Exploring Cowichan is Fun Fun Fun

Exploring Cowichan!

Have you ever noticed just how quickly time flies? Especially when we are having so much fun out exploring Cowichan. Wow! It’s like it was 2015 only yesterday, but that is soooo 2 years ago.

Exploring Cowichan Mobile This I Love Cowichan blog post is going to be a tad all over the place. It’s been so long since I’ve written. Boy oh boy do I have pictures to share and stories to tell, but this post is about getting the words flowing again.

Been busy out and about taking pictures, visiting new businesses, celebrating community events, standing in support of community causes and exploring Cowichan.

If you’re new to www.ILoveCowichan.ca, you will notice that our Cowichan explorations are a tad different from others…hiking isn’t quite one of our family things. Sometimes, walking is not an option but we find a way to explore regardless.

We Love Exploring Cowichan Businesses

Visiting with and getting to know people is my thing. Supporting Cowichan businesses is a cause near and dear to my heart and has been since 2009. Sure, it’s a little bit selfish, I want the Cowichan Valley to thrive so that my children will make their lives in or around it, then my grandchildren after that.  I want my neighbours and friends to live comfortably while doing what they love locally.

Playing tourist in our valley is fun and there is always someplace beautiful to experience for the first time. So, I have fun visiting touristy spots and getting to know Cowichan entrepreneurs. As a family we attend as many community events as we possibly can.

2017 has been such a whirlwind, it’s hard to keep up. I can’t believe we’re more than half way done the year. Wow! So many things have happened this year. Some good, some not so good but through it all I have seen the citizens of the Cowichan Valley stand together in support of one another. That is exactly the kind of thing that makes me LOVE COWICHAN so much.

Please like & follow www.iLoveCowichan.ca and do share your comments, suggestions, pictures, videos and stories. If you have a Cowichan Valley business, please give us a shout so we can shout it out 😉

The plan is to get back to blogging weekly; but you know it’s SUMMER, right? Ahhh the sweet sweltering summertime season when there is so much happening and so much exploring to do in the Cowichan Valley it’ll make your head spin.

Hoping to get blog posts up to date with stories from 2015 & 2016 throughout the summer so that it’s all caught up by Fall.

In the meantime, we’re very active posting everything Cowichan Valley on social media.

Exploring Cowichan on Social Media

Follow us on social media….did I mention that I love socializing? Don’t care if this sounds corny but when people take the time to comment and share with our social media accounts it really does make my day.

Have a Cowichan Valley business, or know someone who does?  Shout it out to us so that we can help spread the word. If you use #iLoveCowichan in your posts we will find them, and repost them. Know about an upcoming Cowichan Valley event? Let us know about it and we’ll help get the word out. If you’re not sure how to do any of that social media tagging stuff, feel free to get in touch.

We support Cowichan Valley owned businesses and have a fun time shouting them on Social Media.

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Duncan Farmers Market Rocks

Forget Green Acres….The Duncan Farmers Market is the Place to be!

Duncan Farmers Market Stage
Live Entertainment at the Duncan Farmers Market

I absolutely enjoy our little excursions to the Saturday Duncan Farmers Market in the town square.

Of course I’m there to support local business and to buy safer healthier food for my family.

But, the big draw for me is….

Quite simply put, I LOVE to MINGLE. I take pleasure in meeting new people. Everyone has a story, and I’m always keen to listen.

The atmosphere at the Duncan Farmers Market is the perfect blend of excitement and entertainment. There’s always a crowd that’s just right. Not so many people that you can’t move but enough people to make it feel like a celebration of sorts.

Plus, as a bonus we get a little exercise walking around the market.Dogs of Duncan Socializing

If you’re a dog lover what more can I say except WOW! I get such a kick out of watching the dogs socialize while their people stand around talking.

Robert likes to stop for doggy kisses along the way 😉

There are three market sessions:

Winter – January to March (12 weeks) 10am-2pm Spring & Summer – April to October (30 weeks) 9am-2pm Fall – November to December (8 weeks) 10am-2pm

There is such an amazing cultural array at the Duncan Farmers Market. So many people with interesting stories to share about places I’ll more than likely never see. It’s almost as if they take me on a journey with them as they weave their tales. Bonus! There is a fun variety of cooked foods.

 

Ed's Soup Shack + One of my favourites is Ed’s Soup Shack. They hand mix a line of dry soups (no msg!) The mixes come with everything you need. All you add is the meat and liquid. Karen & Ed Graves are great people that produce an exemplary and healthy line of products. Bonus, at a buck a bowl (or less) it makes economic sense too. I’ve discovered that you can make a whole heck of a lot more than just soup using their mixes.

If you haven’t yet, make sure you drop in at the Saturday Duncan Farmers Market. You won’t regret it. Oh, and make sure you get there early enough so as to enjoy a sample of whatever soup Ed’s got cooking up.

Please share your market stories and pictures in the comments.

Take care, Shelley

PS- Thank you! With every dollar you spend at a #Cowichan independent business, you help make our local economy stronger. With every person you tell about it…you’re kicking it up a notch.

Click for a list of Duncan Farmers Market vendors 

Random Chatter; I am all over the place

Randomly Speaking…

So busy, so many things to write about and yet here it is a month later. Wow! Where does the time go?

Guess I’ll try a quick recap of fall so far. Short n’ sweet…chuckle chuckle.

Random visit to SPCA leads to true loveBeen visiting the Duncan SPCA for cuddles. Fell in love with three little Boxer dogs Gizmo, Sonic & Edith. Was bittersweet watching Gizmo leave with her new family, the lucky girl. Edith has a forever home she’s going to…again I’m happy for her but man oh man am I going to miss snuggling with her.

A German Shephard arrived last week while I was there. He is really such a good boy. I watched him walking on a leash, he loved it. He was originally a rescue. He’s been well cared for. Hasn’t done anything wrong to be at the SPCA, he’s only there because of a change in family circumstances. Hope someone snatches him up soon. Wish I could take him home.

Princess saying adopt me please during my last random visit I play with the cats too. This is Princess. She lures you into the room, and then does her best to keep you from leaving. Well, from leaving without her that is. Such a sweetie!

I really appreciate the incredible effort that has gone into housing the cats and dogs as comfortably as possible. They may be waiting for their furever homes, but at least they get to be comfy in the meantime. Good luck Princess….cheers to never seeing you again. Hoping you’re all set with a new family the next time I pop in for a visit.

How’s this for a random? You know all those “how to” videos on youtube? Seems the people who post them, are experts at what they do. Well, at least that’s my take on the situation. I try, but to date nothing has been as easy to do as they show in the videos. Nothing until this that is! Turning tomatoes into a yummy simple sauce really works! I mean, ok so the guy in the original video did a better job than I did but it worked!

Have I mentioned that I simply adore #Tweeting? Well I do. I like having fun with it. Come to think of it, I really enjoy the randomness of tweets. They are all over the place, and that’s what makes tweeting fun. Here are a couple of random faves in the last few days….

If you’re on Twitter please follow us, we almost always follow back. There are a few rare exceptions, but ahem…I won’t get into that here 😉 Know what I love about rainy, damp, cold days? Making soup, taking pictures and baking. Recently Added more soup recipes…even more coming soon.

Here’s something random….how about participating in a simple soup poll just for fun? Comment with your answer….Chicken Noodle or Cream of Mushroom? Or click on the Twitter poll. So far (when I wrote this) it’s running 50/50. Not what I expected. Curious to see the end results.  

Hmmm guess this turned out to be a bunch of random things, rather than a recap. I like blogging random things, it’s more like a true to life conversation (remember those?) I suppose that’s enough rambling for now.

Take care! Shelley

PS- Don’t forget to Shop Local support your neighbours, your friends and your community.  Please partake in the Shop Local Challenge.

 

July News

Quick recap of July News

VI StayCay

We supported Cowichan & Vancouver Island with our first StayCay. It was a ton of fun…lots of pictures and info coming soon! I’m not kidding when I say we took hundreds of pictures. Our Island is incredible, stunning and there is always something going on somewhere.

New page added Cowichan Web

Our mission is to support Cowichan Valley business growth. We do that by buying as much as we can from locally owned independent stores, farms, markets and restaurants.

Also by encouraging the next generation and everyone else to…read more 

We’ve been enjoying the 39 Days of July. Have you?

Duncan 39 Days of JulyThis is an amazing opportunity to experience free music everyday from noon till 8 pm. Head on out to Downtown Duncan today after all it is a rather fun place to be. 

Upcoming themed Sundays will make for some fantastic family time.

July 12th – Inter-Cultural Day –Cowichan Intercultural Society have put together a diverse schedule of events to showcase our valley’s diversity

 July 19th – Children’s Day- designed for the under 8 crowd, we have entertainment / activities / horse rides / mini-train ride / bouncy castle / swing ride / balloon bending and more

 July 26th – Gospel Music Day –starting with a full musical church service and showcasing the history of gospel music by various artists

 August 2nd – Country Music Appreciation Day- a full day doing just that…appreciating the many aspects of country music from bluegrass to west coast country rock

Links to Cowichan Festival website schedule of events

 

Fun Making Videos About Cowichan

Wanted to share these videos about Cowichan…

Been having fun out and about around the Cowichan Valley enjoying the tremendous sunshine with Robert and the girls.  My intentions are always good, we take a TON of pictures and I plan to write about it all…then life gets in the way or we’re off exploring and taking more pics before I get around to it.

So I thought it might be fun to put together some videos comprised of the pictures.

Robert & I went and checked out the art show at Cowichan Valley Secondary. I am so glad that we did. I was in awe of the tremendous amount of talent (so was he). I don’t think either of us expected to be as blown away as we were.

Each time we go to market we chat, we learn, we sample and we pick up goodies for home. We also pick up business cards, flyers and take a bunch of pictures. Here’s a video from our last outing (May 2015) to the Saturday Duncan Farmer’s Market.

While I was on youtube uploading these videos, I came across two really great videos about Cowichan that I’d like to share…
Introduction to Providence Farm; Providence Farm, a Therapeutic Community

I am proud to call these people my Cowichan Valley neighbours.

Once Upon a Day in Cowichan

This video about Cowichan, the music, the scenery is all absolutely stunning.

A Cross Story Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island BC

I enjoyed and appreciated being taken along on this particular journey up the mountain.

 

Shop Local Buy Locally support local business your neighbours your friends your community about Cowichan Valley Economy BoomingHope you’re all getting to enjoy our wonderful weather. I’m off to pick some of my home grown strawberries. Who would ever have thunk it? Me digging in the dirt voluntarily…If nothing else, I’ve certainly learned in life to never say never because you just never know what the future holds.

Hope you enjoyed these videos about Cowichan. Take care!

Shelley

PS- Remember to shop local…support your community, your neighbours & your friends.

Spring has Sprung in Cowichan

Stepahnie Ryan ILoveCowichan.ca Winningest Smile Award

Spring the busy prelude to the even busier season of Summer…

I love being busy. Busy is good. Keeps you out of trouble, keeps you happy and minimizes time for sweating the small stuff. That being said, I’m way behind on thanking May’s winningest smile winner for our most AMAZING customer experience and have soooo many fun times to recap I’m losing track.

You know life’s pretty good when keeping track of the fun times is a problem 🙂

Spring was birthdays galore May 21st, May 27th, May 31st & June 3rd…plus mother’s day too!

My youngest turned 14 on May 21st.

Spring Winningest Smile Award May 2015 Stephanie RyanMay 27th (Robert’s birthday celebration) was made even more memorable thanks to Stephanie Ryan.

What a wonderful person, a wonderful smile, an absolutely wonderful experience! Thank you Stephanie, so happy to have met you.

 

Check out that smile! May’s winner of the Winningest Smile Award is Stephanie Ryan from the Mongrillian 3300 Cowichan Lake Road Duncan, BC.

Stepahnie Ryan ILoveCowichan.ca Winningest Smile Award
Stephanie Ryan Winningest Smile Award

The food at The Mongrillian was as always super delicious, fresh and healthy. I realize we need to get better at taking pictures of the food. We’re always so busy digging in we forget.

9 people and we all chose the same thing; to build our own stir fry. You pick your meat, you add the vegetables of your choice and top it with a sauce or sauces (I like to mix them up). Stephanie hands it over to the kitchen and before you know it, your food is being delivered piping hot on a bed of rice (or chowmein if you prefer). In the meantime, you get to enjoy a dish of soup while you wait.

We celebrated Mom’s birthday June 3rd. With the lovely spring weather we were able to enjoy supper outside. We’ve recently adopted a new family member (that’s just the way we roll) whose birthday is May 31st. Pictures to come!

Robert & I went to the new Cowichan Farmer’s Market on Wednesday. Being able to grab freshly picked spring veggies on the way home from work is so convenient!

 

Take care!

Shelley

PS- Remember to shop local…support your community, your neighbours & your friends. Construction is almost done (today should be the last day). Show your support, shop Downtown Duncan 

PPS- In case you missed it…Robert had a Saturday off  we enjoyed a spring outing to the Duncan Farmer’s Market together.

 Click to add a blog post for The Mongrillian on Zomato

Hi Ho Hi Ho to Duncan Farmer’s Market I Did Go

A Perfect Day For a Trip to Duncan Farmer’s Market

Nothing beats a sunny May Saturday outing to the Duncan Farmer’s Market. So many people, so many goodies and so many smiles. Plus, I finally met Farmer Abe!

Bought those Providence Farm veggies (can’t remember what they are called anybody?). Used them in a stir fry as suggested and wow were they nummy. Speaking of nummy…see those baby potatoes from Katie Farm, they were darned nummy in our tummies too.  What a wonderful young lady selling healthy sweets…Robert says that the orange-cranberry loaf was amazing too!

Bought some Bacon from Henry & Jones Beef at the Duncan Farmer's Market
Where’s the Beef?

Guess what I did with the freshly made that morning corn tortillas? Stuffed them with tomatoes, Henry & Jones bacon and lettuce from Katie Farm.

My daughter said the BLTs were absolutely scrumptious.

When we lived in the Eastern Townships (Quebec) we only ate farm fresh meat. I had forgotten what a difference grass fed makes and that the only thing better than bacon, is fresh local bacon.

 

Fall 2014 Duncan Farmer's Market
Fall 2014 Duncan Farmer’s Market

Looking back I see my last trip to the Duncan Farmer’s Market that I wrote about was a rainy one. Going on a fall day is fun in a certain kind of way (especially holding a fresh brewed coffee) but going on a sunshine, flower filled spring day one ups it for sure 😉

Wasn’t even intentional, capturing two different seasons at the Duncan Farmer’s Market, just worked out that way. I’m sure glad that it did.  Spring flowers may beat out falling leaves, but look at the colourful fall produce.

Attending the Duncan Farmer’s Market is just like any other local shopping spree for me…I love to visit with the people as much as I love to look at (and buy) their goods. Have you ever noticed that everyone has interesting stories to tell? I have, and that’s why I like talking to every single vendor there. I sincerely like learning about the person and what they do.

In other words each stop at each booth takes quite a bit of time and I never seem to get as far as I hope to. I mean, sure I usually make it all the way through from one end and back, but I don’t get to stop for as many chats as I’d like and I run out of money sooner than I’d originally planned 😉

Speaking of running out of money, I did notice that more of the vendors now take Square as payment. Nice!

I’ve decided from now on I will alternate which end of the Duncan Farmer’s Market I start at each time.

 

 

 

 

Locally Owned

Shop Cowichan Challenge #ILoveCowichan

and Locally Made Bliss…

Wow! April is gone poof, just like that. Now we’re officially half way through May.

Ever notice how May in the Cowichan Valley looks more like mid summer across the rest of Canada? So happy we live in the warm land.

Container garden strawberries herbsMy Kale is growing, strawberry plant is budding and my roses are blooming.

Never underestimate the healing power of digging in the dirt with your hands or the joy of eating something that you’ve grown yourself from a seed.

This wasn’t exactly where I was originally headed, but come to think of it my sister’s flowers are most definitely a beautiful bounty of locally owned bliss. I’ll just let the pictures do the talking…

Anyway, where was I? Right, Wednesday and Friday after school the girls and I like to explore locally owned businesses.

We call it treasure hunting. Sometimes we hunt for hidden treasures that we’ve never found before, other times we head to a favourite spot for some locally made bliss.

Wednesday we visited a place that’s  near and dear to our hearts and tummies. We stopped to grab a treat at a cute little locally owned bakery in Duncan.  It’s almost torture following our own rule of one treat each. This visit we picked an eclair, a cream horn, a custard doughnut and a chocolate covered banana. I had fruit 😉 They all looked AMAZING!

  • Rated as to die for BLISSFUL: the eclair and cream horn
  • Rated as interesting the banana I liked it but didn’t love it
  • Rated as pretty good after brushing some of the sugar off the custard doughnut (was apparently a bit too sweet)

 

We’ve purchased many birthday cakes from Westfalian Bakery.  Every single one was rated as BLISSFUL.

Locally Owned…

Westfalian Bakery on Urbanspoon

 

Take care!

Shelley

PS- Remember to shop local…support your community, your neighbours & your friends.

Winner of the Winningest Smile is

Flynn's Fish n Cafe

Smile…

It’s good for your health, it makes you feel good and you can pass along that smiling good feeling to someone else. These are just 3 great reasons to smile, the list goes on.

It’s always been my belief smiling makes you better at what you do; more successful. When you smile at someone, they will usually smile right back at you.

Which leads me to my point…ever notice how quickly people will mention an unpleasant experience they’ve had as a customer?  Well, that’s not my point. Sorry, had to slip that in there.

My point is….

Today’s Winner of the Winningest Smile is Amanda from Flynn’s Fish n’ Cafe in Duncan.

Of course the mouth watering poutine played a role, but what made this a truly special experience was that Amanda GENUINELY smiled the entire time that she interacted with us. She didn’t just take our orders, she chatted. She visited with us as best she could, while keeping up with and smiling at other customers.

Amanda’s radiant smile…

Amanda fromFlynn's in Duncan a genuine smile

I have promised myself that I will make more of an effort to share my service with a smile stories with other people and I believe even more importantly, to always thank the individual who is smiling as they help me. Encourage service with a smile by complimenting it when it happens.

Thank you Amanda and cheers to all you service with a smilers out there! Your smile helps grow a local business (and makes people feel good to boot).

Service with a Smile Award

Flynn’s Fish n Cafe Menu food is cooked fresh to order, reasonable prices, plentiful servings and when the right people are on…service with a smile. Ideal for take out.

 Support Your Neighbours Your Friends Your Community…Buy Local! Pretty please 🙂