K2inCanada's Blog

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 🙂



January 2, 2017

Forgot Christmas already…

Filed under: Canada, Home, Hummer — K2 in Canada @ 8:10 PM

Oops, I guess I forgot about the Christmas blog already. Wasn’t really that dramatic this year. Yes, we did get a little live tree again and I managed to place 4 candles on it. It was a beautiful sunny and cold day. Watched Chatter and the little female hummer for a while in the morning. We should have gone for a paddle and I was humming and hawing for some time but eventually Jeff convinced me that 3C would be too cold. Instead, we at least got a couple hours walking in along the Fraser River.

We expected Jeff’s parents over for Raclette on Christmas Eve but they had to cancel because of being down with a bad cold. So Jeff and I ate almost all of it by ourselves…pigs! But hey, that was in preparation for the 8-day-in-a-row ski trip. Not sure why drinking all the booze felt like good prep too :-).

On Christmas Day, we went for a ski at Cypress in the sunshine in the AM (that’s part of the trip report to follow) and headed over to Jeff’s parents for the afternoon. Jeff’s dad was better but his mom just started the cold and had no appetite. Too bad since her turkey and all the sides (Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, sweet yams and beans) were excellent as always. More prep for the ski-every-day trip. We stayed longer than I expected – not having packed yet for the trip. Other than the box of homemade goodies Maynetta had prepared for us to take with us. Great idea. And that’s a wrap for Christmas 🙂

Welcome 2017!

Filed under: Animals, Canada, Home, Hummer — K2 in Canada @ 12:56 PM

Well, another year has come and gone. Most of it I blogged about already – except some of our spring fishing, bear watching, horseback riding adventures (maybe I will still get to them some day).

As every year we slept through the New Year – too tired from skiing. But that’s a story for another post. We got back late last night from our trip and 2017 in Vancouver on Jan 2nd greeted us with a beautiful sunny day. We just missed out on another big snow dump a couple of days ago. Our Christmas tree which I put out before our trip is covered in snow – very pretty! p1120967_rot-medium

Chatter also survived our 7 day absence. Our bird-loving neighbour changed out the sugar solution once while we were gone.  The heating system worked quite nicely although Chatter doesn’t seem to like the light all that much. This morning I found him on the small feeder that isn’t heated trying to get his sugar fix from a block of frozen sugar water. Or maybe he just likes ice cream once in a while.


Not all the hummers seem to be as fussy as Chatter. Although they may just not have a choice. The day we left for our ski trip I saw one of the little girls sitting underneath the lamp while it just started to snow again. She seemed quite content. One of the few moments where Chatter is not viciously guarding the feeder and chase her away.

December 18, 2016

Even More Snow

Filed under: Animals, Canada, Home, Hummer, Ski — K2 in Canada @ 8:21 PM

They did say it would snow today but I did not expect that much snow. We woke up to almost 5cm and it still snowed heavily. Everything outside was white but the temperature had come up to about 0C. And apparently it will get warm tomorrow, +9C, and back to rain. We had planned to go to Manning today but weren’t really up to braving the snowy drive – the ratio of driving vs skiing would have been all wrong. So we watched Chatter this morning hunkering down on the snowy branches. Poor guy. Wonder if this is his first snowy winter experience. We also had a visit from a woodpecker, a flicker and lots of tiny birds today.

We walked up to the store to get some fresh air. On the walk back we ran into this guy telling us about cross-country skiers he had seen up at the golf course. What a great idea – why drive 45min to go skiing if you can do it right from home! We put our skies on right at river level but had to take them off for the walk up the hill – why do people clean up the sidewalks?! Once we hit the golf course though it was deep powder and awesome terrain for the next 90min till it got too dark. We now not only have a beach in walking distance but also a ski hill. COOL!!! Could have gone for a paddle as well :-). Below are a lot of pictures of a snowy day at home as well as a video staring Chatter and then us.



Deep Freeze

Filed under: Animals, Canada, Home, Hummer, Ski — K2 in Canada @ 8:20 PM

Wow, it was cold this past week starting last Sunday, Dec 11. Nice and sunny but below zero even during the day. Arctic Outflow apparently. Well I should qualify cold. I don’t think it got below -10C in Vancouver but that’s cold for us, while the rest of the country was below -20C or -30C.

Instead of playing outdoors last Sunday Jeff and I had to build a heater for our hummingbird feeder. Now that we got Chatter hooked on it we can’t just not feed him only because it was getting cold out and the sugar solution was freezing even during the day. A trip to Home Depot and Winners got us started – an outdoor rated halogen light fixture, an outdoor rated timer, a power cord and a plastic salad bowl. A hole in the bottom of the bowl, glued in the light fixture with bathroom silicone caulk and the chain from a small pendant we got for coming in 3rd mixed double this year at the Tour de Indian Arm produce a nice heater by Monday night. The timer was set for 30min on 30min off over night and it worked great – no ice in the morning. So we did the same cycles during the day while we just bring it inside during the night. I am not sure Chatter likes the bright light all that much but he sure likes to still be able to eat. Jeff got him Friday afternoon.

We were able to ride our bikes all week long. My route actually was nice and clear except for a few icy patches. The construction firm had cleared my bike path along  Kent beautifully. Jeff used the river trail which was a bit more of an exciting commute with uneven ice or flooded trails. But apparently he only crashed ones.

But since the days are so short I hardly got to see the sun and blue sky all week until FINALLY Saturday came and we went back to Callaghan. Same deal as last week – sleeping in and getting to WOP for the afternoon. It was -10C and sunny. I bundled up good. It was great skiing – good grip on blue grip wax and I made it up “How it Goes” for some nice views.

Travel Theme: Shimmer

Filed under: Animals, Canada, Home, Hummer, Travel Theme — K2 in Canada @ 10:42 AM

It has been some time since I contributed to this theme. Not for lack of awesome themes but lack of time to decide which picture(s) to use. This morning though, I took a picture of Chatter this morning in the snow which I thought just fits this weeks theme “Shimmer” perfectly. The picture has not been taken while traveling but I was sure the little hummer was thinking “Why did I not travel south with the others?” Dreaming about traveling is almost as good as traveling 🙂


Check out Aisla’s awesome collection here: https://wheresmybackpack.com/2016/12/17/travel-theme-shimmer/

December 1, 2016

Singing in the rain

Filed under: Animals, Canada, Home, Hummer — K2 in Canada @ 10:45 PM

Well not us but Chatter – last weekend I got him singing.

November 19, 2016

Meet Chatter

Filed under: Animals, Canada, Home, Hummer — K2 in Canada @ 10:52 PM

FINALLY!!! We have seen hummingbirds along the river a lot but never near our house. After I got a hummingbird feeder for Christmas last year I tried this summer to attract them but no such luck. Getting tired of refreshing the sugar solution every few days I had taken it back down again. About a week and a bit ago Jeff saw one checking out the last flower left on our hanging basket. And last weekend we saw a couple chase each other through our now leave-less tree. Right away I put out the feeder. Nothing Monday but on Tuesday morning, at first light, there he was. An Anna’s hummingbird was at the feeder. Yeah!!! But I had to go to work. Around mid day I got an email from Jeff confirming he saw the hummingbird as well. He was sitting in our tree and chirping away – hence the name Chatter, short for Chatter Box. He now does this every day. Comes at first light and disappears around four in the afternoon. Not sure why I adore these little creatures so much but I do. And they are so much fun to observe, I think. On Wednesday morning, I got in trouble when I changed out the sugar solution. There was a lot of buzzing around the now empty string where the feeder lives. As soon as the feeder was back, the hummer was at it. When I left the house that same day he came right up to me to say “Thank you” – or at least that’s how I interpret it :-). And he is not alone. There is a smaller female around as well but we only see her at the feeder for brief moments. She never hangs around. And Chatter doesn’t always let her use the feeder either. Oh well, all couples fight once in a while :-). Below are the first pictures – most were taken by Jeff since he is home during the day. This AM I took a little video to capture him chattering away in the tree but he did not make a sound after waking us up with his chirping at 7:15AM. I am sure I’ll get him one of these days. Anyhow, I posted the video below – it’s a bit long but as I said, I love watching these guys. How they puff themselves up to stay warm, how they can never sit still, how the colour changes as they move their heads….

Watch Chatter do his thing – quietly

April 4, 2016

More April Sun Sundays

Filed under: Animals, Canada, Home, Kayak — K2 in Canada @ 11:01 PM

…and another paddle in Deep Cove in nice calm conditions as well as a walk along the river visiting at least 4 of the 7 hummingbirds in the area. I love spring. Ice might be off early on the lakes in the interior.


March 12, 2016

Just because

Filed under: Animals, Canada, Home — K2 in Canada @ 2:47 PM

It is windy outside and I am reluctant to go to the lake to get into my K1 for a paddle.

I want to share some of the pictures I took today and yesterday.


I am looking forward to the time change tonight! Not because it will be an hour less sleep but because it will be light for an hour longer each day! To me that by far outweighs the drawbacks people complain about.

I am happy to share that I finally have received my renewed Permanent Resident Card in late February 2016 after applying for it in October 2014! – see last post from March 2015 called “Customer Service“. After I had sent in the missing information back in March 2015 they never updated my status online. I called a few months later to make sure they had received the documents and to inquire about the status since I never could get all the information that was requested. The friendly person on the phone said she could see that the documents have been received but could not tell me anymore over the phone if they were sufficient or not. I just had to wait. Another few more months went by, it was now September – almost 1 year from when I first applied, and still nothing on the online status check. I called again and the same story. It wasn’t until mid December 2015 that the online status finally appeared but it said “waiting for the documents requested in our letter from February 2015”. WTF!!! I was going to call right away but figured the story would just be the same as before. So I waited and checked again in mid January 2016 – no change to the status. Checked again in mid February 2016 – no change to the status. Finally I decided to send in the same information again. Interestingly, the same week my status changed from “waiting for the documents requested in our letter from Feb 2015” to “approved on Feb xx” – a day or so BEFORE I had sent off the documents for a 2nd time. They could not have received them. Oh well, at least I can travel again. Not that I am planning on going anywhere but it is just good to be able to go whenever I feel like it :-).


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