Monday, August 14, 2017

August ~ mid-month edition

Since I will be away at the end of the month and my monthly post will be a little late...
and so much has already happened in August...
I'm posting a mid-month edition!

Why not start with smoke?  
That's been the story of the month...
and of the summer...
in our part of the country. 
B.C. wildfires went crazy this year and tens of thousands of people were forced to leave their homes.
 In July we just heard the horrific stories, 
but most of the fires were some distance from the valley.

On August 1st the smoke arrived...
the mountains disappeared...
and for the next two weeks we breathed in very unhealthy air.  
At the same time, record-breaking hot temperatures arrived as well. 
As did my extended family...
from Texas, Iowa, Manitoba and Alberta.

We had a Baerg Family Reunion...
all my siblings, nieces and nephews as well as many grand nieces and nephews.
We met at the farm to kick things off...

...and the kids had a hay ride. 

Who knew that touring the farm on a load of hay could be such a hit?

Two of my nieces (Jamie and Lauren) planned games for the entire weekend, 
and did such a fabulous job.  
We played 'Down on the Farm Amazing Race' that first night...
with teams that spanned the generations.  
From milking cows, to throwing eggs, and figuring out our puzzle...
it was a challenge.  
My dad (aged 95) somehow managed to be on the winning team.

The following morning, we all met for a hike to Othello Tunnels in Hope. 

The tunnels are quite an amazing part of  British Columbia history 
and fun to visit any time of the year.

We enjoyed our picnic lunches at Kawkawa Lake in Hope (barely visible through the smoke)..

...and the kids waded in, of course!  
They were also collecting snails and plants for a scavenger hunt.

By mid-afternoon, we showed up at Kris and Lina's place.  
It was cooking hot and everyone was eager to cool off.  
We apparently broke the record for 'the most people in the pool at one time'. :)

They also have the perfect yard for hosting a BBQ for a crowd!  
Lucas (my nephew from Edmonton) agreed to be our chef for the night, 
and grilled 60 steaks to perfection. 
He loves doing it and he is the best!  
If he lived a little closer I would hire him to grill up the meat more often.

On Saturday, some spent the day at the water park...
others hiked the community trail on the eastern hillsides.
(None of us hiked Mt. Cheam peak as originally planned...
due to zero visibility and smoke!) 
We all met at Bridal Falls Resort for dinner, pool time, and games.  
How was it that we got conned into singing at the Karaoke party later that night?  
Let's just was easier singing along to the car stereo 'back in the day'! 

On Sunday we all met at BenAnna Lake for the day.
We started with a church service...singing and sharing.
My brother-in-law shared some stories of how God had been there for him in unexplainable ways at numerous occasions throughout his life.
It got us all thinking.
We all have stories to share...
and we should be sharing them.

Having this many members of the clan together at one place does not happen often...
a good excuse for some family photos!
Our in-house photographer sent me this one to preview.
Thanks, Lina. 

My dad...
with his crowd of great-grandchildren.
Emma is missing from the photo.
No amount of bribery could persuade her to join in.

Dad...with his grands.
There are a few missing there as well.
All with good reasons.
Kathryn lives in Australia.
Kaitlyn is at Capernwray in New Zealand.
Kellen is in Winnipeg and couldn't make it to the reunion.
Len stayed at home in Texas...where duty called.
Where's Ricky?

with his six children.
Bev, Judy, Dot, Mary Ellen, Kathy and Bill.
Oldest to youngest.

The afternoon was spent paddling...
and just enjoying the beautiful location in good company.

And then there were prizes to be given away!
Kiley was the first one to choose.
Who would not want a 'handmade quilt' by Kathy?
There were plenty of prizes to go around!

We ended the afternoon with a birthday party for my dad.
Though he won't officially be 95 for a few more weeks...
we thought it was a good time to celebrate while most of his family was 'home'.
How special to have him with us at that ripe old age...
and still able to join us at all our weekend get-togethers.

And on that note we ended four days of activities and togetherness.
But unofficially, 
we carried on again on Monday.
We had a pizza party at the farm in the evening for all those that were still around.
That was most of the gang.

On Tuesday morning the rest left for home...
finding their way through the smog.

the wind finally blew in from the west and cleared out the smoke.
we see blue skies and mountains.

Let me end this post on that 'good note'.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

July ~ as it happened

It was summertime at its finest...
a month of sunshine. 
And as I look back through the snapshots...
there were many reasons to smile.

We had a family picnic/birthday party at Greenpoint on Harrison Lake at the beginning of the month.

Canada celebrated 150 years since confederation.
Lucy turned six.
How can that be? 

Oh, and her dad and uncle also had a birthday...
so we had one big party at the lake!

The birthday girl unwraps her gifts...
and the rest gather around for the show and tell.

There's a reason we prefer not to be on Highway 1 on the holiday Monday of a long weekend.
Check out the traffic through Chilliwack at the end of the Canada Day long weekend! 

We took three of the grands camping for a few days early in the month.
It's so easy now that they are all older!
They had a lot of fun.
So did we.

Ladder golf.
Pre-bedtime game.
We figured out that we had to keep moving to keep the mosquitoes at bay.
They were bad!

Somewhere up there beneath the falls are the three grands.
iPhone cameras are great...
but 'zoomless'!
Is that a word? 

My sister and I took in the annual Rotary garden tour earlier in the month.
It gives us license to snoop through some of the most beautiful yards in our community.
It's always inspiring.

July is blueberry month around here...
and we have been enjoying them daily!

Love the colours in this rural scene in Agassiz.

We joined friends for a bike ride to Harrison Hot Springs one Sunday afternoon...
meandering down country roads and stopping for ice-cream along the way.

Another night we were invited to have dinner with friends in their backyard dining tent.
It was a wonderful evening... 
summertime at its finest!

Ranen and Micah were away on vacation for the first half of the month.
Once they were back home,
we had a DQ ice-cream run with all the grands. 
We loaded five of them into the old Monarch...
and headed to DQ.

Emme and Spencer were working that night...
and served us up special treats.

Then they took turns having their break...

...and joined the grand ice-cream party!
What fun!

We may not have trampolines or swimming pools...
ATV's or video games to keep the grands entertained at our place.
But we have swings.
It seems that's all they need!
Timeless fun!

Herb and Anneliese are both having a milestone birthday this summer...
and threw a 70's birthday celebration at their cabin on Hatzic Lake.

We all arrived in our retro finest...
and enjoyed a walk down memory lane with Herb and Anneliese. 
From the music, to the decor, to the fabulous food reminiscent of 1970's fare,
and even the games...
every detail was a reminder of  the 'good ole days'.
What a fun way to usher in a milestone birthday!

We ended the month as we always do...
by celebrating our anniversary.

46 years of marriage is not so common anymore...
and definitely a milestone to mark.

We are grateful to God that we have been blessed to do this journey together!

So what did we do on July 31st, 2017?
We went on a helicopter 'backcountry tour'.
It was amazing to see 'our back yard' from that perspective!
The helicopter ride was a Christmas gift from the kids...
that we decided to save for our anniversary.

We left the hanger in Pitt Meadows, with the option of doing a city tour...
(that would be Vancouver that you see in the distance)
...or the back-country tour.

No contest!
We chose the mountains.

We flew along the Pitt River and out to the hills.

How's that for a panorama?

We could almost touch the turquoise  ponds around the glaciers.

It was the perfect day for a heli-tour...
with just a wee bit of forest fire smog in the distance.
Today would not have been good...
as our valley is blanketed in smoke.

The tour was over far too soon...
and we landed back in Pitt Meadows.

Thank-you, Steve...our awesome pilot.
Thanks to our family for the awesome gift.

There were also 'lowlights' of the month...
friends and family who went through difficult times. 
Continuing to trust God in all those situations.

And that was the month of July...
with its brilliant sunsets fueled by wildfire smoke. 

Thanks to all of you who continue to read my blog updates 
...when everyone seems to have given up blogging.

Wishing you all a wonderful month of August!