Flowers And Flours

We had an early morning visit from this wee beastie …

A Mistress of Camouflage

A Mistress of Camouflage

I took it as a sign that it was high time I did a bit of flower-gazing. Since it started to warm up the wildflowers around these here parts blossomed overnight. Much to the delight of all the pollinators who’ve been patiently waiting for them.

We are surrounded by the most delicate of wild rose bushes. They flower in a day and the next day the petals have fallen to the ground, but while they’re here they are a delight to see …

Intermingled with the roses were these little ‘five-leaf-clover-ish beauties …

A Five-Leaf-Clover-ish – on a stem, on a bush

A Five-Leaf-Clover-ish – on a stem, on a bush

… and these Magenta Two-Toes …

Magenta Two-Toes ... I have no idea of the names of any of these flowers so I’m making them up as I go along ... as usual

Magenta Two-Toes … I have no idea of the names of any of these flowers so I’m making them up as I go along … as usual

The RV/camping spaces behind us have been left to their own devices and this is the result …

A field of pollinator’s dreams

A field of pollinator’s dreams

Close-ups …

Daisies being pushed by the breeze

Daisies being pushed by the breeze

(Pushing Daisies – greatest 2-season TV show, ever!)

Dandy-Lions getting up close and personal

Dandy-Lions getting up close and personal

Dandy-Lions after too much sun

Dandy-Lions after too much sun

When you stare at the fruit and the fruit stares back …

Wot ch’oo lookin’ at?

Wot ch’oo lookin’ at?

It grows on this bush, and I have absolutely no idea what it is …

Probably best not to know

Probably best not to know

What about this one. An Elven hat-rack perhaps?

Elf hats – cheaper by the dozen

Elf hats – cheaper by the dozen

Self-explanatory …

I hope, because I have no idea, except that it’s not a wildflower

I hope, because I have no idea, except that it’s not a wildflower

-oOo-

In the film ‘Stranger Than Fiction’, Will Ferrell’s character brings the woman he’s courting, played to perfection by Maggie Gyllenhaal, a ‘box of flowers’, which turns out to be a box of flours. (the entire movie is worth a watch, or in my case, several re-watches, but that moment struck a chord with me)

When I was thinking of a title for this post which is a collection of photos of flowers and Mrs Widds latest baking effort, (she is pleased, and like all artists – if you think bread-baking isn’t an art then you’ve never made it from scratch – she’s very hard to please when it comes to her own creations) that scene came to mind, because the main ingredient in bread is, of course, flour …

The buns in the foreground were dipped in melted butter and maple syrup before being baked – divine!

The buns in the foreground were dipped in melted butter and maple syrup before being baked – divine!

Fresh bread burgers for dinner … (with potato salad on the side)

Bread this fresh is notoriously hard to cut evenly. I’m rather proud that they all look like decent slices

Bread this fresh is notoriously hard to cut evenly. I’m rather proud that they all look like decent slices

-oOo-

May your wildflowers bloom and grow, bloom and grow for ever, and your bread slices never be too thin.

The Adventure continues.

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Mrs Widds Bakes – In the RV

I’ve been cutting my own hair with a fabulous set of hair clippers since 2019. I got tired of not being satisfied with the cuts I was getting from a salon, and as my styling needs are simple, (#4 blade on the back and sides, #9 on top) I decided I could do a better job, or at least have no-one but myself to blame for a bad haircut. It took me quite a few try’s to get it right, (trimming the back of my head using a mirror took some mental gymnastics) but now I can knock off a decent cut in about 10 minutes.

The other day I decided it was time to do the deed once more. Only this time I didn’t have the privacy of a nice big bathroom, (our bathroom on Widder Island wasn’t all that big, but compared to what we have now …) in which to be naked. (for purposes of jumping straight into the shower to wash all those stick-to-your-skin tiny scraps of offcuts)

No, this time I stood outside, (with all my clothes on – we may have a secluded camping spot but it ain’t that secluded) and a split black plastic garbage bag pegged around my shoulders. With clippers in one hand, hand-held mirror in the other, I proceeded to trim my flowing locks.

This would’ve all gone swimmingly had not a brisk breeze suddenly blown in from the south-west. Scraps of leaves and pine-needles fled before it, my be-pegged cape began to flap as it tried to escape its be-pegged confines. The (empty and dry) plastic wash-basin I was capturing the majority of my shearings in also shimmied across the picnic table and tried to make a run for it.

The end result of all this wind and free-standing/flapping plastic was that my off-cuts, now being thoroughly electrified, stuck to everything … everything. Believe me static electricity is not your friend in the tonsuring business.

-oOo-

On to the bread baking.

Mrs Widds too, has had to make some adjustments to her usual modus-operandi, being bereft of the kitchen as we knew it.

All she needed though was our handy folding table, a fabulous silicone pastry sheet (the blue thing underneath the dough), a bit of nice weather, and away she went …

Ah, the benefits of an outdoor kitchen

Ah, the benefits of an outdoor kitchen

Speaking of nice weather … a heat dome is supposed to descend on our heads in a day or two, so one could reasonably expect the temperatures to start leaving the single digits, couldn’t one?

It was 4C last night. Today never got above 9C, and tonight is forecast to be a luxurious 7C. Apparently we can blame this on La Nina deciding to stick around for a while longer. However, as Ms Scarlett O’Hara was wont to say, ‘Tomorrow is another day’, and it just might be a warmer one than today!

(unfortunately, as I’m writing this and preparing to publish it, our campground Wi-Fi is nowhere to be found, so you won’t be reading this until tomorrow anyway … I’ll let you know if we have sunny skies or cloudy ones … )(Update: We had sunny skies and now we have clouds. I’ve given up even guessing any more)

Chemistry in action – the dough riseth

Chemistry in action – the dough riseth

The last outside action is to knead the dough one last time, form it into loaves, and place in a well-oiled bread tin … and wait …

The dough riseth some more

The dough riseth some more

You see what the pans are sitting on? That’s pretty much the extent of our kitchen. Roomy eh?

The raw dough has been turned to sheer golden deliciousness by the application of heat – Chemistry for the win, again!

The raw dough has been turned to sheer golden deliciousness by the application of heat – Chemistry for the win, again!

Actually, it has taken Mrs Widds five rounds of bread baking to get a feel for how the propane gas oven works in order to have that all-over glow-y crust. A genius, is she not?

-oOo-

May static electricity never intrude upon your haircuts, and may your bread rise perfectly.

The Adventure continues.

Buckhorn Lake

Proof! That the sun doth shine, and breezes doth tease the aspen leaves in Prince George …

Our campsite is surrounded by these beautiful trees. I’ve always loved the way the wind makes their leaves ‘shiver’ as though they’re talking to each other … perhaps they are.

Today was our first official ‘Pootling Day’. We’ve pootled to a few places since we’ve been here, but those little adventures were in conjunction with other tasks, and all of them in to Prince George. Today we headed away from town … Note to self: Find out if the locals refer to Prince George as a ‘town’, or a ‘city’. (or something unprintable) … to a little puddle called Buckhorn Lake … about 30 kilometers south-east-ish of Prince George.

The drive there, almost entirely on a sealed road, quickly passed through the swampy lowlands, that are reminiscent of our campground, hence the plague of mozzies that greet us every morning the moment we stick our noses out the door without having engaged our whizz-bang ‘mozzie-shield’. (which, although expensive, actually does work, on mozzies … a good thing because the little bastards love me, and I’m allergic to them)

We saw mostly horses out there, lots of stables and fields of horses, (although a few cow-herds were visible in the background) which told us that that particular area was probably a bit pricey for our humble means.

Once we got into the foothills of the Mountain range that surrounds Prince George, the Cariboo Mountains, the properties and houses became more modest, more our kinda thing really, and the mozzies were few and far between. (unfortunately replaced by tiny black flies, who, I’m sure would’ve enjoyed dining upon my person if I’d let them)

Then the lake hove into sight, and we stopped to take in the view …

 

It seems that we’re destined to have a lot more cloudy days (at the moment) than non-cloudy ones, but the reflections in the water were quite wonderous …

 

And some very, very, very, tall cottonwoods …

 

Mrs Widds recalled the name of this flower, and the tree it’s blooming on, as a broom tree.

A rose by any other name

A rose by any other name

Whether ‘tis or no, it is now and forever after known as a Broom Tree.

The Naturalist ponders

The Naturalist ponders

We breathed in the lovely lake-side air, but the clouds began their afternoon loom and raindrops were spit-spotting upon our heads. We about-pootled and returned to our ‘home, only to catch a fleeting glimpse of ‘The Vandal’, perhaps wondering where we’d been and why we hadn’t left out any suitable oblations …

 

Going Sideways

A couple of days before we left Valemount, my monitor, an 18” one we specifically bought with us because of its size, (the 32” curved one would’ve had to sit in the next campsite for me to be able to use it!) turned up its toes.

Two days after arriving here in Prince George, Mrs Widds’, laptop also turned up its toes, perhaps in solidarity. (I wouldn’t put it past ‘em to gang up on us ‘ommins like that)

Both of these issues are, or are in the process of being, resolved, thanks to a little computer shop called ‘Sarita’. Great service, reasonably priced, and open on Sundays!

The next ‘sideways’ has been with the brakes on our truck. We had the truck serviced at our regular dealership before we left on our Adventure, because that’s what responsible Adventurers do, and we asked them to check the brakes because we’d both noticed they were a little ‘grabby’.

Long story short: The service dept. said they checked them out and all was good – turns out they didn’t – we noticed the brakes being even more ‘grabby’ on the way here – called into the local dealership (here in Prince George) – discovered brakes are in need of some major work, (and you can guess at how much ‘major work’ is going to cost) that should’ve been done at the original dealership.

We are currently exchanging strongly worded emails with the dealership’s Head Office, who have, so far, said they take our concerns seriously, blah, blah, blah. (translates to that dismissive meme that was going around a while ago, KTHNXBY – short for ‘OK, thanks, bye’)

I intend to pursue the matter to the fullest extent of my vocabulary.

The result of all the above is that we’ve decided to stay put for the summer, look for work so we can pay down this recent insane level of expenditure, and once our little truck is roadworthy again, take occasional pootles about the countryside checking out the various ‘hoods’, towns’ and villages, and see what there is to see.

-oOo-

Because Spring and Summer have been so shy about showing up this year the snowpack that feeds all the rivers in British Columbia is reported to be 100%-265% above normal for this time of year. (‘normal’ late Spring/Summer temps would’ve already melted a good portion of it)

This means that the inevitable warm-up, which is starting now, will melt all that snow and bring it down into the watersheds of all the rivers as torrents of water, way faster than the land can cope with.

Last year, it was an ‘extreme weather event’, in Autumn that flooded great swathes of land where we lived, and as of last night, flood warnings are being posted for an even greater area.

That kind of flooding was part of what prompted us to leave Widder Island, (it’s actually called Hatzic Island – I can tell you now we’re no longer living there) when we did.

We feel for our neighbours, and in spite of our current challenges, (there’ll always be some, no matter where we go or what we do) we’re very glad to be well-clear of the sort of catastrophic flooding the poor Fraser Valley is about to undergo for the second time in a year.

-oOo-

On to other things.

This is the only shot I’ve managed to garner, so far, of our local vandal …

I don’t know who moved first, me or the skwrl. Either way it’s an interesting photographic effect

I don’t know who moved first, me or the skwrl. Either way it’s an interesting photographic effect

Mdme, or Msr, Skwrl, greeted us on our first day here by bouncing on to the folding table we have just outside our front door, thence leaping, with great expectations of being fed, onto the flyscreen, and clinging there, staring at us like a kitten with the zoomies that finds itself halfway up the curtains and not a clue as to how to get down.

After we made it clear we were not the sort of RVers who fed the local wildlife, (aka bowed down to threats of extortion by means of extreme cyootness) Mdme, or Msr, Skwrl, harrumphed off, climbed the nearest tree and laid in wait. Some time later, when were were innocently ensconced underneath said tree, sipping our afternoon beverages, the little bugger proceeded to pummel us with discarded bits of pinecones. Deliberately, or an accident of gravity? The jury’s out on that one.

-oOo-

And now, a bit of a video

Come to sunny Prince George, they said. It never rains here, they said. It’s rained just about every afternoon we’ve been here, and today, this happened …

Hail – through the flyscreen, taken after we’d run around like chooks with our heads cut off, packing everything away, ahead of pendulously looming, and very loud, stormclouds.

Never a dull moment around here.

May your hailstones be tiny, and your monitors never discover they have toes to turn up.

The Adventure continues.

Leaving Valemount

As I’ve discovered about most things to do with our Adventure, it allows one (that being me) to contemplate the raw edges of my psyche, that haven’t seen the light of day sine I left my life behind in Australia almost eighteen years ago, with nothing but two slightly battered suitcases. (and the knowledge that Mrs Widds would be waiting for me at the arrivals gate – which she was!)

Before we delve into those semi-uncharted depths, here a bit of a thing that tickled my fancy …

See anything unusual about this RV?

See anything unusual about this RV?

Let me enlarge it for you …

– ‘Stealth’ – I don’t think that word means what they think it means

– ‘Stealth’ – I don’t think that word means what they think it means

(with many thanks to The Princess Bride for the innumerable quotable quotes over the years)

-oOo-

If you strip away all that is familiar, in a very brief period of time, the unfamiliar, the unknown, leaves you with nothing but your own inner resources to call upon when things go agely-googly. (as the do on an almost daily basis) I’ve discovered I don’t do at all well with that level of ‘unfamiliar’.

In a dollar store the other day, I felt scarily panicky wearing a mask.

You’d think that wearing masks for the last two years I’d be used to it, but no, my lizard-brain was convinced it was going to suffocate.

Later, after having a good cry and talking it through with Mrs Widds, I had to acknowledge that tiny self-judgemental ‘I’m not the sort of woman who gets the vapours’, give it a good smack, and accept that I am indeed, the sort of woman who can only deal with so many ‘unfamiliars’ at a time.

-oOo-

And so, here we are, ready for the next Adventure.

Arriving in prince George – About two hundred meters lower in elevation. Aspens, firs, pines, and tiny salmonberry plants. This is much more our kind of campsite.

Nellifant Saves The Day, The Endless Potato Bag, And Strawberry Fields Forever

Have you ever … (a short entry into the continuing occasional series of weird and wonderful things that never, seriously, never, happen to me) … posted a very important piece of information where the spelling absolutely had to be correct, and wondered why nothing was working and then someone very kindly points out that you forgot an ‘s’? Nah me neither!

Thank you Nellifant for catching that poor ‘s’ as it flew about the cosmos, untethered to purpose or outcome.

The email address I had in my previous post to connect to Paypal has now been corrected. It is … widdershinsfirst (at) gmail (dot) com

-oOo-

A long, long, time ago, or so it seems now, (probably some time in March) we bought a 20 kilo bag of potatoes as part of our essential ‘on-the-road’ supplies.

No matter how many we used there always seemed to be still more in the bag. It did however, get lighter and lighter, but no emptier. We had mashed potatoes, and baked potatoes, and boiled potatoes, and potato wedges, Mrs Widds used some in her bread, and still, the bag kept on giving.

Yesterday I was determined to uncover the Mystery. And as is the nature of such Mysteries, the ultimate and final Truth could not be found by mortal means.

In the bottom of the bag I discovered five sad and sorry individuals

In the bottom of the bag I discovered five sad and sorry individuals

These five, these final five, were transformed into the crispy topping for a magnificent Shepherds Pie, and that, I thought, was the end of that.

The bag however, had other ideas. After being tied up and set aside for our next top-up shop, I discovered, there was still something inside …

Although I dared not look, and haven't since, it felt suspiciously like potatoes

Although I dared not look, and haven’t since, it felt suspiciously like potatoes

-oOo-

Wild strawberries are very tiny, but so sweet and flavourful, that it’s worth going hunting for them. Unfortunately the cooler start to the growing season has slowed down all sorts of wilding growth.

The strawbs here are only starting to flower, and this was the first one we came across …

And flowering with all its might

And flowering with all its might

And upon looking around we discovered the field was full of them …

Tiny flowers with even tinier fruits just starting to show

Tiny flowers with even tinier fruits just starting to show

-oOo-

On the writing front, I’ve completed the first draft of the first three chapters of the next book in the Last Dragon series, ‘The Last Dragon In Time’.

If you haven’t checked out Book 1, The Last Dragon In London, the first two chapters are posted HERE.

-oOo-

That’s it for now, but the Adventure continues.

May your strawberries and potatoes last forever too. 🙂

Shoestrings

I’ve finally made it through my backlog of emails … and come across something rather special and unexpected.

Financially speaking, we are doing this on a shoestring. Even our shoestrings have shoestrings, and some of you have very wonderfully contacted me and offered to help ease the shoestring shortfall.

We’ve talked it over and decided to accept these true-hearted gifts.

So, if anyone wants to, it can go through my paypal account. The email address to use is … widdershinsfirst (at) gmail (dot) com.

All amounts large or small, one-offs or regular sendings, will be received with love and spent wisely.

Now, on with the Adventure …

First an ‘around-the-world’ video of the mountains surrounding us.

This one’s for Meeks … Just a bit of a look at where we’re staying at the moment.

But it does get a bit chilly after sunset, or if the sun disappears behind the sort of lowering clouds that love to hang around mountain peaks, and we had a bit of drama the other night. Apparently there was a late-night problem with the water, and the campground hosts disconnected the water from all the RV’s on our bit of the watermain.

The essentials, water, electricity, and drainage ... and dandelions

The essentials, water, electricity, and drainage … and dandelions

We didn’t hear a thing but as I went to do that first flush of the morning, as one does … oops no water.

After a hurried perusal, we discovered the disconnected hose and the ice therein.

Almost June and it's cold enough to freeze the pipes at night

Almost June and it’s cold enough to freeze the pipes at night

We had a lovely chat with the campground owner, (** waves to ‘P’**) who informed us that because all the other Seasons have been hiding behind Winter for far too long, the snowpack is about 150% more than it usually is. The rain that falls here is snow a hundred meters or so higher up. It makes for some very dramatic panoramas.

That grey mass of cloud came down from those heights in a matter of minutes

That grey mass of cloud came down from those heights in a matter of minutes

We are as snug as can be in our little be-wheeled home. Teas and coffees are being sipped and a soup is in the slow-cooker. All is well in our world. I hope it is in yours too.

792 Meters (In Elevation) Later

Hello!!!

I’m back!

It’s so nice to be here again.

After I post this I’ll get to reading and responding to all your comments on my last post, and the emails that have accrued in my inbox.

Audrey? Has it stopped raining on the coast yet?

There’s a reason I, somewhat facetiously ask that, because after we had finally finished at the house and sent our landlady our final video of the entire place, we pootled up the road – completely exhausted, to the campground we’d stayed at in Agassiz in 2020, the rain had not stopped.

After 10 days there, where we hoped to dry everything out, including our soggy selves, the rain still had not stopped. We did manage to catch an hour-long sunbeam here and there, but those dastardly clouds kept rolling in and letting us know their thoughts on the matter of sunbeams sneaking past their ramparts.

Next came the Coquihalla Pass, a very sane if a little steep, 4-lane highway, that takes one at a steady pace, up fourteen hundred meters from the Lower Mainland to the Interior (of British Columbia)

At least it used to.

After the horrendous floods of last Autumn/Winter a good many parts of the road had been completely obliterated.

The emergency repairs that enabled this major corridor to open within a month, I think it was, are slowly being replaced with something more permanent.

Unfortunately this required many sections of road to be one lane only, in one direction at a time. White-knuckle driving at its finest!

Nevertheless, we persisted … and arrived at our next campground that Mrs Widds sister had arranged for us, (** waves to the Melodious One**) in Kamloops. where the very few raindrops that fell were frozen ones.

It was only after our two-day stay there that I had the energy to even remember to pick up my phone and do a bit of visual documentation.

Cold and Windy, but no rain.

'Tea & Pee' Break

‘Tea & Pee’ Break

Yeah, that’s the natural gas pipeline going in. It accompanied us all the way here, in varying degrees of completion.

With apologies to Credence Clearwater Revival, this shot is from another ‘tea-n-pee’ break, looking out the door, at the North Thompson River, tearing along southwards, at a tidy pace.

Lookin' out my front door

Lookin’ out my front door

Next came my favourite bit …

Snow!!! ... and a long and only slightly winding road

Snow!!! … and a long and only slightly winding road

Which brings us up-to-date-ish with this final ‘out my front door shot’ from our campground here in Valemount.

We're completely surrounded by mountains just like this one

We’re completely surrounded by mountains just like this one

Here’s a close-up, and if you can spot it, right at the top of the peak is a cellphone/satellite tower!

Right there, framed in the tree branches

Right there, framed in the tree branches

The very slow start to the Spring/Summer season means lots of snow for Yours Truly, and temperatures that are 10 degrees below the average for this time of year. Thankfully we brought all our hot water bottles along.

That’s it for now. I’ve taken up the campground’s wi-fi for long enough. Emails and replies to comments tomorrow.

P.S. that 792 meters in the title, is how far we are above sea-level, compared to only a week or so ago, when we topped out at 4 meters above sea level. The air up here is spectacular!

The Last Summer Tree

Taken first thing this morning in the first beam of sunshine that came along

Taken first thing this morning in the first beam of sunshine that came along

We as packed up as we’re going to be.

The Rv’s as loaded as it’s going to be.

The bloody rain has FINALLY stopped.

This is it!

Videos and posts and pictures as we go.

Thank you all for your wonderful support. I will miss you for the little while we’re out of touch.

Big hugs for you all.

Widds

Mrs Widds And The Solar Panels

We decided we needed another week to finish off all the projects that the inclement (and I use that term with no small amount of irony) weather delayed. Lawns to mow that required at least one day without rain, and other assorted outside final maintenance tasks, that sort of thing.

Lo and behold, today was the 2nd day in a row without rain. We don’t count showers anymore. There’s no point.

I mowed the front lawn for the last time, ever! I’ve been mowing that lawn every Spring, Summer, and Autumn, for ten years. If I never have to mow a lawn again it will be too soon.

And Mrs Widds … remember that video I did a little while back where we tested our solar panels? … and we had a power outage immediately after?

Well, today was the day she installed one of them on our RV roof!

I think she likes it up there ... however, note those looming dark clouds

I think she likes it up there … however, note those looming dark clouds

She did an absolute bang-up job, and I love her to bits, and back together again.

The view from the roof

The view from the roof

Our new departure date is the 7th, and although rain is forecast from now until then, we’ll be able to finish everything in spite of it.

And I’ll never have to mow that lawn again!