Apologies are in order! First because it's been so long since the last episode. Second because of all the photos of birds. This is our new life! This is what's happening beyond our deck - two families of geese, one with five kids (including a runty one) and one with just one kid; a large merganser family with 13 babies; and our precious eagles - our usual pair with two kids. Unfortunately one evening last week the eagle nest collapsed. The young ones were not quite old enough for sitting 24/7 on a branch. They seem to be surviving ok with lots of wing flapping and hopping from branch to branch. The parents are on guard constantly and have been very busy hunting for food.
We arrived June 6 and have been working on trying to bring the new house to life. Larry's worked tirelessly on the pieces he could work on - arranging the Environmental Report (which agrees with the Geo Tech report stating that we only have to be back 7.5 metres from the high water mark); arranging the Archaelogical details - including a contract with the Sechelt Indian Band to be on site when any digging happens - a budgeted cost of $6,200; meeting the design guy (named Guy) and having him develop some design drawings (a further $3,000); submitting the Development Permit $300. Larry's sent the plans to several local builders including the one we've been dealing with all along and the one preliminary quote that we've received places the building cost between $400,000 and $450,000, way over our budget. So here we sit - waiting for some other quotes - and contemplating that we will go back to the modular home idea - a triple-wide this time. A very slow process and most likely going to push our build to next year.
Meanwhile on the 15th of June Maureen was looking out over the deck and notices a swarm of something over by the road. As she watched, the swarm took shape on a branch of one of the boulevard trees. She couldn't believe her eyes - a huge swarm of bees! She phoned the non-emergency RCMP line and they weren't sure what to do. The City was contacted and they came out. They knew a beekeeper but by the time he was able to get here the swarm had moved on. We still don't know where they went! On the 25th Maureen picked the first raspberries - from vines brought down from Vernon last year. There were several more bowlfuls to come also. The 28th saw the year-end tournament for the Slo-Pitch teams. Kelly plays and manages the B team - the Big What, and manages the A team - the Big Deals. He's pretty busy during ball season.
On the 29th we went into Vancouver for the day to visit Direct Buy and to look at plumbing fixtures. We were able to pick out all we needed for the house we thought we were going to build, visit Direct Buy to pick out flooring and then make the 3:45 ferry back to the Coast. Pat and Steve (Maureen's sister) were travelling that day as well and we just beat them here. Surprise! They had a new car - red as well - and had been keeping that secret for a week. On Canada Day we started with the Lions Pancake breakfast, then got great seats (thanks to Amanda) for the viewing of the parade. It's a fun little parade and doesn't last too long. We hung around the mall, having a coffee, and then took in the Logging Show. We walked up to Hackett Park, planning on lunch there, but a lot of the food was sold out. Apparently they hadn't expected so many people. So back to Gilligan's for lunch. A nice, warm day.
On July 2 we first noticed smoke billowing up from the West side of the Porpoise Bay Inlet. We drove up the road to see what we could see and sure enough a forest fire had started - to become known as the Old Sechelt Mine fire. The next few days saw helicopters, bombers, lots of firefighters, tons of smoke and hot dry weather. This community was amazing - the call went out on Facebook for volunteers and donations and, even though the fire fighters and fallers are well paid for what they do, they finally had to stop taking volunteers and donations. That night we went to Saffron for Indian food (Larry had pizza). The next night we went to Gilligan's for ribs - excellent!
July 5 was the annual girls' slo-pitch tournament. When we first woke up that morning, the whole sky and land was a golden orange. The smoke was very thick. It smelled like you were in the middle of a campfire. It wasn't quite as bad at the tournament in Halfmoon Bay but still pretty bad. Around noon the girls found out that a well-loved coach had died in the fire, falling trees. It changed the whole tone of the tournament. On the 6th we left at 7 am for Vernon. We had to go up to the AGM of our RV Resort on the 8th and Larry had some Council business to do as well. He was elected for another two year term just as an adviser for the new Treasurer. We returned on the 9th. Pat and Steve also headed out on the 6th for their trip home, via Nanaimo.
As this is being written the fire has grown to 400 hectares but is 75% contained. It is still 10 km away from us. We have had a few rain showers and it is cooler outside. No buildings were destroyed. We were very lucky!
We are settling into our new life. The next thing to decide is, if the dollar continues it's slide, do we go south for the winter or not?