Stocking Creek Falls, Ladysmith, BC

Thursday, 1 April 2021

Sunny Days and Hail. March 15 - 31st

A mixed bag of weather over the past 2 weeks.

Monday turned into a gorgeous day. Ray puttered in his shop in the morning, while I puttered with laundry and preparing 10 lbs of pork shoulder for sausage making tomorrow. Also a homemade pizza was in the works with the dough being processed in the bread maker.

We spent in the afternoon at the front of the house and out of the wind, Ray even managed to get into his shorts for the first time this year. :)

We even ate our late lunch pizza outside where I received my first sunburn of the season. lol Of course I did not realize I had a sunburn until the next day. :)

A chilly start to the morning at -2C and fog on the lake. We have a fellow coming by this afternoon to caulk up the areas on the house that the bats still manage to go into. Hopefully this ends our ongoing "infestation" since this house was built in 2008 according to the neighbours. We have caulked up a bunch of areas 2 years ago, closed off the peak over the front door, but  I noticed that they had found other "cracks" to get into the soffit areas of the garage/house. Tricky little buggers. Don't want Ray to be up on the ladders leaning over to fill moldings with steel wool and then caulking.

Today for the first time, I am going to try and make Italian Sausages. I cut up and seasoned the meat yesterday and will grind and stuff it today. 10 lbs of sausage here you go. Two hours to make the sausage and of course an hour to clean up!

Once Ray was back from Duncan and I had cleaned up we went down to the dock for a couple hours. The lake was absolutely like glass. I saw a fish jump 4 times right in front of the dock! Ray's tubes for the dinghy were not the right size as I had mentioned. Unfortunately all of the 3 boxes the store had were all labelled incorrectly. We managed to send Jason to pick up a proper set from Harbour Chandler in Nanaimo yesterday so Ray should be up and running to fish by next week.

At 4:30, our "handyman Jon", arrived to do the caulking on the house. Yeah! This side of the house had a bunch of bats last year that we noticed for the first time.

Once he got to the other side of the house that has been the worst, he found this huge hole above the bedroom window. The existing hardy plank board is incorrectly installed. I think that we will have to stuff the hole with steel wool the best that we can and then paint a board red and just glue and nail it over the hole. The space between there and the above soffit is so narrow Jon was unable to even get the caulking gun into the space and the hole is so large. DAMN BATS! So hopefully when we solve this problem that will be it for the bats. I have ordered a bat house to put up across our driveway on a light pole in our strata ... hopefully when they come back this year they relocate over there. That way we can still benefit from them eating all the mosquitos. 

Wednesday. Happy Saint Patrick's Day.

In honour of the day, for Ray, I made an angel food cake with green icing, corned beef and a cabbage and noodle side. Served with green beer. 

Thursday a wet day as predicted. Ray made a quick trip into Duncan while I "found my kitchen". lol 

Last week I did some summer clothes shopping from my chair. :) The stuff arrived today, all of it fitting me well which was a big surprise. Now just need warm sunny weather to wear the stuff. I got peeved that all the larger clothing departments in stores will not let you use their fitting rooms which require you to go back to the store to return it. So being in Lake Cowichan, 30 miles from Duncan and 50 plus miles from Nanaimo, it was easier ordering through Amazon, The Bay and a couple of other more local stores and returning stuff to the post office 2 miles away if the clothes did not fit the way I wanted them to.

The rest of the week pretty quiet puttering. Ray in his shop and me in the kitchen. Saturday we had our handyman come back and work on sealing the other areas of the house so the bats do not come back hopefully.

Sunday rained all day ... hunkered down.

Monday the sun came out to play. After Ray and I had done our morning stuff we decided to go out to lunch at Jake's on the Lake on their patio. A bit breezy but I had packed blankets to sit on so it was not too bad. This is the first time we have eaten there other than take out since we left for our winter holiday to the USA September 2019! Too many people there in the summer with the tubing on the river so we stayed away. The rest of the afternoon we sat out on our driveway out of the wind for a couple of hours. 

What difference getting out of the wind!

Ready for nice weather!

Tuesday, shopping day in Duncan. We managed to order take-out at the Rick's James Street Diner, a sandwich place that was featured on CHEK News a few weeks ago. Ray and I have to agree, their homemade sandwiches were delicious. They set up a table outside their store for just us to enjoy our lunch in the sun. Thanks a bunch.

Amelia is now starting to track things with her eyes and they are getting some smiles.... 

Hi Daddy.

Wednesday, was Amelia's day to go for an ultrasound in Victoria to see how her hip is doing. Unfortunately not great news, she will need surgery and a Spica Cast at probably the end of April. Poor little tyke. A lot more work for Jason and Kristi to care for her. She will be in the cast 3 to 6 months. If this small surgery does not work then she will have to have a more major one and a longer time in the cast at a later date. Fingers crossed this one works.

All snuggled into her car seat for the ride to Victoria.

Thursday we had a date with Steve and Dianne to meet for lunch in Mill Bay. A perfect spot as it was halfway for them and us to meet up. A wonderful socially distanced visit with take-out lunch including a brew from Bridgeman's Bistro. We even met a couple whose boat was moored at the dock beside us, Dean and Lana, who made us all expresso coffee. We must have looked cold. lol They moved to a live a board situation 4 months ago and are loving every minute of it. They manage to work remotely from the boat.

Here comes the coffee.

Captain Dean

Our "besties" Steve and Dianne

Off they go.

Steve unhinging his jaw to get that burger in his "piehole" lol Food was great. (Ray here, I would've taken a picture of Deb doing the same, but wasn't so sure of the outcome....)

The police boat came in to fuel up. Boy can it move with two 450HP motors on the back.

A lovely socially distanced "meet up" with our friends. No hugging .... but nice to get outside for lunch. Steve and Dianne met up with us to return our de-humidifier that they used all winter as they are leaving for the mainland April 1st. Unfortunately this is the first time we have been able to visit with them since October, due to Covid. So nice to see them finally. They brought us a gift of tequila and triple sec for margaritas as a thank you. CHEERS. :)

After our visit, we headed back to the lake, stopping in Duncan so Ray could pick up his new scroll saw that had come in. For projects like his Vancouver Island map, the current saw is not quite up to the job. While he was there, he purchased a new dust collection and ventilation system that I have been nagging him to get for the past year. The amount of dust from his projects in the workshop is choking me up with my it's being spread through the air in the entire house, not to mention the dust everywhere. We stuffed all the boxes into the car as best we could but not all of it fit so he will have to come back tomorrow for the last boxes.

Friday morning, another sunny day it looks like. Ray headed into Duncan to pick up the remaining parts for his dust system and I just puttered with laundry etc. and went for my massage. My shoulder is still causing me some grief so I go monthly now for a "tune up".

Amelia had her first real bath today after getting her Pavlik harness off and for the first time since she was born she could be bathed completely. She loved it apparently in the tub with her Daddy.

Saturday, we had our handyman come and do all the concrete pressure washing for us as well as the sundeck. I normally do it myself over several days, but with my shoulder still causing me grief Ray thought it was best I don't. :) This means we also move the motorhome out of the way so when we put it back it will be in it's "summer" position further up the driveway so we have a warm sitting area out of the wind. Then I can start to work on cleaning up the inside in preparation for our adventures this spring and summer. It has not been used for a year so definitely needs a little wiping down of counters etc.

Good thing the pressure washing was yesterday. :) This Sunday morning is very blustery and wet with possible power outages predicted on the island. White caps on our lake. Brrrrrr. By noon just a slight drizzle and the breeze had stopped. Ray spent the morning rearranging his shop again to accommodate his new dust collection system. No problem since everything is on wheels!

Here comes the hail!

Five minutes later this is how much landed on the ground!

Monday, a gorgeous day but a very cold start after yesterday's wacky weather. Our handyman Jon did stuff steel wool everywhere to protect from the bats but one window trim where they mostly went needed a new piece of hardy plank cut to fit over the hole. Ray took care of that today, so hopefully now we are completely "bat proof". 

Amelia got an outing today too up in Nanaimo. They managed to catch a smile.

We also got the motorhome moved into it's "summer" position, moved ahead, leveled, slides out, so we have our spot to sit out of the wind. I had picked up the new rv toilet from Walmart on Saturday and our RV tech came to install it. Unfortunately when we opened the box it has been smashed. Someone must have dropped it and the china bowl is broken in many places. So now I wait to see what they are going to do about it! 

Starting to get excited about plantings in my gardens ... got all the solar lights put back today.

Well Covid numbers are rising really fast with the variants now in play so our province is back on lockdown for three weeks. Certainly hard on restaurants and fitness places but necessary until we get control of this nasty virus. It's hitting a lot of 29 to 40 age groups now, showing that those people are the ones doing the service industry jobs coupled with socializing and hence transmission. We were not eating at restaurants without well ventilated patios anyways until we are vaccinated which hopefully will be in April sometime.

Tuesday cool and sunny. Ray's back is quite a bit more sore than usual, so he is having a "resting day" today. I started hauling out all the bedding and towels out of the MH to wash. Everything has been left other than food, in the MH in "stasis" since we made the mad dash home from the USA March 2020. Thankfully no evidence of varmints. Looking forward to getting out in it again this spring and summer.

Wednesday, Ray needed a "down day" to recover so I had a "road trip" by myself to Port Alberni. Ray had purchased a little motor for his dinghy and that was the only place that had one in stock. Again anything to do with boating or rving is having distribution problems. It had been a few years since I went to PA and we actually sold our house there 13 years ago. After picking up the motor I did a little tour of memorable places ... first up was the J & L Drive-in, noted for their burgers. Lunch was as good as I remembered.

Then I took a drive past our old house. It is being looked after nicely.

Stopped along Cameron Lake and took a picture of the trestle across the lake.

On the way back home I met up with Kristi at the Green Thumb Nursery and we both purchased some items for our gardens. It was such a nice day to be outside. A lovely little road trip for me. 

Monday, 15 March 2021

March already. Spring on the horizon! March 1 - 14

Boy did the last two weeks go by fast. From winter, to spring and back to cold temps again.

Monday up in Nanaimo for some errands. Ray went to Coombs to get the pontoons for the little dinghy as we have to make it more stable. It's getting close to the time to start spring fishing. Our little boat was just a little too tippy with Ray's raised fishing chair so these pontoons will remedy that. No one wants to go swimming in the lake in March! We don't have the sail kit but it is available. (Update - they sent a set of tubes that do not line up with the predrilled holes in our boat so a new set is being shipped to us at no charge, so Ray waits to fish. lol) 

This morning Amelia had her cast removed. Boy did her leg look bruised, poor little thing. Keeping her cast on for two weeks instead of changing it weekly, I think caused this bruising. She has gained 3 pounds in 8 weeks so she is growing pretty quickly. Tomorrow she gets a new contraption called a Pavlik Harness to fix her left hip dysplasia. 

On the way back to Nanaimo Ray needed to stop for a leg stretch and decided to check out the Top Bridge Community Park just behind the Parksville Weigh Station. We had not been there for quite a few years. The pictures sure remind me of the Sooke Potholes. He took the pictures with his cell phone as of course his camera was at home! lol

He also managed to get out for a  short walk with Kristi and the dogs to get some fresh air. These are pictures of Mordon Collier Park

Tuesday, a quiet day for me as Ray headed into Duncan for a dental appointment. I spent my time wisely making homemade pasta. Needed to dust off my pasta attachment for my mix master. :)

Kristi sent me the picture of Amelia in her new contraption.

This should help with her knee as well. She seemed to tolerate the fitting not too badly, but her leg is definitely sore. Hopefully she will not need this brace for more than the 8 weeks and not have to have surgery. 

Wednesday, the sun actually came out and we were able to have a campfire and hotdogs for lunch finally! Ray, Freya and I spent about 3 hours outside enjoying the day. Dinner was easy as it was leftover pasta. :)

Thursday, I put together my other new kitchen tool ... meat grinder. After watching all of the Food Network shows this winter, grinding your own meat for burgers seemed to be the thing to do. :)

Being as I am vertically challenged ... needed a step stool to be able to see where I was putting the meat. lol

And Voila:  Brisket and chuck burger with sautéed onions and mushrooms with melted gouda and a homemade burger sauce on a pretzel bun to hold it all together. One happy guy. We did notice the difference in the texture of the patty with a course grind. It held together and was very moist and had a great beef flavour. Other than putting salt and pepper on it, I cooked the patties in a screaming hot cast iron pan. Definitely a do again. 

At some point I will probably try making some sausages as that also came with the meat grinder.

Amelia is finally settling down and sleeping once she is swaddled with her new apparatus. Such a cutie. Sleeping is good as that means Jason and Kristi are getting more sleep too.

Friday morning it was still pouring rain. What an ugly day. Oh well with our new "sun lamp" it seems to be making a difference, also the days are getting much longer. I have been making some reservations for RV camping this summer so we get some use out of our motorhome as we will be staying on the island. Somet of the planned trips, Kristi and Jason will come with us in their trailer. More things to look forward too.

Friday, Amelia had her brace adjusted to get her left hip socket aligned correctly ... her legs are even higher, poor thing. Fortunately at two months old she will never remember all of this.

She is not too happy with this thing so hopefully the strain/stretch becomes more manageable. It sure makes it hard for Kristi and Jason to change her, put her in the car seat etc. 

The plans for our new weir here at Lake Cowichan have been approved and now they will begin in 2022 and should take one year to complete. Basically they are raising the holding capacity of the lake by 27 inches for water to be let into the river for the fish and of course the paper mill in Crofton that the weir was originally put in for. They are also going to put a walkway on top of it for people to be able to get back and forth from the North Shore Road. Here is a rendered drawing. For us it probably means we won't have much of a beach in the summer but we will have to see. As long as they manage the water well so they don't hold too much back in the winter so we flood.

Saturday morning the sun actually came out after a lot of rain over the past 2 days. A playing in my kitchen day, grinding up more beef for burgers. Country Grocer had round roasts on sale and some brisket. I also asked for a hunk of beef fat as the roast and brisket was pretty lean and you need about a 20% fat content. Certainly cheaper doing it this way compared to a couple of days ago with only enough for 4 burgers. lol I went from $5 per patty, down to $1.82 per patty. Ready for some RV camping coming up in the next few months.

Ray and I spent the afternoon watching a movie. Since we subscribed to the Disney Plus, we now have a lot of movies to see that we have not watched over the last 10 years or so. :)

Sunday, more rain ... it sure rained overnight and the mountains across from us all have fresh snow on them, probably only about 200 feet above us. Ray's project of his Vancouver Island Map is complete. This is going to hang on the wall downstairs.

Monday, finally a nice day as forecasted. We actually heard the birds singing first thing for the first time. Spring is almost here.

Kat sent me some more pictures of Stella last night. She is now starting to walk. Pretty happy with herself. lol

Tuesday, the sun came out on and off but we also had heavy showers. Quite a mixed bag of weather. Wednesday we did manage to sit down at the dock for all of 30 minutes in the sunshine before the wind came up and we had to move to the driveway. I invited Pat over for a very distanced Happy Hour on our driveway. It was nice to see someone else. :) We only lasted about 45 minutes before it became cold and that was that. lol

Signs of spring are everywhere ... getting excited about gardening and camping. Thursday we had a spectacular day in the back yard. Blue sunny skies and very little wind all day. We puttered around and sat down out there for about 4 hours. Glorious and 10C.

Our little angel with wings. lol March 11th picture.

Saturday morning I decided to make Japanese hotcakes for breakfast yum. It was supposed to look like this ... but after adding our toppings it was hard to tell it was like a cake. lol

My dish with berry compote and whipped cream.

The sun was out and it was 12C so we had a campfire and hotdogs for lunch. Freya sure enjoys it when we stay outside with her for the afternoon. Make lots of coals for cooking once this burns. Our view that has been in many pictures. lol Quite a few boats on the lake today with it being Spring Break.

In honour of the lovely day I am also smoking BBQ ribs on the Traeger and serving it with a side of baked beans for our dinner. 

Kristi and Jason were able to take Amelia out for a walk. She's all snuggled in. Happy family.

Sunday, time change! Hopefully this is the last time we have to do this. Woke up to rain so we were very glad we spend the day outside yesterday. Our usual quiet day with puttering in the house. :) Temps tonight are supposed to get colder again with the possibility of wet snow! Spring is really trying hard to come but gets sidetracked with the different weather systems moving through.