Monday, April 30, 2012

SOME BUMPS IN THE ROAD

May 3 would have been my parents 66th wedding anniversary.  This picture is probably pretty close to their first anniversary and they were already stuck with me.  They went on to have seven more children!  We lost Dad in December 2010.  Mom is in a care home   

I think I took this picture of Mom and Dad in the 1990's

This has been a frustrating week.  I had gotten our 2007 Chev pickup back on the road, licenced and insured etc. as I had advertised it on Craig’s list hoping to sell it.  The only calls we’ve received so far are from the regular scam artists.  After initially charging the truck battery, it started fine and ran well the second day as well.  After leaving it parked for about four days, the battery was dead again.  I charged it again but it wouldn’t take a charge.  Okay, I then took the truck into Canadian Tire where the battery came from for them to test it.  Oops, battery is no good.  Well, the battery still has 11 ½ months left on free replacement, so that’s good.  Next thing I know they have installed a new battery - $37 please.  Hey, I could have done that in five minutes!  Oh, well.  I go to leave and gee, the battery doesn’t sound very peppy.  I drive 25 minutes back to the motor home and the battery is worse.  Okay, put it on the charger overnight.  Next morning, dead battery!  This morning I took the battery back to Canadian Tire and have them test it.  Hey, the battery is no good!  They give me another one and the service writer makes sure it is from a different batch.  I tell him I’m not taking it until you actually test it and show me it is a good one this time.  It is so I get it home and install it and it sounds normal finally.  Then there is the matter of the dash message stating the four wheel drive needs service.  I guess it does as I find there is no four wheel drive working.  We took it to my cousin Jeff who runs an automotive repair facility and hope he can find the problem without a huge bill.
Aileen was in to see her regular doctor today and most things checked out fine.  She does have to go back on May 10 to have a thingy removed from her nose.  We hadn’t planned on returning to Salmon Arm til next April and here we are coming back in a week after we leave Thursday. 
We house sat for Bev and Kevin Saturday night while they went on a mini vacation somewhere.  It was a bit of a change with Mitzy and three grand dogs and two grand cats.  We did make use of the facilities.  Aileen had a nice tub bath and I used the hot tub.  Felt so good!   I so enjoy the hot tub down in the park in Arizona that it’s great to get to use one along the way.  Aileen has had lunch with two of her friends and will get together with the first one again tomorrow for coffee.  I had intended going to the local camera club on Monday but forgot til several days later.  Old timers, I guess! 
I am still struggling to find where the water is getting into the motor home.  I know where it is showing on the floor at the rear wall but can’t isolate where it enters.  I have sealed up all sorts of places and just when I think I’ve finally fixed it, water appears.  We had a real heavy rain for hours the other day and the floor was soaked.  The next day I totally disassembled the bed checking for further damage but it only went under the bed as far as there was carpet to wick it.  I removed that carpet.  I reinforced part of the framework that holds the bed platform.  That was a piece of shoddy work.  Those people who build motor homes don’t clean up their debris when they’re finished either.  I vacuumed up quite a bit of junk from under the bed after picking up the larger pieces.
Oh yes, we also had our taxes done and once again had to pay more.

This image dates back far before digital to my darkroom days.  This is called a slide sandwich.  I took a picture of the two cabins then later a picture of the end of a log and put both slides into one slide mount.  I'm sure it is something that could be done easily in Photoshop but I haven't tried it.



Tuesday, April 24, 2012

MITZY BEFORE AND AFTER


Our daughter Bev is a groomer and yesterday on her day off gave Mitzy a spring time cut.  Poor Mitzy wanted her coat unless the sun was shining.  She is getting more used to it later today, I think.  We took a drive over to Enderby and Vernon today just poking about. 
The shaggy dog

Tomorrow we get to find out how much extra we have to pay in income tax as we got the call this afternoon that the returns were ready to discuss.  We had some showers today and it didn’t get quite as warm as the past couple days.  Last night’s forecast thunder storm didn’t materialize though.  Mitzy was glad of that.

The freezing dog

Monday, April 23, 2012

CATCHING UP IN SALMON ARM


We are keeping fairly busy here with various things.  Aileen had lunch with her friend Edna one day.  She was to the lab Thursday morning early for her yearly blood work and it took an hour and a half or longer.  Most of the early people, including her, had to fast before giving blood so it gets a little tense around there with people being hungry and their blood sugar getting out of whack.  The staff said it was a three hour wait the day before. 
Aileen cooked supper at Bev’s on Sunday as Bev celebrated the Big 40.  We had some salmon that niece Shaunee had given us and it was very tasty.  Bev gave Mitzy a much needed grooming today on her day off.  We gave up on cheap vacuums and bought a Miele the other day and it sure seems to work well.  It is small enough to fit in the same closet the small ones did and it is very quiet compared to them as well. 
I put a licence on our 2007 Chev 2500HD pickup and have it advertised on Craig’s List.  It took lots of elbow grease to get it cleaned up after sitting out for the winter.  Jim had fallen a couple trees which I had to cut up before I could get the truck out from behind the shop.  The only other way would have been to move the motor home and that seemed like lots of work.  Jim and Jacquie started a fire so we got all the debris burned up.  While I was manning the chainsaw, I started trimming the corkscrew willow.  Jim got more relaxed as we went along and we finally took it down to a bunch of stubs.  Jacquie’s idea was to take it down to table height and put a top on it!   
I have ridden my bike around the White Lake valley a couple times to the tune of much puffing and my legs feeling like jelly.  It’s a little different riding with hills instead of the mostly flat parks I’m used to down south.  We’ve been up in the high teens and low twentys Celsius the past few days which is great.      I have only taken some shots of the truck for the ad since getting my camera back from repairs.  It is the in between time right now.  The spring foliage isn't quite photogenic and everything is still blah from the winter.  Pretty soon I will get motivated again and get out shooting.

Camping has gone to the dogs!
This is a picture I shot over well over a year ago and just got around to downloading from the little Kodak camera that lives in the glove box of the car.

Another found Kodak shot from about this time last year.  The local Ford dealer had a promotion on

This is the "cat house" my brother Charlie built for for his tenants.  They have three cats which was a bit much in the small house.  The cats took to using the cat door to get out and spend much of their time outside and safe.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

CAMERA SMASHED, COMPUTER CRASHED BUT WE’RE BACK!


My computer locked up on me last week so I’ve been without until today.  It was too late to take it for repair on the Island so it had to wait til we got to Salmon Arm.  Two of my computer nephews looked at it on Saturday but they ran out of time.  I was really impressed with Chris at Lynx Computers.  I dropped it off yesterday and it was ready to go this morning.  My camera left Mississauga, Ontario at about 5 pm yesterday and it was delivered to me at Bev’s today just before 2 pm.  Amazing!
We moved down to Victoria (actually Sidney) on Sunday stopping in Duncan for Aileen to attend church.  I had a windshield wiper pack it in so tried in vain to find a replacement.  I finally did in Victoria on Monday after much searching.  I was able to get a pair of 28 inch to replace the 26 that were stock.  Because the windshield is so far ahead of the driver, it’s like looking through a tunnel so hopefully the longer ones will help.  The forecast for our drive to Salmon Arm was showers but we didn’t get a drop of rain so the wipers haven’t been tested yet.
We went for supper Sunday at the Fireside with Richard, Robin and Georgia and were joined by Robin’s parents.  We had a good visit there and with Richard and Georgia when they came to the campsite just after we had arrived.  Good lad that he is, Richard covered the bill for supper.  Thank you again!
Aileen had an another visit with the acupuncturist Monday afternoon.  We had lunch down on the wharf at The Fish Store and Aileen’s gluten free fish and chips were better than my regular ones.  I know which I’ll have next time.  We watched a couple seals that people were feeding off the dock.  We picked up friend Bev D and the three of us went to the Sauce Restaurant for supper.  Bev had a meeting after to attend so we headed home where I quickly assembled the wipers and installed them before dark.  Both the Sauce and Fireside provided excellent gluten free meals for Aileen.
We were up at 5:45 am Tuesday and on the road by 6:06 heading for the ferry.  I used my gold card for the first time and got free passage for myself.  Aileen still got half price with her card.  We stopped just after leaving the ferry to walk Mitzy and it was 9:00 when we got moving.  We ran into construction delays fairly soon and took over an hour to get out to the freeway.  We made a rest stop past Abbotsford then lunch was up the canyon in a wide turnout by a waterfall.  We made it to Jordan’s at White Lake about 4:35 and didn’t have a drop of rain the whole way.  We plan to be in this area a little over two weeks before heading down to Penticton for May 5th.
I have been putting more stuff into our storage shed, mostly from emptying the Arizona park model which we don’t think we’ll move back in to.  I have decided that it isn’t practical to pack around my matting and framing supplies since there hasn’t been much demand for anything.  Now just watch, I’ll probably be wanting to do some.
The view out the windshield at Oceanside RV Park, Sidney, BC

Along West Saanich Rd after supper Sunday night, hand held HDR

A Harbour Seal in Victoria


Float houses against the high rise backdrop

Lots of seaplanes use Victoria's Inner Harbour

A few daffodils mixed in with the native Easter Lilies at Beacon Hill Park in Victoria 

This crow had lots to say

This old peacock was running loose in Beacon Hill Park

All of today’s shots were taken with my Canon Rebel XTi and 28-135 lens. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

PREPARING TO MOVE ON


After nearly six weeks on Vancouver Island, it is time to hit the road again.  We need to get ourselves up to Salmon Arm and get our income taxes completed.  It will be nice to connect with family and friends while there.  Aileen has still been struggling with back spasms mostly likely connected to her MS.  We have made two trips to Victoria to see an acupuncturist which she feels is helping.  She has another appointment on Monday so we are going to move down to Victoria (actually Sidney) and Oceanside RV Park for Sunday and Monday nights.  We are hoping to get together with Richard, Robin and Georgia for supper one evening.  We will catch a ferry to the mainland Tuesday morning.
I have been continuing to have clean up fires out in Charlie’s bush even though Aileen is the real firebug.  I have been impressed with what I have accomplished but at the expense of lots of sore spots.  No pain, no gain, right?  I bet most work campers don’t sweat as much as I have though!
Aileen and her friend Bev D from Victoria (who was in Parksville to visit her mother) got together the other day for lunch and some shopping and had a great visit. 
I packaged up my Canon 5D Mark 2 and Aileen mailed it away for me.  I hope it isn’t away too long as I much prefer it to my little Canon Rebel.  I’m having it returned to Bev’s in Salmon Arm so it would be nice if it arrives while we are still there.   Today’s pictures were taken on April 4th while waiting for Aileen at her doctor’s appointment in Victoria.
This is Dragon Alley which is how Aileen accesses her acupuncturist's office

This the view after turning the first corner

The entry gate to Victoria's China Town 



Some murals

A couple blocks from China Town, old Victoria has its back alleys with boutique shops

Sunday, April 8, 2012

HAPPY EASTER


After a pancake breakfast in the house with Charlie and Sheila, it was Easter egg hunt time for Georgia.  She enjoyed the challenge and was very excited when she found the electric bubble machine.  We all had fun watching the bubbles outside.  After that, my sister Susan, husband John with son Keith and grandson Oliver invited Richard, Georgia and I to go for a walk at the new regional park at Moorecroft.  It was a nice spot for a walk in the forest and along the seashore.  We had to rush to get home for the large Easter lunch.  Aileen cooked a turkey this morning, there was a large ham and loads of other food.  There may have been even more dessert than main course and there are lots of leftovers even though there were eighteen of us to eat it.  The other fourteen were members of Sheila’s and Charlie’s family.
While today was plain old overcast, yesterday was mostly sunny and very pleasant.  Aileen, Richard, Georgia and I went down to Rathtrevor Beach Park to walk along the seashore looking at shells, birds and the nice view of the snowy Coast Mountains on the other side of the Salish Sea (Strait of Georgia).

Red Currant bush with a few yellow Oregon Grape flowers behind 

Closeup of Red Currant

Oregon Grape against a Douglas Fir tree

Detail of  Arbutus tree

The rough bark is mostly gone from this section.  Note the fly just over halfway up

Some fungi at the base of a tree

There was lots of  Sword Ferns at the park

Left to right, me, Keith and Oliver, Sue and John, Richard and Georgia

Friday, April 6, 2012

A WALK AROUND LITTLE QUALICUM RIVER FALLS PARK


Aileen was doing several loads of laundry this morning and the conditions felt right for a waterfall visit.  Bright overcast is usually good for taking pictures of water as it reduces the overly bright contrast and the green of the moss and trees is boosted.   With those thoughts in mind, I grabbed a selection of lenses, my tripod and favourite camera and off I went.   When I arrived at the parking lot, there were at least fifty people milling about making lots of noise.  I think they were members of a hiking club and fortunately they headed to the lower falls after I decided to go to the upper falls.  They were fast walkers who mustn’t have stopped to enjoy the views because they raced around the trail and beat me to the top bridge then headed off up the river on another trail.  I was glad of that as I mostly then had the whole area to myself.  I did have the misfortune to slip in some mud on a trail and landed hard on my butt.  The worst though, was discovered a few minutes later when I had occasion to look at the top dial on my camera and found it badly cracked.  Apparently it suffered a direct hit somehow.   My main camera, a Canon 5D Mark2, has needed to go for cleaning for some time and I guess this is now.  I hope it won’t be away too long but there is only one Canon repair facility in Canada which is in Mississauga, Ontario. 
We have played eight games of SkipBo in the past few days and Aileen has won six of them.   On Wednesday, we drove down to Victoria for Aileen to see a new doctor regarding her back spasms.  The doctor seems to agree that they are MS related.  We picked up our friend, Bev D, then went for a drive around admiring the flowers before having lunch at Sante`s Gluten Free Restaurant which is 100% gluten free and the food was tasty, too.  We stopped and visited our son, Richard, Robin and Georgia for an hour.   Of course, when we headed out of town at 5 pm, it was just as R&R predicted with stop and traffic.  We stopped at the Pioneer House Restaurant south of Duncan for supper.  My fish and chips were so-so but Aileen’s prime rib off the gluten free menu was very good she said. 
We are participating in a group Easter Sunday meal here and Aileen will be cooking a turkey in our portable electric roaster.  Richard and Georgia are coming up Saturday and leaving early Monday.  I think this will be our first Easter with Georgia and there will be an Easter egg hunt here on Sunday. 

We had an otter visit us in the pond below the house the other day


A tight crop of the otter

Little Qualicum River

One of many falls



The main Upper Falls

Section of a Red Cedar tree that was in the river

Just a little water in an overflow channel





The damaged part on my main camera - the top LCD panel

Monday, April 2, 2012

WE GET ANOTHER SHOT OF WINTER!


We awoke to 3 inches of wet snow Sunday morning (yesterday) and some of us weren’t too impressed.   Mitzy, being an eight year old, thought it was great of course.   Aileen wanted to go down to the church in Duncan she sometimes attends so off we went.  I had checked the highway cameras and they all indicated no snow.  Sure enough, the snow ended just a few miles down the road.  The sun came out and it turned into a fairly decent day. 
After dropping Aileen at the church, Mitzy and I went up to the area where I spent my younger years.  We walked by my parent’s old farm which is now Duncan Meadow’s Golf Course.  It is a very quiet road so Mitzy can be off leash.  Later we walked down Drinkwater Rd where she really needed her leash as it is a short cut to the local landfill and there was a steady stream of traffic, being Sunday.   I enjoyed seeing that the skunk cabbage patches from my youth were still doing well.  They are such a cheerful welcome to Spring.   When I got back to the car, I was accosted by one of the locals who wanted to know if I was dumping garbage.   I assured her I wasn’t and go ahead and call the police!  Geez, some people over react, I’d been parked there an hour.
We went to Just Jakes, a cafĂ© in the old part of Duncan and they have a good sized gluten free menu but some of the staff are a bit lacking in training as to what gluten free means.  However, we did get a good lunch and Aileen didn’t have any reaction so that was good.  Aileen managed to get her hair cut at a walk-in in the mall in Nanaimo on the way home.  She was way past due for one.  She cuts mine and one day I will have a go at doing hers.  We just have to be far enough away from anyone who knows us!
We were invited to Sheila’s Mom’s for supper last night celebrating Sheila’s birthday (Saturday) and Charlie’s (yesterday).  There was a good crowd and lots of good food.  Sheila’s sister in law, Roong, cooked up three plates of yummy Chinese food at her restaurant and sent it along plus there was pizza and chilli plus loads of dessert.
On Saturday, I helped my niece Merrilee and her family move from Comox down to Qualicum Beach.  Her husband had rented a large van and he’d spent several days previously packing everything in boxes and totes which really simplified the loading process.  I looked after the packing into the van and we managed to really get a load on the truck.  We thought we’d need to do two trips but we got it just about finished with the one trip  My sister Janet had her car and her husband John had his little truck so with both those loaded there wasn’t much left.  Derek will be able to take a little bit each time he goes up to clean and paint prior to selling the condo.

Our welcome to April on Sunday morning

The old horse drawn hay rake Charlie and Sheila have installed at their entrance 

Next winter's wood supply

The cow is wondering where the green grass got to

Mitzy says "It was this big!" and Belle says "Wow!"

Mitzy emphasizing her point

A patch of Skunk Cabbage



Another early flower

The weather has not been very good this whole Spring.  We’ve had lots of wind and rain and today we are getting both, again.  Of course it didn’t help when my friend, Maureen from the Florence, AZ ATV club, sent me pictures this morning showing the cactus blooming and mentioning that it is so warm when they’re out riding they have to seek out shade every time they stop as it is too hot to stay still in the sun.   We are planning to still be there at this time next year.