Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


While Calli was obviously feeling better, back to normal I'd say, I wasn't sure about her eyes.  Some days they looked good, sometimes not so good.  Was she producing tears again?   I thought so, but I wasn't sure.  I decided to make another vet appointment.  Our vet is open on a Saturday.  Usually when I drive past Saturday morning, there seems to be all sorts of vehicles in the tiny parking area.  This past Saturday seemed to be slightly less busy, but it was a total shock when we were taken straight into the examining room.  I can't remember that ever happening before.  We were only in there a couple of minutes before Dr. B came in.  He looked at her eyes, did the Schirmer Tear Test, and hooray, her tear production was back to normal.  He remarked how she is doing amazingly well considering what life has dealt her.  

I took her back to the car and came back in to pay the bill, and was told that there was no charge.  Wow, I was thrilled.  I yelled thanks to Dr. B who had disappeared into the back.  There was a big jar on the counter which was half full of little fabric squares containing catnip.  They were $1 each, and were a fund raiser for a cat shelter I think.  I was feeling a bit generous after getting the free vet visit, so I put a $5 in the jar and brought Smudge home a present.  I was back home only 20 minutes after I had left.  Larry thought I must have forgot something when I arrived back so fast. I should of asked him what he thought I might have forgotten.  All I had needed to take was the dog.

 Then we gave the catnip toy to Smudge.   Many years ago we had a catnip plant, but whatever cats were around at that time killed it with love.  Then I had some catmint.  It wasn't quite as attractive to the cats, but even that seems to have died off.   We are easily amused, but it was quite entertaining watching Smudge and then Nelson with that little square of stuffed cotton:)   

The toy was just gross by the time I took it away from them.  So wet with cat slobber that I could have wrung it out.  I pinned it on the clothesline, and it got rained on overnight, and then we gave it back to them to get slobbered on again.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Potting Bench

Early in the year, LAST year, this came up on Craigslist in the free section.  There were two potting benches, the smaller one farther back......


....and this monster.  It was made of 4x4's and decking boards, and it's about 7' long and 2.5' wide.  It had a porcelain cast iron sink, which weighed close to 80 lbs.  I can't lift the sink by myself.                                                                                 

Of course I thought me, me, me, when I saw the ad.  Then had second thoughts when I saw that it was about 40 minutes away, and we'd have to take the canopy off the truck to be able to fit it in.  And then I realized that David and his girlfriend were mere minutes away, they had access to a full size pickup, and really didn't have anything better to do than go pick this up for me:)  So I gave David a call, and he wasn't answering his phone.  Finally nearly an hour later he called me back, sure, he could go pick it up, but the truck was being used right then so he'd have to wait until it was free.  The ad was first come, first serve.  Eventually it all came together and they drove over there.  The smaller bench was gone, but the big one wasn't.  Those interesting metal grates were gone too, but the three tea-light lamp, the rusty folding metal screen and bag of potting soil came home with the bench.  It was all delivered here while I was out.

And then it all sat here.  I had an idea as to where I wanted to put it, but that spot required a fair bit of preparation, and we needed some paving stones or something to put it on, and to stand on in front of it.  A couple of months later, I saw an ad for some concrete blocks and assorted bricks, also free and about 10 minutes away.  We went and got those, and got a bonus large bunch of rhubarb stalks from her monstrous plant.

  And it was all still sat here this year, still not set up.  But then when we were trimming the cedar hedging along the driveway earlier this year, it all fell into place.  The last tree was a mess, didn't need to be there, and the spot it was in was the perfect place to put the potting bench. The tree was cut down, the potting bench set on it's concrete blocks, and the rest arranged in front to stand on.  I was able to hook into the water line at the greenhouse, and we had a set of taps that a relative had given us, and other than buying the drain assembly and a few connectors and hose clamps, it all came together without much money spent.
(That's the greenhouse roof behind.  I pressure washed it yesterday, and now it's all covered in Maple blossoms, as was the potting bench, until I swept most of them off.)


I probably won't be doing much potting on it, but it is the perfect place to wash the beets, carrots, potatoes etc for the farmers markets, with a bench below to store them overnight.  Sure beats bending over with the hose, turning the ground into a quagmire, as I try to get the vegetables clean, while they are laid on the ground.  


I had to figure out what to do with the drain water.  One option was to dig a big hole underneath, fill it with rocks, and let the water drain into there.  Seemed like a lot of work, and would mean having to move the bench out of the way.  I never do things in the order they should be done.  So I wandered out behind the barn where all the junk useful stuff is stored that we are sure to need one day.  I found a barrel to run the water into with a plug thing in it that had a hole in it that just happened to be of the right size and threads to screw a tap in I found in our plumbing drawer.  Phew, did you follow that?


And then I found a piece of old vacuum cleaner hose to use as a flexible drain to run into the barrel.  A hose on the tap will allow me to water plants that are below the level of the barrel. 


 There are a few minor leaks in the drainage system, but not really a problem when it is just dripping onto the ground.  The barrel can be moved easily and emptied of the dirt that is sure to accumulate in it.  I'm pretty proud of it:)

The hot water supply is unconnected, but I am thinking of putting a T in the cold line, connecting a coil of the black pipe that will be hung in the sun, and then connecting it to the hot water side.  I'd have  a limited amount of hot water on a sunny day.  Not sure that I need it, but it seems like a fun thing to do.

We do have some lumber and some corrugated fiberglass to make a roof over it, so even on a rainy day I can be comfortable.  It is under a maple tree that drops a lot of stuff, so the roof will help keep the bench clean.

 As of right now, there aren't even any beets or carrots planted, and the first potato shoot (and accompanying weeds) has just poked through.


Here's the peas relatively safe behind their gauzy veils, although it looks like the weevils have been nibbling on them. They will probably outgrow the weevils.


The arugula and salad greens are cosy in their tunnel.


Beets, carrots, more potatoes, and other veggies will hopefully get planted tomorrow, weather permitting.

Can't wait to have something to clean in that sink! 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Belated Happy Easter!

Hope you had a Happy Easter!  As usual I am a day late. (okay, now I'm two days late, it's been a hectic few days)

Some random stuff.....
I want to thank my wonderful supportive egg customers.  Another egg run to White Rock on Sunday.  44 dozen sold, three large jars of jam, and 20 bags of collard and kale Spring leaves and sprouts.  It's like having a mini market in the space of 25 minutes.

No chocolate eggs here, but  I was in the dollar store with my mother on Sunday as well,  and actually did buy a chocolate bar and some choclatey chewy candies.  As we were driving away I felt the candy suck the temporary crown right off the top of my tooth.  So then I am trying to fish the chewy chocolatey mess out of my mouth so I can save the crown, all while driving.  The temporary crown was saved, it's still 10 days until I get the real crown on, so I'll probably want to get the temp glued back on, as the tooth is quite sensitive without it.  (as of Tuesday, the tooth has settled down a bit, but I'll give the dentists office a call and see if the temporary crown needs to be glued back on)

Sunday I washed some dirty farm jeans, some dog towels and a stuffed rabbit dog toy.  As I was hanging the rabbit out, it suddenly seemed very funny, as I was thinking of the Easter bunny and how he was.......all washed....hung out to dry....just hanging out after a long day and a shower (Larry's contribution).


The last time I visited my mother, she handed me a white top. Could I just sew round the sleeves.  What impressed me was that despite being frail and 84, and only being able to use one hand, she had cut the sleeves off evenly and pinned them up.  I decided to sew them with a twin needle, which works nicely on stretchy fabric.  Imagine my surprise after I had finished, that the hem I had done matched perfectly with the one already on the bottom (which I hadn't looked at before I started)



While out with the dogs Sunday morning, I spotted this conjoined triplet dandelion.


Calli finally seems better.  She seemed worse on Saturday than she was on Friday, and not so great Sunday morning either, but I took her out for a little walk and she seemed interested and then when a tossed the ball gently for her she had fun with that.  Larry said she seemed more alert and interested in what was going on in the afternoon, when I was out.  Yesterday she seemed pretty good, and we did take her out for an abbreviated bush walk.  Her eyes seem somewhat better, I think.  I'm still putting the drops in them.

And the big exciting news is that the 'subjects' have been removed on Meredith's purchase offer, and as of the end of May she will have her own condo.  On Saturday she went through all the stuff she had stored in the attic from a time that she was renting a place with a friend.  That created an excuse to make a run to the thrift store, as she had some furniture and some small stuff to get rid of.  We wandered around the furniture thrift store, and had a good laugh over some of the furniture.  One weird two toned green and brown  three piece set had cushions so hard that you hit them with a thud and didn't sink in at all.  No worries about guests overstaying their visit with that set.  The most amazing/weirdest set was this one.  It was huge. Even the pillows were over sized.


I felt like I had climbed up the bean stalk and was in the giant's castle.  The seat was so wide, either you had to perch on the edge to get your feet on the floor, or if you sat right back your legs were stuck out straight. I was sort of half way in between in this picture.  I'm 5'6". Five of me could have fit on this couch, four on the loveseat, and at least two on the chair.  I can't imagine this in anyone's home, and would love to know where it came from.  It's certainly not going to be gracing Meredith's living room.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Seniors Grazing Club

Calli has been under the weather for a few days.  It started out with what I call goopy eyes.  Lots of goop hanging in the lower lids.  Then on Wednesday she seemed like she wasn't feeling well.  She ate okay, but she just wasn't right.  I took her to the vet yesterday and it turns out that her symptoms were the same as some of the possible side effects of an antibiotic she was on for a UTI.   Nausea and dry eye.  I had Googled the side effects, as I thought she might be feeling nauseous, but it never occurred to me that her goopy eye was actually Dry Eye.  Her eyes were producing no tears at all.  She is off the antibiotic, the urine sample showed as being fine.  I have some gel stuff to put in her eyes, which will hopefully recover okay, although they looked pretty goopy this morning.  She had showed no interest in going outside the previous two days, so it was nice to see her show a little more enthusiasm this morning.  She ate her breakfast and then wandered across the lawn and found some of that nice wide bladed grass that all the dogs like, and proceded to eat it.  


She has always been one to love eating grass, right from a little pup.


And then I noticed Smudge down below her eating her own grass.  By the time I got back with the camera, Smudge had disappeared, but then she wandered back and joined Calli and had another chew or two.



Smudge is 18 now.  She still goes outside, but stays near the house and is usually asking to come back in in a few minutes, unless she finds a warm sunny spot on the deck or the roof.  She's doing pretty well for an old cat, although doesn't groom herself as much any more.  She hates to be brushed now unless you are using the lightest of strokes, so sometimes I just hold her by the scruff and ignore the yowls and work at getting some of the clumps out.  I  keep meaning to get some catnip and see if I can send her into a more relaxed state with that:)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Up the Mountain

The last Oliver post from our last trip....
Every morning we have to take the dogs for a walk, and since we don't have a bush walk on our own property, we have to go somewhere else.  This particular beautiful morning we decided to see if Calli could make it up to the water tower.  It was mostly uphill from our place, and while she does well on the flat in her cart (doggy wheelchair), it's a pretty tough go for her if it's uphill.  We have the leash fastened to the frame of the cart so we can pull her if we need to.  The first part was on the pavement, with a couple of steep bits, and then when we got to the actual mountain, it was a short dirt road that zig zagged to the water tower.  She did surprisingly well, mostly under her own steam, and we took her out of the cart to wander round when we got to the top of the road.


Off to the east there was some sort of fire burning, you can see the haze between the hills.


Off to the west though, looking further up the mountain, it was nothing but blue sky and fluffy white clouds.  I find the exposed rock fascinating, probably because I'm used to looking at hills and mountains cloaked in trees.


I jokingly said to Larry that he should go to the top so he could be silhouetted against the sky.  
I was shocked when he started climbing!
The photo is deceiving, but it was steep enough in a lot of parts that he was using his hands to help him climb.


Luna went part way up and then came back when she realized that the rest of us weren't coming as well.  She watched Larry, and when he disappeared around the last rock face, she decided she had better see where he was going.  She's the black blob in the same spot Larry was in the previous picture.


At the top!


I guess I needed to be on the opposite side from the sun for them to be silhouetted:)


When they came back down, Larry took a different route, and was off to the right, out of the picture.  Luna came down the same way she went up.  Then she stopped.


Jake and Calli stood and watched (you can see how Calli's back end is sinking, it does that when she is tired or has stood in one spot for a while.  Her left foot is knuckled over.)


I said 'where's Larry?' and that was Jake's cue to head up and look for himself.  He made it as far as Luna.


And then he came back down, because he had found a stick, and to heck with Larry.....


And Luna, well she didn't move, and when I called her, she took one very tentative step.  And that's when I realized that she had a piece of cactus stuck to her foot, and she wasn't going anywhere, so I had to climb up there and rescue her.

It's been a very dry year so far at Oliver.  Less than 1 1/4 inches of rain since the beginning of the year, and nothing yet this month.  I don't have much hope for that grass seed we planted.

Monday, April 14, 2014

OUR Bush and Disrespect

Most mornings we take our dogs for a walk through what we call 'the back bush'.  It's a few acres of bush, mostly alder and maple trees, some cottonwoods and hazelnuts, and a few cedar and fir.  The undergrowth is mostly salmonberries.


It was logged many years ago, we can see well rotted large stumps here and there.  Over the years we've made a trail or two through it, and it's our bit of 'wilderness'.  I enjoy watching the changing of the seasons as it manifests itself in our 'back bush'.


Back in January I blogged about seeing two hawks hanging around there.  I finally remembered to check out a nest that is about 60 feet up in a cottonwood.


You only really notice it when the leaves are off the trees, and I've always thought that it was a crows nest.  Already the leaf buds are popping open and the trees are greening up.  Before long the nest might be hidden.


Yesterday morning when we walked down the trail, I remembered about the nest, and was thinking about the two hawks, and looked up at it as we went by.


I made my best sqeaky, sick squirrel impression, and up popped a head, and it belonged to a hawk, not a crow.  Cool!


Yesterday afternoon we went back out there and a hawk flew off the nest, before I had my camera ready.  This morning when we walked out there, the hawk flew back to the nest, again before I was ready with the camera.

This morning, while walking, we got a rude surprise.  There were dirt bike tracks down our trail and through the bush field.

Now I have to back track a bit.  About 8 years ago while walking through the trail, I started to notice these blue blob things.  Then I started looking for them, and then I realized they were paintball blobs.  When I looked harder there were wooden blinds and platforms built in trees.  We could see where our neighbours had come through the fence.  Apparently they had decided to use our property to have a paintball war.  Larry went and talked to them and we took down all the wooden structures.  Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago.  One morning Larry noticed tracks on the trail.  ATV tracks.  We backtracked and found where they had cut the barb wire fence and come in from the next door property.  I was mad, but not mad enough to do much about it, and I guess Larry wasn't either.  I did fasten one strand of wire back together.  It's not much of a fence along that side, some rotten posts and barbwire running through the trees.  We were going to put up some No Trespassing and Private Property signs, but didn't get it done. 

 We heard and saw quads and dirt bikes going up and down the next door field yesterday afternoon.  I made a snide remark about them going into our bush next, so Larry decided to head out there and check.  He was gone quite a while, so eventually I wandered out there with the camera and a bag so I could collect some moss, and a spade to dig up some of the invasive chervil plants.  We were out there for a while, and no unauthorized vehicles made an appearance.  So imagine my shock when we walked out there this morning, and right away I noticed tracks in the grass of the bush field, and then tracks around the trail.  The one strand of barb wire that I had fastened back together was lifted up out of the way.  I was mad, really mad, and said to Larry that if we didn't have the dogs with us, I'd go over there right now.  And then I figured I could just go over there on my own.  So I tromped up to the house (and I had a shovel with me this morning) and pounded on the door.  Unfortunately no one seemed to be home.  I felt like pounding the shovel handle through the window in the door. The adrenalin was flowing.  As I was walking away, I noticed this old No Trespassing sign laying on the top of their deck railing.  It was actually kind of funny to see that. I took it with me, picked up some bailing twine off the driveway, and when I got back to the hole in the fence I hung up the No Trespassing sign:)  When we got back to the house, I looked up their address on Google street view, reverse looked up their phone number and made a call.  No answer, no answering machine.  I tried again around suppertime.  Still no answer.  I was out until late this evening, so didn't get another chance to try, although come to think about it, I probably should call at some ungodly hour.  I will make another attempt to contact them tomorrow.
Not exactly sure who or how many are living there now.  They board horses, quite a few horses by the looks of it. 

We don't want trespassers on their ATV's running over these.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Garage Sale Season

This weekend is the first one this year that could be considered a sure thing for garage sales.  The weather is great, and I figured it might be worthwhile heading out to find some bargains.  Way back in the days before farmers markets, I used to go to garage sales most Saturday mornings.  When your kids are little, you can find everything you need for them at garage sales.  But back to the present, where most of our Saturdays in garage sale season are taken up by the farmers markets..... when I have the opportunity to head out, I jump at it.  Most sales start at 8 or 9, and a random one at 10.  There was one really close to home, that started at 10.  We drove by, but the gates were closed and they didn't have much stuff out yet, so we just kept going.  Their loss. We had earlier opening ones to get to.   We are pickier now as to what we buy, or at least I try to be:)  Although if something is a dollar or less, and I like it but wonder if I really need it, well sometimes I succumb to the urge:)

Here's some of the things I brought home.

2 "C" clamps -$1  I can use those to help in some of my furniture projects, or to clamp some of the props on my farmers market table.  Stanley brand.

Bird feeder with easy open metal roof and frame - $1

Cute wire 'egg' basket shaped like a chicken - $1  I am visualizing it lined with moss and a plant growing out of the back

Fabric waterproofing -  50 cents
70 wire ground staples -$2   I use them to hold down netting, plastic or landcape fabric
A small roller thing - 25 cents

IMG_6916Cool Chicago Metallic brownie pan with lift out divider and bottom -$1
Gardening tool - $1
Excellent dog training book- 50 cents
Microwave, doesn't appear to have been used - $15.

A whole selection of magic bullet stuff, including two different blades and cups with sippy type lids - free.  That made up for the toaster that I bought at the same place for $1 and then found out it took forever to turn off, and the only way to speed it up was to pull out the plug.  Also it wasn't insulated and got burning hot.  A good reminder to me as to what the requirements of a toaster really are.

The microwave and maybe a few other things will be for one of two people that I know that will be setting up on their own in the next little while.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Scenic Route

Do you take the scenic route? 
A week and a half ago, we made an afternoon trip from Oliver to Penticton.  We took the scenic route, and went up Eastside Road along side Skaha Lake to Penticton.  Usually we would take the highway on the west side of the lake, but the eastside was a slower, more interesting and scenic road.  Along the way we made a side trip to Skaha Bluffs park, and hope to go back there one day to do some actual hiking, instead of just driving up to the parking lot and reading the information board.   

Once we made it to Penticton I visited two thrift stores and spent a grand total of $2, and then we had a scenic drive to the Penticton landfill where we purchased a truckload (we were probably overloaded) of compost/mulch for just $20.  We took the scenic route back so we didn't have to drive so fast.  It was such a beautiful day, I snapped a million pictures from the truck window.





Coming in to Okanagan Falls were we had the option of rejoining the highway for the last 15 minutes, or staying to the east of town and driving on Oliver Ranch Road and then rejoining the highway further south.


There are lots of wineries in this area.  I took this photo......


....because it made me think of this painting by David Daase.

Local Artist: David Daase

I'm not sure if this painting is of an actual view in the area, possibly it is higher up and more to the east of where we were.  When I took the photo we were past all the wineries.
That flat faced hunk of rock on the right side of the painting, and in the center of the photo below, is called McIntyre Bluff.



What a great day for a drive, and what scenery.....

Here's the David Daase print that we have, found in a thrift store of course.  This lake is farther north in the Okanagan. 

Kalamalka Lake