Week in Review 10/8/14

I remember as a child the days of summer seemed endless.

We frolicked barefoot in the cool grass;

jumped through nondescript sprinklers…a sprinkler was a sprinkler, not a crocodile or mammoth or anything but a sprinkler;

rode our bikes tirelessly to the neighbourhood corner store that was neither on the street corner nor in our neighbourhood;

ate Sweet Tarts and got Double-Bubble for 2 cents;

pulled wings off of leather jackets (that’s what we called those things that look like mosquitoes on steroids but don’t suck your blood);

hid under scratchy junipers or climbed inside the laurels to hide until the opportune time to Kick the Can.

Nearly every Saturday our family of 7 would head south across the international border to plunge the boat and our bodies into the waters of Whatcom Lake where Dad considered learning to water ski mandatory for all of us.  I loved the water, thinking I’d like to be reincarnated as a dolphin one day (or that maybe I had already been one in a former life) but I resented being forced to learn to water ski.

I wonder what my kids will remember about their own childhood summers?

Layne and Rauchelle remember plunging their heads into the ice cold waters of Englishmen River every Saturday night in preparation for going to church the next morning.  We were building houses, and there were no bathing facilities on the property so we would trek down to the river to clean.   Clearing salal and roasting banana slugs.  Building forts and throwing sticks for Jake.

I’m sure Layne and Rauchelle also remember going to Long Beach with various cousins, sleeping under lean-tos & having snake races.

The younger bunch, I’m not sure what their summer memories will be.  Countless BC evenings at Spider Lake or Sunny Beach, geocaching in the Jeep, building sandcastles and digging up the sandy backyard until hitting pipes in the septic field.  Heritage Days and Canada Days, creating S’mores and memories with the Schwartz while adults compared their gardens.  Playing ‘Pretty Underwear’.

Nova Scotia days learning to sail, celebrating Acadia Days, touring mainland NS and PEI, walking Pt Michaud one more time.  Anders taking his Uncle’s car for a spin (oops!) and the family trip to Niagara Falls.

A Colorado summer of building houses and boats, driving to Denver and the Great Sand Dunes and down to Albuquerque to pick up Marin (and her mommy) for six glorious weeks.  River swimming, gondolas, hot springs and wild horses.

And here we are again back in beautiful British Columbia.

This IS the  summer of 2014:  The Traveling Family on the Hamilton Hobby Farm.

Charlotte

Charlotte

No-name

No-name

Anders on another hay ride

Anders on another hay ride

Ditto

Ditto

Keisha helping Gaelyn get the saddle up and over

Keisha helping Gaelyn get the saddle up and over

Ecetera

Ecetera

This weeks posts….slim pickin’s

Gaelyn masters the golf cart

Parenting Roles Get Flipped

Barrier to Learning

First Thanksgiving for the Frenchman & Over-stuffing For Us Canadians

Rob & Dee, the ones we crossed into Mexico with, had introduced us to their friends from back home in Colorado and who then invited us over to share Thanksgiving Dinner with them.

Mitch and Dee

Mitch and Dee

Rob

Rob

Helping prep dinnerHelping prep dinner

Marlayna with some of the kitchen help

Marlayna with some of the kitchen help

Jeff, whose house we intruded

Jeff, whose house we intruded

It was an extra special treat when one discovers that Marlayna doesn’t cook any longer, yet she slaved in her delightful kitchen (with Dee’s help) to put on a feast for the ravenous travellers.

Basically means, "I have a kitchen because it came with the house."

Basically means, “I have a kitchen because it came with the house.”

A Gathering of Travellers

A Gathering of Travellers

Marlayna & Jeff’s house is a feast for the eyes of anybody who enjoys colour, playfulness and art.  Our family loved it.

Peppers painted on the pantry door

Peppers painted on the pantry door

The Fat Mexican Fisherman

The Fat Mexican Fisherman out on the back patio overlooking the Sea of Cortez

The Crab & His Tecate (beer)

The Crab & His Tecate (beer)

Patio with Palm Trees that light up

Patio with Palm Trees that light up

We had to explain to Matt, the French motorcyclist whose been camping alongside of us since Monday & was invited to this meal, also, what Thanksgiving was all about.  We explained the beginnings of it, how European colonists survived because of the help of the natives of the land, and how in return they/descendants basically stole and raped both lands and people.  Not something to be so Thankful for.

Gaelyn & Matt

Gaelyn & Matt

But like us, Matt enjoyed stuffing himself with scrumptious food until his belly looked pregnant, and we could talk about all the things we are Thankful for today:

for travel

for health

for an incredible family

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for great friends old and new

for adventure

and for big dreams.

Laars (& other kids) came bearing artsy gifts for Marlayna and Jeff

Laars (& other kids) came bearing artsy gifts for Marlayna and Jeff

These are the things we think of on more days than just a designated date on the calendar.  Even when we ‘celebrate’ both with Canada in October and the USA in November.

Every day we ought to have Thanksgiving in our Hearts.

Sunset from the patio

Sunset from the patio

Hairy Eight-Legged Romance

looks like all legs

looks like all legs

Everette discovered this creature walking on the gravel,  scooped him up with a wedge of wood and placed him up where we could get a better look at him.DSCN6012

As freaked as I am with little spiders I was totally amazed at this fellow.  Well, maybe it was because he was outside rather than being in my abode, because years ago when Everette and I (& baby Anders) went to the rainforest in Belize on business we had some gigantic spiders in our cabin….when we returned from dinner one evening there was a juicy one on our bed!!!  I freaked then.

Anders wanted to hold this spider, and I know people do with bare open hands.  But I also know they can bite (and jump) and I wasn’t game for dealing with unnecessary spider bites and could imagine those fangs getting a good chunk.  I know they don’t have venom, but still.  Call me pansy.

Donning work gloves with holes, the tarantula holding began:

Anders up first since it was his idea.  And he wanted to hold him over and over again.

Anders up first since it was his idea. And he wanted to hold him over and over again.

Almost all tarantulas that are observed are mature males migrating in late summer and early fall.   The very first one we ever saw in the wild was early December in Southern California.  This one is only our second.

Toveli  being brave

Toveli being brave

Females are seen less often since they hang close to their burrows.  They are considerably larger than males but with shorter legs.

The burrows can go deeper than a foot underground, vertical till ending at the bottom with a side chamber.  The tarantula lines the burrow with silk, and during the day while the tarantula is inside there is usually silk covering the entrance to deter enemy penetration.

Hunting is at night.  The spider sits quietly near the burrow entrance, and any unsuspecting juicy beetle that comes within 2-3 inches gets grabbed by the pedipalps (they look like short legs beside the mouth) and impaled with fangs.  It can take days to digest these morsels.

As it gets later in the season here, there will be solid plugs put at the entrance to the tunnel and the tarantula will remain sealed up during the cold months, to wait until spring when the plug will be removed.  The tarantula will usually spend its entire life near the burrow, excluding the migrating mature males.

Laars patiently waited his turn.  He was so anxious to hold this spider.  Notice, he's in bare feet.

Laars patiently waited his turn. He was so anxious to hold this spider. Notice, he’s in bare feet.

This is definitely a male, most likely a Aphonopelma vogelae, the most commonly seen tarantula in southwestern Colorado.   Mature males will all die off in the cold by November if they aren’t driven over before then while out looking for love on the other side of the road. Before they die they migrate looking for love (rather than warmth) from some hairy female!

Males take 7-10 years to mature, then migrate and die that same year. Females take a few more years to mature and then live for many more years, producing many eggs annually.

Even I braved it.  Oh, I hate spiders....but this was pretty cool I admit.

Even I braved it. Oh, I hate spiders….but this was pretty cool I admit.

Females lay eggs in June by laying down a silk bed first, then placing the eggs on it and covering it with more silk.  The edges are pulled together and rolled up into a spherical egg sack which is carried down to the burrow where it remains much of the time with an occasional trip to the outside world for warming.

About 2 months later the eggs hatch.  Unlike the spiders in Charlotte’s Web floating off on the wind with their little balloons, tarantula babies stay near mama.  They live close by at the base of a clump of grass, then start expanding their domain and digging a bigger burrow over the next several years.  Their entire life will be lived close to where they were born.

10 Months On the Road and a Whole Year Old

Not only is it 10 months today since we left our comfortable house on Vancouver Island, Canada for a life of adventure on the road, to explore and learn and discover things about ourselves and each other that we never knew.

But today is our precious granddaughters Very First Birthday!

We had such a privilege to have Marin and her mommy spend 6 weeks with us here in Colorado, and miss them both (and Seth, and Layne) terribly.  But Wow! what great memories we have of our precious girl.

So, as proud as we are of taking our tribe on the trip of a lifetime (with no end in sight!) nothing compares to the relationships of family and friends.  And so I want to (re)share some pictures of our summer with Marin and Rauchelle.

Marin in cognito

Marin in cognito

Gramma & Marin near Rico, CO in the natural hot springs

Gramma & Marin near Rico, CO in the natural hot springs

Marin LOVED all the colours

Marin LOVED all the colours

Spokey

Spokey-girl

She won't eat the pink/red of the watermelon but just the rind.  The grass must have been bugging Marin as she kept her left leg raised for a few minutes.

One of our favourite pictures, leg up and chewing the watermelon rind.

Our little Pettal

Our little Pettal

Playing with Maret

Playing with Maret

Marin would rather play with and/or suck on rocks

Marin at Arches Nat’l Park.  Look at those blue eyes!!

Watching everybody else working

Watching everybody else working

Peek-a-boo

Peek-a-boo

Camouflaged Diaper

This is what one gets camping with Gramma and Grampa.  Velcro butt.

Getting refreshed

Getting refreshed

Marin and Grampa sharing a breakfast smoothie

Marin and Grampa sharing a breakfast smoothie

Everybody mesmerized by the little one

We all wish we could give you a kiss every day, Marin.  We love you!!!

You have to admit…..Marin is beautiful!!  Proud grandmas can brag, that’s our right!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARIN!

Maple, Sweet as Syrup

Our family LOVED the day we spent out with Kathe and TJ amongst the wild horses in this southwestern part of Colorado.  It has great memories for all of us.

In last weekends storm Everette decided to go to town and get some treats and supper, to compensate (?) for us getting drenched out of our tent.  He and the kids think up any kind of excuse to Celebrate!

Well, it was fantastic timing as they ran into TJ at the store in town.  Maret recognized her, so they all traipsed over to talk with TJ.  She mentioned that she had some pictures to share with us of Maple, the foal/filly that was born nameless about a week before we ventured out there.  So, our family got the pleasure of naming her.

Isn't she Sweet?

Isn’t she Sweet?

Our ideas had been:

Columbia (but that didn’t seem so much Canadian since the Columbia River ends in WA/OR, and the outdoor equipment company is American, so we scratched that)

Maple (after Maple Butter that we soooo loved when we were in Quebec; and of course the Maple Leaf on our flag, and all the other maple products of eastern Canada)

Canuck (slang for a Canadian)

We settled on Maple, for the strong tree, as her mother’s name was Juniper.

Maple

Our Maple!!

Photos by TJ Holmes of Spring Creek Mustangs