Title of picture

Lake Cowichan view from our dock.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

It's a Dog's Life!

Kristi's dogs watching the activity at the neighbours.

Friday we were "up and attem" early and by 7:20 am were on the road with the coach to Duncan for servicing. Ever since we took the coach from Surrey to the island, the jacks have not been working. The jacks themselves have all been replaced over the last couple of years so ??  (Apparently they think it is the computer board which they have ordered in and will test out next week.)

I picked Ray up in the car and we made the mad dash back to the house. Yesterday, I managed to secure a gasfitter/plumber to come and install my new stove called "Sofia" and fix the upstairs shower that only has hot water coming out. Did not want to miss this appointment as they were kind enough to squeeze us in.  Once home, Ray drove back to Duncan to take delivery of our new boat and hand over the moola.

We've waited three months for this boat. Nice to see it in the yard.

The gasfitter arrived at 10:30 am and started putting my stove together. Yeah.

Love this new stove. All of the burners go high to 18,000 BTU's and down to low simmer so you are not moving pots around for the correct heat. It is an Italian Stove from Fugar Milano. They named it "Sofia". Greg also managed to fix Kristi's shower. I am also getting them to quote on the boiler for the slab heating in the basement.

While this was going on, we had another appointment at 1pm with Price Alarms to come back and install the flood alert downstairs.  Ray'd employed our gardener, Will, to work on removing dirt from the front in preparation for concrete sometime in August. We have too much dirt up against the side of the house that needs to be removed according to our contractor. The foundation tar also needs to be made higher than the dirt.  The level at the back of the yard, at the retaining wall, needs to be raised up a couple of feet, level with the neighbours wall.  This is to help prevent any winter water levels from coming into our yard. When the rocks are added, we will need fill on the top side so this is where he is dumping it for now.

At last ... something finished!. Thanks Will

Ray received another call and it was Cliff, the guy who is building our dock. He wanted to take us on a tour of some docks to show options so our dock and gangway approach could be started next week. I stayed here with the trades people and sent Ray off for the tour. I did not want to take any more time with the details .... let's just "get on with it". The back yard cannot be landscaped until the dock approach is done first.

While Ray was gone, Kristi texted me that they would be here by 2:30pm. Meanwhile Greg from J S Plumbing and Will from Prices Alarms had finished and left. Ray arrived back shortly after that, so he and I went and launched the boat before the launch got too busy on a Friday afternoon. Kristi and Jason waited at the dock for him.

Captain Ray
I drove the car and trailer back to the house and managed to back it into the driveway after a few tries. Not too bad after not doing it for the past 6 years. lol  Ray beat me back to the house though as the boat launch is just a short distance across the lake from us by the weir.

Off we went on our "maiden voyage". We all fit in although snuggly with the fur babies on board. The boat handles well and seems to have lots of power. We did not stay out too long as the wind had come up and it was quite bumpy in the front for the dogs and they were not too happy staying put.

The boat looks good in it's spot at the dock.

We had a lovely boat ride and then it was back to the dock to swim.

Aunty Kristi come throw my stick!
We all decided to head to Jakes at the Lake early for dinner before the Friday night crush. I didn't plan to cook tonight as I was not sure my stove was getting installed or not yesterday after delivery. :) Kristi, Jason and I shared appetizers while Ray had the Shrimp Po Boy. Unfortunately our nachos were somewhat burnt so they comped it. That is the first thing we ordered that was not good at this pub.

A great day, especially being Friday the 13th. After the dogs were walked, Ray headed to bed and Kristi, Jason and I sat out on the deck for a while. By 9pm it was lights out for all of us. A very long, long day for Ray, especially since we both did not sleep well the night before and we were up at 3am.  I think he will be grounded tomorrow. :) I am very, very pleased that so much got accomplished today.

Saturday Ray and I were up early at 5am after going to bed so early. Another beautiful day. Ray's too sore to go fishing and by 6:30 am we still had not seen Jason up either so it is not a problem. It was quite warm upstairs last night, so with it being much cooler this morning they are probably enjoying sleeping in. We have new ceiling fans to be installed by our electrician to help with the heat up there and I have a line on a bigger in-line fan so hopefully we can solve the heat issue upstairs.

Today we are having Jason's parents over for the afternoon and dinner. Again, as I did not know if I was going to have a working stove or not ... I made homeade baked beans in my Instant Pot yesterday and have Pork Ribs marinating in the fridge to cook on the BBQ tonight. Looking forward to having them visit. It's going to be another hot day.

Jason's parents unfortunately got stuck in traffic coming out of Victoria and it ended up taking 2 hours for an hours drive. They were more than ready to enjoy the lake. Captain Jason took them all out for a boat tour.

While they were gone I got busy getting ready for dinner. Ribs on the barbecue.

It was pretty warm so once everyone was back we all got into our bathing suits and spent a couple hours down on the dock.

Here come the dogs after throwing the stick into the water. Zeus, Freya with the stick and Athena.

Clockwise, Nadine, Jason, Dale and Kristi

Athena chillin in the boat.

Nadine trying out my lounger.

Dinner ... Yumm, 

On the menu was Baked Beans, Potato Salad, Corn on the Cob and my Barbecued Ribs. Kristi made fresh Blueberry Crumble for dessert, "finger licking good". We all stayed on the deck until 9:30 pm enjoying the beautiful evening. A great visit had by all.

Sunday, another beautiful day. It stayed quite warm last night, the kids found it warm upstairs. Cannot wait for the fans to be installed for their benefit. Kristi and I were in the water by 11 am floating about for an hour before it was time for them to pack up and head back to Nanaimo. We had a fabulous time with the kids visit.

Ray and I spent the rest of the day lounging either on the dock or on our beach in the shade. It was definitely a warm one. Ray briefly went into town to pick up something at Home Hardware and stopped to take a picture of how many people tubing in the Cowichan River.

After our crazy day Friday, Ray's back was toast, no boating for him. He was relegated to his zero gravity lounger and bed for the weekend.  Both nights he was in bed by 8 pm. After spending most of Sunday sitting and relaxing he is finally feeling better.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Beautiful Sunrise

The weekend was pretty quiet here at Kyle's Kottage. We drove to Duncan on Friday and picked up a couple of kayaks from Canadian Tire. I decided to purchase a hard plastic one for myself and the kids as I was concerned my inflatable would get a hole from the rocks on the beach with a lot of use. I will keep it for travelling. The employee that helped me decide which kayak, even dropped them off here at the house for us after his shift.  Verne lives at Skutz Falls, a short drive from the lake. As it turns out, he knows the people of the fish camp that my Uncle Ken and Aunt Norma go to every summer at Babine Lake. Small world. Verne owned a fly fishing store in Smithers, so he is an encyclopedia of knowledge on fishing the lake and the Cowichan River.

Saturday we woke to cloudy skies with some wind ... not a great day to try out the kayak so hopefully tomorrow will be better. The sun did manage to come out for the afternoon though. Not too much activity on the lake today. Took a drive into Duncan in the morning so I could go to the farmer's market and see the "massage guy". He sure does a good job loosening my neck. We stopped on the way back home to check on our boat. The electric trolling motor has arrived so I believe we should receive delivery of the boat by Wednesday. :)

Sunday woke to a beautiful morning, so after coffee, off I went in my new "boat".

I only went for about half an hour as I'm still suffering with a sore neck and the massage therapist said a little is good to stretch it, but too much will hurt me. A lovely morning. The kayak travels nicely in the water with little effort.

The rest of the morning was inside chores for me ... laundry, kitchen etc. Ray spent an hour or so hosing out our front porch area ... we have bats in the belfry! We were told the bats roosted there the previous year, but the previous owner had someone come in and fill the holes. Turns out they squished in steel wool and put an electronic mouse gadget in the plug. This obviously is not working so I researched that if you spray their nests with water every day they will leave. So that is what we are trying out now. We will have to get the contractor to investigate and get all holes sealed with foam or something. Unfortunately you have to do this when they're off hunting in the night! They are a protected species. Update ... I looked up above the door and the bats are not inside the house they are clinging to the sides of the siding at the top of the A-frame. There are 5 or 6 about the size of small mice. Don't know what we are going to do. If they were anywhere besides over the front door pooping, we would leave them be as they definitely kill a lot of mosquitos.

Ray and I walked with Freya through the municipal campsite next to the subdivision. The place was packed. A great weekend it turned out to be for camping. The little bit of rain on Friday did not dissuade anyone. The rest of the afternoon we spent sitting on our deck watching all the boat traffic. Since the sun came out there were tons of people enjoying the lake, towing their kids on inflatables etc. Quite a few pontoon boats cruising with their company up and down. Sunday seems to be the busier day on the lake if the weather is good.

Monday was a beautiful sunrise, I guess because it's supposed to rain later today. I got to see the pictures ... Ray was up before me and managed to take a picture.

Today our new contractor comes for a site meeting. Hopefully this will go well and we can start moving forward instead of backwards!

As it turned out, Dave and his builder Roger, are a fountain of information and were able to give us real solutions to the items listed. Hopefully they will give us a reasonable quote and a livable timeline for us. :) Fingers crossed. There is so much to do to seal up the house from weather and the whole sundeck including the supports need to be replaced ... it is more rotten than we thought. Because of the poor decking job (tongue and groove cargo planks) and no gutters for the past 7 of the 8 years, the timbers in the deck that are worth thousands of dollars are all useless. Such a shame. Some of the timbers might be able to be saved if each one was planed down to get rid of the black mold and see if they can be salvaged. The time spent to do this is not worth it,  so the deck will be started completely over without using fir timbers. Dave believes they can save the gazebo though. Might just need to cut off a little bit on each post lowering it to get rid of any rot from the floor. It will be just a pain to move it on rollers out the way when they are working as the thing weighs too much to get it off the deck safely. I don't think the deck will get started until mid-September so concrete will probably not be done until after that either.

Our "landscape plan" will have to wait until the fall with the moving of materials in and out of the backyard. He suggests that we just put patio stones on the lawn and get the hot tub here and put there temporarily so Ray can use it. The lawn currently is a disaster anyways.

Dave also has ideas how to vent the hot air out of the foyer without putting in expensive window coverings .... by upgrading the fan in the garage that is supposed to suck out the air. The current one only pulls 250CFM and for it to be effective venting 2 bathrooms, 2 bedrooms and the foyer that it was designed to do, should be at least 400CFM if not bigger.

The "dock guy" sent a crew over to develop a quote for a new concrete ramp approach.  He's planning to  start the approach to the ramp later next week.  Also the sundeck will get started late in August before the monsoons and after all the company. Not such a bad thing, especially with the weather forecast to be nothing but sunshine for the next 2 weeks after today. :)

Garrett and Kat continue to send us pictures of their twelve day car camping trip to Jasper in their new Subaru.  This is the first holiday they've had together to go explore. They are having a great time. Kat is getting some awesome pictures.

That's our boy standing tall :)

The took a helicopter ride over the Columbia Icefields (Arn't they cute!)

Great picture with the blue water and clouds.

Garrett said his car almost got nibbled on by these big horn sheep. lol
Bat Update:

I did some reading and spraying them with water will encourage them to move on. Ray sprayed them this morning and after they dried off they took off. Hopefully they don't come back. We will check again tomorrow and spray again if necessary. Thankfully it is only a small colony and they are not inside the house.

Wednesday morning there were no bats so our plan worked to get rid of them but not harm them. We will keep an eye out for further infestation. :) After a quick run into Duncan to stock up on safety gear for the new boat, it was back home to enjoy a swim and some dock time. It was gorgeous out with very little wind. Lots of activity on the lake especially at 4 pm when people get off work and taking their kids tubing. The water is getting warm ... at least the top 8" of it. I sat out in my floating lounger for awhile to cool off then it was time to sit under the umbrella.

Image may contain: dog, sky, outdoor, nature and water

Thursday we woke to another beautiful day. My new stove arrives today. Yeah. The burners on the current one are not heating up sufficiently. One burner does not light without a lighter and the bottom oven/warming drawer also doesn't work. A bunch of buttons on the touch screen also do not light up so other functions are not working. Apparently the previous owner bought an Electrolux Appliance package and everything has been replaced except this stove and beverage fridge. Although she replaced the fridge some time ago, the freezer handle is loose and unable to be tightened, (Ray has tried multiple times) so I guess I am kind of getting a "new kitchen" after all. This fridge probably will get replaced as well down the road.

Well the stove is here ... but not put together or connected to the gas. We were not told that it comes in pieces to be put together or that it needs to be converted to propane etc.  Not happy. Guests coming for the weekend and this is what I've got. No gas line, no legs on, no deflector on .... and too heavy to move from where it was left! Fabulous!!!! I arranged for a gas fitter to stop by long enough to attach the gas line after his work but this is way more than he has time for. :( So it will sit in the middle of the kitchen at least for the weekend!

Later in the afternoon we did manage to contact a plumber/gasfitter company recommended to us from Coast Appliances. They may be able to come tomorrow. Fingers Crossed! We still need to get one of the upstairs ensuite bathroom showers fixed. It only has hot water in the shower ... no cold. Kristi almost burnt herself. We had called them 2 days ago to come and fix this problem and it turns out they probably can help us with my new range too.

PS Bats are still gone. Yeah. We took the motorhome in for it's servicing this afternoon, making room to get the new boat trailer in the garage when we pick up the boat tomorrow. Lots of stuff going on still here at Kyle's Kottage.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

First Week of July, Canada Day

Saturday, June 30

Ray and I decided to take a drive back to Cowichan Bay for lunch to get out of the house. With it being a long weekend and showery we figured the traffic should not be too bad. We set our newly installed alarm and off we went with Freya in the car. How surprised we were sitting down for lunch, when I received a call on my cell that our motion detector in one of the garage bays went off and our siren was on! Fortunately with new technology we can turn it off remotely via our cell phone. We were pretty sure it was an anomaly ... maybe a bird flying by the garage window or something.

Before we stopped for lunch, we gave Freya a walk in Maple Grove Park just before Cowichan Bay. 

Acres and acres of corn.

Huge old oak tree with "old man's beard"
When we got back home an hour later we checked everything and of course no reason we could see for the alarm to go off. This will have to be addressed when they installers come back later this week for the last of the camera install.

We did manage to sit on our deck for a couple of hours with the fire table on as the rain had ended and it was only slightly breezy. The crazy kids next door were swimming in the lake again. :) 

Image may contain: people sitting, table, outdoor, indoor and water

Sunday, July 1st Happy Canada Day

Woke up to low clouds but at least not raining. Quite windy today with intermittant showers. I spent the day doing laundry and picking up a few things at the Country Grocer. Busy in town for Canada Day so we stayed home. We could hear a little of the music across the water from the Laketown Ranch music extravaganza on this weekend. Feel bad for the campers with it being so drizzly.

Monday, July 2nd, Happy Anniversary to us. 41 years. Wow, the time has gone by quickly. It was a beautiful sunny morning so I enjoyed my coffee on the back deck. The neighbours kids were swimming at 6:30 am. After a leisurely morning it was off to Skutz Falls to see if we could find it this time. Kind of underwelming but we saw it nonetheless. E.J. Hughes, a local artist from Vancouver Island, captured the falls in one of his paintings. The concrete structures are fish ladders.

Here is what it actually looks like:

Stopped on the way back for farm fresh eggs. A good price at $4 per dozen. Boy do those chickens have different colour eggs and are super tastey. This is the second time I have purchased from these people.

We carried on down Highway 18 and took a quick trip into Youbou. Not much to see but we were able to get 2 new Interstate Cranking Batteries for the coach. When Ray tried to start it this morning it was "deader than a doornail!" We knew their lifespan was coming to an end but why today when we needed to move it further back to enable the dumptruck to drop a load of topsoil tomorrow. Anyways new batteries sorted out ... we had the neighbours kid lift the old ones out and put the new ones in for us. Bonus. The motorhome was able to be moved back .... yeah. Now we are ready for the topsoil. Gord the landscape guy will come first thing in the morning and start moving soil. Things are a happening again.

After dropping Freya off at home, Ray and I went to Jake's on the Lake for lunch. Mondays is 25% off for seniors. Although it was our anniversary we decided to go for lunch instead of out for dinner. Wanted to miss all of the long-weekend traffic. Too many accidents on long-weekends on highways.

They have a murel on the wall in the pub, that shows what our subdivision looked like 10 years ago.

Our House with the arrow.
We ate fabulous appetizers and then came back home to some guys knocking on our door. It turns out an 8 man team of guys were washing houses and windows ... do we want it done? They were already doing the 2 neighbours beside us. Absolutely .... I don't think this house has ever been washed outside since it was built 10 years ago.  Certainly not in the last 2 years for sure, although the windows were done last year we were told. It feels good to start off fresh and we did not have to do it! The guy worked until 8pm and still had to come back for a couple of hours on Tuesday to finish.

Tuesday was a beautiful, warm sunny day. The lake was flat calm for the morning before the breeze came up in the afternoon. Here is the load of topsoil arriving to use for the gardens and back yard.

Hmmmm ... don't think it will all fit on that tarp.

Definitely a little too small!
 Now we put up with the "smell of a cow pasture" (half sand and half compost) for a week or so before it is all used up. lol

Definitely a day for "dock time". While I was sitting on the dock I saw several trout swim by me, including about a 12 incher.

It was so nice I took myself for a short ride with Ray's pontoon boat.

Beautiful day. Started out awesome as the rest of the deposit was paid on my Dad's house this morning so the house is officially sold. Now comes the final empty out of remaining furniture to the intended recipients and the last "junk load" via bagster.com to be done. Possession for the new owners is the end of August but I want the house emptied by the end of July. Detached home sales in this area have dropped 62% over last year. Boy am I happy we finally sold.

The deck project seems to have stalled with the contractor we hired, who was also supposed to do all our renovations inside as well. Work was supposed to have started by now and after repeated promises we have yet to see "the colour of his eyes!" .... so Ray drove to Duncan and went back to our original contractor we spoke to last February and he will take it all on starting next Monday with his site visit that day. Dave will also deal with the concrete and landscaping. The final straw, was the night before, when I was talking to our neighbour, next door, who we have already arranged to build our built-ins when he had space in his schedule this summer.  He told me our contractor contacted him and said he was not ready until January and Roy was not to do anything until then, as everything was to be run by him as the "general"! No Way Jose! His schedule is not our problem, see ya!

Dave says he will have the deck started in a couple of weeks and has no problem with us getting in some sub-trades to get some other work done in advance. (Need some lighting and plumbing things fixed as well as irrigation installed properly.). So now we are not working with the first guy, Roy has no problem going ahead with our cabinets. I am really getting tired of no bathroom cabinets for our stuff. I guess the topsoil will be sitting in the driveway for a week or so now until the landscape plan is implemented by Dave's crew and will have to be dealt with before the concrete gets laid in the driveway. We should have a better timeline for all this next Monday. It certainly will take a lot of stress off of Ray, trying to get people to call him back and schedule work ... it has been really frustrating for him. Things seem to be going round and round with nothing accomplished, so having Dave take care of it all will be a great relief to both of us. If everything gets done by Christmas, maybe we can still go south for 3 months, January, February and, March. We shall see.

The new dock approach ramp should be built next week and I guess the docks themselves at the end of August. Again, a lot of discussion with people and nothing being done so Ray has gone back to the original guy who is building the dock and he has someone to do the approach ramp to tie in the gangway.

So hopefully this will all begin soon ... Meanwhile we will just enjoy the lake. New boat should be here by this weekend. :)

Saturday, 30 June 2018

First week of summer at Kyle's Kottage

Hard to believe we are in the last week of June. Time seems to be screaming by. Sunday afternoon clouded up and the rain began. By 5pm it was teaming down. Hardest rain we've seen since moving here mid-May. It continued to rain all night. The forest sure needs it though. This first week of summer was much cooler than the past week. More typical of June weather.

This week we have more meetings scheduled with contractors for various things, mostly landscaping items. Ray has really been having trouble finding people available as most of them have been booked since early spring.  We need to get the stairs cemented in down to the beach and the rock retaining walls on both sides as some of the rocks seemed to have come loose from this past winter's high water.

Monday, was not a good start as 2 of the 4 people scheduled did not show. Hopefully the rest of the week will be better. (Wed/Thur/Fri appointments) Fingers crossed. My new housekeeper did come however .... yeah. Dusting all of our beams is way too much for me to want to take on. It has to be done via ladders. Jackie and her employee tore through the house in 2 hours and will come every two weeks for bathrooms, floors and dusting including polishing my kitchen appliances. The hood fan is a ladder show as well.

Tuesday morning we stopped at Monti's Marine in Duncan before driving to Nanaimo. Our new boat arrived last Thursday an we wanted to see it for ourselves. It will take a few more days to have all the electronics installed. Next off to Nanaimo for an appointment and a Costco run. Must get more dogfood for Freya and all of our other "doggie" visitors. lol

Kristi and Jason are on holildays so we did not get a chance to see them. :( Ray and I ate lunch at our favourite sushi place, Nori. Always worth the drive. Back home in the late afternoon and time to have an hour sitting on our deck until a huge black cloud came over.

Wednesday, up early again. Today Ray's "helper" should arrive by 7:30 am and after I feed him will get back to moving more rock for Ray. Zack arrived, breakfast served and to the rock pile for him! I headed out at 8am to get the remainder of my grocery shopping done in Duncan. Sunny with clouds for most of the day, but we did get some time on the deck late in the afternoon. By 5pm the black clouds had rolled in and showers began. It was short lived though and was done by 6:30 pm.

Thursday woke up to cloudy skies and the wind came up shortly after. Quite the difference from no wind and flat calm lake of yesterday. Of course this is the beginning of the long weekend so inclement weather is always on the menu! lol Today, Price alarms arrived for our security install. We are also having cameras installed to view the dock and driveway for the winter time when we will usually be away. Ray will be able to see the lake levels from his armchair in Arizona. lol Although this is a "gated community", the gate has been broken since last December, so hopefully it gets fixed before this winter. Someone ran into it during last winter's snow event.  Also someone forced it open instead of releasing the peg manually, so 2 problems need to be fixed. There are long-term renters in one of the houses on the street and it is believed they may have forced it. The bent part was done by Slegg Lumber and they have paid a bunch of money already towards the repair. I think the Strata is having trouble finding someone to fix it as we are somewhat off the beaten path.

Quite a busy day here at Kyle's Kottage. While Price Alarm guys were on the ladders fishing wire, the dock people came and lowered the gangway to the ground so work can start on the cement approach to the gangway. Ray had his helper tear out the old decking on the approach a couple of days ago and the neighbours were worried the whole gangway would drop, even though Ray guyed the ramp back to some trees. (I thought the same thing, but what do I know!).  Unbeknownst to Ray, the end of the gangway weighs about 900 lbs. He figured a few helpers would be able to lower it NOT!  Ray did not want to wait ... so after concerns were raised he called Cliff (who is building our new dock) and his dock guys came and dropped the ramp the same day. Disaster adverted.

The "before" picture before Ray's planned destruction!

And just like that "down she goes". In three weeks, the new concrete support for the gangway will be poured, hopefully. We can still get to the dock via the beach stairs. Of course everyone was there at the same time.

Price Alarm guys, (There were 3 of them but I only got a picture of two of them lol)

The gardener's arrived to mow the lawn right when the dock guys were here!

Ray's "vision" is starting to come together.  A slate patio by the front door will be removed (replaced by stamped concrete) and used for the back steps.  Hopefully there will be enough slate pieces left over to finish off the path you can see heading to the right in the picture.

Friday it was cloudy and started to rain ... of course the beginning of the long-weekend. Good thing Garrett and Kat are not coming for the weekend as BC Ferries is down a ship from Horseshoe Bay and they are cancelling people's reservations. Lots of unhappy people. This weekend, here at Laketown Ranch, they are having a 3 day music event. Too bad the weather is so crappy. Some of the headliners are Colin James, Collective Soul and Creedence Clearwater Revisited, not to mention Sass Jordon, Kim Mitchell and Youngblood.

Price Alarm spent the day finishing the install for the camera's and wireless sensors for the patio doors, wireless smoke detectors, as well as a flood alarm for the basement. Ray hired another landscaper who came this morning to finish off removing the rest of the dock approach to the front of the house in preparation for a dump run tomorrow by our gardeners. Ray has some more garden projects for Gord to do including spreading new topsoil for gardens and replanting some grass. We had Zack move a bunch of plants from the back yard to the front on Wednesday.  Eventually new plants will be purchased and then finished off with bark mulch in all the garden areas. Apparently the deer here eat a ton of stuff so we are trying to plant only deer resistance shrubs.

That's it for this week. Even in the rain the young girls visiting next door were swimming! Yikes.