Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Blogger isn't in the mood to upload photos this morning, so no fix of Rupert's cuteness till later on.

Minus 21 degrees this morning, and all the trees are flocked with frost. When the wind blows, ice crystals swirl from the trees like enchanted snow. It really is very beautiful.

Lucy's leg is a bit better today, she is weight bearing more than yesterday. Lots of rest for her for the next while.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Here Comes the Sun...

I caught the sun coming through the trees as I went out to feed Buck and Rupert this morning. It's nice to have it a little lighter both in the morning and afternoon.

Lucy is limping, favouring her right front leg. She was sore on Sunday, so we gave her aspirin, and have only been letting her be outside when we're out with her. She was fine yesterday, but today she bolted into the woods after Gillis, and is toe-touching only. So now she's confined to a leash, and we'll have to wait and see. She'll have to go to see Brian at the clinic if things don't improve. Poor Lu, she's got hip dysplasia, and is plagued with bad joints.
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Monday, January 29, 2007

A Small Island on Green Lake

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I heard somewhere that if you cut your own firewood, it warms you seven times.

The first time is when you set out to cut it.

The second time is when you actually cut it.

The third time is when you haul it home.

The fourth time is when you split it.

The fifth time is when you stack it.

The sixth time is when you carry it inside.

And the seventh time is when you burn it.

I think that's true.
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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Thursday Morning Walkabout



Lucy has lost her legs

Looking east.

Right. Morning chores are done. I've made doggy beef stew to go with their dry food, cleaned up after Rupert, refilled the water tub, spent quality horse and donkey time, cut kindling, and refilled the inside and outside woodboxes. Time for a latte!
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Sunrise, Sunset

When I was visiting family and friends "on the coast" (as we Caribooers like to say) last weekend, it seemed that it stayed a little lighter in the afternoon than it does at home. Sure enough, when I checked the sunrise and sunset times for 100 Mile and Vancouver, there's quite a difference in daylight, with us coming up short. The sun is currently rising a minute later here, and going to bed a whole fifteen minutes earlier. Happily, this reverses itself and in summer we bask in daylight for longer. In the meantime, we're gaining about 3 minutes of light per day.

Daylight savings time starts early this year, March 11. Computers don't know about this, and will have to be reset twice.

The warm weather will be leaving us today, and we should be back to minus 20 by Saturday. I haven't worn gloves for two days!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

It's a grey, melty, drippy, blustery morning on Inman Road. The weather matches my health today. I have a cold, and my nose is about as drippy as the roofline. A good day for staying inside with a good book. I'm contemplating whether or not I'm healthy enough to go to work this afternoon.

Rupert wasn't too thrilled about being photographed this morning. He has shavings on him snoozing from his bed. You can see clearly where he's missing a chunk of his right ear. This happened long before he came to live with us, and his previous people said it was that way when they got him. I suspect an altercation with another donkey once upon a time.
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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Snow Removal a la Rupert

Rupert needs more space. The snow has gotten belly-deep in his pen, and it's too deep for him to get around now, except for where he's made trails. So I just spent the last hour shovelling thigh-deep snow to give him room to get some more exercise, and in turn, getting exercise myself. This is going to be an ongoing project, I think. Mental note: all future gates need to be constucted wide enough for the tractor to get through.

Monday, January 22, 2007

10 Years Together, Gillis & I

January 21 is Gillis’ unofficial birthday…and marked the anniversary of his adoption date. Gilly has been with me for 10 years.

In 1996, I bought my first home, a ground level condo in Pitt Meadows. The strata bylaws allowed dogs…up to 25lbs. Determined that I needed a dog, on my way home from visits to my mom & dad in Maple Ridge, I’d often stop at the SPCA to see the adoptable dogs. I wanted to take them all home, but that was of course out of the question. One afternoon in January 1997, I stopped in, and amid the clamour of barking dogs sat a beautiful young dog with soulful chestnut eyes; his matted coat had every conceivable shade of brown and cream. Unlike all the other barking dogs, this one was silent. I crouched down to say hello, and he moved closer and licked my fingers. Boom! Love at first sight. Problem was, he weighed about 45 lbs. Quickly adopting the attitude that rules were meant to be broken, I decided that this beautiful creature and I belonged together.

The card on the outside of his cage indicated that he was about a year old, and had been picked up as a stray in Hammond. He didn’t become adoptable until the following day at noon, giving whoever had lost or abandoned him time to claim him. I said goodbye, and as I left, I could feel those eyes glued to my back.

Claiming urgent personal business, I left work early the following day,and raced out to Maple Ridge to adopt him, making sure I was there by noon. Adoptions were first come, first served. I arrived on the stroke of noon…only to be told that they’d made an error, and he wasn’t adoptable until the next day.

I couldn’t take any more time off work, so my friend Michele picked him up for me the next day, decided he reeked to high heavens, and promptly took him to the groomers for a bath and de-matting.

I picked him up later that afternoon, complete with a geeky triangular scarf tied around his neck. He smelled very perfumy, but that was a huge improvement over the way he'd smelled before. There has been ongoing discussion and debate about his breeding. Some have suggested husky/border collie, some border collie/Nova Scotia duck toller. We'll never know, but he's a mutt extraordinaire.

Gillis soon settled into our home...he learned to live with me, Jenny and two cats. After a couple of days, he had an appointment at the vet's to be neutered. Getting into the car, he slipped his collar, raced around the building, and almost tripped up the president of the strata council, who glared at me, no doubt doing mental arithmetic about how much larger than 25 lbs this dog was.

I chased Gillis through the townhouse complex next door, and finally cornered him in a small fenced garden. He had his surgery despite his best efforts to avoid it.

We bonded, Gilly and I, and he's been my most loyal companion for ten years now.

He's a sweet natured dog, who seldom barks. He was terrified of men when I first got him, and once jumped right over the couch at my parents' place when my dad raised his voice.

A few months after he came to live with us, I took a trip to Mexico, and when I came home, I discovered that he'd carried all my shoes to his bed in my clothes closet. Gillis likes closets and slept there for years. He's moved to the end of the bed right where my feet are supposed to go now.

We walked daily on the dykes in Pitt Meadows, between March and October. November to February were off limits, or at the very least, on leash due to the dead salmon that lined the banks of the Alouette River. Eau de salmon mort is Gillis's very favorite cologne. At the very least it must be well rubbed into the shoulders, and should preferably coat the entire body.

Three years later, Gillis had to deal with the arrival of Mike. On one of our first dates, on a grey foggy morning, Mike and I took Gillis up to Harrison Lake. As we got to Harrison, the fog lifted, and it turned into a brilliantly gorgeous late fall morning. We walked to the beach, and I let Gillis off the leash to run around, and within seconds he had found dead salmon to wallow in. (I knew they spawned in the river, but no one told me they went into the lake). Rotten salmon is possibly the most vile odour on earth. Gillis was covered in grey slime, looking so pleased and proud, and completely unable to understand why I was going apoplectic. The hour long ride home was gross, foul, repulsive, disgusting, nauseating and not very pleasant at all, and I spent the next hour bathing the dog, confident that I'd never see Michael again. He stayed, though, and we've been married for almost seven years!

Gilly has seen many 2000, Lucy arrived to torment him, and in 2002, Jasper came onto the scene.

Last year, Gillis gained freedom that he'd never had. He has the run of our 10 fenced acres, and often disappears into the forest in pursuit of squirrels. Last spring, he found a moose grazing in our woods.
He's starting to show his age a little. His muzzle is getting white, and his eyes are beginning to cloud slightly with cataracts. I can't decide if he's not hearing quite as well as he used to, or has just taken to being selectively deaf. He's the last one off the bed and out the door in the mornings now. He still plays like a pup when he feels like it, and there's lots of life my dear old boy yet.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Friday Morning

Everythings's pristine and white on Inman Road this morning. It snowed again in the night, and the results of my plowing efforts ofyesterday afternoon were short lived. Mike will be "minding the farm" this weekend while I'm away.

Buck waiting for breakfast.

Rupert at lunchtime yesterday. He's not happy that all his little snow paths have been obliterated. Mike is going to shovel him some new paths tomorrow.

Molly in the hayshed. She negotiated snow past her head to follow the dogs and I out to feed this morning.
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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Thursday Morning

Minus seven and snowing heavily this morning. Rupert was waiting for breakfast inside his house, and seemed mildly pleased that I showed up fifteen minutes early. Buck, of course, was standing outside with an inch of snow on his back. The dogs had a quick romp before coming back in for breakfast, and Molly raced out for a minute as I struggled to manage the door while bring in a huge armful of firewood.

Very little on today's agenda, other than some mundane houseworky type chores. If we get a lot of snow, I'll get the tractor out and do some plowing.

Off now for morning tea.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


I just got home from work and it's snowing...from a clear sky! There are stars clearly visible all across the clearly that I can see galaxies or nebulae or what ever they are (must bone up on astronomy). And it's snowing. Lightly and steadily. There's no wind, so it's not blowing of trees or other surfaces. It's only about -9 or -10, not cold enough to crystalize the moisture like it does when it's around -30. Too wierd.

It snowed most of the day, only a couple of inches though.

Monday, January 15, 2007

A Day at the Races...

Well, part of Sunday afternoon, anyways. We got to the Hills Ranch later than we'd planned, as I picked up an extra four hours' work in the morning due to intense grovelling by the IHA staffing office. We caught the tail end of the activities, but next year we intend to spend the weekend. The weather was perfect, and the conditions were ideal.

The mushers and dogs are incredible athletes...

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Almost Tropical

It's warmed up to a balmy -12 degrees today. Thursday night was the coldest, -34. The woodstove has been going almost non-stop. We let it go out overnight last night, as Mike didn't have to get up early, and I re-lit it when I got up.

Errands in town are the order of the day. The travelling screening mammography unit has rolled into town, so that's where I have to go. Mike is getting a haircut, and then going to look for a couple of galvanized garbage cans to store grain in (we have a mouse in the shed who's been helping himself to Buck's oats).

Tomorrow we're going to the Jack Gawthorn Memorial Dog Sled Races at the Hills Ranch. I'll take my camera and post pics.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Cold Days in the Cariboo - minus 25 today!

Rupert - darned right I'm cute!

Buck. His wound has finally begun to heal up...thank goodness. Giving antibiotic injections in the pitch dark (which is the only time Mike is available to help) in wild winter weather hasn't been anybody's idea of a good time.
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Right Up My Street.

A completely beautiful day here...minus 32 early this morning, but now it has warmed up to about minus 22. The sun is shining, the snow is diamond crusted, and it couldn't be a more perfect winter day.
After doing errands in town, I took a quick drive up Inman Road. Here's one of Sam's cows. Sam is an old rancher who moved from 70 Mile to Lone Butte last year. He bought the old Inman Farm, and has cattle, and a few ancient chuckwagon ponies. Sam is in his seventies, and still races chuckwagons at the local rodeos.

Looking southeast from the north end of the Inman farm. That's the butte in the distance.

Looking southeast down Inman Road from the second cattle guard.

"At the second cattleguard". This is the end of maintained road. There's one house about a mile further along. The road remains public, and eventually turns into logging road, and finally a trail.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Into the Deep Freeze

Things are getting cold around here. Seriously cold. The temperature has been dropping all day, -13 when I got up this morning; -21 now, just before it starts getting dark. The local weather forecast that we subscribe to by email is threatening -40 tomorrow night at Bridge Lake, which is not too far from us. That's downright chilly.

I did some snowplowing this afternoon - definitely a long underwear activity today! There was a five or six inch accumulation since Mike last cleared the snow on the weekend. The dogs entertained themselves by following the tractor up and down the driveway. A neighbour stopped to comment on how well our tractor clears the driveway...he has one too, but apparently doesn't have "the knack".

Today is the first day in ages that hasn't been violently windy. A large spruce snapped on Sunday night towards the "highway end" of our fenceline, and came down halfway across the road. The tree is BC Hydro's responsibility, as it's on their side of the fence. When we cleared to do the fencing, Mike called Hydro and asked if we could take these trees down - he was told to leave them alone, so we did. Someone took a chainsaw to it and dragged it off the road.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Well, Excuuuuuse Me!

I worked evening shift on the weekend, which meant being late to bed. Last night I puttered around a little before hitting the sack, and so was even later getting to bed than I'd intended. After sleepily saying goodbye to Mike sometime around 4:30 this morning, I closed my eyes and went back to sleep.

I woke suddenly to something cold touching my face - it was a stainless steel dog dish being brought to me by Lucy, to gently remind me that I'd overslept by four minutes, and to request that I please get up and feed her. No sooner was I out of bed than Rupert began bellowing...not braying, but bellowing for his morning hay, which was also four minutes late. Sheesh. Talk about being a slave to the clock!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Various small items

We're still dealing with Buck's injury. Brian was here on Wednesday to assess and flush the wound as it has continued to drain, and he took a swab for culture & sensitivity; he just phoned and said it's growing a couple of nasty bacteria, so tomorrow we start a new antibiotic - this one injectable. Buck is generally fine, no swelling, no fever, good appetite and seems his usual self, but he has an open wound in an area you just can't do a thing with as far as dressings etc.

On Thursday, the service guy came up from Douglas Lake Equipment in Kamloops to do the tractor's first service. The tractor has about 70 hours on it, which seems amazingly little considering the amount of work it has done for us since we got it last May. It has scraped, raked, dug many large holes, moved boulders, lifted contrete blocks, tidied up manure piles, built burn piles, carried endless loads of firewood, spread gravel and sand, and plowed snow.

Yesterday we were up in Williams Lake, they have almost no snow there at all. The snow more or less ends at Lac la Hache. Nearly all the cattle we passed were grazing rather than eating hay. We're about knee deep here.

A little new snow last night. It's a beautiful morning here.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Yesterday we had to say a very sad goodbye to Misha, who has been with us since Jennifer was in grade 8 (this post was delayed until I could let Jen know - she's heartbroken). She was a sweet natured little cat, who loved to curl up on a warm lap or on the rug in front of the woodstove. She developed severe kidney failure over the last few weeks. We'll miss her very much. Rest in peace, Miggy.

The wonder of Wednesday...

It’s Wednesday, and that can only mean one thing – it’s newspaper day! In our corner of the world, the publication of the 100 Mile House Free Press is something you start looking forward to on Thursday, right after you’ve read and digested the news as presented the previous day.

You can read about things such as infighting in a nearby community’s volunteer fire department (there were restraining orders issued over that), stolen Christmas decorations, bickering about liquor licenses at the bowling lanes, and find out exactly who in the neighbourhood is celebrating a birthday or anniversary. It’s very endearing.

The classified section gets read in its entirety, and I marvel at how long the ad for an “older model microwave oven, $5” has been running.

And the flyers! – zillions of them, although significantly fewer than there were in the weeks leading up to Christmas. The only problem is, most of the flyers promote bargains at stores in Williams Lake or Kamloops that you’d have to spend $50 to $100 in gas to go and buy.

It’s Wednesday, and I’m off to buy my newspaper.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

Wishing you health & happiness (& a warm place to sleep) in 2007. M&K
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