Thursday, September 27, 2012


Our beautiful sunny weather is still holding which is nice except for the extreme fire danger.   I did some geocaching several days this week.   Last Sunday, Mitzy and I found some nice trails to cache on while Aileen was at church.  On Monday, I went out with my sister Janet and her husband, John.  We had a good day finding a dozen.  I only got to claim eight as I had already found four of them on my own.  On Tuesday, I took Mitzy with me and we wandered some trails in the bush behind the farm I lived on in my teens picking up a couple caches.  The Broadleaf Maples were shedding their leaves creating a beautiful, glowing forest floor.  On Wednesday, we went to Cumberland to visit our longtime friends, Lynda and Perry.  We found a couple caches along the way.
There was no geocaching today as we went to Victoria for Aileen’s last acupuncture treatment.  I dropped her at her appointment, walked Mitzy along the waterfront for a few minutes then picked up our friend Bev.  By the time we got back to pick up Aileen, she was waiting for us.  We drove up near Duncan where we had a leisurely lunch at the Pioneer House Restaurant.   We then stopped at a farm market just up the road for Bev to stock up on produce to take to her mother’s where she will be for the next week and a half.
On Monday evening, I took Chas’ place bowling as he had a crash while playing volleyball last Thursday and was too sore.  Sheila had gone to Vancouver Thursday to help her son who had nose surgery the next day.  Since she wasn’t home yet, Aileen went to Toastmasters in her place.  Aileen has been enjoying Toastmasters and plans to join the group in Florence, AZ.  She also went to a Toastmasters event in Qualicum on Tuesday. 

Upper trail, lower trail, they're both beautiful!  Where Mitzy and I were geocaching Sunday.

These two shots were taken on our Tuesday outing

This is the MV Coho, the ferry we will take from Victoria to Port Angeles on October 14.

Here it is heading across the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  That's the Olympic Peninsula in Washington 
State in the background.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Firewood and geocaching still played a big role this past week.  I’ve done quite a bit of walking looking for caches and seen some interesting places.  I’m up to 163 caches found now.   We’ve both been working on my Mom’s diary and this morning finished assembling 1994 with the last page being 4,718.  We’ve been at this for quite a few years!   Aileen is now into April 1995 and still typing. 
I have done some cycling when time permits and Aileen has enjoyed going to Toastmasters with Sheila.  Aileen intends to join Toastmasters in Florence this winter.    I went to the Coombs Opry last night.  This is a monthly music evening with the Coombs Old Time Fiddlers leading off followed by an open stage.  Last night was an excellent batch of musicians including my sister Wendy.  Many different types of music  were played and there was lots of mixing of performers sharing the stage and backing each other up.
On Wednesday, Chas decided to take down a large dead fir tree behind the motor home.  He climbed up his long ladder and attached a long rope to the tree then Sheila and I pulled on the rope to ensure the tree went right down the center of the lawn.  It did, so no fence or plants were damaged.  We had Aileen behind us trying to get a picture and watching the dogs.  I hauled the blocks down to the splitter that night then the next morning, Aileen and I split them all.  It is all stacked along the fence now and there is probably close to enough wood for next winter.  It will stay out and dry til next fall when it will move into the woodshed which is already full for this winter.  The last part of the job was cleaning all the branches and debris off the lawn.  I hauled it away with the tractor and dumped it on a burn pile.
Last Tuesday, we took chili and other lunch fixings and met cousin Bill Van B at Dagmar and Fred’s in Bowser.  We enjoyed a great visit and lunch.  Bill brought part of the lunch and Dagmar supplied some as well.  It took some planning, but it was all gluten free. 
I was disappointed to receive an email this morning cancelling the ATV weekend that was coming next week.  Apparently the forest is closed to motorized recreation since the fire hazard is still extreme.  There is a possibility of rain on Monday but the decision has been made.   I guess I’m finished riding here for this year.  Now I have to wait til we get to Florence.   We had been planning to move the motor home up to a campground to join the rest of the group, but that has all fallen through now.
I finally got our travel health insurance bought this week.   That isn’t all that simple, apparently.  Every company has a different interpretation of medical conditions it seems.  One company even penalized me for not having had a complete physical in the past twelve months.  A couple put me in the highest category for having had valley fever while others said no problem as it was a onetime occurrence. 
I still don’t have much done planning a route south.  So many things to consider such as what the weather will be like in the mountains and what the travel guide says about some of the passes.  I have a mountain directory which also tells you whether large vehicles are even recommended.  Some of the roads that look interesting on the map turn out to be best driven in a smaller vehicle.  I ran into that on old Route 66 a few years ago.  I was using both lanes to make it around some of the corners.  It was fortunate that there were few other vehicles using the road at that time.  I guess when we get to Arizona we’ll know which way we went. 

Spider web on the fence beside us.

Seen on one of my walks the other day.  Note the figurine hiding in the stump.  The little notches you see cut in the stump are where springboards were inserted to get the fallers higher off the ground and away from the swelled butt so they had less to cut through to fall the tree.  This was back in the day when crosscut saws and axes were the only way to drop a tree.

Here we are dropping a tree using a chainsaw and rope

A successful operation

Old stumps nurse new growth.  Here we have a cedar stump from long ago logging with a second growth cedar dominating a western hemlock which is twisting its way around the cedar.

Right across the trail from the last one, we have a maple and hemlock growing out of the big old cedar stump.

There were quite a few of these fish spawning in the Englishman River and side channels

Friday, September 14, 2012


The title pretty much sums up my life lately.  I did go to town this morning to get my driver’s licence renewed for another five years.  It was a pleasant surprise to pay only $17 instead of $75, one of the benefits of turning 65.  Of course there are a lot of things not so good. 
Yesterday was a geocaching cycling day.  Packed a lunch and took off my trusty bike and went to the trails along Englishman River.  There are lots of caches hidden along the way.  I got 13 of the 14 I tried for and I had 29 written on my sheet.  I missed several along the way as I’m not familiar with the maze of trails.  I had an enjoyable day in nice scenery.  I was surprised at how many people I met mostly walking dogs or riding horses.   The only downside to the day was falling off my bike.  I had been riding in bright sunshine along a powerline when the GPS led me into a dark forest trail which suddenly got rough.  I put my foot out to steady myself but it turned out there was a hole there that I didn’t see since my glasses were still darkened.  I ended up with a few scrapes and bruises but non required medical care.  My aches and pains felt much better after a long soak in the tub.
 I was on the road Tuesday by 8 heading for Courtenay Motor Sports.  Got there just before 9 and left the quad for service.  I went geocaching in the Dove Cr area.  Did 9 caches over the day.  I quit part way through and went to have fish and chips on the pier in Campbell River.  Stopped and picked up Bill Van B to join me.    The fish was good!
On Wednesday,    we went to supper with my sister Janet and John for their 42nd anniversary.  Their daughter Merrilee and Derek and girls joined us at the Mekong Delta Restaurant. The food was really good and no problem getting everything gluten free.  Apparently the Vietnamese use very little gluten in their cooking normally.
We did some wood splitting with the machine on Wednesday for a little while and again today.  The tractor wouldn’t start this morning so I split some with the axe for something to do.  After it warmed up this afternoon, the tractor fired right up. I guess it is like me and likes the warmth.   Aileen came and ran the splitter while I loaded the blocks and Sheila stacked the split pieces.  Brother Chas was at work, of course.

A bit of Vancouver Island fall colour.  The Alder leaves sometimes go a little yellow

Some reflections in a side channel of the river

Belle (the dog) Aileen, Sheila and me.  If you look closely, you can see a couple of my scrapes on my left calf

Sunday, September 9, 2012


I helped Chas pull some big fir and pine trees down.  He ran the power saw cutting them and I was on the backhoe with a long cable attached to pull the tree in the right direction.  Several of them were leaning over the neighbour’s fence.  They all landed out in the field where we wanted them.  A few were dry so they helped get the woodshed full for this winter.  All the green wood we bucked then hauled down to the drying area where the wood splitter will assist in chopping them into smaller pieces for the wood heater for next year.
I’ve been out geocaching several times this week including once will my brother in law John H who is just getting started in the activity.  We had a nice walk on some trails in his neighbourhood.  Mitzy and I did a couple of interesting forest hikes in search of caches.  One was about two kms and today’s was about three kms.  We didn’t see any other people on either walk which was nice. 
I read online about an insurance company that sells ATV insurance at a reduced price if you are a member of a club.  After doing further online research, I found that one of the local offices handled the insurance and one of the employees was actually an ATV club member and could sign me up on the spot.   For $65 I got membership in both the ATV Association of BC and the Mid Island ATV Club based in Nanaimo.  Even after paying the club fee, my cost is less than half of the $675 per year my own insurance office had been charging.  I do have less coverage but feel I have what is required, nothing more. 
It happened the Mid Island Club was having their first monthly meeting of the season that very night so I went and had supper with the group and attended the brief meeting.  I liked the fact the meeting was short and to the point, not long and boring.  There is a poker run coming up on the 29th of this month and a club ride the next day so I hope to participate in both.  I booked us in the Qualicum Bay RV Park which apparently is very ATV friendly, as that is where both events are based.
We’ve been doing some major housecleaning in the motor home.  Aileen has washed and waxed cupboards and I vacuumed everything including blinds.  It’s amazing how dusty it gets in here.  I guess some of it is from the pets and some is sucked in by the fans in the warm weather when we have windows open.  It is five weeks tomorrow when we are planning to head south for the winter.  I’ve been researching travel insurance and am amazed at the wide variance in pricing.  Some companies are paranoid about the Valley Fever I had a couple years ago.  One company quoted me over $3,000 for a six month policy whereas another said, no problem, $647!  Same thing with Aileen’s MS, the rates are all over the place.  So far it is cheaper to use a different company for each of us.

Mitzy and I found this quiet stretch of Englishman River geocaching the other day

The trail along the river

The woodpeckers love this old Cedar on the river bank

Apparently our truck had been sitting too long.  This was in the wheelwell

I watched the threshing demo at the Cowichan Valley Fall Fair on Friday

These two old Farmall Cubs brought back some memories for me.  I learned to drive one of these when I was just five years old.

Spotted this beauty in Rathtrevor Beach Park yesterday while geocaching.  I think it is a Coral Fungus

Sunday, September 2, 2012


The day after my last post, we finished hauling in the rest of the wood Charlie had drying out behind the barn.  We hauled twelve loads and put on between seven and eight kms doing so.  Unfortunately, it didn’t fill the woodshed so now we have to go find some more dry wood.
I went and visited my Mom after supper the other night.  She was in the hall gumming an egg sandwich so I pushed her down to her room so I could sit down.  I didn’t get much response til the sandwich was mostly gone then she got into visiting mode.  We danced to her iPod music, with me on the couch and her in the wheelchair.  She really seems to enjoy that.  Does she know me?  I doubt it, but it doesn’t matter when she’s happy.
We spent last Thursday on a trip to Victoria for another acupuncture appointment for Aileen.  We picked up friend Bev D and had lunch down on the wharf.  After the appointment, we went to Richard’s for supper which he cooked for us including a delicious gluten free apple rhubarb pie.  I managed to fit in a couple of geocaches on the way down.  I’ve been geocaching part of most days and still amazed with the areas I’m discovering.
Yesterday I went to the local farmer’s market then Aileen and I went to a great niece’s first birthday party which was mostly a great family get together.  From there, Charlie and I went up to Qualicum Bay for the Lighthouse Country fall fair.  It is just a one day event but they do an excellent job of it.  There is live music the whole day, lots of inside and outside displays, arts and crafts and even a few fun things for the kids.  In the evening, we went to the first coffee house of the season at the local Errington Hall.  There was a nearly full house but unfortunately, very few performers.  The two better singers did a double set so the night was filled.  

Our firewood setup

A neat little geocache

Notice the heart shaped hole

Good produce at the market

Lots of different things for sale

There is music for every market

One of the more popular things for sale are the sticky buns 

Charlie's sister in law was selling hula hoops at the fall fair

Charlie's cows were pretty interested in the corn husks

Aileen snapped these two

My sister Wendy at the coffee house

A little waterfall my geocaching took me to today