Friday, January 17, 2020


I have another blog post I've been struggling to finish.  One of these days I hope it will be done, but really now it just seems like old news.

Anyway, after monsoon rains we morphed into winter.  It's been a cold week, wind chills of -20 at times.  We are situated such that we are wide open to the east, so when those arctic outflow winds come roaring across the Fraser Valley, we get hit pretty hard.  It was such a relief yesterday when they had ended.  We had some fresh snow yesterday, a bit of sunshine, more snow overnight, and then woke up to this, as seen from the bedroom window.  Blue sky!!

The sun coming up in the southeast.  One of the hummingbird feeders.  I like to leave it out overnight if possible, so that I don't have to get up early.  Although I did exactly that two mornings, as I had brought it in because I wasn't sure that it wouldn't freeze.  We have at least a couple of hummingbirds around.

So pretty this morning.  I'm standing by the south chicken coop

 There's not a lot of protected out door space for them, although they can also go under the coop.

Up until today I'd had a windbreak set up along this east facing side.  All the way along from their little chicken door so they were protected as they made their way to their little leanto on the south side.  I had that all protected too so that they could stay out of the wind.  I took it all down this morning as it wasn't needed, and I wanted them to be able to feel that sunshine.  The ones by the door are pecking at a dish of cooked squash innards and skins.  A little lure to get them to come out.

That's the rest of their field on the left, it extends to those farthest evergreens.  No hens would be tromping down there today.

Larry was taking care of the hens at the north coop, along with Ramona the old sheep.  Back in for breakfast and then the morning dog walk around the property.

Our bush/woodlot is reaching the end of it's life.  Lots of dead and dying trees, well the alders at least, and a few of them have come down lately.  I joked that they are so soaked with water and therefore heavy, and they just can't hold themselves up any longer.

Looking across the back hayfield.  That's yesterday's and last night's new snow on that fence rail.  At least that snow came straight down instead of creating drifts and bare spots.

Yesterday's snowed over snow angel!

I was worried about the rhubarb that was starting to show.  I think it's pretty safe under it's two foot drift.

Today's snow angel.  She has a pin head, lol.  Yesterday I had tried to find a drift deep enough that I could hold myself stiff and just fall back into it.  Couldn't do it, my sense of self preservation just wouldn't let me.  


Friday, December 27, 2019

Christmas Day at the Brandson's

It was a pretty low key Christmas in our household this year.  Just the four of us.  David made a rather treacherous drive from Edmonton, dividing it over late afternoon and evening of the first day, and all the daylight hours of the second.  The second day was bad, blizzards, stuck for an hour and a half at the summit of the highway, waiting for the road to be plowed and the semi drivers to get the chains on their trucks, which were blocking the road.  It was such a relief when he finally arrived at dusk on the Friday before Christmas.  

Christmas morning I was the first one up and wandered around turning on Christmas lights and snapping a few pictures.

The outside animals are all taken care of first, and then the dogs are fed, and then us.  We had some leftover chicken/bacon/sweet potato/onion/egg patties left over from supper the night before, and they made a nice brunch meal.

A few years ago we said we didn't want any more gifts.  We do fun little stocking stuffers, and of course there are random things I find at the thrift stores for a dollar or two that I think *may* be useful.

In the afternoon we took the dogs for a walk down on the dyke.  I thought that would be a good place to do our annual Christmas photo, and Larry insisted on taking the tripod, which in retrospect was a good idea.  ( I was coming up with ways we could manage without it).  By the time we got there the light was already fading.  Everyone else and their dog seemed to be there, so it took us a bit to get along to the swimming hole.  

These were the only three posed pictures taken, so I'm pretty happy they came out as good as they did.

Jake had had enough by this point.

Tucker even had an actual swim!

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, full of love and laughter, with family and friends.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Big Holes

Now that we are finished with the farmer's market for six months, we can get a few jobs done that have been waiting in the wings to be finished.  Because we are rural, we have a septic tank.  That said, we are on 'city' water though, so no well and pump to have to worry about.  When we bought this place in 1986, (wow, that's a long time ago), a new septic field was being installed.  We were good at getting the tank pumped out for the first while, and then it kind of got forgotten about.  I pushed Larry to dig the lid clear so we could get it pumped out this summer.  We did add to the height of the lawn in this area when we added on to the house.   

Anyway, Larry had a pretty good idea where it was, and did manage to hit concrete without digging a lot of useless holes.  I was shocked though, at how deep it now was, and how big the lid was, and how faulty my memory of it all was. I thought the top of the tank was much closer to the surface, an the lid much smaller!  The hole was about 20 inches deep and 30 inches square.  That was a lot of dirt to dig out, as seen by the three wheelbarrows full.  And then the job came to a halt.  We are both very good at letting things slide, and just ignoring the 'elephant' on the lawn, so to speak.  I think I finally nagged again and the tank was pumped out.  The Pumper Guy, yep that was what the company was called, told Larry that we could get a riser and lid to save ourselves all the digging the next time.  We decided to do it ourselves to save a few dollars, and the 'elephant' was there even longer.  Finally, yesterday, after much discussion over the size of the riser, exchanging the one Larry had first bought, overthinking the whole job, etc etc, we heaved the heavy concrete lid off for the last time, and installed the riser.  

So much fun, working over an open, full septic tank.  Yuk.  The base was sealed to the concrete around the hole, the first riser was screwed to the base, the second riser screwed to the first, and the lid screwed on top.  Happy to say that no tools or screws were dropped into the septic tank.  That was a miracle in itself.   At this point the hole still has to be partially filled in.  Of course not all the dirt in the wheelbarrows will be used.  I think the tires on two are flat, so we will have to bring the little compresser around to blow them up to move the heavy wheelbarrows, that are now filled up with rainwater.  The lawnmower may have to be brought out to cut the grass that had grown up under the wheelbarrows.  The lid will be pretty well level with the lawn, maybe a bit lower on one side.  In a few years it will be much easier to get the tank pumped again.

It was a relief to get out up to ground level and straighten up.  And I looked up, and wow, the sky was so cool looking.

It was already getting to that feeling that dusk was coming, so we got the dogs into the car and headed down to the dyke.  It was a beautiful evening with partially clear skies.  Down at the bottom of the hill I noticed these clouds, although I didn't take the picture until we had gone a mile and a half west to the dyke.  These are called Fallstreak Holes.  Here's an explanation.

The nearly full moon was rising to the east

I love taking pictures of sky and clouds.  It wasn't as dark as it seems, it was just the camera adjusting to the sky and making the trees appear dark.  Looking south.

Looking east southeast. Mt. Baker is just visible above the tree tops in the right quarter.

The holes are falling apart, but another one is starting to form.

Looking southwest.  I love reflections too!


Lovely sunset

Ground fog rolling in.  Time to head home, shower the funky septic smell away, and get ready for square dancing.


Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Kayaking at Crescent Beach

This is old news, but since it was our favourite kayaking trip of the year, I want to share it.  I think we did 6 or 7 kayaking outings this past summer.  We picked a new spot every time, except for one time it was just Larry and I on Tuc-el-nuit Lake in Oliver, which we've kayaked around before.

Anyway, lets talk about this trip.  It was the labour Day weekend.  The Monday.  Too busy with the market on Saturday and Sunday at that time of the year.  We knew we needed to get off to an early start, as being a holiday the parking lot would fill up quickly, and we needed to be able to park along the ocean front so we didn't have to carry the kayaks too far.  Meredith has a very cool little cart that comes apart and fits in her kayak, for her bigger, heavier boat.  Larry and I can carry our shorter ones together, one holding a bow handle in each hand, and the other holding the two stern handles.

We set off and there was still some sea mist hanging over the water.  That's the pier at Crescent Beach.  The tide was in.  That motor boat is following the marked channel out to the open strait.

Past the pier and paddling past the old summer cottages, many of which have been renovated into million dollar plus homes.  The water is shallow here, you can see rocks on the bottom if you look closely.

Once were were past the village, we were able to get quite close into shore.  We certainly didn't know that there was a clothing optional beach along that stretch.  Just something inherently funny about a fellow walking along wearing nothing but a backpack!

The sea mist couldn't make up it's mind as to wether is should burn off or not.  Herons on rocks were plentiful, but the zoom on my phone couldn't do them justice.

We kept saying 'just to that next point' and then of course there was another point, and another.  We did get far enough around that we could see White Rock in the misty distance.

That hazy, low lying piece of land in the left background is Cherry Point in the USA, near the border town of Blaine

And then the mist was gone, and it was beautiful.
Look at that clear water, it was fascinating to paddle quietly over it, looking for fish and sea creatures.

We could even pretend we were in Hawaii, just so beautiful!

Me.  I loved this so much.

Larry and Meredith

After we turned around we picked a spot to stop for lunch.  Of course we waved at the train engineer, as you are supposed to, and as kids have done for years from these beaches.

Fascinating rocks abounded.  Notice the big pumice type rock my collection is sitting on.  Maybe it's a relic from the eruption of Mt. Baker in Washington State?

On the way back, as the tide was rapidly retreating, we ran into sandbars, many sandbars.  I didn't take any pictures then, as we were too busy trying to push ourselves over the sand bars, often just a couple of inches below the surface.  The challenge was to not have to actually get out of our kayaks and pull them, but none of us were successful at that.  We did a lot of hysterical laughing as we pushed with our hands to try get past the sand and we kept heading out into the bay to find some deeper water.  It was mind boggling how far we had to go out.  We were almost at the dredged channel for the bigger boats.

Finally water deep enough to paddle in.

It was just the perfect day, honestly, I can't stop smiling when I think about it.  We vowed to go again, but hopefully pick a day when the tide didn't keep trying to strand us on a sand bar.