March 24th, 1991
Came up to see about the new access road and to chat with Brian and Bev Lopeter. Bev showed us through the new road from the gas plant. It was easy going today but may be pretty soft when it thaws.
April 11, 1991
Judy, Chris, JP and Amos up for the day. the road in was good – drove right down to the cabin. Two evergreens have fallen down behind the cabin. Also a tree had fallen on the power line. We moved it off the line and Judy cleared out some other threatening ones. She also did a major cleanup of the cabin – windows, cupboards, stove, floor, etc. Made a list of things to bring up next time to start on cabin repairs. Lots of evidence of deer and beaver around. Cool, cloudy day. Looking forward to warmer ones this summer.
May 11th, 1991
I came up to assess the feasibility of a work party next weekend. Have arranged with Allan Boyartchuk to repair and reshingle the roof and have contracted with Doering Drilling to drill a well for us next week. I bought some basics with Ejor money and hope that the membership agrees with my selection – electric chainsaw, garbage cans, wood stain, etc. I stained the deck on Saturday – only did the surface, not the railings. I also had a real estate agent out to look at the value of the south side of the quarter. He advised that, in agricultural terms, it’s worth about $45 to $50,000. He said we would have no problem splitting the quarter due to the natural separation of the river. He advised us to sell the quarter as a unit – as the south side has little agricultural value.
I told him that we wouldn’t consider selling at that price and at the expense of our privacy and control of the land. Comments please......
I made an initial attempt at posting the quarter re trespassing and hunting – bought some signs and put them up on the NE corner. Will have some more permanent ones prepared for all sides of the property.
Raining Sunday so couldn’t do much. Marked the spot for the well. Phoned Dan and Steve re next weekend – both hope to be here Sunday. Hope the weather is better then.
May 20th, 1991
Steve, Kate and the kids up for 24hrs. Hoped to help with the work party but the weather wouldn’t allow it, at least not with two kids in tow. Despite the cold and wet, Jacob seemed to enjoy his first camping experience. Jenna was up before but was pretty young. It’s been about three years since we’ve been here... sure has changed! the river especially. Plans for the cabin sound good and Hugh and Allan have done a great job of the roof to start us off. Hopefully we’ll get a dry weekend soon and can get on with the next phase. Until then...
May 20th, 1991
Al and Hugh have been here since Friday at 10 a.m. putting on the new roof. It is now Sunday at 7:30 p.m. and we just finished. I’ve decided to finish my studies at university!!!
May 20th, 1991
My first time at the Sundre homestead. We shingled the roof, fixed the phone, repaired the back door, patched the wall, replaced the soffit, facia, put a new door on the power meter. Maybe next time I come back I will just sit around and watch the world go by.
May 20th, 1991
Came out Saturday afternoon and was surprised to find that, in spite of the threatening weather, Allan and Hugh were here and had the shingling just about finished. Steve, Kate and kids had also set up camp. We shared supper and a campfire.
It rained Sunday morning and Kate, Steve and kids left for Calgary. Allan and Hugh built the soffit in the drizzle. By 4 p.m. the sun was shining and we were able to paint – got a first coat on the new wood. the new roof looks great! It was a beautiful evening – saw Canada geese and a great blue heron. Allan and Hugh left about 8 p.m. so it’s just me and the mice – of which there are plenty tonight.
there is no evidence of Doering having been here to see about the well. I’ll call tomorrow and see what the delay is. the spring is running as well as it ever has and we need to do something about clearing away the debris from the old well there and filling in the hole before someone falls in. the beaver are using the path for a mud slide.
the next items on the renovation list are the outhouse and the cabin floor. Allan is going to build a new biffy and will put it over the existing hole. He’s going to put down ¼” particle board and new linoleum on the floor. Hope to get some interior painting done before then.
Monday was a glorious day – sunny and warm. I stayed until 4 p.m. and am now off to Kathy’s for dinner.
Love to all,
June 1st - 2nd, 1991
Came up to do some more painting. Was able to scrape, sand and first coat the east end wall before dark. Not a sign of mice today so hope I caught them all last time. there is something going on across the river – lots of noise and dump trucks travelling back and forth. Looks like they have extended the road along our south border. I’ll investigate on my way out tomorrow.
Sunday – Got the front wall scraped, sanded and painted today. Two down, two to go.
June 24th, 1991
Kate and I have been up these last few days, sans kids, to celebrate our 10th anniversary. It has been raining more than not but, under the circumstances, we really don't care. Did manage to do some clearing at the back but it never got dry enough long enough to do much else.
the river is up, fast, and very muddy so much so that we stayed out. Did see a deer while checking it out. One of many this trip. the only other wildlife was a rather portly and rude fellow who tried to eat our tires at 3 a.m. He wasn’t easily deterred! A toot on the horn and some light finally sent him waddling off, we suspect to eat the old outhouse. By the light of day it seems his efforts did no damage.
One last bit of news. On arrival, we found the “new” access road padlocked. We had to carefully wend our way through the pipeline clearing and then cross to get in to the cabin. Made some enquiries since then that resulted in my calling Ron White today. Spoke with his wife. To paraphrase...”Tough luck. there are lots of other clearings you can use.” Not at all sympathetic. She states they are fed up with gates being left open and didn’t seem interested in my protestations that we live by the rule “leave it as you found it”. She also says that the access in question is no longer a road allowance, having been turned back to the owner of the lease. (this land is our land, this land ain’t your land). So... it seems we’re in for some tricky negotiations and/or some long, bumpy rides. I tried to call the county to check out some of the details but got no answer. I’ll leave it to current management from here.
Kate says to mention that the cows made one hell of a mess. When are they in? Out? Time to go! Hope to bring the kids once or twice this summer, so will see you then. In peace.
June 29, 1991
Chris, Tina and JP up for 2 days before going to Mayerthorpe for a Buijs family reunion. Managed to miss the rain so far, although we have been surrounded by clouds since we arrived. Kids enjoying mountain bike riding on the cut lines, playing Frisbee and haki sac. Timbre is along with us and is having a grand time sniffing out the trails and getting muddy.
We dug out the spring enough to get some cleaner water than river water. Fixed the bookshelves and prepared and painted the west outside wall. Going to take it easy tonight and head out early tomorrow.
July 5th- 6th, 1991
Tina and two friends were up. It rained all day Saturday – just a few sunny breaks toward evening and now it’s absolutely gorgeous out. Unfortunately, we’re just about to leave. Judy and Karin will be here to enjoy the nice weather though. Until next time.
P.S. Warning! Beware of porcupines! One of them (or some other sharp-toothed, four-legged mammal) ate my transmission oil line last night. It’s fixed now (don’t worry) by a nice guy named Paul Schnell. His phone number is on the wall by the phone if ever one of these many-quilled beasties should attack your car.
July 6th- 9th, 1991
Karin and I came up on Saturday – pretty grey and wet. Spent a pleasant evening with Tina and friends. While we were here, Karin painted the north wall of the cabin and I put the first coat on the inside walls where we tore the rooms out. I made arrangements with Duncan Stewart (Shell’s landman for this area) to put a gate in for us at the NE corner on our own side of the fence and to clear the brush along the clearing so that we can come through on our own land. No more padlock problems. they are doing this for free. Also arranged to have the new floor installed this week and the same carpenter is building us a new biffy. Allan Boyartchuk is back to work and hasn’t got time for the project.
Stefan and Fabi joined us on Sunday and we had some fun in the river. Stefan went across to the south side. You can get to the gravel bars without getting your feet wet if you walk upstream a ways. the water is still fast and dirty.
We had a campfire and sing song – Stefan on accordion, Fabi on ukelele and all of us on vocals. Stefan drained the water out of the firepit and brought some sand and gravel to level it out a bit. Move the benches closer. Very cozy and pleasant.
Karin and I mucked with the spring a bit but our ideas didn’t pan out. there’s good clean water there and plenty of it. the trick is trying to catch it and not the mud.
We’re off today to buy linoleum in Sundre and then back to Calgary for a few days. Love and kisses
July 13th, 1991
Arrived just before sundown this evening and found our new gate and clearing in place. It’s a little bumpy for my Honda but better than trespassing.
Spent a quiet day Sunday getting some letters written and enjoying the sunshine. the Martins, neighbours from the SW ¼ rode through and we chatted. Something was gnawing at the cabin all night – didn’t see what it was and no evidence that I could see in the morning. Did trap a few mice but it seems there’s always more where they came from.
Monday morning, Rob Day came and put in the linoleum and finished the outhouse. Gary Doering was here and installed a holding tank on the new well. He and Dave Groom will come again on Wednesday to finish the job. the outside electrical outlet caught fire when Rob plugged his drill into it – luckily he had a fire extinguisher with him. Will have the electrician check all the wiring when he’s here to install the pump.
I painted the baseboards and the outhouse today – 1st coat. John Paul arrived this afternoon and he painted the soffit and helped me with the other painting.
I dug out the spring and put a new tub in to catch the water so you don’t have to wait to fill the jugs – can just dip them in. It would make a nice pond and rock garden once we don’t need it for drinking water.
JP shared his rice and beans with me for supper. I’ll sleep better tonight with JP and the dog here. Called Chris and got the word that Mom’s test went well today and she’s feeling much better. Good news!!
I bought two electric heaters with out ill-gotten gains. they’re in the back bedroom. Also bought an axe, hammer, some BBQ tools, dish towels, trouble lights, extension cord, curtains, coffee pot, cookie sheets, broom, garbage can, mats, boot trays, silverware, rope, kettle, bowls, shovel, cooler, screen windows, paint, etc. Hope you will agree that we needed these things. I also think we should risk having a fridge again.
Went bird watching early this morning and saw a deer in the field. Rob Day finished the floor today – put in the baseboards and plugged the holes in the ceiling and deck. He’s going to prepare an estimate for extending the deck on the west end and putting a covered veranda on the north wall.
I gave the outhouse a second coat today and sanded and painted the bottom cupboards. JP made a great corn chowder for supper. the day was warm and sunny – cooled off and rained a few drops this evening.
Gary Doering and Rory here this morning and hooked up the water line from the tank to the kitchen sink. the lefthand tap now produces water and, if you open the righthand tap, you can use the spray attachment. Dave Groom was here and did the electrical connection of the pump. there is a switch by the well and, when you have pumped the tank full, water will come out the hole in the top – then shut it off. To drain the system in the fall, there is a tap near the woodpile. this tap could also be used for a shower, sauna or whatever. Dave also did an inspection of the cabin wiring – put in a new outlet on the back wall, disconnected the power to the spring, and will be back next week to finish the repairs.
this evening it appears that the spray attachment on the sink is going to be a problem – perhaps we should remove/replace it because it leaks. JP cut some shelf boards and plugged the mouse holes in the bottom cupboards tonight. We had a heavy rain and the power went out several times.
Hate to leave but it’s threatening rain again. See you all soon. Xoxoxo
August 24th, 1991
Karin’s course at Penhold finished today so picked her up and came to the cabin for the long weekend. the weather has been perfect. We did a bit of clearing and filling holes on our new road. Moved the culvert in the spring so that nobody will fall in and cleared away the remnants of the old pump box. Karin practiced her knots and lean-to building skills on the woodpile shelter and we cut some wood with the chainsaw.
Went to the river at dusk Saturday evening and saw five deer. Saw the porcupine too – he was peeking out at us from behind the toolshed. We also saw one mouse in the cabin but Karin wouldn’t agree to setting traps. Spent Saturday night listening to our old records and reminiscing.
Some burrowing varmit is living under my tent trailer – gopher? Bye for now.
JP and Tina up for three days. We built a railing down to the biffy, chopped some wood, hung a hammock and went swimming a lot. the weather was very nice. the phone was used for 2 calls to Calgary. I patched up another mouse hole but they’re still getting in. Oh well. there are two inner tube-like things in the shed if anyone wants to use them.
JP and Tina
August 29th, 1991
We’re back for three days again. there’s a lot of noise from the folks at Shell Oil working on the pipeline down river. they’ve been working 24 hours a day since we got here. JP and I encountered two of them scooting up and down the river on a hover craft while we were swimming yesterday. they didn’t say much but were friendly enough. Despite the noise, there is still quite a lot of wildlife around. I saw a deer and pheasant on Tuesday and Timbre ran into a porcupine yesterday – no major damage done. I painted the deck yesterday and then had a shower using our new water – very cold! the phone was used once to call Mom. All in all, I had a very relaxing final three days of vacation. Back to school on the 4th. Shucks!
August 30th - 31st, 1991
Stefan and I up after work on Friday and for the day Saturday. Stefan cut down some dead trees behind the cabin and spent some time in the river. I lazed in the sun and read a book. Beautiful weather and a restful day.
Stefan and Judy
August 31st - September 2nd, 1991
Just up for the weekend with my friend Jamie. things are greatly improved since I was here in 1988. the weather was fairly cool and rainy so we didn’t do too much. I dead mouse to report but we couldn’t find where he came from.
September 2nd, 1991
Here for the first time in many moons, with Chris, JP, Eric and Mike and I’m very glad that I could make it before the season was over. Amazed at the many improvements – we all owe Judy and others who helped a vote of thanks – at the very least.
Nice to find Jody and her friend here and to have a short visit with her before university starts.
A day of remembrance of times past. thanks for bringing me Chris. Love to all.
this is about as close to paradise as you can get. Mike Mowchenko
September 3rd, 1991
After those three messages, this one is going to seem pretty ordinary and mundane. Tina and friend Tara were up for the day. Not much to report – no use of the phone. Went swimming in the icy cold water of the James. Slept the remainder of the day away on the deck. See ya –
September 8th, 1991
Can’t wait to come back – nothing to do except relax and eat and relax again. Even the rain and thunderstorm was fantastic. It’s got the true Judy-O feel – homey and fun! thanks Judy.
Anyone want to adopt an untrained Sheltie who only knows one game – fetch? Had a great time. Learned to play Trivial Pursuit and which Democratic hopeful in 1988 wore a plaid shirt and hit a bullseye with an axe. (Gary Hart) Lovely place to spend time with friends. Had a hard time choosing which river rock to take back home for a souvenir. Hast la vista.
A delightful way to acknowledge the end of summer and the beginning of a new season. the weekend was a mix of old memories and new beginnings. Stefan, Fabi, Byron, Rona, Richard, Heather and I here for a retreat – touching base with those things that are of true consequence – family, friends and sharing. Love to all.
September 27th, 1991
Adam and Robin up for the weekend with the dogs. We arrived at 9 p.m. on Friday night after a tour along the new pipe line (thought to be the new road)!! After about seven gates and 1000 huge bumps, we made it. the cabin looked great and Adam was very impressed with the new outhouse. After the long drive, the dogs were very thirsty so, after some debate – go down to the river or up to the well – we decided that the well would be closer and we needed to turn it on sometime anyways. We got about five steps out of the cabin and decided it was way to scarry so jumped in the car and drove up. Yes, we are wimps!
Saturday was quite cold so most of the day was spent inside the cabin. there was a big cow herd on the river so the owner and his daughter directed the cows back up to the pasture. the owner stopped for a while to talk and then they made their way down to the river. But, the mighty Bridget took charge and if you can believe it, scared them back up the hill. Bailey meanwhile was busy barking at the squirrels and digging holes. A big thunderstorm rolled in about 5 p.m. and shortly after we had to leave to meet some friends from Calgary at the James River Store. We found the real road to the cabin and was it ever shorter! the night was spent eating hot dogs and telling stories in front of the fire. It rained most of the night but it did stop for a couple of minutes just in time to give us a very nice sunset. Karen and C.J., friends from Calgary, left about 10 p.m. After about three tries, they finally made it up the slippery hill.
Sunday I was wakened by Adam saying “there are children outside!!” To our surprise, Karin, Amos, Matthew and two friends came up for the day. they sure picked a nice one. Blue skies and not a drop of rain. this time it was Timbre who was the cow herder and he sure did a good job!! Karin found a skeleton in the forest. Adam and the boys went for a swim in the river and came back with the conclusion that it should be frozen over, it’s so cold. they left about 4 p.m. Adam chopped some wood and after we cleaned up. We said goodbye to the cabin for another year.
December 23rd - 27th, 1991
JP and Timbre up to escape Christmas insanity. We saw one porcupine on the way in. Cut, sawed and stacked wood. Called home three times. I didn’t go far from the cabin during my time here. Clear skies every night. Our best Christmas ever. No gifts. No overindulgence.