Wednesday, June 27, 2007

this one's for you, Kevin

We've had houseguests for the past week. One evening, while Sara & Kevin were here, there was a black bear in the pasture. It was dusk, so we couldn't get any good pictures. After that, Kevin and I both were glommed to the windows hoping it would come back. Well, Kev....that guy didn't return....but this family came through the day after you left.

Friday, June 22, 2007

sweet X 3

Sweet looking....tasting....and SMELLING!Sara & Kevin are here. The visiting and cooking abounds! Unfortunately, some kind of a bug has struck Sara and she spent last night and today sick as a dog (jeez, I hope we didn't poison her). She really doesn't have the best of luck when she comes to visit us. Last summer she wrenched her back so bad that she was barely able to move after only being here for one day. Here she is, flaked out again.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

housework is very tiring!

Sara and Kevin are arriving today from Vancouver, so yesterday Art and I did a major scurry-flunge. What a daunting task! Art and his intrepid helper, Xena, are taking a much deserved break from vacumming.

Monday, June 18, 2007

wacky weather

We have been getting the craziest weather up here in Central BC. Every single day, for something like 2 weeks now, it starts off beautiful. Sunny, blue sky. Not so warm, though. Hovers between 10 & 14 C. Then by afternoon the black storm clouds roll in and it starts to pour! There's even been some thunder and lightning. On Saturday, the storm was coming from the direction of Burns Lake and it must have damaged the tower on Sheridan Mtn., because we were without the internet for half the weekend. One of the fortunate things about being up high on this hillside is we have line-of-sight to that tower (about 25km away), so are the only people in the area with high-speed internet.

This weather definitely makes it easier to stay inside and Art's been working like a dog to meet a deadline with his database upgrades. I've been cleaning up the house, getting ready for company to arrive later in the week. It's just as well we aren't outside because the black flies are horrendous. We are even keeping Xena in the house. We let her out for 5 minutes yesterday and she was begging to come back in. She was being attacked mercilessly by those #&@%$! It must have been torture for her and she was listless for the rest of the day. Now, she only goes out to do her business and gets a light rubdown with repellant before-hand.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

gun? what gun?

On Art's blog there is a video of the fence construction in our back pasture. At the very end, Walter and Shannon spot me taking their picture. What Walter is saying is "Is that a gun? I thought it was a gun." Now, I don't know what would make him think that.

Maybe he's remembering last year when he came through our place unannounced, riding an ATV. I didn't know who it was, so put my boots on and chased after him. When I caught up and saw who it was, I was relieved, but he said that he was scared for a minute. From the look on my face and my demeanour he said he was glad I didn't have a shotgun in my hand. I guess this will be a standing joke from now on.....that and Art stealing Audrey's ladder.

Friday, June 15, 2007

cowboys ..... and girls

After the new fence got built the cowboys started coming through. We just never know when we're going to see this out the window.And today they were prepared for rain. These cowgirls were a bit far away by the time I got my camera, but I'm sure we'll see them again. I have just one question ....
.... where does one get an oilskin duster in PINK?

Party Gay revealed

Okay, OKAY. Here's what inside the box .... (phew)

a new fence

Those cows I keep talking about are not our cows. They belong to a neighbour and we allow them to graze on our land in the summertime. That's why it's a little frustrating that WE are fixing the fences all the time. The current area that is enclosed is about 20 acres and contains our gardens and all the buildings....the 2 houses, 2 barns, workshop and 7 or so sheds. It really doesn't need to be that big so last year we asked that neighbour to build us a new fence, essentially cutting the area in half. That would leave more land to graze (and less for us to mow) and also create a corral for when he wants to sort or round up his cattle. A couple of days ago he did just that.

This is his tractor and fence-post-pounding-contraption. His daughter, son-in-law and helper gave him a hand and within 3 hours time they had contructed a skookum 300 metre long barbed wire fence with a gate in the middle.We are now separated from the other house, but that's OK. No one lives in it.

please HELP !!!

Does anyone out there have a good remedy to keep black flies from biting dogs? Those little *&%$# things are really bad right now and they are eating our little girl alive! She is wearing a citronella collar but it does no good at all. We just spent 10 minutes squishing probably 100 which were burrowed deep into her fur and biting her delicate belly and armpits. Now, she's blonde and they're black and I couldn't see them until I ran my fingers through her fur and clouds of them came out. I pinched them dead as fast as I could and each one was full of her blood. When we were sure we had them all we looked up and both windows in the room were suddenly covered with the ones that flew off her and escaped. They met their end with a good dousing of OFF. But we can't put that stuff on her. So, what do we do?

I called the vet in Burns Lake, who I'm happy with for the most part. I'm confident in the doctors and the assistant is good, but she tends to never really have time to talk for a minute. I always feel like I'm getting the bum's rush when I call there. I can appreciate that they are probably very busy, but this is my suffering puppy we're talking about and I want a little sympathy. Anyways, she wasn't really any help. So, I guess my next step is Google. Whatever did we do before Google?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

you've heard of Watergate?

We have Cowgate .... with water. The cows are driving me crazy. They keep walking across the cattle-guard and I seem to be forever out there screeching like a mad woman and flailing a stick at them. I do not know what their fascination is, but they group all together right over it and lean more and more forward until one of them steps through. Then the rest follow.And of course they always wait for the torrential rains to do this. I think they do it for laughs, just to see me running around in the mud with my flip-flops and no jacket. We got so tired of it, Art put up this make shift barricade. Cows may be dumb, but they are incredible engineers. See how they are plotting and scheming?During the night they managed to get one end of that board down .... and it was wired to the fence !!!!

Speaking of torrential rains. This looks a lot like Carol's weather report, except we ARE getting rain. And lots of it. With pockets of blue sky tossed in just to throw us off.It doesn't take much of this stuff to turn our driveway into slime .... all the better for chasing cows.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

karate kids

On the May long weekend there was an invitational karate tournament in Fraser Lake. Our nephew, Conrad, is an instructor and also competes (along with almost every young member of this entire family). We were only able to attend for a few minutes and I'm very sorry to have missed most of it. But I did record one match where our grand-niece, Ashley, won Silver in the Kumite (sparring). She's the one on the right. These are just a couple of the hi-lites from her fight (my gosh, I love how her opponent kicks!).

more hummingbird fun

Art took this picture of me filling the hummingbird feeder. They were so unafraid of me that even while I was holding it they would light and feed. I could feel them brush my hand.The picture and this video were taken almost 3 weeks ago. The hummingbirds were very active. Almost frenzied. Look how they compete for this feeder while there are 5 other feeders in the immediate area.
Currently the hummer traffic is almost nil but I'm told that's because they are nesting. In a little while they'll be back with a vengance and I'll be ready with camera in hand.

And this picture I took today. Just look at it. How much more perfect could it be .... if it were only in focus ?!!!!! Geez Louise! Oh, the background's nice. Very much in focus. Carol .... get up here with that camera of yours!

becoming friends

I never thought I'd see the day, but Blackie and Xena are becoming buds. But it's kind of like watching little girls and little boys play. Blackie is a bit of a priss and Xena just wants to wrestle. Xena offers Blackie her favourite ball by slamming it down in front of him (almost beaning him with it) and Blackie is entirely unimpressed.

And here's a first.Chickie, on the other hand, is quite a lot less willing to let the dog come near. I suspect it will always be that way.

grad class of 8

Xena graduated doggy skool. She wasn't valedictorian or anything (pooping on the classroom floor 3 weeks in a row doesn't really go in one's favour), but all in all she came out a star in our eyes. We just have to keep working with her to reinforce what she's learned, but the thing I am most impressed with is that she comes when called. Even if she is out in the field and starts chasing the cows, she will stop and come back when called.

We've had to do a little extra work with her regarding the cows, like taking her up to the fence while on leash. Art also takes her out amongst them on the ATV. These are yearlings, so are pretty brave as well as curious. They will actually chase HER. Unfortunately, that gets a bad game of mayhem going, so we can't let it start.Even though Xena has been working hard at learning to be a good dog, she also gets lots of cuddles .... especially from "dad".

my mistake

Apparantly I am misinformed. The Endako River is not back to normal "by a long shot", Art tells me. Terribly sorry .... my mistake.

It has gone down a LOT, though.

garden update

Not much to tell, really. We are way behind on getting the garden planted. We've been so busy lately we had to "schedule" it. Sara and Kevin are coming to visit later this month, so we are booking off from the rest of the world for a week or so. It'll be like a vacation for us and we can catch up on the fun stuff.

The garden got a couple of truckloads of sand put on top and just when we were shopping around for some topsoil to purchase we discovered that we already have all that we need. Our nephew told us to go look between the barns, under the grass, and sure enough ...... look at this beautiful stuff!Art brought a few bucketloads over to the new garden with the skid steer.But that's as far as we've gotten. We've decided, in the meantime, that rather than go to all that work and try to till up that difficult clay we will just make the whole thing a tire garden. There are so many advantages to doing it that way and the ones we've already planted on the other side are doing so darned well that we're thinking "why not stick with a good thing"? Besides, the way those blasted cows keep breaking through the fence, they'd just trample a normal garden and that'd be a tragedy. They don't seem to mess with the tires.

Party Gay

When we bought this place the previous owner left behind a lot of stuff. Even in the barns there is quite a mish-mash of junk. We found this the other day in the chicken barn. I didn't open it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

this way or that way....?

.... coming or going....?

cluck, cluck, oops

Have you ever seen an egg with no shell? That's what this is. The outside is dry and smooth, but it's like a squishy ball of jello.Apparantly this can happen when the chicken isn't getting enough calcium in her diet, but that isn't the case here. Or it can happen if she gets a scare and lays it before the shell has a chance to form (the last stage of it's development). Kinda weird, that's for sure. We didn't eat it, though. The shell is protection from bacteria and we didn't want to take a chance.

finally, some blossoms

I love lilacs. Their aroma is delicious. These (plus 2 others) are finally blooming, but aren't quite filled all the way out yet.Talk about hardy plants. Do you remember back in October when I showed you a picture of how they grew all fresh leaves because the weather was so mild? Shortly after, the snows came and I was afraid the shock would kill them. Well .... apparantly not.

what's the matter with this picture?

The wind here can be very bad sometimes. It caused this hummingbird feeder to spin around so much that the bottom unscrewed itself right off! And of course the sugar water went all over the veranda. Geez.

I eventually did find the bottom, out in the yard. This is what it should look like .... except red, of course.

flood report

Rivers are funny things. Sometimes they don't make sense .... to me, anyways. Remember Art's post last month about the Endako River turning into a lake? Well, even though the Bulkley, Skeena and Nechako rivers are flooding and the lakes are very, very high, the Endako River has gone back to normal. How is that even possible? I don't get it.

But, no matter what happens, we are safe and snug here at Xanadu. Our little ranch is high above the valley, on a south facing hillside. If the flood waters ever get anywhere near us then there are much bigger problems afoot. It would be time to build an ark.

this one's for you, Sara B.


Sunday, June 10, 2007

staining a log home

Here is what we've been doing for almost 2 weeks. Staining a log house on Francois Lake. Art's brother Tom built the log shell. His son Conrad put it up on the site and completed the construction. This is before and after our stain job.2 coats inside and out (in some areas outside there are 3 coats) and a clear coat over it all. We also put 3 coats of urethane on the entire upstairs floor. There is still a bit of work to finish....the inside window frames and the outside of the dormer. The rains came, so we had to stop.

This job was a lot of .... LOT OF .... work. We were up at 4:30am every day and not home until 7:00pm, with an hour's commute each way. Mind you, it certainly was less stressful and much more beautiful than commuting from, say, Chilliwack to Vancouver. Every day we would see more deer than you could count on two hands and twice we saw a black bear with her cub and a cow moose with her brand-new calf. There were 2 loons that came almost right to our shore a couple of times, and some kind of sandpiper type bird that continued to visit. I don't know what he was, but he did this cute little bobbing-curtsy thing while he walked along the water's edge. So, I guess there are definitely worse job sites around. We were pretty lucky.....not to mention TIRED!

Here are some more "during" pictures. They are a bunch of stills that I put into Windows Movie Maker. If you think the duration of each shot is too short, let me know. I can lengthen them. I see the quality is somewhat diminished when put into "movie" format, but I wanted to give it a try. And I don't need to write a storyline, do I? (except maybe to explain that one of me with a white nose ..... now whatever you're thinkin' .... stop! I'm just showing that one should always wear a mask when spraying paint.)

PS: YouTube seems to be having difficulties and if they don't smarten up I will just remove this video and post all the stills individually.