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The Asparagus Festival

The Asparagus Festival

Last Sunday (June 9, 2019), the Annual Asparagus Festival was held at Edgar Farms near Innisfail, Alberta.

Who knew such an event existed?

The Asparagus Festival

 
Edgar Farms is a sixth generation family farm established in 1907. From a diversification experiment in 1986, the farm now cultivates 50 acres of asparagus. As well as asparagus, the farm grows green and yellow beans, rhubarb and peas. They also raise grass-fed Angus beef which is hormone and antibiotic free.
 
asparagus field
 
The asparagus has a short growing season, usually only May and June. After that, the asparagus is allowed to grow into a fern so the plant can store nutrients for the winter.
 
Over the growing season, the asparagus is picked every day. If there’s rain, the field might need to be picked more than once. The little spears grow that fast.
 
Thanks to the cool Alberta climate, this asparagus is sweet and tender. It’s available fresh onsite at the Edgar Farms General Store and also at Farmers Markets from Edmonton to Calgary. Soups and pies from Edgar Farms can also be found in the frozen section of some grocery stores.
 
You might like to know that asparagus is a good source of Vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, zinc and many other trace nutrients. It is also an excellent source of dietary fibre.
 
wagon ride
 
The festival offered wagon ride tours of the farm and viewing windows for a glimpse of the kitchen. Children visited farm animals, pumped water, and played in the activity centres.
 
And, Aspara-Gussy was on site providing treats and photo-ops.
 
Aspara-Gussy
 
The festival also hosted an Artisan Market with everything from chocolate, nuts and honey to pottery, woodworking and mini donuts.  
 
 
We purchased meat pies, fruit pies, pickled beets and a huge bag of asparagus. I’ve already tasted the Saskatoon rhubarb pie and it’s the best on the planet.
 
I will definitely be at the Festival next year and will most likely stop by the General Store the next time I’m in the area.
 
Have you ever been to an Asparagus Festival?
Three Hills Cruise Weekend

Three Hills Cruise Weekend

I needed to step away from the keyboard and Rolf wanted to attend the annual Three Hills Cruise Weekend, so we booked a motel and headed to the little town last Friday.

Three Hills Cruise

The Three Hills Cruise started in 1981. The event was organized by three locals for the first Saturday of June. That year, 35 cars showed up.

hardtop convertible

hardtop convertible

The event continues to be held on the first Saturday of June and also includes the Friday and Sunday.

Show ’n’ Shine

Show ’n’ Shine

On Friday, there’s the Meet, Greet and Cruise. Saturday has the Show ’n’ Shine. Cars start lining Main Street at 8 o’clock in the morning. Later on Saturday, starting about 5 pm, the Three Hills Airport hosts the 1/8 mile bracket racing. And on Sunday, the racing continues.

Three Hills Cruise

This year marks the 37th year of the event. More than 1000 classic cars and trucks registered and Main Street filled with people, young and old. There were also classic motorcycles and I even saw one Tesla. 

Three Hills Cruise

Local eateries fill up. Church groups and service organizations sell hot dogs, burgers, ribs and beans as well as soft drinks and ice cream. It’s like being at the fair. 

Three Hills Cruise

Apparently, Mother Nature always cooperates and the day is hot and sunny. Many visitors bring folding chairs to sit in the shade.

Is this Margi’s Thunderbird?

Is this Margi’s Thunderbird?

The Town of Three Hills was incorporated as a Village in 1912. Now the town has a population of about 3300, numerous parks and walking trails, and many community events throughout the year. The Cruise is the biggest. At this event, money is raised and donated to worthwhile causes. Classic vehicles are showcased and appreciated. Visitors and locals kick back and enjoy a hot summer’s day. 

Three Hills Cruise

Although I am not a car aficionado, I couldn’t help but get into the spirit and I’ve already decided I’ll be there next year. 

Main Street, Three Hills

Main Street, Three Hills

Have you attended the Three Hills Cruise?

 

First Day of Spring

First Day of Spring

When I went to elementary school, I learned that the Earth’s axis is slightly tilted in relation to its orbit around the Sun. I also learned that because the Earth orbits the Sun at a slant, we have seasons. And I learned that the seasons change on the 21st of March, June, September and December.

I have since learned that the 21st is close to the astronomical calculation, but the 21st is not always the first day of the new season.

Today, March 20th, is the astronomical first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. It is known as the spring equinox or the vernal equinox. If you imagine a line above the equator, the spring equinox occurs when the sun crosses that line from south to north. That is the astronomical definition of Spring.

In Calgary, with snowbanks everywhere, it still looks like winter even though yesterday was the last official day of winter.

Yesterday, we drove to the mountains to ski at Sunshine Village. It’s not spring there either, although the temperatures are warmer than they were in January. The snow, however, is perfect winter snow—not the slushy stuff that will come with spring skiing.

Here we are leaving the gondola station at 1,660 metres (5,450 feet) looking out the frosty Plexiglas of the gondola.

Leaving the gondola base

That’s the parking lot below, only half full at ten in the morning. It’s a weekday so it will only fill to the end of the parking lot. On weekends, the cars are backed down the road and shuttle buses take you to the gondola station.

We always ski on weekdays.

Here we are arriving at the top gondola station in the Village, at 2,159 metres or 7,082 feet.

Arriving at the Village

There is another station below this where you can get off for Goat’s Eye Mountain, but in the mornings, it’s always icy over there. So if we do ski Goat’s Eye, we wait until the afternoon. By then the sun has softened the snow and it’s nicer skiing.

Yesterday’s forecast was for a mix of sun and cloud and the morning started off sunny.

sunny at Sunshine in the morning

Closer to lunch, we headed to the top of Divide.

On the Divide Chair

Now we are on the Divide chair. To the left are the Teepee Town and Angel chairs.

For a short time, the Divide chair crosses from Alberta into British Columbia. I didn’t get my camera out fast enough so I missed the sign that says “Welcome to Beautiful British Columbia” but I did get the sign welcoming us back to Alberta.

Welcome Back to Sunny Alberta

Welcome Back to Sunny Alberta

The joke is that sometimes you are riding this chair in a whiteout when the “sunny Alberta” sign comes into view.

Now we are at the top of Divide at an elevation of 2,730 metres or 8,960 feet, and the clouds are moving in.

Top of Divide

The light was flat, so we only did one run here and then skied all the way back down to the Village. We did one more run on Standish (where the light was better) and then we went to the Sunshine Mountain Lounge and the Chimney Corner for lunch . . .

Sunshine Mountain Lodge

. . . where I get to take off my boots (ahhhhh) 

. . . and fuel up on that great Canadian delicacy, poutine.

poutine

After lunch, the light was still iffy, and Goat’s Eye looked socked in, so we stayed at the Village, and skied the Wawa Bowl.

Tin Can Alley

One of my favourite runs is here, Tin Can Alley.

Now we are riding down. Those are my skis on the outside of the gondola.

going down on the gondola

The temperature rose to 4 degrees Celsius (39 Fahrenheit) in the Village, with no wind, so the air was spring-like. But the snow was winter-like and perfect. So that was our last official day of astronomical winter.

The other way of determining the seasons is called the Meteorological Method. In this case, meteorologists base the seasons on annual temperature cycles.

  • Spring is defined as March, April and May.
  • Summer is June, July and August
  • Fall is September, October and November.
  • And Winter is December, January and February.

Kind of makes more sense. But I still think back to my elementary school days—and the 21st.

What is spring for you? Is it the beginning of March? Or not until the 21st? Is it snow melting? Or tulips and daffodils pushing up through the soil? Do you like spring skiing? Or would you prefer to start a garden?

The New Me

The New Me

 

I finally got another profile picture. What do you think?

My last one was from 2011—taken by the University of Calgary people when I was enrolled in Spanish classes there. Now, five years and one grandson later, I am embracing my grey and silver and white and blonde hair. It’s like having natural highlights. Mother Nature has given me changing colour.

Besides the new ‘me’ you will notice a new layout for my website. I used to blog more often, and maybe I will again, but for the time being I am heavily involved with the Thurston Authors. I will tell you more about the project next week. Right now, I can let you know we are launching our first book on September 29th.  My book is the ninth in the series and it will be released on November 24th. Here’s the cover:

The Thurston Heirloom

My book is set in the month of September. That background image on the cover is of Larch Valley in Banff National Park, Canada. In autumn, the Larch turn golden and lose their needles.

Larch Valley

Yes, these trees that look like evergreens lose their needles.

There are several ways of classifying trees. One is by hardwood or softwood. Another is by the leaves and seed production—in other words, the tree is deciduous or coniferous. Deciduous comes from the Latin ‘to fall’ and means the trees lose their leaves in the autumn and are bare during the winter. Usually we think of maples and oaks when we think of deciduous trees. Deciduous trees change colour in the autumn, turning red or yellow or orange.

A coniferous tree bears seeds in cones.

An evergreen keeps its leaves (needles) year round, and as such, it is the complete opposite of a deciduous tree. Pine, fir and spruce are evergreens. They are also conifers.

But not all conifers are evergreens. Some of them, like the Larch, are deciduous conifers.  Mother Nature has created what looks like an evergreen and has let it change colour.

The Larch typically grow in the cool temperate zones and high in the mountains. Every year, a huge number of hikers head to Larch Valley to see the trees change colour.

Have you ever been to Larch Valley? Do you like watching the leaves change colour. Do you colour your hair?

Larch Valley image from bigstockphoto.com # 127344314

Boom Lake

Boom Lake

Quadra Mountain and Bident Mountain at the end of the lake

Yesterday Rolf and I hiked the five kilometre (3.2 mile) trail to Boom Lake in Banff National Park. There’s an elevation gain of about 175 metres (575 feet) and it’s nice, gradual climb.

mushroomsWe’ve had a wet summer this year, so the trail was muddy in places, but nothing serious.

flowers along the wayThe rain has provided lots of moisture for the vegetation.

Boom MountainWe had lunch sitting beside the lake and looking up at Boom Mountain.

Suzanne and RolfHere are Suzanne and Rolf. They play minor characters in my next book THE THURSTON HEIRLOOM which will be released on November 24th.

clear cold waterBoom Lake has clear cold water and good fishing.

the "boom" for Boom Lake

“the boom”

Near its east end, the lake flows over an old moraine that barely touches the surface. The crescent-shaped moraine extends just beneath the water and catches the driftwood floating down the lake, thus creating what looks like a lumber boom. For this reason, the lake is called Boom Lake.

I love hiking, especially in the Rocky Mountains. I love the views and the quiet and the way the air smells. Hiking is one of the best ways I have found to relax, rejuvenate and reorganize my mind. Plus, it’s pretty good exercise.