Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Home Works!

The leaves are quickly morphing from green to red and yellow.
The title pretty well sums up this blog.  It was a lovely fall day - a perfect one to catch up on some home works.

The next project on my handlers list was to level off a site in the north west corner of our yard in preparation for an 8' X 10' garden shed.

Bright and sunny day.
After reading several blogs and reading the morning edition of the Vancouver Sun newspaper, I readied for the task ahead.  The first task was to cut six wooden pegs from some 2 X 3 boards.  I would use those to square the area for the 8X10 shed.

Circular saw to make some pegs.
Required tools for the job.
The slope in the back yard corner - from front to back - drops down between 6 and 8 inches.  The back side supporting concrete blocks would have to rest above grade and the front and middle blocks would have to be dug into the ground.  Pick, ax (for roots), shovel, rake and more tools would be required.  I loaded them up into the wheelbarrow and proceeded to the back yard.
Making sure every corner is level - front to back - back to front - corner to corner - etc.
While I was busy digging, leveling, digging some more, leveling some more and hauling in some heavy concrete blocks, I did not bother with photographs.  Suffice it to say that the task did take all of five hours.  It was bull work....but the workout was well worth the effort.  I burned many calories and sweated buckets too.

Big, heavy, concrete blocks for the back of the shed.
For those of you who are wondering about the 1X4 boards, I am merely using those for leveling purposes.....and  to make sure the blocks (front to back) line up properly.  When the shed arrives, it will be placed directly on the blocks.
The middle blocks had to be dug in more than the back blocks. The front blocks are dug even deeper and jot out ever so slightly above grade.
 Once the shed is in place and the exterior finished with siding to match our home, the blocks won't be seen.  The building will be completely skirted and finished.
Sure had to did deep and hard in places to get the job done.  Good exercise though.
Once the shed is in place, new crushed rock will fill the front, sides and back.
Once I was satisfied that all blocks were securely in place and level from every which way, it's now time to call the crane truck company that will move the 8' X 10' wooden framed shed from White Rock to our place here in south Langley.

You read right.  The garden shed is being moved from another home to ours.  Madeleine, a good friend of ours, does not want the garden shed in her yard.  She already has a lovely 10 X 20 garden shed so this second one will be leaving her yard for ours in the coming days.

The finished garden shed will sit behind this foliage near the fence and cedars in the corner.
The shed that Madeleine has given us is a stick built 8 ft. X 10 ft. X 8 foot high building with hip roof, framed 16" on centre and finished in plywood with a metal door.   The shed is solidly built on 6X6 treated posts with a wooden floor.

Once it arrives here, the shed will be re-shingled to match our existing house roof, soffits will be installed, a new window will be built into the east facing wall, new matching vinyl siding will cover the existing plywood walls, and new gutters and drains will be installed too.
A few trees and plants had to be removed before I could start the project. When the truck crane company chooses to move the building I will be at the ready with the camera at both ends of the project.  The company claims to be able to use a truck boom to move the shed off Madeleine's property from the street, over a fence and on to a truck deck.  At our place, the truck will rest on our driveway and they will boom the shed all the way back - about 70 feet back.  The 5th wheel will be removed for that process.....and, although they claim to be able to go over it with the boom and shed attached, I will not take that chance.    Stay tuned.  Sure glad this part of the job is done though.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Golf, RV Show and more.....

Monday, 19th of September - Homestead Farms Golf & Country Club - Lynden, WA
I was asked to fill in on a foursome of Rotarians who play regularly.  It was a beautiful day out there on the links. 
Plenty of water to swallow up golf balls.
What a treat to walk this course.....even if one isn't playing well, it's not  a good walk spoiled if your game is not up to par.
Homestead Farms is a great quality golf course, only minutes south of the USA/Canada border.
FRIDAY - No 1 hole @ Kings Links Golf & Country Club in Boundary Bay - between White Rock and Ladner, BC
I was glad to play with the Rotarians in the hopes that it would prepare me for our SNAKE GOLF year end championship that was held this past Friday @ Kings Links.
Putting contest.
I have belonged to the SNAKE GOLF group for well over 20 years.  Each golfer carries a snake moniker.  My moniker is MAMBA.  Each snake must be venomous.  When I started with the group, we were eight members and we grew to 16 members these past several years.

Our SNAKE captain, Phil (in the red shirt) is giving us the rules of play for our year end championship.
Although I did play 12 fairly good holes of golf, I really stunk up the other six.  That made for a wayward score that put me out of the prizes.  It was a beautiful day near the sea shore with winds that abated after the second hole.  It was a really nice day for golf.

We ended the day with pizza and libations at our captain's home.  The trophy and prizes were handed and we said our good byes till next season.

Some of us will get to play during the winter months while on our snowbirding adventures in the southwestern sunny US climes.
RV Show - Saturday @ the Abbotsford Tradex Centre.
 Saturday was sunny and warm.  Jeanette and I chose to ride over to the RV show.  After parking and paying our entry fees, we walked around the entire show floor looking for anything new, or new to us, in the RV world.  About the only thing that grabbed my interest was a great display on LED lighting.  Although the replacement bulbs are quite expensive, the power draws are exponentially less than existing incandescent lights we have in our fiver. LED lights draw very little 12V power. Something to consider! I also spent a bit of time listening to a salesman talk to other rv'ers about solar systems. 

Held over four days, the show seemed to be well attended on the Saturday.
 We focused more of our time on 5th wheel and Class 'A' models.  Of particular interest to me were the more recent upgrades to hydraulic leveling systems on 5th wheel units.  It's not a priority for us though because it really only takes a few more minutes to level our fiver using the conventional method.
We noticed many units had 'SOLD' signs on them.  I wonder if those sales occurred at the show.
Once we had exhausted the show floor, we headed for one of our favourite country markets to pick up some fresh veggies, fruits, and other groceries.  We loaded up the saddle bags and headed back for home.
Push hard....and you'll get that stuff in there!

On Sunday our daughter - who had flown in for weekend from Edmonton, Alberta - was returning from a stagette in Whistler, BC, that she organized for her really close friend, Nicole.  Jeanette prepared a great Sunday dinner and I bar-b-q'd a fillet of salmon. After spending a few quality hours with Ginette, we drove her to Abbotsford airport for her return flight.
Grabbing her luggage from the truck.
A goodbye hug with mom.....and off she goes back to Edmonton.
That pretty much sums up the past several days in our household. Once back home after our airport drive, I took this photo of the setting sun.

Thanks for dropping in.  Wishing you all a very good week ahead.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

RV Friends and RV Prep

Victoria, BC - The Empress Hotel
In the last blog I mentioned I would write in greater detail about our four day motorcycle trip to Vancouver Island and our visit with RV friends.
Plenty of float plane activity in Victoria harbour.
After playing tourist in the city and enjoying the sights and sounds, we motorcycled northward to the Cobble Hill / Cowichan Bay area where Rick & Paulette's RV Travels call home. 
Typical Victoria street scene.  Very nice!
We first met Paulette and Rick in person last February when we entered the very same RV park they call their winter home.  The Sands RV and Golf Resort in  Desert Hot Springs  Palm Springs RV Resort & Golf Course is  a very nice park that appeals to us and them. 

At Rick and Paulette's home.
Many RV bloggers know of Rick because of his unselfish dedication to educating and helping RV'ers with their internet, cellular, and computer issues.  That's how we first came into contact with Rick.  About one year ago, prior to leaving on our first snowbirding adventure, I had been reading several RV blogs.  Rick's blog was one that I followed closely. I recall writing Rick an email; seeking his advice about recommended cellular US service.  He was so quick with a response and some really good information.

Many quilters (RV'ers or otherwise) are also very aware of Paulette's quilting/crafts blog.  Huge following, she has!!!   Sweet P Quilting and Creations
Do you also get the impression they want to don the helmets and ride off?

Jeanette and I enjoyed a very nice visit with them.  Lunch was great.  Sure loved the pulled pork. They are gracious hosts.

Now that I have an iPhone, Rick was quick to give me several pointers too.

The mutzos were our cue to ride northwards.  The had been incredibly patient but it was time for their routine afternoon walk in the park.  We exchanged greetings, agreed to stay in touch and we will see them this snowbirding winter in the Palm Springs area.

Life long friends - (LR) Steve, Gwen - Jeanette
Steve and Gwen spoke at length about their dream cruise in the Mediterranean, later this month.  We'll be hearing more about this adventure in the month ahead, I'm sure.
The view from their great room.
After visiting at their home in Ladysmith, we motorcycle further north to Lantzville, Vancouver Island.

Hector and Diane's Class 'A'
 We first met RV friends Diane and Hector when we spent two nights at the Seven Feathers RV Resort and Casino in southern Oregon, last January.SEVEN FEATHERS RV RESORT

Hector, Chico (the Portuguese Water Dog) and me.
We instantly connected when we first met and, as a result, we convoyed together - along with another couple from the Greater Vancouver area , Trena and Lucky - and we met up a few times during our winter travels.  Hector likes to golf so it's a great fit for me too.  While he and I would be off to the links, Jeanette and Diane would engage in like minded activities.

They prepared a great seafood meal for us.
Hector's roots go back to Newfoundland.  Raised on the 'rock' on Canada's east coast  seemed a natural fit to also live the island life on the west coast.  Simply put, Hector loves to fish....and fish he does.  He favours the salt chuck. Diane is not shy of the sea.  She loves fishing and boating.  This couple spend many hours plying the west coast of the island in search of that perfect sockey, spring, chinook and other salmon. Combined with their love of RV'ing, this is how they enjoy their retirement summers.  The winter months see them RV'ing in the southern US and Mexico.

Chico.  We easily made friends with this Portuguese Water dog.  He is a wonderful dog.  I think he may have remembered us from our last visits in Arizona.  He shadows Hector wherever he goes.

Hector and Diane loaded up our saddle bags with some fresh frozen salmon before we left for the ferry back to the mainland.  What a treat that will be. Thanks guys!
Lovely ocean setting from shore prior to boarding the ferry at Duke Point - south of Nanaimo, BC
Having spent time with RV friends on Vancouver Island may have triggered the urge to get our own RV in shape.  Tuesday was to be the day I would pull the fiver from it's resting place next to our home and get busy with some needed maintenance.
Hitchin' up
With a promised golf round south of the line @ Homestead Farms Golf Resort in Lynden, WA, on Monday, I was hoping that Tuesday would offer continued sun.  It did and so I got busy with the 5th wheel maintenance.
About to roll out from it's parking spot next to our home.
Wow, there is a lot of room here when the fiver is out!!

Ready to open the slides and get to work.

Unknown to me, Jeanette captured this shot while I was busy treating the rubber roof to some TLC.

It felt good to get this job done....!  I always enjoy putzing around with the 5th wheel.

How nice is this.  It's white and bright again.
Once the roof was completed I tackled a few indoor projects too.   By  late afternoon, and with the intended projects completed, I hitched up again and backed the fiver back into its rightful place.  I sure wanted to load it up and head off though!!!!  That will happen soon enough!

All closed up and ready to push back.
Well, there you have it.  We have another busy week ahead.  Daughter - Ginette - arrives this Thursday evening to attend a stagette for one of her best friends, I have to attend our annual mens' year end golf tournament, Jeanette is entertaining a friend, and we have received word that a relative has landed on the coast and wishes to stop by too.

I have a long list of home improvement projects to attend to but that may have to wait till next week when it is hoped I'll have the down time to get at them.

As always, thank you for dropping by.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Great, Great, Long......Fun Weekend - The Overview

On board a BC Ferries ship to Victoria, Vancouver Island.
Although the weather forecast called for showers all of the four days we would be motorcycling on Vancouver Island, we opted to take our chances. Thursday past was our first of four days away.  We avoided the showers and stayed dry.
It's always a treat to ply the waters of Georgia Straight and Active Pass on the way to Victoria.
In Sidney, BC, shortly after we disembarked from the BC Ferries ship @ Shwatrz Bay.
We stopped into the town of Sidney and called the daughter of one of Jeanette's cousins.  Darcey lives and operates a business in the area.  One phone call connected us and we agreed to meet a few minutes down the road.
Lovely sign at the entrance to Sidney.
Jeanette captured this photo of Darcey with her four legged pal. 
She owns a company called CommuniCanine.  CommuniCanine Home Page
Although ours was a brief visit, it is always fun to catch up with her and to get a drift of her busy life.  She's always on the go. 
 The Undersea Gardens in Victoria Harbour with the famous Empress Hotel in the BG.

We pressed on to the city of Victoria where we checked in to the Inn and once the motorcycle was parked and locked, the suitcase safely stored in the room, we headed for a long walk though downtown and along the inner harbour.
Although not in the forecast, the sun did shine.
Jeanette and I have visited this city on many occasions and I often spent time in Victoria on business.  To now have the time to just meander around - without having to punch a clock - was a nice change.  We took our time, browsed in several stores, stopped for coffee and generally took in the sights and sounds of the downtown core.
We took this photo of the Provincial Parliament Buildings on our return walk from dinner at the famed Sticky Wicket Pub and Restaurant.
Prior to leaving our home for the Island, we had been in touch with Paulette and Rick of
Rick & Paulette's RV Travels  to let them know of our travel plans and to ask about possibly getting together for coffee or lunch.  We agreed to meet at their home on Friday last.  It was nice to meet again - this time on their home turf in the Cobble Hill area - following our last get together at their RV site at the Sands RV and Golf Resort in Desert Hot Springs, CA., last February.
We knew that Rick and Paulette heard us arrive in their driveway when the mutzos were let out the door and greeted us with barks, jumping and general doggy excitement.  (More about our visit in the next blog)
Rick and Paulette's fiver in the driveway....readying for their departure back to Desert Hot Springs, this late October, 2011.
From Rick and Paulette's home, it was a brief 30 minute ride up the Island Highway (Trans Canada #1 Highway) to Ladysmith and an overnight visit with Gwen and Steve, life long friends from our former city of White Rock, BC.  Gwen and Steve retired to the island four years ago and we make a yearly pilgrimage to check up on them and to check out the new creations in their home and garden.
L-R    Gwen, Steve and Jeanette
It was nice to catch up on our collective news and enjoy the wonderful ocean view from the dining and living room of their home.  Following a nice dinner, we sat and chatted till Steve and I called it a night and we left Jeanette and Gwen to burn the midnight oil with banter and laughter.  No wonder Jeanette slept in the morning after!!!

In their living room....with a great ocean view!
Following a late breakfast, we prepared for the next leg of our island journey northward.  We had also planned to meet and overnight with another of our RV friends who travel in a lovely Travel Supreme, Class 'A' and who call Lanzville, BC, (just north of the city of Nanaimo) their brick and sticks home. 

Hector is shadowed by his other best friend, Chico - a wonderful Portuguese Water Dog. 
It's true!  Wherever Hector goes, Chico is his shadow.  This dog will not leave his master's side.  He has a wonderful disposition.

Most dog owners we know share the same stories about their dogs forever shadowing them wherever they go.  That must be why they are known as 'man's best friend.'
Jeanette and Diane are looking closely at the wine bottle tuxedo that Diane's mom sewed some years back.  Kind of cute looking, and what a nice touch to covering a Naked Grape bottle of wine.
Hector and Diane prepared a wonderful salmon and Atlantic cod Bar-B-Q
Following a restful night in the urban country setting of Diane and Hector's Lantzville home, a wonderful late morning breakfast, and more chat about their lives and ours, we prepared to saddle up and head for the mid-island ferry @ Duke Pointe for the two hour ferry ride back to the mainland.  (More about our visit in the next blog)
On the ferries ship for our return voyage.
Making sure the captain has this ship under control.
So, this is just a brief overview of our wonderful weekend; visiting relatives, RV friends, long time neighbours, and other RV friends. The weekend was a "10" on our travel scale.  We enjoyed being tourists, enjoyed great company while sharing wonderful food offerings by our hosts and, most importantly, we enjoyed listening to everyones' travel objectives.  It's a gift to be able to share our travel plans with a promise to meet again on the road during our snowbirding adventures.
The 'After Eight' super yacht entering Victoria's harbour.
Our next blog will offer greater detail and more photos of our visits with Rick & Paulette's RV Travels ,  Gwen and Steve's Mediterranean cruise in the coming weeks, and Hector and Diane's plans for the winter.

Thanks for dropping by.