K2inCanada's Blog

October 21, 2017

The rain is back

Filed under: Canada, Home, Paddle — K2 in Canada @ 8:03 PM

Heavy at times. Well, we have been asking for it :-). Jeff is happy because his Coho fishing spots are finally getting enough water that the fish are coming in. Tomorrow will be my first day out this fall. Today though was a bit miserable with not just rain but also quite a bit of wind. Nevertheless, I needed to get outside for a bit after being stuck indoors all week. I walked my surfski down to the river. It was just about low tide but I still had the current plus the wind nicely pushing me down river. At that point there was hardly any rain too. All the tugs slowed down for me and it was a really nice paddle despite the weather. By the time I turned around though, half a kilometer down from the Arthur Liang Bridge, the current had turned and push me up the river but the wind also had picked up and it started to rain hard again. Now all into my face. It was a tough slog back up river and it was cold. I am glad though I went out.

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What’s the chance…

Filed under: Animals, Canada, Home — K2 in Canada @ 7:54 PM

…to run into not just one but two skunks on my ride home from work last week. And I am came out of both encounters without smelling any worse than before we met.

It was a rainy, dark night. Between 7 and 8PM. I was riding on the bike path along no longer existing East Kent, now a construction site, when I spotted something ahead of me running along the fence in the same direction I was going – a skunk. Now the path is about 1.5m wide and I figured blasting by that guy and scaring him may not work so well. There was a tailwind. So I tried my usual trick, slowed down and talked to the guy staying a couple meters behind the animal. First he sped up a bit, than the tail went straight up in the air. Oh oh, I thought but nothing happened. Tail came down again. The skunk crossed to the other side of the path, still running the same direction I was going. Tail come up again. I slowed down further but again, lucky me, it came down right away without any bad smells starting to hit me. And then the skunk ran of the trail by another meter, stopped and looked at me. I took that as a sign to slowly bike by him and say thanks. It worked.

I get home 5 or so minutes later. Jeff had already turned on the outside light. As I approach the door I see something scoot away into the bushes to my right. A cat I thought and started looking. And there he was, another skunk was looking for stuff below the truck. he didn’t even acknowledge me being there :-).

So cool!!! Too bad it was too dark for pictures. I know these guys are in the area – usually we can smell them late at night when something scarred them below our open bedroom window – but I don’t get to see them very often at all.

April 23, 2017

Birds

Filed under: Canada, Home, Hummer, work — K2 in Canada @ 2:04 PM

Well, my back is in even worse shape then yesterday. So I’ll continue blogging rather than enjoying the sun that just started to shine into the window. Rats, at least it could be pouring rain as they promised!!!

I have been blogging about my hummingbirds for a while now but there are a lot of other birds around as well. Mainly around our neighbours feeder. It is great to wake up to their chatter in the morning :-). Our strata tried to ban bird feeders, other than hummingbird feeders, as apparently they attract rats. Well, they may but I have never seen one in our complex. I have seen squirrels, which love the seeds as well, raccoons and smelled skunk but never seen a rat. Jeff and I love hearing birds where w live and we voted against the ban. Apparently we weren’t the only ones and bird feeders are still allowed. Yeah!!! So here a few more pictures of our local birds. It’s not easy to get good shots as they never sit still, even less so than our hummers.

Our hummingbird feeder is busier than ever. We even had a few new ones join. Mrs and Mr Sunshine – a female and male Rufous. Rufous hummingbirds spent the winter in Mexico. Those two came a long way.

And not all hummers use the feeder – caught one sipping on our sappy tree. Now that I see hummingbirds feed on our tree I am less incline to get rid of it. It is a pain when it comes to our cars as it drops these sticky bits onto the truck all the time and they are hard to get off.

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At work, we also now have a local bird. A Sandhill Crane moved in about 3 weeks ago and has been hanging out ever since. He or maybe it is a she, who knows, isn’t shy of people at all. Someone must have feed it before. I hope nobody at work does. Some people are afraid of the bird because of his big beak. Some think he poops too much in front of the main entrance. Some think he is lost. I think he just found a good place with lots of bugs around and feels safe around people. He doesn’t like to be chased by their dogs mind you. It’s great to have a mascot around. Our CEO thinks like me. Still, facilities is trying to get Wildlife Services to relocate them. But apparently they are too busy. I hope it stays that way. Below pictures are taken with the phone, so sorry for the even worse quality. I also took a video since the best way to locate him is by his pretty loud call.

 

Last but not least a couple river walk pictures:

April 22, 2017

Why can’t I hurt my back during the week…

Filed under: Canada, Home, Hummer — K2 in Canada @ 1:13 PM

Darn! Haven’t had a bad back in some time but I knew for weeks it would be coming. Why, though, did it have to happen on a Friday evening to ruin my Saturday, I have no idea. Mind you I did my first 2017 K1 paddle at Burnaby Lake last night. FINALLY a beautiful 16C and sunny evening! It was gorgeous and my balance was pretty good to. Wasn’t quite brave enough to take my boat but tool the yellow Vanquish with a low seat. All was fine until I lifted the boat up out of the water after my 30min paddle. Zing! F….!

This AM, I managed to do a short walk along the river, very slow, to visit our 6 local humming birds in their favourite trees. I am always wondering if any of those guys visit our feeder or not. Mind you most of our feeder birds are female and all birds I see along the river are male. The walk did seem to help a bit, or maybe it’s the ultra strength Motrin :-).

Oh well, maybe I’ll get to catch up on my blog while Jeff is out paddling, sigh.

March 12, 2017

Count Down -5hrs or so.

Filed under: Canada, Home, Kayak — K2 in Canada @ 6:22 PM

After a week of cold yet again, it finally warmed up to above 5C (see previous post below). But we also got the rain back, at times heavy all weekend long. Good thing that I had enough errands to run (= excuses) to not have to do anything active all day yesterday. We are getting visitors from Germany coming in tonight for almost 3 weeks. 3 of them. My nephew Steffen, my niece Anneke and her boyfriend Maxi. We are able to accommodate 1 person, it’ll be tight for two if they can share a double bed but three is going to be a challenge. Oh well, they are young. Jeff went out a few weeks ago and bought one of those luxury inflatable air twin mattresses. It inflates via in-build electrical pump, is pretty high off the ground and wide enough for one person but the length seems to be designed for kids or nationalities that are on average shorter than the average German. Sorry, Steffen, but this will have to do. Yesterday I went on an Ikea shopping trip to stock up on bedding and towels, and all those other things that your walk by when at Ikea, really do need but seem to be a great deal and can’t get anywhere else, like Marabou chocolate :-). Mind you, a new shower curtain in the upstairs bathroom was very much needed and with the “Bathroom Sale” going on, a really good deal. Besides Ikea shopping, I spent the day rearranging our workout equipment in the den so that I can fit the air mattress into it and cleaned the downstairs den, guest room and bathroom. How on earth a toilet we hardly ever use can get that dirty is a mystery to me – yuck. Also found out that our vacuum is mostly non-functional, at least the big brush is broken which means I was on my knees to clean the large area of the floor with a tiny little brush. All is nice and shiny now, relatively spoken, and we are ready for our guests.

I would have made Jeff do the vacuuming since he knew it was the big brush was broken for a while but he was sick like a dog not being able to keep any food in him since Friday. Poor guy! I made some carrot potatoes stew for dinner and that was the first meal he was able to eat in over 24hrs that stayed put.

Today was just as wet as yesterday but temps almost reach the magic 10C. Jeff was feeling better so we went for relaxed paddle out of Deep Cove for almost 2hrs. And yes, it rained the whole time but it was mostly calm and I felt good being out in the fresh air even though I did get tired at the end. All this “rest” yesterday must have tired me out. :-). We also saw a river otter on shore near the powerhouse but he/she scooted off to quick for me to take a picture.

February 14, 2017

A Perfect Winter Day at Home

Filed under: Canada, Home, Hummer, Kayak — K2 in Canada @ 6:55 AM

Family Day Holiday and it was a perfect, blue sky, sunny, warm (10C) day in Vancouver. Woke up rested after 9.5hrs of sleep. Called my parents to wish my Dad “Happy Birthday”. Jeff made an awesome breakfast skillet – not that I haven’t eaten enough over the last two days already.

We got the car washed – it was sooo dirty from driving the Coquihalla, it was crusted in sand and salt. Most of it came off but not all. We went flower shopping at the gardening store. We only stopped there to buy potting soil for our indoors plants but in the show room we met a most convincing sales “person”. A female Anna’s Hummingbird was cruising the flowering plants and we ended up buying the ones she spent the most time with. Maybe our hummer’s like those too? 🙂 Back home, while unloading the car, I played with our neighbour’s Sheppard and their 2.5 year old son Nick for a bit in the drive way.

We went for a 90min easy paddle out of Deep Cove – lots of boats were out, power and paddle crafts, but for the most part the ocean was nice and calm. Back home, I did some planting in the afternoon while Jeff washed the windows – first time ever I think, that those were cleaned from the outside. We watched Chatter and Lily, actually there are two Lilies now, as they came by lots of time in the late afternoon. I took a video of Chatter doing the evening clean – so cute – while Lily was resting. Jeff made dinner, I cut up the store bought apple pie for desert. Does it get any better than this? 🙂

February 9, 2017

Pick up

Filed under: Canada, Home, Ski, work — K2 in Canada @ 10:50 PM

Last night Jeff picked me up from work 🙂

Today we were back to rain. I should have used a boat to get to work. The bike path along Kent was turned into Kent Canal. And all the snow is just starting to melt…

February 7, 2017

Snow can stay

Filed under: Canada, Home, Ski, work — K2 in Canada @ 11:04 PM

Well, most people almost had enough of the white stuff here in Vancouver. And I was close to thinking the same. Last Friday we broke a record for the most snow, 12cm, breaking the 1946 record of 10.7. Does not sound much, definitely not for anybody living in the rest of Canada, but for us softies it was/is.

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My bike commute to/from work was even more treacherous yesterday than it was last Friday. Roads were quite icy in the AM and I had to use the sidewalk on and off. It was slow going and I had to walk for parts of it as the frozen snow was just too bumpy to ride on. It started snowing again mid morning and did not stop till later that evening. We got another 10cm or so. On the way home, the roads were even more icy and there was much more traffic still when I left than I am used to. No way I could ride on the roads and I ended up partially walking, partially riding my bike home on the sidewalk. In some areas the snow was too deep to ride on, while sections where people had walked on were fine. Turned a 20min commute into 40-45min. In a way it was nice though with all this fresh snow. But when I got home that evening I told Jeff that the snow better stays so that I can ski into work.

I always thought I may paddle into work one day since both home and work are within easy walking distance of the river but it’s a bit of a hassle to get out near work and where to store the boat. I never figured I would ski to work. Just joked about it whenever we saw some snow. Usually we don’t have snow stick around long enough but this winter is different. And when I woke up to -1C and a clear sky this morning I thought I turn my joke into reality. I put on my crowns and started skiing right below our complex. So cool. The sun was coming up as I skied along the river trail. The snow was fluffy and nice to ski on. It was mostly striding since the snow was deep and not many people had walked through it yet. I even saw some other ski tracks further down the trail. It was so cool. Took longer than usual but was well worth it. It was a gorgeous sunny day all day, of which I didn’t see much of while at work. I was afraid the sun would melt too much of the snow and make for a very icy or even mushy return trip. But it did not. More people had walked the trails and just compacted the snow down enough to have a nice solid surface and I could double pole most of the way home under the moon. Almost like groomed trails. I had even remembered to bring my headlamp :-). Now that I have figured out the best winter commute the snow can stay. There is one more dump in the forecast for tomorrow late afternoon. Bring it on!!!

February 5, 2017

Spring is in the air, or it should be…

Filed under: Canada, Home, Hummer, Ski — K2 in Canada @ 5:44 PM

At least for our hummer it is. Chatter seemed to have picked up girl friend :-). We are calling her Lily. He is allowing her to use his feeders. We now have two installed since we know there are more hummers around the area and an online article said that one has a better chance to get multiple hummingbirds if one has multiple feeders. I don’t think Chatter read that article. I am sure he hasn’t because he is now guarding both feeders. Well, on and off some others do manage to sneak in. There are at least 2 females and one other male around we think. Anyhow, I took a picture of one of the females a couple weekends ago. Chatter wasn’t around at that time, or at least I didn’t see him. Since then, Jeff has seen her and Chatter multiple times together. She drinks and he sits and watches over her and his feeders, still chasing away any other hummer that tries. Chatter and Lily make such a cute couple. It’s a privilege to watch them. Although they seem to spend less time in our tree now and are more off exploring. Maybe we’ll be grandparents this spring?

Well but spring seems far away right now. We were hit by another snow storm on Friday. The forecast was for maybe 5cm of snow turning into rain in the morning. When I left home at 7:20AM it just started to snow. And by the time I left work at 6:30PM 10-15cm had accumulated. It snowed all day. Traffic was a mess. I managed okay to get home on my mountain bike but it was tough going through 15cm of deep snow on the bike path. And I was lucky that there were hardly any cars on the roads I ride.

Saturday morning was an early start for us to get to the Cascade Cup Loppet in Manning. Even earlier than usual because of the snow. The highway was a mess trying to get our of town. We almost got stuck in a snow pile as Jeff tried to pass all those slow pokes on the road getting into the wrong lane. It went from slushy deep stuff in Langley/Abbortsford to blowing snow and whiteouts towards Chilliwack. I would have turned around but Jeff stoically pushed the car through it. Only one SUV, a cop, K9 unit, ever passed us. We got stuck behind 3 snow plows from Chilliwack to the Agassiz turn off. It was compact snow all the way to Manning. The last bit, Hwy 3, was the easiest part. They had gotten less snow than us. Nevertheless, the normally 2hrs 15min drive took us 3hrs 15min. Lots of cars, even one of the snow plows, were off in the ditch on Hwy #1. Worst condition I ever remember for that stretch of highway. One car flipped on it’s side not too long before we went by. We had to stop to get gas and when we entered back onto the highway, there it was. I was just glad we made it in one piece. And Jeff and John were happy that we made it in time, 45min before the start of the loppet. The course was in pretty nice shape although fresh snow had accumulated in the tracks. It was snowing the whole time, -9 to -8C and windy. I used my crowns but could get no grip up North Gibsons and I was going quite slow. Didn’t have much energy – felt sluggish already when we went to Cypress on Wed night which was a very icy ski. Jeff double-poled the whole thing -CRAZY! – and finished more than an hour before I did. I still enjoyed the race but did not push myself at all until the last 2 km when I finally caught up to the guy in front of me and passed him. Otherwise I hardly saw a soul the whole race – other than the fast people that missed the start and then came blasting by me :-).  Loppet number 4 done – not last :-). The drive home was still messy but not quite as bad.

Today was a rest day. Sleeping in, blogging, 2hr walk in the snow along the river and a lot of snacking. Oh well. Chatter was around till 5:40PM today, sitting on the upper feeder for 10min straight. Lily made a very short appearance only.

January 15, 2017

Heat and Gravel

Filed under: Canada, Home, Hummer — K2 in Canada @ 8:24 PM

Despite the title, this post is not about a beach vacation but about the two things that are helping me survive this unusual cold winter in Vancouver. Most days are nice and sunny but dry cold feels just as cold as wet cold! Daily highs never got above 3C, mostly hovered around zero and most nights temps went down to -7/-8C. Not sure how our hummer is surviving this but the hummingbird feeder heater is on every day and night. We still see him show up some days at first light, most days I leave too early to see him, and he is hanging around on the weekends as well – sitting in our tree, huffing and puffing: https://youtu.be/e8u2OBSDL1M

My HEAT story: One of the bad worst things about it being this cold is getting into a freezing cold bed every night. We never turn up the heat in the bedroom and we sleep with an open window all the time. We got enough covers to stay warm but one still needs to warm them up first. Before Christmas I had dug up a small heat mat that I thought might be useful as hummingbird heater but that decided it would be even more useful as a bed heater. But this bum size heater mat only heats up a small portion of the bed. If I remembered to turn it on early enough I good move it around a bit which helped. But it was far from perfect. So Jeff got me a twin size heated blanket for Christmas. Unfortunately they sold him a blanket without the controls and I was not able to use it until we got back from our ski trip. Jan 4th is when we went to The Bay and picked up a control and I have been using it every night ever since. Is it ever nice to crawl into a warm bed!!!

My GRAVEL story: This winter has been particular tough on us bike commuters. Since the snow and cold started in early Dec I have been using my mountain bike with the big knobby tires and low tire pressure for my commute every day (usually I may use it for a week). Works pretty well when it is snow and not just ice. But on January 2nd, after some fresh snow on New Years Eve, the roads had turned to ice. It was -8C in the AM when it was time to go back to work. But the roads weren’t just icy but also very narrow due to lots of ice and snow along the edges. No room to share the road and I did not want to get into a fight with the car commuters. So Jeff and I drove that week. Those were the most consecutive days I ever drove to work since working for Alpha. Actually I was back on my bike by Friday, Jan 6. Some section of the bike trail I take past the large construction site on Kent was still pretty icy but since it is flat and straight I did not crash. When I road home that same night, the construction company, Wesgroup, had spread a nice layer of fine gravel along the path and it was very save to ride on again. Not sure who made them do it but I am VERY grateful for what they did. When we had the early snow in December they had cleared off most of the path as well. I am not used to Vancouver taking care of bikes like that. Pretty awesome! I have been back to biking all of last week. And next week we are supposed to be back to rain – heavy at times, +50mm for 3 days. I think I said once or twice that I would rather have the rain back than all this ice and snow. We’ll see how I think about that on Thursday 🙂

 

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