Week up date

HMS Hannibal

About to head back to the cabin for more work. I can’t say “finish up” because that will never happen. Apparently there’s some kind of schedule on the project, but I don’t know what it is. I just know there’s more work to do.

It’s the second day of three days of hot before rain and then cooler temps. If the forecast is accurate, this will be good. For the mosquitoes, not for people.

Spent an insane amount of money yesterday getting more supplies because everything is so damn expensive these days. Had to buy 40 litres of gasoline as well as put 50 in the Xterra’s tank and two tanks of propane. Never mind the $100 dropped at the hardware store – just for six pieces of trim, a can of paint, and some glue. Food? Yeah, bought some of that too.

Mowed lawn, somewhat, and planted bushes the Mrs. got for some unknown reason. They’ll probably die.

Much to do, much to do, much to do. Try not to die while doing it.

Here’s a little dash cam clip from coming home last time. Watch the for the surprise at the end: Rough Road

BTW, I worked on my ‘updated’ computer and managed to get the UEFI cracked open to where it will look at a bootable USB drive. Except I haven’t found a version of Linux that will actually boot up yet. It doesn’t help that the creating program, Rufus, doesn’t look like the on-line instructions anymore and most of the “how to” info out there is out of date for both the hardware and software and therefor unhelpful. You’d expect the latest distros to work but … no. I’ll keep poking at it until it does. Damn Microsoft anyway. As it is I’m still using the old machine with the defective hardware that crashes, jams, doesn’t boot, et cetera on a random basis. Reliable it ain’t.

Cabin update (the dull stuff)

So I’m back out in the middle of nowhere less than a week after visiting the ER. Couple of new prescriptions including nitro – so I can blow this place up if it all goes wahoonie-shaped? Probably not.

The trip out was ‘fun’: they’ve been ‘fixing’ the road. This consists of running the grader over the smooth bits to roughen them up so the rough bits don’t seem so bad by comparison. The one stretch of 2kms where you could do 80 before is down to a 60 zone – and watch out for the potholes. Some of it is now sludgy mud because that’s what you get when it rains on hard surface which then gets ripped up by heavy machinery. I wonder if there’s anyone in that company who understands even the basic concept of “road maintenance”.

Anyway it’s time to get something done. Except that the first thing that happen was one of the kitchen lights failed. We had them in the old house for decades with incandescent lights heating away … and now out here being lightly used with cool LED bulbs they decide to fail. Okay, two new sockets to get next time I’m in town; I’ll rebuild both so there’s no more of that foolishness.

On with the ceiling! That means a lot of planning and careful triple-checking of measurements, followed by a lot of overhead work. Also got a tub surround to go in so I’d better finish prepping for that too. Meanwhile here’s a couple of pictures of what I got done last time:

Trench warfare: underground power line from the generator shed.
Now you don’t see it.

The rest was mostly disassembly and preparing things for rebuilding. That takes longer than putting things together, but is essential to the job going right.

I’ll post a series of pictures of the bathroom rehab when I get it done. If I get it done. In the meantime, enjoy the view:

Snow melt has been slow this year.

I have to start the generator again because it’s rainy again and probably light the fire again because it’s cool again. Another “year without a Summer”. So far. Let’s just hope it doesn’t suddenly turn dry and hot and light everything on fire. Again.

A bear

Black bear on the road to the cabin

This bear was browsing and not inclined to wander off. I inched the Nissan ever closer, taking photos along the way, until he decided the Xterra was bigger than him and galloped into the woods.

The amazing thing here is getting this post up at all, as the computer has been having fits of failure and I really can’t replace it. So I have been missing other people’s posts and comments and just ‘bearly’ managing to communicate with home as I continue working on the cabin.

Somethings going on around here

Well hurrah! The travel trailer is out and away. Should have done a video of that getting snaked through the trees, but it took three of us to manage it so there was no forth to take the pictures. Jane agrees it’s because the trees got bigger in the past couple of years, making the passage narrower. (Okay, the angles are completely the other way ’round going out from coming in. I was not looking forward to doing that job by myself!)

Where the trailer was. Now to clean up all that remaining reno debris … and continue with the reno.

The next big projects are putting an underground power line right through that area so the generator can be in the generator shed instead of on the front porch, and completely redoing the bathroom. Why? Well …

Packrat next #1.
Packrat next #2. Numbers 3 & 4 are smaller and haven’t been exposed yet.

This was all supposed to have been done by the contractor, who instead just did a bad job of paneling over the destroyed plaster board with some T&G pine. It took me 30 minutes to remove that, and looks like a solid day to take out the board and nests. It all started that fateful day years ago when I was re-roofing the place (by myself) and the Mrs. fell in the woods and broke her wrist. Took her to the hospital and by the time we got back … Well a full month’s worth of rain fell and the rear of the roof was all exposed. So after I fix the ceiling I have to fix the walls too.

Isn’t this fun?

One of the jobs involves reaching up as high as I can, the other reaching down as far as I can. It’s like a workout, only it actually accomplishes something.

Meanwhile I had another visitor at dinner last night:

Is it the original Bucky, or just some cousin of his?

My list of things to get is pretty lengthy already, so in to town tomorrow to see if any of it can be got. Artificial product shortages and price gouging will be the undoing of us this year.

Visitors

Friday was a really intense day of running around at the last minute trying to see to all details before heading out to the cabin to begin what appears to be an endless task of cleaning up after the packrat. It finished with a thunderstorm and the need to run the generator after arguing with the water pump for several hours (the usual refusing to hold its prime problem).

However I did get the SD card out of the wildlife camera and had a look at what it saw over last Winter. There wasn’t much this year: several of the shots were triggered by snowfall which no doubt kept a lot of animals away. Here’s some that came anyway:

Oct 21 2021 – before I’d left for the year. I have no idea who this is.
A moose in the night. There were a lot of moose shots, mostly nocturnal. This was the best of them.
A bear in the evening. 10 days before I came out this time. Must still be around.
Kayaker, taken Saturday the 21st. No idea who it is and the Nikon was not being very co-operative so this is the best out of seven, only 3 of which were even images.

So our Jane is coming up to take the travel trailer away. This will not only free up space in the yard, but will allow me to get at a couple of projects such as running the power line in from the generator shed and eventually putting the brick patio down. Stuff sitting all around here waiting to be used up; last year got interrupted by a detached retina and then running out of time. I barely finished the wood harvest.

Meanwhile, back to cleaning up. One of the projects is redoing the bathroom which not only suffered a lot of water damage way back when I was reroofing the place (Brenda fell and broke her wrist one day – it poured a month’s worth of rain when I took her to the hospital) but also has packrat nests above it which were not improved by the contractor’s failure to repair the ceiling properly. But hey, what’s more work for me right? Well it’s more work for me, right?

Sunshine is erratic so I will probably be using the generator more. That’s expensive electricity!

There and back

Made the first cabin trip of the year, just to check things out. Actually got in this time: the glacier road was thawed and not too bad to drive on. Even so it didn’t help the aches and pains I already had from cutting up a neighbour’s tree for him and then splitting four barrows of wood for me. The jostling of going down that gravel highway at 60-80 clicks didn’t make anything any better. Fortunately some neighbours out there had already been in so I didn’t have to clear any trees off the road. Fergus was first in, and had to cut five. I could have gone in last weekend but herself was away at daughter’s wedding. Look, it’s too confusing even for me to understand so I suggest you don’t even try.

Same ol’ place.

The good news is no big damage to anything and the batteries were full up. The bad news is a packrat tried to move in and made a mess, including dragging tools off. They have a king of jackdaw behaviour about shiny things like screwdrivers. Now I get to see how well the new flooring, along with a lot of other stuff, cleans up from rat mess.

The lake is high.

Now I’ve got to come up with some kind of plan for tackling all the things that still need doing there, along with the clean-up. This includes removing that travel trailer, a process which I dread because it’s big and heavy and will end up clogging the driveway at home. Assuming I can get the van going to move it, and somehow get it up the hill at the cabin and through the tight trees and … yes I know I got it in there. Getting it out is another matter, believe me.

First loon of the year.

The other things working against me include ambient temperatures that run between 0 and 10 Celsius, and a forecast of pretty much cloudy with rain for the next two weeks. This is problematic when your electricity comes from solar panels because despite claims to the contrary they do not produce power in all weather. PVs need direct, bright sunlight to work. Anyone who says otherwise is either stupid or a liar. Possibly both. I can say this because not only have I designed numerous installations besides my own, but have fixed even more systems that were concocted by people who definitely did not know what they were doing.

So when the sun doesn’t shine the batteries have to be recharged via the generator, and gasoline is $1.95/L here now which makes for damn expensive electricity. Like about $1 per kilowatt hour. This also ups the cost of going to and from the cabin, as well as increasing the expense of self-harvested firewood for winter heating at the house. Or Summer heating at either/both places due to the lousy weather we’re having. And no I would not be surprised to see it suddenly flip into hot and dry with wildfires everywhere again. It has happened before (2017, the year of the worst fires).

I don’t know what I’m going to do yet. The bathroom needs a complete overhaul and the upstairs needs finishing and the exterior needs restaining (it weathers horribly on the windward side). Never mind all the other chores of daily life like lawn mowing. Oh yes; the wood trailer needs some serious repair.

You know, the best plan might be to take the year off and just enjoy life instead of trying to undertake all these big projects that ultimately I will not see the benefit of. It’s going to be one horrifically expensive year no matter what I do, that’s for sure.

Ready, set …

Okay today is the day! That is to say I have planned it to be. First cabin trip of 2022. Possibly.

Here’s how it’s going so far:

Got the Nissan Xterra re-insured and it was $100 less than expected. However, I couldn’t get them to start the registration on May 1 as I wanted: they claimed they couldn’t do it. They always managed to before. This time … no. But what was behind this? Well the day after I went in to the office and did this fine thing ICBC (the crown corporation that handles motor vehicle matters in this province) announced that as of May 1 you could renew on-line and registration plate stickers are no longer required. Well how nice. They could have told me that when I asked about starting it on May 1, couldn’t they? Evidently not.

So Saturday I went in to town on a little pre-check drive and to get gasoline. Hmm. Started out with 1/3 of a tank full, spent $75, and still didn’t fill it up. Thanks, Justin. Otherwise everything seems to be working. I even fired up the chainsaw to make sure it works too: no telling how many trees are down along the way.

I also took off the ‘dirt collectors’ by the rear tires:

Dirt collectors: useless pieces of plastic.
Plastic removed.
Sprayed on some Fluid Film (as close as I get to painting things these days).

Now … we’ll see how it goes. If there’s mounds of snow/ice blocking the road I’ll turn around and come back. There’s always later.

Canada Day: the good, the bad, and the ugly

Clouds made of smoke.

Canada Day, 2021.

First the good news; one of the missing cats, Hannibal, has returned! I happened to look out the window and there he was sitting on the deck. Appears to be none the worse for his four day adventure, except for an insistence on going out again. That’s not happening, big furry cat.

The bad news; wild fires have broken out all around, thanks to the thunderstorms last night. The air smells of smoke, the sky looks of smoke, and the nearest one is at the next lake over – just five kilometers away.

As seen from above.

This satellite view taken at about 4:30 PM Wednesday off Zoom Earth shows the cloud formations from the two largest fires. The one on the left you can follow the smoke trail down to the Lytton fire, and the one on the right leads down to the Kamloops fire. The shadow on the right is caused be the density of the smoke clouds, and they look white because of reflecting the sun back to the satellite. From beneath they are dark and grey-brown.

Raven lamenting.

The ugly part is that we don’t have much to celebrate in Canada this year. The revelation of the horror that was the residential schools has justifiably put a damper on all the good news, even the advances made against the pandemic. For those who don’t know, these “residential schools” were authorized by the government and operated largely by the Catholic church. For over 100 years, right up into the 1990s, they essentially kidnapped native children and abused them in some delusional effort to integrate them into mainstream society. What they really did was damage and often kill them. Then they tossed them into unmarked graves like so much garbage. The concept alone is appalling and horrific. The way they carried it out is akin to the Holocaust. Really. That this happened under what should have been the watchful eye of a supposed modern-day democracy rather than some ancient civilization or evil dictatorship only emphasizes how horrible it was. I don’t know where we go from here, but the road will be long and difficult.

As always, I concentrate on the little things I have some control over. Slowly work progresses, and I try not to think about the fact it may all burn down soon.

I am tired, I am weary, I am sad.

Of late

We are finally at the cabin together. It wasn’t easy. Along the way the road bumps took a few casualties among the packed goods, such as reducing a dozen eggs to half a dozen. The jostling alone did the damage, and it took me a couple of hours to clean up the mess once we got here.

First of the flooring upstairs.

The place is far from done. It’s just usable. But my poor wife hasn’t been able to stay out here since 2018 due to one thing or another or even more. The cats are very unhappy about being here, growling and hissing at each other and the world in general. Two of them have “left home”. They should return once they’re hungry. The dogs are fine. They love adventure. I’m not so keen on it myself.

The new china cabinet.

This was the big ‘sticking point’ for being able to fully occupy the place. Fortunately a couple of friends dropped by and help me lift the top piece on to the base. Three old guys that took. Many thanks to Wally and Danny ’cause otherwise I’d have had to build a crane or something. I swear the top alone is 200 lbs.

Of course with the dogs around the wildlife has taken off so no more deer. Probably no more bear or woodchuck or other sizable beasts. Fortunately they are smarter than the dogs, who’d try to play with a wolverine if they found one.

Timmy the Idiot; a yearling buck who kept coming ’round and poking in the ash pit.

The mosquitoes are still here. They seemed to disappear Saturday when the temperature got up to 97 (sorry Celisus; you’re no good for daily living). It’s expected to be 108 tomorrow and Tuesday. This is highly unusual for the area. Inside the cabin it was only 75. Now this morning it’s 60 outside so the windows are open to let the temperature drop. Once it starts climbing again I’ll close up and keep the heat out. It works and it’s cheaper than air conditioning.

Mosquito Patrol.

We’ll be out here now while I continue working. Not sure what I’ll get done, but there sure is a lot left to do. Going to go slow during this heat wave of course, and not planning on going back to town for anything until next Friday.