Mar 4, 2009

Butter church and better crank

There's nothing like the promise of a picnic at the "Butter Church" to keep kids inspired for a day of chores. When we finally got to this 139-year-old stone relic overlooking Cowichan Bay, we'd already done photocopies, post office, thrift shop, locksmith, bank, grocer, and tool-fixer. But a ramble up the steep stone walkway to the hilltop vista rewarded our patience, as did a delicious creation from Zekiah's Chirp magazine - tortilla wraps with homemade cream cheese and organic (though not local) cucumber and carrots. Not too sure how I got kids who view this as the ultimate treat, but I'm not complaining.

The church was built in 1870, funded by the women of the church, who came up with the idea of churning and selling butter to raise funds. The stones were broken up by the firing of a cannonball. Later abandoned due to church politics (not due to any curse as fabricated by Ripley's Believe It or Not), the beautiful doors and windows were relocated to a church on Saltspring Island, but there were no pews to take because parishioners sat on the floor in those days.

The boys enjoyed the building, though the predictable graffiti and broken bottles were "too many litter" for Zekiah. They were also thrilled at the slightly decomposed skull in the grass where we picnicked - a very large dog, perhaps, though the boys are sure it was a dinosaur and begged to bring it home.

Refreshed and inspired, we then took my bike to the youth centre where social workers engage at-risk (and any) youth by teaching them bicycle repair and building skills, along with the adjoining art centre. We ended up spending an hour finding and installing a new crank with the help of our 10-year-old mechanic Dwight, and adding our artistic inclinations to the brick graffiti wall (much more welcoming than the butter church's defilement). What a beautiful space for youth to have positive modelling and a healthy outlet for their emerging passions - I left inspired, and with a functioning bike since just before the Dec.13 snows made cycling a distant memory for over a month.

Home (via Rona) at 6:30 for a quickie bachelor dinner of, you guessed it, veggie dogs, though may not have guessed the accompanying carrot-broccoli-corn stirfy. Bedtime rendition of Day is Done "(Peter Paul and Mary) rounded out a healthy together day with my boys.

Tell me why you're smiling my son
Is there a secret you can tell everyone
Do you know more than men who are wise
Can you see what we all must disguise to your loving eyes
And if you take my hand my son, all will be well when the day is done
And if you take my hand my son, all will be well when the day is done

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