Two Big Questions

Ok so I’ve got two big questions for you.

Number one:

Is this not the cutest owl?

Don’t feel too bad, I had to be told it was an owl too. He might possibly have a hard time getting in his car… poor owl.

Number Two:

Don’t most siblings make ridiculously random competitions? Seriously, my husbands family (he has 7 siblings) STILL do this every time we hang out with them. And I have all brothers… 4 to be precise. Half our life’s adventures started with the sentence

“Bet you can’t do this!”

Here’s my kids the other night,

And yes, we eat lemon juice on our fish sticks.

And can you tell the bottle has been dropped? That’s the sacrifice one is willing to take when getting a 3-year-old to set the table.

(I also feel like justifying that we’re eating processed frozen food… but don’t we all have those days? Wait… don’t answer that or I’ll have to change my post to 3 big questions.)

Both these random questions originate from the normal ongoings of our household. My fridge sheds pictures like the autumn trees do leaves, and my children are often challenging eachother to perfectly useless uses of their skills. But every now and then I actually notice it.

I’ll look down at the art in my lap and not just say what I say to the million that pass through my hands. Or stop and film their crazy antics because one day dinner will be way too quiet and boring. And realize how full life is with little gifts if I just notice and remember to be thankful. It’s downright easy to fill my mind with annoyances, but my whole being fills with peace when I let all my blessings sink in. And the blessings are right there, always before me- if I only just look with eyes of gratefulness.

Happy Thanksgiving you crazy lot. Hope your eyes see more than turkey this weekend, and your filled with more than food.

Thankfulness is a choice,

and it’s worth seeing.

When the Well Ain’t so Well

I don’t think we even realize how much water we use in a day. I know I didn’t. And I didn’t find out by going on some Save-the-earth, Think-of-the-water, Minimalistic, “What would it be like??” kick.

Our property’s Well stopped working.

I was pleasantly surprised when our plummer friend, Rob, pulled up in the driveway shortly after I’d phoned Sam at work explaining the situation. That was fast…

Sadly though, it wasn’t gonna be a quick fix. He had to give me the report that nothing INSIDE was broken… meaning something deep down in the Well was.

A nearly 300 feet deep Well.

So while we waited for the Well guys to call us back, the kids and I carried water from the neighbors. The first few days. Till my kind neighbor suggested hooking our garden hoses together and basically saved my poor body from elongated arms.

Before said idea, however, (when we were still carrying/ pulling in the wagon buckets of water… ) I’d managed to carry two 5 gallon buckets down the road in one go and help the kids with theirs in the wagons. Then lifted all 5 pails and a Rubbermaid bin of water up onto the porch.

The kids had left a doozy in the toilet, so I slugged one pail through the house and into the washroom. I began pouring it quickly into the back of the toilet as my arms were really done. The satisfaction from a job well done however, drained from my face as I watched the water drain away…

the toilet handle was stuck down.

Really??

I dropped the pail to the floor and groaned… It’s bad enough ONE flush is half a bucket, but there goes a good two.

I instantly felt for people in less fortunate countries who carry water daily as a way of everyday life.

The other struggle I was faced with was when I reminded the kids to not flush for just pee as they’d head into the bathroom.
“I won’t!” They call as they pass you, crazed by your ridiculous reminding.

Then WOOSHhhhhhh!!!!!!

and a head pops out the door.
I squint- eyes narrowing.

“Oooopppppps! Sorry Mom! I didn’t mean too!”

And I slug in another bucket.
(It’s the years of drilling “did you flush?” into their little minds- it’s like an animal instinct now; right up there with migrating. Except for the youngest, of course, pretty much still just working on general AIM with that one.)

If my career as a Homeschool Mom doesn’t pan out- I could always take up Pun-comics right?

I recently came back from a 5 day camping trip, which I felt had prepared me for this situation. You know- stinking and living unhygienic.
No actually, for washing dishes in minimal amounts of water, using paper towels for grease, leaving things in the rain, and capitalizing on baby wipes (what? I told you it wasn’t a save-the-earth kick).

Things camping didn’t prepare me for, was cooking meals like homemade pizza and the insane amounts of dishes that dinner requires . Or two kids puking, a bed wetting, and having to see actual CLEAN people in my “camp” state.

Let me assure you though- things really didn’t go so bad. In fact, I never got to feeling “crazed”or “desperate”. My kind neighbors beside us we so compassionate, they graciously lent us buckets, hoses, a hand, and their water whenever we wanted. A friend a street over let me use her shower one night, while other friends prayed. And running water really wasn’t too life changing, where as electricity, or heat, would have been so much harder. SOooo thankful it didn’t happen in the winter too.

Also, 3 of our off-road friends came over Friday and Saturday to help Sam yard up the cables and pipe with his truck, winch, and engine hoist. Because those well guys Sam kept calling?- never had time. And as fun as camping is and not doing laundry for a week, the time had come.

Getting the pump above ground and back into it was stressful with just Sam and I. But actually pretty fun with friends. At one point Sams magnetic beer holder fell in the well and Sam’s head came up drinking the last of it. His friend Alex was also flung over the well when the hoist took a lunge from some tape getting wedged into the spinning spool. And when we reached really inconvenient knots in the rope being winched up, before we knew it Robs volunteered. He’s the tie-down supporting the whole works with his body while Sam un-clips, switches, ties new knots, and loops. Our friend Teela worked and rewound the winch, and her and I both drove the truck.

Of course the very best was the purr of that new motor,

and water reaching me “un-carried”.

And knowing God takes REALLY good care of us. Not just blessing us with running water, but with awesome friends and neighbors. And per usual

So many things to be thankful for.

Sometimes we just need to be reminded of just how good we’ve got it.

Little R&R in the Washington Woods

Sam and I recently went on a off road expedition through Washington with two friends. The plan was to stay on gravel as much as we could, and explore the cascade mountains. Although we saw some incredible mountains-much of it was from gravel roads too well maintained, and our tires found pavement more often than not. You would swear your in the middle of nowhere and then “Pop!” you’re in a little American town decked out in Patriotic flags like it was Independence Day.

Only it was just a regular Monday.

AND I kid thee not- people drove their side by sides to the gas stations. One guy had like a mink tail flag off the roof of his, and another a dog bed strapped in the middle of the seats- with a pooch perched on top.

Although we felt a little yearning for truly wild roads, ones that lead us into the great unknown and didn’t end in a government gate… the little towns were amusing.

I adored the mailboxes at the ends of all the driveways, the clusters of coloured tin gathered where houses shared their drive. The guys even pulled over to oblige me in a photo.

I felt like the whole trip was a EYE FEAST. Days and days of incredible sights that we zoomed past. It was hard to take it all in.

I really had a hankering for some hiking. Last years expedition left me wanting more. So I was thrilled when the guys took me way up (2200 meters) a mountain on the last night. We camped out with a bunch of hikers who were doing the Pacific North West trail, and woke up with a mountain top view. Then we hiked to the radio tower, scaled some closed off icy steps, and saw Canada from its heights.

It felt so good to not have any set plans, a phone that I only used for the time and photos, nothing pressing for my time and no responsibilities. And to just be with my husband… long enough that when everything is said, we just enjoy each-other’s company sharing an experience together. I couldn’t wait to kiss my babies and be their full time mom again, but man what a fantastic 5 day break. September is made for exploring. Like a male peacock, it dazzles you with it colours and sights. Creation screams God’s name and calls us to be still enough to hear our soul.
And,
Although I sure didn’t look it after 5 days without showering, it was like a spa vacation. I was all pampered  by the Great Outdoor Beauty, and all rested and relaxed.

Butter

With all the fire evacuation alerts going on in Quesnel area right now, I figured I better sus out some of my valuables.

Ok so your looking at it.

Have I ever told u about my butter dish?

Besides the given gem (it holds BUTTER) this baby holds a whole 1lb brick of BUTTER. Please don’t rob me- but I basically found (at winners) the lost ark from Indiana Jones… in a dainty blue kinda way.

I even have strict kid handling rules. “TWO HANDS!” and they know to not even mess with the lid. The lid NEVER leaves the counter.

I’ve cut chunks of butter into all shapes and squished and squeezed it into all kinds of containers in my long life. But this one here. Unwrap. Drop. Place on the lid.

There are disadvantages to so much beautiful butter being poised and vulnerable before a world of small people though.

1. Random Eating/ licking

2. They never start at one end and work their way to the other- it’s an all out bloody skewer death.

3. While they skewer the poor brick they leave large deposits of their eatings for the next user to navigate around. Contamination! All in all p-r-e-t-t-y serious. Who wants P.B. and J chillin with their boild potatoes and fish? Or vice versa 😫

4. They take bigger helpings of butter. Then scrape the excess ON THE RIM. Oh why oh why? I go through tutorials on how to avoid this… and yet like our toilets, the rim is abused.

5. Cob spinners. 👐🏻 ok ok I see both sides of the coin on this one. I actually had a good discussion on this with a group of people at camp the other week. On one side, fresh steaming hot peaches and cream corn on the cob is dressed perfectly when spun through a brick of butter. It caresses the cob on both sides as it slowly melts and well, it’s practically a match made in heaven.

However (the other side), your committing the butter to a single life event.

One cannot tell me hairy butter is just fine on toast. Corn hairs are par for the course.

In the morning after your backyard shin-dig you may, (or perhaps not) regret not cutting off a section of butter for spinning corn.

As jaw dropping as my butter dish is though, I suppose I really could live without it. And when I think long and hard about it- same with all my other possessions as well. (Although, my pictures and journals which I hope to pass on, would be very sad to loose).

There is this really neat verse in the neatest book ever written. The Bible.

“Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven. Where moths and rust do not destroy, where thieves do not break in and steal.” Mathew 6:20

My kids are this, my husband, family is this. My friends are this- PEOPLE are this. Building into THESE things- People. Spending time and money on them, investing into them- is storing up the greatest treasure.

Historically Pharos were buried with all their earthly treasures sealed deeply underground in a secure room by their tomb. So that when they died they would carry these things into the after life with them. Sadly, you can ask the archeologists how well this panned out for them.

Those treasures stayed put.

Like my dish (if it even makes it through my children’s childhood).

But souls? Jesus tells us his Father has a house with many many rooms for us, in the kingdom of heaven, and “that if it were not so, I would have told you” (John 13:2)

So me taking time to love on, teach and build character into my babes? Treasures not wasted. Because like all the people I have in my life- I hope to see them in heaven. (I hope you know your valuable to me, and I hope I’ve shown u in some way.)

And as blessed as I am to own so many useful wonderful things, they’re only things after all.

And I ain’t no King Tut.

Hope you know your treasured. Not just by me but by your creator. I also hope you don’t spend your whole life working, saving and storing for things, when your surrounded by true treasures waiting to be noticed.

Ok, so tell me your butter pet peeves. Or am I really the only one who has them?

Waiting to get Back to it

The kids were just running through the summer rain as it pelted down on the dry thirsty earth. Hands swirling about them and bare toes carrying them through the fresh cut grass. It was a quick, glorious burst of excitement over all too soon.

“It stopped raining. Can we come in now? Everything is wet,” my oldest asked from the porch. A damp grassy crew (neighbour boy included) waited loud and wiggly on the lawn.

“Um, why don’t you guys light a fire and warm up by it?”

I’d managed to redirect their energy, and they’re presently running about collecting sticks from the woods and racing across the lawn to feed their hungry flame. I get flashes of yellow boots when my toddler runs by the window a little slower than the rest.

I too am hungry- to be outside in the “wild air” (as my 5 year old calls it).

I’ve found myself couch bound for a couple days… after not taking proper care of my bad hips and low back during our May Long camp- something tweaked in my back grabbing a piece of recycling off the floor yesterday morning. It was ridiculous- I couldn’t straighten at all yesterday! I was bent over like a tree in a gale, and whimpering in pain.

A dear friend assured me this was something that could most likely be fixed with strict rest, and that most certainly could be made worse without it. Seeing as I could only stand in a 90* angle- I instantly found the couch.

I could tell you all the woes of my interesting predicament- or brag of how well God sees us through in every circumstance. His kindness came in in so many ways.

Awesome friends, neighbours and hubby helped where they could. But my beautiful babies that I’ve cared and raised these past 9 years- really stepped up taking care of their momma. Swapping heat packs to cold packs, getting me medicine, making me tea, fetching pillows, making macaroni and quesadillas. Loading laundry, vacuuming and clearing dishes. The older ones being such a huge help with my toddler too- wiping his face, helping him with all random toddler needs, and even dragging him kicking and screaming to my couch so I could discipline him when the temper tantrum striked.

Little Si helped in his own special ways too. Wrapping his pudgy arms around my neck, kissing my face, curling up beside me and falling into a cuddly sleep. He taste-tests all my beverages, and delights me with his odd little whims.

So you see, although I can’t wait to get back to my job as Mom, it’s been special to see the children care and pull the extra weight for me. And before long I’ll be running about in the “wild air” getting wet grass between my toes with them.

So it’s Spring- eh?

I’m sitting at the computer with a hot tea having successfully tired out, and bedded, the young-ins. It was truly spring-like today in Quesnel. Warm and sunny. And i freed the gate to my garden! I dug furiously with my garden shovel- a Y shaped pathway- through two feet of untouched damp snow.
I never did see dirt.
There is a shield of ice, a force to be reckoned with, encasing my soggy spring dreams. I was busy as a bee though, carving out chicken trails that led to the hole we have separating the garden from the chicken pen. In triumph I stabbed the shovel into a near–by snow bank and called the feathered ones to venture forth into a new (or just forgotten) land. Widening their borders, giving them something new to do!
Feather brained idiots….
They never even tried it.
One chicken did, only briefly, as i locked her in the garden and chased her through the hole to show her where it was.
Another ate some snow off the path but never even ventured onto it. I sat squatting in the snow watching them.  Their deeply simple chicken minds.
Peck, peck, flap, poop, squawk, peck.
Later sweeping out the SUV i found a stale rice cake. I  took that out to the chickens.
Well that was a lot less work and much more entertaining. It was like Chicken Ultimate Frisbee. The best was when the disc got submerged in mud and all the players are pecking like crazy-till it resurfaced! Andddd off Maple goes with it in her beak with all the hens hot on her heals (?? do they have….? ). Then it’s cracked into pieces. The game divides. Hens get desperate, and with a squawk it’s over and the losers keep pecking at  the mud hoping something turns up.


I don’t always go squat near the coop…
in case your wondering.
In fact I made a point of it today as I needed to find some joy in my Backyard Layers. As of late there has been added work, problems, injuries, things on the coop breaking, death, too many roosters (harming hens), and not enough dry. Period. Everything damp, poopy, muddy and stinky.
But today the sun came out, dried out some areas, and the hens basked in it and tried to clean themselves up a bit. Two of our roosters were brought to a friends farm the other day (you can breath now ladies), and a hen (I could not help) with a bad injury was finally put out of her suffering. Each day as spring makes it’s appearance, things should get better.
Today I also helped make little trenches around the carport and driveway that added into the ones Sam’s made. Drawing water away from places we don’t want it.
And seriously my kids don’t think I play??
It was very addicting, I felt torn away when Silas told me he had to go potty. And I came right back.
I’ve been putting my garden shovel to work doing all kinds of things lately. Even if it isn’t gardening.
I also carved ice steps going to my door, and with the help of Elise, shoveled 4 feet off the deck where my porch window looks out. There is still 2 feet to go- but now i can see my yard! (even if it is covered in white). It was also quite fulfilling because I had tried last week and the snow wouldn’t budge. In defeat, I had leaned on my snow shovel despairing at my grand plans of seeing a view. But with a flicker of hopeful interest realized I was Eye-level with my houses gutters. The snow really was that tall!
So I went ahead and cleaned those babies WITHOUT A LADDER.
You just go ahead and be jealous- snow fortress win for me.
Even though it snowed here on the first day of spring (and the day after) don’t go and pity us. We’ve had warm sunny days where the children sledded in t-shirts. Sandwiches eaten in the fresh air. The roads are mostly bare and make satisfying splashy sounds. (Little Si loves to run through them on his runner bike).  And I’ve been sun basking in my lawn chair (first thing i freed from the porch snow pile), Going for sunny walks with friends, And the kids have been trying out various combinations of their outdoor wardrobe- succeeding in having the time of their lives and bringing the springfull sound of dripping indoors.


There truly is always something to be grateful for.
Sometimes it’s all too easy to be looking at what isn’t-
that you miss what is.
Hope your all enjoying the change of seasons, and have a little Spring in your step.

Parenting… why so… Important?

So a young friend of mine messages me asking for help with answering a question for her project. “Why is parenting the most important job in the world?”


For you parents, you can see how this is such a huge question. You know its so important! But why? I mean, someone will raise your children if you don’t, but why is it important that you do?
I thought about what our Pastor said on Sunday about our children not needing our money. That parents get caught in the trap of working more to pay for things to make their kids happier. But that kids need us. Their parents.
They need our love.
Gosh, it’s such a small amount of their lives they are impressionable enough to understand our deep love for them. (Like look at teenagers- need I say more?)
So here’s what I came up with in answer to her question;

Love is the greatest influence.
Loving enough to care for a child,
teach a child,
discipline and show right to.
Loving them enough to ask forgiveness when you show them wrong.
Loving them enough to take the time, your time,
to raise them.
To pray for them.
To play with them.
Being there enough to be an example.
Feed them God’s word,
and try to instruct them in ways that will develop good character.
And hoping by showing them love,
and caring for their needs,
they will one day go on to do the same.

Oh man, if you could have seen my parenting day today!! I need this encouragement BAD. Some days, today being one of them, I feel so frustrated with the children… and know lots of hard work and changes need to be made in order to fix the problem circuit that just keeps running wrong. Daily. I want to complain (OK i actually want to rant about my children’s bad behavior) and give up (after all I’m only one little me, how much fighting, crying and whining can one person take?). But writing and thinking about this parenting question makes me consider the incredible importance of my job.
SO…
Discipline, Order, here we come. (Please take the time to wait for us.)
And God, can you please take BOTH my hands? (I wish you offered piggy backs…)

So to all you parents out there. Don’t give up. Don’t pull away.
You’ve got the most important job in the world.
And you weren’t asked to do it alone.
The guy who birthed the stars, parted the waters from the dry ground, pulled life from dust, and cares for even the fallen sparrows-
can handle tantrums.
Be of hope.

Seemingly Backwards

It’s this crazy seemingly backwards thing that I’m learning. My nature resists the proofs of this thing and resorts to what it knows best- selfishness, comfort. And yet something in my mind is slowly coming around and can’t help but see this ‘seemingly backwards’ jem as truth.

I’d had a tough week. With my husband starting out his new business, he was home less. Especially in the evenings. I’d grown accustom to his adult presence in my day of children. 12 hrs of me being mother, school  teacher, discipliner, referee, cook, cleaner, driver, listener… was wearing on me. In fact I was feeling pretty sorry for myself right around Friday night. (Earlier in the day I’d attempted to do some “quick” errands with them all in town… walking…) I mentally felt even more sorry for myself that I didn’t have family in town to help my load. And I prayed/ pleaded/ blamed God.

I’d been trying all week to seek “me time”. I need it for my sanity... or so I thought. I’d seek it out whenever I could, thinking my happiness was in some self- fufilling quality me time.

If I’m honest I got lots of short breaks, that I filled with Facebook and other useless pleasures. But I still felt sorry for myself. I didn’t feel happy. Surly this is a problem needing attention.

Sam was able to make it home for a late dinner Friday night but then told me he had to head back out for a bit. I’d dreamed of leaving him with the children and going hot tubbing and sitting in the sauna at the pool that evening. After a sigh, for the sake of sanity, I quickly asked if I could just go for a short walk first.

Which I did.

As I walked I saw kids outside on a  neighboring street and thought of my own children full of energy and wildness tearing about the place at home. I decided the dark and cold were not reasons to stop them from going out to burn off some of that energy before bed.

I’m not sure how it happened, I think it was maybe that my two year old wanted to go outside as well. But instead of locking the door on them and indulging in that precious time all to my glorious self… I found myself whizzing down the hill with them on a sled.

We made trains (which the leader tricked me and took my poor adult butt over a jump), we did bumper cars, pulling and pushing and jumping on others sleds. And my toddler walked up the little hill himself like 10 times and never even mentioned his mitts (can all the moms give me a hallelujah?) and he road contently down with me cuddled in my lap. And the very oddest thing happened-

happiness.

Yes, I felt so alive and full of such simple joy playing with my children! Those 4 little beings I was trying to avoid… we’re fixing my unhappiness as I spent time goofing around with them.

I eventually took Si (my toddler) in to get ready for bed and then washed up the dinner dishes to the sound of the kids laughing in the yard.

That’s so weird. I thought. Why did that make me feel better than I have all week?

Here it is. That crazy seemingly backwards thing I was talking about. I took time to PLAY with my children, not just care for all their many needs… but enjoy them. And I was filled up. I became satisfied.

I think it’s easy, nature, to think happiness is hidden in doing things for ourselves. But it isn’t. The proof is all around us if we think about it. It’s seemingly backwards, but joy is found in enjoying others. Caring for their interests, not just our own.

When we give of ourselves, we take joy in the other persons pleasure at receiving our gift.

Alone time is good, and healthy, don’t get me wrong. But it shouldn’t be my daily goal. “I” should not be my daily goal. Because, however seemingly backwards it seems

loving others is loving ourselfs.

But after all, we were made in the image of someone who defined love. Said love was that he sent his only son to die… for us… while we were still ungrateful little sinners. The most selfless act in all of history. To be a God that can whisper a word and save yourself from all the pain, all heart wrenching pain, and yet CHOOSE to remain and take all our sin on his back. To be made nothing… or worse, treated like a criminal and a lair. For what?

Love.

And when my King rose again, 3 days later, after making the way for us all to be free from our death demanding sin… paying the only price that would ever need to be paid… let me tell you-

he was happy. Oh so happy.

Yes sometimes my kids throw toys at each others heads or argue over who once said that doll was heavy but “I never said that!!” and you wonder how they can fight over seriously, nothing. But they also draw me pictures, say thank you when I help them, snuggle me with stories on the couch, laugh and say the darnedest of things. And as I care for them and give of myself in so many ways for them… they grow, stay alive, become intelligent, kind, and loving of those around them. And oh! They do bring me so much happiness.

It’s easy to get sucked into the woes of ME. But that ME needs to remember- the cure to that is

THEM.
OTHERS.

 

 

 

Philippians 2:4
 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
1 John 4:9-12
 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Destination- Somewhere Chilcotin

We’d never planned on a 5 day trip to the Chilcotin. We had planned a year in advance on a group trip through the Alexander Mackenzie trail in Northern B.C. But that wasn’t about to happen.
No one could have predicted then that forest fires would cook B.C. and back-country bans shut down trails. But we’d already booked Grandma to come kid sit, and we’d already dreamed of a great adventure.
So we went where the roads were open.
And the “group” turned to Sam, myself, and our buddy Rob. Two rigs. With nothing but a backroads map-book we headed out with a itch for adventure,
and we weren’t disappointed.

I once wrote that my greatest stories are like Sandcastles. If I don’t write them down, day by day the waves slowly wash away bits of it, till all I remember is that “there was once was a great castle there”. I know this Chilcotin trip will be like that for me one day. Except, man, those mountains, if nothing else, will always be etched in my memory. Sandcastles… in large scale.

It didn’t seem possible that man could stand on their backs, let alone drive up them. I remember Sam pointing at them from a distance and I being in awe and terror at their might. Even the clouds seemed to quickly pass them by, as to not anger them.

Yet, after a scouting trip in the evening and a night at their base- we crawled over boulders that made those mountains in the Toyotas with “Peak” determination fueling us forward to the top.

We had awoken that morning shocked to find the river we had camped beside had changed like there was a tide. The grey glacier fed river would melt in the day’s sunlight causing more volume, and slow down, receding, in the cool of the evening. Across from our camp was an actual camp. A mining camp. Full of equipment and trailers, beds, vehicles- and not a soul. At least none living. (Unless you include the furry pack rat in the pantry in the cook house, or the dead mink curled by the boiler room door). Doors creaked, pillows and bedding swung from plastic bags attached to the ceiling, and everything looked like it had been left with plans to return. Only…. from the paper stubs we found, that was in 2008.

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What had they found in these mountains? Why did they leave? And why did they leave this all behind?

After a hot breakfast we started the climb still within the tree line. We passed by hundred-year-old cabin remains all the size of garden sheds, holding mysteries of their own. On the first bend before the mines mounds of tailing’s, we passed our garbage sacks that we had stashed that night- we were well aware we were in Grizzly country- it wasn’t just the mine leaving piles behind. We drove over a culvert that had large gaps on either side where the mountains runoffs tried to carry it away. Except we beat Times intentions, and were able to cross over the tube. How much longer it will be there?… well I guess only Time knows.

Then there were no trees, just rock balanced on rock and a switchback trail scaring the great mountain’s back. The first stretch up, my husband got to have the mountains edge by his door. Then all too soon a switch back. And there I was hovering over space- or so it felt. From the cab you couldn’t see ground. At least not the ground we drove on. I was greatly relieved when we stopped at the second switch back. We hopped out and scrambled over to “that glacier and pool- just over there” which turned out to be quite some distance away. Without trees distance is strange. It felt like we were bounding around on some planet from space, and we’d left earth behind. Even the plants that grew from between the rocks cracks were strange and foreign.

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We crawled on in the Toyotas. With the gears set just right in low range, the tire treads grabbing, the shocks and springs flexing- the Hilux worked like a spider up the narrow path.

I murmured in fear and didn’t know where to put my eyes. “You think this is bad- imagine the balls on the guy in the excavator who scraped this road out!” Came Sam’s response with a crazy twinkle in his eye. He was loving it. The truck moved like it was an extension of him, and he was in his glory.

I found my place, eventually. And it was outside of the truck- just up ahead spotting tricky spots where a good line would need to be played. Out there the truck looked like it had more room on the trail- not so precarious. We always risked the possibility that the path would become impassable and we’d have to back down the mountain.

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Then it happened. A rock side had washed out the path and left a rounded mound in its place. We were so near the top, and so far from the bottom.

After a short discussion the guys pulled the smart card, and as much as they hated it, decided the trucks weren’t going any further.

Not to stop us going on foot though. And man we’re we in for a treat.

Boxes and boxes of drill samples lay glistening in the sun, jade, quarts, marble… and large metal motors and equipment that looked like it was dredged out of the sea. Rusted and burnt swimming in a large array of nuts and bolts. Maybe they had a fire? Or maybe they set a fire when they left.

There were air tubes coming out of the ground. There had to be a mine shaft somewhere. We looked about for a while. Then DOWN a ways on the side of a sharp embankment was a large metal truck barrel and a pile of beams.

“There.” Sam said, pointing.

We returned to the trucks for flashlights, food, and water.

Rob (our friend driving the other Toyota) and I went searching for another entrance and Sam (a climber in the past) made his way to the tank and beam pile.

Of course Sam found it. The entrance. And of course this stretch our comfort zones. Rob and I weren’t climbers. Rocks falling away onto the small ledge where Sam stood- was concerning. Although we tried, there really was no other way. While we were trying Sam had disappeared into the mine and we could hear metal clinking…”what the?” And then he was back on the ledge beneath us with a ladder made from rebar with spikes on the top and bottom rungs.

“Hey! Look what I found.”

Then Sam was at our feet with a ladder that he pressed into the mountain, got us to step on it,  then monkeyed around us moving the ladder down. With this process the three of us made it to the mouth of the cave. I breathed a sigh of relief before thinking-

” Um, What if there’s gas in there… like we don’t have a canary or nothin.”

” you can stay out if you like, but we’re going in…. besides it will be fine.”

Well I wasn’t staying on this rock face by myself- and so I went into my first ever mine shaft.

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It was beyond dark. And yes, damp. In about five minuets we had hit the end. Besides the incredible quarts walls, we were disappointed. Then on our way back Rob happened to look up… and we realized the mine kept going up in a few different spots with sketchy old climbing rails. Well guess who checked one out? Sam.  Mean while Rob and I spotted little white mushrooms growing in the pitch black.
We never died in that mine.
Nor the next.
Although I would have been the lone survivor of the second mine because i sat at the caved-in entrance while the guys explored that one. I figured the only real danger I could be in was from bears or cougars and with the mountainside being all bits of rock, I’d hear them coming. I felt safer than I had all week camping. The view was spectacular, and I never had to drive a truck down the mountain to get a search and rescue team. The boys lived to go find another mine opening and climb over the top of a near by mountain top.

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When we did decide to call it a day, we realized we were fortunate that the trucks had stopped not far from a switch back, which was wide enough to turn around on.
It was strange but on the decent I felt no fear of heights riding in the truck- guess being on top of the world for a day does that to you. In fact at a spot i’d insisted to get out at before, i didn’t bother on the way back.
The whole week trip was incredible. We had so many explorations and adventures. From finding a floating party barge on the bluest water you have ever seen, to having cat eyes watch us by tour little propane fire. Being told were not wanted in the middle of nowhere with nowhere to leave to. To finding a Native Trapping school, water crossings, and that that public bridge you drove an hour to get to- was locked up in a inhabitants property and they’re not home. I saw clouds pour like a river over a mountains peak, a post office the size of a shoe-box, hectors of burnt forest, gnarled wind beaten African looking trees,  a fly-in fishing resort, and a really cool trapers cabin. Loons in a group of 9, and this…

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But nothing was quite like that day on that mountain. It was the icing on the cake. The Cherry of our Chilcoltin adventure.
Somethings need to be seen to understand, The peaks of the Chilcolin are one of them.
B.C.’S greatness is calling…
to be seen.
To be explored.
And we only just scratched the surface- forever hooked.

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Wife of a Wheeler

Last week my adventure breathing husband intentionally took the family 4 wheel drive van to the creek.
Literally.
Down the bank, to the water.
(We do not use pre-made parking lots and small trails to get to our destinations.)
Then he unintentionally hit a rock… with the radiator… coming back over the creek bank on the way out.
I wandered around looking for a bar of service, well Sam did what he does best.
He got the old van home.
Now we just need to pick up a new radiator.
I should maybe mention we drive a right hand drive, diesel, Japanese Toyota Town Ace 1990 4×4 van.

You do not go “pick up” ANYTHING for that van. You call places, who know people, who had one, in their back yard, who may be the only person on this side of the earth with the part.
And it’s all yours- for a kidney.
And they will ship it to you for a hip,
or left ankle bone.
(I recently waited for 9 months for a sliding van door window. Yes, I sported a duct tape van for that long. A member in the family may be missing a body part, but it was shipped, then installed on Mothers Day. You don’t know how good you’ve got it till its gone… For nine months. )
So I may be off the road for a while.
I REALLY wanted to take the kids to their summer reading club at the library today. So at the beginning of the week I presented this problem to Sam.

“Just take The Toyota,” he said.

Ok so side note. Although we may have half a dozen Toyotas on the property at any given time,
THE Toyota;
is his Hilux.
Let me show you.

 

 

I rode a horse once.
You think you know where you want to go. But really the horse knows you are not the boss, and it goes where it pleases. To you- it’s a wild thing.
An Animal.
This pretty much sums up my experiences with this Toyota.
It’s Sam’s tame animal when he drives. He does the amazing with it.
It’s a beast trying to throw me off it’s back when I drive. I fear it.
I know nothing about tires. But I do know that when the inches start to reach their mid 30’s, you have probably altered your ride to accommodate said tires and are into off roading, “4 wheeling”. When the tire size climbs in it’s late 30’s to being the ripe size of over-the-hill 40’s-

you do dirt more than pavement.

You’ve agreed to shouting at your passenger over the hum that can be heard for miles, when you do drive the highway. And being pulled about by the tread on the pavement like the taming of 4 rebellious toddlers. You giveaway to the splits every-time you climb into your vehicle, and you drive over yard toys- because lets face it- you really can’t see nothing down there.

But it’s all for the glorious performance in the wild.
They pull like a team up a steep embankment. Grab and tare at the thick mud. Slay trees in their path. Defy rivers, ponds, marshes and streams. Crawl over rocky passes. Balloon over snow, widening their grip.
But they no longer mesh with civilization.
I feel like a criminal in hiding (only the truck is yellow) when Sam drives us through town.
I feel like law-breaker, and a poser when I drive though town. And I drive like a Granny. Or just like someone who’s afraid of what’s beneath her. It takes ALL my focus and strength to keep that thing on the road.
I actually woke up in the night this week and couldn’t fall back to sleep thinking ‘surely there is another way to get to the library’.

Then it happened.
Today came.
I tamed the beast. Rode one handed glaring through the mud covered windscreen- and roared into town. I pulled that sucker into the library parking lot and was told, “sweet ride” by a passer-by-er. My children fell into my arms, and we strolled into the reading club with our library books.

Too cool for words.

….Actually Sam just gave us a ride in his work truck….

Who am I kidding? I “take 4 children to Library book clubs”.
Honestly, I’m still taming the beast inside me to just be the passenger!
But who knows…

I’m married to someone who keeps changing my tires size.