Friday, April 18, 2014

Seniors Grazing Club

Calli has been under the weather for a few days.  It started out with what I call goopy eyes.  Lots of goop hanging in the lower lids.  Then on Wednesday she seemed like she wasn't feeling well.  She ate okay, but she just wasn't right.  I took her to the vet yesterday and it turns out that her symptoms were the same as some of the possible side effects of an antibiotic she was on for a UTI.   Nausea and dry eye.  I had Googled the side effects, as I thought she might be feeling nauseous, but it never occurred to me that her goopy eye was actually Dry Eye.  Her eyes were producing no tears at all.  She is off the antibiotic, the urine sample showed as being fine.  I have some gel stuff to put in her eyes, which will hopefully recover okay, although they looked pretty goopy this morning.  She had showed no interest in going outside the previous two days, so it was nice to see her show a little more enthusiasm this morning.  She ate her breakfast and then wandered across the lawn and found some of that nice wide bladed grass that all the dogs like, and proceded to eat it.  


She has always been one to love eating grass, right from a little pup.


And then I noticed Smudge down below her eating her own grass.  By the time I got back with the camera, Smudge had disappeared, but then she wandered back and joined Calli and had another chew or two.



Smudge is 18 now.  She still goes outside, but stays near the house and is usually asking to come back in in a few minutes, unless she finds a warm sunny spot on the deck or the roof.  She's doing pretty well for an old cat, although doesn't groom herself as much any more.  She hates to be brushed now unless you are using the lightest of strokes, so sometimes I just hold her by the scruff and ignore the yowls and work at getting some of the clumps out.  I  keep meaning to get some catnip and see if I can send her into a more relaxed state with that:)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Up the Mountain

The last Oliver post from our last trip....
Every morning we have to take the dogs for a walk, and since we don't have a bush walk on our own property, we have to go somewhere else.  This particular beautiful morning we decided to see if Calli could make it up to the water tower.  It was mostly uphill from our place, and while she does well on the flat in her cart (doggy wheelchair), it's a pretty tough go for her if it's uphill.  We have the leash fastened to the frame of the cart so we can pull her if we need to.  The first part was on the pavement, with a couple of steep bits, and then when we got to the actual mountain, it was a short dirt road that zig zagged to the water tower.  She did surprisingly well, mostly under her own steam, and we took her out of the cart to wander round when we got to the top of the road.


Off to the east there was some sort of fire burning, you can see the haze between the hills.


Off to the west though, looking further up the mountain, it was nothing but blue sky and fluffy white clouds.  I find the exposed rock fascinating, probably because I'm used to looking at hills and mountains cloaked in trees.


I jokingly said to Larry that he should go to the top so he could be silhouetted against the sky.  
I was shocked when he started climbing!
The photo is deceiving, but it was steep enough in a lot of parts that he was using his hands to help him climb.


Luna went part way up and then came back when she realized that the rest of us weren't coming as well.  She watched Larry, and when he disappeared around the last rock face, she decided she had better see where he was going.  She's the black blob in the same spot Larry was in the previous picture.


At the top!


I guess I needed to be on the opposite side from the sun for them to be silhouetted:)


When they came back down, Larry took a different route, and was off to the right, out of the picture.  Luna came down the same way she went up.  Then she stopped.


Jake and Calli stood and watched (you can see how Calli's back end is sinking, it does that when she is tired or has stood in one spot for a while.  Her left foot is knuckled over.)


I said 'where's Larry?' and that was Jake's cue to head up and look for himself.  He made it as far as Luna.


And then he came back down, because he had found a stick, and to heck with Larry.....


And Luna, well she didn't move, and when I called her, she took one very tentative step.  And that's when I realized that she had a piece of cactus stuck to her foot, and she wasn't going anywhere, so I had to climb up there and rescue her.

It's been a very dry year so far at Oliver.  Less than 1 1/4 inches of rain since the beginning of the year, and nothing yet this month.  I don't have much hope for that grass seed we planted.

Monday, April 14, 2014

OUR Bush and Disrespect

Most mornings we take our dogs for a walk through what we call 'the back bush'.  It's a few acres of bush, mostly alder and maple trees, some cottonwoods and hazelnuts, and a few cedar and fir.  The undergrowth is mostly salmonberries.


It was logged many years ago, we can see well rotted large stumps here and there.  Over the years we've made a trail or two through it, and it's our bit of 'wilderness'.  I enjoy watching the changing of the seasons as it manifests itself in our 'back bush'.


Back in January I blogged about seeing two hawks hanging around there.  I finally remembered to check out a nest that is about 60 feet up in a cottonwood.


You only really notice it when the leaves are off the trees, and I've always thought that it was a crows nest.  Already the leaf buds are popping open and the trees are greening up.  Before long the nest might be hidden.


Yesterday morning when we walked down the trail, I remembered about the nest, and was thinking about the two hawks, and looked up at it as we went by.


I made my best sqeaky, sick squirrel impression, and up popped a head, and it belonged to a hawk, not a crow.  Cool!


Yesterday afternoon we went back out there and a hawk flew off the nest, before I had my camera ready.  This morning when we walked out there, the hawk flew back to the nest, again before I was ready with the camera.

This morning, while walking, we got a rude surprise.  There were dirt bike tracks down our trail and through the bush field.

Now I have to back track a bit.  About 8 years ago while walking through the trail, I started to notice these blue blob things.  Then I started looking for them, and then I realized they were paintball blobs.  When I looked harder there were wooden blinds and platforms built in trees.  We could see where our neighbours had come through the fence.  Apparently they had decided to use our property to have a paintball war.  Larry went and talked to them and we took down all the wooden structures.  Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago.  One morning Larry noticed tracks on the trail.  ATV tracks.  We backtracked and found where they had cut the barb wire fence and come in from the next door property.  I was mad, but not mad enough to do much about it, and I guess Larry wasn't either.  I did fasten one strand of wire back together.  It's not much of a fence along that side, some rotten posts and barbwire running through the trees.  We were going to put up some No Trespassing and Private Property signs, but didn't get it done. 

 We heard and saw quads and dirt bikes going up and down the next door field yesterday afternoon.  I made a snide remark about them going into our bush next, so Larry decided to head out there and check.  He was gone quite a while, so eventually I wandered out there with the camera and a bag so I could collect some moss, and a spade to dig up some of the invasive chervil plants.  We were out there for a while, and no unauthorized vehicles made an appearance.  So imagine my shock when we walked out there this morning, and right away I noticed tracks in the grass of the bush field, and then tracks around the trail.  The one strand of barb wire that I had fastened back together was lifted up out of the way.  I was mad, really mad, and said to Larry that if we didn't have the dogs with us, I'd go over there right now.  And then I figured I could just go over there on my own.  So I tromped up to the house (and I had a shovel with me this morning) and pounded on the door.  Unfortunately no one seemed to be home.  I felt like pounding the shovel handle through the window in the door. The adrenalin was flowing.  As I was walking away, I noticed this old No Trespassing sign laying on the top of their deck railing.  It was actually kind of funny to see that. I took it with me, picked up some bailing twine off the driveway, and when I got back to the hole in the fence I hung up the No Trespassing sign:)  When we got back to the house, I looked up their address on Google street view, reverse looked up their phone number and made a call.  No answer, no answering machine.  I tried again around suppertime.  Still no answer.  I was out until late this evening, so didn't get another chance to try, although come to think about it, I probably should call at some ungodly hour.  I will make another attempt to contact them tomorrow.
Not exactly sure who or how many are living there now.  They board horses, quite a few horses by the looks of it. 

We don't want trespassers on their ATV's running over these.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Garage Sale Season

This weekend is the first one this year that could be considered a sure thing for garage sales.  The weather is great, and I figured it might be worthwhile heading out to find some bargains.  Way back in the days before farmers markets, I used to go to garage sales most Saturday mornings.  When your kids are little, you can find everything you need for them at garage sales.  But back to the present, where most of our Saturdays in garage sale season are taken up by the farmers markets..... when I have the opportunity to head out, I jump at it.  Most sales start at 8 or 9, and a random one at 10.  There was one really close to home, that started at 10.  We drove by, but the gates were closed and they didn't have much stuff out yet, so we just kept going.  Their loss. We had earlier opening ones to get to.   We are pickier now as to what we buy, or at least I try to be:)  Although if something is a dollar or less, and I like it but wonder if I really need it, well sometimes I succumb to the urge:)

Here's some of the things I brought home.

2 "C" clamps -$1  I can use those to help in some of my furniture projects, or to clamp some of the props on my farmers market table.  Stanley brand.

Bird feeder with easy open metal roof and frame - $1

Cute wire 'egg' basket shaped like a chicken - $1  I am visualizing it lined with moss and a plant growing out of the back

Fabric waterproofing -  50 cents
70 wire ground staples -$2   I use them to hold down netting, plastic or landcape fabric
A small roller thing - 25 cents

IMG_6916Cool Chicago Metallic brownie pan with lift out divider and bottom -$1
Gardening tool - $1
Excellent dog training book- 50 cents
Microwave, doesn't appear to have been used - $15.

A whole selection of magic bullet stuff, including two different blades and cups with sippy type lids - free.  That made up for the toaster that I bought at the same place for $1 and then found out it took forever to turn off, and the only way to speed it up was to pull out the plug.  Also it wasn't insulated and got burning hot.  A good reminder to me as to what the requirements of a toaster really are.

The microwave and maybe a few other things will be for one of two people that I know that will be setting up on their own in the next little while.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Scenic Route

Do you take the scenic route? 
A week and a half ago, we made an afternoon trip from Oliver to Penticton.  We took the scenic route, and went up Eastside Road along side Skaha Lake to Penticton.  Usually we would take the highway on the west side of the lake, but the eastside was a slower, more interesting and scenic road.  Along the way we made a side trip to Skaha Bluffs park, and hope to go back there one day to do some actual hiking, instead of just driving up to the parking lot and reading the information board.   

Once we made it to Penticton I visited two thrift stores and spent a grand total of $2, and then we had a scenic drive to the Penticton landfill where we purchased a truckload (we were probably overloaded) of compost/mulch for just $20.  We took the scenic route back so we didn't have to drive so fast.  It was such a beautiful day, I snapped a million pictures from the truck window.





Coming in to Okanagan Falls were we had the option of rejoining the highway for the last 15 minutes, or staying to the east of town and driving on Oliver Ranch Road and then rejoining the highway further south.


There are lots of wineries in this area.  I took this photo......


....because it made me think of this painting by David Daase.

Local Artist: David Daase

I'm not sure if this painting is of an actual view in the area, possibly it is higher up and more to the east of where we were.  When I took the photo we were past all the wineries.
That flat faced hunk of rock on the right side of the painting, and in the center of the photo below, is called McIntyre Bluff.



What a great day for a drive, and what scenery.....

Here's the David Daase print that we have, found in a thrift store of course.  This lake is farther north in the Okanagan. 

Kalamalka Lake

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

More on the Projects

Warning...a wordy and not very exciting post......
Unfortunately our planned projects created a couple of unplanned projects.  Larry had the truck canopy door open in the carport, in preparation for taking the canopy off, so we could load some soil into the truck.  He decided to move the truck ahead a bit.  Our carport has a sloped roof, and is quite low.  One handle on the canopy door got hooked behind a rafter, ripped a chunk of wood off the rafter, which wasn't a big deal, but the handle broke in the process.

Then we had problems loading the aerator back into the truck.  Too heavy to lift, and we didn't have enough of anything to make a ramp.  Larry came up with the idea of backing the truck up to the planter that is between the front lawn and the driveway.  The top of the planter is level with the lawn and about 16-18" above the driveway.  We dropped the tailgate right down, used that piece of wood that I had cut out of the door for the window, and managed to drive the aerator up into the truck.  As Larry started to pull away, there was a crack, and the planter wall was moving with the truck.  Because the aerator was so heavy, the truck had sunk, and the trailer hitch had sunk with it and got caught behind the planter wall as Larry pulled ahead.  Fortunately I yelled before too much damage was done, but the wall was leaning out a bit, with a big space between it and the soil and of course it didn't want to be pushed back.

(a photo taken when we were first looking to buy the place)

A few days later, when the truck was weighed down with a load of compost that we had bought at the Penticton landfill, we did it in reverse.  The truck was low enough again that the trailer hitch could be use to push the planter wall back into place this time. We pounded the piece of rebar that had got pulled out of place, through a new hole, and it was all pretty good once again.

We were also having trouble with our TV, or more likely the signal that our aerial was picking up.  We spent a frustrating hour yelling back and forth to each other as Larry moved the aerial around on the roof, and I was inside watching for the best picture,  to no avail.  I got fed up with that and we moved the tv outside.  The truck was parked next to the house, with the step ladder in the back.  Larry was up the ladder and I was watching the tv which was sitting on the roof of the truck cab, since the cable cord connecting the tv and aerial was only so long and we had to keep them connected.  Someone walked by and made a jokey comment about what we were doing.  Nothing solved though, most of the time we still had some flickering happening.  A few days later, there was a knock at the door, and a guy from Telus was there to tell us that they were putting fibre optic cable to the houses in the neighbourhood, at no charge, did we want it.  So I signed the dotted line, and most likely opened us up to a future flurry of 'great deals' from Telus to get phone, internet and  tv service.  We are thinking that we will probably go for internet, and use that to watch some tv shows.  Just hate to put out the monthly payments for something that we aren't always there to use.

The biggest project in my mind this last trip, was to make sure I didn't fall.  I've had a few bad falls in the last 8 months.  The first one was last summer at Oliver.  We were crossing the main road, pushing our bikes across the crosswalk.  As we got to the other side , I put my foot on the nearest pedal as we were moving and started to swing my leg over.  Right away I knew my foot wasn't on the pedal properly, but because all my weight was on it, there was nothing I could do about it.  It slipped off and I buried my knees into the pavement.  Of course the humiliation was the worst, and the pink scars on my left knee keep me reminded of that.  Now I make sure the bike is at a standstill before I try to get on.  Then I fell here, tripped on a root hidden under leaves on the trail through our bush.  I think there's another fall in there somewhere, but I can't remember that one.  The last three have been the worst, mostly because I have fallen on the same body parts all three times.
In December I was at the farmers market in White Rock, walked outside to go to a vendor, took a shortcut behind a dumpster, stepped on some uneven ground, lost my balance and went down.  As I was going down I sort of turned, and whacked the back of my shoulder on one of those metal pipes filled with concrete that are there to stop cars from hitting the building.  That was a bad one.  My shoulder hasn't been the same since.  My chiropractor said if I had hit it on the front, it would have broken.
Then in January while in Oliver, walking in the evening, I stepped on a patch of snow alongside the road to get out of the way of a car, and down I went, on that same right hip and shoulder.  I had a very ugly bruise on my hip.  In February, in the back yard in Oliver, I stepped on some paving stones that were on a slope and were frosty, and yet again I landed on that right hip and shoulder.
This trip, when we had put that sheep fencing stuff up to keep the dogs off the back lawn area, I thought about falling not falling every time I swung my legs over it.  There were one or two close calls, but I survived the trip unscathed, thank goodness.  Hopefully time and not falling on it again will fix my sore hip and shoulder.

Here's a project I started during our January trip, and finished in February.  There was nothing wrong with the table, but I had seen some nice makeovers done on some tables, and I wanted to try it. One of those projects I wished I hadn't started.  I got it all sanded in January, out in the shed in the freezing temperatures.  It took forever, I sanded it down to raw wood.  In February I put the first coat of stain on, and found out that while the table top felt lovely and smooth, there had actually been something stuck on the sanding pad on the sander, which left all these lovely little swirls.  So then I had to sand it all back to bare wood again.  I was using this horrible water based stain, that seemed impossible to spread on evenly, so the air was a little blue at times.  Thankfully it is all used up now, and I'll never buy it again.  The table top is a dense wood, lots of little pieces finger-jointed together, so you don't get an obvious grain showing.

Before (the base was the same as the table top)



Now I need to paint the chairs to match:(

Phew, sometimes I really ramble on. Congrats if you made it to this point without being bored to tears!