K2inCanada's Blog

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? 🙂

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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 🙂

 

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.

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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 🙂

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

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