Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sort Of Routine...

Since my return from the neighbouring Province of Alberta, the pattern of daily life has been fairly routine.  

I got caught up on some much needed paper work and the intermittent rains, these past several days, have helped me focus on that.  Other than attending a memorial for a coffee friend, we have focused most of our time on home based stuff.  
An evening motorcycle ride in the north Langley Township countryside.
One evening presented clear skies with dry roads.  That got us on the motorcycle.  A couple of hours were enjoyed plying the local back roads.
The first of several hay crops have been cut, baled and hauled away.
We did spend a fair bit of time either entertaining our BC based grand kids at our home or going over to their home in Langley city.  
Great countryside roads to ride....
A life long friend of Ginette's - a school teacher - spent a half day visiting with us when she dropped in with Ginette, Easton and Brie.  We have known Nicole since birth.  A terrific young woman she is. 
When he comes to our home, Easton loves to scout around our back yard garden and pick all the fresh strawberries.  We have two varieties that continually produce fruit.  Strawberries are like candy to him.
Easton is showing Brie and I the result of picking from just one strawberry plant.
A stroll around the pond is a favourite activity too.....
Nana involves the two grand kids to water specific plants that may not benefit from the in-ground sprinkler system. Although the strawberries are well watered, Easton has to add more water so that he can harvest the new crop  the next time he is over for a visit.
Jeanette fills this tub and Easton uses a watering can to walk around the strawberry patch.
Every so often, Jeanette stands the kids at the growth chart to record their heights.  Brie is being measured here.
Our regular Friday golf game was called off due to rain. The forecast from now on though is for some warm and sunny summer weather - the kind of weather we absolutely love here on the west coast.  Bring it on!  Summer has arrived on the west coast.

That's it from here for now.  Thanks for dropping in.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Back in Lotus Land

Although a bit tired from the long drive back from Edmonton, all is well back home and my routine is back to normal.
Westbound on Highway 16 - The Yellowhead Highway in Alberta
Note:  you can click on any photo to enlarge the view
With all the work completed on Deni/Courtney/Owen's deck and hanging doors in the newly renovated basement, I cleaned up, stored my tools in our truck then went to visit my sister, her daughter and grandson, for a couple of hours before returning to Deni's home for a nice outdoor barbecue and early to bed.

Awake at 3:15 a.m, Alberta time (2:15 am Pacific coastal time), it was very early but I felt rested.  I got up, packed my suitcase and silently sneaked out of Deni and Courtney's home.  I remembered to take the lunch Courtney had packed for my road trip, locked the door and, by 3:35 am (Alberta time), I was out of their driveway and on my way.  We had said our good byes before calling it a night because they knew that if I did wake up early, I would likely be gone.  That is what happened.

Hinton, Alberta - my first stop to top up with cheap Alberta fuel before driving through Jasper National Park and into British Columbia.
In Jasper National Park - the start of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
Although I did leave at 3:35am  - in the middle of the night and with summer solstice just one day old - the night sky was not black.  It looked like early morning.  Out of the City of Edmonton in 25 minutes, I was heading westbound on Highway 16 towards Jasper National Park.

Traffic was hardly evident for the first five hours of my drive.  That proved beneficial for the several stops I did make to observe some of the wildlife one can often see driving through these parts of Alberta and British Columbia.
Couple of Elk grazing along side the highway
A young bull Elk ignoring me as he grazed
I spent several minutes observing and photographing this young Grizzly bear.  I did not get a good face photo but his large face was clearly Grizzly.  What a beautiful specimen he was.  He was far too busy grazing tree branches than to pay a whole lot of attention to me. I did keep my guard up though!
Other wildlife spotted 'en route' included plenty of white tailed deer, several types of waterfowl and two coyotes; one enjoying a road killed deer and another running across the four lane highway ahead of me.

It was a perfect day for a drive through the mountains.  Traffic was surprising lighter than I would have expected.  That will change once families begin their summer holidays.

I backed into our driveway at precisely 2:15 pm, Monday afternoon.  It was an 11 hr. & 40 minute drive.

Mission accomplished:  The goal - other than visiting with family and grandson, Owen, was to help build Deni and Courtney's deck. That was accomplished!  With a bit of time left over, I assisted Deni to install the more difficult doors in his basement.  That too was accomplished!  To have some time to spend with Owen was such a bonus.  Our special early morning time together was a gift.  Hanging out with him and his folks, those six days, was good fun.
Happy little fella he is......!
Deck built and completed
One of several doors that were trimmed, leveled and installed...
Even got the new battery installed in Deni's quad and got to run up and down the alley.....
The new shingle roof on this rental property was completed....and the garage was finished on Monday.
I even mowed Deni and Courtney's lawn.....
On the home front in Langley, BC, Jeanette was busy too.  She attended a parade that included our firefighter son in law, Trevor, who tossed goodies along the parade route and found his son Easton in the crowd with his mom, Sandi and Jeanette too.  They took Brie and Easton to the parade while Ginette was busy with some work stuff.
Easton is waiting along the parade route for the big fire engines to come by.
Trevor's mom, Sandi is holding Easton when he sees the first fire truck roll by...... No daddy though....!
Wowwy......the really big fire truck came rolling by....and, shortly thereafter, dad, Trevor, showed up to  surprise Easton.
'That is my daddy....."
Jeanette is holding Brie while Trevor poses with Easton.
Jeanette did invite Easton for a sleepover on Sunday night.  When I rolled into the driveway, Easton was having a nap.  When he awoke and came into the living room, he saw me but could not believe I was there!  He turned away for a few seconds, then looked at me again, turned away again, then back again and he still could not believe I was sitting there.  He was wearing a huge smile.  We exchanged some nice hugs and, when he was convinced that I was not a mirage, we proceeded to have some fun.
One of the many things Easton enjoys at our home.
The sleepover, playing in parks, shopping and hanging out with his sister Brie, Easton did have a good time while I was away in Alberta.  Jeanette kept sending me text photos.  I felt as though I was with them.  I also texted several photos of our Edmonton projects and activities.
Shopping with his Nana at the local grocery outlet....
Fun in the park.....
Enjoying some watermelon......
Keeping Brie entertained.....
Figuring stuff out....with Brie wondering what Easton is up to....
And that covers the past couple of days.  Time is rolling by so fast.  It is hard to believe that July is just around the corner.  It's hard to believe that we rolled back home, from our winter US southwest haunts, this past April 9th. Given our busy agenda, it's hard to find any reason to be bored with life. 
Our beautiful Dogwood tree still holds it blooms after so many weeks. 
That brings this blog post to a close.  It is nice to be back at home and we'll report on future activities in the days ahead.

Thanks for dropping in.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

All Decked Out...

And here is the evidence!  The Edmonton deck project is completed.  Deni, Courtney and Owen can now enjoy it.
Completed as of 7:00 pm Saturday evening.
When I last wrote, a few days back, a rain delay had scuttled the deck building process.  I took advantage to visit other family members.  One day later, I was back to work and the deck building progressed well.
The finished stage before the rains....
Completed deck floor....
Steps are secured and the posts are ready for carriage bolts.
I completed the deck to this stage, working alone.  Back from work on Friday afternoon, Deni helped me complete some more complex steps before we called it a day.
Owen donned a cool little tool belt style T-shirt and joined us on the deck project. He dropped by often to inspect our progress.
Saturday was a full day spent with Deni and me securing the deck rail posts with carriage bolts, framing the hand rails, cutting and installing all railing boards and, once our work on the deck was completed, putting the tools away and cleaning up.
Our very last task was to lift the barbecue onto the deck and.....while enjoying a well earned libation....some mighty fine steaks were on the grill to re-fuel tired bodies.
A lovely dinner was enjoyed on the concrete patio below....enjoying a truly beautiful Alberta summer evening.  It was the longest day of the year.  Sun up was for 5:15 am with sundown approaching 10:30 pm. It was past 10:30 pm when we moved back indoors.
Today (Sunday) 
I plan to help Deni install doors in their newly renovated basement.  Once done with that, I am planning a visit with other family members and, following a good night's sleep, I will make the drive back to Langley, BC, leaving bright and early on Monday morning.

Deni calculated that, without my help, his deck project would have required four full weekends to complete.  Now that it is built - and that their inside home renovation project nears completion too - they will have more free time to enjoy a summer of travel, visitors and more.  I was happy to help out.

And the bonus?  I got to spend some quality time with our favourite little Alberta grandson, Owen.
We shared some fun times - from early morning, till he went to sleep for the night. This is one happy little fella!
It was also nice to get a quality visit in with Deni and Courtney and to enjoy a few outdoor Alberta late spring/early summer days.

Thanks for dropping in.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Decking and Visiting...

The Edmonton deck building project is well on its way to completion but a one day rain delay opened some time for visiting. 
Deni's utility trailer loaded with the deck building materials.
Wednesday proved to be a fruitful day to build the support structure for the small deck off Deni and Courtney's kitchen.  Starting with installing the header and joist supports, the 8' X 8' deck took shape in reasonable time.  Working alone meant having to place supports in certain spots till the posts and beam could be cut, leveled, built and secured.
The header bolted to the house.
The table saw
The radial slider chop saw
The support structure is one of only two methods approved under the Edmonton City building codes.  The soil has been undisturbed for well over 20 years.  The blocks on concrete pads is ideal for this build up.
The view from the inside the kitchen
Day two (Thursday) was true to the weather girl's prediction.  It rained.  So, no deck work!  One of my sisters, Paulette, was in Edmonton visiting with her daughter Karen.  I drove to Karen's home in the morning.  Following a good visit, I drove to a rental home to check out the re-roofing project that had been started on Wednesday.  The rain kept that crew away too.
Photo taken on the sunny Wednesday morning when the new roofing materials were placed on the roof. By the end of the day, a good part of the existing shingles had been removed and the new materials - with underlay membrane - was completed on the west and north side of the roof.
A view of the partial work completed seen between rains on Thursday morning.
Back from checking out the roof project, I returned to Deni/Courtney's home and called my nephew Brad.  He was mere minutes from where I was; returning from a meeting with a client.  He was craving lunch so he stopped by Deni/Courtney's home to pick me up.
Brad having some face time with Owen before we left the house.
Brad and I enjoyed a couple of hours over lunch; got caught up on the news and views; discussed his family's summer plans and, most importantly, made some loose plans for a joint motorcycle ride in the south west coastal areas of British Columbia and Washington State.

Back at Deni/Courtney's home, I drove off in my truck to collect Paulette, Karen and Jarred (Karen's son) who was back from school.  It was a short, 10 minute drive to Karen's Edmonton home.
My sister, Paulette, enjoying a nice time with Owen
Back at Deni/Courtney's home, we settled in to our visit while dinner preparations were well underway.
Courtney and Deni on the food detail.
L-R   Karen, Jarred, Paulette and Owen.
The barbecued chicken thighs, along with the other plates, were thoroughly enjoyed.  Our visit lasted well past 9:30 pm.  Jarred was writing his first of several year end school exams today (Friday) so I drove them back to Karen's home in time for his regular bed time.  Being an 'A' student, Jarred was not concerned about having to study.  He is completing Grade 9, one week from today.

Back at Deni/Courtney's home, we called it a night and, once I post this blog, it's back to deck building for me.  The deck is being built to Edmonton City building codes and is covered by the renovation building permit that was obtained to make all of the home improvements to the house.  That permit closes at the end of June.  The home renovations are close to completion and with the deck finished, Deni can call for a final inspection.  That's the goal.

The Friday forecast calls for a dry day - intermittent clouds with sunny breaks - followed by several concurrent sunny days over the weened and into early next week.  That bodes well for completing the deck surface, building the hand rails and installing the step rails and steps. While I am working on the deck, Deni will spend the weekend completing the install of doors, casings and final baseboards.

If our work project is completed (as it should be) by Sunday evening, I plan to drive back home on Monday.

Enough said.  Owen is ready for some early morning play time and after that, I'm outdoors to build.

Thanks for dropping by.