A Taste of Spring

Nothing says summer like the sweet aroma of a Saskatoon berry crumble baking in the oven on a warm July day. As a child, I spent many happy hours picking the small, succulent, purple berries. Some even made it into the bucket and into the kitchen.

Also called juneberry, pigeon berry and prairie berry, Saskatoon bushes are plentiful across the prairies and forested regions of Alberta and British Columbia, as well as parts of the United States. Saskatoon berries grow on trees that can reach more than twenty-six feet in height. The small white flowers are one of the first flowers of spring and fill the air with their heady, sweet, musky smell.

These colorful, flavorful and nutritious berries are versatile. Their sweet, nutty, almond taste has made them a staple in kitchens for centuries. The Cree First Nations people called them mis-sask-quah-too-mina and dried the berries, combining them with dried meat to make pemmican. At a mere thirty calories per half a cup, and packed full of fiber and antioxidants, the Saskatoon berry is a definite nutritional winner.

Today the berries are used in jam, pie, wine, cider and beer. One of the most unusual ways I’ve enjoyed Saskatoons is in a delicious and decadent concoction called Saskatoon poutine, served in Klondike Kate’s restaurant in Dawson City, Yukon.

Here’s a recipe I found in my mother’s 1940 Home Economics manual. It’s never-fail and easy to make. Try it and you too will become a fan of this wild berry.

Saskatoon Berry Brown Betty

3 cups ripe Saskatoon berries                                 ¼ cup white sugar

¼ cup butter                                                             2 cups soft bread crumbs (whole wheat crumbs may be substituted for a healthier option)

2 Tablespoons lemon juice                                      ½ cup cold water

a pinch of salt

  1. Melt butter and stir in bread crumbs.
  2. Grease a baking dish, and put in one-quarter of the crumbs and one-half of the berries. Sprinkle with one-eighth cup of sugar.
  3. Add another layer of crumbs, berries and sugar. Sprinkle remaining crumbs on top.
  4. Add water and bake at 350 degrees F. for forty-five minutes until the Saskatoon berry mixture is bubbling and the crust is brown.
  5. Set the baking dish on rack to cool for ten minutes before serving.

Delicious served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Old Dogs

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I’ve always loved Tom T. Hall’s song lyrics: “Ain’t but three things in this world that’s worth a solitary dime But old dogs and children and watermelon wine.” I’ve never tried watermelon wine, I like kids, but I love old dogs. There’s something about their calm, trusting gentleness that tugs at my heart.

My dog, Jazz is a twelve-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer. That’s eighty-nine in human years. Her eyebrows have turned gray, her face grizzled and her eyes cloudy. Her once svelte, leanly muscled body has sagged, her back legs bowed from arthritis. She used to be filled to the brim with frenetic energy and needed two long walks every day to tire her out. Even then she’d grab the old tattered soccer ball and beg me to kick it for her so she could run and catch it, barking in happiness the whole time. She’d leap like a deer over fallen trees, and race ahead on the trail, and sprint back, again and again as if telling me to hurry.

Now as I watch her struggle to rise from her soft bed and lumber painfully along a forest path, tears thicken my throat. Every once in awhile, there are flashes of her puppy playfulness. When she digs in her toy box for a well-chewed stuffy and whines until I toss it for her to retrieve, or when she scents a grouse in the forest and her old body stiffens and she forms a perfect point, her tail wagging a mile a minute in excitement and pride.

A unique bond develops between an older dog and its owner. Maybe it’s the certain knowledge that time with your pet is limited. You relish every minute you have together. Maybe it’s their gazes filled with patience, wisdom and acceptance.

I still take my old girl on daily walks. Some days, we march right along; others we meander from one smell to another enjoying each other’s company and living each minute to the fullest. Even as I write this blog, Jazz is lying beside me snoring contentedly. Every once in awhile she lifts her head and watches me as if to say, ‘We’re in this together, old friend.’ Yes, Tom T Hall had it right. Old dogs are one of life’s special treasures.

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I Believe I’ll Go Canoeing

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IMG_6366Nothing says summer more than paddling a canoe across the still waters of a crystalline lake under the hot sun. Along with my husband, two kids and rambunctious dog, I’ve traveled across countless lakes and rivers, spotting deer sleeping in the shadows along the shore, cow and calf moose munching on meadow reeds, and black bears lumbering up tree-lined banks. The slap of a beaver’s tail on the water, the screech of an eagle soaring high above, and the haunting cry of loons echoing across the lake are all part and parcel of a canoe trip.

Our family canoe is a thirty-three year old, 17-foot aluminum Grumman. Battered, tarnished, and dented, it’s been pounded by boulders as we’ve blasted through grade two, white-water rapids, scraped through rock gardens, and dragged up on stony shores. The old canoe even survived falling off the roof of our truck and crashing onto the highway behind us as we raced along at 60 miles per hour.

The kids have grown up and left home, the dog has slowed down, and much like our aluminum canoe’s scratched and weathered sides, my husband and I bear the marks of an adventurous life. At the mere mention of a canoe trip, we readily abandon our soft bed, television, and Facebook friends for aching arms, clouds of mosquitoes and wet feet. It’s all worth it when we navigate through rapids, past untouched, forested hills, and the only sounds of civilization are the laughter and joy filling our souls.

Maybe it’s time to put Pierre Berton’s famous quote to the test, ‘A true Canadian is one who can make love in a canoe without tipping.” Am I, I wonder, a true Canadian?

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Ryan Marshall’s kid brother had always been trouble. Now, his brother wants Ryan, ex-DEA agent, to protect the woman he loves from a notorious, Mexican drug cartel.

The second Ryan lays eyes on Hallie Harkins, he knows he’s made a mistake. Hallie’s blonde beauty and stubborn grit tempt him like no woman ever has. It’s all he can do to keep his hands off her…and his heart intact.

Hallie’s worst fears are realized when the man she expects to meet, vanishes. In his place, a disturbingly attractive stranger appears, claiming he’s been sent to protect her. Can she trust him? Or is he working with her pursuers?

Following an attempt on Hallie’s life, she and Ryan join forces, embarking on a perilous mission of danger and desire taking them from rural Montana to the sunny shores of Acapulco Bay, and into the clutches of a ruthless killer.

Will they survive the mission together and find love in each other’s arm

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/My-Brothers-Sins-C-Clark-ebook/dp/B01APJZM1C/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1455984841&sr=8-

The Wild Rose Press: http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=1324

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/my-brothers-sins/id1076175892?mt=11

All Romance: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/my-brothers-sins-c-b-clark/1123286679?ean=2940158021268

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/ebook/my-brother-s-sins-1

Blog Hop:

Wild Rose Authors present a bouquet of blogs dedicated to surviving and thriving during the summer heat. Each blog gives you a treat—a recipe, a summer life experience, a vacation spot—as well as a fantastic selection of books to read.

Click here to visit other Wild Rose Press author’s Summer Blogs:

Win a Prize:

Click on the Raffle Copter link below to enter the Wild Rose Summer Treats and Reads contest to win the grand prize of a Kindle Fire–donated by The Wild Rose Press. You can read posts and enter contests from July 22 through July 30. Winners will be announced notified the following week.

Here’s the link to win a Kindle Fire:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

 

My local elementary school is under threat of closure due to budget cuts and narrow-minded thinking. Located twenty-four kilometers from the nearest town, Kersley Elementary is a small, rural school, with three classrooms and sixty-one students from Kindergarten through grade seven. It is an integral part of the surrounding community. The interweaving of school and community touches every aspect of life.

 

Like many people who live in Kersley, my family has a strong connection with the school. My husband attended Kersley Elementary in the 1960’s, my children attended the school from kindergarten through to grade 7, and I was a teacher there for fifteen years. My family has lived in the community for twenty-nine years.

 

Our school has always reflected rural school values where there is a strong emphasis on positive peer relations. It is not uncommon to see a grade 7 student playing with a student in the primary grades. The small size of the school creates a family-like atmosphere where each child belongs, and no child is left out.

 

Without a nearby school, young families would be reluctant to move into the area, and the community would wither and die like so many other rural communities. Just as a store, a post office, and a fire hall are essential to a community, a school for our children to attend and learn our values is an integral part of any community.

 

We must show the people who produce the food we put on our tables, that we value them and their contributions. We must stand and speak out against the destruction of rural schools and communities. I’m keeping my fingers crossed our local school board will see the value in rural schools and keep Kersley Elementary open.

 

Save Rural Schools

C.B. Clark has always loved reading, especially romances, but it wasn’t until she lost her voice for a year that she considered writing her own romantic suspense stories. She grew up in Canada’s Northwest Territories and Yukon. Graduating with a degree in Anthropology and Archaeology, she has worked as an archaeologist and an educator, teaching students from the primary grades through the first year of college. She enjoys hiking, canoeing, and snowshoeing with her husband and dog near her home in the wilderness of central British Columbia.

She is the author of ‘My Brother’s Sins’, published in February 2016, and the soon-to-be-published, ‘Cherished Secrets’. Both novels are published by The Wild Rose Press.

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First blog post

To Blog Or Not To Blog?

Word on the fiction book market street is published authors need to have a blog. A blog? Really. Okay. I can do it. I can write a blog. How hard can it be? I mean, I’ve written six books, published two. A blog will be a snap.

So off I go, cup of mint tea in hand, in hand to my cozy den where all my great writing ideas develop and plop down in front of my laptop, fingers poised on the keyboard, waiting for inspiration to strike. Waiting. And waiting. And still waiting. Maybe this is harder than I thought.

A quick search on the Internet finds more than 185,000,000 entries on writing blogs. Yikes! At least I won’t be stuck for ideas. I search through the websites, read the lists of possibilities, and search and search. There’s no dearth of suggestions. I can blog about my most embarrassing moment, my worst day, my heroes, my literary inspirations, how to cook my favorite sauerkraut rye bread, the characters in my books, my love of drinking red wine, German short-haired pointers, my family, camping, hiking, traveling, canoeing, skiing. The list goes on and on. With so much choice, writing a blog should be easy.

But will anyone be interested in my thoughts and feelings. I can’t imagine. Who out in the Ethernet really cares that I’ve hiked the Inca Trail, canoed the Yukon River, cycled through Central America? Is it relevant I met Prince Charles when my father took him fly fishing in the Northwest Territories an eon ago? Really? Who but my mother and my closest friends are interested in what I think about composting, global warming, rainforest deforestation, the Raptors?

Okay, okay. I get it. Blogging is hard. Really hard. My head’s aching just thinking about it. Maybe a nice glass of red wine will help. I’ll write the blog tomorrow.