Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year's Eve!

It's a particularly happy New Year's Eve here, as we have just had our power reconnected after being without for 53 hours.  It's been quite the last few days, after we were hit hard by an ice storm (freezing rain) on Friday.  Lots of pictures and lots to say, but I'm just going to do a quick post about Anna, an Anna's Hummingbird, and the ice storm.

This is Anna on Thursday or Friday as the freezing rain was starting to stick on the window.  Thursday it wasn't bad, and in the evening we had a bit of a warming spell, and most of the ice left, and then it started again with a vengeance overnight and Friday.

The flowering cherry weighted down with ice over the back patio.  I took the opportunity to prune the branches back since they were hanging right down within reach!

Anna perched in that same tree.  Must make for awfully cold feet!

First feed of the morning.  Anna is often waiting for me to put the feeder back out. She may be sitting on the railing a few feet away. Sometimes she is hovering just inches away from my hand as I hang it up.  

In the background you can see a big branch from the variegated maple that has broken off.  It used to hang low into the chicken field and provide shade and protection for them in the summer.  We are all going to miss it.

Waiting to see if I could capture a shot of Anna outside (unsuccessful).  The camera doesn't capture it very well, but can you see the sun shining on the ice on the top of the evergreens in the background?  Despite all of the sunshine today, very little of the ice melted.

More icy stories to come.

I hope 2018 is a wonderful year for you!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas!

It's Christmas Eve.  It's all quiet here mostly.  The original version of A Christmas Carol is on tv. One is watching, one is napping, one is reading, and then there is me. The dogs are mostly napping.  The dog and people numbers have doubled for a few days.
Here's a few pictures from Wednesday morning, when the skies were clear and the beauty of the snowfall from the previous night sparkled in all it's glory

In the sheltered areas, much of that snow is still frozen to the branches, four days later.

The hens weren't particularly impressed that morning.

Sorry for the wonky angle, but you can see where I laid down the fibreglass roofing.

A couple of minutes of shovelling took most of the snow off.

I flipped the fibreglass over onto the snow, and voila!  The hens didn't need an invitation, off they went!

The photographer distracted by more beauty!

Down under the trees

Mmm, frozen broccoli leaves!

Today I embarrassed a few hens.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday, spent with friends and family, two footed and four.
Merry Christmas from all of us at Wyndson Farm.


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Weather Outside is Frightful.....

We are developing webbed feet here.  Sunday was a miserable day, it rained steadily all day.  We went to a family Christmas brunch held at one of our nieces on Larry's side.  There were twelve kiddos between the age of 'almost three', to thirteen.  Eight girls and four boys.  Noisy and hectic and a lot of fun, and so good to see everyone again.  Their grandparents buy them matching pyjamas which they all have to put on before doing their gift exchange.

Grand nieces and nephews

Once we got home just after dark, our four legged kids were expecting some attention,  so on with the boots and rain gear and reflective stuff and I had a white umbrella, and we slogged around the block in the dark.  
Yesterday was a decent day, but the rain started up again just after 6pm and was still coming down this morning.  Except this morning there was sleet in it and we had a snowfall warning in our weather forecast.  We had been working on getting the moss off our roof.  We had resorted to pressure washing it off.  Sounds wrong I know, but that was our last resort.  We have some trees on the south side of the house, but none overhang the roof.  In the summer the roof is in full sunlight all day.  By the amount and thickness of the moss you would think that we lived in a cabin buried in the trees.  Anyway, with the snow in the forecast, we wanted to get the worst part of it done before the white stuff started.  I had worked on it yesterday, so Larry said he was going up there today.  We have a long line tied around the chimney and the person up there is supposed to tie the other end around their waist.  I was mighty ticked off when I arrived home the other day and Larry was up there unleashed.  
It was really miserable out so we donned the heavy duty rain gear and slogged the dogs through the bush.  There was standing and running water every where.  The upper veggie garden was covered in pools of water.  
When we got back, Larry went up on the roof and I went to clean a chicken coop out.  They get dirty fast at this time of the year.  So little daylight, such long nights makes for a lot of hours spent in the coop.  I got that cleaned out and rebedded in nice new hay, and pushed the wheel barrow up to the garden where the dirty stuff was spread and then will be covered with some mostly composted horse manure to help it rot down faster.  Then I worked on making the over hangs around the coop more protected from the snow so that the hens had a decent outside spot to hang out, out of the weather. You would be surprised though at how many of them wander around in the rain, picking at this and that.  After a couple hours outside in the cold sleet, we had had enough.  Digits were starting to freeze.  I'd been proactive ( usually I tend to be reactive, well proactive in my head, but not usually physically taking the action).  So I laid down some long pieces of corrugated fibreglass roofing.  The plan was that if it snowed, it would be easy to shovel the snow off them and then flip them out of the way and expose some grass to the hens once the snow stopped. Brilliant eh?
Then I went around the garden and picked the last of the broccoli and took all the decent beets and carrots out of the ground.  We have some cold weather coming too, and the broccoli definitely won't survive it, and if we don't get enough snow, the root crops won't either.

We spent the rest of the day inside.  I amused myself trying to take a decent picture of 'Anna', the Anna's hummingbird that is regular visitor. I didn't succeed in getting Anna in focus.  I like the shot of red in this photo though!  Maybe on a sunny day I can tell if Anna is actually not Anna, but Andy. Thanks to Granny Marigold for educating me about the hummingbirds that over winter here.

Most of the Christmas decorating is done, and I'll have to give Larry credit for doing the majority of it.

We even have a Minnesota section on our tree!  Thank you to Connie from Farside of Fifty for those two.  Both handmade, the Santa from a milkweed pod, and the fish, with our names and the year painted on it's belly, hand carved from basswood.

This is Bella, getting into the Christmas spirit.  I was going to tell you about Bella. I will, I promise.

More projects underway.

The bar table and stools are getting a makeover.  They are a Christmas present.  I was doing so well, and now seem to have stalled out a bit.  I really need to  get myself back in gear.

And then this afternoon I took the top off the coffee table footstool thing in front of the couch (in the bottom right corner of the photo in front of Luna).  The webbing was old and sagging and there were two sagging holes at the ends. I did a makeover on it a few years ago, but the webbing seemed okay then.  Now webbing is off, a piece of plywood has been cut to replace it, and a support piece needs to be added.  

Looking very pretty after the sleet turned to wet snow.  It continued on and we got a good two inches of very wet stuff.  The lights flickered a few times this evening, and some people lost their power.

David and Melissa and their two dogs are arriving from Edmonton on Friday night.  
Things are going to get a bit frantic in the next few days I think. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


Some times I wonder why I even start posts like this.  It really probably isn't very interesting to anyone but me....And then I can't seem to keep it short and simple, I have to give you EVERY little detail... and then it seems to take me ages to actually finish it... oh well.

When we headed off to Oliver a couple of weeks ago, the truck was full of project stuff.  I don't think Larry had a project list, other than to relax and have a good time.  I didn't ask, but I didn't see any stuff loaded in the truck that wasn't either food or part of some project that I wanted to get done while I was there.  

You know me, I love to buy second hand, and I'm always on the lookout for 'something'.  Often I don't know what that something is until I see it, but then suddenly the light bulbs start flashing and I think 'hey, I can use that for....'.

And speaking of light bulbs, this is the bedroom light. Maybe an original 1950's plastic shade and a more modern 100 watt bulb.     

Well one day I just happened to be in the thrift store (imagine that!) and there, brand new in a box, was a fan and light fixture, priced at $10, and it just so happened to be half price day....
So after we had been at Oliver a day or two I decided that it was time to tackle the first project.  The fan was brand new in the box, but apparently the instructions had taken a hike....  We took the parts out and more or less figured what went where.  I went to Google to see if I could find instructions, and came across a Home Depot video that did the job.  It explained what to do with the extra wire the fan seemed to have.  Another interesting thing the video said was to make sure that the electrical box was very securely fastened in the ceiling, and that seemed especially important since the fan was right over the bed.  We thought it was fine, but to make sure we needed to go in the attic.  Of course that was not a simple job.  First we had to unscrew the china cabinet from the wall, shove it out of the way, so that we could get the step ladder right under the attic hatch.  Larry climbed up in the attic. Of course (because it seems no home improvement project is ever as quick and easy as you think it will be) he couldn't see where the electrical box was as there was batt insulation with blown in insulation over the top and random planks laid on top of that.  We measured, me down below, Larry in the attic, to where it should be, but still couldn't find it easily.  Finally I stood on the bed, pushed a knitting needle up the side of the electrical box and poked Larry in the eye, up in the attic.  Haha, thank goodness that is NOT what happened, but he quickly uncovered the box and yes, it was well and truly fastened to the rafters.  

Another interesting thing the video said was that as long as your ceiling was at least 8' high, you should use the down rod.  Apparently the fan does a better job if the blades are at least 10" from the ceiling.  After that the job went along relatively smoothly, although it was still a two person job.  The fan motor had a cable attached that hung from a hook in the electrical box.  Theoretically so that you could have two hands free to attach with wires without struggling to hold the fan motor up.  The only thing was that the wires weren't long enough to reach, so one of us held it up the motor while the other attached.  Also, since we didn't have a separate switch for the fan and light, the two wires had to be joined together with the power from the electrical box, and the marrettes were only big enough to screw over two wires, not three.  Our first trip to the hardware store.

Geez, I can never make a long story short, but we did get the job finished, the lights come on, the fan goes round and it actually looks pretty good up there.

The bathroom at Wyndson Cottage is about as tiny as it can get.  It's fine with me, I'm used to tiny bathrooms.  The sink is right inside the door along the longest wall, the toilet right next to it and the bathtub across the end of the room.   The sink was an old style wall hung one, maybe original as well.  I think Larry thought it was just fine, and it did the job, but it was kind of low, and I wanted update it and gain a bit of storage underneath it.

This was 99% my project. I was very pleased that the drain pipe came undone nicely and with no trouble.  I thought I might have to wait until the next trip when we could bring some more tools, but a large pair of slip joint pliers worked to get it all apart.

The old wall was some ugly mustard coloured fake tile stuff.  Thankfully it has all been painted over white.

I had found the sink, taps and vanity on Craigslist for $50.  Because the new sink was wider and higher, I needed a longer pipe to be able to reach the drain pipe in the wall.  Back to the hardware store.  Oh they had the right part, but it came in a package with the trap for under the sink, and I didn't need that, and I didn't want to pay $30 for the whole set.  The guy at the store and I couldn't find anything else to work, so I left and we were going to head to the building supply down the highway, but made a stop at Canadian Tire first.  I was rooting around in a bin of random plumbing stuff, much of it taped up because it had been bought and then returned, and managed to find the right pipe for $12.  Still expensive for what it was, but I bought it.  Back home I got it all put together and then realized that because the sink was now higher, the straight piece between the sink and the trap wasn't long enough.  Back to the hardware store.  Thankfully they had an extension, $8.  Back I went, figuring this was it.  Put all the pipes together, turned on the water, and it was leaking all over the place under the sink. Ugh! Realized I had one washer on wrong, fixed that, but then realized I was missing a washer.  Back to the hardware store again, a pack of two washers for $2.  Took the whole thing apart again for the umpteenth time, and finally this time I had success.!

Running water, and it's not running all over the floor! 

 As I was proof reading I see I forgot to mention that the vanity sat over the heat register. I got a plastic bin from Dollarama, cut it to fit and direct the heat to holes that I drilled in the base of the vanity that are out of sight under the door jut out.

Funny how the whites don't look very white in the picture!  

I'm sure you found that all very boring! 
 Just be glad that I'm not giving you all the details about this project, because it didn't get done.
Next time!

So here's a few pretty pictures.  We did loads of walking, longer walks in the morning than we usually do.  It was cool so that makes us feel more energetic.
We only had one really nice sunny day.  I think we went for a bike ride that day too.

And then the next day was cold and kind of miserable.  Rainy on this walk, and walking into the rain and wind on the way back. It was miserable, we couldn't get back to the car fast enough in my opinion.
We had to be impressed by this beaver though. He has big dreams! 

Usually we walked the dogs along the river, but one morning we went up the hill. The deer watched us the whole time.  I only had my phone and it was on maximum zoom here, hence the blurriness.

The grass in this little valley seems to be thicker since the fire went through two years ago

Looking north over Tuc-el-nuit Lake

It's always fun to look down on the town and pick out our little house.

I had also taken to Oliver a huge flat of tomatoes that had ripened here in the family room and needed cooking up into sauce.  Got that all done and into containers in the freezer.  Garlic got planted in the garden, 150 cloves, and all covered over with garbage cans of mulch we had taken up.  I took a lot of fabric to sew into aprons, but only got a half dozen or so cut out.  I had also taken a couple of window screens to cut down to size and fit into the windows, but that's a job for another visit.  

Oh yes, Larry fastened the cover up for the 'through the wall' air conditioner for the winter.  I think he made a batch of muffins too!😆

Geez, it sounds like I'm doing a lot of patting my own back here.
Oh well, I do like to work on projects.  
I wish I was as enthusiastic about projects here at home.

Monday, December 4, 2017

The Trail Store

Last Friday we got back home, in the pouring rain, from a week in the Okanagan.  The rain reminded us that it was one of the reasons we had started looking at the Okanagan as a drier alternative.  The weather certainly wasn't great while we were there, there was only really one nice sunny day, and it did rain at some point on a few days, but a rainy day there is usually not as wet as it is here.

We did get out for a couple of bike rides.  Wednesday we drove from Oliver to Penticton and parked in a mall in the middle of town, and headed off on the Kettle Valley Railway trail.  Of course it is a railway no longer, the tracks have been removed and it is a nice wide gravel trail with a gentle grade.  After all, trains have to head up hill very gradually.  

On Tuesday, the forecast for Wednesday was for sun, but when Wednesday morning rolled around, that had all changed, and by the time we got going, it was just cloud.  The temperature was only a few degrees above freezing, and there was a decent breeze, which was only a few degrees above freezing too. Not the best of days, but it was almost Decermber, so we couldn't be too picky.  Our 'cycling in cold weather' wardrobe was a bit limited, especially for Larry.  I did have a narrow pair of 'fleecy on the inside', pants, that I convinced him to wear.  I put on some tights and then nylon pants over.  We layered long sleeves and vests and jackets, and then two pairs of gloves each as we didn't have mitts. We took a scarf along 'just in case'.  We have lots of clothes at Oliver, but not every possibility is covered.

Now I have to apologize for the picture quality.  The camera was set on tungsten lighting for indoor shots.  I did remember to change it after the first photo or two, but obviously forgot to push 'set', and the camera just went back to the tungsten setting.  I fiddled around with the photos to try get rid of the bluish cast, but wasn't very successful. It was a rather gray, blah day anyway, so that didn't help.
 I suggest you click on the two links to see the pictures I found online.

We were riding between lots of old vineyards at the start.  I liked how they had each plant going in two directions.  The new vineyards don't seem to do that.

The McCulloch Trestle, it has been rebuilt. 

And then we came across this cute little store.  The sign on the fence by the gate said Ambrosia Apple Slushies.  We laughed because something cold was the last thing we wanted.  The owner was out there and we waved at him.  I said to Larry that I wondered if he had any hot drinks....Next thing he is shouting to us to come in for a hot drink.  I say I don't have any money on me, does he take VISA, and he shouts back that it is cheaper than VISA, it is on the house!

So we sat at a little table next to the old scale and the bowl of apples, and chatted with Rod for about an hour.  Talk about a small world.  He used to have a Christmas Tree farm about ten minutes away from us in Abbotsford!  We bought blueberries from the property next door to his for years.

It was nice and warm in there and there was a little woodstove going.  Larry warmed a pair of gloves above it.  Rod pointed out the slushy machine and told of the story of how he used to buy a mix that was poured into the machine to make the slushies.  How one day he decided to read the ingredients, which were mostly sugar, along with chemical flavourings and red colourings.  There and then he decided he couldn't continue feeding that poison to the kids.  So he decided to try making slushies with the juice of his own apples, and has never looked back.  It was a fascinating visit and really made our day.

        click> Pictures of the store

You can Google 'The Trail Store' and there are stories of Rod and his generosity.

Eventually we figured we had better get back on the trail, so somewhat reluctantly got ourselves moving and on our way.

And off we went, heading north. 
 I did quite well to take this photo, riding with one hand and holding the camera to my eye! It got a little hairy a few times, or should I say I came close to wobbling so much I was close to crashing.  How on earth I used to ride with no hands many years ago I don't know.

We passed a marker that said 6.5 km.  The trail goes on for miles, and we didn't really have a destination.  I suggested we go to the 10 km mark.  Well we never did see another distance marker after the 6.5 km one.  We just seemed to keep riding and riding, and finally we were at the south end of Naramata, so we decided to call it quits.  We knew going back would be faster, as it was all downhill, but we were also going to be riding into that wind.

We hadn't gone too far on the way back and had to stop and don our 'bank robber' look. Honestly, thank goodness we had taken the scarves.

After a while we passed a woman walking up the trail. She said 'nice scarves' as we rode past.  I thought, ha, just you wait until you turn around and go'll be wishing you had a scarf too!

Part way back.  That is Penticton, in between Okanagan Lake in the foreground and Skaha Lake on the south side of it.  You can just see a sliver of that lake. A long way to go still.

It was around 3pm by this point.  Already the light was dimming a bit.  Riding against the wind, our toes and hands were starting to freeze.  Larry asked if I wanted to stop and warm my hands, but they didn't seem to be getting any worse, so no, I said let's just keep going.  I was at the point now that the fun had gone out of the ride, and I just wanted to get it over with.  We made it back to the middle of town and the truck.  We manhandled the bikes into the truck and then sat in cab with the heat blasting.  I felt like I was in labour, panting my way through the thawing of my hands.  Gawd it was painful.  

Off to Tim Hortons for a bowl of hot soup and hot coffee! 

Somewhere between 22 and 28 km ridden that day.