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Merritt BC Canada Murals

Merritt BC Canada Murals

Michelle Wright Country Music Artist

Merritt BC Murals and Downtown Walking Tour

“My earliest memories of music are singing in the car. Or spending the weekend with my father watching him put on a rhinestone-studded suit to perform in.”

The Merritt BC Murals feature country music artist and songbird Michelle Wright. Michelle was born on July 1, 1961 in Chatham, Ontario but grew up in a nearby small town named Merlin. Her childhood was heavily influenced by the music scene as both her parents were local musicians. 

“We were never a family band, but I got a lot of inspiration and encouragement from my mother. That’s where my love of country music really began.” 

Michelle Wright

Michelle Wright Mural courtesy of ehCanadaTravel.com / Copyright 2019 ©Canadian Country Music Heritage Society / Painted by Michelle Loughery

Michelle’s Education In Country Music   

In 1980 this love of music grew while in college when Michelle joined a local band where she performed with them until 1983. Then in 1983 Wright started her own band.

But… in 1985,  a solo record deal with Savannah Records came calling. She released her debut single in 1986, “I Want to Count on You”, which peaked at No. 48 on the Canadian RPM Country Tracks Chart. At this time she still was performing with her own band until 1988. 

Time To Go Solo For Michelle Wright

Michelle Wright’s debut album, “Do Right by Me”, was released in 1988. Not only did it produce seven hit singles, including Wright’s cover of the 1974 Andy Kim hit – “Rock Me Gently” – but, more importantly, the album’s Canadian success led to a record contract with Arista Nashville.  Michelle Wright became one of the label’s flagship artists.

Queen Of Canadian Country Music Of The 90’s

The years during the 90’s was a whirlwind of success for Michelle Wright. It started in April 1990 with the release of Wright’s first American single, “New Kind Of Love”… then quickly followed up with a second album “Michelle Wright” in July of 1990. Consequently, Wright became the opening act for Kenny Rogers 1991 tour. The country music album became a huge success in Canada.

A Canadian Super Star Was Born

Michelle Wright immediately became one of Canada’s most widely recognized country music artists and most awarded female country singers. The 1990’s saw a string of awards and accolades for Michelle. 

In 1990 Michelle was awarded Female Artist of the Year by the Canadian Country Music Association.

In 1991 her awards included Album of the Year for “Michelle Wright”,  Single of the Year for her song “New Kind Of Love”, as well as, Female Artist Of The Year by The Canadian Country Music Association. The success of the album and the single encouraged Michelle to move to Nashville Tennessee to advance her career. This move inspired the start of the third album of her career.

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

Take It Like A Man

1992 witnessed the release of Michelle Wright’s third album, “Now and Then”. The album’s first single “Take It Like A Man”, became an instant hit reaching #1 in Canada and #10 in the United States. The song crossed over to the contemporary charts, reaching Number #18 in Canada. The song was awarded Single Of The Year from The Canadian Country Music Association.

The Whirlwind Success Continues For Michelle Wright

1993 recognized Wright as the Top New Female Vocalist of The Year, for the album “Now and Then”, from the Academy of Country Music. In addition CBS featured her on a television special, Women of Country, where she performed “Take It Like a Man”.

The “Now and Then” album went on to produce six more singles including the Canadian number one hits “One Time Around” and “Guitar Talk”. The album also included “He Would Be Sixteen”, which reached #31 in the US and #3 on the charts in Canada. Winning Single of the Year for “He Would Be Sixteen” and The Fans Choice Award completed 1993 nicely for Michelle Wright.

1994 Wright, released the first single from her upcoming album “One Good Man”. Although it didn’t reach the top 40 in the US it became her fourth number one hit in Canada. Wright’s fourth album, “The Reason Why” was released in Canada in September. Cancellation of the release of the album in the US, resulted in the album’s release in Europe after a successful European tour. 

Michelle Wright On A Roll

1995 was a busy year for Michelle. She completed a 40 – city tour throughout Canada. Which at that time was the most extensive tour in the history of Canadian Country Music in Canada.

In August 1996, Wright released her fifth album, “For Me It’s You”, following the release of the first single, “Nobody’s Girl”, which reached No. 1 on the Canadian  Country Tracks and No. 57 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles . The album went on to be successful in Canada, producing three Top Five singles  “Crank My Tractor”, “The Answer Is Yes”, and “What Love Looks Like”.  

The Winding Down Of A Decade

In 1997 Wright keeps busy behind the scenes focusing on her humanitarian accomplishments such as her international work with the Special Olympics, her successful fundraising efforts for St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chatham, Ontario, as well as, her support for the Manitoba flood relief fund.

Because of her humanitarian efforts Michelle was awarded the C.F. Martin Humanitarian Award by the Canadian Country Music Association. The year came to a close for Michelle at The Canadian Country Music Awards, where she delivered a show-stopping gospel-tinged rendition of the Curtis Mayfield hit, “People Get Ready”, accompanied by a fifty-voice choir. A personal highlight for her career. She reflects:

“I still get goose bumps whenever I hear that version”

1998 saw a collaboration effort with pianist Jim Brickman producing the song “Your Love”.  The song was awarded the Vocal/Instrumental Collaboration Of The Year. In addition the video topped the CMT Canada charts.

“It felt great to be at that point in my career.”

1999 saw the “Greatest Hits Collection”. Michelle provided her listeners a look back at her ten magical years punctuated by hit after memorable hit.  Wright’s “The Greatest Hits Collection”, was released in Canada in October 1999. “I Surrender” and “When I Found You” two new songs, both became Top Ten hits. 

US radio welcomed Wright back after the “Greatest Hits Collection” due to the 1997 duet with pianist Jim Brickman. The song, “Your Love” gave Wright her only American adult contemporary hit reaching #19 on the Adult Contemporary Tracks. Despite the song’s success at AC radio, it would be Wright’s last charting single in the United States.

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Successes Of The Next Decade 

The next decade adds to Michelle Wright’s incredible career and keeps her on the move.

The beginning of 2000, Michelle Wright: The Greatest Hits Collection was released. The album contained eleven of her hit songs that helped shape her career and celebrate her ten year anniversary with Arista/Nashville Records. This album was an overview of ten cherished years.

In 2002 Wright released five more CDs, generating more sales and more hits. “Shut Up and Kiss Me” was released in 2002.

Her first Christmas album, “A Wright Christmas”, released in Canada in 2005 and internationally on Savannah Music at Christmas time, 2008.

Savannah Music released the Album, “Everything And More”, in Canada in July, 2006, as well as internationally in late 2008. Savannah Music reissued, the remastered and repackaged edition of “Do Right By Me”, across North America in August, 2010, as well as internationally the following October. 

During 2009 and 2010 Michelle hit the road in Alberta and recorded live, “The Wright’s Songs” featuring a 17 song collection of her many hits on acoustic instruments. Savannah Music released this Album to Canada in 2011 as well as internationally in 2012

Merritt Murals of Canada

As a Country Music performer at The Merritt Mountain Music Festival, and returning to Merritt BC Canada to perform and support the Walk Of Stars as well as the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Galas. Michelle Wright earned her place on the wall. 

July of 2004 seen Michelle Wright grace The Main Stage of The Merritt Mountain Music Festival, as well as making her hand print that year for The Merritt Walk of Stars.

In 2006, Michelle again graced The Main Stage of The Merritt Mountain Music Festival. That same year, Michelle became a part of the walls known as Merritt BC Murals. This same year she signed her mural. You can find the Michelle Wright Mural at 1701 Voght Street, among the walking tour of Merritt BC Murals.

Merritt Murals and Music 2.0

The Merritt Mural Project was created in 2005. The Merritt BC Murals were part of a successful program called, the “Merritt Youth Mural Project”. A project designed for working with local young artists and “ youth at risk”. Merritt Murals were painted by muralist Michelle Loughery.

June of 2009, the sixth annual Walk of Stars Gala set the stage again for Michelle Wright to wow the Country Music fans of Merritt. Michelle delivered a show stopping performance,  once again in June of 2012, for the eighth annual Walk of Stars Gala. 

Michelle recruited a new team in 2016. She continues to record and write songs as well as perform across the Country and around the world. She is still proving to her fans that she won’t be going anywhere anytime soon and that the feisty girl from rural, Merlin, Ontario will be sticking around. There is no doubt that this 2011 Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Inductee continues to make Canada proud.

Or as she says, “What a way to make a living! I plan on making and playing music for a long time to come.”

Keep up to date and follow Michelle http://www.michelle-wright.com 

Country Music Artist Michelle Wright – Merritt BC Murals

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** Information resources include Michelle Wright website, Wikipedia and any social media pages.

Merritt Murals in the Nicola Valley

Merritt BC Canada Murals

Merle Haggard Country Music Artist & Musician 

“I’m just writin’ about my little ol’ love affair,” Merle Haggard.

Merritt Mural Digital Walking Tour with the Legendary Merle Haggard. Merle was well known for his rough edge sound. It was a new sound which caught the attention of the executives in Nashville. Complimented by the unique sound of his steel guitar his vocal style of music more than words got plenty of attention from the country music industry. This was apparent when Merle Haggard rocked the stage at the Merritt Country Music Fest in Merritt BC Canada in 2003 (now the Rockin’ River Country Music Festival).

Merle Haggard

Tania Stewart (Experience Nicola Valley) / Copyright 2019 ©Canadian Country Music Heritage Society / Painted by Michelle Loughery

A Country Music Merritt Mural Icon

Lets be clear here… Merle Haggard remains, to this day, one of the best-known and most covered artists in country music history. Secondly, his influence on country music has earned him a spot on a Merritt Mural located in Merritt BC Canada, the Canadian Country Music Capital of Canada.

Most importantly it is a pleasure to meet you! And thank you for the QR download. Pretty cool right! As a result of your download we should really get back to Merle’s story. 

Merle Haggard Comes Out Flying

“Momma Tried”  written and recorded by American country music artist Merle Haggard and The Strangers. Released in July 1968 as the first single and title track from the album “Mama Tried”. The song became one of the cornerstone songs of his career in which Merle won the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999.

Interesting Facts about Merle Haggard

  • Firstly Merle Haggard holds the record for most #1 country singles after Conway Twitty.
  • Between 1963 and the mid 80’s,  hardly a year went by that Merle didn’t produce a single hit.
  • 38 No 1 hits, 250 original songs, nearly 70 albums.
  • Known to be called the “Poet Laureate” of the hard hats. Merle was made for cowboy hats!

Most Recognized Merle Haggard Country Music Songs 

In short Merle Haggard was widely known for these songs…  

  • “Okie from Muskogee”
  • “Mama Tried”
  • “Today I Started Loving You Again”
  • “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive”
  • “The Frighten Side of  Me”
  • “Someday We’ll Look Back” (1971)
  • “If We Make It Through December” (1974)
  • “A Working Man Can’t Get Nowhere Today” (1977)

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

Interesting Facts About Merle Haggard

  • “The Hag” was his nickname.
  • Johnny Cash made his legendary 1959 performance at San Quentin Prison resulting in Merle having front row seats.
  • A duet with Clint Eastwood “Bar Room Buddies” released April 1980.
  • Ronald Reagan governor of California 1972 officially pardoned Merle.
  • Four out of 6 of children are gifted country singers who inherited their fathers natural talent. Ben Haggard being one of the most recognized.
  • Older brother Lowell gave Merle his first used guitar. Merle taught himself to play.
  • In the beginning Merle worked during the day and played  guitar at the local bars at night.
  • Merle Haggard [Platinum Disc] (2007).
  • Haggard’s signature song and his most controversial recording, “Okie from Muskogee”.
  • Elected into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame in 1977.
  • In 1994,  an induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

To see all his awards you can go to “Academy of Country Music” and “Country Music Association

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Merle Ronald Haggard –  April 6,1937 – April 6,2016

Merle’s Early Life Of Crime

Born during the great depression, the youngest son of three, Merle grew up in a converted railroad box as a home.  With the death of his father in 1945,  Merle developed into a rebellious child committing a number of minor offenses as a teen. Truancy and passing phony checks  subsequently landed him in a juvenile detention centre. Life started on the wrong foot. 

Then came married life. Suffering from financial issues, Merle attempted to rob a roadhouse bar resulting in a jail sentence in San Quentin prison in 1958 at the age of 20. There is a story that Merle, at one time,  was conspiring with a fellow inmate named “Rabbit” to stage a prison break. Fortunately Merle backed out. He soon found out later that Rabbit was sentenced to death after killing a police officer during his escape. Rabbit inspired Merle to make changes in his life. 

“We need to have music that contributes to the well-being of the spirit. Music that cradles people’s lives and makes things a little easier. That’s what I try to do, and what I want to do. You don’t want to close the door on hope,” Merle Haggard.

Later In Life – Times Are A Changing For Merle

After his release from San Quentin State Prison in 1960, Merle returned to Bakersfield, where he sang and played guitar in the honky-tonks of “Beer Can Hill,”  the city’s country music scene.  In 1962, he signed with a small label called Tally Records, for whom he recorded five songs, including his debut single “Sing a Sad Song,” which rose to No. 19 on the country charts.

Motivation Behind Country Music Lyrics

Resulting from his life experiences Merle told his story with song and music. Often described as an intense dedicated artist who wrote and performed traditional country songs. 

“I’ve never been a guy that can do what people told me…. It’s always been my nature to fight the system.” Merle Haggard.

Merritt BC Canada Murals

The Merritt Mural Project started in 2005. The Merritt BC Murals were part of a successful program called, the “Merritt Youth Mural Project”. A project designed for working with local young artists and “ youth at risk”. Muralist Michelle Loughery painted this Merritt Mural.

In Conclusion

After being diagnosed with lung cancer in 1998, Merle underwent surgery to remove the tumor. Reflecting on the situation, he referred to it as “the greatest test of my fortitude.” However,  following a speedy recovery, Haggard returned to touring and writing songs.

Sadly on April 6,2016 Haggard passed away at his Northern California Ranch. It is reported by family and friends Merle had stated that he would  die on his 79th birthday. 

Get more Merle on his website.

Merritt Murals and Downtown Walking Tour

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Country Music Band – Lonestar

“I’m already there,” Lonestar Country Music Lyrics

The Merritt BC Murals is proud to feature the country music band Lonestar. It is a result of the band having one of the country music murals in Merritt BC Canada. First, before we move on, I would like to thank you for the QR download.  Secondly, I am excited to share their story. 

Tania Stewart (Experience Nicola Valley) / Copyright 2019 ©Canadian Country Music Heritage Society / Painted by Michelle Loughery

Whats In A Name – Lonestar

Lonestar hails from Texas, USA. Hence why the country music band first decided to name their band “Texassee”, after their home state. But, soon later, they quickly changed the name to Lonestar. 

The Early Years Of Lonestar

Early on in the band’s career, their sound was a mixture of honky-tonk and neo-traditional country influences. Consequently, Lonestar has compared their own debut album to the sounds of Merle Haggard and George Jones. However, soon later, their country music shifted towards a country pop sound with strong melodies and rich vocals. 

Music Awards Before The Merritt Murals

As a result of their sound, they released their self-titled debut album in 1995. After that their first single from the album, “Tequila Talkin'” reached No. 8 on the Billboard Charts. Above all, their proudest moment,  the album produced the group’s first No. 1 song, “No News”. 

Likewise 1999 Keeps Bringing Success

In 1999 they won the ACM Single of The Year for “Amazed”.  That was quickly followed up in 2001 with the CMA “Vocal Group of the Year”. Then came the 2017 Peoples Choice Award for “Favourite Country Group”. After that, and most impressively, they amassed sales in excess of ten million albums. 

Most Recognized Country Music Songs

For instance Lonestars most recognized songs include Amazed, Tequila Talkin’ , No News, I’m Already There, My Front Porch Looking In, What About Now, Walking In Memphis, Mr. Mom, Lets Be Us Again, as well as Every Little Thing She Does.

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo Too

In Short  – The Band Rocks It

The original 5 band members first began touring and playing together in Nashville in 1993. And by 1994 they were signed by BNA Records. Certainly a big moment for them.  The band included members Richie McDonald, John Rich, Dean Sams, Michael Britt, as well as, Keech Rainwater.

Richie Vance McDonald

Feb 6, 1962 · Lubbock, TX, USA.  Country music singer/songwriter, as well as, the lead singer from 1998 until his departure in 2007. Also co-wrote several of the band’s singles, and sang lead on all but one of them. Richie rejoined the band in 2011.  

John Rich

Jan 7, 1974, Amarillo, TX.  From 1992 to 1998 John was a member of the band. He played bass guitar and on some songs he was the lead vocalist. After departing from the band, Rich embarked on a solo career with BNA Records.  

Dean Sams

Aug 3,1966. Garland, TX, USA .  Keyboards & backing vocals. Also an actor and composer, known for “Maybe Someday”,” Cedar Cove” and “Static”.

Michael Wayne Britt

June 15, 1966. Fort Worth, Texas, USA. Lead guitar & backing vocals. Michael, the actor, also shared his talents on the television hit daytime series,” Days of Our Lives”,  as well as,  a stint as a comedian (2002).  

Keech Rainwater

January 24, 1963. Plano, Texas, USA. Randy Keech Rainwater plays the drums. Also, did a stint as an actor on “Days of Our Lives” and performed, ” The Song that Changed My Life”(2012).

Cody Collins

Further more Cody Collins joined the group in September 2007.  

As A Matter Of Fact

  • First, both McDonald and Britt  appeared on ” Wheel of Fortune”  recorded at the Grand Ole Opry house in Nashville, incidentally  both winning the bonus round.
  • In addition they respectively donated $61,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and $59,350 for Adopt-a-Platoon.

Lonestar Is More Than Country Music

  • Third, the group also appeared on The Price Is Right, June 17, 2010. They performed the show’s theme song, along with a sample of songs from” Party Heard Around the World”.
  • After that Richie, Britt and Rainwater were guest stars on “Honkey Tonk Central” 2014. 

Merritt Country Music Fest 

Because Lonestar performed at the Merritt Country Music Fest in 2005 (now called the Rockin’ River Music Fest) we know them well. Not to mention that the band’s amazing harmony, beautiful lyrics, and upbeat sound attracted country music fans from around the world to our community of Merritt.

Lonestar sums it up best ” True country music isn’t about music that the fans like, it’s about playing what’s in your heart and soul.” 

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Country Music Capital of Canada

As of  January of 2009, the CCMA signed an agreement with the Merritt Walk of Stars to establish a physical venue in Merritt BC celebrating Canadian country music. What we see today, as a result of this agreement, is a beautiful venue with a culmination of plaques, artifacts and exhibits from inductees of the past, present and future.

Downtown Merritt Murals

Downtown Merritt provides visitors a unique experience when exploring our community. Certainly, there are the murals. The Merritt Mural Project was created in 2005. The Merritt BC Murals were part of a successful program called, the “Merritt Youth Mural Project”. A project designed for working with local young artists and “ youth at risk”. Merritt Murals were painted by muralist Michelle Loughery. 

Then follow up your sightseeing experience by browsing some of our local shops, cafes, historical pubs, as well as, Merritt’s Signature Attraction, the Country Music Hall of Fame

In Short Come and Visit Merritt BC

Further more we encourage you to check out some of other murals in town too. Go ahead and download your favorite country music stars using the QR codes. Not to mention this also includes the Walk of Stars. Why? Because they too have QR codes. 

Moreover There Is More … 

Moreover feel free to learn more about Lonestar online at any of the other great pages including their website,  and Facebook page

Merritt BC Canada Mural Digital Walking Tour

 

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Mason Bees

Pollinate using mason bees

How to keep mason bees

Mason bees are a native species of bee that are fantastic at pollinating our fruit trees and gardens. There is a decline of wild and honey bees due to the use of herbicides and parasitic mites. Mason bees are a great and easy way to restore the productivity of your garden.

What is Pollination?

Pollen transferred from one flower t another is called pollination. Flowers depend on bees to move pollen from one flower to another thus pollinating them. The bees are rewarded with food to survive and to use for inside the chambers of there eggs.

The more bees there are to pollinate the more abundant the crops will be. It’s quite simple really. More bees equal more the more pollen delivered, equals more fertilization, equals more seeds which equals more fruit and larger fruit. It’s a win, win for everyone.

mason bee pollen

Photo Credit Crownbees

How to tell bees from wasps.

Bees have three body segments, head, thorax and abdomen. The female bee is the only one who can sting. Her abdomen has an oviparous for laying eggs which also serves as a stinger. The male does not have this but has male genitalia instead. Therefore he can not sting. Bees are also covered in tiny little hairs. These hairs are what help the bees to collect and distribute pollen.

Wasps on the other hand only have two body parts, the head and abdomen. They are carnivorous which means they get their protein from meat. They do also look for sugar substances from any source available.

Mason Bee Appearance

Mason Bees look black and like a house fly. But there are a few ways that you can tell them apart from house flies. One way is the antennae. A mason bees’ antennae are segmented.  Another way to tell them apart is that a mason bee has little hairs on it’s body where as a house fly is bare of hairs. You also won’t find mason bees on your food or leftovers or anything that is rotting etc. Mason bees you will find on open flowers in your orchard or garden. 

You can tell the male mason bees apart from they female mason bees by the little tuft of white hairs on its head and up the antennae. Males are also smaller than females. Male mason bees also have antennae that are longer than their heads while female mason bees have smaller antennae. 

mason bee merritt bc canada

Mason bee landed on my finger.

Life of Mason Bees

The mason bees are a solitary bee. Females do not need the aid of a colony to nest ad lay eggs. She finds a nest site and provides everything necessary to ensure the success of her eggs.

Adult mason bees stay in their cocoons over the winter. Once spring arrives, they emerge and have a very busy but short life span of about a month.

Spring time for Mason Bees

Mason Bees are very active once they emerge in the spring. There life consists of mating, producing their offspring and dying. This usually happens anywhere from Feb to May depending on the altitude of where they are living.

Male mason bees will emerge first as they are the last to be layed in the nesting tube. They are so cute with the white hairs on their heads and along their antennae. The males will not stray far from the nest as they wait for the females to emerge.

Once the weather is warm enough, daytime temperatures need to reach 14 degrees Celsius. The females will start to emerge. Male and female mason bees mate as soon as the females emerge. The female then starts looking for a place to lay her eggs and build the nests. 

Nest Site

After the female has found a suitable nesting site, she will go looking for pollen and nectar. While she is collecting the pollen and nectar, she is also pollinating the flowers all around. Once she had enough food the female mason bee will go back to her nest. She places the food down, lays and egg on top and closes the segment off with mud. The female mason bee will continue to do this until either she has layed all her eggs or she dies.

Nest Material

Mason Bees nest in tubes and holes or pretty much anything that has a cylinder shape. If you’d like to make a mason bee house of your own there are a few things to consider. First you need to make sure that the tubes you make are at least 5″-6″ in length and 5/16″ in diameter. This ensures that there is a good ratio of male to female eggs layed. If the tube is too short there will be more male mason bees layed. 

mason bee nesting tubes

Mason bee tubes. Made from Plastic. Can be taken apart.

You will want to make sure you place your mason bee house facing east so that it will receive morning sun and get afternoon shade in hotter climates. Ensure that your nest is protected from wind and rain. Very important to make sure there is an area they can get moist clayey mud in a hole in the ground as they need this to close off the sections in their nests and the end of the nest.

In the wild there is a chance for the nest sites to become infected with parasites or destroyed by predators. If we are looking after the nests, we can ensure more bees will survive. By making or buying nest that come apart so they can be cleaned, inspected and kept safe from predators.

Mason bee home

Mason Bee House

Once the nests are closed

Inside each chamber the egg will hatch, and the larva or grub will feed on the pollen and nectar ball left by the mother. Once the larva has fully grown, they go into a resting stage. The larva then spins a cocoon and changes into a pupa inside the cocoon. By the end of summer, the pupa’s have evolved into adult mason bees. Warmer temperatures will ensure the adults have developed fully. Cooler temperatures may halt growth and even cause death. But if the summer heat is too hot it can also have detrimental effects on the cocoons.

Keep your nests safe

You can also make sure that your nests are kept safe over the summer before harvesting. Once all the holes have been closed with mud you know it’s time. You can take the block of nests and place them inside a special nesting bag. This bag allows air to flow through but will not allow birds and other predators to get in and destroy the nests. You can move them into a shaded place until it’s time to harvest the cocoons in fall.

Retrieving the cocoons

Female and male mason bees remain in their cocoons over the winter. In the fall you will want to retrieve the cocoons from the nests and go over them for parasites or diseases. 

Usually around October it’s time to harvest your mason bee cocoons. How you harvest your nests will depend on which type of nesting materials you used. Carefully take apart, unravel or cut your tubes open. Remove the individual cocoons from the nesting tubes. You can put them aside and wash or discard later. 

Now you will inspect the cocoons for any mold, fungus or parasites. Good cocoons are nice rich brown color and look similar to deer droppings lol. 

Washing your cocoons

Once you have harvested your cocoons you need to wash them. You can do this by taking a 4 L bucket of lukewarm water. Place a layer of cocoons into the water. Gently roll them in the water to help the mud and other debris to fall off. Let the cocoons sit in the water for 20-30 min. Stir them occasionally to remove dirt and ensure they are well whetted. Good cocoons will float. If any sink to the bottom they are no good and can be set aside. 

Mites

You can inspect cocoons for mites. IF there are mites you will want to wash them in a solution of bleach and water. The solution consists of 1 tbsp bleach to 4 L of lukewarm water. Put the effected cocoons into a sieve and lower the sieve and cocoons into the bleach solution. Carefully mix them around to help any mites fall off. After 10 min remove from the bleach solution and put them under warm running water for 5 more min to help rinse of the chlorine. This should have removed any mites or remaining dirt.

Drying your cocoons

Now you are ready to dry your washed, dirt and mite free cocoons. Place a couple layers of paper towel down on the counter. Place your cocoons on the paper towel and cover with more paper towel. After a couple hours you can reinspect your cocoons. 

Inspection

Look under your cocoons for any orange spots on the paper towel. If there are less than 10 per square inch you are good to go, and washing them was successful. If there are more than that you need to screen your cocoons to remove the rest of the mites or as many as you can.

Screening your Mason Bee cocoons

The best way to screen for mites is to use a metal window screen or a metal kitchen sieve. Put the cocoons onto the screen and start rolling them around by gently shaking the screen back and forth. You will want to do this in a place where the mites can fall and be easily cleaned up, like over a bathtub. Once you have rolled the mason bees cocoons around on the screen for about 60 seconds you can put them back on replaced paper towel for another hour. Rolling the cocoons around on the metal heats them up a bit and causes the mites to fall off. Now they are ready to be stored and inspected for mason bees or wasps. 

Inspecting for wasps

The easiest way to inspect your mason bee cocoons for wasps is to candle them. Take a flash light with a lip, place enough cocoons on the glass plate to cover it. Make sure you are in a dark room. Turn the flashlight on. In the cocoons that contain mason bees you will be able to see the little bee in a fetal position. If the cocoon is transparent then you know the cocoon is questionable. Do not leave the cocoons on the light for more than a min as it can dry out the cocoon and may kill the bee.

Unsure if the cocoon is good?

IF you are not sure when you candle or check over your mason bee cocoons. You can take those and store them in a separate container for the winter. In the spring warm up the cocoons and watch what emerges. If its a mason bee, cool it off in the fridge until the outside temp is warm enough to release. If it is something else that emerges destroy it. 

Storing cocoons over winter

There are special coolers that you can purchase to house mason bee cocoons. They have a space for your cocoons and a space for a wet towel to help keep the humidity correct. There are also air holes to make sure they have adequate air circulation. You can also use a cardboard box with paper towel on the bottom to cushion the cocoons. Make sure there are holes in what ever container you decide on. Once you have them snug in their container the best place to store them in in the refrigerator. Manual defrost fridges are more humid than frost free. Therefore, are best for keeping mason bee cocoons. If you have a frost-free fridge keep an eye on your cocoons. Sometimes males will emerge while in the fridge. 

If any bees emerge while in the fridge don’t panic. I had some emerge and created a cotton ball with equal parts water and sugar and put it into the container, so the emerged bees had something to eat. Once the weather is warm enough and there is enough food outside you can release them along with the other cocoons.

mason bees emerging cocoons

My little mason bees emerging a little early.

Spring Emergence 

The easiest way to tell if it’s time to release your bees is wen the temperature outside is a steady 15 degrees Celsius and there are flowers on your apple tree. If you don’t have apple trees just make sure there are blossoms of some kind close to where you have set up your nesting area. Place the cocoons adjacent to or in the nest site.

Make sure the ground underneath your nesting site is not too wet or has any puddles and the newly emerging bees can fall and will drown. Best way is to release in batches every 4-7 days. This way if the weather turns bad you won’t lose all of your bees.

Bees need full sun and early as possible in the morning. There bodies need to warm to 90 F in order to be able to fly. They like to be out early to avoid the afternoon heat.

mason bee warming in the sun

Mason Bee from Merritt BC Canada warming up in the sun

Fascinating to watch

Mason bees are so fascinating. They are social bees and are so easy to watch. Make a mud area where you and the family can enjoy watching the females collect mud to wall off each section of their nests. You can also go out early in the morning to check out the bees sitting in the opening of their nests. They really are quite cute. There are nest boxes you can purchase that allow you to watch each stage of the mason bee’s life. 

Conclusion

Mason bees are only on species of bee that are so important to our environment. Do your part by not using pesticides. Plant native wild flowers. Grow and harvest your own mason bees. So easy, so fun and so rewarding.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog on Mason bees. Interested in learning more? Please feel free to contact me or check out my other blogs on bees at Experience Nicola Valley

If you would like to purchase some supplies and mason bee cocoons you can check on the internet. If you live in the Merritt or Nicola Valley area you can contact our local supplier Ellen Miller from Miller’s Farm in Lower Nicola. They also put on beekeeping courses and other seminars, including a mason bee seminar.

Photo Credit

Feature image of mason bee on the purple flower taken by Rusty Burlew of Honey Bee Suite. Stop by her website to check out all the great things she has to offer. 

Photo of mason bee on the nesting tube covered in pollen courtesy of CrownBees. They also have a wonderful website with lots of great information.

Mason Bees – Merritt BC Canada

Restaurants in Merritt BC – Crystal Gardens

Places to eat in Merritt

Great Chinese Food

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

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

Chinese food Merritt BC

Crystal Gardens Chinese cuisine Merritt BC

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

Buffet

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

chinese buffet table good good

Buffet Table

Desert

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

Chinese food Merritt BC

Desert buffet at Crystal Gardens in Merritt BC

Not up for the Buffet

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

A few of the menu items

Combo A – $11.99

Sweet and Sour Pork

Chicken Chow Mein

 

Combo B – $13.99

Sweet and Sour Pork

Chicken Chow Mein

Prawns

Combo C – 15.99

Sweet and Sour Pork

Chicken Chow Mein

Prawns

Sesame Chicken

Children Combo – $10.99

French Fries

Chicken Nuggets (5 Pc)

 

 

Dinner for 2 – $34.99

Spring Rolls

Sweet and Sour Pork

Chicken Chow Mein

Beef Chop Suey

 

Dinner for 3 – $47.99

Spring Rolls

Sweet and Sour Pork

Chicken Chow Mein

Beef Chop Suey

House Special Fried Rice

Dinner for 4 – $63.99

Spring Rolls

Sweet and Sour Pork

Chicken Chow Mein

Beef Chop Suey

House Special Fried Rice

Deep Fried Chicken Wings

 

Dinner for 5 – $76.99

Spring Rolls

Sweet and Sour Pork

Chicken Chow Mein

Beef Chop Suey

House Special Fried Rice

Deep Fried Chicken Wings

Deep Fried Prawns

Dinner for 6 – $89.99

Spring Rolls

Sweet and Sour Pork

Chicken Chow Mein

Beef Chop Suey

House Special Fried Rice

Deep Fried Chicken Wings

Deep Fried Prawns

Almond Chicken

 

 

Dinner for 8 – $125.99

Spring Rolls

Sweet and Sour Pork

Chicken Chow Mein

Beef Chop Suey

House Special Fried Rice

Deep Fried Chicken Wings

Deep Fried Prawns

Almond Chicken

Sesame Chicken

Dry Garlic Ribs

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

Places to eat in Merritt – Crystal Gardens

Experience Nicola Valley Community Website

Your Community. Your Voice. Its Time Merritt.

Unveiling and launch party April 15, 2019

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

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

Tourism Nicola Valley presents the Experience Nicola Valley Website

Tourism Nicola Valley presents the Experience Nicola Valley Website Launch Gala

Travel Merritt BC In Real Time

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

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

Merritt BC Website Launch

Travelers want it now and in real time

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

Community and Technology Working Together in Merritt BC

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

Experience Nicola Valley – New Merritt BC Website Launch

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

Merritt BC Canada

Meet the Experience Nicola Valley Bloggers.

Proud to be working with eh Canada Travel

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

Showcases and supports local Merritt BC businesses

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

Excited about the future

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

Proud of the successes of Experience Nicola Valley

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

Tourism Nicola Valley – Merritt BC Community Website 

Great places to go camping in the Nicola Valley.

Some great camp sites around Merritt.

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

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

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

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

Provincial Camp sites.

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

fishing kentucky lake

Photo credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

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

fishing Nicola Lake

Photo credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

More rustic camping in the Nicola Valley.

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

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

Rustic Camping

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

camping Helmer Lake

Photo Credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

Our trailer is always loaded with food.

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

camp at Rey Lake

Photo Credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

Canoeing, kayaking and boating

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

Loons

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

loon wanting to steal fish

Photo credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

Eagles

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

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

Bruce the Spruce

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

NO WAY!!!

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

Week Later

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

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

Couple weeks after that

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

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

Gardening

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

Property

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

bull moose calf

Photo credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

New places to explore

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

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

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

Take Care

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

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

Great places to go camping in the Nicola Valley.

One of the best places to eat in Merritt – Kekuli Cafe

Kekuli Cafe, Merritt, BC

“Don’t panic….we have bannock”

One of the best places to eat in Merritt is Kekuli Cafe. “Don’t panic… we have Bannock” is the official slogan of Kekuli Cafe in Merritt BC. A wonderful place to enjoy a number of indigenous foods.

Before we dive into the amazing food I’d like to treat you to a look at the amazing skor bannock. You have got to try one.

skor bannock kekuli cafe merritt bc

Ohhh so yummy Skor bannock from Kekuli Cafe

How Kekuli was born?

It all started when for many years Sharon Bond wanted to own her own restaurant. Having a passion for cooking, baking and making people feel welcome. Sharon also had a passion for helping and pleasing people.

With all the other places to eat in Merritt Sharon knew she wanted to create a place like no other. Therefore that’s exactly what she did.

The Cafe

Sharon wanted a traditional cultural aboriginal ambiance. Low light pow wow music, aboriginal art, jewelry and of course aboriginal cuisine. She wanted a place where everyone would feel welcome and acknowledged. Along with her husband Darren Hogg they created one of the best places to eat in Merritt – Kekuli Cafe.

You definitely feel welcomed from the moment you walk in the doors of Kekuli Cafe.

The Name Kekuli.

It was quite interesting to find out where the name Kekuli came from. Sharon was looking for a unique name that would have an aboriginal flair to it. While reading a book by James Teit she came across the word “kekuli” which means house. Right away she knew that was the name and sent in paperwork to have it registered that day. 

The Thompson Indians used to live in these pit house( Kekuli’s)  hundreds of years ago.  These houses are build into the ground with logs, tule, dirt and grass. They were a safe, warm and happy place. That also protected the people from the elements during harsh winters.

You can still find Kekuli’s throughout the Thompson/Okanagan areas.

Kekuli Cafe pit house bannock

Photo Credit: Kekuli Cafe

Now however you can also find that warm inviting feeling of home in every Kekuli Café.

Franchise

The next step in Sharon and Darren’s endeavor was to start creating franchises. With the first being sold in December of 2018.

On Dec 1, 2018 Elijah Mack, just 22 years old, started living his dream by becoming the very first Kekuli franchise owner.  When asked what he wanted to be in 10 years he would say “I want to be my own boss.” Now Elijah is the proud owner of one of the best places to eat in Merritt.

Kekuli Cafe franchise owner

Photo credit Kekuli Cafe

Saskatoon ice tea is wonderful and refreshing treat any time of year. I love the flavor. Makes me want another one just thinking about it. My daughters favorite it the saskatoon berry smoothie.

Kekuli Cafe saskatoon ice tea

Saskatoon berry ice tea. It was so refreshing.

They have a variety of Bannock available and some amazing lunches. Fry bread tipi tacos, grilled Bannock flatbread, bannowiches, and a variety of salads. Check out their menu here.

Lunch

Oh my goodness, look at this amazing meal. So nice to have a place where everything is made fresh with fresh ingredients.

bannock blt

BLT Bannock with cran apple feta salad

BLT bannock fresh

BLT bannock at Kekuli

This BLT bannock was so amazing. The bannock was soft and warm, lettuce and tomato were fresh and no skimping on the bacon which was cooked to perfection. Must say this was the best BLT I have had in a very long time. Along with my BLT I chose to have the cranberry, apple and feta salad. It was so crisp and fresh. Accompanying the salad was a saskatoon vinaigrette dressing made in house.  Perfect for this salad. 

salad cranberry apple feta

Cranberry, apple and feta salad.

Desert I had a skor bannock. It was so fresh and I have to say better than any doughnut I have ever had. I was very tempted to buy a whole bunch of them to take home. 

Happy customers

While I was visiting there were a group from White Rock who stopped in for lunch. They were extremely thrilled with the service. One lady spoke of how Kurt, chief at Kekuli Cafe, resonated such happy vibes. They really appreciated it and would come back again for sure.

Look at these happy faces.

kekuli cafe great food eat merritt

Guests from Whiterock having lunch at Kekuli in Merritt, BC

 The Staff

When you walk into Kekuli Cafe you are greeted by the amazing staff.  They always have a smile on their faces and are ready to help you any way they can.

staff kekuli cafe

Amanda and Kurt staff at Kekuli Cafe

Kekuli Cafe isn’t just on of the best places to eat in Merritt. Friday nights they have open mic night where patrons can come and express themselves over the mic. They have had people sing, tell stories or say a poem. It’s a great way to spend some time with friends, enjoy the local talent and of course have some coffee and bannock.

So far I have tried the traditional, cinnamon sugar and skor. What kinds have you tried?

Art work

Something else you will find a Kekuli Cafe is some art from a local artist Wyatt Collins. Wyatt has such a flair for life and creates some wonderful artwork which is featured on the walls of Kekuli Cafe. There are also greeting cards with Wyatt’s artwork on them. 

local art merritt bc kekuli cafe

Art work by local artist Wyatt Collins

Other aboriginal products

There are a number of aboriginal items for sale at Kekuli Café. Some of them include Jams, jellies, coffee, pottery and cards. Stop in and have a look.

Kekuli Cafe Merritt BC

Some other offerings from Kekuli Cafe

If you are interested in having a blog showcasing your business please feel free to contact me at Experience Nicola Valley.  I would love to chat.

One of the best places to eat in Merritt – Kekuli Cafe

Canadian Country Music

Country Music Hall of Fame is a Merritt Tradition

“Canadian Country music continues to grow in Canada and a number of US artists have recorded and made hits of songs written by Canadian Song writers.”

The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum collects,  preserves and displays the history and tradition of Country music.  The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame honours Canadian country music artists, builders or broadcasters, living or deceased. The Country Music Hall of Fame is a national attraction and a must see Nicola Valley Experience in Merritt, BC Canada’s downtown.
 
Merritt and the Nicola Valley country atmosphere, outdoor adventures, traditional ranches, heritage and the unique
desolate landscape has been the inspiration for the biggest Country Music Festivals in Canada.  In addition it has earned Merritt the title, Country Music Capital of Canada. It has also set the stage for the Country Music Hall of Fame to showcase our national artist inductees, song writers and  their contributions  to country music.

Canadian Country Music Roots

Canadian Country Music

Photo Source CCMA: Hank Snow

The Maritimes, parts of Ontario and BC shared a strong folk tradition similar to that of the Appalachian region of the US. Because of this country music has found ready acceptance in Canada. It was first popularized by fiddlers such as Don Messer and George Wade. They started their careers on radio in the late 1920s. The Canadian Victor Record Co signed Wilf Carter in 1932, and his success prompted Victor to sign Wade (1933). Hank Snow (1936) and Hank LaRivière (1941) were signed as well. Carter, Snow, and later Earl Heywood introduced a unique style of country music to the scene using a lower, less nasal-sounding voice with clearer enunciation and fewer of the blues like slurs and high whining sounds that dominate much American country music.

Canadian Singers

However, Canadian singers depend more on the traditional ballad and story songs than on the “cheatin'” and barroom songs often preferred in the US. The Great Depression, WWII,  a more mobile population, the success of the “singing cowboy” movies, the number of US radio stations with access to Canada, the increasing number of pop adaptations in country music, national radio shows and tours all increased the popularity of country  music throughout the 1930s, 1940s and into the 1950s.

Movement to the United States

Canadian artists have struggled with low population of the country. Until the mid-1950s country artists relied on live radio shows,  regional touring in clubs, barn dances and local television appearances to earn a living. With a shortage of places to perform and the lack of good recording studios, numerous artists, including Ray Griff, Stu Phillips, Lucille Starr and Ronnie Prophet, followed the lead of Hank Snow and moved to the US.  In the 1960s country records became more pop-oriented. Artists such as Anne Murray, R. Harlan Smith and Shirley Eikhardt received airplay on commercial radio.

Country Music and Rock

Rock-oriented music, of the Good Brothers, Prairie Oyster and Colleen Peterson, gained a wider audience. The urban folk boom of the 1960s consisted of artists such as Ian and Sylvia Tyson, Gordon Lightfoot, Murray McLauchlan and Bob Ruzicka. These musicians have both a strong urban and country appeal. The folk-music boom  introduced bluegrass, the jazz of country music, and traditional Canadian fiddle music to a much larger audience. In the 1990s there continued to be a strong crossover feeling to Canadian country music. The addition of new music artists Rita MacNeil, Quartette, Colleen Peterson, Ashley MacIsaac, The Rankins and The Barra MacNeils appeal to Canadian music audiences in general.

Growth of Western and Canadian Country Music

Canadian-content regulations for commercial radio in 1970 gave valuable airplay to artists such as Dick Damron,
“Stompin’ Tom” Connors, Carroll Baker, Gary Buck and the Family Brown. More radio stations were licensed and
more began to program for specialized markets. In 1960 there was one radio station, CFCW in Alberta, featuring
country music entirely. By 1987 there were 85 originating stations programming some country music during their
broadcast day, and by 1998 there were 110 full-time country stations and 36 part-time stations broadcasting country music in Canada. Because of this the 1980s saw a revival of interest in the older styles of country music of Ian Tyson, k.d. lang and groups such as Blue Rodeo and Spirit of the West. The more mainstream music of Eddie Eastman, Terry Sumsion and Terry Carisee, etc, remained popular.

Nashville Calling

Up until the 1990s primary television exposure for country artists came through such network shows as the Tommy
Hunter Show and syndicated broadcasts such as Sun Country and the Family Brown Show. More importantly, with the advent of country music specialty television channels, such as the Nashville Network and Canada’s Country Music Television (established in 1994 as New Country Network), new exposure possibilities for country music artists became possible. A new genre of country music, often referred to as new country, arose to take advantage of these opportunities. Borrowing promotional and production techniques along with a dose of attitude from rock music, this new music challenged accepted ideas of country music. This resulted in giving country musicians a much wider and more urban audience.

Making It Big

Country Music in Merritt

Photo Source CCMA: Michelle Wright-Patricia Conroy

Canadian artists who emerged in the 1990s include Michelle Wright, k.d. lang, George Fox, Charlie Major, Blue Shadows, Prescott/Brown, Paul Brandt, Cassandra Vassik, Patricia Conroy, Lori Yates, Terry Clark, the Wilkinsons and multi-award winner Shania Twain. There is still the notion that to make it big you must move to Nashville. However, television now offers Canadian artists a chance for much wider exposure. A 3-hour 1992 CBC-TV special brought new country and old country together in a program devoted to the history of Canadian country music called Country Gold. This program featured interviews and performances by Canadian artists from Hank Snow to k.d. Lang.

Birth of Canadian Country Music Association

The Canadian Country Music Association, formed in 1975 as the Academy of Country Music Entertainment, has sponsored an annual country music week in different cities across Canada. Country Music Week, as well as, Big Country Awards have brought artists and industry people together and have become major events in the promotion and development of country music. Therefore, the annual broadcast of the Country Music Awards has for many years been the top-rated Canadian music show on television. The Country Music Association is also responsible for the Canadian Country Music Hall of Honour, with a permanent home in Edmonton. The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame however, is situated in Merritt, British Columbia.

Then and Now

Country Music hall of Fame

Photo Source: CCMH of Fame

The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame has released a Then and Now Album Volume 1.  On September 7th, 2018 the first-ever Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame album was released. During the Canadian Country Music Awards in Hamilton, Ontario the ‘Then and Now – Volume 1’ compilation album was released. The album features Hall of Fame inductees Ian Tyson, Murray McLauchlan and Michelle Wright. They performed their biggest hits, in duets with some of today’s top names in Canadian country music. Some of the top artists performing are Brett Kissel, Aaron Pritchett and Jess Moskaluke. They were proud to participate.

Country Music Hall of Fame

There is an artifact collection of plaques, vintage turn table with 100’s of records (collection growing), national artist memorabilia, builders or broadcasters, living or deceased. Secondly, the country Music Hall of Fame includes extensive biographical information on the inductees. It is located in downtown Merritt, British Columbia at 2025 Quilchena Avenue. The facility is open year-round for custom tours, and is open to the public on seasonally adjusted hours. The initiative is governed by a not-for-profit society (the Canadian Country Music Heritage Society).

For more information contact:

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame
2025 Quilchena Avenue
Merritt, BC Canada
Phone: 1-250-315-5508
Email: info@ccmhalloffame.com

Canadian Country Music in Merritt BC Canada

 Merritt BC Bakery-Confessions Of A Baker 

Confessions of a Baker, Merritt, BC Bound!

Dessert Tray made by Marie’s Sweet Shoppe

 

Confessions Of A Baker-Merritt BC Bakery

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

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

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

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

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

First Attempt To Cook!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chocolate Brownies, By Marie’s Sweet Shoppe

First Time Following a Recipe!

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

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

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

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

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

Baking Was History!

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

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

 

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

When My Passion Came To Light!

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

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

Edible Bouquets, By Marie’s Sweet Shoppe

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

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

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

My First Business Was Created!

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

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

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

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

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

Success Of A Baker And Her Confessions

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

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

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

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

Merritt

Cake made by Marie’s Sweet Shoppe