Wednesday, August 31, 2011

History of Greenwood, Nova Scotia

There's so much history to learn it's amazing. Unlike other areas of Canada, Greenwood and the Annapolis Valley area has been settled for hundreds of years. Greenwood, where we live, was settled in 1770. Here's the info according to the village Of Greenwood's official website.

" Greenwood has a complex history. The area was settled by Loyalists in the 1770's in the aftermath of the American Revolution, when approximately 60,000 Loyalists migrated to Canada in support of the Crown. Present day Greenwood was originally two communities, Greenwood Square, so named because of the majestic pine trees, and the popularity of the name among Loyalists, and the original Kingston Village (not to be confused with Kingston Station which was two kilometres North). This community, built between the Fales and Annapolis Rivers was the commercial hub of the area serving rural farmers from Tremont, Harmony, and North Kingston and Melvern Square, furniture stores, blacksmith and cooperage shops as well as sawmills, a post office and several other shops, served the residents until the arrival of the railway line in the 1870's.

In 1940, Greenwood was selected as the site to built the Royal Air Force training base because of the topography of the land, and the fog free climate. A total of fifteen parcels of land totalling some 672.67 acres was purchased from local landowners. Later more land was purchased as the base expanded to accommodate the housing requirements of the personnel. Construction began in the fall of 1941 for building RAF Station Greenwood to train aviators for the second World War. The RAF Station became the RCAF Station in 1944 and in 1968 the station became Canadian Forces Base Greenwood.

The base brought prosperity to the Annapolis Valley and Greenwood in particular. Greenwood incorporated under the Village Services in 1961 and assumed the name Village of Greenwood. Once again Greenwood is the commercial hub of Western Kings. "

Well there you have it, a little flavour of the history of the area. As mentioned before, there are houses still occupied in the area that are 250 years old. It makes for an interesting drive around to look at farms that have been working the same fields for generations and to see old stone buildings and cemeteries by the score right on the main roads all through the valley. I guess when you've been settled as long as this area, the graveyards get a bit full.

Other amazing features are the tides on the Bay of Fundy. I know I've talked about them before but I found a good vodeo on YouTube that illustrates the tides here. On the coast the harbours are right up at the high tide line with the beach between them and the bay so in the video you don't see that the tide keeps going out over the rocks and sand for quite a long way before coming back in and eventually making it into the harbour again. I'll have to see about getting some pics for you. Enjoy the video, long (10 mins) but interesting.



But right now I have to go to bed. I have some shopping to do in the morning and then an appointment here at the house at 11 am with the Welcome Wagon. But more about that tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Choosing your Friends Wisely- Funny

Tips for Teens : New Friends (A humourous look at the latest sketches from BYU's Divine Comedy)


Having the same focus, goals or priorities is a trait that's important in a friend. We don't all have to be the same but having some similar core beliefs is important to a lasting friendship. Friends who aren't demanding and who genuinely care about us contribute to our personal happiness.



Peers are especially important at the times in your life when you are most vulnerable emotionally ie. your teen years, birth of a child, loss of a loved one. So be aware of peer pressure. For good or evil, it's a reality of life.



And try to avoid misunderstandings by being clear in your communication and resolving conflicts as soon as they happen. Don't jump to conclusions...try to get as many details as possible before passing judgement.



Thanks to Divine Comedy at BYU for doing such a great job. Love the music videos best of all! Check them out on YouTube

Monday, August 29, 2011

Thar she Blows !!!

Well, needless to say, it's a bit windy today. We didn't get nearly as much rain as we were expecting because the storm increased in forward motion when it got to Canada so most of the rain was pushed north and west of us. We got our share of wind that basically lasted for 24 hours. Maximum gusts in Greenwood were officially recorded at 93 km per hour and on the Bay of Fundy the wave heights due to storm surge and high tide were 6m or 18feet with the foam from the wave tops blowing all over the shore like snow. Here in Nova Scotia most popular beaches and beach access points were closed due to the hazards of being pulled in by a rogue wave and because the waves were crashing onto the parking lots and shores.

Preceeding the wind it got very hot and muggy with the barometre showing 100% humidity. I remember at one point standing near the front door saying goodbye to friends and Chris saying "shut the door, you're letting all the hot air in" which is of course a total turn around for Canada. The humidity stayed for the duration of the storm but has now returned to normal with cooler temperatures and clear blue skies. The humidity made it hard to sleep so this cooler and fresher weather is very welcome. I slept through the night for the first time in days, yay!

While it's true that we didn't get nearly as much damage as expected, I wonder if that's because we had warning and were more prepared or were we just lucky? I noticed that for the week preceeding the storm the power crews were out trimming branches and trees with the potential to take down the lines. City crews were making sure that drains in the streets were open and working properly and beaches and parks were closed to the public to avoid falling debris and waves. I think the news coverage may also have helped because we saw all the damage occuring in the US, partucularly Virginia, and decided to stay home and not try our luck at surfing or some other equally dumb thing

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Here Comes The Rain Again...

Well, as expected, it's raining. We had a sudden downpour and now it's gone from a light shower to an increasingly steady rain. The weather watches and warnings currently in effect for our county are more concerned with the wind that we'll see in a few hours from what is now Tropical Storm Irene, it having been downgraded since making landfall in New Jersey. However, current reports say that about 4.5 million people are without power, 11 people are confirmed dead and extensive flooding throughout coastal areas is occuring as the storm surge coincided with the high tide. The storm surge, reported to be as high as 10 feet in the Carolinas has decreased to about 5 feet which can still cause severe damage and disruption when you consider that much of Manhattan and New York City are low lying and that New York City's mass transit, the subway, is underground. Along with the power distribution system, water pipes and other utilities are located in vaults and a network of tunnels below most major cities making them prone to flooding. One of the other things to consider is that once the flooding has happened there's still prolonged wind that can damage already weakened infrastructure and trees. It's not a quick sort of storm, it'll be a 24 hour experience.

We're ready with our supplies at hand and back-up plans in place. There seems to be more air traffic from the base so obviously the military is getting ready too. The boys have to do a quick check of the exterior of the house before we go out for dinner and then tonight will be our first storm in our new house. It's warm and humid right now which is miles better from freezing and snowy. Winter storms can be very dangerous, I don't think this will be the case with a little tropical storm once it gets to Nova Scotia tonight.

Oh, I see it's stopped raining and the sun is trying to come out...more details later.

the Bible - Some good reading if the power goes out

Did you know that the King James version of the Bible is now 400 years old? Only 400 years since the English people could read it in their own language instead of relying on a Priest to interpret it for them. 400 years during which time wars have been fought over it, people would save a lifetime to buy their very own copy, and now today we often take it for granted. People read the stories as myths and legends or morality tales instead of recognizing the divine truth that this is...as far as it's translated correctly...the Word of God. It's easy to get a bible today. If you want a free one you can fill in a form online at http://mormon.org/free-bible/ and the LDS Church would be pleased to send you one.

Contrary to what some people think, we LDS (Mormons) do use the Bible and believe in the stories. In fact this year the youth of the church who attend seminary classes will spend the school year learning about and studying the Old Testament. We use it in addition to the Book of Mormon. Mormon was an ancient prophet in the America's who compiled many of the writings of his people into one book and taught about their wars, society and their dealings with God.

We live in an age where we are so blessed to have access to books that help us learn and grow and books that can teach us how to find happiness. Let's not think of the scriptures as something you read for 5 minutes on Sunday if at all...a daily dose, even a low dose will strengthen you and help you stay on the right path. It's sometimes nice to have that little nudge.

Here's a video for a Sunday that crept up on me. Here's hoping that you and yours are warm, dry and safe this weekend.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene's Affects on Nova Scotia

We've had some worried e-mails that we're in for a direct hit from the hurricane currently raking it's way up the eastern seaboard of the US.

Let me assure you that we're not worried. First of all, we drove nearly 8000km with 4 kids...we can handle anything after that :) Secondly, it's widely projected to miss us and track up through North western New Brunswick. But here we're in for a rainy day tomorrow with winds upto 100km/h in the afternoon and then clearing weather on Monday. Even if the worst happened and it gained strength (which is very unlikely) and changed course, we have enough food, fuel and water to happily ride out a storm for several weeks, so please don't worry.

Here's the current weather alert for our county:

Alerts: Kings County

Wind Warning

Issued at 9:30 PM ADT Saturday 27 August 2011

Summary

Wind gusts up to 100 km/h expected Sunday night. This is a warning that potentially damaging winds are expected in these regions. Monitor weather conditions..Listen for updated statements.

Details

Hurricane Irene is currently located south of Wallops Island Virginia and is expected to weaken and become post-tropical before tracking through Northwestern New Brunswick Monday morning. A tropical storm warning is in effect for western mainland Nova Scotia. Rain at times heavy will begin in Southwestern Nova Scotia Sunday morning and will reach Cape Breton by Sunday evening. Currently 30 to 40 millimeters of rain is forecast. It is possible that rainfall warnings may be issued as Irene approaches. Also strong southerly winds gusting up to 100 km/h will begin Sunday evening for mainland Nova Scotia. Les Suetes winds gusting up to 100 km/h are expected Sunday evening for the Cape Breton Highlands.

Tropical Storm Warning

Issued at 9:30 PM ADT Saturday 27 August 2011

Summary

Strong southerly winds and heavy downpours are expected Sunday and Sunday night. A tropical storm warning means that sustained gales...Winds of 63 km/h or more...Are expected in the specified areas within 24 hours. By nature a tropical storm also implies the threat of local flooding from heavy rainfall.

Details

Hurricane Irene is currently located south of Wallops Island Virginia and is expected to weaken and become post-tropical before tracking through Northwestern New Brunswick Monday morning. A tropical storm warning is in effect for western mainland Nova Scotia. Rain at times heavy will begin in Southwestern Nova Scotia Sunday morning and will reach Cape Breton by Sunday evening. Currently 30 to 40 millimeters of rain is forecast. It is possible that rainfall warnings may be issued as Irene approaches. Also strong southerly winds gusting up to 100 km/h will begin Sunday evening for mainland Nova Scotia. Les Suetes winds gusting up to 100 km/h are expected Sunday evening for the Cape Breton Highlands.


So that's the info we have as of this evening. I'll check again when we get up. First thing in the morning we have to secure the motorhome and trailer and remove the porch swing from the back deck. Apart from that there's not much to do but ride it out. I'll let yo know how it goes and if you don't hear it's just because the power is out or something.

I guess this is as good a time as any to remind you folks to consider evaluating your current food and water supplies and any other emergency preparations you've made. I always check mine in October and April to see what goodies need to be eaten and replaced (granola bars don't keep forever) and we change out all the bottled water and refill with new stuff plus 1 drop of bleach if necessary. We use pop bottles for storage so it's easy to just dump them and fill them again. Anything that's going to expire in the next 6 months gets put into the cupboard to be eaten or used up and is replaced by new stuff. If you haven't checked your stuff you might as well go check it now. If you don't have any supplies or are wondering why to have any...please see this site for Canada and this one for the US. They have good ideas no matter which country you live in. For long term storage there are loads of companies willing to sell you freeze dried everything but I'd recommend starting with the basics of some tinned food and water with a camp stove, pot and a can opener. From there start to build a long term supply and if you don't know how much you need just click on this calculator. It's going to look scary but remember this...it's a 12 month supply so divide by 12 and start with that. Most people can't buy everything at once so just be consistent and keep working at it. And rotate so you don't waste food. It becomes a way of life after a while to store food and it's not just for emergencies. It's also useful when guests stop by unexpectedly, when you lose a job or have an unexpected expense and need to stretch your budget, or when bad weather closes the stores. I'm sure you can think of more reasons too. And store garden seeds too, you can grow veggies in summer if you want the best nutrition and flavours.

I should go. It's late and I have Church in the morning. I'm nervous to meet everyone so I'll sit nice and close to Steve and try to look anonymous, yeah...good luck with that! :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Why we chose Nova Scotia over cheaper places to live

I guess it seems a little early to write this entry in our blog as we have only been here short time so I promise that I will update it monthly and you can follow us every day to see how we're doing. I've been asked a few times why we chose Nova Scotia over New Brunswick or PEI. And today Shelley made some pretty persuasive arguments on my writing about specifically why we chose here. SO here goes.

We are told in our church that you should first research a question or problem, decide on a course of action and then pray about it to know if it's right. Sometimes along the course of researching you solve the problem and sometimes you realize other things you hadn't though about. So it makes you a more independent problem solver. Consequently we did a lot of research and originally were looking at New Brunswick with PEI as a far back second choice. Nova Scotia wasn't even on the radar.

Newfoundland we quickly dismissed as not being a place that had enough of the support systems that we wanted for our kids. The people are really wonderful but it's harder being an outsider to fit in. The rates of teen drinking are alarmingly high, there's less to do socially and educationally and you're of course out there on an island which limits job prospects. Fishing is a big part of the economy but not so much agriculture. I know it's a great place to live if you have roots there but it wasn't for us.

PEI is beautiful! And an island connected with a bridge which I like. But there is less church community for us out there and some of the same reasons we dismissed Nfld. It's a lovely family community if you've lived there before or have enough money to buy a place and pay for your upgrades and repairs or don't mind living rurally. Agriculture is big on the island and farms do come up for sale regularly but cost somewhat more than other provinces owing to it's being a tourist destination and summer cottage community. Tourists are mainly there mid April to mid September and then it gets very quiet. Perfect for retirement. But not for us.

New Brunswick. This was the place we thought we were going to move to. Around the Moncton area probably near Havelock or Sussex just to the south west. But we never quite felt 100% comfortable. Sure, the prices for homes are amazing! Cheapest place in Canada that's not northern Quebec. Church is good if few and far between. Education for the kids is ok too. Agriculture was hit and miss so you just have to pay close attention. The clincher was the climate in this particular region of Nova Scotia and the lack of French speakers.

Nova Scotia. It's not perfect for everyone, as evidenced by the number of people who move from here every year for better paying jobs on the oil rigs or young people looking for a faster metropolitan lifestyle. But of course we're looking for a quieter place to live away from all the hum drum of the city and yet we're still only a bit over an hour to the hopping night life of Halifax for when the kids are older and want such things. So this is perfect for us. We want to farm so we looked for a place with a good climate for growing soft and tree fruits, grains and vegetables, and that had good water. Schools are important, access to health care, available work for Steve and access to a social life for the teenagers is important too as well as access to good post-secondary schools.

So...the Annapolis Valley's little micro-climate makes it the warmest place in Canada overall. It's obviously colder than Victoria, BC in the winter...but if you took the mean daytime temperatures and averaged them out over a period of one year you'd find that Nova Scotia was warmer. In this section about climate I should mention that here in the heart of the valley there's not a lot of fog, it's warmer than by the coast, and the rain is spread out more during the year than on the west coast which gets most of it's rain in the winter and spring and has long dry summers. Here it rains more evenly throughout the year making sprinklers and irrigation much less of a concern. This was a huge plus to us after living through dried up wells and droughts for 2 years.

The Annapolis valley is the bread basket of Nova Scotia. Dotted with small (400 people) communities you don't have to go far to find what you need and the rural areas are quiet and peaceful. The soil is very suitable for mixed farming though it seems to be dominated by blueberries and vegetables with fewer animals than I think is normal depending on the county you are in. With a mix of reclaimed land, sedimentary glacial deposits and volcanic soil, it's very fertile with most areas having a small number of rocks and relatively level fields. Good if you're using large equipment. If you take a drive east from here along the river and towards the basin you'll see evidence of all the land reclaimed by the French dyke system and it's tremendously fertile. The original Acadian settlers were from northern France and had used dykes successfully back home so when they saw the possibilities available to them here they quickly went to work reclaiming thousands of acres of prime farmland.

There are lots of schools in the valley with transportation provided by school bus or public bus. Also, Nova Scotia has the highest per capita percentage of Universities and Colleges including Dartmouth, Acadia, St. Mary's, St. Francis Xavier and more. So if they want to, they can be close enough to share holidays or weekends with us when they are in University or even commute if they want to drive and live at home.

While it can be a bit tricky to find a family Dr. there are walk-in medical clinics and 4 hospitals in the valley. There are dentists, chiropractors, massage therapists etc all here but I think the orthodontist is in Kentville.

For groceries there are the local 'Needs' stores everywhere, Sobeys, Superstore, ValuMart, plus many more. Overall I find groceries to be about 20% less than Vancouver Island with meat having the biggest difference, it's cheaper here. Milk as mentioned before is more but I got it at $5.49 per 4 litre jug today at Shoppers Drug Mart (thanks for the tips on that one!) so that's only 10c more than we were paying for milk in BC when we left. One thing to watch when comparing prices is that seasonal and promotional items don't reflect the price of your average grocery shop so follow the flyers for a month before making decisions about prices and also the cost of food is going up everywhere so it may seem expensive now but that's happening everywhere. There is Costco in the major towns for any of you who like to stock up and Bulk Barn too.

The vast majority of people in Nova Scotia speak English with a few small Acadian villages still speaking French along the West Coast. And this is good for us as we don't speak French. It's an important decision if you don't speak French very well to do your research as some parts of Canada that you might not expect are heavily French. Quebec obviously speaks French only for the most part though you'll be able to communicate to get groceries and gas with no problems. Crossing into New Brunswick it gets more and more English the further away from the Quebec border you go. As I mentioned previously there are isolated pockets of French here in Nova Scotia too.

There is work here but many jobs are minimum wage and that's $9.65 per hour but of course the housing is cheaper. So it's a trade off. Skilled workers and seasonal fruit pickers are always in demand. You can look here for some recent jobs listed. Just put in the appropriate info like Nova Scotia for the province and then search by town or just look at all jobs. Other online search engines can be helpful too including Kijiji and Craigslist which can also be a good place to find other second hand items you want.

If you look at the online property listings there are some things to bear in mind.
1. There are some fantastic photographers who can take pics and make everything look much better than it actually is.
2. Lovely old homes should DEFINITELY be inspected to avoid nasty surprises and they require more maintenance than newer ones so budget accordingly.
3. Rural property taxes are much lower than in town.
4. If a house looks great and the price seems cheap then it's located out of the main towns in a quieter place which means a longer commute if you work.
5. In most parts of Canada each property for sale is listed on the MLS but here the realtors list only about 50%. If you follow the links to an individual realtor you''ll find his personal website has more listings. So if you're a buyer it's advantageous to work with a realtor to get those inside listings. Or expect to do a lot of searching online and looking in person. Realtors charge the majority, if not all their fees, to the seller. But do expect to sign a contract with any realtor in Nova Scotia. It's the rules now so that there is no squabbling about who gets what fees and who is actually helping individual buyers. Seems petty but there it is, at least now they have a solution.

Once we had made the decision that this was the place for us we prayed about it and believe that God told us to come here...so here we are. So far it's all working out beautifully! We like our neighbours, have made friends from Church, and we're excited about the possibilities.

I'm exhausted so I'm going to go now. We had a long fun day exploring Port Royal and more of the Annapolis Valley. We also drove over North Mountain to Hampton to see the harbour and lighthouse and get our first taste of the Atlantic and the Bay of Fundy. It was neat to see the tide come in and raise the boats off the mud bottom of the harbour and Steve and Meghan went into the water to get their feet wet in the Atlantic for the first time. The beach varies between sand and pebbles with the pebbles offering many beautifully polished specimens. If you like to collect them, save your pockets and take a bag. I'll get some pics uploaded as soon as I can. More exploring planned for tomorrow.

Best Wishes to you all.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

First Day in our Rental House

Well we are sort of moved into our new house. It's a 3 bedroom bungalow with another bedroom and an office in the basement plus a rec room. Lots of room for our family. Here's a picture.




The guys are unloading the trailer now and the sorting and organizing has begun. We moved a few people from Church yesterday and then we moved ourselves into our new house at about 7:30pm. We found dinner waiting for us which was lovely and slept in our new beds. It's a bit weird sleeping in someone else's house with a combination of their decorations and your own belongings, it feels like a hotel and I'm sure it will take us a while to get settled in but we'll just keep working on it one day at a time.

The kids had a bit of a dust up about getting the bedrooms they wanted and so the girls finally agreed to share a room. It's a lovely big room so there's no worries about that. Jordan has a room on the main floor also and Chris, at his request, has the lone room in the basement with his own bathroom. He's happy to have the privacy and close proximity to the rec room and his closest neighbour is our office so that works out alright.

Jordan enjoyed his room too. But his morning had a bit of an ugly start when he went into the garage and discovered that the dog had a nasty poop in the middle of the floor for him to clean. Ah the lovely responsibilities of owning a dog! Chris has discovered the many joys of cutting the lawn with a ride on mower so I think this is one job he won't complain too much about doing. We're going to have a family meeting to discuss house rules and chores. I better cook them something nice for when I break the bad news to them :)

We've unpacked some of our boxes already and started to figure out what goes where. Over the next week I'm sure we're going to be changing things around until we are comfortable and can find things. Steve's working on getting the office functional and I'm working on the upstairs. It's a work in progress...especially since I'm obviously slacking to write this blog update.

Canadian Tire got that gas cap in for me and I got it today. I got some groceries too and still find that the prices are generally lower than Vancouver Island but more than Calgary. It really depends though. Milk costs more and fish is a cheaper, veggies are cheaper and there are great road side markets and vendors willing to give a good deal plus the many u-picks this time of year. The trick is to have a way of preserving the veggies for winter use. The garden here at the house has tomatoes ready for picking and zucchini for making chocolate cake, yum! Today I got the following:

10 lb local potatoes $3.50
5 lb local carrots $3
1 gallon blue berries $8
Large head of cabbage $1.50
1 HUGE rutabaga (5 lb) $1.25
cucumbers 75 cents each

I talked at length with the vendors and they said that they are on disability and retired so they go round to different farms getting the best deals they can and then sell it at the roadside. The berries they pick themselves and repackage. They sell on average about $700 per day for the summer and that means a net profit of about $200 each day. Not too bad eh? They're acting as middle man and retailer and making a healthy profit for a days work that doesn't involve heavy lifting, picking the veggies, or having to maintain a store front. They are still cheaper than the store and only a little more than buying direct from the farmer and of course they're conveniently located on the road to CFB Greenwood so it's a breeze for us to pop over.
Even in the store there were great produce deals. I love this time of year. Now to get organized so I can do some canning and get my cold storage room shelves stocked for winter!

Meghan and Kate (but mostly Meghan) have been playing with the girls across the street who are both in her same grade in school. It's nice for them to have other kids to play with. Hopefully the boys will continue meeting new people too.

We miss our friends the Mullens. Hi guys!! We got sort of comfortable there with the kids off doing their things and their property is beautiful. Some day we hope to find a piece of land like that too. We'll have to pinch pennies and make it happen!

Enough dreaming, time for work.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

First days in Nova Scotia

I'm sorry we haven't written. We've been experiencing some sort of post driving jet lag. There is a 4 hour time difference and we're I'm sorry we haven't written. We've been experiencing some sort of post driving jet lag. There is a 4 hour time difference and we're just now coming off the adrenaline rush of driving and moving; back into a more normal rhythm of day to day life.

We've been invited out to peoples houses for dinner twice, made pizza for the Mullen's our friends and host family and been kept busy exploring all the roads around here. They're going to take some getting used to as there's no obvious order to them, the roads that is. I guess originally they would have been cart tracks that eventually got paved over. But we went to Canadian Tire to buy a replacement gas cap for the one we left in Quebec and ended up getting a map book. To augment the maps we also stopped in to the local tourist information which I highly recommend because they usually have free and more detailed maps of their local areas. The amenities are not divided up all into the biggest centre so you have to pay attention to know that the gov't service office is in Middleton, the Canadian Tire and Zellers are in Greenwood, the WalMart is in Kentville etc. It's ok though, I have a feeling that in a few weeks we'll be able to know where everything is, we're picking it up already. It helps to sit down with a map and see exactly where everything is and then actually drive so you become familiar with the landmarks. It's also a good idea to keep the maps in your vehicle, and though this may seem obvious, we've forgotten the last 2 times we've gone out.

Today is Wednesday and moving day. We're helping the missionaries move from one appartment to another and also another sister from church move. Then we're moving ourselves but we've got the easiest move of all because it's already in the trailer and just has to be driven over to the new house and unloaded into the garage. We can do it ourselves in about a half hour.

The boys are doing yard work this morning here at the Mullen's and the girls have to pick up windfall apples. I think Dave is going to look for work picking beans or something to make a few dollars. So we're getting back into the swing of working. Tomorrow Steve is likely going out to follow up on a couple of good leads and then we are taking a tour of the Bay of Fundy and Annapolis Royal. We've got to fit in some touristy stuff during the nice weather and before Steve is busy with work and the kids are in school. School starts on Sept 6th and I have to register them on Monday.

The people around here are very friendly. They are helpful, easy going and as willing to help a stranger as a friend. So it is making settling in a lot easier. Steve is thinking of joining the Amateur Radio club that's organized locally to meet some other HAM radio people and that's another way to make contacts and friends. But for sure the biggest help was having online friends that we'd e-mailed before coming and people from church who have been delightful to say the least. The Mullen family are terrific and not only welcomed us with open arms bt have let us use the laundry, showed us around town and helped us figure out the basics like garbage collection and schools. There will be more of that to figure out and a call to the Welcome Wagon too, but nothing is as good as having a friend :)

Gotta run. Lots to do! Moving into our own place in a few hours. It will be weird to have a bed again and some privacy. We'll miss the Mullen's though as the kids have really hit it off and are fast becoming good friends. And Steve and I really like Cami and Brian too. It's nice to have new friends when you're missing the ones you left behind.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

We're in Nova Scotia

It's a beautiful Sunday Morning. We were awoken before 6am by the most annoying sound like a whiny lawn mower. Line painters were working in the WalMart lot where we were parked and were working literally under our windows. Needless to say, I bet every RV in the lot got an early start. We were the first to leave and took off for the Irving truck stop east of town to use the bathroom as our portapotti is full and there hasn't been a single rest area or dump station so far in New Brunswick that we could empty it at. It's sort of a problem if you're a girl and have no toilet you can use :(

Apart from that, we're moving along nicely. The morning dawned misty and cool which was a nice change from the humidity and heat we encountered as soon as we came down out of the hills into New Brunswick yesterday. I'm hoping that once we get closer to the coast it'll cool down a bit and have a refreshing breeze. Either way, it was a nice start to the morning and reminded me of vacations we used to have as a family in England on the canals. Misty mornings that burned off into lovely warm afternoons and cooled down again so you could sleep at night. I remember it being a bit damp too, and it was damp in the motorhome last night a bit, but as we had all the windows open it wasn't too bad. I'll be very glad to finally have a new home though and give this thing a really good scrubbing out!

We've passed Moncton now and we're about 30 km from the Nova Scotia border. We're going to stop and see about a dump station and get some maps maybe. We might be sleeping in a campground for one more night while we figure out our new place, but not to worry, it'll all get sorted out in the next few hours. We're not worried.

So far on our trip we've overtaken 3 vehicles that were going slower than we were, including one tractor. Hmmm..3 in 7000+km. Lol! But we're getting better than 10 mpg in this old thing so we're happy. The road's gotten a bit lumpy for the past few km's so we've had to slow down more and watch it with our hitch. It's continued to slowly drop by fractions of an inch for the past couple of days so I think that once this long journey is done we'll only be towing a light trailer behind this or some serious welding. I'm leaning towards the light trailer option.

The girls are watching veggie tales- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything and colouring so that's good. Meghan is wearing her new (on sale) pyjamas and Kate bought a Tinkerbell shirt at WalMart for $3 so she'll wear that today as her special 'clean clothes for Nova Scotia”. Hey, anything to break the boredom and monotony. I've been saving 2 bottles of Martinelli's sparkling apple juice for dinner tonight so if we are camping...it'll be rice, canned meat balls and Martinelli's by moonlight!

I'm going to miss this motorhome when it's not our cozy little home. It's definitely got sentimental value to us far beyond what it's worth. We bought it for $1400 I think. We've paid maybe another $4000 in gas, oil and repairs/upgrades to it over the last 5 months and it's been both our home and moving vehicle and has safely seen us from Vancouver Island on the far West Coast of Canada to Nova Scotia on the East Coast. Sure we've put a lot of time and effort into it but it's been a fun journey in so many ways. I have mixed feelings about it now that it's almost over. I think we'll probably keep the motorhome and use it for short road trips and weekends away. Just think how much shopping and groceries I could fit in it!! he he he :)

Steve is happy, we just passed RCI, Radio Canada International's short wave antenna array in the Tantramar Marshes. Sometimes on the West Coast we could pick up their signal depending on the skip. Now he thinks we'll be able to pick it up much more easily and consistently.

Next stop...the Welcome Centre.........Welcome to Nova Scotia! The kids are cheering! Time for a quick stop.

Ok, stop over. They're happy to be able to explore a new place. We gassed up in Amherst and put in Gold gas because the higher octane should cut down ont he knocking o fhte engine when it's under load. Believe it or not, this engine is actually a high compression one and should use the higher performance gas. We're coming up to the Cobequid Pass toll highway and will test out the difference. Yo're going to have to put up with my ramblings for a while longer as Chris needs to charge his iPod so I have to have the MacBook open. Hmmm, what to tell you...we tried Lobster flavoured chips. Steve thought they were good, the rest of us were rather less enthusiastic. They don't really taste like any lobster I've eaten sort of like grape pop doesn't taste anything like grapes. It should be called 'purple' not grape because everything that's purple tastes the same.

It was super windy at the visitors centre and across the salt marshes. Chris was very disappointed that it was cloudy and dull. We told him it's always like that in NS and he cracked a whole bunch of jokes about the pale people here not knowing what a tan is. Now of course the sun is burning off the clouds and it's getting warm though not as warm as the 30 it's supposed to be in New Brunswick today. I hope.

Other observations from the road....New Brunswick has no rest stops on the highway in from Quebec and neither Quebec or New Brunswick marks their bridges with a clearance sign so there are plenty of bridges with chunks missing underneath. All the yellow flowers at the side of the road look nice but it's not scotch broom which is both the plague and beauty of Vancouver Island. I'm going to have to spend years now learning all the names and habits of the local weeds as there are some I'm not familiar with yet. I guess that's part of the learning curve when you move into a new place and farm or grow veggies. Even fields within a farm will have their own characteristics that make them suitable for different crops. That's the beauty of being settled in a place for a while, you get to learn where the frost pockets are, where the soil dries out quickest and all the other little variations that make a difference. The trick is to make notes so you can remember the details and then look back at the end of each season and decide what you'd do differently. I always think I'll remember but invariably there are so many other things to think about that I forget. And if you're rotating crops then you won't want the information for 4 years in the future when you're planting the same crop. I don't know about you...but there's no way I've got a hope of remembering that far ahead.

Up the hill we go...we're at the last exit before the toll station. No trucks over 3000kg. I guess we are ok then. It's getting warmer for sure and the engine cover is getting very hot too from the engine working so it's making it warmer too. Phew! Another skunk! We have passed a dead skink on the road at least once every single day of driving. Oh it's quite breath taking! This one was at least short lived but with some the smell just follows you up the highway. I think yesterday was the worst day for skunks with a total of 3 at various times. Maybe we'll get lucky and that will be the only one for today. And really, if it's the worst thing that's going to happen each day then we're laughing!

Steve and I are talking about windmills and photo cells. There are wind turbines here just like in Alberta. At some point that's something we'll get set up for our home. A combination of windmill and photo voltaic and if we're really lucky, a stream or brook that can turn another turbine. I guess you'll just have to keep reading our blog each day and see what we're working on next.

Well, the engine is pinging a little less than it was before but not much for the price difference between the cheapest gas and the most expensive. Steve says he's going to check the timing once we're done driving and maybe advance it a little too.

Well, we're coming up to the toll booth so maybe I'll stop it with my blow by blow account or maybe that should be mile by mile. Have a great afternoon and we'll check back soon.

Ok, we're heading to Mullens place in Nictaux. Truro is nice but the roads are crowded and all the weekend drivers are impatient and inattentive. time to get out of town and hit the road once more. We have less than 3 hours left before stopping this amazing cross country drive.

Love all of you who have kept us in your thoughts and prayers over the past months and especially as we've been driving. We appreciate your support and positive notes.

Since it's Sunday and I have a second.... here's a message for all of you who need a reminder that we are all capable of the most amazing things. Maybe they're not the same as your neighbours but they are uniquely special to you.



We each contribute in small ways or large to the growth and development of mankind, even in the small ways we love and support our friends and family.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fredericton

We are in Fredericton so if all goes well we will be in Nova Scotia at our new place by dinner time tomorrow. Hooray! We drove today over the Notre Dame Mountains and the Appalachians and tomorrow we'll be driving over the Cobequid Pass then then it should be smooth sailing after that. The roads as soon as we got our of Quebec are good, 2 lane divided hwy all the way past Halifax. The views are very nice, rolling hills covered in mixed forest with the St John River flowing in the valley. I do miss the smell of the ocean though so I'm looking forward to tomorrow and the Bay of Fundy.

More tomorrow. I'm making pizza pops in the oven as they were on sale for $4 for 8. But holy cricket the price of milk would blow your mind, it's over $7 for 4l and they make bags of milk...yes you heard me right...bags. Like they used to have in the 70's. One more thing to get used to on our new adventure.

Hope you're having a good evening. Will check in from our new home tomorrow, so awesome to be able to say that!

Elizabeth

New Brunswick

We've made it to New Brunswick and we're sitting here in McDonald's using their WiFi. Steve and I shared a McLobster...sort of like a crab salad sandwich only made with real lobster. Welcome to the East Coast! The kids are burning off some energy at the Play Place for a few minutes while I catch up the blog.

We got a nasty surprise south of Riviere De Loup when the motorhome wouldn't start at the gas station. Dead as a door nail...I'll admit that my heart leapt into my throat for a few minutes. Steve, in true handyman style got out his hammer and gave the starter a tap and it fired up. So I guess this means that the starter has developed a dead spot and will occasionally act up until one day it just won't start at all. I'm sure it will make it to our new home but shortly thereafter we're going to need to replace it. Phew, at least it wasn't anything we can't handle. We're incredibly blessed.

The trip today up along the St. Lawrence was very beautiful. Rolling pasture, river and farms everywhere, just my sort of place. Unlike Drummondville which has a lot of night clubs and constant hwy noise which I'm sure you get used to but I love the stillness and quiet of living out in the country. I'm not sure how much I'm going to like living with neighbours again but it's only for a year and a half or two years and then hopefully in that time we can also buy our own place and get it running smoothly, or at least liveable.

This whole trip across Canada has shown us the wonder and splendour of our country and made us realize how very blessed we are to have a God who loves us and made all this as a place we could come to live, learn and experience our mortal lives. Here's a message I'd like to share, just in case I can't get one posted for tomorrow.



We're excited and happy to be getting closer to home. I'll try and update the blog again as soon as I can. As much as I'd love a shower, we'll just see where we get to this evening and sleep at another WalMart if necessary. There's always next week to scrub everyone and everything, right?

Kate came looking for a loonie ($1) so she could play Dave at Air Hockey. She's losing 5-2 but having a great time. Meghan is climbing all over the gym and Chris is napping in the motor closet. It's time to get going so I have to log out now. Oh, Jordan is now beating Dave at air hockey ... he won 10-7!! Way to go Jordy!!

Hope you're all having a wonderful day. I know we are! And it's just getting better with every mile closer to home.


Friday, August 19, 2011

McDonalds WiFi

I'm sitting here in McD's catching up ont he blog so the folks don't worry too much. We're deep in enemy territory...French speaking Quebec...and Dave is trying to figure out how to order a double cheeseburger in French. Turns out he got a McFlurry instead cuz the girl spoke English.

The kids all think it's so weird because in the rest of Canada the signs are bilingual but here as soon as you get across the border everything, even the flashing warning signs, are in French only. So we have absolutely no idea what they say. The roads through Montreal are in good condition but there are exits left, right and below so it's a nightmare to navigate but somehow we made it through the centre of town and from our freeway onto the next one we needed without too many more grey hairs or squealing tyres. We're Alive! We need a t-shirt now that says "I survived the autoroute in Montreal". Some of the other things that are different are that the green lights just flash instead of having an arrow that says you have an advanced turn, you can't turn right on a red light, apparently Arret or Stop signs actually mean slow down and proceed, and those signs that say maximum 100 are really just guidelines.

Most of the people have been nice and friendly to us so far. But the kids are still weirded out by not being able to understand anything. Should have paid more attention in French class I guess though Chris took Japanese so he's forgiven. I wonder if it's like this for people who can't read...it's very disconcerting. We will be going through (or past) Quebec City tomorrow and then up past Trois Rivieres into New Brunswick. Did I mention, I'm sitting on Boulevard Saint-Joseph in Drummondville, Quebec. Not sure I mentioned that. We'll make it easily to New Brunswick barring any problems with the motorhome. I'm hoping that it's all fine though. I've got 15 minutes left to do all my e-mailing so I've got to go. Self-imposed 10:30 curfew.

Hugs to you all. We're all safe and well and the kids may smell bad but their spirits are good. Even Chris has recovered from the devastating loss of his whole world he built on Minecraft that somehow has disappeared overnight. He was quite upset and didn't come see the Houses of Parliament with us but stayed with the motor home parked in the WalMart parking lot. It was....not anywhere as impressive as I thought it would be from the outside. The parking was bad though and so we drove past twice then went back to get the motorhome and get on the road before rush hour. The drive along the river is very pretty and there are lots of beautiful old buildings...but not really a tour the kids were overly interested in. Maybe we'll have to go back and spend a few days some time.

As it is, the kids really just want two things, Slurpees and to get to our new home as quickly as possible. Crawling along at 80 km/h of 50 mph is saving us gas but of course is taking a while too. It's better for the vehicles and tyres though so we'll keep doing it. 1285km left to go. That amounts to about 18 hours of driving so it looks like we'll make it to Greenwood either late on Sunday or early Monday. Another Sunday without Church...it feels really weird. But we're very excited to stop driving and have hot showers again! I don't know about everyone else but I'm also a bit nervous to meet the people I've talked to online but never met in person. What if they don't like me in person? I think the kids will take some time to make friends but it's the beginning of school in a couple of weeks so that will help. We'll get through it.

Time to go. Hopefully our next update will be a happy one from New Brunswick.

Major Update

Hi! Meghan had a meltdown about dying in Minecraft, a computer game, so I've commandeered the MacBook again. Just driving past a farmer combining his oats in between Sudbury and North Bay, Ontario. It's mid afternoon, well, almost 5 actually. A lovely sunny day and quite warm but not uncomfortable. We spent last night at the Sault Ste Marie Walmart Supercentre and got a good nights sleep. Actually got up at 7:30 and fed everyone on time. Just when it all seemed to be going according to plan Steve noticed we had a flat tyre on the rear of the motor closet. Luckily, the guys at the auto dept got it all fixed up for $25 but getting the wheel off and on again was a royal pain because you have to jack the axel up really high and of course it's supporting a lot of weight right now so it's tricky.


We finally got on the road after trying to get air for the tyres at several different stations. Some were broken, one had no air at all, and the last one on the way out of town had air so we got everything inflated to it's proper pressure. I guess the tyre guy at Walmart missed the 65lb rating on the tyre and only filled it to 32.

So we hit the road. We discovered that there are lots of nice rest areas along this road and not a single one is marked on the map. We also discovered that if you need gas in Sudbury you mushave to get off the hwy because there's not one single station until you reach the town that's on the east side of the city. But we didn't run out and got gas ok. Stopped for a few sandwiches and some juice then back onto the road towards Ottawa.


Driving past Lake Huron was very scenic but now we're heading inland and there won't be much in the way of water for the rest of the day I don't think. If we can make it to Pembroke which is west of Ottawa we'll be happy and then we can go to Ottawa and Montreal tomorrow depending on traffic and construction. The scenery here is somewhat like the Island except the trees are smaller and although it looks like the ocean, the lakes don't have the salty tang we've gotten used to. Same waves and shorelines for the most part. Oh, and the trees are tiny :) I don't know if it's all new growth forest or what but the province is covered in little trees that don't look to be more than 50 feet tall. Just babies! Perhaps it's the difference between species that survive this climate. Steve wanted to point out that it's interesting that the Trans Canada Highway is dual lane divided highway in every single province so far, including Saskatchewan, but not in Ontario which is the richest and most heavily populated province.


We can tell they have worse winters here just by looking at their wood piles. It's not unusual to see 15 or more cords all stacked up and waiting for the cold weather. It's likely a 2 year supply of wood but nevertheless, it's a lot of wood! Lots of roadside cars and trucks selling wild blueberries.

**Hey Vicki, tell Garry we'd send him some but no doubt they'd get squished in the mail**

Lots of fresh water fish too like pickerel and walleye. It's been a long time since I ate fresh water fish, years in fact. Maybe I'll have to do some fishing once the move is done and I've slept for a week. Oh, North Bay! Population 54,000. We just passed the sign...and wouldn't you know it...more construction bollards are up. Doesn't look too bad though. Looks like your average mid size Canadian place I guess. It's hard to tell from the hwy of course. It's now 5:24pm.


We're on highway 17 still heading east towards Ottawa. I'll update the blog as soon as I can. Mmmm, I can smell McD's fries. Too bad we can't stop. We've officially now turned off the road leading to Toronto and decided to skip it altogether in favour of saving gas money and arriving a day earlier at our new home. And to avoid the busyness of Southern Ontario. But mostly because we're getting short on funds and don't want to get as far as New Brunswick and run out of $$$. On that note...if any of you owe us money, please feel free to put it in our bank for us :D We could really use it!

It's all the repairs that are nickel and diming us to death. But it's been a good trip so far and with your continued prayers and kind wishes we know we'll make it.

Ottawa 360km. We're getting closer! But boy the road is sure bumpy all of a sudden. This might not be a big deal for most people but when your hitch has a clearance of 3-4 inches it's not a good thing. And the concrete has a sway to it that's like breaching waves in a small boat so it's a bit nauseating too. Thank goodness Debbie told us about Meclazine because it's totally working on Kate and Meghan's car sickness. And it works for me too if I want to read or type while driving. Thank You Debbie!

I noticed we're losing our tans now it's sad to say. 2 weeks of being indoors or in a vehicle are making us pasty again and the boys are teasing me that my shorts are the same colour as my skin.Maybe it was just a dirt tan ;)

Well that's enough typing for one afternoon. Hope all is well with you and yours!

Elizabeth


We got to Petawawa and Pembroke where we gassed up and got ready for the next day. We highly recommend NOT taking any motorhome or larger vehicles through downtown Petawawa or Pembroke. It's very twisty and uneven to say the least, but pretty. The WalMart in Pembroke allows overnight parking despite the 3 hour signs. It's been the same at almost every WalMart we've been to.

Bagels, left over donuts and honey dew melon for breakfast. Now we're trying to get the guys going and ready to leave. Steve and the girls are ready to go but we're waiting on Dave who is not an early morning person at all. Jordan's walking the dog and Chris is folding the top of the trailer down. Maybe we can get going early today, wouldn't that be nice! It's a little past 8am. I'd love to be in Ottawa by late morning.

**Blew out that tyre we had a problem with yesterday, on the road about 15 minutes outside of Petawawa. Another rim failure. Luckily had a spare so it took us over an hour but got it changed out and we're now lost in Ottawa! Sort of. It's a big place. We're leaving the motorhome here in WalMart's 4 hour parking spot and taking the car with us to tour around town for a couple of hours. If I can find an internet connection I'll upload this to the blog as soon as I can. Off to play in our nations capital!**

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Squeaky Clean and Human Again

Decided to stay later in Thunder Bay to get everyone scrubbed up and feeling better. I scrambled the eggs out of the fridge and used up the last onion and some peppers so we're pretty much out of perishable food now. We're heading for Sault Ste Marie today and hope to make it to the WalMart Supercentre where we can park and also re-supply. Gas in Ignace, ON was $137.9 per litre, OUCH!! By far the most expensive place in Canada that we've been. I think the cheapest was 111.9 on the prairies. Well, time to check out, it's almost 11am, where has the morning gone? These constant time changes are messing with my internal clock but time to get used to it now I guess. We're all feeling more cheerful and sane, and everyone smells WAY better after copious quantities of shampoo and soap. Amazing what a leisurely breakfast and a shower can do for raising your spirits.

Elizabeth

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

We're in Thunder Bay, Ontario

We've stopped off at a campground called Happy Land Park just outside Thunder Bay, ON. The people seem very nice and the sites are level, easy access to the bathrooms and showers which are clean, and treed sites that are easy to negotiate. They offer a CAA discount too so for the 7 of us, the motorhome etc the total charge was $44.75. We only need a site with electricity so that helps too with the cost. The bad thing is that it's raining and very very humid so we are still sweating and to top it off, the roof on the trailer tent is leaking a bit so the boys are getting wet I'm sure. They've got internet and power up there though so they can always charge up their various wireless devices and then sleep in the car if need be.

The official award for the worst road now goes to Ontario for sure. One stretch of road was SO BAD that it was worse than driving on a gravel logging road in BC. I took pics because it was SO HORRENDOUS! It was the Trans Canada Logging Road, no way you could call it a hwy.

We did get 10 hours of driving in today which was good. Tomorrow should be much of the same as today I suspect.

I'll write again in the morning.

It's HOT!!

We're in Winnipeg camping at the WalMart again. Hot and sticky and only a few minutes for an update. Boy I hope it cools down tonight because the kids are driving me crazy and this heat is making me crankier. Oh, and PMS. This is going to be such a special week!

Anyways, So far so good with everything mechanical. The roads leave a lot to be desired in some locations and the award for the largest hole in the road so far goes to Saskatchewan! It also gets the record for the best storm but Manitoba has been the hottest. I hear tomorrow is going to be cooler and we'd all appreciate that. Especially Steve who has a lovely blister from the hot engine cover. He's got it taped up to prevent hot drafts and has a styrofoam plate over the hottest spot that seems to have helped but his blister is still massive though it doesn't bother him overly as he's wearing his flip flops.

He's doing good, Stephen that is. Very tanned, Lynne and John would be shocked! He's going a nice nut brown, mostly from working on the trailer before we left. The kids have been ok I guess, but the bickering is doing me in and with my short fuse today that didn't help.

Today we saw Elkhorn, home of Sidney Crosby the hockey player, ***We have heard that the sign we saw is wrong, that he is from Cole Harbour, NS*** miles of flat prairie, lots of unplanted fields and still flooded areas around Winnipeg and some areas have a distinctly 'low tide' sort of smell from the flooding. The crops that did survive and got planted are weeks behind so I bet the farmers are hoping for good weather from now until the end of September, they're going to need it. It's amazing how much flooding is still evident.

I've got to get going now, I can't stay here at Safeway all night typing. I want to rinse off and get some dry clothes on and get to sleep. To all our friends and loved ones...Miss you. And to our new friends in Greenwood, we're coming as fast as our little ol' motor home will go!

Elizabeth

Monday, August 15, 2011

Augst 14th Thunder Storm and Update

It's a little after 10pm and we're all camped out in the WalMart parking lot along with about 25 other rigs so far. We're the tiny little one in the crowd and oddly enough have the largest crew. Go figure. We did patronize the Walmart for some juice, chocolate milk and sandwich fixings for tomorrow, but I forgot bread so I'll have to pop back in the morning to use the bathroom again and to pick up any supplies we need. We're only a few yards from a gas station and the main hwy but it's not too noisy I guess. All in all this is a good place to sleep.


The guys (Chris, Jordan and Dave) are all up top of the trailer in their pop up tent and it's just had it's first major test. A massive thunder storm blew through with strong gusts, driving rain and lots of thunder and lightning. It cooled things down a little which was welcome since it was a scorcher today and promises to be hotter tomorrow, and the tent canvas stayed in place so we're happy. At least we're assuming that it's ok, none of them have climbed down to complain yet.


The girls are driving me a bit nuts with their bickering but it looks like they're getting to sleep now despite fits of giggles and teasing each other. I'm hot and tired too so my patience is worn a bit thin. Steve's big complaint is that the engine cover gets so hot that it's actually burned his foot and given him a blister, ouch! That's something we're going to have to fix.


Ouch! Mosquito just bit the back of my hand. Driving today we saw literally miles of clouds of mosquitos along the road sides. They look almost like little smoke clouds until you look closer. But the open prairie was spectacularly beautiful all afternoon. It reminded me of the book “Have You Seen The Wind?” with the breezes stirring all the crops and grasses in waves like the ocean. We rode in front of the thunderstorm for more that 4 hours so we got to see some awesome cloud formations and also the full moon rose right in front of us and was a lovely shade of pink which Kate thought was very cool. I tried to get a picture but it's not easy of something so small and especially when driving. I love the open prairie and seeing the contrast of the grassy plains against an ever changing sky. The texture and colours of the clouds are so easily visible from our vantage point on the road and you can see storms coming for miles. Very awe inspiring.


I'm going to go now and have a quick sponge bath to freshen up. Tomorrow we'll be heading for Winnipeg.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Peaceful Morning

It's so nice to get up early, say my prayers and begin my day while everyone else is sleeping. I've got my new CD by Paul Cardall called New Life playing in iTunes while I type and it's very soothing. I can't understand people who have a heart stopping alarm clock buzz them out of sleep like a smoke alarm then listen to some hyper over-caffeinated morning person on the radio or TV to start their day. I personally prefer to slide gently into my day and gently out of it. But I know most people are not like that. I guess one major difference is that we don't drink tea or coffee and orange juice just doesn't have the same waking up capabilities :) And perhaps I've lived long enough to realize that each day I get to spend on Earth with my family is a blessing and something to be treasured, and not just another day to be gotten through.

I'm blessed. I know it. I love my children and I love my husband. I thank my Heavenly Father each day for the privilege of being part of such a wonderful family.

I've got a couple dozen eggs to use up so I'm thinking that making French toast is a good way to get everyone fed this morning. If you don't know what this is...you beat some eggs in a shallow bowl then dip in slices of bread until coated and cook them in a greased pan until lightly browned on both sides. It's usually served like pancakes with butter, syrup and sometimes cinnamon. It's good for a crowd because I can make several slices at once and then keep them warm in the oven. It's also a good way to use up the eggs and bread we've got.

We were originally thinking that today we'd drive 600+ km to Regina, Saskatchewan but if we get an early enough start to our day I think I'd like to throw in Brandon, Manitoba as an option. It makes for a longer day but means we'll be that much closer to our destination. It's nearly 1000km though so I don't know if we can do that much driving in one day. We'll have to fill up the motorhome (motor closet) at least 3 times. Well, I'll let Steve decide and we'll see what time we get out of here this morning. It always seems to take a lot longer than I want. I have several reasons for wanting to get settled again. I've got to get the kids registered for school, I have to get work sorted out, heart broken people need to be kept busy, and dogs and small children need to run around outside. Wouldn't it be nice if in a week I was writing from my new home?

It's 7am now so I'm going to sign off for a while and we'll check in from our next overnight location. Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday.




Mmmmm...Taber Corn!

I don't know what it is about Taber corn...but it's delicious. Because of the terribly wet start to the growing season many crops are delayed by weeks, including corn, so we didn't think we'd be able to have any this year. But imagine my joy when we had to run to Fabricland and there in the adjacent parking lot was a truck selling the first Taber corn of the season. Hooray! We had fresh corn for lunch and dinner and it's wonderful! Corn is one of those veggies that's best eaten as fresh as possible. And if you've never had really fresh corn then I suggest you start planning for next year and grow some in your garden. Or check out your local farmers market.

Today we got the canvas done for the trailer, visited more with Grandma and Grandpa and took the boys and Dave down to Cardston Temple to the visitors centre. What a beautiful and peaceful place. Every temple has the same feeling of peace and tranquility about it and Cardston is no exception. It's a 'must see' if you are ever in southern Alberta. Here's the church's official picture from the website at ldschurchtemples.com

Cardston Alberta Mormon Temple

Friday, August 12, 2011

Lethbridge

We're arrived safely in Lethbridge. Yay! The motor closet made it with no problems and we had a great visit with our friends the Steward Family in Calgary before we left. Jordan and I took the van and went by the paintball supply store to get a tiny little part he needed for his gun and picked up some more paintballs while they were on sale then we caught up with the others in the motorhome just south of Okotoks. We didn't stop in Claresholm at the 7-11 as is tradition (sorry Serenity) but we did snap a picture while driving past. It's a lovely shot of a blurry 7-11 and Jordan sleeping with his mouth open :)

We're having fun catching up with Grandma and Grandpa who haven't seen the kids for a while. Today we will get that canvas on the motorhome so that people can sleep up there while on the road and we'll make sure everything else is ready for the push East. From here it's 5000km of driving into the unknown. I'm a little nervous, I'll admit. But I have Steve and so that's a great comfort. For the next few days of driving it's flat open prairie and then trees and lakes of the Canadian Shield when we get to Ontario. Steve and I are debating skipping Toronto and it's multitude of people and cars in favour of taking Hwy 11 and the more northerly route through Ontario. Any thoughts? We are visiting Ottawa for sure though.


View Larger Map


Well, I'm going to see if I can get back to sleep. It's just breaking dawn and it's still too hot to be comfortable though Steve is happily sleeping away so maybe it's just me :)

Elizabeth

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Motorhome Gets a Name

We're up early for a few reasons, to move the motorhome out of the back alley before the garbage men get here at 7am, to say goodbye to Mum and Joan (who left before 6am so I missed them), and to get the water tanks filled as we pack everything for the next leg of our road trip. I've got a load of wash on right now and the kids are still sleeping but it won't be long now until we are all hustling so I thought I'd write a quick blog entry while it's still peaceful.

This morning we are going to get packed up, clean the house a bit and finish the yard work (Sarah our dog helped in her own way by digging some holes that now have to be leveled again), we are going to drive over to the Calgary Temple site and check that out, and we're going to pop by our old house and visit our friend's the Stewards. Then we've got a couple of stops to make along the way and we're heading for Lethbridge, arriving mid afternoon.

As often happens on a road trip, the vehicles finally have names. The white van is officially 'Nova' and the motorhome has been christened the 'Motor Closet' by Chris who decided that it's not big enough to warrant the title 'home'. I guess I didn't clearly describe this wonderful little rolling house of ours but it is quite literally only about 18 feet long from bumper to bumper and by the time you measure the interior living space it's approximately 12 feet long by 7 feet wide with some space over the cab. For a 1972 it's in reasonable shape mechanically and seems to be holding up so far which we're grateful for.

Well, Jordan is walking the dog and we've moved our motor closet, so it's time I got cracking and packed. It's going to be another warm day (was 26 celcius / 80 fahrenheit) in Drumheller yesterday but we're going to have to get used to it because it's going to be a hot drive across the Canadian Prairies where it's in the 30's (80's and 90's in fahrenheit) and we're not used to it coming from a mild coastal climate like Vancouver Island.

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

We are still alive!

I'm so sorry for leaving you all hanging. It's been just a crazy week with very limited internet access. But we are all safe and sound.

As you know, we had a lot of problems leaving. And consequently have ended up spending quite a bit of $$ on an equalizing hitch while at the same time unloading a couple thousand pounds of stuff and getting it on pallets ready to ship. I am so grateful to have a handy husband and some amazing friends who will do welding in the evening just to help us out.

So far on our trip we have boiled our radiator over on the longest climb in the mountains outside Hope, BC. We keep losing the cap that fits over the end of the axle. We've bent the frame holding up the hitch so Steve just finished reinforcing it with pretty heavy duty 'C' channel. We got lost but only once and in Kamloops. We ground the whole hitch assembly into the ground several times, usually pulling into a gas station or on a really bumpy road outside Edmonton. On that same bouncy road we managed to bounce the cats around so much that they got water in the litter and made a huge soupy mess, ick!

But on the good side we have seen a ton of beautiful country including driving through the Rockies and Jasper. We spent time with the kids Dad Brian and visited West Edmonton Mall twice. We also got to see our friends Linda and Imy. Now we're in Calgary and this is our last day here. We've done my Mum's yard work, we spent the morning at the Calgary Zoo with my Dad and then stayed for the rest of the afternoon and saw the rest of the exhibits, rode the carousel and got thoroughly exhausted and sunburned. Today we are going to the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller to learn about dinosaurs and then getting the rig ready to continue our journey. We'll be leaving for Lethbridge early tomorrow if we are able to get hold of the other Grandparents who don't seem to be home the last few times we called.

I've got to get going but will see about posting the updates we missed for the last week and a half. We're looking forward to getting going again and heading East to our new home. We still have nearly 6000km to drive so it's time we got a move on!

Best Wishes to you all. Elizabeth
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