Friday, January 29, 2021

Kayaking at White Rock

I feel like it's been a depressing winter, overloaded with grey skies and rain, although since I first began this post, we have had some more encouraging weather.  To cheer me up I'm going to do some posts from last summer.  Posts I meant to do but didn't get around to.  Posts where the sun was shining and it was warmer.

This particular day we were going to head to Crescent Beach to recreate our favourite kayak adventure of the summer before. (we would have failed)  Alas, it was not meant to be.  We got to Crescent Beach before noon on a Saturday, and not a parking spot was to be found.  We decided to head back to White Rock, and we'd paddle towards Crescent Beach!

Meredith has this handy dandy little cart that comes apart and can be stored in her kayak.  It is awesome, and her kayak is quite heavy and quite a bit longer than ours, so it works well.  She pulls hers and Larry and I can carry one end of each of ours together in one trip.

It was a bit of a trip to the water's edge!

Meredith is pretty good at bringing food, and I think I had brought something as well.  We paddled to the point we had got to when we had paddled from Crescent Beach.  We had quite a stiff headwind on the way there.

The tide was coming in and despite us pulling the kayaks well out of the water, at one point I made a mad dash across the rocks to save one from floating away.

The paddle back went twice as fast.


The next time we were at White Rock we launched at the same place, but paddled east. It was one evening during the week.  The tide was in and the water was calm.  I spent quite a bit of my childhood at White Rock beach.

Getting close to the pier.  
The new section starts just over Meredith's head and goes to the right.  Somewhere just behind Larry, on that long thin strip of land just visible under the pier,  would be the Peace Arch and the Canada/US border.

A few years ago there was a huge windstorm.  Boats broke free from the wharf at the end and were blown into the side of the pier.  The huge waves and the wind kept smashing them into the pier, and a lot of damage was done to them both .  Enough damage that a whole big section had to be replaced.  I think it took over a year to get it done.  The pier is a huge attraction at White Rock, it would have been a disastrous loss if it hadn't been repaired and made useable again.

And there's the famous White Rock.  It gets a coat of paint every once in a while to keep it white, and is slowly sinking into the sand.

   The breakwater at the end of the pier.  I used to go out fishing with my dad and we jigged for cod   around this breakwater.  Attached to the pier and close behind the breakwater there used to be a bunch of docks shaped into a rectangle with a square of ocean water in the middle.  It was called the Tank, and there were swimming lessons there all summer.  I took swimming lessons there.  I hated it, well maybe     
that is too strong of a term, but swimming was not my strong point.  The weather had to be pretty miserable before we didn't get in the water.  Sometimes a bunch of jellyfish came through....Lets just say I was thrilled when our summer sport was switched to tennis when I was 12.  Tennis I enjoyed and                                                                           was decent at.

Heading west towards the sunset. 

Looking back east towards the pier and the white rock.

So it's taken us three trips, but now we have kayaked the whole distance from the White Rock pier to Crescent beach, and back again.

I forgot that I had done something to my back that day, and it was kind of sore sitting in the kayak.  Paddling didn't bother it, it was the back of the kayak seat that bothered it the most.  
The next morning though, I could barely get out of bed and couldn't hobble without supporting myself with a walker or cane.  I managed to get an emergency appointment at the chiropractors, and got an adjustment and some exercises to do at home, and walked out of there feeling half way human again. What a relief.



Thursday, January 21, 2021


A couple of years ago now, maybe, a bit of coffee got spilt on the back of my DSLR camera.  It was in the spot where the LCD screen folds into, and as far as I could see, that area was sealed, so I didn't think it was a big deal.  But it was, and my camera died.  

Lately I've been using my phone camera.  My phone is a cheap one, so some pictures don't always come out well.  I have been trying some pictures on the manual setting, and sometimes I can get some decent ones.  
These are from our morning walk one day earlier in the week.  We have been lucky just lately, with no rain and sunshine.  This picture doesn't do the scene justice, but all those little blobs of moss on an old apple tree were just glowing emerald with the sun shining through them.

Ferns and moss about 6' up on a Big Leaf Maple.

This spot on our trail is called 'At the maples'.  A clump of maples all growing from the same spot

I love the bokeh I got with this moss photo.


Last week I picked up an ironing board for 50 cents at the thrift store.  We took the legs off and I used double sided tape to stick some rubber mats on it.  A ramp for the car.  It weighs nothing and just fits in the trunk.  It will mostly be used for Luna getting in the car.  She can get out okay, but some days can't get in well.  She has always been weird about getting in.  She stands so far back and takes this flying leap, that lately results in slamming her belly into the edge of the seat.  She doesn't like to be lifted, and sits down or backs away.  Jake just waits to be lifted in and out, but he could use the ramp too.


We have been meeting Meredith most weekends for a walk.  She hasn't been coming over since the Covid restrictions were tightened.  Last Sunday we walked around a wetlands not far from where we used to live.  The parking lot was almost full and there seemed to be loads of people heading off around the trail.  The trail was wide open with room to get well out of the way when other dogs were coming.  Luna was a good girl, distance and liver treats made for a good dog.


On our usual afternoon walk around the block, we were really noticing the longer days.  We can start at 4:30 now and still get home before dark.  Mist rising from the field.


On New Years Eve the tree guys were working in our neighbourhood.  I asked them if they would dump their loads at our place.  We put a big tarp down at the top of the driveway and they backed up and dumped two loads.  Yee Ha!!

Every morning on our way out to the back bush we each push a wheelbarrow's worth out to the garden.  I'm covering up a low area with cardboard, and then a few inches of wood chips on top.  The cardboard is to stop the grass from growing through the chips.  It will rot away over the summer.  It's the area where I'm planning on having the squash vines sprawl.  On the right where you see the thin white lines on the ground, well that's a long bed that has been spread with chicken manure and then mulched with leaves, and some old electronet fencing laid on top to stop the leaves from blowing away.  That's where I'll plant the squash this summer, and then try to direct all the vines over the wood chips.  Wish me luck!


Bella melted!
I don't talk about Bella much, but I couldn't resist these pictures.  We've never seen her lay like this before!  Talk about 'Does this position make me look fat?' 
Yes Bella, yes it does!

 She is not a small cat and her weight is perfect for her size.


And last but not least, another day this week when we had a beautiful blue sky and clouds afternoon.

These last four were when we did the late afternoon walk, and make it appear darker than it really was.


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

The Wyndson Farm Gong Show.

We have a seasonal creek in our back bush.  It dries up in the summer and then is wet through the rainy season and winter, which are the same thing really.   We cross it twice.  One crossing has a few culverts put in so we can drive across with the tractor, but the upstream one hasn't leant itself to culverts, as it is a wide shallow crossing where the trail is.  At times we've tried to make the crossing drier, but they were feeble attempts and didn't last long.  

You may remember that I used to compete in dog agility with Jake and Luna, and for many years I was the equipment manager for our club.  At some point we were upgrading some equipment, and we ended up with two 12' long, 1' wide, plywood covered aluminum frames.  They were the up and down planks of the dogwalk, which had one plank leading up to a horizontal plank about 4.5' above the ground, and the third plank was the down ramp at the other end.  The planks we had were the up and down planks, and had little wood slats across them for grip.  Then it was determined that dogs were jamming their toes on the slats on the way down, and a better grippy rubber coating had been developed for the dogwalk, so our club replaced the whole thing and somehow we ended up storing the old planks in the rafters of the barn.  

Okay, that was probably more info than you wanted, but I'm very good at making a short story into a long story.

At some point I decided to take the wood slats off, so that left bare wood.  One day I had a eureka moment and suggested we use the planks for a bridge across the creek.  But there was that bare wood, and that needed painting to protect it.  And months later Larry finally painted them and we set them up and they worked well.  

This was definitely a rainy season kind of day!

Since Jake is now well over 16, he certainly isn't the agility dog he once was.  He could still manage to do stairs with some assistance, but one day Larry joked that it sure would be nice if we had a ramp from the back door down to the patio, which currently are 9 steps apart.   And  I said, well, those dogwalk planks that we are using for a bridge would be great for that.  And Larry thought it was such a good idea and well worth trying, that he didn't waste any time putting it into action.

He decided he would pick up the planks the same way he had installed them.  I was thinking that it was a lot dryer when he installed them, we had had an awful lot of rain since then. But I thought I wouldn't say anything, I do tend to nag, and sometimes I just try to keep my mouth shut.  I regretted that!  When he had taken the planks out there, there was no bucket on the tractor.  Now the bucket was on, which makes the tractor that much longer, and more difficult to maneuver in tight places.  So he went round the loop of the trail, loaded up the planks and was driving out across the creek.  I didn't actually think to take any pictures while this was all happening, and just took these few here when it was over.
See that tree trunk on the right.  He had to avoid hitting that with the tractor bucket.

And see that hole there on the left where the culvert is falling into the creek?  He had to avoid that too.  It was pretty mucky on the right side too.  Too long of a vehicle, too many things to avoid, so the front left wheel ended up in that gap between culverts.  The tractor doesn't have four wheel drive, so it was stuck. 

Larry walked back to the house, got the truck, put some weight in the back and brought out some equipment.  He backed into the trail, the idea being to attach a come-along to the tractor and the trailer hitch on the truck, and try winch it out of the hole.  I was watching the passenger side of the truck as he backed it in, and he was supposed to be watching his side, but ended up putting the back wheel off the trail, and now the truck was stuck! No four wheel drive on the truck either.  So we got the come-along attached to the front of the truck and a convenient tree and I started cranking the lever as he gave the truck a bit of gas.  He had not realized that he had brought the wrong come-along though.  One side of the drum had corroded away.  I had cranked it and the cable slipped off the drum and got stuck down the side and there was no cranking it tighter or getting it to loosen off.  At this point we are starting to think about embarrassing ourselves and going to a neighbour  and asking for help.   Sometimes you just feel so dumb!

See those things on the back of the trailer with the holes?  They are called sand ladders and you can put them down to drive over in soft ground.  So we started digging in front of the back wheels of the truck and managed to get the sand ladders under the tires enough for them to grab and move ahead.  Thank goodness, one vehicle unstuck!

So then I suggested that we use the bucket of the tractor to help us.  You tip the bucket down and lower it to the ground and keep pushing on the lever.  Since the bucket can't go down any more, something has to give and the front of the tractor lifts up.  So with the front wheels of the tractor now off the ground, we where able to span that gap in the culverts with one of the sand ladders, and put the other one under the right wheel, and when the wheels where back on the ground the tractor moved ahead and all was well!  
Well what a relief!  We had a good laugh at ourselves and felt good we didn't have to call on a neighbour.  
A lesson learned? One can only hope.

So here's the planks back at the house.  They are a success!  We have wire on the the other side now at the bottom so Jake can't fall off the side.  We took those rubber mats off because they are deadly if there is a bit of frost, and  bought a couple of rolls of that nubbly rubber shelf liner stuff from the dollar store and stapled that down.  It is better in the frost, but not perfect, so we have to check when we have had a clear night.

Luna has turned 13 and she is having some issues with her back legs, and sometimes crashes coming up the stairs, so the ramp is handy for her too.

We only had 9 days without rain in December, and a foot of rain, and already 4 " of rain this month with one or two dry days.  Very very few hours of sunshine.  Kind of depressing really.

Dreaming of nicer days