Honey Workshop

After the field trip to the Richmond Sharing Farm, I went for a Honey Workshop, also organised by Arzeena, the Outreach Coordinator of the Richmond Fruit Tree Sharing Project. This workshop is to introduce us to bee keeping in your own back yard. According to Richmond’s bylaw, one can keep up to 3 bee hives in their back yard with some requirements to follow.

The workshop is held at The Garrat Wellness Center at 7504 Chelsea Pl near No 2 and Blundell. It is a workshop organised by a social club for the seniors and it’s free. Well, I’m not in my senior age yet but the community kitchen participants were invited to join this workshop too. We were greeted with tea and baklava.


The baklava is to tie with the honey workshop, something sweet for our palate.

In the workshop, we had Mr. Brian Campbell, a local expert on bee to brief us the life cycle of a bee and how one can build a bee hive in our own backyard. Mr. Campbell is also in the food security task force and he is working towards organizing an apple festival in Richmond. I’m looking forward to that.


Mr. Campbell also brought along some basic bee keeping equipments for demonstration. We had one of the participant to wear the bee suit for demonstration. The lady said it’s hot wearing the bee suit.

Here are the estimate cost to start a bee hive:
box: $150
bee keeping suit and tool: $100
bees: $150

Generally, a bee hive will yield about 100 lbs of honey in a year. One has to remember to reserve about 60 lbs of honey in the hive for the bees to go through the winter. It’s takes 3 years before the bees can go into production of honey.

After the workshop, we boarded a school bus to visit a honey keeper at Westham Island in Ladner.


We were given explanations again by Don, who has 35 bee hives on the how to bee keeping. T (more…)

Continue ReadingHoney Workshop

Richmond Sharing Farm Field Trip

Minoo organized a field trip to the Richmond Sharing Farm for the community kitchens for a change. Three of the community kitchens participated in this field trip, i.e. the Gilmore Park Church Community Kitchen, the South Arm Community Kitchen and the Caring Place Community Kitchen. We met at the South Arm Community Centre and boarded a school bus for the trip.


This field trip is to introduce us to the Richmond Fruit Tree Project located at the end of Gilbert Road and at the Terra Nova Rural Park. The Sharing Farm Project was initiated in 2001 by a group of volunteers. In six years, over 90,000 pounds of food has been harvested and donated to the Richmond Food Bank. Every week, the food bank feed over 800 people in which 40% of them are kids. Volunteers are always welcome to lend a helping hand in the farm. For those interested in volunteering, the farm is opened from Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 4pm.


You can rent a plot from the city which is three meters by seven meters for $40 a year. For those who are interested to have a little farm, the number to call for the waiting list is (604) 244-1208.

The individual plot of land is planted with all sorts of plants including vegetables and flowers. Here are some beautiful garlic chives and …


… lavenders. (more…)

Continue ReadingRichmond Sharing Farm Field Trip

Vancouver Sun Run 2008

We did the Sun Run last Sunday. We being Arkensen, Nanzaro and myself. Suanne opted out from running because it was too much work for her. LOL! I think she is chicken … she thinks that if she can’t keep up with the Kenyans, she won’t even try. So Suanne became the official Sun Run photographer for the family.


Never having ever ran the Sun Run before, we had no idea how bad the transportation could be. Obviously, driving downtown is out of the question. The other choice for us was to take the B-line from Richmond.

We decided to Skip the B-Line and chose instead to drive to Metrotown and take the Skytrain from there. At least there are lots of parking and there are lots of choices for lunch after the run. Oh yeah … I was thinking of food even before the run started.


I was not too confident that the smallish Skytrain system could even handle the throngs of people converging into the downtown core. So, we started off early … very early … like 2 hours before the official start time of 9AM.

The cars were already quite filled with runners. We could spot them quite easily. Getting downtown by Skytrain was quick.


We could see the BC Place on the way there. The BC Place was the finishing line of the 10K Sun Run.


We wore the timing chip from home. It felt kind of flimsy, the plastic ties they provided. Moreover, it was almost impossible for me to tighten it. It was jiggling all the way and I was so nervous of losing it that I had to take a peak at it every now and then.

Lose that timing chip, you don’t get a time but what is worse is that it will cost you $40 bucks if it is not returned. Yeah, I know … I put it on upside down. Nanzaro told me already. Who cares as long as it captures my time.


Even at slightly past 7AM, there was already a festivity mood. (more…)

Continue ReadingVancouver Sun Run 2008

Office Lunches: My Desk

Some of you know me … and can read me like a book already. For one, I like doing a series on things related to food. So, starting today I am going to start on a new series of “Office Lunches”. It’ll be all about the lunches (if you could call them lunches at all!!) that I had over three weeks. I really hope you all will find it interesting.

I’ll start off the series the next couple of days introducing to you the place where I had my lunches. Oh yeah, I had most of my lunches at my desk and it’s because I had so much to do in the office, I often only have time to grab a quick 5 minute bite.


I have a two desk cubicle all by myself. I love the location of my cubicle because it is secluded and have quite a lot of privacy. I wish I have an office but am just a small fry. Anyway, I am only about 50% at my desk most of the time because I will either be in the meeting rooms or going about tracking folks down.


The company uses HP machines exclusively. I like my notebook which I hack at it almost everyday in the year. The one you see there is a loaner (almost similar model) because mine is under repair because the monitor hinge came off from the casing(!). They decided to repair it instead of issuing me a new one because it not yet past it’s due date.

While at my desk, I connect it to an old-fashioned monitor and make it my extended desktop. I actually work faster with dual monitors. I also have a wireless mouse which I carry it all over the office with the notebook — I hate the touch pad. For some reason, I cannot get used to it.


I have a Cisco IP phone. This is the best phones I had ever used. I mean, it does everything except make the coffee. Most importantly the voice quality is miles better than any previous phones I had ever used. I spend a lot of time on the phone … long distance to our offices in other cities. IP phones saves the company lots of money especially when we have offices all over the world.

My favourite is the headphone. It is super sensitive and clear. When I take calls from my desk, I can be 100% sure the other side can hear me loud and clear. He he he … even when I am in a conference call, I don’t even have to speak real loud and my voice from the headset can overpower the others that makes people stop on their track.

Oh, I think I have a cool ringtone too … (more…)

Continue ReadingOffice Lunches: My Desk

Happy Halloween

After the sweet fix at Notte’s Bon Ton Pastry & Confectionery, we still have a lot time to kill and we went to Granville Island to soak up the sun. It was a glorious bright sunny day after a week of lousy wet and gloomy days.


I love the colour of fall, red, brown, orange and yellow. It is very beautiful especially with a blue sky in the backdrop. So, enjoy it while you can as it won’t last.


Soon, the leaves will be gone and we’ll have to wait for spring to arrive to see them again.


I kind of like this shot of the awning with fallen leaves. Can you make up some maple leaves from the shadows?

IMG_0247 (more…)

Continue ReadingHappy Halloween

Crossing US-Canada Border

This is not about food. I thought I end this series on our trips to Washington with a recap of our experiences crossing the border.

Did you know that the Canada-US border is the longest border in the world? What is also interesting is that it is also an undefended border. Stretching from the Pacific Ocean to Atlantic, the total length is almost 9000 km. It is Suanne and my dream that one day we can drive from coast to coast.


From Vancouver, there are two ways one could get across the border. The most common crossing is the beautiful Peace Arch Crossing. In between the two border stations, is a the Peach Arch Park. We like bringing visitors to this park because it’s very symbolic and scenic.


There is a few websites that you could go to find out the estimated border wait times. We like the ones here for southbound and here for northbound. They have web cams so that you can judge for yourself what the wait times really are.

The Peace Arch crossing (also known as the Douglas Crossing) is more commonly used by most people. There are three lanes with one reserved for the Nexus lane. Sometimes, some idiot would drive up the Nexus lane and then a bunch of other idiots will follow suit, clogging up the lane. So, stay away from the right most lane if you do not have a Nexus pass. I really wished that the US border guards throws these selfish idiots to the back of the line.

Oh, thanks for all the comments about the Nexus pass. One thing to add … I heard that you could opt to pay in either in USD or CAD. The rates were still old … you can either pay USD$50 or CAD$80. Can someone confirm that?


The other crossing is the Pacific Crossing. (more…)

Continue ReadingCrossing US-Canada Border

Shopping Jaunts To Washington State

Since I had been down to the USA for shopping the past three consecutive weekends, I think it makes me somewhat of an expert on this subject, don’t you think?

Anyway whether you agree or not, today I am going get on my soapbox and tell you my perspective of going down south for shopping. I really hope you all also chip in the entire education process of buying stuff in Washington, in particular Bellingham, Burlington and the Tulalip area. I will also want share about some of the stuff we had bought and hope that it will also spur you (if you are Canadian) to share with with me what to spend my money on my next trip down south. Somehow, I think you guys would love to read of this.

Our trips are centered mostly around Bellngham and Burlington. We sometimes drive even further south of the Tulalip area if we wanted specifically to go to either the Walmart Supercenter or the Seattle Premium Outlet.

We like the Walmart Supercenter. It’s a great place to pick up non-branded stuff. Their merchandize is not very exciting but at least it is huge and has everything you most likely need. In the Supercenter, they have a full supermarket line and sells also meat, diary product, etc even have a bakery, banks, hair and nail salons … the whole shebang.


There is also the favourite Seattle Premium Outlet, which strangely is NOT located anywhere near Seattle. It’s a favourite place to shop for branded clothing items. We sort of got bored with this place. If you want to pick up a pair of $25 Adidas tennis shoes, this is the place to do it.


Costco is also a great place to shop. Their merchandize is much more interesting and the savings seems a lot more better here. I prefer the Costco’s in Washington (I know there is one in Bellingham and another in Burlington) over the ones in the Lower Mainland. The ones in Richmond and Vancouver is a madhouse … too many people. Here, people shop at a slower pace. I like that.

I wanted to replace all four tires on my car. The Toyota service outlet in Richmond wanted $700 bucks for them. Know how much I could get it in Costco? $250! That is serious money we are talking here. You don’t have to go to Costco, you could try all the other tire outlets and you’ll find it way much cheaper in the States than Canada.


According to my calculation, gasoline prices here are 40% lower than in Vancouver. Someone help do the math for me … I have a hard time doing the math. $2.60 per gallon in the States and $1.00 per litre in Vancouver. Costco’s gas are much cheaper in Costco than elsewhere (you need membership to fill up here though).



Continue ReadingShopping Jaunts To Washington State

The Abbotsford Airshow 2007 (and IKEA Breakfast)

One of our favourite event every summer in Vancouver is the Abbotsford Airshow. For this year, we made it a point to attend because Arkensen had taken an interest in anything air force ever since he joined that Royal Canadian Air Cadets. For me, this is a great time to use my 70-200mm lens.

We went to IKEA for their breakfast before the show since IKEA is located on the way to the Abbotsford Airport.


There is no better breakfast deal than IKEA. The breakfast is just $1. That includes scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausages and a croissant. Suanne does not like eggs, nor hash browns, nor sausages but when it comes to a dollar breakfast, somehow everything seem so tasty to her! Serious, she never ever makes eggs or hash browns for herself for breakfast.


As a matter of fact, everything is $1 during breakfast. The pair of Apple filled crepes were also $1. Coffee? $1 with free refill. So we ordered only one coffee to share between ourselves. Since it was free refills, I had several rounds and went hyper for the rest of the day.

There is only ONE item that is not one dollar … and that is the 99 cents juice. Don’t know why they do not just round it up to $1 so that everything for breakfast is $1. Strange, huh?

Anyway, for cheapskates like us, we love $1 breakfast.


The Abbotsford Airshow is held every mid-August since 1962. So that makes it the 45th show this year.


I felt that the crowd was a bit thinner this year. It used to be so crowded that we once took about 1.5 hour in bumper-to-bumper traffic from Highway 1 to the airport. (more…)

Continue ReadingThe Abbotsford Airshow 2007 (and IKEA Breakfast)

HSBC Celebration of Light 2007

Sorry about this, guys. Am going to take a 1-day timeout from our vacation series to blog about the biggest fireworks event in the world. I just gotta do it today because I wanted to pique the interest of some of you before tomorrow’s finale fireworks show.

The biggest summer event in Vancouver is the annual fireworks competition where countries were invited to present a 30 minute fireworks show. This is held over 4 nights in a 2 week period in end July each year in English Bay. Over a million people attends the fireworks this year.


English Bay is perhaps the greatest setting one could get for a fireworks competition. The fireworks are fired from barges moored in the middle of the bay. With a wide open bay and the North Shore mountains as a backdrop, it is beautiful by itself.


Some lucky ones, get to watch from the high rises by the English Bay beaches. I am still waiting to be invited to a party in one of these high rises. I don’t know of any friend-of-a-friend who owns one of those condos … introduce me if you know anyone who owns a condo by the bay!!


Other lucky ones get to watch from their boats. There are many boats you could rent but they are expensive. For us we almost always watch from Vanier Park which is a lot more family oriented.


Alrighty … am gonna just share the picture I took from the first three nights of the fireworks. They are presentations from Spain, Canada and China. Of the three I attended, China really blew me away. They are by far the best so far. I heard that they have brought along the fireworks they have designed for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.


Below are some of the “keepers” that I took. They were all taken with either the 70-200mm or the 17-40mm lenses. Exposure time ranges from 1.3 secs to 2.0 secs.

Enjoy!! (more…)

Continue ReadingHSBC Celebration of Light 2007