Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Mighty Fraser River

This year spring run-off is late.  The Fraser River has been getting higher and higher.  Last week, according to our local newspaper The Lillooet News it flooded the Bridge River fishing rocks where many local native families have their drying racks for fish.  The paper continued, saying this has only happened twice before - in 1948 and in 1894.

Here we can see the river flooding trees by the new bridge and the campgrounds.

Notice the logjam in the trees.  Those were full grown trees that floated down the river and got hung-up on the live trees.

To the left of the trees in the river, there used to be a huge sandbar.  People would walk on it and in fact, that was where we got the gravel for around my herb garden.  Bye bye sandbar.

 This was the road out to the sandbar.  It was a gravel road but we were able to drive on it with our car.

Here is another view of the road.  Canoe time!

Here is a view of the Fraser from the old bridge.  The roar of the water is very loud.  The river swirls and eddies around and around as it rushes on.

Here is a logjam in the river.  Something is holding the logs there and more pile up all the time.  I saw a huge log going down the river.  It wasn't floating, it was travelling at a high speed.

Here is another view of the logs and debris piling up in the river.

The river reached its peak last week so the campground is safe from flooding.  I'll be watching to see how long it takes for the sandbar to return.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Homemade Pectin

Last year I made quite a variety of jam that did not have added pectin.  I had found a number of recipes that did not use any and found that most often when you use pectin you need to add more sugar.  Most turned out great except they were not as stiff as if I used pectin.  Most of the time I was fine with that but a few varieties were a little runner than my liking.

I have an early apple variety that goes mealy almost as soon as it is ripe.  I tried it for apple juice last year but found it was too tart.  I also make unsweetened applesauce to use in my Applesauce Sourdough recipe but only need a limited amount.  This year, I decided to make apple pectin to thicken up some of my jams.

I gleaned information from these following sites to make my pectin.

Wash and sort apples.  It doesn't matter if the apples are not perfect because you basically want the juice.  Some people save up skins and cores to make pectin from.

Cut apples into pieces and cut out any bad spots or insect damage.

Place apples in a large heavy bottomed pot.  Add enough water to almost cover the apples.

Bring the apples to a boil and then lower heat and cook until they are soft and mushy.  Stir so the mixture does not stick to the pot.

Cook on low for several hours to extract all the pectin from the cores and peels.

You can see that as the mixture cooks it slowly turns from green to pinkish-brown.

Since I started with 2 large buckets of apples (each one 2+ ice cream pails)  I use a large colander set over a large pail to catch the juice.

I have made a number of juice bags from unbleached muslin.  Over time the become discolored (especially from straining raspberries or grapes) but that doesn't affect the juice.

Pour or ladle the apple mixture into the colander to strain out the juice.

I cover the colander with a large pot lid and leave it drip overnight.  The pectin is more clear that way instead of squeezing the bag.

To test the pectin refrigerate a couple of spoons of juice.  Put a bit of rubbing alcohol in a small bowl and add the chilled pectin.  If it is strong enough it will form a jelly-like glob.  NOTE:  Make sure to discard this alcohol-pectin mixture as it is poisonous.

Here you can see a bit of the glob can be lifted but I figured it should be stronger so I reboiled the pectin for awhile.

Once the pectin is cooked, pour into sterilized jars and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.  I got almost 7 quarts from my batch. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lulu and the Skunk

Once upon a time there was the biggest little skunk names "Squirt".

Squirt was a very happy skunk, smiling, friendly and always taking the time to stop and smell the flowers.

One day, a travelling chicken named Lulu stopped to visit with Squirt.

"Hello down there,"  Squirt called.  "Nice day for a walk."

"Hello," replied Lulu, "What are you doing way up there?"

"I'm watching over my park and campgrounds," replied Squirt.  "I need to make sure everything is in order."

"Well," exclaimed Lulu, "Maybe I should fly up there to give you a hand.  Besides I want to take a closer look at your flowers - they sure look tasty!"

"Darn,"  huffed Lulu, "You are much too high for me to fly up to.  How did you get so high - I don't see any wings."

"I can't fly,"  said Squirt,  "I don't have any wings!"

"And," he added, "Flowers are for smelling not eating!"

"Well, then," said Lulu, I might as well go back to my trailer.  I may not have flowers to eat but we have lots of mosquitoes!  Bye Squirt, nice to have met you."   "Bye, Lulu,"  replied Squirt, "Come back and visit me sometime."

Monday, July 18, 2011


There's always
gonna be days
that seem worse than any before,

days that hide the sunshine
with the clouds of storm.

Sometimes it needs
some imagination
to look beyond the clouds

where the sun shines always
no clouds to drag you down.

Whenever your heart
is lowered
look up into the sky

look beyond the clouds
see where no storm
nor troubles lie,

no need to feel broken
when life gives you pain

find where the sun is
good times will come again.

 By John W Townsend

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bass Pro Shop

We recently attended a wedding in Calgary, AB.  On our way home we stopped at the Bass Pro Shop in Balzac, just north of Calgary.  It is an amazing store even without stopping to look at the merchandise.

This fireplace near the entrance is massive yet cozy.

Throughout the store there are wildlife scenes - some at eye level, some several floors up.

They have a two story waterfall with a pond containing live fish.  There also is a huge aquarium with numerous large fish swimming around.

Here we see a caribou herd being chased by wolves. The display runs between the first and second floor.

High near the ceiling they have displays of mountain goats,

and mountain sheep.

Notice the detail in the background.  The murals are very realistic and the trees and plants in front make it hard to determine where the scene stops and the mural starts.

We have visited the store several times and often don't have much time to look at the merchandise because we spend the time looking at the displays.