29 August 2011

Moose Jaw Minute #57: Lake Diefenbaker and The Nicolle Flats

Dave and I just wanted to go camping.  Really, really, really wanted to go camping.  Alas, the tent gods just didn't have that in store for us this weekend.  On Saturday, Dave and I drove out to Lake Diefenbaker to try and snag a walk-in site at the Douglas park.  As we drove up to the park window, a simple "no" was awaiting as we inquired about the sites.  Bummer!  We made the most of it by grabbing our dinner by the lake, listening to the water and enjoying the cool evening air.  Afterwards, we took a short drive up to Elbow to look around the Marina and see the soddy (a sodhouse) before heading back to Moose Jaw.

Dinner at Diefenbaker
Heavy rains over the lake...
Birdhouse at the marina

Elbow Marina
The soddy!
Decorated fire hydrant

The next day, we were still feeling like we needed an outdoor fix and Buffalo Pound appeared to be the answer.  Just a short drive outside of Moose Jaw lay the Nicolle Flats, an outdoor area named for the Nicolle family that resided there beginning in the late 1800s (the area is part of Buffalo Pound).  It is a beautiful spot where blue heron and deer come to feed off the marshy ground.  We came here in the dead of winter earlier this year for a hike and decided to revisit in order to experience it when the temperatures were a bit more pleasant!

We took a hike along the flats and saw the Nicolle homestead.  The remnants of the home and barn still stand, the large rocks created a gorgeous earthen puzzle to look at.  There are several bee colonies that have taken up residence in the homestead and you could hear them buzzing loudly while we surveyed the grounds.

The drive to the flats
Dragons DO fly!
The Nicolle Homstead
NOT the original homesteader!
Muddy trail walk
The Flats
Happy shadow trail walk

We continued along the trail accompanied by a ton of dragonflies and the occasional spider.  We saw a snake and even a little chipmunk that scrambled for cover as we drew near.  As we headed back up along the trail, Dave spotted a gorgeous blue heron soaring over the flats.  It was absolutely stunning to see...so much so, that  I just stood in awe and failed to snap a picture of it.

It was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon...soaking in the sun and hiking along the trail.

26 August 2011

Moose Jaw Minute #56: A Pancake, A Plane, and A Symphony Walk into a Weekend...

Legislature in Regina
Summer is holding on here in Moose Jaw.  She has her grip on us during the day sending temps near 30 C while at night, with the sun now setting before nine in the evening, they dip down into the single digits.  Yes, summer is desperately making a last stand before the leaves change and the winds start blowing from the north.  With this, Dave and I are desperate to get outside and enjoy the rest of what August has to offer and last weekend, we spent a good portion of our time out of the house...eating pancakes, admiring small prop planes, and listening to the sounds of the Regina Symphony Orchestra ring across Wascana Park in Regina.

Last Saturday, we drove out to the small municipal airport on the edge of town to indulge in some pancakes and air time.  The Moose Jaw Municipal Airport is home to the Moose Jaw Flying Club and they were hosting the pancake breakfast to raise funds for the site.  We grabbed our stacks in the open hangar and then ventured outside under a warm sun to soak in some rays, down our goodies, and watch the skydivers land nearby.  Later, a friend of Dave's from the base walked with us as we admired the RV-6, RV-8, Cessnas, Citabrias, and Piper Cherokees.  All gorgeous to look at...we can't wait for the day when we have one of our own!




Another plane!

The next night, we ventured out to Regina to enjoy the Regina Symphony Orchestra's Symphony Under the Sky.  We joined our friends Jesse and Ashley on the lawn where we spread out and listened to everything from Vaughn Williams to Tchaikovsky.  It was great and reminded me of the summer concert series that goes on in Millennium Park in Chicago.  There were a ton of families and one of the highlights for all the kids on the lawn was the arrival of the Saskatchewan Roughriders team mascot, Gainer the Gopher.  Yup, nothing like a six-foot, 250 pound gopher playing a triangle to tweak out some six-year-olds at a classical music concert.  Ah, those kids were in seventh heaven...

The Symphony stage

We are hoping to get in some camping soon before the warm days leave us behind completely.  I am, however, a sucker for fall...those small glimpses of yellow leaves on the trees are giving me giddy shivers on a daily basis.

20 August 2011

Moose Jaw Minute #55: Stop. Catch My Breath.

Hello!  I'm back.  With another long catch-up post.  As I noted in my last *brief* post, it's been a little nutso with travel, work, wedding preparations, and everything in between.

Thankfully, I am having a moment to come to a full stop and catch my breath...even if just for a couple of moments...I'll take it!

First stop...Pennsylvania.  Back in July, my parents and godmother arranged a lovely event to celebrate Dave and my marriage in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.  Why Johnstown?  It is near the town of Windber where my mom grew up and there is a ton of family and friends that were able to attend from the area.  It was an awesome evening with dancing, great food, an amazing cake (check out the moose!), and much love all around.

When my sister and I were little, we would spend time in Pennsylvania during the summers...especially when moving from place to place.  During our summers, one of our favourite stops was Gardner's chocolates.  Needless to say, we treated ourselves to some when we went shopping for a dress for me to wear to the reception. YUM!

ps.  Isn't my sister just gorgeous?!
Chocolate and coffee...yes, please.
Johnstown...my grandfather worked in a steel mill in this town for years and years.  Gorgeous in the valley!
Just LOOK at this awesome cake my mom arranged to have at the reception!  Those moose on top are just phenomenal!

From there, it was a couple of days in the Jaw and then I was off to Dallas, Texas to give a presentation for work.  We lived in Texas three times during my youth and I never liked it much.  It was very hot, there were fire ants, and I don't remember school being much fun during those years.  Needless to say, the presentation went really well, but Texas did not.  I just don't think I am meant to get along with the Lone Star State.  Okay...the end.

After that, I had some time at home again and during my one week with my feet on the ground, my friends threw me a lovely hen-do in preparation for our wedding in September.  Yup, Dave and I are tying the knot again -- only this time with a gaggle of friends and family along for the ride.  My friends coordinated an amazing day with a picnic in Crescent Park followed by manicures and pedicures at the Sahara Spa.  Next, it was on to Becci's for cake and champagne and a "couple's quiz" that I dismally failed (sorry, Dave!).  Following that, we made our way to the newest restaurant in town, Kergano's, for some lovely food and then to Bobby's Place to close the night out with a pint.  It was so much fun and I've rather enjoyed my un-bachelorette shin-digs.  I am a very lucky gal to have such great friends in the Jaw to celebrate with!

Delicious Hen-do Cake from Becci!
Me and the gals!
Okay...at Bobby's Place they have a fried Mars Bar...seriously...

Next...off to Chicago for meetings and some face time in the office.  A quick overnight at home and then on a flight to New Jersey to spend some quality time with my family.  We had a great weekend together...wedding planning, early morning runs with my dad, and most importantly, celebrating my dad's birthday!  I've managed to be around for the last three of my dad's birthdays and we treated him to a great dinner at Rooney's Ocean Crab House on the coast with gorgeous views of the Atlantic.

Um...my parents are stunning together!
Happy Birthday, Dad!
Me and mom!
A thumbs up for Rooney's!

So, as you can see, it's been a bit busy.  Luckily, Dave and I will get some quality time together in one place before we head back to the States in late September for our wedding and -- yes! -- honeymoon!  We can't wait!

And, in the meantime...I'll just bug Dave while he's trying to study...

16 August 2011

Moose Jaw Minute #54: Catching my breath...

A Moose Jaw hen-do, seven flights in seven days, Chicago, New Jersey (with a little Denver and Philadelphia on the side).  That's been the last week folks and, needless to say, I have taken the past couple of days to catch my breath and I promise...promise, promise, promise that I will post very soon with pictures and humour, and everything in between.

06 August 2011

Moose Jaw Minute #53: Quilts, Christmas, and a Week Ago...

It's been a busy couple of weeks and I desperately need to do some catching up!  The weather in Moose Jaw has been absolutely fantastic this summer and we have taken full advantage of it by staying busy:  going for walks in the evening, afternoon running (equals my lunch break), and hanging out with good friends.  We've also been traveling a lot with trips to Canmore, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Chicago all under our belts.

Moose Jaw offers a good deal in the summer and between here and the Queen City of Regina, it seems as though every weekend is packed out with an expo, a festival, or concert.  A couple of weekends ago, I attended the Moose Jaw Quilt Show in Crescent Park with a couple of friends.  The quilts were created by local men and women and were strung between trees.  Their colours and designs flapped gently in the wind under an amazing blue sky.  Now, I'm no quilter and I don't believe I ever will be, but the craftsmanship and the talent needed to create these amazing works of art is astounding.  Check out some of this artistic inspiration:

Note...there are two quilting shops in Moose Jaw alone and, from what I can gather, it is quite the competition between the two.  Loyalists to one shop may not get on so well with loyalists to the other.  It's a good old fashioned quilt feud!  It may give new meaning to the phrase "stitch and..."  Well, you know.

That same weekend, Dave and I arranged for a little Christmas in July to get everyone in a jolly mood.  Hey, as of right now there are only 141 shopping days left until the big day!  We created a vegan version of Nigella's Chocolate Fruitcake and roasted up some root vegetables.  Friends brought over a cheesy potato casserole, an artichoke dip, and a yummy melty chocolate truffle to dip fruit in.  Dean Martin was crooning away, the lights were twinkling, and all of us filled up on on the goodies.

A week ago, we spent an absolutely lovely weekend in Regina.  We had a yummy breakfast at one of our favourite spots, 13th Avenue Coffeehouse where we sampled their new breakfast bowls made with quinoa, nuts, and fresh fruit.  We walked all the way around Wascana Lake and then drove a little ways north to relax at Regina Beach in Lumsden.  The weather was warm and the whole day was so relaxing.  To top everything off, we took some leftover roasted veg and stuffed it into some tomatoes to bake up for dinner...delish!

And, to close you out...visit this for pure awesome.

These sunsets are amazing...