Birds, Bees and Buttercups

I just can’t believe how lucky we are, perched high up on a hill above Oliver in the Okanagen Valley BC with two horses and three adorable dogs as our companions.

Once again, the accommodation has surpassed any expectations we might have had. Warm, quiet, peaceful, comfortable. Books. Piano. A gourmet kitchen. Magnificent views. And did I mention our four-legged companions? Three distinct personalities, all well-trained and loving.

Check out the view, which is proving to be an ever-changing symphony of whites and subtle greys that leaves me speechless.

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We have been hiking in the snow-covered hills but haven’t managed to reach the highest peak yet. We got about two-thirds of the way up before the depth of the snow made it a little too tough. Coming back down was a doddle, especially considering I spent most of my time skiing (without skis) or tobogganing (sans toboggan) – in other words out of control and mainly on my bum. I’m sure the pups had a good laugh. Did I mention the pups already?

Spring is springing early and the snow is melting fast around the house and over the lower hills. G is living up to his ‘bird-whisperer’ reputation and he’s communing with Steller’s Jays, Black-capped Chickadees and the odd Red-winged Blackbird. Bees are venturing from the hives. Buttercups are knuckling through and the horses seem to have an extra spring in their step.

We took a run down to the border so we have sighted the good old US of A without actually stepping foot on it yet. On the way we visited a fabulous miniature train museum (not something we would normally think of doing but so glad we did). A nineteen-year labour of love for the owners, it was a delightful way to spend an hour or so. The work is intricate and the pics don’t really do it justice but I particularly wanted to share one of the skate park as a nod to my roller-derbying son and daughter-in-law.


We also checked out Penticton, with its stunning lakes and walking paths and we wiled away an hour in the gallery there. Paintings by Corinne Theissen were particularly memorable; beautifully grotesque? Grotesquely beautiful, perhaps. They will haunt me for a while.

Meeting locals is one of the greatest joys of this house and pet-caring life. We had coffee and muffins with some uber-cool neighbours and got to ogle some stunning craftsman-built guitars. We are hoping for a return visit soon to hear said guitars played.

This is wine country, folks, (in fact it reminds us of Stanthorpe in Queensland) and, although many of the wineries are still winter-closed, there are a few we have lined up to visit. We have already sampled a couple of the local reds. Mightily impressed.

If it seems as though I haven’t a great deal to share, I can only say just look at the pictures. And I refer you to these gorgeous new friends of ours … did I already mention them?

L to R: Suki is an adorable bundle of energy and she gives good cuddles, Tandi loves her special song and warbles ever so softly when I sing to her, Bear is our official guide, constantly checking to make sure the Aussies aren’t getting lost.

Life is good.

For those of you who have asked about purchasing ‘Flame Tip’, perhaps the easiest for Canadian and US readers is to download the eBook. You can find links here on the Hybrid Publishers website.


Filed under Travel

5 responses to “Birds, Bees and Buttercups

  1. Oh goodie, another travel post.

    I had to look to see where you were. In the early 90s we drove (and ferried) from Washington State to Victoria (Vancouver Island) to the San Juan Islands, then back to the mainland, to Kamloops, Jasper, Banff and then down to Waterton Lakes-Glacier National Peace Park/s? So we went in a big arc over the top of where you are – but, it’s all beautiful and I can very well imagine as a result where you are and what you are seeing.

    I am familiar with those jays (as well as the ones on the east which are a bit different) and the chickadees, but I don’t recollect seeing red-winged blackbirds, though we may have. I loved getting to know North American birds – including the various woodpecker family birds. Such fun.

    Anyhow, keep the posts coming – and keep enjoying. I do hope Covid19 doesn’t get in your way.

  2. Haha, I replied to your comment here and it disappeared. Anyway, I was commenting about how huge and awe-inspiring all the mountains are. I have been enjoying the birds too. In Calgary, I was surprised to hear people mention the magpies as I had always thought of them as being Australian. These ones here are more squat and plump,with longer tails but that is what they call them. Nice to listen to the gentle call of the ravens too, compared to the Aussie crows.

    • Very annoying isn’t it – comments disappearing I mean.

      There are “magpies” in England too. It seems like a common bird name. But, they’re not like ours! Re the Aussie cCrow, we don’t have them down south I think, but we do have the Little Raven and Australian Raven.The Little Raven is the one in Mt Kosciuszko NP, what an awful noise they make. High in the alps they are pretty much all you hear. Here in Canberra, I’m not sure which one we have, but it might be the Australian Raven. I rally can’t tell the difference between them all.

      Are you getting to read – and/or write – a lot?

      • Isn’t that funny? I must have forgotten there are no crows down south. Do you get those beautiful bellbirds down your way? We used to hear them whenever we crossed the mountains in southern Queensland and northern NSW but not sure where else they hang out.
        I have been reading quite a bit. I had a list of Canadian authors to read and, interestingly, each sit has had some of those specifically. There are books everywhere!
        Yes, I have been writing as well. All a bit scrappy and disjointed but that is often the way I work. Also researching my next book which seems to be morphing in tune to the mountains.

      • Great to hear about the writing Karenlee.

        We have Bellbird down the south coast (eg at Merimbula) and in the Blue Mountains. I’ve never heard them here in the Canberra ‘burbs and I don’t think in our bush.

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