Thursday, May 29, 2014

Pergola Part Deux Completed....

We don't have much to report about other than to update readers on the continuing back yard renewal project.  Jeanette and I have been busy with the back yard project, off and on, when not occupied with other more important activities.
Starting to assemble pergola #2
Last week, we managed to dig holes, place the posts, level, fortify and pour cement on the pergola #2 project.  The past couple of days offered the time to complete that project.  The  primary purpose to building the pergolas are to give us total privacy once our future back yard deck is built.  We will also have complete privacy when sitting in our sun room.  
Jeanette got busy with moving and screening soil from the previous strawberry patch to its new home under pergola #1
The previous strawberry patch is soon so disappear.  The new raised deck will cover its original spot.  Pergola #1 included a spot for the berries to move to.  Sifting the soil has produced some fine black loam.
This pergola #2 rises 10' high.
The added advantage with the two pergolas is the option for Jeanette to add some hanging flower baskets. Those plants will add some more colour to our yard.  They will look nice.

With the trees, cedars and recent pergolas, we are making headway to the stage when the new deck will be built. And we will have complete privacy when outdoors.
Still a fair bit of work required before the new deck can be constructed.
While the clouds and rain rolled in yesterday, I spent the time staining 4X4, full dimension, treated landscape ties, in our garage.  We are building a long, raised planter to receive ornamental cedars on the west side of our property.  That is the new project we are working on.
Front yard BC Dogwood tree blooming.
Golf takes precedent over work tomorrow (Friday).  Our golf group is meeting at our home for coffee before we drive east to Harrison Mills and a resort golf course we thoroughly enjoy playing a few times every year.  Sandpiper Golf Resort is a great destination....and a lovely track to play.  It is about a 70 minute drive from our home, into the eastern Fraser Valley, near Harrison Hot Springs Resort.

 Waterfront golf course located near Vancouver BC and the Fraser Valley | Sandpiper Golf Course

The weather for our region is looking great for tomorrow and into the weekend.  Golf and motorcycling will likely take precedents over yard work.  Just as it should be!!!!

Sandpiper Golf Resort - Harrison Mills, BC
 And there you have it.  We're enjoying the back yard transformation project. 

That's it from here.  Thanks for dropping by.

Monday, May 26, 2014

A Birthday Party....&....more...

Another busy few days led to a weekend birthday party.  Our daughter, Ginette, celebrated her 32nd birthday in great fashion.  Her and husband Trevor held an outdoor barbecue party that was very well attended.
Some party food prep
The party was held at Ginette and Trevor's Langley City home, this past Saturday afternoon and evening.  A lot of little folks - accompanied by their patents - attended.  
Baby Brie is enjoying some pre-party fun with her older brother, Easton.
I am not certain how many partyers showed up but with me manning the barbecue, I would have to count at least 30+ plates of food that were dispensed.  Fun group they were!
Nicole (with husband Trevor in BG) holding on to Brie.
Nicole and Ginette have been long time friends; since they were babies, in fact.  Of interest is that Ginette's husband Trevor and Nicole's husband Trevor have been life long friends too......!
Courtney brought Owen to the party so the three cousins (Brie, Easton and Owen) got to spend some time together.
It was a bonus that Courtney and Owen (who live in Edmonton) were on the coast for several days and they got to attend Ginette' special birthday.  
Only one month difference in age between Brie and Owen (Owen is the older baby)
Easton recently celebrated his 2nd birthday and his aunt Courtney (with cousin, Owen) delivered a little gift for him
Easton has a better understanding of birthdays and parties now...and he was quick to unwrap the gift from Courntey, Deni and Owen.
A really cool clock for Easton's bedside......
Jeanette and I got some good face time with all three of our grand children.
We also took advantage to get some photos with ourselves and the three grand kids......!

Another long time friend of Ginette's (L) Julie joined Nicole and the kids on a lovely and sunny afternoon.
Trevor and Brie started the barbecue but I manned the job to free Trevor to entertain his guests.
Ginette and Trevor and feeding their guests some specially made jello shooters.....!
Moms and kids seemed to hang around the swing set while the dads hung in and around the garage.  Wonder why that was?
The little kids and big kids did have a great time and Ginette's birthday was well celebrated.
Some special jello treats were made for the little kids too....and they were popular.
'Happy Birthday Mommy".........
Ginette, Jeanette holding Brie and Courtney with Owen.
The party theme was 'Ja-May-Can' (Jamaican) so Ginette made her special birthday cake with the Jamaican flag.  There are plenty of family and friend birthdays in 'May'.....!
Trevor has the honor of lighting the candles and presenting the cake to Ginette.
More folks hanging out.....
Trevor's mom, Sandi is catching some face time with Easton.
Easton - and most other little kids - enjoyed some really good hot dogs......!
Shortly before her bed time, Brie is bundled up and she did the rounds with her birthday mom.
 We had agreed to take Easton to our home for a sleepover.  He was having such a great time at the party; playing with friends.  To lure him away took little effort when we suggested he come home with us to see the motorcycles (that he is enamored with).  Once at our home, he was quick to straddle the Harley and, with one push on the starter button, he had the engine roaring to life.
He just loves sitting on the motorcycles.....!
After a really good night's sleep, Easton got busy with us in the morning.  Of greater interest was his desire to help empty the dishwasher.....all by himself.
He insisted on emptying the dishwasher all by himself.  His Nana convinced him to put everything on the counter tops.  He did just that.
For breakfast, his Nana had the idea to mix up a batch of pancake mix.
Once again, Easton wanted to take part in that so he got to mix the batter.  After that - and a good lesson on how to respect a hot stove top - he helped prepare some truly good pancakes.  The special grill had some happy faces that made eating these pancakes even more special.

Easton is enjoying the fruits of his labor.
While Easton and Nana were busy with breakfast, I was riding my way to White Rock for our regular Sunday morning 'Open Mike' coffee get together.  Riding there was great....and riding back had me put on my rain gear. was raining for my ride back home....!
Early Sunday afternoon Ginette drove over to collect Easton and head back for home.  They were going to pick Brie and Trevor up before driving over for a visit with Trevor's maternal grandmother who had just been released from hospital.
Early Monday morning....
Courtney and Owen had a 10:30 am flight,, from the Abbotsford Airport for their return to Edmonton.  They, along with Owen's maternal grandmother, Barb, dropped by our home for a brief visit.  With more hugs and smiles exchanged, they then headed for the airport.

L-R   Jeanette, Owen, Barb and Courtney
Once Barb, Courtney and Owen left for the airport, I headed off to do some planned chores.  With intermittent rains called for today (Monday), I chose to postpone completion of the 2nd pergola.  That will be my task for tomorrow.

Jeanette was soon to leave for a planned retired nurses luncheon at a local golf resort.  When those nursed do get together, it is a barrel of laughs.  They do know how to enjoy themselves. 

That covers the past several days.  Oh.....I did spend the better part of Saturday giving our home a bath.  The sun room glass roof panels, windows and two thirds of the entire house got a good scrubbing with soap/water and brush.  I'll get to complete the last one third of our home when time permits.

OK....that's it from here for now.  Thank you for dropping in.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Another Road Trip Concluded.....

We drove the 12 hours required to get home from Edmonton, Alberta, this past Tuesday.  It was a perfect driving day: great weather, awesome Rocky Mountain views and limited traffic.  Jeanette and I both felt the drive went by quickly.  When one has so much topography to look at, the drive always seems quicker.  A fully loaded iPod, with our preferred music selections, added to the joy during our journey.
Saying a temporary bye bye to Owen.....
Jeanette and I were up early on drive day, Tuesday.  Once our son, Deni, left for his work place, we shared some precious moments with baby Owen before saying our bye byes.  He was his usual jovial self.  His mom, Courtney, and he were going to arrive at our home - on the coast - the very next morning.  Courtney and Owen were flying in to the Vancouver area to spend time with Owen's maternal grandmother.  
"Bye bye Nana......see you real soon at your BC lower mainland home....."
We left Deni and Courtney's home at 6:00 am (BC time) and made quick time leaving the city of Edmonton.  We took the Whitemud Freeway (with no traffic lights) and, within 25 minutes, we were on the Yellowhead Highway 16 heading east towards Jasper National Park and points further west.

A BIG THANK YOU for Deni and Courtney's hospitality, while we were at their home.  We ate really well....and our accommodations were super.  A special thanks to my sister Paulette and brother in law Rick for their hospitality too, when we were out in the eastern Alberta countryside.  We enjoyed terrific meals there too. We did spend one night at Tom and Darlene's home and we thank them for their hospitality too.  Great barbecue!!!  It was all so much fun.
Downtown Edmonton - photo taken from the river valley
Perfect weather for a drive
There was little traffic on the Tuesday, following a long weekend.  The weekend travelers were back home and we mainly shared the highways with truckers.  Bonus, that was!
Deni up in an apple tree with a chain saw - trimming back the branches.
One of our rental properties has three apple trees.  The tenants are not the least bit interested in the fruit and the decay does leave quite a mess in the fall time.  Deni and I made it a holiday Monday project to seriously trim back the branches.  Two and one half hours after we started, we had the two imposing apple trees seriously pruned.  Deni's cargo trailer was filled to the brim.  Another job accomplished!
At the Edmonton recycling depot, Deni and I unloaded the branches from his 12 foot trailer.  It was quite the load.
Before our pruning project, we moved some fire wood from one rental house to Deni/Courtney's house.
Courtney, Owen and Jeanette headed to a large garden centre while Deni and I were in the pruning business.

A beautiful and very well organized garden centre.
Courtney was getting ready to seed her little home garden and she managed to find what she was looking for at the garden centre.  
Deni and Courtney's Edmonton home - complete renovated (up and down).  It is a beautiful home....and the basement is especially stunning.  I will head back to Edmonton next month to build Deni's outdoor deck.  It's not that they cannot do it, it's my treat to help get it done.  They are so busy with house renovations and new baby Owen.  Getting the deck built will quickly bring their renovations to completion.
Approaching the Rocky Mountains
You can see from the photo above - and those that follow - that the highway traffic was light.  We had a seamless drive, other than slowing down for construction projects, one wildlife fatality and one rollover.
Awesome Rocky Mountain view.
Stopping at the Jasper National Park gates. We stated we were driving through to the Pacific Coast and no permit was required.
A lot of snow remains.....but the melt is well advanced.
We saw a lot more wildlife on this trip than in the past.  We sited three bears (one grizzly) feeding on the side of the highway, a cow moose, lots of elk and several small herds of white tail deer. Oh.....and beavers too!

Sure have to slow down for wildlife at this time of the year.  Always spectacular to witness though!
When arriving at the British Columbia border with Alberta, we know that our watches need to be set back one hour.  We gain an hour heading west.
Beautiful Moose Lake.
The unlucky fella in the navy car (right frame of photo) got some assistance to pull a white tail deer off the highway after he crashed into it.  Sad!
About two hours west from our home - at the bottom end of the Coquihalla Highway (high mountain road), an amusement trailer was sideways on the northbound lane.  We were heading south and were unaffected by the accident.  Sadly, north bound traffic was backed up for several miles.
Before long, we had left the mountains and we're driving due west in the Eastern Fraser Valley.  Home was only 60 minutes away.  We drove into our driveway precisely 11 hrs. and 35 minutes after leaving Deni/Courtney's Edmonton home.That included the usual breaks for fuel and a 20 minute lunch.
L-R  Jeanette, Owen, and Owen's maternal grandmother, Barb.
By 10:45 am, Wednesday, Courtney and Owen were met at the Abbotsford airport (10 minutes from our home) by Courtney's mom.  They drove to our home and joined us for coffee and fresh baked muffins.  Courtney and Owen are here to spend a week with Barb, Doug, family and friends.  Deni is holding the fort back in Edmonton....working on completing some of the last bits of renovation work....and his day job too!
Although we had seen Owen only 28 hours earlier, here he was in our Langley, BC, home. He must have wondered about seeing us so soon and in another house.  He and his mom took a 90 minute flight from Edmonton.  He was his usual happy disposition.  Mr. Smiley - say we!
We will get to see Owen while he is in the area visiting.  He and his mom have a seriously busy agenda though.  He'll get to see a lot of new faces, that's for sure.
I was back at work once Courtney, Owen and Barb left our home.
It was a nice day.  Not too warm or too cool.  It was perfect weather to finish off this first of three pergolas we have planned for.  We made quick work of the first one.
Fitting all the top pieces to match the existing pergola on the opposite side of the yard.
We are bringing some serious changes to the back yard.  It is mainly cosmetics but that still requires some hard labour.  Of course, I don't mind building stuff.  Even digging a few deep post holes is not a problem.  The concrete was well set - upon our return - and we completed this pergola within a few hours.
Looking good. 
Easton came to visit.  His timing was great.  I had finished my carpentry project and had the time to play.
Any reason to put down the tools to spend time with Easton and Brie (oh...and their mom too :) is a treat.  Ginette and her kids arrived at our home, near mid-afternoon, while I was just putting the tools away.  We enjoyed a lovely visit -  with plenty of play time - before they headed back for their home to get some dinner going for dad, Trevor.
Brie displayed her usual calmness.  Other than feeding time and diaper changes, this little three month old is adorably good.  What a sweetie!
I don't have any photos to prove it but believe me on this; Easton wanted to sit on the motorcycles and he asked me if I could start them up.  Well, the garage door was opened and Easton had his turn on the Nomad before moving to the Harley and starting it too.  He loves to push the start button. Great fun for both of us!!!!

Once his thirst with the motorcycles was quenched, he was happy to return to his play mat and other toys.  Sure was nice to see Easton, Brie and Ginette.

Following a busy day of outdoor work and visits with our grandkids (all three of them), I could hardly keep my eyes open after dinner.  In fact, Jeanette poked me with the suggestion that I head for the bed.  I guess I was nodding off in front of the TV - a good place to nap, say I.

I usually read when I first go to bed....but I think I was asleep within 20 seconds of touching the pillow.  I guess the travel, visiting, long drives, visits, and outdoor work cooked me of energy.  I slept like a baby !!!!

Bright and early this Thursday morning.
I was well rested and energetic this morning so I wasted little time getting outdoors and setting things up to dig two more post holes.   The first twenty minutes were devoted to washing our Nissan truck.  It needed a good bath, following our Alberta journey. 

After that, some deep holes were on the order table for the second pergola.  An hour or so later, I had two deep holes dug, the posts placed and, with Jeanette's help, everything was leveled and braced.  Jeanette took several breaks away from her chores to check out my progress.  She captured the photos.  My inspector was approving of the work I had done. :)
Next was the arduous task of mixing seven bags of post cement and placing it in the post holes.
Once the cement was tamped and leveled and following cleanup, it was lunch time.  The cement will cure - these next few days - before I complete building the pergola.  I do have a bit of staining to do while the cement cures to concrete.

After a shower and lunch, I motorcycled over the USA border and into the city of Bellingham, WA.  I had to return a quad battery that did not fit our son's Yamaha Grizzly. With the wrong battery returned, I was able to secure the proper battery from another auto parts supply store.  The first battery was guaranteed to fit Deni's quad but I was given the wrong one.  I was far more diligent with the replacement this time around.  Hey....fool me once; never twice!!!!
Pouring cement to fill the post holes.
The evidence......!  Once cured, I'll happily finish building this pergola.
And there you have it!   Busy time around here....and there.....and everywhere.  I wouldn't have it any other way....well....other than golfing or more motorcycling.  But....that will come later. 

With our regular golf round postponed tomorrow (Friday) I have gained an extra day to stain needed pergola materials.....and maybe even catch up on some TV PGA golf.....and maybe even a bit of reading.  We'll see what transpires.  

The weather is deteriorating and it appears we could face some showers tonight and possibly in the day(s) ahead.  We'll see.  The forecasters are far too often wrong when prognosticating forecasts on our coast.

That's it from here for now.  This blog is a tad long.....but, then again, it is our blog and it serves as a historical record of our activities.

But we thank your for dropping in.....!