Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Allan Matthews School ~ Class of '57 ~ Reunion

Most of us have attended a school reunion at some point in our lives but some reunions are more special than others. It has been 53 years since we sat in our classroom at Allan Matthews School and that is pretty hard to believe when most classmates don’t even feel that old, but even more special was that our teacher, Mr. Len Fowles joined us.

Kay, Kerri, Don, Margaret, Maureen, Betty, Thea, Mr. Fowles, Alanna, Jo-Anne, Adrian, David, Lynne, Linda; (center) David, Kathy; (front) Sheila, Sue, Trudy

The class of ‘57/58 gathered to have lunch and celebrate the fact that we are able to ! It has been 53 years since we were in class in Allan Matthews School and there were 20 of us here to trade stories and catch up after all that time. Many had moved away but then moved back, which says a lot about our hometown of Kamloops.

Trudy Boultbee, Maureen Morrison, Mr. Fowles, Thea Boultbee
Many of us remain friends to this day and although some had lived away at times, we’ve maintained those friendships and have all returned to our hometown of Kamloops.

Linda Ashbee
Some brought pictures to share.  That brought back some memories of childhood friends.  Many of them had moved away many years ago, some have passed on but many of us are still living in Kamloops. 

David and Kathy Andrew
David no longer lives in Kamloops but travelled here with his wife to join us for this reunion.

Alanna Westerman
We’ve had several reunions over the years, some are grander than others and have always been based on our years at Kamloops High School.  Our 1965 class reunion is held yearly at a BBQ, thanks to Alanna, who organizes and hosts this event.

Len & Judy Fowles
Mr. Len Fowles was the Vice-Principal of Allan Matthews School in 1957and taught us in a Grade 5/6 split class.  He remembers us all and even our siblings, amazing how teachers just don’t forget !  He went on to become Principal in that school not long after.

David Marshall
David, who now lives in Kelowna, brought along his report cards and other memorabilia to share. He seemed to think that by giving Mrs. Fowles a chocolate bar, he could have her persuade his teacher to give him better marks on that report card! That didn’t work but gave us a laugh and he gets marks for trying.
Betty Johnson and Margaret Strom
1957 – Do we remember when?  Elvis recorded White Christmas Sept. 6, Paul Anka hit #1 with his song Diana on Sept. 9th and Perry Mason premiered on television Sept. 21.  These classics can still be found.

Lynne Beblow and Kay Delgarno
1957 – Buddy Holly’s hit “That’ll be the Day” was #1 Sept. 23, American Bandstand premiered on television Oct. 7.  We weren't even getting American TV here in those days.  Your rabbit ears had to be sitting right in order to see that black and white screen.

Susan Patterson, Betty Johnson, Kerri Colquhoun
You might recognize some of these classmates if you click here to see the picture of our Grade 6 class that was posted on another blog page.  Have fun!  Remember that picture was taken 53 years ago.

Jo-Anne Barrett and Adrian Taylor
1957 – Simon and Garfunkel performed as Tom and Jerry Nov. 22, Sam Cook had #1 hit with ‘You Send Me’ on Dec. 2 and Elvis was drafted Dec. 20.  We all have different memories of those days and many of them related to the music we heard.

Maureen Morrison and Don Youwe
This reunion stands alone due to the fact it is our classmates and our teacher, Mr. Fowles from elementary school.  We have a lot to be thankful for, that after all these years we are able to gather, celebrate and remember the days when we were young and things were simple.  Another reason why we love Kamloops, there is just no place like home.

Mr. Len Fowles passed away July 13, 2013.  RIP Mr. Fowles

Friday, October 15, 2010

Xeriscape ~ Desert ~ Cactus ~ Gardening

Blog Action Day 2010 Water

British Columbia has one of the driest and hottest spots in Canada. The dry interior zone is not large, but it is very interesting - snaking up all the way from the Mojave Desert in California, it makes its way through Oregon and Washington and into the Okanagan and Thompson River Valleys in the southern part of British Columbia.
Only a small part of this area, near Osoyoos, is true desert. But the rest of it is still very dry, with rainfall as low as just a few inches per year, and summer temperatures that can be more than 40 degrees Celsius! We even have tumbleweeds, cacti, and rattlesnakes - right here in Kamloops, BC.

Xeriscape Gardens, McArthur Park, Kamloops, BC, Canada
Xeriscaping (pronounce the ‘x’ as a ‘z’) refers to landscaping and gardening in ways to have water efficient gardening.  This does not mean we have only cactus and drought tolerant plants but choosing plants appropriate to the site.  A great example is at McArthur Park on the Northshore of Kamloops, BC.

McArthur Island, Kamloops, BC, Canada
Kamloops as part of the Thompson River Valley, is semi-arid and therefore has some challenges to gardening.  We’ve always enjoyed the luxury of having water for our grass and gardens but there are other ways to have beautiful gardens and landscaping.

Late summer garden at McArthur Park, Kamloops, BC
This style of gardening will create healthier gardens when proper watering and mulching is used.  Xeriscaping uses less water and requires less weeding, fertilizing, pruning, mowing and pesticides.

Indigenous plants for the area
Perennial xeriscape gardens can include sedum, coneflowers, dryland grass and most plants with grey or fuzzy leaves are usually drought tolerant.   If you wish more information, clik here to learn the principles of xeriscape gardening.

A cactus feature in a city garden
Combining several varieties that require so little water, including ‘hens and chicks’ and ‘Mother-in-law’s Tongue’ is demonstrated with this concrete birdbath.  A great suggestion for a garden feature.

A lonely cactus grows on a hillside in Kamloops, BC
Hens and chicks are a popular succulent evergreen perennial and can grow and multiply well in this area, with very little water.  I saw this one sitting pretty on a hillside all alone but thriving where nothing else was.

A large prickly pear cactus
Pickly pear cactus, history tells us, had many uses with the First Nations, including telling them when it was time to pick other plants, e.g. when the cactus blooms, it is time to pick Saskatoon berries.  They would use the spines to pierce ears, roast stems and eat them as greens plus it makes great pickly pear jelly.  Recipes can easily be found on the internet.

As anyone walking the trails in the hills surrounding Kamloops can attest to, we have lots of cactii in those hills.  Some are small enough to be easily missed but it doesn’t take long to know if you’ve walked into them, and caution must be taken when taking our dogs for walks on these trails. 

I hope this will give some ideas on how to make a beautiful garden area and yet conserve water.  This is a big problem that must not be ignored and we can all do something about it.  Every drop counts so let us not waste any of them. 

We still have a long way to go to avoid waste and conserve our water but there are efforts being made and this city xeriscape garden is a good example of that.  This is one other reason why we love Kamloops, there is just no place like home.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sockeye Salmon Running ~ Adams River

Adams River, BC Sockeye Salmon Run
We spent some time at one of Mother Nature’s grandest spectacles when we visited the Adams River Sockeye Salmon Run.  This was the largest sockeye salmon run in almost 100 years and has been a great attraction for young and old.  The kids have been arriving in school buses, the tour buses come with world wide travellers and many locals have driven out to witness something incredible on this beautiful sunny October day.

Adams River Sockeye Salmon Run
Each October the sockeye begin to fight their way up the Adams River to spawn then die.   As sad as this seems, it is nature’s way and we can only appreciate the life cycle of the Sockeye salmon.  In the fourth year of every cycle, there will be over 2 million sockeye arrive, then the numbers will decrease the following 3 years.  And then the cycle begins again.

Sockeye salmon in Adams River
Sockeye salmon are blue and silver while in the ocean but they change color when they return to fresh water.  They become bright red and have a green head.  There are some physical changes as well, including the slight difference between the male and female.

Sockeye salmon nesting in Adams River
The male and female pair up just before she lays her eggs. It is easy to spot the pairing in the stream and she digs the nest by swimming on her side and flapping her tail. The nest is called a “redd” and will be about 25-30 cm (10-12”) deep. The male then fertilizes the eggs with his “milt” or sperm.

Male Sockeye chasing rival away from female
The pair would then move upstream as he fights off rivals and she churns the gravel, which drifts downstream to cover the nest.  The pair will continue this process until both male and female are totally exhausted.  By this time their bodies have started to deteriorate but they have now done what they were meant to do and will soon die.

Sockeye salmon eggs
With the water level of the river dropping, these eggs did not stay below the water so will be feed for visiting birds, I am sure.  But normally the eggs will lie in the gravel over the winter while the embryo develop.  The tiny fish will hatch in the spring and carry a sac of egg yolk attached to their belly for their food source.

Sockeye salmon in resting area of Adams River
As the spring comes and the embryo hatch, these tiny fish will stay in the gravel for 12 weeks or more until the food supply is used up then the young fry will swim to the surface to take in air to fill the swim bladders and can then start feeding.

Department of Fisheries tagging Sockeye salmon on Adams River
The Department of Fisheries use a method called “mark-recapture” to estimate the number of sockeye when their count is more than 25,000, which is too many to count visually.  There are 3 steps to this procedure, which gathers much more information than numbers, and once all the fish have died and been counted, the total number of fish that return to spawn can then be counted.

Sockeye salmon swim the Adams River, BC

The incredible story of these sockeye salmon can be seen when you spend some time at the Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park on Adams River. It really is a sight to behold and one of the many wonders of our beautiful country to enjoy. Just another reason why we love Kamloops, there’s just no place like home.

The peak of the salmon run does not happen till about mid-October so there is still time to go and see this wonderful sight. Follow the Trans Canada Highway east of Kamloops, BC past Chase to the Squilax bridge then follow the signs.