Musings defined: ponderings, reflections, meditations, contemplations.
I aim to share experiences, past and present, with the goal of learning and appreciating what life presents.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

KVR - a pioneer heritage

Another great family outing on July 23rd as we rode the Kettle Valley Steam Railway (KVR). This ride was my present to Justus as he turned five years old; and to Javan and Hensie as they celebrate their 6th wedding anniversary and as Hensie celebrates another birthday. We finally had a hot summer day and all had a great time on this 90 minute adventure.


I booked seats for us to ride in this converted cattle car that was open so we see better and take lots of photos.

I also recorded our journey on video tape.

All the crew are volunteers. Watching this brakeman brought back memories when I was a front end brakeman on the Canadian Pacific Railway for two summers out of Lethbridge, Alberta.

Javan and Hensie finally have time to snuggle on this romantic ride.

No Jay is not sleeping. The train is passing through beautiful vineyards and orchards and he is contemplating the beauties of nature. 

We stopped on the long high trestle over Trout Creek. Around 1913 the KVR was built in the high hills to carry out gold and other precious metals. The local people preserved this section of a long rail line. The rest of the KVR has all the rails taken out (since we moved here) and is used extensively as a hiking/biking path through the mountains.

The engine is an old Canadian Pacific coal burner that has been converted to oil.

I've never seen a cuter person wear a railroad cap than Josie. I have my dad's cap like this that says, C.P.R. Conductor. The volunteer staff were very good to pose for photos.

In church today the theme of talks and music was, our pioneer heritage. We owe much to those who went before us, building and sacrificing as they worked hard to overcome obstacles and tame our countries. Today our children have many obstacles to overcome that are just as dangerous as building high trestles or traversing the plains in handcarts. Drugs and pornography and other addictions also kill, destroy families, and provide just as deadly challenges today. May we remember the efforts of pioneers, and continue their work to build a safe and loving society.
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Friday, 22 July 2011

Beautiful grandchildren; beautiful neighbourhood

One of my favourite things to do is read with my grandchildren. Justus and Josie are interested in books. Josie is an excellent reader and insisted she read every other page with me.

Jarom allowed me to give him tennis instructions. We had fun batting the ball back and forth. Handy that this tennis court is at the end of our block. This and all remaining photos were taken this morning.

The playground is also part of the Last Mountain Park at the end of our block. Glad our grandchildren are not shy of the camera. I guess not as I remember their mother, Jennie Hall, publishes at least one photo a day on Facebook.

Benefiting from our cool wet spring and even summer, so far, are the many Saskatoon bushes where the berries are large, sweet and juicy. This is something these grandchildren are familiar with on the prairies and they love them.

I love the orange colour of the Pondorosa Pine.

This large one is just behind our home.

Power's Creek is finished with it's flood stage and fun to play in. Justus turned 5 today. He kept asking for his present (besides dinner at Burger King). Tomorrow he gets to ride on the KVR (Kettle Valley Railway) with a steam locomotive.

I never did get Josie wet.

When I visited my cousins as a boy, we watched these amazing creatures on the irrigation canals.  We called them water skeeters.  See the large shadow their depression in the water makes even though they rest on the surface tension of the water.

I feel very blessed to have such a beautiful neighbourhood to share with my family. I love to show them God's beauties around us, enjoy the quiet of nature and quiet reflections (mixed in with the fun of course).  [Maybe I am emphasizing quiet because there is not much of that when active children are having fun.]  I highly recommend grandchildren mixed into nature with loving parents and grandparents.
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Thursday, 21 July 2011

Family Reunion Time is Close--July 29 to 31

Don't those cherries look delicious?  Jenevieve and the rest of her family enjoyed this outing.  Jarom, age 14 as of yesterday, said he spent the last 20 minutes of our picking, just filling his tummy.  Nothing like memorable events like this to build family ties.

Jennie immediately climbed the tree.  She probably remembered stories of her mother climbing cherry trees as she picked in her father's orchard.  Of course Jennie's children followed her up the tree; like 7 year old Josie.

Javan, Hensie and Havie came over for dinner on Sunday, like they often do.  Havie is barely 3 but she has the attention of everyone as she demonstrates her gaming skill on her father's i-phone.  Javan loaded some apps for her.  She is very quick to learn, and loves the attention.  But she also let others play on her i-phone too.

Justus turns 5 tomorrow.  He is a beautiful boy.  Looks much like me at that age.  He likes to help too.  Jay is a great father.

Jarom has the Hall genes for height.  Carroll comes up to the bottom of his ear.  He has matured a lot too.


I have been anxious about so many family descending upon us next week for the reunion.  Jennie and her family have been a great help loosening me up.  We have had fun together: reading, visiting, playing games, picking, pitting cherries, walking, eating, playing the dish game (don't ask), praying, Family Home Evening (FHE), watching home movies, and even napping.

Bit of wisdom:  Family connections bring joy, both in the present, as memories, and as promises for eternity.  Yes there is wear and tear, but it is worth it.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

cherry picking mmm

Nothing like eating sweet tree ripened fruit. Today is is cherry picking time at the property of our good friends Jean and Pieter Bakker. Jean is in the third photo down. For those of you who don't live in fruit growing country, these three legged ladders are built to put the third leg in towards the tree to get close-up with the fruit. This old tree grows near a little stream and produces great fruit every year. The time to pick is crucial. Some
of the cherries we picked were split. That is fine and does not affect the fruit until a day or two later when the split starts to spoil. All the cherries today are new splits and OK. The cherry splits because it soaks up the moisture from the rain and can't contain itself when the sun hits it. [Some commercial cherry growers are growing a later variety when we are less likely to have showers. Some roll a cover over their small trees to keep the moisture off. While others hire a helicopter to blow the rain off the cherry.]
We are indebted to our friends for letting us pick their cherries today, and later on their apricots, peaches, raspberries and plums. These are the people we meet with most Monday evenings for Family Home Evening which for us consists of dinner, and reading the scriptures and a lesson manual and prayer.
We picked 13 ice-cream buckets in two hours. That does not include the cherries I had to sample to make sure they tasted as good as they looked. The darker the cherry the sweeter it is. Dropped some off at friends.

Carroll sorted them. We pitted them with a little hand pitter. Faster than cutting them open with a knife. The plunger pushes the seed out the end. No lost juice. Frozen, they make great drinks and milk shakes, or eaten out of the freezer on a hot day. We like these better than the way we used to preserve them, bottled or dried.

 Some of you will be here soon to enjoy with us.  mmm.

Carroll enjoys her raised box gardens.  Here she has picked nearly all the peas.  They are so good right out of the shell.  The cool wet weather has been ideal for the peas.  The vines have not dried up like they normally would have in the hot July sun.  She has frozen some of them too.

Thought for the day.  All good things come from Heavenly Father.  These good fruits and vegetables are certainly His creations.  We are grateful for His bounties.
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Monday, 11 July 2011

This will be funny - someday.  I am in the pool, chestdeep.  The instructor is speaking very loudly but I cannot understand her.  I look at a fellow participant, the tall woman beside, me with a question on my face and she says, "Touch your elbow to your heel.  No, your opposite elbow."  If I did what I was supposed to be doing I would drown.  I can't even do this on solid ground, never mind wavering around in the water.  They call this aquafit.  It is aerobics in the water.  The instructor takes pity on me occassionally when I stand there doing nothing with a big question mark on my face, and gets out of the water so I can see her skinny legs and see what I am supposed to be doing.  How am I supposed to know that I should be hopping up and down with my knees together and kicking out one foot and then touching heels?  Course if I could understand the instructions it would help.  A woman comes into the pool, a little late for class, with a big genuine smile on her face and a little dance step to the blaring music, saying,"I love Monday mornings."  I can't be mad at her though because she makes me look good.  Takes almost three of me to make one of her.

I did not want to get up this morning.  Usually that is not a problem but then reading the newspaper or surfing the internet takes less effort.  I have, however, figured out why I have no energy.  I spend all my energy in my dreams.  As I awoke up at 6am I realized that the police had stopped me for riding my bicycle against the traffic.  They let me go when I apologized and told them I was cycling back to Canada from university in Utah.  When I tell Carroll she says exercise in my dreams doesn't count.  Then why does it make me so tired?

Now it is the cross-country ski stroke but with one leg.  Later I notice that the helpful woman beside me has shifted across the pool away from me.  Maybe I was looking at her legs too often as I tried to see what my legs should be doing.  Everyone heads to the side of the pool to put on waterwings and to pick up dumbells.  I like these dumbells.  They are made of styrofoam.  I can wave these around in the air with the best of them.  But they do create a lot of drag in the water.  They are mostly to keep me afloat while we continue exercises.  Only they pull me where I don't want to go.  I say to the lone fellow beside me as I nudge up to him, "Sorry I don't have much control."  "Neither do I" he says as he does even less than me.  I understand the cross-country ski glide.  Tiring in the water, but at least doable.  No time to enjoy before we're onto another exercise.  I don't manage to get my feet floating out behind me but I do manage to tighten my stomach muscles as I struggle to keep my face out of the water.  I try to look calm but I don't think I am fooling anyone, as everyone seems to know what they are doing, even the back row that talks more than exercises.  This is just like school.

So how did I get here.  My wife and children seem to think I am out of shape.  When hyperactive Darius was here with his hyperactive family, I definitely did not keep up with them.  So here I am in the water in an attempt to get a bit of a spring in my step without injuring my wornout hips or left knee.  We complete the hour with ten minutes of relaxing stretches in the large hot tub.  I like that - until we all move into the center for ballet stretches.  I let the fat lady go ahead of me and figure there is no room for me, but the instructor points her finger at me and says, "Move in".  I wonder what the lone young man relaxing in the hot tub is thinking with all these old women surrounding him.  By now I am the only man in the class with 12 old women.  I survive.  Glad to get out in the sun where Carroll is waiting to pick me up after her excercise at the nearby Curves Club. "How was it?" she asks.  "Miserable" I reply, "but now I've got another good reason for being tired."

Friday, 8 July 2011

This is my woodpile. I love my woodpile because in the winter time I love to sit at the computer beside my wood burning stove and enjoy that special heat. Some years I get my wood the easy way and pay a man $150 to dump all I need for the winter at the bottom of my driveway- a cord of dry wood already split. When I want smaller pieces they split easily with my maul. This year I started helping a family who heat their home with wood, to get their supply. Then it was easy to just keep on going for myself. Neighbours are getting some of their large Pondorosa Pines cut down. What they don't want they stack near the road for people like
me to pick up free. However I discovered Pondorosa Pine does not like to be split; hence my justification for buying an electric log splitter. Hefting all this heavy wood is good exercise. Plus I will enjoy burning it this winter. Hopefully it will be dry enough and that is why I am splitting much of it smaller than necessary. What you see in this pile goes three full rows back and more than a cord so it's a little more than I will need this winter. I'll
have some ready for the family reunion so others can have fun splitting and stacking too. How about it Jarom?

How do you like my new mountain bike, well new to me. Neighbour sold it for $20. I took it for a tune up at the local bike shop, cost more than the bike of course, and he kept saying this is an old bike. It is heavy but it runs good; especially on the bike/jogging path by the lake this morning. But a caution to Darius and Micah, I am not ready for your wild rides and jumps by Powers Creek. Rebecca, how are you doing on your bike rides? And of
course David gets the prize for riding his bike to work nearly every day.

This spate of activity is all very well and good. What I don't understand is why I feel tired all the time; whether I exert myself or not. Is that part of aging? No wonder Ponce de Leon, the explorer, was searching for the living waters that would give him energy and long life. One of my motivations to get active is because my children have expressed concern about my sedate lifestyle. So I need to get in a little better shape before the family reunion at the end of the month.

Wisdom:  I get as much or more writing done when I am physically active as when I'm not.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Canada Day, Friday, July 1, 2011

Javan and Hensie invited us to join them in celebrating Canada Day. A Filipino friend Jocelyn joined us. We started in the morning by the Dolphins statue in Waterfront Park. Many booths; one where Hensie helped Havie make her head band. Many people wore red and white like the colours of the flag in the background. I have a Canadian flag on my cap too.  Yes this blog entry has more photos because I am finally learning how easy it is to send photos from my Picasa photo program to my blog.  Helps that they are both Google programs.

Below, Havie is about to put money in the cap for some for some outstanding street dancers. One even taught Javan and Hensie dance lessons years ago.

Havie is a delightful precious three year old who inherited great verbal skills from her mother, ability to charm and figure out how to get every one's attention, and here we see her mischievousness. Two seconds from now she threw the green pail of water where I had been standing. She had great fun chasing her grandparents with water at the children's water park at Hot Sands Beach.

Havie is still learning to take turns. She loved this water slide and went down it five or six times while the children standing in line went down once or twice. She just smiled and they let her past.
Havie loves dancing, anytime or anywhere. The sculpture of The Sails makes a great place to dance.
Ogopogo is world famous like the Lochness Monster. Japan has even sent television crews to do documentaries. Ammon has seen it.
Friends of ours are developing their cosmetics business by setting up display tents. How much do you think they would pay to use Havie's smile in their promotions?

We had already eaten Filipino food with Hensie's friends but we also ate in the large Prospera auditorium while we                                        watched some  dancers and drummers on stage. Javan and Hensie went home to prepare for time at a mountain cabin while we drove home to give our bones a rest. So Canada Day was family day for us and many others.  But it is more.

On Sunday at testimony meeting, many gave thanks for the freedoms we enjoy; freedom to worship as we please, to have fun and to work (mostly) as we wish. We live in a great and beautiful country. At church tears came to my eyes as we sang all four verses of O Canada. I love being a Canadian. I like to think I am patriotic. Canada is part of our heritage, part of who we are. I appreciate that my great grandparents came from the UK and Europe to settle on the prairies. I appreciate the sacrifices they made that we might have a comfortable life. Might we all help to keep this true, "God keep our land Glorious and free! O Canada, we stand on guard for thee."
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