Monday, December 28, 2020

White Christmas

About a week before Christmas there seemed like there was no hope of there being a white one.  And then suddenly a blip appeared in the forecast.  All of a sudden there was a chance of a wet system colliding with a cold system, right over us!  Elevations over 200m were supposed to get snow, with places closer to sea level being mixed rain and snow.  Well we are about 100m above sea level.  Lots of times the forecast snow never materializes, so we didn't pay much attention.

Monday morning, the 21st, dawned wet and grey.  Very wet in fact.  But, some of the rain drops were looking a little more obvious than others.  When we went on our morning bush walk, water was everywhere, and the creek was flowing with more water than the culvert could handle, and was rushing across the trail.  But as we walked, the snow flakes became more obvious mixed in with the rain, and during the day the snow took over.

By the time we set off on our late afternoon walk around the block it was a winter wonderland!

These bulbs looked so pretty glowing through the snow.

Our neighbour's house looked so pretty

But across the road there was a mess to clean up.  The snow was wet and heavy and branches brought  down some powerlines.  Ours went out the next morning.  We made sure we didn't walk under any trees, and detoured out into another neighbour's field to avoid some.

My star made out of coathangers, on our gate.  It didn't look like a star from a distance, I didn't have enough white lights.

There was some cracking and crashing during the night.  One branch near the top of a large evergreen next to the house brought down a lot of other branches as it fell, and crushed the fence.  We cleaned it up today.  A few chickens were using the branches as a way to get out.

Tuesday morning the snow had stopped, and it was so pretty.  8" measured on the front lawn.

The setting sun and rising fog late that afternoon made for some pretty pictures.

And then back at home, the sun was down and the moon was up.

I had missed the walk on Tuesday morning as I had a dentist appointment for two molars to be extracted.  I joked that it was my Christmas diet plan.
Larry told me that he had to crawl on his hands and knees on some parts of the trail that morning.

We had taken the little battery chainsaw out with us, so we used that until the battery ran out.

Jake at 16 1/2.  He just keeps plodding onπŸ’—

That afternoon I spent far too much time trying to get chickens to cooperate in a photoshoot that in my head, worked out so well.  Ha, ha, just the opposite in real life.  

Wednesday night the fog and freezing temperatures had made for some sparkly hoar frost Thursday morning.

Crystals on the grass sticking through the ice.

Alder catkins

The battery had been recharged, and that morning we got the rest of the trail cleared out enough to walk through .

Blackberry leaves

On Christmas day we went for a walk to the dyke.  As a single, it was 'ok' for our daughter to come for Christmas.  She has made up our bubble of three through this whole pandemic.  Our son and girlfriend stayed in Alberta.  

A white Christmas, although the day was gray and the snow was soggy.

There were lots of other dogs and their people down there.  Luna is not fond of strange dogs, so I took her down by the creek for her own photoshoot!

She's keeping an eye on brother Jake greeting those other dogs on the top of the dyke.


We went back home and got the turkey cooking.  It was small and I had brined it, which makes it cook faster it seems.  The meat thermometer eventually showed it as easily cooked, no matter where I poked the probe in.  I put it aside to rest, while the rest of the dishes finished cooking.  Everything was ready to go, just the turkey needed carving.  Larry started and then I noticed slightly pink juice.  Ugh!  Back in the oven it went, but everything else was ready, so we just ate dinner without the turkey.  And to be honest, no one missed it.  Now the leftovers have been eaten up as of today, with lots of turkey left still. Turkey soup coming up.

I hope you had a decent Christmas this year, wonderful in it's own way, no matter how you celebrated it.πŸ’–


Thursday, December 3, 2020

An Ordinary Day

A while back Larry bought himself a new toy.  I think I've probably 'played' with it as much as he has.  So this particular day last weekend, we took it to the bush with us when we took the dogs on their morning walk

Our bush consists of mostly alders with the occasional big leaf maple, cottonwood, birch and coniferous tree thrown in.  We've lived there long enough now (34 years) that the alders are reaching the end of their life span.  Of course many of them were big when we moved here, and i just googled that they live 60-100 years.  Our house is about 60 years old. They are sort of a weed tree, but make great firewood, and since we depend on a wood stove for some of our heat, they are a good tree to have.  But the last few years we have noticed that there are an awful lot of dead ones, and without their canopy throwing shade on the ground below,  there is nothing to stop the blackberries from moving in.  This tree volunteered itself for firewood just recently, so this day I had the 'toy' and sawed all the underbrush away along one side of the downed alder so that Larry had a decent space to work with the chainsaw. He will be sawing it up tomorrow.  

It was a relief that day to finally get some sun and blue sky.  We seemed to have had endless grey days and rain for a long while.

Although the sky hadn't quite figured out which way to go at this point. Looking north

Looking west was more encouraging

While I'd been playing with the mini chainsaw, Larry had cut up some bigger stuff .  We decided to just bring back wheel barrows at a time.  The ground is so wet the tractor will make big ruts out in the bush, and it is not four wheel drive so may get stuck.  A little foreshadowing here for my next post, lol.

We stopped at the garden on the way back.  I asked Larry to help me get the bale of shavings off the top of the tomato scaffolding.  It had been up there to make a sloping roof for the plastic I had thrown over the whole structure.  We were laughing because it was so awkward for Larry up there and the bale is really heavy and the plastic had a few tears in it, so parts of the bale were wet, which made it even heavier.  Finally he got it rolled off and it didn't split open when it hit the ground.  I just made sure I was out of the way!

In the afternoon I wandered down to the garden by the house and pulled out the dog x-pens that I had used to trellis the pickling cucumbers on and to keep the rabbits from the broccoli.  It's a weedy jungle out there.

There were still a few tomatoes hanging on in the greenhouse, but they looked better from a distance than they really were.  We need to start buying tomatoes again, how sad!

Later in the afternoon I went for a bike ride.  It's been a few weeks I think.  If I ride this way, I always stop at this viewpoint.  Looks like a few people were burning brush piles Ft. Langley way.  The sun was just about to set off to the left of the photo.  Those reddish looking fields in the middle are cranberries.

And on the way back, on the other side of the road, looking east.  Barely visible in the middle far distance are Mt. Cheam and it's sister peaks.  And that red field is blueberries.

Just an ordinary but beautiful,
late November day.



Sunday, November 22, 2020

Oliver in November

A few customers asked us if we were going away after the farmers market was finished.  By that they were meaning somewhere warm, lol!  Well, no, we don't, we have two old dogs that can't easily be left, and a few other animal commitments as well.  And then this year there is the added Covid pandemic, so who really wants to by flying anywhere right now.  Not us, that's for sure.  
What we do have is a vacation spot in the South Okanagan, so that's our little escape.
We went there on November 6th, which just happens to be someone's 39th birthday, hahaha!

That person planned her own birthday meal and made this the morning we left.  A simple but tasty dish made with a lot of eggs and some sausages and home grown tomatoes.  The artist wishes she had put a bit more effort and used some kale or something to make a stem and leaves for that tomato flower.

Home grown pickled beets, figs, fermented veggie mix, chow chow relish and one of our russet apples rounded out the plate.

Home grown baked Comice pears with homemade green tomato mincemeat for dessert! One of us likes coconut milk with theirs. 

The weather was mostly sunny when we were there, but not warm, and an icy wind at times.  Just above freezing during the day and just below at night.
Dog walks and bike rides filled our days.

Walking south through a somewhat shaded area.  Jake has trouble with the low sun shining in his eyes, so we did the shady side as we headed toward the sun.

So pretty with the sun shining on the yellow leaves

The Okanagan River looking south.

And then looking north.  There were spawning salmon heading upstream.

Pretty leaves in the park on our bike ride in the afternoon.

And a really spectacular mountain ash.

A sculpture in a little park along the road.  In the area next to where there used to be a nice campsite along the river under the trees.  Now it's a hotel.  They asked for input for this little park.  I said to please leave all the large shade trees.  Oliver gets very hot in the summer, and shade is welcome.  They cut down all the trees.  I just shake my head, idiots.

The next day we headed north up along the river.  I forgot all about Jake and the sun in his eyes, oops.

The beavers have been very active.

Jake needed a little help.  Then Larry caught his foot on something and almost fell while lifting Jake.  Both old guys survived!

More beaver architecture.

I took a picture four years ago of Jake on this rock.  It was better than this one, lol. He's heading towards 16 1/2 now, and doing decently, all things considered.

Luna will be 13 at the beginning of  December.  Hard to believe.

Sasquatch on a log.

On our bike ride in the afternoon we met a horse!

Larry checked the sex, and the mare checked the saddle bags for treats.

The next morning we headed home, but snow was in the forecast and we had a few stops to make first.
After stopping in Summerland for a visit and to pick up walnuts, we came home a different way than usual.  A bit of snow and a few slippery moments, so kind of stressful, but we were careful, and Larry heeded  my 'can you just slow down a bit' as we were on the downhill side.  A relief to get near Hope and a snow free hwy.

Who knows when we will get back there.  Often we try to go in January, but we will have to wait and see.  Right now we are being told not to travel out of our region.