Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Music I Love

I'll expand this post later on the road.

I love music and songs that make you think, or that tell a story. Here's a good example of a Canadian song writer named James Keelaghan who I think is fantastic. I need a handkerchief every time I listen. Hats off to anyone who can tell a story and make you care about the characters in just the few minutes it takes to perform a song.

Leaving today. Hopefully.

We worked until 2:30am and now we're getting an early start on the packing and sorting. We have lots to do but are still optimistic we can be on the ferry by supper time. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Well this about adequately describe my life today. I very much doubt that I'll have time do do anything more than work eat and use the bathroom. Even sleep might be optional tonight. I'm getting everything sorted out here slowly but surely. We have a full day today, the goat and van are going this evening. It looks like we'll be later leaving tomorrow than we hoped but should still be do-able.

I won't bore you with the details but it's going to be a VERY LONG DAY!!

One thing I'd like YOU to do to day is write a letter or an e-mail to a family member or friend you haven't spoken to recently and just catch up. It should take about the same time as reading my blog does, and it's always good to stay in touch.

Keep us in your thoughts and prayers! Maybe my next post will be from the road!

Going Crazy!

We spent all day in court and we're not done yet, but mostly. I typed up the order and now I have to wait to get my signed copy from Stephen's ex in the morning, then I'll file it with the court to get it signed and finalized. I'll tell you some court stories tomorrow or the next day, tonight I'm physically and emotionally drained.

Tomorrow will be the day when I lose the precious little mind I have left after today and you'll be able to watch my descent into madness. We're getting haircuts in the morning and then having Stephen's sisters for lunch. Then picking up our goat and carpet cleaner. And having our red
van towed. And after all that we have to still empty the storage lockers, finish the trailer wheels and body, make the canvas, sort out and re-pack all our belongings, donate anything that won't fit, do a couple of runs to the dump, de-flea all the animals and set up their kennels into the box we have yet to build, and then on top of all that, we have to do some mechanical repairs on the white van like the timing belt. I believe that tomorrow is going to need 36 hours, not the usual 24. It's looking like we'll be here later on Wednesday than we planned but hopefully still leaving that day.

So I'm going to do dishes and sort out some of the stuff in the motorhome. Maybe I'll work until 11 and then get some sleep to see if I can avoid going crazy before lunchtime tomorrow. Steve was working on something outside but has been chatting to our daughter Lynne and it's since gotten dark. That's ok. We can start earlier in the morning if the Court is open.
Good Night All!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

3 More Days

Boy it was cool again overnight. Even inside the motorhome it's only 13 degrees celcius and it's the end of July! It should be much hotter. While the rest of the country is baking under a cloud of mosquitoes we're wrapped up in our fleece most of the time. Still, we had good weather for the BBQ yesterday so I guess I can't complain.

The BBQ was fun and we'd like to extend a huge 'thank you' to everyone who made it out to say goodbye. Meghan got lots of nice gifts for her birthday and $55 spending money for the road so she was thrilled. And everyone got a lot to eat and drink. Lots of salads were shared and we appreciate all the time people took to make them. We have enough chili left to feed a small army so it's a good thing people are tenting outside and the gas can easily escape ;) because we'll be eating it for the next 2 days.

People trickled in and out from noon until 6. After the final tally was done we probably had 50 people come out. Plus Steve's sisters are coming for a picnic on Tuesday (I think we'll be having chili). At the BBQ we served 25 cups of chili, 30 cups of dessert made by my step-mom Janet, and drank 7 bottles of soda and 3 litres of water. All in all we ate 2 dozen weiners and approx. 10 lbs of sausage, 5 dozen buns, 3 huge bowls of salad, 6 bags of chips and cheesies and 1 litre of condiments. Wow! No wonder we were kept so busy on the grill.

Hans and Christine Stussi were very apologetic that they had an emergency and had to call Christopher in to work during the party. He got to hang out with us for a few hours and then he was working at the Cone Zone so we got to see him each time we went over for ice cream. He made $60 in wages and $23 in tips though, so he was happy. And he got to spend some time with Janet and Grandad figuring out his new laptop. He got a new laptop for his upcoming birthday, he paid the first $400 and then Grandad took care of the rest and got him all the software he needs. Now he's got something portable to use during the trip.

We love the Stussi's and their resort so we highly recommend Qualicum Bay Resort as a place to stay. Hans took Kate on a pony ride, the other girls and granddaughters got a cart ride and after we were done with the BBQ Hans opened up the water slide for us and the kids got to ride until nearly 8pm. Kate couldn't find her bathing suit so we let her slide in her clothes, and as soon as I opened the side door of the van to get something later in the evening...there was the bathing suit and towel. Still, Jordan, Meghan, Autumn her friend, and Kate all had lots of fun and were quickly joined by more than a dozen other kids.

We left the resort around 8pm and came home. We unloaded the vans, took Autumn home, and then the kids and I went to pick up Chris from work at 9 and went over to my Dad and Janet's hotel room for a visit (and to get a gift of some spending money for the trip) while Steve did some more work on the water tank. We won't see Janet for almost a year now until they stop by on their way to Mexico next Spring. And we'll miss her. Thank goodness for Skype!

It's still pretty early but I have to get going now. I have to clean over the church building so while I'm there I'll use the big tables to lay out and cut the trailer canvas. Steve got his grey water tank soldered so that there are no leaks and he's also doing really well with the new roof. Today he's talking in church but I don't know about what and then we'll be working late again with our various projects. John and Nicole are moving the bus over this evening so we'll have a couple of days to visit. We are in court tomorrow and then finishing up the electrical work for Deanna and Todd so tomorrow is a write off. Tuesday is the final day to get stuff donated and the trailer packed and we still hope to leave on Wednesday.

Ok before I worry myself to death, I'm going to get going and clean the church right now.

Pics from the BBQ to follow.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Farewell / Birthday BBQ

Today is our farewell BBQ. I'm re-posting the original invite for you and a map at the bottom of the page. Hope you can make it. Stay as long as you like and come have fun!

We're having a BBQ and you're invited! We've rented the clubhouse at Qualicum Bay Resort and so we'll have swimming available, the play park, tons of good food and if you just want to come and hang out we'd love to see you! Bring your swim suit, a guitar and lawn chair if you like play us a tune or two.

The BBQ is scheduled for today,
Saturday 23rd July from 12-6pm.

You don't need to bring anything but donations are welcome to our fundraising campaign (see left margin) or in person.

Oh, the water slide at the resort will probably be open but you'll have to pay for that (regular swimming is free) and you'll need to supervise your children.

We made all the sausages ourselves out of our own meat so you'll be in for a treat! We got professional help making them and they are delicious! We'll provide all the chips, drinks etc. It's going to be great. So bring the kids for a fun afternoon out and wish us a bon voyage and Meghan a Happy 8th Birthday.

Here is the Map. Take the Old Island Hwy north past the Horne Lake Rd turn off for 2km. Once you get to Qualicum Bay you'll see Kone Zone and Henry's kitchen on your left and the ocean immediately on your right. Turn left into the resort just past Henry's, continue straight in to the resort between the cabins towards the gate and you'll see a sign for Parking, just before the gate. If you get totally lost, the phone number for the resort is 757-2003.

View Larger Map

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Already. 5 more days to go

Yes, the time has flown by! It's 5 more days until we're heading out for parts unknown. Things are getting wrapped up here. We sold the Prowler trailer. We didn't get much but we didn't pay a lot either and it didn't cost us much to get it fixed up for the kids to live in for 4 months. Either way, I'm happy with that. It's nice to have one more big thing gone. We've now sold pretty well all our food storage and the rest is being picked up on Saturday morning. There is still some stuff in the storage locker to sort out but we're getting through it. And I'll do more today once the Prowler is picked up.

Next things to do are to re-pack the freezer as soon as I bleach it and plug it back in and then to defrost the big one, clean it, and sell it. I've got to still sell the carpet cleaner from the business and my washing machine and that's about it for big stuff apart from the Aerostar van that we may rob for parts and then sell for scrap for $150. We can use the wheels for spares for the trailer and white van and the rims for the new tires on the trailer. They all take the same size conveniently.

I have decided to make a big pot of chili with some of my dried beans and take it to the BBQ so I'm going to have to start soaking the beans right away. I can use a can of dried onions up too. Waste not, want not. We've made the sausage already and bought 7 dozen buns at the store with more available today. Plus some condiments, sauerkraut and also pop from WalMart, so we're all set. It will be so nice to see all our family and friends for a reunion sort of party not involving a funeral or wedding. We have such a great family and our friends are practically family too and we're going to miss them.

The roof top carrier/pop up tent on the utility trailer is coming along nicely and will be finished today if we're lucky. Then the kids can start painting the trailer to match the motorhome :)

It's 7:30 so time to hit the road running. We've a lot to do and only 5 days to do it in.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

July 20th, 2011

Kate and Meghan's Adventures in Milner Gardens.

The group of kids at Shoots With Roots in Milner Woodland Gardens, July 20th, 2011. Meghan is in pink t-shirt and Kate has a striped shirt.

As I posted previously, the girls went to Milner today for a day camp. When Kate and I were at the Farmers Market we entered a draw and they pulled out Meghan's name. So her camp was free and I just had to pay $40 for Kate. That was worth every penny as they had such an interesting day, Thanks Charlene!

They had a great time and got to work in the gardens and have lots of fun. So I'd totally recommend this program to anyone who lives here or who is visiting. The group was a nice small and diverse group. And both the girls said they learned lots and it was awesome. So there you go, recommendation from 2 girls ages 7 and 10.

I also found some money on the gravel in the parking lot. I went to the main gate entrance and left my name and number because they said nobody had reported it missing and told me to keep it. So maybe I'll hear from someone who lost it.

Milner Woodland Gardens is such a lovely place to visit and learn about the rain shadow forests on the eastern side of Vancouver Island.

We take it for granted that trees are 200-300 feet tall. Even in town where the trees are much younger they're 50-100 feet tall. Isn't that what trees are supposed to look like? And Arbutus, that's an interesting tree, evergreen but broadleafed and sheds it's bark. Of corse Milner Gardens is also famous for it's history and it's gardens around the house. They have afternoon tea and it's not uncommon to see artists set up painting or photographing the gardens, ocean, house or forest.

To see the rest of the pictures go visit the Milner Woodland Gardens website.


GRRR! I typed up a really nice blog entry here but for some reason the new editor didn't show it or save it. Frustrating!

So here goes again.

Steve has the engine cover off. In this type of van/motorhome the engine has a big cover that is between the drivers and passengers seats. It makes getting at the engine easier and means you can work under cover if it's raining, but it also means that if you run the engine all the smell and heat go into your vehicle, or in our case, into our house. You don't get engine exhaust, just the smell of a hot engine. It smells like an engine room on a ship. ugh!

Steve is adjusting things on the engine and giving them a check over so we don't get any nasty surprises on the road. One thing that we love about this engine is that it has no electronic controls, it's all mechanical. So if there's a nuclear detonation near us, the EMP won't fry our engine. Not that we'll be worrying much abut that I suppose :) But having a familiar engine (Steve's had several of this type over the years), the Haynes Manual and the tools to be able to fix it makes this a great choice for us. Parts are still available and easy to replace for the home mechanic. No on-board computers for us!

Steve's got the fast idle off now so it sounds a lot quieter. It seems to be running pretty well actually. There are some things to do like replacing the belts and the top radiator hose has got to be replaced. it's swollen up near the base and looks like a pear so we'll replace it before it decides to burst and shower everything with coolant. We checked the air filter and it looks good. We'll probably get new spark plugs and change those out this weekend at the same time we do the belts. We also have to d the belts on the white van for the AC and the timing belt. I wouldn't trust such a long remote drive without them. I've had a timing belt go on another vehicle and it can cause lots of damage. Last time it was a $600 repair bill for the sake of a $20 belt. You are supposed to change them every 100,000km and who knows when the white van was last done. Better safe then sorry. It's too bad that I can't find my free inspection letter from Steve Marshall Ford or I'd take the van in for a check up and get the belt done at the same time to save Stephen the hassle. But he can get it done even though it requires taking off one of the mounting brackets to get the belt over I think.

It's amazing how much heat this engine is putting out! It's raised the temperature in the motorhome to 27 celcius in about 10 minutes. No wonder the engine cover feels warm while you're driving.

We will likely go to a national store like Canadian Tire or Lordco and pick up some parts like hoses and belts just to take on the road with us. Like insurance. Then when we get to Nova Scotia we'll return what we didn't need. We also goat a roadside assistance plan from BCAA. They have a Premium membership that covers 2 tows of 160km each and 2 tows of 320km per year so if we get stranded in the middle of nowhere, we can make it to town no problem. We also got coverage for our RV, so we're all set! Now we just pray that we don't need it.

Got to get to sleep soon. Lots of work to do tomorrow. Elizabeth

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Flogging our Wares

Yes we're still at it, selling all our worldly goods. Good Morning Madam! Can I interest you in this lovely ...(insert item here)... We're selling food storage, appliances (wanna buy a big chest freezer or a front loader washing machine)? Also selling our Ford Aerostar Minivan if you're interested and the Prowler trailer.

Things are getting closer to the deadline for moving so the stress is building but we're all still talking to each other so that's good. Tomorrow the guys are building the roof top on the trailer, it just didn't happen today with all that's going on and Steve's over at Nic and John's finishing up their bus right now. If you haven't checked it out their website is and you can see video of their bus and Stephen working on it. The things we do for our kids! lol We're really going to miss them once we move so it's nice for Steve to have extra time with them, that's for sure.

Today the dog went to the vet, it turns out she's strained both shoulders during her latest 'break the metal cable' escape attempt. She was going after a raccoon. Snapped that cable right in half. So she's on bed rest for 3 weeks and conveniently she's supposed to spend time in her kennel. Kinda handy because she's gonna get rest while we're driving.

We got our BCAA membership today just in case we need a tow somewhere. Hopefully we don't, but it's better safe than sorry. While we were in Courtenay we got gas. Holy smokes you wouldn't believe it but it's 99.9c per litre so 27 cents per litre cheaper than here, less than an hour away. There must be a gas war on. I told Steve that for his highway test drive we should go to Courtenay and then fill up the tank and the jerry cans too. The white van is already filled but that won't last long. We've got service calls in the morning, someone is looking at the trailer and then we're off to the court house in Nanaimo to file the last of the paperwork in preparation for going to court on Monday. Should be an interesting day on Monday. I'll tell you all about it once it's over and done with.

I'm off to bed now. The girls have day camp tomorrow so we'll have a few hours of girl free time. Yay! Should get more work done, and they'll have lots of fun at Milner Gardens. But more on that tomorrow.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Where Are We?

I've added a new map page so you can follow us as we drive across Canada and see where we are each day. We'll be in Qualicum Beach for a little over a week then hitting the road.

A Day Without Rain

That's all I'm asking dry day so that I can do the following:
Hang up all the laundry to dry on the line
Get the new roof top tent built for our utility trailer
Paint the trailer ready for our long journey in 9 days
And so the ground dries up a bit, it's still like walking in a swamp.

It's pretty early right now, just after 5am. I've been awake for a while just thinking about all the things I have to do today and this week. And thinking about the move in general. It's exciting and stressful and also makes me feel a little apprehensive too. It's not easy to start all over again when you're a bit shy, but of course I know it will all work out in the end.

The kids are definitely getting ready for the move. We got all their stuff out of the Prowler yesterday so that we can get it cleaned, photographed, and listed for sale on Craigslist and Kijiji. Any money we can get for it will go towards new tyres for the utility trailer and into the general moving fund.

It's starting to sink in that we're leaving now because we're saying goodbye to our friends. We had a nice dinner al fresco with Garry and Vicki and their son Corry last night and talked about how even our dogs will miss each other. They had a good chase and wrestle in the grass and we humans had a nice visit. I think Steve was exhausted from a long day because by 9pm he'd dozed off so we let him sleep for a bit while the rest of us just visited. Meghan was at a sleepover at her friend Autumn's so she was having her own fun. She should be back this morning before 8am.

All our food storage is now here and available for sale. There's lots of wheat, oats, beans and other goodies if yo want to add to your emergency food. Come on by! We'll give you a fantastic deal!

And I have boxes of fabric available for free if anyone is interested.

I think I'm going to read for a few minutes. I'm reading 'The Immortal Prince' and 'The Fat of the Land' right now and finished 'The 5 People You Meet In Heaven'

The fat of the land: Family farming on five acres

The next book I want to get is this one:
Have a great day everyone!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Weekly Update

Hi Everyone!

Things here are getting back to normal now that the torrential rains have abated for a few days. The water leverl has gone down so I can get all the boys smelly and gross camping gear washed. I'm actually soaking Chris' stuff right now with odour and stain remover. I finured I'd let it agitate for 10 minutes and then I set the timer on my washer for 6 hours so it'll be all finished by the time I get up and can hang it out to dry in the sn in the morning. I'm being optimistic about the sun, I know. But hey, it could happen!

Steve is wiring in the inverter. I'll have to get him to explain how it works but from what I understand it connects to a deep cycle battery and we can use it to run lights, the laptop and other things that don't use much power when we are not hooked up to shore power (an extension cord). The battery gets charged when we run the engine, and the inverter converts the power from 12v (battery) to 110 which is regular household power in North America.

He has figured out the problem with a lack of clearance between the trailer tyres and the frame. Originally there was less than 1/4 inch gap. He has bent the metal up and back a half inch so now there is more room, even if you put on a 14 inch tyre instead of a 13 inch one. We're looking at buying trailer tyres sometime this week, probably from Canadian Tire. We figure that since they are a hugely popular nationwide chain, if we have a problem with anything we buy there, we can get it replaced without too much hassle.

Our friend Dave who's staying with us for a few days is going to help me paint the trailer as soon as we get enough dry days. This will help to make it more watertight and durable. And then we'll proceed with or plans for a roof top tent something like this but permanently built onto the roof. It will have a low lip all the way around and canvas walls with some tent style windows and 2skylights in the wooden roof panel for ventilation. Having a good airflow is important because the canvas is waterproof and doesn't breath well so it could be like a little sweat box in there without some air flowing through.

Steve is working on all the mechanical details so I'm basically tasked with doing 2 things: 1. getting the paperwork all done for court next week and 2. Re-sorting and packing the stuff we're actually going to bring with us. Since our limit is 2000lbs and we have only a 7x11 trailer the capacity is 500 cubic feet, or in other words, one half of a storage locker. And we have 1 1/2 storage units as of today. Plus the stuff already in the trailer from the office. We have some food storage sold already and going this week plus a fridge going to a new home. I'm going to be donating a lot of stuff to the SOS (thrift store) or on Freecycle.

Our friend Hans Stussi is loaning us his 24 foot trailer so we have a place to work out of the weather to sort everything out and figure out the best way of packing things. Thanks Hans! He's a good friend and also the owner of Qualicum Bay Resort, the place we're having our Farewell BBQ on Saturday.

Speaking of the BBQ, WE MADE SAUSAGE!! It was lots of fun. Dave, myself and the 2 girls went because my husband was out of town camping with the boys. We went over to Trevor and Grant's Charcuterie in Dashwood, just north of Qualicum. They have it al professionally set up with heavy commercial mixing machines, stainless everything, it's beautiful! We found out as soon as we entered thatour camera was dead so no pics but here's basically what we did. We weighed the meat into 2 separate containers because we made 2 different recipes. We made a Toulouse sausage with pepper and garlic and a spicy Italian with chili's, nutmeg, garlic and lots of other good stuff. The big mixer mixed each batch together and the you put your sausage casings or skins onto a funnel. As the meat comes out of the machine through the funnel the casings feed off the outside of the funnel encasing the mix into one giant sausage. If you want links then you just twist it into links but we opted to just vacuum pack them as large coils. After all, it's easier that way and we can then but it up into however many pieces we want depending on what we're doing with the meat. I untangled and rinsed out the casings, Trevor ran the machine putting the meat into the casings, Dave measured out the spices, salt etc and helped Trevor. Kate ran the label machine and Meghan ran the vacuum packer. The girls helped to bag and label some back bacon and pork chops with Declyn for them to sell at the farmers market. After we had sausage ready, they bagged and sealed all of that too. They're so great! All the leftover bits of sausage meat got put into one bag and we ate it with pasta and tomato sauce...Delicious!

Hans dropped off his trailer for us to borrow at 10pm and stayed for a chat. He's loaned us his trailer for 10 days which should make sorting easier. It's 11pm so I'm thinking of heading to bed, as soon as Steve is done wiring some circuits in the fuse panel. It's very handy having an electrician for a husband!


Sunday, July 17, 2011

It's Stopped Raining!

I was starting to think that I missed a memo about building an Ark. But it's stopped raining and the water is finally receding. The riding ring must have had soil removed and then sand added because it acts like a bowl. Once it fills with rain water it turns soupy and the water stays on the surface. Needless to say, living in this is sort of mucky. Especially with kids. Poor Dave ended up surrounded by water in a mini lake and Chris had water flowing past his tent. Thank goodness the tents have good rain flies and waterproof bottoms.

The girls and Jordan are moving out of the Prowler today and into our big tent so that they can have a little bit of space, and so that we get the Prowler all cleaned out and hopefully get it sold in the next few days. We'll use the money to upgrade the other trailer that we'll be hauling across the country with new tyres and a pop up roof tent.

Steve got the fuel gauge fixed (knocked off wire) so that's one less thing to worry about. And one thing checked off his list. Next thing to do is to figure out the carrying capacity of the leaf springs on the trailer. We're getting down to the last 10 days now, so panic mode is starting to set in. So much to do and a limited amount of time left to do it in. My main priority for today is to sort through at least 10 of the boxes in the storage locker and get them down to 5 boxes then to mark their weights. We're operating on the assumption that we can take 2000lbs, which actually is not much stuff. Goodbye my beloved books!

Anyways, gotta get cracking. I'm sure I'll have something interesting to write about later but for now I need to get cracking! Church is a few hours and the girls are singing in sacrament meeting with Steve playing for them. Hope you're all having a nice relaxing day.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Exploding Tool Boxes

There's a mystery going on right now in Campbell River. It's very strange....

Stephen stopped at WalMart in Campbell River on his way back from Young Men's Camp. He unpacked and re-packed the van to make more room for the boys. And at this same time inadvertently left his toolbox at the side of the van in the parking lot. He made it all the way home and half way unpacked before noticing that it was missing at around 3:30 pm.

So being the optimistic person I am I assumed it would be turned in at customer service so I called WalMart. I got one of those cryptic answers from the customer service person who said I'd have to talk with the duty manager. (I thought this was strange) So I spoke with him and he said "oh...yes...that one...well you'll have to talk to the RCMP (Police) about it. (This is getting weirder) Next I called the RCMP and got bumped around through 3 or 4 people before finally having the File Number, yes, our tool box has it's own file number apparently and the Watch Commanders name. Why would a missing tool case have it's own file Number and officer attached?

Now I'm waiting for a call back because nobody would tell me when, where or if I could pick it up. I'm having visions of the Police attending a suspicious heavy black case, thinking it's a bomb, and exploding it right there in the parking lot. This is probably fueled by the cryptic hints we're getting, the lack of real info, and my over active imagination. I'm still waiting to hear about picking it up as we need our tools for work tomorrow.

Check out this video: First they blow up the luggage, then they determine that it was their fault for melting the case in the first place. 'Oops, so sorry. First we tried melting your undies and when that didn't work we just blew them up all over the tarmac on live international news.' Yes, and that's why I insist on Carrying on my luggage!

Police Detonate Suspicious Bag at Bush Airport:

It's after 6pm now. I've left 2 messages for the RCMP constable and still no call back. Very frustrating! It's a 4 hour drive there and back, in the dark and the rain, and we need the tools for tomorrow morning because Steve's been off work for a few days so tomorrow is really busy. Please Jukes...Call Me Back! Sigh. I'm glad the tools are there but wish that we could go get them right away.

Ok. After complaining to the watch commander, we were told that the officer was off duty and we'd have to wait. The tools were in the evidence locker and once the day shift was on at 7am we could get them. So we left early, drove to Campbell River and went to the RCMP detachment. It turns out that someone watched Steve leave the case, got a description of the vehicle, and called Police. Why they just didn't flag him down I'll never know, they could have saved some trouble. The case was just sitting there at the far end of the parking lot. I guess the police cleared that area of the parking lot, investigated and got this close to getting the bomb squad to blow it up. Luckily for us they just opened it and saw it was tools. The RCMP are generally doing a very good job keeping us safe and secure here in Canada. There are a few bad eggs, but for the most part the Police are fantastic. I guess I can see how suspicious it looks to a paranoid society, but really, is the far end of a WalMart parking lot in Campbell River really a terrorist target? If I wanted to blow something up I'd pick a much more strategic location thanks. Huh, I wonder if this will make my blog get scanned by CSIS now? Hi Fellas! This could all have been avoided if Steve had not left the case or if this concerned citizen had simply flagged him down.

Cloth vs. Disposable Diapers

Here's an article I wrote several years ago (possibly 8) while I was living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I was thinking of revising the figures because the costs reflect the very low electricity and water rates found in Canada and the cheaper cost of disposable diapers in 2002.

Things have certainly changes since then. Meghan (our youngest) is almost 8 years old now, I'm not taking any new Doula clients until I settle down in Nova Scotia, even my name has changed from Wall to Faires. But one thing has NOT changed.
Cloth Vs. Disposables, The Debate continues…

Diapers Throughout History

Mothers have used many different methods to diaper their babies. In North America, First Nations mothers used milkweed and other plants to pack around their babies before strapping them into a papoose board. Inuit mothers collected soft moss during the short summer months to line the skins used to carry their babies. In Europe during the 16th century diapers (nappies) were squares of cloth that were folded and then tied around the waist with string.. Aristocratic children and royalty were treated to a clean diaper once a day whereas everyone else could expect to be changed once every 3-4 days! Yuck! Pioneer women made all their own diapers. Due to the often harsh living conditions they were seldom able to wash them and wet diapers were typically just left beside the fire to dry and then reused.

World War II saw the rise of the Diaper Service as women were forced into the work place and no longer had time for the arduous task of washing dozens of diapers. In the 1960’s plastic covered paper diapers exploded onto the scene, often literally. One wetting and they typically disintegrated. Over the past 40 years there have been enormous improvements made to disposable diapers. Different materials, elastic legs and waists, re-usable tabs and better absorbency have combined to make them the number one choice of many parents today. There are even environmentally friendly bio-degradable one use diapers now on the market.

During recent years in Canada we have seen a resurgence in the use of cloth diapers. Many hospitals are starting out their newborns in cotton diapers because of their softness and the ability of diaper services to surpass the hospital standard of cleanliness. Cloth diapers now come in many shapes and sizes from the flat square you fold yourself to contoured diapers with snap or Velcro fasteners. Some diapers are even all-in-one meaning no covers are necessary. These are in effect almost as convenient as disposables and easy to use, even for dad. In Calgary at the present time there are 3 main options: cloth washed at home, the diaper service and disposables.

Fast Facts

Average time a baby is in diapers : 2 ½ years.
Average diaper changes per baby : 7,300
In 1955 – 100% of American babies wore cloth and 7 % experienced diaper rash.
In 1991 – 90 % of American babies wore disposables and 78 % experienced diaper rash.

Cloth Diapers

These figures are based upon using Gabby’s (Calgary) all-in-one diapers sold at retail.

3 doz. size sm-md = $288.00
3 doz. size lg-toddler = $288.00
2 pkg. of med. liners = $ 20.00
2 pkg. of lg. liners = $ 20.00 = $ 616.00

Laundering is based on energy consumption, water, laundry products, depreciation on the washer and dryer, diaper pails etc. and is averaged per load at $.95 Cdn.

1 load every 4 days = 228 loads over 2 ½ years = $ 217.00

Total Cost = $ 833.00


Based on purchasing Mega size bags at $18 per bag and an average of 8 changes/day. Does not include transportation to store or costs of garbage disposal.

Small Newborn to 2 months = 488 diapers 80/bag = 6.1 bags = $ 109.80
Medium 2 months to 6 months = 976 diapers 66/bag = 14.8 bags = $ 266.40
Large 6 months to 24 months = 4,392 diapers 52/bag = 84.5 bags = $1521.00
Toddler 2 years to 2 ½ years = 1,464 diapers 44/bag = 33.3 bags = $ 599.40

Total Cost = $ 2,496.60

Diaper Service

Based on figures from Rock-A-Dry Baby (Calgary) using contoured snap closing diapers. Diaper cover purchase and washing is the responsibility of the family.

Birth to one year. 70 diapers delivered and picked up per week = $22.50/wk. = $1170
1 to 2 ½ years. 40 diapers delivered and picked up per week = $16.50/wk = $1287

Total Cost = $ 2,457.00

Environmental Considerations

All diapering choices affect our environment. As stated before, using cloth will result in approx. 228 loads of laundry per child. That’s 228 loads of gray water to be processed at Municipal facilities or through your septic field. The water is relatively benign and the human waste is properly treated. Because cloth diapers are 100% reusable (either for other children or as rags) they qualify for the EcoLogo.

The best choice environmentally is the diaper service as they are able to process large numbers of diapers at once thereby limiting the use of detergents and water.

Disposables use more water in their manufacture than cloth do in laundering. Also, the effluent from the various manufacturing processes can release dioxins, furans, and other chemical by-products into the air and ground water. As composting facilities for disposable diapers do not exist in North America, they make the largest single contribution to our landfills after paper and food containers. In a municipal landfill such as ours, just the right conditions exist to mummify a diaper and thereby extending its life to an estimated 500 years. What a legacy for our children! Another consideration is the spread of disease from improperly disposed of human waste.

So Who’s Right?

While I believe these figures clearly state the benefits of cloth diapers, who’s to say you would be wrong to use disposables? The choice of diapers is just one of many that we make about how to raise our children. Breastfeeding, schooling, swimming lessons, music classes, sports… the list goes on and on. The time we spend loving and teaching our children is by far the best thing we can do for them and for our society as a whole.

Elizabeth Wall – Stay-At-Home-Mum & Doula


» Lehrburger, Mullen & James “Diapers: Environmental Impact and Life Cycle Analysis” ‘91
» Toronto Board of Health “The Diaper Decision” October 1991
» Journal of Pediatrics- 1959, Vol 54 pp. 793-800 “Relationship of Peri-Anal Dermatitis to Fecal pH” by Drs. Tamio, Steiner, Benjamin
» Clinical Pediatrics- May 1991, Vol.30 “Newborn chemical Exposure from over-the-counter skin-care products” by Drs. Cetta, Lambert & Ross

The views found in this article belong solely to the author and are not endorsed by the DSAA.

We're Making Sausage in 10 hours!

You're probably right....I get way to excited about sausage! But I'm so excited to be turning some of our meat into sausages tomorrow morning. Trevor, the gentleman who owns the place we're staying at right now, makes gourmet sausage for the Farmers Markets locally. His business is called Ravenstone Farm Charcuterie and his website is We love the variety of sausages and the quality. Plus they're made locally which is good.

They are very kindly teaching us how to make sausage tomorrow. I'm taking the girls to take pics. That should be fun! Just think of all the sausages we're gonna have at our farewell BBQ! Yummy! I've really been looking forward to this, I'm only sad that Steve missed it :( Well, there's always next year.

Best Place to eat Lunch in Parksville or Qualicum

Steve and I enjoy our occasional lunches out together. And living locally means we get to try all sorts of new places if we're not stuck in the White Spot Rut. The best place we've been to in the last year has to be Bread And Honey. It's downtown in Parksville, tucked away on Harrison. Lovely relaxed atmosphere, great food and friendly service. The menu is simple: one soup of the day (it's always a delicious gourmet soup) and 2 choices of something sandwichy like strudel, panini or an actual sandwich. One choice is meat, the other veggie. So no matter which way you prefer to get your protein it's ok. And we're talking gourmet as far as the panini or whatever the entree is for that day. The menu changes daily so it's always a treat. This is the kind of place you can go with a friend, on a date with someone special, or just to grab a nice quick and healthy lunch. Soup starts at under $5 for a small bowl. Sandwich type entrees are $8-10. If you've never tried them before, please do! They are the best place in Parksville for lunch. Monday to Friday. Here's the info from their facebook page. And watch out for the little treats and desserts, they're almost as delicious as the loaves of fresh bread they bake. No wonder they have so many loyal customers. We're going to really miss the inspiration they have given me as a cook and we'll miss their delicious food, it's such a treat to eat there without guilt! And the pumpkin soup they made last week with the seasoned pumpkin chips on top was gorgeous on the eyes and divine on the taste buds. Can't wait to see what's on the menu for next week

They are in a little strip mall between Harrison and Memorial, near the medical clinic downtown. Don't wait for the cooler weather, soup is great for lunch any day!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Rain and Regulations - They're killing small farms

I feel like Winnie the Pooh in the story "Winnie The Pooh and the Blustery Day. When I was a little girl we had this on a 45 (record) and had a read along book that slipped into the record jacket. It wasn't until I was in my teens I even discovered it was a cartoon. But I remember reading along and had it all memorized.

It's still raining. The sand in the ring has gone beyond it's saturation point now and there are a few inches sitting on the surface. Every depression is filled with water and it's still raining. But still, we're luckier than some who are having terrible flooding this year and more rain still falling.

This is not a good year for farmers and for many it's now too late to try planting a crop, even if the ground was dry enough to be workable with machinery, which it is not. But how would you feel if you were just growing veggies one day and the local government came in and told you that you couldn't do it anymore. Well, I posted in the Fall that Lantzville Council was telling a local farm couple, Dirk Becker and Nicole Shaw that they can't raise food anymore on their rural acreage for sale. I'm sorry to say that they're still battling it out.

It's bad enough to have to battle pests, weather, and other natural conditions without authorities causing a problem too. They say they support local agriculture although they certainly have a lot of work to do to prove that to voters. I understand that some neighbours want cute lawns and they tell him he should move further into the country. Well why doesn't anyone suggest that it's not husbanding of land to waste it under a lawn. And if these people want nice landscaping why don't THEY move into town? See my next post on City People in the Country

It makes it harder and harder to feed ourselves and have some surplus left to benefit others. This is just one case of regulations that don't have any foresight. Can't we look at where the population is going? 7 billion people this year. That's more mouths to feed. So how can WE increase OUR food security? This applies in Australia, Canada, US, UK, France, Israel, Germany.....everywhere, not just India or China or Africa. In a world where the Monsanto giants are trying to take over, how do we little guys fight back to keep options available for our children?

I'm not advocating keeping cows in the city. I'm advocating land use regulations that recognize the importance of small growers and producers to our communities food security. That educate people who decide to live in the country as to what is normal agricultural practice such as manure spreading. Living in the country is not all strolls down country lanes. We should be putting land in the Agricultural Land Reserve and indeed all rural and farm-able land, to good use. Over time even marginal land can be made productive. When Stephen and I get our own place we'll actually get to see the benefits of manures and compost over time, and I can hardly wait! But dealing with regulations can be a pain in the neck. Even in a distinctly rural province like Nova Scotia, there are localized rural areas that do not allow livestock. They've missed the point of understanding that animals fertilize the ground which grown their food, which in turn grows more food...see it's an endless cycle, or it should be at any rate.

Here's Dirk Becker's news story.

And if you think that seems dumb, watch this Police Raid in an Organic Co-op.

Nicole Shaw has written about her experiences dealing with Lantzville here and it's definitely worth a read.

Yikes! And it's getting worse all the time. But keep your chins up my gardening friends, the tide will turn before you know it and we'll be popular again. Or if the world goes to pot we'll still have food and the ability to be able to grow more next year next year. Community and victory gardens are making a slow comeback.

We have to stand up for our rights to choose what we grow and how. It's our lunch after all! And it's not even the giants like the FDA or Monsanto who cause problems. Sometimes self suffiency people squabble. Take the Dervaes Family for example. They got a copyright on the phrase "Urban Homesteading" and now lots of people using this common phrase are getting cease and desist letters. It's ridiculous. They went from being heroes in the eyes of most small producers and gardeners to being villains.

I guess when it comes down to it, it's all about being a good neighbour. Both to those who live close to you physically, those who rely on your farm's produce and those who live with you on the planet.

More tomorrow on what we want in a house.

Enough ranting, I'm starting to nod off onto my computer. TTYL

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Books I Love

In the Winter or on rainy days, these are books I love to read over and over again. Most of my copies are badly dog eared and have different covers because they're older editions...but I love them like old friends and they're making the 7100 km journey with us across Canada. Feel free to add comments and maybe give me a review of any you've read. I'll publish it here. Maybe we'll do more books next week, I do have a lot of them!

Here are 20 of the best self-sufficiency books on my shelf:

Rain Rain Go Away

You guessed's raining. Not drizzle or showers, rain. So everything outside is soaked and I'm enjoying being snuggled up inside in a blanket where it's dry. Mmmm, one of my simple pleasures in life is listening to the rain while lying warm and wrapped in a blanket with a good book.

The plans for today are fairly simple. Unless the weather gets spectacularly better, we're going to take garbage to the dump, recycle all the pop bottles and cans, and sort out some more of the stuff in the storage locker for an hour. I'll get the girls to do some dishes and tidy up their place, and I have plenty of clothing to go through in the trailer here and decide what's going and what's staying.

I hope that Steve and the boys are having better weather for their camping trip. Being out in constant rain is miserable. They are about 2 hours north of us though and the weather coming around the mountains is often different up there. Nope, just checked and they changed the forecast to predict near constant rain for both places. What a drag! This is the wettest summer I've ever known on Vancouver Island and Steve agrees. I guess one good thing is that the sand is still easy to drive on here in the riding ring where we live. If it dries completely out it will be like the loose sand at the top of the beach that's hard to walk on. Can you imagine trying to drive a motorhome over that? Maybe I should be grateful the rain is keeping it solid.

2 weeks today until we are supposed to be leaving. That gives us 14 days to fix anything mechanical on the Moho or van that needs it, buy new tires, build the roof extension on the trailer and a box for the van roof. Oh plus working for a week, going to court, and packing! No problem! Yikes! At least on the 23rd we'll have some fun at our Farewell BBQ. We're making the sausages on Friday which should be fun with the girls twisting the sausage links.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Shipping Nightmares in Parksville

Well, so far it's not really a nightmare, it's just bloomin annoying!

UPS have apparently closed the dealer stores in both Duncan and Nanaimo. SO our only options are Campbell River and Victoria.

Purolator is expensive so I figured I'd save a couple of hundred dollars shipping via Fedex. I may have saved money but not time and aggravation.

First to say that Grace at Postnet in Parksville is very nice and extremely patient and helpful in aiding me in my quest to get a straight answer out of Fedex. They are shipping a parcel for me to Australia. I've had quotes for $890, $888, $903, $923 and $943 all for the exact same package from the same location and within the last 24 hours. Everyone I speak to gives me a different price, it's very VERY frustrating. And then speaking to a supervisor just confirms that they're not sure what's going on either. I feel quite sorry for the counter people who have to deal with us nasty and angry customers. Although I hope I wasn't too nasty to poor Grace. She lived up to her name and was definitely a Grace under pressure, especially with Meghan bouncing around her store for a half hour this morning and an hour this afternoon.

So my advice is this...if you are shipping something in the Parksville or Qualicum Beach areas, go to Postnet on the Alberni Hwy just near the Church Road turn off where the Co-Op gas station is. They'll have you sorted out in no time....just use Purolator instead of Fedex.

We're eating what I think may be the last of the pork chops from our pigs. I made a maple BBQ sauce and I'm just cooking them in the oven with some new potatoes and I'll cook up some peas too.

We went to the SOS today to buy some movies for the road. Meghan owes me $8 for items purchased using an advance on her birthday money (note to self...make sure you collect!) The rain has held off for the past few hours so that's good and I have washing out on the line.

Oh, and we had a lovely visit with Shannon, the super awesome farrier. Got some pics too but you seem to see a lot of farriers backsides because they're always working :) It was very interesting watching her work and the girls thought it was cool too with her anvil and portable forge. The smell of putting hot shoes on a hoof stinks according to them though! Now they know to stay out of the smoke!

Strathcona Provincial Park and the Young Men's Camp

We live in truly one of the most beautiful places on the planet. And this is the eve before they take off on their summer camp, both the boys and my husband Stephen. They're heading for Buttle Lake in Strathcona Park, just north of Campbell River on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.
View Larger Map

The theme of the camp this year is "We finish what we start". They've got lots of activities planned as well as a few shorter hikes but on the final day I know they're tackling a 10 hour hike so I'm sure they will all come home and sleep!

The terrain is varied in Strathcona park from Alpine lakes, to deep forests, snow covered mountain peaks to sandy beaches. Imagine if you worked here and got to see the spectacular sights of things like Della Falls which has a drop of 440m over 3 cascades. It's just to the left of the Park Ranger in the picture, can you see it?

Here's the view from nearer the bottom. It's hard to tell where the clouds end and the mountain top begins so have a good close look. It's so beautiful to see a waterfall just tumbling down the mountain and into the forest. I wonder if the trees on the east coast grow as massive as they do here. On the coast of course trees grow for most of the months in the year and some species can reach incredible sizes. I'm going to take Dave, our friend who is staying with us, to Cathedral Grove which has some famous trees in it. I'll make sure I take pics and post them. If you come to visit Vancouver Island, it's located right off the Alberni Highway on the central island. Well worth a visit if you like nature. The trail system was much more extensive before some wind storm damage blocked trails and made them unfeasible to clear and re-open. The current trails take you among the trees and there are interpretive signs for you to read all along the route which crosses the highway so be careful. Parking is in lots at either side of the highway and the speed is 50 km/h right in the park section but please be careful crossing the road. The best time of day to come is early morning or evening. Less people and cars and the light through the forest canopy is beautiful. Spring is also a nice time of year to visit. Bathrooms are available and the trails are somewhat handicap accessible with assistance. They are mostly flat and level but bumpy. It's a good place to take the kids too but please keep an eye on them to make sure they stay on the trails (and not on the trees) and keep your dog on a leash. People from all over the world including all our WWOOF'ers come to visit and see these spectacular trees, some of which were alive before Jesus Christ walked the earth over 2000 years ago. The trees pictured here courtesy of the CBC are in a stand that has mostly 800 year old specimens. But I'll post more about Cathedral Grove in a few days.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Our first test run.

We moved our house! It was a very strange feeling to be driving down the road in what is essentially our home. Exciting too.

Steve is working out the payload of each of our trailers so it was necessary to actually run the Prowler (the kids house) over the weigh scale in Parksville. We weighed the tongue also. And the motorhome for good measure while we were there.

It turns out that the motorhome was a bit back axle heavy probably due to the weight from the trailer on the hitch.

The bad news was that after all the weighing and figuring were done it turns out that the cargo capacity for the Prowler is only 150 lbs. That's not much! Even if we strip out cupboards and appliances and all the tanks are empty we can likely only gain another 800 lbs max. So we'd be pulling a 5000 lb trailer that actually only had 950 lbs of belongings in it. Hmmmm.

The little trailer currently used as the office is a single axle and we'd prefer to pull a double but given the fact we already own it and it's lighter, being about 700lbs, maybe we'll take that. We don't know the weight ratingof it's axle and it's not marked. But trailer tires can usually support weights of around 1600 lbs each depending on size, then theoretically that should mean we can support 3000lbs give or take minus the 700 lb trailer weight for a payload of 2300 lbs. I'll check with Steve once he wakes up, but I'm pretty sure that's what it means. Even if we add some sleeping space above the trailer, or a roof cargo carrier and an extensionon the back for the animal carriers, we'll still have 2000lbs of space. Now that's not as much as it sounds but it's surely better than pulling a great big trailer and only having 900 lbs of stuff in it.

Maybe we'll be making another last minute decision to sell the Prowler and possible just pull the work trailer. Or maybe we'll build another small trailer and pull it behind the van. I think the van is rated for 1000lbs so it would need to be a very small trailer or tent trailer but might give some usable space without adversely affecting the gas mileage. Another thing to think about. We'll have to decide today because as of tomorrow the boys and Steve are gone to young men's camp for 4 days.

I did manage to get a couple of pictures of Steve driving and the motorhome at the scale. Post them later.

One bad thing, Jordan's new netbook somehow got a smashed screen so he's very sad and without any computer now. He's accepting responsibility for it though, he didn't pack it away properly. Poor guy. Unfortunately I'll have to let him suffer so he learns his lesson. But I'm hoping we'll be able to figure something out for him.

Off now to cook some bacon that needs using up. Best Wishes! Elizabeth

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Hope in a Challenging World- My talk for Church

Today is Sunday and we're off to church in a little while. I'm giving the second talk in Sacrament Meeting which is the main meeting where you listen to a sermon and have sacrament (bread and water) sort of like communion. I was told I could speak about anything I liked so the topic I chose was Hope and having a positive attitude. I used the scriptures, excerpts from a talk given in October 2008 conference by Deiter F. Uchtdorf and from a talk by Rebecca Gwynn Stradling about Hope. The opinions expressed are my own.

Here's my talk:

Faith, Hope and Charity.

How Hope and a Positive attitude make our lives and the lives of those around us more happy, productive and peaceful.

In his beautiful discourse on charity in 1 Corinthians, chapter 13, Paul makes rather cryptic reference to three eternal principles: “and now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three.” (1 Cor. 13:13.) He goes on to describe charity as “the greatest of these,” with no explanation of why faith and hope are mentioned in that context, or if there is any special relationship between these virtues.
Interestingly, Mormon makes the same connection between faith, hope and charity in Moroni chapter 10. He goes much further, however, in developing their interrelationship:
“Wherefore, there must be faith; and if there must be faith there must also be hope; and if there must be hope there must also be charity.
“And except ye have charity ye can in nowise be saved in the kingdom of God; neither can ye be saved in the kingdom of God if ye have not faith; neither can ye if ye have no hope.” (Moro. 10: 20–21.)
Mormon makes it clear that faith, hope, and charity are not associated by chance. They are not only interrelated; they are, indeed, interdependent. Faith is a necessary foundation for hope, which in turn is prerequisite to the development of charity.
Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is a subject that receives frequent attention in sacrament meeting talks and Church classrooms. We also hear a good deal about charity, defined by Mormon as the pure love of Christ. But the central virtue, hope, gets little direct attention despite its pivotal position between the other two—a position identifying it as an outgrowth of faith and a prelude to charity.

I like what Pres Uchtdorf said in conference in October 2008..
Hope is one leg of a three-legged stool, together with faith and charity. These three stabilize our lives regardless of the rough or uneven surfaces we might encounter at the time. The scriptures are clear and certain about the importance of hope. The Apostle Paul taught that the scriptures were written to the end that we “might have hope.” 1
Hope has the power to fill our lives with happiness. 2 Its absence—when this desire of our heart is delayed—can make “the heart sick.” 3
We commonly use the word hope this way... “I hope” (I hope I pass that exam; I hope it doesn’t rain) usually expresses a wish overshadowed by a strongly implied doubt. What does a word like “hope” have to do with faith, or charity—or anything at all but wishful thinking?
If you go to the dictionary you'll find that the problem is partially one of misuse or misunderstanding. In spite of the way we are accustomed to using it, a primary definition of the word connotes, not a wish, but an expectation of things to come. This emphasis on expectation harks back through centuries of English usage to New Testament Greek. And it is this sense of expectation, as opposed to wishing, that makes all the difference when “hope” appears in a scriptural context. In a spiritual context is should imply trust and confidence in our Saviour and in his Atonement.
Believers in Jesus Christ in all ages have had good cause to hope. “Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord,” says David. (Ps. 31:24.) Courage to attempt any undertaking comes from the belief and expectation that it can be done. Hope generated by the promises of the Lord to the righteous has been the motivator for many mighty works by servants of God. And power to do anything with the help of the Lord quite literally depends upon the degree to which we are willing to hope for, and to expect, that help. “Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us according as we hope in thee.” (Ps. 33:22, italics added.)
Faith in Jesus Christ and the power of his atonement to save all who follow him is the central element of Christian hope. Paul spoke of having “hope toward God, … that there shall be a resurrection of the dead.” (Acts 24:15.) To the Thessalonians he wrote; “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?” (1 Thes. 2:19.) When Mormon writes, “Ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal” (Moro. 7:41), he is telling us that we can expect to be resurrected, and that we can so live as to merit eternal life.
Having faith in the Lord, we must then have hope that through him we can enjoy the blessings of eternal life with our Father in Heaven. Elder Bruce R. McConkie has said:
“There is no equivocation, no doubt, no uncertainty in our minds. Those who have been true and faithful in this life will not fall by the wayside in the life to come. If they keep their covenants here and now and depart this life firm and true in the testimony of our blessed Lord, they shall come forth with an inheritance of eternal life.
“We do not mean to say that those who die in the Lord, and who are true and faithful in this life, must be perfect in all things when they go into the next sphere of existence. There was only one perfect man—the Lord Jesus whose Father was God. …
“But what we are saying is that when the saints of God chart a course of righteousness, when they gain sure testimonies of the truth and divinity of the Lord’s work, when they keep the commandments, when they overcome the world, when they put first in their lives the things of God’s kingdom: when they do all these things, and then depart this life—though they have not yet become perfect—they shall nonetheless gain eternal life in our Father’s kingdom; and eventually they shall be perfect as God their Father and Christ His Son are perfect.” (Ensign, Nov. 1976, p. 107.)
It should be pointed out here that this hope, or expectation, of salvation is firmly based on principles of righteousness, as is every aspect of the gospel. We believe falsely if we do not follow our expressions of faith with good works. And our hope is false if it is not based on active, living faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. “When ye do not what I say, ye have no promise” the Lord tells us. (D&C 82:10.) As Mormon writes, “If ye have no hope ye must needs be in despair; and despair cometh because of iniquity.” (Moro. 10:22.)
This leads us to another aspect of hope.
Sometimes we allow our sins to drag us down into the “despair of iniquity.” Some, weighted down by a serious transgression, may give up the search for personal perfection in a frenzy of self-depreciation. This despair is very different from constructive self-criticism, which Alma describes as the “trouble which shall bring you down unto repentance.” (Alma 42:29.) Despair is potentially one of the most destructive aspects of human experience. If you truly believed the Lord can save you, you'd would believe that you have the capacity to take advantage of his atonement. You must have faith both in the Lord and in yourself.
Faith in ourselves? Hope in ourselves? Yes! In reaching for the promises we have been given we must look beyond weaknesses, sins, and fears, believing that all is possible through the atonement of Jesus Christ, and that our honest efforts will bear fruit. It is necessary to separate the sin from the self. We must hope even as we fail, and repent—and then strive not to fail again.
Failure to have hope is a serious block to spiritual progress. Because of the veil it is impossible to fully know, and hence appreciate, oneself. We enjoyed a timeless span of experiences before this life which we cannot now remember. However, the fact that we are here at all indicates that we were good. We must believe in, and act on, the fact that we are literally the children of our Father in Heaven. Consider again the words of John:
Hope grows out of our faith that we are the sons and daughters of God and that we can be like him. What great expectations that hope will build in us! What motivation and power it will give us to do the things we know are right. As Paul said, “Now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” (1 Cor. 13:12.) Hope gives us the ability to expect that, when we see as we are seen and know as we are known, what we are will be good. Hope of this eventual perfection gives us strength to repent of small and serious weaknesses alike.
This increased ability to appreciate our own possibilities—improved spiritual eyesight, as it were—carries over to our relationships with other people. It does not require great intellectual insight to recognize that what holds true for us also holds true for every other human being. Nothing prompts charity as rapidly as the realization that our neighbors, our friends, our family, and even people we don’t know (or don’t like) are the children of our Father in Heaven, and are perfectly capable of becoming like him. Understanding this is just one lesson on our journey back to our Heavenly Father.

Pres Uchtdorf said...
Hope is a gift of the Spirit. It is a hope that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the power of His Resurrection, we shall be raised unto life eternal and this because of our faith in the Savior. This kind of hope is both a principle of promise as well as a commandment, and, as with all commandments, we have the responsibility to make it an active part of our lives and overcome the temptation to lose hope. Hope in our Heavenly Father’s merciful plan of happiness leads to peace, mercy, rejoicing, and gladness. and an anchor to our souls.

But Why Then Is There Despair?
The scriptures say that there must be “an opposition in all things.” So it is with faith, hope, and charity. Doubt, despair, and failure to care for our fellowmen lead us into temptation, which can cause us to forfeit choice and precious blessings.
The adversary uses despair to bind hearts and minds in suffocating darkness. Despair drains from us all that is vibrant and joyful and leaves behind the empty remnants of what life was meant to be. Despair kills ambition, advances sickness, pollutes the soul, and deadens the heart. Despair can seem like a staircase that leads only and forever downward.
Hope, on the other hand, is like the beam of sunlight rising up and above the horizon of our present circumstances. It pierces the darkness with a brilliant dawn. It encourages and inspires us to place our trust in the loving care of an eternal Heavenly Father, who has prepared a way for those who seek for eternal truth in a world of relativism, confusion, and of fear.

We cannot always control circumstances in our lives, but we can control our attitude toward them. It is possible to develop a more cheerful, optimistic attitude that will lead to better health, more beauty within and without, closer friendships, and greater opportunities to serve the Lord and our fellowmen. When we have a positive attitude we can more easily feel the Spirit. We are a better example to others, and we uplift those around us. Making a decision to be positive is absolutely possible! On days when your body aches or things aren't going well financially or any other reasons that get you down you can do some simple things to raise your spirits:

Count your blessings.
Learn the power of laughter.
Enjoy beautiful music and literature. They can lift your spirits.
Look for beauty everywhere you go. Look for it in nature, in art, and in the faces of loved ones.
Strive to improve yourself each day.
Look for the good in everything.
Try to see the possibilities for spiritual growth in new experiences.

This last one is of course very relevant to our family right now. In 2 weeks we'll be moving to the Annapolis Valley. What the Lord has in store for us there we don't know, we only know that He's told us to go, and so we shall.
Nephi said “ I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.
I hope that in our case his 'preparing a way' includes watching over our motorhome on it's 7100 km journey but I'm not sure that's what Nephi meant at the time.
In the movie Dune there's a line that I love where a father is giving advice to his son. . He says “ A person needs new experiences. They jar something deep inside allowing them to grow. Without change something sleeps inside us and seldom awakens.
I'm very grateful for this opportunity to have new experiences and to learn to see things from a different perspective. I know that when I look back on all I learn I'll be able to see the Lord's hand guiding my life.
I'm grateful for the trials and successes that I've had in my life because they've made me the person I am today, and while I'm far from perfect I'm getting there slowly. I just keep putting one foot in front of the other and try to keep a positive attitude. It's not always easy. Some blessings come right away and others we have to wait for. But Heavenly Father blesses us at the time and in the ways that will benefit us the most.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Qualicum Beach Farmers Market

Today is Market day in Qualicum Beach and so until noon you can see vendors selling their goods and shoppers having a nice time interacting with the sources of their foods. It's a fun and festive atmosphere every Saturday from 9-12 downtown on 1st Ave E just off Memorial.

Here's Ravenstone Farm Charcuterie. They make the best sausages and bacon! Plus they're very friendly. Here they are enjoying a 5 second break between customers. Hi Declan and Trevor! They own the farm we're currently staying at and are super nice people. They make I think about 15 varieties of sausage and Trevor seems to introduce a new one fairly regularly as a weekly special. Everything from Bangers to Chorizo and Mediterranean to Italian. Yummy on the grill, in the oven or even in soup!

Kate did the Shoots with Roots program from Milner Gardens. They had a little booth where you could use recycled materials like cardboard and newspaper to make your own flower press. I'll do up a whole article about that later. She decorated it and thought is was super cool!

Lunch was soup made from our Farmers Market haul of scallions (I'm not kidding they were 28 inches long) green cabbage, red peppers, Romano sausage from Ravenstone, onion and potatoes. And garlic, salt and pepper of course. The sausage was chicken, and tasted very nice. I cooked it first so I could try it out as I've never had it before. After I stir fried the veggies for a few minutes we added water and seasonings to finish cooking the soup and I used the last of the bread from "Bread and Honey" ( a great little place for lunch in Parksville) to make multi-grain croutons for the top of each bowl of soup. it was delicious