The Little Things

Posted August 1, 2018 – Narrated by Carmen
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 I mentioned that I was afraid I put into my journal too many little incidents. Johnson: "There is nothing, Sir, too little for a creature as man. It is by studying little things that we attain the great art of having as little misery and as much happiness as possible."
- James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson

The mid-summer grass is green in Alberta, the greenest of any place I’ve ever seen this time of year – other than, maybe, Switzerland.

The Little Things

Things grow here.

Local berries, honey, corn, and beef are the pride of Alberta.

As we shamelessly exploit these late sunsets and the regional comforts of the glorious Alberta countryside …

The Little Things
Cycling Fish Creek Provincial Park – Calgary, Alberta

… we think it strange that even housekeeping is a pleasure.

Hmm. Maybe it’s the water …

Or, maybe it’s Hard Knox Brewery who’s putting that resource to good use, quenching the village thirst for great craft brew.

We just happened to pull into town for their wonderful grand opening celebration last Saturday. We wish them well.

Black Diamond, right smack on the Sheep River, only thirty minutes from Calgary and slap-dab in the middle of the famous Cowboy Trail is just the sweetest little western town. Kind and neighborly.

Even the watchdogs and thunderstorms seem apologetic for making a fuss. Almost every day, a renegade storm imposes from the west.

The sky blackens and, in less than a minute, the temperature drops twenty-five degrees as lightning and thunder commence.

We race to pull in the laundry and the awnings, close the car windows and duck inside for cover. Then, before we can even snag a decent nap – fifteen, twenty minutes tops – the sun comes out blushing regrets for the sudden outburst.

Within minutes, all is forgotten.

The Little Things

That’s how it goes in the mountain foothills. Enjoy what the weather gives you – like fresh produce.

We’ve succumbed to the eye-popping bounty of the province and may be new candidates for hoarding therapy.

Thanks to the many local Farmer’s Markets, Beauty is popping her rivets.

We didn’t quite buy one of everything but we are so well stocked we could throw a huge party right now, and probably should. Hey, come on over, and bring a basket.

We pulled out of our wooded riverside campground in Black Diamond yesterday morning on a wish and a prayer to someday return …

The Little Things

It’s satisfying to know that our camp fees will be gifted back to the community.

Foothills Lions Club is a champion of elegant, integrative fundraising and volunteerism – and our camp hosts were a delight.

The Little Things
Our campsite at Foothills Lions Campground – recently reopened after the devastating flood of 2013 – Black Diamond, Alberta.

Now, we move on to “the big things” – the dinosaur capital of the world! This is our first day in Drumheller – in the Canadian Badlands.

We’re parked on the bank of the Red Deer River on top of the bones of the Pleistocene era as we sleep among the hoodoos and dream Neanderthal dreams.

If all goes according to plan, we’ll hike for the next few days and return home tired, dirty and hungry. We will want hot showers and Mexican food, rápido.

So, over the weekend we made big batches of carnitas and black beans because we’d rather preserve our tank capacity for showering rather than for extensive cooking tasks.

Plus, we just have a hankering for good Mexican food.

Pork carnitas – literally, “little meats” – are chunks of lean meat that are flavorful and crispy on the outside with a soft, moist interior.

Pork is a food we can share with Pico.

Pico de Gallo – his full name, literally means “little bites” or “peck of the rooster” – is allergic to chicken and beef.

So, yes, Mexican food is a LIB comfort. We eat carnitas in the morning for breakfast …

Carnitas and veggie frittata

and for suppertime in burritos and tacos and salads, or just with a side of rice.

Back when we lived in a big house, we’d trash the kitchen making carnitas – but LIB has taught us to simplify.

After all, carnitas originated as camp food – trail food, charro food – an animal protein that would keep for up to three days.

So, we’ve modified our old method into a no-hassle 2-step/2-day process that makes six meals for two – that’s right, twelve single servings with plenty of small-breed bites for Pico de Gallo.

Because … Aw, you know how it is … it’s the little things …

Drumheller Visitor’s Center