Monday, June 28, 2010

Excitement in Elkford Today!

We've had a bit of excitement in our little town in the last 12 hours. Without really going into details we have had a mining accident occur at the closest mine to town here in Elkford (not the one where Todd works). Needless to say, a fire was started by the incident and has set a blaze some of the forested areas surrounding the incident site.

Smoke can be seen rising above the hills across the valley and water bomber planes have been brought in to try and control the flames.

This photo was taken right behind the house on the school soccer field looking North East over top of the high school. The fire is located at the top of the mountain across the valley from us.

That indeed is a water bomber plane. They are having to fly to the Cranbrook area to refill and fly back again to drop water on the fire. It's not a typical sound to hear 4 planes in the valley (2 water bombers and 2 scout planes).

This is a glimpse of the area on fire at the top of the road going towards Fording River. The road past the mine has been closed off to local traffic and only certain people are being allowed past the road block. Each vehicle is being escorted through the designated area right now.

We could see billowing smoke rising from the valley heading North by the wind (away from town).
The flames as of 10pm have not be extinguished and the planes have been stopped from their duties as the light is now fading.

Apparently there have been NO deaths due to the incident, thank goodness but some employee injuries. We're hoping that all the families of the miners from the mine site have a good restful sleep tonight knowing their men and women are safe and sound.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Our Movie Buff and Graduate!

Being Todd's last day off today and not having to work myself, I convinced Todd that we needed to take Spencer to go and see his first movie at the actual movie theater. We gave Spencer the choice of a few different movies but he decided the best one was Toy Story 3... in 3D no less! So we got in the Jeep and drove to Lethbridge (yes Lethbridge; it wasn't playing in Fernie or Pincher Creek) to see it.

Here's the boys just outside the theater... don't mind the glare!

I caught our little movie buff with his 3D glasses on and popcorn in hand, sitting in his seat...

Todd and I were quite impressed that he sat quietly through the entire movie (ate his weight in popcorn mind you) and watched the entire movie. There were a few parts that kind of scared him so he sat on Daddy's knee for about the last 10 minutes of it but he did enjoy it!

On our way home, I made Todd take a mini detour behind Crowsnest Lake to check out a falls I could see from the highway. We drove down the Old Highway 3 road to a little parking area and walked a few hundred feet to the foot of the falls. The water was coming directly out of the rock in the mountain above it. Boy was it COLD!

We chatted with another couple with another 4-door Jeep parked in the place we had parked for a bit and then proceeded home.

In other family news, the paperwork Todd has been waiting weeks for finally came in on Friday morning... the new job offer. Todd was able to keep his seniority, his vacation status and even managed to talk them into more money and so he's, as of July 5th, the new Fording River full time "Computer Tech". He will be on full time day shifts (Yeah! No more night shifts!) and will start off working a 5 and 2 set (basically a Monday to Friday position) working an 8am to 5:30pm shift. He should eventually be going back to a 4 and 4 set, (work 4 shifts, off 4 shifts - which we like!) 12 hour shifts but we're not sure when that will happen. He also managed to keep his vacation status too by switching from a union position to a staff position sometimes you can have to go back to zero hours vacation status until you have worked one whole calendar year (January to January); therefore, he won't lose the vacation hours he has earned per year for the last 2 years of service. Overall, this move to this new position is a win-win situation for all of us!

Last week, Spencer had his final day of pre-school. Here's him on his FIRST day of pre-school in September...

And here he is on the LAST day of pre-school... looking a little more like a little boy than a toddler for sure!

The pre-school put on a little graduation ceremony in the hall across from the pre-school. Each graduate had painted a paper cut out of themselves and they had taped them all up around the room with a helium balloon. Spencer's had to be the one with the most colours on it!!! This was his creation...

This was him shaking his teacher Geri's hand at the front as he was announced as a graduate by her at the front of the room.

The grads (from 2 separate classes) all stood at the front of the room and preformed a series of cute little songs, a lot them with actions... hence all the hands in the air!

At the end, we enjoyed some beverages and goodies provided by all the parents of the graduates.

I made sure to get a photo of Spencer with both of his teachers.... Lorraine and Geri.

The evening was a great one... and Spencer actually sung and preformed along with the rest of his fellow grads unlike the Christmas concert where he didn't say a peep! We even enjoyed a FREE outdoor BBQ put on by the teachers the following day at lunch. We had barbecued hot dogs and hamburgers down at the local camp ground where they have an outdoor pavilion with a huge barbecue to use. Spencer had a blast playing with his classmates out in the bush around the site!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Thanks Heidi!

I know that some of you have already seen these on Facebook but I thought I would share some photos that Heidi (my sister-in-law) took of me at my request while visiting in Goderich a few weeks ago. Thanks Heidi! I just love how they turned out!!!

On the Goderich public beach with Spencer...

In front a fun tile wall...

Playing with the umbrella...

That funky tile wall is on the front of the Goderich LCBO!!

In front of a garden down towards to the beach...

In front of one of the Goderich landmarks (can't remember which one)...

Thanks again Heidi! I can finally see all of my hard work over the last 8 months!!!!


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Traveling with the Top Off!

We have finally received some resemblance of warm weather here in the Elk Valley today so after having lunch in Sparwood, Spencer and I took a "photo" tour of the valley. I took the top off the Jeep (after applying LOTS of sunscreen) to enjoy the beautiful sky and warm breeze!

Some of the more hidden mountains in the valley still have some snow caps on them. This peak is one looking off to the East coming up towards Elkford on Hwy 43.

This is the snowy peak just behind the mountain in front of Grave Lake... just a peak of course!

This is the mountain just behind the Coal Mountain mine coming up the valley.

One of my favourite wooden bridges over the valley's main river on Sulphur Springs Road.

Looking up river on the wooden bridge.

We drove up the mountain and to the viewpoint over Elkford. The snowy mountain in the back ground is one we see out the back of the house. The houses below are our little sleepy town...

We proceeded down the road and to the mine that Todd works at, Fording River.

We happened upon a mountain sheep on the side of the road right at the front gate. He soon scrampered up the hillside and up out of site.

This female elk was also within meters of the gates of Fording River. She wasn't too eager to move, even as many mine trucks and other vehicles passed only meters from her resting place. Judging from her belly, she's probably due to give birth any day now.

So after turning around at the gate, we drove slowly back down the Fording River valley towards Elkford again. I came over the crest of a small hill and on the right hand side, in a little swampy area right off the road was a MOOSE!

She let me takes some photos, pull off the road and walk back up towards her on the roadway before she got scared and took off into the trees again. So cool!

We've had a lot of cyclists in the valley over the last 48 hours. They are having a race called the Tour Divide. Riders start in Banff, AB (right above us here in Elkford... about 100km or so) and ride the Continental Divide to Antelope Wells, New Mexico. Working last night, we had a very busy night with a store full of hungry cyclists! Some stayed the night in Elkford while others rode on farther to Sparwood and beyond! You see more of their cool route on their site, here. Some of the riders have made it past the US border already (in less than 24 hours). Most of the route between Sparwood and the border is mountainous terrain and lots of climbing and back woods riding. What an amazing journey these people are having!!!!