Monday, June 23, 2014

Our Building Story Part 8 - The Ups and Downs of 2013

In June of 2013, we stopped at our land for a day before continuing on to a weekend singing engagement in Ft. St. John, BC. After the jamboree, we would stop stay at our place again for several days before heading home. 
We brought up an old couch and love-seat with us to make it seem more homey. They were much nicer than lawn chairs!

As always, one of our first projects is to get the grass cut down around the cabin. 

I brought up some pieces of my herbs and bushes that I had planted around our rental house. 

Like I mentioned before with our last trip, we had noticed tent caterpillars around our place.
Well, by the June they were a full out plague!

This is how the trees looked at the beginning of our trip. By the time we left a week later, there were no leaves left at all!

The first evening there was beautiful, but the next day was a little rainy. The kids enjoyed seeing the books and games that we had left at the cabin from our last trip and they were well entertained. 

The cross-bars in the upstairs even made good chin-up bars for the boys. :)

We had a good trip into BC and saw some country we had not seen before.
The jamboree was over Sunday evening and we decided to head back to our cabin rather than wait till the next day. That meant arriving in the middle of a very rainy night. Our driveway isn't finished and we weren't sure we could even get in with our van and trailer, but Steve hit the gas and we bounced and splashed our way through the field for 300m before sloshing to a halt at our cabin. 
We dragged off to bed and woke the next morning to more and more rain and more and more caterpillars!
Looking out the top windows into the cut yard and a whole lot of water!
A willow tree nearly covered with caterpillars. 

A couple of buckets left out soon filled with water and caterpillars

Picnic table at a nearby camp ground. 

To say that the conditions discouraged us is an understatement. Of course, a year later we now laugh at the whole thing, but at the time it was very depressing. 

With all the rain, we spent most of our time indoors. We didn't work on an new projects this trip - just reading, visiting, playing games and taking a few walks.

All the rubber boots lined up.

Keeping entertained...

When the rain stopped, we had some nice walks. The trees looked like winter but the grass and bushes were green. There is an owl on that fence post.

The older boys were out walking more than anyone and they came home with some lovely pictures of beauty they found in spite of the caterpillars. :)

The last couple days before we left it was not raining, but our trail through the field was too wet to get our van and trailer out together. We managed to get the van out with some serious pushing. :) We then left it parked it in a neighbour's driveway. We unloaded the trailer of anything we could carry, re-adjusted the load  to be right over the axle, and then PUSHED the cargo trailer out. Two would have to lift the tongue of the trailer and pull. Everyone else pushed from behind. It took no small effort and we were all muddy, tired and a little grumpy by the end...but we were out. The morning we left, we all made several trips carrying out the rest of our stuff and finally hit the road.
Steve was especially discouraged this trip. He had put SO MUCH labour into this place, and all of our money....and it seemed like we had built in the middle of some wasteland full of water and creep-crawlies.


We didn't make another trip until August. 
No doubt we were discouraged with project, but we also had work to get caught up with at home. 
 The evening we arrived was beautiful!

The next morning we were ready to get to work. We had decided that we would expand our deck to to around the east side of the house. Until we had one, we didn't realize how important a deck could be. It gave us a clean place to set supplies; it acted like a buffer between the outside dirt and the indoors; it was also really great to sit on to enjoy an evening. :)
One of our boys having his coffee on the deck, sitting on the supplies for the new part. 

The trees had put out a second set of leaves and all that remained of the caterpillars was the sticky cocoons everywhere. We didn't even have any moths later??? Not sure where they all went, but hoping they don't come back next year!
Cocoons all over the out house. 

Steven and our son working on the deck foundation. 

Another project Steve and our boys did last winter was making all the diamond willow railings for the stairway. We brought them up this trip, but it may be a while before we get them installed. 

Progress! It was looking good. Steve and our son had done this themselves (with a little help from me and the younger kids ) Our two oldest stayed home because of work obligations...they were coming with relatives for a few days in the middle of the week. 

I went to town and got this load of lumber. It meant driving home with the doors open and tied. Never thought I would do such a thing. ;)

The older kids were now up and even our daughter helped build the deck. 

We developed a routine of working till early afternoon and then spending the rest of the day at the lake. :)
It was gorgeous weather!

Just finishing up the deck... 

Enjoying working together. 

And playing together...

Beautiful sunset almost due north - taken from my kitchen window.

So now our older kids had gone back to work and we were deciding if we should stay a few more days or just head home. 

We had an agreement with our neighbours that they could put there cattle on our pasture in exchange for them doing the fencing. they had run posts and wires around most of the land but the calves were not deterred. They would just walk through and were getting in around our house. Steve thought the best thing would be to start building a wood fence around our yard - something we had planned to do anyway. 
So we were staying a few more days to work on that. 

We were pleasantly surprised how nice the fence made the yard look. We got the north and half the west side done...the rest would wait till next year. The neighbours put temporary metal posts and page wire the rest of the way around the yard and that *mostly* kept the calves out. :)

Steve surveying his handiwork. :)  
This time when we left, we felt quite encouraged. In fact we would go home and push really hard on moving by fall. We would get a mortgage lined up in order to build the addition and finish things  like the driveway, gas line, water cistern, and solar equipment. We did our best, but in the end we realized that it was not a good time for our family to move. The kids had needs that we could meet where we were. So we put off our plans for another year. We still made some trips to work...but not to move. 


Here are some extra nature pictures from my walks around the land and from our time at the lake. 

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