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Showing posts from 2009

Lunch of Champions

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The package on the left was in my Christmas stocking. The can of "Energy Drink" came from a 7-11. The combination, priceless. Not taste tested yet.

Not so with this soup. It has been thoroughly taste tested. This was the famous, and utterly delicious, smoked meat soup - complete with home made, whole wheat buns.
I made a quick run to the coast with Kevin and Sara to make a friends Birthday Party. She was 34 - and I'm not talking age. The place was packed. It was great seeing friends I've missed having face to face with. Some I haven't seen in over 20 years.

On the way down to the Coast, moving at highway speeds, Kevin snapped this picture through the window of the car :
Here's one he did in the Woods back at Xanadu. It reminds me of a Bev Doolittle painting and I keep looking for hidden horses..
This size, reduced a 1000% for the web, doesn't do the original justice. I am going to try and get it printed on canvas in a 24" X 36" size, dire…

The Great Snow Adventure

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Today we rolled out of bed late. Still feeling the tryptophan stupification from the smoked turkey supper yesterday.

It was a glorious thing. Not a large turkey only about 5 kilos, much larger wouldn't have fit in the smoker. Took about four hours. Well worth the effort. Kevin's secret turkey rub added a succulent finish to it.

We were anxious to try out our new inventions: Snot Dots, and Booger Bands. Snot dots are plush fabric circles that are strategically attached to the back of winter mitts with a Velcro patch.

They make clearing iced up glasses, or even, as the name suggests, iced up noses. Booger bands are the same idea but simply slip over winter mittens and can be rotated to find an un-used section as need be.

We didn't get the snow shoes strapped on and started out until about two p.m. Sara got some new shoes for Christmas and here's a photo of her making the first ascent of Mount Aras.

She ascended by the technically challenging West face rather than the…

Merry Christmas

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Merry Christmas to you and yours.


If you look closely I think you might be able to see Grandma waving from an upstairs window. We see her from time to time. Peeking our from behind a window curtain. We'll snow shoe up later today and drop off a care package. I think she likes visitors..

The animals are all in their mangers.
Jack, our new kitten, is saying hello to guest Lucy. Jack is an amazing cat with no fear of dogs, that has changed how Cleo relates to the cats. He adopted Cleo and became her buddy which I think really helped Cleo with the other cats. Quite funny to see Jack hanging onto Cleo's leash. Cleo went "off Leash" in the house yesterday. That's a real mile stone in her integration to the house pack. As a matter of fact Kevin also taught her to shake a paw. Here's a picture just after she was boring in the snow for mice:
Lucy, Kevin and Sara's Coon Hound, has been having a lot of fun in an unfamiliar environment. Learning all the grea…

Tannenbaum

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It warmed up to zero, two days later we had a foot of snow and temperatures went back down to the -30's with a daytime temp of -25. And it was time to get the Christmas tree. We didn't have one picked out this year but I had a path plowed out to the field and we "donned our gay apparel", layers of thermal underwear, wool underwear, down jackets, wool and leather mitts - with inner gloves, full face balaclavas and neoprene face masks. I'm still not having any luck with my glasses freezing up - even with a new mask I purchased at Mountain Equipment Co-op.


And then we had to pee. Mothers everywhere it gets cold, are familiar with that phenomenon. We found a few candidates and then a nice blue spruce.
After posing in front of a candidate tree and waiting for the resident and guest photogs to immortalize the moment we chopped down a nice one, trussed it up and towed it back to the path so we could skid it back up the driveway to the garage to season for the night…

The Road Less Traveled.

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Cuz it's -35 and getting colder. The chickens are laying frozen eggs.

I like the look on Cleo's face: Yikes! Dad are you going to wear that?
I guess it would give me a start too, if I wasn't expecting it.

Indeed I am. No problem keeping the core warm. Even the hands. A pair of light knit glove, then a wool glove then a thick lambswool insulated leather over-mitt. Toasty. The trick is to keep my glasses from icing over. When I wear a face mask to keep my schnozz from freezing I just can't seem to keep my glasses from freezing over.

When we spent a lot of time, a few years ago, winter camping we wore face masks with snow goggles. I still had them but when I went to put them on the foam lining had all deteriorated and just wouldn't work. I went into town but the local sports store doesn't have any so will have to wait until I get to a bigger centre in order to grab a pair.

In the mean time I got the brainiac idea to try a pair of safety goggles. Well they wo…

Compost

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The Mark 2B model.

Since the large compost pile is frozen over and hard to move around with the blade on the skidsteer we resurrected the tire composter to handle the winters compost supply. Jo-Ann grinds all the compost material until it looks, well, like ground up processed food, like, well yes, that stuff. They idea is that it will break down a whole lot faster.

The tire composter is made of logging truck tires that have the sidewalls cut out. The top bulge is a small truck tire that has been turned inside out. The lid is made from a discarded plastic garbage can. We can add more rings to increase the volume but it probably won't be necessary. We keep dirt in the shop so that it doesn't freeze and put that between layers of ground up material.

The tires sit on top of a solid pallet so come spring, I can pick the whole thing up and move it over to the re-tired garden.

Of course not a lot of composting is going to happen at sub zero temperatures. I am having a look at how c…

Electrifying News

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Now don't try this at home folks. I'm a trained professional.
I'm installing an emergency power system so that when our power is out we can keep essential electrical equipment operating. Our grid power disappears at least half a dozen times a year, not counting minor outages. The longest outage we've had so far is about a week. Usually they happen right after snow storms. Essential systems for us are two freezers, a fridge, some CFL lighting and two laptops. We have a wireless internet connection that is beamed to us from a mountain about 15 kilometres away. It enabled us to reach the outside world during major outages. After a day or so the batteries in the local telephone exchange building run down so there is no land line service. Lighting isn't a big need as it is covered by flashlights and Coleman lamps. At least one readily available flashlight is strategically placed in each room. We have wood heating and gravity fed water so we can stay warm and fl…

Citizens of WhoVille

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I love this tree. It would make a memorable Christmas Tree. I must have walked by it many times over the last four years but never noticed it. Of course it was growing but I thought I would have noticed its charming Who-ville like qualities.. This tree is in the "Christmas Tree Field". It is a couple of acres half way down our kilometer long driveway, that was cleared years ago and , the locals tell me, a prolific pasture . As near as I can tell it was around twenty years or so ago . Then the pasture was just left to let Mother Nature take over. It is now covered with Spruce, Pine, Balsam and Fir. Some of them three inches around and 15 feet high. Most of the pine trees seem to have missed the pine beetle scourge. Maybe because the trees were surrounded by Spruce and Balsam camouflage.

Or maybe when the pine beetles saw this tree they couldn't stop laughing enough to bore in.

I can see the same in fill process happening in all our fields. First Mom sends …

Snap

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Last night we had a cold snap. It went from +2 to -21 over night and this morning when we got up it was -12. A snap like that does wonderful things to the trees making it look like it has just snowed when none fell. Just ice crystals sparkling on all the trees and fields.

I've heard predictions that Western Canada will be having a less cold than usual winter. Looking forward to evaluating the truth of that prediction.

In the meantime I've made sure all the machinery that I want to run has working block heaters and can be plugged into trickle chargers to keep the batteries in tip top shape. When it gets to about -20 or so the cold batteries just don't have a lot of power to turn over an engine - especially if it has cold oil.

When it get's to -30 I will cover the equipment with a tarp and plug in a heater to give it a chance at starting. Mind you at that temperature I have a hard time getting me started! But it just doesn't last these days. Not like a few deca…

When One Door Closes

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This time it means that the garden shed project is complete to lockup stage.
This project just seemed to carry on and on. Still trim to put up, items to move in. The trim and deck will just wait until spring. Moving in can happen anytime I get the inclination and other projects don't increase in priority. The last thing was waiting while the paint dried. Actually it wasn't paint but some new-fangled water born stain. Seems oil based stains are now phased out in our area and only water based stains are available. I put four coats of stain over two coats of primer sealer and it still could use some more. The instructions demand a 12 hour drying time before recoating. It sure doesn't cover like the solid oil based stains I am used to. Reminds me of a Hank Hill episode where he gets his dander up about low flush toilets - that actually took six times as much water to work.

Speaking of priorities. I was a long time proponent of classical project management. Prioritizi…

Bolerites

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We've cleaned out the yard so that I have plenty of room to stockpile snow at the Western edge of the house fence line. That should help the run off come spring. We don't want the water sluicing down the road where the house is, and the new gravel is laid. We cut a berm and ditch all around the North end of the House fence and that should divert all the water from the hill that is North of the house.

In order to keep the parking area as un cluttered as possible we moved the Boler between the Shop and Garden shed.

Tucked away out of the snow plow line. For those that have never heard of a Boler, they are a '70's era fiberglass travel trailer that were transmogrified from septic tank. We spent months at a time camping in ours. The last two years we were at the coast we spent every weekend in the Boler, rain or shine snow or whatever. We once spent a long weekend on a sandbar near Agassiz with a strong wind and -20 temperatures. The train would honk at us, the engin…

Snow Job

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Managed to get the skidsteer up and running ( wire pulled out of coil connector) and got the gravel spread --

just before the Northern version of the Pine Apple express hit.

When I went to start up the beast to put chains on and bolt on the snow plow it refused. I guess it worked enough spreading the gravel so it wasn't ready for the next event. Whatever the case - I re fueled and put it on a charger. I will get to try and coax it to life again today. And remind myself that yelling at in-animate objects rarely achieves the desired outcomes. It's just a bafflement to me: Everything is running fine, turn machine off, refuses to start. Of course it could have something to do with the choke, I haven't been able to figure out how to set it up correctly.

A well, after talking gently to it and with a modicum a of pleading, and unplugging and plugging all the spark plug connectors it did fire up and I was able to get the joint plowed. The Snow Plow went by on Savory so tha…

Shovel Sixteen Tons and What Do You Get?

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Well, twenty cubic yards anyway. About two yards or so per load.

Hopefully I won't have to spread it by hand. Yesterday I got a phone call and an offer of twenty yards of crushed gravel, a truck and a dumping trailer to haul it. Woo Hoo! It will certainly be nice, come the Spring melt, not to have to slog through mud at our entrance. There should be enough to cover the entire front yard. Great upgrade. The trick is that I have to get the Skid steer running. It crapped out yesterday, just after we changed from the bucket to forks. Just before we got the phone call and offer of free crushed gravel. I think it's an electrical problem so I will need to call in the electrician. Wait, I are one. It looks like it's going to snow again so I have a certain impetus to get it done soon. Hence the short post.

On the Garden shed front, progress is being made.

Windows are in, wall covering on, some trim has been applied, shelves built and tools put away. The door is still in t…

Shedding the Garden

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Progress is progressing on the Garden shed front. Some friends of ours from the Coast have arrived and while the "women folk" are involved in a "Stitch and Bitch" vigil we're outside getting the shed covered and ready for some trim that we've painted in the shop. And installing windows. Oh and falling trees and other fun stuff. We are making sure any of the dead pine that is in danger of falling on our driveway is no longer a concern. The white blobs in the picture is some snow that, thankfully, didn't stick.

This is someone, who for anonymity purposes-cannot be identified- taking an outside stitching break from the inside stitching sessions. In summer it would be called, " taking a Bubba"

Wonderful weather. The snow is scheduled to begin this afternoon - hopefully I can get the door on the shed in the next little while.

Hope your life is keeping you in stitches. The fun kind! Not like my friend Carol's Kitty Kat.

My Wife Is Sleeping With A 17 Year Old.

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According to my Dr. After a recent physical he proclaimed that I had the blood pressure of a 17 year old. That's a big difference from five years ago when I was warned to lower my blood pressure or go on medicine that would do it for me. I'm a big fan of doing what I can to get healthy without the use of drugs. I've lost a lot of weight, exercise regularly and we are eating as well as we can with our own veggies and local beef. Soon local chicken. Nice to see that it pays off.

I have been making some progress on the Garden shed project. Hopefully, tomorrow, I can get all the siding on and the tarpaper and siding. One thing I know about my carpentry skills: My cutting is way better than my measuring.. I have been cutting sheets of plywood to fit the top part of the shed which has a barn style roof and several beams that stick out. And of course nothing is ever truly square, plumb or level. And somehow my perfectionism raises its non-useful head and tells me it ha…

Garden Update

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We've been working in between snow storms. The last one had me deciding to raise the priority on getting the studded snow tires on the Toyota, and the chains in the trunk. Also time to get the chains on the skidsteer. I went to town after about a foot of it had come down, prior to the snow plows making it down Savory road and it was touch and go with the all seasons on. Even tho they were relativly new, lots of tread, and I was in four by four mode.

We managed to dig out the last of the carrots which are now safely ensconced in sand filled rubber made containers in the cold storage fridge. We also dug out the parsnips, nothing to write home about there, but enough to sweeten up some winter time stews. Sweet potatoes were a bust - we simply planted them too late and left them in the ground too long. They like heat, and they weren't getting enough. We had some small ones but the cold had turned them to mush. Back to Rutabagas next year.

The tires are ready for next spring, …