Benny and Alex Arrive; Spring Break at the Earthship

First Weekend of March 2018

Well, it’s been snowing here, every day, all day, for days. But not like snow snow….like, if we were in the Fraser Valley it would be a cloudy, foggy day…same as that but here the precipitation in the air is snow and not mist. So it’s not like the accumulation has amounted to anything other than a slippery layer on top of all the ice. Oh, and of course it is light as so it blows all over the place. Not that the wind has been in issue the past few days but last week, Monday? I can’t remember exactly but we had some strong winds! And snow. And now we have some nasty drifts that the truck can’t plow through even though we have tons of weight in the back. Guess we are stuck here until some of the snow melts! We are getting low on fresh produce but have heaps of canned stuff to see us through until our next grocery shopping which we are hoping will be March 16 or 17th, weather depending.
So we worked Bear to the max this weekend! Today he did his biggest post surgery walk and I reckon it was a lil too much for him; we took it slow and easy on the way back with Bear only needing to sit down once. He was happy as to get back to the Earthship! Short walks only tomorrow! And on easy, well broken trails. Heh, Bear is funny! It’s kind of like when we get in the truck to go somewhere: Bear is the first one there! Ready and raring to go, all excited, and then the first one to start whinging; sorta the same with today’s big walk: he was  ready and raring to go, running and goofing around with Sammy and by the middle of the walk he was like, “Carry you baby, daddy” walking on Luke’s snowshoes.  One thing we are pleased with though, we can call out, “Bear, slow down! Behind” and he actually listens to us. New words in his …understanding. Well, I guess we used to say Behind pre-surgery but not Slow Down. The vets said it will be a good year before he is back to himself and I totally believe them now!  Bear is … frustrated…with his inability to do what he used to do. It is our job to make sure he doesn’t! Not yet. We are confident he will get there though and that is a good thing. He is a trail dog, through and through. He is happy to go around our lil trails out here even if they are only minimal; at least he is out there.
Okay. So. The whole purpose of today’s big walk was to check out the status of the road. Ack! We laid tracks faithfully. The road was great! Especially after Clifford plowed it for us! And then we got a major dump of snow, strong winds, cold temps which were the perfect combo to freeze the snowdrifts making it near…well, no, making it impossible for us to get the truck out of …our drive way!  I mean we had our suspicions about parts of the road; now we know for certain. Come on warmer temps! Come and melt some of this snow so we can get out to Tsuniah Lake Road!
Anyway, that was 2 1/2 hours of walking in the cold (-8C) and I can honestly say we live at the top of a hill! Everyone else is cuddling on the bed at the mo so I think I will sign off and join them as my feet are killing me. My Sorrels? Not the best boots for long walks but they do keep my feet dry.

Until next time then!

Laying Tracks for Bear

So apparently I didn’t learn my lesson yesterday! I got stuck in the deep drifts again! At least this time it was face first so I didn’t have to bother trying to flip over. The thing with getting back up after falling so thoroughly into the drift is that as you put your hands, knees, feet, whatever down to prop yourself up, you just sink that much lower into the drift! It feels like solid ground but it’s just a layer of ice under the snow…
This morn I was breaking a trail for Bear up to his …um, “dunny”…Bear is a particular fella and likes to poo in private. The problem with Private these days is that the snow is up to his ears! And he has that weak back leg. He IS getting stronger but we don’t want to push him too hard…heaven forbid we undo all the good his million dollar surgery did!
So this particular path I was breaking for ol’ Bear this morn is strife with blowdowns, debris and mini saplings which creates a  veritable minefield of hidey holes to get caught up in. Here’s a note about Bear: if there is a hole or a branch to fall in or get snagged on, Bear’s going to find it!  Turns out I took after Bear on this lil endeavour; of course I fell into a great big fat drift of snow; face first no less! And man, it was DEEP! It took me forever to get myself sorted out and back on my two feet… snowshoes.
At any rate, Bear now has a much nicer trail to his “dunny”; hope he enjoys it! The things we do for our animals!

Crunchy snow! Thigh deep…

Yup, we were out cutting firewood yesterday which was a lot of walking…a lot of walking back and forth; boring if you are a dog. We tried to lay tracks with the back of the truck weighted with a bunch of bucked up firewood to no avail. It’s not walking but Bear and Sam like the adventure of a ride in the truck even if it is just down the road.

We were going to rectify Sam and Bear’s cabin fever today but heading across the meadow…now by across the meadow, I mean we were going to head down to the creek, walk along the frozen creek then wade our way through the scrub and deep snow once we got to the mouth of Brittany Creek but wouldn’t you know it? We got down to the creek, struggled through the sometimes crunchy, sometimes soft as a cottonball snow only to find we were not the only ones heading down to the creek! Yea, our travelling companion was way down on the lake and heading to Casselman Creek but who knows where he was headed from there? And since we had Bear with us we felt it wise to head back up to the Earthship. Not to make Bear feel guilty, the snow drifts were DEEP making the trekking pretty slow anyway so if our friend had decided to come and check us out? Yea, we would have been retreating at a snail’s pace!  And it was super windy out there! So while it may only be -3C it felt like -100C with the wind…okay, maybe not quite that cold. Cold enough to freeze the stuff dripping outta your nose though. Blech! Thankfully Ryan introduced us to Buffs! We had as much of our faces, head, ears, fingers and toes covered as humanly possible but whatever the wind found, it froze! I dunno, I found it invigorating! Bear is our deciding factor and he said Home so Home we went.

Sammy and I did a lil detour over to Clarice’s. He put his nose to the wind and wanted to go, go, go but I made him come back home with me. Still, Sammy and I broke a few lil trails around the place so there’s that. hehe, once these guys are all warmed up and nice and cozy we’ll roust ’em out and drag ’em outside again and maybe break the trail that goes up and behind the house, over to the boathouse trail…oh, maybe we can see where Moosey was laying the other day?

I know, I know! It’s Winter and we should already have Firewood

So the unthinkable has happened! We have sorta, kinda run outta fire wood! We had such good intentions last Summer/Fall! But there was the fact that you know, all of BC was on Fire! And we were in the smokey Fraser Valley for 3 weeks. Then we got back and Luke’s parents arrived and there were other things on the agenda and they were here for THREE weeks … it even snowed while they were here! And you know, then in October we had to go to the Fraser Valley for another week because our Bear had major surgery at the specialist in Aldergrove so in the end, where the heck was the time to cut firewood??? I mean we tried! I think we felled a dozen trees but it wasn’t nearly enough! Anyway, the lack of preparation in the Summer/Fall meant that we had to cut some firewood today…this weekend. Thank the Weather gods for giving us sunny, clear skies!!! And no wind!!!

It has been rather cold of late with the temps dipping down to -28C over night and then hovering around -6C during the day so the snow base had a chance to freeze, leaving the new snow fall to drift about in the heavy winds. Those of us that weigh 65 kilos or less can sorta walk on top of the snow, most of the time, but then, you know, you just randomly sink up to your eye balls from time to time!  Makes for interesting walking.

Now if all you’re doing is walking, you know, going for a leisurely stroll, it’s all good. But come on, we have work to do today! The unsure footing made it….challenging…not impossible, just …challenging. Tell you what? The Brittany Lake wild life are being exposed to some pretty salty language. Funny, I didn’t actually count how many Steps from the wood pile to the top of the lil hill but I will tell you that it is 1pm and I am not hopping on a cardio machine today! That’s how many times I had to truck up and down that hill. Slipping, sliding, falling over, dragging a make shift sled, tripping over … Jackson Jone’s Craters… what I call Luke’s gigantic tracks; not only are they huge, he has, like, a metre-long stride!  It’s okay, me and my lil feet took our lil steps and we got the job done…where did you say that hot bath was, Luke??

So it’s my job to dig a trail through the snow to the tree. Luke gets in there and gets the tree down, cuts it into lengths then I get to cart the suckers down to the shed. Bear and Sam were somewhat helpful in breaking trails to the trees but really and truly, mostly they just got under foot but they DID enjoy being outside!  Luke reckons I should have hooked up our make-shift sled to Bear and got him to do the hauling! Ah, the father of invention….of course we don’t have a sled…well, a toddler sled for lil Benny… so Luke fashioned one out of a small pallet, a piece of lino that he was continually slipping on nearly killing himself on  and a bit of rope. It worked, for the most part; well, tell you what, I would not have been CARRYING those lengths of tree down the hill! I carried a couple of the skinnier ones and that was … challenging enough!

Anyway, a few hours of hard work and now I get to shamelessly sit in front of a warm fire knowing I did my bit to help my husband collect the wood that makes it possible to have a fire. Sammy will love us for it!

Happy Saturday, folks!

We can just make out my Chev 1300 over there in the trees

Full Pack Walks on Weekends!

We awoke to beautiful sunshine today! And since it is a long weekend we decided to have a super lazy day today. The only thing on the agenda? Walk with Bear and Samwise Gamgee. Whoa…that was not so easy a task today! Sammy was prancing about like a princess because his paws were too cold! Yea, mate, wear your boots then!
About 15 minutes into the walk Sammy found his stride which was intermittently interrupted by a few seconds of prancing about like a ballerina. Bear has really been struggling with the deep snow so we stuck to the freshly laid tracks along our road and Casselman Road. They had a lot of new sniffs to investigate! A feline with smallish tracks had been along…yesterday maybe?
After our walk,  which we cut short because the dogs were too cold , and we had had a lil warm up, we hopped into the truck and took a drive out to Tsuniah Lake Road and down to the neighbours. We sure appreciate them! Among other things? They drive in and out way more often than us and they clear the way for us to Henry’s Crossing! They cut 3 km off our Laying Tracks duties!
Speaking of laying tracks. Luke had chained up the truck for this occasion (and they have remained on ever since) so we were giving it a go without weight in the back. Meh, we got where we needed to go but we did do a lot of slip, sliding and away…but not so “away” that we ended up lodged amongst the trees or over an embankment! (Insert winky face) I prefer to have a bit of weight in the back but I wonder what that does to the truck? Feel free to weigh in on that subject, those of you in the know! I will say this, I had the truck in for servicing at Chilliwack Ford, while I was in the Valley…don’t ever take your vehicle there for servicing! Ever! On pain of your vehicle falling apart as you drive! When I drove down from the Chilcotin I noticed a rattle and put it down to stuff rattling around in the back as I had a load of firewood back there, for weight…which I left down there! You’re Welcome Wanda and Ernie! Hope it kept you warm for a few days! And some truck parts for the neighbour. Then when it was time for me to go and pick Michael and Hayley up from Vancouver airport the truck was NOT driving well – this was post servicing- sigh. Thankfully I had Ryan along for the drive and was not too worried; at least if the truck broke down I would have someone along to keep me from stressing out to the max. Ryan said I needed to bring the truck back in. Bah! I did. They told me I had blasted the sticky weights off my tires which caused the wobbliness and I should bring the truck back to Kal Tire where Luke had purchased the tires before we moved to Never Never Land. Brought the truck over to Kal Tire, which, thankfully was open late! And Mr. Kal Tire informed me that my tires did not now or ever have sticky weights. Thanks Ford Chilliwack, thanks a lot! Mr. Kal Tire did say I should not rack up such huge amounts of muck in my tires…I explained where I live. He gave me a few ideas on how to combat the mud without a high pressure ….or any pressure at all…hose. So here’s a thought….Ford just had my truck apart and they replaced the brake pads…they couldn’t have removed the dried on mud???? Again, thanks, Ford, thanks a lot. Their Service department sucks %$#@! I miss my Chev Service Department days!!! My lil Cruze was always shiny clean when I picked her up, inside and out! She ran like a dream and I NEVER had to worry about the road worthiness of my vehicle. Then Luke bought a Ford. Groan. Now, don’t get me wrong, our Caribou Ford 150 has been reliable; I wish getting her serviced was the same! Right, off topic, as usual. So now I am home a few weeks and that rattle under the truck is just getting worse! Not that we drive ANYWHERE, except to lay tracks, so what? 22 kilometres, every now and then? And the roads are a dream to drive on…no muck, no potholes…okay, maybe they are a bit slippy, slidey and the snow is a lil deep, but still, this is the time of year when, in my opinion, the roads are at their best! So now I, we, have to worry about whether or not we will get where we are meant to be going until we have an opportunity to take the truck in to have the rattle looked at. William’s Lake Ford, I hope you are a heck of a lot more organized and conscientious than the Chilliwack location!!!!!!!!

Right, rant over. Now, where were we? Oh, I think maybe I have said enough for this post.
Oh, I will just say, of course Ford sent a follow up survey. I gave ’em an earful and of course we have heard nothing back from them. Thanks, Chilliwack Ford, thanks a million.

Okay, well and truly over! Until next time then!
Thanks for stopping by!

And then there was Sunshine!

So we have been smothered under clouds heavy with snow for days! It snowed off and on all day yesterday despite my seeing the sun first thing in the morn. And then this morn, more snow. Not a lot of it, just non stop snowing…if it was rain? I would have called it misting and not raining. Anyway, we were so surprised to see the sun this arvo!!! I dragged Luke out of his computer chair, insisting he accompany Bear, Sam and I on our daily walk. They really had to get out today because yesterday it was so windy we didn’t go out. Funny that; Bear and Sam love their walks but refuse to go out when it is super windy! Maybe the sound of the wind, the ferocity of it messes with their hearing and they are too discombobulated so they say, “Nah! Not going out in that!”
Oh  wait! We did go out yesterday! It was snowing but not so windy; Wednesday we didn’t go out! Oh, I bet there will be trees down after that big blow!
We hadn’t gone too far when we noticed that Bear was limping quite badly; going to have to be a short walk today, just down to the D. But then we got up to the old excavator spot and the boys were on the trail of something!!! Sammy thought his prey had dug into the snow bank and he was determined to dig him out! Of course Bear had to check it out and didn’t he fall through the snow? And get stuck! Dad had to help him out! Now, stay outta the banks, Bear! Oh, how many times did we have to tell him to get back on the road!? He is curious fella, that Bear.
While the boys were happy to be on the trail of some critter Luke and I were happy to follow along behind, enjoying their enthusiasm, their freedom to be dogs. Nice back drop too! It was so good to see the mountains today. And the brilliant blue sky. And the pure white snow. And Mt. Tyslos. It made everyone smile! Look at Luke! He’s down right Happy! He went so far as to say that he feels happier when the sun is shining! I guess it is less worrisome for him; he doesn’t have to worry about running the generator, or haul in firewood, he has a minute to breathe. Breathe fresh clean mountain air.
When we got back to the Earthship I had a few chores to do: empty the pee bucket, clean it,  put it back together; cut some kindling and then I noticed that Luke looked like a real bushman! Sat him down and tidied him up with the clippers and razor; he looks a lil less frightening now!
And look at Bear and Sam there; just hanging out at the edge of the bank. They love to do that. Surveying their domain. And it all looks good.

Mt Tyslos, you beaut!

Hope you all had a great day!

Laying tracks, snowshoe style!

We have been hit with quite a bit of snow over the last few days. When it first started, we enthusiastically grabbed the snow shovels and cleared paths for the dogs, cleared paths around the place to make life easier – to the compost, to the dunny, to the wood pile, in front of the solar panels, from the Earthship to the bank for easy disposal of pee bucket contents and to empty the grey water pond with makeshift system that is in place for the winter. We’re a few days later and are not quite so enthusiastic about grabbing the snow shovels but we still have to because, well, because not to would mean we don’t go outside to do anything!
We donned snowshoes on Sunday and re-broke the trail down to the boathouse; yea, that was a hard slog!  There is a tree down right near the end of the trail that Bear usually has to duck under – yea, a simple step over for him now! Every now and then Bear or Sam would stray from the snowshoe tracks that Luke and I were laying but they were super quick to hop back into our tracks! Poor Bear, he would sink in up beyond his belly and lil Sam would practically disappear!  The both of them had icicles dangling from places that probably ought not have icicles dangling from them!
Yesterday Sammy, Bear and I went out over some of the same tracks we laid on Sunday to pack down the new snow; it was almost like we hadn’t laid tracks! Tuesday Sammy and I ventured where no man has gone since the snow started falling…virgin trail over to the Gran’s memorials. Ack! Might not as well have had snowshoes on! That lil adventure had my hip flexors crying for some doTerra Deep Blue!  Sammy was QUITE unimpressed with how deep the snow was! Quite! But he is a keener and just loves to be outside so he was a trooper and stuck to my heels until we got to the tracks that we laid on Sunday. There was quite a build up of new snow but Sammy was keen to lead the way! He bounced his way through the deep snow, happy as can be!
We picked Bear up once we got closer to the Earthship. There is no way he could have managed the unbroken trails. Even though his hip gives him grief he is desperate to be outside. I took him on the trails that are well packed, wide and clear of obstacles; it’s a short trail, maybe 15 minutes, but it is really all he can do. I think Luke may have pushed him a lil too hard while I was away; and I get it; how can you take one dog for a walk and not the other when there isn’t anyone else at home to stay with the house-bound dog? It’s heaps easier now that I am home! Sammy is my faithful companion on all my walks and Bear is my sometimes companion on the walks that he can handle.
We love the snow! It certainly beats the rain!
Thanks for coming along on our walks about the place!


Ryan comes for a Visit

Ryan came up for a visit late August and brought us some much needed groceries. We had planned on getting a big load of groceries on our way home from the Fraser Valley but we had a very sick dog on our hands, taking up all the room in the cab of the truck and our most precious possessions in the back of the truck; not a lot of room for groceries!
I do believe Tatla Lake was on evac order when Ryan came up so he got stopped on his way in. The kind officer said, “You mean to say that you have essential items for your parents?” and let him through.
I can’t tell you how happy I was to have fresh produce! We ate very well while Ryan was visiting!
Luke,  Ryan and Sammy went off exploring the property, looking for places to build new trails, over to the old homestead while I stayed home with poor old Bear. At least he could hobble around a bit now, no more dragging him around on his bed; no walking for this guy!
We didn’t have room to get drinking water when we drove through William’s Lake …oh wait, nope, we filled our 5 gallon water bottles at Michael and Hayley’s before we left the Valley. As Ryan’s visit was drawing to a close we made a water run down to the Chilko River and on our way back Ryan took care of a few of the “leaners” that Luke wasn’t comfortable taking down. But first he had to sharpen the saw…on the tailgate of the truck…Luke reckoned they were sharp but they weren’t Ryan standard sharp.  Ryan made short work of those problematic trees!
Thanks, Ryan!


My Greenhouse Trials and Tribulations

I have definitely struggled with the Greenhouse! I have never been much of a gardener; I am going to have to step up my game and help the soil make some food for us. I think I have mentioned in previous posts that I have managed to grow a lovely herb garden; maybe if we just eat herbs for the rest of our lives? Lettuce, spinach and chard grow well too. What I really want to grow is peas and beans and broccoli and cauliflower….oops, drooling on my keyboard now!
I was thinking my strawberry plants were growing well but Luke and I just had a vid chat, I’ve been away for a month now, and my poor strawberries are not looking well! I caught a glimpse of my lone blueberry plant which survived our evacuation and I was pleased to see it still looking very green and healthy. I definitely have my work cut out for me learning how to replenish the soil, what to replenish it with and how to keep the nasty little aphids at bay.
I do love spending time in the Greenhouse. In the Winter. In the Summer it is too hot! We have shade cloth for the front of the Greenhouse to try to keep the heat down in the Summer but I am hoping to find a heat tolerant … climber…that can provide shade for us.
In the Winter, the Greenhouse is where I cut the kindling for our fires. It, hmmm, brings comfort to be cutting wood, feeling it in my hands, smelling it, sometimes cursing at the knotty bits, and to be amongst the greenery of the living plants.
And that is sorta, kinda all I know about Greenhouses!