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Monday, July 29, 2013

My Wonderful Week in Canada

This post really has nothing to do with teaching (well almost nothing, I will mention two awesome teachers).  I just returned from a week in Canada and Seattle.  It was just about the perfect vacation and I want to put my pictures and thoughts together and don’t have a more appropriate forum.  My son Tad is spending the summer in British Columbia so I had to go see him (and a part of the world I've always wanted to see and two of my favorite bloggers). I made plans to fly in and out of Seattle (because I wanted to see more of Canada and Washington and because I hate flights that aren't  non-stop :).  My husband Ed couldn't spend as long so he flew in and out of Vancouver.  After arriving in Seattle on Friday, I drove up to Vancouver, checked into my hotel and then explored the city. It is beautiful ... especially Stanley Park where I walked on Saturday morning before picking Ed up at the airport.
I loved Stanley Park!
After retrieving Ed (whose journey to Vancouver was not nearly as pleasant as mine), we took a ferry over to Vancouver Island where Tad and his girlfriend Hannah are working at a Camp Hill Community called Glenora Farm.  Glenora Farm is a bio-dynamic and therapeutic farm where adults with developmental disabilities (called companions) live and work together with their caregivers (called co-workers).  For six days a week, both co-workers and companions work together at 2 workshops a day. The workshops include such things as gardening, cooking, wood cutting, weaving and felting as well as singing and dancing and learning about anthroposophy (Rudolf Steiner's theory that is behind the development of the Camp Hill communities).  It is really an impressive place. Here are a few of the pictures I took at the farm during our tour with Tad the first day we arrived:
Gate to the Gardens at Glenora Farms
The herb gardens
Tad has wood cutting workshop a couple times a week.
Inside one of the greenhouses.
The barn.
Tad and Ed returning an escaped baby goat to her mama.
Tad teaching us about herbs (another workshop he sometimes participates in is picking herbs for the salves and teas they make.
Tad's house which is called Helios.  There are 3 "small houses" like this where 2-3 companions live with co-workers and house parents and 1 "big house" with more companions and co-workers.
Tad making dinner for his house. 
The living room.
After our visit on Saturday afternoon,  Ed and I drove down to Sooke (which is on the tip of Vancouver Island, right on the ocean) and had a delicious dinner and then stayed at the Sooke Harbor House.  I would definitely recommend it if you are traveling to BC.
Salad with edible flowers...yum!
On Sunday we returned to the farm and since Tad had an extra day off, we went for a long hike, to a cafe for lunch and then to a beautiful beach.

We returned to the farm after dinner for a pot luck dessert party.  It was wonderful to see Tad with the companions who clearly loved his kind, gentle nature.  
On Monday, since both Tad and Hannah had the day off, we took a picnic lunch to the beautiful Lake Cowichan.  When we first found "our spot" we wondered what the circle of rocks in the shallow water could be.  Once we started unpacking our picnic we realized it was obviously a perfect cooler for our wine and soda.
Our wine cooler.
Truly spectacular!
Tad and Hannah are avid chess players so we of course had a chess set with us:)
After dinner, Ed and I left Duncan so I could drive him down to Victoria where he caught a seaplane on Tuesday morning as the first leg of his journey home.
The beautiful inner harbor in Victoria.
I then headed back towards Duncan (where the farm is) and met Sandi from Rubberboots and Elf Shoes and Barb from Grade ONEderful for a delicious lunch at Merridale Estate Cidery.  I was really excited to meet both women who are gifted teachers (and in the case of Barb, also a gifted blog designer) whose blogs inspire me to try new things and have certainly made me a better teacher.  I love both of their blogs because, instead of being a forum to promote a teachers pay teachers store,  their blogs offer very thoughtful reflections on what they are doing in their classrooms as well as wonderful suggestions about creative ways to teach.  Not surprisingly, they are kind and generous people in "real life" too. After lunch we walked around the apple orchard and then peeked into Sandi's trunk that was filled with sensory bin goodies.  I can't believe I didn't take a picture of them?!?
After lunch, I returned to the farm for dinner at Tad's house.  On Wednesday, I spent the day at the farm.  After the whole community met for their morning meeting (where that day's workshops are assigned and any issues discussed) I "helped" Hannah make lunch (her morning workshop). After that delicious lunch, I visited the felting workshop (so cool) and then headed back towards Victoria to get on a ferry to take me to Washington.
The bag I bought that was woven at the weavery. Tad is hopefully going to buy and bring home the felted mobile I fell in love with from the  Felting Workshop.
My last full day was spent in Seattle.  It's another beautiful city.
Pike Place Market was a riot of color.
I was really excited to see the Chihuly exhibit at Seattle Center because I keep seeing fun art projects on Pinterest that I could do with my class as part of a study of Chihuly's work.
As I said, a wonderful week. British Columbia is lovely. I think Tad's experience at Glenora Farm will have a lasting and meaningful effect on him.  I was, as always, very proud of the cool person he is. I was also pretty happy with my own independence as I made my way around a new area and I was thrilled to meet Sandi and Barbara.  Now, where should I head next?


  1. Such a sweet trip! I'm in Seattle right now. It's a beautiful place to visit. (I'm rather jealous you got to meet Barb!)
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

    1. Tammy, you should take a ferry and meet Barb up in Victoria where she lives! She and Sandi are so sweet!

  2. Yay ... I was soooo eager to see that picture from your blogging buddies meet up. I'm with Tammy, envious that you got to meet Barb ... and Sandi, too! Oh, and that they got to meet YOU! And I love how you described them and their blogs ... totally true!! Thank you for giving us a peek into your summertime celebrations.


    1. Barbara, are you in Seattle with Tammy? I would have stayed ... then I could have met 4 of my very favorite bloggers:) If you are in Washington, you should meet up with Barb. It's only a beautiful ferry right to Victoria where she lives. Thanks for your comment!

    2. I wish ... i LOVE Seattle ... and Tammy!

    3. Oh, I misread your comment. You are not literally "with Tammy." I was going to be very jealous:)

    4. I love the way you misread that comment. :)

  3. You packed an amazing amount into a week. I'm glad you managed to squeeze in time for lunch! It was wonderful to meet you "in real life". And now I get to see your holiday pictures. Next trip: have you been to New Orleans?

    1. Have you been to New Orleans? I will definitely follow your advice - I kept going back to your email about what I should do at each place I went in Canada and Seattle. Thanks again!

  4. Lyn, meeting up with you was one of my summer highlights:) I'm so happy I can now call you and Sandi my real life friends!
    Sandi's right, you DID pack of lot of good times into your trip. You know how to holiday!
    BTW, I LOVE that picture of you and your handsome son.
    Take care.

    1. Barb, Meeting you and Sandi was a highlight of my summer too. Enjoy August!


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