Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I Miss My Pepper...

One of the things I dislike about all my travel is that I have to use whatever cooking supplies are available in the houses I stay in. That means that this morning for example I had to use pepper that was just flavorless dust when it came out of the shaker. Terrible stuff and I don't understand why this is what most people choose to use on a regular basis. Awful tasting, a pure disappointment and the ruination of my scrambled eggs. Let me send you some samples of Watkins Pepper and you’ll never touch the grocery store shelf brands again! Hey, I even know of people who carry our pepper with them and use it in restaurants so they are not forced to use what’s on the table!

Of course I can’t carry all the spices and Watkins products we regularly use at home but at least I’m going to pack some of the little pepper samples with me next time I travel. This will also include our Cinnamon as a quarter teaspoon of this brand a day will help lower your blood sugar levels by up to 30% according to a recent study in the US.

Vanilla is one other item I’d like to bring with me but that would probably be going too far. Again, once you try the Watkins Vanilla you won’t even look at the regular store brands which taste like chemicals or medicine of some kind when you compare them to ours. The "Original Double Strength” is just fantastic and I enjoy putting a few drops into water to make a great tasting and refreshing drink with a few ice cubes added in… and in a milkshake… WOW!

Want another vanilla tip? Put a few drops into a microwave safe mug and put it in your microwave on high for 30 seconds or a minute depending on your power setting. The steam put off will make the inside of your microwave come clean with just the brush of a cloth and your room will smell great!

Hmmm… This has started sounding like a sales pitch but it was only intended as a lament to having to use “store bought” brands and REALLY missing my Watkins products. Try them and you’ll know what I mean.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Old Crow Walking Tour

Well I completed my walking tour introduction to Old Crow this morning. My initial impressions that this is a great little community have been reinforced. It’s neat and tidy, the people are friendly and the countryside appeals to my nature. I’ve posted a number of photos on my Flickr and Facebook sites so the ones here are just teasers for you.

Now, I do have one big disappointment however and even if the powers that be in our head office read this and choose to “disagree” with me I still have to say it. My problem is that we do not have the facilities to service this town properly. I understand that our store, warehouse and staff house are leased from the local Band Council but these buildings are woefully inadequate and since we are the one and only store in town it genuinely bothers me. We have space to carry only the very basics in groceries, no retail display unless it’s piled high above the grocery shelves and while the produce department is looking pretty good, three of our freezers are broken and can’t be repaired so there isn’t even room to display much of anything. We do however have 4 chest freezers full of ice cream and frozen novelties. Hmmm… think I’ll shift priorities this coming week.

To tell you the truth I personally find it a little embarrassing that I’m not able to provide better customer service here. There are just too many things required that I either haven’t done in years or ever done at all. (Does anyone out there know how to complete a Post Office accounting week-end and month-end?) In the meantime I’ll keep plugging away and try to get things cleaned up enough so we can do a proper inventory and determine a solid starting point to get things rolling from. The new District Manager is coming up the first week in June so we’ll see what he feels can be done to improve the situation. Time for a joint venture to upgrade a few things?

The town has a great web site where you can get all kinds of information and you MUST read the “Caribou Coordination” page as it explains the importance of this location in relation to the 150,000+ strong herd. All parts of the animals are used from the meat to the antlers, hoofs, hide, head and hair. Nothing is ever wasted in a First Nations community as they understand and appreciate how the lives of themselves and the wildlife must co-exist in harmony with each other.

Again, it’s a great place and I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to visit here. The town is in the process of building a fancy new visitors center so that, combined with a couple Bed & Breakfasts that I saw this morning means that the community of Old Crow is ready, willing, able and eager to welcome you to the shores of the Porcupine River. I highly recommend it for tourists and let me know if there is any information I can get for you and I’ll meet you at the airport!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Enroute, May 18/08

I always get a kick out of the airline announcement about using the life jackets that are located under your seat cushion. Does anyone actually believe that “in the unlikely event of a landing in the water” that it will make the least bit of difference if I have my life jacket on or not? Come on… tell the truth now. The only reason for us to be wearing those bright yellow vests is to make it easier to fish out the pieces later. I say pieces because if this Airbus 321 touches the water even at something approaching a normal landing speed (let alone the more likely 400+kph) that’s all that will be left of most.

Now, what’s the main reason for fishing us out? Why, so the sharks won’t choke on us and die of course. So therefore by my powers of deductive reasoning it has become obvious to me that the manufacturer of all those tens of thousands of little yellow pieces of plastic is owned or controlled by Greenpeace. Yup, not only are they saving the predators of the deep they are making a tidy profit off it at the same time.

Wow, my reasoning amazes even myself sometimes. Must be the thin air at this altitude as at the moment I’m scribbling these notes I am near the end of my third flight of the day, almost 9 hours in the air so far. I was up at 5:00am to get to Sudbury for the first leg of the journey to Toronto on Air Canada Jazz (about 1¼ hours) then another flight of just over 5 hours to Vancouver and then onto this flight of another 2½ hours up to Whitehorse where I will spend the night. Tomorrow will be another 4½ hours from Whitehorse to Dawson to Inuvik and finally landing in Old Crow in the early afternoon.

I wonder what conspiracies I’ll think up during that flight! Maybe I’ll work out a plot for the next X-Files movie… wait, who’s that guy coming over holding the funny white jacket? Stay back or I’ll hit you with my yellow plastic vest! No, wait, get away….. aarrgggghhhh!

See you tomorrow! (If they let me out)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Where to next?

OK, it’s now official that the next trip is to Old Crow, Yukon. I’m looking forward to it as it’s one of the places I’ve always wanted to visit and it’s our only store in the Yukon Territory. Old Crow is located on the banks of the Porcupine River, is part of the Vuntut Gwitchin (People of the Lakes) First Nation and has a population of about 300. It is named after a chief named Deetru’ K’avihdik (Crow May I Walk) who died in 1870. The town is accessible only by aircraft and is the most northern community in the territory.

Travel route will be Sudbury – Toronto – Vancouver – Whitehorse – Dawson – Inuvik – Old Crow with an overnight in Whitehorse. I’m also hoping to spend a day or so in Dawson on my way out to visit this old gold rush town and some of the historical sites such as Jack London’s cabin, the Robert Service cabin and the Berton House. I’d also like to check out some of the Paddlewheeler’s and hopefully there is still at least one running that I can take a tour on. If not I know I’ll still have a great day walking around the community and maybe I’ll even have a drink or two in one of the local establishments… maybe even the world famous “Sourtoe Cocktail” at the Downtown Hotel.

I’ll keep you all posted!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Solved one problem...

There, solved one problem. I've deleted my "Bingo" game. Now maybe I can get some yard work done.

Or maybe not... "PuzzleBee" anyone?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Hello, my name is Murray and I’m a Facebookaholic…

So recently I’ve become addicted to a couple “educational tools” on Facebook. I absolutely, positively HAVE to play my “Roll Up The Brim” every four hours and I’m now up to almost 3,000 brims rolled with nothing to show for it yet but a sore index finger.

I also have to play every hour “My Facebook House” plus answer 20 challenges on top of that every day as well.

Yesterday I discovered “McNopoly” and I’ve got three quarters of my game board filled in that already.

NOW I’ve discovered a “Bingo” game that will play automatically for you so you don’t have to take time away from anything else to watch the board.

Sigh… when am I supposed to find any time for my “Pirate” battles?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

And anther one...

This isn't a new visitor for us but it's the first time we've seen them this year. What's going on? Do the Orioles and Goldfinch families travel together?

Photo is under a Creative Commons license from the Carplips Family. Thanks!

Some day I just have to upgrade my own digital camera system. The one I'm using now is a Polaroid I bought about four years ago in Churchill. Of course I'll also have to grow some patience so I can wait for these guys to get into position for me.

New visitor this morning...

This is the first time we've had this fellow around the house. He has been spending the morning feasting on assorted insects by picking them off the screen door and deck chairs. Hope he stays around a while... I wonder if it's the new bird bath that attracted him?

This photo is under Creative Commons license off ricmcarthur's photostream. Thanks, and now I've got to go start looking for this guys nest.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Great trip coming up!

Just got an e-mail from Winnipeg and they sure knew what would entice me to make another trip for them. If it goes through it will be a visit to one of the locations I’ve always wanted to see and a place that there is a line up to go to. I’ll just post the photo for now and make you guess a little bit. What? You want a hint? OK, it’s above the Arctic Circle and that long winding river in the Google Earth photo should also give you a clue. Watch for more news coming soon!

Now arriving...

I know I’m a week late is checking out the ferry for this year but I happened to be in the South Baymouth area yesterday making some Watkins deliveries when it came in. “Going to see the ferry” seems to be a regular pastime for me and I enjoy heading out there several times through the summer just to watch it come and go, and get some great Farquahar’s ice cream from one of the local stands at the same time. When you come to visit make sure you try the Hawberry flavor as it’s one of the best and of course the Hawberry is native to Manitoulin so you can say you’ve visited the island unless you’ve tasted the Hawberry in some form or other!

Of the highlights of the summer for us is taking the Sunset Dinner Cruise that the Chi-Cheemaun offers. The cost is very reasonable and includes your walk-on return trip, a great meal and of course some of the best scenery in the world. For sure we’ll be out there at least once again this summer and perhaps you can join us for an evening or two. We look forward to seeing you on board!