Monday, September 11, 2006

Rolling Our Own

Homemade vegetable rolls. Yum. And they're not as hard to make as one would think.

Interestingly enough, all of the kids liked the salmon rolls I made. Madeleine, who is allergic to fish was happy with the ones I made with some steak. I made three kinds of vegetable rolls - cucumber, vegetable (carrot, cucumber, lettuce), and vegetable (lettuce, bean, carrot, cucumber, and mayo).

Note - These photos are of the leftovers, so they're a little worse for wear. And interestingly enough, these four rolls were conspicuously absent from the fridge when I made breakfast this morning. Therre was however a small dish in the sink with some soy sauce in it. I'll have to quiz the kids if they saw or heard anything during their nighttime visits to the potty when I get home today.

S'mores the Stickier

This was Cheryl's idea. Take 9 oven baked s'mores (leftovers from our camping adventures) and combine with 5 silly kids. You don't even have to shake well.

We tossed 'em all into the tub afterwards, then I scrubbed the table, chairs, and mopped the floor.

Yes Megan, it has amazing powers of adhesion on human skin and smooth surfaces!

No, I don't think you should have anymore. Besides, you haven't finished what you've got already. No, eating all the marshmallow and chocolate out from between the graham crackers doesn't count.

Beware any child wielding a sticky, oven-baked s'more in one hand, and a half-chewed sushi roll in the other.

Melissa is the picture of gentility by comparison.

Away wit' ye! Madeleine shooes off the paparazzi.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Labour Day 2006: Day 2 - Behind the Scenes

Before I go on to Day 3, I thought I'd post some more photos from Day 2. Don't forget that you can click on any of them to go to our Flickr site where you can see larger versions of the picture.

I did manage to take some pictures of the M's before they fell off that giant fallen log.

Looking at the photos now, I wish I had more people or things in them to better help indicate the scale of the thing pictured. Take the picture I include here for example. The tree itself was an organic skyscraper, and in many ways surpassing anything made by hands. It seems a little prosaic though in this image.

I should have had Cheryl or dad in this following picture instead of Megan. She's barely 3 ft tall, so yeah, any tree is really big compared to her.

I think I mentioned in the post that I gave Cheryl the heebee-jeebies by standing really close to the end of the cliff above the falls. Maybe this picture will give you an idea of how close I was to the edge. Or, maybe it doesn't ...

Maybe this one does a better job ..

Friday, September 08, 2006

I'm in Kindergarten!

Madeleine has been really excited about going to school this week.  Gotta love that grin!

Indoctrination, eh?

Remember a post a while ago about Cheryl reading her algebra text to the kids at bedtime? Well, she's at it again.

This semester Cheryl has a 100 level Poli-Sci course which is an intro to Canadian Politics. So right now she's indoctrinating the kids with what all good Canadians should know about the CBC, CanCon, the CRTC, the National Film Board of Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts, and on and on.

To their credit (or not, depending on how you look at it) Melissa and Michael are still awake.

Still I couldn't keep from laughing out loud as Cheryl read the words, "Canadian Drama". Discussions I've heard about how real Peter Mansbridge's (current) toupee is crossed my mind. Yes, I know about Da Vinci's Inquest. And man, oh man am I ticked that Regenesis is only available in the more expensive cable packages. Still, the phrase Canadian Drama just puts me in mind of excruciatingly earnest radio hosts on CBC radio discussing Very Important Canadian Literature.

Oooooh. Now she's reading the words, "Domestic Canadian Policy." As if there were Canadian policies which weren't domestic.

Okay. I'll stop now.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Labour Day 2006: Day 2 - Ancient Cedars Loop

Saturday dawned bright, beautiful, and early. The kids popped out of their bags like Gary Larson's African Rake Snake and started giggling and hooting to wake Cain. Thankfully we did not yet have any neighbours in the site closest to our tent.

We were going to make oatmeal, but dad had brought a box of champorado. If you're like me and never heard of this, it's a kind of sticky-rice porridge that takes waaaaaaaay more time to cook than porridge. At least, it did that day.

When we had cleaned up after breakfast, we piled into our van and Dad's jeep and set off to find our day's objective: the Ancient Cedars loop trail just north of Whistler.

According to Jack Christie in The Whistler Book, "Core samples taken from wester red cedars on Cougar Mountain indicate that many are well over 600 years old -- with some approaching the millenium mark. And though the Douglas firs on the periphery of the cedar grove are much smaller, they are about the same age. Proof that size isn't always a good indication of a tree's age." The guide book goes on to say that you can tell you've reached the ancient cedars: the trunks swell to 3 m (9 ft).

With that in mind we drove south on Hwy 99 until we got to the turn-off to Cougar Mountain. We drove up a packed gravel forest service road and then passed through what seemed to be a private compound onto a more narrow and rugged gravel road. We drove for a few minutes, wondering if we had misread the directions and put ourselves onto the wrong road. A large tour-van came down the road and slowed as they came up to us. The driver rolled down his window and we asked him if we were on the right road to the Ancient Cedars forest. In an unmistakeably Australian drawl he replied that he did not think so and that the road we wanted was further north. He told us the road ended at some stables further up and suggested we ought to ask there girls there. Dispappointed, we decided to find a turn-around in the road so we could find our way again. About 10 minutes later, on our way back past the private compound we spotted a map board beside a trailhead close to the road. We stopped and I found that we were on the right road - 16 Mile Creek Forest Service Road. The private compound belonged to an adventure tour company that was licensed to use the recreation area where the trail was located. I guess the driver was summer hire who wasn't terribly familiar with the local geography beyond where he worked. So we turned around and made our way back up the road.

About fifteen minutes later we passed the stable the driver mentioned turned a corner and found the trailhead.

The kids were raring to go, excited that Gumpa was along for an adventure. Each of the older three M's partnered up with a grown-up and we set off. Melissa took the lead, practically pulling her mother and Maribeth (in the pack on Cheryl's back) up the trail. Michael tagged along with me and Megan. Madeleine was Dad's hiking partner for the day.

We made our way up the trail, enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of a boreal forest in the late summer / early autumn. The trail made it's way through several switch-backs, quickly climbing the slope. It (and carrying Megan) quickly left me out of breath. Melissa, on the other hand, continued to fly up the trail.

After about forty minutes the trail flattened out, came over the brow of a hill, then broke out of the forest into a wide valley. The view was gorgeous. However the reprieve didn't last very long. The trail quickly had us panting up the side of the valley again. After another switch-back we found a very welcome bench and had a water break.

About 10 minutes later we finally reached the Ancient Cedars Loop. A small bridge crossed a creek at the start of the loop and we stopped to let the twins out of their backpacks to walk with us.

The cedars were indeed huge. There were a few pairs of trees whose trunks had grown together, having a combined girth that would take at least 10 adults holding hands to go all the way around.

The walk back out was relatively uneventful. In the heat, Maribeth fell asleep in the pack on my back.

We also stopped at a viewpoint on the highway above Nairn Falls and took pictures of the Green River just before it tumbled into the canyon. Cheryl was a wee bit concerned that I myself was going to tumble into the canyon taking those pictures, but I was very careful.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

1st day of school

Ready to Go
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.

Here are the elder three of the M's getting ready for the first day of school; which really was only an hour of "find your classroom/introductions" today. Melissa and Michael both have a number of friends from last year in their classes. Melissa is in the same classroom as last year, just with a differnet teacher as the school re-organized some of the classrooms! Michael has the same teacher this year that Melissa had last year. Maddy is in afternoon K with Mrs. L - who taught Michael last year. They are excited about the first REAL day of school coming up tomorrow (oops - later today - I need to get to bed!).

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Labour Day 2006: Day 1 - Nairn Falls

Hi Everybody!
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.

When we decided over 3 weeks ago to go camping this weekend, we knew right away that we would not hazard the long weekend border traffic or ferry line-ups to Vancouver Island. Instead we thought we would try and find somewhere nice to camp closer to home than ¾ of a state away.

Well, that was easier said than done. We checked the province's reservation system for campgrounds in its parks. Even with 3 weeks advance notice, no parks within 1, 2, or even 3 hours of the Fraser Valley had vacancies. This was frustrating, because there was no way that we would gamble that any of the 'first-come, first-served' sites would be left; not with five kids in the van. So we kept looking until we found a little place called Nairn Falls Provincial Park, just outside of Pemberton, BC.

We read through the park description online and then consulted our hiking and camping guides. According to management plan posted on the BC Parks website, the site was designed to help provide overflow capacity (oh good!) as the Sea-to-Sky corridor is very busy and popular for recreational activities. Beyond that the park preserves the falls as a local native heritage site as well as protects the habitat of the rubber boa - the northernmost member of the boa family. Well, Cheryl just about fainted after reading that. But she soldiered on, as this was seemingly our last hope. The guide books mentioned the trail to the falls as having some hazardous sections where families with small children should take care. They also said that this park was a popular base-camp for further exploring the Whistler region.

After some deliberation we decided to post our reservation, since time was running out, and hoped that we had made a good choice.


We drove up Highway 99, the "Sea to Sky Hwy", leaving just before 10 am Friday morning to avoid the horrible long-weekend traffic; which we did!

Friday morning - heading out of town

We got into Nairn Falls Provincial Park around 1:30 pm. We checked the reservation board near the entrance and found our site number. We just about cheered when we saw that our assigned site was well away from the river (one of Cheryl's concerns) and not too far from the out-houses.

As we cruised down the park lanes we saw that there was a hand-pump to draw well water for drinking. And there seemed to be wood available somewhere for a camp-fire. The sites were well spaced so some privacy was to be had. In short: the place was beautiful!

With three adults to keep an eye on the small people, we got camp set-up in about an hour. Well short of the 2½ hours it took on our trip to Washington. That left us plenty of time before supper to go and visit the falls!


The "narrow and hazardous" parts of the trail were not nearly so scary as the guides had made out. Or maybe it was just that our children are experienced hikers. At any rate, you can see in the pictures that even Maribeth and Megan got to do a little hiking. Maribeth, for the record, is very much the little rock-gymnast. It remains to be seen how we long we're actually going to be able to steer her away from climbing.



The falls themselves were very pretty. Worth the hike, but not "awe-inspiring". The guides were correct however that they are a very good example of "the erosive power of water". Even Michael could see how the water had carved the potholes and where two potholes had worn into each other below the surface, leaving a natural bridge.

Edwins at Large: Labour Day 2006

As hinted at on Friday's post, an adventure for the Five M's and their harried parents was in the offing. However this time Gumpa came along!

Four days, three nights, and 650 kms (about 400 mi) later, we're safely home with scads of pictures and a few videos to share. Watch this space.

Day 1 - From: Here at home in the Fraser Valley. To: Nairn Falls Provincial Park, about 3 kms south of Pemberton, BC. Via: Trans-Canada and Highway 99. Distance: 200 kms.

Day 2 - From: Nairn Falls camp. To: Ancient Cedars forest, Showh Lakes Recreation Area and back. Via: Highway 99 and Sixteen-Mile Creek forest service road. Distance: 50 kms.

Day 3 - From: Nairn Falls camp. To: Lillooet, BC. Via: Highway 99 (Duffey Lake road). Distance: 200 kms.

Day 4 - From: Nairn Falls camp. To: Here at home in the Fraser Valley. Via: Highway 99 and Trans-Canada. Distance: 200 kms.

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Last Weekend of Summer

That's all folks. We're down to Labour Day weekend. The last weekend of summer. Next Tuesday the kids and Cheryl(!) are back in school, and it will be officially autumn*. All good things must end. I hope you all have a very enjoyable and safe long weekend.

Our weekend forecast :-)

In imperial units, for those of you aren't familiar with metric.

* Not that I'm complaining mind you. Autumn is my favourite time of year.