if you participated locally last year, you know that 100 lucky people can buy a silver bracelet at the first stop at Community Futures on Voght, on the first day (or until they are gone). And at each of the locations they receive a bead, or charm, to add to the bracelet. When you are done they have a beautiful charm bracelet memento for the art walk.

I’ve seen all the 2018 beads and they are something! From the medical symbol (the caduceus) to a tiny cup and saucer, to a t shirt bead, Jeanine at Vision Quest has done a great job matching up beads to the businesses they are located in.

One, a rainbow bead, even symbolizes a town issue from several months ago, making the bracelet a topical one for 2018.

So, Who’s Matched Up?

Art Walk

Joan Jennings

1. Joan Jennings, a mixed media art quilter, is showing her new work at Community Futures. She loves to experiment with surface design variations, and try new things in her art form. Joan was inspired by her travels this year, and her art is colorful and lively!

2. Joel Reid, a prolific local artist, has his work in the office at the Civic Centre. He has a unique art style, with a graphic quality and signature of urban graffiti. He works in charcoal, acrylics, oils, and spray paint. Joel is also working on several community art pieces we hope will be on display soon.

3. Cindilla Trent, Pat Tombe, and Bev Veale are showing 3 kinds of art at the Courthouse Arts Gallery– fabric art, unique wooden bowl, and paintings respectively. Cindilla’s detailed and beautiful quilts are just one of her art forms. She also works with clay, mosaics, and beads (in the Gallery Shop). Pat Tombe creates unique wooden pieces- bowls, plates, and hollow forms. He adds embellishments such as carving, pyrography, dye, paint, and texturing. Our Bev Veale, painting in the valley for decades, and active for years in our arts community, has a summer collection of paintings and drawings on the Gallery Walls.

Despite the Odds

Art Walk

Wyatt Collins

4. Wyatt Collins, a 20-year old aspiring Nlaka’pamux artist, is at the Kekuli Cafe. Wyatt, despite having autism, is overcoming the odds and has discovered his unique style in Abstract Expressionism. He uses fluid form and drip painting techniques. This show includes some new pictograph work.

5. Glenn and Susan Parkinson, creators of glass art images, are at the Interior Savings Credit Union. They work in a variety of styles, including fractured glass mosaics, leaded stained glass, and fused glass.

6. Vicki Strom, a weaver, spinner, and potter, is displaying her creative garment weaving at the Community Policing Office. Vicki has studied the Sauri weaving art form in Japan, from the master Kenzo Jo, and brings the concept to her own pieces.

Connection with Nature

Art Walk

Natalie Rostad Desjarlais

7. Natalie Rostad-Desjarlais, a mixed media artist working with stone, natural pigments and canvas

painting, is at Earthwalker Spiritual Shop. Through her stone paintings and work, Natalie shows her connection with nature. She harvests and makes her own pigments from earth and stone, as well as using acrylics.

8. Fran McMurchy, a painter working primarily in watercolor, is at Espresso, Etc. Fran loves the feel of the watercolor and its soft color layers, but also uses acrylics with its bold and intense colors. She enjoys using both mediums.

9. Gale Simpson, a paint artist inspired on her walks and hikes. is at Lynda’s Cafe. Trees, birds, and animals fill her acrylic paintings. Gale, always interested in painting, began taking art classes when she retired.

10. Lori Desy and Jill Fitzer, with their popular pebble art, are at Black’s Pharmacy. They started making pictures for family and friends as gifts. Collecting their materials by hand. Jill and Lori spend hours lakeshores, river banks, and seaside beaches.

11. Renee Bauwens, a local painter using acrylics and watercolors, is at Spaner and Webb. Renee teaches art to children, initiating the Art Buds class at the Gallery. She also is creating digital paintings as home decor art to be sold internationally online.

Artists as Entrepreneurs

Art Walk

Pauline Ouellet

12. Pauline Ouellet, an artist working in oil, acrylic, colored ink and watercolor, is at Vision Quest. Her intimacy with Canadian landscapes evident in her work, Pauline has developed a passion for the mountains, valleys, and seascapes of British Columbia. She also makes hand painted jewelry.

13. Mordichai, musician, filmmaker, and artist, is at Breathe Bikes. Mordichai was the editorial cartoonist for the old Merritt News. Currently Mordichai enjoys multi -media expressions, including digital and oil painting, and things that fall in between.

14. Jean Kiegerl, an artist working with watercolor, acrylics and oils, is at Home Hardware. She finds an amazing array of colors in everyday objects. She says that educating her mind to see and then create that vision artistically is a never-ending cycle. Jean often gives classes for painters, and teaches drawing.

Capturing Journeys and Life Experiences

Art Walk

Faye Gustafson

15. Faye Gustafson, an experienced artist working in oil on canvas, is at Purity Feed. She paints people,

animals, and symbolic objects within their environment to capture their journeys and life experiences. Her goal is to expose the emotion and character that is daily life. Faye often teaches art to children and is giving a local painting summer camp at the Gallery.

16. Angelina Brooymans, a nature photographer, is at Save On Foods. Black and white images are her favorite medium, but she does color as well. Angelina also produces museum quality giclee prints, and helps other local artists by photographing and printing their art.

17. Diane Kiernan‘s work, creating beauty through painting, is at Nicola Valley Museum and Archives. Diane lived a creative life, from large murals to intricate tole painting, fabric art and jewelry making, gardening and decorating homes. Diane’s Art Walk show this year is curated by her daughter, Stephanie Kiernan.

Merritt Art Walk 2018

“I’m guided by my objective to leave parts of this world more loved, and more beautiful, and to leave a gentle footprint on precious Mother Earth”. Diane Kiernan

Art Walk

Diane Kiernan

We probably won’t be bringing a stylish red car like the one Diane is seen with here. Most Art Walkers put on their comfy shoes and head out with friends. Three of our locations are cafe’s, so there are even refreshments to buy along the way, while you are enjoying the art! Support our local artists, and businesses!

Come and join us on our Merritt Art Walk 2018!

And if you want to collect the beads for a bracelet, come early! Starts Tuesday, July 3rd.

 

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Things to Do for Seniors in Merritt

Things to Do for Seniors in Merritt

“I’m a senior on the go, never knowing what I’ll decide to do next.”

What an adventure! Starting a blog will be easy and fun, I thought. Right? Well, it’s not just about writing. It’s about things to do for seniors in Merritt!

Things To Do For Seniors In Merritt:

-the Seniors Spring dance

-the “new”  path along Voght Street

-a visit to the Community Garden behind the hospital

The Seniors Centre was not somewhere I had been before.  Honestly, I thought it would be a place where really old people sat around, played cards and gossiped.  Not so!!!  When I walked in, there were a number of women around tables decorating hats.  When I asked why they were decorating them they told me it was for the spring hat dance contest on Saturday night.  Now, I have to admit that I haven’t been to a Saturday night dance for umpteen years, so I decided I needed to go.

Seniors on the Go in Merritt

 

The Spring Hat Dance was a lot of fun

May 12/18     Two smiling, beautifully hatted ladies greeted me at the door and took my ticket.  Punch, both alcoholic and non, sat on a sideboard where we could help ourselves along with coffee and water. I enjoyed the three- piece band (music by Randy Chillihitzi) that played good old country dance music, a bit of rock n roll and tossed in a few modern tunes to boot. Since I grew up with these songs it was a trip down memory lane for me.  One thing for sure, we seniors really know how to dance and wow can some of us rock!

Seniors on the Go in Merritt

The food was tasty pot- luck appetizers.  Yumm.

Would you believe admission was only $10.00?

Will I go again?  You betcha!

For more information about what real seniors do and to find out what other fun is planned including:

  • swimming
  • shuffleboard
  • exercise
  • cribbage
  • carpet bowling
  • bridge
  • floor curling
  • horseshoes
  • pot luck suppers

Phone:  250-378-3763

Email:  msca2@telus.net

Have yourselves as much fun as I did.

 

Enjoy A Simple Walk – The Path

On the way up to the community garden I remembered reading an article in the Merritt Herald  about the new path that ran along the edge of Voght Street.  I was thinking it might be fun to walk there, particularly on a hot day.  It looked shady, cool and interesting- especially from the inside of the car as we flew by, always a quick way to check out new stuff.Seniors on the Go in Merritt

So here I am on the wide, paved, smooth path with greenery, trees and some recognizable plants at the edges of the pavement.  The sun is smiling down on me, a few fluffy white clouds are floating by and a cool breeze is blowing away the heat.  Life is good.  Some wild pea plants that grow back a little from the edge looked tempting so I confess to pulling a few shoots for a nibble.  They taste exactly like fresh peas if you get them very young and their little purple flowers are good too.  Just be absolutely sure you know what you’re eatin

If you make a mistake, the path starts across the street from the hospital.

Well!  The path went only about ½ a k and ends too near Mickey D’s for my own good.  Still, it is pretty and the peas were tasty.  Enjoy!

 

Fellow Seniors – Dig This! The Community Garden

Come with me today to visit Merritt’s community garden. It sits quietly behind the hospital in an alfalfa field, with parking on Reid to avoid crowding the hospital parking lot.

Seniors on the Go in Merritt

We are in the process of starting some new projects.  By the end of summer we will have:

  • a gazebo
  • a pollinator garden
  • a possible beehive
  • planters for the food bank and soup kitchen
  • a public area under the sign for people to pick a few samples

Most of the above are started already, the food bank and soup kitchen gardens are planted and our personal gardens are growing well.   I feel happy to see the tiny plants popping up out of the ground despite the cold, hot, rainy, dry weather we are getting.  Very unpredictable this year.

Visitors are always welcome

Anyone who happens to be working that day will be glad to show you around and tell you how we got started.  The part of the garden outside the fence is for public use so pick a few strawberries, snip some chamomile for tea or try the swiss chard.

The gazebo is a cool place to have lunch on a hot day, not only for the shade it provides but because there is usually a cool breeze too.  Please bring your own chairs and enjoy some peaceful down time.

By July, the height of the blooming season, the pollinator garden will be gorgeous.  Right now we are discussing which plants would give the best results and make the bees and other pollinators happy.

To protect our little plots we do request that visitors leave their pets outside the garden and thank you for  not smoking in the area.

If you would like more information or would like to join the community garden contact us at:

nicolavalleycommunitygardens@gmail.com

I’m a senior on the go, never knowing what I’ll decide to do next.  And with lots of things for seniors to do in Merritt, what would you like to do?