More than a feeling-W.I.S.E. Project 2016

Sunsets, sunrise, high tide, full moons…they are beautiful moments  but like most good moments they are fleeting. Like the wind in your hair on hot summers day with the dial turned up and the open road ahead of you and that momentary perception of pure joy. It’s a feeling, a second, a minute if you are lucky. These are the moments that make up our lives but often we need to coach ourselves to breath in, look around and enjoy them before they are gone. When we practice gratitude we experience more of these moments that enrich our lives.

How often do wish you could capture the feeling of a place? Maybe it’s your lakeside cabin or your grandpa’s farmhouse. It’s more than that initial awe that strikes you when you glimpse it for the very first time; it’s the feeling of unceremonious joy and gratitude you get when you are there that lingers in your memory and beckons you back. I am an East Coast girl living in the big bad West. I am equally torn between my love of the soothing ocean and the larger than life mountains. Every wave in the ocean and every glacial mountain peak cradle a piece of my soul.

Our lives are busy and they go by so fast. I always welcome any opportunity to get lost in a spot away from everyday stresses where time is told by the rise of the sun and the fall of the moon instead of my cell phone alarm.

We had a friend visiting his family in B.C. during his summer sojourn from New Zealand. We knew his time was precious and how hard it is to make time for everyone in a few short weeks. We were planning a little family getaway to the Okanagan region hoping to meet up with our friend before he bounced back to his island nation.

Time was getting short and we had yet to make a plan. This wasn’t my first rodeo so I knew how difficult last minute bookings in the summer can be, especially in the mountains. I was hit in the face with a summer cold so armed with a steaming cup of Neo Citron and my laptop I set out to find a place to suit us that would be a reasonable drive for our friend from Revelstoke, have brilliant scenery and abundant outdoor space, be clean and bright with a generous amount of comfortable capacity and be remarkably “uncommon”.  On top of all of this I wanted it to be fairly priced.

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I dislike hotels and when I go away I appreciate staying in places that have a great story.  I was coming up empty and not feeling very confident in getting what I had envisioned when I happened upon an ad for a solar powered eco retreat in the wilds of Larch Hills which was a twenty five minute scenic drive from Salmon Arm in the North Okanagan region of beautiful British Columbia. We were spending a couple of days in Mara Lake close by so the location was absolutely perfect.

The retreat is called Tin Poppy. It is a 1953, 32’ Travel Trailer built into a sizable, avant-garde abode. The 200 sq. ft. trailer is encased in a modern screened-in post and beam structure bringing the space up to 1200 square feet in total. The structure boasts a myriad of natural light, comfort, conveniences and charm.

The owner Maggie was in France when I contacted her but was very quick to respond and accommodate our request. I had been looking forward to meeting the people that had not only imagined such a space but had brought it to fruition. Unfortunately the day before our booking Maggie contacted me to say that their plane had been delayed and they were stuck in the U.K. but she had a friend make sure the space was ready for our arrival. It was spotlessly clean, fresh poppies were in a vase in the living space and luxurious bath robes and towels were laid out for us to take advantage of the outdoor shower. It was a hot day in the Okanagan so we chose to shower and change before our company arrived.

Though private and contemporary with hot water on demand, the outdoor shower is alluringly close to nature. The bathroom and toilet are conveniently located inside off of a spacious foyer between the living space and the stairs to the look-off. There is a door leading to the the bbq deck on one side, the opposite side takes you to the large entryway which leads to the outdoor shower and another separate sun deck. The other side of the retreat is embraced by wild flowers and Hollyhocks, it is reminiscent of an English country garden looking beautifully unplanned as if Mother Nature just happened to wave her wand on that very spot and mesmerized it. There is a huge rock fire pit overlooking the hills that is beautiful by the light of the North Okanagan moon. Tin Poppy also has a 6 person wood-fired Finnish style sauna to the left of the fire pit for some added luxury.

The kitchen is cozy and it is well equipped to cook full meals. The hosts have literally thought of everything.

We had a visit from a large cat that we found out later was named Leo and shortly after our arrival we had a visit from three dogs of varying sizes and breeds. My family loves animals so we were so happy for the company. The one dog had only three legs but a mammoth personality and he loved the interaction and didn’t want to leave us. He was quiet and loving and being around him made me feel peaceful and I wish I had brought our dogs. I spoke with Maggie and found out that they were their dogs and that a neighbor was watching them while they were away. The dog that didn’t want to leave our side was Sammi. As I  mentioned we are animal lovers and were happy to allow Sammi and Leo to keep us company and spend the night. I didn’t have dog food but Sammi seemed to approve of steak for dinner. If you have allergies or do not care for pets your experience would be different and Maggie would not allow the animals to come around but we felt comforted by their presence.

Our daughter had been out of touch with her friends for a few days so she took advantage of the wifi while Kirk caught up with our friend over music and cold drinks and I whipped up a big dinner.

We enjoyed wine and great conversation over a late dinner and watched as the moon slowly fell below the tree line and the temperature fell with it. The hot sun that had streamed in through the screens was replaced by a cool breeze. The guys built a fire in the pit and we spent some time under the mountain moon in a star filled sky with a fire crackling in the background. We felt miles away from the ordinary and I consciously reminded myself to breath it all in.

Our buddy chose to sleep in the lookoff under the star filled sky and our daughter chose the cozy second bedroom in the trailer. Long after they drifted off to sleep my husband and I made snacks in the kitchen and settled in the cozy trailer nook and turned the heat up. We streamed some very old music and opened another bottle of wine, curled up together and wondered aloud how many people had gotten to enjoy this space since 1953. We felt like we were among some great company. Tin Poppy has some great old bones. We sipped and sang until the wee hours of the morning feeling gracious and fulfilled before retiring to the cheerful queen room.

I woke early but the sun rose before me. I made coffee in the French press and started breakfast in the cast iron frying pan while everyone else slept. The light of day at Tin Poppy is as equally impressive as the dark of night. I was as enamored by the expansive light filled Poppy as I was by a crackling fire under the Okanagan moon.

We ate a hearty breakfast before saying goodbye to our friend, a short but sweet visit before he journeyed back to his home on the South Western Pacific Ocean. Though miles and oceans of time may separate us daily we truly felt that we all discovered a magical place together and we know that our friendship coupled with Tin Poppy’s magnetic charm will draw us together there again.

Tin Poppy is perfectly suited to family holidays, a getaway with friends, mountain and or/beach vacations, winery tours, romantic holidays, hiking and biking, ski vacations in the winter…it is multi functional. If you are bored of ordinary, Tin Poppy will not fail to charm you. Thank you to Maggie for providing me with some of the photos, some of them are from our early July stay.

If you are planning a trip to beautiful British Columbia I would definitely consider Tin Poppy. Below I have provided some links for you.

Tin Poppy on Facebook

Tin Poppy Website

Tin Poppy on AirBnB

July’s W.I.S.E. principles are welcome, innocent, special and enjoy. Tin Poppy has encompassed all of those things for me in a short but memorable visit!

I hope you are enjoying a fabulous summer and welcoming time with family and friends, enjoying special moments and the innocence of new beginnings.

I am traveling to Nova Scotia this weekend to properly welcome my new granddaughter and enjoy my own family and indulge in special times and create new and lasting memories. Cheers to you as July winds down.

Chat soon,

Michelle xo

Take on me-W.I.S.E. Project 2016

Photo credit: Louie Schwartzberg
Photo credit: Louie Schwartzberg

Beauty and seduction are nature’s tools for survival because we protect what we love. ~ Louie Schwartzberg

You may have noticed that a lot of my blog titles are also the titles of classic songs. Yes this is on purpose. I love music and usually the title is something that just pops in my head very quickly. Take on me from the Norwegian band Aha is out of the 1985 vault. That is how I feel today, telling the universe to Take me on, because I am happy and nothing that happens today is going to change that.

Often when I write to you I have these A-ha moments and yesterday I said that I was once told that you will be what you think of most of the time and I always wanted to be happy. In seeking out those opportunities to create happiness every moment of every day it changes your entire focus. It doesn’t mean that I am never sad or angry but it means I know what happiness feels like and though I experience sadness  like everyone else I no longer dwell on it. In the dictionary dwelling is described as a place of residence. Do not dwell in a place of sadness and anger. These are places you visit quickly and leave.

Once again this  months W.I.S.E. Principles are WOW, incredible, stimulate and enthusiasm.

I found just the thing today that was expressive and awe-inspiring, it encouraged further interest and activity and I intensely and eagerly enjoyed. Not bad for day two of June.

Nature’s beauty is a gift that cultivates appreciation and gratitude.

~Louie Schwartzberg

I want to share it with you and I am asking you to take ten thoughtful minutes and watch this. It will stimulate your brain, bring beauty to your eyes and calm over your entire being. If it doesn’t you are cold and dead inside and I cannot help you. Not that I can claim to help you anyway, I am not a doctor. As a regular person giving advice to another regular person here is my prescription for joy today. You’re welcome!!

Fire in the Sky

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My Grampy Miller used to say
Pink sky at night ‘sailors delight’
Pink sky in the morning ‘sailors heed warning’

It’s a crisp morning in the Capital city currently sitting at -11. The good news is that we are expecting sunshine and +4 and the morning sky looks incredible!

My youngest daughter and I just burst out into song singing Trooper “We’re here for a good time! ”

Sending them to school with a belly full of bacon and eggs and a smile.

My coffee is ready…it’s a good morning! !

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Carefree-Weekly photo Challenge

I have a lot of shots that could fit into this category but I think this one signifies total abandonment of   inhibitions which to me is Carefree. This is on a summer trip to remote British Columbia, far away from city life. The quietly encouraging sunshine watches over her and the only sound my daughter is hearing is the beat of her own heart-Carefree

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Summer memories make everything feel magical to me — carefree and untroubled.

Even on the trips where everything went wrong, I look back and smile at the narrow escapes, or the long walks on a beach while I sorted out and righted the world.

Whether a good memory was made in years past, yesterday, or only moments ago, I love letting the nostalgia wrap me up — like a borrowed sweater on a cold summer night. Even more, I love making new memories: a carefree summer at the lake, a stroll through the park, dancing in the rain… then all I need to do is remember, and the same carefree feeling washes over me.

In a new post specifically for this challenge, share a photo that means CAREFREE to you!

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/16/photo-challenge-carefree/

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Weekly Photo Challenge’-One Shot, two ways

One Shot, Two Ways. This week, photographer Jeff talked about his process of finding the best shot. Before taking a picture, he studies his scene — looking at a shot horizontally (as a landscape) and vertically (as a portrait). With this honed, critical eye, he decides what orientation works best for his photograph.For this challenge, capture two images — a horizontal and a vertical version — of the same scene or subject. There are no concrete “rules” here, but a) it should be evident that both shots are of the same place/location or person/thing, and b) your photographs should ideally have been taken during the same shoot — where’s the challenge if you’re just plucking out pictures of a particular location or person from your archives?

I chose my garden as the subject, in particul a whimsical pink poppy. Flowers are so delicate and beautiful and you can capture something totally different when viewing from different angles. I took a portrait shot and a landscape looking from above.

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http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/one-shot-two-ways/#more-32811

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Let it Rain

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I am sitting in my quiet living room, the soft tap tap of rain on the rooftop the only accompaniment to my wandering thoughts.

I am trying to pinpoint why I love the rain. Nobody appreciates a cloudless blue sky with the sun warm on my face any more then I do but the truth is I love the rain too. It’s a little cool in here with the windows open but I just grabbed my favorite soft fleece blanket and curled up on the coach.  There is plenty I should be doing and could be doing but I have chosen to take a break and enjoy the soft sounds of mother nature bathing the earth.

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I even like thunder and lightning.  When I was kid we used to have to sit in the hallway during storms as my mother was terrified of thunder and lightning,  as was her mother. I don’t know how that despite their fears I developed such a facination for booming thunder or electric bolts lighting up the sky but I did.

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Nature can be a thing of immeasurable beauty or at times what we think to be cruel and punishing but it should always be respected.

“Nature is not cruel, only pitilessly indifferent. This is one of the hardest lessons for humans to learn. We cannot admit that things might be neither good nor evil, neither cruel nor kind, but simply callous – indifferent to all suffering, lacking all purpose.”

Richard Dawkins ~ River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life

“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls” Mother Teresa

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So no matter what you believe in Nature can teach us all something about life because although nature may not be in a hurry everything gets accomplished. For those of you hurrying through your life today please take an extra minute  to smell the roses, smile at a stranger, hold a door, lend a hand, share a laugh or simply take a moment to appreciate the quiet beauty around you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmVn6b7DdpA&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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Let’s sit and talk about shit!

I don’t see my neighbors very often or know most of them but the neighbors to the left of me I have a friendly relationship with. They have been in Edmonton for years but their homeland is Turkey and they have maintained their very thick accents. They still own property there and visit frequently so last summer when they were away I was asked to pick up their mail. They own a business and daily there were checks in the mailbox. Summer is prime time for break-ins and a full mailbox is a sure sign that your house is sitting empty. I took it upon myself  to also take care of their front yard because I thought if it was neglected it would be another sign that the occupants were away.  I mowed, watered and cut myself fresh blooms of peonies and poppies daily. It was a win win for everyone.

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This year the neighbor popped over when I was planting a rose path along the side of my house. We shared niceties and it became clear that she was interested in talking gardening. Two minutes into the conversation I was lost. The thick turkish accent made it difficult to follow along but somehow we ended up in her yard and I remarked how well her peonies and poppies were doing. I felt I had taken care of them the previous summer but they appeared healthier then ever and double in size. I was a little in awe and the neighbor was excited to share with me her secret but was having a hard time finding the words.

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She struggled the way a child would and looked to me for help. I was no help at all. It was like a riddle I couldn’t solve. The moment had the potential to quickly turn awkward because I could not follow along with the promps she was giving me except that it started with an M and my neighbor was getting slightly frustrated that she couldn’t properly convey the message she was attempting. The language barrier was quickly erecting a wall between us. All of the sudden she had that aha moment. She squatted with her backside facing her flowers like she was a dog doing her business. She smiled at me and said excitably “SHIT POOPY, SHIT POOPY” and I got it. She manured her garden. I had won charades with the neighbor!

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I want to manure my perennials and have big, beautiful blooms next year. My thought is to cut everything back in the fall, cover with a manure (or compost mixture) work into the top layer of the soil and cover with burlap. Is this the correct way to do it? I would love to ask the neighbors for advice but I am not very confident that I will get the directions correct.

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Gardeners your advice would be appreciated.

 

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