Image: ATV and trailer at the house site.
“You’re going to need a tractor”, one friend advises sagely. Another friend, who owns a remote piece of property up in the Hazelton area, tells us how useful his ATV has been for working around the property. Fifty acres is a lot of land – our friends tell us that we will need something with an engine. However, neither of us really wants to have yet another gasoline engine to feed, with the ever-increasing costs of fuel. And it seems to go against our principles to have a “motor vehicle” on the property. However, the last straw comes from the contractor who is designing the cabin for our site. “You’re not going to hand bomb all the materials up from the beach, are you?” he asks in disbelief. “The last time I had to do that …” and he goes off into stories of pain and injury. OK, I’m convinced to look at options. Maybe we’ll get a winch and a trailer. “I’ll check into things”, I tell the contractor. “Look at used ATVs”, he advises. “You might be able to get something cheap …”
Continue reading “I Never Thought I’d Own an ATV”
Image: Bloody sunrise in Johnstone Strait.
We are heading across Johnstone Strait to Kelsey Bay, and the day is just breaking. This is not your usual sunrise, however. The sun peers over the horizon like the bloodshot eye of some strange beast. Dark clouds form a horizontal band across the sun that resembles the slit pupil of a reptile. The smoke on the horizon is an eery reminder of one of the outcomes of a too hot summer – forest fires.
Continue reading “Smoke on the Horizon”
Image: Full moon over Johnstone Strait.
The full moon is shining brilliantly just above the horizon. Wearing my rubber boots, I am standing in 10 inches or so of water in a tidal marsh grass slough armed with a 12 foot pike pole. The northwest wind is howling in my ears, and I am really beginning to wonder what on earth I am doing here.
Continue reading “Moonlight Capers”
Image: The Grizzly.
Dusk is fast approaching, and we are winding down our day, now aboard the Awen, anchored just offshore from our home site. Ken sees something moving along the shore. This “something” resolves into a rather large, gangly-looking bear. We are not sure if it is a very large black bear or a small grizzly. As we debate, it disappears into the bush.
Continue reading “The Grizzly”
Image: Summer solstice.
Today we celebrated summer solstice – the longest day of the year. Although a somewhat odd way to begin a solstice day, we started by washing a load of laundry. Recent rains had increased the flow of our spring so that we had enough excess water to wash our laundry, which we have not been able to do for a month. So we happily set our shirts and underwear to flapping in the warm summer breeze.
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Image: Trailing blackberries.
Although we are itching to start work on our homestead, we are still waiting for the last of the legal paperwork to be done, and the property to be transferred into our names. So instead, we spend our time hiking around the site, trying to become more familiar with our new home.
Continue reading “Black Bears and Blackberries”
Image: The Blue Rocket.
My husband, Kennard, affectionately calls our old truck the Blue Rocket because it can go faster than 8 knots, the speed at which he is used to travelling on the Moody Blue. Today is our first trip across Johnstone Strait to Kelsey Bay, and the reason for our trip is to fetch the Blue Rocket from Port Hardy and bring it back to Kelsey Bay, our closest point to British Columbia’s highway system.
Continue reading “Fetching the Blue Rocket”
Image: Our new home.
A vibrant green triangle – that’s my first impression of our new home as we pass through the narrows near the head of Port Neville Inlet. A vibrant green triangle pointed uphill towards a background of mountains, with the broad base coming down to meet the shoreline. Two deer calmly graze seaweed at the edge of a creek.
Continue reading “Home”
Image: Sunlight beaming down on our new home.
Finally the northwest gales had caught up to us. We had deeked into the Broughten Archipelago, avoiding the worst of the gale winds, but now we were trapped. Just around the point from where we were anchored was Port Neville. Between us and our final destination were a few scant miles of water, but Johnstone Strait was in a distinct snit, and we could have had a million miles to go for all the difference it was making.
Continue reading “The Sign of the Awen”
Image: Towing the Awen around Cape Caution
Just as in rock climbing, every journey, like every ascent, has a “crux” point, a passage through the eye of a needle, a time of greatest struggle or danger. Although I didn’t know it when I got out of our bunk this morning, today was going to be the “crux” point of our journey south.
Continue reading “Rounding Cape Caution”