Wednesday, 10 April 2013

back to civilization and the rain forest

We were in at Lee Creek Ranch for a week and then had to leave for a few days to go to Chilliwack near Vancouver for Old Man Watching to have his half hour complex care check.  It is a five hour drive on mostly secondary holey roads.  His blood pressure was good and his diabetes is under control.  He picked up $400 worth of pills (our share after the insurance deduction) but that will keep him stable for 3 months so it is worth it.  There is a big difference in the stages of Spring from the ranch to the coast. The magnolia that sister planted when our mother died in 1983, was in full bloom.
 Daffodils are finished here, but only 3 were blooming at the ranch.  The rhodies are blooming all over town.
We stay with my sister when we come to visit with the general MD.  It is a fancy Bed and Breakfast and free for us too.  Although we usually take her out one night for dinner.  However, she loves to cook and being a widow takes any opportunity she can to feed folk.  She feeds her handy man, Marcel, whenever he does work for her.  Actually he is good company for her for a glass of wine by the pond in the late afternoon.  Today he is installing a water filter in the basement.  Chilliwack has lovely tasting water but the city fathers decided it should be chlorinated so sister was furious.  She hates the taste in her tea.  So Marcel was called in to improve the taste.

 The wisteria isn't leafing out yet.
  The camellias are in their full glory.  Tomorrow we are heading back out to Lee Creek Ranch.  I will be out of contact for a long time.  I causes me a kind of withdrawal but will fill the gaps crocheting prayer shawls and reading.

In and out of civilzation...a long catchup

It was 6:30 on Easter Monday and we were both going into the old people mode. We are back living in our RV for the spring and summer and probably until mid October or Halloween. We are feeling our age and this setting up for camping and packing boxes out to the motorhome was a pain. Literally a pain, as my back was sore in the night. Part of that is from the fall I had and the ligaments not working fully yet. It took us an extra day to move out of the Blue Sage Bed and Breakfast, but the landlords were so easy about it all. I had cleaned all the windows and floors,vacuumed under and behind furniture, washed all the cobwebs off of the walls in all the rooms, wiped out the kitchen cupboards and fridge and stove etc etc etc as the King of Siam would say. So maybe they could afford to be generous about an extra free day. I tried to do one extra job or two each day over the last few weeks. I planned on the calendar to wash the bedroom curtains and rehang them all one day but needed a friend with 2 good legs to help. I made a list and kept checking it off until my list was finished. I am an inveterate list-maker. But a retirement party and Good Friday and Easter Holy Week Services took up too much of our days and I think the bottom line is that we are almost 76 and 69 and everything takes longer to do, even folding the laundry. We were an hour away heading to our first camping spot and campfire, when I remembered I hadn't told the landlords that we had left the bedroom windows open to air the rooms, and that none of the doors were locked. Goodbye and I guess it isn't our problem any more. We worked hard to leave the suite pristine.

Our first stop out of Ashcroft, took about one and a half hours to drive to until we were set up and ready to build a campfire.  Marble Canyon Provincial Park is along-side of two small turquoise lakes that are still partially frozen over. We have camped here before and held our first Crones' Campout July weekend here 5 years ago. Old Man was raised on a ranch on the plateau above this area, and used to spend idyllic summer days with his sister and brother riding their horses down to these three chained lakes from their home halfway up the mountain. Old Man had a pinto pony but no helmet or life jacket and often eschewed saddles. He and his siblings just grabbed food and rode away for the day on their horses. Nobody would worry about them unless they didn't show up for dinner. These days their parents would be arrested for negligence. Sometimes we might have too on our own ranches/farms as we were busy and expected our children to be intelligent enough to cope with life on their own if they weren't with us working. Amazing .... they were smart enough to stay alive.   

We were so happy to get into a site and start a campfire and just sit in the sunshine that actually had some Spring warmth. We had Marble Canyon campground to ourselves. We talked and made plans and read and daydreamed while watching the geese and ducks who have returned from their trip to Disneyland in the south. Unfortunately, not much of the lakes are thawed yet. It is Indian TV for us to watch the geese slide into a landing and slip off the edge of the ice to float in the wee bit of water around the lake's edges. We did manage to BBQ a pork steak outside, but ate inside where it was warmer. 

Then in the late evening the generator power died to the house parts, so in the morning we had to hand crank the slide-out back flush to the RV wall outside, and go to town to see what was draining the batteries.  They were new batteries too.  That cranking is like working with an old Model T Ford and takes forever. Some blown fuses and strained connections were fixed and batteries charged up and off we went.  But after Old Man's afternoon nap the power was gone again, not in the motor but in the housing electric unit. So again we had to hand crank the slider back flush to the wall. My shoulder and right arm were sore that evening. We went back to the village a half hour away and the same fellow looked at the batteries and boosted them and is perplexed as the batteries are new. Dedicated RV service centers are far away from us. We needed to solve this problem before we went away back into the Lee Creek Ranch. We were also in a canyon where there was no Internet or phone cell service so we couldn't phone AAA.

On the third morning the electric charge was still up so we carried on to Lillooet and were the only campers at Fraser Cove where we have also stayed for a Crone's Camping weekend a few years ago. The sturgeon fishermen entertained us. We prefer Indian TV to real TV anyway. I found free campfire wood, so was delighted to start a fire and sit in the sun and work on a new prayer shawl.

Thursday April 4, 2013

Megan, the widow of cousin Layton, had sent us a note on e-mail to say that the road into her ranch was graded and logging trucks weren't using it yet. She had taken Shorty, her 73

year old Indian worker, in to town for medical appointments for his arm the day before. She said they didn't meet anyone on the road at all.   From our camp by the river we could see way up the river valley to the road that would take us over the furthest mountain. We headed out after grocery shopping and only met the Conservation Officer who flashed his lights so I had to stop. He just wanted information about what we were up to. Megan says he is an information-gatherer/snoop. Now he knows that Old Man driving behind me in the RV and I are going to the Christie Place to help with haying. He didn't think I fit the profile of a bear hunter out-of-season. We laughed about that. He was very handsome......and personable.

Friday and Saturday and Sunday

We settled in and hooked up electricity and water on Friday. Megan took us for a tour to show us the hay fields and water lines and irrigation system. She also took us to the cattle feeding pens that needed clearing out. Old Man had to shoot a horse for her and haul it away. She couldn't bring herself to do it. She had already started harrowing so Old Man took over that too for hours each day. All of these responsibilities on her own must be over-whelming. She broke down in tears one evening because she didn't know how to work a chainsaw. We will settle into the rhythms of this chunk of earth over a few weeks.
Cousin Vicki and Ole drove 4 hours from Vancouver to serve a turkey dinner as a late Easter treat. They made French toast in the morning and went off home. They know Megan needs her privacy. I try to check in at the big old house a few times a day, and Old Man connects to talk about work.  It is an isolated spot and we don't have Internet and my cell doesn't work.  Megan has a satellite so we can connect if we have to.  Here are some views of the ranch.  Spring is in the air.
This is the view across the river from the main house.  We drive down that road to Lillooet and then drive north on the west side of the river for 2 hours before getting here.

Old Man likes the Big Boy Toys.

Monday, 1 April 2013

good bye

Easter Monday we will be "On the Road Again" with Willie Nelson playing on the CD as we pull out of town.   We are leaving in the morning as soon as I clean out the fridge and we take out our personal grooming things to the RV that is parked outside.  I am getting excited about it.  Tomorrow night I hope to be poking sticks in a fire.  It is a soothing thing to do.  I really am a campfire girl and even love the smoke that follows me around the circle.

We had a wonderful Easter Day.  It was uplifting to have forsythia and lilies again on the altar, after the 40 days of Lent where only greenery is used.  
The church was full and we had our precious Father Dan to lead us through the service.  (He only comes to our village a few times a month for Sunday services, so the lay people handle it all the other weeks).  He has 4 parishes he works in and is in charge of Ministry Development, which means he helps train and encourage lay people to do priestly chores.  He plays guitar and taught us lovely Mozambique and South American chants.  The children were given rhythm instruments to keep the beat for us.  Children love to get in on the ACTIONS.  
My friend and former student, Melissa came to pick me up this morning for the walk to church.  She is a social person.  She is a twin, but she alone got all the physical problems and a floating brain growth that is causing her more tremors and instability as she ages.  She is 17 now.  She loves the people at church as they talk kindly to her and treat her as an adult.  She is 17 but looks so tiny next to Father Dan and our door greeter, Ken.  Father Dan's 
homily gave me a whole new slant on the tomb story and on what was going on during the meetings Jesus had later with followers.  I have some deep thinking to do out at the ranch.  But without the distractions of phones and internet I may be able to catch up on my contemplations, reading and books of cross-word puzzles too.  Melissa went up to the rail for a blessing and Dan knelt right down beside her.  After his few sentences with his hand on her head she said (she has a loud voice)   "I feel better already."  So there we were at the communion rail, all smiling and trying not to laugh out loud.  Somehow it was delightful and appropriate on a Hallelujah day.  Then when I got back into my pew she leaned over and said, "You know, Dan is really good at doing blessings."  That made me laugh and cry with delight.  What did she think he had been trained to do at theology school?  She probably doesn't know how much training they have to have.  But he really is good at connecting with children considering he only has two teenage daughters.

Below is one of my Crone friends who rides around town in the better weather on her special bicycle.  She brought me a crochet hook I had dropped on the floor at her house when we had our Friday Crones gathering for yakking, wine and appies.  She has one leg that doesn't work well due to polio, and another that was damaged by an exploding glass bottle.  She is a lovely, cheerful soul especially considering her trials.  We are all so happy to be getting out our clam-digger pants and sandals these days

Good bye and I will write notes in Open Office and then send a long catch-up blog when I get access again to civilization.  On the road spring when the flowers are blooming even in the mountains.  Our road will be gravel not bluebells or daffodils or tulips but lovely too.