Feb. 25, 1995
Couldn't find the old logbook so started a new one. Jerry and I met at the cabin for the day to bring the Volkswagen - a gift from Don Boulton who is a long time friend and workmate of Jerry's. It's to replace the one we buried in the hole, although it is in much better shape. Those under age, please don't drive it without parental permission.
John Paul and Fern were here last weekend - say the weather was wonderful. It's not bad today and we did a little more site preparation for the log cabin. Dennis Overgaurd had made an offer for the south side and Carol is counting the votes. Looks like it's a go so we'll see lots of changes this summer.
Sunday, Mar. 12, 1995
Jerry and I came down for the day and spent our time cleaning up the log cabin site. We took down two dead poplars and cut up some trees that the beaver had taken down. It seems that the spring is running - or maybe it's just runoff. The whole bank is like a sponge. It was so warm today that we worked with our shirts off and got a sunburn.
I brought some garage sale records up and left them for the kids - folk songs, campfire songs. The Neil Diamond is for Carol.
We were able to bring Jerry's car all the way down to the cabin today but getting back out may be difficult - the hill is really greasy.
Love to all -
Saturday, Mar. 18, 1995
Adam was here for the weekend - brought a quad on his truck. He helped pull some dead spruce out of the forest and they look sound enough to use for building material. We located a few more standing dead trees that may prove useable too. We had fun driving around the place in the V.W. This was a wonderful weekend - warm and dry and we enjoyed working on the building project.
Sunday, Mar. 26, 1995
Mom, Chris, Jerry and Judy here for a chilly picnic.
Saturday, April 1, 1995
Adam and Mark Jensen up for the afternoon. Blizzard!! But the weather didn't stop us from having fun with the quad in the river.
Saturday, April 7, 1995
Amos and friends arrived today - stayed to the 10th.
April 19, 1995
Matt, Leigh, Mitch and Nick stayed for four days and enjoyed the weather all the time. Fixed the broken back door. Taps don't work. The beaver are still hard at work. Ying/yang symbol made by Nick and Mitch. As usual, had a great time.
April 16th, Easter Sunday, 1995
Jerry and I came down this morning and spent some time peeling logs. I bought a "bark spud" and two "draw knives" for the job but the most efficient tool turned out to be Jerry's screwdriver.
We had a superb Easter dinner - Jerry caught an 18" trout! I took pictures to prove it. Later this afternoon he caught a second one in the same hole - this was a 17" rainbow. He put that one back after a quick photo. This evening we went beaver watching. Heard, but didn't see them. We did some more cleaning up of the building site and watched a million stars. A lovely day!
Easter Monday, 1995
We're off to Peg and Alan's 30th anniversary party in Calgary.
May 28, 1995
Chris, Judy, Jerry and Dave up overnight. It was a really hot day. Had a quiet campfire last night with only two voices and no guitar. We tramped around the east, north and west borders - saw lots of violets and strawberries in bloom.
May 27 - 29, 1995
My last days of holidays and have had gorgeous weather to spend them in my favourite place in the world. I spent some time cleaning the place on Friday and then on Saturday went fishing with Jerry - he fished, I watched birds. Chris and Dave joined us on Saturday evening and made a delicious Chinese food dinner. We got out the telescope and played old records. Sunday, we played in the river and napped on the deck - the hammock is cozy in its new location. It was too hot to do anything constructive today. Love to all,
So relaxed that I forget the date! Came up last night. It rained through the evening. We took refuge in the cabin and woke to a sunny morning - deer, mist and roses. Great weekend.
June 19, 20, 1995
Karin and friends (Len) here. The river is very fast and muddy but the wildflowers are lovely. We picked and ate a few wild strawberries but most of them aren't ripe yet. We're going to Dickson Dam fishing. By the way - there were ants crawling into the syrup bottle that someone left behind - removed them and hope they stay out of the cupboards.
June 27-29, 1995
Matthew, Mitch, Nick, Lee, Dylan here for a great time! We had beautiful weather to celebrate the end of school. Everything is out in full force - lush and green. Millions and millions of tracks. Both paths to the middle of the river are gone. It looks like the river rose at least five feet. During rafting, Leigh and Nick were sucked under the beaver dam by and elusive beaver.
July 14, 1995
Kate, Steve, Jenna, Jacob and friends Paula, Mark and Parker Bertamino all arrived for what we hoped would be a 4 or 5 day stay. The day got off to a bad start - Steve had to tell his boss that his job was "Kleined" and it went downhill from there.
Arrived at the first gate and were welcomed by FROGS! - herds? flocks? Not a good omen! A fellow in Sundre said it has rained every day for a week or more. Had to find a dry, (forget it) level place for our tent. We were pounding the last peg in when the light, drizzly rain turned into the most extraordinary hail-rain-lightning and thunderstorm lasted for 30 minutes and left us to shovel 2" of large hail off the roof of the tent and 8 - 10" from around the base. We were amazed to find our vehicles were not damaged. Then came heavy rain for another half hour. When it was all over, every bit of grass that was not under cover was flattened and leaves and small branches were down everywhere. The cabin roof and deck were white - to a depth of 1 ½". THIS IS JULY!!
We spent the rest of the evening drying out and setting up camp - adjusting tarps just in case. When it started to rain again, we gave up and went to bed. Jenna threw up. That should keep the bears away.
We have shared a campsite before with the Bertaminis. It poured rain shortly after our arrival. They want to know what we have against them and what is next. I've ordered a tornado for Tuesday.
Sleep? We don't need no stinking sleep! Woke to calm, but cloudy conditions. Looks pretty socked in. Thought I should clarify yesterdays note - Mark and Paula were impressed by the unique intensity of the local weather! Also got to see one of those rainbows that ends right at the chicken coop. Now that's something their young son can remember - along with touching his first frog and making his first July snowball and eating it.
By late morning yesterday it was hot and sunny. Great fun at the river, sunburns all round. Storm blew up, then blew right on by to the South. Gorgeous evening for a campfire with Karin and her Swiss friend Rolf who came for overnight and today. It's cloudy today but some sun by mid afternoon - actually a pretty nice day. As I write, we are sitting around the fire roasting marshmallows. Observed today: more frogs and toads, a deer, a fawn, baby woodpeckers (whose incessant call for food must be annoying the parents cause it sure is getting to us), an adventurous squirrel and far too many mosquitoes. Should be a good star show tonight.
Poured rain last night with the obligatory lightning and thunder show. Beautiful morning. Off to town for shopping and auto repairs.
Raining again at the moment - 8pm - but looks like it will clear soon.
We're outa here! Poured again last night and parts of today. Forecast is not good, though sunny at present. Off to Gull Lake in search of better weather. Please!
We had the biggest hail storm ever here!!
Saturday, July 29, 1995
Start of two weeks vacation with Stefan and Jerry at the cabin. Spent the evening Thursday assembling the materials to install sewer, water and power to the log cabin site. Jerry put the septic system together at home in his shop - it consists of two plastic 50 gal. drums and assorted attachments for venting and siphoning, etc.
Spent Saturday morning in Calgary buying more plumbing bits and groceries. Jerry's station wagon and the trailer were full - railway ties, weeping tile, water hose, underground electric cable, phone line, gas, diesel fuel, chain saw and other implements of construction and destruction. Once at the cabin, we staked out the log house and the septic field. I tried to transplant the apple trees but wasn't able to salvage them. Jerry pulled stumps with the tractor.
Stefan was supposed to call - no word from him as of Monday noon so I am starting to worry that he and Fabi may be stuck on the island in Harrison Lake, B.C. where they were camping for the past week.
I ordered three loads of gravel today - one for the road and two for the log house site. It should be delivered tomorrow. Jerry went to Sundre this morning to buy yet more plumbing bits and to get what's needed to fix a leak at the kitchen sink. I trimmed the caragana and pitched Tonio's tent for the first time. It's huge and in very good shape.
We have Jerry's dog and two cats with us. The cats are great mousers! No sign of the little beasties.
We finished as much as we could of the barrel assembly for the septic tank. Jerry's tractor is stuck in the building site at this point - too wet to get it out. He's had it down there before so hope that, with a little more warm, dry weather, he can drive it out.
I moved some of the woodpile into the storage shed and hope that people will chop more rather than use what I have already split and stacked. I'm running low on energy for that job.
Jerry replaced the kitchen taps and fixed the leak - the water flow was improved in the process. I installed the 2nd toilet seat and Jerry vented the outhouse - a little less odiferous for now.
Tuesday, Aug. 1, 1995
Carmen Phillips Trucking tried to deliver the gravel this morning and got the first truck, which was carrying pitrun gravel to fill the low, wet spot on the road, stuck in the low, wet spot in the road! He dumped the load there and Jerry got his tractor out of the building site and spread the gravel. They were then able to deliver two loads of washed gravel for the building site - no further trouble.
Let it be noted that on the date of Tuesday August 1st, at 4:45 in the afternoon, Don, Sue, Heather, Alec, Holly and Amy Osborne, Forest Totten, arrived at EJOR 1, aka Weepakum Inn. In good spirits after a long day's drive.
Tuesday afternoon, just after Sue and family arrived, Stefan called from Red Deer so Jerry and I drove out to get him. Jerry had caught a 16" trout in the James earlier in the day and we had planned to cook it for supper. Instead, we left it for Sue and kids.
On the way to Red Deer, it poured rain so, instead of coming back to the cabin, we picked Stefan up at the bus depot, bought some groceries and headed for Jerry's acreage. It was great to have a hot bath, wash our clothes and sleep in a real bed. Stefan got a tour of the place - saw Jerry's cedar strip canoe project, and Karin's garden.
Wednesday, Aug 2, 1995
We rose early and were back at the cabin by 9 am to meet Reg Peters who was to deliver a trackhoe at 9:30. He didn't show up until 10:30 and we had a long wait for him at the top gate. We thought he might not want to drive down to the building site as it was so slippery. Jerry's station wagon slid around the bend in the road. Reg drove down okay with his 4x4, off-loaded the trackhoe and drove it into the building site. It was a pretty scary feat and he almost lost it in the runoff from the spring.
Stefan and Jerry spent till 2pm trenching the septic field and digging the pit for the sewage barrels. They hit two springs in the process so installed more weeping tile to direct the water away from the site. At that point, the machine packed it in and Reg had to come out again. He couldn't fix it so has ordered us another one for tomorrow. I kept myself busy clearing and burning brush. Alec pitched in, helping us most of the day
.In the evening, we sat around the campfire sharing s'mores with Sue and Don and family. The kids are crazy about Jerry's dog and cats. Amy toddles along behind them saying, "Here killy, killy" and "hi goggy, how are you?" Considering that these are not house pets, and that they've never had kids around, they are very good-natured about all the attention they are getting.
Thursday, Aug. 3, 1995
Reg dropped off the other trackhoe and the digging continued until we could lower the barrels into the septic field. At that point, we discovered that we needed a 22 ½ degree angle rather than the piece of 45 degree ABS we had so Stefan and I drove to Sundre and got the new part. Jerry was then able to attach the runoff pipe and backfill the sewer hole.
On Friday morning Jerry and I drove into Sundre and bought more weeping tile, water line and ten bags of ready mix cement. We went to the laundromat and bought groceries, then came back to the cabin. By that time, Stefan had used the trackhoe to open trenches for the sewer lines and weeping tile and we carried on relentlessly. Had another load of gravel delivered today too.
Sue, Don and the kids left today - sure seems quiet all of a sudden. They left their laundry bag behind with several days worth of clothes in it and also left a pair of Amy's shoes. Maybe they'll be back sooner than planned.
Stefan started working on the spring today and we widened the road a little. We built a chute out of tarps and railway ties and tried to slide the gravel down into the building site. It didn't work as well as we had hoped but was easier than moving it all by hand.
Friday night, Stefan and Jerry worked until 11:30 - by the light of the tractor and the moon. These guys are possessed!
Saturday morning I woke to the sound of the tractor again - Jerry's back at it! Called Reg Peters to tell him he can come and get the trackhoe but he couldn't as he was alone in the rental shop. I don't know if he'll be able to pick it up before Tuesday as this is a long weekend. We'll make the most of whatever time we have with the machine.
Spent the day shovelling gravel down the chute, then into the wheelbarrow, then into the weeping tile and sewer trenches. Backbreaking! By supper time, that phase of the project was finished and all the trenches were backfilled and closed. We have to come up with a better way to move the gravel - we all feel bent, broken and exhausted tonight.
Sunday, Aug. 6, 1995
Sunday morning and we're trapped indoors by steady rain after four good days. Mom and Jerry seem to need the rest - looked at the weather and went back to bed. Lucky thing we pushed so hard the last couple days - today the ground is too wet to work and will be for some time.
The cats are definitely winning over the mice - they kept me awake last night with their hunting noises. The land seems much the same to me after my long absence. I had the best time chatting with Alec and Heather and hope that Karin will be brave enough to come up today in spite of the weather. I don't think I'd try it myself so, we'll see.
A gang of kids on tubes came floating by yesterday and chose to come up for a look. I think they were surprised to see us here. Some men arrived with vehicles to fetch them - obviously a planned pick-up. I suggested that they use the south side for easier access and to keep them away from our house. Wish I'd taken names and phone numbers.
Sunday afternoon, Karin joined us and brought us some groceries, my car, and Timbre. Chris is in Halifax with Tina this week so the dog gets a cabin vacation. I roasted two chickens and Karin was able to stay for dinner before she had to report back to duty in Penhold. She's enjoying teaching band and conducting there this summer. This weekend the air show is on and she and Stefan saw some of it when he drove her back to barracks.
The rain stopped and we were able to move the remaining gravel down our improvised chute and then we spread it over the area where the cabin will sit. We tried using a sheet of plywood under it and that helped. Had a late "leftovers" supper and then baths in the washtub before bed.
Monday, Aug. 7, 1995
We woke at 9 am (the latest we've slept in) to a misty drizzle. Surprised that the dogs and cats let us sleep - they all seem to get along fine. We ate yet another huge breakfast and tackled our projects for the day. As Reg still hasn't come for the trackhoe, Stefan used it to open up the Elephant Path. Jerry and I went down to the river and salvaged a power pole and two trees that had washed up on the gravel bars. If we can figure out how to get the 8' lengths of pressure-treated power pole and the 28' lengths of spruce tree up the slope, they'll become part of the log house. Jerry left for home at 4pm - he has to work tomorrow.
I had a nap and then went for a walk with the dogs and gathered wildflowers. Stefan worked a digging a water hole with the trackhoe until there was no diesel fuel left.
Wednesday, August 9, 1995
Another rainy day yesterday. Mom left the dog and me here and went home to Calgary to catch up on life. Today it is windy and clear. Going to see how much more damage I can do with the trackhoe.
Drove to Calgary to have a bath and do laundry and to look after my banking, check in with Mom and pick up my mail. Took a load of garbage out with me. Came back by 6pm, dropped supplies off with Stefan and then drove up to Jeryy's. It's cold, windy and still raining off and on. The comfort of his warm, dry house will be welcome.
Up at 6am to see Jerry off to work. Raided Karin's garden - fresh peas, carrots, beets, spinach, lettuce and onions. Drove to the Eagle Hill Coop and bought diesel fuel and groceries, grass seed, an axe handle, etc. Back at the cabin by 10:30 am. The trackhoe is still here and the sun us shining so - back to work.
Stefan dug the beginning of a trout pond in the N.W. corner where the spring from Lopeter's runs into our property. It was filling with water and he was working at sloping the sides when Reg finally showed up for the trackhoe.
I spent some time digging out the back wall of the cabin and filling it in with gravel - supposed to deter mice. I also gravelled the walk to the biffy and the firepit area. Trimmed back all the poplars that are coming up through the "lawn". Back at the building site, I tried to move more gravel down the slope but my body is complaining.
Checked with Mom this evening and she says all went well with her angiogram today - one blocked artery so angioplasty is a possibility.
Left a message for Dan on his machine today inviting him to come out and join us for dinner - hope he'll call. I made a garden vegetable stew and lemon pie for supper. Talked to Bill Robinson about borrowing his truck to move some soil, trees and gravel. He tells me that he will be out next week to erect a cairn to his parents. Their ashes are here - on the forest path near the top power pole.
Friday, Aug. 11, 1995
More rain! Split wood, moved gravel, pounded stakes to shore up the path to the spring. Sure would be nice to be able to drive down to the site. Anybody got an idea for diverting the flow from the spring? The old elephant path through the woods is open again now and I also made two openings in the brush pile for future logging access. The soil in those two spots is really nice and light - anybody need some potting soil?
Made a call to Vancouver - time to check in with the boss. Just two days to go and I already don't want to leave. I tried the electric space heater today and it's not working. Will add that to the repair list and try to fix or replace it before winter sets in.
I'm leaving for Calgary tomorrow and then back to Vancouver. It feels as though we made more mess than we got work done but it's a start at least. By the time I get back here again, maybe the mud will be gone. Sure hope so!
The darn cows kept us awake last night and woke us early this morning. Maybe we should fence off the road down to the river.
All in all, I had a smashing time - rain, cows and all. I got to know Jerry, did some male bonding. Surprised we didn't have more folks drop in - this being August and summer vacation time. What is everyone doing? I rediscovered some old books and music, rested up and was well fed. Now, it's back to the real world.
To all who read this - there is a comfy guest room at our place in Vancouver. See you next summer for the wall-raising? We could use a few energetic young men for Phase II of the log house building project - anybody up for peeling logs?
Spent Saturday morning packing up the tools and equipment and getting it to the top gate while the road is not too wet. Cleaned the cabin and put out mouse bait although we haven't seen any of them since Jerry's cats were here. Stefan and Jerry had another go at getting the spring to flow into the barrel - half of it does. We put more pit run gravel on the road to the spring and Jerry smoothed out the hollows on the road at the top near the gate. Stefan cleaned up the building site and fixed and sharpened the axe.
I picked the caragana seed pods and spread them along every bare slope. Also planted 10 lbs. of grass seed in hopes of preventing erosion.
Sunday, Aug. 13, 1995
Dan was planning to come out yesterday but didn't think the weather was good enough - piker! We had a huge breakfast of everything left in the cooler and then went down to the river for the morning.
The water is as high as it was in the Spring and running faster. There are lots of new channels and bank erosion happening. We moved our salvaged power pole to higher ground - hope it's still there when we need it. We're off to Calgary, Red Deer and Vancouver. A million thanks to Jerry and Stefan for all the work they've done toward getting this log house dream underway.
August 24, 1995
Karin and friends Cathy Charlton and Drina Drummond here for four days. Very lovely time. Saw a garter snake and three herons.
August 26, 27, 1995
Here on my way to Edmonton. Lovely weather. Didn't catch any fish. Cows are loose on our property and are "loosing" themselves all over. Seems to be some sort of bovine expression of glee. xoxoxo
August 28, 29, 1995
Matt, Mitch, Nick, Chris and Dylan here. Had a good time.
Saturday, September 2, 1995
Came up late Saturday evening to spend the rest of the Labour Day weekend here with Jerry. We saw mule deer on our way in. Had a campfire supper.
unday morning we went fishing - Jerry was going to teach me how. I borrowed your rod Karin. We hadn't been at the river more than 15 minutes when I caught a brown trout.
It was just a little thing and I found the experience disgusting. Jerry got it off my line and, after the obligatory photo, let it go.
We walked upstream and met the nudists along the way. Found some lovely fishing spots but didn't catch anything more.
Coming back we walked north on the road allowance on the west side of the neighbouring quarter. Spent some time wandering in the forest - it's really beautiful in there. The pond that Stefan dug is full of water! Maybe we can expand it next year.
Bill Robinson has been here and started building a cairn in memory of his parents. It's on the west edge of the forest at the north branch of the elephant path.
Monday we walked all the way to the confluence of the James and Red Deer River. It was a really warm day and wading in the river was no problem. We came back via the gas pipeline clearing - an easy walk.
We did a few odd jobs around the place this afternoon - Jerry fixed the screens and replaced some boards in the deck. Had a nice nap in the hammock - swinging in the sun and wind. A beautiful weekend. The best weather we've had this season.
Love to all...
October 10, 1995
It's Tina and Timbre up here for the day. The weather is beautiful - just made for tramping around in the forest and swinging in the hammock. Lots has changed since I was up here last (i.e. the river, the new cabin site, the most excellent hammock, the trout pond) but it's still the same old sentiment on leaving - reluctance. Saw a big owl and a couple deer.
Tried out the bug and explored. Hope to be back once more before winter.
December 31, 1995 / January 1, 1996
Came up for New Year's Eve - a mild, sunny day and a star-spangled evening. We kept warm with a roaring fire in the Franklin. Monday, we walked and cross-country skied a bit. The beaver had been chewing on our hammock tree so we enclosed it in stove pipe (the tree, not the beaver). Happy New Year to everybody.