Monday, January 22, 2007


Saturday on Denman Island was glorious! It's been awhile since we had a full day of sunshine. We took the opportunity to spend some time on the 5.1 acre lot (which we now have an accepted offer on). The place has a good feel to it... it faces south-west towards Baines sound which will will take in some spectacular sunsets. I took this pan shot to get a good idea of what the view will be like. The pan-picture shows that the land is dished; it's really quite flat with a gradual slope to the bluff line. All the trees in the picture are on the property as it extends well below the bluff, (about 2 acres). The clearing is currently about an acre in size; the picture of Kari standing where the front door would be, is taken from the edge of the bluff. We still have a couple of hurdles to jump before we can take possession.... first we have to sell something and secondly we need to be convinced of a good clean water supply. If all goes well, I'll be building a house of some sort, sometime this year. At first, it seemed overwhelming, but I think it's the only opportunity like this that I'll ever get. It should keep me busy for a year and all the labour that I provide will be tax free. We're hopeful that we can keep the bank out of it, so there will be little pressure on completions etc. There will be lots more on this subject in future posts. (picture to the right is the view that we'll have once clearing is complete.)

Here's a few more pictures shot during that sunny, frosty Saturday morning. I've also vowed to take my chainsaw while driving the island, as on numerous occasions I've been forced to back-track because of trees across the road.

I haven't heard from Curt this week; the last I heard, he had a surfboard and was going to be camping on the beach. As it is a grey, rainy Monday, a NZ beach sounds like a good place to be.


During the week on a big trip to Courtenay, we picked up a couple of the Value wine award winners mentioned in the last post's Wine Corner. First we opened the "Tormaresca Paiara Negroamaro". It was quite funky and had a gasoline taste to it.... Kari wouldn't try it as she said it smelled like sweat socks. After a glass and a half, it wasn't getting any better and I decided it was corked.... Although the cork rate for synthetic corked bottles is quite low, (I know this because I've researched it), I'm almost 50% sure that the bottle was corked. We now have to decide whether to invest another $11 to give it fair chance or to write it off as "plonk". Next I opened the "Castillo de Monséran Garnacha" and it was yummy. A nice fruit forward, summery red, light in texture and colour and similar to a Pinot Noir. This one I recommend for summer sipping around the BBQ; Look for it in the "Spain" section of your LBC.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Flip This House

Tired of the rat-race? City life getting you down? Would you like a nice ocean view home in a rural setting....?? have I got 2 places for you HERE or HERE !!

As the crow flies the preferred destination of choice (5 acres) is exactly one kilometer from the house.... by car about 6K. The rectangle on the map is the lot... the dot is the our current residence. The view from the lot is... not too shabby, it just needs a little logging, I mean selective clearing.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Small people whining

Another week of strange weather eh? Wind, & sun for the most part here, with a dusting of snow.... we dodged the snow storm that hit the mainland and on either side of us here on Denman... lots of snow in Campbell River and Nanaimo... , but we had our share of wind gusts, and of course, power outages.... which convinced me on Tuesday to head into Nanaimo to Costco to buy a generator, (I had seen them there on Saturday, but resisted the temptation)....of course they had just sold the last one. Blast! Clay can you check your Costco please, (it could be "carry-on" the next time you come over).
Regardless of the weather here, Gumboots seem to be the official footwear for three out of four seasons. Trying to break from tradition, Kari & I bought each other Merrell waterproof hikers for Christmas.... Friday, Kari was in Vancouver, so it was the perfect day for me to pack up the K9 and head to the beach for a hike. It was an awesome day, the beach was deserted and the hikers performed admirably.

Curt Update: Heard from CJ... he's out on a foray and is staying here. (tenting it)
Says this place reminds him of Long Beach.

On the home front, small projects like puttering and painting around the house are keeping me busy for now, but I may go a little squirrelly when these projects run out. Kari's job is quite busy right now and on top of that, she has been given several more accounts. This may put some stress on the gruelling 3-day work week; at least at busy times of the year.

This Summer, we received a Welcome Wagon Package that included a coupon for a free "premise fee" at a local wine making place. Before Christmas, we stopped into "Grape Expectations", and found out the coupon is worth $48 bucks... and we had wanted to make some nice red wine for next Christmas. We were told about a high-end limited release Cab coming out in January, so we signed up and will be starting that next week. As the Chilean Merlot we last made, has fallen the victim of early, multiple, disappointing tastings it will stay on the shelf until at least April. The Chardonnay we made last spring, fell to the same early drinking fate; Meanwhile, we simply had to find something to fill the gap and remedy our poor discipline. Admittedly, I'm cheap and I know nothing about wine, so I set out to change that. The following segment is the result of the many minutes it takes to become a wine expert.... (without changing the "cheap" part).

Dave's Wine Corner.
Vancouver Magazine's International Wine Awards have just been released in print. They list the best wines in several categories. Although they didn't place first, the wines listed below ranked right up there with MUCH more expensive wines. Blind tasting does that, doesn't it?
Then the judges were asked: “What’s the best value for money?—no matter what the grape, region or price". Here was the answer....
Finca Los Primos Malbec, $9.95; Castillo de Monséran Garnacha, $9.99; Cono Sur Viognier, $10.99; Tormaresca Paiara Negroamaro, $10.99; de Bortoli Petite Sirah, $11.99; Vina Chilcaya Chardonnay $11.99.

(Cono Viognier is currently on sale @ $9.99 - LCB) The judges further comment on this wine: "World’s best value Viognier?"
Meanwhile, Gismondi (wine expert, Vancouver Sun) says of Cono Viognier: Floral, lime, mineral, mango, honey aromas. Ripe, round, rich but elegant with moderate acidity. Spicy, ginger, orange peel, honey and mineral flavours with a touch of citrus rind bitterness. Fine solid, fresh style for white meats and seafood. Great value. It shows up again at the Value Wine Awards 2006.
Meanwhile, I say: I don't even know what a Sommelier is; (but we should pull our troops outa there). I think there may be a run on this stuff, so we stocked up. Yup, it has a screw-cap, but I can live with that! While buying it, I noticed a California wine retailing @ $36 that had a screw-cap; what's the world coming to? Hung up on the screw-cap dilemma like me? This article is assisting me with the mental anguish of being cork challenged. Once you've read it, you'll be ditching all your investments in corkscrew ventures. Maybe soon we'll all be able to store our wine upright..... (I digress). I'm going to source out the rest of these proclaimed "best buys" in the near future... anyone want to split a case?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

and all that jazz...

Happy New Year...and all that jazz.
Thanks for the calls to "remind" me that I have neglected to blog for 2 weeks....I feel so loved! Yes, I know the last time I blogged James Brown was still feeling good.

Through the grapevine I heard that not everyone got the Christmas presents they asked for.... So I'd like to take up a collection to fill those stocking voids...Marcus didn't get his confidence; Brittany had asked for panties; Stephen needed that history book that explained that the last three Prime Ministers had already raised the gay marriage thing. (Maybe we can all chip in a get him a new environmental policy while we're at it); George got his wake-up call, but needs a new pair of binoculars to see the future. BC Place asked for band-aids, and Denman needed that clapper, damn it!

Kicked off the season with a whirlwind trip to the big city on the 23rd. Rounded up as many kids as possible (4 fer 6 ain't bad) for lunch and a well intended gift exchange. (see rant, last blog, not revisiting that). It was very enjoyable and everyone was in good spirits... every indication is that next year will be a Denman Island Christmas.
The first "kidless" Christmas was enthusiastically kicked off by sleeping in and taking a long walk around noon. Then off to the Kingfisher for the famous "sea food buffet" here to see it. Topped off with a bottle of NK'Mip Pinot Blanc, it was a very nice meal.... Would I hurry back? No, I don't think so, not because the food was not wonderful... it's just the buffet thing... you kinda feel rushed; like you might miss something... I think I prefer a more relaxed eating format. (the food was great though!) Might have to try the wine-pairing dinner. Sorry for the large format on the menu to the right... but you have to check out the dessert selection! Kari rightly noted that my dessert plate was in fact, larger than my dinner plate.... ya, so...
Kari & I headed down to Victoria on the 30th and had a great Chinese dinner (Ho-Tong not Ho-Ting) with Krista and her guy Dave, along with Sue & Bill and Mom. Consensus was Dave passed all the tests.

New Years' Eve was @ Dunsmuir Lodge where the "small people" had a great meal, great wine, great conversation about the meal and the wine (and nobody had to drive home....) They also had king-sized beds. Some of us made it until midnight and were safely tucked into said beds by 12:10. I should have a pic of this (not the bed, but the dinner) however the jpg has not arrived by email yet.
Great people talk about ideas, average people talk about things, and small people talk about wine.
Fran Lebowitz US writer and humorist (1950 - )
Yes, we've been rather small lately.... speaking of which... check out this link to find some of the best import wines under $15, (my budget). If you can get by some screw-caps and synthetic cork, there's some winners here.
We returned via Saltspring Island, (the Malahat by-pass) and had nice lunch at a waterfront pub with other hangover-ites. Checked out a rammed-earth house, which was pretty cool and the first one we've seen. Supposedly they can last several hundred (maybe a thousand years) and are not much more to build, (than stick or straw) not to mention environmentally freindly and highly energy efficient.

Then back home to a rotation of wind, rain and sun (or any combination thereof). The animals were happy to see us and all had been on best bevavior for Fireweed and Mike. I'm glad to be back to our little island and looking foreward to having visitors over the the long upcoming holiday drought. Sign up soon.