The time has come the walrus said, to think of many things.
I have been thinking and wondering about how to get such a long and lengthy post of guess what? Me, yep, right now, it's all about me, me, me, smiling that big smile. I have spent a good many parts of an hour to compile a story of what has been going on in my life for the past few months, well, actually since June 15. That day, when we said goodbye to our 20 years of living on our five acres in Maple Ridge, in southwestern British Columbia. A farewell to the 23 years of being foster parents, and a farewell to many other things in our life. I have not looked back, the move has been nothing short of a most beautiful thing. The following story may repeat what I have said in these past few paragraphs, but I had to actually make an thought before I copied and pasted and extremly long story, into what has now become an extremely long post :-D :shock: 8-). So, grab your popcorn, your coffee, whatever you want to grab, and sit with me for a few minutes. I will take you down a walk in my life, I will show you things that you can see with your mind's eye, and hope that you enjoy my words. I have missed all my forum friends for so long, and now I am truly feeling that I have time to come back and visit every morning. Old Man Winter did actually arrive this morning. We are sitting at 0 C (32F), and as I look out on my patio that Ken built for our little trailer, I can see that the beautiful canna lilies have blackened from the freeze. It is time now to bring down the flowers that will have been knocked to the ground, pull the bulbs and corms and place them into their warm home for the winter. The frost can go very deep in this new place in my life. The water line dug to our home had to be dug four feet deep, on the southwest coast of B.C., the water lines are only dug down 18 inches, that is a significant difference in the depth of the freezing of the land. Anyways, spend a few minutes with me, you may get a glimpse of how I think I have been too busy to spend time on the internet, my friends -- :) have a most beautiful day, a day of yours, the health that we all love to have, and most of all, love. Cindi
Phew, all now is said and done. This may be a repeat of information, that many will have already read about, but being that ramblin’ gal, I must ramble, smiling, that big smile.
I am beginning to relax and now enjoy our new home in our new page of life. Really, all I can say is phew...smiling. Our house had been on the real estate market for a year and a half – finally someone that loved to have an almost nearly identical lifestyle as my Husband and myself, (known as Ken) found our home, loved it and made the offer to purchase. They are foster parents, they love to farm, a very family oriented family, our mirrors of ourselves. The closing date was June 15 and we were moved out on time, with only a couple of hours to spare. No clue really how this was accomplished, it really boggles my mind – but we did it. Our intended move-to-a-new-home, was to live on our oldest Daughter’s property, in an extremely small town, by the name of Grindrod, in the Thompson-Okanagan area of the central south British Columbia. Close to Salmon Arm and Vernon, two larger towns. We are living about one half way down her three acres, in a very nice, but small trailer, and we are comfortable, with our dog named Coder (after Ry of course). It was such a big move. We had made several massive trips with our truck, which has a canopy, and pulling our Son-in-Law’s flatdeck trailer, the length of approximately 20 feet. It took about 4 long trips to get all our stuff up to our new home, and the most incredible amount of work I have ever in my life encountered. The trip one way is approximately 5 hours. All the stuff that we won’t use until we build our own little home on a small piece of property is stored here in a big 10 X 40 foot container. It is actually very surprising how much of our stuff from our old house is stored in our little 10 X 30 trailer. The trailer has a two slideouts, which make it much larger, but it is still a very small place, compared to our old house of (five bedrooms)encopassing three stories – a rather large house, for surely. The strangest thing of all is to leave behind our life of being foster parents. We have performed that occupation for over 20 years, and now to only be looking after my wonderful Husband, and no other human being, is certainly a very different, but most wonderful change. We always had four foster children throughout those years,specializing in teenage boys, and it has been a most rewarding lifestyle. But the page has turned.
We were without internet for a very long time, but eventually it came to pass that we were on line again. I have had issues upon issues with adjusting to the new e-mail system and new computer, yet alone, to find any time to spend with my forum friends, but I am getting adjusted to a different lifestyle now, and will certainly be finding more time to spend here, among so many that I care so deeply about. I have missed you all, and I do not say that lightly.
Life is wonderful and we are playing as little children, my wonderful Husband and I, with our Daughters, their Spouses and our Grandsons. We are having fun, and to have my family so close by, what more could a parent ever ask for. We are very fortunate that our gals both married men that are mirrors of their Father. They are happy girls. Both of their Husbands are mechanics of sport power machines, such as power boats, ski doos, snow sleds – you get the picture. This is their lives. This summer we have found lots of time to play with them on the water, as they all own power water machines. Wintertime will be a different world of playing with snow mobile machines. That will be a whole lot of fun too. Right, forgot to mention, both our Daughters have horses too, so there has been a return to horseback riding for me. And yes, that has been fun too.
Bees, yep had the gift of two swarms that moved into my empty boxes that laid dormant on our Daughter’s property, as these were the first of the first entities to come to the new home. |We are entering winter with very large sized clusters of many young bees, to carry these two colonies through the winter. Beekeeping is very different from that way we did so, when we lived on the southwestern coast of our province. That southwestern area is extremely moist, humid, the summertime average temperature of 25 degrees Celsius. Our new home is hot, dry, and it didn’t take long for the first swarm to fill an entire deep of honey. Yes, never in my wildest dreams did I entertain the thought that I would receive any honey from either colony this year. That second swarm that came to live amongst my other colony, I am surely positive was an afterswarm, as it took quite a time to build up. But at the last check (my bad, should not have been playing and working so hard), the one deep on that second swarm had 8 frames of brood. I moved frames of brood up, placed some drawn comb betwingst the brood frames, and they were happy. Now a very large colony too. No honey for the human to take, but lots of young bees. Winter is fast approaching, the days are cooling and the nights are very cool. It is the second week in October and we have had that first hard frost, much colder than my previous life’s climate.
I am finding with the cooler weather, I am beginning to find that I have more time to spend doing more insidey –type stuff, and with that comes, well, guess what!! More internet time, so that actually means that I will find some time to spend here, still not going to hold my breath though. I know, I know -- idle promises, so I shall not make any promise, just a wish that comes from the bottom of my heart.
This may sound odd, but sometimes I feel like my kids and Grandsons will surely rip me in half, all trying to get a piece of me. It truly does make me smile though, guessing I never really realized how much they missed their mamma not living close by. It makes my heart glow, to know that I am loved. And I am.
The chickens all have been having a great time in their new home, never missed a beat with laying eggs and are still going strong. Had a broody buff Orpington hen that hatched nine of 12 eggs. She has seven light Brahma chicks (rats, only 2 pullets, the other cockerals), one splash Cochin cockerel, and one that I have no clue what is, I do know it has furry black legs, a black rose comb, totally black and fluffy, it is a cockerel, so well imagining it is the gold laced Wyandotte rooster crossed with the blue cochin hen, it is turning out to be a most beautiful and interesting looking young bird. I will probably keep him, just to see what this cross brings about, so far, black as the ace of spades and furry and fluffy, just like the Cochin breed. It would appear that broodiness seems to go very strong here, smiling. I have had two more hens go broody, a light Brahma, sitting on blue Cochin eggs and another blue Cochin, that hatched out gold laced Wyandottes (of course, they were given eggs by the human being). I couldn’t stop myself, nor control my actions. I obtained some Buckeye chicken hatching eggs, so set my Sportsman incubator to work, and hatched 30 chicks, Buckeyes, of which there are two pullet and 7 cockerals hatched, a whack of light Brahmas, some Cochins, some are blue, splash and a couple of black (two blue mated Cochins give several colours that come about in the offspring, the splash is a most beautiful coloured bird) and a couple of crosses, (barred rock with gold laced Wyandotte) cockerals, and gonna be some ugilee birds, those are for the table.
This is my first time to raise the Buckeye breed, but they are beautiful, kind of reminiscent of the Rhode Island Red breed in colour,that deep mahogany red -- but sporting a rose comb, the same type of comb as the gold laced Wyandotte. Very winter hardy birds, as are the light Brahmas with their beautiful pea combs. This is an interesting note. I have the light Brahma group separated, and during the hottest of days, when all the other breeds were inside their homes, keeping cool, the Brahmas paid no mind to the heat and continued as if nothing was at all different. I am quite impressed actually. A cold and clearly hot weather tolerant breed of bird – that is cool, cause it is both of these climates where I live.
My Daughter, on whose property we live on, is quite close friends with a beekeeper that migrates his bees to Alberta (one province east of ours) for the clover fields, he runs approximately 300 colonies. He is an older fellow, of whom I, of course have made acquaintance. At the end of the summer, he brings his bees back to the warmer winter climate(now isn’t that a joke) of our area, and then takes them back to Alberta the following spring. He asked if he could move his colonies temporarily to our property, to feed before their five hour journey a little further south, the a place called Osooyos. Of course, friends help friends and he brought his 300 colonies of bees. Placed them in a very appropriate area, far out at the back of the property. The bees stayed only one month, just long enough to fill their boxes with the sugar syrup that would hold them over the winter. A month is a goodly long enough time to glut on sugar syrup and process to reduce the water content to a safe product within the hive for winter.
His only warning ever to me, and when I receive a warning, I am smart enough to listen. He mostly runs New World Carniolan, but has a good number of Russian bees. These Russian bees he has are wonderful for the fields in no man’s land where he summers the bees. Those fields of clovers and some canola too, that impression I got. The Russian strain of bee he has are angry bees, they have no tolerance to be bothered, and are great for honey gathering due to the protective nature of themselves. They forage much earlier in the day that the NWC (which Carniolan forage pretty early in my findings anyways), will forage at a very cold temperature and are great for the honey gather, no so nice to work with. He has been beekeeping with his Father, whom I would presume is no longer with us in this world, as this fellow must be close to the middle of the 60th year. His Father and himself ran around 1,500 colonies, and his Daddy had worked some of the best of the best of American bee breeders (I would venture meaning on the western part of the states). His Father was a massive producer of package bees and this man recalls his Dad moving hundreds upon hundreds of packages of bees cross border, both ways. It sounds like he may have had big yards in the U.S. too, not too sure. Well, making this longish story shorter, I have had some wonderful and lengthy conversations with this great man, and have listened with the interest of a child – and he has taught me many tricks of the trade to keep bees within this new life of mine, this new climate, it has been most wonderful. The bees are gone, and I will probably not see him again until next spring – unless we get together for coffee – hey, I can do that. I would imagine that his Wife is as interesting as he is – he calls her the old blister – in a most loving way, that is his way, and my life would be complete if I could meet this gal, that clearly his pet name for his beloved Wife, is The Old Blister, and clearly, she is one that must be able to take a little kidding. My ramblin’, oops, pardon, smiling, but hey, it has been a long time, and I thought I should just make things a little worthwhile. (Perhaps I should have somehow just put a link to a place to read my story, and before I post this lengthy apparatus, my story, I shall ask a Moderator if I should not place such a long post, hmmm....maybe it would annoy some people, and that would never be my intention. If this post comes on our forum, you know that permission has been granted, smiling that big smile).
Ken has been so busy, again, his usual wanting to make me happy, revamping the beautiful home that houses my chickens here. There was a most wonderful initial big shed that our Daughter “gave” us for our chicken uses. But there were many things that we wanted to add/change to it and it was done, it is nothing short of a palace now. All set up for young birds and the mature clan, all in one big place. Big, but not too big to be unnecessary. And... of course, there must always be more, smiling. So Ken set his hands and skills to work and made an addition to the red chicken barn, that looks almost identical, a fair amount smaller and not as tall, but it looks like it was always there. This structure was built whilst my Daughter and her Husband were away for five days at a barrel racing competition in Chilliwack. They take their horses for competition all over our province, and we caretake their farm here – and it is so much fun – we love it. So when they returned, had we not mentioned we were building an addition to the chicken house, they would have probably returned and said “hey, something looks different, but what it is?” It blends so beautifully with the prior existing chicken house. My man. Where would my life be without that dude, that would walk those stones of burning fire – to make his Wife happy. A happy wife makes a most happy life, smiling. (Remember that guys...hee, hee). So now, lots and lots of room for my intention of becoming a very smaller breeder of beautiful birds. My most gorgeous light Brahma rooster, which was incubated from an egg, from Brian Bray, nigh two years ago now – has thrown the most beautiful and biggest light Brahmas I could ever imagine. This dude is a monsterous size, as are his offspring. Brian should be very proud of his stock of light Brahma birds that he had. I am not sure if Brian still has light Brahmas, but he surely did have some beautiful stock that time when I brought home those eggs for my incubator. My hat off to you Brian, should you be a’readin’ this post.
It is wonderful to live on our oldest daughter's property. We get along, and always have, famously and I don't think they nor us will tire of us living here. Perhaps we may never move away and build our own house, I don't know. The only thing that would cause me to ever want to move away, would be a breakdown in the relationship between my Daughter, her Husband and us, but I believe that would never happen. We are one. We love each other all very deeply, and we pull our weight around here. To help with farm chores and everything as such. Thanks to my work and my daughter's work, we have a great family garden, which provides food for our tables. With two taking and sharing these chores, it is so much more simple. This is everything I have ever wanted in life. We live in a beautiful valley, on flat ground, green trees and farms everywhere. This is because of the beautiful river that nourishes this valley. there is no lack of water. The sun comes up over the mountain early in the morning, I can see it rise and we are in sunshine all day long, until the sun bids farewell, on the other side of the valley. I have my family so close by. I have my chickens, my bees, horses (6 of them) to look at, to ride, should I so chose, my Husband, who is that light in my life -- I feel that I have everything I could ever want (did I already mention this, smiling). This happiness I feel makes living in our small trailer absolutely 100% fine. It is small, but beautiful, and I would say certainly roomy enough for us.
We do not have neighbours. We have some across the street, but they live far back on their property, and if you asked me, I would not even really know what their house looks like. We live between two alfalfa fields, which are probably 40 or 60 acres, we are very much secluded in that way. When I look to the mountain in the east, all I can see is mountain far beyond the alfalfa field, I can see some buildings of some sort, probably someone’s back of their barn, not sure. There is a manufacturer of livestock feed across the road to the east, it is called Sure Crop, it is quite large, but unobtrusive. This mill does certainly make some strange noises, and I do at times wonder if there is aliens that live there, smiling. It shuts down on the weekend, and that is when one realizes that it really does make some noise.
When I look to the north, all I can see is a long border of trees, I know there are people living beyond those trees, but they are as we are, on huge acreage, to the south, same thing, just acres of farmland. Looking to the west I see the mountains, there are a few people that live on the bottompart, on smaller farms, but they are a long ways away. This is my view of the world. There is quite a busy highway that we live along, I can see the cars drive by, across the fields, but that does not bother me.
The farmer who owns the alfalfa field on the east cuts his crop after it flowers, the other farmer does not allow his to go to flower. When I walk down to our Daughter's home (which is probably no less than 20 times a day, for this, that or the other thing), well actually I have a bike that I ride, it is so much faster when I am in a hurry, I can smell the beautiful scent of the alfalfa flowers, which are blue. It is the most incredibly beautiful fragrance. As I sit on my deck, I can also smell it. The field recently was cut down, a sad thing, but this must be. The field on the east side was not cut, but the flowers have long began to perish, as the crop is dying. The farmer makes his alfalfa crop into enormous round bales (he has already cut once, about a month ago). It grows about 3 feet in a month. These bales probably weigh about 300 pounds. It is convenient for here, as my son in law just gets his forklift and pushes the bales to the storage place on their property, how convenient is that eh?
This is an extremely dry and hot climate here, but because of the river, the fields grow like the dickens. I only see farmers around here irrigating their crops, such as the corn, and so on. The hay type crops don't appear to be irrigated. Well, from what I can see anyways. These alfalfa fields have never had any irrigation on them, and they are green as green can be.
In this area, during the afternoon in summertime, there is always a beautiful breeze that strikes up. It cools things down immensely, and is so nice to sit outside and feel these breezes upon your body. Our deck is on the east side of our home, so it is in shade after about 1:00 and makes to a most lovely place to sit in the afternoon. The climate is so different from the humid and wet climate of our former life -- and I love it. In this fall weather, that breeze no longer is here, the air is mostly still, the summer breezes clearly come from temperatures of warmth.
Our home on the property has a tree separation, which gives us some seclusion. It is very cool because these trees are the black Elderberry shrubs (sambucus nigri). The shrubs are about 10 feet tall and very busy and have been loaded with these beautiful big clusters of black berries, of which I have been gathering my heart out. I sit for hours stripping these little black berries from the umbrels of the stalk and put them in the fridge for later processing. Ken bought me a slow juicer, an auger style, which extrudes the pulp from one exit and the juice from another. The berries have been processed and I have mountains of Black Elderberry juice, which I shall make jellies, wine and such things. It is very good for you, and I am blessed to have these shrubs just outside my very door. There are still many, many clusters of berries to gather, even though the temperature dropped to the freezing point last night. It is a pleasant thing, to sit and commune with the berries, although the hands do get a little stained purple, but that is OK, that is me.
Guess that will end my ramblin’s at this time in space, I have rambled for long enough – leaving now with my intention to set routines, and one of those is to bring back that joy that I receive, that elevation in serotonin levels, every time I come to spend with my friends on our forum. Have that beautiful day, the one that brings that smile to your face, which as we all know, makes the most beautiful of days to have and hold, yours, deep within the palm of your hand, Cindi