Archive for ◊ July, 2017 ◊

31 Jul 2017 Goodbye–July……….
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Here we go again saying goodbye to another month. Time flies when you’re having fun. And…. strangely enough I am having fun.

Job one was checking out Buddy. I saw no change in that pretty old face that looks up at me and has for so many years. I’m really not sure what to expect; lots of change, little change means what? It is never easy……….

My plan was to plan in the Sunday Million but I just couldn’t bring myself to do that with the main shop so close to perfect and the garden calling.

Judith was up at eight thirty and helped me move the chicken tractor. She is a good sport and climbs in the pen to move and replace a roll of chicken wire which prevents these girls from laying eggs under the roosting area. Love that woman.

Next I decided to get the gravity fed water system working coming down from the lake. Despite the fire ban on in all of BC we have had enough moisture requiring very little watering. Lately the garden is looking thirsty and it is high time I get the system working. I tried earlier in the year and it wouldn’t hold the syphon. That indicates an air leak which I found after about an hour of checking things out. Once the leak was fixed I gave the entire garden a good soaking with that wonderful nutrient rich warmish lake water.

Next I put another bucket load of road crush into the same pot holes I filled yesterday. Two or three times usually does the trick. With that done I unloaded the new mill in the production area close to the pile of cedar logs. Ed Weston will get the unit set up and working and then get down to the business of making boards out of logs.

By the time my work day ended I had the main shop as clean and more organized than it has ever been and the first bay is now looking good. Another four or five hours will complete that project. Leaving just the completion of the fencing project and finishing the landscaping on the entry gate on my to do list.

My work day ended at four and I headed for the house. I convinced Judith into taking on the designated driver’s role this evening and after she agreed poured myself a red beer complete with three big green olives.

We arrived at the Erbel’s at six and were joined minutes later by their oldest daughter, Nadine, who is now twenty seven. When we first met her she was a wide eyed beautiful young girl and is now a beautiful, interesting young woman. She and Mark arrived with their dog who played with Nova, the Erbel’s Germany shepherd, until they were both exhausted. Susan is an excellent cook and made a wonderful moose strudel with all the trimmings. We really enjoyed the evening. Judith did a wonderful job of getting us home.

Today Judith is off to Burns Lake to get the T-Bird serviced. I’ll hang around the phone in case she needs a ride back to River House IF problems arise. No workers today and I want to finish the shops and spend lots of time in the garden.

30 Jul 2017 60–40
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Clouds Over Our Beautiful Mountain Views…….

I woke up at five thirty knowing that I had a lot of work to do before Andrew and Dave showed up at nine to pour the last cement posts. We haven’t poured in over a month.

I fed Buddy. Her face is still swollen but her appetite is still good. She goes to the vet tomorrow. I checked my e-mails then headed out the door to get things ready.

Most of the time we pour with just two people but I decided to help and took on the jobs of filling the buckets, Andrew did the mixing and Dave filled the molds. Each batch, for the small posts, requires 22.5 pounds of cement, 54 pounds of sand and 60 pounds of aggregate and a little over two gallons of water. The corner posts require nine batches. Do the math; I filled each bucket, carried those to the trailer and lifted them up and set them on the deck of the trailer. Call me crazy. We finished in a little over three hours ending this long journey in record time.

Dave is playing at the Kispiox Music Fair and left right after pouring, a few minutes after one. Andrew and I had lunch then went to finish the first section of the Southern fence line. Andrew put on the last strand which will be electrified and installed small fence ratchets. I cleaned up along the fence line picking up the old fence post and taking most to the burn pile and saving the rest for Andrew to take home to use on his farm. We worked another hour quitting at four thirty to complete a very productive week. Speaking of which….

When we returned, over three months ago, I estimated we would have all the projects done by June first and missed that by a mile. The good news is I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and it isn’t an oncoming train. Dave and Andrew will work three days next week and all the major projects should be completed with exception of oe small section of fence which will be finished after the posts we made today get to cure for three weeks. As in the past I’ll putter most days and use Andrew a couple of days a month to help with the heavy lifting…

Our twenty year plan was to put River House on the market at the beginning of the seventeenth year, which we did forcing us to get everything in tip top shape. Being a unique, large property in a beautiful but very remote location I figured it could take up to three years to find the “Wright” buyer. Now, with all the projects done we get to enjoy this beautiful place with family and friends.

July 29th

I slept in until seven logging ten hours. I guess lifting all those pails took its toll. When my feet hit the floor I was amazed my back and legs felt as good as they did. There must be something to that old saying “keep the old equipment running”. Speaking of which……….

The plan for the day was to take Buddy to the vet; run errands in town and pick up a small portable mill we just purchased to process the left over cedar from the Entry Gate project. The only problem was the F-350 was still over half full of sand we used for making the last of the cement posts. I decided to load some aggregate on, mix it with the sand and use to fill a few remaining pot holes on the old road which we chose NOT to grade. Once the holes were filled I shoveled the rest off the truck’s deck piling it near the entry gate. It is never easy.

We walked into the vets at nine and were immediately lead to an exam room. The vet came in within minutes. Buddy hasn’t been to many vets and doesn’t think too much of the process. The Vet was very good and she gave Buddy a once over. She commented on how good Biddy looked for nineteen and even commented she has the heart of a ten year old. That was the good news. The lump on her face is either caused by an abscessed tooth or it is a tumor. She gives it a sixty percent chance of being a tumor and a forty percent chance of being an abscessed tooth. She gave Buddy a “long acting antibiotic” and if the swelling doesn’t go down in forty-eight hours it is probably a tumor. If it is a tumor we can expect Buddy to live anywhere from a month to a maximum of eight months. The world is unfolding as it should…………

I made a quick stop at the Credit Union; the exchange rate is dropping and we have “lost” 10% in the last six weeks making the Canadians happy. On one hand that hurts and on the other it makes the sale of River House, to Canadians, more likely.

I dropped off Judith at Safeway and ran errands including picking up our new mill. In the small world department………

We stopped at BV in Telkwa to pick up a few things and while in line I stood behind a guy wearing a Woodland Mills hat, the brand of mill that we just purchased. I elected not to start a conversation wanting to get Buddy back home and clean my shop. When I got back to the parking lot this guy was talking to Judith about the mill. He said he has one and LOVES it. In talking I found out he is working right next to Ed Weston’s and agreed to talk with Ed about how it works; a lot better than thumbing through the fifty four page instruction manual……

I spent the rest of the day cleaning the main shop and completed the task right down to even sorting the nuts, bolts and washers into separate containers……

Judith and I shared the cooking duties. She put together a salad and fried potatoes while I cooked the halibut and sautéed the first of on snap pea pods. Excellent.

After dinner we went to the theater and watched Lion a story about a man who was “lost” as a little boy in India. Good movie.

Tomorrow I’ll try to play in the Sunday Million, work in the garden before going to friends for dinner…….

28 Jul 2017 Bumpy Ride—-Smooth Road
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Buddy came calling at five thirty to start my day. The right side of her face is still swollen and we’ll address that when we take her to the vet, in Smithers, on Saturday.

After checking e-mails and playing in a $3.50 SNG I headed to the new entry gate to meet the driver for North Bay Rentals who was delivering a large vibrating compactor. He arrived at a few minutes before eight and unload a machine slightly younger the Methuselah. Once unloaded he gave me the once over and I was off down the new entry road bumping and bouncing along and hating every minute. My original plan was to do all the compacting while Dave and Andrew worked on the fence. By the time they arrived I changed that plan to each of the three of us doing one hour shifts. I gave them the quick once over and Andrew took the second shift. Other than being noisy, bumpy and reeking of burnt diesel it was an interesting experience.

By the time the day ended the new entry road, the easement road and the road to the river were all compacted and most of the wire was hung on the southern fence line.

I was off to Poker Night at seven and made several stops including the recycle center which was closed; a good thing. I piled everything in the night deposit area then stopped at A & W.

Six arrived to start the game and two more pulled up to the table by nine. I went broke early when my KK didn’t improve against AA. I rebought and build that twenty bucks into eight before the game ended at midnight.

Tomorrow Dave and Andrew will arrive at nine and we’ll pour the last of the cement posts. Amen!

28 Jul 2017 Whoops…….
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Once again I started my day well before six. While the forecast called for clear skies that wasn’t the case; rain. Rain is a good thing for both fire concerns and compacting the new entry road. Speaking of which……..

I got a call from the local rental company letting me know a big compactor was returned early and they will deliver it tomorrow.

Andrew and Dave drove in at nine and I had everything loaded into the Polaris and Blazer and ready to go. They spent all day on the southern fence line and it is now half completed.

I was off to Smithers at eleven. I dropped the F-350 off at All Seasons to take care of a couple issues and walked the three blocks to the dentist. I was seen immediately and given my options; pull it out, repair or a crown. I took the easiest, not to mention the least expensive option, and had it repaired. Thirty minutes and two hundred and fifty dollars later I walked out. Thank you Doctor Dan.

I stopped at the local sand and gravel pit and picked up a yard of washed sand for our LAST concrete post pouring which should happen Friday.

Dave and Andrew had the fence line about half completed. It never goes as rapidly as I’d like…….

I took on the entire cooking duties and fired up the tool box grill with my wonderful organic coals and cooked a nice T-bone served with beet greens and new potatoes from my garden.

Tomorrow I’ll ride a big diesel compactor for at least ten hours as it is a daily rental. Andrew and Dave will work on completing on the southern fence line.

26 Jul 2017 Long — Crazy — Day
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I was up early and greeted by a cloudless sky and dead calm, perfect conditions for spraying. I played and cashed in a $3.50 SNG and cashed for third place. I was out the door at seven with sprayer in hand. I started on the pathways in the garden then sprayed the rocks around the turnaround. After two hours the only thing I have left is the rock creeks.

We have mowed the lawn around the top shop three times and we still have copious amounts of clippings that have turned brown and are an issue. I woke up with the bright idea of using the landscape rake to solve the problem. I spent an hour raking with mediocre results. It is never easy……..

Next I turned my efforts to getting the southern fence line ready for the arrival of Dave and Andrew tomorrow. I marked all the nailing strips indicating where each of the four wires are to be nailed or fastened. Next I drilled the holes in the corner post; four in each of the seven posts that also act as anchors every four hundred and ninety feet. Once the holes were drilled I cleaned them out, filled them with epoxy and set the eye bolts in place. Judith helped me with the process. Love that woman.

Russ, my boat mechanic, called and wanted to take the Nice for a test ride on Tyhee Lake. That was the last thing I need but agreed to be at his place at four thirty. I loaded the F-350 with tin that has accumulated around the place over the years, piled on top other garbage and headed for the dump. Once I got rid of the old tin I went to BV to pick up fifteen pieces of NEW tin for the storage racks. Call me crazy.

I never made it to Russ’s until five thirty. We hooked up the Nice and headed for Tyhee Lake about ten miles away. As we climbed the hill heading out of Smithers we heard a loud bang which I thought was a tire blowing. Nada. A hose to my turbo blew. Russ is a good wrench and had it back on in thirty minutes with a little help from a friend who brought out a clamp.

We had the Nice in the water around seven and it took only thirty minutes of testing to find out something I didn’t want to hear. My new engine, with less than twenty hours, has low compression in one of the cylinders and needs to be torn apart. I hate boats! I drove Russ and the Nice back to Russ’s, unhooked, stopped at A & W and drove home arriving at almost nine ending a very LONG day.

Tomorrow Andrew and Dave arrive at nine. I have a dental appointment to deal with my broken tooth at noon and then will return to help with the fencing…… It is never easy….

25 Jul 2017 Monday–Monday
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First Swiss Chard And Baby Carrots

It seems very weird not to have anyone coming to help today. That is the case and will be the norm very soon. All the major projects I came up with to get River House www.riverhousecanada,com ready for sale are coming to a close. The largest, the fencing project, should be almost done by Friday leaving only a short section down a steep hill to the river on the southernmost fence line. With all the major projects done I can work on little projects, enjoy River House and fish, fish, fish………..

I spend an hour going over the installation guide for the Mighty Mule sliding gate operator. I had a few questions and called technical support. After a thirty minute wait a knowledgeable representative came on the line and answered all my questions. While the gate operates on solar the battery won’t have enough power to run the battery heater in the coldest part of the winter here in The Great White North. My plan is to have the operator working before buddy, Bob, arrives in just two weeks.

I started my work day by spraying the paving stone areas around the house. I usually use the tiger torch but with the fire ban that doesn’t work. With that done I climbed on the Kubota and raked for about two hours finish both ends of the new entry road, around the new entry gate and even made a half dozen passes around River House.

After lunch I turned my attention to finishing cleaning the main shop and spent the rest of the afternoon sorting and organizing all the parts and hardware I have accumulated over the last seventeen years.

I called it a day at five and went to the garden to pick the first Swiss chard of the year. I have a great crop. The raspberries are ripe as are the strawberries which the squirrels are enjoying. It is never easy.

After dinner we checked out the river and went for a canoe ride on the lake. The river is dropping and clearing and is in good shape. As we rounded the nesting island, in the lake, we spotted a mom moose with small calf standing just fifty yards away. Amazingly they just stood there and let us enjoy the moment. Our huge annual crop of western spotted toads seems to be way below normal. In years past the shores have been lined with millions of baby toads. Not so this year…….

Tomorrow I’ll work alone and prepare the southern fence line for Dave and Andrew’s arrival on Wednesday to continue hanging wire.

24 Jul 2017 Goodbye…David and Sydney
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With so much to do at and around River House www.riverhopusecanada,com time just seems to fly by when friends and family come for a visit. It seems like just yesterday the son, David, and granddaughter, Sydney, arrived and in a few hours I will be taking them back to the Smithers’s airport for their trip home. While here we did many things including a very successful trip to the Douglas Channel. David was also a big help in taking care of the boat and helping me with many projects.

Judith was up at seven to say goodbye before we left at seven thirty. The ride to Smithers is always beautiful and interesting. We are always on the lookout for that elusive moose or bear. While they saw several bears on this visit they didn’t see a moose. That usually requires spending time at the lake which didn’t happen this trip. David did get to see the fawn triplets. Special.

Smithers is hosting the Canadian Girl Guides and more than two thousand of them where brought in by 737s which our airport will now accommodate. Smithers doesn’t have enough hotels and motels to accommodate that many people so many are staying with residents that have opened their homes for the occasion.

I was home at nine and after breakfast with Judith I headed for my shop to finish the long overdue cleaning. My am I finding lots of stuff that has been missed placed for years. I’m also find lots of goodies for the yard sale sometime in the near future. The tin will be in for the storage racks on Wednesday and Ed Weston will take on putting it on the storage racks. As soon as he is finished I will move everything to them giving me four bays, in the main shop, completely empty. Amazing……..

Judith enjoyed the company free day and just grazed for dinner. I had fresh lettuce greens from my garden topped with lots of crab from our last trip and finished the meal with a big slice of Judith’s wonderful chocolate mousse pie.

We have no workers coming until Wednesday which will give us a few uncomplicated days. I’ll finish cleaning the shop, do a little tractor work and con Judith into helping me put up cedar nailing strips. The plan is to have everything ready for Andrew and Dave to string fencing when they return on Wednesday.

22 Jul 2017 TGIF………
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I started my day at five thirty. It was overcast with the promise of badly needed rain which didn’t materialize. At the latest count there are one hundred and fifty two fires burning in British Columbia with Williams Lake, a town of over ten thousand totally evacuated.

I woke David up at seven and we were off to Smithers shortly thereafter. I towed the Nice with the F-450 and Dave drove the F-350 with the notion of making it to the garage where they were going to check out the alternator. Well that plan blew up when the F-350 conked out shortly after David turned on Hwy 16 heading for Smithers. Dave called to let me know but I had no cell service thanks to my miserable Sprint Service here in the Great White North. When I did get the message I call Tyler Towing and they went out and towed David and the truck to All Seasons. It is never easy.

While waiting for David I ran all the errands including picking up beer and groceries for the Pizza Party.

Fred and his crew were busy putting in post on the southern fence line which they completed before the end of the day. We now have just eighteen left to plant and that is on hold until we make ten more and they cure for a couple of weeks. The good news is we’ll start hanging the wire next week and should be finished by week’s end. With that done the landscaping of River House’s Entry Gate is the last big project this old boy has planned.

Rick was here finishing the grading and now I’m, desperately looking for a vibrating compactor. The local rental company has two; however, both are rented until August 1st. He has cleaned up the ditching something I’ve wanted to do for several years.

After a quick lunch I talked David into helping put on nailing strips. He quickly caught on and we put them on at a record pace reminding me of one of my Uncle Nick’s favorite sayings “no matter how little you pay a boy, it is always cheaper to hire a man”!

We have yet to have a full blown Pizza Night with twelve to fourteen people. Although we’d like too we have just been so busy and tired from going hair straight back for the past three months………. We did have eight and made a half dozen pizzas which were over the moon. Of the many, many special things, at River House, that I will miss the Pizza Oven is close to the top of the list. Nola made a killer strawberry shortcake for dessert. Thank you, Nola…….

Tomorrow we have no workers. I’ll spend most of my time in my badly neglected garden and hopefully I can get David, on his last day of vacation, to help put up nailing strips…..

21 Jul 2017 Hectic Day After…………
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The day after a three day fishing trip to the chuck is always hectic. Not only do I have to catch up on things happening at River House www.riverhousecanada,com I, if we’ve been lucky, have a lot of fish processing to do. We were lucky. I estimated how much Dave wanted to take home and added another five fish to smoke then started calling neighbors to give away the rest. Buddy Bob will be here in a little over two weeks and we’ll get a lot more fish before season’s end.

I forgot to mention while on the trip an old tooth gave up the ghost when I bit into a plum. Thanks to a root cannel, in that same tooth many, many years ago, there wasn’t any pain. I put calling the dentist on my to do list as well as calling the repair place for the F-350. It is never easy………

I hopped in the Polaris and checked out the fence line. Fred and crew were at work and rapidly sticking cement posts into the ground. With luck that part of the job will be done in a few days.

Rick showed up to start grading the new entry road and while here he’ll touch up the old easement road as well as the road to the hayfield. Once the grading is done I’ll have lots of road crush delivered and then grade one more time and compact hopefully resulting in a nice hard and smooth roadway.

David started cleaning the boat and I rounded up braces and delivered them to the southern fence line. Fred is ready to set the last of the big corner posts and needs bracing.

I spent a few minutes in the garden which is rapidly getting away. The raspberries are ready to pick and the weeds never quit. I weed whacked around the raspberries which will make picking a little easier.

Next I called neighbors offering salmon as well as giving one or two to everyone working.

After lunch Dave and I got down to processing fish which took about three hours.

Next I called the dentist and have an appointment for next Wednesday and secured an appointment for the F-350 for tomorrow morning.

I had intended to go to Poker Night but wisely decided not to go. My F-350 appointment is for eight in the morning and that would have made a short night shorter…..

Tomorrow Dave will help Fred and Leonard while Dave and I take in both trucks and tow in the Nice for another stint on the mechanics. It is never easy. I have lots of errands in Smithers that should take most of the morning……..

20 Jul 2017 Good Trip—But….
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I tried to do my blog on Monday at five only to be faced with a dead mouse and no time to search River House for two aaa batteries………..

Before I recap our trip to the Douglas Channel I must relate one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen at River House www.riverhousecanada.com . I was coming down the new entry road when I came upon a white tail doe with a fawn standing in the middle of the road. I stopped and admired her for a few moment before she walked off into the bush. I’ve been around long enough to know that once deer go off the road they don’t go far and usually stand very still and hope they aren’t seen. Well that didn’t work for her. I drove up to where she entered the bush and there stood her and TRIPLE fawns; my first triplet fawn sighting at River House and this part of The Great White North. I told Judith, Dave and Sydney about it and they gave me that yeah/sure look. An hour later Dave was helping me on the fence line and once again they appeared. Magic….

We were off on Monday at six on the dot then spent forty five minutes at Midway getting fuel. The new engine, with less than 20 hours, is a gas hog worse than the old one if that is possible. We decided to stop at the Smithers Safeway and pick up groceries as the choices are limited in Kitamat. Next we stopped at Tim Hortons a tradition that can’t be broken.

After a quick stop at the bait shop were on the water at one thirty. The engine was VERY hard to start but finally came to life and were off headed for our first stop, to pick up crabs, thirty miles down the channel. The waters were calm and I put the Nice up on step and we traveled for the next twenty minutes at about 30 MPH. All of a sudden the motor started missing and lost power. We made the rest of the first leg at 10 MPH the highest speed I could get.

We put out the three crab traps and an hour later had eight or nine nice Dungeness crab. I headed south and once again the engine came alive and we made the twenty mile trip to Twarts Bay in a little over an hour. On the way we stopped and trolled a point and picked up our first Coho salmon with in minutes. That was a far cry from our first trip where I got skunked for the first time in seventeen years.

We put out the prawn traps and anchored up to halibut fish and spend the rest of the evening. While we didn’t get a single halibut bite we caught another couple of salmon. We boiled crab and had a nice meal before turning in at nine.

We started the day by checking the prawn traps and found over two hundred nice fat stripped prawns. Next we motored about ten miles to a point south of Twarts Bay. Dave took over the controls and within one minute I had a nice coho on the line. I didn’t even have time to get out the second line. Dave reeled it in and I did the netting. With the first fish in the boat Dave started trolling again and it was nonstop bites until we limited out hours later. We saw lots if whales and bald eagles on a beautiful day on the Douglas Channel. At the end of the day we checked the prawn traps and found another one hundred and fifty prawns. We anchored up for the night to halibut fish and have prawns and salmon for dinner. We hooked a nice halibut which broke our line and was probably over the legal weight limit. Other than at the beginning of the day the boat ran poorly allowing us to either troll and go below 10 MPH.

We woke up at six Wednesday morning and I decided with the motor running poorly to head back to Kitimat a trip that would take six hours at just ten MPH. We pulled the prawn traps and found another hundred and fifty nice prawns giving us a limit for the trip. My goal was to make it to the crab spot by eleven and halibut fish while the crab traps soaked for ninety minutes. The wind came up making anchoring up miserable. We had lunch then pulled the traps after an hour and found the traps pretty full yielding a dozen nice crabs to bring home. We start heading back to Kitamat expecting another four hours on the water at 10 MPH. Out of frustration I gave it full speed ahead and surprisingly it came to life, got up on step, and we completed the trip at 25-30 MPH—weird. We were off the water at five thirty with a limit of twenty four salmon, a limit of prawns and all the crab we can eat. Unfortunately the halibut didn’t cooperate.

Two hours into the trip home my battery light on the F-350 came on indicating it wasn’t being charged properly. It is never easy.

We got home at ten just in time to still see all the fence posts in near the entry gate. Obviously Fred and the crew where very busy while we were gone.

I’ll post some fishing pictures as soon as Dave and Sydney send then to me later today…..