Tuesday, July 24, 2012

After 20 years of school.....

What do you do, when you have just finished 20 straight years of school and find yourself with a bunch of time off in the summer, for the first time in about 10 years??? In my daughter Adelaide's case, she and four friends planned a dream vacation - 5 weeks backpacking in south east Asia. 

Canada Day on the beach in Ko Lanta, Thailand.

Addie (my daughter) and her buddy Wassama in Thailand.

Addie asked I let you know Wassama was a perfect companion on her travels through the jungle. All the other elephants kept wandering off the path to grab tree branches for snacks or to indulge in vigorous butt scratching. They were riding the elephants bareback with nothing to really hold on to, so the butt scratching in particular was a little unnerving. Wassama on the other hand was a perfect lady, staying to the path and providing Addie with what she describes as one of the most incredible experiences of her life.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Grand Lake 2012

I am freshly back from a wonderful 11 days in New Brunswick. As I was packing, I was careful to leave my camera out on the coffee table so I wouldn't forget it. I wanted to take lots of pictures. And there it was waiting for me when I got back, right where I left it!!! So I have stolen some face book pictures from relatives.
Grand Lake is one of my most favourite places in the world. Our Grand Lake cottage was given to my parents as a wedding gift from my Mom's parents. I have been going there all my life. My grandfather purchased a small cove and built several cottages there which he rented or leased . Over the years he gradually gave them away to relatives or sold them to frequent renters. In the 61 years I have been going there, not one cottage has changed families. The youngest members of the McElman clan seem to enjoy Grand Lake as much as their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents did.

My youngest nephews, enjoying a swim or a kayak ride.

A long standing Saturday morning tradition - up to Fredericton to attend the local farmers' market. Boyce Farmers' Market has been open since 1951. It has steadily grown over the years and is now quite a bustling adventure: crafts, jewellery, meat and seafood, fresh produce, herbs and bedding plants, fresh baking and preserves, the selection and variety is awesome. A more recent but very popular addition to the market are all the food stands; ethnic , BBQ, seafood.

Handicrafts, and food products inside. Market is open all year round.

Many vendors specialize in organic products

A more recent tradition has been to check out a new shop in town, the Geek Chic Boutique.A wonderful collection of t-shirts, memorabilia, toys related to movies, TV shows (especially Big Bang), video games.

Soft kitty for my daughter, a recycled bottle lamp for my son.

They have a crazy selection of wonderfully quirky things. As they advertise - " A place where geeks can shop for gadgets, office toys, DIY projects, apparel, accessories, award winning board games (you know ..... for when the server is down)"

 They offer on-line shopping, check them out, here is their website link;

I have to check out the local yarn shop. The world is indeed very small. When I was a kid, my dad owned a tobacco, candy and magazine shop. Yarns on York is in the exact location my dads shop occupied many years ago. I lived in Fredericton for 21 years and return home almost every summer. I find now I hardly ever see any one I know except family.  My older brother has been quick to point out that I may be seeing people I know, we just don't recognize each other. Any way, this trip in to Yarns on York, who do I find meeting with the shop owner Trish but Dennis from Wool & Wicker in BC. Dennis is a sales rep for Skacel who had just been in our shop a couple of weeks ago.

And what is a yarn shop with out a dog, meet Aubrey, from Yarns on York.

An experiment which I am quite confident will become a new cottage tradition, a big batch of mojitos to go with Mexican night. I understand mojitos area actually Cuban but close enough.  These are good.

Bacardi has a great little video demonstrating the technique

This is the recipe we tried and found to definitely be more than satisfactory.
10 fresh mint leaves
1/2 lime, cut into 4 wedges
2 tablespoons white sugar, or to taste
1 cup ice cubes
1 1/2 fluid ounces white rum
1/2 cup club soda

Place mint leaves and 1 lime wedge into a sturdy glass. Use a muddler to crush the mint and lime to release the mint oils and lime juice. Add 2 more lime wedges and the sugar, and muddle again to release the lime juice. Do not strain the mixture. Fill the glass almost to the top with ice. Pour the rum over the ice, and fill the glass with carbonated water. Stir, taste, and add more sugar if desired. Garnish with the remaining lime wedge.

And one more family tradition. No trip to the cottage is complete without a fire and marshmallows. My 4 youngest great nephews and their dads.

Another great summer at Grand Lake.

July 2012