Friday, September 30, 2011

Camping!

We went camping on Wednesday.  Yep, we were away from home for a whole 22 hours!  We've been wanting to get out in our little fifth wheel trailer, but between work and my mum, there just hasn't been the opportunity.  Since there is a nice campsite just 20-25 minutes away, we figured if we got a decent day this week, we'd just head out, even for one night.  So I made jam all morning, and helped Larry get the canopy off the truck, the fifth wheel hitch in, and the trailer hooked up.  He got some food together for a few meals and we put in a few other odds and ends we needed, including the dogs and all their stuff, and we were off.

We went down to Derby Reach Regional Park and the campsite at Edgewater Bar.  We figured that since the kids are all back in school, we shouldn't have any trouble getting a spot.  I was worried about fishermen though, so Larry took a run down there in the car in the morning to check it out, and there were lots of empty campsites.  We got there about 3, and got set up in our site right along the Fraser River



The park has a great off leash area, with access to the river, so we took a walk over there.  Our dogs aren't dogpark dogs, as in they have no interest in socializing with the other dogs.  They just want to play ball.  Which is great really, especially with Luna.  Since she is not particularly good at meeting other dogs face to face, if she is focused on a ball, it gives her something else to think about.  Other dogs might come up, but since she is basically ignoring them, they don't get right in her face, and all is well.  She had a goofy young lab bounding along behind her as she chased the ball, but she didn't care.  Only once she told him off when he got in her way.
This photo was taken the next morning, when we had this part of the doggy park to ourselves.



So of course the dogs were hot after all that running around.  Down at the far end and round the corner to the right you get to the river.  We went that way and our three charged to the water, and Luna laid down in it.

Here's part of the river access.  It depends on the water level as to what sort of 'beach' area there is.
We went down to the end to get away from the other dogs.  
We're just unsociable snobs:)



Then back to the campsite to round up some supper.
Here's the view downriver, standing on the beach below our site.


The dogs dined on stewing hen, at their waterside table.


It's not the quietest place.  There are busy train tracks on the other side of the river.
We had simple camping food.  Fried onions and tomatoes, and a can of baked beans.



There were quite a few fisherman along the river, and below our site a spawned out, ugly looking salmon swam back and forth.  Not long to live I guess.


The sun sets over the river.




The mist burns off the river the next morning.  The only negative thing about these campsites is that at this time of the year, with the sun getting that bit lower each day, they stay mostly in the shade as the trees on the other side of the road are so tall.  The dew is so heavy overnight that things never really dry off.  
Lots of places to find the sun though.


After a short walk down a trail, where a coyote dashed across in front of us, which turned Luna into a lunging shrieking idiot at the end of the leash, we went back for some breakfast, and then we headed off again.  The dogs insisted that we make a stop at the dog park, so more ball action.  We skipped on the river this time.  Then we headed off on the trail that leads from the dog park.  We rode through this area on our bikes earlier in the year.  There have been a few changes though.  There are cows in one of the fields.




Get along little dogies!
Notice who's doing the grazing here.


We weren't sure how far we should walk, because we have to take into account that Calli can only go so far.  She seemed to be doing well, so we kept on going.  Down the road between the barns and the farmhouses, and eventually the trail led into another field, where a fellow was plowing by horse power.
(This as well as the cows were cut out of 3/8" steel)
That's Golden Ears in the background.  No snow on them yet.


It was a long walk across the field, but we made it to a new picnic area by the river.  Not a soul in sight.  Dogs are supposed to be on leash of course, but since we had the place to ourselves they got some river time.  Eventually a woman with two dogs showed up, and her's got some river time too.  She said she comes every day and usually never sees anyone else there.


She said sometimes there is a big sandbar here.


Calli did well, although she had scraped the top of one toe raw on the gravel path. (She drags her back feet a bit).  On the way back we forced her to walk on the grass along the edge, and as we walked the last bit to our campsite, her back end started to give out.  I grabbed her tail to help hold her up, and we slowly walked the last little bit.
And then we got ourselves packed up and headed back home, where duty called.

Wordless Wednesday on Friday

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Stocking Up

So this past week Superstore put their canning  jars on sale.  Half price or less.  I use three sizes - 125m., 250 ml and 500 ml.  It's not often that I'm able to find a sale on all the sizes.  The last couple of years Superstore hasn't had any extras to clear out.  This year they put a limit of 8 on each size.




















Larry and I have been through with a buggy each, three times.  There's at least 150 boxes, as in some sizes there were jars made by two different companies, so you could get 8 of each    Now I'm hoping that they get really desperate to get rid of them.  Three years I got a whole pickup load for 99 cents a case.  I am using the last of those boxes tomorrow.  ( I do get a lot of jars brought back, and am able to reuse those with new lids on them).  This closet full will last me about a year of jam making.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bad Hair Day at the Market

It was one hairy day at the farmers market yesterday.  It's located right next to and between two 15? storey condo towers.  The towers are located at the top of the hill, about a mile from the water.  They create their own weather system.  The forecast for yesterday was showers with a wind warning.  Gusts up to 80 kph. Add to that the tower's wind tunnel effect, and it was downright scary.  We got there and struggled to get our two tents set up.  The back tent was cranked down tight to our utility trailer that has all the extra jam in it.  There were 4 heavy bags filled with water hanging off the legs of the tents.  We were fastened to the tents either side of us.  The tent legs weren't going anywhere, but there was such a tremendous force on the top of the tents, that we worried that they were going to be destroyed.  There are 4 strong straps with clips that hook around the cross pieces on the inside of the cover.  They help to pull the top tight, and we only usually ever use them if it is raining, to stop and pooling of water happening.  Yesterday at least two of those clips broke on the back tent over the trailer.

Tents were blowing around, things were crashing over, some vendors packed up.  It was really ugly.
Eventually we decided to just take the fabric tops off the tent frames, as that was the fastest thing for us to do.  Thankfully it didn't rain, although it threatened to a few times.  We got a few drops coming down as we were packing up, and then there was a torrential downpour about an hour later.
We were thankful for small mercies.

We just set out the jam, and the vegetables and flowers.  No sewing.  Our booth looked a bit bare, but there was no way to keep that sewing from blowing away.  Surprisingly, sales were pretty good, so in retrospect it was worth the 5 hours of battling the wind, although at the time we really wondered.

Because of the weather forecast we had left the dogs at home.  I'm glad we did, Jake would have been terrified.
Lots of other people took their tents down too, it all depended where you are located.  Vendors at the south end of the market are more protected, so they were mostly okay.

Big hair


I think it's time to put up my hood and keep the wind from blowing down my neck


Hood going up. Larry's already wearing a toque from our stock


Hi Meredith!
She was taking the photos from the market's coffee tent on the other side of the roadway


Here's some video Meredith took, which gives you a pretty good feel for the power of the wind. 
Those are big, heavy moss hanging baskets that are blowing back and forth.
She pans to the south first, where there are quite a few tents still up.
Then she points to the north up 'hurricane alley', between the towers, although you can't see the high part of them. It was even worse up there, and that white tent on the right did eventually get taken down.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Keeping the Vampires at Bay

 Yesterday, before it rained, I dug up the garlic.  Probably should have been done back in August, while it was nice and dry.  Like most things around here, it didn't get done at the optimum time.  So of course it has rained a few times since then, and the ground is wet, and the garlic bulbs certainly didn't look like those nice white ones that I see vendors from the Okanagan selling.  
Oh well.

I also didn't get the tops cut off either.  When they are nice and young and green and first forming, you can eat those tops.  They are called scapes.  The idea of cutting them off is that the plant puts it's energy into forming nice big bulbs underground, and not into forming these bundles of tiny garlic bulblets.  
Some tops got cut off eventually, and some didn't get cut off at all.  The interesting thing was that there were both large and small bulbs formed, and it didn't seem to make any difference as to whether the stems were cut off or not.

This is what the tops eventually look like, if you don't cut them off.


If you plant these tiny little bulbs, in a couple of years you will get decent sized ones.


So I got out the hose, and gave the bulbs a good spray off.  Half of the water seemed to bounce off them and back onto me.
Now this was one job that Luna was right on.  Jake put some distance between me and the hose, but Luna was right there, bouncing back and forth on the other side of the fence.
The dirty skin was washed off, and I peeled the dead stuff off the stems.
I put them upside down in a bucket to drip dry, and they look so much better now


There you have it, garlic on a stick.
Vampires, begone!
As for me, I didn't have time to stand in a bucket and drip dry.
It was time for a change of clothes.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Burnt Out

I'm feeling pretty burnt out right now.  Usually do about this time of the year.  I'm tired of making jam, dealing with fruit, and all the other things that go hand in hand with making a decent presentation at our market booth each weekend.  Add to that the time I've spent this season visiting/dealing with my mother's affairs, and I feel like I'm way behind.  Well I am with some things, but that's the way it is, can't do much about it.  There were only two adult and a few kids aprons left hanging on the rack at Sunday's market.  Never has stock been so low.  It's the sewing time that's suffered this season.  So be it, it is what it is.
So we are counting down the weekends.  Only three more weekends to go of doing markets both days.  After that there will be a bit of a break, and then there will be a few indoor winter markets before Christmas.  I keep telling people they'll have to come to those if they want any selection in the sewing department.

And speaking of burning, it's firewood time.  Our heat consists of a wood stove and a gas fireplace.  When we first moved here, the house only had wood heat.  It worked well for years, but then we added on, and had to put in some additional heat.
We have some bush on our property, and it has kept us supplied in firewood for 25 years.  It is mostly alder.  Alder burns well, is easy to split, grows fast, and conveniently dies off after a while.  Usually there are a few trees that are dead at the top that Larry takes down.  Some volunteer and take themselves down. The dead wood we can burn this winter, as it has been drying up there in mid air all summer.  The wood that was still live, will be burned the winter after.
Doing the firewood used to be a family affair.  We'd all head out to the bush.  Larry operated the chainsaw, I was the splitter, and all of us helped to stack it on the trailer.  Meredith used to get fed up first, so we'd send her back to the house to make some lunch.
The last few years, Larry did most of it himself.  This year he is having trouble with his shoulders.  Splitting wood aggravates it.  
I always liked splitting wood, so I've picked up the maul again this year. (Anything to put off making that jam that I should be doing)
It was a lovely Fall afternoon. Just me and the maul and some fresh cut alder.




Oh, and Jake.
Ever hopeful Jake.
Please won't you take a moment and throw this ball?
Luna hates any sort of pounding noise.  She was probably at the front of the house, hoping someone would let her in.



All split



And stacked.
Fresh Alder eventually turns orange where it is exposed to the air.
That's some of last years wood at the corner.  All dried and ready to go, and holding up a corner of the woodshed.
Yep, add another project to the 'to do' list. There's probably space on page 10.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Peasant Vision

When we first moved here, there was no cable vision.  It did eventually get put in on our road, and there was also the option of one of those gigantic satellite dish things, which have now become the tiny ones that you fasten on the side of your house.
When we moved here there was already an aerial on a tower at the end of the house, and we had a control inside that allowed us to rotate the aerial to get the best signal.  We could get about 6 channels on a good day.  Larry, remote in hand, flicking through those 6 channels was annoying enough.  We lived with that set up for years, well for 25 years in fact, until the end of August when every thing went digital.  
Then we had to make a choice.  
Go to cable vision or satellite.  
Update our aerial and either buy new TVs or buy a digital to analog converter box so we could use our old ones.
Not being ones to enjoy paying a monthly fee (read: cheap), we had sort of decided to update our exterior aerial, buy a new tv to replace the oldest one, and buy a converter for the other.  I had a little crt TV in my sewing room, and was interested in getting a new little one that was easy to move around.  Then I could have it in the kitchen while I was making jam, and in the garage while I was put together the bouquets.  That meant the TV was going to need it's own aerial. 
So we bought a 15" tv and what is supposed to be a fairly good indoor digital aerial.  Our first step in to the digital tv world.  Baby steps you know. We followed the instructions on searching for channels with the aerial, but it wasn't a success.  The only things I could get in the kitchen were two channels of KVOS and a few others that were even more useless to me.  One KVOS channel was nothing but old shows.  This afternoon I watched two hours of old westerns.  The name of the first one escaped me.  A family on a ranch with Barbara Stanwick and also with Lee Majors and Linda Evans I think, and another one called Rawhide. Yup, anything to relieve the boredom while stirring that jam.  The other KVOS channel is music videos.  Then there is a shopping channel, actually it is on two channels, and then a channel in Spanish.  In the sewing room I couldn't get anything, and I didn't even bother trying the garage.  
We even took the tv and aerial up onto the roof of the house to see if the reception was better up there. Nope.
   So that indoor aerial is being returned.

Right now we have that 15" tv in the living room hooked up to the coaxial cable running to the old aerial on the roof.  We can get Global and CTV.  Woot!  
We just have to sit really close.
David always said we didn't have cable
vision, we had peasant vision.
Now I think we have midget vision.
A bigger TV is probably the next step.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How Things Can Go Wrong

Things don't always go as planned at an agility trial.
Listen carefully to the audio.


There was only one snap closing the x-pen, and Luna pushed until she was able to squeeze out at the bottom.
If the panels were overlapped a bit, one snap would have worked just fine.  Calli was in the x-pen with her, but she heard Jake bark, and she was determined that he wasn't going to have all the fun.

And here's when things go right.
The last two runs of the day.
They were Jumpers runs, so only jumps and tunnels.
In her first ever Advanced Jumpers run, Luna had a qualifying run.
Larry had just arrived from the White Rock farmers market.  I asked him if he wanted to run Luna, but since I was already walking the course, he told me to go ahead.
You see me look back as she is going through the last tunnel.  She had rattled the bars on two jumps near the end, and I was checking to see if they were still standing



And here's Jake's Masters Jumpers run.  After he barks, you can hear Luna start to shriek in the background.
There was another dog there at the trial that sounds just like Jake when it barks.  Jake was in the x-pen with Luna when that dog was running, (and barking), and Luna still got upset.  And they say border collies are smart......:)
(Not sure if there was a lot of dust floating in the air, or dust on the camera lens)

Monday, September 12, 2011

So Little Time, So Much to Do

Here's a picture taken at the agility trial on Saturday, the only one of a bunch that was anywhere close to decent.

Jake : You keep saying 'ball', over and over, and I keep looking at you, and I want to know where that d*mn ball is!
Calli : Lalalalalaaaa.....rabbits, squirrels, I don't care what you say, I refuse to look at that camera....
But would you hurry it up, my back legs are slowly sinking
Luna : I hear you, I hear you....but something way more interesting is happening over there....do they need my help?


It was a good trial. 
Some videos were taken.
You may get to see some someday.

45 buckets of blackberries picked as of this evening.
It's a late but great year for blackberries.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Multitasking

Today was one of those crazy kind of days were you try to fit in too many things.  So the day started out with the usual zucchini picking, jam making fest.  Right after lunch we headed into the fair grounds to help set up for our club's agility trial.  Then we went for a tour of an assisted living facility. Next I headed to White Rock to visit my Mum briefly and see the  new wheelchair that she is trying out, and to give her the brochures about the two Assisted Living places I had been to.  Stopped at her place to water a few things and feed the cat, and then headed back 45 min to the Abbotsford and the agility trial.
So of course that meant I had brought a change of clothes along. 

I love these little shoes that I bought at Value Village, a large country wide, second hand store.  It is a business, not a non-profit, but they do buy items in bulk that non-profits get donated to them.
They cost me $9, were like new.  They are Teva's .  This year's model on their website cost about $90, if I remember correctly.  

My usually dirty, sometimes cracked heels are covered, and my dirty grotty toes.
Ya know, I can shove my feet into them and look half decent, even if I don't have time to scrub my feet clean.
I'm telling you, Larry has much nicer feet than me.





So I wore them with my cleaner, dressy clothes to do the tour, and then to the hospital.
When I got back to the agility trial, Larry shouted that there 12 dogs to run, and then Jake and I were in.
No time to change, I hadn't walked the course, so I just hung by the rail and watched the other dogs.  I did get a chance for a quick walk through while they changed the jump heights.
My little Teva's were great.  You can see the dirt from the ring on the sole.  Lots of traction, they felt good out there.
I was the most stylish one to grace the ring tonight.
Too bad we were eliminated. 
Yep, one 'off course' obstacle can do that to you.




Thursday, September 8, 2011

Keeping Me Sane

The hottest days of the year have decided to hit us in September.  Nothing like sweating over a hot stove, making jam, when it's 31 degrees outside (that's about 88 F).  That's pretty hot for us here. It was probably more than that in the kitchen.  
The fan was my friend today, as well as a lot of cold drinks.



Luna knows how to keep herself cool.
(Taken through the kitchen window while making jam, like usual)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Walk Softly


and carry a big stick zucchini


I go through the zucchini patch every morning and pick the ones that have reached the appropriate size.  They are the ones in the basket, about 10" long, weighing around a pound or so, maybe a bit more.


Those things grow fast, so if I miss a morning, which I usually do on Sunday because we are in such a rush to get organized and off to the market that there is no time, next time I check there are sure to be a few oversize ones.  The plants are so big now, it's really hard to see all the fruits sometimes.  I got quite the shock this morning when I saw this whopper sticking out past the leaves, and wondered how on earth I'd missed it.  When I checked, it was growing on the ground, right underneath two of the fat leaf stems, so was really camouflaged well.  It weighs over 6 pounds.  Oh sure, there have been lots of zukes bigger than that, but considering that I go through the patch 6 days of the week, it makes me wonder how many days this one was merrily growing bigger without me noticing it.

There was a lady at the market looking for a big zucchini.  Well what it boiled down to was that she didn't want to pay for 2 or 3 zucchini to have enough to make her batch of relish, she just want to pay her $1 and get a giant zucchini (we charge $1 per).  Maybe I'll just use it myself for relish, or feed it to the chickens, just because....
And then there was the little old lady that tried to steal a zucchini....
No, she wasn't hard up for money, she saw an opportunity and she took it.  We were packing up at the end of the day.  I had been over to ask my friend the baker vendor if she wanted the few zucchini we had left to make some zucchini bread.  As I was coming back, I saw the old dear look at Larry, who had his back to her as he was sorting out jam in the trailer.  She quickly stuffed the zucchini into her bag and pushed her walker to the next booth.  
I thought, oh well, it's only a dollar zucchini....
And then I thought that that wasn't really the issue.
So I approached her, and she did pay for it. Kind of a weird situation.
Zucchini, bringing out the worst in us.