They’re Baaack.

A couple of weeks ago my buddy Croft posted about the neighbourhood forest rats going to great lengths to raid their bird feeders. You can see the proof here.

This week we’ve seen various indications that these same rodents are hanging around when we’re not watching.

Our first clue was the large number of roses that were suddenly missing from our bushes. When we left to go to Calgary last week these bushes were absolutely full of flowers. Now? Not so much.

Then there was the not so small pile left on our lawn the next day.

And then yesterday morning we’re found a pair of Antlered rats laying on our lawn. I scared them off, and was treated to a bit of a show as they got into a short fencing match among the junipers (at least they weren’t practicing on our ornamental trees). It wasn’t long before they planted themselves high above us and waited until we went inside so they could come back and chew on some more roses.

So before they got a chance to chomp on the flowers again I cut them all back and I bedded them down for the winter.

As well, we trimmed and evened out all cedars that the deer turned into tall toadstools last winter.

A couple of more days in our yard as well as cleaning up some of our neighbour’s hedges (I have a gas powered hedge trimmer and a truck, so I am popular) and the yard will be ready for winter. Can’t happen soon enough.

Nice Day for a Drive

Other than the highway being blocked for extended periods as the RCMP processed a site where one of their members was shot on Tuesday as well as the location where the shooter was eventually located, our trip to Calgary was sunny and gorgeous. We never tire of seeing the Rockies.

We’re here for a couple of days visiting and dealing with some paperwork issues.

It seems we’ve been away more than we’ve been home lately. And when we’re home we’re busy getting the house and yard ready for winter. All our outdoor furniture is put away, most of the plants have been trimmed and bedded down and the irrigation will be blown out this week.

When we next get home we’ll have our hedges, fruit trees and roses to deal with. As there are still lots of leaves and flowers on these, it may be awhile.

In the meantime we’ll just keep looking at the views as we drive back and forth between Vancouver and Calgary. It could be worse I guess, as snow and rain are coming. Soon.

That’s a Bug!

I was moving some of our summer furniture into storage when I saw a leaf stuck to the brick at our front door. When I took a closer look I was surprised to see a head turn and look at me.

I never knew these lived here in the Okanagan Valley.

Here and There.

We’ve had a busy couple of weeks since our last little holiday. 

First, Sylvia’s Dad (the Freak of Nature) and Joan came for a short visit. The weather was good, and we ended up taking a few short walks around the local area to show off. We have to be careful doing this, as they might get convinced they need to move here.

The scenery doesn’t get much better than this.

In between visits and trips, I have been refinishing some furniture to match our kitchen cabinets. The drawer unit on the right used to be a Red Oak end table that matched our old bedroom set. This piece and an old Magazine rack that my Mom had before she got married have been my test subjects before I tackle some pieces from the Living Room. They have turned out well, so I have plans to start sanding the next project soon.

This week, I have been here in Calgary, and Sylvia has been there in Abbotsford. I have delivered our old washer and dryer to Jocelyn to replace her units which were getting worn out. She’s thrilled to have them, but I promised to not post the picture of her hugging them. They are much larger than her old ones, which will come in handy keeping up with the mounds of laundry created by our Grandkids.

Sylvia has spent some time with her Mom while I have been away. When she was still at home she finished off our entire crop of apples by processing them in the dehydration unit we purchased for this purpose. It’s amazing to see a Refrigerator full of apples end up in 5 small freezer bags. They sure taste good though.

Sylvia got home yesterday, and I am going to be there tonight, if I can escape from Calgary. 

Deer, take two.

Edit: ok, it was a deer, and not a bear. Don’t forget that I am a ‘City’ boy.

We were visited by another bear last night. At least we think it was a bear, although I think that a deer can do a lot of damage when it wants to.

We have a very nice little Tri-colour Willow that we planted a couple of years ago. This morning we woke up to see all the bark shredded and stripped off the trunk, and one of the larger branches broken off and lying on the ground.

Too bad, as it won’t survive the abuse.

I have now warned the neighborhood that if they hear gunshots, look the other way……just kidding……a little.

We Better Like Grape Jam

Last Thursday my uncle dropped off a 10 pound box of grapes from his backyard vine. The vine is a single plant, about 20 years old, that produces an abundant crop of sweet seedless table grapes.

After giving a few away to Sylvia’s Cousin Deb and Wes, who were visiting us after just moving to Kelowna, we ate our fill and wondered what to do with the rest of it. Sylvia had plans to make a bit of jam, and maybe freeze some. Once we started to de-stem them and put them in pots it didn’t look like that much fruit, so we decided to jam the whole batch, thinking we’d barely get two batches. We were incorrect.

What looked like a simple job ended up being more than 3 batches (or 28 jars) of tasty Grape Jam, and several frozen Grape ‘pucks’ for use some other time. We learned that Grapes go a long way when you process them with their skins.

At least we now have lots to share.