Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society provides grassroots leadership and an inclusive process, with a voice for all community members, to ensure that our community grows and develops in a way that incorporates an environmental ethic, offers a range of housing and transportation choices, encourages a vibrant and cultural life and supports sustainable, meaningful employment and business opportunities.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Local Food in the Kitchen Workshops Teach Food Preservation

Jenny's Red Currant jelly
This summer and fall, the Local Food in the Kitchen workshops series will show locals how to preserve seasonal food from the peak of the harvest for the long Kootenay winter.

“There is plenty of local food available in the East Kootenay” said Cranbrook Food Action Committee’s Shannon Duncan, ”but it can be hard to eat local over the winter without the knowledge to turn seasonal food into preserved food.”
“And no one wants to eat the same thing all winter” added Wildsight’s Jessica Windle, “but with traditional techniques like fermentation, you can make a huge variety of tasty and nutritious preserved foods from simple ingredients.”

Local Food in the Kitchen workshops will cover six areas of food preservation: dehydrating, canning, pickling, making drinks, fermentation, and meat preservation, plus foraging in the wild for local ingredients. The series, put on by Wildsight and CFAC, runs on six evenings from August 5th to October 22nd, with sessions in both Kimberley and Cranbrook.

“The workshop series is an exploration of traditional and modern techniques to transform seasonal, local food into nourishing foods for the pantry.” said Windle. “Preserved foods - the only way that our ancestors could feed themselves consistently - are such an important part of many cultures. So many of the flavours from around the world that we love come from preserved foods and we are starting to rediscover the health benefits of traditionally fermented foods.”
“But preserving food doesn’t have to be complex” added Duncan, “and our workshops will give people hands-on experience so they can start preserving at home.”

The workshop series follows the seasons, with each workshop focusing on preserving local food that’s in season at the time of the workshop, so participants can leave inspired to start preserving immediately. The series runs on Tuesday evenings in Kimberley and on Wednesday evenings in Cranbrook, from 6-8pm. The workshops schedule is broken into summer and fall sessions:

1. Foraging & Dehydrating: Respectfully foraging for berries and herbs. Dehydrated backpacking meals.
Aug 5/6
2. Canning the Sweet Stuff: Canning fruit and jam.
Aug 12/13
3. Pickling: Beyond Cucumbers. Garden veggies you can pickle.
Aug 19/20
4. Homemade Vinegars & Drinks: Apple cider vinegar, herb-infused vinegars. Teas, decoctions, and infusions.
Sep 30 / Oct 1
5. Gourmet Fermentation: Fermented condiments: gourmet relish, chutney, and sauces
Oct 7/8
6. Meat Preservation: Jerky and pressure canning. Local sources of meat.
Oct 21/22

Workshop details and registration are online at or by phone at 250 427 2535 x223. The workshop cost is $20 per workshop or the full series of six for $100. The workshop cost includes supplies, so participants will take something preserved home from each workshop. Participants are asked to register by the Friday before each workshop to help the organizers plan ahead to buy ingredients.
“With the success of the Kimberley and Cranbrook Farmers’ Markets and the growing interest in backyard food gardening, the next step for many is preserving local food so that they can enjoy the harvest all winter” said Duncan.

Funding for this project has been provided by the Real Estate Foundation of BC and the Community Food Action Initiative, in cooperation with Interior Health.

Monday, July 28, 2014

BC debt hits new record high as Public Accounts released

From The Tyee:

BC debt hits new record high as Public Accounts released

By Bob Makin

British Columbia's debt reached a new record high $60.693 billion on March 31 and contractual obligations are nearing $100 billion.
That is according to the July 15-released Public Accounts for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.
The debt increased $4.877 billion during the year. The total includes $41.068 billion taxpayer-supported debt for government operations, education, health and transportation infrastructure and $19.625 billion self-supported debt from Crown corporations and agencies. The largest Crown corporation debt is $15.559 billion for BC Hydro.
By comparison, the accumulated provincial net debt was $45.154 billion as of March 31, 2011, just over two weeks after Christy Clark was sworn-in as premier. Clark earned derision from the NDP and BC Conservatives when she campaigned in a bus last year emblazoned with "Debt Free B.C." to promote her vision of a liquefied natural gas industry. The Office of the Premier did trim its purchasing card spending, from $402,848.38 to $395,220.26 in the past year. It is substantially less than the $475,015.19 spent in 2011.
- See more at:

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Flora after the flood of Elizabeth Lake

Allegheny Monkey Flower
 An unusual phenomenon with the high water at Elizabeth Lake has been the lifting of whole areas of cattails forming floating islands that have drifted with the winds.  Most days they can be found at the north end of the lake impeding visibility of the water and giving the appearance of solid ground. 

 In the last couple of days however, they moved off to another area of the lake taking flora and fauna within with them.  On one of these Dr Doolittle type islands the other day I spotted this plant.

 Its appearance suggested that it is a member of  the the Scrophulariaceae or Figwort Family but its accurate identification has eluded me.  If anyone out there knows for sure what species this is please let me know. My tentative identification labels it as Allegheny Monkey Flower or Mimulus ringens.  What is really important is that this pretty pink flowered plant grows and can be easily seen on our doorstep in the wet environment provided by the floating islands of Elizabeth Lake. 

Dalmation Toadflax in far from its normal form as it struggles to keep going
In contrast to this interesting little find is the invasive Dalmation Toadflax or Linaria vulgaris which still manages to push through the flooded paths and force out a bloom.  It's appearance is a far cry from normal in this photo as it emerges from the mud.  This plant normally thrives in dry wastelands but its existence here demonstrates why it can be so invasive.

The Ribes odoratum or Clove Currant that I have written about before has now been drained of high water.  As predicted oxygen starvation whilst in the water has taken its toll.  It does not look good but despite that, the shrub has managed to form some berries which will hopefully be viable next spring and germinate to replace this long standing cluster of the sweet scented flowering shrub.
Berries of Ribes odoratum or Buffalo Currant

dead stems and leaves of shrubs, (including Ribes odoratum)  and trees that have been under water for three months

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Activity at Elizabeth lake

From 'Wind In the Willows' by Kenneth Grahame


All along the backwater,
Through the rushes tall,
Ducks are a-dabbling,
Up tails all!

Ducks' tails, drakes' tails,

Yellow feet a-quiver,
Yellow bills all out of sight
Busy in the river!

Slushy green undergrowth

Where the roach swim--
Here we keep our larder,
Cool and full and dim.

Everyone for what he likes!

WE like to be
Heads down, tails up,
Dabbling free!
High in the blue above

Swifts whirl and call--
WE are down a-dabbling
Up tails all!

photos - Jenny Humphrey

Friday, July 25, 2014

Michael's Musings

 Mayor Wayne Stetski seeks citizen priorities in re-election bid

By Michael J  Morris
Wayne Stetski who announced in July that he would seek re-election for a second term as Cranbook mayor in the November 15  municipal election is asking citizens to assist him in finalizing his priorities for the election campaign, and presumably another term.
What a novel idea for a politician! Actually ask the people you are want to represent for their priorities so that "Together we can make an even better Cranbrook."
Forgive me for being a bit cynical, but Mr. Stetski's post on his Facebook page caught me off guard, give the dismal state of politics being practiced in Canada these days at the federal, provincial and municipal levels.
Granted, Mr. Stetski has shown a willingness to meet with folks at his 'Coffee with the Mayor' sessions on a regular basis at various restaurants in the city, but now he is taking it a step further. He has also invited citizens to go along on walks.
Here is the post from Facebook on July 17:
"Over the next two months I will be finalizing my priorities for the next four years so that I can commit to them in my upcoming campaign. I'd like to hear from you. What have you seen over the last 2+ years that you would like to see continued in this great little city that we all call Home? What new initiatives would you like to see? Together we can make an even better Cranbrook!"

On June 11, he announced that he would seek re-election, and here is the Facebook post:

"By announcing now it will give the people of Cranbrook five months to tell me what they feel the priorities should be for the next four years. There are a number of important initiatives underway ranging from removing barriers to business to ensuring Cranbrook is Youth Friendly to making Cranbrook more accessible for people with mobility challenges to encouraging the arts and multiculturalism, to name just a few.
TOGETHER, we will keep Cranbrook moving forward!!"
In his announcement, he gave a very clear indication that he wants input from the citizens. He reinforces it in his most recent post, so folks, if you have not contacted Mayor Stetski with your priorities for the city of Cranbrook, I suggest you do so.
Just imagine how great a city, province and country we would be if politicians started listening to the people, and acting in their best interests, not those of a select few  --- the so called base that seemingly dominates 21st Century politics.
My email is

Full disclosure: I am not now and never have been a member of the Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society; however, I did conduct a workshop for its members for which I was paid.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Nikolai Begg: A tool to fix one of the most dangerous moments in surgery

What's Happening...

Friday July 25th

Cranbrook and District Arts Council
Photography Exhibit Reception
The Gallery
135, Tenth Avenue South
Also Teddy Bear Hide and Seek Clue Sheets available
A few Teddy bears left for purchase

Saturday July 26th

Cranbrook Farmer's Market
9:00am - 1:00pm
Tenth Avenue South

Summer Sounds
Rotary Park
11:00am - 4:00pm

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Energy and BC, An Essay by Roger Gibbins

The discussion  about LNG and BC resources is repetitive and does not go away. This article from Alberta Oil Magazine is from February of this year.  As we experience and assess more and more weather events due to climate change, our collective conscience surely must ask if we really should continue to 'say yes' to massive resource developments as Premier Clark emphatically stated in her address to the Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce.  What is so wrong with 'no' and a commitment to consume less, be more self-sufficient and hold growth to something more sustainable as much of the world is doing?  We are players too.

Like her or loathe her, B.C. Premier Christy Clark is possibly Canada's most influential energy player.

An Essay from the former president of the Canada West Foundation by Roger Gibbins
British Columbia Premier Christy Clark embodies the tension Canadians feel between energy development and environmental protection. The fate of her political career depends on finding the right balance.
This conclusion stems only in part from B.C.’s vast, if hardly unique, natural gas reserves. Of greater significance is that the most pressing energy challenges we face – access to Asian markets and investment, First Nation participation in rather than opposition to energy projects, strident environmental campaigns against any form of resource development, community deference to the National Energy Board, and public concerns about tanker traffic along B.C.’s iconic coast – are all coming to a boil on Premier Clark’s watch.

To read the whole essay, go to the link above.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Finding beauty as the backed-up water recedes at Elizabeth Lake

The  green slippery slime on the bridge deck is not pretty.  Neither is the sludge and mess of weeds on what was once a network of trails loved by visitors and residents alike.  The clever opportunists of the plant world however are there, including this beautiful Polygonum amphibian, Water Smartweed in other words.  This pretty pink blooming plant likes to grow where water is drying out.

Thanks Stewart for the great photo