A River Runs Through It (and more) – land shopping

20160612-002549.jpg
We are currently on a quest looking for land to rebuild our cabin on. Just across the Alberta border and into BC has caught our eye. We want more space than before, but are willing to forfeit being 100 meters from a lake. We also know that to make the project work we will have to do a lot of the construction, especially interior finishing, ourselves.

20160612-003010.jpg
Before we even get into talking about the build, our first task is finding some land. This is our second look at this plot. It has realistically one snug building spot as seen in the picture above . A snug building spot with beautiful views. However the piece of land also has some weird features too. Firstly, it is almost entirely on a steep incline. Secondly, a disused highway runs through it.

20160612-003437.jpg
And then train tracks run through it…..

20160612-003534.jpg
And a river too.

20160612-003616.jpg
Yes, a very strange property. But it is beautiful. There are lots of logistics to work out on this property before moving forward, it isn’t straight forward. Working out developing this piece of land is going to take a bit of imagination.

20160612-004235.jpg

Advertisements

The End Of An Era

cabin_8191

It’s gone. There isn’t much more to say. The cabin we loved for just shy of a decade is gone. It was lovely. It was where we spent our best time as a family. Babies learned to walk. The kids caught frogs. We saw fireflies, owls, and pelicans. But it couldn’t be saved.

An insurance fight of epic proportions. Being led on that it could be repaired. All to end with a bulldozer.

We put off going up to see the lot as long as we could. We could never have been prepared for the sadness. Seeing parts of our life broken in the dirt. Little toy cars, a mug handle, some spoons.

Our kids tried to play as if they were “at the cabin”, but it was gone. It was strange, we still owned the lot but it was dead. People have said to us “this is an opportunity”, it isn’t, we have lost a huge part of our life and a huge part of our family.

cabin_8202

cabin_8204

cabin_8176

cabin_8183

 

 

What people don’t realize is you can’t rebuild memories. The cabin wasn’t a building it was a memory maker. None of us have the heart to try to rebuild on the lot. It will never be the same.

We knew our neighbour was interested in the lot, but no official offer had been made. On Friday we went to see what to do with the property. Do we sell, rebuild, camp? We tidied it up as best we could, weeded the flowerbed, trimmed back some saplings, but it was like dressing the dead for a burial.

We pretended it was normal. Took pictures of the trees. It was all wrong.

We did one last picture of the family, like we had done every year since buying the cabin. The kids are bigger, everyone smiled, but the cabin was gone. A family standing in front of nothing.

cabin last family picture_8199

What an ending. We remember what we had and it is so sad to see it gone.

cabin

Our little cabin was lovely. It was home. It was family. It felt right. Nothing else will ever be the same.

Pretending all was normal, pretending all was fine, we took one last look at the lake.

cabin_8228

On Saturday we received the formal offer. The lot is being sold. It is a very sad end to an era.

Reflections and Thoughts

mackenzie trails, red deer, alberta, canadaIt seems like it has been ages since I have done a proper post on this blog. Life has been busy and a bit out of sync being the first year we have been without the cabin. Being in town all the time has been an adjustment, especially for myself as when you work for yourself it has meant this year has felt like I haven’t had a weekend. Getting away to the cabin was the only way to differentiate weekdays from weekends. We were unplugged there. It was down time. We were able to recharge ourselves. We have discovered when we are at “home” (and on the coast), mostly we just “work”.

mackenzie trails, red deer, alberta, canadaThere have been a few benefits to a year mostly spent in the city. Children have been able to attend birthday parties and spend time at the outdoor pool. The vintage garage is getting its overhaul and being transformed into a workshop. We also spent a bit of time rediscovering parts of the city that we usually visit mostly in the winter.

mackenzie trails, red deer, alberta, canadaWe’ve tried a few urban activities like attending the Saturday Market, however the places we return to are always ones of nature. It explains why we have missed the cabin so much.

mackenzie trails, red deer, alberta, canadaWe have spent many days and evenings out walking over the spring, summer and fall. Barrett Park, Coronation Park, Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary and Mackenzie Trails have all been favorites. We are lucky to live in a city with an expansive trail and natural area system. We can literally be in a tree canopied park next to a babbling creek 100 meters from our front door.

mackenzie trails, red deer, alberta, canadaSunday, the day these fall images were taken, was another day of local exploration. This time at MacKenzie Trails. We were treated to Canadian geese, fall leaves, bright red rosehips, raindrops, and mud. We walked, we took pictures, and the kids played catch. It might not be a weekend at the cabin, but we embraced the beauty that exists not far from our front door.

mackenzie trails, red deer, alberta, canada

Photography by Debra Hunter
Hunter Photographics

www.debra-hunter.com

For more reading of “H the Blog” please click HERE.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Ads on this site belong to WordPress.

Works in Progress, Finished and Things

It seems to have been another busy week that has whizzed past at break neck speed. A combination of trying to finish the order for Woods on Pender, working on Handmade in Canada, plus life, has made for a week of very late nights (well technically early mornings when you work until 3 am!).

blog painting wip_7718a

Work in progress. Acrylic on panel. 24″x24″.

I finally managed to put in a few hours painting the panel that I had started before Easter. It is still a work in progress but coming along. The piece measures 2 feet by 2 feet and continues with the Roe Islet theme. This theme seems to provide never ending material. A couple of weeks ago I shot several hundred reference images while walking the ever changing islet, including macros of spring lilies. Hopefully I will get a few of these images up on Island Home Blog sometime soon.

blog painting wipI work on panel differently to canvas in that I tend to prefer to work flat instead of on the wall easel. The upside to this is that it is a much more social way of working. Mark and I each choose our ends of the table, we turn on the “wireless”, he works on “something”, and I paint and argue with CBC radio (and their endless agendas). Sometimes it is BBC Radio 4. We fell into this habit out on the coast and it has now become a great way to spend an evening no matter where we are.

1_coffee press sweater 6x6_7642The order for Woods on Pender is complete. Knit, finished, blocked. I will do the packaging this evening and then the order will be ready to ship. The complete group of items can be viewed by clicking HERE. Each piece is completely unique except for the resort’s logo that is featured in the center panel.

blog planA few days ago I also tackled playing with cabin floor plans. We still don’t know exactly what insurance is going to do. If they can fix the situation it will be great as we won’t be without the use of our cabin for as long, but the reoccurring dreams of the cabin collapsing makes me wonder if the verdict is going to be that the cabin is a tear down. It has been full of water for so long. Common sense tells me that I need to consider all the options for how we may need to deal with this property

So in an effort to be proactive I started drafting floor plans. My goal is to shrink the actual foot print from that of our current cabin. I know this seems counter-intuitive considering the size of our family, but more land and less building makes sense to me when we are at the cabin. The plan above is the ground floor at 780 square feet, plus we would add an enclosed loft portion over part of the cabin to work as a bedroom/studio/study space. The portion not enclosed would become a covered balcony which will give lake views. We’ve learned from the house out on the island that big spaces with high ceilings are hard to heat when you aren’t there full time, so the goal is to scale it back and make heating the rooms, especially the bedrooms, easy.

We are also thinking of putting the water tank and pump in a separate utility building and going with on demand hot water. We are determined to never have another water disaster again.

I figure if we have plans of action in place for all the different outcomes that things will be less daunting when the time comes.

handmade in canada badgeHandmade in Canada is ticking along. We spoke with another interested artisan the other day. Hopefully in a few days I will have another maker’s profile to share.

Well off to package and paint. I have a chance to actually accomplish a few things this evening as the rest of the family sits in front of the hockey on T.V. …..or plays Minecraft.

( I may have been premature in thinking everyone would be firmly parked in front of the T.V. (A.K.A. “out of my way”). Interest is now lagging as the Canucks have scored twice. Hmmmmm.)

What we’ve been up to……..

blog watercolors

Stealing a few minutes from a very busy life to paint a small watercolor.

So I thought I would take a quick moment to do an “update” post as my blogging has been a little sporadic recently. Life has been busy to say the least.

blog _3193Over Easter we went for a longer than usual break out to Pender Island on the west coast of Canada. It was a break we desperately needed as all the major issues we have been dealing with all collided the week before Easter; what a week it was.

blog vanAfter over a month without our vehicle the van replicated the problem with a flashing dashboard while the technician was setting off for another test drive. First, it proved I wasn’t crazy. Second, they finally had something to go off. In the end they decided the remote start was the culprit, they removed it, and the van made it out to the coast and back without issue. The Uconnect still has issues…looks like it’s a case of “suck it up buttercup”….I guess you can’t win them all.

blog snowy cabin_3878That same week we also met over the cabin issue and it was determined that we were right when we first reported that we thought the issue was caused by the hot water tank. However the exploration that the most recent crew did discovered HUGE issues. Structural issues. Potential mold issues. We’ve been told NOT to go in the cabin. We are now waiting to hear more. It is going to be an interesting spring, summer and fall as we won’t be spending our weekends at the cabin. Perhaps we will go back to tenting this year and let our children discover Banff, Yoho and Kootney National Parks. I’m trying to somehow put a positive spin on things.

handmade in canada badgeOur time on the coast was a little bit of fun and a little bit of work. We met with a woodworker and a musician who is joining our Handmade in Canada site. It is exciting to get the project moving along. An author from Alberta is also hopping on board; her profile will be up on the site in a few days.

blog knit items_9716 aOn the coast I also met with the new owner of a resort on Pender Island who has decided to use some of my hand knits in the rooms, cabins and Airstreams at the resort. I’ll share more about this very soon. Needless to say I have been knitting A LOT which explains the rather patchy blogging.

blog boots

How to keep mice out of your boots!!!!!

On top of everything it appears the mice are back…or at least mouse (I saw it). Another story to share at some point. Mice make for a lot of hassle and a lot of work.

instagram-logoAnd last but not least, I have now set up two of my other blogs with Instagram. “Debra Hunter – Photography & Art” shares my paintings, handmade items, and business related photography. “Handmade in Canada” is my new project and will be of interest to anyone interested in Canadian artists, artisans, writers, musicians or growers. The project is in the building stage, so pass it on if you know of someone who is a Canadian creative.

If you are into Instagram you can check out the links here:

handmadeincanada
debramhunter

(….and follow me!!!!!…..and share too!!!)

leaf red 3x3 square 100dpiIt has been a whirlwind the last few weeks. Hopefully life will start to calm down, my knitting will be completed, the car will continue to run, the cabin will be fixed (or rebuilt), the mice will be evicted, and I will once again have time to blog.

Thanks for reading!!!!

Deb

 

Winter Cabin Visit

Today I am sharing a few more images from our February visit to our cabin. I am focusing on the beautiful rural scenery rather the disaster happening inside the actual cabin. Blue sky and snow make for stunning images.

blog lake isle_3921

Trees in the cabin’s backyard.

Winter roads.

Winter roads.

Footprints and trees.

Footprints and trees.

Blue sky and leafless trees.

Blue sky and leafless trees.

The last picture is one of my favorites. It sums up why it is so great sneaking away to this part of the world.

blog lake isle_3902 aPhotography by Debra Hunter.
www.debra-hunter.com

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Ads on this page belong to “WordPress” not “H the Blog”.

Saturday, Saga, Site, Shock, Snow, and Shopping

blog snow_3889 aToday’s blog post is brought to you by the LETTER S.

(teeth together, smile, make the snake sound……too many kids in speech therapy)

I thought I would put a Sesame Street spin on today’s blog post with the hope of adding some whimsy, as life in general isn’t feeling so whimsical.

blog snowy cabin_3878

Saga – we are still dealing with the ongoing saga of our cabin and its damages. The way the whole situation has been dealt with has left me seething and quite honestly spiteful. Perhaps I am unreasonable in thinking people should be dealt with in a decent and professional manner. Now I am not one to sit around feeling sorry for themselves, sometimes it is just better to channel your energy into a solution, so last night I decided to create a site (website) which will help others to publicly out all the problems they are having dealing with the insurance industry. It is amazing what can be accomplished with four hours of time, five cups of tea and a lot of frustration from dealing with the insurance industry. The site is ready to go live, has interactive elements, plus I have worked out a way to make an income off it as well. One more unprofessional move by our insurance company is all it will take to set me off and then it will hit the good old world wide web. I feel happy having this in my arsenal….plus it has the potential to be a nice little business….funny how a bad insurance dealing can inspire you to create a business opportunity.

blog sites_3975Shock – continuing with the cabin theme, today we had a shock….or potential shock. Remember my post from November ? Well the insurance company is looking at the cabin again. Different adjuster. Different contractors. They really looked this time at the situation which is a step forward. Today’s experience was professional. Now if you read my post from November you will remember me mentioning that we had to do our own exploration for insurance purposes, and an incident with tiles. Old tiles. I felt uncomfortable about the tiles in November, but now we are plain shocked. The tiles are being sent for asbestos testing. You don’t get a good feeling when people in masks are bagging a piece of tile for asbestos testing when just a few months ago you were picking the tiles up with your hands, not wearing masks and your children are sitting feet away from shattering tiles. This was part of the exploration we were told to do by the insurance industry. They’ve also told us to not do anything else in the cabin for now. So now on top of worry about the damage to the cabin, we get to worry about damage to our health; mine, my husband’s and our 5 children’s health. This is the nightmare that never ends.

blog snow 1

Snow – the one bonus today was we had the opportunity to view some lovely rural scenery that was crisply coated with snow. It is still deepish in spots, but not the insane amount of snow we had last year. Taking some snowy landscapes was one positive thing that happened today.

blog shiverShivering – yep, this morning en route to the cabin I checked the weather, -19C with windchill. I checked it a little later in the day and it read -21C with windchill. Thank goodness the sun was out or it would have been brutal. The sun made all the difference. I will say the trip to the local outhouse was “crisp”.

blog shopping 2Shopping – our kids were hankering Ikea for supper so we detoured into Edmonton for a quick shop and supper. Everyone stopped in their tracks at the sight of the above picture of “Oat pastry with coconut”. Perhaps something was lost in translation, but there is nothing that makes me want to try an “oat pastry”. The picture didn’t sell its tastiness either. I am thinking there is a reason it is on sale!

blog shopping 1We did pick up a couple of items at Ikea and one of them was in the self-serve area. Now if you aren’t familiar with Ikea, they have these little cards and pencils so that you can write down the aisle that the product you need is in. Our seven year old was carrying the card and pencil and my husband told her the aisle number and asked her to write it down on the card. This was another event where something was lost in translation as she decided to DRAW the item. Looks just like Ikea’s instructions don’t you think?!

Supper – we had Harvey’s burgers……………we just couldn’t get past the concept of “Oat pastry with coconut”.

Thank you for reading my blog post brought to you by the LETTER S!

(I’ve clearly watched too much kid T.V.!)