Posts in Environment

Photo Series: Mission Creek – Spring

A photo series in three parts, posted every Thursday until early July entitled Mission Creek. This is 3 of 4 and is focused on Spring. Catch up on Part 1 – Fall and Part 2 – Winter.

Hot Dam! Revelstoke’s Spillway Wide Open

You may have caught the photo we shared on our Facebook page, well, we also spotted local YouTube user SurfTheWhite0001‘s HD video capture of the awesome power of water in motion…

Photo Series: Mission Creek – Winter

A photo series in three parts, posted every Thursday until early July entitled Mission Creek. This is 2 of 4 and is focused on Winter. Catch up on the first post, Fall.


We’ve challenged you to take part in a summer story; one where where we can all contribute to a visual diary of Endless Summer in the Awesome Okanagan. (Find out more about what we want to share with you!) We lovingly refer to this little project by its Twitter hashtag, the #aokendlesssummer.

We’ve been keeping our eyes out on Twitter and Instagram for the photos that would evoke an instant nostalgia for the present, ones that felt just right to us. I’m really excited to show to you some of the first ones to come in, mostly because these aren’t even all the ones we’ve seen! This is a summary of the ones that really stood out to us. Effing stoked to share more over the summer.

rhysalbrecht love the framing of this golf shot

alanadenham is excited about her “Early morning outfit”

thirteenshots “#beach” says it all. I’m pretty sure this is a Vernon beach, I think I grew up around here.

fiveache “Spray painted my corner stools white. They look amazing!” This shot, this house(!) looks so comfy. I want to live here. +100 points for re-using an old chair and DIY projects.

wynwyn Inspired by this view, “It is a goooooooorgeous day in k-town today! Enjoy it!” makes me want to ditch work and go hiking.

cbordes snaps an excellent angle of the Paramount in DT Kelowna.

Photo Series: Mission Creek – Fall

A photo series in three parts, posted every Thursday until early July entitled Mission Creek. This is the 1 of 4 and is focused on Fall.

“Land Awakening” Documentary in Penticton

Filmmaker Raul Alvarez

On Monday June 11th the Western Canadian premiere of the independent documentary by Mexican-Canadian filmmaker Raul Alvarez’ “Land Awakening” will be showing at the Okanagan College Lecture Theatre in Penticton.

“Land Awakening” is my personal journey to experience hands-on organic sustainable agriculture, turning into the discovering of alternative technologies and approaches to producing and gathering food.  The experience resolves to a spiritual reflection into our deep and sacred relationship with the Land.  It has been a long personal challenge to put at test my perseverance and commitment to the cause of healthy food and to my profession.”

Roused by his son’s WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) expedition to Spain, Raul set off on his own journey which eventually took him around the Mediterranean and back into Canada.

Ines Sanchez of the Institute Of Permaculture Monsant

Through dynamic characters comes exploration into alternative ways of understanding terms like ‘agriculture’, ’tilling the soil’, ‘supermarkets’ and even ‘weeds’.  What we have come to depend on as ‘easy living’ is nothing more than huge profit for mega-corporations and pharmaceuticals;  in fact a supermarket is not ‘easy’ for the consumer!  It’s full of confusion and trickery and 9 out of 10 times you come out with way more purchases than you wanted, or spent way more money than you intended.

We’ve learned to survive without having any responsibility for our humanly consumptions or the impact we make on the earth we all live and depend on.  But there

Francois Couplan

are people out there who giving back and in turn re-building the foundations of a happy and healthy community where everyone prospers.  Call it a revolution, call it a global transformation – regardless,  filmmakers like Raul Alvarez are capturing it on film for the rest of us to see.  Once you can see someone else ‘doing it’ the idea of an honest and sustainable life doesn’t seem ‘utopian’ but rather attainable and ENJOYABLE!

A big thank you to C.URB – Centre for Urban Agriculture and Nikos Theodosakis from “THEOS Restaurant” both of Penticton for showing their generosity and support for this event.

Where: Okanagan College, Penticton Campus Lecture Theatre
When: Monday, June 11th – doors open at 6:30 PM, show starts at 7 PM
How Much: $10
For: Everyone

For more information click here…

Green, Grey, and Prickly All Over: Pincushion Summit with Dr. Adventure

I am quite a fortunate lad. You see, I have a wife who drags me out of bed at ungodly hours of the morning every weekend. In and of itself, this might seem like a sadistic version of “lucky” to you. However, were it not for said wife and her slightly psychotic pack of runners who convene before the rooster rises, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to explore many nooks and crannies of the Okanagan. The best part? I get to do it during the hours of the day when the silence has yet to be broken.  Prohibitive as it may be to less-rested folk, I am especially grateful on the days when I find that my unknown adventure leads to a reward greatly exceeding the early morning anguish. My venture to Pincushion Summit was one of those ventures.

Nestled in the back of a neighbourhood, just beyond the Ponderosa Golf & Country Club, lies the trail head. To get there, take 1st Ave from Highway 97 in Peachland, and quickly turn left on to Ponderosa Drive. Follow it all the way to the end and voila, we have an adventure in the making.

Now I must warn you, if your lungs are prone to burning from a couple flights of stairs, you may want to take this one slow. At times, this hike seems like more of a climb. Pincushion Mountain is not for the faint of heart. You really have to monitor your footing on this little trek since there are some teeth-like protuberances and some gravel that really make you dance with the wrong traction.

Continue Reading…

Inspiring New Winery & Creamery Now Open in Penticton

It all comes down to living life with passion and not letting even the largest obstacles cloud your vision, a great lesson learned through the creation of Upper Bench Estate Winery & Creamery in Penticton.

I’ve recently had the opportunity to sit down with Shana Miller, Cheesemaker and part owner of the newly opened winery & creamery in Penticton. Shana’s husband Gavin is the winemaker, Wayne & Margareta Nystrom are part owners and grow grapes for the operation, and their daughter Tessa is in charge of marketing AND will be organizing and producing Tessa’s Tree Fruit Stand this summer. Plus her beautiful photography is showcased in the tasting room!

Gavin & Shana Miller met each other while Shana was living at Poplar Grove Winery in the 90’s. That Gavin Miller has quite the following in the industry, they all know who he is and just what he’s capable of producing. Throughout the years he’s created award-winning wines at places like Painted Rock and Poplar Grove. It’s long been a dream of theirs to open their own family operation, but of course finding land on the Naramata Bench and kicking the whole thing off the ground ain’t no walk in the park!!

King Cole, the boldest of the blue cheeses produced by Upper Bench Estate Winery & Creamery

In January 2011, a foreclosed Holman Lang establishment was up for auction so Gavin and Shana viewed it, it was perfect! But hold on… after more number crunching they realized they were just not going to be able to scrape the money together to launch the business the right way, and there is no such thing as doing a half-ass job in that family. Dismayed and downtrodden they felt it all sliding away…

A peek into the cheese locker!

Until one fateful day Gavin found himself standing in line at the grocery store with an old friend he hadn’t seen in ages and the pair got to talking; catching up on years past. Gavin filled his friend in on what life’s hand was dealing them, feeling so close but so far away to building their own piece of the wine industry pie. The very next day they received a phone call from that friend in line at the grocery store, saying that his wife had recently been talking about opening their own winery (they already grow grapes on their property at Margaretta Vineyards), and they were ready to make partners. Instantly the bond was formed, they created their partnerships and got right down to business. Gavin and a realtor friend made the trip to Vancouver to fight for the property. The anticipation was fierce, but in the end the Miller’s bid was the highest. THEY WON! THEY WON! Oh how their heads were spinning, they were about to live out their dreams! The years and years of each of them perfecting their craft was about to be realized in starting their own company in the sunny Okanagan! One year later, viola! Upper Bench Estate Winery and Creamery is now open for business!

 Here’s a list of the goods they have on sale in their tasting room right now:


Riesling (2011)

Pinot Gris (2011)

Pinot Blanc (2011)

Chardonnay (2011)

Upper Bench Winery's 2011 Rose

Rosé (2011)

Pinot Noir (2010)

Merlot (2010)

Upper Bench Estate Winery supports the “Put a Cork In It” recycling program. Cork is a 100% recyclable and renewable resource that can be used to make building materials such as cork underlay, cork flooring, acoustical cork wall tiles, and

cork fabrics which all qualify for LEED points in sustainable building practices. For more information on “Put A Cork In It” check out their website at


Gold (washed rine, firm, many ‘eyes’, pairs with Chardonnay or Pinot Blanc)

Gold French (firm, brine washed, mad with basil, rosemary, oregano, thyme, lavender, fennel, tarragon herbs, pair with Riesling)

Gold Italian (firm, brine wash, made with sundried tomato, onion, and garlic herbs, pair with Pinot Gris)

Okanagan Sun (mild, soft, brine washed, pair with Pinot Noir)

U & Brie (buttery, creamy, pair with Rosé)

King Cole (12 wks old, full flavoured blue cheese, pair with Merlot)

Grey Baby (mild blue, veins throughout, pair with Pinot Noir)

Moody Cow Coming Soon!

Artist Johann Wessels paints the mural on the side of Upper Bench Estate Winery & Creamery

When it came time to start re-designing the drab building, the owners threw around the idea of having a mural painted on the facade of the building. Next thing they knew an artist walked through the door and pitched the idea of having a mural painted on the side of their building. “Oh really? Funny… we were thinking the same thing!!”

Johann Wessels is the artists name, originally from South Africa he was used to seeing great wineries cloaked in beautiful murals and just felt something was missing from the wine country in the Okanagan – there was no large-scale art. On a hope and a prayer he approached the Upper Bench owners and pitched the idea of having the murals on their building. That project went off without a hitch and Johann would love to see more being created throughout our area.

He’s been a part of the Re-Imagine Festival which is an event hosted by the Downtown Penticton Association. The organizers get artists together and disperse them throughout the downtown core to places graffiti (artists?) would target, and create a mural there instead. As a graffiti (artist?!) would not likely paint over someone else’s art it is a great way to beautify and preserve the downtown core. You will have to keep your eyes open the next time you’re in our beautiful little city!

Please check out Johann’s website at

I would definitely keep this stop on your list of places to visit this summer!