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Archive for the ‘July 23rd’ Category

Almost a best-kept equestrian secret

Just 10 kilometres northeast of Fort Assiniboine, nestled close to the Athabasca River, a road ends at Horse Creek Ranch. 

Riding out from this guest ranch, one enters the picturesque Sandhills Wildland Provincial Park. The park has a diverse landscape including steep valley walls and river flats, rolling hills and low wetlands, and a mixture of pine, white spruce and aspen forests.

Throughout the park are kilometres of equestrian trails. Sandy trails mean your horse does not need shoes and after a rain the trails dry quickly and are never slippery. And – no OHVs will ever destroy the peaceful solitude and beauty of this wilderness.

The Klondike Trail Staging Area is located in the southwest end of the park. You can ride on part of the historic Klondike Trail, originally established as a portage between the North Saskatchewan and Athabasca rivers for the Hudson Bay Company’s trade route. 

Later this trail was used again as part of an overland route to the Klondike during the gold rush of 1897-99. Today, you can see the marked grave site of a young Klondike-era girl and an old trapper’s cabin.

The marked trails have names like Wolf, Mule Deer, Moose, Beaver, Lynx and Migration. I’m surprised there is not one marked ‘Bear’ since we have had a few encounters with black bears. Yes, this is definitely a wild land park, but there are excellent maps to pack with you, as well as maps on posts at all the major trail junctions. Wagons and snowmobiles are permitted on designated routes only.

Every May long weekend the Cooking Lake Saddle Club (www.cookinglakesaddleclub.org) and their friends from Alberta Trail Riding Association (www.atra.ca) book Horse Creek Ranch for a camping, trail riding weekend. 

Most of our members camp with their RVs, some using the electrical hook-ups. A few opt for booking one of the six rustic cabins, two luxury and four standard. Everyone enjoys the hot showers and flush toilets! This weekend is so popular that we have a waiting list each year.

Individuals keep their horses in separate pens (40 in all) and a large group turns their herd out in a pasture. Water taps are conveniently located along the pens. All you have to do is fill your bucket, supply food for your mount, and later use the wheelbarrows to clean the manure and excess feed from the pens you use. If desired, you can work your horse in the round pen or outdoor arena.  

This year my husband and I, complete with camper (no power requested) and two horses, paid $30/day plus GST. 

Where else can you find such a great deal? And just a two-hour drive from Edmonton!

Horse Creek Ranch is the result of years of hard work by Siebe Brouwer. Year by year, Siebe has added improvements until HCR is the super guest ranch we enjoy today. 

Our accommodating host opens up his workshop for our club to enjoy evening entertainment, complete with a toasty iron stove if the evening happens to be chilly.  

Endurance Riders, 4H Clubs and other groups have enjoyed HCR’s hospitality, too. 

It’s also a great place to visit on your own for a quieter get-away. HCR is open from May to October. We’ve ridden there in the spring and summer, but imagine riding in the splendour of autumn colours!

Ready for a great holiday? Contact Siebe Brouwer or Ingrid Schelkens:  info@horsecreekranch.ca or visit http://www.horsecreekranch.ca.

You may also call 1-888-699-6099 (toll free in U.S. and Canada) or 780-584-2535.

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2 pounds lean ground turkey (Ryan: “I usually use a bit more”)

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

1 15-oz can whole tomatoes (Ryan: I use cans of chopped tomatoes or tomato pieces, and I use two cans)

1 can tomato puree (Ryan: the can says tomato sauce, and I use two)

2 cans kidney beans (Ryan: I use two cans kidney beans and one can bean blend, drained and rinsed)

12-oz can of beer or water (Ryan: I usually do around 8 oz water but I usually don’t measure, I just throw some water in)

3 cloves of garlic, pressed (Ryan: I use four or five cloves depending on the size of the cloves)

1 beef bouillon cube (Ryan: I use two)

1 tbsp chili powder (Ryan: I use two)

2 bay leaves (Ryan: I use four)

1 tsp each of cumin, coriander, oregano, thyme and red chili flakes (Ryan: I use 2 tsp of each)

Cook meat. Throw cooked meat and everything else in crock pot on low for about 8 hours. Done! (Ryan: I add corn, but I don’t measure, so I would guess about 2-4 cups. I just dump some in and stir and see if it looks colourful enough.)

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My body type is not listed in traditional biological morphology. If they had a shape labelled “box on a pear on upside-down bowling pins,” that would be me. Just imagine a mannequin with this shape and you can appreciate this is not an easy body type to dress. If business casual meant a Renaissance body in a muumuu, I would rock the office.

Unfortunately for me, designers and those who created business style long ago decided that women look most attractive, professional and confident in well-fitted clothing and wardrobes that include skirts, heels and sleeveless blouses (also known as straight jackets for the bread basket, bear traps and sausage casings). If you were to ask me what is my style philosophy, I’d answer comfort, which would make style gurus gag and spit their green tea gum onto their perforated Prada loafers.

I have decided, however, to challenge myself to change my attitude toward fashion and explore the what, why and how of putting together killer outfits. And to do this I will need the help of someone who can kindly but firmly tell me that chinos, Uggs, a T-shirt and a hat is not office-appropriate. Someone who can shake his head and say “Oh Sarah” in a way that demands change beneath its dulcet tones. This someone would be Style Guy, an office professional who moonlights as a fashion pundit and a balm to soothe our style wounds.

Before I start on this journey, I think it’s important to address the psychology of fashion. The way I see it, fashion isn’t about simply draping a body. For some, fashion is art, a passion in the same way others love gardening or mechanics. And just as an oenophile is dedicated to all things wine, a fashion aficionado is enthralled with every element of style, from design and quality to shape, texture and colour.

For most of us, fashion is about fun and confidence, flattering our body types and enhancing our image. What you wear says a lot about you, and if you choose to not care about fashion and fit, then guess what? You’re still making a fashion statement (also see Meryl Streep’s cerulean monologue in The Devil Wears Prada).

So here we go with our inaugural column that will lead off with a subject Style Guy says he receives the most questions about: jeans.

You can read Style Guy’s full denim blog at styleguy-jared.blogspot.com.

I asked Style Guy to select and talk about a few brands of denim he recommends for men and women. (And I don’t think it matters that I have heard of only two of the four chosen brands, so don’t mention it to him.)

For guys, Style Guy’s top picks are Diesel and Energie. Both come in a variety of fits and washes. For slimmer guys, he recommends a straight leg like the Viker. For guys who are a bit bigger he suggests a Zathan fit. The Zathan is straight through the thighs, but widens out into a bootcut. They tend to have more room in the waist/butt area and are more flattering on that body type. For Energie, the slimmer fit is called the Straight Morris.

The top picks for gals are Rock & Republic and Nudie, both of which come in a variety of fits. Rocks are good for girls who have a bit more curves, while Nudies are great if you are a slimmer fit and are looking for a great “skinny” jean. The Nudies also come in raw denim, which wears and looks better over time. They recommend wearing them for six months before washing them to achieve the ultimate look. To keep them fresh and kill germs, you can place raw denim in the freezer overnight and in the morning you are good to go.

So those are Style Guy’s expert tips. I’d like to add a few notes about what I’ve learned (okay, this may seem like a little pet-peeve venting and I suppose it is). Be careful when you wear low-rise jeans, as they can create the dreaded muffin top and/or belly lip. It’s worth your time to try on a variety of styles and washes to see exactly what works for your body type.

Another tip from Style Guy is not to wear really wide-legged pants that drag on the ground with flat shoes.

And lastly, we have our rapid fire Q & A with Style Guy. Faded jeans? Yes, if done correctly. Ripped jeans? Yes, if done correctly. Jeans to work? Only if you have a casual Friday or if your field of work allows. And even then, think of dressing up your jeans with a dress shirt and blazer and a pair of dress shoes. Flared leg? Nope, 1998 called and they took them back. Jeans with heels? Absolutely. Jeans without a belt? Nope. Always wear a belt. Dark wash? Absolutely. Coloured jeans? This falls into the advanced styling category, so yes if done right, but as a general rule I would say avoid.

That’s all for this entry, but watch for future columns on everything from a fall fashion preview to handbags done right. And don’t forget to enter to win our beauty bag. If you have questions for Style Guy, email them to us at countryasides@thejournal.canwest.com or post them on the wall of our Facebook page.

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Q: What do you recommend for style on the golf course?

 

A: Golf, like other sports, has a certain ‘uniform’ of what’s considered ‘appropriate’ attire.  

When on the golf course chinos, walking shorts and polos are all acceptable items. To add some flair to your golf attire look try adding some colour. 

Accessories such as gloves, shoes and golf bags come in a wide range of colors and styles, so choose one that reflects your personality.

And for the guys out there who really want to swish it up, Nike and other brands that design golf wear will often make pants with fun patterns or prints that can still be pulled together into a smart golf outfit.

Be fabulous.

Style guy.

If you have questions for Style Guy, email them to countryasides@thejournal.canwest.com. Readers also have a chance to win some of the fabulous gift cards we have tucked away in the drawer, so be sure to send us your questions for a random chance to win!

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Cirque du Soleil is pleased to announce that the critically acclaimed touring production Alegría is set to perform in Edmonton at Rexall Place from Aug. 11 – 22 for 16 performances only.

Alegría is a Cirque du Soleil classic and an internationally acclaimed production that has entertained more than 10 million people worldwide since its world premiere in Montreal in 1994. 

In May 2009, Alegría embarked on a new journey, performing the same mesmerizing production, but now in arenas throughout North America, giving more people the opportunity to enjoy a Cirque du Soleil show in their own town.

Alegría is a Spanish word for happiness, joy and jubilation and features an international cast of 55 performers and musicians from 17 countries and showcases breathtaking acrobatics. Acts include the Synchro Trapeze and the intense and high-energy Aerial High Bars in which daring aerialists fly to catchers swinging more than 40 feet above the stage. The vibrancy of youth is alive in Power Track, a brilliant display of synchronized choreography and tumbling on a trampoline system hidden under the stage floor. 

In Russian Bars, artists fly through the air and perform spectacular somersaults and mid-air turns, landing on bars perched on the sturdy shoulders of catchers.

To purchase tickets, please visit http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/alegria or call 780-451-8000. For more information about Cirque du Soleil, visit http://www.cirquedusoleil.com.

You can win tickets for two to enjoy the magic of Alegria at Rexall Place on Thursday, Aug. 12. Just fill out the coupon and mail it to Alegria Tickets, c/o Country Asides at the Edmonton Journal, 10006 101 St., Edmonton, AB, T5J 0S1. 

Or you can visit our Facebook page and place a comment there that says “I’d love to see Alegria.” We will do a random draw at noon on Monday, Aug. 9 from all entries received by that time. If you choose to enter on our Facebook page, please visit again on Monday afternoon, where we will announce our winners.

Employees of sponsors and family members living in the same household are not eligible to enter. Prize must be accepted as awarded, and must be picked up at our downtown offices before 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 10.

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Q: Why does my pet keep getting ear canal infections?

A: Because spontaneous bacteria or yeast infections rarely occur in a dog or cat’s ear canal. 

In my practice the only pet with an ear problem that does NOT return for an ear problem is the one with a foreign body (such as a grass seed) or ear mites (which tends to be more common in the cat). 

If both ears have been affected I can guarantee you that the infection is coming back. 

The good news is that provided you can get the prescribed medications into your pet, curing a bacterial or yeast infection is fairly easy. And nowadays it’s even easier since some veterinary dermatologists have started to advocate the use of larger volumes of ear ointment administered only once a day. Preventing the next infection is the challenge. 

Ear infections generally recur and become more difficult to treat until the underlying cause is addressed. The most common underlying causes are allergies (either due to fine particulate matter in the environment such as pollens, or food, or both), defects in the skin cycle, hormonal imbalances, or immune mediated disease.

Addressing the underlying cause greatly reduces the recurrence of ear infections; however, in most cases the underlying problem cannot be fully addressed (take allergies for example). 

Therefore I always inform my clients that there are two stages of therapy for their pet’s ear: the treatment phase and the maintenance program. The intensity of the maintenance program depends on the frequency of your pet’s flare-ups.

Note that a flare-up does not always equal an infection. Sometimes a dog can be scratching like crazy, shaking their head, their ears are red and sore, but there are no bacteria or yeast. 

This is one reason why its so important for your veterinarian to look at samples of the ear under a microscope. 

Not only that, but it can guide the selection of the appropriate medication, help determine the underlying cause, and it certainly aids in the design of an appropriate maintenance program.

Also of importance in managing recurring ear infections is follow up. If complete clearance of the infection and total cleanliness of the ear is not achieved, problems can recur due to incomplete cure as opposed to relapsing infection. 

Knowing the reason for recurrence affects both treatment and maintenance, so make sure you show up for that follow-up appointment no matter what you think is going on in the depths of your pet’s ears.

 

Dr. Jeffrey Person practices at the Delton Veterinary Hospital and co-hosts the listener call-in show Pet Talk, heard every Sunday morning at 7 a.m. on AM630 CHED.

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Your kids are becoming you…and you don’t like them, but your grandchildren are perfect. 

Going out is good. Coming home is better! 

When people say you look “Great,” they add “… for your age!” 

When you needed the discount, you had to pay full price. Now you get discounts on everything – movies, hotels, flights – but you’re too tired to use them. 

You forget names but it’s OK, because other people forgot they knew  you! 

The five pounds you wanted to lose is now 15, and now you have a better chance of losing your keys, than the 15 pounds. 

You realize you’re never going to be really good at anything, especially golf. 

Your spouse is counting on you to remember things you don’t remember. 

The things you used to do, you no longer care to do, but you really do care that you don’t care to do them anymore. 

Your husband sleeps better on a lounge chair with the TV blaring, than he does in bed. It’s called his “pre-sleep.”

You used to say, “I hope my kids GET married; now it’s, “I hope they STAY married!” 

You miss the days when everything worked with just an “ON” and “OFF” switch. When GOOGLE, ipod, email and modem were unheard of, and a mouse was something that made you climb on a table. 

Now that you can afford expensive jewelry, it’s not safe to wear it anywhere. 

Your husband has a night out with the guys, but he’s home by 9 p.m.  Next week it will be 8:30 p.m. 

You read 100 pages into a book before you realize you’ve read it.

What used to be freckles are now liver spots. 

But old is good in some things: old songs, old movies, and best of all, old friends!

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