Sunday, March 28, 2010

No Crab Boil Here!!


Another week has come and gone and while we are missing the Rockport Crab Boil tonight we are getting closer and closer to being ready to hit the road ourselves. Brenda’s back isn’t back to normal but she can’t sit still so she was packing and cleaning all weekend anyway. Guess I will have to go back to work just so she will take some time off. We have most of one house emptied out and are starting on the next one, the bus is still in the shed but next weekend looks like the roll out for it.

We had a beautiful weekend here temperature wise but it appears that Al must have drug those California winds he was talking about with him back into Canada. Now Al & Kelly were probably closer to us when they were in California than they are now, but us Westerners are pretty good at blaming folks in the East and especially Ontario for most everything that goes wrong so why not blame the wind on them also. And when the wind howls here in Alberta you can water-ski behind a sailboat.

Brenda and Mac

Matt and his family are moving into the house we just left and brought a little watch dog with them. He doesn’t look like much right now but rumour has it his Sire is 175 pounds so I guess he will do some growing over the next little while. Luckily we have room to grow here.

Madison, Ella, and Michelle

Our daughter Lacey dropped by today and brought our youngest granddaughter Ella for a visit to the farm. She was as usual the centre of attention.

3 outa 4 Grandaughters, Claire, Ella, and Madison

So here is 3 of my favourite girls, Claire our oldest grandchild, Madison, and Ella the youngest. Missing are Annika and Luc.

Brenda has been bugging me to get a new profile picture on the blog so we are going to try this one, at least till we get back into the Yaha Tinda and get one with the whole family in it. Till then I don’t think Meg will notice she is not much for the internet.


and here is the old one

Brenda, Meg and I

Like I said at the beginning no crab boil here but we did have some pretty good shrimp tacos and followed it up with Angel Food cake covered in Raspberries, Blackberries and Blueberries. Eat your hearts out Rockporters cause we are wishing we could share it with y’all.

Tomorrow is a big day in the big city.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

New Horizons

Well not right away but change is in the air. Brenda and I have been working every weekend moving our stuff out of one house and into another. Along the way we are trying to sort out the things that we are unlikely to need so to that end have taken two big truck loads of stuff to our local Thrift store. I can tell you if you are 6’5” and like Egyptian cotton shirts there are a ton of them in that store this month. Of course it would be great if you had a hankering to have “JB” embroidered on the cuffs. But that is another life, one that I left behind 10 years ago and I guess it is time to give away the suits that went with it, most of them are old enough that they are back in style though.

I’m still working up in Northern British Columbia but that is down to 4 days a week and last week we found a fellow to take my spot. And would you believe it he is on holidays. April 1st he will be back and we will spend some time doing a handover for the first couple of weeks of April then I’ll head south. For a couple of weeks anyway, and we are heading out with the motorhome for Red Deer and the Mane Event, a three day horse exposition and then I have an Open House to attend as a kind of a farewell visit with our neighbours at Groundbirch, BC in the last week of April. I am looking forward to getting on with the next part of our life but am looking back with on the parts of the job I will miss.IMG_1560

It never hurts to look back you can always see things a little differently from that perspective.

Today was going to be our first ride of the year and Brenda was going to give that new saddle the acid test. We got everything saddled and then the Gremlins struck, Brenda’s back went out and her ride was over. At first it looked like a little rest would fix it up but it was pretty soon apparent that my doctoring skills were not going to cut it so we ran into town to the Urgent Care Centre. Took a couple of hours to get through the process but all they could do was give her a shot of some muscle relaxers and send her on home. Appears that a little bed rest is in order and that certainly seems to reduce the pain. So for a while I will be waiting on her hand and foot and the packing will have to wait. Well at least till tomorrow, she is a tough cookie and can’t be kept down for long.

Here is a shot off the deck of my Dad’s home that we are camped out in waiting for the weather to warm enough to bring the bus out of the Quonset.


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Surf and Turf

The Olympics are over and I am still in Fort St. John, with about 7 more weeks to go before I re-retire and we start another adventure. Brenda is up for a visit this week and today we took the opportunity to travel out along the Peace River. Although over the years we have been out that way a few times it is always a beautiful drive and although the sky was a little overcast the day was warm, if somewhat windy. But that’s the way it works in the Northern Ranges with the wind comes the warm weather. It is about 70 miles from Fort St. John out to the W.A.C. Bennett dam which was our lunch spot. We sat overlooking the dam and Williston Lake behind it while eating salmon sandwiches that we made from some of those many salmon my Dad and I caught way back in July near the Queen Charlotte Islands. mmm mmm good! While we were there we were treated to a little aerial entertainment by a group of Bald Eagles both mature and immature soaring high above the Canyon.

 A few of the local Air Aces.

In the shot below a mid-air collision was narrowly averted. These birds are year round residents here as the water below the dams remains unfrozen for many miles year round.

Mid-Air Collision!!

Even in its winter clothes the Peace River is a beautiful spot and the only river to actually traverse the Rocky Mountains so Williston Lake, the reservoir behind the dam, is the only place you can actually sail across the Rockies.

The Peace River has been a transportation corridor for a long time although the first white man to cross the continent came here a relatively short time ago in 1793. Old Alex did get around a little as 4 years earlier he had taken his canoe down the Deh Cho or Mackenzie River to the Arctic Ocean.


Alexander Mackenzie

Now for the Surf and Turf we thought it was time we ate some more of those Rockport shrimp that we hauled back from the south last winter. We scoured the local grocery establishments looking for some of that Crab Boil stuff that Rollie and Gina used last spring to make us a vegetable boil but no luck, guess they don’t get much call for it here in the True North and the closest supply I know of is in our Motorhome back in Cremona. Although our mouths are watering now with just the thought of that great meal we will have to satisfy our hunger with some great Alberta beef, those Rockport shrimp sauteed in garlic butter and of course some new potatoes and sour cream. It won’t be the same but it will likely keep the wolf from the door.

Surf and Turf by Brenda

And just for all those folks lounging around Rockport now, Sweetpea has all the fixin’s for Frozen Peanut Butter Pie in my fridge so I will be serving pieces to any of you who forsake the warmth and sandy beaches of the Texas coast and head north. But don’t waste any time getting here I will be eating it as I wait.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Still Kicking

I thought I should write a little bit about what has been happening here in the True North lately. Lot’s of excitement some good, some not so good, but all that ends well is well, and even some great things.

Our friends have been following along with Brenda’s roommates trial and tribulations on Facebook but I thought that I should mention a few things about the situation from my perspective. As you might know she has had some health issues and I know lot’s of my friends are embroiled in this whole health care debate in the U.S. I thought it might help if I recapped a little of what happens here in Canada, without going into the details that like the American ones are quite daunting. This is just a simple mans, simple version from an unaweinspiring viewpoint. I am not a health care professional, nor will I ever become one but as I get older I am becoming a pretty reliable customer of the system. In previous blogs I have talked about the great care my family has received both in the recent and far past. No system is perfect but ours seems to be pretty good. Ella is still being attended to by the Paediatrics folks at the University Hospital in Edmonton and everything seems to be going along as expected. Brenda’s roommate although she had some scary moments and still has some challenges ahead of her is on the mend. In her case she was taken by ambulance to their small town hospital and then sent by STARS helicopter in the Edmonton to the Intensive Care ward. She has now been transferred back to a city closer to home where she will go through some rehab. My brother sure appears to be on the mend from his heart issue a few weeks ago, and his wife is scheduled for some reconstructive surgery on her knee (skiing accident) but maybe they were just faking feeling great while sailing in the British Virgin Islands last week. My niece spent a week in the hospital trying to resolve a problem that has been reoccurring for a few years and this time they think that they have it resolved. A few dozen tests involved there. And then there is me, I am going through some of that checking kind of stuff that doctors like to do just to keep up the payments on the vacation home. Stress tests, echocardiograms, Holters and an MRI of my own. Holy smokes when I read back through the last paragraph a couple of things come to mind, first maybe we should pick up an MRI of our own that we can keep in the barn and those lineups that folks are always hearing about are probably made up of Brown’s. Seriously although some of us have had to wait for things when things were urgent they were done quickly and with little or no waiting.

Unusual as it may seem we are a relatively normal family and pretty healthy to boot, just seems like when you get a little older the preventative maintenance gets a little more intense. As you look back over all this litany of care and testing it would seem like the cost would get a little outrageous and probably would bankrupt the regular guy, but with the Canadian system that is not an issue. We pay a little more in taxes and some of you will help with that in paying higher gas prices north of the border but no money changes hands at the point of sale. Yikes what am I saying I paid a whopping $8.75 for parking for my latest appointment and there is probably more to come.

Now off of that rant and may our friends to the south soon be blessed with a similar healthcare fate. If you have a TV you know that the Winter Olympics have just completed in Vancouver a city a few hundred miles to the west of us here. In fact we would have a pretty good view of the harbour there if it weren’t for those darn pesky Rocky Mountains blocking our sightlines. It was a great Olympics for both the Americans and Canadians, the Americans led the Medal parade but Canada won more Golds than any other country in fact more than had ever been won by one country in any Winter Olympics. That certainly resonates well with us Canadians but the fact that our hockey teams brought home Golds is a point of National pride, after all it is “OUR GAME”. But it wasn’t easy, in both cases the American teams took us to the wall to earn those medals. Good Games by both teams! I thought I should include a very gracious thank you that one of the American Sports guys sent along as he left town. And Brian although you probably aren’t reading this thank you for doing such a great job of displaying our country to our good friends and neighbours to the south.