Friday, May 29, 2009

Today's the DAY!

Today's the day we start moving stuff into the new house! Wish us luck!


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Flowers & Flutterers

Spencer has spent most of the day outside playing. Playing in the new gravel on the road outside the house. He's SO dirty!!!!!

Since Spring has finally arrived here in the valley, we have lots of beautiful green, leafy trees and LOTS of yellow dandelions too! Spencer thought that he'd pick mommy a bouquet today.....

I think he was sniffin' them too! Notice the yellow 'stache he has?

Todd and I were sitting here in the living room just a few minutes ago and we both heard a buzzing noise. We both thought nothing of it since we have seen a few flies and bees around the windows in the last few days. Lo and behold, we had a little friend visiting us! Isn't she tiny? The case she is sitting is only less than 4 inches wide.

My attempt at showing her true colouring.... sorry it's a poor photo but I tried to lighten her up against the back ground that's why there is a weird glow around her tail. You see she has green and red feathers though.

I managed to capture her in my hands and set her outside the window. She had the most beautiful iridescent breast of reddish copper-coloured feathers! So beautiful! She flew away after composing herself for about 10 seconds when I opened my hands.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Fun New Toy!

Yesterday while in Lethbridge getting the Jeep looked at by the dealership (we have a crack in the hard top) we stopped in at Canadian Tire and we found the bike we've been looking for for Spencer. Todd bought and put it together last night while Spencer was sleeping and we surprised him with a rideable bike this morning.

He has spent time riding it all day!

Packing is SLOW.... have to find some boxes. We probably will be making several trips using the vehicles to take stuff up instead of packing everything in boxes. The trip is so short to the new house it's almost funny to have to put things in boxes.

Hope you're all having a great weekend! Todd goes back to work in the morning after his 12 days off.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Great News.... It's FINALLY Official!

We had two instances of great news this morning!

First of all, we put Spencer in underwear for the first time all night last night. Now both and Todd and I woke him up during the night to go pee but he made it all the way to the morning without ANY accidents! We're both SO proud of him!

Our second bit of BIG news is that we will be the proud owners of a little piece of BC of our very own NEXT WEEK! Yes... I said NEXT WEEK!


We bought a 0.25 acre lot in Elkford with an older mobile on it. The mobile is in pretty good shape and sits on a 9 foot foundation wall where the whole length of the mobile is used for storage. It sits on a pie shaped lot on a culdesac in upper Elkford. We have untouchable green space right off the back of the property... meaning no one can build on it. We also look over the fields of both the high school and elementary school, right off the back yard. We have an opening to the school yards right off the back yard. We have enough room on the property to either build another house & garage or put a new mobile on the lot with a garage... which is our plan EVENTUALLY!

We met our neighbours on the South side a few days ago. Two couples from Calgary own the large lot next to us and are originally from Ontario; Sault Ste Marie. One them is a vice-principal of a school in Calgary and both couples vacation during the summer in Elkford. They have a 4 year old little boy and the other couple has a 2 year old boy. We haven't met our Northern neighbours yet.

We take possession on Friday May 29th and immediate family and friends will recieve more information as to address in the next 2 weeks or so.

Moving to Elkford means less money for rent since the mortgage is cheaper, no gas for Todd to drive to work since the mine buses will pick him up and drop him off at the front door and we may even go down to one vehicle which means less insurance too. The taxes are way cheaper than they are in Ontario in Elkford!

We're off today to get some of the paperwork done and visit Elkford to see what the actual taxes will be on the property. Spencer has pre-school too today so it's going to be a busy day of traveling!


Monday, May 18, 2009

Traveling the Back Roads!

On Sunday we decided to see if we could make it to the Elk Lakes Provincial Park, about 60km above Elkford on the back road. This road is not maintained at all so it can be rather bumpy!

We stopped for Spencer to have a pee (one of many stops along the way... he's now known as "Fountain Boy") and this little girl was sitting on the side of the road right in front of the Jeep. She let me walk up to her pretty close and take her photo before she took off into the bush.

We climbed from 1150m (the valley's altitude at home in Sparwood) to 1700m (550m or 1804 feet) up the valley to this beautiful plateau about 20km from the Elk Lakes Provincial Park entrance.

The above photo is looking towards the park and the photo below is looking back towards where we had come.

Well needless to say, we made it to within 2 kilometers from the park parking lot. Yup... only 2 kilometers from our destination but we encountered a rather LARGE amount of snow on the last 2 kilometers of road prior. Even though we had the 4x4 on the Jeep, we spotted a low spot ahead on a bend in the road and it was filled with water. Not knowing how deep it was or how soggy the road was underneath, we decided to turn around. So on a little decline we turned around in the ditch and back we went, back toward Elkford again.

We had passed a little area with a mini cabin and two small areas with picnic tables so we stopped for a few pictures. If you look in front of the Jeep, that's how much snow was on the road where we had turned around! A lot.... considering it's the middle of May! Yup.... and that's MUD colouring the side of the Jeep! And lots of it!

My guys.... in "cheese" mode!

Spencer and I. (I'm going to have to teach Todd how to use the close up action on the camera!!!!)

We had packed a dinner meal to prepare on our journey. At mile marker 144 on the trail, we had passed a beautiful user maintained camp site with a view of a gorgeous stream and a picnic table and bathroom. We stopped and got out the Coleman stove and cooked up some yummy sausages on a bun with fried onions and had them with potato chips. It was delicious... especially due to the scenery.

My two characters......

Our "dinner" site.... the river is behind the boys.

On our way back, we stopped at Blue Lake, another user maintained camp site nestled in the bush. We'd been here before in the fall and there was only a puddle of water left the last time. We we overjoyed to see some beautiful but rather cold water in the little lake this time. It was crystal clear!!!

Spencer thought it would be a great idea to go "fishing" so he grabbed a stick and began to fish. Well no sooner did he "cast in his line" when the fish began to break the surface. They continued to splash and make themselves known to him. He was so excited! Little did he know, it was just Daddy throwing stones in the water from behind him.... hahahaha! Daddy did eventually get caught... thanks to Mommy!

Spencer then decided to take his version of a "dip"... he fell in the lake.... so we quickly got him into some dry clothes and off we went, back home.

Another great adventure. I even drove the Jeep most of the way home from our dinner camp site. Gotta love the back roads baby!


Adventure to Lost Lake

On Saturday, we got in the Jeep in the afternoon and decided to investigate Sulphur Springs Rd., a road that begins at the Line Creek Mine in between Sparwood and Elkford.

As we drove we gained about 300 meters in altitude and up the mountain ridge. We ended up high above Elkford looking down on the town.

We discovered Lost Lake at the top of the mountain. There was a trail from the roadside to the little lake so we got out and decided to take that adventure.

In a few spots they had board walk trails due to the water.

Here's the pretty lake we came to....

And back we went.... Spencer wanted to stop and "fish" in all the puddles on the way back.

On our way down the mountain we took a spur road to round the corner to discover these lovelies...

We came to a switch back and took the Lower Sulphur Springs Road to see where it went to.

We came across this wild turkey on the road. The first one I've seen in our area. I knew they were hear but had yet to see one yet.

We also came across a small herd of elk eating there lunch.

We drove back to the beginning of the road and took the road to Grave Lake to see how busy the camping area was there. On our way back, we spotted some deer AND elk standing along side the railway tracks. So weird to see them both together!

Gotta love this beautiful country!


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day!

Hope you're all having a great day today! It's just Spencer and I hangin' out all day here. Todd's at work.
Spencer made me a pretty pink personalized book mark at school. It even has a cute little photo of him on it. Todd and Spencer got me a little compressor for my Copic airbrush system so I have endless "air". Gotta love my boys!

Hope you're having a great too!


Friday, May 8, 2009

Playing with Tonka Trucks!

This week we're celebrating Mining Week here in BC so Teck, Todd's employer, had FREE bus tours of each of it's five mines in the Elk Valley this week. Fording River, the mine Todd works at, was being toured today. So we signed up about 2 weeks ago for the bus tour for Spencer and I.

We got on a Teck coach bus in Sparwood where we met one other bus carrying passengers from Fernie and another carrying people from Crowsnest Pass. The bus was full and off we drove to Elkford for a few more passengers and then up the mountain to the Fording River division... about 60 km for Sparwood.

This is what we saw at the front gates.... the coal processing plant....

This picture was taken from the main office area looking down to the bays where haul trucks are fixed. Todd spends a lot of his time off to the left (off the photo) in a smaller electrical shop area.

From the main office we could see the coal trucks unloading into the crusher plant (can't remember its official name). This is the view from above as we started our drive up the mountain.

As we drove up the mountain, every few minutes we'd see this view through the front window of the bus. The lanes up and down the mountain are huge! I think you could easily fit an 8 lane highway on them. This is because of the haul trucks and their mammoth size and lack of view.

We wound up the mountain slowly with our foreman accompaniment in front of the bus. We came to the top of the hill and came to a roadway that was rather "sludgy" to say the least. It looked smooth but really.... it was covered in about a foot of coal coloured "mud". The pot holes were easily disguised!!!!! The ride was SLOW... and bumpy!!

We were driven up to Eagle 6 area where we first saw Drill #3. It was perched on the edge of bench, getting ready to drill for a drop of explosives.

This is one of the huge Latourneau loaders. The foreman accompanying us asked the driver to pull up to the side of our coach bus. The loader bucket was HUGE! It probably could have picked up the bus it was SO large! Pictures just don't do these machines justice!!!

At Eagle 6, Shovel #6 was in full operation scooping up spoil and loading it into waste trucks (anything but coal) to have it trucked away.

It took them only 3 scoops of the shoovel to fill the haul trucks! When full the haul trucks are said to be over a million pounds!

To add a little bit of perspective to this photo, Todd comes up ALMOST to the middle of the tires on the haul trucks! YUP... they're freaking HUGE!

The "smaller" truck (above) to the left is clearing any debris from loading the haul trucks so the haul trucks don't run over it. Apparently it's not great for tires!!!

We sat at Eagle 6 for awhile and watched the haul trucks speed in and out; load and unload. The Latourneau loader even started to load haul trucks too from the smaller debris piles.

As we left Eagle 6, I took this shot of a haul truck taking spoil to one of the spoil dumps. You can see the steam rising off the roads! It was so pretty! (If coal sludge can be pretty?!?)

If you look closely at the photo below, in the mountain face behind the truck, you can see the hints of 2 swirls. Todd says that the "folds" in the mountain in this spot are incredible! He hopes to get a picture in another month when most of the snow is gone of the almost complete swirls in the rock.

We came slowly down the hill and captured another glimpse of the processing plant and main offices. They are in the process building another "Dry" for the employees (shower & locker area)... kind of a contradiction if you ask me? "Dry"... showers???

Coming down the hill to the right we saw the "sunlight" area (name has something to do with one of the companies Teck deals with). This is the area where they put new haul trucks together. At this time of year, the haul truck boxes are shipped in 2 pieces and are welded together into one piece on site. The loads are too heavy for the Spring time road weight restrictions so they come in two pieces. It's not uncommon to see the large loads drive past the house here in Sparwood.

We stopped at the main office for a last washroom break where in the front entrance Teck has a bunch of 3D site maps and photographs of the progression of the mining in certain areas of the Fording River site. It's neat to see how mining the area changes from one year to the next and how the structure of the mountain changes.

On the Fording River site, they have found numerous pieces of evidence of dinosaurs. This is a cast hanging on the wall of a brontasaus foot print found on the site. Numerous fossils have been found and some have been sent to one of the dinosaur museums in Alberta and are on display there from this mine site.

We had a great day. Spencer's behaviour was not up to par but he did pretty well for sitting on a bus for 4.5 hours.

Have a great weekend everyone! Hope you enjoyed your mini tour of the Fording River divison of Teck.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Family Days

Todd is off on his four days right now so we have been spending a lot of time together just having fun.

Yesterday after we picked Spencer up from pre-school we drove to Canadian Tire in Fernie just to look around. On our way home, Todd decided to do a little off roading and took off on a logging road in between Fernie and Sparwood. We ended up high on the mountain looking down on the valley where the main highway was. Very cool views! We stopped at a little mountain creek running down and just enjoyed the gorgeous view.

Today we had lunch and then took off to the pool for the afternoon. We enjoyed swimming for two hours and actually had the pool completely to ourselves for the last hour!!! Yup.. a whole pool to play in! Spencer even jumped into the deep end to Daddy without his life jacket on and swam to him and then swam back to the side all by himself. So proud!

We got some burgers for the BBQ for dinner and while Todd cooked them the boys got our their bikes. Spencer's still learning that his bike has brakes!!!!

The first signs of Spring have started too. We saw some elk and some deer in the valley between home and Sparwood and the leaves are beginning to sprout on the trees.