Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Eclipse Day

A lot of people I know were expecting different results when the solar eclipse happened in our area yesterday.  There were complaints about it not getting dark, wasn't it supposed to get dark?  At the peak, the sun here was about 86% covered.  The sun's light is a powerful thing though, and even though only a small percentage of the light was getting past the moon, it was only slightly dimmer than normal.  

We had forgotten about the eclipse, and when we remembered, it was already underway.  The first thing I noticed as being 'different' were the shadows on the deck of the leaves of the ornamental cherry tree.



I took a picture of the sun with my phone, just to see if anything was different.  The sun looked like usual, but when I looked again, the camera had somehow picked up an reversed reflection of the partially covered sun.



The picture was taken at 10:08, and the peak was at 10:21, so the sun is only about half covered.  Maybe that's a planet off to one side of the crescent sun.




We took the dogs for a walk right at the peak.  The light was definitely different, definitely dimmer, and the shade down the trail was darker too of course.  The biggest thing that we noticed though, was the temperature drop.  I was in shorts and a t-shirt, and the sunlight hitting my body was not producing any heat.  I was cold and the hair was standing up on my arms, and probably the hair on my legs that I had missed was standing up too! πŸ˜‰




The sunflowers were still doing their thing though.


I think the sky was a darker blue.  
The Fall raspberries are starting to ripen.



A baby cantaloupe.  I sure hope there's time for the them to ripen.



Some of the tomato plants have reached the top of their strings.  Last week I started cutting the top shoots off.  No new flower branches to be pollinated.  I need them to ripen what tomatoes are there.  Today I got more brutal with them and trimmed a lot of leaves off to let some light into the green tomatoes.  I've never had such vigorous plants.  I was constantly pinching or cutting out shoots sprouting from the leave axils.



Sweet 100 is living up to it's name.



Tiny scallopini or pattypan squash, getting ready to flower.  First time growing them.



Another first.  Straight eight cucumbers.  Boy are they good. Crunchy and juicy.



And pumpkins, 12 pretty decent sized ones.



I planted a bunch of squash seeds in the side of the manure pile.  I HAD planned on thinning the plants out, but like many things I PLAN on doing......



We have loads and loads of these.  At first I thought/hoped they were going to be Butternut squash, and then decided they were just some weird hybrid, and then all of a sudden one day the shape had changed just a bit and I realized they are Red Kuri squash.  The red part is still to come, but they are the right shape.



Also on that pile are a ton of spaghetti squash.  I'm pretty excited about all these squash!



And then last night we took the dogs down to the river for a swim.  They get their morning walk and an evening one, and get to hang out with us all day if they want, but I feel like they haven't had much exciting added to their daily regimen for a while, so it was nice to do something slightly different with them.

This was at Poplar Bar, one of the parks along the Fraser River near us.  Not as dark as the photo appears, but the setting sun makes it look darker.



After wet games of fetch, we took a walk through the trails.  By that point we were the last ones at the park, so we left them off leash.  We passed a massive cottonwood tree, at least 6' in diameter.  Maybe there was an eagle's nest in the top, but we couldn't see from our vantage point.  Eagle feathers had been placed into the tree.
(and this picture is lighter than it really was.  It was starting to dim at this point.  



When we got to the end of the trail, we decided to walk back by the road, as it was getting pretty dark in the trees.  I was starting to think that maybe the park get would get locked before we got back to our car, but we were fine.  The sign said 10pm, and there were actually two more cars in there when we got back.  It was about 8:30.  We have already lost an hour of daylight in the evening, and probably the same in the morning.  The only time I notice the mornings is on Sundays, when I have to get up at 5 to finish prepping for the market. 
Those Sundays seem to roll around way too fast.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Another Adventure with Karen and Larry

We had another reminder of our own mortality just recently, so we've been trying to make a point of taking the time to do some fun stuff.  Yesterday, after picking blackberries in the morning (we are up to 46 one gallon pails now) and then three batches of jam for me in the afternoon, we loaded up our bikes and headed out.  This time the destination was the dyke along the Fraser River, starting at the Mission Bridge and heading to the base of Sumas Mountain, and then riding back along the roads.  



It took us longer to get there than usual, as we had to stop at two different train tracks and wait for two very long, very slow trains.

We set off on the dyke and quickly detoured to a trail closer to the river.  As we rode along, there wasn't much of a view, and I was saying that they could have cleared out some of the scrub in a few spots.  Right after that we came upon a bunch of grassy clearings, some with a bench, and one with a hitching rack, for sitting and watching the river go by.  We did see two people riding horses.

There are a couple or roads that run right up to the river bank, so we checked those out.  The first one wasn't much, but the second one led down to a nice sandy beach.  We rode down on our bikes and kept riding along the beach, because it was there, and we could!  That's what adventure is all about, taking the routes slightly less travelled😊

Eventually we ran into a few obstacles, but nothing we couldn't heave our bikes over, or under.



Then the sand ran out.



Rocks ahead, but we can do this!



So we got over the rocks, pushing and carrying our bikes. 



More sand, more rocks, more sand, more rocks, and then one reaaalllly big tree.  We had left our bikes further back and we were doing a reconnaissance  mission.



And we came to a lovely little bay.  According to my phone, we were right by a lane coming through a field from the dyke.  Larry scrambled up the bank to look.





That's Sumas Mountain in the distance.  Still a long way to go, and we had used up much of our time.  



We pushed and pulled our bikes up the bank and rode out between a hay field and corn field.  Passed a sign facing the other way saying 'authorized access only' πŸ˜‰
We checked out another road access further down the dyke, but it ended at a high bank covered in blackberries, and we didn't see a way down.  

After that we headed out to the road and made our way back.




When we got to where Sim Rd. was going to meet up with Page Rd, I could see a big cornfield with a long line of ornamental trees alongside it, and something yellow.  When we got closer it was sunflowers.  What a lovely sight, a farmer with a vision of making his boring cornfield a sight to behold!



And finally back to the car



Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Leading Up To The Kayaking

I've got to say, blogging seemed so much easier when I just had one camera and one computer.  An older computer that I was so familiar with and seemed to have no issues getting pictures up and a blog written.  Then last summer the computer died, and had to be replaced and has Windows 10 or something and I don't know, things are different and there are different places that I have the pictures and I seem to have issues.  About the same time I upgraded my phone and it has a decent camera and so was using that more for photos because it was just so convenient, oh and along the way I acquired a better camera.  Then I was gifted an older Apple laptop so mostly use that now, but not totally familiar with it, and everything just seems so flippin' difficult sometimes. Ok, rant over, just letting you know I have not totally adjusted to all this extra technology.

So this post has been in the works for the last week or more.  Well more like 4 weeks, if I really think about it.  Along the way I seem to have lost some photos on the phone, I think they may have ended up on the SD card, but don't know how to check and Google wasn't really giving me a nice simple answer.

We've always liked bike riding.  We seem to make more time for it when we are at Wyndson Cottage in Oliver, and don't get a lot done here.  Maybe because we have  flatter options in Oliver, and here, riding from the house involves hills.

A winter ride to Tucelnuit Lake in Oliver

About six weeks ago I suggested that we go one evening to Ft. Langley ( a little cute historic town 15 minutes away) and ride the Fort to Fort trail.  We ended up Derby Reach park and campsite.  Lovely evening, the sun setting over the river.



A pretty cool boat moored in the channel.




So we made some effort and three times a week for a few weeks, we got ourselves out for a ride.  Mostly in the evening, but sometimes during the day.  We found that if we took the front wheels off our bikes (they have a quick release), one fit in the back seat of our little car and the other in the trunk.  So sometimes we drove to a different area to ride, and sometimes we rode out from home.

When we were at Oliver a couple of weeks ago, Larry picked out a route.  Instead of along the dyke, we went west and uphill.  I knew it was uphill, we've driven that way lots of times, but it is only when you are on a bike that your REALLY realize how uphill it is.  We had to get off and walk a few times, it was a warm and muggy evening.  A bit of smoke haze over the mountains.  
In the photo below we are on the downhill.  The vegetation was so dry, they had no rain at all for weeks.  We have driven down this particular road a few times, but never realized that there is a creek burbling it's way down the hill.  It just seemed so out of place in the dryness, and we kept trying to  see it.  At times it was right next to the road, but had worn itself such a deep narrow channel that the bushes kept it hidden until we finally found an open spot and could actually see the water


One time we went back to Ft. Langley and the campsite, and rode out in a different direction.  A really nice beach area along the river, I could only think how the dogs would enjoy that.  The Golden Ears Bridge in the background.


I had picked up a bulletin from the park, which had all sorts of events listed at the various parks in the area.  The only one that really interested me was a free tryout of a kayak or in a 12 person war canoe.  So on that day I suggested we drive down and park at the dyke where we walk the dogs, and then ride along River Rd. into Ft. Langley and then over the bridge to Brae Island Regional Park.  We both got kayaks to try out, and we loved it.  Well maybe me more than Larry, but he had a good time too (those are some of the pictures I have 'misplaced').  And the rest is history I guess.  I checked out kayaks on Craigslist and a few other places and ended up getting a couple of starter ones on sale for a good price from Canadian Tire.

Last week we took them into town and had a paddle on Mill Lake.  Meredith met us there and tried them out.  Another smoky evening (we have had a week now of smoke hanging over us from wildfires in other parts of the province.) Meredith took this picture of me.


The smoke isn't too obvious at ground level close up, but we can't see any mountains, and sometimes we can smell it when we go outside.

The last two weeks, we haven't been able to keep up our three times a week rides, but are trying to get back into it this week.  
Last night we went out.  It was just supposed to be a short ride, it was still warm and a bit muggy. So 2 1/4 miles to the end of Bradner Rd, by Jubilee Hall, and then home.  We got to the end and I said I wanted to check out the old road.  The road used to wind down the hill at that point, steep and gravelly and hard to maintain, and often closed in winter.  Some years ago they gave up on it, and gated it off at both ends.  It appears that the quad people had been keeping it well used.  We got down to the first corner,  I looked at Larry and asked if he wanted to just keep going, and he said 'sure!' (which actually surprised me!)

We got off the old pavement onto loose steep gravel.  He asked me how I was doing with the braking, he was having a bit of trouble keeping control.  I think I had better treads on my tires and was doing slightly better, but did slow down some more.  We passed a pile of bear poop.  I talked loudly πŸ˜‰ I glanced at a quad trail joining up with the old road, and then when I looked back there was a big ditch in the road.  I braked but couldn't stop or avoid it, and so came to an abrupt halt, and I and the bike did a slow somersault.  Oops.  Injuries were minor.  Some skin missing below my right knee, scrapes on my left shin, a good scratch on my right thigh and a bruise on my left hip.  The heels of my hands were sore as they took some of the impact.  I thought Larry was going to wipe out in his rush to stop and come to my aid. A bit of blood but nothing much.  It was a reminder though to carry a bit of first aid with us.  We continued on and then once we got back onto the main road we stopped and I took this photo.  None of the cameras I've tried will pick up the redness of the sun.  That is not mist out there, it is smoke.  It looks worse because we are looking a long distance and the smoke is compounded.  


We got down onto the flat and rode until we hit the very steep hill heading back up to our area.  It was a walking hill.  The last time I attempted it I got flashing lights at the edge of my vision.  Once we made it to the top, a bit of downhill and home.  About 6.5 miles

Today we went kayaking on the Fraser River.  Not terribly exciting, and still smoky.

Did some Googling this evening and have now fixed the blurriness on the main camera on my phone. See the difference between this one in the kayaks and the one below it taken with the front camera?  Was finding it very frustrating, but future pictures will be better now! 




We just got back home and Meredith texted us Happy Anniversary.  Pretty funny, neither of us had remembered, that is a first for me, although not Larry.πŸ˜‰
At least we spent some fun time together today.
36 years ago on another hot August day.....



Friday, July 28, 2017

Kayaking

There is another blog post that I was going to do that leads into this one, but oh well, at the moment I'm more gung ho about doing this one, and since I haven't been very productive in the blogging department, you have to take what you get!

This week we were away at Wyndson Cottage in Oliver BC.  And we had taken kayaks.....I've always wanted to kayak.....at least in my head.  I've only done it once before, many years ago, and loved it.  Anyway, we ended up with a couple of kayaks.

The first full day in Oliver we kayaked around Tuc-el-nuit lake, which is the little lake right on the edge of town.  We take the dogs there to swim, you've seen pictures of them there.  So we took the dogs for a swim first, and checked out the lake conditions.  A bit breezy, but not bad.  Took the dogs back to the house and went back to kayak.  Oops, the wind had picked up some more.  Plus, there were other people there now, and we had to get ourselves into the kayaks and paddle across the wind, and try not to make fools of ourselves.  Thankfully, all went well (our little practice run down at the dog dyke at home had ended with Larry being soaking wet). Then we turned into the wind and it was a tough slog against it until we got to the relative calmness at the other end. Coming back down the other side was much easier, and of course the wind had dropped somewhat.

Anyway, that paddle wasn't quite the idyllic trip I was picturing.  Larry made a suggestion for a second outing, I was a bit apprehensive at first about the location, but am so glad that we took the plunge.  We turned off the pavement and bounced and bucked our way up a gravel road.  Actually it was rocks poking up, channels where water had run through, sand, potholes, we were going no more than 10 km per hour. The kind of road I imaged David and his land rover bunch going out on.  After a lot of uphill we finally made to a beautiful little lake nestled in the tops of the hills. It is called either Burnell or Sawmill lake.

There was just the gentlest of breezes rippling some of the lake.  The only other people there were a couple and young child camped on the other side.  The got into their canoe not long after we arrived and went for a paddle around.



The water was really shallow in spots and so clear.  It creeped me out a bit at first, but I got used to it and found the thick mossy weed on the bottom, fascinating.  Holes in it, like cave entrances for turtles (saw quite a few of those) or fish, of which we saw none.



It's all open range land up there, but the cattle are fenced off from the lake, except in this one spot.  That black blob in the middle is a few head resting in the shade.



Damselflies were everywhere







Some people hope to kayak with whales and dolphins, and it sounds wonderful, but in reality I'd probably be terrified (of the whales at least).  I was more than thrilled with the damselflies and turtles!


It turned out to the the perfect kayaking adventure of my imagination.

I thought the drive back down would be faster, but no, we had to crawl down like we crawled up.




The bonus was the wildlife!  This mother bear and two cubs bolted the instant we appeared.  Then mum stood on her hind legs and looked back at us, and she is just turned to go again in this shot.  Wasn't much time to get a decent picture.



And a bit further down on a side track, a doe was munching on some leaves.


It was wonderful little trip, I'll be thinking fondly about it for a long time.