Sunday, May 20, 2018

Mother’s Day Brunch

I know I’m a week behind on this post but…better late than never.  It’s been hair straight back for the past couple of weeks because we’ve had good weather for working outside and now….it’s raining so here I am. 

A few days before Mother’s day we received an invitation for mother’s day brunch cooked by our grand daughter Abby at their house. 

We showed up at the Watson’s house (daughter Erika and son-in-law Wade) at 9:30 on Sunday morning.

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The table was set with fresh fruit.

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Grand daugher Abby who is 17 and graduating in June was cooking up a storm.  She was whisking up a home made hollandaise sauce for the eggs benedict and had already prepared a pan of sauted potatoes and yams.  Even though she is a vegetarian she let her Mom put a slice of thin ham on the English muffins before she added the sliced tomato and eggs!   

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It was all delicious and the eggs benedict were cooked to perfection.  Erika even shared her home made (by a friend) yummy cookies and chocolate dipped strawberries for dessert.

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Our oldest grand daughter Holly isn’t home this summer as she has a job in Vancouver during her summer break from UBC where she is studying  kineseology.  The picture is from last summer when we were out for lunch. 

It was a lovely and delicious brunch and Eric asked what Abby was serving next Sunday which got a laugh.  I think this can be a Mother’s day tradition that we’ll keep for the future if Abby is home and cooking.  She is leaving to go to the University of Victoria in the fall. 

How did it happen that the tiny grand children that we held in our arms as babies are now all grown up and off to university?  Time seems to fly by faster and faster the older we get.  That’s just life I guess. 

A very memorable Mother’s Day for Erika and I.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Home a week and it’s been brisk!

We left our daughter and son-in-laws last Wednesday and spent the first night at home in the RV. 

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Packed up and ready to go home so Eric says bye to Erika and the dogs.

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Chloe and Tikki….Maple showed up back at the house and I penned her up!

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Ellie couldn’t care less that we are leaving….that’s a cat for you.

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Chloe is tied so she won’t wander off and that’s the other cat Casper in the middle.   What a zoo!

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The skunk cabbage are up in Erika’s gulley.

 

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Still lots of snow at the edge of the bottom road as we come off the highway.

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A few days ago there was a big pile of snow at the gate until son-in-law Wade got our tractor out and cleared it.

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Much better now than then.

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A beautiful sunny day and everything looks okay.  That’s one of Eric’s building where he stores his stuff!

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All the machinery lined up and ready to go. 

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The Cyclone safely under cover.   We made it all the way from Mexico with only a few drops of rain.  Rain is the enemy of RV roofs.

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The garden is quiet and sleepy!  I used to have all this dirt in vegetables but now I just use the two rows closest to the shrub border.  The rest of the dirt is slated for more lawn.

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Looking southwest towards the barn in the field.

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This is the view we see every morning when we drink our tea.

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Far in the distance at the end of the field you can see Sleeping Beauty mountain from our sunroom window. 

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The little tiny house that’s just big enough for us.  We moved here in June of 1978.  Eric had planned to build a bigger house but when the girls left home it was big enough and especially now that we are travelling in the winter and spend most of the time outside in the summer. 

The first order of business was to get the water going in the house.  Eric shuts off the water from our gravity water system and then blows out the lines in the house with a compressor and then we put RV antifreeze in the washer, dishwasher and toilet.  A few years ago we had a leak in a pipe in our bedroom wall as water had been trapped and it froze so….always a little bit of worry that it will happen again.  This time….no problems.  All the appliances started up and there was minimal dripping from reconnected taps.  Good to go!  Last fall it rained so hard in the last week before we left home that it filled up the dam with rubble and we and the neighbours were out of water for a week.  Unfortunately it was the week before we left and it still wasn’t on when we left for the winter.  When the water is really high you can’t get near the dam to clean it out.  Too dangerous.

Back in the house on Thursday and it’s been hair straight back.   I spent the first day unloading all the food from the RV and anything else that we needed in the house.  I have tried to double up as much as possible in the rig so I don’t have to unload everything.  Eric got busy getting all the machinery running…his and mine.  He put the new starter he’d ordered on line while we were in Kelowna in the riding mower as it had crapped in the last week before we left home.   Then it was a trip to town to fill up our tidy tank with marked gas for a summer’s mowing.  225 liters for $279….we have big place and there is a lot of mowing to be done.  Eric runs diesel in the tractors and backhoe so that is another tank of fuel.  I opened six months worth of mail while I was at Erika’s and now it was time to get the taxes sorted out.  That done I took them into the accountant to be prepared and the papers to our insurance agent for our ICBC rebate on insurance for the time we spent in Mexico.  The weather has been good this week so we have both been outside catching up before the rampant growth that we get here takes over!  When it rains…like today I’m inside doing housework and…the blog.  Tomorrow we are off to the doctor for our yearly check-up and then we’ll pick up Erika’s tow behind thatcher so Eric can clean up the lawns.  He tows a lawn sweeper to pick up the moss and then it will be time to fertilize so….I can mow all summer.  Terrace is not noted for long stretches of clear hot weather so everything we do depends on ….the weather!  There was so much snow this winter that it snagged all Eric’s new fences and pulled out a bunch of the staples.  More work for him. 

Eric took the 5th wheel over the scales here for the first time ever.  He was concerned that uneven loading with Big Red at 900 lbs on the slide side which is already heavier was contributing to our tire blow outs on the passenger side.   Turns out that the passenger side was only about 150 lbs lighter than the slide side.  So that’s not it.  We are no where near to the maximum weight for the axles so the blowing tires wouldn’t seem to be weight related.  However the combined weight of the truck and trailor is slightly over what the truck is licensed to pull.  No where as near as bad as we thought it was and the truck has no issues hauling the RV.  We are putting replacing our tires with Sailun 14 ply steel walled tires this year so we’ll see if that helps.  Eric will pull the brake drums, repack the bearings, change all the spring bushings and replace some of the slide seals that have turned to jelly and then he’ll wash and wax it.  Never a dull moment!   I will continue to clean the inside and wash it down from top to bottom and then we’ll be ready for next fall. 

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Blue has been up on blocks for the last three years and hasn’t been ridden since 2014.  Eric got her down and gave her a bath and she is just the prettiest thing ever!  Unfortunately she isn’t as comfortable as Big Red so she isn’t the motorcycle of choice.  Eric is going to insure her for three months and get her out on the road.  She’s just so pretty he can’t bring himself to sell her so I guess he’ll keep her as a pet just like all the other machinery that he doesn’t use anymore.  You never know when you might need something. 

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This is five days later and things are starting to grow rapidly.  I’ve managed to run my mower with a bagger and pick up all the leaves I didn’t get to last fall.

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The birch trees are starting to leaf out.

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I tie up my boxwood bushes for the winter so they won’t break from the snow like my little spreading maple that lost a main branch. 

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A few years ago my friend Barb and I made leaf imprint stepping stones.  I really should put them somewhere!

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To the right of the rhodo is a hosta border that is still sleeping.  I’ll take a picture when it’s in it’s full glory and post it then.

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Within a couple of weeks this will all be green.

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Stepping stone on the dry stream bed. 

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I try to cut everything down and mulch it in the fall so there isn’t so much work when I get home.  Even so I will spend my summer on my knees “ praying to the God of weeds!” 

For the first few days Eric and I were both exhausted from our flat out efforts and Eric said “ I guess some walking, doing weights, swimming  and riding my bicycle in Mexico isn’t as tiring as what we do here!”  Too right.  We are both starting to rally now but it will take a month to get back into shape.  We still both enjoy what we do and as long as our health holds up and we go away in the winter we’ll stay on our acreage for a while yet.   Keeps us busy and fit and it just so quiet here.  We are about 1/2 mile off the main highway and are surrounded on three sides by a Provincial park so it’s pretty darn nice after the hubbub of Mexico and the travel.  It has been a big stretch for us to adapt to the closeness of the RV park and all the people and neighbours as our closest ones at home are at the other end of our forty acres. 

As we have data on our AT&T phone while we are at home I will do the occasional post when I have something interesting to report. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Prince George to Terrace and our daughter Erika’s house.

Up early today as we have a long way to go and we’re tired.  We rarely travel two days in a row and now it will be three. 

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349 miles today.  Most of the day we will head NW and then south.  Funny how the mind thinks it should be going north. 

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Heading out of the Bon Voyage at 8am.

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We’ll head west for Terrace.

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Not too far out of town and you can see this small lake is still frozen and there are snowmobile tracks left over from the winter.  

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It’s not break-up yet so the logs are still moving.

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Ice on this lake too.  It’s a really, really late spring everywhere.

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The wide open highway.

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First stop Vanderhoof which is about 70 miles west of Prince George. 

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Down the long hill into town.  Vanderhoof is well known for….speeding tickets!

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Typical of most small northern towns there are fuel stops and eateries along the highway and small shops on the back streets.

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Leaving Vanderhoof and you see a “stud” mill on your right. 

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The only thing they cut here are 8 foot studs.

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It takes a lot of small wood to make all those 2 x 4 fours.  There is a cogeneration plant right next to the mill which uses the wood waste to produce electricity and then puts it into the grid.  Very efficient

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A tiny bit of grass here and the cows are out.

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Now that’s a load!

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I tried to get a picture of this “mobile” chicken coop in a big field.  Load em up and move em on!  Lots and lots of happy chickens and the eggs would be good too. 

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Not much green grass yet and lots of water in the field.

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Another tiny northern town .

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Hmmm……more ice.

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We stop for fuel at LeJac which is a First Nations Fuel stop.  This is an easy in and out that doesn’t require tight turns.

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Fraser Lake….still has ice on it.

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Pretty but not green by any means.

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Everywhere I look there is ice, no leaves on trees and no green grass.

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Pretty and no ice here.

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We are coming into Burns Lake.

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Down the long hill into town where the main highway will wiggle it’s way right through the middle of town. 

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An old building refitted and used for something new.

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Burns Lake the town has a huge lake and it gets really, really cold here in the winter.  Some springs when we come through the lake is ice free. 

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This is a huge long hill and Eric is going slow.

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Still almost three hundred k’s to go.  We’ve had a south wind today which would be a good thing if we were heading north but today we’re heading west and then south. 

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A little farm in the middle of no where.

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We’ll stop in Houston and have lunch.

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The visitor’s centre by the “ World’s biggest fly rod.”   A good place to eat lunch.

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As we drove out I saw this stuffed Kermode bear in the front of the visitor’s centre.  They are known as the “spirit bear” and are a rare sub species of the American black bear.  It is found in the central and north coast regions of B.C.  We have lived in Terrace for 40 years and I’ve never seen a live one although Eric has.  

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Leaving Houston and this person has a huge amount of water in their front yard.  Many areas of B.C. are in for huge flooding this spring because of above average snow packs and a late spring.

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The snow is still way down the mountains as you can see in these logged over areas.

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Heading down Hungry Hill just west of Houston heading towards Smithers.  The summit is at about 2650 ft.  Not very high when you consider we were travelling at 6,000 ft between Ely, Nevada and Jackpot, Nevada.

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On the right in the distance is Hudson’s Bay Mountain.

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Eric’s Grandparents came to Smither’s from Sweden in the early 1900’s.  Eric’s father, Norman grew up skiing on Hudson’s Bay Mountain when there were no ski trails. 

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Coming into Telkwa before Smithers.

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This is a tiny town on the Bulkley River. 

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Skiing is a big tourist draw in Smithers. 

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Quite the view when you have a mountain like that in your back yard.

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Fishing, farming and skiing here.  The main street of Smithers has been nicely done in an alpine motif. 

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This used to be the hospital and Eric was born here back in the winter of 1946.  His mother Doris who had come to Smithers as a war bride walked to the hospital with her mother in law Gertrude when Eric was born.  Eric’s Dad Norman was out on the road working for CN Telegraph. 

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One of the outlying farms on the west side of Smithers.

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The old Storey barn.  It’s looking like it’s on it’s last legs but when we moved to Terrace in the mid seventies it was in full use for hay storage. 

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“Mo-town!”  The Morice canyon on the Bulkley river is a big tourist draw here especially when the salmon are trying to get up the falls.

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Coming along the Skeena River towards Terrace and the coast mountains start to close in.  Smithers is in the Bulkley valley on the east side of the coast mountains and it’s much more open there. 

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The long hill down into New Hazelton.  Here you’ll find the  historical  ‘Ksan Village in old town.  Again a huge tourist draw. 

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Hwy 16 coming through New Hazelton.  Old Hazelton is off to the right and it’s situated along the Skeena River.  Old Hazelton was as far as the paddle wheelers could go up stream on the Skeena.  It was here that Eric’s grandfather Gus got off the paddle wheeler and walked to Smithers overland before there was a railroad.  A different era. 

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The mountains are closing in and we’re starting to feel like we’re almost home.

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Kitwanga off to the right and Hwy 37 the Alaska/Stewart highway.  Highway 16W ends in Prince Rupert so if you want to go north….this is the place to do it.

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90 kms to go.

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The big farm at Price Creek.

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I tried to get a picture of the “ Seven Sisters” but all our Mexico stickers and road grime got in the way!

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Traveling along the Skeena River. 

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Pioneer Chapel in Usk about 25kms east of Terrace.

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That’s Kitselas Mountain which we can see from our front door at home.

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We aren’t going home today but if we were we’d drive off to the left just over the bridge which is coming up ahead.  We live on a 40 acre parcel of land up on the left. 

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As we head into town the Skeena River is on our right and we drive along it every time we go into town. 

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Our daughter and son-in-law live in Thornhill which is just outside Terrace.

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Coming through Thornhill.

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And….we’re here.  Daughter Erika and grand daughter Abby are here to greet us with the dogs. 

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On the left is Chloe or Schmoopy as Eric calls her.  In front is Maple and to the right, Tikki.  Tikki is their 11 year old chocolate lab, Chloe is 3 years old and Maple is 10 months and they are Greater Swiss Mountain dogs.  Throw in a couple of cats and a few horses and it’s quite the menagerie! 

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That’s the house in the background.

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All right you guys….get into your dog run.

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This is Ellie or Smelly as Erika calls her because ….she’s always smelling things.  A very independant “chatty” cat who doesn’t like to be held.

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Tikki’s tired….time for a nap.

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Beer and a snack before dinner….just what the doctor ordered.

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Abby is a vegetarian and she’s making a ….vegetarian pizza.  Erika hand made the pizza dough and a sausage pizza along with a Greek salad. 

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All delicious.

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That’s Abby’s pizza and I really liked it.  We really cut down on meat this winter and this is a good alternative.

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Good too.

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That’s Wade on the left in the middle.   So ends the day and it’s now time for us to go to bed.  A good drive, dinner with family and now nighty night!

Tuesday morning….

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Erika and Wade moved to this 30 acre property about 7 years ago.  They updated the house interior, cleared the alder out back and had the 7 stall barn and hay barn built.  Erika planted the fields and she and Wade now have most of it fenced. 

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This is Erika’s young horse Jackson an almost 4 year old gelding riding in her ring.  Not fenced yet but that will come.

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I haven’t seen her ride him before and he is a beautiful horse.  A bit of a teenager but….he’ll grow up.  She has an older horse called Eddie who she rides as well.  Mostly just dressage. 

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Nice barn with a concrete walkway down the centre and all the modern conveniences.  Nice!

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Erika has hay storage above the barn but since she orders large bales that she moves with the tractor she needed a hay shed as well.  Grand daughter Abby rides Diva.   Erika also has a number of borders as well.

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Tikki napping and Chloe on guard. 

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A nice setting for a barn and riding ring.  Erika runs a tight ship and everything is always neat and tidy.   She and her Dad have a lot in common. 

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The road back to the house and you can see we are parked just below the shop which they also had built.

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Nice view.

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We can run power from the shop and we’ll stay and visit for another day before heading home.  Eric will go out and check things out at home while I do laundry and ….catch up the blog.

We had a good trip home but we are tired and there will be a huge amount to do when we get there.  I’m not unhappy that it’s a late spring because that means all my gardens won’t be growing rampantly yet. 

Tomorrow we head home.