Suicidal robins and other stuff

A few years back we were awakened at daybreak by a pounding on our bedroom window. I was a robin supposedly attacking his own reflection.

This didn’t happen again for a while but this year they have been relentless. They have been attacking our windows in pairs and I noticed that they also have a go at the neighbour’s windows too.

The last time it happened we put up a picture of a hawk and that ended the problem. This time, however, they are way more persistent. maybe it’s one of those seven-year cycle things. Who knows!

One of them, who has been attacking the back of the trailer, not the window, the trailer, is completely nuts. I left my step ladder leaning on the trailer and the darn thing built a nest on top. I just hope I don’t need to use it for a few weeks.

I promised a friend in Mexico that I would practice my guitar more and have been doing so. I went at it with a different attitude this time and am trying to keep it more simple. It seems to be working so far and I’m improving slowly. I still won’t risk singing though. But perhaps that is what I need to do to keep the robins away. I have to do it now as I have to go for more hand surgery in August and will be out of commission for a while.

Our veggie garden is coming along slowly. It’s the first time though that I have failed to grow radishes. The stupid things went to flower with no bulb on the root. Oh well! there’s always next year. The garlic is looking good! A critter, probably a cat, dug up part of it and seeds got redistributed so now I have stuff coming up all over the place. So now I have surrounded the garden with mesh.

Two o’clock is down tools and wine time when we light the fire in the chiminea and relax. Two o’clock, however, sometimes starts much earlier. Soon though, we won’t be able to light up anymore as the season is getting dryer., so campfires won’t be allowed.

I managed to watch all the hockey playoff games (without the Leafs. Sob!) with our super duper antenna. I even managed to catch the last game of the NBA series. Go Raptors! Even though I don’t follow basketball.

I was happy to see that the NBA commissioner gave credit to Canada for the invention of the game and that finally, it had come full circle. I wish he was the Commissioner of the NHL to give credit to Canada for inventing that game instead of trying to make it an all American game. Okay, Rant over! Go Leafs!

 

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Living in a 5X10

Now that we have made the lifestyle changing decision to sell the condo, we had to consider what to do with all the stuff we have in storage. We have had a 10 x 10 storage space for the last year but decided that now we are down-sizing further, we don’t really need it.

We have decided to sell most of our stuff.  A lot has been sent to be sold on consignment and we sold some privately but there are still more personal bits and pieces that have to stay.

Getting rid of stuff can be traumatic but the other side is, that our plan includes an escape clause that says we have enough resources to be able to buy new stuff if we have to. That can be a lot of fun. And besides, it’s only stuff.

Surprisingly, for both of us, this hasn’t been a very difficult experience. Rosalie has always been something of a pack rat and I’m proud to say that she has parted with a lot of stuff I thought we’d be stuck with forever.

The process of moving from a 10 x 10 to  5 x 10 was the hardest part for me. The obvious question of course is, will what we have left, fit in the new location? The only way to check this out is to actually go ahead and do it. We have never been ones to shirk for stepping off the edge so we just went ahead with it.

We wanted our new storage unit to be a little closer to home so we rented a place in Parksville just twenty minutes from the campground. It was cheaper and the whole place is energy self-sufficient. There are solar panels and windmills everywhere.

Our car, actually we call it our little truck, has been amazing both when we moved from the condo to the trailer and now into the smaller storage unit.

We went to the old storage and I, with a look of despair on my face started to sort things out. This for consignment, this for Sally Ann, this for garbage and this to be moved. I, of course, had Rosalie to support me and keep me going; I just wish she wouldn’t kick me so hard.

We opened a lot of the boxes and wondered why we were keeping this stuff in the first place. We took three large carloads to the Sally Ann including a chest of drawers that we should have parted with years ago.

I had built storage shelves from 2 x 2’s, that had to be dismantled and reinstalled in the new unit so we had to empty it before moving it. We moved carloads of stuff and eventually we found that we had moved it all.

Surprisingly, when we had finished we were left with room in the new unit for yet more stuff. I just hope that Rosalie doesn’t see this as she will find ways to fill it to the top.

Gardening

This is not the best location for gardening but I thought I would give it a try. I started out cautiously and only made a 5 X 5 raised bed. If it’s successful (yea right.) I will expand it next year.

We got a bunch of mixed topsoil and mulch last year and I shoveled it into the box. We supplemented this when we went with Peter and Suzie to the beach to get a load of seaweed. I washed it off and dumped it on top of the dirt and left it for the winter.  We have some flowers that somehow survived the previous year even though we did our best to kill them off; we are not the best gardeners.

I planted garlic in October just before we left for Mexico and was Inspired by the fact that it was a foot high when we got home in spite of the great storm of 2018.  The tree fell close but missed the garden.

We were told that the best time to plant garlic was on the  October full moon at midnight naked. I stayed warm but poor old Rosalie froze her butt off.

After carefully choosing which veggies we are going to destroy this year I proceeded to plant and sow. Rosalie refused to have anything to do with it as we have been disappointed many times before. Probably a smart move. I noticed that she insisted on planting peas though as she likes to eat them off the vine. However, she had better save some for me.

I installed a timed sprinkler system a few years ago for the flowers but had to dismantle it when we built the sunroom. So now I have to find all the pieces and install it again just in case we have to go away for any length of time.

Perhaps we should invest in some marijuana plants now that it’s legal, (not that that would stop us.) With all the shortages we could make a fortune. I won’t though as it would be unfair to see all the local deer who get at the garden stoned out of their minds. To say nothing of Rosalie and the neighbours sneaking some.

I’m also going to try some of the upsidedown hanging tomato plants again this year as we were partially successful last year. I like them as it feels like you are torturing them without actually hurting anything. (I think I need help.)

If, in the Fall, you find me pestering you to take excess veggies then you know we were successful; but don’t count on it.

BGE vs Instant Pot

The battle has begun! Since I bought the Big Green Egg I have been the master of specialty cooking at our house. However, last year a usurper showed up in the form of an Instant Pot.

At first, I was happy with the arrangement. But then things started to change. As Rosalie got more proficient she wanted to cook things that should only be done on a BBQ; Like spare ribs. We duked it out and eventually, I gave in knowing that there was no way she could cook them as well as I can.

She did her thing and pulled them out of the pot all white and looking pathetic. (The ribs not her.) I made fun of them, especially when she begged me to brown them up on The Egg.

I did this with a smug look on my face knowing they would be terrible….I was wrong! They were delicious. Now the smug look had jumped from me to her. I think it was the browning on The Egg that did it but she doesn’t buy that and still insists it was the pot.

She has done a number of delicious foods in The Pot but is going to get a fight from me if she finds out that she can cook steaks or hamburgers in it.

While in Mexico we found a recipe for making Instant Pot wine. I can’t wait to try that, also, it’s more like what it should be used for. That and cooking beans or other veggies but not BBQ food.

Rosalie wants to take one to Mexico later this year as we can’t seem to buy one down there. We’ll have to take it as checked baggage and pay the extra. I can see security when they find it’s a pressure cooker stuffed with some of my undies and T-shirts.

I found this on Chive the other day and I was very reminiscent of what I’m going through.

Since we got rid of our old deep fat fryer (not healthy) I had to have some way to fry French fries so I wanted an air frier (more healthy.) We picked one up at Canadian Tire for a good price and Rosalie is very happy with it. Notice I said, Rosalie. I haven’t used it once yet. She has started to cook pizza in it, something I was looking forward to doing on the BGE. I’m pretty sure she can brown the ribs with it also.

OMG I think I created a monster and now I’m hearing about slow cookers. But the real challenge is…can she cook a whole turkey? I think not!

 

To sell, or not to sell, that is the question

While in Mexico we decided to sell our condo in Nanaimo and enjoy the fruits of our labours. You know: a new car, a big boat, down to the casino on the weekend, that world cruise. Aaah, but no! Maybe a river cruise sometime but other than that, no!

A lot, but not all, of the people we told this to said the same thing “You have to stay in the market.” The question I have is, how long do you stay in the market and when do you sell your biggest asset and start to enjoy the product of the fifty or more years that you have worked to earn it?

Of course, you can work all that time and leave it to the kids. But we think that we have given our kids the tools to sustain themselves and shouldn’t need our help. If they were in real need we would be there to help if we could but not to make payments on their BMW. If they were that strapped, they can sell the car and get a job at Mc Donalds.

Most people we know have a second or third pension income to sustain them and can only see things from that point of view. But we went through a bankruptcy several years ago and we only have our government pensions to live on. But don’t think we’re poor. We made some smart moves along the way and can now live the kind of lifestyle that we want…but we find ourselves, at times, a little short of cash.

We are minimalists. We don’t crave the big house or the big SUV. We are more than happy to live in our trailer for six months of the year. We’ve never been about keeping up with the Joneses; we enjoy our life the way it is.

So what does it mean when we do sell the condo? First, we pay off the small debts that we still have and then invest the rest. But where to invest? Cannabis stocks seem to be all the rage but until that market stabilizes we are not going there. I’ve heard of some swamp land in Florida but someone beat us to it, too bad, apparently, we could have made a killing.

Without going into personal details, we do have a plan. I mostly have worked on it for the last several months with Rosalie being the editor, mediator and giving me a swift kick when I get over-ambitious. I have built a spreadsheet so that we can change any factor and get an idea of what direction we are going. We have followed a similar plan for the last three years and so far it’s worked fine.

For us, this is a great plan and we’re looking forward to implementing it. For all the friends who have concerns; thank you for caring, but don’t worry, we know what we’re doing; at least I hope so or else Rosalie is going to kill me.

 

Gold we found gooold!

Our brother in law Vic and Rosalie’s cousin Dean, own a gold claim way up North of Fort St James. They invited another brother law, Gordie and I to come along for a short ‘holiday’. I had been promising to go to the claim for several years but never managed to make it. But this time I went. Gordie also bought along his grandson Lyndon.

We were to be in Prince George on Sunday but Rosalie had an appointment on Saturday evening for an MRI to find out what the problem was with her arms falling asleep. We expected to get to Hope at about midnight. As it turned out, she was finished early so we were able to catch an earlier ferry.

We got to the hotel only to find out that I had somehow booked for the following night and the place was full. The manager though, had reserved a room for himself and gave us that one. Phew!

We arrived in PG at about 5 pm the following day. Vic had a 14 ft cargo trailer that we had to load so we set to work on that. The quad went in first then everything else.

The following morning, after several false starts, we eventually got away at about 9 am. The first 2 hours were fine as we were on paved roads. Once we got to Fort St James we stopped to top up on a few essentials like booze. We didn’t want to run out as we were going to be out of contact for several days.

For the next six hours we drove an average speed of 50 kmh over dirt roads. We got to the camp,site at about 5 pm. On the way we saw a couple of bears, one, a grizzly. We were at an elevation of 3,800 feet and the temperature was 1 deg C. It was raining and the wind was blowing. As Gordie and I got out of the truck, he looked at me and siad”WTF have we let ourselves in for.”

We had to unload the cargo trailer as that was to be our sleeping quarters. We got our cots and sleeping bags set up, and after that, we got a fire going had bit to eat and a few drinks and settled in for the night.

Now our ordeal began. It rained on and off throughout the night and the wind blew so hard it was banging the aluminum sides of the trailer to keep us nicely awake. The trailer wasn’t heated so we froze. Tomorrow we would make some changes and go for gold.

Here a few photos.

I was hacked!

As we all know, some miscreant hacked my blog site. Who in their right mind would want to hack me. I can see it if I was Hillary Clinton or some ginormous corporation. But me! What did I do beside upset a few people with my opinions. I don’t know what the world is coming to.

As you can see, this site is pretty raw because I’m learning as I go along. The content is the thing though.

As I haven’t blogged for a long time there is some catching up to do, so grab a glass of wine put your feet up and let me bore you. Some of this may be repeated as I don’t have access to what I did previously and at my age I sure can’t remember what I did.

We moved out of the condo and are now happily “living the dream” in the trailer. It’s been a bit stressful. I had my hand surgery as we were packing and am just finished hand therapy. Then I tore a ligament in my back which slowed me up somewhat. I’m taking shots for that (tequila) so I will be better soon.

Rosalie has a problem with her arms going to sleep. I think they’re just anticipating the rest of her body which seems to fall asleep at the drop of a hat. She had an MRI but they found nothing. We think it’s a pinched nerve so are taking steps to make her better. I keep threatening to trade her in but I think she’s past her ‘best by’ date.

It was pretty chilly when we first moved in in April but we had lots of heaters. We would sit in the sun room and watch downloaded Netflix movies. We were dressed in layers of clothing and wrapped in a blanket. Our first night I started laughing as it struck me funny at what we were doing. We’re both totally mad, I’m sure of that. The thing is though, we love it. I think our attitude is the epitome of this site, We’re older but we ain’t dead yet and we can still have a lot of fun.

I’ve had a lot of work to do and at times it seems daunting but I’m getting through it and can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now that summer’s finally here I’m starting to slow down a bit and enjoy our new life. So far we love it, but this is only half of our trial year. We still have to see if we can live for six months in Mexico. I don’t doubt that we can, but who really knows.

Just after I wrecked my back the truck broke down. These two things decided us that we made a mistake when we bought the boat, so we sold it. I got the truck running after spending a day underneath it, something I swore 30 years ago I wouldn’t do again. Well, I am only 73 after all.
In a future blog I’ll tell you my gold mining story.