Friday, June 27, 2014

Am I Old Enough to have a Graduate?

The age-old question has hit once again - where does time go?  Seems like just yesterday that our oldest daughter was entering kindergarten! And those few short days ago seemed to zoom by, and arrive at the moment when we watched her walk across the stage, accepting her diploma, and entering a new chapter in
her life.

My Mom was able to come and be with us for the big day, and it was a huge surprise for our kids when she arrived.  My husband had gone to pick her up, and as they pulled into the driveway, I told the kids that Dad had brought a surprise for them.  Imagine their surprise when they saw Grammie step out of the car!  The dogs and kids, and Grammie had a wonderful reunion, and I don't know who was happiest.  I think Cosmo got the prize for the loudest squeals of joy! It was a happy and wonderful reunion for all of us to see Mom, and we were all so glad she would be here for all the excitement of graduation!

The weekend of the graduation turned out just beautiful, warm, and sunny.  As we arrived at the high school cafeteria, the school colors of orange and black were everywhere, and seeing all the graduating kids mingling, saying their goodbyes, snapping pictures, and hanging out for the last time in the school hallways, brought back memories of my high school graduation.  It is a time of bittersweet happiness, and sadness. There is joy that graduation has been complete, but there is sadness because everyone will move on and things will never be the same again.

The graduation ceremony was beautiful, and blessedly... short!

The kids chose one of their own graduating students to give the final address.  This student was quite hilarious and kept the crowd laughing, and it was just a very upbeat fun time for all.

Finally came time to walk across the stage to receive the hard earned diploma.

We were very proud of our daughter, and her accomplishments in high school.  Now we have to look forward to the next chapter in her life, which is college.  She is enrolled at a local college and will begin her studies there this fall.

After the big day of celebrating graduation, we took a day trip on Sunday into British Columbia.  Again, the weather cooperated, and it was a simply gorgeous day to be out sightseeing.

As we drove along the winding road, the gorgeous Selkirk mountains along the Kootenai River caused us to pull over many times to get out and take pictures.

We couldn't have asked for a nicer day to take this drive.  There were plenty of fluffy white clouds in the sky overlooking the snow-topped mountains, and sparkling blue water.

A wild rose that had just opened its bloom.

We had so much fun stopping at different pull-off areas along the road, and getting out to look at the view spread out before us.

We stopped at a Provincial Park, and walked along the beach.

Finally, after looking at the clock, we knew we could stop no more, but had to hurry so that we could get on the ferry to take us to the town of Nelson.

When we pulled up at the waiting area, there were already 7 lines of cars, and we weren't sure if all would fit onto the ferry, but they did!  We were very glad that we made the ferry, and didn't have to wait for another 2 hours to get on the next one!

Just as the ferry pulled away, about 6 motorcycles zoomed down the hill, just barely missing the ferry.  I know just how they felt!  Growing up on an island, we had to take the ferry to get off the island.  Many times we experienced the same thing... arriving just a bit too late.  I again was very glad that we were able to get on the ferry, and continue to enjoy the beautiful day!

This ferry is free, and runs back and forth about 4-5 times a day, more in the summer.  It holds an amazing number of cars, and provides top decks that passengers can climb to, and enjoy the views of the mountains, and lake.

There are beautiful homes, and cabins along the river as we chug along, and it is a charming view to see. Finally, it is time to get back in our car, and the ferry is docking.  It is just a short drive, about 15 minutes or so, until we reach the scenic town of Nelson, BC.

This is the beautiful golden bridge that you cross into Nelson, BC. For some reason, I did not take any pictures while we were in the town of Nelson, go figure!  It is a beautiful town with lots to see.  Our first stop was at the KFC.  We all love fried chicken, and KFC really can't be beat!  After that, we headed to the Wal-Mart to stock up on our favorite Canadian snacks that we can only get across the border.  Then, we toured Nelson for a bit before it was time to head back towards home.

As we headed home, we happened to spot something large and furry in the river below.  We were able to find a place to pull over, and get a glimpse of a momma moose and her baby calf.

This is the baby standing still in the water.  We could hear momma downstream.  The baby saw us, and absolutely did not even move, but just watched us.

Finally, we could hear (even though we couldn't see) momma getting closer, and then the baby turned and ran out of the water into the cover of the woods to meet up with his momma. That was a nice ending to a really wonderful day that we had together.  Mom just loved being able to see more of British Columbia than she was able to on her last visit.  It was a great day and time together had by all!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Demolition Team Arrives!

Since we bought some acreage last fall, we have been waiting for the day when we could bring in the heavy duty equipment to help build the road we need into the place to gain better access.   Recently we rented a nice heavy duty 4-wheel drive tractor with a large bucket for the day.  It was a man's dream come true - that tractor was able to knock down about 30 trees, and we were able finally to see where our road was going to go, and to better envision where we will be putting a home.

The men with their toy for the day!

Not wasting any time, and getting busy knocking down the lodgepole pines! They don't have much of a root system, and just toppled over with just a tap from the bucket of the tractor - much easier than trying to cut them down one by one!

Taking out the trees that would block sunshine to our garden was first on the list.

This area will be my future garden.  Quite a few trees needed to be taken down in order to provide the garden with lots of sunshine.

There was an old fence with barbed wire in front of the property.  A few minutes working with the barbed wire and old fence posts, and the old fence was no more! The fence needed to go so we could widen the driveway.

Our building permits displayed at the front of the property.

Next, my husband got busy working on the driveway.  It needed to be widened and leveled before the dump trucks arrived with gravel.

It was amazing how much work this tractor got done in minutes - work that would have taken us hours - and days to do by hand!

It was great to watch the driveway take shape in just a few minutes.

Finally, just in time for the dump trucks, the driveway was ready for the gravel to be dumped.

A picture of the driveway now, after the tractor had done its quick work, and the gravel had been spread. So much nicer to drive on now!

Attention was now turned to beginning to work on the road that we want to build that will go to the back of the property.  We found that the trees were more deeply rooted and the ground still wet, and the work slowed down at this point. The tractor got a lot accomplished in a short amount of time, although it seemed like the time we had it rented went by way too fast!!!

Since we had gotten trees out of the way in our garden area, the next step after we had to return the tractor, was to rent a rotatillor to break up the ground for the garden.  The rotatillor was a heavy-duty work horse that turned up the ground for the garden in a hurry.

Lots of rocks, roots, and weeds = lots of work!  Rototilling the ground is one thing, but then all the rocks, weeds, and roots have got to be taken out.

While my husband rototilled, I picked up the obvious rocks, roots and weeds as I could.  It certainly is hard work breaking up a garden for the first time!  Having modern equipment certainly helps to make things easier, but I couldn't help thinking about our ancestors who had no modern equipment to help them, and what a hard job it must have been for them!  We were just working with a small patch of ground to try to get it to reproduce and grow food for us, but our existence does not depend on this at all.  We still have the grocery store down the street.  It is unfathomable for us to understand how hard the life was for our ancestors who had to wrest with the ground, and with the forces of nature to bring forth enough food for survival for themselves and their families.  Doing some work like this is good for the soul, and brings an appreciation for the blessings of the modern conveniences that we enjoy today!