Thursday, June 27, 2013

oats + banana = yum

I promised Bel banana muffins today but someone stole the second to last banana. With one banana and little enthusiasm I turned to google and came upon a brilliant idea! Cookies made with one cup of dry oats and one banana. That's it. Two ingredients. Hurrah!
Mix them up, scoop the mix onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350F for about 15 minutes. 
No sugar, no mess. Just healthy yummy-ness! It could not be any easier! 

I was sceptical that the mix would not stay together, I used an icecream scoop and packed it quite tight before dumping it onto the cookie sheet. They came out perfectly! The oats on the outside were crisp and the centre of the cookies were just perfectly chewy. They were just sweet enough as is but of course you could fancy them up by adding berries or chocolate chips. They are the perfect emergency snack!

I'm so impressed and so were the kiddies, check out Isobel's face......

She's taken one bite and she's already eyeing up the rest of the plate! They were gone in a flash! 


just hanging.....

Blue sky, bare feet, grazed knees, dusty bums, rosy cheeks, wind blown hair. A splinter, a few tears, ice creams dropped on hot pavement. The smell of sweet flowers and bbq in the air. It's summer. 

Growing and building.....

 Bad seedlings failed. Twice. Yes, I made two separate attempts to start seed of tomatoes, lettuce, various herbs, arugula, not to mention a few other things and the only solitary thing that has survived is one Genovese Basil plant. I call him my precious and skulk around him possessively, chattering to myself like a crazy bipolar creature. I carry him gently to the bathroom every night so that he doesn't get chilly with the cool mountain air coming in the open window and every time I pass him I spritz him with room temperature water and whisper sweet nothings to his leaves.  Too scared to plant him outside.....but he would love it.....cold nights...squirrels.....noooooo! I think I am crazy....but isn't he beautiful!?

 Meanwhile Seb is growing something......

We're not sure what it is, he was blindfolded when he planted it. From what I can see of the seed I think it will be a sunflower but it's quite fun waiting and guessing.
Neil hasn't grown anything but he has been building stuff! He built this workbench for our garage.......

It's really quite sturdy. It has a shelf, a pegboard and a connected multi-outlet power supply! I was so impressed I immediately asked him to build me a planter for the deck and within an hour...voila! 

Isn't it nice! Just a shame I wasn't able to fill it with my own plants. Oh well, that's what the Garden Centre is for I suppose, failures like me :)

Luckily we have the Community Garden, we are proud members of the Tomato Crew. So far Neil and I have helped build eavestrough wicking planters and a passive solar wall out of old pop bottles for the tomato house and it looks like we might be able to have our first nibbles of tomatoes in the next week or two! It's really cool to be a part of the garden and I'm seriously hoping I learn enough to get my home garden growing strong next year. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bug-catching at Policemans Creek....

Back before the terrible flooding last week we spent an afternoon with our nets and bug tanks down at Policeman's Creek. This is the same place that we visited to feed the ducks on Bel's birthday back in February. It's an adorable little creek with a wooded trail that zigzags along crisscrossing several little bridges, winding right through downtown Canmore. It's a perfect spot to take little kids and let them explore and search for fishes and bugs. Seb and Bel could have stayed there all day just mucking about at the creek edge. Maybe if we hadn't taken our crazy-lunatic-swimming-dog along with us I think we might have liked to stay too. 
The creek is crystal clear and nice and shallow and even though you're so close to the centre of town you feel as though you're off in the woods. We even came across an Elk on the trail!

Just after this photo was taken Seb accidentally dropped his net into the creek and it started to float down stream. I happend to be wearing waterproof shoes and being the great and brave mother that I am I decided to go in and get it. Those grassy bits you see in the picture above....that's not grass. It's knee-deep bog. Oh and that water is COLD! COLD I tell you! It came up to my knees and I swear I nearly died of hypothermia afterward! Seb was happy though to be reunited with his $2 net. 

See my wet legs and that frozen looking smile!

What a week!

Sheesh! Its been a crazy week in Canmore and in other communities in Southern Alberta! We awoke last Thursday to the news that our town had declared a state of emergency after severe rainfall had caused creeks and rivers to turn into raging torrents, ripping through town and destroying homes and infrastructure along the way. Over the next few days thousands of people were evacuted from their homes and emergency services worked to control the situation as best they could. In parts of town power and water were intermittent and many people along Cougar Creek have lost their homes. Thankfully our neighbourhood has been essentially unaffected, It's a bit surreal really! We are still on a water conservation order and a boil water advisory due to damage to the treatment plant in town but other than that things in our street are very normal. There were a couple of moments of worry and one mad dash to the super market to buy supplies to see us through if things got any worse but thankfully for us we've had very little stress. The highway was broken up, washed out and completely closed for a while except for emergency vehicles all the way from Golden to Calgary, but as of today everything has opened up and things are looking good. The community has been amazing! Just amazing! With so much positivity and more volunteers than could ever be utilized! I've actually been quite blown away by the spirit of the people of this small town and this whole experience has really revived my belief in the goodness of people :)

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Grassi Lakes Hike

Have you ever seen a lake this pretty? Seriously! That water is ridiculous! It's like something from a dream or at the very least some corner of the Caribbean Sea! I can't beleive that this place is a five minute drive and a short hike from our house! I've seen some amazingly colourful lakes in this part of the world but the two lakes that make up Grassi Lakes take the prize for being this vibrant and crazily clear!
To reach the lakes you have to hike a bit but it's totally doable even for non-hardcore hikers like us. There are even two options, the easy route or the more difficult route. We had heard that the easy route is manageable with a rugged stroller but apparently it doesn't have the fantastic views of the more difficult option. Neil was carrying Bel in the backpack and we felt brave so after a little discussion we opted for the more difficult trail. And off we set.

 I will apologize now for Seb's Angry Bird ensemble (yes, sweat pants and matching hoody). We thank Nana for that outfit and as much as I think it looks, well, how can I say it? Awful.  He really does love it and who am I to tell him how to dress?  

This time of year wildflowers are beginning to pop up and we spotted quite a few of these beautiful Calypso Orchids, otherwise known as Fairy Slippers. I think Neil, who was weighed down with the weight of a small goat on his back, was getting fed up with me stopping every few paces, shouting "oooh pretty!" and crouching down to take yet more photos! Goodness knows how he'll cope with me when the wildflowers are at their peak in the height of the summer :)

As the trail climbed it became narrower and rockier with a few little creeks crossing our path that soaked our shoes. Then we came to a steep drop off to the left and a stunning view of Canmore below. Seb, having been the number one advocate for taking the more difficult route, wasn't too bothered by the cliff edge and continued to lead the way all the while checking in and asking us "do you think it's tricky yet?" swiftly followed by his assurance that he wasn't finding it tricky at all :)

 Angry birds ruin this photo :)

We could hear the falls from far away and the gradual increase in their volume was quite the build up to the moment they finally came into view. 

After the falls is where you really get to the bit that makes it more difficult. A steep and windy rocky ascent with a pretty nasty drop off to one side. There are rock steps of sorts in places but they are very uneven and I wouldn't have liked Bel to be unrestrained at that particular patch. Seb impressively took it all in his stride and hiked onward up toward the lakes and the promise of a spot to sit and eat snacks :)

By this point I had made him remove one item of Angry Birdness in an attempt to get better photos :) I love this one below! It sums up his attitude that day...Seb the adventurer! 

After about an hour of hiking we rounded the last corner, passed a rushing creek and found ourselves at the bottom of the lower lake. 

 I don't really need to say it because you can quite clearly see that the lakes are stunningly beautiful. Both are fairly small but crystal clear and gleaming in their turquoise, aqua and almost neon green gloriousness!

 The cliff face overlooking the upper lake is a popular spot for climbers and I was impressed and terrified in equal measure watching them do their stuff. 

 Seb was a little more inspired and decided to free climb up to the nearest cave despite my desperate cries of "Get the heck off the rocks!" and "Don't you dare go in that cave!" 

After a few hair-raising moments he came back down and we sat by the lakes edge to snaffle our trail mix and sandwiches and marvel at the colour, clarity and absolute gorgeousness that lay before us. 

After snacking and taking it all in we walked the trail around the lakes then headed back down the trail, opting again for the more difficult option which as it turns out is even more more difficult down hill.

Bel was beginning to get tired as we started to head down which is kind of ironic seeing as she did the least work out of all of us!

After the treacherous steep and rocky bit we made good time on the way down stopping only to admire the view and say hello to a friendly chipmonk.

 Towards the end of the trail the forest floor is covered in juniper. I'm quite surprised there isn't a gin factory in town!

Despite or maybe because of all the jiggling Bel was fast asleep by the time we reached the car.