Yeah, I know this is going to be a long post, but as I haven’t posted anything since we were at the end of our Quarantine period in April after our return to Canada, it is likely time I caught up.
The very last picture I posted on April 4th was of the snow pelting down on our truck in the driveway, just a few days later, we were beginning to think that maybe it wasn’t that bad being back home, as the temps increased substantially and we were enjoying pretty comfortable temperatures. the 19.8C temp outside translates to 67F which is pretty comfortable for April 10th.
We ended up with a pretty wet spring this year, so we decided what better time to get started on some inside projects. Our next plan was to re-vamp our Laundry Room. It is a long narrow room that didn’t have a lot of counter space with the appliances placed side by side.
I always thought that the half-wall below the upper cabinets and behind the Laundry was kinda strange. I figured it may house the plumbing stack and the ducting for the Dryer, but once I opened it up, it proved to be empty in the section where the dryer was, and so I pulled it out completely and managed to push the area for the Washer/Dryer back 3.5 inches, which gave us just enough working room to stack the units and open the doors properly. I did have to take a ledge off of the bottom of the window to get things to fit properly though.
In just a few days, we had things back in place with help from the neighbour to get the dryer on top of the washer – Sylvia tried to help me lift it but it just wouldn’t cooperate. When Roland came over we had it in place in about 10 seconds, and Sylvia just left the room to go downstairs and lift some weights.
It took about another month to get the new Countertop and lower cabinet ordered and in place, then do some tiling for the backsplash, but the final product is much more user friendly. We also ended up replacing the overhead Fluorescent light with a LED version. I would take a picture, but I think it might be brighter than the Sun, and it keeps washing out the pictures.
By this time we were rolling into June, and the Pickleball club, which had been prohibited to play by the City and Health Authority was suddenly given the go-ahead to commence operations, albeit with several restrictions. No large gatherings, no playing with people outside of your bubble, no touching other players equipment (We found out that even Seniors can make silly jokes about ‘Don’t touch my Balls’), arriving just before scheduled times and departing immediately after, wear gloves, etc. This caused a mad scramble by those of us on the Executive to try and figure out how to facilitate the necessary precautions and still let folks find safe times and groups to play with.
The silly part of all this was that the City released the courts for wide open public play for 2 weeks before imposing the precautions on the Club. We were then placed in a very difficult position trying to reign in the folks who were mostly interacting as they had in the past and disregarding any and all Pandemic Precautions regarding distancing and congregating in large groups. It took a couple of weeks of us managing to annoy most of the players before we got some acceptance of our new structure, and overall it has gone pretty well. Folks soon built their own ‘Bubbles’ of players to play with. Over the course of this season I think I have played with 20-25 different people, and that is far less than I would have interacted with in a regular season when I would likely have played with 150-200 different people over the summer.
Covid19 restrictions have certainly impacted our normal Social interactions this summer as well. Other than a handful of visits to restaurants with other members of our immediate Family, we have not been in a large social environment all year. We have had a couple of visits with individual neighbours outside in our front yard, but everyone has brought their own chairs, beverages and snacks to these events. At this point, we have no idea if we will be heading south to Arizona for the winter season, as the border is still closed to vehicle traffic. In any event we have made plans to be home until at least Christmas, and over the fall we hopefully will have a better idea of whether or not we can make it to our Winter home at all.
Once the weather improved a bit we moved our efforts outside and decided to clean up a section of the yard that just wasn’t working out. Several years ago we tore out the lawn that wasn’t growing anyway at the rear of our yard and planted several Thyme plants amongst some paving stones. The idea was to make a nice little green pathway, but as this section is under a couple of big trees it never really grew well.
We decided to continue the gravel we used in the rest of our garden beds and in a couple of days it looked like this. Well, it might have taken a few more days for things to green up like this. I recently installed a fence at the back of the property to try and discourage the local Deer from ravaging our plants. The jury remains out on that.
We have had our regular visitors in our yard this summer, and in some cases more than ever before. Our Hummingbird feeder was far busier than usual, but they have all disappeared in the last 2 weeks to head to greener pastures. Prior to installing the fence, the resident Antlered Forest Rats have decimated our Roses, Petunias and Cedars on a regular basis, despite all of them being sprayed with a product that smells like a Rendering Plant (if you have never worked in one, think of a Cattle Feed lot crossed with a Corpse Flower).
The don’t seem to like Columbines, thankfully.
But they sure do like roses. These pictures were taken one day apart. The Peach colored roses were the only ones we saw on the bush this year, and they only lasted a couple of days.
And they they were, GONE the next day.
We have had lots of Owls in the ravine this year, and have learned that juvenile Big Horned owls screech instead of hoot. And they do it almost all night at times.
Sorry about the blurry pictures….
Our rather large contingent of Quail have been around most of the summer, but have thinned out quite a bit lately. I think the Owls may be responsible for some of that.
For the first time ever, we had a Raccoon in the yard, 3 of them to be precise. Thankfully they haven’t stuck around.
Bats aren’t that unusual here, but it took a few weeks to take a pic of this one hunkered down during the day. I thought it might have been a Rat spending the evenings on our deck, and placed some traps on the floor, with no success. When I saw some additional droppings on the sticky trap I had placed in the corner I figured it had to be a bat. When he showed up during the day I managed to discourage him from coming back by blasting him with a stream from the garden hose. I was surprised how much bigger he was when his wings were unfurled. I have now put a bunch of very stylish crumpled Aluminum Foil in this corner, and he hasn’t been back.
We have not done much travelling other than visiting Sylvia’s folks every couple of weeks, but in August we managed to get some time in with our Grandkids. Payton showed up first for a week and we had a blast keeping up with him. He is certainly growing up fast.
After a bit more than a week we drove him back to Calgary and turned around to head home the next day.
Soon after, Sylvia’s Dad and Joan showed up for a few days visit.
Not long after that, Ayden was here for a short time, and I ended up chasing him around the treetops at a local Adventure Park. It didn’t that me long to notice that I was 20-50 years older than everyone else on the course.
Jason and Diana were here a couple of times for visits. This was supposed to be the summer they got married in the Okanagan, but Covid19 shut down that prospect. The new date is in August 2021, and hopefully things will be back to relatively normal by then.
The brought Archie the Wonder Dog along, I think this dog must have magical powers, because Sylvia gets transformed into a Dog-lover every time he shows up. I guess Grand-dogs are special…
Some friends of theirs arrived in Kelowna at the end of their visit, and we spent some time on the lake and on the trails with them as well.
I also got to take an air tour of the South Okanagan with Jason. This was the first time I had been flying with him, and it was a great time.
Sylvia was down there playing pickleball.
Our house is in the lower right corner above the turnaround Circle.
And that has been the summer for us. We have been busy, but relaxed for the most part. We’ll see what the Fall and Winter holds when it comes, and I will try and keep you up to date on our meanderings, even if they are going to be pretty close to home.