Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Eve

We made it to Kamloops yesterday without a problem (except for the obligatory vehicle electrical wiring trip can officially get under way without one). Even Xena was a good girl, MOST of the time. For all the threats of snow storms and such, there was nothing....nadda. As a matter of fact, there is hardly any snow on the countryside anywhere between there and here. I was shocked. Oh well, made for excellent driving conditions.

It was great to see Echo and Grant. Even their kids, Tiger and Errol, were home. I also got to meet Tiger's 2 new kittens, Grimmel and Jethro. They are brothers. Too adorable!!!Now onward to Vancouver. Don't worry, Sara, we will NOT take the Coquihalla.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Headin' South

We're leaving tomorrow for a trip to the coast. The weather forecast looks clear. We'll go as far as Kamloops the first day and visit with Echo and Grant (Art's sister & brother-in-law). Then on to Vancouver to spend New Year's (and our own little Christmas) with the kids. Sara is running in the The Resolution Run on New Year's Day and we wouldn't miss that for the world.

We did consider boarding Xena because she can be quite unruly at times (desperately needs a touch of the Dog Whisperer), but we just can't do it. She is part of our lives now and we can't leave her behind. I think that getting her some training is going to have to be a New Year's resolution, though.

So today is clean the joint up, stock up the cat food and kitty litter (they are self-sustaining for a week or so), bag all the Christmas leftovers (I made a wonderful turkey soup) and put them in the freezer.

PS: I do NOT have "pink eye". People have been telling me for a week or so that one of my eyes is red, even though I can't really see it in the mirror myself. Just to make sure that I don't have something contagious, I went to the doctor yesterday (first time I've been to a doctor in years, but I have vowed to start taking better care of myself, so off I went). Well, I gotta say, this clinic we have in Fraser Lake is very thorough. I guess with fewer patients than the bigger towns they can treat us like people instead of numbers. Anyhow, after nearly an hour of jabbing and poking and dyed-drops and local anesthetic (one frozen eyeball feels VERY weird) and extremely bright lights being shone at me, it was determined that my eye is just irritated. Probably from all the wood smoke. I guess I'll live.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Mike Holmes

Finally, I can reveal a very fun thing that I did for Art. You may already know that he is the Number One fan of Mike Holmes. When it was announced that Mike had published a book, I went to his website to check it out. There they talked about how he was going to be in Calgary in November, signing copies of his book. So, I asked Carol if her Mom or sister would be willing to go and get one for me. Well, Cathy (sis) jumped right in. Here's her email.....

Mission accomplished! I got the book signed! I went early in case there was going to be a line. Good thing. There were already 20+ people lined up at 1:15 pm. So I stood in line for an hour altogether. He was very polite. He said hello, shook my hand and asked my name. I asked if he could sign it to Art. He even said merry christmas! He was dressed in blue overalls too. One lady was disappointed that he wasn't wearing his muscle shirt. Someone else pointed out it was -23, so she forgave him.

Here's the book....autographed by the man himself.Thanks so much Cathy! I was just bursting to give it to Art and tell him the story. I'm pretty sure he LOVES it. Check him out in his Holmes coveralls.

Christmas Fun

When we first moved here, there were some things on the property which were pre-named by local residents. One is the house called "Gramma's" and one is the "Christmas Tree Field". Not only did we get last and this years' trees here, but I think it's a favourite place for some other people, too.Here, Blackie is helping me decorate (or supervise.... I'm not sure which).And of course Chickie did her bit with the unwrapping of gifts.Despite crochetting like a fiend, I did not get this finished in time for Christmas Day. It is a sweater for Art. So, I took this picture, printed it out and wrapped it up. I hope to have it finished by New Year's.There were some other projects, too, but they barely even got started, so I won't bother mentioning them. Where does the time go, anyways? One minute it's too early to even talk about Christmas, the next it's too late!

I got some pretty nice gifts. Some books on the subject of backyard birding, and this very cool hummingbird feeder. I'm very excited about it. I can hardly wait for those little cuties to come back now.We haven't had any new snow lately, but there's been a couple of chinooks go through. Enough to melt the driveway and then refreeze it, making it entirely impossible to walk without crampons.I'm not kidding. It's like a zamboni went through here. I like this picture because it looks like Art is standing in water, but it's a smooth polished sheet of ice. Even Xena has trouble walking on this stuff and will often opt to walk along the snowbanks rather than on the driveway.Here are Art and Xena showshoeing in the east field. In the treeline above them are many, many moose tracks. They sleep in there (the moose, that is).

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

last August

The kids couldn't come up for Christmas this year as it was another branch of the family's turn to torture....I mean share this joyous season with them. So while I put into words how we spent our Christmas, here's a picture of Treena, Kevin & Sara (with a blurry Grant in the background) when they were here in the summer.And one of Grant showing off a slimy fish head. I love how happy he looks (Grant, that is. The fish....not so happy).

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Shortest Day

Today is the Winter Solstice. The shortest day of the year. My favourite season is winter (so I've probably chosen a good place to live, eh?). Partly because of the cold, but also because of the shorter daylight hours. I always secretly rejoice on the Summer Solstice (the longest day) because I know that the days will start getting shorter from then on (I say secretly because I told someone that once and they almost smacked me). And I always get a pang of disappointment when the Winter Solstice passes.

Before Art retired we thought we might be moving to Atlin. So, every day for a whole year I logged onto the Weather Network and recorded the sunrise and sunset times for both Atlin and Burnaby (our home at the time). Just for the fun of it. Ya, I know, I have a weird idea of fun ..... but it really was. Gathering data is just one of those quirky things I like to do.

For instance ..... in case you are even remotely interested ..... today, this shortest day, the times for Burnaby are 8:04am & 4:16pm. Here in Endako the sun rose at 8:41am and will set at 4:01pm. And Endako is only 1/2 way up the province. In Atlin the sun came up at 10:09am and will set at 3:47pm.

OKAY. I'm stopping now. You can stop nodding off.

is it hurricane season?

Please stop blowing, Mr. Wind!!! Please!

I barely slept a wink last night with all the gusting going on outside. In an attempt to calm myself, I tried something I heard from a dog trainer. Apparantly, when a dog is scared we should never try to comfort it the way we would a human. Like getting all mushy and saying "it's OK....don't be scared...". That just reinforces the scaredy behaviour. We should be firm and speak commandingly "LEAVE IT". (My friend Barb tried to teach me that when Xena was a wee puppy, but I was a brand new dog owner and found it very hard. I have come to know that she was right.)

So, anyways, as I was laying awake in bed last night with the roof tearing off and blowing away (in my mind) I figured "what the heck....give it a try". So I spoke firmly to myself "LEAVE IT". Be danged if it didn't help. How funny is that?

Speaking of Xena, and being afraid. I think she may now have a phobia about the Christmas tree. It is still laying out on the veranda and last night while she was standing at the door waiting to be let in, the wind caught the tree and sent it skidding towards her. I've never heard her scratch at the door so frantically. And she wouldn't run away because it had her trapped. I guess the needles are sharp and poke her legs because she won't step over or push past the branches.

Well, this morning the wind is still bellowing and a piece of the flashing (kind of a metal skirt around the house) is flappity-flapping and making one helluva racket. I opened the door to take a picture and the cats came along. It's like Blackie is asking "what the heck is all the hullaballoo out here!"And then both he and Chickie see the tree and have to check it out.They didn't stick around long, though. The commotion was too much and they went scurrying back into the house.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Our Christmas Tree

Art and Xena picked out the Christmas Tree today. Check out Art's blog for the commentary.Art found this beautiful bird's nest in the tree, so he very carefully brought it home, keeping it safe from you-know-who.See it there, where we left it on the railing while we came in for a cup of tea ..... just above you-know-who's head?Hmmmm. I wonder how this could have happened??????

I've been baking

I've been trying my hand at baking and candy making. It's not really my thing and I get bored fairly quickly, but what I made came out pretty good. I made sponge candy and peanut butter fudge and gingerbread men and these.....candy cane cookies.Those were fun. Oh ya and I also made some very, very delicious truffles. I have to give them away before I eat them all (I've got a little problem with chocolate....can't stop eating it once I've started). Now I want to make some different kinds for those that don't like chocolate. Hard to imagine, I know, but there are some out there who don't like chocolate. All I can say is "all the more for ME!!!"

A do-nothing kind of day

Today was a 3 moose day! We're getting to know these guys. There's a pair (cow and yearling) and a single. The single one is pretty darned big, so even though it is supposedly a cow because the bulls haven't lost their antlers yet (so we're told, anyways), I'm just not so sure.

That was a lovely start to the day. Art and Xena have now gone to pick out a Christmas tree. We are fortunate enough to have a field in our lower property that has a bunch of perfect Christmas sized trees. I'll trust whatever they choose.

I got a parcel to my parents out on Monday, so they will receive it in time for Christmas. Phew! Next was a parcel to the kids because we weren't going to see them this year, but after thinking about it some, Art and I decided to pack up the dog and the Christmas prezzies and take a trip to the coast. Sometime between Christmas and New Years. Besides, I made a promise to Sara that I would be at the finish line of her first race no matter when or where. I want to keep that promise.

I have been working on a crochet project for a while now, but am getting frustrated because I keep having to unravel big sections and redo them over and over. Argggh! Oh well, if it's not done in time then it's not done in time. Right?

I know that Sara is feeling a little stressed right now, with both work and family applying major Christmas pressures. So, to even out the imbalance of the universe in that regard, Art and I are sitting around doing nothing. Funny, I feel a bit guilty about that.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

I must be getting old

We went to a Christmas party last night. It was hosted by a young single guy we know. The guests ranged from little kids to older than us and it was fun. There were skidoo rides, a bonfire in the back yard and a big potluck dinner. A couple of people brought electric guitars and there was a drum set in the basement so some "jamming" ensued.

So, when I say our host was young, I mean 23'ish. Don't get me wrong. He is a very nice guy and put on a great party. But I forget that with that youth there is often an element of craziness. His house is decorated with snowboards and as he described building ramps from the tops of cliffs so he could soar over roads and hopefully NOT land on a bunch of logs that were stacked with pointy ends up in the air, the group of us 40/50 something's kept tossing each other glances of "did we ever do things like that?!". When I was that age, I did do some rock climbing and hung from ropes off the side of the Stawamus Chief and other such places. I'm sure this activity made my mother shudder, and I know I'd NEVER have done it of my own accord, but I was trying to get in good with this guy named Art. Would have followed him anywhere .... and I did.

Anyhow, I think I'll keep both feet on the ground now, thank you very much. The excitement for today will be baking cookies to include in the Christmas parcels that we're mailing tomorrow to points south. I know. Cutting it a little short, but what can I say? There just never seems to be enough time, does there? Still need to go out into the forest and find a Christmas tree, but the outside lights are all up (for the most part). On the way home from the party last night, we drove along Highway 16 to a section where you can see our place way up the hill, all lit up. Very pretty.

We will miss everyone at the coast this year, but are thinking of maybe going down to Vancouver for New Years. Sara is registered in her very first "official" run on New Year's Day and I would love to be there for that. However, a lot will depend on the weather. There have been such bad storms so far this season. A couple of days ago the Coquihalla, Fraser Canyon AND Duffy Lake Road were all closed. The Lower Mainland was completely cut off, except for the Hope-Princeton and that was apparantly touch and go, also.

Is there no escape?

From spammers, that is. I am now receiving porn spam in my mailbox on YouTube. Funny thing is, I didn't even know I had a mailbox on YouTube. All I use that site for is getting my video clips onto this blog. Like I'm interested in, and am EVER going to open messages with subject lines "HOT SEX SITE" or "AMATEUR BRAZILIAN GIRLS". I guess there's always a price for "free" stuff.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

What are these things?

Check out Art's blog to find out about this item....And this one....well, you can probably guess.Picture it on this....Of course, putting it there is proving trickier than we thought. I've gotten some video of Art trying, but it often ends up with swear words, so I can't post it. I'll keep shooting.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Rubber band girl

So, I thought I'd chop some wood today. Not a lot, just a little, for a few minutes.Oh my goodness, no. I didn't chop all THAT! Art did that earlier in the fall. I really did only chop a tiny little bit today (that picture is just for effect), but now my arms feel like two pieces of spaghetti. And I can't squeeze my hands very well. Talk about a wimp! I hope it doesn't hinder my ability to crochet in front of the TV tonight. It must be good exercise (the chopping, not the crocheting). Maybe I should do a little every day. Art would probably appreciate that.

And of course there's our little kleptomaniac. Xena just cannot resist stealing pieces of wood from the pile. It used to be just kindling, but now she's taking bigger and bigger chunks. You can find them strewn all over the yard. I had to snap fast to get these pics.

It's kind of fun to watch her when Art is working out in his shop. Every so often I'll see her trotting along the driveway tossing glances back towards the shop (to see if he's chasing her, I guess) and carrying something in her mouth .... a vacuum attachment, a roll of tape, a bag of screws .... anything really will do.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

It was a Two Moose day

There were 2 moose ( mooses?... meese?... ) on the property today. I know there were 2 because I saw them almost at the same time. One in the southeast pasture, one on the north hillside. They were huge. I assumed this one was a bull just because of it's size, but have since been corrected. The bulls still have their horns on, so this one is a cow.

So, some of you may say "". Some of you may say "where's my gun?!". Well, it gives me a thrill to see wildlife and I like that they are safe on our land. And I also happen to know a few of you out there that join me in saying "cool!".


Here's something that WAS built to last. There are several of these tables at the Endako Community Hall. This one is our favourite because it just has a certain character. When Art said he liked it, he was told he could have it. Call it partial payment for all the work he's done.Well, call me crazy, but it doesn't look to me like anything of $$$ value, but this shop on Granville Street in Vancouver might say otherwise. If you click on the link you'll see a picture of wooden oars for sale (can you believe the price???!!!), but look at the table the oars are sitting on. Art's daughters, Sara and Treena, took us to this store a few months ago to show us what country crap is going for these days. Astonishing. We've got a whole lot of old barn wood around here that we could be making a fortune on. Hmmmmm.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Espresso has less caffeine???

Watched an interesting show on the Knowledge Network the other night called "Black Coffee". I learned some things, like espresso has LESS caffeine than regular coffee. What?!?! Apparantly so. Also, England used to be one of the world's biggest consumers of coffee ... way back. Making coffee was a big pain in the neck though, so when they discovered that tea was much easier they switched. Who'da thought. A world renowned custom was born out of laziness. Now, I don't mean to insult the English. I love the English. I love coffee, I love tea, I love Coronation Street.

I've been doing my Christmas shopping online and bought myself a little something while I was at it. I've been inspired.Our microwave konked out on us yesterday. GRRRRR. It's barely over a year old. Now what? It's one of those that's also a range hood, so it's screwed right to the wall over the stove. I'm hoping it just needs a new filter, but even that's not so convenient to get. GRRRRR. Things just aren't made to last these days.

Xena needs her own pad

We've given her one of the bathrooms as a bedroom, and for the most part it's been working OK. Every so often, though, when she's feeling bored ... or just plain bratty ... she gets to chewing.

She's big enough now that no coyote would try to tangle with her and she does seem to prefer the cooler temperature of outside, so maybe it's time to give her a doghouse. I just don't know. I think I'd still worry about her.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Milk and cookies

I found this on the kitchen floor today .... There is only one possible suspect and I totally expected to find an ink covered doggy version of Ernest P Worrell (picture the courtroom scene in "Ernest Goes to Jail"). Thankfully, there was no ink spilled.

I am happy to report that all my Christmas shopping is done (I hope). It may not be if I don't hurry up and finish a few craft projects I'm working on. Art did a bunch of Christmas baking yesterday. Here's just a small sample of his yummy creations.And after all that slaving over a hot oven, he and his apprentice took a well deserved milk & cookie break.

I do want to say something to those of you, our friends and family, who think that we are living a life of hardship up here in the snowy central north. This is a beautiful part of the province. Yup, there's the odd cold snap and yup, there's a bunch of snow, but that's what it does here. And everyone knows how to drive in it, and have the correct tires on their vehicles. There's no danger, we're not freezing to death, there's no hardship of any kind. There is a real community here. Neighbours get to know each other and lend assistance freely. People smile and wave when they see us. We have a lovely, warm house, with a breathtaking view and it's super, super quiet. We have a freedom and a joy that we never had before. Those that have come to visit know that. To the rest of you .... come and see. Pay us a visit. You might not want to go back home.

Friday, December 01, 2006

ok...NOW you can play Christmas music

I believe Art will be putting up the outside Christmas lights any day now. That's OK, though, because it is now December. It's just one of those rules.

Today we took a day trip to Vanderhoof. Art needed some electrical supplies, so I went along to get some other items that they don't have in the grocery store at Fraser Lake. For instance, this .....This is my favourite tea. Nice and strong, with a little Splenda, a little heavy cream. Oh My God! Pure heaven!

We stopped to visit Art's sister, Cheryl, before heading back home. We've missed her lately. Even though we only live a half hour's drive from each other, it's been months since we saw her last. It was great to visit and do a little catching up. We wanted to get home before dark because the roads are a little slippery. As we drove along, Xena would hang her head over Art's shoulder and fall asleep. I took these pictures even though I couldn't see through the view-finder of the camera because it was too dark. I just aimed blindly and snapped away. Finally, she looked up at me with a kind of "what the...?" look on her face.Oh ya, our water is OK now. That orange colour is the iron sediment that was flushing out of the pipes. It all cleared up after about 20 minutes of leaving the tap running. The water here is very hard (lots of minerals, especially iron), so I put the stuff we drink through Brita filters. We go through a lot of those. One day, when we get rich and famous, we'll put a filtration system in.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

you think your water's disgusting?

As Art mentioned on his blog, our water line froze 2 nights ago. Once again our camping equipment came to the rescue. We brought the porta-pottie in from the Boler, so we didn't have to worry about flushing toilets. Our water system is gravity fed and the weak link is where the pipes come up into the house called "gramma's" which is between the well at the top of the hill and our house at the bottom of the hill. Art found the frozen section and thawed it out pretty quickly yesterday, which I am very thankful for. For the first 20 minutes or so, as we let the water flush the lines, this is what was coming out of our kitchen tap. A lovely orange, isn't it?Now I don't want to make my blog all about the weather, but I just had to show you today's thermometer reading. The coldest yet .... minus 29.I have been spending the last day or so counting and rolling coins, most of it loonies (23 lbs of loonies, to be precise....I weighed them, just for fun). Our local community hall had it's annual dinner and loonie auction on Saturday night and because I am their treasurer I get the fun job of counting all the money. I'm not being sarcastic there ..... I LOVE counting money! Especially the coins. The counting, the stacking, the rolling. It's all just wonderful fun for me. I find it a soothing pastime.

Anyhoo....the auction was a success. We all had lots of fun and Art and I even came home with some nice prizes.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

A brisk morning

What a lovely morning to wake up to. This is what winter is supposed to be.We finally finished the painting job. While Art was slaving away.........I was trying to take pictures of frost on the window panes. Not as easy as you'd think.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Now that's gotta hurt

It looks like that little birdy wasn't the only one to bash into one of our windows. This is in Art's study. Some tweety out there must really being seeing stars.This is out the other window in Art's study. Almost looks like bars.Art did get that snowblower working.Art and Xena having a "moment".This is a sunrise picture from one of the bedroom windows.Art picked up a painting contract for a house on Fraser Lake. It's a pretty big job, which I have been helping him on. Still a couple of days to go. This is the view from the back porch, overlooking the lake. Trumpeter Swans like to call this home and there is a flock of them feeding in the water near the frozen shore (too small to see in this photo, sorry).Yesterday was a very strange weather day. It suddenly warmed up to around +8C. The wind howled like I've never seen. I was sure the roof was going to blow off (some of the tin flashing did). That wind scares the crap out of me. I think I must have been traumatized as a young child when Typhoon Frieda hit Victoria and Vancouver in 1962, because when the wind blows I shake to my core. Anyways, back to yesterday. The snow was melting like mad. Suddenly, the wind reversed direction, it started to pour buckets, the temperature dropped 7 degrees in about 15 seconds, and I felt like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. Thank goodness it didn't last.

Art's brother, Tom, brought his little bobcat up and did some digging out of Art's workshop. Art spent the rest of the day using it to clear more of the yard. It looks like a fun little contraption to drive. I think he may use it to entice Kevin up here for Christmas (last year Kev had a hoot bashing and burning some old sheds we had with the bigger cat). Here you can see the dirt actually showing through on the driveway. Come on Mister Winter .... make up your mind!I'm happy to say that I have started my Christmas shopping. I know it's too early to talk about such things, but when you shop online you have to start early. I LOVE the internet for that. Going shopping is definitely not fun for me, and now of course, by living out in the boonies I have an even better excuse. It's kind of a pain for little things, though, I admit. For instance, I want to get a picture matted and framed before Friday, but there is nowhere in town to get that done. Not even sure about Vanderhoof or Burns Lake (each about 60 km away), making the next best place Prince George. That's a little inconvenient because PG is a 2 hour drive away. The thing I want to frame is this pen and ink drawing that Art made (not this crinkled one ... it's just a photo copy). I thought it might be nice to donate it to the big Loonie Auction this weekend.Art is a man of many talents. I'll bet you didn't know he was such an "art"iste.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Fly away little birdie

Yup, that little guy took quite a bonk to the head. But he made a complete recovery. When I opened the box in the bathroom, just to have a look, he flew out. Yikes! Quick, close the bathroom door so he doesn't get into the rest of the house (wouldn't my cats have loved that). I was happy that he was OK, but worried a little about what to do next. Finally, he lighted on the mirror and allowed me to put both hands over him and put him back in the box. I took him outside and he flew away. I felt so good!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

My little chickadee

While I was sitting having a coffee this morning I heard a "whack" at the living room window. I didn't really pay much attention because birds fly into the glass every so often. Then I saw Xena out on the veranda looking over in that direction with curiousity. Whatever hit was still there. I knew I'd better check it out before Miss Puppy decided to play. Sure enough there was this little guy sitting on the deck looking pretty stunned.It's pretty cold out and by the time I tied the dog up and got my camera he had tucked his head under his wing and was shivering. Now, I don't have a problem with cats (or dogs) killing birds, but not when they are at a disadvantage. This little guy deserves a fighting chance. So, I scooped him up, brought him inside where it's warm and put him in a box in the bathroom. Once he's caught his breath and shaken the stars out of his head I'll put him back outside.

A few months ago Art was at his niece's house and her children were attempting to nurse a bird with an injured wing. Art convinced them to let him bring it out to the ranch so it could be free (really he was saving it from the torment of these children that were loving it to death). You know, that little birdie survived and is still hanging around in our back yard. He can fly a little bit but doesn't get much off the ground and doesn't seem to want to leave. I believe he is a Pine Siskin (I did not take this picture).