Thursday, April 27, 2006

Where's Endako?

Are you wondering "where on earth is Endako?"? It is smack-dab in the centre of British Columbia, Canada. Vanderhoof actually holds the distinction of being the official geographic centre of the province, but we are very close. Here are a couple of maps....

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

April showers

You know how in Vancouver it rains almost every day, especially at this time of year? Well, here in Endako, it's not like that. It's actually the talk of the town, days in advance, that it's supposed to rain on Wednesday.Today is Wednesday, and yup, it rained. Actually, it snowed first, then turned to rain. And now it's over. For the past 4 days it's been almost 20 degrees (celcius, of course). I find it very confusing.
I'm just glad it was warm, sunny (and not windy) for Mike, Carol and Moosh's visit. I'm pretty sure they had a fun time. All the fields to run in brought out the puppy in Moosh (well, she thought about it, anyways). Carol did some major exploring on an ATV we borrowed from Tom. Mike and Art hung out some and explored a little, too.
Carol and Art had a crafting session, to make prototype invitations for Audrey & Walter's 50th anniversary party.

They also were designing jewelry made from, of all things, Moose dung. Yup ..... raisins .... pellets ..... buns ..... whatever you call it, it's poop. Here is Carol sporting the new line of earrings. It's not so bad really. They're all dried out. And don't smell. You'd never know ..... if you didn't know.
Anyways, Carol got to meet a bunch of cows and all their newborn calves. She also met Molly, the neighbour's 600 lb pig. Check out Carol's blog, where she has posted pictures. Molly is a character. When she's feeling lonely she goes for a hike over to the next farm, where there is a big old hounddog that she is in love with. The hounddog is very patient, takes her by the ear and walks her around the yard. Probably explaining how it would just never work out between them. Then Walter goes and gets her and brings her home.

In between the visits from friends, Art and I have been working at finishing the storage shed. We built a ton of skookum shelving from old barnboards we found around the property (maybe Art will post pictures on his blog). Making something useful out of nothing is very satisfying.....and fun. I know all the physical work is good for me, but boy am I beat at the end of the day.

Today, we thought we'd take a break and go into Vanderhoof (about 60 km away). I think, maybe, we weren't meant to go, though. Woke up.....snowing. Tried to leave.....truck had a flat tire. Fixed that, got 20 km away......truck started to lose power. Had to decide.....keep going or turn back. Turned back. By the time we travelled the 20 km back all gauges had stopped working, no heater, no windshield wipers (it's still snowing out, by the way, so really hard to see out the windows) and finally the fuel pump stopped. We literally coasted the last 20 feet into Tom's driveway. Is it just me, or is there a pattern developing here? Looks like the alternator's gone. Ordered a new one. It'll be here tomorrow, so I guess that'll be "fix the truck" day....again.

Saw 8 deer in our front field this evening. I think they are getting to know that this is a safe haven for them, as they are coming closer and closer. We also have a pair of Sandhill Cranes that visit almost every day, as well as a pair of Northern Harriers.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

It's been a busy few days

Our friends, Mike & Barb Rockey, came to visit and slogged their guts out for 3 days. Every time they come for a holiday they work and work and work.

Barb dug in the garden (while her dogs wanted her to just throw those sticks).
Mike helped Art clean out a shed and build some shelves. We appreciate all they do, but it sure seems like a strange way to spend a vacation.

Art put away the snowblower....even though we've been waking up to snow every morning for a week now. It melts by noon, so need for the snowblower.

I set up some birdfeeders......

The Rockeys gave me a terrific book on birds and it has already helped me identify some of the birds I've been seeing.

We've had more deer crossing the fields and yesterday there was a black bear by the pond above our house. I spotted him while out for a walk and ran all the way back to get my camera. He was so busy digging up ant nests he didn't even notice.

Now we await the arrival of our other friends, Mike and Carol Browne. They are driving up from Vancouver today. We are very excited to have them spend a few days with us. We'll make sure Mike gets a pair of gloves. We don't want a recurrance of the Shuswap ditch-digging/blister incident. Nothing but the best for our workers (just kidding....lounging and book reading is definitely allowed).
Here's just one of the many tasks that Barb took on when she was here in the fall. She was about to go into a shed full of survival food, which rats had ravaged (don't ask me what's up with the survival food. It was here when we moved in).

Sunday, April 16, 2006

I'm dreaming of a white......Easter?

Yesterday we were not wearing jackets (yes, everybody....not just me). Today, this is what we woke up to.Alas, though, it won't last. The sun has since come out and it's all turning into puddles. I just knew that Art was being too hasty when he put the tire chains and snow shovel away in the shed yesterday. And he brought our snow boots in from the truck, saying "Well, I guess we won't be needing these anymore". Hah! Famous last words.

Here's the view from our bedroom on April 29 last year and today.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Wow! That year went by fast.

Today is the 1 year anniversary of when we bought our place in Endako. We didn't actually get possession until April 29th, but today is the day we were in court in Prince George and the judge deemed that Xanadu was ours. And there began the adventure.

Friday, April 14, 2006

It's snowing....not it's not....yes, it is....

And not pretend snow. Real, actual, sticking-to-the-ground snow. It is noon on Good Friday, April the 14th, minus 3 degrees and dag-nabbed snowing! (Don't be scared Mike and Carol......I'm sure it'll be gone before you get here.....pretty sure....maybe.....). This is all just a last ditch effort of Old Man Winter (who is NOT the person pictured here ..... that'd be Art). I happen to know spring is coming because just yesterday I was at the local garden nursery planting flowers in hanging baskets. We have a neighbour named Audrey (I've mentioned her before). She and her husband Walter have a cattle ranch and in the summer they bring their cows up to graze in our pastures. Well, Audrey is a sweet and lovely woman who has reached out to include us in all kinds of functions and events in this little community. She invited me to join her, her daughter and grandson for a day of making hanging baskets. It was a super hoot. The 4 of us had the run of the entire greenhouse/nursery and were making hanging flower baskets like crazy.
Even Lane (Audrey's grandson), who was somewhat dubious about spending the day with a bunch of old biddies, ended up having a ton of fun. I think he's hooked. I sure do appreciate these guys inviting us into their lives.

And speaking of flowers.....what do you suppose this kitty kat is up to here? I'll tell you what she's up to....she's EATING MY CARNATIONS! I caught her doing this a couple of times. She was biting the heads off the flowers, leaving them lying around on the table and eating the leaves and stems. I, of course, immediately went onto the internet to see if she was poisoned or not. It turns out that carnations are edible. Who knew? Apparantly Chickie did.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Sure doesn't feel like Spring out there's cold today. The wind is howling and it was snowing earlier. Yup....snowing! A little yesterday, too, but nothing's sticking (so far). I'm told that a couple of years ago it snowed over a foot on April 26. I guess I can always hope (I know....I'm sick).
The other sure sign of summer coming is that the days are getting longer. Already we are seeing the sun set 20 minutes later than it does back home in Burnaby.

I guess I'd better hurry up and get some curtains on the windows, especially in the bedrooms. I don't know how much longer I can get away with black garbage bags for drapery. Not too stylish, I know, but it'll certainly do in a pinch.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Wildlife abounds

It feels like the world is coming alive around us. Some green grass is starting to poke up, there were 2 deer in our field yesterday (here's a pic, but the deer are kind of hard to see....a couple of blobs in the open area),
and almost every day I'm seeing some new bird. I've actually started taking notes about the ones I see, so that I can look them up later. Apparantly, the ones I saw the other day are called Mountain Bluebird. Very pretty (note: not a picture I took.....I stole it off the internet).

Our neighbour, Audrey, has noticed my growing interest in the birds (as she is avid about them herself) so yesterday gave me this feeder. I'm excited to get it set up.

We went for a long walk around part of the perimeter of our place the other day and came upon an abandoned coyote den dug into a hillside. So much more to explore, too. Who knows what else we will find.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

so, Carol wants cows?

Our friends, Mike and Carol, are coming to visit from Vancouver. They will be here in 2 weeks. It's pretty much a guarantee that all the snow will be gone, but I'm not so sure the cows will be here yet. Carol said on her blog that she can't wait to see the cows. The farmer that rents our pasture land may not bring his cows over until later in the season, as they are busy calving right now. So, here's some pictures from last year. Notice how beautifully green everything is. Right now, the grass is all brown and the trees haven't started budding new leaves yet. #1 - cows in mid May (only a few of the total 100 or so).
#2 - July long weekend. Malcolm's tent. A bunch of the guys putting gas in Malcolm's car when he thought it was broken down (but just out of fuel). The little green and little blue buildings in the background are now gone. We demolished them at Christmas time.
#3 - Art & Malcolm on the veranda. The hanging lamp was a gift to Art from his co-workers at the City of Vancouver when he retired. It now hangs inside the house. The orange benches are also gone.

lites on...lites off

Here's Art cleaning up the generator we bought today. We got a super-duper-duper deal on it and now don't have to worry about the power outages that seem quite frequent here. Yesterday we had no electricity for 22 hours. That's not too good for the food in the freezers. To top it off, the phone went out for a few hours, too.

We had a light show of a different kind 2 nights ago, though. The northern sky was full of aurora borealis.....bright green ribbons of wavy, glowing lights. It's hard to get a picture of, so here's one I stole off the internet. It looked a lot like this.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

It's MELTING....melting....

Things have sure been warming up lately. The snow is melting like crazy, creating little creeks all over the property (not to mention a tiny bit of flooding in one corner of the basement). This picture was taken 3 days ago and a lot of this snow is now gone, too.

And here are pictures taken from the back porch ..... one around New Year's (with our friend Barb and her 2 dogs) and one 3 days ago.

The mud, of course, is a story all on it's own, which I will let Art tell you about. He has some good pictures on his blog of our return home last Friday.
It seems that when things change, they change FAST. Starting to see some bugs and the birds are coming back. I never really paid attention to birds before, but now I am noticing them. Besides those crazy green kamakazies we saw on the highway the other day, I've also seen some beautiful, beautiful cyan blue birds in our field. It's hard to see what they really look like up close, and trying to get info on the internet is not an easy task. I think I need a book with pictures that I can refer to. Anyways, we had about 6 hummingbirds last summer, so I'm hoping they will come back. Plus 2 other kinds of birds that nest in the sheds and barns (they left for winter, but I'm sure they'll be back). They are good for keeping the mosquitoes down. Only problem is that one of the species likes to build mud nests on the sides of the house and we are going to have to find a way to keep them from doing that this year. These are just SOME of the birds around here, so I can see that a new hobby may be budding for me. I just never know where new interests are going to come from sometimes.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

To Terrace and back

Now that we're home and I've caught my breath a little I can post some pictures of our trip to Terrace. The weather was perfect, so the trip was very scenic. There's still lots of snow just above the road and from Smithers westward it's a continous panorama of glorious mountains.
The first 2 pictures are of Moricetown....the 1st taken last August by Brian Pinkerton, the 2nd by me just 5 days ago ( I thought the contrast was interesting). It's a spot where the Bulkley River runs through a very narrow canyon and the Indians fish there with long spears. That's cool to watch.

On our way home on Friday we encountered a very weird (and also a little heart-wrenching) phenomenon. In the early morning, along the shady parts of the highway, were flocks of little green birds. They sat on the centre line and when a vehicle came along they flew up. Unfortunately, some of them were not fast enough and ..... well ..... splat! This went on for miles and miles. It was freaky! We hit 4 on the windshield and many more on the grill and body of the truck. Yeesh!

Further on down the road I spotted two big cottonwood trees, one with a huge eagle's nest in it.Sitting on a branch, beside the nest was a handsome bald eagle and from the right angle I could see his wife sitting in the nest. We stopped so I could get pictures. I really miss my camera with the telephoto lens, as I can only zoom in so far with my little digital. I also took some video because it has a better zoom, but I haven't learned how to utilize the footage on the computer yet.

This one is of the Skeena River, from a roadside pullout.

This one I just took through the windshield as we were driving down the road. I just love mountains!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Has it only been a week?

It seems like such a long time since I've posted here. Maybe because so much has been happening. We were going to stay a few days in Kamloops last weekend and actually visit Art's sister Echo and her husband Grant (instead of just pass through, like we've been doing for the past year). And then an opportunity dropped in our laps to get involved with setting up/running mining & exploration camps. There is a camp on northern Vancouver Island that was particularly interested in us, so asked us to go to Terrace to take a course. We had 2 days to get there (from Vancouver, as that's where we were at the time), so hopped in our little truck and buzzed on up. They paid our way and our tuition, so we were quite excited. The way fun part for me was that I was the only woman in a room of 15 men. The scary part was that we were learning to be instructors, so had to create and deliver 3 "lessons" to the rest of the class.

Being the only woman, I couldn't just run away (which I sure wanted to do). I'm pretty sure I took them by surprise when I taught satellite phone, GPS and mapping techniques instead of cooking and macrame. Art was hot and made a great impression. Unfortunately though, we may have missed the boat because there was another course the week before, that is crucial to the job (which we didn't know about, so didn't take). The government suddenly dished out a bunch of money, so there's a lot of rushing around to make things happen and thusly a lot of confusion. So, we will just have to trust that things will unfold as they will unfold. No matter what comes of it, we spent 4 days in an absolutely gorgeous town. I never knew Terrace was so beautiful!

We also had a lot of fun and put our names on the map. In the middle of the chaos, I had a birthday. I am a firm believer that no one should have to work on their birthday, so I sort of broke my own rule, but I was having fun too, so it's OK. It was actually a good distraction to keep me from thinking too much about the milestone I had reached. I'll let you guess which milestone that was.