The Old Year Ends and the New Year Begins

Time whirls by, suddenly 2022 has come to its end, and here we are in the early days of 2023.  I’m posting a few photos to bring the blog up-to-date on some of the happenings at the homestead.

Life for us this year has had its ups and downs.  Like everyone else in BC, we’ve faced the challenges of weird weather, increasing gas and food costs, COVID concerns, and difficulties sourcing equipment and supplies.  Still, I think we’ve been luckier than most, and have been isolated from much of the worst that has been going on in the world.

Sunny July weather on the homestead.

After a cold start to the year, the summer turned sunny and dry.  In fact, it was the driest year I’ve ever seen on the coast.  We received very little rainfall during the period from July through to October.  We had a tiny bit of rain in November, and finally in December, the first heavy rains in many months.  Surprisingly, we still had water in our reservoir, seeping in from somewhere, even in October.  However, we were forced to water our newly planted trees right through the fall, something very strange on the “rain coast” where it’s usually wet by September.

An interior shot of our cabin showing some of Ken’s sister’s artwork and a few of our bits and pieces collected over the years.
Straight coral fungus (Ramaria stricta) growing in a large mass under the alder trees and salmonberry.

Even though the weather was dry in August, there were a lot of foggy mornings, and the trees and grass often dripped with dew.

A wee bit of Awen poking through the morning mists.
Crocosmia growing wild on the beach at the location of the old community at the end of Port Neville Inlet.
Grizzly bear walking the beach in front of our cabin.
Hot August days … the grass is turning brown in the heat.

Thankfully, as the weather got drier, we luckily managed to get a 1200 gallon water tank delivered to Sayward for us.  After bringing it home in the Kipper, we installed it at the highest point in our orchard.  Throughout the late summer and fall, we were able to refill this tank several times from our primary reservoir, and it provided us with gravity fed water to irrigate our trees.

Our new “ghost jade” water tank installed.
A view of the new water tank looking along our fence line.
Looking up at the water tank from the back yard.

In spite of the weather, our garden did reasonably well, especially as it had been somewhat neglected earlier in the season when we were busy planting trees.  We had a good crop of strawberries, and lots of raspberries, blackberries, and loganberries.

Flowers blooming in the yard.
A basket of August vegetables among the thyme and lavender.
The first fall colors showing on a red huckleberry bush in August.

September came with more fog.  Our two little apple trees bore massive crops … three milk crates full!  We harvested beans, potatoes, corn, tomatoes, and peppers from then garden.  A crop of sunchokes is waiting for harvesting during the winter.

A spider web jeweled by the morning dew.
Apple trees in September.
Look at the load of apples on that tree!!
The second apple tree (not espaliered), also with a heavy load.
A basket of peppers harvested from our greenhouse in October.
An October pumpkin.

December arrived with cold temperatures, down to -12°C, and heavy snows.  We got 14″ of snow, well over the tops of my boots, in one snowfall.  Then the weather warmed and turned to rain.  We are much happier … the deep snows keep us cabin-bound, and we prefer hiking the roads and beaches, even if it is wet!

Snow on the oak leaves.

Our activities turned to indoor pursuits.  I made my first lacto-fermented pickles … a jar of garlic and one of sunchokes in tumeric.  Both were very tasty.  I think I’m onto something!  I was also kept busy ordering supplies that were getting low … in particular, I worked out an arrangement with Island Foods to get case lots of groceries shipped in to Sayward.

The tail end of the year brought lots of computer problems to my desk.  Dry grey foggy weather, followed by very cold grey snowy weather, meant we had little solar or hydro power coming in, and were on power rations for some months.  It became clear that I also had a dead battery in my laptop, which was replaced after having to pull the computer completely apart.  I purchased a new little Microsoft Surface Go 3 tablet as a replacement for the obviously aging laptop.  With problems in the supply chains, I had to search long and hard to find one on the market, and then had to wait over a month for it to arrive.  In the middle of December, we picked up both the new computer and a truck load of groceries … this was to be our last trip into town for the year.  Now I was kept busy installing software on the new machine … but wait, what was that I downloaded?  Oh no, not a virus!! Not ransomware!  Something that encrypted half the hard drive of my old laptop, stole all my passwords, and hacked my Facebook account!  Windows Defender, you failed me!!  Needless to say, I was busy for a couple weeks putting out fires and rebuilding the system on my laptop.  I also installed a new antivirus software on my old computer.

Our home in winter snows.

And so ended 2022.  As with many people, it wasn’t the best year of our lives, but it could have been much worse.  With that, we wish you all the best in 2023.  May it bring hope and joy to us all!