March 7th, 2001
Jerry built some bluebird boxes and a larger bird box for an owl or kestrel. We came out today to put them up. The bluebird boxes are along the fence line by the well and the other box is by the chicken coop. We had hoped to be able to bull a toboggan in but the snow is too uneven and crusty. It just kept tipping over. So…we carried everything in - Jerry in front and me treading in his footsteps. He made a second trip back to the car for the big birdhouse. Hope the birds appreciate the effort and that we get something other than sparrows in the smaller boxes.
March 18th, 2001
Krista and I and the dog came up for the weekend. We certainly picked the right one - it was absolutely beautiful. We had lots of fun breaking up the ice on the river (who says you have to grow up when you get older). Hope to be back soon.
May Long Weekend, 2001
What a decadent three days. Matt, Cyndy, Kory, Shauna, Jasy and Susan here. Took in all of the serenity this little, quiet corner has to offer. Beautiful weather, great company, and more scenery and inspiration than can be imagined. Played a lot of Frisbee and did a lot of stargazing. It has truly been an escape and a weekend to remember. I look forward to returning to the Weepackum Inn. Thanks.
Finally a weekend off! This desperately needed escape came just in time. I thoroughly enjoy bringing new people up here and seeing them become as passionate as me about the land. Kory, Jay and I did a lot of thinking about projects and fix-ups around here that, hopefully, won't all be pipedreams.
Monday, May Long Weekend, 2001
Karin, Michael, Jerry and I here for a short visit to make sure that we have ample water for the outhouse cleaner who is coming tomorrow.
Put in a long day here today getting rid of all the mouse mess. The are winning! Had the outhouse pumped out so we should be good for another few years. Took my little record player home to see if I can get a new needle for it. Thanks to whoever cut firewood!
June 9th, 2001
Here with Alison, Chris, JP. Judy and Jerry were before us and had been hard at work on the cabin and grounds. Today's sad errand is choosing a spot to plant Richard's tree and bury his ashes on the July weekend. See everyone then.
Tried out my new staircase to the biffy - super!! Thanks Jerry!
Saturday, June 16th, 2001
Dropped a spruce tree next to the cabin. It had been blown over by the wind and was hung up in the poplars. Needed the tractor to skid it out. Judy cleared an area for Richard's tree.
On the way out we saw a deer with a little speckled fawn near the gas plant. Saw a great grey owl on the Bowden road.
June 16-17, 2001
JP came up with my good buddy KC. Mostly to build the wood pile up and to relax. Saw a white-tailed deer across the river from up on the deck. Kristian thought he heard some crashing through the woods on this side of the James. Walked down to find rather large tracks on the road to the river. Lots of scat too - good to know that they are eating well. Heard a pack of coyotes east of the cabin yesterday as well. One bird of prey, some phoebes, a crow and fat robins too. Neither the elusive Nudie Cutie or Nocturnal Tree-climbing Goat were sighted.
Didn't use the pump but found the coffee maker capable of a good stiff pot and the Franklin roasted my corn beautifully. The axe, however, is more likely to serve up a home lobotomy than a good log splitting. Time for a new handle? Only then will it be safe to sharpen.
Sadly, my weekends are booked for July and August. Looking forward to July 1st though. See you all then.
June 23rd, 2001
Jerry and I here to drop off our motorhome for Kate and Steve and kids. Mom, Chris, JP, Jacob and Elyse out for the day on Sunday. Jerry and I went to the Sundre Rodeo on Saturday night and came home in a huge electrical storm - scarry! Chris took Jacob and Elyse to the rodeo on Sunday afternoon.
Jerry noticed that Dennis has started a fencing project along the meadow west of the cabin gate and had positioned posts for repairing the east boundary fence. Called him when we got home and he advises that the fence west of the cabin gate will be electric but only on when his cattle are on the land. He wants to prevent them from getting away up the river and also wants to prevent gully erosion on the paths they use for that purpose. He also told me that the land west of ours is for sale - 56 acres for $229,000. So far, no offers as the price is high and there is no access to the parcel. A developer has purchased the quarter west of that one.
Jerry and I here to mow and drop off more stuff for the weekend. We brought the Mayday tree for Richard.
JULY LONG WEEKEND, 2001
Monday, July 2
Kia ora tatau! Wonderful to be back in the loving embrace of this place and its people. Tangata Whenua is what we could be called - people of this land. The Maori of New Zealand tend to gather as tribes (iwi) or subtribes (hapu) at their home Marae to reconnect, to get grounded once again. All who enter the place, and especially the Whare Nui (Big House or Meeting House) are welcomed as Whanau - extended family. All go home again well fed, spiritually and otherwise. I'm certainly feeling that way right now after another great feed of bacon, eggs, pancakes and fruit syrup and a peaceful walk up the hill. It will likely be several years before I am back this way again but I take comfort in the knowledge that the land is (or at least should) always going to be here.
The sad task of burying our brother's ashes brought us together again, but so much more happened here this weekend. Stories were shared, both happy and sad. Strangers and old friends were welcomed into the circle once more. Bonds were strengthened, and some transformed. We said goodbyes, and celebrated the news of two new souls that will join us in the coming year.
Thanks to everyone for being here, for reviving the Ejor Olympics, for honouring Richard's memory in such grand style and for all the kindness shown to Kate, Jenna, Jacob, Elyse and me. Special thanks and aroha to Judy and Jerry for all the hard work they did to make this happen and to make us all so comfortable. And a reminder that the welcome is always out in Rotorua! Great value for your dollar, great sites, and eager hosts. Love and hugs to all! Aroho nui! Cheers!
July 2, 2001
Came for Uncle Richard and for the Olympics and stayed to enjoy a couple more days. Extra points to the Red Team for staying the longest? Gram declared all of us winners! The place looks the same only better - thanks to all who keep it in shape between visits.
On Saturday, June 30th, all those assembled took part in planting a Mayday tree in Richard's memory. It's on the west end of the cabin. Please water and care for it when you are here. JP and Chris brought a new first aid kit for the cabin, also in Richard's memory.
On Sunday, July 1st, Alison and her parents joined us and we buried Richard's ashes. The spot Alison chose is at the edge of the clearing below the forest, about 2/3 of the way to the gas pipeline clearing on the north side of the path. It's marked with a small pile of rocks which will grow larger as people deposit more there each time they pass. Alison chose this spot because Richard taught her how to fire a rifle there.
To laugh often and much
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others
To leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived
This is to have succeeded.
May our minds and hearts be open to all traditions that praise and protect life
May our lives be committed to honouring and enhancing the lives of humankind
May, at last, our fears be quieted and our lives be filled with hope.
May all traditional ways of caring, respect and love become one
As our children are our mutual children.
As the spirit of life breathes in us all, may be learn not to hurt
But to lean upon each other- giving and receiving loving strength
And may we learn that we are one people in our only home - Earth.
The beauty of the trees, the softness of the air
The fragrance of the grass, speak to me.
The summit of the mountain, the thunder of the sky
The rhythm of the water, speak to me.
The brilliance of the stars, the freshness of the morning
Dew drops on the flowers, speak to me.
The strength of fire, the taste of salmon, the trail of the sun
And the life that never goes away, they speak to me
And my heart soars.
When sadness comes and spirits fall, believe
That happiness resides within us all
In our best self which leads us on to all we can achieve.
The land is strength and from it we can see
Through filters made of family and friends
The verdant tapestry of life that holds and centres us - then ends
Until that time we make our halting way
Knowing that no matter what befalls
That flowing river pulls our failing spirits past each obstacle.
People that were here this weekend
Carol and Hugh
Judy, Jerry, Stefan, Karin and Michael
Kathy, Rob, Jan, Ali, Amos
Peg, Alan, Mark, Carol, Vivian, Adam and Lynne
Dan, Jody, Craig, Tim, Christa
Chris, Tina, JP
Sue, Heather, Alec and friend Paul
Alison and her parents
Steve, Kate, Jacob, Jenna and friend Elyse
Adam's friend Mark Jensen
July 2nd, 2001
We've had a wonderful weekend. It was great to introduce baby Vivian to the land and to some more of her relatives. The Ejor Olympics brought lots of laughs - especially the scarecrows and the watermelon eating contest. The challenge of shooting a fruit or vegetable at a target kept the guys entertained for much of an afternoon and the target is still available for next time we hold the Olympics. Campfires, songs, poems, community meals, long chats…all very satisfying. The weather cooperated giving us sun during the day and rain overnight. Some hail one night. Thanks a million to Judy and Jerry for all their work in keeping the place in good repair and for organizing a great get together. Rest in peace here Richard.
Thursday, July 5th, 2001
After the family gatheration was over, Jerry and Stefan went to Sundre and selected enough logs at Columbia Pole to finish the log house. We then went home to tune up the acreage, bathe and go to a BBQ at Chris'. Tina showed us slides of Chile and Argentina. It was Karin and Michael's 3rd wedding anniversary. Stefan stayed in Calgary Wednesday night and flew home to Vancouver on Thursday. Thanks for the lovely dinner
Jerry and I came back to the cabin and Columbia Pole delivered the logs Thursday afternoon. They're straighter and have less taper than the ones we have been using from the land. We are struggling with the decision to continue building in the current location or to move the house to a more stable location. The slumping may take it to the river before we get it finished. So far, our investment has been mainly time and effort but now the expensive part starts and somehow that makes it harder to face the fact that someday we'll have to move it or lose it. If only we knew how long the process will take.
Friday, we went in to Sundre. Checked out the thrift store and toured the museum. I located a history book of the James River area and photocopied a few pages - put them in the old logbook. We went to the Farmers' Market and bought a few vegetables - made BBQ shrimp kebabs for supper. Stopped by Jake Sevren's place but he wasn't home.
Saturday, we mowed the building site and had a closer look at all the erosion and slumping that is occurring above and below the site down to the river.We researched methods that are used to stabilize this type of slump slope and decided we will try some of them and carry on building at least until the walls are completed. We'll re-evaluate the situation at that point before we go any further.
The purchased logs are peeled using chains that leave ridges that we will remove with a belt sander. Jerry started sanding one and the belt broke so work ended until we can get a new one. Spent a relaxing evening watching the birds and squirrels and went up to the slough to watch the geese and goslings. Put a new salt block out in the meadow for the deer.
Monday morning -
We're stalled out and heading home to deal with a situation regarding our acreage. Our neighbour has informed us that he wants our approval to expand his dairy operation, turning it into an "intensive livestock operation". Since we talked to him, we can think of nothing else. Can't keep our minds on the log house project until this issue is resolved. Hope to be back soon.
Saturday, July 14th - Tuesday, July 17th, 2001
Spent several days at home sorting out the issue re our acreage. Looks as though our neighbour will buy us out over five years and then we'll move. Jerry and I are okay with that scenario - gives us a guaranteed buyer at current market value and we have at least another five years there.
Saturday we began addressing the erosion problems at the building site. We moved the debris and started laying willow branches in the crevices. On Sunday, Bob and Beth came out and spent the day with us. Had a BBQ. Monday, we went to Calgary to talk to our lawyer re the acreage and went out for dinner with Karin.
Tuesday morning - we're rained out and heading home. Left the power on and the fridge running for you Karin. Hope you have a great weekend!
PS. Saw a funnel cloud over Glennifer Lake on the way home. xoxox
Friday July 27th, 2001
Came out to pick up the motorhome. We're taking it to the Osborne family reunion in B.C. on the long weekend. We're going to Quebec August 10th - 24th to won't likely be back here until the Fall. Maybe then we'll be able to settle into getting some work done on the log house. Karin - the power stayed on for the past two weeks so will risk leaving it on for you again. Hope that you and your friends make it out this time. Will put up the "NO HUNTING" signs on our way out today. Xoxoxo
PS. There was a tornado warning for Penhold, Innisfail and Pine Lake so we went home via Highway #22. Saw a mother mule deer with two fawns east of the compressor site on the way out.
Tuesday, July 31st, 2001
Jerry, Karin and I here briefly this afternoon on our way to Bearberry to visit a place there that grows water plants for ponds. We've been to Stephanson House, Markerville and Dickson Museum today and had lunch at Spruceview.
class="author"J,J & Karin
Thursday, August 2, 2001
Arrived here just after 11a.m. Really impressed with your new deck. Somebody has put a lot of work into the cabin. Beautiful view - enjoyed a lovely picnic on the new table. Chuck and Len are busy hooking up the trailer. Hope we get up the hill okay.
August 4-5, 2001
JP up with friends Tim and his boys, Cody and Stewart, and Jacob, Todd and Jacquie, Atle and Sarah with their two - Braden and Maddison. My buddy Jay and his wife Angel. (nine months pregnant). Got the potato cannon out right away to elevate me to a new status with the young boys. Broke the new pump that had just shown up. Sorry, will replace it. It just couldn't take the pressure.
Hey! Nice BBQ - works great! No shortage of grilled meats this weekend.
Saw two elk, deer, three circling birds of prey, cedar waxwings, tiny frogs, butterflies and weird beetles. Mostly just played with the kids and soaked up the beautiful weather. Watered our new tree and did a bit of maintenance on the path down to the east of the cabin. I'll deal with the wood pile after I go axe shopping. Hope to be back for a longer stay after my course ends in mid-September.
Kool yet again. What do you think about solar water heat and a greenhouse. Maybe a new Osborne stove. Thanks tons.
August 7th, 2001
Karin and dog up for a day. Put tree wrap on the new tree and planted a dogwood. It gave me ideas about putting berry bushes on that side of the deck but I think that may have to wait until Spring - I can't get enough roots to transplant a wild Saskatoon bush. Saw a grouse by Richard's ashes - it scared the heck out of Finnegan - oh the shame! I turned the fridge back on. The cabin looks great!
J&J dropped in on our way home from the family reunion in Cranbrook. Had a wonderful long weekend.
August 11-12, 2001
Karin and friends Thea and Dallas up for tree fort building. Great time!
September 2nd, 2001
Tim, Krista and friends Hendrik, Carmen and Liz came up to enjoy the long weekend. Spent a bunch of time swimming in the river. There's quite a good swimming hole down there!
JP is here with friends as well - it's good to see so many people up here. Hendrik does an excellent impression of a crocodile floating down the river! Added a rock I found by the river to Richard's gravesite. There were a bunch of flowers up there too that someone had placed. A beautiful weekend - hope to be back soon. Love,
September 2nd, 2001
Came up early Friday night with Jay, Angel and their two kids Taylor and Dylan. Atle and Braden showed up Saturday. It's f un to watch kids play up here but we already knew that. I was fairly antisocial - working on the woodpile. Enjoyed late night fires, fine weather, good friends, too much grilled flesh again. Fed the new tree with some mulchy compost and gave it a good drink too. Very dry out here - easy to cut wood but these forests are flammable! Did an honourary firing of the potato canon and some sparklers too. Returning soon I hope.
P.S. The light switch in the master bedroom seems to have a short in it - potential fire hazard. (Jerry fixed it.)
Can I turn the old tent trailer into a greenhouse for next year? The water is right ther, slow drip. Tomatoes, cucumbers….whatever. Just need a roll of clean polly, some pails of dirt and some seeds. (OK by me JP - JLO)
September 4th, 2001
Jerry and I came out to spend some time working on the log house. It's good to get to work on it after such a long time. Tuesday night, Jerry caught a trout and we had it for dinner - a nice treat. Nuthatches and jays at the feeder, beaver in the swimming hole.
It's taken four days to move all the logs off the meadow down to the cabin and to belt-sand two and get them up onto the building. These two are the shortest of the purchased logs and that made them difficult to move into position on the short walls. It takes a lot of patience and many trips up and down the hill and on and off the tractor and the building - exhausting! I'm not much help as I can't drive the tractor or do the ariel balancing act that Jerry can. When he had the second log in place I told him that I'd been thinking about the proper treatment for someone who has fallen from a great height and is winded. I was thinking in terms of CPR, mouth to mouth or such. He said all I'd have to do is wave a pork chop under his nose!
Sunday, September 9th, 2001
Did some odd jobs around the place this morning and now we're going home to bathe, wash clothes and replenish our stocks. Back tomorrow, weather permitting, so left Shalimar here.
Tuesday, September 11th, 2001
A rainy morning so we delayed our return till late Monday afternoon. Tuesday morning we woke to the news of the terrorist attack on the U.S. We've stayed in the cabin listening to CBC and doing odd jobs inside rather than go down to the building site. We can't really believe what has happened -so many innocent people dead and injured. We have the laptop with us so have been able to see some video clips and photos. I can't decide whether being without TV is a good or bad thing - while I want the information, I don't want the horrific images to linger in my mind. Yet, seeing is believing and we remain incredulous.
The weather remains cold and overcast but dry enough that Jerry is able to work at notching the logs that are positioned on the building. We're going home later today - have appointments Thursday and are going to Mark England's graduation on Friday.
Came back late last night and, today, Karin, Peter and Shirley England came out for brunch. Warm and sunny day. We walked along the river and Karin impressed the Englands with her frog/toad catching skills. Shalimar caught a bunny. Karin left Finnegan with us until she comes back next Saturday.
Stefan, Chris and JP are travelling back from Vancouver today and then Stefan will join us here tomorrow.
Went to Calgary to pick Stefan up. We visited Karin at her new school and also had a visit with Mom. Jerry bbq'd steaks for supper when we got back and then he and Stefan went fishing.
Wednesday, September 19, 2001
It rained most of the night last night and showered off and on this morning so we went to Sundre and Olds truck shopping with Stefan. The weather cleared in the afternoon so we were able to get back to work on the house and on moving some soil into the eroded areas below the building.
Stefan belt-sanded the next log and he and Jerry moved it onto the building. This is the beginning of round eight! The went to Red Deer and Lacombe this afternoon looking at trucks. Alice Murray, the safety officer for Shell returned by call and will drop by tomorrow to bring us some up-to-date emergency response information.
Dennis Brown dropped in for lunch today. Alice Murray left some info re emergency procedures should there ever be a problem with any pipelines or facilities in the area. We posted the phone number and put the information in the back of this book.
Jerry got the saddle notches done and Stefan sanded another log. Other than making meals, I've been stuffing insulation between the logs. Also did a bit of work with Stefan on the erosion problem. Jerry brought soil from the meadow with the tractor and we filled the crevices.
August 22nd, 2001
I'm heading out - see you all next year. If anyone is passing through Vancouver you are welcome to stay at my place. We have loads of room!
September 25- 26, 2001
Finished fitting the last log for this year. Cleaned out mousetraps, drained water tank, watered Richard's tree. Loaded up the tractor and barbeque.
Brought our friends Rona Drennan and Jim Wright out to see the log house before Rona returns to England. It was a lovely Indian Summer day.