Tag Archive for: Culture & Traditions

Merritt BC Gardening

Canadian’s Love to Garden in the Nicola Valley

Gardening Tips in Merritt BC 

Gardening in Merritt BC is about finding the right combination of sunlight, fertile soil, and water to make your plants thrive. It’s also about fulfilling your passion for life and nature, so select plants wisely, especially ones you can love back. Use available community resources if you can. Give life to our Merritt BC Canada stores like they are to your garden. Garden local as they say, and in no time you’ll have a beautiful garden, filled with colors, and smells no matter what level of gardening experience you have.   

Gardening in Merritt BC Canada

Sell your produce at a local farmer’s market. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Make Gardening in Merritt BC Enjoyable

Therefore, a good rule of a green thumb, is to not be intimidated by the process of how to start a garden and care for it successfully. Although,  there is a lot of groundwork involved, it is not work. It is quality time outdoors for body and mind. Deciding to the garden is the easy part, but the biggest decision is going ahead with the project. The benefits of “reaping what you sow” will lift you to the highest level of calling yourself a “Master Gardener” 

Gardening in Merritt spectators

Invite friends over! Photo by Tania Stewart

Advice for Essential Gardening in Merritt 

Do not overthink it. Planting and deciding to start a garden is easy, the upkeep is the hard part, but the result is truly magical.   

Gardening Merritt BC

Gardening In the Nicola Valley. Photo by Tania Stewart

Gardening In the Nicola Valley

It’s all about the dirt! Picture by Tania Stewart

Garden Location in the Nicola Valley

Starting a garden is just like real estate. It’s all about the location. Knowing where to plant, what to plant, and most importantly when to seed is crucial. Start by paying attention to the sunlight, where is it in the morning and where it goes in the evening. Secondly, how to space your seeds and what should be near what? Should your carrots be neighbors with lettuce or spuds?  Moreover, know your zone. This means, that the higher the zone number, the warmer the climate. If a plant is for zone 4, and your garden is zone 2, that plant will not survive. Most edible plants, including many vegetables, herbs, and fruits, need at least 6 hours of sun to thrive.

 

A Local Tip: “Never plant if there is snow on Iron Mountain, or before May long weekend,” Tania Stewart.

 

Invest in Good Gardening Tools

I cannot state enough how the right tools make working in your garden a pleasure instead of a chore. Here is some basic gardening equipment to get you going. 

  • Garden hoe
  • Scuffle hoe
  • Dirt rake
  • Leaf rake
  • Garden Shovel or D handle Shovel
  • Hand tools
  • Rototiller

Water Source

The best gardening tip you’ll ever get is to plan your new garden near a water source. Make sure you can run a hose to your garden site, so you don’t have to lug water into it each time your plants get thirsty. Fact, the best way to tell if plants need watering is to push a finger an inch down into the soil (that’s about one knuckle deep). If it’s dry, it’s time to water.

Birds Merritt BC

Water well. Photo by Tania Stewart

Flowers in Merritt BC

Bee’s love flowers. Photo by Tania Stewart

Do Not Forget To Plant Flowers

Bees need flowers. Throughout the world, people have taken on the fight for the survival of our “Bees”.  Merritt BC Canada is no different. Every day more and more people are becoming more aware of how important these hard-working honey makers are to our survival. Not to mention, without bees, the availability and diversity of fresh produce would decline substantially, and human nutrition would likely suffer. For more information on this subject,  Bee/honey makers Experience in the Nicola Valley

Flowering plants in Nicola Valley

Some flowers block pests. Photo by Tania Stewart

Sunflowers and Bees

Sunflowers are essential for gardens. Photo by Tania stewart

It Is All In The Soil

What do you really know about your garden soil? If you can try to invest in nutrient-rich soil. Test your soil to see if it’s acidic, alkaline, or neutral PH. Is it rocky, sandy clay, or just a mix of all? Does your soil have a good amount of basic nutrients?  This is something my avid gardening father takes seriously. 

Gardening as a family

Watching the garden grow. Photo by Tania Stewart

Learn your frost dates

Planting too early (or late) in the season can spell disaster for your garden. You need to know the last average spring frost date for your area so you don’t accidentally kill plants by putting them out prematurely. It’s also good to know your first average fall frost date so that you get your plants harvested or moved indoors before fall frost damages them.  

Gardening plot in merritt bc

Tomato plants. Photo by Tania Stewart

Tomato plants in Merritt BC

Safe Tomato plants. Picture by Tania Stewart

 

One can not stress the importance of your “Planting Groundwork!” Take extra care in the beginning, and the result is what you reap.

 

The result.

Planting with Care

Once you have done the groundwork, next is planting. Do not hesitate to ask neighbors where to purchase your seeds. Albeit the rule of thumb when planting seeds is roughly 3 times deep as the size of the seed. Unless otherwise directed on the package. When transplanting, usually you will plant at the same depth as they were growing in the pot. Important to note, that tomatoes can be planted deeper.

Gardening and lawn care

Garden maintenance. Photo by Tania Stewart

Preparing a garden in BC Canada

Preparing your garden. Photo by Tania Stewart

 

Consider containers when gardening Merritt BC.

When space is at a premium, look to containers. You can grow many plants in pots, including vegetables, herbs, flowers, fruit trees, berries, and shrubs. Planting tomatoes can be tricky. Using potting containers is sometimes ideal for small spaces as well as maturing them enabling their survival. Strawberries can also thrive well in containers. 

 

Strawberry net. Photo by Tania Stewart

Warning!

Every garden, may want to cover and protect from winged bandits! Birds love the sweetness of the berry, covering them will protect your plants and keep deer from eating the flowers and destroying the growth. Most important this is a safe non-chemical deterrent to natural pests. If you spray it, you will eat it!

 

Bird Bandits. Photo by Tania Stewart

Mulch is Great

Weeds suck the life out of plants, mulch helps reduce these nasty veg killers. Apply a layer of mulch that’s 2 to 3 inches deep around each plant. Help reduce weeds by blocking out the sun and reduce moisture loss through evaporation, so you have to be waterless.  

 

Gardening Merritt BC.

Reap what you sow. Photo by Tania Stewart

Reaping mounds of veggies

Nurture your garden in the Nicola Valley

Take it from me, my father is the best fertilizer, he is the garden’s shadow. Most important is to be prepared to make time to tend to your plants. Depending on the size of your garden, time requirements may range from a few minutes of weeding, and watering, to a full-time day job. Watering your plants, as a rule of thumb need around one inch of water per week. 

 

Be proud of your endeavors. Picture by Tania Stewart

Potato salad?

 

Gardening Merritt BC.

Truly the first fruit is the Strawberry. Moreover, being the first and the sweetest. June welcomes this favorite berry.  British Columbia has native strawberries throughout, just waiting for you to pick and enjoy their a burst of sweet flavor.  

Starting with great soil, with regular water, will make your plants very happy. Bill Stewart.

 

berry picking merritt bc

Strawberry delight. Photo by Tania Stewart

pie, home made, strawberry custard

Completely homemade strawberry custard pie.

Bugs and Disease 

When gardening in the Nicola Valley beware of bugs. Moreover, bugs are more attracted to plants that are stressed or in some way deficient. If you have healthy, well-nourished plants, your pest problems should be minimal. Noteworthy, for most problems, there’s an organic solution. If you’re going through all the effort to grow your food, why would you want to put toxins on it? Overwatering is almost more harmful than underwatering. 

 

Happy times! Photo by Tania Stewart

What’s up! Photo Tania Stewart

In conclusion Gardening Merritt BC.

 Extra produce from your garden? Try selling produce at your local farmers’ market or donate to the food bank.

Gardening in Merritt BC Canada

Nicola Valley Gardens, Gardening, and Gardeners 

 

#merrittmatters

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Art Show in Merritt BC

Artist Shirley Reynolds

Home is Where the Art Is

Show Poster

Show Poster-Merritt Printing design

 

 

Colour Personified

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Art Show in Merritt BC will be held from May 5, 2022 to June 5, 2022 at the Nicola Valley Arts Centre.  

Artist Shirley Reynolds

Shirley Reynolds

Shirley Reynolds-Tom Reynolds Photo

Shirley Reynolds Art Show in Merritt

Shirley got her art career off to a great start when she was just a toddler.  Her dad had painted her bedroom but apparently it was a little too boring for her so she took an indelible pencil and drew on the wall.  As you can imagine Shirley’s father was not impressed but took the time to explain to her that drawing on the wall was not appropriate. After this discussion he repainted the offending wall. However, awhile later he came back to find that his artist daughter had “improved” the wall again. From that point on she was hooked with painting and has spent over six decades perfecting her craft.

Landscapes in the Art Show in Merritt BC

Many artists over the years tend to develop a signature style that is associated with them.  While her paintings have grown in complexity over the years she has not settled into a specific style.  Each painting is unique, just like the artist, herself.  When we go camping she loves to bring paints so she can capture the scenery where ever we may be.

Tree at the lake

Reynolds Photo

Harmon Lake

Harmon Lake-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Still lifes ” in the Art show in Merritt BC

As I said before, Shirley’s style is different for nearly every painting.  However, there is one aspect to her paintings that is consistent and that is the use of brilliant colours.  This definitely comes out when she does a “still life” as you can see in the examples below.

Flowers in Pot

Flowers in Pot-Tom Reynolds Photo

F

Flowers-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

Abstracts in the Art Show in Merritt BC

As I said earlier Shirley does not have just one style that identifies her work.  I believe her paintings come from her soul so you never know what you are going to get until she puts her inspiration to paper.  While she does a large part of her work on landscapes she has begun to dabble in abstracts.  However her use of colour flows through these as well.

Geometric abstract

Geometric Abstract-Tom Reynolds Photo

movement abstracts

Movement Abstracts-Tom Reynolds photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Impressionism Style is at the Art Show in Merritt, BC

Sometimes the inspiration for a subject matter requires that the objects are less defined but you get the sense of the painting.  Below are examples of Shirley using this style.

Fall Colours

Fall Colours-Tom Reynolds Photo

Fall Tree

Fall Tree-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Painting is not all she does

While her primary artistic endeavor is painting, her creativity is expressed  in almost everything she does. On several occasions she has set her hand to doing mosaics.  Apparently it is handy to save your broken cups and saucers because you never know when the need to do a mosaic will come. Also you may come across something that would make a great base for your project such as a ball.

Mosaic Globe

Mosaic Globe-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

 
Mosaic Tea Cups

Mosaic Tea Cups-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She still hasn’t finished  experimenting with different mediums as she and her daughter, Andrea are going to try their hand at pottery.  

Her artistic talents have also stirred her interest in interior decorating.  Along with the items she is displaying, she has upped the ambiance of the show by providing colourful props that support the art work.

Support the Art Show in Merritt BC

Supporting the art show is one way of ensuring that the arts will be alive and well in Merritt.  When you sign the register this provides evidence to the funding partners that the activity is valued by the community and tourists alike. While you are at the show you can browse the gift shop and help support local artists and the Arts Council.  It is also a good time to check out the programs that are offered.  

 

Art Show in Merritt BC

Artist Shirley Reynolds

Home is Where the Art Is

 

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Circle Tour from Merritt BC

Logan Lake Ashcroft Lac LeJeune

One of many road trips  starting from the Nicola Valley

When I decide to take a Circle Tour from Merritt BC I tend to head out when it is not the optimum time to visit these places.  Therefore I include items in the  blog that pertain to other times of the year so that you can see what it is like at any time of the year. That is what road trips are all about. 

Circle Tour from Merritt BC Starts In Logan Lake

The first part of our road trip from Merritt heads out Highway 8 to Mamette Lake Road (Hwy 97C). At anytime of the year the scenery is beautiful.  In the Spring you can see the beauty of the landscape coming alive with all the various shades of green.  The summer brings out the pastoral scenery with the cattle and horses out grazing and the loveliness of Mamette Lake.  The Fall showcases the magnificent colours of the trees and shrubs.

While all these seasons are great, the beauty of the area is stunning with the snow covered trees and pasture land.  As you travel along Mamette Lake Road (Hwy 97C) You will come to Left Field Cidery which produces one of the best apple ciders you can find.

 

Circle Tour from Merritt BC

Left Field Cidery-Tom Reynolds Photo

Ice Fishing on the Circle Tour from Merritt

Just a little way past Left Field Cidery you come upon Mamette Lake.  In the warmer months you can do the canoeing, kayaking and fishing thing but in winter the main activity is ice fishing.

Ice Fishing Mamette Lake

Ice Fishing Mamette Lake. Tom Reynolds Photo.

Logan Lake on the Circle Tour from Merritt

After leaving Mamette Lake you arrive at the intersection of Hwy 97C and Hwy 97D.  Turning right takes you to the District of Logan Lake.  The District is home to many of the miners who work at Highland Valley Copper.  Because of the mine, Logan Lake has amenities that exceed many other towns of their size.

Snowmobiling, cross country skiing, snow shoeing and ice fishing are favourite outdoor activities.  The community centre boasts an ice rink as well.

Logan Lake

Logan Lake Tom Reynolds Photo

The above photo is of frozen Logan Lake where  you can snowshoe or cross-country ski around the  lake.

Logan Lake by Design

Logan Lake’s claim to fame is that it was established to house the miners that worked at Highland Valley Copper.  The town was established in the early 1970’s and was designed from the ground up using the planning theories of the era.  The town centre is a plaza where cars are not allowed.  It is necessary to park in the lots on the outside of the village square and walk into the shops.

Logan Lake Town Centre

Logan Lake Town Centre-Tom Reynolds Photo

Other Activities on Circle Tour from Merritt

Logan Lake is packed with activities in the warmer months of the year.  For example, there are numerus trails for ATV’s.  In fact Logan Lakes promotes this use.  If that is not your cup of tea you can enjoy fishing, kayaking, canoeing, swimming and hiking.  If it is out doors Logan Lake has it.

 

The Circle Tour from Merritt Moves to Ashcroft

The next part of the circle tour from Merritt BC follows highway 97C to Ashcroft.   Along the way you pass the massive copper mine, Highland Valley Copper which is one of the largest open pit mines in North America. During the warm months you can see the huge slag lake which is an amazing shade of blue.

Highland Valley Copper Mine

Highland Valley Copper-Tom Reynolds Photo

Ashcroft is an inspiring community

When we arrived in Ashcroft it was lunch time so we sought out a place to have lunch and it the jackpot, Unitea café and lounge.  The food was fresh and delicious but more importantly the owner was a fountain of information about the community.  They have a strong arts community for both art and performing arts.  In fact the cafe is home to regular music concerts on their premises.

Ashcroft BC Cafe Coffee shop

Unitea-Tom Reynolds Photo

Ashcroft has an interesting museum and heritage park that attracts a lot of attention in the summer months’

Ashcroft BC Museum

Ashcroft museum-Tom Reynolds Photo

The Circle Tour from Merritt The Last Lap

Heading to Hwy 1 takes you past the turn off to Dessert Hills Ranch where you can get all sorts of locally grown vegetables and if hungry a Taco.  Once you reach the highway you want to go east towards Kamloops where you will come to Cache Creek, home of Ane’s Pizza and bakery which is home to the best fruit pie around. 

Continuing on towards Kamloops you will pass Savona which is on Kamloops Lake.  This is followed by the Tobiano Golf Course.  You will then reach the Coquihalla Highway that will take you back to Merritt BC Canada.

Lac Le Jeune the Final Stop

Lac Lejeune is more a summertime playground but right next to it is the Stake Lake Nordic Ski Park.  If you are into cross country skiing this is a great place for you.  The trails are well groomed and you can find trails for all ski levels.  Myself I love the green trails.

Circle Tour from Merritt BC

Stake Lake

When you leave this area you are just one half hour away from Merritt!

Circle Tour from Merritt BC

Logan Lake Ashcroft Lac LeJeune

One of many tours starting from the Nicola Valley

 

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“Experience Community Program” is a small and rural community authentic content marketing program.  Therefore it is a product of the EH? Canada Marketing Group.  Contact us today to bring this award winning community program to your region. 

BC Flood and Fire Relief

Hell or Highwater Concert Help-a-thon

Donate to help the Victims

BC Flood and Fire Relief – It has been awhile since the disastrous floods and fires in Southern BC.  At this point in time it seems that the plight of the people affected by these events have been forgotten. However there still is a significant need. Provincial disaster relief is slow in coming and in all likelihood will not be sufficient to cover all the costs incurred.  As well, many people who thought they were insured weren’t.

BC Fire and Floods a Reminder

They say a picture is worth a thousand words so I want to remind everyone what happened in Merritt, Lytton, Princeton, and Abbotsford. 

Merritt Flood Nov 2021

Merritt Flood Nov 2021  – Photo Courtesy of  Global News

Abbotsford Floods – Photo Courtesy of Lindsay Lockhart

Lytton Fire 2021

Lytton Fire 2021 – Photo Courtesy of CTV News

Recovery from these events is a long ways away but the people need your help now.

Hell or Highwater Concert Help-a-thon

The Hell or High Water concert/help-a-thon is a massive undertaking. The organizing  group has put together an amazing group of artists to entertain you and to encourage you to help out.  For the 12 hour period, starting on March 13, 2022 at 10:00AM there will be appearances of over 50 Artists and another 25 or so dignitaries. To see where you can tune in to watch the Hell or High Water Fundraiser please go to the website. You can follow along and donate on participating websites, social media and, maybe even, TV. 

The great thing about this concert is that the overhead has been kept as low as possible so your donation goes to the fire  and flood relief victims.  The organizers  are donating their time and expertise, the artists are donating their performances and all prizes have been donated.

You may want to know who is behind the fund raiser for fire and flood relief. The “Brothers of Tourism” at EH Canada Travel, Kenny Hess (Founder of Rockin’ River Music Festival), the Citxw Nlaka’pamux Assembly, Tourism Nicola Valley, Experience Nicola Valley and the Rotary Club of Merritt are all proud to step up and present the “Hell or High Water Fundraiser”.

Hell or Highwater Entertainers

Obviously with over 50 performers I won’t be covering them all but you can be sure that everyone is a top caliber performer and you will enjoy every minute of it.

The lineup includes musicians from all genres with a large tribute to Country and Western.  This is not surprising because this fire and flood relief concert originated from the Country Music Capital of Canada, Merritt BC.  For the full list of Artists you can go to www.hellorhighwater.ca .

Just to get you excited here is but a few people performing for you, George Canyon, Patricia Conroy, Big and Rich, Kenny Hess, Karen Lee Batten, David Gogo, Jackson Hollow, Lisa Brokop,  Duane Steele and Beverley Mahood.  If old time rock and roll is more your thing then you can stay tuned for Chilliwack or Loverboy.

Fire and Flood Relief Prizes

To encourage you to donate to the fire and flood relief concert, Hell or High Water, you can win a valuable prize.  When you donate you can pick the prize that you want to win. You will automatically get 3 chances at the draw and then you get to earn other chances at your draw.  So it is actually better to donate early so your chances of winning become a little bit better.

What can you win?  There are prizes for every taste from Canucks tickets, Rockin River Tickets or a stay at a beautiful cabin on Glimpse Lake near Merritt, BC.

I am an art fan and have to say there is an amazing painting by Canadian Artist, David Langevin that has a retail value of over $8,000. So this will not only be a great addition to your home but also be a great investment in one of Canada’s foremost artists.

Melting at Moraine

Melting at Moraine-David Langevin Art

The Flood and Fire Relief Victims Need Help!

The crisis is not over!  The victims of the fire and flood need your support. The Hell or High Water Concert help-a-thon is the perfect place to provide that support.  You are not only helping your neighbours but you’re a getting a great day of music.  Also you will be entertained plus have the chance to win a great prize.  You can also direct your donation to a specific community.  Let’s all get on board.

 

Flood and Fire Relief

Hell or Highwater Concert Help-a-thon

Donate to help the Victims

 

 

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“Experience Community Program” is a small and rural community authentic content marketing program.  Therefore it is a product of the EH? Canada Marketing Group.  Contact us today to bring this award winning community program to your region. 

 

Christmas Lights in Merritt BC

Organizing your Christmas Lights and Cheer

Enjoying the Holidays with Christmas Lights

This year putting up Christmas Lights in Merritt BC has extra meaning.  This summer we were faced with forest fires and some people were evacuated.  If that was not enough, the entire town of Merritt, British Columbia, Canada was evacuated due to extreme flooding.  In fact, over 350 homes were severely damaged.  Add to these problems, Covid-19 and you have a year to remember or not.

The nice thing about this time of year is that we have a chance to bring some cheer and light to our town.

Organizing Your Christmas Lights in Merritt BC

If you are like me, the worst part of putting up Christmas lights is actually taking them down.  Since I don’t like this job I just strip them down and throw them into a big bin.  Therefore, when it is time to put them up again I have to organize them.

If all the lights were the same colour this would not be a problem.  However, I have variations on a theme and thus I have to separate the strings into their individual colours.

I created my problem by buying my lights in different years.  My first purchase were some lights some describe as “warm” white.  That sounded good to me. However, they tended more to be a yellow than a white.  So the next year I purchased “cool” white.  These tended to be more blue than white. Xmas

The next time I went to the store my wife asked if we could get “clear” white.  Guess what?  These lights were actually white!

I, therefore, divided my lights into 3 piles.

Testing your Christmas Lights in Merritt BC

When I took my lights down last year they all worked but I know from past experience this may not be the case now. Somehow the gremlins find their way into the bin and break at least one string.   In my case two strings were 1/2 burnt out.  Since I am not an electrician and don’t have fancy testing gadgets I cut off the parts of the strings that didn’t work and put together the parts that worked. Notice that in this picture 1/2 the string is not on.

Testing L;ights

Testing Lights

Stringing Your Christmas Lights in Merritt BC

Most people who put up their lights put their efforts into decorating the front yard.  They generally follow the roof line, including any peaks.  Also, there is often lawn ornaments of deer, snowmen or Santa.

That is not the case in my house.  We have wall to wall windows that look out onto the backyard so it makes sense to me to put the majority of my effort there.  Also I am afraid of heights and ladders so you won’t find me decorating any areas that are up high.

 The backyard is terraced where the first level is defined by a row of lilac bushes centred by a choke cherry tree.  The second area is our new terraced garden that is on the north side of the house.  The final area is our deck that spans the back of the house.

The Results of Stringing the Christmas Lights in Merritt BC

I would like to say that everything went smoothly but unfortunately that was not the case.  I wrapped the lights around the branches of the lilacs and up into the choke cherry tree.  However, before I moved on I decided to test the installation and, lo and behold, the middle string did not light up. Canadian Tire did not have any of the long strings left so I headed over to Walmart where I found what I was looking for. The lights were labeled  “cool white” which was exactly what I needed.  After stringing the lights I tested them and found out that what Canadian Tire calls “cool white” is not the same as Walmart’s.

Despite the difference I decided to leave well enough alone and continued onto the other areas where I had success.  With the backyard complete I moved onto the front yard.

Deck Lighting

Deck lighting

Back Terrace lighting

Back Terrace Lighting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stringing Up the Christmas Lights in the Front Yard

As I said I have not put a lot of effort into the front yard.  We have a central flower bed that has a young sunburst locus tree in the centre and barberry bushes around the edges. So I have strung the Christmas lights on the tree and the bushes.

We also came across some kaleidoscope lights that you screw into your house out door lights to add some colour without a lot of work. 

Front Yard

Front Yard

With minimal work the front yard display is not bad.

 Christmas Lights in Merritt BC

 

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“Experience Community Program” is a small and rural community authentic content marketing program.  Therefore it is a product of the EH? Canada Marketing Group.  Contact us today to bring this award winning community program to your region. 

Homes in Merritt BC Canada

A House for Everyone In The Nicola Valley

The history of housing in Merritt in the Nicola Valley

Homes in Merritt BC Canada vary greatly and are impacted by the various stages of its development when non indigenous settlers arrived in the Nicola Valley in the last 1800s.  The primary focus was on ranching.  However, when the turn of the century arrived the discovery of coal brought an increase demand for housing.  As a result the village of Merritt was established in 1911.

In this blog you will see pictures of many styles of homes that have appeared in the Nicola Valle over the past 120 years or so.  None of the homes pictured are for sale but they will give you a good idea of what is available.

Small Homes in Merritt BC Canada

The discovery of coal resulted in the need for housing for the miners and their families.  As was the case in most mining towns this need was met by building small economical homes.  The downtown area of Merritt BC still has many of these homes today.  They are generally around 90 Square meters (800 sq ft). They are mostly 2 bedrooms and one bathroom.  As well, they are usually on a good size city lot.

 

Small Homes in Merritt BC Canada

Small Cottage #2-Tom Reynolds Photo

small cottage #1

Small Cottage #1-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Housing styles change in the Nicola Valley

Coal mining had a short period of activity from the turn of the 20th century to the 1950’s.  However the decline started in the 30’s.  While coal mining was fading out, forestry began to become more important.

Unfortunately there was a problem in the early going and the City of Merritt decided to bail out one of the mills and provided a significant loan.  This created a difficulty for the City as the United States put up tariffs on lumber that forced the mill into a bankruptcy that took the City with it.  Therefore, growth was slow during this period with the housing remaining small and simpler in design.

Bigger Homes were on the way

While forestry was becoming more important to the city during the 40’s, the actual boom started in 1958 when the Craigmont Mine opened in 1958 and was followed in 1962 by Highland Copper Mine (current mine name).  This period saw the opening of the “Bench” subdivision which sits above downtown on a hill.  At first the homes in Merritt BC Canada at this time were not fancy but were bigger than downtown.

 

Bench Homes in Merritt BC Canada

Bench Housing-Tom Reynolds Photo

The Coquihalla Highway Arrives

In the mid seventies growth was slow.  However, the announcement in the early eighties of a new highway connecting the lower mainland (Vancouver BC) to the interior generated a lot of excitement in the area beyond any previous period.  Expansion of subdivisions on the “Bench” were complemented with others in the south and east.

Bench Home

Bench Home-Tom Reynolds Photo

South Area homes in merritt bc canada

South Area Home-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homes in Merritt BC continues to grow

Not much happened after 1996 as the area’s growth stalled.  There was some subdivision activity in the early 2000’s but not much building took place.  However, by 2018, house prices in the Vancouver area was making it difficult for young families to afford a home. Also at that time it was a great opportunity for seniors to cash in and get affordable homes in Merritt BC as well.

This pressure from the lower mainland has created a huge demand which has spurred on a major building frenzy.  Unfortunately it also has driven prices up to a point where Merritt has lost most of its price advantage.  For example, the million dollar home was not known in this area, but now there are lots of them, particularly along the riverside.

This is the type of home that is being built now.

New Home

New Home-Tom Reynolds Photo

Riverside Home

Riverside home-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Nicola Valley Housing styles

This article has focused on the single family market but there are many other homes in Merritt BC for consideration such as condos, rental apartments, townhouses and mobile homes.  Perhaps another time I will discuss these options.

This blog is brought to you by Tourism Nicola Valley as part of their award winning program-Experience Nicola Valley.  

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Halloween in Merritt BC

Trick-or-Treating in The Nicola Valley

 

Celebrating Halloween Oct 31 in Merritt BC

Halloween in Merritt BC – Halloween is celebrated annually on October 31. While being one of the world’s oldest holidays. The community of Merritt additionally recognizes Halloween as one of the most important nights of the year for children including  many adults.  Although it’s derived from ancient festivals and religious rituals,  Halloween is still widely celebrated today in a number of countries around the globe. In countries such as Ireland, Canada and the United States. Celebrating “Halloween” in Merritt is a memorable experience. 

Halloween Merritt BC

Scary little people! Photo by Tania Stewart.

Merritt BC Halloween

Zombie Night! Photo Tania Stewart.

Ghoul Night is Halloween in Merritt BC

Growing up in Merritt B.C., truly was a child’s dream. To say nothing of the excitement with dressing up in costumes spending the night “Trick-Or-Treating”. Moreover ending the night with a bonfire while watching the fireworks is a great finish to a scary night.  After trick-or-treating, most people attend parties with neighbors and friends.  Furthermore many downtown businesses have treat’s for all the Goblins. What a great way to Experience Nicola Valley

Trick-or-Treat Merritt

Faceless ghouls! Photo by Tania Stewart

Merritt Halloween night

Is that you Batman? Photo by Tania Stewart

Hallows Night

Halloween is celebrated every year on the evening of October 31st. Together being a Celtic historical festival which also marked the division between the time of year when days are longer than nights and when nights are longer than days. Correspondingly believed to be the day when the border between the world of the dead and the world of the living narrows.  Interesting to note is the date of Halloween is almost in the middle of the time interval between the fall equinox and the winter solstice. 

Halloween Merritt B.C.

Scary things will knock at your door!

Take all the candy! Photo by Tania Stewart

Halloween Origin

Halloween evolved from the ancient Celtic holiday of Samhain. Over the centuries, Halloween transitioned from a pagan ritual to a day of parties, costumes, jack-o-lanterns and trick-or-treating for kids and adults.  In addition to dressing up as ghosts, demons and other malevolent creatures, children may perform antics in exchange for food and drink. 

Fun times in Merritt B.C

Carving time! Photo credit Tania Stewart

Get your Pumpkin and carve away. Even if you have to hire a Vampire with sharp teeth.

Vampires bring teeth! Picture by Tania Stewart.

Moreover “Spiders” and “Crows” are always welcome on Halloween night in Merritt B.C.

Nicola Valley Halloween

Spiders are always welcome! Photo credit Tania Stewart

Night for the crows. Halloween Photo credit Tania Stewart

Halloween Folklore 

In Ireland and Great Britain, the first jack-o’-lanterns were turnips or  beets.  Carved with demonic faces that are lit inside by a candle.  Then placed in a window or on the doorstep to scare Stingy Jack and other evil spirits. Irish and Scottish immigrants brought the custom to Canada and the United States. Adapting the jack-lantern to a North American native  vegetable,  the pumpkin. 

Friendly Ghoul. Photo Credit Tania Stewart

Such fun! Photo Credit Tania Stewart

Halloween Party Games in the Nicola Valley

At the parties, many games are played, including “snap-apple,” a game in which an apple on a string is tied to a doorframe or tree and players attempt to bite the hanging apple. In addition to bobbing for apples, parents often arrange treasure hunts, with candy or pastries as the “treasure.” Or try out “Halloween Snack Board” with Jennifer Schell. Children are also known to play tricks on their neighbors, such as “knock-a-dolly,” a prank in which children knock on the doors of their neighbors, but run away before the door is opened. Sounds very familiar. A little warning to all goblins, witches’, ghouls, and monsters. You may never know when a hand or zombie may pop out of a dark corner or behind a tree .

Halloween costumes

Halloween is truly for the young! Photo credit Tania Stewart

Halloween in Merritt B.C

Pumpkin carving competition has been won! Photo credit Tania Stewart

Halloween Safety

Firstly remain safe. Pair up with friends, and younger children with parents or guardians. Secondly stick to one side of the street, not running across the street to other houses. Thirdly, carry a flashlight or go out before it gets dark. Fourth, try to stick to areas you are familiar with. Wear appropriate clothing. Importantly let your parents check your candy haul. Just get out and “Trick-or-Treat.” when enjoying Halloween in Merritt BC Canada.

In Conclusion

Moreover just enjoy Halloween Night in Merritt BC or wherever you live. A little warning to all goblins, witches’, ghouls, and monsters.  It is the one night we can all dress up and be whatever we want with a lot of imagination and creation. I may just dress up as a spider this year. Boo!

Halloween in Merritt BC Canada

Nicola Valley Trick-or-Treating

 

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BUILDING A TERRACED GARDEN

TIPS FOR THE RESTORATION OF A GARDEN

PART 2 0F 2

 

In Part 1 of Building a Terraced Garden I had to leave you hanging as we ran out of blocks for our wall and couldn’t complete the project.  We had Home Hardware  scouring their network to see if they could find some.  With no luck there we checked Home Depot, Lowes and Rona where we struck out in all cases. As a last resort we also looked on Market Place, Craig’s list and Kijiji.

Where for art thou bricks?

We were extremely upset because we had only a partial wall and no way of completing it.  However, providence was on our side.  One day my wife, Shirley, was out in the front yard when a friend of hers came by with her new neighbour.  When Shirley mentioned our brick problem the new neighbour said her husband was taking down a brick wall and maybe we could use them.  It turns out they were exactly the same as the ones we were using and therefore we could get started again.

Resuming Building a Terraced Garden

First Rows

First Rows Photo Tom Reynolds

We got this far in Part 1 of Building a Terraced Garden.  You will remember that we dug our trench, while making sure it was level, and finally added the gravel base.  After that we then placed our first two rows of blocks and are ready for the next step.

Our garden will have a sprinkler system so we have to be sure that we have a system that will move excess water away so that the walls don’t get undermined.  The first step is to lay the drain fabric up the side of the wall and with enough fabric on the other side so that you can wrap it back over the pipe after you have added the drain rock.

Drainage

Pipe with drainage rock photo Tom Reynolds

The walls go up in building a terraced garden

Once the drainage is dealt with, the next step is to continue with adding the next rows of blocks.  The tricky part of our construction was the number of corners we had.  To handle this you need a cement cutting saw for doing the rough cuts (a Quick Cut Saw).  Also another  for doing the finer details.  You can rent the quick cut saw.  Fortunately our contractor, Ted, had the other saw.

Quick Cut Saw

Quick Cut Saw photo Tom Reynolds

The Blocks are finished

Shirley and I carried almost two hundred blocks for this phase which brought the restoring of the terraced garden to an end. The next task was to fill the terraces with great top soil.  We got ours from High Mountain Ventures.

Finished Wall

Finished Wall photo Tom Reynolds

The Final Phase of Building a Terraced Garden

In order to finish our project we had to take the plants from the ICU and replant them in our restored garden.  Once this was done we could place our inground sprinkler system so all the plants would receive  a drink.

Finished Project

Finished Project photo Tom Reynolds

Just as humans who come out of the hospital’s ICU don’t look great, neither did our plants.  H0wever with the nutritious soil and watering we expect the garden to show well soon.

What did we learn about building a terraced garden

Planning is important.  We had a vision but did not think it through because we only started with about 150 blocks and if we planned properly and recognize that going from 5 tiers to 2 would require higher walls and therefore more bricks we may have been able to avoid our dilemma of running out of blocks.

We didn’t notice until the project was complete that we would have to move one of the sprinklers because the new walls were too high and blocked the water stream.

Our project turned out well because we used a great contractor, Ted Cederland, for the important parts of the job.

 

BUILDING A TERRACED GARDEN

TIPS FOR THE RESTORATION OF A GARDEN

 

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Merritt Honey and Bees

Experience the Buzz in the Nicola Valley

The Nicola Valley  people and groups are standing up for bees and some are making honey

Merritt Honey and Bees – Throughout the world people have taken on the fight for the survival of our “Bees”. Merritt BC Canada is no different. Every day more and more people are becoming more aware of  how important these hard working honey makers are to our survival. Not to mention, without bees, the availability and diversity of fresh produce would decline substantially, and human nutrition would likely suffer.

Lots of Merritt Honey and Bees in the Valley

 I have heard the call of  the “Bumblebee”. To say nothing to how much I love “Bees” this is my tribute to these amazing creatures through my photo’s.  Experience the sweet Buzz in the Nicola Valley knowing I have tasted the honey in it all. Therefore, I can safely say that the Nicola Valley is home to some fine Apiaries.

Experience the Buzz in the Nicola Valley

Worker bees. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Experience the Honey in the Nicola Valley

Experience the Buzz in the Nicola Valley

Bees can see all colors except “Red”

Experience the Buzz in Merritt

Bees like coffee, keeps them awake.

 Going Bee Crazy Experience the Buzz in the Nicola Valley

Nicola Valley Gourmet  honey is produced by unsprayed bees on there ranchlands surrounding beautiful Merritt, B.C.  Additionally, with the combination of climate, abundance of flowers, soil and water resources the ranch is an ideal breeding ground for honey.   

Grimshire Apiary , located in the Nicola Valley,  is one of Merritt’s producers of raw unpasteurized honey products.  However, not only do they do honey, they also have beeswax candles for sale.   

Merritt honey makers.

Bees do not sleep, Photo by Tania Stewart.

Interesting fact:  The word “honeymoon” is derived from the ancient tradition of supplying a newlywed couple with a month’s supply of mead in order to ensure happiness and fertility. 

Experience the Buzz in the Nicola with bees

Bee are sensitive to smell. Photo by Tania Stewart.

“If the bee disappears from the surface of the Earth, man would have no more than four years left to live.” Albert Einstein 

Experience the Buzz in the Nicola with bees

They have a brain the size of a sesame. Photo by Tania Stewart.

“Honeybees are important pollinators for flowers, fruits, and vegetables. They live on stored honey and pollen all winter and cluster into a ball to conserve warmth. How cozy. While worker bees forage for food (pollen and nectar from flowers), build and protect the hive, clean, and circulate air by beating their wings.” National Geographic. 

Experience the Buzz in Merritt BC.

Bees have 5 eyes. Picture courtesy of Tania Stewart.

Experience the Buzz in the Nicola

They can solve basic math problems. Picture Tania Stewart.

Experience the Bee in the Nicola Valley 

What I have found through the years observing bees is that they have such amazing personalities. As a matter of fact, in the above pictures of this bee I found on my doorstep one day, it looked like this little guy was dying.  As I approached this little bee it raised it’s arm to warn me with a defensive move. However, I was most stunned when after a couple of seconds this bee got up and buzzed off. 

Experience the Buzz with bees

The sun helps bees navigate. Pic by Tania Stewart.

Without pollinators, the human race and all of Earth’s terrestrial ecosystems would not survive. 

Experience the Buzz in the Nicola with bees

Bees can remember your face. Pic by Tania Stewart.

Bees work up quite a thirst foraging and collecting nectar. Try filling a shallow bird bath or bowl with clean water,  arrange pebbles and stones inside so that they break the water’s surface. Stones will allow the bees to land and refresh themselves. Kind of like a Bees watering well. 

“One of the largest threats to bees is a lack of safe habitat where they can build homes and find a variety of nutritious food sources.” Queen Bee.

 Going Bee Crazy

The Queen lives for 5yrs. Photo by Tania Stewart.

“Synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, and neonicotinoids are harmful to bees, wreaking havoc on their sensitive systems. Avoid all.” Tania Stewart.

About 80% world plants have been pollinated. Photo by TS.

Support Local Beekeepers and Organizations

Local beekeepers work hard to nurture their bees. Buying locally-made honey and beeswax products helps the local environment. Plus, local honey is not only delicious, it is made from local flora. Basically you are tasting your own flowers. Notably, this is said to also help with seasonal allergies!

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A single bee will produce only about 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime. Pic by Tania Stewart.

Researchers have discovered that bumble bees are disappearing at rates “consistent with a mass extinction”.

“If declines continue at this pace, many of these species could vanish forever within a few decades,” Peter Soroye warned.

 

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Bees are taught by elders in the hive how to make honey.

Save our Bees

One of the main causes to the endangerment of our bees is their habitat loss. Death of bees is then followed closely by  invasive species, and natural disasters. Recently, there has been a worldwide call for everyone to get their “Flower Power On” in support of the bee.

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The practice of beekeeping dates back at least 4,500 yrs.

Interesting Fact: Bees are not born knowing how to produce honey. The elder bees in the hive teach the young at bee school.

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During a single collection trip, a honey bee will visit anywhere from 50 to 100 flowers.

How can you help 

Plant flowers and trees, go chemical free, create bee baths and homes for native bees. With the exception of honeybees, most bees are solitary creatures. In light of this you can provide a safe haven for them with a small plot of land in your garden. Provide “Bee condos”, small tube “apartments”  which allow species like mason bees to take up residence.

Bee Condo.

Bee watering station.

In a Bee World

There is a mass global awareness with people becoming more aware of the dangers bees are facing. Education and home scientists taking on the duty to help save these essential pollinators are leading the charge. Little things make a difference too like planting flowers, trees, water stations or even building mini bee condo’s.

The first step to their survival is awareness, and understanding how crucial they are to our own exitance.  Without our pollinators this blue planet we will be at a loss. 

Merritt’s’  Apiaries

Nicola Valley Honey. 1-(250)378-5208

Miller’s Farm active apiary and have farm fresh honey year round. (250) 315-1012
 
Grimshire Apiary. Producer of raw unpasteurized honey products. (250) 378-9703, 

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Maralee Mason – Comfort Through Trials – Even So 

Book Review of “Even So” by Local Author 

This book comes along side you in the messy, in the hard, it offers a comfort through trials that only someone whos “been there” and “gets it” can offer…

 Maralee Mason is quoted as saying, “Life for us was so difficult. It didn’t often make sense. It seemed so pointless and meaningless. Part of me didn’t want any part of our lives to be wasted. I needed it to not all be for nothing. I needed it to mean something. So I guess that’s what this book is, it is the meaning, the beauty that came out of the mess. Because if sharing our pain could help someone through theirs, then I knew that I had to do it.”

Canadian Female Author - Maralee Mason

Meet Maralee! Photo Credit: Maralee Mason

Meet Author Maralee Mason

Comfort through trials is something we all seek. I would love for you to get to know this local British Columbia author. I have had the privilege to get to know Maralee. And I am so excited to share her story here, in this space, for all of you. As a young girl, Maralee’s life was turned upside down with the mention of 3 devastating words ” I have Cancer”. Through all of her hardships growing up, she is still standing. Sharing her story so that maybe others could take courage and find comfort through trials if they are struggling in a season of life. I am so thankful I had the opportunity to meet Maralee along with her husband James. They are a delightful, witty, happy couple. When Maralee reached out to me about reading her book. I said yes instantly. Just knowing her, and everything she has gone through. It was enough to have me hooked. Lets jump right into her interview! 

Maralee Mason, can you give us a brief into about yourself? Such as where you work, volunteer, family life and hobbies?

I am 35 years old, I grew up in the Kootenays, Castlegar BC, to be exact. I have been with my husband for 14 years. Together we have 3 beautiful kids who are, 13, 10 and 7 years old. Currently, I am the Program Director at the Kamloops Pregnancy Care Centre. I am also a certified Life Coach and Peer Support Worker. I enjoy writing, stories, poems, songs. Music is one of my favorite things, I love to sing while my husband plays his guitar.

even so book and author maralee mason

James and Maralee live in Barriere, B.C. and have 3 beautiful children together. Photo Credit: Maralee Mason

Where do you live? What’s your favorite thing about your current residence? And have you always lived here?

I currently live in Barriere and have lived there for about 8 years. My favorite thing about living here is the close, wonderful and friendly community!

What is your favorite thing to do in your town or city?

As a family we love to attend the Annual North Thompson Fall Fair Rodeo.

 What do you find most beautiful about your town of city?

The beautiful rivers and lakes that are close by!

 Have you heard of Experience Nicola Valley?

Just a little bit

What prompted Maralee Mason to write such a personal and compelling book about your life?

My dad always talked about wanting to write a book about our life; the good, the bad, the struggles and the victories, the hurt and the lessons. He also wanted to see my moms journal entries typed up as well. So I thought it would make a nice Christmas present, if I wrote it myself and included my mother’s journal writings. I spent 1 year writing my families story, then I had it printed and bound. They loved it and encouraged me to work on it more and publish it myself.

Life for us was so difficult. It didn’t often make sense. It seemed so pointless and meaningless. Part of me didn’t want any part of our lives to be wasted. I needed it to not all be for nothing. I needed it to mean something. So I guess that’s what this book is, it is the meaning, the beauty that came out of the mess. Because if sharing our pain could help someone through theirs, then I knew that I had to do it.

You talk a lot about your Father and Brothers in your novel, are you all still in each others lives now?

Unfortunately I am no longer in contact with my older brother, for personal reasons. But I am still very close with my brother Matthew and my dad. They still live in the Kootenays and are happy and living their life well. They are such a huge part of my life and a big reason I was even able to write this book.

Can you provide me with a description of your book?

“Even So” is a story about a woman’s journey through cancer and the struggle of losing her-self in so many ways. And her families struggle to walk along side her on her journey. Life never seemed to be kind to the Nielsen family. We sought comfort through trials. They battled many things over the span of thirteen years. Depression, suicide attempts, accidents, deaths of loved ones, and the biggest one of all, cancer; they walked through the hottest flames and crawled through the longest valleys, but even so. Through stories, scriptures, songs, and letters from the mother’s journals, this book tells the story of a family’s struggle to cope with heartbreak and pain and of an amazing woman who deeply loved God with every breath until to her last.

british columbia author maralee mason

Maralee with her Mother. Photo Credit: Maralee Mason.

How long did it take you to write your book? Do you write anywhere else? Have a blog or have more written material we can check of yours?

It took me 10 years to finish the book. It was often difficult to return to certain memories, so I often took breaks and take it slow. While working on the book I faced many obstacles that got in the way and slowed my process. For a while I was embarrassed it took me so long. But I now can see that it would be what it today if I finished sooner. Some of my favorite Chapters were written in the last 2 years.

I write weekly on the Even So Facebook Page and on my Instagram. I share my thoughts on various topics, like, pain, struggle, fear, music, values, friendship, love, grief, family etc…

You are a busy mama, what did it actually look like in your days to sit and write? Did you wake up early? Stay up late… how did you actually do this?

Well, I could not have done it without my husband. His help with the kids really made me writing this book possible. I wrote on weekends and my days off.

Do you have any advice for new authors looking to write a book?

Give yourself grace and permission to go as slow as you need.
Find someone you trust to read it and give you honest feedback and advice.

What was the biggest thing you learned over the course of making this book actually come to paper?

-I learned how important pain is. Writing the book helped me face mine. The more I faced it, the more I let myself feel it the more I began to heal.
-How powerful and important someone’s story can be.
-Growing up, in the midst of all the hurt and struggle I often found myself wishing God had given me a different life, a better story. But as I wrote, I started to realize how important beautiful my story was. And that this is my story for a reason. If I was meant to live a different one than I would have.

maralee mason

Photo Credit: Maralee Mason

 If your Mother was here today what are some things you wish you could talk to her about?

Everything.

 What do you hope telling your unique story will accomplish?

I want my story to help others embrace theirs. The possibility that maybe reading about my family facing their pain will help them find the strength to face theirs.
When we went through my mom’s sickness and all that came along with it, we often felt all alone, like no one understood, so our hope is that this book would help other know they are not alone. To try to give comfort through trials. 

family maralee mason

Photo Credit: Maralee Mason

Who are your role models?

My mom, my dad, Brene Brown

 If you could go back in time and prepare yourself for what you were about to endure 1) would you? and 2) What would you say to yourself?

I am not sure anything could prepare me for what I went through. It wouldn’t make me hurt any less, it wouldn’t make loosing my mom easier. So I guess my answer is no. But if I could go back and tell myself something, I would tell myself, to face the pain and to let myself feel it, to not run away or ignore it, to not numb it. I would warn myself that in doing so I will create more hurt for myself and make it even harder to move forward and heal.

Do you have a favorite quote, verse, mantra, creed that you live by?

“ Above all else guard your heart for everything you do flows from it” -Proverbs 4:23
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” -1 Corinthians 13:13
“Willing to fall because I have learned how to rise” -Brene Brown
“If you numb the dark then you numb the light” -Brene Brown

author of cancer god and faith maralee mason

Maralee Mason. Photo Credit: Maralee Mason

Feel free to connect with Maralee on Social here is a few links of where you can find her. 

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/Even-So-106359277702542/

Instagram: maralee.evenso

If you would like to purchase a copy directly you can click on this link

Every once in a while you read a book a little out of your ordinary. One that maybe you wouldn’t normal go and grab off the bookshelf. Even So was that book for me.  I think this is a crucial, comforting,  book for any caregiver of someone who is battling terminal disease. This book comes along side you in the messy, in the hard, it offers a comfort through trials that only someone whos “been there” and “gets it” can offer…

 

“Growing up, in the midst of all the hurt and struggle I often found myself wishing God had given me a different life, a better story. But as I wrote, I started to realize how important beautiful my story was. And that this is my story for a reason, If I was meant to live a different one than I would have.” – Maralee Mason

 

 

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