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Gardening in Merritt BC

Butchart Gardens Lookout!

Prepare for the Spring

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

Planning is Essential

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

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

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

Examples of Terraced Gardens

Terrace garden with logs

Terrace Garden-Tom Reynolds Photo

Terrace Concrete bloc

Terrace-Concrete Block Tom Reynolds Photo

Rock Wall

Rock Wall-Tom Reynolds Photo

Examples of Pathways

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

Pathway

Curved Path-Tom Reynolds Photo

When Gardening in Merritt BC What Plants Can You Use?

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

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

Flowering Tree

Flowering Tree-Tom Reynolds Photo

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

Mock Orange

Mock Orange=Tom Reynolds Photo

Colour should be Your Goal when Gardening in Merritt BC

Perrenials Garden

Perennial Garden-Tom Reynolds photo

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

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

Annuals

Annuals-Tom Reynolds photo

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

Barberry Shrub

Barberry Shrub-Tom Reynolds Photo

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

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

Hostas

Hostas – Tom Reynolds Photo

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

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

Chair

Chair-Tom Reynolds photo

Rock Wall

Roc Wall-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Joy of Gardening Never Ends

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

Gardening in Merritt BC

Plants for the Soul

 

Adventures and activities in British Columbia Canada

 

Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel & Adventure Guides

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

Managing Cash Flow Merritt – The First Pillar of Financial Planning

“If we arrange our retirement income correctly we can lower the tax we pay over our retirement and, eventually, lower the amount of taxes due at our passing on.”

Managing Cash Flow in Merritt, BC – Last edition we looked from a high level overview at the 6 pillars of financial planning. This edition will focus a little more in depth into the financial pillar of managing cash flow. 

managing cash flow merritt

Budgets are just guides. We are in control of how they flow.

 

Managing Cash Flow Begins With A Cash Flow Analysis

Managing cash flow in Merritt, or anywhere else, varies over our pre-retirement and retirement years. No matter the season of life, the process remains the same.

First, we need to determine all the sources of income that we have entering our picture. Then we need to determine our current and future expenses. This can be tricky as future expenses will increase due to inflation and the loss of purchasing power takes place on our retirement nest egg.

 

managing cash flow merritt logan lake

To coffee, or not to coffee…that is the question…

 

Managing Our Income In Our Pre-retirement Years

In our pre-retirement years, income will come in different ways. We will earn employment income, rental income or income from being self-employed. If incorporated the income may come through dividends. We could even receive capital gains from our investments. These are all taxed differently and the goal is to bring them “into our picture” in the most tax efficient manner. For the most part, if planned properly, we are in control of how we receive these and even when.

 

How We Determine Our Retirement Paycheque

In retirement we could still receive any of the incomes listed above. There are a few additional benefits that become available in our sixties. Firstly, between the ages of 60 and 70 we can begin receiving CPP or Canada Pension Plan benefits. If you receive the benefit before age 65, you will receive a penalty of 0.6% per month that it is taken early. Alternatively, each month after 65 that you delay receiving CPP you are paid a 0.7% bonus for life.

Secondly, between age 65 and age 70 we can begin receiving OAS or Old Age Security. Thirdly, the year we turn 71, it is mandatory that by December 31st of that year any RRSP’s, or Registered Retirement Saving Plan’s, are converted into RRIF’s, or Registered Retirement Income Funds. The government determines the mandatory minimum amount that must be withdrawn on an annual basis. Confusing? You bet it is! Fourthly, there is even a GIS, or Guaranteed Income Supplement, available in the mid to late sixties to those who can qualify for it. 

moneyadvicemerrittbc

Always just a phone call away.

 

“Why Would I Wait To Receive Government Benefits?”

A common question I am asked. It is uniquely situational. Each individual or couple has different things that are available at different times in their life. Some are struggling  to make ends meet when they reach 60 years old and just take the CPP benefit early. Others may be receiving payouts upon their retirement and delaying additional income a year may be beneficial. Most answers are based on tax strategies when it comes to planning in this area. There is no cut and dry best time to take it for everyone. It must be something that is analyzed and planned for. 

Some Things To Have In Place Before Retirement

Most of us will be at the height of our earning years before retirement. If planned for, we could see ourselves entering retirement mortgage free. There is no better time to have a line of credit or credit solution in place “just in case” we may need it in retirement. Credit solutions always look at what you own and what you earn. However, if you wait until you are already retired it will reduce the credit you have available. 

Tax-efficiency Is Key In Retirement Income Planning

There are many strategies for income planning in retirement. Again, all are uniquely situational. Similar to questions raised above like, “When do I start collecting CPP or OAS?” These are big picture questions.  It is all tied in together. Taxes are the single largest expense of our lifetime. If we arrange our retirement income correctly we can lower the tax we pay over our retirement and, eventually, lower the amount of taxes due at our passing on.

These Decisions Have Lasting Effects,

Seek Professional Help To Get It Right!

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Managing Cash Flow – Nicola Valley

 

Financial Planning Near Merritt, BC

Managing your cash flow Merritt

Nicola Valley BC Canada

 

Nicola Valley Financial Planning in and around Merritt British Columbia, Canada

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Retirement Planning in Merritt, BC

Retirement planning through financial planning fundamentals

“While portfolio performance is important, it’s only one component of your overall financial well-being”

Retirement Planning in Merritt, BC – Retirement is that one point in our lives that we are all working towards. There are no two retirements that are the same. We will all have our own unique journey while living in the Merritt, Ashcroft, Kamloops and Logan Lake area. However, there is more to it than just putting money away for our working lifetime. The years right before our retirement are the most crucial to have “all the ducks in a row”.

There is more to our retirement planning in Merritt than investment performance

Many investment advisors will only focus on how your portfolio is projected to perform with your retirement planning. While portfolio performance is important, it’s only one component of your overall financial well-being. A comprehensive financial plan planning focuses on meeting your needs over both the short and long term. We need to create certainty in all areas of your financial future.

Confidence in our retirement planning through the Six Pillars of Financial Planning

You may ask, “one component?” Yes, retiring can be stressful and is more complicated than you think. Any solid retirement plan should be looking at up to six different components. I like to call these the “six pillars of financial planning.” Each pillar is based on a foundation of tax efficiency.

Pillar # 1 – Managing cash flow

We start off by examining the cash and credit requirements needed while working towards our goals. This is achieved through cash flow analysis, secured lending, residential lending and tax-efficient income planning. We need to ensure we are paying ourselves more each year. Why? Inflation eats at the purchasing power of each dollar every year. 

Pillar # 2 – Preparing for the unexpected

Here we focus on developing comprehensive strategies that protect, preserve and provide for those that we care about. However, should something happen to us, we need to have a plan in place. Here we examine a few areas. What is in place to protect our income and wealth? On our passing, is there enough liquidity in our estate? Is our will up to date? Is the executor and power of attorney we selected up to the task? What would happen to our family if we were injured before retirement? What if a critical illness left us unable to earn a living for ourselves? Would our significant other be able to live comfortably if we needed long term care?

Pillar # 3 – Planning for major expenditures

This is a crucial step where we ensure we have a plan in place for making our goals a reality. This is where we look at credit/liquidity solutions, education planning, investment property structuring and even recreation property planning. What are your hobbies now? Car racing? Fishing? Or do you prefer the art or music scene? Most likely, what you do now for enjoyment you will do more of in retirement. 

Pillar # 4 – Optimizing your retirement

You have just finished working thirty, forty and maybe even fifty years. As a result, you’ve built up a nice “nest egg” for yourselves. Here we focus on managing retirement risks and preserving your capital. We also need to create enough income to support your retirement needs and goals. The focus is on portfolio construction and oversight, total return strategies, guaranteed income solutions and withdrawal strategies. 

Pillar # 5 – Sharing your wealth

Now is the time to create or review your existing estate plan. How would you like your legacy to live on? Here we choose the people and the causes that are important to you. After a lifetime of living and giving, certain charities and organizations become near and dear to us. This is our opportunity to give back through charitable giving. We also spend some time on the financial literacy of our beneficiaries. The goal is to ensure what you have worked so hard for is received and used in the wisest manner possible.

Pillar # 6 – Maximizing your business success 

Finally we have come to pillar number six. However, it does not apply to all. There are many business owners and entrepreneurs in Canada. The planning needed here involves another layer of complexity. I like to implement strategies that synchronize and enhance your personal and business financial plan. We look at personal and corporate tax integration and optimizing corporate investments. We also look at pre-liquidity planning and ultimately business succession. 

Don’t think or hope you’re doing things right, know it!

Retirement planning is a complicated process, I’m here to help!

 

 

Financial Planning in Merritt, BC

Nicola Valley BC Canada

 

Merritt, Ashcroft, Kamloops and Logan Lake BC in the Nicola Valley

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Hiking Merritt, BC

Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park

A Walk in the Park

 

I have talked about hiking near Merritt, BC before but focused on the trail network within the City of Merritt. Therefore this time I want to take you further afield to Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park.  Our park destination is a mere 20 to 30 minute drive from downtown depending on traffic. (Just kidding, there is no traffic in Merritt).  Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park is located off highway 5A just passed Aspen Grove.

Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park

Colours of Kentucky Lake-Tom Reynolds Photo

Kentucky Lake-Hiking Trail near Merritt, BC  

I have chosen this trail because it is relatively easy.  However, those who are looking for a greater challenge you can check out a book by local author, Murphy Shewchuk,  Coquihalla Trips and Trails.

For this 4 kilometre hike near Merritt, BC you can choose which way you wish to hike around Kentucky Lake.   You can take the trail from the parking lot which will take you clockwise around the lake.

South East Trail Head

Trail Head for Clockwise Travel-Tom Reynolds Photo

However if you wish to go the other way – counter clockwise – you have to walk into the campground and head over to the boat launch where there is another trail head.

 

Trail Head South West

Trail Head South West-Tom Reynolds Photo

This hiking Trail near Merritt, BC is for the whole family

The hike is generally considered fairly easy as it follows along the lake shore and there are not many hills.  However, the recent windstorms this Spring knocked down a lot of trees that are covering the trail.  We noticed that the Parks crew have been working hard and have removed most of the fallen trees from the trail.  Having said that, there are still one or two that require circumventing.  As long as you have decent foot wear you should be OK.

 

Tree Across Trail

Tree Across Trail-Tom Reynolds Photo

sky through forest

Sky through Forest-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

In some sections of the trail there is a rainforest like feel as the trees are much larger than in other areas of the trail. Take the opportunity to do some sky gazing and look up during your hike and take notice of just how tall some of the tress are.   

Walking in Forest

Walking in Forest-Tom Reynolds Photo

This is a great example of how easy the trail is.  While coats and hats were needed on this day because it was cool.  Normally summer temperatures are more conducive to shorts and T-shirts

End of Trail

This is the end of the trail-Tom Reynolds Photo

This is the trail that takes you back to the parking lot.  In other words, this is the end of the hike

What to look out for when hiking near Merritt, BC

When you are walking the trail around Kentucky Lake you will not find flowers as prolific as those in the alpine meadows but there is still beauty in what you will see such as mushrooms, saskatoon bushes, Arnica and Indian Pint Brush to name a few.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms Tom Reynolds Photo

Saskatoon Bush

Saskatoon Bush-Tom Reynolds

Arnica

Arnica-Tom Reynolds Photo

Indian Paint Brush

Indian Paint Brush-Tom Reynolds P

Besides hiking near Merritt, BC you can do these things

One of the favourite things to do is fish.

fishing at the lake

Fishing at the lake–Tom Reynolds photo

 

These people are enjoying fishing from an outcrop.  The colour of the lake is spectacular. The kids have their own lake for fishing.  This little lake is close to the campground.

 

Kids Fishing hole

Kids fishing hole-Tom Reynolds Photo

Camper Van

Camper Van-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

This camper van is situated close to the lake trail. Most of the sites are typical provincial sites with lots of room and trees.

 

Kids Playing

Kids Playing–Tom Reynolds Photo

 

Not all the fun is on the lake.  As you can see these kids are having a great time going through the culvert.  This is not a great activity for spring time.  Guess why?

Hiking near Merritt is unlimited.  I will be providing more hikes in the near future.  Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park is the home of this hike. You can check out the website and see that the park offers other activities besides hiking.  For example, you can swim , fish, canoe, kayak or check out the natural environment.  Whatever you choose you are sure to have fun day.

Hiking Near Merritt, BC

Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park

Nicola Valley BC Canada

 

Merritt BC Summer Activities in the Nicola Valley

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Financial Planning In Logan Lake British Columbia

Holistic Financial Plans uniquely designed for each individual family 

“I am a firm believer in saying “yes” to something and figuring it out afterwards. I am now performing webinars that can be viewed online because being elderly or having poor health shouldn’t stop people from learning.” 

Financial Planning in Logan Lake – I generally spent 2-3 days per week working from home and creating financial plans for families and businesses here in Logan Lake, BC.  The other 2-3 days per week I spent meeting with people face to face, updating or creating plans with families and businesses in the surrounding areas. An average week I would find myself in Kamloops, Merritt, Cache Creek or Ashcroft meeting with people who desire advice and guidance on how to grow, preserve or protect their net worth. 

Financial Planning in Logan Lake - we come to you

Warm weather is here! Time to stretch the legs!

Social Distancing for Financial Safety

However, social or physical distancing is the “new norm” for the moment. Meeting face to face with families and business owners right now to perform financial planning is difficult in some situations, but not for all. Going from home to home in Logan Lake, BC at this time is challenging. With some of my clients being elderly and/or immune compromised, I’ve been focusing more on phone calls and video meetings. I’m not worried too much about my own health, I don’t believe I would be at risk of it affecting me that greatly. I find myself more worried about unintentionally spreading a sickness to someone else. I’ve been taking precautions to ensure I stay distanced from my clients, whether they are new or existing clients. I use my pen, you use yours. Interestingly enough, pens aren’t used a whole lot these days. They might be making a come back. 

Change Came Quickly to Ensure Safety for All 

I quickly learned I needed to adapt to this ever changing landscape. Soon, I found myself in the middle of March. However, due to COVID 19, I stopped meeting face to face in the beginning of March as things began to change. Before COVID19 I had never hosted a meeting on Zoom before. I had attended multiple meetings but that was it. My wife, Jennifer and I have a busy home with 7 children ruling the roost. Creating financial plans in an office at my parents house in Logan Lake, BC was a normal thing to do.  However, my 89 year old grandfather lives with them as well. Because I could not risk somehow transmitting COVID19 to him, I had to make a change to my own process. 

financial planning logan lake

Home office in a hurry, I sometimes have little visitors.

Financial Planning from Home in a Hurry

Rumors and discussions with my co workers in Kamloops, BC were leading to the temporary closing of our office. With this out of the picture I had to improvise. I did some quick measurements of our bedroom and re-arranged our furniture to make my new home office. I purchased a desk from Staples and comfortable chair from Jysk in Kamloops, BC. Now I could continue working from home performing financial planning in Logan Lake, BC. 

Digital Meetings for the First Time

Knowing I had to figure this out, and quickly, I performed a Zoom meeting with my parents just to test it out. We needed to connect anyways to review their financial plan and ensure that their retirement was still solid. Because this market volatility that was happening throughout the global economy, we needed to confirm the planning was still on target. Learning how to create and schedule a Zoom meeting, inviting people to that meeting and running a meeting was a neat learning experience. Over the past few weeks, I’ve held multiple meetings now with my clients and with some new clients also through utilizing this valuable communication tool. 

Seminars On Hold, Moving On To Webinars

With restrictions on how many people can now come together, I cancelled all the seminars I had planned. However, I still wished to explain the benefits of financial planning to my community and far beyond. Over the past few months I had worked with Community Futures – Nicola Valley and the Logan Lake WHY (Wellness – Health – Youth). With my new found wisdom, I jumped immediately into Zoom webinars. I am a firm believer in saying “yes” to something and figuring it out afterwards. I am now performing webinars that can be viewed online because being elderly or having poor health shouldn’t stop people from learning. Those that are willing to learn more about financial planning can do so from the comfort of their own home. 

financial planning nicola valley

A walk in the woods, and some fresh air between meetings.

Financial Planning in Logan Lake, or British Columbia, Has Not Changed

What I do for families and businesses, as well as, financial planning in Logan Lake, Merritt, Kamloops, Cache Creek, Ashcroft, has not changed. The process remains the same. No adventure begins by only entering the starting point into our GPS. First, it’s important to get an accurate picture of where we are now. Second, it is important to know exactly what your life and business goals are. In conclusion, we must ask yourselves, “is something as important as our financial well being worth taking a wrong turn?”

Comprehensive Financial Planning in Logan Lake British Columbia

“A Goal Based Approach to Financial Life”

Merritt, British Columbia, Canada


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Hair Cut During COVID-19

Hair Styling in Merritt BC Canada

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

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

Tom's Long Hair

The sides are just about over the ears

Tomscovid19hair

Hair styling during Covid-19

Merritt Hair Salon during Covid-19 is self administered

Hair dresser

Kari, she’s the best

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

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

A reluctant volunteer?                                                                             

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

experience merritt

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Not happy

The finished product

Bring in the back up Hair Stylist

Merritt hair salon open for business

The “professional” arrives

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

Just Kidding

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

just finished - merritt hair salon

Hair Styling During Covid-19-Finished Product

My Merritt Hair Salon during COVID-19

Nicola Valley hair cuts


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COVID 19 in Merritt BC

The Nicola Valley hunkers down in self isolation creating some quality time for self reflection and some random musings.

Merritt British Columbia, Canada and the COVID 19 pandemic has created a new normal.

COVID 19 in Merritt BC – Never before, could we have imagined that the community of Merritt BC Canada, the country of Canada and the tourism industry would be brought to a stand still. Life as we knew it changed in just under 2 months ago. Consequently, I will be the first to admit we were caught off guard. Did not see this storm coming. 

The Realities of COVID 19 in Merritt BC

Not long ago tourists were planning summer vacations, public music events, road trips and adventures to  the Nicola Valley. Today, we are cancelling vacations, taking up long lost hobbies, learning new technology, self educating, working from home, as well as, maintaining social distancing when we go out into our communities. It is a brand new world. 

“This is not an equal opportunity pandemic. … Marginalized communities will be disproportionately impacted.” — Katherine Scot, a senior economist with Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

social distancing in merriitt

Social distancing in the Nicola Valley

Stars of Self Isolation

The crisis named COVID 19 has shown many of us here and around the world who the real heroes are in our country. Our musicians, actors, sports stars are no different than us during this COVID 19 era. They too are in self isolating. They too are in lock down. 

The Real Hero’s in Our Communities

Look who has emerged as our community heroes. The grocery store employee, the guy pumping your gas, the delivery person who brings you your pizza, the truck driver who stocks our stores, the person who picks up our garbage,  our health care workers and others. A big “Virtual Group Hug” goes out to all who are keeping the lights on in our communities.  They are the foot soldiers fighting this battle on the front lines. 

front line workers in merritt

Support our front line health care workers.

Merritt BC is Not Immune

In Merritt BC it may look like COVID 19 is non existent. Just because we are not seeing and hearing the numbers of COVID 19 cases in the Nicola Valley or in the Thompson-Okanagan region, does not mean it is not here. Consequently, lets remind ourselves  that all it takes is one carrier of the virus to take down a community. Why take a chance and roll the dice with the Devil himself? 

Grow Some Manners

Fortunately and unfortunately I have seen the true colors in some people come out during COVID 19. Mostly it is all good, some not so good. The good is most of us our respecting each others space as we self isolate. Sad, is that not everyone is being kind. How people can be so rude and disrespectful boggles my mine. For example, while getting groceries I witnessed a man swear at a Senior in a grocery store because she said he was too close to her. Valid right, not to mention it is her life that is at risk. How would anyone take offence to that comment? I was disgusted in the man. The lack of respect was unacceptable. I spoke up and then was told to %^$# as well. The senior smiled and said thank you. 

 

Be thankful Merritt. We are Lucky

Regardless of your opinion, real or not, that is beside the point.  The point is we are one of the lucky ones… so far. That is something to be grateful for as that means our friends and family are in a safer situation than in other areas of the country and world. Recently I am reminded how lucky we really are to have dedicated nurses and doctors in Canada. I have heard and seen the honking, and beeping cars, trucks, ambulances and police as they drive by saluting the Nicola Valley Hospital.  It is a beautiful thing. 

Be Kind During Self Isolation 

Social distancing to me is an opportunity to show my respect and love for our seniors and elders, my friends and family and to all the people in my community and Canada.  I have a renewed admiration for those that keep positive in this very challenging time. I get it. It is hard.  I am practicing self isolation too because I do not want to be part of the problem. By the same token I want to be part of the solution. So, I do my best and phone my friends and loved ones regularly because I care and do not want them to to be engulfed in a dark world surrounded by loneliness.

Who are your Self Isolation Heroes?

I believe we need to look and start acknowledging the Nicola Valley self isolating heroes more. Why not push out some positive messages of active people in the community who are holding back their social urges because it is the right thing to do. Examples of good people doing such a thing are people like Tom and Shirley Reynolds right here in Merritt BC.

“It’s a time to look forward, not behind. I think it’s timely to think ahead. Yes we’re faced with another global health challenge, but every day will be a little better than the day before. We’re looking forward.” — Darrell Fox, Terry Fox’s brother, on the 40th anniversary of the start of the Marathon of Hope.

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Tom and Shirley Reynolds practicing self isolation

This is a Test on Humanity

The only way I see us coming out of this is to continue to practice self isolation, social distancing and being kind to each people. When this is all said and done, many must ask themselves, “Was I a good person during COVID 19?” and “Did I help the problem or did I contribute to it?” In conclusion, it is times like these when one’s morals, ethics and integrity are measured. How do you measure up on the humanity scale?

Nicola Valley Self Isolation Lessons

COVID 19 in Merritt BC

 

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Mason Bees in Merritt BC

Bees in Merritt BC are some of the best friends your garden can ever have.

Mason Bees in Merritt BC – These solitary, non-aggressive little bees are not only great pollinators but also just one nest of them is more than enough for the average back yard in Merritt BC Canada.  And when I say they are non-aggressive, I mean it! I have never heard of anyone ever being stung by one. In addition, Mason Bees in Merritt BC are abundant. To attract and also to keep these nature friends in your garden, you need to know a few things.

Life Cycle Of Mason Bees in Merritt BC

Mason Bees in Merritt BC emerge from cocoons when the daytime temperatures reach 14 degrees C(57 F). They mate shortly after emerging. Then, immediately after mating, the female starts foraging for pollen to provide her nest. She goes into a tube about 15 cm  (6″) long, creates a pollen lump, lays an egg on it and then seals it with mud, plant material or a mixture of both. Each egg hatches out into a grub or larva and feeds on the pollen lump until it is fully grown. Then it rests before spinning itself a cocoon. Inside the cocoon, it first changes into a pupa, then into a bee.
By the end of summer, the cocoons contain adult bees. Both male and female bees remain in their cocoons until spring when the cycle starts all over again.

mason bees in merritt bc

Mason bee hard at work pollinating

Mason Bee Nest Requirements 

If you want to encourage Mason Bees in Merritt BC, build them a nest and meet their few requirements. They like their nests about 5 ft. from the ground and facing east. Preferred nesting spots are in dry tubes about 6″ long and 5/16″ deep, with only one entrance. Wood, masonry or even paper will do. It must be protected from wind, rain and extremes of cold and heat. Also, early flowering plants are also essential for bees in Merritt BC since the female must provide pollen lumps for her eggs. In addition to these few things, your Mason Bees will also need mud to seal in their eggs and protect them.

Early flowering plants for your Mason Bees

I checked with Vicki Hansen at Petals & Plants Flower Shop at 2052 B Quilchena Avenue for some suggestions for early plants in our area. She suggested the following: bleeding hearts, bachelor buttons, snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils and, of course, lilacs. If you need more information, contact Vicki on Facebook, Instagram or phone her at: 250-378-5575. 

merritt mason bee pollinating

Spring is here and Mason Bees are hard at work

Constructing your own Mason Bee Nests

The easiest way to do this is to purchase paper straws, crimp the ends and tape them together so the open ends are uneven. Next, wrap the taped straws with cardboard glued together, then wrap in insulation to protect them from heat and cold. Paint the bee house in bright colours. Bees see colour and this helps them to find their nest. While you’re at it, why not paint the ends of the straws too.

Securing your Mason Bee nest

Paint the inside of a large, plastic bucket a dark colour. Insert the straw bundle in the bee house and put the whole thing into the plastic bucket turned on its side. Drill holes on the under side to let out water if rain gets in. Mason Bees in Merritt BC have many predators, so remember to cover the open end of the bucket with chicken wire. Also, keep the wire at least 3″ away from the nest entrance to keep pests out.

nesting mason bees in merritt bc

Example of a home-made Mason Bee nest

Harvesting Mason Bee cocoons in Merritt

Sometime between October and December it will be time to harvest your cocoons. If you use paper straws for your nests, harvesting is easy. Make a small cut in one end of the straw and unravel it carefully over a paper covered surface. Place cocoons in a container.

Merritt Mason Bee Nest and cocoon cleaning

Clean nests and replace straws as previously described. Between late September and December bees will not emerge from cocoons at room temperature, so clean the cocoons then. Mason bees in Merritt BC have a lot of wasps that parasite  them. Because of this, a thorough cleaning is necessary.

mason bee hotel

Mason Bee hotel and accommodations

How to clean Mason Bee cocoons

Place cocoons in an ice cream bucket. Add 8 cups tepid water. Wet cocoons by gently rolling and moving them for 5-15 minutes. Remove and place in a large strainer. Rinse again adding 1 tablespoon bleach to 1 gallon of water. Rinse well under gently running water. Remember, you have delicate, live bees in there.

After at least two washings, check for mites by placing the cocoons on a white paper towel, cover them with a wet paper towel and leave them to drain.

Mite check for your Merritt Mason Bees

After an hour, remove the paper towels and check the cocoons. You are looking for small orange spots. These are mites. If there are 5 or fewer per square inch, your cocoons are OK. If there are more than this then wash your cocoons again until there are fewer than 5 orange dots per square inch.

Which cocoons have  Mason Bees in them?

Cocoons with bees are dark grey and firm to the touch. “Parasitized” cocoons are lighter colored and feel crispy or look empty. Keep suspect cocoons in a clear container. In spring if wasps emerge, freeze and destroy. If bees emerge, cool them for 30 minutes in the fridge and release them outside.

Now you have Mason Bees in Merritt BC . Store the dry, clean cocoons in a cardboard box cushioned with toilet tissue. Keep the box in a metal, lidded container so pests can’t eat the cocoons. Punch some holes for air.

Releasing your Bees

In February, keep the box in the fridge over a damp paper towel until flowers bloom and the bees have food. A temperature between 2-4 degrees c. is ideal but colder could kill them; warmer could cause them to emerge too early and starve.

Emergence of Mason Bees in Merritt

Cut a small hole in the box for the bees to emerge. Then, place under the cleaned nesting box protected from rain, wind and of course, birds. However, remember to provide mud for your Mason Bees.  Also, remember to keep it moist so the bees can scoop it up as needed.

Smile every time you see one of your bees foraging in the garden!

Need more information?

Check out our local Merritt Public Library
address: 1691 Garcia
phone: 250-378-4737
website: tnrl.ca

Your senior blogger
Diane

Mason Bees in Merritt, B.C.

Creating a home for your Merritt Mason Bees


Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides

COVID-19 IN MERRITT BC

HOW TO SELF ISOLATE IN STYLE

Fun Things To Do in Merritt To Break the Boredom
 

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

GETTING THINGS DONE

  1. Converting CD’s

COVID-19 in Merritt BC

Gathering the materials

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

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

2. Resurrecting the craft room 

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

Emptying the storage room

Emptying the storage room

Putting the Craft Room back together

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.  Spring Cleaning in Merritt

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

Getting ‘er done

4.  Yard Work

Thatching the grass

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

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

1. Baking

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

Rice Krispy Squares

Chili and Hamburger Soup

“I love food”-Shirley

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

2.  Reading

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

Reading time

3.  Walking

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

Out for a walk

4.  Games

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

Playing Canasta

This is serious

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

COVID-19 Important Links

COVID 19 in Merritt BC

British Columbia COVID-19

Canada COVID-19

BE SAFE

COVID-19 IN MERRITT BC

Check out further information on ExperienceNicolaValley.com 

Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides

Merritt, B.C. Unique Businesses

Earthwalker, one of our Merritt, B.C. Unique Businesses with a twist

I have the best customers! They range in age from 4 to 75 years old.” Renee Henry, Earthwalker

When you are checking out our Merritt BC businesses, you will wonder what sort of business Earthwalker might be. Not only is Earthwalker a spiritual store, the owner, Renee, tells me it is also a gathering place where politics, religion and spiritual discussion takes place.  There is a twist. In the winter there is always a pot of hot tea waiting too. The seating is comfy, the atmosphere welcoming and respectful of everyone’s beliefs.

An inspired start

Several years ago, before Renee even thought of starting one of our Merritt BC businesses, she was laid off from her job. Unsure of what to do next, she went to a peaceful beach in Kamloops to meditate and get some clarity on what her next step should be. At the time a friend of hers had a spiritual shop and needed some help, so Renee volunteered. Since she had been interested in crystals from the age of twelve, Renee already had some background. Slowly she gathered together what she needed to open her own shop. A while later when her friend had more help, Renee launched Earthwalker, one of our Merritt BC businesses.

Why Merritt?

Renee tells me that from the first time she came to Merritt it felt like home. She loves the Merritt outdoors and we sure have plenty of that! Lots of fun stuff to do year round too. Hiking, mountain biking, cross-county skiing, fishing and swimming. For a nature enthusiast, wildcrafter, herb and food gatherer, this is paradise. “And once I saw the Hoodoos, I was hooked”, she says.

Merritt B.C. Unique Businesses, clothes and books

Some unique goodies at Earthwalker, a Merritt, B.C. Unique Business

Why a spiritual store?

Many people want to know why Renee chose this type of business. It’s simple. She wants to help people with their spiritual growth. One way she is doing this is by helping customers connect with the crystal that is right for them. In addition to being beautiful, each crystal is a tool with its own healing properties. Renee knows them well! Not only has she been learning about them since she was only 12 years old, Renee has also been a rock hound for as long as she can remember. She matches each crystal’s properties and healing elements to her client’s needs. This is truly a Merritt, B.C. Unique Business! Where else can you get this kind of attention?

Inside Earthwalker

Plan to spend some time checking out Earthwalker. Renee carries many different types and colours of stones, crystals and jewelry. It doesn’t stop here either. Best known for her knowledge, her crystals, her singing bowl and her own unique self, she also sells clothing, statues, tarot cards, books, healing items and one-of-a-kind goodies you just won’t find anywhere else! And why would you? After all, Earthwalker is one of our Merritt BC businesses.

Merritt, B.C. Unique Businesses, display case

Earthwalker. Some unique goodies beautifully displayed

Gypsy, everyone’s friend

All Merritt BC businesses have a surprise and uniqueness to themselves. Earthwalker is no exception. Meet Gypsy, a quiet, relaxing dog who is very gentle. Even if you are not a dog person, Gypsy will soon have you petting and talking to her. If you need a hug, you can be sure she knows and will wander over to offer canine comfort and support

Merritt, B.C. Unique Businesses, Earthwalker

Renee and Gypsy at Earthwalker

Before we finished the interview, I just had to ask Renee a few questions I thought potential entrepreneurs might want answers to.

Questions and answers:

Q: If you could speak to your younger self when you were just starting out, what advice would you give?

A: Do some accounting courses first! That would be a huge help. Also, the importance of social media and technology awareness is crucial! It is invaluable in promoting and marketing your business. Also, in today’s tough business climate  you need to be known on social media.  Your business will increase as your social media exposure increases.

Q: What are your favorite things about being an owner?

A: I dictate how my day goes. How I treat people or how much time I give them is not mandated by someone else.

Q: What future plans do you have for Earthwalker?

A: I would like to take more courses in the healing arts, holistic healing and women in business. In the autumn, I want to do more connecting with businesses. Lots of men are starting to get involved as well as women. More community connections. I would like to be able to hire more staff and offer more services.

Q: Speaking of community connection, is there another person or business you would recommend?

A: Angela Kerr. She is a Reiki master and reflexologist.

Q: What one book would you recommend every small business owner read?

A: Small Business For Dummies (Canadian version).

Q: Can you describe your customers?

A: I have the best customers! They range in age from 4 to 75 years old. There are a mixture of men, women and families.  My customers come from all walks of life.  Some need help and others come for information or to socialize. As I said, I have the best customers. (BIG GRIN)

Q: As a business owner, what are your top three priorities?

A: Community connections, people feeling that this is a safe, open place to come and be happy, satisfied customers.

Fall classes at Earthwalker

This fall Renee will be offering classes in:
– wire wrapping
– crystals
– reiki, level 1 and 2

If you are interested , please contact Renee at:
phone: 250-315-5350
email: earthwalkerspirit@hotmail.com
facebook: earthwalkerspiritualshop

Not only is Earthwalker one of our Merritt BC businesses, you can see from this interview that the owner, Renee Henry, is as unique as her business. Be sure to treat yourself to a visit soon. 

Merritt, B.C. unique business 

Earthwalker in Merritt BC Canada

Merritt BC Canada Businesses

Events

Blacks Pharmacy

Your Neighbourhood Pharmacy for over 40 years

Friendly professional service from people who care!

blacks pharmacy

Blaine & Danielle Martens

Blacks Pharmacy has proudly been serving Merritt since 1972! At Black’s all our pharmacists are owners. As owners you know we want the best for you and your family. Trust us to look after your Pharmacy needs. Black,s Pharmacy work hard to provide safe and effective pharmaceutical care to you and your family.

Nicola Valley Talk in Merritt BC

Every Thursday at 7 PM (pst) come join us on Nicola Valley Talk as we invite a different guest from the community and beyond to discuss the issues of the day. The talk show is broadcast from self isolation somewhere in the community of Merritt BC Canada. Nicola Valley Talk is a product of Experience Nicola Valley, the top resource in the region for authentic stories and experiences.  

 

Contact Information

Black’s Pharmacy

2037 Quilchena Ave

Merritt, BC V1K 1B8

blacksrx@telus.net

Tel: (250) 378-2155

Fax: (250) 378-4884

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Black’s Pharmacy in Merritt BC Canada