We went for an outing to Hatley Castle (a.k.a Royal Roads University) the other day and I just had to take some photos. What a beautiful spot, right on the ocean at Esquimalt Lagoon. It has been the setting for many movies, including Little Women! It is currently a post graduate university offering MBA’s. My husband was lucky enough to be a student here in 1995 which was the very last year military graduates walked its grounds. The castle was completed in 1908 for Scottish coal and rail baron James Dunsmuir, who was Lieutenant Governor and Premier of British Columbia during the early 1900s. In 1940 the building was sold to the federal government of Canada for military use. The grounds were once spectacular and meticulously maintained by the military. Now, much of the famed gardens are overgrown and the fields are covered in goose poop. The one garden that is worth seeing (the Japanese gardens) are now private and one must pay to walk through it. My husband dies a little inside every time we go as he cannot help but notice the decline and remark on it (again and again!)
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For those of you following my blog (hi mom! hi sister!), you may have wondered where I’d slipped off to? I’ve been reading and this time it wasn’t fiction. My original purpose for this blog was to have a place to upload my photos and a purpose in taking them. I had recently acquired a DSLR camera (D90) and I was learning how to use it. I am still very much a novice but two books in particular have helped me on this journey. I highly recommend Understanding Exposure as your first resource for DSLR photography and Understanding Shutter Speed is a wonderful second resource.
We drove out to Witty’s Lagoon this morning, on a whim, and are we ever glad we did! Two marine biology students were putting on an event for children (and adults!) and we got there just in time. S and E were so excited to watch the students pull in the great big net. Little fingers eagerly sifted through the seaweed to find all of the creatures hidden within. Fearless fingers!! None of those fingers were mine!! Crabs and bubble fish and too many wormy looking creatures to count were all writhing around in the net. The children grabbed every last creature and put them into the buckets of water, to be examined.
Once put into buckets, the marine biologists explained what the creatures were and told us a little bit about them. It was fascinating.I was positive there was a tarantula hiding under a piece of seaweed (and wouldn’t touch it.. but not to worry, a 5 year old child quickly snatched it up). It turned out to be this delightful thing called a camoflauge crab. Oooooh, it’s the creepiest crab I’ve ever seen!!And my son almost stepped on this big guy. The crabs hide themselves in the sand while the tide is out. We got to watch this one eat with its mouth moving back and forth, back and forth.Surprise! Half of the beach is a nudist colony. Didn’t know that. Now we do. Ooops.Little E proudly built her castles and basked in the heat. It was a wonderful day.
I adore rhubarb. When I lived in Ottawa I found a gigantic rhubarb plant at the very back edge of our yard, right near the compost. It grew ferociously throughout spring, summer and fall and I gleefully clipped and baked every last stalk. I’ve yet to plant a root here in Victoria but I will. Soon. I made this recipe and it was fantastic.
There is something about a double broiler…specifically an all metal one passed down from my mother…that reminds me of my childhood. What to do with semi milk chocolate cubes close to expiration and a bag of pretzels? Combine them of course! As I stood by the stove sipping my red wine, waiting for the chocolate to become soft, I felt a little smug that something so yummy could be so easy to prepare. And there is something really cool about using a double broiler. Like you are somehow a true baker for thinking of it.
The essentials: fork for dipping pretzels, wax paper lined cookie sheet, wine for sipping. Small metal tongs would have been much much better.And it’s that easy. I love the sweet and salty taste. I would recommend using a finer chocolate as these were only mediocre compared to what I’ve tried in the past. Not bad for using up some about to expire ingredients though. I threw some sprinkles at a couple to get smiles from the kids 😉