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Copyright, Li Read, 2007, 2006
December 31, 2006.
"What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is a beginning.
The end is where we start from....
...We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time...."
(poet, T.S. Eliot: Four Quartets (Little Gidding)
It's convention to look back, at year's end, to good and to not so good events, and it's
also convention to dream into the future, now newly upon us.
Time, though, may be an illusion that we weave to entertain ourselves, during our finite
Interesting to ponder the thought, above, of T.S. Eliot, an American who moved to England,
and who became one of the English language's most famous modern poets.
Life may be a circular affair, and not a linear thought. How lovely, then, that
recognition moment that this knowing of the place for the first time brings to one.
Always an adventure, time is both our enemy and our ally.
Light candles, tonight, to ward off the darker days of the year, as our ancestors once
Light candles of hope, and fervour, for the unknown of the year about to unroll before us.
Light candles of love, the love of the universe.
One of my favourite stories is the journey of plain Bill Smith, from the East Coast of
Canada, who moved to Victoria in the 19th Century, renamed himself Amor de Cosmos (Lover
of the Universe), and started the Colonist newspaper. Amor de Cosmos...we could all be
that seeker and appreciator of the mystery of our world.
Bring the wonder of the entire world into the personal and smaller world, and notice all
of its pleasures, this coming year.
There's a New Year promise we could all make...let's be attentive. Let's notice the wonder
and the charm of the physical universe that surrounds us. Let's honour it and preserve it.
Let's be our own Islands Trust, in the larger sphere.
Be calm, be warm, be attentive.
Also, if you're home & watching T.V., at midnight, don't forget to tune into Seattle's
wonderful fireworks display, off the Space Needle, at midnight, Pacific Coast time -- it
rivals the "glass ball" in New York's Times Square.
Best wishes! Auld Lang Syne!
December 30, 2006.
Looking for somewhere to celebrate on New Year's Eve??
Calvin's Restaurant will be creating their special menu. Reservations are encouraged!
Artist's Bistro will also be hosting a special menu, to welcome in the New Year, and they
will also be offering dancing.
Oystercatcher, Shipstones, Moby's, and the Harbour House Hotel are other options. Don't
forget Piccolo's, and the Rock Salt Cafe (formerly Tree House South) in Fulford.
December 29, 2006.
"I want to make myself an empty room:
Quiet whitewashed walls with slant sunshine
And a fresh breeze through open windows."
(Deng Ming-Dao: "Tao...Daily Meditations").
December 28, 2006.
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups whipping cream
2 quarts milk
In saucepan, combine chocolate pieces, syrup and water; heat over low heat, stirring
constantly, until chocolate is melted. Stir in vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until cool.
In large mixer bowl beat cream on medium speed, gradually adding the cooled chocolate
syrup. Continue beating until mixture mounds when dropped from a spoon. Turn into bowl;
chill. Just before serving, heat milk to scalding. Pour milk into heated coffeepot or
carafe. Fill serving cups half full of chocolate whipped cream. Pour in hot milk; mix
gently. (16 to 18 servings)."
(Betty Crocker's Hostess Cookbook).
A once a year treat -- have a few friends in, & enjoy!
December 27, 2006.
I read a very interesting article, recently, in The Spectator, the English magazine, about
real estate market rhythms. It was in the Dec. 2nd. issue.
The writer was pointing out that it wasn't sellers, and it wasn't realtors, who caused
price increases in a market. His contention: it's buyers who drive prices up.
He pointed out that no one was buying property in London or other parts of England in the
early 90s, and so prices continued to fall, and sales were spotty. Then, when the buyer
decided to purchase, and it became a "necessity" for the buyer to buy property, prices
shot up -- each sale predicated that the next would be higher, and so the speculators also
A hot market, then, is driven by buyer perception, and cannot be created by a realtor, nor
can it be encouraged by a seller.
An interesting perspective!
On Salt Spring, there is the additional information that the Islands Trust, with its
control of growth/density, through severe zoning controls, will always keep a "lid" on
development, and thus the inventory of available properties will always be "thin".
This will be the case regardless of whether or not a market rhythm dictates buyer
interest, and it will keep price points higher than in more growth oriented areas, due to
the lack of available inventory.
Salt Spring, though, is also a secondary home marketplace, a destination venue, a
discretionary market, and it now has evolved into an almost totally "out of province"
This more global market will create patterns that are directed by real estate issues in
the home areas of these buyers, and so the Island may not follow regional rhythms, at all.
Although there might be some periods of intense activity, buyers basically arrive
"anytime", and so there is no particular pattern for purchases.
December 26, 2006.
"Life is a great big canvas; throw all the paint on it you can."
(actor, Danny Kaye)
December 25, 2006.
December 24, 2006.
The English Christmas tradition begins this evening, Christmas Eve, and follows through
twelve key days, including Christmas Day and Boxing Day, up to Twelfth Night, on January
6th. For those with an English background, the Christmas tree is put up and decorated,
this evening, and it's taken down again on Twelfth Night.
Scottish tradition has the tree up and decorated on the Sunday before Christmas, and all
of the "old" (Christmas decorations, greenery, etc.) has to be removed from the house
before New Year's Eve. Hogmanay, the New Year's Eve Celtic celebration, is an important
event, in a Scottish household, and the entire home has to be sparkling, the trappings of
the old year gone, and a new year welcomed. Especially lucky, if the "first foot" of the
New Year is a dark haired man, bearing a gift.
In Spain, on New Year's Eve, when the lights go out, for the count down to the New Year,
one has to eat as many grapes as possible, in a sheaf of 12 grapes at one's place setting
-- eight grapes?? Eight months of good luck!
The French celebrate Christmas Eve with their festive meal, and family gathering/gifting.
Wonderful special menus, including the "buche de noel" cake, are a part of one's memories.
It's enjoyable to blend as many traditions as possible, keeping to the point of good will
and a happy inclusion of one's fellow man. The season encourages sharing and a sense of
In the rush of it all, remember to take time, to "hear" the carols, and to be thankful for
good fortune to date, and look to happier moments in the freshness of the "New Year".
Light candles. Calm.
December 23, 2006.
"It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth
To touch their harps of gold;
'Peace on the earth, goodwill to men,
From heaven's all-gracious King!'
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.
Still through the cloven skies they come
With peaceful wings unfurled:
And still their heavenly music floats
O'er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever o'er its Babel sounds
The blessed angels sing.
But with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love-song which they bring;
O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing!
And ye, beneath life's crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing;
O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing!
For, lo! the days are hastening on,
By prophet-bards foretold,
When with the ever-circling years
Comes round the age of gold,
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendours fling,
And the whole world give back the song
Which now the angels sing."
(E.H. Sears, 1810-1876).
December 22, 2006.
Looking for a wonderful farm property? Here's a gem in the exceptional Fulford Valley
area, on Salt Spring Island. A year round creek winds gently through one portion of the
land, and you can walk your own forested trails, here, too. A vineyard is in your thought?
The soil and climate analysis for this area puts it on a par with the Loire Valley, in
France. Custom designed two bed/two bath home, plus double garage, plus guest studio, plus
barn, and 36 acres with all day/year round sun. A beautiful rural/pastoral choice awaits
you! Close to the newly created Burgoyne Bay park reserve, too. A gem! See Li for more
December 21, 2006.
3/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
Mix butter and sugar thoroughly. Measure floor by sifting. Work in flour with hands. Chill
dough. Heat oven to 350 degrees (mod.). Roll dough 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into fancy
shapes (small leaves, ovals, squares, etc.). Flute edges, if desired, by pinching between
fingers as for pie crust. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 20 to 25 min. (The tops do
not brown). Makes about 2 doz. 1 1/2 x 1 inch cookies.
(Betty Crocker's Cooky Book).
December 20, 2006.
"I am always doing things I can't do, that's how I get to do them."
(artist, Pablo Picasso)
December 19, 2006.
Tomorrow, a Carols for Christmastide is being presented at All Saints Anglican Church, in
Ganges Village. The program is an hour in length, and contains both familiar and
not-so-well-known carols dating back to the 13th Century. The event is free, and takes
place at 10:10 a.m., followed by festive refreshments available for a "toonie".
The Fiddlers Hatchery Christmas Concert is on Sunday -- an event put on by Carolyn Hatch
and her flock of fiddlers. The no- admission concert takes place at 3 p.m., at the Beaver
On Thursday, the 21st, at 7 p.m., Winter Solstice will be celebrated, at the Lion's Hall
on Bonnet Avenue (off Drake Road). Admission to the event is by donation.
Still some craft fairs out there, and special items in many of our local stores. Enjoy the
village and its response to the season -- light and colour, everywhere!
Calvin's Restaurant is presenting a special seasonal menu, from now through to the 30th.
Enjoy that Canadian Thanksgiving Traditional Turkey Dinner -- a terrific version of it is
on the menu, here! Enjoy!
December 18, 2006.
"When we recall the past, we usually find that it is the simplest
things -- not the great occasions -- that in retrospect give off the
greatest glory of happiness."
(comedian, Bob Hope)
December 17, 2006.
"Time is the substance I am made of. Time is a river which
sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which destroys
me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire.
The world, unfortunately, is real; I unfortunately am Borges."
(writer, Jorge Luis Borges)
December 16, 2006.
Some Vegetarian Holiday Dinner suggestions? Here's one:
*consomme with vegetable brunoise
*herbed mushroom risotto
*braised brussels sprouts and chestnuts
*glazed acorn squash with orange and ginger
*brandied pear bread pudding
Check out the recipes for the above menu choices in "Everyday Cooking with Dr. Dean
December 15, 2006.
"My belief and satisfaction is that, as long as a person breathes, they still have a
chance to exercise the talents they were born with. Just want to say that music has no
age. Most of your great composers -- musicians -- are elderly people, way up there in age,
they will live forever. There's no such thing as on the way out. As long as you are still
doing something interesting and good. You are in business as long as you are breathing.
(jazz musician, Louis Armstrong)
December 14, 2006.
"Holiday Mince Pie
1 whole wheat pie crust
4 medium apples, unpeeled, cored, and sliced
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup apple juice
1 orange scrubbed, juiced, and grated
juice from that orange
3/4 cup turbinado or brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
Preheat oven to 400 F. Put all ingredients in saucepan and simmer until apples begin to
soften, stirring now and again, about 10 - 15 minutes. Pour hot filling into unbaked pie
crust. Roll second crust flat, & cut into lattice strips ab out 1/2 inch wide, as long as
the diameter of the pie. Weave strips 1 1/2 inches apart to create top crust of pie. Bake
40 minutes. If crust starts to burn, cover lightly with aluminum foil."
(from Vegetarian Meals for people-on-the-go, by Vimala Rodgers).
December 13, 2006.
"It isn't where you came from, it's where you're going that counts."
(singer, Ella Fitzgerald)
December 12, 2006.
"coco-mo angel cake:
10 egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/3 cups pure maple syrup
3/4 cup and 2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder or carob powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/ teaspoon finely grated orange peel
1 recipe Creamy Mocha Frosting
Preheat oven to 325 F. In large bowl, with electric mixer, beat egg whites at moderate
speed until frothy. Add cream of tartar and beat whites until they hold soft peaks.
Gradually beat in maple syrup at high speed and beat whites until stiff.
Gently fold in flour, cocoa or carob powder, vanilla and orange peel. Spoon batter into
ungreased 10-inch nonstick fluted tube pan. Bake at 325 F. for 40 to 45 minutes, or until
toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and invert cake pan on
cooling rack until completely cool. To remove cake from pan, loosen edges with spatula.
Prepare Creamy Mocha Frosting.
When cake is completely cool, spread Creamy Mocha Frosting over top of cake.
creamy mocha frosting:
1 cup non-fat yoghurt cheese
1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons nonfat dry milk solids
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder or carob powder
2 tablespoons powdered coffee substitute
1 teaspoon vanilla
In medium bowl, with electric mixer, beat together yoghurt cheese, maple syrup, milk
solids, cocoa or carob powder, coffee substitute and vanilla extract until well blended.
note: to frost one 9-inch cake, reduce recipe by half, for a yield of three-quarter cup.
We use Pero as our coffee substitute."
(from "Baking Without Fat" by George Mateljan, Health Valley Foods).
December 11, 2006.
"You can't have everything, even in California."
(writer, Raymond Chandler)
December 10, 2006.
If you find yourself in Sidney, and have missed the 5 p.m. ferry to Salt Spring, and want
a great dinner while you wait for the 7 sailing, don't overlook The Latch. I used to
encourage people to try Dock 503, but it has closed, and The Latch, which used to be "the"
spot, has reopened. You won't be disappointed! Call first, for a reservation, "just to be
sure" (250-656-4015). Let them know you heard about them from Li -- thanks!
Looking for a terrific Gallery experience? If you're on Sidney's main street, do drop into
Main Street Gallery, open daily 10 to 6, and 11 to 5 on Sundays. You will be glad that you
did! It's at # 1, 2449 Beacon Avenue, Sidney.
Looking for coffee or a light lunch, while there? Try Lunn's or the Italian Bakery --
different, but both serve "made on the premises" delicious fare, one British style
"goodies" and the other European style treats. Enjoy!
Time for Tanner's? Sidney's best book store!
The great thing about a quick visit to Sidney, on the Saanich Peninsula, is that it's only
a brief drive from Swartz Bay's ferry terminal, & then back to Fulford Harbour, on special
Salt Spring! A great "day trip". Check it out!
December 9, 2006.
leaves scraping over
rain smeared street.
washed with sunset gold,
clouds drifting heavily,
full of rain and squall,
ragged edges ruffling the horizon.
light and dark,
sea a crawling grey,
gulls sorrowfully crying,
wheeling above its serpentine roll.
a rim of dark,
feathered across suddenly blue sky,
fingering through the thin
sliver of golden West.
on the surface only,
with winter's dream.
December 8, 2006.
Mayne Island in your future? Here's a great custom retirement home, with a super view of
Georgia Strait and Vancouver! Close to David Cove (launch a boat from here), and located
close to park with hiking/walking trails, in prime Edith Point Road locale. Sunny,
private, and pretty. Just move in and enjoy! See Li for the details!
December 7, 2006.
Cuban Black Bean Soup:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 celery stock, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1 pound dried black beans, soaked overnight
2 cups water or vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
optional toppings: diced red onion, sour cream, shredded Cheddar
*if you are using a stoneware crock, preheat the oven to 350 F
*heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a soup pot or stoneware crock.
Add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic and peppers and saute for
about 10 minutes until soft.
*drain and rinse the soaking black beans and add them to the pot
along with the water or stock, the bay leaf, and the remaining olive oil.
*bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer covered for about 2 hours.
If you are using a stoneware crock, after the beans come to a boil, cover
the pot and place in the preheated oven for 2 hours. The beans will be
softer and more flavourful the more slowly the soup is cooked. *Check that
the beans are tender, then remove about 1/3 of the soup and puree it in a
food processor. *return the puree to the pot, add the vinegar and
cilantro, and stir. *season to taste and serve topped with onions, sour
cream or Cheddar cheese.
(Three Bowl Cookbook -- David Scott & Tom Pappas).
December 6, 2006.
Last minute Christmas gift ideas? Wintercraft Show & Sale is on at Mahon Hall, from Dec. 8
to 17th, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily. This is the 31st year for this annual Salt Spring Craft
Fair, and pottery, clothing, basketry, painting, ornaments, woodwork, jewelry, weaving,
glass work, sculpture, holiday foods, candles, cards, soaps, lotions, stocking stuffers,
toys and more...enjoy the artistic creations of your fellow Islanders!
The Beaver Point Hall and Fulford Hall Christmas Craft shows are also on from Dec. 8 to
See you there!
"We make life real
By the thoughts we project."
(Deng Ming-Dao: "Tao...Daily Meditations")
December 5, 2006.
Today is an important Christmas festival in Holland. Sinter Klas visits, with his helper,
Black Peter, and rewards good children with sweets, and not so good ones with lumps of
coal. A special menu celebrates this happy evening. If you have Dutch friends, it's a
great time to enjoy a family evening, and to take part in their cultural heritage. Enjoy!
December 4, 2006.
"You may be capable of great things,
But life consists of small things."
(Deng Ming-Dao: "Tao...Daily Meditations")
December 3, 2006.
Looking for a Christmas Dinner locale? The Harbour House Hotel is taking reservations now
for a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings. If you're interested, you need to
book now, before they sell out (call Dave or Patrick at 250-537-4700, for your
Calvin's Restaurant will be hosting their turkey dinner special in the weeks leading up to
Christmas Eve, and holiday menu items will also be available at Artist's Bistro and at
If you haven't been into Calvin's for a bit, you're in for a true treat -- Jill Louise
Campbell's original paintings, featuring her voyage to Tibet, are on display until early
Enjoy the lights and the season's festivities!
December 2, 2006.
"Greens and Beans with Pasta and Garlic Chives:
serves 4 to 6
preparation time: 25 minutes
cooking time: 20 minutes
1 cup shelled young lima beans, fresh or frozen
9 ounces trimmed mixed large-leaf greens such as
Swiss chard (silverbeet), collard greens, and spinach
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 white onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried jalapeno pepper flakes
1/2 to 2/3 cup vegetable broth
salt and freshly ground pepper
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons snipped garlic chives
1 1/3 cups (10 1/2 ounces) farfalle (bowtie noodles)
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons finely chopped savory
parmesan shavings, to garnish
* plunge the lima beans into boiling water for 2 minutes. Rinse
under cold running water, then slip off skins.
* slice the leaves crosswise into ribbons.
* heat the oil in a large saute pan with a lid. Add the onion and fry
for 5 minutes. Add the pepper flakes and all but 1 teaspoon of the
garlic, and fry until the garlic is just colored. * stir in the greens and
the broth, and season. Cook and cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 10
minutes. Stir in the lemon zest and 2 tablespoons of the chives. *
meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain,
toss with the greens and season. * melt the butter and gently fry the
remaining herbs for 1 minute. Stir in the beans, season, and heat
through. Pour over the greens."
(Kind Cuisine -- from A Harvest of Healing Foods, recipes and
remedies for the mind, body, and soul, by Christine McFadden &
December 1, 2006.
Say hello to Bobbi, my "unlicenced assistant"! Jack Russell Terriers are "smart cookies",
and Bobbi is also a calm one (yes, it's true!). When you view property with me, she's
sometimes along for the ride -- I supply the cookies!
Don't forget that the Beaver Point Hall and Fulford Hall Christmas Craft Show has been
postponed from today and this weekend until next weekend, due to the aftermath of the
recent snowstorm. This great artist's fair is now on Friday, Dec. 8th to Sunday, Dec.
10th. See you there!
Might be a good idea, too, to phone and find out if other special items are still
happening, this weekend -- no plow means the side streets are still treacherous, for
driving, and lots of postponements. Take care out there!
Entries from Past Months
Contact Li Read at RE/MAX Salt Spring, 131 Lower Ganges
Road, Salt Spring Island, BC, V8K 2T2, Toll-Free 1-800-731-7131