Sunday, May 31, 2015

Dirt Pile Done

Beau working, Norma supervising and Croft hiding. Norma says maybe she should have got nine yards.

Saturday, May 30, 2015


Norma! Why is there a dump truck backing up the driveway?

Well, you know how I buy about 50 bags of top soil every year? This time I decided to buy a truckload!

Where did you tell him to dump it? OMG! Well, he hasn't found the old abandoned septic tank yet.

There it is. Seven yards of topsoil / peat mix. $345 delivered. Anybody got a shovel?

In Other News:

Remember the plugged drainage problem we had that flooded the patios over the winter? See the mud on the grass where it overflowed. Well, Beau dug down to expose the drain pipe.

Well, there's yer problem! The holes in the drain tile are plugged up.

Solution? Drill more holes, some bigger, and fill ditch back in with large rock instead of gravel. 

Now wait to see what happens.

My secret weapon. A direct path to the drain pipe below the ditch overflow level. I used some leftover downspout material.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Motorhome Engine Battery

When I tried to start the motorhome yesterday to move it from the driveway to it's summer parking spot beside the workshop, it would not start. Just a series of "clicks" was all I got. I put the charger on it all day and last night it started fine but it was too dark to move the rig. This morning I got another series of clicks. The battery is toast. I checked back to see when we bought it and it was February, 2011 in Florida. Four and a bit years. Not bad I guess.

I called around town for a replacement and found a DieHard at Kal Tire for $137 plus tax. I took the old battery down and exchanged it for a nice, shiny new black one. I installed it and the motorhome started!

I parked it and Norma took the pressure washer to the front of it. I then plugged it in and hooked up the StarChoice cables. It will be available for deluxe overnight accommodations for summer visitors.

Les, come on up. We have a fish and chips date and your bed is made.

That is it! That is all the exciting things we have been doing! It is going to be a long, hot summer! Come visit us!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Cost Comparison

This is what our winter in the USA cost us compared to the previous winter when we drove all the way to Florida and back. Here are our major expenses.

2013 - 2014
2014 - 2015
Fuel Motorhome
Fuel Car
Service/Repairs Motorhome
Service/repair Auto
Dining Out
Groceries (incl. liquor)
Camping Fees
Travel Medical Insurance
$24,628  or
$18,779  or

$4,107 / month
$3,130 / month

EDIT! I forgot to include our travel medical insurance! This changed things substantially!

By staying put in Palm Springs, CA and Mesa, AZ we saved almost $6,000 or $1,000 per month. This savings was almost all in gas and vehicle service and repairs. This year we bought tires for the motorhome, last year it was replacing the slide topper and parking brake system in the motorhome as well as repairing the damage to the rear ladder and vent as a result of the close encounter with a tree branch. Car repairs consisted of repairing the air conditioning.

Dining out was down by $720 over last year but groceries were up by $336. I sure missed that Cajun food!

Camping fees were down, but only by $500. This is surprising because we paid the cheaper monthly rates most of the winter. But then again we boondock a lot when we are on the move. And last year we spent a lot of time parked on our friends property in Florida where we just contributed to his utilities.

Did we enjoy ourselves more this year by staying put? In a word - No.

We are not "joiners" and do not really enjoy all the pre-planned games and events in the RV parks. We prefer to make our own fun and explore new places as we travel. Many times this year we went for days at a time without leaving the RV park. Last year we were exposed to much more variety in food and culture and we really enjoyed meeting a larger variety of people. We did go out for meals but dining out is so much more expensive in California and Arizona compared to "the South" where travel dollars go much further. We had more fun in Savannah, GA by parking in the visitor's center parking lot for four nights than we had in four months in Palm Springs.

The weather was much better this year. Dryer and warmer. I have to give it that.Different strokes for different folks. One way is not necessarily "better" than the other it is just that we want different things out of our travels. It is not just a matter of money for us but more a chance to see and experience more places, people and cuisine. We like stopping at each place we pass through but only for a few days, not months. We sample the food, meet some people and by then our feet are itchy to move on.

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Thrill Is Gone!

BB King, 1925 - 2015. A legend is gone. I had the privilege of seeing BB perform live twice, once in Vancouver and once in San Francisco, both memorable performances!

"Now that it's all over
All I can do is wish you well"

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


We had a great surprise Mothers Day visit from Brooks and LindaLee on Sunday! They arrived unannounced at about noon with a potted plant. We had some snacks and caught up with each other and then had our neighbor Pauline up and ordered Chinese food. It was a great visit and they headed back home Monday.

Brooks got laid off from his Alberta Tar Sands job last week. It had been coming for a while and they did offer him a job as a carpenter again but he was growing very tired of being away all the time and has a list of jobs some of his old fencing customers want done so he has decided to spend the summer back on the Island. I think it is a wise choice, make a little less money but be home. He has been commuting to Alberta for, I think, three years now. LindaLee is very happy about it.

He looked at the mess at the back of the house and we decided to just dig in one post at the corner and use wire farm fence held up by pound in metal posts. Norma will plant trees in the section of the slide that came onto our property. Some tree that sucks up a lot of water. That is a job for another day.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

What Are We Up To?

Not much! Norma has had Beau, her lawn boy, over a few times and is making some headway in cleaning up her flower beds after the neighbor's landslide took everything out over the winter. Her topsoil is gone, replaced by dried mud and rocks from the slope that fell so topsoil will have to be brought in. The lawn suffered a little damage from the trucks that had to cross it to clean up the mess. One large rut across the lawn will have to be filled and grass planted. The rear garden tool shed was taken off it's foundation and destroyed so there is another project. We have a meeting scheduled with the condo committee next door to determine their plans.

Beau and I stretched some deer fence temporarily across an open area to keep the deer out until we can get Brooks here to make an assessment on what can be done to make more permanent repairs, maybe using good sections of the old fence that are still intact or are at least repairable.

Beau dug out the plugged up drainage ditch on the other side of the house and the ankle-deep with water covered lawn slowly dried out. We drilled a few more holes in the drain pipe at the bottom of the ditch and I filled it back up with large rocks that I found in the landslide rubble. It is now working efficiently and should stay working better than it did with the gravel backfill which plugged up with silt every four or five years.

We have been slowly removing "stuff" from the motorhome but that is not a priority because it is parked right beside the house and Norma wants to clean all the cupboards in the house before they get filled.

Aside from that we have not been busting our butts looking for work around here. We are planning on a combined birthdays lawn party sometime this summer so that should be fun. Until then, we will just keep plugging away.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Alberta Conservative Dynasty Falls

The 44 year stranglehold that the Conservative Party held on the oil rich province of Alberta fell last night as the people, tired of decades of scandals and self serving government voted overwhelmingly for Rachael Notley's New Democratic Party, giving them 53 of the province's 87 seats. The Conservatives fell from first place to third in the six party province and their leader, Jim Prentice immediately took to the stage and resigned from his leadership, his seat and politics altogether in one sentence.

Notley clearly stated before the election that if elected, her government would stop both the Northern Gateway and the Keystone XL pipelines.

Last night the 99% had something to tell the 1% and they said it loud and clear!

The campaign manager was our old friend Gerry Scott who anyone with connections to Terrace, BC back in the 70's and 80's will remember. Good job Gerry, we're proud of you!

Monday, May 4, 2015

May 4th

May 4, 1970, Kent Ohio. Four Kent State University students were murdered by National Guardsmen who opened fire on the unarmed, peaceful protesters. For me, this act was even more shocking than the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers and MLK as it meant that we were all vulnerable to attack, not just the high profile people. Let's remember William Schroeder, Allison Krause, Sandra Lee Scheuer, and Jeffrey Miller who died that day while exercising their duty to protest that which they saw to be unjust.

My friend Bill has some photos on his Blog