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The New Nest

Seeing as we now have a new Egg, Rosalie suggested that I build a new nest for it. Sort of an outdoor kitchen but without the sink, side burner or anything else that resembles a kitchen. More like a couple of tables really.

I got on the computer and pulled up my trusty drawing program. I don’t know why I bother as I never follow the plans anyway. It does sound The new nestprofessional though and makes me look smarter than I really am. As it turned out the project was nothing like my original idea. I like to think of this as flex-planning.

It was going to be built of cedar until I saw the cost and then decided on cheaper lumber instead. It is just a trailer lot after all.

We call our tiny car ‘our little truck’. It is small, but I managed to get 10 – 2x3s and 32 – 1x2s inside. At this point Rosalie would be walking, but fortunately for her I made that trip alone. I dropped the lumber off at the trailer and waited with great anticipation until we could return the following day.

Oh joy! A pile of unused wood just waiting for me to turn into something lopsided.

Pulling out all the necessary tool’s, I started in. Bang, bang, saw, saw, drill, drill, ouch, ouch, ouch, swear, swear, swear. I think it’s only fair if I put this much energy into a project I should spill a bit of blood. It’s poetic in a way, also no one could steal my stuff and get away with it as, it’s easily identiible by my DNA.

I built the main frame and installed the bottom shelf. Next came the Egg. As I had already dismantled and remantled it three time before, once more time was no big deal. I very carefully lifted the lower half and placed it on its base on the bottom shelf. When I had finished remantaling it I finished the top shelf. 

I noticed that the base was a little too far back so I tried to pull it forward a bit. All this did was give me more back issues as the Egg does weigh 167 lbs, so l left it where it was.

With it finally finished we could now enjoy more of my BBQ delights. But alas, building a new nest wasn’t the answer to my culinary ineptness. So we scrapped the bottom off the salmon and hoped for a better result next time.

 

Fitbit

As Rosalie is going to walk the El Camino she needed a Fitbit as a way of tracking her progress. We bought each of us a cheap one off Amazon a whIle back. They didn’t last long. When mine quit completely I decided to buy Rosalie a new one for her birthday before hers did the same thing.

Now the saga begins. She couldn’t wait for her birthday so we had to buy it early. “Off to Best Buy” said I full of enthusiasm, expecting to be home in about twenty minutes. I should have know better.

We got to Best Buy and checked out Fitbits. We found just the right one. But wait! We have to check other stores for a possible better deal. Poof! goes my dream of being home with my feet up in twenty minutes. We heard that Costco had them and they always have good prices so we went there first. Unfortunately they only had one type and it was way out of our price range. 

“Walmart has fitbits” said Rosalie. At this rate I just may get home in an hour. At Walmart we found that Garmin had a resonably priced model so much to my relief we bought it. I could now go home and after an hour of setting it up I could finally relax for a while. 

The following day it became obvious that this was not what Rosalie needed. Okay, pack it back up. First, find all the bits that go in the package. The twist ties, bits of plastic, cardboard, tiny manual and a few items I found in the carpet that didnt belong in the box that I didn’t need so stuffed them in too. Maybe someone would figure out what they were for and put them to use.

We returned it to Walmart with some vague excuse about it not working properly. “Right, off to Best Buy ” said I once again. Boy, will I never learn. “But we havent checked out London Drugs yet” said the leader of the expedition. By this time I was fighting back tears.

We found the same Fitbit in London Drugs as the one we saw in Best Buy. We requested some help and after about ten minutes nobody came so we left. With some trepidation I once again suggested Best Buy. This time I got through. We went back and bought the first one that we had seen the day before. I’m just happy Rosalie forgot about The Source.

As I’m in charge of her training I’m sure I’ll find some way to pay her back. I’m still thinking of a sharp stick out of the car window to encourage her. I know it would make me feel a lot better..

Old People Camping

This post about us old people is a bit barse ackwards. I wrote about the Big Green Egg but that came in the middle of our trip. First, we went to Fort St John to visit Rosalie’s friend and then to Fraser Lake for a family reunion. We decided to use the tent as we are a little crazy and like stuff like that.

We left home early in the morning to take advantage of the BC Ferries cheap fare and spent a night with our daughter Lisa and her family. They have a cabin on Harrison Lake. The following day we drove to Blue River to camp for the night.

Now the fun begins. We hadn’t put the tent up for a year so we struggled to get it done. I wanted to wrap us both in it, roll into the bush and sleep. We persevered though and eventually got it up. We went for a shower before turning in and of course, I left the gooey mess that we used for soap in the shower. When we bought the camping gear I suggested that we get sleeping bags but the boss decided that we didn’t need them. That night we were a bit cold.

The following day we drove to McLeod Lake north of Prince George and found a provincial park campground. The tent went up in about 10 minutes this time so I didn’t get to swear so much. After a while, the lady in charge came by to collect the money. She walked into our site and said “We don’t see many old people camping in tents anymore “. This was hilarious as we don’t see ourselves as old. A bit decrepit yes, but never old. That night we froze. So now we have two lovely sleeping bags from the Canadian Tire store in Dawson Creek.

We continued on our merry way to Fort St John, had a great visit with Valerie and did our thing with The Egg. Then we left for Fraser Lake. That night we camped at the same campground in McLeod Lake. The following day we arrived at Fraser Lake.

There were hoards of Rosalie’s family there and of course, we drank too much and ate lots thanks to The Egg. A great time was had by all. We watched the sun rise with a coffee in our hands and watched it set through the haze of the smoke from the wildfires of BC”s interior, with a glass of wine. We wanted to stay until the end of the week but fate intervened and we headed back on our original schedule.

After driving all day we ended up in Blue River again. We got to our original campsite and set up for the night. I went for a shower hoping that my gooey mess of soap was still there so I could stave off some of the abuse from Rosalie. When I stepped into the shower stall  I started to laugh as I had a choice of four different body washes and shampoos to use that other guys had forgotten.

Apparently, the language in that part of BC is mainly German. They come in all sizes and shapes of motor homes but very few trailers.

We saw a little smoke on our way up, but on the way back was bad. Kamloops was socked in. We got more smoke all the way to the ferry.

Keeper of the flame.

So today I’m the keeper of the flame. We knew that when we got to the lake, our brother-in-law Gordon would want to see The Big Green Egg at work since he is an excellent cook. I said “No!” as I didn’t want to unload the car. A few glasses of Keeper of the flamewine later we had it set up under a nearby tree. Apparently this wasn’t close enough to the action so we had to haul all 167lb’s of it closer to the cabin. 

The day of the party they had laid on a huge BBQ rented from the Co-op, to cook two 13 lb roasts. Unfortunately the darn thing refused to cooperate. We couldn’t light it and the rotisserie wouldn’t turn all the time and when it did, it made an awful noise.

“Let’s roast them on the Egg” some fool (not me) suggested. I grabbed the bag of charcoal (remember the one I wanted to leave behind?) and topped it up. We got the two roasts and somehow managed to stuff them in, each in an aluminum foil pan to catch the juices.

The chefs wanted to start off with a temperature of 400F for an hour. Not having a lot of experience, I had to watch it constantly. The guys would walk by once in a while and told me what a good job I was doing, then wander off in search of another beer. 

I watched and waited. The temperature slowly rose, but just as it reached 400F someone wanted to take a look so I lost temperature and had to start over. After an hour I dropped it to 350F and inserted the thermometer to monitor the internal temperature. 

I sat back with a glass of wine and waited. After another hour or so, I checked again. The internal temp was starting to rise. The excitement grew. I grabbed another glass of wine and waited some more. The chefs loaded the roasts up with slices of garlic and onion. I readjusted the temp, grabbed another glass of wine and waited with some trepidation for it to get to the final temperature.

After a heated discussion as to what temperature was best to remove it at, we decided that they were done…well one was. Strangely, the smaller one hadn’t reached full temperature yet. Because of the size of the roasts there wasn’t a lot of room for the air to circulate so that may have had something to do with it. We let the first one rest while various birthday celebrations we’re going on. We removed the second one and the carving began.

It wasn’t as good as we would have liked but considering that this was our first try with a roast, we didn’t do too badly.  So ended my first day as keeper of the flame.

The following day we tried chicken and that was delicious. I still need more experience though. A how-to manual would be handy but that will have to wait until we get home.

Hail to The Egg

I haven’t posted for a while and the first thing I’m going to share is that we bought an egg: a Big Green Egg. For those like me, who had no clue what that is, it’s a charcoal BBQ.

We were in Fort St John visiting Valerie, a friend of Rosalie’s, when I found out that I was the designated BBQer. So I was introduced to the BGE. When

Egg

The Big Green Egg

I first saw it I thought it was a weird looking regular BBQ. How wrong I was! Valerie wanted to sell it so after a few times cooking on it, I wanted to buy it. Rosalie and I went into a huddle and agreed it would be ours.

Valerie said she could arrange for it to be dropped off in Prince George where we would be visiting in September. This was a bit of an inconvenience for her so I wandered out to the car for a serious think. Seconds later I popped back into the house and announced that we would take it with us.

You have to understand that we were camping with our tent and the car was already overloaded. Now I had to dismantle and stow a 167lb Egg in it as well. Sometime I think I’m nuts. (Rosalie nods vigorously).

I got up early in the morning and started to dismantle it. It went a lot easier than I thought considering I had no wrenches and only a can opener and piece of string to work with. I had arranged for help to load it into the car but after taking the lid off I found that it wasn’t too heavy and I could do it by myself. Okay, that’s in, now for the rest of the stuff.

I huffe, puffed, measured, weighed and prayed and after about an hour I proudly proclaimed success. At this point Rosalie stuck her head out the door and told me I’d forgotten the cooler and one more bag. I don’t understand how she starts off with one bag and ends up with two. Probably another of those women things we guys will never understand.

I pulled the car apart and started again. I told them that the very large bag of charcoal that came with it would have to stay behind. However, the look of disappointment on Rosalie’s face inspired me to try harder. At this point she and Valerie were starting to give me advice. The more they gave the hotter I got. Eventually I said “Too many cooks, Ladies!” (not at all what I was thinking) at which point they slunk off to do women”s things.

So why go to all this trouble for an Egg? Well, this is no ordinary BBQ. You can cook anything from steaks to lasagna to bread. I cooked hamburgers right over the hot coals without burning them. The tempurature can be adjusted from 600f to 200f and back again in minutes. The secret is that it’s in  a contained environment and the temperature is controlled by airflow through the ceramic body.

 We strapped it in the back seat and covered it with a blanket. Because The Egg is a nice egg-shape (well duh!) If anybody asked about it we were going to say it was Grannie or, that it was her urn with her ashes and that she had been a very large lady. Or “Mind your own business” depending on our mood at the time.

Our little car is awesome. Even with all that additional weight, it just purrs along and hopefully we will get it home safely and produce some culinary delights. Rosalie says it’s “eggcelent”

 

 

Test run.

Having got the boat safely to the trailer, we now had to make a test run. We hadn’t owned a motor boat before so didn’t know what to expect when I launched it.

test runThe great day came and Peter and Suzie called to say they wanted to be in on the fun. Great, Peter was coming, now I had someone to blame if things went sideways.

We loaded the boat. I found it interesting that when guys get in a boat we take a fishing rod and a pack of beer. Women, on the other hand, think of food first. This involves a lot of planning. We ended up with two or three coolers, a bag of buns and several packs of chips. 

My troubles began when we got to the ramp at Horn Lake after paying $6.30 launch fee. I wasn’t used to backing up a short trailer so had some fun lining it up which involved lots of neck twisting. I finally got the boat in the water and hoisted Peter and Suzie aboard. Rosalie, in her new wellies, held on to the boat while I went to park the truck and trailer.

 The motor started without too much trouble and away we went. We cruised for a while and then dropped anchor to have lunch. After we had eaten, we wanted to do some fishing but some idiot (me) had left P and S’s rods in the truck. Back to the launch ramp.

 I had developed a nasty headache from twisting and turning to see how I was doing during the launch so wasn’t in the mood for fishing. It was a disappointment to P and S but I wasn’t in good shape so we went back. We loaded the boat on the trailer with no problems and returned to the RV lot. The day ended with good food, wine and Tylenol. So ended our test run.

I think it was a great day as I learned a lot about the boat and the technique of launching and retrieving it. I also learned to not leave things in the back of the truck. A bit more practice backing up is needed but that will come with time.

My next problem is that with all the extra stuff we got with the boat our little shed was over crowded. We got: down riggers, survival suits, crab traps, prawn traps, life jackets, extra bumpers as well as lots of extra parts that all needed storage space. So we decided to box in the area under the front of the fifth wheel. Another chore for my list.

No boats, ever!

Since we got the RV lot we thought it would be a great idea to get a small boat. We could see ourselves drifting on the ocean drinking champagne and eating lobster we had just caught. It didn’t matter that we can’t afford champers and can’t catch No boatslobster on this coast. We had our weird dream and we wanted to go for it. We tried the experiment with the canoe but that didn’t work out as the darn thing was too heavy. Since then, every time I mention it, Rosalie says “no boats!” So much for dreams.

I would often see a boat for sale but when I show it to her I would still get: “no boats!” Until one day we were driving to Qualicum and we saw a boat for sale at the side of the road. “Wanna look” I ventured. ” Sure”,  she says. She was hooked! We didn’t buy that one but my evil plan finally paid off. Until this time I hadn’t taken it too seriously as I knew she was adamant about not getting one. But suddenly, we were looking for a boat.

I went to my usual source’s Kijiji, Craig’s list and Used Nanaimo. There wasn’t a lot but we tracked one or two down. First, we went to Port Alberni. Rosalie liked that one, but it was too small and over priced. It also needed a lot of cleaning up. Next stop Comox! This one was a better size and had an inboard motor but no canopy. We decided to give it a miss.

I finally found one in Cedar, with all the things we needed, and a lot more. We made an appointment and looked forward to checking it out. When we saw it we went over the whole thing, asked all the questions and told the guy we were going to go for a coffee to discuss it and would get back to him. We got in the car and Rosalie said: “I want it.” I said, “Me too.” We got out of the car and made the guy an offer, less that what we expected to get it for (of course.) He accepted so we got a deal.

The next thing we had to do was get it to the RV lot. We had the truck but it wasn’t insured and I didn’t know if the wiring for the lights was up to the job. We took care of the insurance and Peter and I went to the trailer park to fetch the truck to bring the boat home. I had problems doing the electrical hook up because the wiring was old and tarnished and wouldn’t solder well. I thought all looked good and the following day went to pick up our new boat.

When we had loaded the boat with all the extra stuff the guy gave us, I hooked up and found that only the left blinker and stoplight worked. Nothing to do but go for it. As it turns out, we only had to make left turns on the way to the RV lot anyway. I drove carefully and we arrived safely.

The next thing we had to do was give it a trial run.

 

The Book

There has been confusion regarding the price of my book “A Crazy Idea”. I wanted it to be $2.50 Canadian but it was published in US dollars. This has now been corrected and the new price is $1.99 US.

You can find it anywhere you download your ebooks: Kobo, Smashwords, Chapters etc. For some reason, it’s not on Amazon yet.

Archery

After saying that I don’t like groups, I joined one! Wanting to find more to occupy myself through the winter I Joined the Parksville Archery club. Taking up archery is something I have always wanted to do. I did live in Nottingham for a few years so it must be in my blood.

Archery

Robin Hood at Nottingham castle.
When I lived there people were forever stealing his arrow.

The Nanaimo Archery Club, where I went initially, taught me a few of the rules. they showed me which way the arrow should point, what weight of bow I should use etc. stood me on the firing line and then ran for cover. I didn’t do too badly so I decided to sign up. When I got home I started to investigate the Parksville club as it had a range close to the trailer and their indoor range wasn’t much farther from home than the Nanaimo one.  It was also a lot cheaper, a prime consideration!  

I went there for a free night of practice. They loaned me their equipment and I shot some arrows for about an hour and became hooked. Next came the task of buying my own equipment. Both the guys at the Nanaimo and Parksville clubs recommended that I should go to ‘Buckey’s’ in Duncan as he would help me with what I needed. Also, he wouldn’t sell me stuff I didn’t need. 

I took Peter as my able assistant and someone to blame things on if I got the wrong stuff. We got there and dealt with Richard the archery expert/owner. He’s a very knowledgeable guy as well as patient with a newb like me. First, we selected a reasonably priced bow. This is a very technical sport and you have to have the equipment that fits you.

I needed a 35lb, 66″ take-down recurve bow. My pull length was 27″. Next came the arrows! He selected three for me and cut them to my correct length of 30″; they had a spine of 500, a 7.3 GPI and a 100-grain point. I asked him what the fear factor was but didn’t know what I was talking about. It took hours of research on Google to find out what all that meant. I selected an arm guard, a bow stringer, an archery glove and I was set. However, we got out to the car and I decided to get another three arrows as I was sure to lose the first three.

On the way home, we stopped for a pint so that I could face Rosalie when I got there as I went way over my budget. “If Robin Hood had to pay as much for his equipment the poor would have starved,” said Peter.

That evening I went to the indoor range in Nanoose to show off my prowess. The first thing they told me was that I had my arm guard on the wrong way round. (dummy!) 

I had been shooting for a while when one of the other members came over and pointed out that my shooting was good but my range protocol wasn’t. Not only is archery very technical, it’s also full of rules and regulations. Most are for safety so I guess they make sense. He also gave me some really helpful tips and soon I was hitting the target.

Archery is good exercise, you fire three arrows and then walk sixty feet to the target to retrieve them. You do this over and over. Also, climbing the ladder to get the ones out of the ceiling is quite energetic as well.

Published!

So the great day has arrived. I finally published my books with Smashwords, yes books). They took a while because I had to create the Covers from scratch. As you will see, should you choose to buy one, I’m not too good at graphic art. I did contact someone online,

published

Click image to find book

probably in a third world country, to do the work. The problem was that I had a hard time communicating exactly what I wanted. The guy was using standard images and I needed something more specific. I finally gave up and decided to do the job myself. 

Being asked to fill in a quality survey for the guy, I mostly gave a four out of five. He then filed a grievance with Fiverr, the company I contacted him through, demanding that I give all fives on the survey. He needs this, he said, so that he could get a better rating and help feed his kids. Not one to be emotionally blackmailed, I promptly ignored him.

Why two books? Well, I had so much fun with the first one that I just had to do a second. Which, by the way, is free. What I did was, I cleaned up all my old blogs from the Europe trip and published them. Reading through them brought back a whole lot of memories.

published

Click image to find Free book

The titles of the books are “A Crazy Idea” ($2:50 US ) and “A Crazy Idea Too!” (Free) They can be downloaded from wherever you buy your ebooks. “A Crazy Idea” has a release date of 14th April but can be pre-ordered at any time. “A Crazy Idea Too!” is available now.

I was thinking of doing both for free, but then I remembered all the months I had spent writing, all the supplies I had gone through and all the moderately heated discussions Rosalie and I had endured. Not counting the ridiculous price of $15 to feed my online graphics guy and his family for several months. So I came up with a low priced book. I wanted to charge $39.99 but Rosalie laughed at me so I backed down.

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