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Winter sunrise, Lake Cowichan, B.C.

Saturday, 20 April 2019

The "calm before the storm"! Company's a comin.

Kristi and dogs left Sunday afternoon. Ray and I had a relaxing afternoon reading and watching the rain come down.

Monday was quite cool at 4C but seemed much colder. There is a sprinkling of new snow on top of the mountains surrounding us. This week will be busy getting ready for lots of company this next weekend for Easter, menu planning etc. Garrett and Kat will be coming over from Squamish, Kristi and Jason will be here and Jason's parents will be Saturday for dinner and possibly stay overnight. Everyone will be gone on Monday and Wednesday our good friends Steve and Dianne are coming for 3 days. It will be great to see them again as it's been a year since we last were able to get together, well before we moved into our new house here at the lake.

So far the deer have only tried three of the six dianthus (look like carnations) plants. They are not supposed to like them and since the other three are untouched maybe it's true. lol Need to get some other flowering deer resistant perennials to fill in between the shrubs that we have planted. We don't want much dirt to show to collect weeds. Still too cold to plant anything other than perennials and shrubs though. Ray will have to get the rest of the back lawn seeded this week as well to give the grass a chance to grow before the backyard has a lot more use later this spring. The grass is behind as the yard does not get any sun until mid-March being north facing.

Bat cave update. There does not appear to be any evidence on the side of the house that the bats are still coming in and out of the house. This has been confirmed by our neighbours. Also Ray's screening of the front arch seems to have stopped the majority of them going in there at night as there has been only the odd little poop left behind. Hopefully we have this problem solved without getting pest control in as it is probably "nesting season" and it is illegal to touch them during this time.

After morning chores and running into Duncan for a few things, Ray and I spent an hour on the deck with the heaters and fire table on enjoying the view. The sun is finally high enough in the sky to get a few afternoon sunbeams although this picture does not show it. lol

Tuesday, Ray headed to Nanaimo for an appointment and stopped in at Jason and Kristi's to see their progress on their tiling in their entrance way. Great job Jason.

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David Coulson, arrived by 9:30 to re-install our propane fireplace downstairs... took him about 1 1/2 hours to do so, I think he was quite frustrated. Too F'n bad Ray says All is done now other than the bedroom window frame to be fixed.

The electrician's should show up today or tomorrow to pull the downstairs electrical plugs above the kitchen counter in preparation for Jason to put in the tile backsplash down there this weekend. With all of their recent reno's, he is a pro at tiling!

Wednesday, it rained overnight but had stopped by the time I got up. Apparently we are in for a bunch more later today and tomorrow with the promise of sun for the weekend. The lake is now at 48% capacity.

Off to Duncan for me to get provisions for our family Easter Weekend. :) Stopped at Dinter's Nursery and picked up a bunch of deer resistant perennials to fill the front garden and some more varieties of heather for the back garden. All planted except for three rhodo's Ray brought me home from Costco yesterday. It turned out to be a sunny afternoon so it made sense to plant everything before the rain tonight. I also moved the dianthus into pots to prevent more munching from the deer. We are having our regular gardeners here on Friday to seed the rest of the lawn for Ray, there is a bit of cleaning up of the existing lawn before they throw the seed down. I will also get them to plant the large plants for me. Will and Cindy can dig the 2 foot holes. lol

Tonight we met up with our good friends Martin and Suzanne Blyt at the Mahle House Restaurant in Nanaimo for the Chef's Plate Wednesday. Had a fabulous time and the food was as spectacular as the company. They had never been there and want to make it a monthly tradition. As they live in French Creek and we live here at the lake it is right in the middle.

Thursday morning woke up to heavy rain. Great for my new plants. Busy day here getting ready for Easter weekend, Kristi and Jason arrive for dinner.

Ray's new chair was delivered this morning. It is the same as mine as his neck is deteriorating and our old style of lazyboy hurts him like it did me. The delivery guys graciously took the old chair  downstairs for us to Kristi's guest suite.

Now we match. lol
The electrician came by to deactivate the kitchen counter plugs in preparation for Jason's tiling job this weekend. I had him help me move the furniture around to fit the chair. Looks great. Easier to move around the space without the kitchen blocked off.

Empty plug sockets again!

The rest of my day was spent getting my lasagna ready for dinner for the kids when they get here tonight. Let the Easter Festivities begin.

Turned out Kristi had a last minute meeting and Jason is still grouting their tile so the kids won't get here until tomorrow .... Lasagna for lunch. lol

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Landscaping is done and Happy Birthday Jason

Monday we woke up to a very foggy morning. According to our forecast it will be another wet day.

No bats in the "bat cave" this morning or bat poop, could it be that we solved the issue? Our neighbours said they have not seen any on the side of the house and there is no poop evidence either. Let's hope.

This morning Ray headed off to Nanaimo for a doctor's appointment while I held down the fort for the stone mason to come and put in our stone hearth downstairs. (the replacement from the crappy rock job they did!)

UPDATE: The hearth stone is BROWN instead of gray!!!! So no work done again. This wasted 1/2 day for the mason's to pick up the stone in Nanaimo (ahhh too bad...not!) and David Coulson is working with the K2 people to remake the correct colour!

Tuesday woke up to a beautiful day.  The landscaping crew arrived at 8am Yeah!!! They had 4 guys plus the excavator operator. We moved the motorhome to the street to make room. These guys are fast and very clean ... all dirt swept up and left us with a clean driveway after all the material dumped on it. Day 1 was very successful and tomorrow they will finish.

Here are the before pictures of the front gardens.

Image may contain: house, tree, sky, plant and outdoor
February 2018 the day we purchased the house.

Driveway before the landscapers come.
Other side of driveway before garden is redone.

They were tasked with taking out the little path and redoing this garden. They used the mini excavator to move the rocks and to take out the old tree stump in the garden as well as getting rid of the old dirt in both gardens. Using a machine sure sped up the whole process.

Moving the lilac bush.

Taking out the tree stump.

Placing the rocks.

Ready for the plants tomorrow. Overnight we noticed deer footprints in the garden ... hopefully the new plants are not too tasty for them!

Ready for the lavender hedge to be planted tomorrow.
Moved all of the rocks out of the far side of the garden and used them alongside the stairs to the back yard to make a dry river effect.

 Ray had them clean up the path to the backyard with gravel too.

Dumping the gravel into wheelbarrows and the boys running it down Roy's driveway.

They also fixed our path in the backyard and got a good start on cementing the rock around the grass so it will be easier to mow the lawn.

These stones need to be moved to match up with the new stairs to the deck.

At 3pm their horticulturist Mark showed up, and we discussed garden design and what plants we would like to see that are deer resistant for both the front and back yard. They will be picked up tomorrow ready for planting.

The were done by 4pm for the day. Looking forward to seeing it finished tomorrow.

Wednesday morning the rain showers began as forecasted at 7:45 am. The guys are going to get wet today ... good weather for planting though. By 8:30 am  Ralph (job site supervisor) and his helper had arrived to start work. Today they worked on the stacked rocks on the side garden, fixing the fallen rocks on the stairs to the beach and finishing cementing the top rocks around the gardens on the left side of the stairs to the beach.

Ralph did a fantastic job with the dry stacked rock garden. The side of the house from the new stairs to the back patio now looks awesome, not just a place for junk. We had enough flat rock to finish this up too.

Also new soil and grass was planted on the damage parts of the lawn from the deck demo. Looks awesome.

The plants did not arrive until 2:30 pm ... my HGTV moment. :) The rain had stopped by then so good time to plant.

Hope the deer leave this stuff alone. It is all supposed to be deer resistant.

They managed to get the front garden on the left planted before the end of the day and all the rest of the plants layed out to where they were to be placed. Unfortunately they ran out of time for today and Ralph cannot be here tomorrow but his helper David, will be here to finish the planting and cleaning of the driveway and sidewalk from the dirt.

Lavender hedge all lined up to be planted.

Deer footprints ... they checked out every plant but did not chew. Yeah. I guess the neighbour's yard has more tasty morsels.  Lots of room between plants right now but all of this should fill in in the next couple of years so very little dirt will be exposed. I still have room for some pots of colour with bedding plants.

Our son-in-law, Jason, and his friend were supposed to be on a fishing trip at Kissinger Lake on Wednesday, but the gate was closed as the campsite is not open yet. They had Ray check out the campsite next to us to make sure it was open and it was. They moved into there for a few days. We can see them from our driveway lol. 

Thursday being such a wet day we all went out to lunch at Jake's at the Lake and then they went home for naps. lol They did spend a bunch of time here at the house. I made a big batch of spaghetti so they came back for dinner. Bonus for them. lol 

Looking pretty comfortable. lol

David, from Living Stones, finished planting by the end of the afternoon and hosed down the driveway from all of the dirt. Job Done.

I finished planting my herbs.

Yup, you can see Jason's trailer from our driveway. lol 

David replaced all of the fallen rock on the sides of the stairs.

We are "over the moon" that Ray's landscape plan he envisioned last June has now come to fruition ... even better than he dreamed.

Friday morning was sunny with clouds and cool at 3C. A little break from the showers until late this afternoon. Great for my new plants. Our hearth for the propane stove downstairs is finally installed and the stove will be rehooked up next week. 

Still wet from washing down the mortar.
Jason and his friend Adrian finally decided to attempt fishing ... from our dock in comfy chairs. lol Too much work to launch his boat since this was the only sunny day.

After several hours of that, it was time for a shower and a hot tub.

Kristi made it down from Nanaimo at about 5:45 pm with 2 dogs in tow. Her dog Zeus and she is looking after her friends dog for the week adding to the mix. Nyx is a 2 year old mastiff/pitbull cross, so friendly and full of energy. Freya is down a few toys as Nyx has ripped them to get the squeakers out! Jason had Athena over at the campsite where it is much quieter.


My roast beast turned out well, according to the birthday boy Jason. I even made him homemade horseradish. Jason's friend Adrian tried it, loved it but it made his eyes water. lol We were all laughing at him.

Adrian, Jason, Ray and Kristi
After dinner we had birthday cake that Kristi brought with her.  Happy Birthday Jason!

We woke up to rain Saturday morning. It had been raining all night so good for our new plants. Quiet day except for the dogs. lol No deer damage to the new plants. It poured all day until about 3:30 pm when the sun finally came out. Jason and Adrian left their campsite by 10 am this morning to go back to Nanaimo. Kristi and Jason switched out dogs ... Athena, their shepherd came here and Nyx, the high energy 2 year old went back with Jason. Nyx barely ever sat down, running around the house like a lunatic. Other than chewing up Freya's toys she was very well behaved but busy.

"Back off dogs ... this is my Aunty Kristi
 Kristi invited a friend who she went to school with in the Charlottes, Robyn and her husband Cory, for dinner tonight ... they have a new baby that I will get to cuddle. Yeah.

It was great seeing them. Cuddling did not happen. Cory is away from home with his work a good portion of the time, so Robyn is often on her own and so the baby is really only used to "mommy" and quiet. Well our house is noisy, had 3 large dogs running around and lots of people so Amalia was not very happy. Had to laugh though, she pooped herself so bad that it leaked on to Robyn's pants and Kristi had to give Robyn a pair of pants to wear.  The baby only had a sweater and a diaper to wear after that episode. Of course this all happened as I was putting dinner on the table!. Good practice for me, ha ha ha.

Robyn, Cory and Amalia

What is making all of that racket!

Happy now, she's going home.

And that was our week.

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Rain is finally here!

Nothing too exciting to report this week ...

Monday was bright and sunny and ended up 19C by 4pm. Another lovely day to sit outside in the afternoon enjoying the view. We made the most of it before the rain starts Tuesday night.

Tuesday it was off to Costco for me to pick up new deck boxes for the dock and our sundeck. Our other ones were damaged with the storm December 20th. Once back home Ray and I sat outside for an hour under cloudy skies, but it was 19C. Not too shabby. While out there we saw a huge otter on our neighbours dock scratching his back. He obviously has eaten well over the winter. This picture does not show it well as I only had my phone. lol The black lump! Glad he does not visit our dock as they leave lovely smelly reminders ... our neighbours dock is covered in poop. This picture is really expanded so it appears grainy. lol

Wednesday overnight the rains began ... finally. We sure need it. Rained all morning but lightened up for the afternoon with the odd thundershower. Quite warm out.

Thursday turned out to be another spectacular day. Warm at 14C and sunny.

Freya enjoying a "sunbeam", just not right now.
Both Ray and I did chores in the morning and then after lunch spent the afternoon in the back yard with a campfire. Freya loves it when we go outside. Ray managed to take down the skeleton of the gazebo on the dock in preparation for our new one.  I finished cleaning and setting up the motorhome, a week long project. We practically forgot what our "home on wheels" looks like as this is the first time it has been "set up like home" for 18 months. Looks pretty inviting ... it will be nice to get back on the road next fall but first up a 2 week trip up island in June.

Ahhhh Kastle, home sweet home.
I managed to get a little gardening done, dumping out flower pots, in preparation for the landscapers. Ray also hung my new herb planters on our arbor in the front. This will be our "garden room", a warm place to sit when the wind is up on the lakeside of the house. This is a space right behind our motorhome.

We try to take advantage of sunny afternoons being outside whenever we can. A habit from 6 years on the road. The heather is blooming. We may finish these gardens with different colours of heather with different blooming times. This will keep the gardens low maintenance and Ray wants the foliage to grow down over the rocks. We shall see what the landscaper garden specialist suggests next week.

Thursday overnight the rains began as predicted. By 7am Friday morning the first storm had mostly passed and we were down to a misty drizzle. The next storm should be here late morning. Keep on raining ... need the lake level to rise.

The rain did begin in earnest at noon ... very loud on our roof. lol

Tonight we went out for Chinese Food with Andrew and Mona, our painters, at the Cow Cafe, here in town. They serve it buffet style every Friday night. It was awesome  to catch up with them again. They had invited their friends, Cliff and Sue Gibson with their 2 adult kids. Cliff's company built our dock last September.  Once back home at 7 pm the rain began again teaming down overnight.

Saturday morning, still drizzling. Supposed to be really windy today on the coastal sections ... probably we will miss most of it being inland. Ray is working on the "bat cave". We tried to put some spray foam into the corners at the top of the front arch but it looked terrible.  So Ray scraped it off so it could be painted when we get the whole house painted this summer. As Ray climbed the ladder he saw a bat fly off the foam an land on ground by the ladder ! Yikes. We have a line with a pest control company that may help us get rid of this problem. Fingers crossed.

The black dots around him is bat poop!

The "Bat Cave" is complete after many weeks of Ray doing only a little bit every day. Ray finished putting in the removable screens. Take that bats!

Just poured all day so we know the lake level will be coming up.

Sunday the rain stopped and the clouds at lightened up significantly. By noon it had started up again and rained off and on afternoon and finally stopped around 4pm. This will be another quiet day at Kyle's Kottage, with a few chores and relaxing in between going outside between downpours.

That was our week.