Friday, August 29, 2014

august ~ one last glance

As July rolled into August we found ourselves at Halcyon...and stayed for a few days.

Halcyon is a hot springs resort on the shores of Upper Arrow Lake in the Kootenay country of B.C.

It features three mineral hot pools...and is a great place to relax and unwind in any season. 

If you are interested in seeing a little more of Halcyon Hot Springs...

We enjoyed beautiful weather throughout the month of August.  It was ideal for many things...

...including painting the house.  
It was ten years and time for a bit of sprucing up!
That cleaned things up quite nicely...though the flies returned to leave their mark again before the paint was even dry!

August is also fall fair time over here...
and we had good reason to visit the fair this year.  
Both Ryder and Emme had 4-H calves so we went to cheer them on.... did cousin Ranen.

It was their first year and they did great!

Now that brings back memories of my time in the Chilliwack 4H Holstein Club...
many eons ago.

In other news on the farm...

...we have barn owl babies in the hayloft of the old barn again this year.

Our veterinarian is very involved in the preservation of raptors and barn owls...
and placed a box high up in the rafters of the barn many years ago.
Over the years...
it has served as an owl nursery on many occasions.
When he checked the box last week...
he found three baby owls (about 9 weeks old)...
and arranged to come back in the afternoon to band them.
Well that called for a party of sorts in the hayloft.


My dad arrived on the farm just as the owl banding was about to happen...
so he got in on the fun as well.

We all did...
four generations of the farm family and a few extras!

They took their turns holding the owls.
Most special!

The three baby owls all returned to their nest with a new 'bracelet'...
which will identify the bird if it should be captured or recovered down the road.

Dr. Clegg has been working to protect the endangered barn owls in our area for over a decade. 
The Fraser Valley is home to an estimated 250 to 1,000 adult barn owls...
which represents most of  Canada's population.
We feel honoured to have them call our farm home.

Also this month...

...we celebrated the birthday of our firstborn son.
I'm sure you could never guess his age!

Then there was a 90th birthday celebration...
a night at the horse races...
a few games of tennis...
walks on the river and around the lagoon...
many meals on the patio...

(photo by Kathy)
...and special times spent with friends.

The days are getting shorter...
and the nights are cooler.

As I walked down a nearby hill the other day...
I noticed the leaves are already turning colour.

The 8th month of the year.
It was a good one.

Happy Labour Day!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

halcyon hot springs

Halcyon...a retreat in the mountains of British Columbia.

Let me take you there today.
My month-end post will be far too long if I include our visit to this jewel of the Kootenays.

The name itself means 'calm and serene'.
And it was!

We took a little detour on our way home from the prairies in order to spend some time there.

Situated on Upper Arrow Lake near Nakusp...
the views are fabulous all around.

Getting there required a short ferry ride.

And being a long weekend...
that meant waiting around at the ferry terminal awhile.

But that's OK when you have your 'home on wheels' with you.
We had an early lunch while we waited...

...enjoyed the scenery

...and watched the ferry coming and going.

We checked in...
found our spot in the RV park...

...and checked out the pools.

There are three mineral hot pools overlooking the lake...

...the perfect spot from which to watch the sun set.

We hiked through fields of wild flowers...

...and walked along pristine shorelines.

Though we brought our camper...
 there are many cottages or chalets available for guests.

We checked them out.
The resort is open year round.

I'm thinking it would be nice to sit in the hot pools while the snow is falling!

The chaise lounges would not be of much use in the winter...
and the many baskets of flowers would be missing...
but I am sure it would have a beauty all its own!

Our time there ended far too soon (my book was not finished yet)...
and we bade farewell to Halcyon Hot Springs.

We boarded the Columbia (no wait this time)...

...and were soon on our way back across the lake and homeward bound.

Did I mention that the ferry ride was free?
It is part of the highway system of British Columbia.
A lovely part!

If you've never been...
go for it.

You won't be sorry!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

to manitoba and back...

When July came to an end, we were still on the road...returning from a trip to Manitoba.  We seem to have made that trek quite often in recent years!  Now that we are back at home...and in the groove of things once again...I'll share a few memories and moments from our time away.

We had company in our motor home for the trip east.  Though the younger grands had all come camping with us the previous week...the oldest two decided they would like to hitch a ride to Manitoba with us...and call that their camping trip for the year.  And what a fun time we had!  Our first stop was in Jasper...where we did a little exploring and had ice-cream.

The following day we interrupted our road trip to spend a day at West Edmonton Mall.  Time disappears quickly in the North America's largest mall!  The girls did some shopping...we watched the sea lion show...had a nice lunch together and called it a good day.  Even Grandpa!

As for all those hours in the motor home...we spent them well.  Emme and Spencer decided that Monopoly was a good game for the road...since it takes 'forever' to finish a game.  So we three buckled into the seat belts at the nook and played hours and hours of Monopoly (the 2010 Canadian edition).  We even had Monopoly fruit snacks to eat while we played.  Grandpa put in his 'two cents worth' from the driver's seat on occasion...but for the most part he (and GPS Jane) took care of the driving.  The girls are quite skilled (should I say ruthless?) when it comes to acquiring, developing and mortgaging properties.  I think I need to be on their team next time...not in competition!  And they even managed to catch up on their sleep as we rolled through the prairies. It was a good road trip!

We rolled by mile after mile of yellow canola fields...and just before we reached our destination in Carberry, Manitoba we noticed the crop of choice was potatoes.

We passed by the Harte elevator (surrounded by a healthy field of potatoes)...

...and pulled into my sister and brother-in-law's farmyard.  We had arrived...along with a few others!  It was a family reunion...a long time in the planning. Some came by car, some flew...some brought their RV or tent.  We spent a long weekend at Jim and Kathy's...who together with their family had planned the entire event...including bringing in extra trailers and washrooms and organizing all the food.  There were close to close to 50 of dad, all of his children and most of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

Here he is...surrounded by his grands and great-grands.  Unfortunately, we never thought to take group photos until a few had already left! 

Though it is a dairy operation we were at...if you know my know he will have a whole lot more than just cows!  Think 'Old MacDonald's Farm'.  There are pigs, and goats, turkeys and all kinds of fowl.  And the chicks that hatched while we were there were a hit with all the kids.

As were the dogs...both the farmyard dogs and the dogs that arrived for the reunion!  My grands threatened to take Molly (the white Jack Russell Terrier) home with them.

Though there were no ponies for the kiddos to ride...Nikko was about the right size for my twin grand-nephews. 

Giant bubbles were a good source of entertainment once again!

It seems the American cousins brought along their guns...and all the would-be sharp shooters had a chance to try their hand at downing the clay pigeons. Even a few of the girls got in on the fun.

Evenings were spent around the campfire.  Not just any campfire...but a Manitoba sized one! 

Every day, Jim brought in a fresh supply of firewood from the 'back forty'...enough fuel to keep the fire going until tomorrow!  In the evening we told stories...and heard tales...and played Baerg Family Jeopardy.  (And warded off mosquitoes and flies.)  

The sun takes a long time to set in the prairies...and midnight usually arrived before we knew it.  It was a good time for four generations to be together!

One morning, I saw princess Nola (grand niece) head off to her grandparent's tent.  She thought it was high time they were up...but when all was quiet inside...she sat down to wait.  It made for a great picture!  And here are a few more of my favorite scenes...

The cattle wading in the backyard pond...a pond that was bigger than ever due to the heavy rains in Manitoba this summer.

Kathy's flower gardens with the elevator in the distance...taken the morning we left.

Once again...we all went our separate ways.  Some to Texas, some to Iowa...others to Alberta and British Columbia. Thanks to Jim and Kathy and family (especially Gillian) for all your hard work in making this happen! 

Our homeward bound trip was somewhat quieter, and a whole lot less entertaining...since we parted ways with our two passengers.  Emme and Spencer flew home from Manitoba with their mom and dad...and we were left on our own.  No more Beach Boys more Monopoly more giggles!

Before we left for home...we made a wee detour to meet up with some good friends in Portage la Prairie.  We had lunch together...for hours...and chatted face-to-face rather than on-line as we usually do.  It was another reunion of sorts!  Thanks Char and Betty...for taking the time and effort to make that happen.

From there it was westward...and homeward.  Slowly!

Past the golden fields of canola in southern Saskatchewan... well as the occasional blue flax seed field.  The Canadian prairies have a beauty all their own!

On July 31st we passed through Alberta...

...and celebrated our anniversary with a lovely dinner at a restaurant recommended to us by a local.

July came to an end...and we were still on our road trip.  We spent the last few days at Halcyon Hot Springs...a jewel in the Kootenay region of British Columbia.  I'll share that adventure another time!

So there you have Manitoba and back in the summer of 2014!