Thursday, February 11, 2016

Guardian of the Garlic

Here's some more pictures from that Spring day we had on Tuesday.  I was puttering around in the garden, not accomplishing a whole lot.  Just a bit of random clean up and this and that.  Remember that lumberjack window we made last year by cutting two of the fir trees down on the south property line?  Well it's great, it allows a patch of sunlight to slowly sweep across the garden, until such time that the sun is high enough to shine over the tops of the trees. Luna came in and plonked herself down to soak up some sun too.  That's the garlic right in front of her.

It got planted rather late, I think about the end of November, but I'm happy to see that pretty well every clove has sent up a shoot.  I should have kept more to plant, instead of selling so much.  Oh well.

There are quite a few rather pathetic leeks left too.  Skinny little things, because they got overrun with weeds last summer and were struggling to survive.  I use them when I make stock or bone broth. I cut them in half lengthways so that I can wash the dirt out from between the layers, and throw the whole thing in the stock pot.  I use them in soups too.

And here's the last of the red cabbages.  Not very big, about the size of a large apple.  Little skinny worms like to spend the winter between the outer layers, so you have to pull quite a few layers off, and even now I'd be checking or pulling off a few more layers before I used the cabbage.

The hens enjoyed the pieces I pulled off.

And they stood along the fence and preened themselves in the sun

Or laid down to sunbathe.

I did some cleaning up in the greenhouse too.  Pulled all the old tomato plants out, and some weeds that were coming up already.  I need to get the benches back in there and get some seeds started.

I saw daffodils blooming in Vancouver today!
It was a long day in there.  After taking the dogs for a walk in the dark, we left here at 6:30 am.  Larry was supposed to check in at 8am, and we were there with a bit of time to spare.  I left about 8:30 after he went to be prepped for surgery.  I found a McDonalds not too far away that had a parking lot, so I didn't have to try find street parking, and sat in there about an hour drinking coffee and reading the newspaper.  Then I drove to a thrift store and spent an hour in there, slowly looking at everything, trying to kill time.  Larry said after that he thought that he was the last one to go for surgery.  They do a lot of eye surgeries at this hospital.  After the surgery he had to lay on his back for an hour.  I was phoned at 11:25 when he came out of surgery, and was to pick him up in an hour.  Then we had to go straight to the doctors office so he could check that everything was staying in place.  He had to 'decompress' the eye.  The air bubble that holds the layer of cells in place was too big.  So some drops went in, back into the waiting room for a while and then back into the exam room to reduce the size of the bubble.   We were there more than an hour, because I had to pay $10 for two hours of parking.  Usually when we go to his office we are able to find free parking a bit farther afield, and have a bit of a walk.  Since Larry isn't really supposed to be walking around, and it was raining, the only option was the parking under the building.  Anyway, we finally got out of there just after 2pm.  Slow going driving through Vancouver with all the traffic lights, but once we got on the freeway and were able to use the HOV lane because there were two of us in the car, it went pretty well.  We got home just after 3.  I thought Jake and Luna would be having to cross their legs, they aren't left that long without a break outside,  very often.  That darn Luna and her iron bladder, she didn't even want to go out and pee when we finally got home.
Larry has to lay around tomorrow, and then back to Vancouver for checkups on Monday and Friday.

PS  I started playing around with the blog design.  Let me know if you don't like the font ( I think it might be a bit harder to read).  Sometimes you just want to change things up a bit....
PPS I changed it again.  This is more of a happy median between the original font and the first one I changed it too. I decided that that first change really WAS harder to read.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

One Fine Day

On Tuesday, it was just like Spring.  A fond memory now that we are back into a stretch of clouds and rain.  It was so lovely, and sunny, and warm. 

Because we, or at least one of us, had to head into town to pick up the antibiotics that Larry had to start today for tomorrow's eye surgery, I suggested we take the dogs along and walk them on a different dyke.  So we got on the freeway and got off at exit 99 at the Cole Rd rest stop.  I was driving and I parked there and I saw Larry make a face, and there was mention of it being a bit of a walk to get on the actual dyke.  I said well it just starts over there, but totally forgot about the park we had to walk through just down the road to get the part of the dyke I was thinking of.  Anyway, we plodded off, and I'm sure poor Calli was just about pooped out by the time we got there.  We walked down a bit of the dyke before we turned around. Did I say it was a beautiful day?....:)

Mt. Baker in Washington State peeking over the shoulder of Vedder Mountain.

Mt Cheam and Lady Peak in the background, and blueberries behind the dogs.

  The warm weather had brought out a ton of tiny little bugs down near the water level.

  There were a few Common Mergansers in the river, but it was hard to get a decent photo. I kept telling them to stay still but they wouldn't listen.

The eagle slingshot:)

And another Bald Eagle just across the river.  

If we don't leave so many years between visits, I might remember to park in the right spot next time.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Mostly about Calli

We disappeared up to Oliver for a week. Needed a break sort of, and I wasn't able to do anything yet regarding most of my mum's affairs. Larry decided that it was a good time to come down with the flu.  Maybe it was sort of a mild case, he didn't do much but sleep for a couple of days, and then on the third day he was able to get himself to the dog park with Jake and Calli while I did a run with Luna.  Recovery has been slow, but he's getting there.  Thankfully it didn't happen later, because while at Oliver we got a call to say that there was a cancellation, and would he be available for eye surgery on Feb. 11.  That is to do an epithelial cell transplant in his second eye because of his Fuch's Dystrophy. Yippee!  We are close to two years now, first with the cataract surgery, waiting for each of those, then the disappointment of those not improving his vision because the Fuch's Dystrophy had been aggravated.  Then waiting for the surgery to do the cell replacement, the first one was postponed due to lack of donor tissue, finally it was done at the end of June last year. Hopefully this one will happen on the 11th, but we won't know for sure until the day before.  Then there will be the recovery from that, and then finally he will be able to get a new prescription for his glasses.  
Anyway, on Jan 26th, Calli turned 16, which is a mighty fine age for a dog, especially a lab/golden retriever cross, and especially so considering what she has dealt with.

At this point now, her back legs have no strength at all. She used to be able to pull herself up and get around well, but not at all now.  Of course as a senior dog, she spends a lot of time sleeping.  We have to hold her up while she eats, and what comes out the other end is manipulated by us. We used to be able to tell her to 'go pee, go pee' and something eventually would click and she would. Now she can't hear us anyway, and she can't walk around.
Her favourite spot to sleep is in the basement, she had a big mat there.  In the last year that she has lost all strength in her back legs, she can't move around on her mat much.  But, her front legs are super strong, so she will push herself up with those, and then the back end just slides away, and eventually she ends up off her mat. 
Last summer in garage sale season, I went to one held by someone that use to sell dog supplies.  I got this cool dog playpen.  It was funny, there was another lady hanging around waiting to see if I would walk away from it.  She was informed by the owner that it was for dogs, not kids, and the woman laughed and said she was sure her daughter-in-law wouldn't want to get a dog pen for her kids.  Anyway, it was brand new, I paid $10, and it folds up like a baby playpen.  I figured I could fit two dogs in it, and if I made a top for it, maybe I could use it at agility trials or something (if I ever enter one again). 
Since Calli often would start barking if she ended up off her mat, and she has a loud bark, and having to head down the to basement to sort her out at 2am wasn't really appreciated, I tried her with the dog playpen, and it really is perfect.  If she starts pushing herself around with her front legs, she can't really go anywhere, we just have to remember to zip the door shut.

We didn't take it to Oliver, because really there isn't enough room there.  This is were she sleeps there, in a nook created by the end of the loveseat and a kitchen island.  The first night I was woken by some thumping, not barking.  I figured it had to be Calli so I got up and and she was off her mat and across the room by that little three legged table you can see at the end of the other loveseat.  The thumping was her pushing herself up with the front legs, and then her body sliding backwards and the elbows thumping back down on the floor.

We did have a dog crate with us, but it wasn't big enough for her to lay full out like she is here.  So the next night I got creative and made a pen out of furniture.  It worked.  No barking.  Luna decided it was her turn, and she whined to go out, so I had to get up anyway.  

The third night Calli barked again, even though she was still on her mat. Who knows why, she is doing that more often now.  Up again, I got the dog brush and brushed her for a couple of minutes, that seemed to work. 
The fourth night, the same thing, and yay! Larry felt good enough to get up that time.  The last three nights were quiet ones, thank goodness.

This is the second day there, Larry was still out for the count, and I was walking the dogs down the dyke. It is a relaxed walk, as Calli doesn't go that fast, and the other two get lots of time for sniffing and doing dog stuff. 
 I was hoping to see some decent snow while we were at Oliver, but this is as much as we got.

Keep on rolling Calli girl:)

Monday, January 25, 2016


Sadly, my Mum passed away early Saturday morning. Thank you for your kind words in the previous post.

Audrey Jean 
Aug 1929 - Jan 2016

On the Empress of England, the ship that brought us across the Atlantic Ocean from England.

On the way to Williams Lake

Our apartment in Williams Lake

Sightseeing in the Cariboo

Her 82nd birthday in 2011, after having the stroke.

Christmas 2013, the last one she would spend at our house.

Rest in peace, Mum. 
 Say hello to Dad.  
Love and miss you both.

Friday, January 22, 2016

A Rainbow at the End of the Storm

It was a mixed up weather day today.  When I left home this morning, it was a torrential downpour.  As I headed west I could see it getting brighter, and by the time I reached South Surrey it had started to clear up. Later on the sun came out and the roads dried, and it was a nice drive home.  It took longer to clear up here, and the roads hadn't dried, but it was decent enough.  We took the dogs for a walk around the block about 3pm, and wouldn't you know it, that one leftover water filled cloud decided to dump on us as we were half way round.  By the time we were heading up the last little hill to home, the sun was coming out again.

And look, there must be a pot of gold in our back yard! The rainbow disappears behind our roof.

And the house kitty corner to us might have a pot of gold on their property too!

Maybe it is a good sign. 
 I spent a few hours today sat at my mother's bed side in the care home.  I got a phone call at 5:45 this morning to tell that she wasn't doing well.  She was in a lot of pain, had refused oral pain meds, so had, on the advice of the on-call doctor,  received a shot of morphine.  She was also receiving oxygen.  She seemed to recognize me, cracked one eye open and gave the smallest of nods when I told her I was there, but otherwise was not responsive.  We've had a couple of incidents in the past year that made us think her time was up.  She surprised us all.  This is worse.  
For the most part she seemed to be comfortable while I was there, got no better or worse. 
Only time will tell.

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Ass Backwards

Meredith and I are doing it all wrong.  We are entering runs before we've done any running training.  It was me that suggested we do a series of trail runs this winter, two of which happened before we had done hardly any training runs.  ( I started with a training clinic last Wednesday, and did a 'homework' run on Friday.)

  So last Sunday, on that dreary wet morning, we met at Campbell Valley Park and ran a 5K.  As in the previous race on New Years Day, we started near the back of the pack, because we knew we weren't going to be fast.  The rain was not heavy, sort of medium I guess.  It wasn't long before the group got held  up going down a steep, and quickly getting slippery, narrow trail.   And then before long we got off the wide gravel trail that was at the bottom of the hill, and onto one that was rougher and narrow, and yes, muddier.  So it was a bit slow going through there, but eventually we got out of the trees and onto a wider trail, and oh, there were a few wooden boardwalks too. Parts of it were quite nice, if you like mossy, damp West Coast rainforest scenery.  I tried to video the trail as we were running. Apparently when I thought the phone was videoing, it wasn't, and when I thought I turned it off, I actually turned it on.  So I had 23 minutes of the inside of my pocket, (black) complete with sound effects. At the end of the valley we had to climb up to the top of the hill again, that was a steep one, and there were even some steps at the very top. The second half of the race was better because people were more spread out, and it was relatively flat.  By this point I had found my stride and felt really good.  The 1 km and 2 km points are marked, and then they sneakily don't mark the 3 km.  You are starting to think, that surely another kilometre must have passed, where is that darn sign? and then all of a sudden you are at the 4 km mark.  Only one to go.  I felt really good, I wanted to pick up the pace a bit, but my running partner was a bit reluctant.  I slowly started to move ahead and she followed, we were able to pass a few people and we finished really strong, and I felt great. 

 You know that runner's high they talk about, well I was really feeling it on Sunday, and it even carried on to Monday, I felt that good.  I think part of it too was that on Saturday, I was having trouble with my back, with muscle contractions on the left side.  It started to get really bad about lunchtime.  I did put a heating pad on it and that helped.  In the afternoon we had to do a fair bit of driving, and I was all cramped up again when I got out of the car each time. I was feeling really disappointed because I knew in that condition, I wouldn't be able to run. Some of the time I could hardly walk.  That night before I went to bed I took some Ibuprofen and hoped for the best.  I told Meredith I was coming to cheer her on if I couldn't run myself.  I was quite pleased when I got up Sunday morning and my back felt good.  It did deteriorate a bit once I was up and moving around, but it didn't get any worse than that.  I was going to start the run, and if I had to pull out part way, well so be it.  In fact my back felt better after the run than it did before the race started.
We certainly weren't any world beaters time wise, but we ran the whole way, non-stop, and felt like we could do more at the end. Or at least I did.  The next run in the series is an 8K in Aldergrove Lake Park, that's on Feb 7.  The running clinic we will both be going to on this Wednesday is working towards us running the 10K Sun Run in the middle of April.  My 'bucket list' goal is to finish that in under an hour.  I have some work to do.

Luna was my training buddy on Friday.  I have the leash fastened to a belt around my waist.  She is pretty good, she only tried to trip me up once!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Frugal Friday

Wednesday was my big shopping trip.  I was just out of dog food, and the butcher shop had said they wouldn't have any of the frozen blocks ready until Wednesday.   So Wednesday morning, off I went. Since I had to go 2/3 of the way into town to get the dog food, I might as well go the rest of the way and get some groceries.  And since my route took me past two thrift stores, I might as well stop in and see if there was anything I couldn't live without.  I only spent about $5 total at the two stores.  This is the 'coolest' thing I found.  It was hanging on the end of a display and caught my eye,  and from a distance it made me think of chain mail.  Just like a pack rat, (or is that a magpie?) I'm attracted to things bright and shiny,

 Anyway, I walked over to check it out, knowing that I never really go anywhere that would require a cute shiny little purse like that. was only a dollar, and then I realized just how cool it was.  It was made out of pull tabs, the ones on the top of beer or pop cans. I did a rough count at one point, and a very rough guess would be around 600 of those little things.

Some one had even put a lining in it and a zipper across the top.  

The strap was really flexible and the whole thing was very sturdy.  I honestly couldn't get over it!  Why had no-one else recognized the uniqueness of that little purse!  And ... it was only $1.  Less than the price of a cup of coffee.  This is the bottom.

That reminded me of another little purse I picked up quite a while ago.  I think it was only $1 as well.   Maybe if I was wearing a flapper dress, this would be the purse to have?  Once again I couldn't resist.  All those shiny sequins...

I can keep all the shininess together.  The flapper purse will fit inside the other one.  Maybe one day I'll go to something that calls for a shiny little purse.  And then I won't be able to decide which one I should use:)