Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What every girl needs

What girl doesn't like a nice pair of shoes, better yet a great pair of boots. Soft supple material that molds to your foot, tiny little straps, or if we are talking boots, those sexy lace ups. Of course the perfect heel, a flash of silver, and my heart starts to palpitate. I do love shiny things. I must admit I am more partial to boots rather than shoes. In need of a little 'pick me up' for the New Year we headed out, braving the icy roads and the cold temperature. The drive to Cranbrook, which normally takes 35 minutes, took 50 minutes, but it just seemed to fly by as I dreamed of new boots. I hardly even noticed the snow covered scenery.

Our little town does not have a lot of footwear stores, so the shopping options are limited. But at our first destination I could see incredible possibilities. Looking through the window at all those lovely boots had me drooling over all t
he choices. I could just visualize myself prancing around in those lovely boots. So, dragging my hubby inside (who could definitely envision me in these boots), we entered this den of temptation. I am pleased to say they had several gorgeous boots in my size, which is unusual. After oohing and ahhing over the various styles, I slipped my feet into these wonderful boots. I strutted around the store to see how gracefully I could stroll in these heels, and of course, seeing which of these incredible boots made me feel and look my best. I could feel the smile on my face, and see the look on my hubby's face too, although I am not sharing that here. Decision made on the boots, I couldn't help but top them off with a great pair of jeans too. Oh, what an ensemble (click here)! I am going to be so hot! 2009 is going to be a great year!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Going down hill fast - in a good way

The call came at 9 am; lower field, 2 pm, dress warm, prepare to have fun! The Leunenberger's were having a Toboggan party. After the last party they threw, the Summer Car Rally, I knew we were in for a good time.

The bonfire had been lit, the coffee and soup were on, the neighbours were all arriving in their 4x4s, and the hill had been groomed. From the top the hill sure looked steep. A slight twist and few obstacles, rocks and trees, were going to make for a thrilling slide. Then the toboggans arrived: a home made wooden sled that looked like a skid on tracks; a traditional wooden toboggan; a Bull River custom toboggan; and a more comfortable skidoo slider.

Almost everyone got in a few runs, including me, before the 'competition' began. Novice (read chicken) that I am, I went with the Skidoo slider. I got my runs in just as dusk was falling. I wanted to make sure there was enough light left to pick up my battered broken body should I hit one of the obstacles. My first run ended in a creative finish for which I received a round of applause for my flip off the slider onto my back. Such finesse. On my second run, as I lay face down on this crazy slider, I just managed to avoid the tree. Okay, that's enough sliding fun for me I decided, it's getting dark.

But the competition had just begun and many more runs were made down the hill by various single sliders and teams. Strategies such as additional weight, body positioning, aerodynamic hats and 'bobsled' style starts (running, flying leaps onto the sled) were used to try for the longest run. When it was so dark we couldn't see the sliders coming, trucks were repositioned to light the hill. No doubt the headlights blinded the sliders, but that just added to the challenge for them. I am not sure who the 'official' winners were but a lot of laughs were had.

Thanks everyone for a great afternoon.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The snow fairies laughed

To all my friends and family on the coast, the storm that hit you, arrived in Bull River on Christmas Eve. It snowed for about 36 hours but we only accumulated about another ten inches of dry fluffy snow. On Boxing Day, while Gary went off to run an errand I donned his fireman boots (my boots were too short) and went for a tramp around the neighborhood with my camera. I shuffled, in the too big boots, down the hill and over to the Big Horn Sheep conservancy hoping to catch them out in the field. The sheep must have heard me coming because they were way, way in the back. I snapped a few pictures looking up east up the Bull and towards the hill where our home is. You can't see the house as it is well hidden by all the trees.

I was having such a good time, enjoying the -8 weather that I wandered up the forest service road instead of heading back to the house, stopping now and then to listen to the sounds of the forest, enjoying all the beauty around me, snapping a pic or two. Soft 'whooshes' could be heard as the snow tumbled from the heavily laden trees in mini avalanches. I told myself, 'don't stand under the trees'. Well, I got distracted snapping a few more photos, when wouldn't you know it, 'whoosh' down came the snow on top of me. I am sure the snow fairies were laughing, I know I was.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Silence can be so loud

The mercury shot up to -10 C yesterday; perfect time for a walk in our winter wonderland. -10 here is quite bearable, quite a change from the bone chilling -2 C temps of the coast and slushy, soggy stuff we called snow. In Bull River we have squeaky snow; I have never heard snow squeak so loudly! You have no chance on sneaking up on any wildlife in the snow here.

We headed up the hill on the forest service road. The winter scenery is stunning. You see so many more things when all the shrubs and trees are bare. Such things as the four legged critters which may have been more camouflaged in the bush. Even with all our squeaking yesterday we did come across a herd of 40 or so elk. The elk kept their distance, which is good, because apparently they can be quite aggressive. It is very interesting trying to identify all the various animal tracks in the snow. Guessing, is that a cougar or a bobcat; a coyote, wolf or just the neighbour's dog; are those tracks deer or elk. The mice, squirrels, voles and birds leave very interesting little trails too.

The silence when you stop walking is so intense. How silence can be so loud I am not sure, but it is. By the time we had gone about 3.5 km we were starting to feel the cold (our cheeks were getting a little stiff) so headed home. In total, the loop we did was about 5 km. Not bad for a shuffle in the squeaky snow. Now, to sit by the fire and warm up with a nice glass of red wine.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Local Wildlife

It is amazing what we find living right here in our backyard. This rural environment makes it seem like the surrounding 5 square miles is 'my backyard'. Most days we see the deer as they nibble on my garden (even in the winter they are still eating the leaves off the apple tree). The elk we only see occasionally and the big horn sheep only when it gets cold and snowy. On our return from 'town' today we spotted a herd of Big Horn Sheep in the community baseball field. There were several ewes and few of the big guys with the curly horns, the rams. Those horns are quite something. Had me wishing for a good telephoto lens to get up close, their faces have a lot of personality.

Another bit of wildlife I have been learning about are the birds. I put a bird feeder outside our dining room window and enjoy watching the wide variety of birds that come for their meals. Lots of chickadees, nuthatches, downy woodpeckers and sometimes, blue jays and stellar jays. Along with the birds comes the squirrels who vacuum up the fallen seeds. There is one little squirrel that visits daily that I have named ‘Cheeky Two-Tail’ cause it teases Bailey something awful and its little tail has a funny little tuft coming out of it, like a second tail. The blue jays are a little big for the bird feeder but I love their colours.

So when our neighbour (and artist) Caroline Kelly was showing us some of her unique paintings I just 'had to have' the bluejay. Caroline does all her paintings using rocks or antlers as her canvas. Each one is unique and mostly wildlife based. She searches out just the right rocks, and uses the texture of the rock to bring her paintings to life. They have to be seen. Here is a pic of my blue jay which now hangs just in side my front door. She has many more I would like to buy, but I will have to pace my spending due to the fact that I am a 'stay at home' country wife now. And loving every minute of it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Building a blog

After a little encouragement from a few people to build a blog to share our 'Dusty Acres' adventures I have finally put this together. I really don't know what I will write about, but, life's adventures here just seem to happen. These adventures to us are unique and exciting, to others, just plain amusing. I am sure we provide ongoing entertainment for the neighbours, both two and four legged.

The four legged critters have been appearing more regularly lately; a coyote in the backyard, the elk in the back forty, the bighorn sheep across the river, and of course the always present and very hungry deer. The cold seems to bring them down to the lower elevations.

If I can find enough cold weather gear I am going to try and get some pics of the bighorn sheep, but my fingers don't last long in -25 or -30 C temps.

Time to go throw another log on the fire; the geothermal in the house is struggling to keep up, but I am sure cozy here in my studio office. Although, it is a cold dash to the house.