Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area

Creston Valley has the beautiful Wetlands. There are boardwalkyear round trails with loops from 20 minutes to 3-4 hours walks; two vie1wing towers; guided and self-guided canoe trips; wildlife viewing with over 300 species of birds, 57 species of mammals and 29 species of fish, reptiles and amphibians.  We have seen Blue Herons; Otters; and Turtles on just one visit.

Bears and HornetsWe Did Not see the Bear!

The Wildlife Interpretation Centre is a friendly and informative place for all ages.  DiscoveryThere are Insidea variety of educational programs and you can browse the educational displays and a hands-on science lab.  Visit the small shop for gifts, books and maps of the area – excellent Christmas ideas!

Although the trails are open 24/7 you can support the Wetlands by taking out a Membership for very reasonable fees and some nice benefits.

bridge

We started exploring soon after arriving and found it is a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  Expect many more posts about this fascinating place.

Wordless Wednesday ~ Rest Stop

Rest Stop

Rest Stop

Smokin’ Deals

As you can see, in a prevfrontious post, we are in the middle of renovations on our 50 year old home.  Some planned and some unplanned.

One of the planned renovations is to re-do all the flooring on the main level.  To this point we had tentatively made a budget that would work for us.  We plan on doing it ourselves so needed something relatively simple and easy to do.

We decided on laminate flooring.  It was cheaper than hardwood and could take a bit more beating.  We have two large “Grand dogs” that visit and this was the deciding factor.  We would be able to spend a bit more on a higher grade and quality of flooring by doing it this way.

First step was to figure out the floor square footage.  It was a snap, as the previous owners had left the plans for the house and all the information was there!  How lucky.  Otherwise your best bet is to measure each and every room, add all this and top it up by 10% to get your total square footage.  You can find lots of information and flooring calculators online.

Nothing was planned but we happened to be in Home Depot in Cranbrook on other business.  I had some idle time as my Handy Man did his chores and started to browse through the flooring samples, picking out ones I liked best and making note of the prices.  Most ran around 3.50-3.75 per square foot.  I like to keep these in mind so when I do find a good price I will know it.

Chores finished and we were preparing to leave, I spotted some skids of flooring.  The first one was $1.76 per square foot!  Wow, and to top it off, a sales person asked if we need help.  I know, sit down and shut up!  She was so knowledgeable and helpful.  This particular batch did not have the number of boxes that we need to do our home, but we found another that was just as nice but the price was $1.39 per square foot.  There was enough to do the whole main floor with the extra 10% we needed to be safe.  Because of the price of this laminate we saved 1/2 of our budget and that in any terms is a Smokin’ Deal.

WALKING PAST A 400 TON BOULDER WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING IT: THE BALANCING ROCK TRAIL…by Bop

After too many days renovating the house and reinventing the yard, I thought it was time for a play day.  My wife was at an art show, the sun was shining and the contractors had yet to show up.  Time to get some elevation under me!View South and East

I had done some hiking before and should have know better, but for the reasons already stated I chose to hike the Balancing Rock Trail in the early afternoon of an unseasonably warm day without water and without company.  Not smart, but the trail was only 4km long and how  bad can it be?   View North and East

The Balancing Rock Trail is noted for a bridge, a waterfall and a 400 ton boulder that the retreating glacier decided not to take back with it.  The trailhead is near the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area (CVWMA) and well signed.  So off I went.

It has an inauspicious start, jig jagging under a power line.  Shade was scarce and I started to regret not taking any water.  After about half an hour I came upon a look out, complete with bench and  pine tree for shade.  Tempting, but I had several kilometers to go before returning to the vehicle, so I did not stay long. South North

As often happens when a trail passes through a rocky patch with little undergrowth, the way became unclear, but after a false start I found it again and carried on.  This time the trail passed through trees, down a hill and onto a board walk, bordered by skunk cabbage, with huge elephant-ear leaves.  Then it was up hill again, angling south and offering spectacular views of the valley.  Sword fern did its  best to cover the trail and the willows and aspens were beginning to carpet the ground with leaves that had fulfilled their summer purpose.  One had to watch for the trail.  Further on the trail branched.  The right branch went up to a high rock wall.  The rock was wet and mosses grew at the bottom of it.  Although no water ran down the face, I assumed this was the waterfall.  Seeing there was no way up the face I turned back and followed the left fork hoping to find the 400 ton granite boulder.  Unfortunately I ran out of time before that could happen and I started back to the trail head.  Next time I would start earlier AND carry water.  Path

(The next day my wife and I were talking to someone who knew the trail.  The boulder, she said, is a little past the bench.  You can see it through the trees apparently.  Now I really have to go back)     BopYellow Flower

Wordless Wednesday

Canning

Canning

Fall Fair

ScarecrowOh my.  When was the last time you attended a Fall Fair?  Blue ribbon pies.  Super zucchini.  Flowers from the garden.

This past weekend was the Creston Valley Fall Fair.  I know I missed some of it but what I did see was fantastic!  Worth every bit of the entrance fee.  Playing at the FairPrizes

On Saturday of the Fair the local Farmers Market was also set up.  At the Farmers Market you could listen to the Buskers or buy breads, flour, local grown produce or some of the beautiful crafts.

Food Buskers

Right in the same parking lot was the Fall Art Show for the Creston Art Club which I was participating in.

Art 1 Creston Art Show 2015

Finding a Favourite Market

To say that the Creston Valley has one or two markets is like saying there are stars in the sky.  There are Farmers Markets on Saturday and Wednesday.  Fruit Stands lining the two main highways.  Orchards with signs out “cherries; apricots; peaches”.  Organic; family run; mixed veggies, anything you can dream of.  Cherries on the treeOver the course of the last few months, we have dropped in on a number of these.  One orchard just within walking distance had cherries that we could pick.  Yummy!  Many of the little markets have specialized or have a special draw for their Market.  There is one with Dutch candy; another with special teas.

Truscott FarmsThe Market I have returned to several times is the Truscott Farms.  They have such a variety of produce, plus a bakery and a special area of items like honey and jam, or local milk and eggs.  Often they will have a fruit that is in season for tasting.

This past week there was rows of bins all filled with different squash.  I wanted to buy one of each just for decorating.

squashFresh, local

Mostly I love shopping here because they carry almost all the veggies and fruit we like to eat.

Frog Crossing

Frog Crossing

Autumn Berries

Rose hips The smell of the woods in the Autumn, picking berries, wandering along the paths enjoying all the colours.  Fall is a favourite time.  I want to try and capture the feeling with this next painting.

My sketch is of rose hips and leaves.  I want to try, again, some reverse painting.  I struggle with this particular method.

First thing to do is to add some resist, or mask, to the berries wResisthich I did very deliberately.  Then splattered some around to try and add sparkle bits.  Some of them were too large so once they dried I just rubbed them off, keeping those I wanted.

FrPicking Coloursom that point it was deciding what colours to use to help me create that look and feel of autumn.  I wanted to make a green by using blue and yellow.  The best was Ultramarine Blue and Gamboge.   The berries needed to be bright and yet rich looking so I chose Quinacridone Red mixed the Gamboge.   Then as a dark shadow there is Terra Rosa.  Now it is just putting water to paper.

The next two pictures are a progression of the painting.  Progression from “What have I done?” to “Well, maybe it’s not so bad after all.”

BackgroundTaking Shape

Renovations, Repairs and All things needing Updates

In buying an older home there are so many factors to take into consideration.  The major one being, How much money can I afford to put into a home?  Or how about, How much work do I want to do at my age?  Or even, How much time to I want to spend in chaos?

In purchasing a 50 year old home we tried to cover all the questions and look at all the contingencies, but there is always something overlooked.  We thought we had chosen a sound house with good bones.  The major issues were cosmetic; things that we could handle ourselves.  We had an inspection done and looked carefully at it and decided it was worth the risk.

dwnstr-bathPlumbing did not become an issue until after all our children and their families came for the long weekend in August.  With two people living in the home there was no problem; add 6 more adults and 5 small children you have a tidal wave.  Ok, slight exaggeration, but there was a sewer back up in the basement by the end of the weekend.  Thank goodness it was the end and not in the middle, right?

When all was cleaned up my handy man decided to snake the toilet to make sure no small toys just happened to have fallen in there.  Nothing.  He also tried the sewer line but could not go far enough.  We had to call in a plumber.  He did the lines with a little camera and showed us the bad news right there on his laptop.

Old clay pipe

Old clay pipe

When this house was built back in 1965 the sewer lines were made of clay.  Ours had slipped apart and was not able to allow enough flow through.  The only solution was to replace the clay pipe with new PVC pipe.   It looks like they were digging to the center of the earth!  Did I mention this was at the front of the house.  See those hedges, they now look like a tooth missing.

Once they got down to the bottom there was a couple of hitches.  First was the fact that the water line ran right over top and along the sewer line.  This made it more difficult for the workers as they had to dig by hand.  Second issue they found was the drainage tile, or weeping tile, was hooked into the sewer line.  This was common back in the day, but now it is a big no-no.  They would have to add a second line and then gravel so the water could seep away.  Who knew?

The old and the new

The old and the new

They did all the work and eventually pushed and packed and scraped all the dirt back into the hole.  It is wonderful feeling to have it all done properly and to know we can have company arrive anytime.

Now we need to reseed the grass and fill in the hedge.  There is always something, isn’t there?

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