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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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“Experience Community Program” is a small and rural community authentic content marketing program. It is a product of the EH? Canada Marketing Group

Arts in Merritt on the Move

New Location for the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council

The Arts Will Grow

After 15 years at the Old Courthouse Gallery on Nicola Ave (Hwy8), the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council and the Old Court House Gallery have the arts on the move in Merritt, BC.  In 2005 the Old Courthouse was purchased by a local doctor  with the idea of  turning it into a cultural space,  which would provide a home to the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council, a music society and a dance studio.  However the Council has decided it is time to move on.

Old Courthouse Gallery

Old Courthouse Gallery – Bev Veale Painting

The Old Court House Gallery

The Old Court House was a major step forward for the Arts Council because for many years they had no permanent home.  At this time,  their major project was the Performing Arts Series which brought many great musical concerts to town. The visual arts were handled by the Nicola Valley Visual Artists where Community art displays were generally relegated to their annual Art Show which was held at the Merritt Civic Centre. It was therefore, not necessary to have a permanent home Fortunately the Courthouse allowed the Community Arts Council to have a bigger presence in the community.  For example, the current Arts Gallery Director, Jano Howarth gives a summary of the many activities carried out at this venue.

Arts in Merritt BC on the Move

The Courthouse building was sold and so that made the future use of the building uncertain. Consequently the Arts Council determined that the time was right to investigate a new location. Ultimately they were looking for a space that had high visibility, in the downtown core and large enough to provide gallery space, program space and an artisan shop.  As a result their search led them to the Jackson Building (for the old timers, the Post building for us newbies) at the corner of Voght and Nicola. 

Arts in Merritt BC

Arts on the Move – New Home of Nicola Valley Community Arts Council

The New Home Fits the Bill for Arts in Merritt

Location was one of the primary considerations in the move.  As such this makes  the building on the corner of the main

entrance to downtown at the corner of Voght and Nicola, the perfect location.

Gallery Space, Program Space and an Artisan Shop

The New Gallery

The new gallery is bright and airy and therefore is a great space for showing  off the Artists’ work.

The New Gallery for arts in merritt bc

The new Gallery

 

Program Space

Space for programs was important as this is an area that the Council wants to expand on.  Currently the picture shows the size of the room that will be used for programs but does not reflect the current condition of the space as this was taken before the move was complete.  However,  you can see that there is ample space.

New Activity Room

New Activity Room

Artisan Shop

The Artisan Shop has benefited from the new location.  While in the Old Courthouse it was tucked away in a back room and was out of site, in the new space it is front and centre and therefore, has more space to display the contributions of over 20 Nicola Valley artisans and crafters.

Artisan Shop for arts in merritt bc

Artisan Shop

Therefore the new location looks like it will be a great success for the community at large and in particular our local network of artists.

Arts on the Move – The First Show

Consequently, the opening show in the new space features Jean Kiegerl and Twin Willows Glass Arts.

Meet Jean Kiegerl

Jean Kiegerl

Because of  her leadership and with a strong group of volunteers the Arts Council has flourished. Currently, her legacy is  being carried on by the new Arts Council president, Mischelle Pierce.

 Jean is also a family friend, as  my wife and her spend many hours together painting and collaborating.  As a result, I like her work so much I have one of her originals hanging in my hall.

Quiilchena Falls-Jean Kiegerl Painting

Quilchena Falls – Jean Kiegerl Painting

 

Jean has produced work in water colours, acrylics and now oils which she prefers.

“I love the vibrant colours you can get with oil paints”—Jean Kiegerl

Clearly this can be seen in her painting of the red sports car that is on the poster for the show.

Red Car

Red Car-Jean Kiegerl Painting

Twin Willows Glass Arts

Glen and Susan Parkinson are the creative minds behind Twin Willows Glass Arts. They have been producing great work out of their studio for more than eight years.  Incidentally they work in a variety of styles which includes, leaded stained glass, fractured glass on glass mosaics and fused glass.

Panda-Twin Willows Glass Arts

Panda-Twin Willows Glass Arts

Arts on the Move in Merritt, BC will be a Success!

Lastly, with this new location, a heightened enthusiasm by the volunteers and with a high visibility location the future looks bright.

Old Courthouse Gallery Contact Info

Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

2051 Voght St, Merritt, BC

New Hours Wednesday to Saturday

12 noon to 6 pm

Sunday 12-4pm

(beginning Oct 21st)

nicolavaleyartsgallery@gmail.com

Phone 250-315-3437

Or text 250-315-3437

 

Arts in Merritt BC

Nicola Valley Art Gallery is Born

 

Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel & Adventure Guides

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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

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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

merritt centennials

MERRITT CENTENNIALS

LONGEST CONTINUOUSLY RUN FRANCHISE IN THE BCHL

THE CENTENNIALS ARE IMPORTANT TO MERRITT

 

Merritt Centennials: Like many small towns in Canada, hockey is a big deal in Merritt, BC, Canada during the winter.  We have a strong minor hockey system but the crowning glory of our town is the Merritt Centennials Hockey Cub.  In 1973 Pooley Brothers Construction formed a group that purchased the White Rock  Centennials and moved them to Merritt.

“It is simply amazing that this level of  hockey exists in Merritt”  Steve from Vancouver!

A long Tradition Begins

The team has gone through several different types of ownership groups, from private to not-for-profit societies.  Every time it seemed like the club would fold a white knight would appear and save the day.  The Pooley Group ran the club until the 1980-81 season when ownership transferred to a non profit community group.  During the Pooley years the club had some great success.

merritt centennials

Ownership Changes

With the financial struggles the club changed ownership and a group that included Merritt’s own Mr Hockey, Brian Barrett, took over the reins and the club was again in private ownership for the 86-87  season,  Ownership was consolidated for the 89-90 with Brian being a big part of the group.  In 94-95 the Sanders family and others took over the club.  By the 98-99 season the club changed hands again with Frank Biller (Erin Mortgage Corporation) being in charge. This was short lived but then our most famous owner, Tiger Williams, formerly of the Vancouver Canucks stepped in.  And finally, ownership returned to a public entity for the 00-01 season and has remained under this current format for the past 20 Seasons.

The Struggles

The population base for the club is approximately 15,000 people, of which 10,000 are adults.  In order for the club to succeed they need to sell 500 season tickets and have 275 walk ups each game. We need 7.5% of our eligible population to participate.  In contrast the Vancouver Canucks only need .5%.  We therefore need 15 times more of our population to participate.  

Our small population also means our business base is not as big as larger centres so this source of funds is limited.  Having said that, the businesses that we do have go above and beyond with their support !

How have the Merritt Centennials survived

In the early years it wasn’t too difficult.  The losses were not too severe, therefore, the owners would kick in the shortfall and things would continue on.  But overtime the operational budgets grew and the losses grew to such an extent that owners could not justify this type of subsidy.

Inside the Arena-Julie Pollard Photo

In the 2000-2001 season a Board of Directors was put in place to guide the team financially.  This was an amazing group who put their heart and soul into this effort.  In 2003, given the expertise of the board, they decided to build a home on Nicola Lake and sell it for a profit. At the time the real estate market was hot and it looked like a large profit could be made.  Unfortunately, the boom did not last and in the end the project lost money.

 

The financial difficulties continued until a new board was elected   This group was made up of people associated with the forest industry.  They borrowed money from some of their members and were able to secure a community forest license which has helped keep the team afloat.

The new reality for the Merritt Centennials

For the Club the forest license has been great but it is not a forever thing, as such, the club needs to find other sources of revenue.  This is where you, the reader, comes in.  The Cents have an internet 50/50 draw that you can participate in.

You can get in on the action because each ticket only costs $2.00 to play.  With your purchase, that becomes your number and it stays in the contest even if you don’t renew it.  If you don’t renew it your number could still be drawn but you won’t get your share of the pot.  The pot as of January 6, 2020 is approximately $3400 of which your share would be $1700.  The draw is every Tuesday.

Currently the split between active tickets and those that have not been renewed is about 50%.  That means the pot has a very good chance to grow.  So if you want to take a whirl at this fun game you need to go to merrittcentennials.com and follow the links.

merritt centennials

Click logo to play

Contact Information

Merritt Centennials Junior A Hockey Club
PO Box 1730
Merritt BC V1K 1B8
Phone: (250) 378-3604

Centennials Game Schedule

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Hockey in Merritt

Merritt Centennials 

Merritt, British Columbia, Canada

 First Nation Traditional Foods in Merritt BC

Nicola Valley British Columbia Canada First Nation Traditional Foods & Lodging

“We harvest berries in the traditional Nicola Valley areas, as well as, fish and hunt using the old ways and new ways.”

What type of First Nation traditional foods and lodging in the Nicola Valley have helped my people endure the hot summers and cold winters? My people, through many generations, have experienced the changing seasons of the Nicola Valley for generations. The extremes of our Nicola Valley weather systems have taught us many survival skills and have played a large part in growing our appreciation of our lands. How did the First Nation people survive is a journey I would like to share with you? 

My Ancestors Were Nomadic During The Spring, Summer, And Fall Seasons

My ancestors used to live throughout the Nicola Valley territory traveling in groups. Living a nomadic life on the move provided my people the food necessary to last through the long cold winter months. Families would gather together in our seasonal villages and enjoy cooking over the open  fire, and celebrating our traditions.

First Nation Traditional Foods and Lodging

Saskatoon berries I picked

We lived on berries …

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

And We Hunted And Fished…

My ancestors’ diet wasn’t limited to just berries. No… we also fished and hunted wild game. During the fall seasons, my First Nation people would fish the mighty Fraser River. My people of our village would catch enough fish to survive the long winters. During the entire year, dependent on the weather, village hunters pursued wild game while hunting with bows.

 How Did My People Preserve Their Traditional Foods In Merritt BC?

traditional foods and lodging

Tule mat lodging

    In the early days of my people we often preserved our traditional foods by drying it on specially made mats of tule reeds. Tule reeds were gathered during the winter months on the shores of nearby lakes. Properly prepared these reeds were used for drying and preserving many of our First Nation foods. My people would also make larger mats from the tule reeds to double as floors in their makeshift lean-to’s during the warmer months.

How Did The Nlaka’pamux People Carry All This Food?

traditional foods and lodging

Cedar Root basket

As gathers and hunters we required transportation of our goods. Before the introduction of horses to our culture by the Spaniards, my people would use dogs to transport our goods. Because we lacked horses at that time my people would walk to and from,  here and there with their dogs. The dogs would be saddled with food packed in ceder root baskets.

Where Did My People Live Back Then?

traditional foods and lodging

Traditional lodges made out of cedar bark at Tuckkwiowhum interpretive village in Boston Bar

My First Nation ancestors used all sorts of materials from the land and waters. Because of our nomadic nature we were often in need of a portable shelter.  In the summer months we used temporary shelters because of the ease of transportation moving from location to location. These portable lean-to’s were created out of fir boughs and tule mats. If the location required a longer stay my people would build these lean-to’s with cedar bark. 

What About The Winter? 

First Nation pit houses

Interior model of a traditional Sheeiskin

Those summer temporary shelters wouldn’t hold up to the long winters of the Nicola Valley. During the winter season our shelters would take on new materials to create a new kind of shelter more durable to the winter conditions.  This new shelter covered in earth is called a pit-house. In our first Nation tongue Nlaka’pamuxcin it is called a “Sheeiskin”

Lots of thought and planning went into these structures. They would spend weeks looking for a proper location, then, when they found an acceptable spot, the community would work together and help build a pit house.

The sheeiskins were typically conical in shape with a hole in the center, which would let the campfire smoke escape through the hole.  The First Nation men would enter down a ladder through the same center hole. while the women would enter through a side entrance. Each First Nation pit house could usually hold up to 3-4 families.  There are locations in the Nicola Valley where you can still see the pit houses left behind from old sheeiskins, like at Monck Provincial Park.

Traditional Ways Are Still Around

Our First Nation traditional foods and lodging made it possible for my ancestors to survive the four seasons of the Nicola Valley. 

traditional foods and lodging

Chokecherries I picked

Today we still harvest berries in the traditional areas and fish and hunt using the old ways – as well as the new. Our respect for our elders has never wavered.  Elders are given first servings of any food we have gathered, and they are the keepers of our history often sharing their stories of our traditional and cultural ways.

A questions I have for you:

What is the traditional name of the First Peoples in my own area?   

Please feel free to contact me with your answers. I always love learning about new cultures. 

Or, if you also are Nlaka’pamux, share your stories with me!

See you later!  

(In many First Nation’s languages there is no word for “Good-bye”, as that word may be interpreted as I will never see that person again.)

 

 

 

​Nicola Valley arts and culture!

Our artistic and cultural style is full of variety, against a background of pine trees and golden grasses.

Nicola Valley Art

Artist Jean Kiegerl

Of course, we experience arts and culture wherever we are…

Nicola Valley arts and culture is worth planning an experience around!

Arts and culture feeds our soul…
And our geography informs our culture and our art.

The Nicola Valley, in southern interior BC, Canada, with its sage hills, clear creeks, and warm sun encourages the kind of slow pace that inspires art in all its forms.

And the rich history and culture of the valley elicits respect for what has gone before, and invites a sense of possibility for what is coming.

Nicola Valley arts and culture: country music, graffiti art, rock paintings, children’s books, local blogs, plays performed by theater students, dance lessons…

 

What is Culture?

Let’s define the terms we will be writing about…

Culture Definition

What is Culture?

Live Science: Culture is the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, encompassing language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts.

So, culture is the big concept, …

A definition and opinion from Study.com: …Think about what makes you and your family special. What language do you speak? What traditions and beliefs do you have? Do you enjoy special foods and wear clothing to represent your family or history? The culture of a group of people is the traditions and beliefs that they practice in their daily lives. 

This gives us a wide range of topics to write about! Social habits! Language! Benefits of cultural diversity!

But a second meaning of culture suggests the direct interaction with social and artistic expressions, as the following quote suggests…

Huffington Post: If you can count on one hand the number of times you’ve gone to a museum in your city, a theater performance and a concert, you’re missing out on the enriching world of culture that is there to be enjoyed. Why should you turn off the TV for once and get out there to take in some culture?

“Take in some culture” like a museum tour, a concert, a theater performance, or art exhibit. It helps us absorb or comprehend our lives and experiences. And it’s fun!

What is Art?

Merritt Arts and Culture

Merritt Artist Joel Reid

What is Art? Always a lively discussion!

There are lots of quotes on this question. Lots of answers.

So art is one of our earliest expressions of culture. It helped early humans to organize their lives, to understand the world around them, and to communicate those understandings. And that is what art does for us. It helps us to understand how we feel about things and helps us to organize our world. SVCC

(I am definitely adding a reason to engage with art…get more organized! How about you?)

“Art is an expression that transcends religion, culture, country, people and time.” Amit Ray

And discussions on this question are endless, everywhere.

We often have these discussions ourselves during afternoon teas at the Courthouse Arts Gallery on Nicola Avenue. “Is this art?”

“No? How come?”

“Yes? Why? What makes it art?”

Pour another cup of tea and we’ll figure it out.

Where is the Nicola Valley?

Nicola Valley is in the southern interior of BC, near the west coast of Canada.

Nicola Valley Arts and Culture

Nicola Valley Artist Bev Veale

The town of Merritt, in the Nicola Valley, is the center of the Coquihalla highway system, with easy four lane access to large and small communities, a regional airport, and two international airports.

In this central location we have quick access to many cultural experiences not only in our own valley, but also over the mountains to other communities with engaging arts experiences.

The Nicola Valley is sunny and dry ranch country, surrounded by rolling hills, lakes, and creeks. You’ll see Ponderosa pines, sagebrush or rabbit bush, and bunch grass as you come in to our valley.

We are…

  • in a valley surrounded by hils and mountains
  • on the Gold Country Tour
  • close to the Shuswap valley
  • and just a short and breathtaking drive to the internationally-known Okanagan Valley, with its famous wine tours and art galleries.

The Nicola Valley is a hub of BC highways, and a growing hub of musicians, artists, and performers…

And What Is Nicola Valley Arts and Culture?

Merritt Street Art

Merritt Bus Bench Street Art

Our valley inspires original country music, landscape paintings, and sculptures made from natural stones and branches.

Street benches that look like wagon wheels…

We are the home of the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, the Walk of Stars, and the country music and western themed murals of artist Michelle Loughery. First Nations pictographs and stone structures are overlooking our lakes and creeks.

We also host the Bass Coast electronic music and art festival, Home Routes concerts, and put on school wide SD58 Arts Festivals.

The Nicola Valley arts and culture style is full of variety, against a background of pine trees and golden grasses. From stilettos to cowboy boots, chainsaw carvings and beaded earrings, to flute concertos and banjos, the Nicola Valley is a center of creative expression….

Come and See For Yourself!

Experience Arts and Culture in the Nicola Valley!

Nicola Valley Courthouse Arts Gallery

Nicola Valley Courthouse Arts Gallery

Stop downtown Merritt and get oriented. Follow the Walk of Stars route, check out the murals, visit the museum. Spend time in the Courthouse Arts Gallery and gift shop, with goods like local tea and honey, guitar string bracelets, hand weavings, art on the wall.

If you come in July, tour our Art Walk with artists displayed in twenty downtown businesses and civic centers. or attend our country music “Rockin River Fest”.

Here in late November? Join us for Country Christmas and our Festival of Trees.

And if you are here on a Friday, drop into our Open Mic Night at the Kekuli Cafe. Bring your instrument, or favourite poetry.

Get in touch with us to discover featured musicians at the Country Music Hall of Fame or in our outdoor Spirit Square.

Maybe we can set you up with an arts tour!

Complete with local refreshments, of course…

  • Visit the Nicola Valley Courthouse Arts Gallery and Artisan Shop
  • Check out the Public Art Works by our local artists.
  • And next see the Michelle Loughery murals? And hear the community story of their origin?
  • Want to get a taste of our local music scene, with the likes of Bobby Garcia and Al & Denise?

We’ll see what we can do…

Nicola Valley Arts and Culture awaits!

Love the arts!

Jano

Nicola Valley Arts and Culture

       (All media here by permission)