Monday, June 19, 2017

Feeling a Bit Out of Sorts

 David flew in from Edmonton on Thursday evening.  Melissa picked him up and they came over here, and Meredith joined us as well and we had a really lovely dinner and visit.   The next morning they headed out early to pick up the Uhaul van that David had reserved.

The place that they rented in Edmonton came with a bit of furniture, but they needed more.  I offered them various pieces that we had, and they said 'yes' to seven of them!  Yee ha, we could get rid of some 'stuff'.  Most of it was already in use somewhere.  In fact the two biggest pieces were in my sewing room.  The big dresser was holding up one side of my cutting table, and the tv stand project piece was maybe going to be a shoe rack bench in our bedroom, but in the meantime I was using it to store fabric.  Then there was a matching chest of drawers that went with the dresser, as well as a matching night table, and another night table that almost matched, and a third night table that Larry had made in high school. Yes, we hang on to everything!  Some of the stuff was piled outside the front door. There was also an old trunk (potential coffee table?), and a solid oak desk (buried under the tv stand) that David had picked up for $10 and $3 respectively when he had come to some garage sales with us on his graduation trip.

 We also passed on to them a large, heavy three piece mirror that was meant for an old style dressing table, the kind that is lower in the middle.  A stupid purchase I made at an auction many years ago when I was determined to outbid a dealer lady that was snapping up all sorts of antiques.  And....we never used it, anywhere.  Good to say goodbye to that!

Still lots of room, but Melissa was concerned that all her stuff, including furniture and horse stuff, might take up more space than was left.  Thankfully, in the end, it all fit in.  

They left our place Friday noon, to go and load Melissa's stuff.  We said our goodbyes sort of, but then I decided I was going to bring a cooler over to the horse barn with food in for Tucker (I had been feeding him a raw diet) on Saturday morning when they were leaving.  And then I thought how silly that was, I was going to get weepy all over again.
That afternoon it seemed so incredibly quiet.  No Tucker to be wondering about.  Where is he, what is he doing, what undigestible thing is he eating NOW? Damn dog....
In fact that cute little pup had turned into a pretty nice dog.  We have had him to ourselves this last three weeks, and mostly to ourselves a previous three weeks, and then much of the time since last Christmas.
It just seemed toooooo quiet.  I didn't have to worry about unplugging the laptop charger and picking it up from the floor.  (Yes he did chew the end off the charger once)  When I opened the dishwasher, no dog dashed over to give the dishes a quick prewash.  There was a presence missing, that was for sure.  I felt really out of sorts and just didn't quite know what to do with myself.

Saturday morning I got the stuff sorted out for the cooler, and there was a bag of odds and sods they had forgotten, plus some dried apples for the trip.  I was feeling a bit better about things, and wasn't quite as easily bringing myself to tears, just thinking about the tears that would fall when we said goodbye, again.  Oh I am a weeper, just ask my sister! (I was the Maid of Honour at her wedding, I think I cried through the whole ceremony)

We headed over to the horse barn but knew we had lots of time so stopped at one garage sale on the way.  I got myself a chicken!
Maybe I need to hide her in a patch of weeds, and she will look like she is sitting on a hidden nest of eggs.

Eventually the horses were all loaded and ready to hit the road.  Melissa's mom was going along on the road trip.  Her Grampa was pretty cut up about Melissa leaving.  He used to go and help her with the horses, sometimes feeding them for her or cleaning up after them.  The barn owner has said he can still come by and she will have some little jobs for him.  It won't be the same though, and I know they will miss each other terribly.

Tears were shed, I wisely put on sunglasses (because it was so bright!) and so managed to hide some of the waterworks.  I even saw David wipe a tear away.....  Excited for them and the new life they are starting, but so sad to see them go.  And I will miss my little Tucker man.

So after that emotional departure, we consoled ourselves with some more garage sales! 
We got a few good things.  Jake got a 'like new' raincoat for $5.  The fold up dog crate was also $5.  It was a bit grubby but a scrub brush and soap and water made it look like new again.  We used it at the market today.  Luna got a soccer ball and a basket ball $1.  Larry got some great work gloves 50 cents, some tools, and emergency car kit and some packages of screws all for $7.  I got a car dust buster $2 for David to keep his new car clean, and 2 pairs of like new little ballet shoes for $2.  Melissa teaches ballet, and maybe one day will open her own school, and can use them.  I like to plan ahead ;-)

We are planning on having a family reunion at the end of August at a horse show in the Okanagan.
I wish they were living closer, but to look on the bright side, at least they aren't living in England.
Oh, I need to put my sunglasses on again.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A Forgotten Post

This post is old news now.  This was our second visit to Oliver this year over the Easter weekend.  I had got the pictures loaded and then for some reason didn't get the post finished.

One day we went on a long hike.  It was in the White Lake area.  We combined two hikes from the previous year.  The first one was when we had Calli, I did a post, Calli Climbs a Mountain, and I posted about the other part too.  When we had Calli we were limited to how far we could go, so this time we continued on from where we had stopped the first time.  We picked a peak to get to the top of, and stopped there for lunch.  

On the way up we had been passed by some old codgers on mountain bikes.  Couldn't believe that they were riding up the trail they were.  They seemed to head off in a different direction to the trail we were following, and then from the top we saw them reappear way down below by that lake that was behind Luna in the video.  Larry was determined to find a way to get down there, and we did, it was quite easy although quite steep.  Down below was where we picked up the trail that we had been on the second time we had hiked in that area.

It was a good hike, and we will go back again and do some more exploring. 

The rest of the time we walked along the dykes.  Nice and flat and open and not often did we meet other people or dogs.  
That is Burrowing Owl winery. 
 Larry is wondering if there is a trail leading straight to it from the dyke.  All that walking makes a man thirsty!

Now I tried to think of a witty caption for this photo, but nothing came to me!
Luna in the middle of a roll.  She is the most 'rolly' dog I have ever known.

A bit 'Wild West' looking

The Road 22 bridge.

The little vegetable garden at Wyndson Cottage.  That's garlic just to the right of centre.  It was planted in November.  I seeded some beets to the right and planted potatoes to the left while we were there.

Evening light hitting the daffodils along the driveway.

I always manage to squeeze a bit of work in, so got a few aprons sewn up.

Even managed a bit of thrifting.  We hit Value Village in Penticton seniors day (30
% off), and got the Keen sandals for Larry for $3.50,  and I got the water bottle belt for the same price. The sandals were hardly worn but some stitching had come undone.  That was an easy fix.   I love it when I can look things up on the computer and see the original price.  The sandals were over $100 and the water bottles were over $40.
A great thrift store find makes my day!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Last Week

The title of this post was supposed to be 'This Week', but time moves on faster than I do, another market is in the books, and 'this week' is now last week.  Since I already had the photos loaded, I am just going to get this post done anyway!

Monday is usually sort of a recovery day, after the market on Sunday.  The markets are pretty exhausting, we are getting older, what can I say.  So often there are no definite plans for Monday.  If I am productive, well good, if not, I just tell myself it was my day off.

There was one thing scheduled for Monday, and that was to get Ramona sheared. Well to be exact, for me to shear Ramona.  She expects an apple in the morning when we first go out to let the chickens out, and she is right there looking for it.  So after the dog walk I went back out with another apple and a rope and halter over my shoulder, figuring I could feed her the apple and drop the rope around her neck.  I tried to act very nonchalant, kept my body turned away from her, tried to act like I was not in 'predator' mode.  Didn't matter, she could read my mind, and I could get no where near her.  I tried to slowly corner her in a couple of spots, but she was having nothing to do with it.  I gave up, she is old and was carrying a heavy fleece, it was warm out, and I didn't want to stress her.  Larry and I discussed it and the next morning, Tuesday, he fed her the apple in her shelter, and we blocked her in and managed to get the halter on her and left a long rope dragging while we had our breakfast and walked the dogs.  Somehow she managed to get the long rope undone in the meantime, but thankfully there was a lead rope still attached and we got hold of her with no trouble.  That morning it was threatening showers so we got her into the shop, which was a good idea because it made the mess easy to sweep up.

I had attempted to sharpen the electric sheep shears, but wasn't too successful.  We left her standing and I started on her back and got off what I could, but the shears were really struggling at this point so I had to resort to sharp scissors. (Somewhere we have some hand shears, but they have disappeared into the abyss). I'll spare you some of the details, to make a long story a bit shorter, and it took about an hour.  I trimmed her feet too while I had her tipped up.

Where's the real Ramona?

Ramona back out with her flock.  
There are a few shaggy bits that were under the halter and got missed, but overall not too bad.

After that was jam time.  Three extra large batches of raspberry, and one of strawberry.  When that was all done I had wanted to head out to the east end of town, to go in Choices and buy a big bottle of real vanilla, the only place I have found so far to get a 500ml bottle.  Meredith had given me a $10 coupon for the store that she got in the mail, and over a couple of years I had accumulated enough points there to get $20 of free groceries. We decided to take the dogs with us and walk them in a different spot, so walked one of the dykes on Sumas Prairie.  On the way there it really started to rain hard, but luckily when we got out of the car, it had stopped.  Larry kept the umbrellas pointed at the sky to ward off any wet clouds, and we never had to actually open them up.  

That misty hill in the background is the same one that was behind our tulip field pictures.
It is all farming land out there.  Much of the area used to be a shallow lake, and was drained to allow for farming.  Big fields of grass that had already been cut once, feed corn planted that was just coming up, massive hog, turkey, chicken and dairy barns, and not an animal to be seen.  It seemed so sad, and wrong, wrong, wrong.  We could see some dairy heifers at the end of one dark barn on the other side of the drainage canal.  That was it.  Well not quite.  As we were heading north to go get something to eat, we saw about six beef steers grazing up the side of the dyke, at a small holding there.  I know that they say it is more productive to keep the dairy cows in the barn, and bring the feed to them.  But, but, but......those cows have legs, and legs were designed for walking, and it just doesn't seem right that they can't get outside and feel the sun and wander around....Probably just as well that we don't eat dairy any more.  Or meat that doesn't get an opportunity to be outside and do what things with legs do.

Wednesday's jam batches.  Another strawberry, strawberry mango and strawberry rhubarb, and the dark one is bumbleberry.  After the second batch I felt like I was done, so I had to walk away from it for a while.


Thursday was cherry, peach and apricot jam day, and Friday was seville, lemon and three fruit marmalade day.  I bought this thermometer years ago, at a thrift store or garage sale.  It has served me well.  Last year I found a 'better' thermometer.  One that has a clip to hook it on the side of the pot instead of the twist tie I use with this one.  Bigger and better, I thought.  Earlier I had some trouble with seville marmalade, and it turns out that the new thermometer was wrong.  The tube had slid out of position and was giving me the wrong temperature, to the marmalade was cooking to a higher temperature than it should.  I have calibrated it with this old one, but the tube still moves up and down too easily, and there is no way to fix it without risking breaking the glass, so I think I'm just going to stick with the old one now.  The temperature of the marmalade has to get to 220-221 degrees, and then I test a bit on a cold lid that has been in the freezer, to make sure it is going to set.  I still have the rare batch that doesn't set properly, but most are okay. Making marmalade is a long process.

Saturday morning we went to some garage sales.  We never did find a good one.  Well there were a couple near the end that probably were, but by then most of the good stuff was gone.  At our last one we got our biggest, best and most expensive buy.  A green plastic Fort wheelbarrow for $15.     

We inherited  one when our neighbours moved, and we have found that it is our favourite.   Two of your favourites is even better. We find that we can never have enough wheelbarrows!

After that it was market prep for me.  Somewhere during the week I managed to get a bit of sewing and gardening done, but the gardening needing doing is overwhelming.  The grass and weeds have gone wild.  I think Larry mowed something everyday.

There is more I could talk about from last week, but I've babbled on to long already. 
Congrats if you stuck with me this far.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Graduation Day!

Life seems like it has been pretty hectic lately.  The farmers market season is in full swing, and the first four have been very good. Finally we have been getting some good weather, days of it in a row, and no rain, and the ground has dried up, the weeds are knee high to a giraffe, and EVERYTHING needs doing yesterday.  So we keep plugging along....

Last week we made a dash for Oliver on Monday evening and came back Wednesday evening.  Our last chance to take advantage of David as a house sitter.  He has been in Edmonton since the start of the month, but took the week off, since Monday was a holiday and Thursday was his graduation day and he was flying back for that.

Meredith travelled in to Vancouver with Larry and I, we left about 9:15 for the 11am ceremony.  It was supposed to be a 9am departure, but someone didn't get themselves here on time ๐Ÿ˜‰(Look out, I've just learned how to add emojis to the blog!)  Google told us it may take up to an hour and 40 minutes, depending on traffic of course, but we did it in an hour and 15, the parkade was right next to the Chan Centre and we made it in good time.  We connected with Melissa and got our seats.  The lighting in the room was not conducive to good photos.

This particular ceremony was for Forestry and Kinesiology students.  The grads all filed in and filled up the chairs on the stage and then the seats down in front.  We got a good view of David because he and a few others went up onto the stage and then found out that there was no seating left so had to walk back down and he ended up fourth from the left on the front row.

That is Simon, the head of the department, holding the big wooden mallet thing, that had Haida carvings on it. I asked David about it and he seemed to know nothing. The grads receiving their doctorates were called up first, and then those with masters degrees, and then the bachelors degrees. Like all grad ceremonies it was long and a bit boring, but better than the high school grad.  The speeches were not too long and mostly interesting, so all in all it wasn't a chore to be there ๐Ÿ˜‰

Where I was sitting, I wasn't able to see the grads as they first entered the stage, so missed David's name being called, but did catch him crossing the stage.  We even made a bit of noise for him, and that was a big deal for me, as I am not a screamer at public events.  Each Grad was given three tickets for family, and then on a certain day extras came up for purchase.  Those all sold out in an hour and David missed out.  Fortunately one of his friends was not attending so shared his three tickets and David was able to get one extra.  If he could have got more  tickets, Melissa's parents and grandpa would have attended as well.

David Brandson
Bachelor of Science, with honours, Wood Products Processing
Winner of the Charles Larre Memorial Graduating Prize
awarded to the most outstanding graduating student in Wood Products Processing

With Melissa

Proud parents๐Ÿ˜€
I like to think David inherited my brains, haha, but he definitely inherited my eyebrows!

With Meredith, his sister

Unfortunately I didn't realize as I was kneeling on the ground (see my knees?) to set up the camera on a wood rail, that the filtered sunlight was hitting the lens slightly, so we look a bit 'misty'.

With Associate Professor Simon Ellis, program director, Wood Products Processing, and the 'mallet', and Santa Ono, the President and Vice Chancellor of the University of British Columbia.

David even left a bit of a legacy.  Because of his internship with Rolls Royce in England for one of his co-op terms, Rolls Royce and the Co-op Coordinator have been in discussion, and Rolls Royce is interested in more Canadian students coming to work for them.

There was a reception afterwards in the Forestry building.  We got there in time to grab a bite to eat, and then it was time to head out, as coincidence would have it, Larry had an appointment at the eye specialist about 20 minutes away.
Of course it took more than 20 minutes to get there, so we dropped Larry off and Meredith and I went to a grocery store to get something for the barbecue at Melissa's parents house afterwards.  We sat in the car for a while in the free parking, and then my phone rang and it was the doctors office looking for Larry.  This was nearly an hour after his scheduled appointment time.  I had this vision of him having passed out in the lobby, but it turns out they had just 'lost' him in the waiting room.  So in the meantime we went to another grocery store and then searched for free parking.  Managed to find a spot and waited for Larry to text that he was done.  We finally left Vancouver about 4 pm and we were in rush hour traffic so didn't get back to our place until after 5:30.  Our poor dogs got a quick walk and were fed and then we left again for the barbeque.  A nice time was had by all, we got back home and took the dogs out again for a walk. Phew, we had spent the equivalent time in the car as the four hour trip to Oliver.
Oh, and Larry's eyes are excellent, as they continue to recover from the epithelial cell transplant needed because of Fuch's Dystrophy.

Saturday, May 13, 2017


It was Thursday around suppertime.  I was messing around in the kitchen, maybe doing some cleaning up after an earlier jam making session.  I'd seen a bit of the early news on tv, and a story about a house fire, caused by a cigarette, had caught my attention.  The tenant on one floor had been saved by the tenant on the other floor, and the fire had reignited later in the day and fire department had to return to the house.  I happened to glance out of the kitchen window and was horrified to see a massive plume of black smoke coming up behind our barn.  I just couldn't fathom it.  I ran outside and when I got far enough I realized that it was not our barn, but a huge barn on the property next to us.  The roof was fully engulfed.  I screamed for Larry, and then ran back inside to call 911.  I did figure that a call would have already been made, but one can never be sure, and better to be safe than sorry.  I may have only ever called 911 once before.  I can only imagine the feeling of panic if the emergency directly affected the caller or one of their family.  I had forgotten or hadn't realized that the call wasn't going directly to a centre in Abbotsford.  I was asked if it was fire, police or ambulance.  Then asked what city.  Then the phone rang and rang and the operator actually came back on to tell me it would be answered shortly.  Then again I was asked what it was for and it rang again. Some one answered and asked if it was the McTavish Rd fire and I said yes.  He asked if it was my barn and I said no.  All that seemed to take forever, much much longer than it took you to just read it.  I was feeling panicky with the waiting.  

Our closest firehall is a volunteer one, about 7 minutes away.  We could hear sirens coming from farther away and a slightly different direction. Probably the fully manned hall about 11 minutes away.   Lots and lots of sirens.  We couldn't see the trucks arrive because they came up the driveway out of sight on the left of the photos, and were on the other side of the barn.  

We eventually heard the water hitting the flames and the metal

I think the roof had already caved in by the time we got a good look.  These photos were taken from our back hayfield.  When things had burned down a bit we did get the odd glimpse of a ladder up high, and water spraying from it.

The barn was 180' long and about 40-60' wide.  It had been used to store machinery as far as we knew.  The other side is fully open down the length of it.  Since the cladding was all metal, we could not figure what was making it burn so hot and long.  It turns out that a lot of round hay bales were stored in there also.  Perhaps they were the cause of the fire.  We eventually wandered back to the house, and then after dark a massive light stand had been set up and it lit up the smoke cloud.  Apparently they stayed a long time to make sure that there were no hot spots left in the hay, and poured thousands of gallons of water on it all.

(I took the next two photos this evening because the ones I had taken yesterday morning were a bit blurry.)  But this is exactly what it looked like the next morning.  Not wisp of smoke to be seen. Nothing left of the barn except a bit of the north wall, and the row of concrete support beams that had held the roof up down the open side.

Apparently there had been a boat and a motorhome, a tractor and a hay mower in the barn, an lots of hay by the looks of it.

We were out for our morning walk with the dogs through our back bush.  We were getting close to the little creek and I could see a big white mass.  What on earth was it.  As we got to the creek where it tumbles out of a bit of a culvert into the little pool that Luna likes to dunk herself in, there was a massive foam sculpture.  The smell here was a very strong smokey/chemical odour. 
See Larry standing behind it, to give you a sense of the size of the thing.

When we crossed back over the creek further upstream, we could see blobs of foam here and there and again that strong smell.  I did contact the fire department to ask about the foam.  I was told that it was as environmentally friendly as it could be, and still do it's job.  Like diluted dish soap, vegetable based, no carcinogens, not a concern.  I mentioned the smell.  The environmental crew was coming out to check it out.  He mentioned the massive amount of water they had to pour on the hay to put the fire out, and all that water will be draining through the ground and some of it into the creek.  He said there may be a concern depending what was leaching from the barn.  The barn was originally built about 20 years ago as a place to do maintenance on a fleet of trucks involved with a carnival ride company.  The neighbours protested, so then they were only supposed to use it to store the trucks, but...who knows what went on in there.

And that other call I have made to 911...that was about 20 years ago, when the predecessors to the barn that just went up in flames....went up in flames also.  
It was about the same time of the day..a propane tank on a food truck from the amusement ride company somehow caught on fire, and we watched in horror as the flames leaped down the row of barns and destroyed them all.  Fortunately neither man nor beast was hurt in either fire.  There are different owners now.  I wonder if the barn will be rebuilt.  A large local farm was leasing the field and barn, and the house is rented out, and the renters do some horse boarding. Different people have leased the land over the years. Not all of them have been good neighbours.
The whole neighbourhood is changing.  Many of us are getting to that age, and with the booming property market, the For Sale signs are going up.

Okay, this is getting depressing.
I'll finish this post with something a little more light hearted. 
I'm filming this from the bathroom window. 
Luna and her young, but not so little any more, protege.
She has taught him well.  She did not teach him to bite a hole in the hose though.  He added that touch himself, at an earlier time. 

He won't be here too much longer, and I'll miss him when he goes.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Tiptoeing Through the Tulips

On Tuesday evening we took a trip out to the Abbotsford Tulip Festival.  

Locals are able to visit on Tuesday and Thursday evenings for $2.72.  Just one person in the group had to present an Abbotsford drivers licence.  Meredith met us there after work, and we were shocked at how full the parking lot was at 6:30 pm.  It had been a lovely sunny day but clouds from the next rainy system had rolled in and it was dull and grey.

Those of a certain age may remember Tiny Tim and his horrible high pitched voice singing 'Tiptoe..through the tulips...' That was going through my head so this is us doing our own tiptoeing through the tulips...we had a good laugh!

It was a fair walk from the parking to the tulip fields.  I think they had to move them away from the freeway, as I seem to recall there being traffic jams on the freeway the previous year as people slowed down to look.
The pathway was lined with these crates of bulbs, which were for sale for $20 each.  There were easily 100 or more daffodils in each one, but a lesser amount of tulips.  They were heavy, so I'm not sure of the procedure if you actually did want to purchase one.  A wagon or wheelbarrow would have been needed to get them back to the car, and I didn't see any signs of either.

Many many years ago I went to Brownie camp somewhere on that mountain, probably the other side.

Rows and rows of beautiful tulips. People taking pictures every where.  Families all dressed up and taking pictures in the tulips.  Larry was asked to pictures of one family.  Young pregnant women posing in the flowers, and one young woman faking being pregnant, posing in the flowers. 

Tulips that didn't look like tulips

You could even take your dog(s).  Not that we wanted to take ours, but it would have been a good socializing experience for Tucker.

Lots and lots of tulips, and lots and lots of pictures taken.
(I'm warning you now ;-) )

Some oddball Dutch pretenders

And did I mention lots and lots of tulip pictures?

I really should have asked this lady if she would have minded posing in front of the pink tulips, as her outfit was a perfect match for the pink and green.


The u-pick plot near the end.  $1 a stem, which seemed expensive to me.  Some people were getting their money's worth by pulling the bulb out along with the flower.  

If the sun had been out, beautiful Mt. Baker would have been glowing with the last of the day's rays, above these hills.

At the very end you could purchase some perfect looking tulips, already cut, 10 for $5! By the time we got there, there were only a few bunches  left.
Was it worth going?
Most definitely!!