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Creative Company – Places to Shop in Merritt BC

Unique and Beautiful handmade products in the heart of Merritt BC

“Merritt BC has a wonderful little shop called Creative Company and there you will find something for everyone.”

Places to shop in Merritt BCCreative Company is a shop located in our downtown core where local artisans share and celebrate the art works and skills of our Nicola Valley artists. These art pieces include: Stained Glass, Hand Woven Scarves and Tea Towels, Handbags, Silver Jewelry, Baby and Children’s Clothing and Blankets, Photography, Slate and Wood Products Western Home Decor, and much more.. So many different and neat items. You will want to go in and check out Creative Company for a special gift or grab something for yourself.

Shop in Merritt Creative Company

Outside of Creative Company in Merritt BC Canada

Art Places to Shop in Merritt BC

Creative Company was founded in 1989 by locals who saw a vision of bringing artisans together to display their works with the people of the Nicola Valley and with visitors exploring the valley.

Let me introduce you to the first 4 artisans of Creative Company . I was fortunate enough to interview each one. I am sure that you will enjoy their stories as much as I have. Take some time to stop into this great gift shop in Merritt BC. Say hello and purchase something for yourself or your loved ones.

Unique Wooden Bowls by Pat Tombe

unique wooden bowls and plates

Beautiful bowls and plates made by Pat Tombe

Michelle Bacon (MB): Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Pat Tombe (PT): After spending most of my life taking things way too seriously and way too much time making a living, my wife Cathy and I made a change by moving to the Sunshine Valley outside Lower Nicola and commencing semi-retirement. This has allowed time to pursue activities that I never considered before. Instead of spending all my retirement fishing and golfing, I spend most of my time in my workshop making furniture and turnings.

 

(MB) : When did you start creating these beautiful bowls and join Creative Company?

(PT) : I started  wood turning in late 2017 and joined Creative Company in December of 2018. I really enjoy taking a bland piece of wood and carving it into a pleasing shape both to the eye and the hands.  Therefore my wood turning focus has been on bowls, platters, plates and hollow forms.

MB : Can you tell us a bit more about your wood working creations?

PT : I especially enjoy adding embellishments by way of carving, pyrography, dye, paint and texturing. One uses all manner of weird things in the process – guitar strings, blow torches, chainsaws, drills, hot metal, chisels, nail punches, nails, metal flakes, rust, crushed rocks, flowers etc. Also, one may start with a “plan’ but as the process is carried out sometimes I am amazed at where I end up.

And more about Pat’s work

PT : As with many things when learning something new I have applied the time proven strategy of doing everything wrong until I discover a new way – many times by accident. I still have many misadventures to cross off my list. I was amazed how involved the process can be and it sometimes may take me weeks to complete a piece. This results in having many pieces on the go. Once in a while some things turn out mostly right and with the encouragement of the nice people at Creative Company I offer these turnings to you.

If you were interested in more of Pat’s work you can email him at ptombe@tombeherrington.ca or call 250-378-9492

Vicky Martin Knitting and Crocheting

MB: Tell me a bit about yourself.

hand crafted kitting and crocheting

Hand crafted crocheted and knitted items by Vicky Martin.

VM : I have lived in Merritt for 40 years. I worked at Overwaitea Food for 25 years and then real estate for 5 years. Since I retired I have been very busy with my crafts. Self taught knitter and crocheter. I learned how to spin yarn and how to weave. I feel pretty lucky that I am able to do something that I love and pass it along to others through Creative Company.

MB : What products are you showcasing in Creative Company?

VM : I weave ladies and men’s scarves and tea towels. I have many crocheted items and many knitted items such as ladies, men’s and children’s toques, scarves, coats. Also, head bands, slippers, gloves, summer hats and other miscellaneous items. Hot and cold rice packs.

MB : How long have you been with Creative Company?

VM : I have been with Creative Company for 3 years.

Thank you for your time Vicky, I am sure our readers will be excited to come in and check out your beautiful creations at Creative Company in Merritt BC.

Richard Tenisch Silversmith

silversmith

Sterling silver rings, earrings, buckles and more.

MB : Hello Richard, can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

RT : Born and raised on a small farm in Switzerland and with the love of horses and open spaces. I decided to work as a cowboy. Then took a silversmith course 20 years ago. I have been doing buckles, earrings etc ever since.

MB : What types of products have you been sharing in Creative Company?

RT : I have buckles, earrings, conchs, pendants, rings, scarf slides, bracelets and money clips. As well as horse gear for saddles and headstalls all in sterling silver.

MB : How long have you been sharing your products in Creative Company?

RT : 6 years now I have been with Creative Company.

Thank you Richard, you have some absolutely stunning pieces of jewelry.

You can find Richard Tenisch online at Richardtenischsilver or on Face book here.

Sheila Schwan Weaver

MB : Good afternoon Sheila, we would love to hear a bit about yourself.

Weaver merritt bc

Sheila Schwan weaver in Merritt BC Canada

SS : Retired to Merritt area to a small acreage off Mamit Lake Road. Started weaving about 10 years ago and fell in love with the craft. Also spin, knit, crochet, cross stitch and rug hook. 

MB : What types of products do you have at Creative Company?

SS : I have woven scarves, blankets, place mats and runners. As well as, hand spun yarn and dryer balls. Custom orders are welcome.

MB : How long have you been with Creative Company?

SS : I have been with Creative Company for 3 years now.

If you would like to see any of these artisans products then this is one of the gift shops to go to in Merritt BC.

Creative Company located at 2074 Quilchena Avenue, Merritt, British Columbia V1K 1B8

Store Hours: Mon-Sat, 10am-5pm
Phone: 250-378-0813
Description: Unique Handcrafted Items for Sale
Payment: Cash, Debit, Visa
For more great stories about the Nicola Valley and Merritt check out our web site at Experience Nicola Valley.

Creative Company – Places to Shop in Merritt BC

Country Music Hall of Fame Artist on The Merritt BC Mural Walk – Terri Clark

Canadian Country Hall of Fame Artist – Terri Clark

Merritt BC Canada Murals

Clark says, “There’s no formula for making it – everyone has there own journey.”

Results Of A Vision

Country Music Hall of Fame Artist, Terri Clark with over 5 million albums sold, as well as critically acclaimed international tours, and a string of hit singles, has solidified her place in the history books of Canadian Country Music.

Together with being a three time Juno award winner, and Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame inductee.  Clark also holds the honor of being the only Canadian female member of the legendary Grand Ole Opry.

Terri has been named CCMA Female Vocalist of the year, five times and has taken home eight CCMA Fan’s Choice Awards. In total Clark has had the honor of receiving 19 Canadian Country Music Awards.

Country Music Arist Terri Clark

Canadian Country Hall of Fame  Artist – Terri Clark

History Of The Star

Clark was born Terri Lynn Sauson on August 5, 1968 in Montreal Quebec, Canada. Her family moved and settled in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Raised in Medicine Hat, Terri is the third of four children. She has a younger brother Peter and two older sisters Kim and Tina. Terri`s parents divorced when she was young. Her mother remarried and Terri took on her stepfather`s last name.

Terri was part of a musical family. Ray and Betty Gautier, Clark`s grandparents, were both Canadian Country Musicians. They opened for numerous artist including George Jones and Johnny Cash. Her mother was a part of the folk scene playing coffee houses.

The Beginning of a Dream

Terri moved from Medicine Hat after graduation in 1987 to Nashville, Tennessee. She was 18 years old and moved lock, stock and barrel. She didn’t have a green card and didn’t know anybody. The only thing solid thing she took with her was a dream and some faith.

Once she hit Nashville she wandered into Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge and asked if she could sing. She became the club’s house singer after management heard her sing. Even though this was a big step forward she wasn’t there yet. For the next seven years, she sang the clubs and worked odd jobs to survive. She never gave up and continued to try and land a record deal.

“At one point when things weren’t going all that great. I called my mom and I said, “I wanna come home.” She said, “Terri, if you do that, I don’t want you when you are 50 years old, to be sitting there going, “What woulda happened?”

Terri’s roots was traditional country. Traditional country at the time wasn’t something of interest to Country Music executives. But record producer and singer Keith Stegall gave her advice not to give up. Then in 1994, she landed an audition for Mercury Records. After seeing Clark perform live, the label’s president signed her on the spot.

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

Terri Clark Came Storming Out of Canada 1995-1997

Terri Clark came  out of Canada capturing the attention of America’s Country Music Industry.

Clark stayed close to her country roots, even if those roots were closer to new country than traditional country. Clark issued her first single, “Better things to do” in early 1995. The song reached the top five in both the United States and Canada.

Clark was an immediate success upon the release of her debut album in the summer of 1995.  The album featured “Better Things To Do”, “When Boy Meets Girl”, “If I were You” and  “Suddenly Single”. Terri supported the album with a tour opening for George Strait.

As a result, “If I Were You” became Clark’s first No. 1 hit in Canada in June 1996. The album was certified Gold by the RIAA in the United States on April 5, 1996 and Platinum on July 29, 1997.

In the fall of 1996, Clark’s second album “Just The Same” was released, following the album’s first single, “Poor Poor Pitiful Me,” a cover of the 1976 Warren Zevon song. The single as well as the second single from the album “Emotional Girl,” reached number one in Canada with both songs reaching the top ten in the United States.

Picture: terriclark.com

Clark earned a nomination, for The Country Music Association’s Horizon Award, as well as the Academy of Country Music Awards Best New Female Vocalist, in the late summer of 1996. During late 1996, Clark earned the award, Single of the Year for “Better Things To Do” including Album of The Year for Terri Clark by the Canadian Country Music Association. She was also named. The Top New Female Artist of The Year by Billboard magazine.

1998 – 2001 Singing What She Knows And Feels

Clark’s third album, “How I Feel,” was released in May 1998. The lead single from that album, “Now That I found You,” reached the top five in both Canada and the United States. The album’s second single, “You’re Easy On The Eyes,” reached number one in Canada as well as the United States. The song also became a minor Top  40 hit, peaking at No. 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States.  To promote her new album, Terri became the opening act for Reba McIntyre as well as Brooks and Dunn on their 1998 tour.

The release of “Fearless” the fourth studio album in September of 2000, delivered songs with more of an acoustic feel than that of her previous work. The album’s first single “A Little Gasoline”, was a late addition to the album. Mercury executives, of her label felt Clark needed to balance her new material with something that had a more familiar feel to it. Consequently, the song reached the top 10 in Canada. But only placed No 13 in the United States.

In March 1998, Clark visited Calgary, Alberta, Canada to film her first television special, Terri Clark Coming Home. The show premiered March 27, 1998 on CBC in Canada. During the special, Clark was visited by Canadian Country singers, Paul Brandt and George Fox. (Wikipedia)

2002 – 2004 – Grand Ole Opry Induction and A Playboy Magazine Offer

“Pain To Kill” was Clark’s fifth album. The album was released in January 2003, following the release of the album’s first single “I Just Wanna Be Mad”. Sara Evans passed on the song, originally written for her, by Kelley Lovelace and Lee Thomas Miller. Once released as a single, the song became Clark’s highest charting single in the United States. The song charted No 27 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

” I think of all the young girls who come to my shows. I think of those faces, I think of my mother, and I worry about the signal (sex) sends to them…”

“If I’m sexy enough for Playboy to want me with my clothes on. Then I hope, the message can be, that sexy is about, what’s between your ears, in your heart and your smile.”

Clark who came in second behind Canadian Country singer Shania Twain in a previous year poll, turned down an offer in early 2004 by Playboy magazine to pose, clothed for the cover of the magazine’s upcoming May issue.

During an appearance at the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday, May 15, 2004. Steve Warner told Clark how much the Opry loved surprises and that he had one for her. Warner extended the surprise invitation to join the Grand Ole Opry family as her mother, Linda Clark, walked on stage holding a sign that read “Grand Ole Opry, June 12.”

” This is the epitome of everything I have existed for in this business and dreamed about as a kid”.

Canadian country music star Terri Clark became a Grand Ole
Opry Member in 2004 and is known for her hits like “Girls Lie
Too,” and more. Picture: Grand Ole Opry

Greatest Hits Album 1994-2004

The future Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame inductee and the new Grand Ole Opry inductee, introduced her first greatest hits album. “Greatest hits 1994-2004”. The album’s only single. “Girls Lie Too”, became Clark’s first number one hit in the United States since 1998’s, “You’re Easy On The Eyes”. The song did not reach number one in Canada.  It hit number one country song of 2004 in Canada by Radio & Records.

A non-album single, “The World Needs a Drink” (co-written by a then-unknown Eric Church), released in 2004, but was not included on any of Clark’s studio albums.

Musical Roots of Country Continue 2005-2010

November 2005, Clark’s new album “Life Goes On” hits the airwaves. All things considered. This would be the last album, Terri would produce with Mercury Records.

June 2006, Clark signed with BNA Records, a division of Sony BMG Label Group. “Dirty Girl”, the first single for the label hit the stands in 2007. Following was “In My Next Life” the title track to the debut BNA release.

Clark’s tour of Canada with Emerson Drive  opening for Big and Rich hoping to promote her new album. “My Next Life” was delayed several times. Consequently, the album remained unreleased. She parted ways with BNA in November 2008, in order to concentrate on her career in Canada and possibly launch her own record label. (Wikipedia)

Clark released a live album, “Terri Clark Live: Road Rage”, on her own BareTrack Records label in July 2009 through digital retailers. Clark’s seventh unreleased album through BNA, “The Long Way Home“,  shipped to all retailers in Canada and to all digital retailers in the United States on September 1, 2009, distributed by BareTrack/Capitol Nashville/EMI Canada. The album’s release to non-digital retailers in the United States, took place on October 20, 2009.

The Albums Keep On Flowing Through Perseverance and Determination 2011-2013

Clark’s eighth album  “Roots and Wings” hit the market on July 26, 2011. The album includes “Smile”, a song she wrote for her mom after her death, due to a long battle with cancer. The album’s lead single, “Northern Girl,” released on April 18, 2011. There is no question that Terri Clark, will be headed for the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.

The ninth album released on November 13, 2012, in Canada. The album includes classic country standards. “Love Is A Rose,” is  the album’s lead single. Not only does the album duets include Jann Arden, Dierks Bentley, Tanya Tucker, but also Dean Brody as well as Reba McIntire.

Clark took home the CCMA Female Artist of The Year Award in 2011. Terri built a fan base like no other and again took home the CCMA Fan’s Choice Award for 2013.

The Rewards and Vision of a Continuing Career

“Some Songs”. The production and release of Clark’s 10th took place on September 2, 2014. Her 11th album “Raising The Bar” was released on September 4, 2018.

Clark signed on to America’s Morning  Show on Nash FM in 2013, as co host to Blair Garner and Chuck Wicks. She co hosted on America’s Morning Show for about a year, before she returned to her road roots.

“I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I started doing it again.”

Country Gold With Terri Clark

The internationally syndicated radio show “Country Gold with Terri Clark, airs on more than 145 stations across the United States as well as Canada. As of April 2016, Terri became the new hostess of the Saturday night classic country program, replacing Randy Owen. Terri earned a 2017 CMA nomination for Broadcaster Personality of The Year as well as a 2018 ACM award for National Broadcast Personality of the year.

Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame Induction

“It is such an honour to be inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. Being celebrated as one of Canada’s most influential country musicians is a recognition I do not take lightly, and one I will forever be proud of. I am deeply grateful to everyone, who has been on this journey with me, especially my fans who I had the opportunity to celebrate with today.”

Terri performed at the Merritt Mountain Music Festival in 2003. Displaying the talent, that would make her the International, Canadian Super Star she is today. She controls the stage in an international fashion, as well as providing her audience with a magical show in True Country Style. She performed the same caliber, and beyond in 2014 at the Rockin River Fest in Mission, BC.

During a 2014 interview by Shawn Conner of the Vancouver Sun, he asked. “Do you miss the bad ol’ days of the Merritt Mountain Music Festival? Terri replied:

“You know what, Merritt, BC is beautiful. Any festival there, whatever you want to call it, is going to be a party. We have the best crowds out west, they like to break loose and have a good time.”

Clark’s Merritt Mountain Music performances including her support of Canadian Country Music, lead to a mural on the wall of the BC Country Murals, included in The Merritt BC downtown Mural Walk. Terri Clark’s mural painted by Michelle Loughery in 2009, is displayed in Spirit Square, on the corner of Granite Avenue and Voght Street.

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Merritt Attractions – Take The Walk

To begin with, start your downtown mural tour at Merritt’s National Attraction. The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, Situated on Quilchena Avenue in The Country Music Capital of Canada.

The murals are impressive, I recognized the singers right away. What a clever way to make a small city interesting and fun.” (Betty W Missoula, Montana)

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.

Walk of Stars Handprints

In addition, while on your mural tour, visit the many handprints of country artists situated throughout the town.

Hundred’s of International Country Music Artists have performed at the annual Merritt Mountain Music Festival. As a result, those stars  left their mark permanently, by placing their handprints (or, in one case, footprints) and signatures in concrete stars. As a result, in 2003, those stars became the basis for the Merritt Walk of Stars. In addition, by 2005 more than 100 bronzed stars, created from the concrete impressions, were displayed throughout the community. (Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame)

Above all, the handprints will continue to grow with the Rockin River Music Fest, and add to the existing legacy of the Stars that have visited and performed in Merritt, BC.

 Discover and experience the natural beauty and attractions in Merritt and the Nicola Valley!

Terri Clark is very much active at the writing of this blog. Follow her on:

https://www.terriclark.com/

https://www.facebook.com/TerriClark

https://www.youtube.com/user/OfficialTerriClark

https://www.instagram.com/terriclarkmusic/

Terry Clark – Merritt, BC, Canada Mural

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame

Experience Nicola Valley Blog

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Experience Nicola Valley

Travel Website

 

Courtesy Corner Supermarket

Lower Nicola Merritt BC Grocery Store

“We don’t need to go into town as much.”

 

Lower Nicola has a Merritt BC grocery store called Courtesy Corner. The mini supermarket is a family owned business located just outside Merritt BC Canada on Hwy 8 towards Spencer’s Bridge.  The Merritt BC grocery store offers a large selection of products that are priced comparably well with other big chain grocery stores.

But what everyone seems to want to talk about is how they are always treated with respect, and greeted with politeness by the proud owners of Courtesy Corner, Shamba Singh Bhown and wife Shreya Bhown.

Courtesy Corner Family Owned Grocery Store

Meet The Owners  Shamba Singh Bhown With His Wife Shreya Bhown,

I had the opportunity to meet Shamba and his wife Shreya while making a quick stop to buy a lottery ticket on Saturday March 29, 2019. And to my surprise they were having a customer appreciation day. Best yet, there was a  Lotto Max rep “Kyleen Horodyski” on site handing out free giveaways along with cake and balloons.  Sweet! I was greeted by the owners with free Samosas.

Time To Merritt Blog

I  took the opportunity to ask the Bhown’s if they have ever heard of Experience Nicola Valley Bloggers? My story telling side (my blogger within me) came out and explained to them what was happening online and within the Nicola Valley. They quickly agreed that it was a good idea for me to  write a blog about their business!

Shamba Singh Bhown with his wife Shreya Bhown, along with their reno/store handyman Paul Jensen.

Experience Nicola Valley Interview

Type of Merritt BC business – Corner Store/ Supermarket.

(Q1) What made you come to Merritt BC Canada and purchase this particular business?

Shamba “I knew that we would do a lot better here. With its great location, beautiful area, friendly community. Right away we were welcomed by everyone.”

(Q2) How long have you been in this type of business?

Shamba “Many years, I have a lot of experience and through the years have been able to connect with reliable wholesalers along with brands I stand behind.”

(Q3) Can u give me an example?

Shamba “Organic Natural Drinks, along with Saunders Family Farm.”

(Q4) Are there advantages to owning a Merritt BC business here in the Nicola Valley?

Shamba “Many advantages. It is very community based, loyal customers, situated on a busy Highway that is well travelled by tourists, as well as, we have other small communities nearby that rely on having a grocery store nearby that supplies products at comparable prices along with a large selection.”

(Q5) What future plans do you have for your store?

Shamba “We will be putting in two gas pumps, as well as, start selling propane. Soon after we hope to obtain a permit so we are able to sell fishing & hunting licenses too.”

(Q6) Why do your customers keep coming back?

Shamba “We work hard to model our business to what people expect. Honesty, quality, selection, comparable prices, listening to what customers want.”

(Q7) Can you tell me an example of going above & beyond for your clientele?

Shamba “Last year we purchased the store in April, and within a couple of weeks the river flooded washing out the bridge. It made it almost impossible for many people to get into Merritt. After a few days our supplies were running out, so I drove to Kamloops to stock up on merchandise, making sure we could supply all the necessities for the community. Furthermore, I also drove to the lower mainland to purchase goods and stock up.”

Courtesy Corner had a winning ticket celebration March 29,2019. Representatives from Lotto Max were on location for free giveaways,

The Store With The “Winning Touch”

Amazingly not once but twice,  Courtesy Corner has sold  a winning lottery ticket to 3 of their frequent customers. Making them instant millionaires and “Living The Dream”.  The last 25 million Lotto Max ticket was sold recently.  It was a ticket sold by asking the customer if he wanted buy a ticket for that nights Lotto Max draw.  Talk about upselling!

Products You Can Find At Courtesy Corner

Courtesy Corner Supermarket offers such a wide range of merchandise and household provisions that makes it a “one-stop-shopping” grocery store.

Courtesy Corner is well known in the region for having comparable prices, with a wide range of provisions. Everything from office staples to vehicle products.

Frozen goods. Ground beef from Lower Nicola’s butcher Keiper’s Ranch.

Beauty Products For Him & Her

Impressive selection of beauty products comparable to the larger box stores.

Products for men & women.

Great supply of hair products available.

 

 

Awesome Selection Of Ice Cream For Every Sweet Tooth For “Those Hot Summer Days”

World’s coldest Ice Cream! Try the Mini Melts!

Happy customer enjoying a tasty cone.

Hard to resist this Cotton Candy Ice Cream!

 Fresh Produce Or Planting A Garden

vegetables and fruits are fresh and a great variety is available. Along with garden seeds they also have spice & seasoning.

Planting a Garden this year. Great selection of seeds.

Fresh produce available daily.

In case you forgot. Spices & Seasonings

Merritt BC Fishing And Hunting In The Nicola Valley

Unique items can be found at Courtesy Corner.

Hunting & fishing essentials.

Cabin Fever!

 

 

Vehicle Products

With its own section, vehicle owners will be pleased to see the selection of essentials needed for their ride.

Found at Courtesy Corner vehicle oil and wiper fluid.

Air Fresheners also!

 

Prepaid Cards Available & Rapid Chargers

A wide sort of prepaid cards available at Courtesy Corner.

Need a charge? Rapid charge available.

 

 

Testaments From Happy Customers

The customers I talked to couldn’t say enough positive things about the owners of this Merritt BC grocery store. They were telling me how impressed with the re-modeling of the inside, as well as, the selection of merchandise available.  Most importantly how gracious and friendly the staff are.

Brad & Irene Bennet

“Love Lower Nicola Courtesy Supermarket! What they have done to it , staff are great, courteous and helpful. amazing selection of products!” Brad & Irene Bennet

In Conclusion

Nicola Courtesy Corner Supermarket. A  family run business that offers a selection of merchandise/provisions that equal any big box store prices.  I was amazed at the selection that was on display.   Above all I dont live in Lower Nicola but I may find myself shopping here more. Experience The Nicola Valley.

“Awesome Store! We don’t live in the Lower Nicola, but we love this store” Dorothy & Helen Clarke.

Bus Stop 

There is a bus stop located on Aberdeen Rd. in Lower Nicola Valley. The bus stop is only a few steps from the store. 
There are public bathrooms. Video surveillance on site inside and outside.

Lower Nicola Courtesy Corner Friendly Staff

Courtesy Corner Contact List

Phone Number (250) 378-9457,

407 hwy 8 w
Lower Nicola, British Columbia

Outside Lower Nicola Area, Dial +1 2503789457.

Hours 6:00 AM – 10:00 PM Mondays – Saturday
Sundays 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM

Price Range $$ comparible to larger Supermarkets
407 hwy 8 w (4.92 mi)

Facebook Page: Courtesy Corner Lower Nicola

Lower Nicola BC Canada Corner Store – Merritt BC Business

 

 

Ranching in the Nicola Valley – Branding Calves

Branding calves on the ranch

“I feel very blessed to be working with such a great bunch of people”

There are so many things to consider if you are ranching in the Nicola Valley – branding day and calves is one of them.

Spring is here in Merritt BC Canada, the calves are born and now it’s time to get things ready to start branding caves on the ranch. You want to do this before you send them to range or before anyone can take them.

There is so much you need to get organized and ready for branding day. Not only do you have to have your ropers and ground people lined up but you also have to make sure all your equipment is in working order. You also need to make sure you have all the necessary supplies for the day.

On top of all that your crew will need to be fed and kept hydrated throughout the day.

Today I am going to take you through a day of ranching in the Nicola Valley – branding calves. This is not like a typical written blog but a story through photographs. I really hope you enjoy.

Start of the day

Once the crew all know there jobs, fed breakfast which on this day consisted of coffee, tea, water, juice, muffins, bacon and egg or ham and egg on English muffins.

 

 

showing breakfast cattle ranching

Breakfast at the Ranch House

Horseback riding in the Nicola Valley

Cowboys mounting up and discussing life before the real work begins.

Breakfast done, now everyone is just getting ready to head out to gather the cows and calves.

Branding calves in the Nicola Valley

Cowboys heading up to gather the cows and calves and bring them in for branding.

branding calves in the nicola valley

Ranching in the Nicola Valley – Branding Day, bringing the first herd in from the back fields.

Branding calves in the Nicola Valley

Heading into the arena.

Branding calves in the Nicola Valley

Look at all the fresh grass. Won’t be like that for long.

Branding calves in the Nicola Valley

Cowboys getting ready to start roping the calves.

Branding calves in the Nicola Valley

Here we go, first calf roped and getting hauled up to the branding station.

Branding calves in the Nicola Valley

Once they have had their medications its time to brand. Gerry is checking to make sure the brand is on well enough. The smoke is from the hair burning.

Branding calves in the Nicola Valley

Two sides going at once to make it a smoother operation and a little faster.

Branding calves in the Nicola Valley

Corena branding one of her calves.

Branding calves in the Nicola Valley

Sometimes things don’t go quite as planned so the ground crew tries to help out in catching the calf to re position the rope into the correct place. It’s all about team work.

Branding calves in the Nicola Valley

Waiting for all parts of the branding to be completed before letting the calf go.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

You can see here the calf was roped in the wrong spot.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

So they wrestle the calf and re position the rope.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Which makes it easier and faster to give the medications and position for getting the ranches brand.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Gerry from 8 Mile Ranch putting his brand on.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

First herd finished and heading back out to pasture. Lunch Break

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Horses all lined up along the fence as the cowboys and crew stop for lunch.

Lunch Time

Another great meal consisting of fruit trays, vegetable trays, home made sausage rolls, sandwiches, muffins, all kids of little deserts and drinks.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Lunch all done, time to head out and gather the second herd.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Ranching in the Nicola Valley – Branding Day. This is the second herd coming in for branding.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

As the second herd makes it’s way into the arena you can see it isn’t as grassy this time.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

I have to say this is one of my favorite calves. I call it Panda. Just missing the white around the eyes.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Relaxing for a moment while waiting it’s turn.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Ranch dogs patiently waiting for their turn to do some work.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

The hair is clipped away so you can see better where you are putting the brand.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

The Bosses 🙂 Gerry 8 Mile Ranch and Corena Calton Cattle Co.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Kids also love having some fun on branding day.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Colin bringing up another calf. Way to go Colin.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Nothing quite like seeing a father and son bonding.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Calves are just so darn cute.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

The Boss Gerry doing his part in roping a calf. These horses are just as hard working as the cowboys and people on the ground. It is really quite something to watch how it all comes together.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Corena’s pretty brand on one of her calves. Nice job

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Sometimes a little wrestling is in order hahaha, hold her down.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

UT watching on, waiting to go out and work.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Gerry jumping off his horse to fix the rope on a calf.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Catch it…

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

And re position the rope. Great team work by all.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Team wrestling is a fact of life when branding. Flipping a calf that just didn’t want to go down.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Hold on… We are almost done!

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Oh another one where the rope needs to be re positioned.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Way to go, get them all finished up.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Group two heading back out to pasture

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

There’s that little panda again. So darn cute.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Second group back into the pasture, now to go and get the third and final group.

Final Group to be Branded

 

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Ranching in the Nicola Valley – Branding day. Here comes the last small group of calves that need to be branded. Yes, that is a dairy cow that you see. She is a surrogate mother. Any orphan calves that the ranch gets will be introduced to the Dairy cow. She takes them on as her own. It’s quite amazing to watch.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

There always seems to be one that ends up almost like a pet

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

This little one is no exception. Corena has to go and give it a little pet.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Then she talks to it before branding. So cute. So much care and consideration goes into everything that this ranch does. I feel blessed to be a part of what they do.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

And sometimes you think you have it.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

You try really hard

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

And still….

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

The calf wins and gets away….lol

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

There is even a dummy steer and rope for those who would like to try their luck.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Kids seem to love it

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Although it’s more fun to rope your brother and drag him around.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Okay, I will let you go hahaha.

Supper Time

Now that all the calves have been branded. It’s time to relax, tell stories and prepare for the amazing supper.

All in all a day ranching in the Nicola Valley – Branding Day is a day of not only full of hard work. It is also fun in seeing old friends, new ones and enjoying all the day had to offer.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

The start of the amazing Mexican dinner being prepared for supper by Patrick.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Adding peppers, oh my it’s looking so good.

For more great blogs about Merritt and the Nicola Valley head over to Experience Nicola Valley web page.  Corena owner of  Calton Cattle Co is also at Creative Company in downtown Merritt with lots of wonderful western decor.

western decor Calton Cattle Co Merritt BC Nicolla Valley

Photo Credit Calton Cattle Co. at Creative Company

Ranching in the Nicola Valley – Branding Day

Merritt BC Canada Murals

Country Music Legends – Merritt BC Murals

Hank Snow, Wilf Carter (Montana Slim), Orval Prophet, and Catherine McKinnon

“I know when I was little, people would say, ‘What are you going to be when you grow up?’ And my first answer was, ‘I’m going to be a singer, an actor, a nurse, and Barbara Ann Scott.”  Catherine McKinnon

Merritt Murals and the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame recognizes four Canadian Country Music legends in Merritt, BC, Canada. During the early years of country music they – Hank Snow, Wilf Carter (Montana Slim), Orval Prophet, and Catherine McKinnon – were at the forefront of the Canadian country music scene. As a result, all four country music legends grace a wall together, as a Merritt Mural, in Downtown Merritt.

 

Canadian Country Music Legends

Tania Stewart (Experience Nicola Valley) / Mural Painted by Michelle Loughery

Short & Brief History of these 4 Legendary Country Music Artists

Hank Clarence Eugene Snow

(May 9, 1914 – December 20, 1999) Liverpool, Nova Scotia, Canada. Hank was well known for his lavish colourful sequin-studded suits. His career covered six decades from 1936–1996 spanning 50 years. During which he produced the self-penned number-one hit, “I’m Moving On”. After a long and successful career Hank Snow was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and the Nova Scotia Music Hall of Fame.  To clarify, the induction into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame was not until 1985.

“I’ve had about 140 albums released, and I’ve done everything I wanted to do, ” Hank Snow. 

Wilfred Arthur Charles Carter

(December 18, 1904 – December 5, 1996),  Port Hilford, Nova Scotia, Canada. Wilf Carter may be better known for his nicknames “Montana Slim” and the “Yodeling Cowboy”.

Carter was Canada’s first country music star and widely acknowledged as the father of Canadian country music.

At the age of  86,  Montana Slim made his last concert tour called, ” The Last Round-up Tour”. As a result the country music legend played his last shows tin Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Manitoba. Wilf Carter was later inducted into Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 1984.

Orval  William Prophet

(August 1922 – 4 January 1984) Edwards, Ontario, Canada. Orval Prophet was among the first Canadian country music performers to achieve a career reaching international borders. As a result of his mass appeal Orval was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Association Hall of Honour and in 1989 into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. In short, his most recognized songs include, “Going Back to Birmingham” and “Judgement Day Express”.

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

Catherine McKinnon

(Born May 14, 1944) During the 1960’s Catherine McKinnon was a Canadian actress, as well as, fast becoming one of the leading country/pop singers in Canada. Her acting career saw her in productions like the Turvey,  and “The Wizard of Oz”.  Meanwhile her singer career won her a “Lifetime Achievement Award” at the East Coast Music Awards in 2012. Above all… she had a history of awards including Top Female Singer at the RPM Awards (1965) and Top Female Singer at the RPM Awards (1965).

More Canadian Country Music Legend Facts

  • First, there is the Hank Snow Home Town Museum located in Liverpool Nova Scotia, Canada. The venue celebrates Hanks life and work.
  • Additionally, there is Hank’s foundation called the International Foundation For Prevention Of Child Abuse.
  • Meanwhile Orval Prophet was the first Canadian country music artist to record in a Nashville studio.
  • Further more, during World War II, Prophet performed for the injured soldiers in Ottawa, Canada. Most importantly, or should we say most impressively, was the fact that Orval walked 38 kilometres (24 mi) from his home to the hospital to entertain the soldiers.
Hank Snow Merritt BC Mural

Hank Snow – Mural Painted by Michelle Loughery

Merritt BC Canada Murals

The Merritt Mural Project started  in 2005. Furthermore, the Merritt BC Murals was 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 the Merritt Murals.

Enjoy & Visit Merritt, BC, Canada

Downtown Merritt provides visitors a unique experience when exploring our community. For instance, why not follow up your sightseeing experience by browsing some of our local shops, cafes, historical pubs, as well as, Merritt’s Signature Attraction, the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. Certainly, try to make some time to take in the Merritt Walk of Stars too. Each plaque features a hand print (and yes, there is one footprint), as well as, includes signatures of every featured country music performer.

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame honours country music artists, and broadcasters, living or deceased. The country music venue is located in Downtown Merritt BC at 2025 Quilchena Avenue.  That is to say that the music venue includes extensive biographical information on Canadian country music inductees.  Lastly, the country music attraction is open year-round for custom tours, as well as, it is open to the public on seasonally adjusted hours.

Merritt Canada Downtown Mural Walking Tour – Nicola Valley

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The Chair Walk, Merritt BC

July 10, 2019 to August 7, 2019

“Chairs like you have never seen before”

Art in Merritt BC. Art in Merritt comes in all forms, shapes and sizes. There are art galleries for you to enjoy, craft markets where many different artists participate, as well as, various venues with live entertainment. Locals and visitors will also enjoy the “Chair Walk”, the latest addition to the art experience while exploring Merritt BC Canada.

How does the Chair Walk Work?

The Chair Walk is modeled after a self-guided walking tour. Many communities provide self guided art walks including Merritt and the Nicola Valley. The Chair Walk will soon be one of the many art experiences to enjoy alongside the Merritt Murals, Walk Of Stars and many others.

However, one should know, the Chair Walk is different than many other art exhibits because it is a fund raiser for the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council and the Nicola Valley Community Theatre Society . The Chair Walk has some unique twists and turns that are not found in your every-day conventional Art Walk. It will be well worth the walk.

The Chair Walk is an army of community minded artists coming together for a good cause by donating their time and talents to producing some amazing art creations in the form of chairs.  While the basis of the work is a common chair, there is nothing common about the finished results. But hold on! That is all we can tell you about it right now because it is a surprise. You will have to come to Merritt BC Canada this summer and take the walking tour to see the collection of creative chair masterpieces.

What will the chairs look like?

The Business Community is on board.

Of course, all this effort by the artists would be for naught if the businesses did not see this as a valuable event, not only for themselves, but for the whole town in fostering art in Merritt. You will find that the interesting thing is the large variety of businesses involved.  There are flower shops, restaurants, auto parts dealers, a bike shop, sportswear, gift shops and many others for you to visit. All with their own versions of chair art.

Making Money for Art in Merritt, BC

Whereas the artists and business are crucial, you will be the ones to determine the success of this event.

Each chair will be the subject of a silent auction 

However, if you are not going to bid on a chair you can still help the cause. Each chair will have a piggy bank placed nearby where you can make a donation.  As a side note, the banks are fun to see as they come in all sizes and shapes too.

“Families, children, teens, seniors, singles, tourists, and couples are all encouraged to support this event as it will not only be a fun summer activity but also help make Merritt become a better community in which to live.” says Team Leader for the Chair Project, Shirley

Inviting Store Front promoting Art in Merritt

Art in Merritt is worth the effort

The Chair Walk will give you a great introduction to our wonderful little City.  While you travel to each venue you will pass by other attractions that might interest you,  such as the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.

In addition,  if you are into museums visit the Nicola Valley Museum and Archives.  You will find great information on the local history including the Indigenous peoples of the region.  You can also take in the many murals of the country stars that have played at our annual summer music fest. 

The Merritt Murals are another example of art in Merritt that is on public display. There are said to around 20+ murals depicting country music stars. All painted by Michelle Loughery.

Accommodations Galore!

While experiencing the Chair Walk you may find time flies by fast.  There are fifteen art sites spread out around town. Therefore, if you are from out of town you will want to consider staying over night. Accommodations in Merritt are varied from first class hotels to camping in the wilderness.

What to expect with art in Merritt

You will see some amazing creations, you will feel the small town experience and you could win a prize at the same time.  Just get your passport stamped at all fifteen venues and you will be entered into the draw. You will walk away feeling proud that you participated in the Chair Walk  in Merritt.

Chair Walk – Art in Merritt BC Canada

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.” 

Melvina White (Experience Nicola Valley) / Mural 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

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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) / Mural 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.

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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) / Mural 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

 

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame

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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