Sunday, February 26, 2017

On Holiday?

We just got back this afternoon from a holiday.  I'll bet when we first told our egg customers that we had to switch the egg delivery Sunday because we were going to be on holiday, that some of them had visions of us sitting on a warm beach, sipping whatever it is you sip in warm places.  

Well nope, we were off to the Okanagan and our little place at Oliver.  If anything a bit colder than here, but much drier.

On our drive out, we stopped off to see the Land Rover club event.  It was right on our way, and David was there with his Land Rover on display, as well as about 70 more Land Rovers belonging to club members, include one of our neighbours. David had Tucker with him, but when we were there Tucker really just wanted to curl up on the seat and sleep, and I didn't take any pictures.  But I saw this dog, his/her name was Chase, and he/she liked to sleep on the spare tire of his/her owner's Land Rover.
How cute is that? 
Maybe David can train Tucker to do the same thing!

Anyway, it was the usual at Oliver.  We hadn't been there since the beginning of November, which is the longest time between visits since we have had the place.  All was good, which is always a relief.  David and his girlfriend had been there right after Christmas, and the furnace decided to act up.  Being mechanical like David is, he figured out the problem and bought the new part and all was well.  Lucky us, because if it had happened when we were there we would have had to call the repair guy.

So what did we do at Oliver?  Well since we had Jake and Luna, we did a LOT of walking.  Mostly along the dyke next to the Okanagan River.  Parts of the trail are paved, but the majority of it is not.  The first couple of days there were kind of gray, but after that there was lots of sunshine.

One day we saw all these tracks, loads and loads of them, and they went a long way along the trail, like someone was walking their unknown beast.  When we got back to the house I asked Professor Google, and determined they must be raccoon tracks.  

It's not the first time I've used money to measure something.  Our bills measure 6" x 2.75 ", which is a handy thing to know.

One morning we made a trip to the dog park.  I think that's the first time we have been there since Calli has been gone.  The dogs love to go and play fetch over and over, but really it's hard on their bodies, that repetitive motion, so now that they are older, we seldom go there.  
Since I'm training for the 10km Sun Run again, and I needed to do a run that day, I thought it would be easier on me if we didn't walk so far in the morning.  

Luna didn't care though.  This is how she looked after the dog park in the morning, then doing a 5 km run with me.  Her 'you are not going out of this door on an adventure without taking me with you' look.  

Sorry Luna.
We left her behind and went for a bike ride. 
It was such a nice afternoon.

Tuc-El-Nuit Lake was still frozen. We joked about trying to ride on it with our bikes.....

....but thought better of it and continued on to the park.  
There by the Community Centre was a Little Free Library!  
It's just new I think.  Larry found a book, and then last night we walked the dogs that way and added five more books to the shelf.
Jake and Luna were sure they were going back to the dog park....Sorry!

One day we drove up to the back side of the mountain closest to town, and then walked uphill for a change.

See the road that runs in a straight line at a bit of an angle about Luna's ears?  The truck is parked  the side of the road there just behind a tree above Luna's right ear.
Just take my word for it!

Slightly snowy mountains all the way around us.
Very pleasant there in the sun.  Just needed a comfortable chair and a good book!

All that grey on sweet Jake's face is making him look so old.  He's 12 and a half.

I had taken 'work' with me, to Oliver, so managed to get 15 aprons sewn while we were there, as well as oranges prepared and cooked to soften the peel, for three batches of marmalade.  As usual I had thought I would get much more done than that, but didn't, so brought one bag of apron fabric home untouched.  

One day we went on a dog free adventure and met two of Larry's brothers and a sister-in-law in Summerland and had a tour around and visited a couple of interesting spots.

We were in Oliver for seven full days, which is one of our longer visits.  This morning we woke up to a dusting of snow, but thankfully it didn't really affect our four hour drive home.  There was a bit of slushy packed snow on the road for about a 20 minute section, but that was it.

Looking forward to going back again in April.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Don't Forget to Look Up

This afternoon while I was the only one home, there was a lot of cackling going on in the chicken field close to the house. I glanced out and could tell just by the way they were stood, or gathered in groups, or heading for cover, that 'something' had them worried.  I ran outside and called the dogs and let them into the field and they had a run around.  I glanced quickly at the trees, and didn't notice anything, and the dogs didn't show any indication that a coyote had been in there.

What on earth could it be?  

And then I had a better look, and saw a juvenile Bald Eagle sitting near the top of the cottonwood tree.

That is the roof of the chicken coop in the bottom right in the picture above.  I may have looked up, into the closer trees, but obviously not up high enough to notice the eagle.  It was sitting on a branch that had broken in last week's ice storm.

Some of the hens were hidden under the Cotoneaster bush near where I was stood.  We do like to leave some overhanging growth for the chickens to hide under.

The eagle sat on that branch for the longest time, looking here and there, but never seemed to really focus on the chickens.

It was almost like it couldn't get comfortable, and changed positions a few times


Eventually I got bored and then the eagle must have too, as it was gone when I checked later.

Our snow has been slowly melting, but yesterday and overnight it was quite mild with some rain at times, and wind too.  Our hay field was still 6-8" deep in snow on Wednesday morning, but this Thursday morning it was all green. 
What a shock and a pleasant surprise!
Our ground is saturated with water, and mud is quick to form.
I must say that snow makes for much cleaner dogs.

Remember to look up!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Ice Art

Well the storm didn't really live up to the forecast, not in my opinion.  We did get a tiny bit of snow, and then by Wednesday evening it had already turned to freezing rain.  

Part of the massive pile we had shovelled off the roof.    This is what we see when we go out the front door.

On Thursday morning the young dogs checked out the view from the top

There was a coating of ice on everything, and that freezing rain kept coming.  We must have been right on the freezing mark because the ice didn't get any worse, but it also didn't get any better.  It was early afternoon before we got to the plus side and the ice started to let go.

Of course it is so very pretty, especially when we had a brief flash of sunshine.

When the freezing rain first started, it must have been quite windy.  It was fascinating that the ends of the cedar boughs were all turned to the west, and frozen in place.

The bird feeders have been busy non-stop. We've had a few different woodpeckers, this is a Downy.

A west coast winter, snowshoes on melting snow and ice, holding an umbrella!

It was the hardest snowshoe trip ever around our back field.  Jake decided to come, but had second thoughts quickly.  Too late buddy!

We daren't walk through the bush as there were branches and trees cracking constantly with the weight of the ice.  The older dogs were a bit worried about that, and most of the time stuck close. Besides, it was just too hard to break the trail for long.  The ice wasn't enough to hold them on top, and it was really heavy going.  For us too, exhausting, we had to stop and rest twice.

Lots of cool ice sculptures though!


Icicles reaching from one fence rail to the next

My final edit. 

Today is mild and some wind.  Hoping it takes the snow away quickly.  A flash of sun which was nice.  Jake elected to not take the morning walk.  At least it was a bit easier than yesterday. We went through the bush, there were lots of big branches down, but nothing blocking the trail.

I'm so over having to use snowshoes though.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Preparing For The Storm

TodayCloudy. Snow beginning this afternoon. Risk of freezing rain over southern sections late this afternoon. Local blowing snow this afternoon. Amount 2 to 4 cm. Becoming windy this morning. High minus 1.
TonightSnow at times heavy mixed with freezing rain changing to freezing rain at times heavy late this evening. Local blowing snow early this evening. Local snowfall amount 10 cm. Windy. Temperature steady near minus 1.
Thu, 9 FebFreezing rain at times heavy changing to rain at times heavy near noon. Rainfall amount 25 mm. Becoming windy in the afternoon. High 8.
NightRain. Low plus 5.

What a difference a blue sky makes!  Yesterday was beautiful.  Our slog through the bush was easier, as even though we got a few more inches of snow overnight, the trail was protected from the wind by the trees, so was still there. In some of the open areas the trail was blown over again, although if you guessed right and managed to step on where the previous trail had been made, your feet didn't sink in as far.

Larry carried some hedge trimmers along to cut back some of the overhanging stuff that likes to whip you in the face.

Tucker was on leash today because it was too easy for him to disappear after Luna, since he wasn't having to flounder through the fresh snow.  Actually, we had forgotten the leash yesterday ;-)

It was just Luna and Tucker on the walk.  As 'Luna Crone' commented on my last post, Jake did not look happy to be out there.  She was right.  Yesterday morning as we were getting ready to go out, he went and laid on one of the dog beds.  We asked him if he wanted to go for a walk a few times, but he didn't get up, so we left him in the house.  He has already been out earlier, and knew how cold it was, and made his own choice.

The view to the north.  There is a whole range of mountains back there, but our neighbour's trees block most of it.

And our neighbours to the south, you've seen this view lots of times.

Our gingerbread house, which is pretty to look at, but with the weather forecast we have, is a bit  scary.  

A photo often does not do justice, and in this case it is hard to tell that some of those drifts on the roof come half way up my thighs. Imagine that snow, drenched in rain and ice, and the weight of it all. Scary to think about, so there was only one option.  I was up there yesterday shovelling it off.  Larry was there part of the time, he was helping David get the tractor out before that. David only had two hours of classes yesterday, lucky us!
 Our tractor is not four wheel drive, so is next to useless in the snow.  The guys did manage to get it out and jerry rig some tire chains out of long chains we have.  David spent 4 hours working with the tractor and got our whole driveway cleared.  Positively amazing!  The homemade chains made enough difference so he was able to work on the slope and not get stuck, or not much at least.

A close up of some of the icicles.  

Like stupid fools we watched them get bigger daily.  Our wood stove chimney goes through the attic, and so warms it up a bit, and we get some melting and the icicles.  The biggest ones are three feet long.  They remind me of Tucker's teeth.  Never have I felt such sharp little needles.  He's not particularly bitey, but just catches my thumb a lot when I am giving him treats, if I don't do it just right.  In fact a few weeks ago I got an infection in that thumb and had to give in and get antibiotics to get rid of it. I try to be more careful now.  I will be glad when those puppy teeth fall out.
Good thing he is so cute!

So back to the icicles.  I was working on that roof below them. Then I knocked all the icicles down, and started chipping away at the overhang, which had a serious ice build up. I was trying to get it down in small pieces, but unfortunately a massive piece came down and broke one of the skylights.  Oh sh*t!!

So along with cleaning the roof off I had to temporarily patch the skylight and cover it up and then clean up the mess below in the house.  There was a big piece of ice in there that would have done serious damage if it had hit someone.  No damage there though other than a lot of melted ice 
and snow on the floor.  Of course, if I had been smart, I would have protected the skylight before I started knocking the stuff down overhead. I learned a tough lesson.  

When we added on to the house years ago, I installed those skylights, probably because I decided that we needed them!  I worked hard to make sure the roof didn't leak around them, went overboard with the flashing and waterproofing, and was proud that they have never leaked.  So I guess it will be my job to fix this one.  It looks like we can just unscrew the top frame from the bottom and just replace the broken part. Sure hope that is the case!

David dug out our car and the parking spot.  Then we moved the car out and shovelled snow off the roof into the spot and then had to shovel some of that back out so we could get the car back in so David could get by with the tractor. This morning we have finished the family room roof (right above the car) as well as the dining room roof above that, and started working on the old and highest part of the house.  I didn't think that was as bad, but the drifts are as deep up there.

Looking up the driveway from below the gate

At the back of the house.  I think that pile will be there for a while.  From the driveway we step up a foot onto a packed path to the house.  

I know I've done a lot of snow posts.  You might think that since we live in Canada, this is par for the course for our winters. 
Our climate in this area is generally quite mild. For the Americans, we have similar weather to the coastal areas of Washington state.  The amount of snow we have had this winter, and the amount of snow we had in this last dump is very unusual, and is a very big deal for us.  

Here's the rest of our forecast.  I sure hope they are right about Sunday, Monday and Tuesday!

Fri, 10 FebRain. High 6.
NightCloudy with 60 percent chance of showers. Low plus 3.
Sat, 11 FebCloudy with 60 percent chance of showers. High 6.
NightCloudy. Low plus 2.
Sun, 12 FebA mix of sun and cloud. High 9.
NightCloudy periods. Low zero.
Mon, 13 FebA mix of sun and cloud. High 13.
NightClear. Low zero.
Tue, 14 FebA mix of sun and cloud with 60 percent chance of showers. High 15.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Come Snowshoeing With Us

This morning we decided to put the snowshoes on and forge a path along our trail in the bush. It was deep out there.  I actually took a tape measure along with me and pushed it to the ground in random places, and the snow was between 16 and 19" deep. 
It was colder this morning and the snow was lighter, so we were sinking in about 10 ".  It was hard going.
Luna, being the pushy bitch she is, insisted on leading us much of the way.  It was hard work for her though, and every once in a while she would let us take over.  Where Luna went, Tucker was close behind

or beside.

Luna fell into line for a bit, and then decided to take the lead again.
Doesn't she know that you are supposed to pass on the left?

Then at some point she got behind me again, but too close.  She kept stepping on the back of the snowshoes, and it seemed like every other step was extra hard as I lifted her leg up too.  Then one time she stepped on me, and I stepped on me, and down I went.  It was a soft landing and I managed to keep the camera up out of the snow, while being mobbed by Luna and Tucker.  Larry came to take the camera so I could get up.......

The Yeti walks again.

This video is right after the creek.  You can hear me breathing hard, well 'cause it was darn hard work, and I'm trying not to end up in the creek.

We came out of the bush at the east end of the hay field.  A bunch of branches and their accompanying blackberry vines where hanging low over the trail.  We banged at the branches for a while but weren't making much progress in getting them to dump their snow and sproing back up. In the end we had to crawl under and decided to take the easy way out and go over a low spot in the fence and into the hay field.  

There we were able to pick up the snowshoe trail made yesterday.  It was a bit drifted over, but still pretty obvious, and was much easier to walk on.

The zoom makes the house look like it is only 100 ft away, while in reality it would be more like 600'

It's a real black and white world, with the odd bit of brown!

Tomorrow it will be a piece of cake to walk down the trail we made today.  We will still have to climb over the gate though, like we did this morning, and pass the dogs over.  We won't be digging that gate out any time soon.