Archive for July, 2016

Chowder for Granddaughters

Our good friends Harry and Marie are taking care of his granddaughters this week.  Mary and Claire.  Mary is 4 and Claire is 7.

We had dinner with their parents last week at Harry and Marie’s house.  The parents flew off to Calgary leaving the grandparents to entertain for the week.  Unfortunately unlike the times we had our grand kids in July and August and could spend time at the beach, it has been cool and windy.

Anyway,Claire mentioned to Pat last week that she loves white seafood chowder so we invited the Grandparents and the girls to join us Friday night for one of Pat’s fabulous seafood chowders.

Harry dropped off some of his salmon, we added halibut and shrimps and some of our leftover BBQd oysters.  I made one of my wonderful crusty breads.

Admittedly, we were not sure if the girls would eat this meal.  No problem as they rapidly consumed their bowls and Mary (the 4 year old) asked for more oysters.  Mary loved the bread but only ate the innards and left the crust.  I am not sure if my kids, let alone my grandkids, would have been as excited about a chowder.  Granted it was delicious but whooda thunk?

After the dinner there was a little running around until Pat found some colouring for them to do as the adults enjoyed the last of the wine and Port, but the girls were great. As they were going home they both came to thank Pat for the great meal.

Granted I would not trade either one of these girls for any our wonderful grandchildren (unless some cash came with the deal).

Terrorism in Bangladesh

We have all heard the news from Pakistan and Iraq with the killing of what should be innocent people.

One detail in the news made me think.  Apparently the terrorists in Pakistan would challenge their prisoners to complete quotes from the Koran and if they could not do it, they were killed.

I am reading a book about the Inquisition during the 14th century in France.  Certain preaching orders became the roving police to determine who was true to the faith.  One of the methods they would use was to ask a suspect to complete a latin phrase they should have heard many times at mass.  If they could not do it, they went on to torture and possible death.

Then, of course, we have the centuries of wars between the Catholics and Protestants where many innocents died in Europe.

While we have come a long way from the 14th century, as Christians we have to recognize this period in an evolution of a faith.

I just hope it does not take 800 years.  (having said that we only have to go back 20 years ago in Ireland)


A Miata Run

Pat and I have, over the last few years, attended many Miata Run events in Oregon, Washington and Utah, and loved them all.

The events I am talking about involve hundreds of hours of member volunteer activity to organize.  Booking the resort and scheduling the dinners and planning a half dozen runs for the various Miata couples to enjoy is a serious commitment.

Our Vancouver Island club members have gone to most of these runs over the years,  and we are often asked why do we not host an event on the Island.   Good question, but there is an issue in our geography.  We are a long narrow island with some great drives like the drive to Tofino, but with no loop drives.  It is basically up and down the island with a whole bunch of roads that just go in and out to locations such as Gold River.  Really no central resort that we could use to host an event.

A Miata run should have a run out on a loop and return to the centre resort where the next day you do a different run.  We have done some great events in Central Washington and Oregon that include runs through lava fields and wine country or along cliffs.  They are interesting in that they have many different routes that all return to the host resort.

I love Paradise, but most of our drives, while they have great views of the Beaufort mountains on one side and views over the Salish Sea towards the snow-capped mountains on the mainland, they are one-way and return on the same highway.  Truthfully, you are mostly driving with green forests of Cedar and Douglas fir on each side and the occasional mountain views, but it is the same view in reverse on the return trip.

Anyway, last year I agreed to organize a club run that would start here in Courtenay and end up with a BBQ.  It is part of our experiment to see if we could ever host an international event.

Pat and I have been testing runs for the last two months that start at the outskirts of Courtenay and meander through the paved country roads between here and Campbell River.

Today we finally settled on the route.  It is not the high-speed, curvy route that some Miata drivers will want, but it is picturesque.  Narrow lanes where the trees almost overlap overhead and the farm houses and fields look like those you might see in England.  At one point we drive past a ranch that raises Bisons, where we can pause to see them grazing.

We now have about 10 cars in this run and we will end up in our back yard for a BBQ and celebration.  If the weather is right this could be great.



An Oyster Day

You may have read my earlier note about helping make a wine rack for a friend’s boat.

Now this is not a yacht, it is a large zodiac with a helm in the middle and a 135 HP engine on the stern.

Anyway,  as a result of helping on the wooden tray that will hold wine bottles and glasses when they pull into a quiet cove, Paul and Bev invited us for a gathering of oysters.

This morning was a rare event where there was a very, very  low tide at about 11 am.  This very low tide exposes a bank north of Denman Island that is normally under water for many months.

After an exciting bouncy ride across the channel, we drifted onto the bank and went ashore wearing our water shoes and carrying some pails.  As we walked up and down the shoreline, we found dozens of huge oysters.  We finally ended up with a pile and selected the ones we could legally collect and take home.  Both Paul and I have a license that allows us each to collect 15 oysters a day.  We ended up with a bucket of 30 oysters and then headed back to the marina.

As we docked, Paul and Bev said, by the way, they were off to a function for the afternoon, so we could take all 30 oysters.

Now understand, these are not the quaint little oysters that you order at a high end bar, where some guy comes up with a little shucker knife, pops it open and you may chose to swallow it raw.

These are natural wild oysters.  You need a hammer and chisel to open the hinge before the shucking knife goes in.  Not the oysters the size of your thumb, these are the size of , well let’s just envision your tongue being ripped out.  Look at the pictures.

I cooked them all on the BBQ.  Pat and I managed 6 oysters each and we had to eat them with a knife and fork.  Delicious.  The rest were packaged up for freezing and use in future chowders.

But the next time you are at an expensive oyster bar where they charge $5 each for tiny little morsels, remember what a true wild oyster looks like.



Heartbreaking Jays Loss

Those of you who are not Jays fans would not have realized this traumatic Jay’s game today.

They were playing the Cleveland Indians.  Now normally in any other game I would cheer for the Indians.  A pathetic team from a minor city that has a history of losing.

You may remember the film Major League  with Tom Berenger and Charlie Sheen about the Indians franchise about to be moved to Florida where they would have fans to pay for the big boxes.

Cleveland is one of those American industrial cities, like Detroit, where time has passed them by with outdated steel mills and manufacturing plants.

But this year Cleveland is hot.  Their Cavaliers NBA team just won the big NBA title and their Indians are on the longest winning streak in baseball this year.

Anyway they are playing our precious Jays today, on Canada Day.  The game was tied 1-1 going into extra innings.  Granted the home base umpire was doing everything to cheat for the Indians calling balls a foot outside as strikes if the Indians were pitching and calling pitches on the edge Balls when the Jays were pitching.

Every inning after the 10th had men in scoring position and even once, loaded bases. Never-the-Less despite the help of the umpires the Indians could not close the game.

Finally into the 17th inning the Jays had run out of bull pen pitchers and sent out a second baseman to pitch.  He got through the inning.  Into the 18th another shortstop did the pitching and put out the Indians.  Finally in the 19th inning  after 6 hours, one of the Indians hit a home run off a tired outfielder sent in to pitch.

What a horrible way to lose a Canada Day game.  Of course Pat and I stuck to them loyally, although I admit I went for a nap at about the 4 hour point.

Whoddah thunk that The Cleveland Indians would be a winning team this year?