On Vancouver Island

What can I say? It took about 13 hours to get from our home in the Koots to my place above the stable in Cedar.

It was a lovely drive: sunshine and blue skies. Sitting here, window open to the warm night air and a huge chorus of frogs.

I swear that I still feel the road rising up to meet me.

Bed awfully soon.

So much to do and right now, I just want to crawl under the duvet and not think about one single thing until tomorrow.

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At Home

This feels like the calm before the storm. The storm being moving from Nanaimo back to the Koots.

Yes, I have made a list of everything I have to do : pick up the truck, get boxes, pack everything, and all the details that go with that.

Simon will be home soon. (Yay). Alisa will be here soon (double yay!)

And that’s it. Today’s stay-at-Home day involved lots of Facebook, reading, baking, a touch of cleaning, a bit of packing and a couple of dog walks around the property.

I am very proud of myself. The fire I made last night before going to bed lasted through until morning.

Major accomplishment.

I am totally into celebrating the small things.

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Face masks and other considerations

I suppose I should have taken a selfie today. Subject: me rocking my “homemade” face mask. You know those micro fibre cleaning cloths? Yup. Folded one over three times, threaded elastic bands through the ends, folded cloth over bands, attached to face. This fashion statement was made even more effective by today’s “in” fashion hue – bright orange with a smattering of bleach stains.

But it worked. People took one look at me and kept their distance big time.

Yeah – I went into town today to do a week’s worth of shopping for three of us. Mainly this consisted of 20 or more bananas and an equal number of apples. At the very least we will be very healthy.

Simon is in Vancouver, having left the house a bit late because his windshield wiper blade flew off/broke off. But my resourceful man happened to have a spare blade which he attached. Whew!

Tomorrow he returns with Alisa and birds. Cool. Playmates for the dogs. Hehehe.

And then on Monday we turn right around and drive back to the Island. I powered through stuff today, like cancelling my internet, a process that took only 2 hours wait time on the phone. (!!)

And calling U-haul to make sure they had packing supplies and boxes. They do – but not blankets because of Corona.

The most exciting part of my day was taking the truck down the driveway to do the grocery shopping. It’s a rear wheel drive. The driveway is downhill. It was icy. At one point it felt like I was trying to rein in a toboggan, praying there were no cars coming down the highway because I might just plummet out onto the pavement.

Luckily, all was well, except for my stress levels, which shot through the roof.

And that, gentle reader, is exactly why I had to stop at the liquor store and purchase a bottle of wine.

I cannot be blamed.

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At Home

Yup – at home all day. And no, not bored. I had so darn much to do. First there was the announcement from BC. Ferries about cancellations, so I made reservations for the car and the U-Haul. And then I spent a lot of time online changing my address for everything from insurance to CRA. It’s really quite amazing how long this takes.

And there was bread baking and cookie baking and laundry and cleaning and preparations for the trip and the move and, yeah, it ate up time.

I’ve been feeling madly distracted today, like I can’t process what’s right in front of me. I feel like my brain is doing 60 things at once and none of them very well.

And there we are, living in stressful times, all of us with one common stressor and all the variations for each person.

I think each of us needs to cut ourselves a good deal of slack – and doubly so for those we love.

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Exploring Idaho Peak

I wasn’t planning on a snowshoe today, but Peter said it was going to be sunny so why not? Why not indeed.

I met him at Three Forks to explore the back side of Idaho Peak. There were trails, he said. views, he said. So, practicing good social distancing, we strapped on snowshoes and scrunched our way up.

The “trail” was, initially, an old mining road. Okay, not great but what the heck. We followed it. It got narrower. Peter wielded his machete in several spots. Then we did a bit of a climb and came out on a precarious outcropping with a view and no further possibilities of continuing.

Well then, perhaps we had taken the wrong “trail.”

We backtracked and found another track. This one looked like it had real possibilities, except for the fact that it was clearly a road with long, long switchbacks through many tall, dark trees on the north face of Idaho. Those who know me, know how I feel about hiking or shoeing on roads so I shall desist from carrying on a diatribe. The temptation, however, is strong.

Up and up and up and forever up and then, just like that, the road stopped. Dead end – and for no apparent reason. It just stopped. So we turned around and headed down – for about five minutes. Wait! There! Another road. Okay, up we went and the “trail” narrowed. We climbed up briefly and steeply and came out on a sun-soaked bench with quite a lovely view of the Goat Range.

Happily, this was right at lunch time. The timing was perfect.

After lunch we crunched our way back down the switchbacks. Peter opined that this wasn’t so bad a hike. I said that I would never snowshoe in the area again. Not. Ever.

Other than that, it was a lovely day.

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Not as planned

It all started with bread baking. This is easy enough, given I do it at least once a week – and I’ve been doing it for years and my results are uniformly excellent (if I do say so myself).

I dissolved the yeast then made the sponge. I did notice that the sponge had not bubbled quite as much as I’m used to but – no matter. Time to add flour and start kneading. The dough very quickly became a sticky, heavy, crumbly mess. Something wrong. But hey, maybe just more kneading – that will develop the gluten. I kneaded for a very long time. It was marginally better – but only very marginally.

Time to let the dough rise. It did not. Hmmmm. I shaped loaves anyway and put them in the pan. Sticky. Heavy. Weird.

In the oven. They came out weighing twice what a heavy pumpernickel might.

I sliced a loaf for lunch. It crumbled. It tasted bitter. In a word – awful. What?

I dove into the garbage to check the packaging of the new bag of flour I had opened. I couldn’t image that would be the problem. It was Amy’s organic all purpose. I always use it. And then, there it was written on the bag: all purpose flour, GLUTEN FREE.

Well then. I guess a lot of kneading wasn’t about to make a whole lot of difference. Darn bag was the same colour. What? You expect me to read the print?

Maybe the afternoon would prove more successful. So Abby and I headed to the Awesome Trail. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t need snowshoes or gaiters. Ummmm. Details? Nah. Let’s just say that I changed my socks when I got home and my boots are drying by the fireplace.

After that I had the clever idea of driving to Slocan market to buy the “right” kind of flour so that I could bake bread again in the morning. I knew that Rutabaga’s only had “gluten free” and New Market didn’t have organic. So off I went to Slocan. I stood outside waiting to get in (good physical distancing) for about 20 minutes, during which time my toes in their still wet socks got rather chilly. But I finally got in and headed toward the baking aisle. No flour. None. Zero.

I bought bread.

Sigh.

And a bottle of wine.

Abby had a huge chunk of gluten free bread for dinner. I am about to open the wine.

So you see? A bright spot in the day after all.

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Mount Crow

Today, Ben, P’nina and I headed up Mount Crow. With new snowfall overnight, it was gorgeous – a total wonderland.

We saw almost no one all day, and that meant breaking trail a good deal of the way. No matter, every step up was worth it. So beautiful at the top, a fairyland. Amazingly, we had sunshine while we had lunch: one perfect window.

And then it came time to go down. Best down ever from Crow. All those glades that are usually criss-crossed by ski tracks? None. We had untouched snow all the way down. In other words, snowgasms all the way.

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