Monthly Archives: October 2017

The Littles come for a visit!

On a whim I ran down to the Fraser Valley for Father’s Day weekend. Oh no, wait. I think that was the trip made expressly to have an ultrasound done. On my thyroid. Yea, that’s it. Who was I to say, Nope, not going to be able to make that appointment; never mind that they finally had an appointment for me…it was only booked in September 2016!!!
Anyway, a trip to the Valley means a visit with the kids and grandkids so I am totally fine with it…even the long drive. And this long drive was made even longer because as soon as I arrived in Chilliwack I hopped back IN the vehicle again ( thankfully our son Ryan drove!)  to take in Grandson Maxwell’s year end band performance at WJ Mouat. Man, did that bring back memories! Maxwell’s Maman, Anita, was also in Band – Concert and Jazz.

It was a whirlwind visit, over before it began it seemed but all good because I brought Benny and Alex home with me! It’s been a while since I have done a long haul trip with littles on board.  I recall  toddler Benny being as good a traveller as Bear and was hoping toddler Alex would be a much better passenger. Thankfully he slept most of the way to Williams Lake but not Benny. Oh my! Such a talker!
Five and half hours after leaving the Valley we pulled into the Best Western. As luck would have it, I had two very wide awake kids to contend with. All good. We went out for a little walk up the big hill which went very well but then, you know, we had to come back down the hill and of course Granny sourced a short cut but the hill was … epically steep…heh, I had Alex on my hip, sometimes accompanied by Benny, but dang it! We conquered that Hill together! And then an exhausted Granny took the very energetic littles for a swim in the pool at the hotel. Both grandsons slept very well that night! ( read, all night long, Kristina)


Going up!


Going down…

Now I can’t tell you all the stuff we got up to while the Grandsons were visiting but there were definitely a lot of stories read, a lot of snuggles and we even found time to do some baking. Benny LOVES Croissants and actually quickly polished off the dozen we bought at the grocery store in Williams Lake so we rolled up our sleeves and made some more!

Granny, Benny and Alex, forever!

As well as asking for Croissants, Benny always wants eggs and bacon for Breakfast. Sometimes he makes a Breakfast Croissandwich, sometimes he doesn’t and, unlike his Maman, he loves tomatoes! Yay, Benny!

Benny loves Crossiants so they are always on the Bake List when he is here!

With the boys tearing up and down the trails Grandpa built, playing with all kinds of rocks and sticks of course they are going to uh, collect a bit of dust, and need a BATH. Too bad we don’t have one of those! We have one of those annoying little all-in-one shower inserts which I really, really, really dislike; it’s next on the reno list! But, well, you know, I can’t just chuck the boys in the lake: for one, there are too many mozzies feasting on the tender lil fellas and two, they would just get filthy on the way back up from the lake. Solution? Fill the laundry basket with water and bathe them in that! Alex thought it was great fun and made it look so appealing that Benny opted to hop in too even though he is an old hand at showers.

Babies need a bath not a shower so you improvise!
What one brother does, so must the other do…

Benny was so good at finding things to do while Grandpa had to sit at his computer and work but he loved it best when Grandpa could take him out in the boat and go fishing. Even though that really just meant a lot of tangled fishing line. Even though that meant a long, hot walk down to the Boathouse. Even though that meant getting eaten alive by the starving mozzies!
And then Luke made the mistake of driving old Blue down to the Boathouse due to time constraints…oh, I think that was the day that Benny requested that he go fishing with Grandpa AND we go for ice cream! Benny wanted hang up his sneakers and DRIVE down to the Boathouse for EVERY trip after that!
Can’t find any photos of that:
We drove to Nimpo Lake store for Ice Cream! Normally a 6 hour drive and I won’t even tell you how long it took with two littles and two dogs on board! OMG, is all I am going to say about that…and I will add that they didn’t even get Ice Cream…they got $0.25 Freezies!!!!  Oh, and that is when the Miner Lake fire started. Benny thought the planes flying back and forth with water buckets were pretty cool. Enough said about THAT.

Benny loves to go fishing with Grandpa!

Now with two littles in the house there was a lot more cooking and cleaning happening so Granny didn’t have a lot of time for adventuring BUT I did agree to camping out in the tent with Benny and he thought that was the BEST thing EVER! So easy to impress. And we read stories. And we talked. And we read stories by flashlight. And we wrestled with the dogs to some and sleep with us. And he made up great stories. And he slept, like an angel beneath the stars.

Granny’s kinda adventuring..tenting in the front “yard”

A bit of back story…bear with me. We got Bear in May 2011 and then came Benny in February 2012 so Benny has always known and loved Bear. Then Samwise Gamgee joined us in December 2012 and baby Benny thought puppy Sammy was the greatest thing since sliced bread!  Long and short of it is, Benny grew up with Bear and Sam. Enter baby Alex in 2015 and Bear and Sam are now big dogs! Big, scary dogs for a lil tiny boy. The grandsons were with us for almost three weeks and by the end of it Alex, through watching his brother Benny, came to realize that Bear and Sam make great pillows, are great for giving hugs to, can easily be coerced into giving lots of wet, slobbery kisses to lil boys covered in crumbs and are heaps of fun to go on walks with. Bear and Sam both perk up when we ask them, “Where’s Benny?? Where’s the baby??”

Lil Alex finally warms up to the giant Bear
Once wary of Samwise Gamgee, Alex discovers he’s actually a great pal!

While it was all fun and games for Benny, Alex and Granny,  Grandpa still had to make Kibble money so it was our job to stay out of Grandpa’s hair … not difficult to do since a) he doesn’t have much of it and b) both boys loved to hang out in the Crow’s Nest! Prior to their arrival I made a play room for the boys; I tidied up the Crow’s Nest, made it all homey for them,  and moved all the toys upstairs. Grandpa was an old worry wart, forever catastrophizing that someone was going to fall off the deck…he doesn’t even let Bear go up there by himself! Chill, Gramps, we got this! And they loved it! It is where Benny preferred to be if he was not playing Animal Crossing or out on the trails.

The Fisher Price horse that holds a special place in our Home. Child #10 now!

Oh, but Alex? Well, throw him a box in the kitchen and he is happy as a …

Why adventure in the bush when you can play in a box?

After two weeks their Maman, Krick, with her Ryan,  came for a few days. There’s an adventure. They chose to use their GPS instead of our detailed directions and they wound up on some dead-fall strewn forest service road that granted them a flat tire! Tire changed they limped out to Kinickinick to use their free wifi, gather themselves together and suss out what to do. They had to limp back to Alexis Creek, drop Krick’s car in the garage where they would order in the tire she needed and find a way to kill time while Luke hopped in the truck and made the long trip out to pick them up. Just goes to show, don’t trust GPS!
(And thank you, Krick and Ryan, for bringing us fresh produce! They did a $300 grocery shop for us in Williams Lake…needless to say, not much of it was cold anymore by the time they got to Brittany Lake!)

They were happy to finally arrive! They had a few days of checking the place out, canoeing, hiking and you know, they were at my place so there was a bit of eating to be done. Their fave was my fresh outta the oven Sourdough Bread! So easy to please!

And that brings us to the end of this post. Please know that you are welcome to drop in anytime! Though we have discovered with our last guests that there should probably be some ground rules in place:

*Think of it as camping….Glamping, if you will
*Ask before you plug something in
*Minimize your impact on Mother Earth; only bio friendly products please and if you are using our supplies, remember how far we have to go to replenish and how much that stuff is going to cost us – that toothpaste you just lined your toothbrush with? $10 a tube for half the size of a tube of Colgate :p
*Shower only when needed; if you didn’t work up a sweat, i’m going to say that a shower prolly isn’t necessary and the Grey Water pond will thank you for your efforts.
*If the Sun didn’t shine today? Be super mindful of the power you use. Luke and I live by candlelight…a lot…it’s kind of romantic.
*Follow protocols in place and if you aren’t sure what they are? ASK.
* And prolly most important? Learn to adapt to the environment you are in. Luke and I have had a year to practice and we are pretty good at it…again, if you aren’t sure, ask.
*We LOVE having you come and visit; and thanks HEAPS for stopping in at the Grocery Store on your way here! We are happy to write up a grocery list, e-transfer you $$ so that we can make your stay as comfortable as possible, with the caveat that our fridge is TINY! So if you are used to consuming a lot of refrigerated products? Yea, not going to happen, sorry.

****Disclaimer: Previous guests only stayed a few days, with the exception of the Grandsons and well, they do what we say, pretty much 😉 We only discovered we needed to make the needs of the Earthship known with guests staying for an extended period of time.  Luke’s parents were here for three weeks and they sorta get the whole water conservation bit, being Australians 😉
Also, we have heaps of well water, it is the used water that causes a bit of a concern.
So there you have it.

Until next time! Cheers!

Brittany Lake Earthship, with Love

Another Day, Another trip to the Vet


So yea, it has been a while! So much has happened! So much to tell you! Not sure …. well, here, I’ll start with Bear.
As you may or may not know, we were evacuated from Brittany Lake. Our property has always been safe from fire but Hwy 20 which is our lifeline to civilization has had its woes since the wildfires burst on the scene! Our departure is another story…
While evacuated we stayed with our son and daughter-in-law in Chilliwack. They have a lovely home that they moved into late last year with four bedrooms and a HUGE, fenced backyard. Michael and Hayley graciously allowed us to bring our three animals into their home. We simply cannot express how thankful we are that we were able to keep Bear, Sam and Billabong with us during our time away; we had visions of dropping them all off at a kennel!
During our evacuation we, of course, went out onto some of our fave trails! Why wouldn’t we? Sumallo Grove has long been a favourite one, just inside Manning Park; I can tell you now because it seems everyone else has also discovered the once little used trail! We went there for the peace and solitude, the ability walk, carefree, along the trail with Bear and Sam at arms length; I think I counted 10 vehicles in the carpark when we left after a very stressful walk! But I digress. I started talking about Bear. So here’s the thing, Bear has done this trail a dozen times; it’s flat and there isn’t any deadfall to maneuver so, easy peasy, right? Oh, and it’s relatively short – 7-8 km there and back. Again, easy peasy for our Bear. Well, didn’t he just sit down on the trail halfway back?!  We checked his paws, nothing. It wasn’t a particularly hot day and the trail is almost completely shaded but we offered him water from our water bottles; no go. What the…? We managed to get him moving and slowly made our way back to the truck where we helped the old boy up into the truck. He promptly laid himself down and remained that way until we got back to Chilliwack even though he had a very rambunctious American Mastiff frolicking all over the back of the truck. Ben, our …grand-dog…Michael and Hayley’s giant dog.

Big Boy Ben! And our lil Samwise Gamgee on the trail

Home again and Bear seems to be less and less inclined to move himself. Okay, maybe he is just getting old? Who am I kidding? He is only 6! Through the night he got considerably worse, he wanted to go outside but he couldn’t get up so he got a magic carpet ride aloft his bed. Can I just say, Bear is one heavy dog!  Come the new day we loaded Bear into the truck so Luke could take him into the vet for an emergency visit; at least it was not a four hour drive or the middle of a long weekend. Now I want it to be known that I also take the boys to the vet but it seems that Luke is the “lucky” one who gets to take them in for the difficult visits. You’ll recall his instant Vet Assistant visit with Sam? No, Luke didn’t have to scrub in for a procedure with Bear but he got some sobering news: Don’t expect your dog to be with you for much longer than another year. Wait, what? He’s only 6!!!!! He has CCL – Crucial Cranial Ligament disease, a bit of arthritis and well, he is a big dog. A big dog who sustained a fall down a set of stairs when he was a puppy and the silly vet we were seeing then treated his neck and not his spine. Sigh.

Bear is in considerable pain and can’t get up from his bed

They gave Luke a prescription for pain meds…for Bear, not Luke. The rest of the stay in Chilliwack was difficult for Bear but at least we were able to alleviate some the pain he was in. Upon our arrival back at the Earthship we promptly made a follow up appointment with the Williams Lake vet who basically confirmed what the Chilliwack vet said with the exception that we COULD take Bear to what amounts to an orthopaedic surgeon who could ummm…. shave bits of his …..tibia ….. so his leg wouldn’t slip out of the hip socket? You’ll have to ask Luke. I told the WL Vet, “Yea, so I’m going to need you to talk to my husband because I’m not going to remember or be able to make sense of a single thing you have just told me.” The vet sent me home with more painkillers. Again, for Bear, with naught for me!! What the heck?
Back home after a very long day in the truck – it was a there and back again trip as there was not a single hotel room available in Williams Lake. Seems all the rooms were taken up by firefighters. Oh, yea, it’s still fire season at this time. Hanceville/Riske Creek still had spot fires burning near the highway – very sobering, indeed, to see the devastation caused by the fires. On our drive back up Highway 20,  between the Hanceville/Riske Creek fires and the Alexis Creek fires we came upon a Mama deer and her two fawns,  meandering about on the highway. So lost. So sad to see.

Mama Deer and her two fawns, bumbling about in the thick wildfire smoke along Hwy 20

Back to our Bear. Focus. Bear is reduced to walking twenty steps from the Earthship door. This is a dog who has been raised to be on the trail for hours at a time. Don’t tell me this wasn’t having an impact on him. And Samwise Gamgee? How do you walk the trails with one dog but not the other? And Luke’s parents were meant to arrive any day, evacuation orders/alerts pending. Bear is NOT improving, at all. Wait, he managed to walk over to Clarice’s, maybe 200 metres from the Earthship, but it’s an improvement! Luke and I are now worried that Bear’s good leg is going to suffer the same fate as his injured leg so we booked ANOTHER appointment with the Williams Lake vet to have xrays done of ALL of Bear’s legs and joints. May I just interject here that I am a bit of a worry wart? And can we please get Bear into a dog psychotherapist? I will also let you know that our boys have not been seen by the same vet twice in all our trips to and fro! This has contributed to our unease; who knows what, if any, conversations are happening behind closed doors between the plethora of vets who have looked at Bear and Sam? (Thanks, Billabong, for being a healthy kitty!)
Evacuation orders for Kleena Kleene lifted, Luke’s parents arrive and Bear is slowly making progress but not enough to put us at ease so we keep the xray appointment but this time we DO get to stay overnight in Williams Lake! Thank goodness! Bear is a terrible traveller! He is the first to jump in the truck, excited to be on the go and then 3 minutes later is panting and whining – and he doesn’t let up, not once; and he doesn’t lay down; and his panting, whining schnoze is right in your ear as you drive along. Where’s the valium? We’ll each take a dose! Now I am so accustomed to this behaviour but my mother-in-law? Not so much. Oh, yea, she is along for the ride because let’s face it, one can only take the bush for so long right? Luke thought she might like a little bit of retail therapy in Williams Lake. I was  definitely in need of a valium after a very long drive trying to please to very different needs – Bear needs the window open; MIL is from Australia and is used to warmer climes and wouldn’t you know it? It’s freezing cold!  So I have the heat blasting for her and the windows open for him and I arrive in Williams Lake with the worst headache of all time paired with a colossal ear ache from the cold wind constantly battering my left ear and swimmer’s ear in the right from all Bear’s whinging with his snout firmly lodged in my ear.
When Luke and I travel with Bear, it is the non-driving persons responsibility to keep Bear settled; not saying it works but it’s much easier to drive with a second set of hands on deck!

Bear, excited and ready to go!

But  anyway, we get into Williams Lake a bit early for our appointment and thankfully the vet takes us in early. I just want to be in the hotel room where Bear can C H I L L. The vet, Dr. Ross, …I don’t know, that might be his name? Is the same vet that stitched our Sammy back together. It’s the first time I have seen this vet and I have to say, I liked him immediately. Not sure what he said but he said it so well that I was almost instantly put at ease and I was able to leave the vet office confident that Bear would be with us for years to come. Once again, I told this vet that he was going to need to have a conversation with Luke because I am simply unable to comprehend/retain difficult news. He sent me home with a pamphlet detailing an expensive surgery that he seemed to think would be a cure all for Bear. Well, Bear will never walk with ease again but apparently with this surgery he will be able to limp along and not be in pain and that is what we want for him; to live a long and healthy life doing what he loves to do. Dr. Ross….I really need to look up his name… likened Bear’s joint issues with something I could comprehend – myself once being an avid hiker – Imagine your knee grinding and slipping out of its socket with each and every step you take. Enough said! Fix it! Take all my money! I cringed, feeling in my own leg the pain that Bear must be enduring.  The long and short of it is that when Luke is in the Valley for a work thing Bear will be having surgery. We hope. The specialist will see him on a Monday and if all the preliminaries go well he will have surgery on Wednesday. Dr. Ross says Bear ought to heal up in time to enjoy Winter on the trails that we have built around the place out at Brittany Lake.

Bear, finally resting at the Best Western in Williams Lake

Thanks for stopping in for a visit. I’ll just leave you with a more pleasant photo of our Bear. Keep your fingers crossed for him – that he is eligible for the surgery, that the surgery goes well and that he heals quickly and joins us, once again, on the trails that we all love so much. He has been our constant companion since May 2011; he warms  our hearts and souls with his gentle presence.

Our Bear when he was just a lil wee lad. Bridal Falls trail – where he learned to love to be in the bush.