(there is) Still life, under the dome

It is hard to know just where to begin with this blog. I feel like we have been left too long in a sauna, and then thrown in a fire (a wee bit melodramatic) THERE ARE 2 Parts to this blog PRE JULY 1 and then July 1st. 2 stories.

We have just come out of a week of temperatures that we have never seen, and most of our country has never seen. All time records have been broken and in fact our little town likely broke an all time Canadian record temperature of 45 degree Celsius (113F). There is flooding in the north, because the glaciers are melting.

Sadly, a town 200 km from us, (Lytton) broke that record each of 3 subsequent days, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, and on Tuesday ( June 29th) the temperature of 49.5 C (121F) was felt to possibly be the hottest place on earth that day. Up here in the Great White North.

Sadly the following day, June 30th, the town burned down, the people had minutes to escape and at least 2 people died in that fire. Trying to imagine being at temperatures that high for that many days and then a fire. Lytton is a small town, adjacent to a First Nations reserve and both burned. I guess my feelings have been since the start of this heat wave that we should be making sure that the people on the reserves are OK, rather than looking for unmarked graves at the old residential schools, but I guess that is controversial. Let us above all …look after the living!

Meanwhile (over the past week) Ken and I were trying to keep our little farm watered, to save all of the plants/trees we had. We planted several trees this year trying to provide future shade and all of them seem to be shrivelling and dying. The garden we have been watering twice a day. The ground ROCK hard, hard to know how we will get all of those garlic out of the ground (pick ax). Our water is high in Iron, which seems to be plugging many of our watering lines.

dried out everything

totally dried out potatoes

We have been fortunate to receive several loads of fresh wood chips from a company pruning, trees in the area. Our ultimate goal is to cover our entire garden with at least a foot of wood chips. They hold in the moisture, decreasing the need for watering substantially. With a future of draught and increasing heat, having the ground covered keeps the ground cooler and more moist. We had gotten several rows of the garden covered with the chips before the heat became extremely intense last weekend.

So we have been getting loads of wood chips from these pruning guys, and then we have been taking the chips and distributing them with the tractor. I was telling the guy last week about the time in Oregon when we had some guys running our chipper, and they left the 4 wheeler next to the pile of chips and the tail pipe was touching the chips and I looked out and we had a huge fire, a 30 foot pile of brush was ablaze. Fortunately the fire dept came quickly and coastal oregon is nowheres near as hot and dry as it is here, and so they were able to put the fire out in an hour or so, and we watered the pile overnight.

So back to present time, he backed in with a load of new wood chips and into the remaining chips we had left over from last delivery. He was standing talking to Ken (getting ready to start to dump them) and I had gone to get some fresh garlic to give them for the wood chips and was running towards where they were and I saw the fire start in a matter of a minute where the tail pipe was touching the pile. FROM EXPERIENCE I started yelling, the guy moved the truck and Ken and I got the hoses going and quickly put out the fire. It was quite ironic, because it was SOOO hot that day and after this happened the guy said that he had been telling the crew today about what I had told him last week about the hot tail pipe.

Stories are always so much easier to tell, when they end well though. We have been able to keep the garden watered, but we have to be on it all the time. It is sort of like, I worked so hard to get all this stuff planted for future years, I am not about the lose them now, if only I could keep them watered for just one more day……We are lucky to have a well that has lots of water.

So about July 1st. THIS IS MY STORY OF JULY 1 2021 A few months ago I decided to have a party on July 1st, thinking that perhaps this year there might be fireworks on the lake and we could watch them from our high perch. GOODNESS SAKES WHAT A MISTAKE. I thought at the time that our covid vaccine would be lowering the numbers such that the province might open up on that day, and it would be a good day to visit with friends.

We were warned of an impending heat wave about a week before it happened. Although it DID look like the improved covid situation was leading to an opening up of the province, the friends whom I had invited were not relishing the idea of camping in RVs at very very hot temperatures.

We hunkered down indoors for the most part for several days with the extreme high temps, even put on the air conditioning, (which I never thought we would use.) It just seemed so unfair, to have finally gotten to a stage with Covid, after a year and a half… where things were opening up, and NOW THIS! It was right down to the actual day that the restrictions were lifted that the weather became unbearable.

June 30th came and I was chatting online with my sisters, worrying about all of them (scattered throughout BC), I thought we should connect. I have one sister who is a twitter whiz…. and while we were chatting she reported that Lytton was literally burning down. People were literally running for their lives. So very sad. My contribution to the chat is that I tend to follow radar, and was reporting to them a storm (thunder and lightening type) was sauntering its way up the province and might come close to Quesnel lake, where one of my sisters were at her cabin. (The storm did not really hit her area directly, but the following day one could see on the wildfire maps many new fires that had developed in the wake of that storm) It was quite isolated, just the one system, opening into a big system in the north of the province, and many subsequent fires.

So June 30th was the last day of the extreme heat. On a side note, Ken and I lived in Edmonton the summer of 1987, when we had had several days of extreme heat, each day followed by a thunderstorm, but after the last day, all looked quite normal, and then suddenly the biggest storm I had ever seen hit and turned out to be a massive tornado that hit Edmonton July 31 1987.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmonton_tornado

I have always had a feeling that strong systems are followed by a strong disruption (my own interpretation of meteorological stuff) So I knew that something was going to happen, something big.

So back to July 1st. The weather was a bit cooler, things started to come together for a bit of a family get together. We had Talon for the day. His parents, Dylan and Sarah were there for dinner (and for the night). Our other son Josh and a friend were there as well.

Josh went outside and said he could hear thunder. So we all went out and sat and watched for the lightening. (it has been too hot to sit on patio for at least a week) Then it started to pour. So we sat out on our patio, under the overhang, the temp dropped gradually from 38 C down to 28 C in the course of an hour and Talon ran around in the rain barefooted. It was so much fun,.. I did not take any pictures. It was the happiest of the happiest evenings, Covid was over, the heat wave was over and it was raining. WOW, what more could I ask for? I had my whole family together, bliss.

Dylan even set us up with a firehose system. He explained that if we ever have to use it to haul the hose out BEFORE we turn the water on, as it is too heavy to haul when there is water in it. GOOD practical information, I guess that is why, in the movies, the firemen have several of them hauling the hose.

So I guess that is about when all hell broke loose. (Kamloops is the largest city near us 90,000, it is where I work and where both of our kids live and also where my sister, and many friends live, about 45 miles away)

Dylan, Sarah and Talon were spending the night, and Sarah and Talon had gone to bed, and Dylan was flipping through facebook messages on his phone. Suddenly he says Juniper has been hit by lightening and a fire has started …. and then Valleyview. (These are very large suburbs of Kamloops, coming our way from Kamloops, first is Juniper a VERY large suburb with only 1 way out of, THEN Valleyview and then Barnhartvale, which is where Dylan and Sarah live and have horses, dogs and cat (Barnhartvale is the closest to us) ). The pictures were being posted all over facebook, and they were frightening. Sarah immediately said that they had to go home because it looked like things were heading towards Barnhartvale. (very concerned with horses etc) The thunder and lightening that hit us with all the rain, was now hitting Kamloops with no rain and way more aggressively.

So everyone left, we were back to chatting with my sisters and reports are that there are at least 7 fires in and around Kamloops, all started by the lightening. Other suburbs… Aberdeen, Railley …..The thought of a city THAT large burning was just so disturbing. Dylan phoned, had not gotten home yet, but from where he was, Kamloops looked like it was glowing, and so asked us to come and help them evacuate. Livestock, horses and cattle etc are a real problem with fires and evacuation, where do you take them?

So we then assessed our vehicles, the electric car we had forgotten to plug in. Our Jeep we had not gotten gas in, thankfully Josh had borrowed it and saw then empty light was on, and put SOME gas in. We pondered which vehicle would be better to take….? GOOD QUESTION?

Our friends in Juniper has essentially 10 minutes to evacuate, and they hit the road before the police came door to door, many people in Juniper took 1.5 hours to get down to the highway. (a distance of about 2 miles)

This was the fire in Juniper which was posted
I believe this was the Juniper fire as well

I must say that the thought of several fires surrounding a city the size of Kamloops was very frightening. We opted for the Jeep and started down the road, waiting to hear from Dylan, wondering whether we should be doing anything. All reports were that the traffic was a nightmare with so many people evacuating different suburbs….. all culminating onto the highway. Josh was driving home and said it took forever to get through the city, in what is normally just a few minutes.

So Dylan got to his house and assessed that they were not in immediate danger and were going to get some stuff prepared, but it looked OK for the time being. We both agreed to phone each other if there was any need for help. We turned around, opting to stay out of a disaster area, and there was still lots of lightening at our place, so still not out of the woods (pun intended)

THEN … all of a sudden…. THE RAINS CAME TO KAMLOOPS, and it poured. …and poured. Not to underestimate the contributions of the fire departments, and they did an absolutely amazing job saving the city…I DO think Mother Nature chipped in BIG TIME. WHO knows WHY she would help us after all we have done to her?

So all of these fires became “under control”, and (at least in Kamloops) things settled down. The evacuation orders were even recinded in the middle of the night. Kamloops was already dealing with evacuees from other surrounding towns are risk.

So that is my story of July 1st, a very noteworthy day in my life. There are more fires around us, after the intense heat wave, so things are still concerning. AND we now have the smoke to deal with.

But, our numbers for Covid are very low now. Sadly BC has had 700 sudden deaths ever the past week, felt to be from the heat wave, and that is about half of the number of people who have died from Covid since the beginning of the pandemic.

Thanks for reading my blog, and much love to all

From Janet, Ken and Tucker.

the calypso bean and other stories…

Plant now or forever hold your peas…. It is finally time for everything to be in the ground, and not wanting to look back in August and wish I had planted more. We bought a minute pot this year and so cooking dry beans is easy, and does not take planning the day before and soaking etc. Over the years I have found it so easy to grow Calypso beans. They are the most delicious bean, used in South American dishes, VERY different from other beans.

They grow as a nice bush, take hardly any work, and then I just leave the plant, to let the pods dry out. I then just leave the plants in a dry place and when I have time, I shell them. Problem is that I did not grow many, and only got 2-3 meals. So this year I am trying to get beans in where ever I can squeeze them.

I have also gone back to some other beans I have grown in the past, but never used. (I have jars of bean seeds)

Painted Ponies.,…
These are the Hutterite beans
Yellow eye beans, felt to be the original beans used to make Boston beans.
I am trying to remember the name of these ones, anyone know?

These are 3 varieties of the scarlet runners. I. know one is scarlet, one is pink, and I do not not know the colour of the third one, but I WILL.

I have a song about seeds……. called WITH THIS SEED, as they are Important….perhaps more important than DIAMONDS. I have put a link here:


So the hope is that we dry all of these beans and when all of the other food we have grown is eaten up, in the dark of winter, we can have bean soups.

Hot weather came and with a gusto, and though it has not been hot for long, it has been dry for a long time. We have had maybe a couple of good rains since March.

So my garlic farm/garden is totally dependant on ME…. (well,… and Ken) πŸ€”

I guess I feel TOTALLY responsible for the success/failure of my crop, by either overwatering or under watering. Usually you can blame the weather on it getting TOO much water. But now it would be my fault alone.πŸ˜€

Other horticultural adventures we are taking in what might be considered a bad year to do…….. LAWN

We have not had lawn for at least. ..30 years, however living in a dustbowl/rockpit, chronic cough and runny nose, we thought it might be time to see how the other side lives. We have planted slow growing grass mixed with clover. When we see clear evidence that this starts to resemble LAWN, we are doing to get one of those old fashioned lawn mowers that you push… no motor. They apparently make them again. Stay TUNED.

We have spent QUITE awhile working on the greenhouse in the house. In particular the sink and the counter around it.

As usual, I was trying to use my rocks to create a design. I created a design using different colour groups…..

And then I put the sink in and realized that nothing in my design matched the sink.

So then we went on a search to find COBALT BLUE tiles, and …well, did not find anything close to anything that would match this sink. Tiles tend to be sold in tile stores and its not like you can just buy a few of them and take them home, NOOOOO. You have to choose a tile and then order a quantity of them and then wait forever to have them delivered. It is not a system that allows for you to go in and get a couple of cobalt blue tiles to make your design work.

So first of all I tried using some beads, which created a line of blue to tie in with the sink, but it was not enough.

So back to the drawing board. I was kindly gifted with blue PEI beer bottles, for my project.

We smashed them and put them into the rock tumbler.

gradually they smoothed down and eventually I incorporated them all into the countertop.

We added a second tap, to be able to hook a hose to the tap to water the plants that way. So finally the job is done, now moving OUTDOORS for awhile.

Of course we have had this guy LOTS lately, and we do not have to carry him very much, he is the greatest little hiker, according to my FITBIT, he can easily do 6 KM….. and he seems to run a lot of the way. The only problem is to keep him going in the same direction we want to be heading in πŸ™‚

We will soon have neighbours below us and possibly also above us, more stories to tell.

Much love to all

Janet, Ken, and Tucker the dog……

Rhubarb and other harbingers of spring…

Spring begins and all of the little sprouts of things that we planted that have apparently survived, are showing themselves. Such as Rhubarb……. Now THIS was a total surprise, because I was thinking that I wished that I had gotten around to planting rhubarb last year. And what were those red blobs over there in the garden? OMG Rhubarb. And then, OMG, am I loosing my mind, how could I have forgotten that I planted rhubarb? And … who GAVE me the rhubarb? πŸ€”πŸ€”

Questions, questions, all answered the next time I chatted to my sister. Even before the topic came up I remembered that she had given me several “hunks” of my mothers rhubarb plant last fall. She has been “caretaker” or the famous MOM’s rhubarb for all these years, and now she said she was relieved, because if anything happened to HER plant she knew she could get some of mine. Handmedowns…. of my mothers wonderful rhubarb.

As a garlic grower it is important to grow rhubarb, so…. you know when you garlic should be up. I figure if the rhubarb can push its way through the cold hard ground, so should the garlic be able to. Lo and behold it DID!

Softneck Garlic (Italian)
Yugoslavian hardneck

So not all the garlic is up, but a good representation of my garlic.

Oh and these garlic are also up, they are planted on my HUGELKULTUR garden.

Hugelkultur is where you layer a mound starting with rotting trees, branches then dirt and compost. Everything grew very well in these mounds last year, and overwintered quite well too.

HUGE beets from last year….

I was too busy in the fall to harvest everything, we WERE building a house then…πŸ™„

Blackberry sprouts.

speaking of sprouts…. look at how much THIS guy has sprouted. His boots are SOOO full of water, the water is coming OUT the holes in his boots. you can not quite see the water coming OUT of the boots in this video. We DO have a bit of a spring that needs to be redirected this year. Lotsa fun making rivers and dams…

Grandpa reading books and “Mother Earth News” to Talon. He LOVES hearing about large hoop houses and how to build wooden trays for seed starting…. πŸ₯¦πŸ…
His main new word THIS week was SHIT….or was he saying shirt? πŸ€”
A wine rack makes a perfect parking garage for cars and trucks.πŸš™πŸš—πŸšŽat least THAT is where HE stored them.
We have about 600 tomato plants on the go….. could feed a small townπŸ€”

Hoop house full of tomato plants, trying to keep them all warm at night is a bit trying, fingers crossed we can keep them alive until the end of April.

We HAVE been making progress with our house and though I would like to take more pictures, all of our building materials are still stacked in some of the rooms. So by finishing the doors and the trim, it is a way of cleaning up.

We have found that to buy glass windows like this one, it is a LOT cheaper to buy the glass separately and get a local door company to put the glass in the frame/door. This is the door to our spare bedroom. It is a design that allows the light through, but not images of naked guests 😊

Our laundry room does not have windows, so I thought that by putting these windows on the two rooms that open into the laundry room that it will have lots of light.

….also by adding the old stained glass windows above the doors. We still have to find tiles for beside the old windows.

This picture is looking from the laundry room, the greenhouse is on the left and the guest room is on the right.

We are loving our house and our lot, even more with all the snow gone.

To all the ones we have lost this year.

This has been quite the year, it is just a year now that we moved our motorhome onto this property

The hardest to deal with I finder the losses…, the ones who have passed on this year, that we have not had a chance to say goodbye to. It is not like good byes are often possible, under usual circumstances, but they are so much harder now.

I have already written in this blog about my fathers death last June, where he fell and broke his hip after coming out of the Handi Mart getting his lottery tickets. 91 years old, on his way to his truck. We were not able to visit him, or have any input into his care (or care decisions) until he was beyond the ability to interact with us. We missed being able to be there for him when he needed us most.

I wanted to write about those whom we have lost since then…

War has unintended consequences, ( collateral damage). For me though, it had unexpected benefits. The people I have got to know because of common views against the war, became some of my closest friends over the years. And I am missing them now.

In late January 2003, I went to the Mayor of Bandon OR, for help in organizing a rally against the Iraq war. (I was naive enough at that time to think that NO ONE was actually FOR the war, it was so obvious enough to ME what was going on). He kind of smirked at me, and politely told me that he did not agree with my feelings about the war. To his credit though…….. he put me in contact with some people whom he thought might share my views. What a life changing action that was for me. The people I met thanks to the mayor’s actions, felt the same way that I felt about war, and were poised and ready to take action.

So that was the start of an incredible time in my life, we all started organizing rallies…. (and we did MANY rallies), education events, parade entrants etc. Somewhere in here I started writing music. I learned that I was the worst poster maker of the group, but there was lots of artists to help me

The three I became closest to were Frank, Marjorie,… and Bobbie. ( Francis Quinn, Marjorie Feldman, and Roberta Seigstew) This was a friendship that spanned all of these years. We went to rallies in Washington DC, where Frank (he was not young then), was one of the few hundred people who got arrested at the White House for remaining close to the outside fence and not moving. (things HAVE changed)There must have been about 10 of us from Bandon alone who went to that rally.

Oh Look, Bush and Cheney were there too…..

Then Marjorie, Frank, Bobbie and I did the peace march (with the Rural organizing project) from Salem to Portland in 2005, where we marched from the Capitol of Oregon to Portland, camping at night in tents along the way. It was a 7 day walk together.

Frank Quinn 2011

We also joined a group “WOMEN IN BLACK”(WIB) in coos Bay. It was an international group of silent protest. We went a few times to Coos Bay, then decided that there were more of us from Bandon, and so we started our vigil in Bandon every Friday. Women in Black, though not specifically anti war, were more of a statement against the violent deaths everywhere. Women in Black began in Israel/Palistine, on both sides of the wall, mourning the losses of their loved ones.

This is what our side of the highway looked like. We maintained our silence for an hour every Friday

I even wrote a song about Women in Black. While I stood there each week for an hour, I did not always know the other women who were standing there, I always knew they would be very nice people, who else would stand here regardless of weather, to bring attention to the deaths of those whom they did not know.

Sadly our weekly stance quickly took on an opposing force of veterans who did not fully understand our intentions. They took up across the road, in a very patriotic stance with flags and sometimes even patriotic music. This went on for a LONG time, and tended to attract more people with common views who were looking for a way to express them. Although a group of us women started with the Women in Black, quickly Frank joined us, because he was often the driver and he felt just as strong as we did. I guess we were the WOMEN in Black….. and Frank. Then other men joined our “Women in Black”. I believe it was during this time that our local Veterans for peace was formed. Eventually, the veterans for peace decided that they represented a different entity, and so they formed on the third corner of the street ( There are 4 corners to every intersection). I am sure you can imagine that this intersection created quite a scene. We had people stopping to film us often, as this corner was along highway 101 a major highway for coastal Oregon.

Marjorie and me..

During this time of antiwar Rallies etc, we often invited the group over to our house for pizza parties after the events. They were great get togethers of like minded people.

me and Frank

With all of the travel etc, I had gotten to know a lot of musicians from all across the US, who were doing political music at events. One of those musicians was Anne Feeney. Anne was well known politician folk musician and we did run into her often at events. At some point in all of this she contacted me and asked me if I would be interested in putting on a house concert for her. So essentially that was the start of a long line of our house concert series. I figured if I got such a large crowd over to our house for a pizza party after a rally, it would also be a great way to support political musicians who were travelling (on tour). IT is a long ways from Portland to San Francisco.

I guess I wanted to give some perspective to some of those that we have lost recently.

Marjorie and Frank and Bobbie were a chapter in my life, that has come to a close recently. Frank was walking his dog in early February and fell and broke his hip. After a long time in hospital and rehab, he passed away a few weeks ago. He was about the kindest person you could imagine. He was softly spoken and always very profound in whatever he said. In many ways with the loss of Frank I feel the loss of Marjorie and Bobbie from the previous years as well.

Bobbie died in late fall of 2018 after a difficult struggle with congestive heart failure.

Bobbie Seigstew at our going away party Bandon January 2011

We all visited with Marjorie who was in the hospital (at the time) January 2019 for a “group hug”, for Bobbie. Marjorie died in May of 2019.

This is Marjorie Feldman on the right and on the left is Buck whom has also left us a few years ago.

When we were there in January of 2020 we were able to have a day to visit with Frank.

So just like that all 3 of them are gone, it is so hard to even imagine Bandon without them. To us they WERE Bandon.

In Feb 2021, Anne Feeney died from complications of Covid. She had fallen and fracture a vertebra, and had a surgical procedure in hospital, where she contracted Covid.

Also lost to us this year was Debbie Culhane, she was a nurse, friend and eventually a neighbour in Eugene. We often camped in her driveway in Eugene when I was getting radiation treatment. She developed a lymphoma the year after my cancer treatments ended. She said was not as scary going through chemo, after having had a friend go through it first. I was sure hers was much harder then mine. Sadly she survived that cancer and developed another cancer last summer that had already metastasized. She passed away at home in November. She had been in the hospital for some time where no one could visit, but a group of the neighbours arranged for her to be brought home, and she died that night.

Ken and I with Debbie Culhane

I am lost for words to say about the loss of Ian (Cadence) Frank, just a week ago, just 30 years old, died suddenly in Portland Oregon. Friend to our son Josh, and son to friends Rick and Dianne Frank, from Bandon Oregon.

Cadence contacted Josh on January 6th, during the capitol Riots asking if it might be possible to come to Canada. We all said YES.

Much love to all who read, virtual hugs to everyone.

Janet, Ken and Tucker.

second dose today….

I must say I am feeling pretty special and very lucky to have been one to receive the second dose of the covid vaccine. Here in BC there are multimillionaires who are breaking the law in order to get the vaccine.

Josh, our son, got his yesterday, and sounds like he had a rough night with fevers etc. We both got ours this early because we both work in LTC. I guess it is a “perk” of the highest order. When it boils down to it, it is NOT to protect us, but to make us less apt to inadvertently infect those in Long term care.

It was ironic (and very sad) to have lost a friend to the disease yesterday. https://www.post-gazette.com/ae/2021/02/03/Anne-Feeney-obituary-folk-singer-political-activist-death-69/stories/202102030167

Anne Feeney, to any who attended any of our house concerts back in Bandon, was a frequent guest. In fact Anne is the one who convinced me to begin the concert series. She had survived Lung cancer to everyones surprise (including her own), but I am sure that the damage done from that left her more exposed to the more severe form of Covid. Someone just posted on facebook that 100,000 Americans had died of the virus just since the beginning of the year, and I guess Anne was one of them. So sad, the article explains a lot about her activism and what a wonder she was.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, our area (our province and even our part of the province) have fared quite well in that we have not seen a lot of cases, but the past few months the numbers have gone way up in our area, and our nursing homes have had outbreaks and even deaths, and now we have a large outbreak of 91 at our closest hospital. Ken and I have essentially hunkered down and pretty much stayed home since before Christmas. This has been mostly because we have so much to do with the house, and also because there is very little to do safely anywhere else. I guess we have been doing this for a year or so, but it is more apparent with winter, the whole isolation thing. This picture is quite amazing… a phenomena that we have noticed when there is a cloud over the lake and a calm lake, you can see the reflection of the other side of the lake on the water, but you cannot see it directly. Kinda sneaky.

The thing about living on the Northside of a mountain, is that there IS a part of the winter that you do not “see” the sun for a period of time before the solstice and after. It is hard for us to know exactly how long that time frame IS, because around here, NO ONE sees the sun for long periods of time. A few weeks ago we got a glimpse of the sun in the morning, and then yesterday it was a sunny day and we had sun for several hours. We finally eked out a few KW from our solar panels.

We try to do a big loop of all of the properties up here every morning. With all the freeze melt, freeze melting, our driveway is solid ice, so we are thinking next year of just letting nature take its course and having a skating rink

we did finally get all the outside siding done and this is what it looks like from the front. A bit odd?

We have been working hard at getting a shower finished, but with all of the details we have put into this, it is taking forever. We purchased a large thick glass window from a friend (the kind you use on out door decks), and then Ken (with some help) was able to create a frame for the window (with cedar finished with the vinegar/steel wool solution), and lift it into place.

Ken made the funky little cabinet on the side of the mirror (there is one on the other side) from these window we hav been packing around for years that came from a ???ship?

I must say we ARE having fun seeing a need for some THING ….. and then rummaging though what we have to create that THING.

The showers were not intended to have tiles on the floor of them, however… the concrete did not work out as planned and so we opted to tile the floors to cover up the ?weird? concrete. So we ended up with a lip where the tiles end. Likely a good place to stub your toe. So I hauled out my polished rocks and created a more gradual landing… from the shower.

and then the OTHER shower……

So we needed someone to check out his Dad’s work… he seems OK with it?? This is Talon our grandson, his dad, is our son Dylan… and he is a plumber.

We do not get quite as much done on the days we have Talon, but we have LOTS of fun.

I must say we are totally loving our house and feeling very grateful to be in a house that is so far removed from town.

We are loving our house more all the time.

Much love to all. Janet, Ken and Tucker…

The next stage of our project:

We are going to call it….. “You are on your own“. Because of an error in my calculations (something that I thought had been paid for in the summer and was not billed) and a change in my employment status…. again not necessarily a bad thing…. Our funds ran out this last month. WHICH technically is a good thing, because we have found out that you cannot pay a contractor to be creative in the way YOU want to be creative. So we are moving forward, basically on our own.

For instance, this railing. We needed this done for the occupancy permit, which we needed to be able to have regular house insurance. So we found this lovely beam floating in Adams Lake and have coveted it for 3 years and Ken has lightly sanded it and put several coats of finish on it. So for some reason the builder opted to get do this railing, instead of Ken (which I would have preferred). Neither Ken nor I are very good at stopping a builder who has a plan …….. (goodness sakes, big mistake). First of all, the builder went and had the Rebar powder coated Black ??? So Ken went down to hardware store and bought ordinary rebar and cut it to size. We wanted the railing at 36 inches, which is code, but the builder insisted on 42 inches which HE thought was code… Plus took 2.5 days to get this little job done. Ken could have done it MUCH quicker and the way we wanted it. Just a short example of where we are at with the builder. WE DO actually like our builder, but not necessarily all of the people who work FOR him. We still need to “wrap” the posts with older wood.

We have (as of a week ago) a functioning sink. Which we bought in Quartzsite a few. years ago. It is from Morocco and solid piece of rock. We were THRILLED to find a perfectly matching mirror at Habitat for Humanity (restore). Old sewing machine stand that someone had made into an “island”. Tile work behind sink not complete yet.

There WAS a tiny flaw in the mirror where someone had put a screw, and so I decided to cover the hole up with a shell. The shell looked too alone, so I decided to add some “friends”…. and then got carried away and now it looks like THIS. I MIGHT just have ruined a perfectly good mirror. Stay tuned.

Then I have been working on the back splash behind the sink it OUR bathroom. I think it ultimately needs a mirror that will tie in the sink. I should also say that I cannot seem to get a picture that does this justice. It is gorgeous to the naked eye, pictures not so much.

So this is where we are at with the siding. Almost done. corregated metal bottom and cement board shingles on top. Nothing flammable except the soffits under the roof just at the front.

We have WAY more snow now, lots has fallen over the holidays and Ken has been out plowing the road daily and some days more than once. The fellow who owns the rest of the lots up here has parked his truck with the blade here for the winter so we have no worries about having to get a machine to plow with.

So this is the starts of the shower in our bathroom. We are trying to achieve a “steampunk” look for the house, and so these are ceramic tiles that look like old boards. As I was doing this over Christmas, I figure that it looks more like “The Manger scene look” than the “steam punk look”.

This is the view from the shower, so we WILL have to put in glass. We may tend to use WAY too much water having showers and enjoying the view.

We did actually get a lot done over the Christmas holiday, we opted the hunker down given the number of covid cases in our area. Not nearly as high as other areas, but all it takes is the wrong contact and……

I got my vaccine on December 23rd, as did Josh, our son. Health care workers in long term care were the first to get the vaccine in our area. The facility that I work at had an “outbreak” 2 weeks before. It turned out to be a very small outbreak, only one staff member and no patients or other staff. It was scary going into the facility not knowing who might have contracted it from her. Fortunately our health authority allowed for several patients to be tested and all came back negative, which was reassuring. Should this happen again, I will be a bit more comfortable having been vaccinated. SUPERWOMAN!

So trim was a major project over Christmas. These boards we just stained with our solution of steel wool soaked in vinegar for 3 days and then diluted with water. We love the look. Sadly thought our living room HAD become more orderly, ….. almost normal, … and then….. they deposited all of the wood for trim in the living room, so now the impetus will be to keep working on the trim in order the tidy up the living room.

More tiling over the holiday to the right in this picture, tiles to match the ones on the left.

First the cement board, which Ken cuts for me.


MORE TILES…. and look at the thin row of polished agates…..

AND THEN the mess of grout…..

The cabinet people HAD put in a tiny back splash of stainless steel but it was only a couple of inches and we thought……. “you call that a BACK SPLASH”….


So we are puttering along. Trying to maintain a bit of a trail up and around the area, sometimes in snowshoes and sometimes not. Tucker is quite funny, he LOVES the deep snow and he bounds along in the deep snow (but it is well up to his tummy) and then we he gets tired he follows in our steps for awhile..

It has been an odd year. I cannot honestly complain, certainly it has not been our worst. We tend to live our life in a rather isolated fashion, such that many of the restrictions affecting so many, has not affected us as much. I guess the hardest part of seeing the devastation happening to others. I can only begin to imagine the difficult year this is going to be for so many, given the losses of the past year.

Much love to all, from Janet Ken and Tucker (the snow dog)

Have a healthy and peaceful holiday

It has already been well over a month since we have been in our unfinished house. We went to get house insurance this week, (construction insurance is pretty costly) but we need an occupancy permit in order to have house insurance.

There are just a few niggly things needed for permit, one is a light over the front door. Unfortunately they cannot install the light until the siding gets to the level of the light. You can see the round fitting for the light.

We also need a proper railing alongside the stairs rather than the set of boxes that are there now. Stay tuned on this railing as it is going to be pretty funky, hopefully soon.

And we need one full bathroom, which includes Sink, toilet and bath(and/or) shower. In our case the showers till be awhile, and we have the tub, toilet, and we need to get the sink hooked up. Most of the issue there is that in an effort to be creative, we have made the project much more complicated.

So the top part alongside the bath is done, with agates and fossils and various rocks we have found over the years.

The backsplash of the sink is a work in progress, but it IS progressing, despite…..

Talon has started to spend the weekends days with us while Sarah is working in nearby Chase. This started about a month ago, and so we have worked hard to get some projects done to make the place more toddler proof.

We are learning more every week about how to keep a 20 month old interested and occupied. It HAS gotten easier once all the ladders and saws have been taken from the living room.

We DID finally get the concrete counter top. It came in 3 huge pieces.

Talon loves the counter top where the chairs are. He runs under them and is thrilled that his head does not hit……. yet.

And we have started the tiling in the kitchen backsplash. We will be doing more with these tiles elsewhere.

The siding is getting completed, slowly but surely. It is kind of odd, we have no window coverings OR inside doors, so finding privacy while they are working on siding it hard some days.

Over the past month I have stepped away from a few of my jobs, and so have more time. More time to ponder, and more space to wander…… Which is good because pondering takes up space.

I am sure that for most who are reading this, restrictions are becoming greater due to the covid spread. Our area is experiencing increased cases of covid as well. Best wishes to everyone for a healthy peaceful Christmas. My heart goes out especially to those who live alone, as I am sure it must be very hard.

Much Love to all, Janet Ken and Tucker.

And then the winter came….

Hoping to see the end of camp style coffee soon… but not until at least Monday or Tuesday. No wait a minute. While I was typing those words, Ken got a call from the guy who is doing the countertops for the island. Apparently the main piece (there will be 3 pieces). …. Cracked. Sadly the piece what cracked is the centre piece and so the one that the others need to butt up against, so he cannot put in the other pieces either. BTW, they are concrete.

It started snowing last night. It has snowed all day long. It looks like 1.5-2 feet. Last year it took an excavator to finally clear the road up to where we are. THIS year we are hoping we can stay ahead of it. Otherwise we might be STUCK?? (scroll back to February )

Now being STUCK up here may have some appeal…. we have food put away for the winter, we have wood, and a wood stove….

However, unless the trades people can get up the road we will never get this place finished.

Ken has been trying to find a snow blade for our tractor, but this is not the best day to be looking for one… and they ARE expensive.

Fortunately, George, the guy we bought property from, has a truck with a snow plow on the front. The tires are not in great shape, so he got some chains today for the tires. So for now, he is going to leave this vehicle here now so Ken can go out and plow PRN. It is best to start with the plow at the TOP of the hill. So at least for now, we have a plan.

Now THIS is a luxury that allows me to make….

But you cannot make coffee in the oven. We have tried to make coffee on the wood stove, but it would take forever.

So they are starting to do the showers. The shower areas were the only part of the house where concrete was not put down. Showers are always tough with concrete in getting it all to drain down to the drain. This is a new concept to me… The metal piece at the front is the drain, and it is a trough drain. It allows them to make the floor all draining down to the trough, rather than the circular way. If that makes sense? We are thinking we will not have doors on the shower if the floor is concrete?

The one below is in the MBR… I have recently been told that the term MASTER bed room dates back to the slave days… and so I am trying to come up with the right term, OUR bedroom/bathroom VS Guest Bedroom/bathroom.???

Other changes to the “guest” bathroom”

So the fir boards we are using were salvaged from a floor and have been planed to take off finish and we have (Ken has) finished them with the mixture of vinegar and steel wool. When the steel wool dissolves we can either use it as is or add tea to mixture. For this project he has used some plain, some with a reddish tea and some with greenish tea.

We ARE expecting it to look better without the ladder.

So we are planning on creating a “feature wall” in each room, this is the greenhouse

So this is the current stage of the Island, the big centre spot is for the stove top, and there will be a sink at each end, a the gap next to the basket is for the dishwasher.

We did go for a walk earlier in the day and found these prints, after finding a huge bear poop. (aren’t they hibernating yet?)

Well it is now the next day and we still have power.

Thanks for reading, much love from Janet, Ken and Tucker the bear hunter.

We have moved into house….

WEEELLL. kind of….sort of like, in a way……. The weather got colder, and the motorhome could not keep up with the heat. PLUS we picked up our new bed. HUGE bed in fact…. Our old bed was over 20 years old, so instead of storing for a year, we sold it last year.

Oh…. and… it snowed, …..there was that….. 3-4 inches in fact.

We have a smattering of lovely amenities though, and a lack of others that we would love to have.

For starters we have THIS: A high voltage heater that is presently our only source of heat. (and it is -10 C. or 14 degrees F … outside)

and then we have a washer AND a dryer. We have run a hose in through the door handle hole in the greenhouse door, for the washing machine.

And for the dryer we are sharing the only 240 volt plugin with the heater above. So when the dryer is running we have no heat, not that this would be an issue, except that we had gotten WAY behind on our laundry. So washer/dryer LOVELY amenity, alternating with heat.

Now THIS… is a very lovely amenity that we HAVE, but don’t have.

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We were scheduled to get it fully installed and inspected yesterday, but when we went to get the zero clearance stove pipe, it turns out that the company that makes them shut down for 3 months because of COVID and as expected are WAY behind in production. We have (actually KEN HAS) phoned everywhere trying to find the ones we need, and finally “a guy” has found one for us, and so fingers crossed for next weekend.

Now THIS is another potential amenity, that is not working out for us at this minute. It is the furnace that goes with the heat pump, and there is something wrong with it.

It certainly is a good thing we have so many alternative sources of heat .

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AND then we have our in floor heating system, that is quite a work of art in the basement. But it is not quite finished.

Ultimately I guess we will just have to depend on THIS…….


It WILL be warmer today, thanks for the help SUN…..

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This is what the kitchen is like now, supposed to be finished tomorrow, except for the Island counter top, which will be another 2.5 weeks. It is going to be concrete and they had to wait until the Island was in to create a “template” with which to create the island. Both of our kitchen sinks will be on the island (yes Ken and I BOTH need a sink), and so it will be awhile before we have kitchen sinks. We do not have water to the house anyways, so currently makes no difference.

With the costs of our kitchen cabinetry going up, we decided to find funky cabinets to use in bathrooms rather than having a cabinet company do it. THIS is an old sewing machine cabinet, with a thick counter top applied, we found on facebook marketplace.

THIS is the office. This will be our spare bedroom, (with a Murphy bed)/office.

My work is about to change a lot over the next few weeks. I care for about 40 patients in Long term care at 2 facilities in Kamloops. With Covid it has become increasingly difficult with the distance I am from Kamloops, 90 KM (50 miles). In the past I used to drive in once a week or so and visit both facilities to keep up with my patients, sometimes more. However with Covid, physicians are only allowed to visit one facility per day, so I have to make 2 trips, OR only go to one facility a week. It has become more stressful. Good news, a new doctor is coming to Kamloops who is quite interested in Long term care (nursing homes) and is going to take over most of my patients for me. It will be a big change for me, because I am on call 24/7 basically all year except when we go down south, and someone else covers then. I get maybe 5-8 calls per day, which does not seem like a lot, but it does wear away at you with time. So looking forward to less interruptions during the days

My OTHER job/jobs are as medical director. I am the medical director for Overlander care home in Kamloops which is the largest care facility in Interior Health. This is a bit harder to explain, but I oversee the quality of care in the facility.

Then in April I took the position of Medical director for Interior health west Long term care. This is the interesting position, because it is involves traveling to the communities up to Williams Lake, over to Clearwater, Merritt and Lillooet. So exciting changes for us, coming up. A lot of time on computer and meetings on phone as well, so nice to have such a great view from the office room

So here we are, getting warmer in our house. Poor Tucker is a little lost, and needing extra reassurances. AND he is a little annoying with his periods of indecision, … hmmm do I want to go outside.. or not …WHILE we have the door open, in a house we are trying to heat.

Anyways for now all is good, though I may sound a wee bit melodramatic about it, we are THRILLED to be in our new house.

Much Love from Janet, Ken and Tucker the undecided dog.

the Island

So we moving along some, now, as the weather is turning on us. It is getting harder to stay in motorhome, as the heat is an air pump and with the colder air it is struggling to keep up. So we are using the little space heaters.

we have become so frustrated with the news, that we have designated Tucker to let us know if there are any significant changes in the news…..He just rolls his eyes.

The floor got done and polished …. we are pretty happy with it…

We were shown pictures of great work drawing in the boards to make it look like a frame , so we opted to have him draw in boards around our rock/tile openings to make it look like a frame. We are not sure how well it worked out

I guess we will see once we start to lay the rocks in.

We do have our cold room in (with the exception of the door), and nicely filled up. You cannot see in this picture, but there are large bins of potatoes on the floor.

I planted heirloom “glass gem” corn this year and they are starting to be ready. Not sure if they can possibly be used for making flour, but I think that the best thing would be just to look at them.

this is how tall the corn grew, I will be saving the seeds, as they are an old heirloom. Looks like I will have lots if anyone wants to try to grow corn.

although we have had our first frost, it has not been extensive enough to damage these HUGE Shaggymanes…..this was about 3 inches across

And of course in the midst of all of this, it is also garlic planting season. There have been several times we have looked at each other wonder ??? Why are we doing this again? Of our last years crop of 5000, we saved the largest 1000, and of what was left we sold…. and have some to eat over winter. BUT THEN we went to our seed stock to get ready to plant, and many of them had rotted. SO we had to break down and buy more seed stock in town.

So back to the house…. we have had some painting done, the crew were on another job and only had a few days to start. We bought some fir doors “from a guy” and are staining them with the Steele wool soaked in vinegar, for 3 days, then dilute with water. We are thinking that they will tie in our ??? industrial/steam punk design ideas.

and then the kitchen cupboards have arrived, it will be an entire week to get them installed. as you can see a wide array of colours. The wall colours will change.

And then the ISLAND. WOW, I had no idea just how big it really was going to be, it is massive. We wanted place for 2 sinks and the cook top, and dishwasher, so I guess it had to be big.

the counters you see at the back are stainless steel, for making bread. πŸ™‚ There is currently a protective coating on them.

So there were guys here yesterday to take a template of the top of the island to create a concrete countertop.

This is the guest bathroom, stay tuned for changes here.

THIS is the greenhouse, …. many changes here…..

SO here we are shivering in our motorhome and going frequently into our VERY warm house. There is just one heater going in house and the entire house is staying VERY warm, which says a lot about the insulation.

Bye for now, much love from Janet, Ken and our roving news reporter Tucker.