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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The Second Grand Party in the Street in Downtown Grand Forks, British Columbia

Good Grand News

On Saturday 2 May 2018, the news stated: 

“Catastrophic floods in parts of southern British Columbia have forced nearly 2,800 from their homes and warm weather expected in the coming days could worsen the problem. In Grand Forks, B.C., a community about 520 kilometres east of Vancouver, homes are submerged in brown, murky water. 

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary said fire rescue technicians have rescued more than 30 people by boat in the town. Two days of heavy rain caused flooding in Grand Forks. It’s the worst the region has seen in 70 years, roughly two feet (0.6 metres) higher than ever recorded.” (CTV News)

On Sunday 21 July the news read: 

“The citizens and business in Downtown Grand Forks are showing tremendous resilience and perseverance as they slowly recover from the flooding of 2018. It is a little over 1 year, and businesses are opening again. New businesses are moving to town. 

Look out for a new Craft Brewery, Ice Cream store and others are planning to locate and build their futures in the town as well. They are all discovering and coming for the small-town charm, better lifestyle, and slower pace of this oasis in British Columbia’s Boundary Country. 

To demonstrate how attractive the community of Grand Forks is for business, the Downtown Business Association hosted its 2nd Annual Party in the Street. They invited people from the Boundary, Kootenay's and Okanagan Area to celebrate the rebuild and rebirth of Downtown Grand Forks, after the floods. It was a grand party! Grand Forks is open for business, again.” (Two Cowboys News)



Party in the Street

The Cowboys were fortunate to get an invite to the Party in the Street. We celebrated with the people of Grand Forks. While there, we wanted to find out what the business outlook is after a hard year of cleanup and rebuilding. Are there people who are positive about the future? Is there an opportunity for existing businesses and new business to rebuild and grow?

What struck us was how welcoming is the Grand Forks community. They want people to move to the area, to establish businesses, and to open stores in the downtown business district. Grand Forks is not just open for business. They are using the events of the past year as an opportunity for the rebirth of the sleepy town. They are hosting events to celebrate and promote the opportunity.
We’ve seen that significant news events attract attention to places that people may otherwise not think about. Canmore in Alberta received global attention with the flooding of 2013. We were there. The publicity built momentum for growth.

As a result of the attention, more people were charmed by the attractiveness of the location and visited. Some even relocated, even though Canmore has one of the most expensive real estate markets in Canada. Some will agree that the town is still benefiting from this momentum almost 5 years after the event. While Alberta is in an economic downturn since 2014, new businesses are being established in Canmore. More and more people are moving to the area for the lifestyle, natural beauty, and proximity to Alberta’s big business and tourism markets.

We predict, similarly, that Grand Forks has an opportunity to mine gold from the unfortunate events of 2018. Through the ongoing publicity of the flood recovery and the positive developments related to the circumstances, they help people discover and appreciate that there are still places in Canada like Grand Forks. Places where small businesses are embraced and encouraged to start or relocate. Where the economics of the area still make it possible for small entrepreneurs to live and work and have a lifestyle location. It offers excellent infrastructure, a great climate, and proximity to larger markets such as the tourists of the Okanagan.

Grand Forks is open for artisan butchers, bakers, growers, makers, retailers, and related services. The Downtown Business Association is keen to see more people open and operate their businesses in Grand Forks. Even the City Council is making it easier to do it. Property is still affordable, and the lifestyle is superb with trails, sunshine, and shorter winters.


We are glad we could meet some of these remarkable people during the Party in the Street. We look forward to bringing you more stories about the businesses and people of the town and of the Boundary Country of British Columbia.

We too succumbed to the charms of the "old frontier" and want to help promote it as the “new frontier” for artisans and lifestyle entrepreneurs. That is why we decided to live here and make the Boundary Country our community and our people.

You should come and see it for yourself!

Boundary Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.


Open for Business!

The Road to Grand Forks

Monday, July 29, 2019

Do You Want A Healthy and Fulfilling Life? Start by Making Toast or Frying an Egg

The permutations and cultural preferences in food preparation are colourful as the people of the world. Every corner of the planet is full of uniquely regional ingredients. The way to prepare ingredients for a meal also uniquely developed with, and lead to the way people are living and working in a particular area. Our cultures, tastes, rituals and preferences developed around our food and meal habits. 

The best way to maintain and celebrate our identity is thus with our people’s unique foods. Our food not only feeds and nourishes but also directs our mental state and determines our physical health.


There are two ways we can grow or change. Either, life does it to us, or we do it to ourselves. In both these cases, a catalyst is required to get things underway. A catalyst is a person or thing that precipitates an event that leads to a change in circumstances or behaviour. If you want to have a healthy and fulfilling life, with good friends, you need a catalyst. 

There is ample evidence that because of the relationship with our food, we as humans developed into the uniquely dominant species that we are. When we prepare food, we learn, we share, and we make friends. When we are involved with our food, we are more likely to eat better, and as a result, live healthier and happier lives. Unfortunately, in our “modern” world, this involvement is fast becoming a casualty as the majority of people are losing the opportunity or the interest to cook. 

In this blog post, we are making the case that it is time for us to start cooking again. Our food is the catalyst for our health, fulfillment and we are likely to have more good friendships. It is as simple as starting with making toast or frying an egg.


You Need a Yoder!

More Yoder!


Make It

Our development and evolution are directly influenced by our relationship with our food. Consciously or unconsciously, a lot of what happens in our lives still have some connection with what, how, when and with whom, we eat. It is evident from the amount of information published about our diets, and about the ongoing conversations, we have with the people around us about what we choose to eat. Keto, Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, Meatatarian are now commonly used houshold terms and pops up often in day-to-day conversations. This blog is not about defining our relationship with food, but rather, making the case that our food is the catalyst for a whole lot more meaningful living. Let me walk you through the logic.

Our unique approach to nourishment turned us into responsible learning organisms. The best learning we can do is to discover how to feed ourselves. Knowing how to hunt, grow, prepare and enjoy our food was always the basis for our survival. Unfortunately, this knowledge is increasingly in short supply in a society where it became easier to UberEats or HappyMeal than to crack an egg or fire up a grill. Heaven forbid we find out where eggs actually come from or visit a pig farm for bacon!

Our fulfillment as human beings suffered when Google Search replaced hunting, opening the fridge replaced foraging, and the submit button on a takeout app or the on button of the microwave replaced food preparation and cooking. When we are no longer directly involved with what we eat, we deny ourselves the most primal and uniquely human opportunity for intellectual development - learning about our food and how to prepare it. Our chance and ability to learn through sourcing and preparing a meal is lost, and with that, a whole lot of personal value eliminated.

Yes, we are learning organisms. Our position in the food chain and dominance on planet Earth came about because of the energy we've put into building our intellect around food. It also influenced the development of our social structures to help us source and maintain our food supply. Even our physiology developed to make our minds our most dominant survival feature. Instead of physical strength, speed, or agility, our best tool to survive and evolve became our ability to learn, reason and remember how to stay safe, what to eat, where to find it, and how to prepare it.

To have a more fulfilling life, we should cherish the opportunity to learn about our food while preparing a meal. It starts with something as simple as making toast or frying an egg.

Share It

Our species' first priority for our intellect was and still is, to learn how to survive. Our survival depends on how well we can procreate, protect and nourish ourselves. We quickly learned as humans that we share this as a common goal with those closest to us. We learned a long time ago that it is easier to cooperate with those that have the same needs. It is more valuable to do it with those we care for most, like a spouse, parent, child, or sibling.

With this as a priority, our intellect developed to enable us to maintain and benefit from cooperation. The way it started was with our need to eat and survive. To meet this need, we learned to foster relationships and cooperate. The way we relate and interact with others followed a similar logic. It means that when we forage together, prepare and share a meal, we are more likely to have things in common and successfully cooperate as a result.

We are better able to foster meaningful relationships with those that share in the task. It satisfies another of our critical primal urges - our need for acceptance. It is how good friendships start and is maintained. People that cook and eat together are more likely to develop and foster healthy, meaningful relationships.

Love It

Preparing food is work. Not knowing what and how to prepare food makes it even harder work. Yet, herein lies the opportunity to learn and discover what makes each one of us healthy and unique. We have to eat. We may as well eat with a purpose and do it with the people we love.

The permutations and cultural preferences in food preparation are as colourful as the people of the world. Every corner of the planet is full of uniquely regional ingredients. The way to prepare ingredients for a meal also uniquely developed with, and lead to the way people are living and working in a particular area. Our cultures, tastes, rituals and preferences developed around our food and meal habits. The best way to maintain and celebrate our identity is thus with our people’s unique foods. Our food not only feeds and nourishes but also directs our mental state and determines our physical health.

When this alignment is violated, a delicate balance is destroyed with dire consequences for society. It has health consequences and ultimately contributes to the disruption of culture and identity. For example, societies not accustomed to high carbohydrate intake and sugary foods become diabetic and obese. It's been happening all over the world. The best model can be found in the Pacific Islands, where diabetes became an epidemic because of the change in the food supply. Where dairy isn’t a staple, people are lactose intolerant. This is the case in some Chinese populations. Yet, they are consuming more and more dairy because it became more readily available, and in some cases, even fashionable regardless of the health consequences. The biggest offender of them all, processed foods, introduced carcinogens that destroys unique and essential gut bacteria. Our gut bacteria help with digestion, and it has been proven that it also has a link with a person’s mood and mental health. Processed food leads to increases in the occurrence of gastrointestinal disorders like gluten intolerance, autoimmune diseases, and even depression. The Inuit needs their seal blubber not only to survive, but to be healthy, and to be Inuit. The same with the Bushmen hunting in Africa. They need their meat and to celebrate every hunt. It is who they are.

It is far too easy for us in our global convenience-driven societies to abandon cultural and meal conventions. Many of us cannot remember what and how our people used to eat. We have to revisit the cookbooks of our forefathers to rediscover our preferences and tastes. These conventions developed over thousands of years. It made us what we are physically, mentally and culturally. By abandoning it, we are not only risking our health. We are risking our mental state and who we are. It is becoming quite apparent that we are unfortunately too eager to embrace new meal conventions, and there is a price to pay for doing it.

The bottom line is, regardless of the improved availability of all kinds of ingredients and foods, thanks to globalism and large multinational food producers, we remain captive physiologically and culturally to what is our diet. If we violate this accord with a BigMac or SugarySlurpee, we risk physical and mental health.

When we prepare our own food, it is easier to pay attention to what is good for us to eat. We can source the right ingredients and cook it in a way that aligns with our preferences, cultural identity and, with our physiology. Not only will we be eating better. We will also be healthier and happier as a result.


I started this blog post with the statement that a healthy and fulfilled life, with good friends, begins with making toast or frying an egg.

It doesn’t have to be toast or eggs. What it should be is a daily dedication to source ingredients and prepare meals to share with those we love. The result will be a lifelong learning experience as we learn not only how to prepare our food, but also how our food brings our friends and family together for healthier and more rewarding lives. It is what we’ve been doing for thousands of years. We should do it again. At our very foundation, it is who we are.

Cooking Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.


Camp Cooking


Pork Chop

Foodie Friends

Food Love and Dedication

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Two Cowboys are Pulling Some Pork with No Sleep at Porkapalooza in Edmonton, Alberta

Father's Day

You are a Dad. Where would you like to be on Father's Day?

There is a happy place for the Cowboys on any given day. It is right next to a cooking fire, with a cold beverage in hand, surrounded by our favourite people. It doesn't matter what day of the year it is, the weather, or what we are supposed to be cooking and eating. Simply, there is no fun in cooking or drinking alone. We treasure barbecuing, braai or merely preparing and sharing food. This ancient social ritual and tradition come naturally to us. 

When it is Father's Day, the one day we as fathers can choose what it is we want to do, then it is only logical for us to look for the biggest celebration we can find of our primal right of passageDuring 24 hours, we want to congregate with well-lubricated bacon and smoke-reeking fellow devotees around open fires, and our favourite cooking machines. These are folks, that know what it takes to patiently savour every moment tenderizing Pork Butts, melting Briskets and crisping Pork Ribs. 

It is a bonus if we can also have our families with us on the day. That is why we salute Alberta Pork and Porkapalooza's organizers for making our Father's Day an extra special day for us this year. We attended our first ever Porkapalooza, which included all the above, and we lived to tell the story.


Porkapalooza Ep1

Porkapalooza Ep2



The festival was a free two-day event that celebrated all things BBQ with one of Canada's largest KCBS sanctioned BBQ competitions. Porkapalooza is one of four Alberta Cup BBQ competitions taking place year.

Anyone was welcome to attend (even the Vegans), and it included plenty of activities for families and food lovers to enjoy. Guests were invited to check out guided tours of the competition area and cooking demonstrations from professional chefs. While the parents submerged themselves into the BBQ underworld, the kiddies were kept busy in a play area and a Kids’ Zone.

The competition featured over $15,000 in prize money with almost fifty teams vying for the prize money. It also included a chef’s challenge and special young chef event.

The festival is organized by the Porkapalooza BBQ Festival Society, a non-profit organization, with generous financial support from Alberta Pork and other amazing sponsors.


Everyone in Western Canada BBQ land has their own reasons why Porkapalooza is the highlight on their annual calendar. For many, it is a chance to learn, catch up with friends, hang out with mates, be serious about cooking, have fun, or compete to win. Vendors bring their latest BBQ gadgets to try, and producers showcase their meat, sauces and other ingredients. Teams compete to validate their skills, test their equipment, eat good food, and generally solicit favour with the KCBS gods.

We are glad that we had a chance to be part of Porkapalooza 2019. Even though we've been hanging around the Alberta smokers for a few years now, we could never fit this pinnacle event into the calendar. We are glad we finally did.

We are also glad we got to know more of, and about, the people passionate about BBQ. We are thankful for the new friendships and appreciate the support they've shown for the Cowboys. We feel like we succeeded in getting a seat at the smoker!

Enjoy the highlights of the event as we introduce you to a few of our new BBQ friends and catch up with others. Sincere thanks to Darcy and Porkapalooza that made it possible for us to be there. We look forward to seeing you all back in 2020. Who knows, maybe the Cowboys will compete and win a few prizes next year. Maybe we should also throw a hat in the ring...

Cooking Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.


Hot Hot Hot

Love Affair

Happy Man!

Wors Cowboy


Two Cowboys Sinks a Put for the Canmore and Area Healthcare Foundation in Canmore, Alberta

More Than Expected

Communities are defined by how well its people take care of each other. However, we don't always appreciate or is aware of who these "caretakers" are that we rely on so leisurely. 

In our "modern world", we've become so far removed from the people that make our civilized lives possible that we no longer appreciate who they are, and what they do. How well do you know your neighbour? Do you know the name of the kid behind the coffee machine that served your Espresso this morning, or your fries for your poutine last night? Dare you ask and care about how your pharmacist's day is going?

Let's make it serious. Do you know who paid for the heart monitor used when your wife was at the hospital's emergency room? Who bought the chair in the waiting room you slept on outside the maternity ward while waiting for your son to be born? What is the name of the Doctor who treated your daughter when she fell off her bicycle, on her way back from school?


Community for Community

We go through our days often unaware of the people behind the scenes that make a difference to our lives. Sages are touching us and shaping our every day, positively. We will never meet them.

It is easy to take the little things for granted. Marriages and friendships fall apart when we no longer pay attention to the value of what is often considered trivial. Relationships suffer when we stop saying "good morning" or forget to ask, "How was your day, my love?". In the same way, it is even easier to just assume that someone else is taking care of the big things. Our roads, water, hospitals, schools, sanitation and our safety. Isn't it is the Government's job? People are getting paid to do it. I pay taxes, that is why it is there. That is why I am entitled to it.

Herein lies the problem. Government, our taxes, and public servants don't always take care of things. It becomes quite evident when the system breaks down. The world is full of examples where bureaucracies misbehave, fall apart, or abuse their role with catastrophic consequences for the societies they are meant to serve.

In South Africa people in towns are no longer safe, no longer have clean drinking water or electricity. Municipalities no longer remove garbage and streets and sidewalks haven't been maintained in years. The "system" fell apart. Public servants became more interested in serving their own bank balances and exorbitant mortgages, than serving the people that are funding their purpose and existence.

With towns in peril, local community members came together to take care of each other. Neighbours are now patrolling streets and keeping each other safe. Areas are generating their own electricity and neighbours are collecting each other's garbage. People are taking care of each other. They know who is making their town livable and they take responsibility for each other.

Canmore Community

In Canada, we are fortunate to have public healthcare. There is a massive system of bureaucracy somewhere in Edmonton, Vancouver or Toronto, with Billions of Dollars responsible for being there when we get sick or have a health emergency. We assume that the Government fits the bill for our much needed and essential health services. We certainly pay a fair chunk of our income in taxes with the belief that our public servants have our best interest at heart and will be there when we need it most.

However, there are cases when our system fails us, and much-needed resources are prioritized elsewhere. This is when the luxury of leaving our salvation to someone else costs us personally and our community in much-needed services or resources. It simply leaves us with two tasks. To put pressure on the health care system to prioritize resources our way, and coming together as a community to take on the responsibility of taking care of each other.

The Canmore and Area Health Care Foundation is a community organization that is tasked with these two crucial asks for the people of Canmore, Alberta. Their mission as a community-initiated organization is to obtain and provide charitable financial resources for the continuing improvement of the health facilities and services of the Canmore General Hospital. They encourage philanthropy and guard these financial resources to benefit the community's health needs.  It is the people of Canmore taking care of each other where the public health services don't meet requirements or fall short.


Soulafa Al-Abbasi invited the Cowboys to be part of this year's Canmore and Area Health Care Foundation's annual charity golf fundraiser. The goal was to have fun, entice more charitable giving, and more importantly, to tell the story of the Foundation's existence and the vital work they do.

We were residents of Canmore for eleven years. All this time, we used the Canmore Hospital and its facilities not knowing about the Canmore and Area Health Care Foundation. We've always assumed that thanks to generous public funding through our taxes, of Alberta Health Services, that Canmore has an excellent healthcare facility. Now we know that we also benefitted from the work of the Foundation. More importantly, we benefitted from the charitable contributions of our neighbours towards access to better healthcare.

Every resident of Canmore is likely to come in contact with the Canmore Hospital sometime during their lives. Here is the ask, when you know that the hospital is in your future. Don't you want to be sure that the Canmore Hospital will be ready and able to treat you, as you would like to be treated when you need it most?

If you do, then make the Canmore and Area Health Care Foundation part of your charitable contribution. If it is not a monetary contribution, give your time. You will get back much more than you give thanks to your neighbour, who is also contributing for your collective benefit. This is the community looking after each other, in its purest and basic form.

We thank Soulafa and the Canmore and Area Health Care Foundation for the opportunity to share this positive story. We thank them more for the heart monitor they bought for my wife to use when she was in the Hospital's Emergency Room on Friday, 20 July 2019.

It reminds me of a sign I once saw on the wall at one of our best clients. It said, "When you learn, teach. When you get, give." We implore you to give generously!

Canmore Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.


Perfect Day

Sinking a Put