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Outdoor Berry Picking in Merritt BC

Picking Berries in the Nicola Valley, Spring, Summer and Fall 

Outdoor family fun while picking berries around Merritt BC

 

As a consequence of the Nicola Valley’s dry climate we have many  berries 

Outdoor Berry Picking in Merritt BC –  Celebrate this time of year with your family and head out on a wild berry picking adventure in Merritt BC. Harvesting wild berries can strengthen your connection to the land and it is a great opportunity to be active outside with family and friends. Not to mention how great those berry’s will taste, after all everything tastes so much better when you’ve harvested it with your own hands. First Nation traditional foods in Merritt and throughout the Nicola Valley consisted of berries like Saskatoon berries, huckleberries, choke cherries and soap berries. So many Canadian Berries! Outdoor berry picking around the Nicola Valley can make a bad day into a good day one berry at a time. 

“A picking here, a picking there, here a pick, there a pick, everywhere a pick-pick.” Berry quotes.

Outdoor Berry Picking Merritt BC.

Can you almost taste it? Photo by Tania Stewart.

Outdoor Berry Picking Merritt BC.

My favourite, raspberry! Photo Tania Stewart.

Strawberry’s along with Raspberry’s Make For Good Outdoor Berry Picking Merritt BC

Albeit summer is truly a time of picking fresh berries. Whether in your garden or in the wild. Eating faster than you pick,  hands stained with juice, and smiles of enjoyment. Hard to imagine, but you can enjoy the ancestors of our modern-day ruby red strawberries in our wild meadows, roadsides, woods and coastline. British Columbia has native strawberries throughout, just waiting for you to pick and enjoy their a burst of sweet flavour.  

Outdoor Berry Picking Around The Nicola Valley, Spring, Summer and Fall

https://curious.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/native-strawberries-wild-ancestors-of-our-delicious-cultivated-fruit/

Outdoor family fun time picking wild berries around Merritt BC 

You can find wild strawberries almost everywhere in our province except in Haida Gwaii (the Queen Charlotte Islands), though it is much more common in the interior than along the coast. Indeed almost any open habitat, except bogs, supports wild strawberries, but the most favoured habitat has to be the open roadside, where clearing and scraping have created an ideal growing environment.

https://curious.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/native-strawberries-wild-ancestors-of-our-delicious-cultivated-fruit/

Wild strawberries make excellent jam as well the leaves can be used for anti-diarrhea. but getting enough berries is a challenge.

Outdoor Berry Picking Around The Nicola Valley, Spring, Summer and Fall

Canned Jam. Photo Tania Stewart.

Outdoor Fun Time Berry Picking in Merritt BC.

Leaf form and texture are helpful in identifying native strawberries. Many teeth typically line the edge of strawberry leaflets. Wild strawberry leaflets are often bluish green and the terminal tooth of each leaflet is usually shorter (smaller) than or equal to adjacent teeth. Wood strawberry has a terminal tooth that is larger and longer than adjacent teeth. Wood strawberry leaflets tend to be a bit softer and more yellowish than wild strawberry leaflets.

If you like to pick berries. Then you’ll want to know how to identify a few of these tasty treats. Tania Stewart.

Red Current Berries.

Firstly Red Current Berries can easily be identified due to their bright translucent red. Secondly , they are sour but palatable, even more sour than black currant’s. Thirdly, plant’s are about waist high. They tend to be growing in swamps, moist coniferous forests and rocky mountain slopes. Bring your bug spray along with H2O on every berry picking adventure.

Flowering/Red/Black – The berries, flowers and leaves are all edible. The berries make a great sauce for duck especially when combined with oranges as a marmalade.

Outdoor Berry Picking Around The Nicola Valley, Spring, Summer and Fall

Red Current.. the blossoms are tasty too.

Wild Blueberry

Additionally, wild blueberries are smaller than the commercial berries, but very delicious. Wild blueberry can be confused with blue huckleberries, but both are edible. Throw some of these tasty berries into your salad. Blueberries are the king of antioxidant foods, low in calories but high in nutrients. May help protect against aging and cancer. It is hard to argue with the strength of the “Blueberry”.

Blueberries.

Not to mention 

Berries have been an important part of First Nations and Aboriginal culture in BC for thousands of years. They have been used for both food and medicine. As a food, wild berries are nutritious and delicious. They can be eaten out of hand, tossed into a salad, added to baked goods, or be turned into jam or jelly. Bannock slathered with wild blueberry jam! Can you taste it now.

Saskatoon Berries

Saskatoon berries.

Berries are wild

Wild berries thrive in many different climates throughout Canada Eh.  They’re packed with nutrients and powerful plant compounds. Though wild berries can be tart, they’re quite versatile and can be enjoyed in many ways. Wild huckleberries grow in mountainous regions, forests, bogs, and lake basins in Northwestern America and Western Canada. The berries are small and either red, blue, or black. Ripe huckleberries are fairly sweet with a little tartness.

What about Choke Cherries?

First Nation traditional foods in Merritt and throughout the Nicola Valley consisted of berries like Saskatoon berries, huckleberries, choke cherries and soap berries. Gerome Garcia.

Chokecherries I picked. Photo by Gerome Garcia

In Conclusion.

Come enjoy our sunshine and outdoor berry picking around Merritt BC. Celebrate this time of year with gathering up your family and head out on a wild berry picking adventure. Harvesting wild berries can strengthen your connection to the land and is a great opportunity to be active outside with family and friends. Not to mention how great those berry’s will taste, after all everything tastes so much better when you’ve harvested it with your own hands.  

When berry picking there are a few rules you should follow. Firstly, leave no trace behind. Secondly, do not pick if you do not identify the species of berry. There are berries which are not safe to eat. Know the difference. Lastly, bears like berries too. Always be bear aware when picking berries in the backcountry. 

Berry Picking in Merritt BC

Adventures and activities in British Columbia Canada

 

Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel & Adventure Guides

“Experience Community Program” (small and rural community authentic content marketing program) is a product of the EH? Tourism Marketing Group

Gardening in Merritt BC

Butchart Gardens Lookout!

Prepare for the Spring

Gardening in Merritt, BC, Canada can be very rewarding as you take a boring property to the heights of beauty. While the Butchart Gardens, just outside of Victoria, BC may be the gold standard for gardens you can make your property a thing to behold as well.  All it takes is some planning and you can be on your way.

Planning is Essential

I have to admit I have no formal training in gardening but as a homeowner for nearly fifty years I have learned a few things.  Besides, my wife has a gift for remembering plants, what they look like, when they bloom and how big they get,  all important aspects of planning a garden.

The best place to start is with a plan of your yard.  On a large sheet of graph paper lay out the dimensions of your yard and place the outline of your house on the sheet.  You then have to determine where you want your gardens beds to be.  I personally prefer garden beds that have some shape to them rather than just a rectangle.

 You also have to figure out where your hardscapes will go.  Is your lot sloped?  Do you need retaining walls or terraces?  What kind of walkways will you need to connect various spaces?  Place all these ideas on your plan.

Examples of Terraced Gardens

Terrace garden with logs

Terrace Garden-Tom Reynolds Photo

Terrace Concrete bloc

Terrace-Concrete Block Tom Reynolds Photo

Rock Wall

Rock Wall-Tom Reynolds Photo

Examples of Pathways

The following path connects the driveway to the front door.  You will notice that it is curved to add interest.

Pathway

Curved Path-Tom Reynolds Photo

When Gardening in Merritt BC What Plants Can You Use?

The first thing that you need to know is what gardening zone is appropriate for Merritt. According to the BC Interactive Plant Hardiness Zone Merritt is in Zone 5b.  This means that plants that are rated for this zone will be more successful than zones that are different.  You also need to know their drought tolerance as Merritt is considered semi arid.

Once you determined what plants will be suitable for your garden you need to make other considerations.  If you are renovating your current landscape you will probably have a good supply of plants already.  For example, you may already have trees that are well established and therefore you want to work with their current locations unless the tree is not healthy.  Trees provide shade and are a dramatic feature.  

Flowering Tree

Flowering Tree-Tom Reynolds Photo

Flowering shrubs are also great additions to any garden.  I particularly like a mock orange blossom shrub.  This is one of those cross over plants that could also be considered a tree. It grows quite large and provides a great privacy barrier and wind break.

Mock Orange

Mock Orange=Tom Reynolds Photo

Colour should be Your Goal when Gardening in Merritt BC

Perrenials Garden

Perennial Garden-Tom Reynolds photo

Perennial plants should be a part of everyone’s garden.  They are called perennials because they self propagate in place so you don’t have to renew them every year.  The downside is that they generally bloom for a short period during the growing season.  The good thing is that not all perennials bloom at the same time so with a littlie planning you can keep colour in your garden by selecting plants that bloom at different times.

Annuals have to be replaced every year but they have the advantage of  blooming all season long.  I think placing them between the perennials  provides constant colour.

Annuals

Annuals-Tom Reynolds photo

Colour can also be created by using different types of shrubs and perennials.  Some shrubs, like barberry come in many different colours.

Barberry Shrub

Barberry Shrub-Tom Reynolds Photo

“Colour in my garden is so up lifting”-Shirley Reynolds

Hostas are also a plant that comes in many different colourings.

Hostas

Hostas – Tom Reynolds Photo

Gardening in Merritt, BC doesn’t have to be all plants 

Plants aren’t the only things that you can use to make your garden interesting.  My wife likes things such as old chairs or head boards, while I  like things more on the tacky side such as garden gnomes and whirly-gigs’

Chair

Chair-Tom Reynolds photo

Rock Wall

Roc Wall-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Joy of Gardening Never Ends

If you take in these tips you can start your journey to a beautiful yard and a great hobby.  Have fun!

Gardening in Merritt BC

Plants for the Soul

 

Adventures and activities in British Columbia Canada

 

Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel & Adventure Guides

“Experience Community Program” (small and rural community authentic content marketing program) is a product of the EH? Tourism Marketing Group

Hair Cut During COVID-19

Hair Styling in Merritt BC Canada

What you need for a good hair cut in the Nicola Valley during COVID19

Hair styling during Covid-19 has been none existent in Merritt BC Canada.  Normally I can go to my stylist every six weeks.  I have been self isolating for twelve weeks so my locks have gotten a little too long for my liking.

Tom's Long Hair

The sides are just about over the ears

Tomscovid19hair

Hair styling during Covid-19

Merritt Hair Salon during Covid-19 is self administered

Hair dresser

Kari, she’s the best

I have a great hair stylist who always makes me feel good about my hair when I leave her shop.  I have been going to her for many years now and she has never let me down.  While I like my hair short (I’m lazy), my wife likes it longer.  Kari did a great job in satisfying us both.

She works for a beauty parlor in downtown Merritt called Kruse ‘N Style.  The owner has a unique set up as she not only provides the necessary beauty treatments she also sells clothes.  My co-worker used to tell me she was going to get her $150 hair cut.  I asked why they charged so much, she said the hair cut was an OK price but she couldn’t pass up on the clothing!

A reluctant volunteer?                                                                             

When my wife and I got married back in 1972 we were as poor as church mice, so we did many things to cut down on expenses.  We bought cheaper cuts of beef, upped our chicken and pork quantities and ate a lot of pasta.  At one time we switched to eggs to get our protein but alas, you can eat only so many omelettes and souffles.

experience merritt

 

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So in an effort to save money we decided my wife would cut my hair.  My wife is talented in many ways and I’m sure if YouTube existed back then I would of ended up with a great cut.  But unfortunately there was no YouTube and my hair style ended up being a little bit off.

Based on that experience I have been gun shy about having anyone work on my hair except a proper stylist.  However, as my hair got longer my wife again tried to get me to let her cut it.  Well that wasn’t going to happen.  However, my son decided he new what was best for dear old Dad and sat me on a chair out on the back lawn. (I guess we can’t afford a broom to sweep up the hair if we were inside.)

Merritt Hair Salon opens for business in my backyard during Covid-19

My son has this very fancy clipper that comes with various heads which allows him to control the length of the cut. 

For the short sides he chose a specific head and voila my sides are cut to a very short  even length.  Now he has to tackle the top which apparently has to be longer than the sides.  After a few minutes and adding some hair goop he declares that he is finished.  Here is the result.

 

Not happy

The finished product

Bring in the back up Hair Stylist

Merritt hair salon open for business

The “professional” arrives

As you probably guessed this is not the look I was going for.  We had to bring in some assistance, armed with her YouTube video my wife joins the fray.  Look at the way she is handling the scissors.  Looks really good.

Just Kidding

The job is finished and it doesn’t look anything like the electric socket style above.  In fact I can now say I have a modern up to date style.  I applaud my son and my wife for the great hair styling during Covid-19 but  must say that Kari will not be out of work.

just finished - merritt hair salon

Hair Styling During Covid-19-Finished Product

My Merritt Hair Salon during COVID-19

Nicola Valley hair cuts


Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides

COVID-19 IN MERRITT BC

HOW TO SELF ISOLATE IN STYLE

Fun Things To Do in Merritt To Break the Boredom
 

The COVID-19 in Merritt BC has citizens embracing the directives from our health authorities.  For my wife and myself this means self isolating ourselves. We are not quarantined, so we are able to go out for essential services such as groceries once a week or so.

GETTING THINGS DONE

  1. Converting CD’s

COVID-19 in Merritt BC

Gathering the materials

One of the nice things about self isolating during COVID-19 is that you now have time to tackle some jobs that you have been putting off because other things take you away from these tasks.  For example, I have wanted to convert my CD’s to digital and store them online. Ditto goes with my photos as well.

However, my procrastination has caused me some grief because technology has moved on and my computer does not have a CD drive.  To solve this problem I resurrected my old computer that did have the necessary drive to carry out this task.  This machine was extremely slow and was several releases of Windows 10 behind the times.  Despite these problems I persevered and the task was completed. 

2. Resurrecting the craft room 

We have a room downstairs that was originally going to be our craft room but overtime it became a storage room.  We had luggage, Christmas decorations, boxes of memorabilia and all kinds of other stuff which left no space to actually do any crafts.  This project is massive and is therefore still on going.

Emptying the storage room

Emptying the storage room

Putting the Craft Room back together

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.  Spring Cleaning in Merritt

What better time is there for tackling those cleaning exercises than when you can’t go anywhere.

Getting ‘er done

4.  Yard Work

Thatching the grass

The early Spring is a great time to get a jump on your gardening chores.  Things such as clearing out the winter die off, pruning, weeding and de-thatching.  The rewards will show within weeks.

Not all self isolation activities during COVID-19 is work!

1. Baking

This is one activity that is lots of fun and has great rewards when finished.  I myself am not a great baker but I can whip  up a great plate of Rice Krispy squares.  This time I added some crushed candy cane to add a little tasty addition to the recipe.

Rice Krispy Squares

Chili and Hamburger Soup

“I love food”-Shirley

My wife is a much better cook than I am.  She whipped up some of our favourite dishes, hamburger soup and Chili.

2.  Reading

Reading is one of my favourite things to do any time.  However with the COVID-19 in Merritt BC we have more time for reading.  I see one problem looming in the near future and that is the library is closed and so are the thrift stores that I get my reading supply from.  I guess I will have to step into the new age and get my books online.

Reading time

3.  Walking

Since we are not quarantined we can go out for walks.  There generally is no one  around but if we do meet someone we keep our separation of 2 metres.  It’s a great time for walking as Spring is beginning to show up everywhere.  We could use many of the trails around our house but it is tic season and so we are keeping away from these areas for now.

Out for a walk

4.  Games

Games are a big part of our life so it is fitting that we spend time doing this. We play card games and board games but not computer games.  The only downside is that we love to play games with our friends and that just doesn’t work during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Playing Canasta

This is serious

The Covid-19 in Merritt, BC is a serious matter.  There are things to remember  such as the pandemic will end, especially if we follow the advise of our National, Provincial and Community Governments.  There are many ways to keep in touch using such things as FACETIME and other equivalent programs or, even try,  the old fashion way by using the phone. 

COVID-19 Important Links

COVID 19 in Merritt BC

British Columbia COVID-19

Canada COVID-19

BE SAFE

COVID-19 IN MERRITT BC

Check out further information on ExperienceNicolaValley.com 

Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides

Petit Creek Lavender Farm

Petit – which is pronounced “petee” Creek, Merritt, BC, Canada

“… remember the girl who grew a whole big country dream because she loved the smell of her Grandmother’s suitcase.”

Petit Creek Lavender Farm isn’t just about farming. It is about friends, it is about family, it is about fun, and it is about “following your heart”.  When I asked Judy-Sue Suzuki why she started the Lavender Farm in the Nicola Valley she said,

“ I started the Lavender Farm because I love it, and it gives me wonderful memories of my Grandmother’s luggage. When she would visit it smelled of Lavender”. 

Dreams Of Petit Creek Lavender Farm

Judy -Sue had a dream and since 2010 Judy-Sue and her entire family, her parents, her husband, her children, and her grandchildren have all played a valuable role in the production of Lavender buds, sachets, honey, creams, soaps, wreaths, and so much more. Everyone  is happy to pitch in to help with the acres of Lavender, over 300 rose bushes, gardens, rock beds, small quaint sitting areas and sweet cozy cottages. Every single inch of this property is touched by love. 

Petit Creek Lavender Farm

Everyone loves the Petit Creek Lavender Farm. Through the years the flowers and family grew.

Judy-Sue offers classes to teach others how to use Lavender in many ways, the farm has provided more than one wedding couple an amazing place to share their vows and start their new life together. But it is not all about making things pretty at the Petit Creek Lavender Farm. It is about work, hard work, long days and the only reward Judy-Sue is guaranteed to get is knowing she has done her best for her family and her animals, and for her that is more than enough. There are over 3200 photos on the Petit Creek Lavender Farm Facebook Page, I chose this one to share on my blog. Why? Read on!

experiencemerritt

Praying or Thanking?

Praying or Thanking.

Nothing To Waste 

I looked at this photo and it said so much. At first I thought Judy-Sue was looking up and saying a prayer, but then I also thought she could be looking up and saying “Thank You”, for the blessings she has in her life.  24 hours a day Judy-Sue watches over her farm in Merritt, BC Canada, hundreds of animals and birds are in her care. She also raises sheep, bunnies, and goats for fibre which she hand dyes and makes wool.  Nothing is wasted on the Petit Creek Lavender Farm, no land is left bare and unused, food is grown and preserved for the long winter. Birds lay eggs and provide meat, even the tiniest of creatures are trusted in Judy-Sue’s care. 

Lavender Farm in Merritt BC

Baby Birds in the Nest

Lavender And Heaven

It is so much more than Lavender, everyone shares photos of Lavender, we all know what it looks like and smells like. We love Lavender of course, but spending the day at the lavender farm in Merritt, BC, Canada is so much more. It is an experience your heart will remember forever. When you pull up to the front gate you will know you have arrived at a small piece of Heaven.

Petit Creek Lavender Farm

Arriving at Heaven’s Gate

Merritt Country Dream

When you meet Judy-Sue Suzuki you will understand what I mean. You will see a beautiful women with a heart the size of her 54 acres of flowers, fruits, family, and friends. Her smile will stay with you always. When you think of the sweet Petit Creek Lavender Farm in Merritt, BC, Canada you will always remember the girl who grew a whole big country dream because she loved the smell of her Grandmother’s suitcase.

Merritt BC cottage

Cozy Cottage at Lavender Farm

CONTACT INFORMATION

Facebook Page

Sunflower Farm

Merritt BC Lavender Farm

Petit – which is pronounced “petee” Creek, Merritt, BC, Canada

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?