October Family Photo Album

It’s been a whirlwind month, as October usually is… But we find ourselves having more time for family and friends. Thank goodness, because I’ve felt like a social recluse for the last few months.
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Jason’s parents joined us for a week from Saskatchewan, I won tickets and took my friend M to a wine and appie tasting, Jason and I went back to my old Rotary Club to speak about natural pet health, our community welcomed home a new little boy from Ethiopia, the girls had a sleepover with their pseudo-cousin N, and Sugar and Spice and I have had many hours on the back deck reading Harry Potter as the leaves fall off the trees.

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The Road Not Taken

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Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

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Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

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And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

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I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

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The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Natural Horsegirlship at the Dude Ranch

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Every year Jason and I give our girls a choice: they can have a birthday party, or get a birthday present. This year, for the first time, they decided to forgo the party for their special present request. They wanted to spend the night at a ranch, and go riding.

Luckily, the girls and I were able to ride the tails, so to speak, of my friend P’s quarterly getaways with her daughter. P takes her daughter to this lovely dude ranch in the Thompson region, where they have riding lessons, cute small cabins, and amazing vistas.

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So the girls and I spent a wonderful relaxed weekend with Pam, her daughter, and her two dogs. The girls went riding, first in the arena, and then out on a little Trailride. It was fun to see the girls practice their growing horse – girl – ship skills… The riding lessons over the years has paid off.

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I couldn’t believe that Spice (shown here) and Sugar Took their horses through obstacles and up onto ramps.

Wherever we go for a few days, I encourage the girls to journal about it. Usually there are pictures, and sometimes even poetry. I thought you might enjoy their impressions of a quiet hour with a horse in the field.

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When I asked them for their weekend highlights, they actually said that hiking in the hills looking for bear poo was the best part. There was fresh their plop everywhere, and the little scientists love investigating what animals have eaten. Seriously.

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Happy eighth birthday girls!

A huge thanks to P for letting us share their cabin. I have to say though, that I am gunning for for the birthday party next year… I do love parties!

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Sugar and Spice’s Playlist

Wonder what’s hot on my eight year old’s hitlist?

Every night after dinner, the girls have a little dance party, to burn off the surge of energy they get form eating supper. (I’m serious. I don’t think they would get to bed without it.)

Tonight they got to request their top three favourite radio hits, and here’s what they chose to dance to:

I have to say that Taylor Swift’s new song is SUPER catchy, and the video is 97% kid friendly.

OK, so there is some jiggling in this one, but the message of loving your body no matter what jiggles is a great message for my growing girls. (I ignore the bits about what boys like and emphasize the “every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top!”)

Our favourite to dance to, for sure, is this. Jason and I kill ourselves laughing as the girls attempt the Roger Rabbit we were around for the original 80s.

Wine Wednesdays: 2011 Budget Bordeaux Worth Buying

Every year in September, Jason and I pick up our copy of the Bordeaux release booklet. We tag the pages and circle ones that we are interested in… The BC liquor store system allows us to get at excess to some decent variety of some of the best wines in the world. You may have even better selections where you live!

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Before I go any further, let me explain why Bordeaux is so special. Critics would say that there are a lot of mediocre winds and high prices. But what they may not tell you is that the most earth shattering, are inspiring were winds in the world come from this amazing place.

On our honeymoon, Jason and I had a chance to visit many first, second and third growth wineries. We will never be able to afford these wines… But let me tell you, there is a reason that Château d’Yquem is the top winery in the world. Many of the first growth and second growth produce winds of infinite character and incredible finish. I credit those tastings as the foundation of developing my own wine palette. I think it forever changed my perception of what truly is “great wine. ”

Back to the October release. Some years, we afford ourselves a few investment bottles. Some years, we can’t afford anything. Unfortunately, last year was one of those years, and it was one of the best Bordeaux vintages on record. Domage!

This year, we are particularly not in the position to buy wine. But that doesn’t stop us coming through the release catalog and picking our favorites.

As a public service to all of those in British Columbia, let me highlight my favourite picks from your local liquor stores. Of course, you may be less price driven and want to invest in some more expensive bottles to stowaway. But I love finding value in Bordeaux.

The quotes are from the BC Liquor store website.

First is the budget version of d’Yquem. Chateau Doisy-Vedrines.

95 pts, Wine Spectator $60
Pure, with piercing persimmon, pineapple, white peach and quince flavors. Gorgeous floral notes of honeysuckle and orange blossom form the backdrop, while a heather accent caresses the finish. Overwhelmingly pure in the end, with a finish that sails on and on. Best from 2016 through 2035.

This beautiful little lot of land is one of the ones that we drove through when we were in Sauternes. There is a reason there is a bottle limit… Anyway you slice it, this is spectacular value for wine. If you don’t no when we would drink sweet dessert wine, don’t worry about the occasion. This will last forever, and you can easily have it with a piece of blue cheese, some pate, or just savoring on it’s own in an evening.

Next is Clos Floridene, from Graves.

90 pts, Wine Spectator $35
Very solid, with an energetic tarry edge around a core of steeped plum, blood orange and raspberry fruit. Bright floral and iron hints fill the finish, showing sleek acidity. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Best from 2015 through 2019.

Graves is a lesser known region of Bordeaux, but it includes some of the most value-laden budget wines from the region. Just like Sauternes, it is west of the Graonne River, and was named for the gravelly soils the vines grow in. I personally love the overgrown, medieval look of the farms and old castles in this area. Wines from this area typically are Cabernet based, and age well.

Across two rivers and north of the Dordogne River, you will find Chateau Fonteil, from Fronsac

89 pts, Wine Advocate $39
From the husband and wife oenologist team of Michel and Dany Rolland, this blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon exhibits dark black raspberry and graphite notes intermixed with hints of licorice and blueberries, medium to full-bodied flavors, excellent depth and texture, sweet tannin and adequate acidity. As always, Fontenil is one of the stars of Fronsac in 2011 with the winemaking skills of its owners well-presented. This beautifully crafted, high-class effort needs another year or so to resolve its tannins, and it can be drunk over the next 10+ years.

I haven’t been to Fronsac, because it was just emerging as a wine region ten years ago, when we were there on our honeymoon. Quite a few of the big wine houses are investing in this region, which is producing better and better wine. I love right bank wines, which are more feminine (it’s all the merlot and cab franc) and this bottle promises a lovely glass.

I hope these few suggestions temp you to check out Bordeaux, maybe for the first time!

Santé!