Monday, June 26, 2017

A Quick 'There and Back'

We made a quick trip to Oliver last week.  Just two nights away.  We wanted to go and check on things, cut the grass and water everything.  The previous trip at the end of May, we got rather a shock to see the grass and weeds in the back 'lawn' looking like a hay field.  A bit embarrassing, and just that day the neighbour across the lane had come in with her lawnmower to tackle some of it. 

Usually the day we are leaving I have a long list of things that 'must' be done.  Of course it is only me that thinks they are essential, and it always involves plants or seeds.  This time we had a chiropractor appointment in town at 10am.  Soooo, I needed to be ready to go by 9:40, as town was in the same direction as Oliver and it would seem to silly to backtrack home.  We made the appointment with time to spare, mostly because the doctor was running late.  The weather was decent, cloudy and warmish, and the forecast was for improvement and sunshine for the rest of the week.  Just a slight chance of showers.  The dogs still needed a walk so we stopped at an off leash area near Sumas Mountain and walked along the dyke.  We could see a rain shower in the distance along the mountain, and it gradually caught up with us and then got very heavy and we had to make a run for the car.  Back on our way. 

Larry had heard that traffic was backed up because of construction the Vedder Bridge, so just in case we took a detour, that I thought would only add minutes on to our travel, but it seemed to take ages to get back to the freeway.  

I was driving this first stretch.  Nearly an hour into the trip, a few miles out of Hope, I suddenly noticed some red lights behind my sun glasses which were sitting in front of the speedometer.  Battery light on and temperature light flashing red. Oh shit!  So I took the next exit and we pulled over and stared at each other.  Larry may have a couple of mechanically minded cells in his body, but his brother and our son got the other 99.9% of them.  It didn't help that it was pelting rain, and we didn't really have the right clothing.  Eventually Larry got out and lifted the hood, and all I could think of was that he was hoping there was a flashing red light and an arrow that said 'problem here'.  Anyway, I got out and added my lack of mechanical knowledge to Larry's, but even I could see that there seemed to be a belt missing by the alternator, which Larry had already noticed.  So to spare you a few details we limped into Hope, taking a few stops to let the engine cool a bit, but thinking back maybe the flashing light came on because the water pump wasn't working either.  (David's suggestion) The engine may not have been hot, but we were being warned that things weren't right.  I was Googling mechanics, and our first stop wasn't able to help us, but made a suggestion where else to go.  There we were successful, or at least they were able to look the car.  We couldn't leave the dogs in the car, so headed out for a walk, and the weather was still wet.  I had gone from shorts, t shirt and sandals to pants, windbreaker and runners. Larry was less prepared, so we borrowed an umbrella from the dealership and hiked off to McDonalds for some coffee and a bite to eat.  Those showers were still coming down.  At McDonalds we sat at an outside table on a pile of paper napkins to keep our backsides dry.  Then the rain started to pour again and we had to go and stand under the overhang at the front of McDonald's, where the panhandlers hang out, thankfully none there that day.  I'm sure the dogs just could not figure this out.

The rain eased, and we took the shorter route back down the main road, but then the rain dumped on us yet again.  We found a massive tree to stand under for a bit, and then WE were approached by a panhandler.  Always glad when I can honestly say I have no money on me.

By the time we were almost back to the dealership the sun had broken through for a few minutes.  We passed this cute little store with a nice garden on the side of it.  Worth a look into one of these times, but I just wasn't in the mood that day.

We even caught up to our panhandler friend on the way back, as she was heading home. 
The car had been moved and was at the back of a lineup.  I didn't know if this was good or bad news, so was very much relieved to see Larry getting out his wallet when he went into the office.  A $107 and 2 hours later we were back on the road, yee ha!!

Lots of construction slow downs, raining again but blue skies in the distance.

Paving going on here.  We had to sit and wait while that dump truck came down the road from the right.  It had to turn around with that pup on, in the roadway and that narrow bit of gravel.  It was entertaining.  We watched that truck back into the power pole twice and also hit one of the pylons and push it over the edge.  Oops!

Heading down the mine hill before getting to Princeton.  Blue sky and puffy clouds!

So instead of the 3 pm or so that we had expected to arrive in Oliver, it was 6pm.  At least it was before our usual 'just getting dark' arrival.  The 'lawn' wasn't too long, and was quite dry, and the grass/weeds were crispy sounding as we walked over them.  Larry got the lawn cut and I started watering.

The next morning was sunny and nice.  It is really unusual to see Luna out like this, actually relaxing/dozing in the sun.  She is usually either yipping at the door to come in, or is curled up just under the window I am taking the photo through.

We have a lot of this succulent growing there.  Comes in handy to fill in bare spots and survives the heat and drought.  It has interesting 😉 shaped flower stalks that get taller than this and then end up falling over.  That is a bee balm in the middle and a wallflower to the right of it.

The dogs got their morning walks and a nice swim in the lake in the afternoon.  

Tragopogon dubius (Yellow Goat's Beard)

Too soon it was time to leave.  
I said goodby to the porch pooches, and promised to return soon.

I'd love to have a nice planter with flowers on the front step, but they would soon be dead and crispy from lack of watering.  The porch pooches and some fake plants on the other side of the door are the best I can do.

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.