Monthly Archives: December 2018

Solstice in the Dark by Alison Colwell

I was working in the kitchen at the South Hall, with a small group of volunteers, baking the bread for the Solstice dinner when the storm started on Dec 20th. The power went out, and after 30 minutes, we decided to start the generators. A grant to upgrade the Hall’s electrical system had allowed us to get the generators wired in properly, but I’d never used them before. It took a little while. We had to call for help, but we got them going, and (hallelujiah) kitchen lights, stoves and freezers were all working. We’d discovered the gas cans next to the gennies were empty, so one volunteer left to fill them, but the tree that came down at Murchison Cove stopped her getting back to the hall that night.

A few hours later, more trees had come down between the hall and the pub, but the bread was all baked, I abandoned my van and walked home.

By the next morning it was clear the whole island was out of power, and we weren’t getting it back soon. But I also had 5 huge free-range turkeys in my fridge that needed to be cooked. That was the tipping point. Solstice was on. We’d just make it up as we went along. When we set the tables we didn’t know if twenty people would come, or a hundred. Would people stay home? Or would they want to eat a hot meal, and get together with neighbours?

Some volunteers came. Some couldn’t make it. We carried on. During the day a steady stream of people stopped by the hall, looking to charge their phones, looking for information. “If you have Facebook tell people we’re still on. If you see Hydro, tell them to come by for hot food,” I told them. Sandy couldn’t bring the wood for the bonfire, but Orion, Barry, Stephen and Ron decided fair was fair, and we’d burn some of the tree that had taken out our power lines.

At five o’clock Emma opened the doors. We lit the dozens and dozens of tea lights in the hall. And people came. Lots of people came. Like 160 people. Some brought lots of food. Some brought none. It was just perfect.

I was in the kitchen when I heard the clapping, turned to seeing the standing ovation in the hall. “What’s happening?” I asked one of the volunteers watching the potluck table. “A Hydro crew just arrived.” We don’t always have a lot of real heros in our modern world, but that week, we did. At the end of the night we packed up a box of sandwiches to give to the crews who were giving up their holidays to get us back our power. The next day, I was talking to one of the men, and he said: “I’m going to bring my wife here next year. I couldn’t explain what it was like, last night , in that hall. I want to show her this place.”

I hope he comes. (Though maybe with a truck – just in case!)

2019-07-18T17:34:03-07:00December 29th, 2018|Categories: Food Program, Winter Solstice Potluck|0 Comments

Community Magic by Alison Cowell

It’s traditional on the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year, to stay awake all night, keeping a bonfire burning, in an effort to call the sun back. We have a bonfire on Solstice too, but our celebration is all about gathering with your friends and neighbours, sharing some wonderful food, watching the kids arriving at the hall in a torchlit parade, chatting around the fire, and enjoying the entertainment of talented locals. The Solstice is all about creating the magic of community.

For me the Community Solstice Dinner begins with a visit to Ireland Farms to pick up the four large organic turkeys that we roast for supper. (I’m always grateful the dinner is potluck, as four turkeys are all I can fit in the ovens at the hall, but those aren’t nearly enough to feed the hundred plus people that arrive for dinner!) I work with groups of volunteers in the kitchen the day before and the day of the dinner, preparing dozens of loaves of bread, gallons of soup and pounds of roast potatoes. (We make gravy in a soup pot!)

It’s the community that creates the wonderful dinner, the magical setting, the awesome bonfire. It’s the magic of a community of people who go beyond all the time. We have chosen to make our homes here on this island in the Salish Sea. We have chosen this community. And together we can create a community that cares, that supports us when we are sick or hungry, and need an extra meal, a community where hundreds of volunteers work at everything from making food, to running a library, fighting fires, tending a garden, recycling our garbage, or helping at the school. It’s a community where you can always find someone to stop at the bank for you, or bring something home from town, or lend a hand when you need your kids looked after for a couple of hours. Every day we make choices about what we can do for others, and we choose to work together, to volunteer together and create together, to dream something better for our island. This is what makes our island such an amazing place to live.

In my opinion, the magic of this season is something that exists all year on Galiano.

This is the 11th year we will celebrate the Solstice by gathering together for a potluck. Contact the Galiano Community Food Program to find out how you can share your enthusiasm, talents and skills for this wonderful community celebration.

2019-07-18T17:29:25-07:00December 18th, 2018|Categories: Food Program, Winter Solstice Potluck|0 Comments

Gingerbread House Competition 2018

It’s official!

This year will mark our first Solstice Gingerbread house competition….

There are only two rules:

Firstly, the whole construction has to be edible. (Go ahead and use carrots if you want!) Second rule, the wooden base can be no larger than 8″x 16″ (I can provide bases if needed.)

Winner will be determined by everyone at the dinner.

2018-12-09T15:42:20-08:00December 9th, 2018|Categories: Food Program, Winter Solstice Potluck|0 Comments