Tuesday, August 28, 2012


We had our granddaughter Georgia visiting us until yesterday.  Her Dad came up Sunday and stayed overnight then they left after lunch.  She sure kept us on our toes the whole time.   Her appetite for reading has not diminished at all, but still prefers to listen rather than do the reading.  She really enjoyed all the blackberries we found.  The large Himalayan berries are ripe most places we’ve been.  I found Aileen and Georgia a good patch to work on while Richard and I did a bit of geocaching yesterday.  I was surprised the two were able to eat lunch afterward.
I’ve been out geocaching most days and so far have only been stumped on one.  It was rated as difficult for a reason.  I continue to be amazed at all the old roads and trails the geocaching has shown me.  I can also see why many people become sort of addicted to it.  It is certainly a good incentive to get more exercise.  More businesses should get onboard too.  We went to a little bookstore on a side road yesterday only because someone had placed a cache at their driveway.  Since our son, the English Prof, is heavily into books, he wanted to check it out.  He bought one for himself and a couple for Georgia so the store definitely benefitted from the exposure.  Later, we went to the Dutch Import Store because they had installed a cache and Richard bought some great Gouda cheese from them.
Charlie and Sheila arrived home last night so our tour of duty is over.   Time for a vacation!  We looked at their pictures and they sure travelled through some beautiful country on the Teslin and Yukon Rivers up in the Yukon.   Aileen and I hauled four loads of firewood with the ATV and an old trailer this morning from the long stack Charlie had drying along a fence into the woodshed.  The wood is really dry so we hope to get it all in before any appreciable rain.  We have to pull the living room slide in to get the trailer past as the motor home is parked on the only route to the woodshed.   Mitzy, of course, insists on riding back and forth on the ATV.  She turned nine this month and is starting to slow down a bit. 
Seven weeks from yesterday is our planned departure date for heading south this year.  I need to get cracking and get our travel health insurance in place.  It is quite the process.   The different companies vary so much in their quotes.  One company penalized Aileen for her MS over $1200.  Another penalized me over $300 for not having had a physical in two years.  So far, I haven’t found one company giving both of us decent rates.  We may end up dealing with separate companies for each of us.  One company said no problem with my having had Valley Fever as it was a onetime event.  Another company wanted to put me into a super high risk category for over a $1000 more.  Challenging!

Aileen's sister Anne spotted this little frog in a rose beside the house here

This nice spider web was in the Monkey Tree the other morning

The beautiful background is caused by the reflection in the dining room window 

Georgia and Aileen yesterday at the store with the geocache

Friday, August 24, 2012


Boy, this has been a long gap in posting!  We had Aileen’s sister Anne and husband John here again, this time for five nights.  John and I did quite a bit of ATVing mostly combined with geocaching.  We hit the geocaching hard after I joined as a member of the geocaching community.  I logged 43 finds in the first four days.   This geocaching is a good way to get some exercise and find all sorts of trails I never knew existed.  I even went out on my bicycle this afternoon and found five more.
Aileen enjoyed getting more visiting with Anne.  Anne and Aileen did some prowling around the small shops in Parksville and Qualicum Beach.  They accompanied John and me on several geocaching trips as well. 
We are still busy with keeping up with the animals, lawns and gardens here.  The gardens are starting to come on strong now so we are mostly eating homegrown meals.  Things will get back to normal next week.  Sheila called this afternoon to say they were back on land from their twelve days on the river up in the Yukon.  They will begin the long drive home tomorrow.   We have kind of moved into the house since it was easier when John and Anne were here and staying in the house.  We now have our granddaughter Georgia staying with us for four nights so her parents could take a mini vacation to Vancouver.
Back on the 15th we had gone to Victoria for the day as Aileen had an appointment.  We picked up Aileen’s friend Bev then went to our son’s place for lunch with them.  We brought Bev up to stay with her mother in Parksville.  Bev and Aileen got together for lunch one day also.    I went to Nanaimo one day and bought us cordless keyboards for our laptops.  Both our laptops have very poor keyboards.  Another day, I went to the Nanaimo Fall Fair.  I was not impressed with the fair itself.  I found it very lacking in substance and have no idea why it claims to be the best fair in the province for cities 20,000 and over!  I finally found the photo competition prints, all eight of them!!!  Four of them were 4x6 for Pete’s sake!  The highlight of the fair was watching a great show by Valdy from 11 am to 12:20.  His second song was The Teddy Bear’s Picnic.  That brought back memories as that is probably the first song I can remember.  They used to play it on CJOR’s Kiddies Karnival which we used to listen to on our old battery radio in the late 40’s, early fifties.  He did a fine performance, as usual.
On Thursday, we took the motorhome for water and to dump the tanks.  We were at 23 days and the black tank was nearly full.  Being able to use the house more helped a lot.  Having a sewer connection down by the barn is nice so we don’t have to find a station and pay.  We drive over to the rodeo grounds to fill the fresh water tank giving them a small contribution to cover the hydro cost.

John signing the log book for a geocache

John on the left and me at a mountain top cache

The Fireweed is looking fine

Lots of huckleberries

Spotted this wasp nest while riding to a cache

One of the rough roads we rode on

At another cache, me on the left

Monday, August 13, 2012


Well the young cow did have her calf and just like her older sister, she keeps losing the calf.  She will start grazing away and hours later, seems to have totally forgotten she is a mother with the attendant duties such as feeding and safeguarding.  This cow doesn’t even moo to try and call the calf and the calf just finds a low spot and puts its head down and remains invisible to us.  Yesterday when I was trying to find the calf to reunite them for feeding, I walked by within twenty feet of the calf and didn’t see it in the medium height grass.  On my second circuit of that field, from a distance, I caught a momentary glimpse of the white face but it quickly dropped its head again.  I was starting to think I’d just seen the cat or something til I get very close.  I ushered the calf over to the mother and there was a happy reunion and supper.
Aileen’s sister, Anne and John, came down from Port McNeill Friday evening in time for a late supper.   John and I found a few geocaches around here before it got too dark.  We did a couple more Saturday morning then we all went to Nanaimo for a cousin’s lunch.   Cousin in law, Bill from Campbell River, was there as were Cousin Pat and Irene from Victoria.  Aileen only met Pat about three years ago and this was Anne’s first time to meet him.   It was a chatty lunch and visit afterward.   Pat is 87 and still very active, golfing several times a week and driving everywhere.   
Later in the afternoon, John and I took our ATVs for a ride up the mountain.   We found several geocaches in the process and rode the old road up to Rowbotham Lake.  It was boulder alley and quite overgrown so slow riding, but we made it.  It was quite distressing to see the mess some irresponsible off roaders have made at a couple spots along the lake.  We came home via the newer road which was nearly twice the distance but much faster.   Our wives had been to the Westhill Restaurant and bought us all takeout Chinese food for a really late supper.  Roong’s food is so good!
John and Anne headed homeward after breakfast yesterday.  John would like to have been home yesterday earlier as Willie Mitchell was showing off the Stanley Cup for a little while in Port McNeill.  John coached Willie in minor hockey in the early days and John’s son Dennis was on the same team as Willie when they won the provincial championship one year.
I took my brother Charlie’s place in the food concession at the local Coomb’s Fall Fair yesterday afternoon.  That was interesting taking orders and handing out food and drinks.  My knees and back were complaining after six hours on the cement floor, though.  Aileen had driven herself off to Duncan to church while I was there. 
I gave the car a bath here this morning, but because the water leaves a white film on the car, I went to the car wash in town to rinse it off.   I needed to do a thorough cleaning on the car as there was tar and fly spots well adhered.   I gave it a dose of ProtectAll this afternoon and it looks pretty spiffy. 

Charlie with his and his friend's canoes loaded up for the trip to the Yukon

Mitzy found her place in the sun on the couch

This is the oldest of the three calves here with his milk goatee 

The two oldest calves. Are you picking your nose?

Several Turkey Vultures were around after the birth in the field

Rowbotham Lake

Mt Arrowsmith peeking up behind Rowbotham Lake

Less than a mile from Rowbotham we look down on the ocean and across to mainland BC

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


We have almost completed our first week of farm sitting for my brother Charlie and Sheila.  We have kept busy tending and watering the gardens and lawns.  I’ve done some pruning here and there as well. We’ve had a few hot days where we had to run the air conditioner in the motor home and that turned out to a bit of a learning challenge.  Since we have a 50 foot extension on the end of our shore power cord, there is a bit of a power drop.  The air conditioner has three different settings that can be used and it took a while to find the one that works.  The other two setting kept tripping the fuse in the inverter through which all shore power is routed.
It has been really nice to be parked all by ourselves again after being shoehorned in at Cluxewe for the past six weeks.  We enjoyed our time there visiting with John and Anne and being so close to the ocean but, listening to the neighbours' every word got oppressive pretty darn fast.  Aileen drove herself down to Duncan on Sunday as we decided it was too hot to leave the pets and motor home unattended as we didn't want to depend on the air conditioner. 
I picked a few wild blackberries (not the big domestic ones that have gone wild, but the little native Douglas Blackberries) out in the bush.  I put them in our pancakes this morning and they were very tasty.  We’re still monitoring the third cow waiting for her to calve.  The other two calved just before we arrived.  This will be her first calf so we hope to be able to spot any trouble before it gets serious.  She keeps going off by herself which is often an indicator that the birth is about to happen but, not yet.
We’ve gone for a couple drives around the area and have been trying to replace our carpet protecting mats in the motor home.  I’ve taken my bike on a few rides around as well.  I have to admit that my cameras have been inactive for the past week or more.  I’m including  some photos from back in my film days which I have dug out of the archive.

This is another of my log sandwich series from years ago.  The slide of an old outhouse was combined with a slide of the end section of a log in the same slide mount 

The Fisgard Lighthouse near Victoria, BC.  I was squatted down as low as I could go with my butt nearly in the ocean to get this angle

A resting Flamingo taken at Crystal Gardens, a long defunct indoor garden in Victoria, BC 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Our two month stay in Cluxewe Campground ended today by packing up and moving back to my brother Charlie’s in Errington near Parksville, BC.  We will be keeping an eye on things here for the next few weeks while Charlie and Sheila are off canoeing up north. 
I added up the ATV trips last night and came up with thirteen days in June and five in July.  I’m not sure of the distance travelled but it must be well over a thousand kms.  We got to see some interesting country and some wild life.  We had fun geocaching several times and I may have to take up it up myself.   I did get to see all my cousins and aunt and uncle who live in the north island, but not as often as I thought I might.
A waterfall up the Kilpala logging road 

Mama Willow Grouse

Baby Willow Grouse


A different looking rock face.  I see a face on the right

A large landslide across our road

Up in the pea soup fog yesterday

I thought these tree stumps looked like gravestones in the fog

John grabbed some Yellow Cedar wood for our last campfire at Cluxewe last night

Some high elevation daisies

A bog flower

The temperature is a bit warmer than we’ve been used to.  It sounds like it will get quite a bit warmer over the weekend.  Aileen will be looking for cool.  She is the only one who enjoyed the cool north island weather.   Yesterday when John and I were up the mountain on the ATVs it was downright frigid.  We were in pea soup fog and it was damp enough to lay the dust in places.  The past two months were some of the poorest I’ve experienced in the mountains as far as visibility goes.  I wasn’t able to get any decent shots over the ocean to the mainland mountains which I had been hoping to do.  I wonder if it is just a run of bad luck weather wise or if it is pollution that is here to stay.