Boxing Day and Ski Fun

With Christmas Day behind us, Boxing day always brings with it a very relaxed day. It is a nice break after enduring weeks over-scheduled with obligations. I like Christmas, I just don’t get the craziness. I like buying my family gifts, but it doesn’t need to be over the top. I prefer a rather laid back version of Christmas.

So as my family enjoyed the afternoon building with Lincoln Logs and Lego, and giving the PS4 a good workout, I ventured out to play with my new toys…..skis.

My husband and family treated me to cross country skiing equipment for Christmas. Years ago I skied a lot, but in recent years I had swapped skiing for snowshoeing. Now with everyone in school, I am able to sneak away during the day for an hour here and there, so it is the perfect time to get back into the sport.

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We are lucky enough to have groomed trails just around the corner, with a lovely loop of trails in Barrett Park ( Red Deer, Alberta, Canada ). This makes for a picturesque ski with views of the woods, creek and bridges. This afternoon also included viewing a coyote in the distance, which is always a treat.

At -20C, it was cool out. My feet and body stayed warm with the skiing, but my legs, fingers and face sure felt the cold.

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The final part of the ski also allowed me to watch the Boxing Day sun set. I’m sure there will be many more blog posts featuring skiing in the coming weeks.

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White

An unseasonably early snowfall has left us seeing white over the last few days in Alberta. Driving on the highway felt more like a trip in January or February, rather than just a few weeks into fall. The following are a few iPhone shots taken while driving down the Q.E.II highway. Not the best day for a drive.

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“Winter” Gardening

Today, shortly after noon, flakes of snow started falling from the sky. At first it was intermittent, but within a half hour it was pretty clear that the snow was increasing and beginning to lay. 

I had held off as long as possible with harvesting the garden. The weather had been fairly nice, and I like the convenience of just popping out to the yard to get the vegetables for supper. By 12:30 pm it was clear that I needed to go out and dig up the garden.


Sometimes “not” getting around to doing something works in your favour. This is exactly what had happened in the potato patch. At some point during our very wet summer I had laid down boards to be able to walk in the garden, and for some reason I had never removed them. Luckily under the boards the ground was still soft and completely unfrozen making for easy digging of the potatoes.


The next bed was a little frostier, frozen about an inch or two deep. With snow laying it was a guessing game as to what was left in the bed.


The garlic had been harvested weeks ago from this bed, and the sunflowers at the end were “volunteers”, however I still managed to dig up several onions and carrots from this spot.


As I dug up this bed and the potato patch I realized that it might be a good idea to change the vegetable garden location next year. The question is whether to garden in the ground or garden in raised troughs. Our raised troughs have been amazing this year for growing, so it may be the way to go. 

The troughs also had to be harvested. Beets and carrots were still waiting to be picked. The chard and cabbage have been left, with hopes that the chard may survive a few days of cold. The cabbage has been feasted upon by cabbage worms in the last couple of days so it wasn’t in the best shape.


The final task was to plant the garlic for next year. This time trying a new spot at the front of the house. Again this bed was frozen a few inches deep. After working the soil I managed to plant a small area of garlic. If the weather warms up next week ( as the forecast says it will), I will plant more garlic, but at least I have a bit in the ground just in case winter is here to stay.


Two and a half hours later, soaking wet, frozen, and covered with mud, the veggies were all safe inside. Where the veggies were grown is now completely covered in snow. Gardening season has come to an abrupt end. Hard to believe this is the beginning of October.

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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.

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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

 

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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.

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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.

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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.!)

What March 30th looks like….

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The street just as we turn the corner to our house.

I have to admit I can’t quite believe winter is still here. Every time I checked the weather today it indicated the temperature with windchill was -18C. How can this be? The snow in front of our house is still past my knees. The kids are fed up of snowshoeing and winter boots and winter coats and hats and mitts. My daughter wants to go for a “real walk” wearing “real shoes”. My son wants to move to the BC coast and have rain instead.

We went to Tim Hortons today and as we passed the drive-thru line everyone looked miserable. Everyone looked fed up. Everyone looked done with winter.

Coming home we passed a few neighbours. They were shoveling snow……again……or should I say hunched over their snow shovels shaking their heads. Even those with snowblowers are depressed.

It is time for it to stop snowing. It is time to warm up. It is time for spring.