K2inCanada's Blog

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

First and Last

Filed under: Canada, Hummer, Ski — K2 in Canada @ 6:21 PM

The only way I can ever win my category in a loppet, I am the only one in it :-). Sun Peaks 30km Loppet on Mar 4th. It’s a combined skate and classic loppet but they give separate awards. I was the only female 30km classic skier in the event. I finished last by quite a long ways but still got my name on the trophy. And they had a large Lindt chocolate for the top three finishers. Awesome! Jeff also won the men’s classic 30km. He double poled it all, there is quite a bit of up involved, and he beat the other two competitors, despite getting lost on lap 1 for a bit. He is the real champ.

 

It was a beautiful day with a mix of sun and puffy white clouds and -8 to -4C. 15cm of fresh snow made for soft tracks though. I used my grip tape skies because they are nice and light. They may ice up in the fresh snow but they worked well at the start. The skaters chopped up the soft classic tracks pretty bad. But what was even more annoying was the horde of kids that skated the 15km loppet. They were out for a fun time and not racing and they stopped several times to have a drink. And of course they stopped right on the classic tracks. Not once, not twice, but three fucking times. There was a coach with them who could have taught them proper race etiquette … argh. Needless to say, I was quite annoyed on the way up having to call “track please” three times, and I was quite scared on the way down being surrounded by those kids going much faster than I would have ever wanted to on my own. Luckily they stop after my lap 1. I though, now I can have a great ski on my own but it was much sunnier ad warmer on lap two, which in theory was nice, but my grip tape finally decided to ice up near the top. Not to worry though since my wax tech hero Jeff had given me some VR 30 hard wax to carry along that I could rub on top of the grip tape and it worked like a charm. But I lost at least another 5min getting the skis into shape again. And my back started to get really sore/tired. Hence, the going was slow as I didn’t rush it but enjoyed the sunshine. Figured that with this beautiful weather the volunteers wouldn’t mind either to wait a bit longer for stragglers. Mind you, they had already packed in the half way aid station when I skied by and were starting to take down signs. Just managed to get ahead of the guy removing the signs. Oh well, I think I would have remembered the route well enough even without them. I made it to the finish. Lots of cheers. Almost 30min slower than last year :-).

Wanting to enjoy the sun for as long as possible we walked into the town of Sun Peaks after the rewards. A typical ski resort town with way less people around than Whistler and affordable prices. We spent the night in Kamloops in our usual motel. Soaked in the hot tub for an hour and then walked to a pub 20min away – McCracken Station Pub. Food was awesome and the staff friendly despite them being really busy!

The next day we woke up to overcast and light snow. Oh no, I thought, please not a repeat of Friday evening commute when we drove up to Kamloops from the coast. Took quite a while to get out of town that Friday – New West was clogged up as usual. Then past Abbortsford, the torrential downpour started. I have no idea how Jeff was able to see the road in the dark. And the rain did not let up all the way past Hope. I checked the “DriveBC” website constantly to see if they would close the Coquihalla. Nothing was posted. But shortly after we passed the turn off to Hwy 3, traffic stopped dead. Road was blocked off by Highway Patrol. The downpour turned into snow but nothing was sticking yet. We sat there for an hour waiting for the hwy to reopen. No info was posted on the website to when that would happen and I really had to pee. Good thing it was dark. But eventually they let us go. The snow started to stick and shortly after the road was covered with heavy wet snow and that lasted all the way to Merritt. It was slow going since there was a long line of cars but at least we were moving. We stopped in Merritt for dinner since it was already 9PM. We left home at 4PM. Usually it’s a 3hrs drive. There was more snow between Merritt and Kamloops but the Hwy was empty so it was an easier drive. We got to Kamloops by 10:30PM. Dead tired and sore from sitting in the car for 6hrs.

Sunday though, the drive wasn’t nearly as bad. We stopped at Stake Lake for another almost 3hr ski. It was lightly snowing and I tried my new skin skis. NICE! I was tired from the day before and part of the tracks were covered in fresh snow but Jeff and I had a great, slow ski together. The fresh snow made for great grip up Gironimo and a much less scary decent on Ricochet.

Back on the road the snow stopped in Merritt. As we climbed out of Merritt towards the Coquihalla summit the sun came out and lit up the mountain covered in fresh snow beautifully. The road was fine. As we dropped down into Hope, it started raining again. Driving through Langley we saw snow along the road but not on it. It wasn’t until about 5km from home when the roads all sudden were covered in slushy snow again and it hailed on us. Really!? More snow in town? On the bright side, Lily was at the feeder when we got home. We had to wait until she finished to unload the car 🙂

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Sigh – will this winter ever end?! Last week I was back to commuting to work on my mountain bike until Thursday. It was cold and partially icy in the morning. The sun finally made an appearance on Friday but I was holed up at work all day.

 

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 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.

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