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Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Victoria Day Weekend

What an amazing weekend we had, let's get started...


Saturday morning dawned sunny and warm so what better to do than go outside and play. First up; the Saturday Market in Duncan. Always a good time, with fresh organic produce and handy crafts. We came away with a bag of pea shoots to top off the pizza later for dinner. After sauntering through the market, mostly people watching we headed back to the car. The annual wooden boat show was on in Maple Bay so we went to take a look. Two old Chris Crafts, a converted tugboat and a handful of other yachts proudly displayed by their owners. I had a few nice chats with people while Shelagh tried her best on the wobbly docks, still a bit unsure on her feet after a knee injection treatment two days before. It sure would be nice to have a boat again some day, but the memories of the financial burden are still fresh in my mind...














Then it was time to go and experience something new; WAM is an annual festival in the Cowichan Valley it stands for Wine Art Music. Some of the local wineries offer tastings and there are food trucks, artists and musicians all there to entertain you. We first went to the Averill Creek Winery and tasted five of their wines. We chose a nice bottle of Pinot Noir to have on the patio along with lunch from the food truck "Taco Revolution". Three tacos for me and two for Shelagh. Meanwhile the Smiley Band was playing music from Jamaica and Zimbabwe. Tafa and Amy Matamba sang and had some help from a stand up base player who moved here from Montréal to do some farming. A couple of other musicians joined them for a few songs. We wiled away some time enjoying the wine, the music and the magnificent view. You can read more about Tafa and Amy on their website; www.zmsociety.com They bought some land here in the valley and are hard at work growing organic food for purchase. They also have gardening plots for rent.



















Then it was time to go to the Blue Grouse Estate Winery to sample their wines. Tastings here cost $5.00 but that will be applied to your wine purchase should you choose to do so. We bought a nice bottle of Quill red wine and a couple of glasses of Rosé to enjoy outside while listening to Scott McGill and Steve Holmberg playing guitars and singing Scotts own songs. On Sunday they will be playing at the Rocky Creek Winery and we have decided to go there for some more of their music.























The Rocky Creek Winery is a cozy place with a big ambitious heart. The wine tasting was fun and we met a nice couple from Victoria. They went on a cross country trip from Toronto and ran out of money in Victoria, they then decided to stay there and have lived there ever since. We bought a bottle of wine and a couple of glasses of wine to have with our picnic lunch, the food truck from Farms Gate provided some chicken skewers and we had some crackers with tomatoes and pea shoots with us to nibble on. Sitting in the shade of a beautiful variegated maple tree we listened to the music and watched an artist paint a Tuscan scene.





















At the Cherry Point Vineyards the mood was more Spanish, with robust wines and excellent 14 year old, oak barrel aged Port. The tasting was fun and informative. They also have a bistro with an impressive menu, we will have to come back here on a less busy week day to try the food. Wonderful jazz music was playing, but it was quite busy so we did not stay long, did buy another bottle of wine for our rack though.









Then on to the Damali Lavender & Winery. The wines were interesting with lavender added to the fermentation process. Large lavender fields lie next to the vines, in a few weeks they will be in bloom, so we'll have to return for some picture taking. Our wine collection is growing... 













Finally to the Enrico Winery. They were hoppin' busy but we stuck it out on the sundeck under an umbrella. We sampled their tasting menu and selected a nice Pinot Noir to take home. We managed to visit six of the seven participating wineries over the two days. Over the summer months we will revisit them and stay longer, bring a picnic lunch and take in the ambience. The temperate climate in the Cowichan valley is best for growing Pinot, Foch and Gewürztraminer grapes so the selection leans to wines made from these. Some wineries add touches of other fruits to create wines that have a little note of their own. Very creative and fun. We feel like we're on a fantastic holiday living here in Canada's Provence, it's like winning the lottery...







Saturday, 14 April 2018

Another fine day of Island Life

With coffee and breakfast down our necks we decided to head to the Saturday Market in Duncan, you can read all about this weekly phenomenon in my post from March 10th, 2018. We picked up some nice pork-apple-sage sausages, some pea shoots (tastes like alfalfa) to put on top of our pizza tomorrow and a family sized steak and mushroom pie along with a hot pepperoni stick. Also a home made bar of goats milk soap to try...

Then Shelagh had found a new little park for us to visit near Mill Bay. Mill Bay Nature Community Park is located just north of Mill Bay. At about 7.25 acres in size it's not a big park, but the views of the bay are amazing. There are some nice trails carved through the park and we sure found another great spot for picnics when the weather warms up. The pictures don't really do it justice but I think they'll give you an idea of the beauty here.














People leave these painted rocks in parks. It gets some folks all riled up, I don't see the harm in it.





On our way home Shelagh remembered the annual Maple Bay Rowing Club regatta was happening today on Quamichan Lake, so we went to have a look. These long narrow boats would keep me upright for all of about two seconds, and I would be in the water. The rowers were mostly teen-aged men and women and having a very good time on the water. The event is much larger than I imagined with many rowing clubs participating. By now we were hungry so we went to our local Vietnamese Mom and Pop shop for a couple of spicy beef Bahn Mi subs to go...

















Another great day...