ISSUE 14 | WINTER 2021
A brave new year of discovery awaits. THE SWEET SUCCESS OF INSTACAKE CARDS | EXPERIENCE OVER STUFF FIRST INSTALMENT OF THE UNLIKELY ADVENTURER HOW ABOUT BREAKFAST IN BED?
IN THIS ISSUE
SWEET SUCCESS— INSTACAKE CARDS
EXPERIENCE OVER STUFF
UNLIKELY 11 THE ADVENTURER—THE
FIRST INSTALMENT IN A FOUR-PART SERIES FAIRWINDS PROFILE— 14 CONNECTING WITH AN UNDERSEA WORLD
PASSIONATE FOODIE— 18 BREAKFAST IN BED
FOR THE 21 COCKTAILS SEASON OUR FAVOURITE 22 THINGS—CANADIAN WINTER FASHION
23 REAL ESTATE UPDATE
25 GOLF TIPS 26 GARDENING UPDATE 27 CALENDAR
COVER PHOTO Quilback
Rock Fish courtesy Jay Holbrook
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I believe it is safe to say that the start to 2021 has been unique. We are now on the other side of what was likely the quietest, most uneventful holiday season on record, following one of the most challenging years in a generation. But just like the beginning of most years, I am feeling inspired to get back out into the world and try new things, as I suspect it may be even more critical this year. Perhaps it’s time to be a bit bolder, live life a little larger, and with even more curiosity. After all, if we can endure a global pandemic, we can do anything, right? Well, maybe not anything, but with the hope of vaccine rollouts releasing us from the four walls of our homes, my desire to step out of my comfort zone, slough off the winter cobwebs, and do more than STUFF, is likely shared by many people. If you’re feeling it too and can use some inspiration, read on! In this issue, we feature Sarah Neal, a daring entrepreneur whose product arrived just in the nick of time (for a pandemic); and SCUBA diver Mel Vincent, who decided to stop spending his weekends driving to Fairwinds and instead moved right into the neighbourhood. Discover how you can experience the best of winter with our Unlikely Adventurer’s advice to get the most out of Rainbow Season. And if being indoors is still more to your liking, we invite you to enjoy a sumptuous breakfast in bed à la the Passionate Foodie! I say, anything goes. Put on some woolies and step outside for an adventure or stay in, get cozy, and whip up one of our “winter warmers.” Do what suits you and enjoy this first issue of Passions for 2021!
Julie Jaworski, PASSIONS Editor
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Sweet Success by Sandra Jones photos by Tom Powell
SOMETIMES NECESSITY IS INDEED THE SWEET MOTHER OF INVENTION.
“All you need are four tablespoons of water and one minute in a microwave and you’ve got a fantastic cake.” Sarah Neal FOUNDER, InstaCake Cards
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Just ask Sarah Neal, founder of InstaCake Cards, a unique Parksville-based company. “All my life, birthdays were celebrated with a card and a cake. So, when we moved to Vancouver Island from the UK, I really wanted to continue that tradition with family and friends back home but couldn’t figure out a way to do it. When I tried to ship a cake it was tricky to package, didn’t arrive intact, and was very expensive to mail. A card on its own didn’t seem like enough!” With a background in food science, Neal set out to create a cake she could send in a card. Two years later, InstaCake Cards was born. “The ingredients for a delicious celebration cake including the frosting, candle, and sprinkles as well as a patented pop-up baking case and even the spoons for stirring and measuring water are all contained within a fun card. All you need are four tablespoons of water and one minute in a microwave and you’ve got a fantastic cake,” says Neal. Similar to a mud cake but made with real butter, eggs, sugar, and vanilla, this product takes the cake in terms of taste. “The last thing I wanted to do was send my family a cake that tasted like cardboard! I’m known for my cakes so I spent a lot of time finding the authentic ingredients that I would use in my own kitchen.” With the concept finalized and the ink still drying on the product packaging, Neal took a leap of faith when it came to launching the product. “I booked a booth at one of North America’s largest gift and stationery trade shows in New York City. We were flying by the seat of our pants but it paid off. People in the industry told us they’d never seen anything like this before!” The connections made through the trade show were
invaluable and included clients as well as US media outlets. Impressed by the ingenuity of InstaCake Cards, NBC’s Today featured it on their “Why Didn’t I Think of That?” morning TV segment and single-handedly introduced the product to more than seven million potential customers. “That was an exciting day for us and we started seeing traffic on our website from all over North America,” says Neal. The fledgling business experienced its shares of highs and lows in its early days but was guided by its business plan and encouraged by the response the product received. “Out of the many things we planned for when we launched our business a year ago, a global pandemic just wasn’t on the list,” jokes Neal. However, it turned out that COVID wasn’t a catastrophe for the company, but a new opportunity. “No one is seeing anyone for their birthday these days and people are still looking for a way to connect. When people get their InstaCake Card, they make the cake, take a photo, and send it to the person who gave it to them. It becomes more of a fun experience that can be shared!” says Neal. But the appeal of the cake and card goes far beyond birthdays. “We got a call recently from Pepsi who wanted to send InstaCake Cards as a thank you to all of their employees who were working remotely. Another company sent out 200 to their employees to celebrate a business anniversary and they all opened them up together on a Zoom call. We have realtors sending them to clients when they buy a new home and on it goes. Because of that interest we’ve expanded our line of cards into other events and holidays and even customize cards for larger orders.” 5 PASSIONS | WINTER 2021
InstaCake Cards are made in our Canadian peanutfree facilities from the highest quality ingredients, including Madagascar vanilla and real butter and eggs. instacakecards.com
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Originally Neal thought it would be the millennials who would be their primary customer. “We’ve discovered that the millennials like to receive it and it’s the Baby Boomers who love to give it. They’ll send it to their grandkids and get a kick out of seeing the photo when they make it.” The cards have found their way around the globe, thanks in part to interest from online platforms such as Amazon and Zulilly. “I was talking to Amazon about a shipment I needed and ended up describing my product to them,” says Neal. They loved it so much that they wanted to take it on straight away. InstaCake Cards is now in the Amazon warehouse and they’re starting to sell the product in February.” For Neal, shifting and adapting to opportunity and change are what she enjoys most about being an entrepreneur. “I have some plans but there have been lots of curves and I love that challenge. I get just as excited when Pepsi calls as I do when I hear the sweet messages from customers about our product. It’s been a great adventure and we’re just getting started!”
DID YOU KNOW? Birthday cakes date back to ancient Greece when round cakes were made and decorated with candles in honour of the goddess Artemis. Ancient Romans celebrated the birthdays (of men only) and on the occasion of a 50th birthday, a cake made of wheat flour, olive oil, honey and grated cheese would be included in the celebration. The most recent birthday ritual, sending birthday cards, didn’t appear in England and America until about 1850.
Experience Over Stuff by Sandy Robson
“Stuff is contributing to our discontent in so many different ways, because it is taking the place of the things that actually do give us more happiness.”
—from The Minimalists: Less is Now (trending Netflix documentary)
he global pandemic has taught us about both the strength and fragility of our connections to one another and of the critical importance of time we spend doing things together. With the recent holiday season behind us, if it was the people and activities you found yourself missing, rather than the things associated with the celebration, you are not alone. As much as the joy of Christmas often relies on things—turkey, tree, gifts, decorations—it is the memories made through our experience of those things and our time together that bring us to happiness.
Humans are by nature a social species with complex relationship and social groupings and being separated from family, friends, coworkers and a larger community is difficult on our mental and physical health. It is also a very human stress response to turn to things to replace our loss of connection. During this extended period of isolation, many of us have tried to seek comfort in online shopping. A day rarely goes by without a FedEx/Amazon delivery truck sighting in my neighbourhood. But the things we buy do not necessarily lead to lasting happiness, as our excitement over possessions tends to fade as the newness wears off and the possession blends into the background of our lives.
It is the novelty and ever-changing nature of an experience that keeps us in a heightened state of awareness, and presence in the moment that can lead us to a happier, more engaged life. According to Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University, “One of the enemies of happiness is adaptation. We buy things to make ourselves happy, and we succeed but only for a while. New stuff is exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them.” An experience doesn’t just keep you happy in the moment. Even the memories of a past experience can bring us back into the sense of excitement and wellbeing that we had initially. Research also indicates that even when the entire experience is not smooth sailing—like 7 PASSIONS | WINTER 2021
COLD WATER IMMERSION
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The light, the sounds, the temperature and even the scent of the air, are all a little different at transitional times of day.
photo: Emily Roberts
a missed travel connection or long layover—when looking back on the memory we often see these challenges as something we got through and made the best of, which increases our feelings of strength and resilience and at the very least makes a good story to recall. As we head into 2021, still facing months of continued social distancing and COVID protocols, what can we do right now to experience our world when things like travel and gathering with friends are off the table? How can we find new experiences right here at home? Well, to start with, we have a huge advantage living here in the Fairwinds community on Vancouver Island. With our mild climate and easy access to the outdoors, there are many options to get us out and into the surrounding environment. Outdoor activities—including golf—are still allowed, and in fact, are being outright encouraged by our public health officials. Fishing, sailing, getting out in a kayak, going for a walk, hike, or meander, and exploring the beach, forest, and neighbourhood, are all easy activities. But even if you are already out there walking, golfing and bird watching, there is something else you can add into the mix to help embed those experiences in your personal library of life is good memories… mindfulness! You are likely hearing about this practice a lot these days, and with good reason. The research is in, and growing, that mindfulness can increase our feelings of calm, fulfillment, resilience, self-esteem, creativity, and happiness. It also helps lessen the effects of stress, including anxiety and depression; improves our sleep; increases energy levels; and enhances our ability to learn and focus. No matter what you are doing to keep mind and body active in the coming
months, add a little mindfulness for a happiness boost. Some ideas to change up your experience a bit SUNRISE/SUNSET
Take something you like to do, like walking your dog, paddling a kayak, or sitting outside with a cup of coffee, and do it at dawn or dusk. The light, the sounds, the temperature, and even the scent of the air, are all a little different at these transitional times of day. Just today as the daylight faded on a walk we had put off until much later than usual, my husband and I were treated to the sound of two owls conversing overhead before starting their evening hunt. It was magical and elevated our daily walk to an experience we are more likely to remember. WALK THE BEACH
Many of us are accustomed to strolling along the beach on a warm sunny afternoon, but have you tried doing so at night? A low tide and a full moon are an inspiring combination, and the absence of colour (because of the diminished light) in a familiar landscape makes it feel unusual. COLD WATER IMMERSION
This one is trending out there in the world right now, but having tried it myself this year, I believe there may just be something to all the hype. And I am not alone in the ocean. Along with the occasional curious seal, I regularly see small groups of toquewearing dippers dashing out into the waves for a quick paddle about… and almost as quickly heading back to their towels. Whether the cold water has health benefits or not, the whoops and laughter—and there is a lot of it— and adventure of it all must certainly be good for body and spirit. FEEL THE RAIN, SNOW, WIND DON’T LET THE WEATHER KEEP YOU FROM GETTING OUT THERE. GEAR UP AND GO OUT!
GO HIGH - GO LOW
Change your point of view by going to the top of a mountain or hillside. There is nothing like a sweeping vista to make you feel like you are king of the world. Or walk and sit among tall trees, perhaps even getting right down on the earth, to take a moment and 9 PASSIONS | WINTER 2021
gaze up into the forested canopy, you will feel rather small, yet connected, to the world around you.
in K-dramas (Korean romance and thrillers) and meditating with Headspace.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
TRAVEL & LEARN
Take-out may still be the order of the day as we adhere to pandemic protocols, but you can use this time to experience something new. If you habitually pick up sushi for dinner, try schnitzel or tacos instead; explore Korean, Italian or Thai menus. Start your own best burger in town competition, and order from a new restaurant each week. From experience, I can say there are some great burgers being made in this community! Even if you have a go-to takeout restaurant and really like a certain item on their menu—and yes, Salt Pizzeria I am talking about your Della Carne pizza—take a leap and order something new to you. And when those local food trucks like The Knockananna Grill are open for the season, take a road trip to wherever they are parked and enjoy. ARRANGE YOUR SPACE
No one is visiting us these days, so pull your favourite chair up to a window. Turn it to face the view and leave it there. Move your furniture around so that it reflects how your life is being lived right now. To refresh your visual surroundings, move art pieces, photographs, collectables, and houseplants to new locations. Situate your bed against a different wall. And (for the very brave) if you share a bed, switch sides… gasp! NETFLIX PLUS
I am first to admit that I have never watched as much television as I have this past year. Thankfully, the selection of online viewing has never been as vast or varied. I have made my way through many series, have developed a serious addiction to The Great British Baking Show (and its Canadian cousin), and am in love with Simon and Daphne (Bridgerton), Ted Lasso, and quite a number of British detectives. Currently, I am dabbling
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There are a myriad of courses, seminars, concerts, and theatre presentations available to increase the cultural and educational content of your day. From Stratford Festival’s (STRATFEST@HOME) streaming service and watch parties, and Mary Chapin Carpenter’s Songs from Home on Facebook, to online MasterClass sessions allowing you to study creative writing with Margaret Atwood, guitar with Carlos Santana, explore selfexpression with RuPaul, and bake bread with Apollonia Poilâne… there is much to learn and enjoy. Travel ranks high on the bucket list as experiences go, and a study by the TransAmerica Center for Retirement Studies concludes that travelers are happier and healthier overall than non-travelers. But if you have had to cancel international travel plans because of the pandemic, you can still find a little bittersweet inspiration with online tours of pretty much anywhere on the planet. Last June I took part in a virtual walking tour of Piccadilly via Zoom with London Walks, and discovered that Rick Steve’s travel website offers a directory of virtual tours led by many of his favourite guides throughout Europe, Scandinavia, Turkey, New Zealand, and Australia. EXPERIENCES AWAIT
You can try something new, or something familiar in a new way. If you always read thrillers, read an autobiography; if you always eat cheddar, be brave and nibble some Cambozola; if you enjoy trolling for salmon, try fly fishing along a stream. And “use your money for whatever brings you sustained joy and helps you be your best self.” (Experience is Better Than Stuff, keepthrifty.com)
The Unlikely ADVENTURER THE FIRST INSTALMENT IN A FOUR-PART SERIES by Wendy Maurer
20 21 A YEAR FOR ADVENTURE! THAT IS MY INTENTION. WM
EVERY YEAR I start with a theme for the upcoming year. I never know exactly what that will look like. Last year was designated my year for skills development. I imagined that would mean an increase in my glass bead making skills and it started that way. I was fortunate in February to take courses in California from an admired German bead maker, Bea Stoertz. Then COVID hit and my desire to work at the torch went up in flames. Instead, my energy went into gardening. My skills certainly improved and I added straw bale gardening to my food production. I also took on some home improvement projects where I let go of my need for detailed advance planning and learned to ask contractors for suggestions as we went along – with great results. Now we come to 2021 and my big question is: what do I want from the coming year? I have had a very quiet year at home, enjoyed it, yet I am getting restless. At 69, diabetic and afraid of getting COVID, I haven’t been past my garden except to buy groceries. Fortunately, we have a fabulous view of the ocean, so my home world is actually quite large visually. Yet, my body tells me it’s time to move, time to get out and do something. Find new trails to walk, ride my e-bike somewhere that I am inspired to explore, maybe hunt for fossils, kayak, tube down a river, go ziplining again. It’s been ten years! So what if I am afraid of heights? Maybe I could go caving at Horne Lake, or heaven forbid maybe even snowshoeing (it’s getting up and down the mountain that is my biggest challenge). I don’t expect COVID-19 vaccines will eliminate the risk anytime soon, so that means day trips within reach of Oceanside or where we can camp nearby on Vancouver Island. I’m too nervous to do outdoor things on my own so my husband has to want to come along too. I had been wondering what to focus on for 2021 when during a conversation with a friend, the idea of Vancouver Island adventure took root. About a decade ago, I was an Unlikely Adventurer in the Alberni Valley and although it was sometimes a challenge to embrace all the opportunities for adventure there, I did it. I had fun, I discovered a lot about myself, and my husband of over 40 years totally shocked me with his joy and abandon while ziplining. It won’t be a hardship to focus our adventures on Vancouver Island this year. We have glorious spaces here and even though I was born on the Island, there is always something new to discover. I have been invited to share my year of being an Unlikely Adventurer (again) with you and I hope it amuses you, maybe inspires you to get outdoors and enjoy our island. One thing for sure that gets me out of my glass studio every February and March is rainbow season. You might know it as herring season, but it is so much more. I love this time 11 PASSIONS | WINTER 2021
of year. I find it exciting. I call it rainbow season because the weather is so rapidly variable and I see rainbows almost every day. I track the migration of waterfowl and on any given day, I can watch a handful of birds build to a raft of 10,000 or more. I track the herring fishery and await the spectacle of turquoise coloured waters to appear, the thumps of herring skiffs in action and the abundance of birds, sealions, seals, and rainbows. Every year I start by getting my gear in order. I dig out the binoculars, find the case for my spotting scope so I can bring it to the beach, make sure I have gloves, a warm hat, rain gear, bird book, and tripod in the trunk. Then it’s time to clean my camera lens, charge the spare camera batteries (since they drain quickly in the cold), ensure there are cleaning cloths and brushes in my camera bag, and set up a new folder on my computer for this year’s rainbow season photos. After a winter snug and cozy in my home, it isn’t easy to venture outside into the cold and wet. I forget how interesting the small things are – at the beach, along trails and even in my backyard. Once I bundle up though, I stay warm and dry and feel energized and happy to be out. The thrill of the hunt is aided by observation of weather, migrating water birds and sea life, not to mention DFO fishery notices, and the app, Marine Traffic. I’m ready to get outdoors on very short notice – when the sun does pop out, I don’t want to miss the rainbows! I use Marine Traffic all year. It shows which ocean-going vessels are carrying position locating devices. Ferries, yachts, cruise ships, freighters, and fish boats can all be tracked. Marine Traffic allows you to see the vessel type, name, speed, and direction of travel. Just make sure that if you are tracking a vessel, you refresh the screen occasionally so the location is 12 PASSIONS | WINTER 2021
images Everyday scenes during rainbow season. Keep your eyes open for visiting wildlife including flocks of birds in a frenzy.
because there have been generations of accurate. Yes, I did once drive an hour and a half to watch the fleet in action only to commercial fishermen in our family. My Great Uncle Abel fished herring with a find it had moved. Lesson learned. Tracking rainbows is a great way home base of Russell Island, just off Salt Spring Island. Now, my brother lets me to discover public beach access points know when fishery openings are called throughout Oceanside. And it helps during herring season to know and where. Even with this inside knowledge, where beach access points are in order however, it is never known exactly where to follow the action: I love this time of the spawn will be, how concentrated bird year. I find it exciting. activity, seals, sea lions, large an area it will cover, and how long it spawn. Fishermen, I call it rainbow season photographers, will last, so checking because the weather is out the area in person and other outdoor so rapidly variable and is a must for me. Small enthusiasts are also great resources for airplanes, often spotter I see rainbows almost planes, flying along tips on beaches, trails, every day. and viewing locations. the coastline in the WM morning are a hint that Some key observation the spawn might be points include: the close. I love to watch stairs and seating area the spectacle, even when it continues at the end of Dohle Rd. in Parksville, the French Creek breakwater area, Columbia into the night. Sometimes the regional spawn will last for a week, sometimes Beach Park, Qualicum Beach waterfront, for a day. When we moved here 21 years the QB Faye Smith Pavilion/Brant viewing area (watch for oystercatchers), Surfside ago, I dreamed of seeing a spawn right in front of our house. After seven years it Drive (check out the bird sanctuary viewing there), and Nile Creek beach happened. Unfortunately, it turns out I was in Vancouver that day! Luckily, it has access. You can park and stay in your happened several times since. I don’t wait vehicle or stroll down the beach. Just be sure not to walk through the herring eggs for it though. I actively follow the clues and have a lot of fun enjoying the journey – the smell isn’t shoe friendly and the eggs can be on the beach for weeks. – I hope you do too this year! Maybe I’ll see you – I’ll be the short older lady, When cabin fever hits mid winter, wearing glasses, loaded down with gear sometimes I go on a road trip just to get out. This is a great time to check out I can’t bear to be without because I don’t want to miss a thing! public access beach areas. Winter storms bring interesting bits to our beaches. OK, yes, maybe I stop and buy snacks too. Rainbow season is exciting for me as well
IT PAYS TO BE PREPARED. GET READY TO TAKE IN ALL THE ACTION WITH THE MARINE TRAFFIC APP, WARM WINTER GEAR AND THE BEST VIEWING AND PHOTOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT YOU CAN AFFORD! 13 PASSIONS | WINTER 2021
FA I R W I N D S P R O F I L E
Connecting with an Undersea World by Kait Burgan photos by Jay Holbrook
MEL VINCENT USED TO DRIVE FROM NANAIMO TO NANOOSE BAY FOR SOME OF THE BEST, MOST ACCESSIBLE DIVING ON VANCOUVER ISLAND. He didn’t think that when it came time to find a new home about eight years ago, that he and his wife, Debra, would settle in Fairwinds. Nanaimo was where Mel thought they’d live. He works there, and desirable lifestyles don’t usually involve a lot of commuting. “We came through the house, and my wife danced through the home, delightedly checking everything out,” he recalls. “I knew I didn’t have a chance at that point. We’re here, and we love it.” It’s a lifestyle change that’s been nothing but positive. Mel uses the gym at Fairwinds Centre. They have dinner at the golf club regularly. Debra plays golf with the ladies, and Mel dives - a lot. “I dove as recently as three days ago, and it’s just been marvellous,” he says. “The winter is actually the best visibility. In the summer, you get plankton, and with plankton, you get reduced visibility. It’s fabulous in winter.” For some people, diving can be claustrophobic, and managing the technical elements can be stressful and even overwhelming. For Mel, after decades of scuba, the experience is comforting. “There are no other sounds, just you in the water with your dive buddies. You’re looking around and exploring and going to areas that nobody else except other divers will see. You see creatures and wildlife and things growing that you would never see above the surface.” Mel loves the camaraderie that comes with diving, going with groups of friends a few times a month. They’re experienced and passionate divers who thrive on exploring underwater worlds together. “If you’re in Fairwinds, overwhelmingly the most popular 14 PASSIONS | WINTER 2021
beginner dive site is what we call Tyee. It’s at the new Blueback Park that they’ve finished up. There’s another one on Dolphin Creek, but probably the best one, that people come from all over the place to visit, is at Madrona Point. Madrona is the dive spot that keeps on giving.” Other popular spots include Wall Beach and the waters around Beachcomber. Mel says there are five or six sites, some of which are advanced and some that are beginner. “The luxury is that we have quite a range.” Mel has done several hundred dives in this area, and while he figures he’s seen almost all there is to see, he still enjoys every experience. Sea lions can be like underwater puppy dogs - playful and curious. He sees wolf eels, and while ugly and snake-like, he says they’re always a highlight - tame and inquisitive and easily lured from their dens for peaceful interaction. As exciting as wolf eels are, the Giant Pacific Octopus usually gets the most attention. “They’re just such amazing creatures,” says Mel. “I was lucky enough a couple of weeks ago - my buddy and I. We saw an octopus on the rocks; it was kind of in the open. I had my GoPro, and I was taking video, and we were able to get very close to it. We went away, and when we came back, it was still there. So, I took another video, and when it moved out of the way, you could see that there was another octopus in behind it.” They didn’t know it until later, but they had captured on video, octopus mating. Mel likes to joke that “if you didn’t get it on camera, it didn’t happen.”
... [best dive site] that people come from all over the place to visit is at Madrona Point. Madrona is the dive spot that keeps on giving.
MEL VINCENT Scuba diver, Fairwinds resident Opposite Mel; Juvenile sea lion; Nudibranchs Above Decorated Warbonnet
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This page from top left Mel searching for the octopus at Madrona; Octopus with eggs; Octopus detail Opposite from top Scalyhead sculpin; Young wolf eel; Grunt sculpin
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The mating process for an octopus takes about three hours, and there is a very short window of time within that when the spermatophore that transfers sperm to the female, is visible. That’s what Mel had on camera, and that captured the interest of a local marine biologist who in turn, brought in authors of an octopus textbook. “I think for most divers, that’s probably the most exciting thing, to see an octopus out so that you can engage with or at least watch it do its thing,” Mel says. “We’ve seen them from little baby ones to some that are very, very big.” Studying the behaviour of the larger and better-known ocean creatures is not the only attraction. Mel, and many other divers, are fascinated by the smaller animals - sea slugs, nudibranchs, anemones, jellyfish and sea stars. There are thousands. Diving is a connection to our ocean that isn’t possible from the surface. It’s a way to discover, learn, and let the magic of an underwater world renew, or reinforce an appreciation of the incredible range of life on this planet. Mel shares his underwater encounters on Cozu Mel, his Youtube channel and on Facebook, he follows The Marine Detective and Nanoose Bay Whale Watch. Passions is grateful to Jay Holbrook for the use of his stunning underwater images. 17 PASSIONS | WINTER 2021
T H E PA S S I O N AT E F O O D I E
The Beauty of
BREAKFAST IN BED by Sandra Jones
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When it comes to planning meals, dinner gets all the glory. You think about what to make, grocery shop specifically for that meal and, in pre-pandemic times, share it with others. By contrast, most morning breakfast routines rarely vary. Maybe it’s coffee and a smear of peanut butter on toast or tea and a bowl of oatmeal. Monday through Sunday, rinse and repeat. But breakfast doesn’t have to be boring. These cooler, darker winter months are prime time for breakfast in bed and just a smidge of planning can create a truly indulgent experience. Hey, most of us are already lounging in pj’s until noon, so why not make the most of it! DISHING UP THE LOVE If you’re more about Cap’n Crunch than Crêpes Suzette, don’t worry. Breakfast in bed doesn’t require Michelin-star moves to be memorable. In fact, keeping it simple means that with minimal effort the cook can quickly jump back into bed to enjoy the feast. The easiest option is to combine store-bought goodies with make-at-home treats. Pick up an assortment of special pastries from your favourite bakery then layer up a parfait glass with vanilla yogurt, berries and a sprinkle of granola and you’ve got an appealing start to the day. Happy to cook in the morning but still want to keep the fuss to a minimum? Elevate the awesome egg into something new. Try a brunch quesadilla, comprised of a flavourful combination of scrambled eggs, green onion, tomatoes and cheese encased in a pan-fried
Setting the scene is every bit as important as what we serve. Pull out the fine china and crystal and fill a carafe with coffee so no one needs to get out of bed for a refill.
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tortilla and served up in wedges with a side of salsa. You can chop the few ingredients the night before so it’s just a quick scramble and assembly. If you want to wake up to some wow, move beyond pedestrian pancakes to a fruit clafouti or apple puff pancake. Recipes abound on the internet and while it’s virtually the same few ingredients as regular pancakes, this beauty is cooked in a skillet in the oven and emerges golden brown and ready to be saluted with warm maple syrup. A few minutes of whisking and a handful of ingredients comes together quickly in true restaurant style. Of course, breakfast in bed might sound like a non-starter if Dracula is more of a morning person than you are. Don’t toss the baby out with the bran muffins before you check out the magic of make-ahead breakfast casseroles. These all-in-one dishes are a great solution because you can fully assemble them the day or night before and just pop them into the oven to cook whenever you wake up. Be sure to set the timer so you can go back to bed while it bakes! As a final touch, consider popping the cork and mixing up a mimosa in a champagne flute or blitz up a homemade fruit smoothie to go along with freshly brewed coffee or a pot of tea. DREAMY DELIVERY It’s no secret that we eat with our eyes first, so setting the scene is every bit as important as what we serve. Start with a big tray that will provide a stable surface for setting onto the bed. Make it special by pulling out the fine china and crystal or mix and match your dinnerware to create a pretty morning scheme. Wrap cutlery in cloth napkins to keep it contained and then add a few special touches like a snip of greenery from the garden in a bud vase, the morning paper with a crossword or sudoku and a carafe of coffee so no one needs to get out of bed for a refill. Don’t forget any necessary condiments such as salt, pepper, sugar and cream. Now all that’s left to do is relax, settle in and eat up the unexpected room service. Enjoy!
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Apple Puff Pancake (recipe from Bonnie Stern’s Essentials of Homecooking) ¼ c (50 ml) butter 2 apples, peeled and sliced ½ tsp (2 ml) ground cinnamon 3 T (45 ml) brown sugar 3 eggs 1 T (15 ml) white sugar ½ c (125 ml) milk ½ c (125 ml) all purpose flour 2 T (25 ml) icing sugar, sifted Melt butter in a 9 or 10 inches (23 or 25 cm) heavy non-stick ovenproof skillet on medium-high heat. Transfer 2 T (25 ml) melted butter to a blender or food processor. Add apple slices, cinnamon and brown sugar to butter remaining in skillet and cook for 10 minutes, or until apples are tender. Meanwhile, add eggs, sugar, milk and flour to butter in blender. Blend until smooth. Pour over apples in skillet. Bake in a preheated 425 F (220 C) oven for 20 minutes, or until browned and puffed. Shake pan to loosen pancake. Invert onto a serving platter and dust with sifted icing sugar or serve with maple syrup.
Cocktails for the Season Get cozy from the inside out with these winter warmers. by Kim Krieger
Fairwinds Hot Rum Toddy
This classic is infused with one of the most underrated spices around: cardamom. If you haven’t fallen in love with cardamom, there has never been a better time! One recipe serves two; increase the spice/juice ratio for as many servings as needed.
A staple at countless winter gatherings, glogg, Glühwein, or caribou to our Quebecois friends, mulled wine is my go-to when I need to simultaneously warm up and to instantly up my home’s cozy quotient. This one is unique in that it hearkens back to Scandinavian glogg, which is fortified by vodka or aquavit and garnished with raisins and flaked almonds.
This is not your average hot toddy recipe. We’ve replaced the typical bourbon with rum, and the liquor and additional ingredients are mixed together first before adding the hot water, so that you get the most flavour possible out of it all.
3 1/2 cups opaque apple juice (freshpressed is a real treat if you can find it!) 18 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed 3-inch cinnamon stick, broken into pieces with the flat side of a chef’s knife 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled, thinly sliced 6 allspice berries 6 cloves brandy, to taste (optional) 2 cinnamon sticks to garnish
1. In a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, stir occasionally as you bring the cider and spices to a boil. Once your mixture reaches a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, stirring occasionally as it simmers. Once reduced by half (this should take around 8-10 mins.), remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 5 min., or longer depending on your affinity for spice (the longer the better for me!). 2. Once steeped, strain cider through a fine mesh sieve, pressing the solids to get as much flavour out as possible. Let the mixture cool completely and store it in the fridge for up to 5 days, or rinse the saucepan and return the spiced cider to it to warm back up for serving. 3. Once warmed until just barely simmering, divide the warm cider between two mugs, add brandy to taste, and garnish with a cinnamon stick.
1 orange 1 bottle red wine (a jammy, full-bodied shiraz is a good choice here) 1 cup white sugar, divided into two halves 10 cardamom pods 5 cloves 1 cinnamon stick 3, ¼-inch-thick slices peeled fresh ginger 1/3 cup raisins 1/3 cup flaked almonds ½ cup vodka or aquavit, if available
1. Remove zest from the orange in large strips, being careful to avoid the bitter white pith. Save the flesh for another recipe or a snack. 2. In a large saucepan, add the zest, wine, ½ cup of sugar, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, raisins, and almonds. Warm gently over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture starts to steam. Ensure it does not boil at any point.
5 - 6 whole cloves 1 large piece ginger preserved in syrup 1 tsp syrup from jar of ginger wedge of lemon 2 oz Sailor Jerry Rum hot water lemon wheel to garnish
1. Add first five ingredients to a sturdy glass and, using a muddler, break down lemon wedge and spices. Leave ingredients to infuse for 10 minutes, then mix again and strain into mug for serving. 2. Pour 4 oz of barely simmering water over the strained mixture and mix gently. Garnish with a lemon wheel on the edge of the mug. Winter comfort in liquid form!
3. Once warm, take a taste. Use the remaining sugar to sweeten to your liking, then ladle into a dainty teacup, being sure to include the raisins and almonds for an authentic Scandinavian treat. Skål! 21 PASSIONS | WINTER 2021
O U R FAV O U R I T E T H I N G S
Canadian Winter Fashions
WHAT DOES CANADIAN WINTER FASHION LOOK LIKE TO YOU? FOR MOST CANADIANS, IT’S SCRATCHY WOOLLENS, ILL-FITTING LONG UNDERWEAR, AND OUTDATED PARKAS. BUT, THANKFULLY, MODERN DESIGNERS ARE FINDING NEW WAYS TO FUSE PRACTICALITY WITH STYLE. THIS WINTER, OUR FAVOURITE THINGS WERE ALL SELECTED WITH THE WEST COAST CLIMATE IN MIND AND WILL HELP YOU NOT ONLY SURVIVE WINTER, BUT THRIVE IN IT! SOME ITEMS ARE ALSO MADE IN CANADA, SO YOU REALLY KNOW THEY’RE MEANT FOR OUR WINTERS.
There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes. That’s how the Scandinavians see it, and we agree! Swedish company, Fjallraven, provides outdoor gear that checks all the boxes: stylish, waterproof, warm, and with longevity that could go head-to-head with Volvo! The Singi Wool Padded Parka M is our pick for the ultimate outerwear piece.
We have fallen in love with these simple but beautiful toques (not beanies!), available in a gorgeous selection of colours and sizes for the whole family. Made in Vancouver and offering just a few exceptionally made pieces for adults, what Simply Merino lacks in selection they make up for in quality. simplymerino.ca
When a toque is too warm and your ears are too cold, what’s a fashionable Canadian to do? Ear muffs? No way! It’s all about the knitted headband this year. Wear it skiing, hiking, or just walking the dog. We love a chunky Aran cabled design, but there are many handmade treasures to select from on Etsy – choose what you like and support an independent artisan at the same time!
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If you’re looking for the perfect boot to keep your feet dry and your outfit on point, take a look at Muck boots. Waterproof neoprene adds comfort and breathability, meaning these can withstand Tofino waves and Nanoose Bay rainfall. This on-trend equestrian style can easily transition to a postbeach lunch date look. muckbootcompany.com
Our wet winters can get mighty cold, but Fairwinders won’t let a little chill stop them from enjoying the great outdoors! That’s why performance thermals are a must. Icebreaker’s Merino 200 Oasis Thermal Leggings come in men’s and women’s sizing and are the perfect base layer for any outdoor winter activity. icebreaker.com
Ever feel like when your feet are cold the rest of your body will never warm up? Us too. Avoid that feeling altogether with some wool socks. The best ones are knit with a thick layer of loops on the inside, so they warm your feet up instantly. Our favourite brand is SmartWool. smartwool.com
REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE
An oft-overlooked part of the winter wardrobe is sunglasses. Yes, you read that right. We might not wear them often in the winter, but when we need them, we need them! To ensure you have a gorgeous pair on hand at all times, this PEI-based eyewear design house allows you to customize your own by selecting shape, material, and lens. Genius! fellowearthlings.com
In 2020 we were reminded that the most significant economic risks are the ones that “no one is talking about” because if no one is talking about it, no one is prepared!
THIS YEAR, WE ARE CLOSELY MONITORING TRENDS IN SUPPLY AND DEMAND, INTEREST RATES, UNEMPLOYMENT, AND IMMIGRATION, KNOWING THAT ALL THESE FACTORS WILL AID IN FORECASTING WHAT THE COMING MONTHS AND YEAR WILL BRING.
8 Bold accessories are one thing that always fit, and when you choose pieces that speak to you, you’ll always be in fashion. Susan Koch is a Vancouver Island jeweller famous for her west coast-inspired designs. This strand of local beach stones is a timeless Island piece. susankoch.ca
9 There is no modern winter pet peeve more commonly shared than having to remove your gloves to take that perfect snowy selfie! Avoid cold hands by getting a pair of cute winter mitts with SmartTips. These have fabric woven in that allows you to use your touch screen without taking off your warm mitts. ccbeanie.com
2426 Andover Rd. listed for $7,988,800
It is becoming increasingly difficult to predict market behaviour, but one thing we know is that 2021 is already starting to shape itself very differently. With the combination of buyers who have been biding their time and new buyers from other parts of Canada, inventory levels remain low, resulting in a competitive buyers’ market and many multiple offer situations. Here is a snapshot of the current Fairwinds and Nanoose Bay area real estate market.
Current 10 Here’s a tonguein-cheek nod to pandemic-chic that doubles as a true fashion must-have. Stay cozy with this gaiter that doubles as a face mask. It even has a metal nose bridge and filter pocket! epoqueevolution.com
Active listings...... 8
Highest listing price... $7,988,800
Past three months Homes sold........ 11
Highest sale price........ $1,599,900
Past six months Homes sold..... 33
Highest sale price........$4,150,000
Statistics supplied by Derek Gillette Personal Real Estate Corporation. Derek Gillette is a Realtor® with Gillette and Associates at eXp Realty and provides real estate services in the central Vancouver Island region. Current listings and values are accurate as of the date of publication. 23 PASSIONS | WINTER 2021
IN TR O D U C I NG O U R A L L NE W
ACTIVE MEMBERSHIP For those who prefer to exercise in a group setting, the "Active" membership provides access to a variety of fitness classes and racquet sports. Active members also enjoy the Wellness Club's social activities and use of all common areas. Join now for only $55/month
GIVE IT A TRY!
HERE ARE JUST A FEW OF OUR CURRENT CLASSES Strong For Life: Build strong, functional muscles with dumbbells and other equipment to develop balanced strength and power throughout your body. Tai Chi: This ancient Chinese practice has been linked to myriad health benefits and can be a positive part of an overall approach to improving wellness. Pilates: Incorporate breath with movement to lengthen, strengthen, and tone your entire body. Yin Yoga: This gentle yoga for relaxation allows for both healing and rejuvenation of your body.
Price per person, plus applicable taxes. Some restrictions apply, visit the Wellness Club reception desk for details.
EMBRACE WELLNESS TODAY!
3455 FAIRWINDS DRIVE NANOOSE BAY | 250.468.5303 |
24 PASSIONS | WINTER 2021
Is the advice to keep your head still helping golfers?
Hélène Delisle–Head of Instruction, Fairwinds Golf Club
After 20+ years of teaching, I notice how many golfers have been told to keep their head still or their eyes on the ball, but is it helping? In my opinion, we should say: keep your head stable until impact while continuing your rotation. Then allow your head to rotate after impact, so that your torso and hips can turn as much as you can. Why?... Because if you only tell a beginner to keep their head still, they won’t rotate their hips and torso enough after impact, thus creating an arm swing rather than a body swing. They will not be able to extend their arms at impact and will top the ball. They will also generate less club head speed. A good impact position should have 45º hip rotation towards the target, so that the torso turns correctly and the arms swing towards the target. If you move your head to the right and left (also called sway), your club head will not be low enough at impact resulting in thin shots or topping the ball.
USING A 7 IRON, here's a drill to help you with stability over the ball and with rotation.
1 To execute a CORRECT BODY SWING, keep your head stable until impact while continuing your rotation.
Place your feet three inches apart. Place your ball in the middle of your stance. Use 3/4 swings and hit 5 balls.
Your arms swing towards the target.
Allow your head to rotate after impact. Your torso and hips turn as much as you can.
An INCORRECT ARM SWING (head down for too long) limits arm extension and the speed of the club head resulting in thin shots that top the ball.
O OT D N O D
2 Place your feet shoulder width apart. Hit 5 balls as above.
Try to get the same feel by turning your hips and torso without moving your head until after impact. If you get better impact and hit straighter shots while your feet are close together, you know that you sway. Keep using this drill and alternate 5 balls with your feet together and 1 ball with your feet apart. 25 PASSIONS | WINTER 2021
Gardening Dreams by Sandy Robson
“I’m dreaming of a green springtime… with each seed catalogue I browse. Where the beet seeds glisten, and my spouse listens, to all my new year garden plans…” —with apologies to Irving Berlin
To combat the blues brought on by the rather rainy, windy, dark, and glum winter, I allow myself some time for dreaming of the green of spring; and flip open my seed catalogues, grab a highlighter and choose the plants I would like to grow in the garden this year. I LOVE MY PAPER COPIES OF SEED CATALOGUES FOR PERUSING WHILE I SIP A CUP OF TEA, and order a wide variety of them each year, but will admit to a bias for Canadian seed companies, with some of my favourites being: West Coast Seeds (Delta, BC), Richters Herbs (Ontario), Heritage Harvest Seed (Manitoba), McKenzie Seeds (also in MB). I tend to place my orders using their online stores Before I place my order though, I sort through all my existing seeds, to see where I have gaps in my collection. When I order a packet, I write the year purchased so that I know which to use up before they expire. I tend to hold on to seeds for at least three years. Some seeds like those for artichokes, celery and cucumbers can keep for up to 5 years, but I can never bring myself to just discard them after that time without first doing a test for viability. At the moment I have some scarlet runner beans, and sweet pea seeds sitting on a moist paper towel to see if they will germinate… and yes, despite 26 PASSIONS | WINTER 2021
the watched kettle advice, I look at them often, hoping to see the first delicate green of a sprout forming. Now’s the time to also check the supplies you have on hand—sterile potting soil, peat pots, seed trays etc.— to get a jump on the season and start one (or many) trays of seeds. Even though I am an avid gardener, I had resisted starting plants indoors from seed. That all changed last year, when after being up close and personal with the tiniest of seeds as they sprouted and grew delicately towards the sun, and then shepherding them through until they eventually became sturdy bunches of celery, glorious tomato plants, sunflowers and cosmos… well, I was hooked! The money savings alone when paying $3.99 for a packet of seeds vs. the same amount to purchase a single plant are considerable, but it is the sheer variety of seed available, particularly heritage options, that I find most enticing. And with names like Flat of Egypt (a beet variety from 1885), Black Valentine (a snap bean introduced in 1897), and Nebraska Wedding (a tomato whose seeds were brought in covered wagons to Nebraska in the late 1800’s), how can a passionate gardener be expected to resist?! Still I will be taking things slowly and do not plan on cramming every
nook and cranny of my home, and the greenhouse we built last fall, with seed trays; but I will be using this year to experiment and learn. From reading and listening to the advice of a variety of master gardeners, I will, for instance, be moving away from using peat pots. Apparently, they draw moisture out the soil, drying and stressing the seedlings—so I will instead use plastic (oh dear) trays. Using peat in the potting soil is a bit controversial as well—oh, the things you learn— hence I will be leaving that ingredient out of the mix. I also have the fun, to me, idea of using old chopsticks to label my trays… yes, we have had a LOT of take-out this past year. And a grow light and heating pad are also in my future… for the seeds, not my tired gardener’s bones! There is always so much growth that goes on in a garden, and not just among the plants. The opportunity to learn and experiment, and to literally enjoy the fruits of one’s labour keeps me dreaming all winter long. After experiencing the COVID-19 gardening boom of 2020, I suspect this will be another banner year for seed and plant sales, and plan on dropping by local nurseries as soon as they re-open to check out what they have (or will have) in stock. WHAT ARE YOUR GARDEN DREAMS FOR 2021?
MARCH International Women’s Day March 8 Look for surprise pop-up celebrations of this important day around Fairwinds.
A FEW GARDEN CHORES 1 If, like me, you leave your shrubs and perennials unpruned through the winter—in part to leave seed heads for over-wintering birds—you can start removing spent branches and leaves. Your evergreen hedges can be given a nice haircut and fruit trees a proper pruning.
Spring Break Junior Golf Camps March 15 – 25 Check out the details at Fairwinds.ca/golf-lessons and click Junior Group Programs Spring Equinox March 20 Otherwise known as the first day of spring, is a highly anticipated date by our local gardeners! Golf Membership Renewal March 31
2 Sort through garden supplies: seeds, potting soil and amendments, trays and pots. And having a new pair of gardening gloves on hand—haha— will start the gardening year off right.
3 Look over your garden tools, sharpen the spade, lubricate the pruning shears, check that the wheelbarrow tire is pumped up, and ensure the handles of shovels, hoes and trowels are not wobbly.
APRIL Easter Sunday April 4 Keep your eyes peeled for special events around Fairwinds and you might even catch a glimpse of the elusive Easter Bunny! Earth Day April 22 Celebrate our planet by planting a tree, collecting garbage, or engaging in other activities to care for the environment.
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N3 9 OO CWE A N SSI D EERLE SLI DIE NN C EGS
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