Foggy Autumn Vacation

This is one of those rare vacations where I didn’t have much planned. Setting up the Christmas lights was really about it. Everything else I am doing is just the routine of our lives. Grocery shopping, speed skating practice, meeting up with friends… that sort of thing.

During my downtime I am watching some tv and playing video games. No big household projects or crafting this time around. I just want to relax. And I’m getting to do exactly that.

Last night I soaked in the tub, read a book and enjoyed a glass of wine. This morning I have been staring out the window amazed that the fog is so thick and just doesn’t want to lift or burn off. Yet somehow our view is still just as stunning without being able to see much. As if we are floating in the clouds.

That’s kind of how I feel about my week of vacation. I’m enjoying it, yet not much is happening that is exciting. This staycation is precisely what I needed. No hustle, just floating through. A chance to watch the world and appreciate the beauty it holds.

Autumn Walks For Health

Over the last couple of days, I have been enjoying a nice autumn walk with my wife. Yesterday was a 5km walk and today was about 3km. What’s different this time, is I’m the one asking to go on these walks.

I’ve been asking my wife to go on these walks because she stopped doing them. Summer was busy and her routine got disrupted as she went from one job to another. Getting her out again has been helping her in processing and clearing her thoughts. I have been doing my best to be a sounding board for her while we get some exercise. she has been noticeably happier these past few days as well.

Admittedly, even though it’s been cool outside- the views and sunshine have made it worthwhile to get out. The crisp air has helped with breathing and getting the heart rate going. Our pace has been quick and steady, really making the heart and lungs work.

I have also wanted to get a bit more mobile as work has had me fairly stagnant. Either sitting in a desk or driving a vehicle around. I have not been as active as I once was when I first hired on 15 years ago. As I get older, I really should be more active, eat healthier, and cut back on alcohol. So that’s what I’m trying to do.

I hope the weather stays nice- even if it’s just for a bit each day. We can squeeze in a walk during those times. I like holding her hand and discussing our lives.

Much Needed Rain

Over the last few days, the Lower Mainland and Vancouver area has gotten some much needed rain. As much as I enjoyed the extended summer weather- rain was badly needed. And welcomed.

Even just the short amount we have gotten so far has brought back a bit of vegetation and vibrancy to our world. This will help with keeping wild fires down as well as give some life to the plants that have needed it most prior to going dormant for the year. I have also heard of people in our old neighborhood having their wells start to run low and even dry. That’s a tough situation to deal with. The rain can help fill those natural supplies once more.

Working or driving in this weather can be frustrating as well. Please just remember to take it a bit slower out there. No one wants to get in an accident or injured. Besides- rain and Vancouver go hand-in-hand according to other parts of the world. But only when it isn’t sunny and those folks are just jealous of the good weather we get most of the other time.

We Just Ended Summer

Today, my wife and I cleaned up the backyard and prepared for winter. That meant bringing in outdoor cushions, wiping down the tables and chairs and then covering them for the end of season to protect it all. My wife also went through and trimmed the last of her large tomato plants (the ones that weren’t in the Greenhouse).

The one thing that really says “summer is over” is the fact that I put the winter cover on the pool. I gave it one final vacuum, cleaned out the filters, shut off the gas and set up the bypass water pipe. That way I can keep circulating that water over winter, but it doesn’t have to go through the heater.

Our yard looks barren now. All set for the rain, wind and potential snow that will come in the following weeks. I’m happy that we have more of our house back as well. We were able to utilize more storage space indoors this year. Over the next few weeks, my wife is wanting to set up her sewing area again. It’s perfect that we get to be indoors more often.

I may be done hanging outside, but I can still enjoy the views from the comfort of our living room and bedroom. It’s almost time to turn on the gas fireplaces to add warmth to our environment.

Are you ready for summer to officially end?

Stink Bug

It seems that with the abnormally warm October comes an infestation of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. (Here’s what the Canadian Government says about them: BMSB). A couple weeks ago, I saw a couple inside our home. Naturally, I got rid of them and thought nothing of it. Just a bug making its way inside somehow.

Last weekend, as we started to prepare our backyard for winter, an abundance of these critters were discovered. Under our gazebo, we have our deck furniture set up. As I lifted the cushions up, I began to notice hundreds of these little brown shielded insects conglomerating in groups. They were seeking warmth on the cool nights.

Aside from the initial “ugh, gross” moment- these bugs don’t bite. They are easy to scoop up, but they scuttle away like cockroaches when disturbed. The biggest tip- don’t squish them. That’s when they ooze and cause the stink. There’s not much you can do except vacuum them up and toss them out. I did hear that drowning them is a good way to get kill them. Unless of course you enjoy the smell they secrete when squashed.

If that’s the case, let me know- I’ll bag up a bunch for you to destroy.

Hotumn

2021

Last year, we had already covered our pool for the winter. That was mostly because the weather was far cooler and wetter than it is this year.

This past weekend, my wife and I enjoyed the sun and an August-like heatwave. I saw someone use the term “Hotumn” and it described the local weather perfectly. My wife and I had a great time floating, splashing, and swimming for a few hours everyday this month.

Coming up on Friday, our weather patterns are subject to drop to last year’s similar cool and wet conditions. Our swimming pool shall be shut for the winter weather by the end of this week.

I’m a bit sad that our enjoyment of the outdoors is coming to and end. I’ve enjoyed the pool and the gardening tremendously this month. It has kept me happy and occupied. Soon, all of our activities will be indoors. Such as more movies, games, and food. I am looking forward to those activities as well.

Goodbye Hotumn. I’m glad you stayed a while longer.

September Ends…

September flew by. Even though I am spending my afternoon in the pool because of this beautiful weather, fall is in the air. that means there is only one thing left to do. Get ready for Halloween!

After working on the front yard, our middle child and I pulled out our Halloween decorations from the attic and they began to set up the front yard. Our entry is now a mix of autumn and Halloween- which I love.

Earlier today, the neighbors came by with a chainsaw and we cut down a tree in the front yard. It was at such a poor angle that I was unable to correct it over the past year. Once we cut it down, we noticed that the middle was starting to rot out. It was only a matter of time before it had to come down anyways.

After cutting the tree down, Darwin placed our axe happy gnome on display. A perfect ornament for the front yard! His name is HP Gnomecraft and he is scary.

I love the transition from summer to autumn. It gives me a chance to plant some new plants for spring. It also means that Christmas is just around the corner! I love Halloween and Christmas. Decorating is my favorite!

Have you begun decorating for Halloween yet? Perhaps you are working on some Christmas crafts.

Let me know what you have going on.

Autumn Equinox 2022

In the next few minutes summer shall be over and autumn will be upon us. Luckily for us living in the Vancouver area- the daytime weather will be nice and warm for at least another week keeping us in the mid to low 20°C areas. Summer is just not ready to hand over the season lightly.

I for one am glad about this. It means more time with our pool open as the sun beams down. Earlier today, my wife and I went for a swim to try and make the most of this weather.

It also means we will have a chance to prepare our gardens for winter. I’m genuinely excited about that. We will be setting up a temporary greenhouse to protect our remaining tomatoes and peppers before the last harvest. We also have some trimming and planting to get done so that next spring the gardens will bloom.

Of course I do like all the seasons. Autumn brings with it Halloween and warm food and drinks. As well as apple pie and turkey!

So happy Autumn Equinox everyone. Go enjoy the pumpkin spice!

Bug Off

It’s September 1st. Some folks think summer is over- but I disagree. The weather has been absolutely stunning these days. My days off have been fantastic, but busy. Yet I am still enjoying life.

Today as I got the pool ready, I noticed a couple bugs in the water. As I skimmed the water to get them out, I realized the size of these ones. Much larger than the usual fly or mosquito. Clearly the summer was good to them- as they are bigger than I could have imagined.

Once I cleaned the pool, my wife and I enjoyed the afternoon sun. We floated around in the pool- staring off into the horizon. We are not ready to give up on summer.

Just like the bugs that I tossed aside- I’m tossing aside the idea that summer is over. And any of those folks who think it’s time for autumn- you can bug off. Summer isn’t over!

Reds, Yellows and Greens

The tree on our neighbor’s property.

I love autumn. For the first time in ages I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy the colors of the leaves as they change. Our last home was in a beautiful yard filled with pine trees. So we didn’t have much in the way of fallen leaves to clean up. In our new neighborhood- we also don’t have a lot of leaves to deal with, but the neighborhood looks beautiful as the season changes.

Looking out our front door there is a cornucopia of trees and colors. I love being able to witness the world as it transforms. The suburban life is something I never would’ve thought that I’d have enjoyed. I can wave at neighbors and smile a greeting to them. We still have the privacy of our back yard.

As the seasons change, we get to see more of it from our windows. Besides all of the beautiful skies, I’m loving that nature is sprawling out for miles. Plenty of green space separating us from the rest of the world.

Nature is amazing. Red is probably my favorite color of the leaves. There’s something vibrant about the color. Almost passionate.

Do you enjoy autumn and the changes in the world?

That’s A Wrap

The weather was sunny and the temperature was decent, so we decided to take advantage of it. My wife and I went for a 5km walk at the Tynehead Park. It’s a short drive away from our home, so it was nice to wander an area that wasn’t quite at home. Since it’s autumn, the leaves have mostly left the trees and the bare bones of the park remains.

Later in the afternoon as the sun crested over our house, my son and I ventured into our backyard to wrap our palm trees. We used some burlap and created a blanket around the trunk. It was easy enough to do, and I know it is better to do this while it’s nice instead of when the cold snap hits. Hopefully the winter is mild and doesn’t hurt the palm trees.

After wrapping the trees, my son helped to run an extension cord under our back deck so that we could spin some rope lights around the trees. Besides a fun look, this will also keep them warm in the winter months as required.

Next spring it’ll be nice to see everything come back to life and spread some colour in the world. For now, gardening isn’t over- that’s a wrap.

Gloomy Nap

I tried to take a nap this evening after work. It was the perfect evening to do so when I lay down. The sky was dark and the rain was falling heavily.

Moments later, the sun decided it was having none of that. My once dark and gloomy bedroom was being filled with light. Aimed directly at my face. My bed was even with the sun as it set, so I was once again awake.

As a gift for waking me shortly after putting my head to rest, the universe granted me a rainbow. Actually it granted me a faint double rainbow out the front of the house. The rain continued as the sun did it’s best to show itself for a brief moment before hiding for the day.

I will forgive the universe this time for stopping my gloomy nap. Maybe next time I should close the blinds.

Starting Autumn Right

Autumn has officially started. All I can say is that we are doing alright as it takes hold and kicks summer to the curb. I have enjoyed the past few days already. The weather has been rather cooperative. Fooling us into thinking summer hasn’t ended.

Even though we have packed up our pool toys and patio furniture- we are getting every last possible day of use in. The last two days, and tomorrow as well, have kept the temperature in the low 20’s. So we’ve kept the pool heated and clean. I’ve spent more time doing laps than I did all summer. The pool is invigorating and relaxing.

Last night, my wife and I sat on our back deck with the fire pit warming us up. We talked and watched the traffic off in the distance as the darkness took hold of the evening. I love seeing the stars above and the city lights off in the distance. A cup of hot chocolate was a nice treat as well.

How are you enjoying the start of fall?

Foggy Feels

As autumn slowly approaches, the weather starts to turn. The sun disappears for longer. Rain falls more frequently. And the fog rolls in.

Looking out the back window, we get to enjoy being above the fog. Early mornings brings in a breathtaking view. The sun attempts to bring color to the sky as a gentle mist hovers low. Morning fog reminds me that fall is just around the corner.

Soon it will be Halloween. People will have fog machines going in an attempt to recreate a spooky sensation. When I was younger, these machines were mainly used in nightclubs and amusement parks. Now they are readily available and people love them.

Maybe one day I will own one. But it’s not on my agenda at this time. Even though they are inexpensive, I prefer the natural beauty of early morning fog.

Are you excited for autumn? How do you feel about foggy mornings? Are they spooky and pretty?

Let me know in the comments.

When To Decorate For Halloween?

It’s September now, and I know summer isn’t officially over until nightfall on September 21. The next day is the first day of Autumn. So my question is, when is it okay to decorate for Halloween?

I enjoy decorating for Autumn and Winter. I also love Halloween and Christmas. To me, each of them is a separate entity. So a few changes occur as we transition from one to the next. I’m pretty sure that next weekend I will be jumping the gun and start putting out our Fall decorations.

I’m not quite ready to tackle Halloween yet. I was at Home Depot the other day and saw these 12 foot skeletons that light up. Spending 400-500 dollars on one seems very extravagant. Even though these are cool and make for a wow factor in a home- whatever happened to some styrofoam tombstones and cobwebs?

Don’t get me wrong, I love Halloween. I just prefer to make my own costumes and props. I have been known to put in a bit more effort some years. I especially love pumpkin carving. But I do feel that I should wait until October 1st before really hitting the haunted factor.

A few fake pumpkins, and some brown and red leaves will be the extent of my decorations for now. Perhaps I shall wait and see what our new neighborhood does for the season. Nah. I’ll still do what I want. Perhaps we will go big this year!

Autumn Jazz and Mixer

Spotify Fun

I discovered an Autumn Jazz mix on Spotify. It has some great classics, and tons of songs that I know from years of hearing them. I appreciate these playlists more than expected.

This playlist is filled with a bunch of 1940’s-1980’s music. Lots of trumpets and swing style songs. Great as background music while siting around.

I catch myself dancing around the house as well while no one is here. Even shaking my butt in my chair while sitting at the table having lunch. If music moves you- why not share the joy with others?

Honestly, I was listening to White Zombie earlier this morning. Which is quite the difference to what I am listening to now. Do you have an autumn go-to playlist?

All The Leaves Are Brown… Again

It’s October 1st my spookies! The world around here is changing from green and blue to orange and black. I love this gothic feeling that arrives before Halloween. I almost wrote the same title as i did last year for a similar story today- All The Leaves Are Brown.

With the change is seasons, comes the wonder of nature. The way the leaves begin to fade out from green. As if magically overnight- the air gets crisp and the ground below crutches underfoot. I remember meeting a couple of older ladies collecting leaves a few years ago- Leafers

In our yard, we have mostly pine needles falling. There are a few maple trees and what we like to call an “elephant ear tree” that shed leaves. Over the next week or so I suspect that we will be taking the dead leaves up into large piles to jump into. We should be lucky this year and not find any dog turds lurking underneath. (Our puppy is getting much older and tends to do his business just outside the door in an easy to find location.)

So be on the lookout as you enjoy your autumn walks. Especially if you have kids who love to kick up the fallen leaves. Nothing worse than stepping in a poop landmine and carrying that smell around.

And if you have a dog- please pick up after them. Unless you find it funny to surprise unwitting strangers, then be all means- be a jerk. The ghosts of Halloween will curse you and karma shall return with a vengeance.

Early Autumn Morning Drive

Living in the countryside has its advantages. My commute to and from work can be long and tiresome. I try and use that time to decompress and leave the workload behind me. Driving home from a night shift lately has been rather pleasant.

I enjoy the sunrise in the autumn much more than any other time of year. The sun is at a slightly different angle as well as a bit later to rise. A misty morning makes the light of day shimmer with a hazy aura. As if the trees are glowing and preparing to change colors.

Having trees all around my neighborhood makes for a peaceful autumn morning. A freshness is in the air. One that you cannot experience in the suburbs or city. It clears my head and relaxes me on a daily basis. My own little zen experience.

An autumn morning drive fills me with contentment. This world is a pretty place.

First Day Of Autumn 2020

By the time you read my blog today, it will officially be Autumn. I love the changes in seasons. Each season is exactly the right length.

Even though this year has felt like it has drawn on forever, we are entering the final quarter. The last hurdle to go until 2021. To me, autumn gets broken down into pieces. We have the first week of Fall, Thanksgiving, Halloween, then November leading us into December and the excitement of Christmas Holiday Season.

By the time the Winter Solstice hits, we will be looking back on this year as if it had lasted a decade. A lifetime of history making done in a single year. It’ll be a relief to look back on 2020 and have it all behind us.

What is your favorite season? Are you ready for 2021?

Beauty-Fall

The weather over the next few days, and leading into November, is supposed to be beautiful. Maybe not with the warmth of a summer day; but rather a mid-day sunshine while wearing your favorite sweater and sunglasses kind of day. Plenty of opportunities to enjoy the changing colours of nature to be had if one so chooses.

I plan on taking it easy during my free time. I’ll probably chill out a bit more on my deck and stare out into the yard, admiring the tranquility that we are surrounded by. The brisk air keeps many people quieter as they begin to warm themselves more frequently indoors. The woodland animals are slowly preparing to migrate and hibernate. Slowly the sounds outside quieten to a faint whisper.

Autumn is a beautiful and peaceful season.

All The Leaves Are Brown

There was a burst of a wind storm the other day. Which caused a lot of debris to fall in our yard. On Friday I spent two hours clearing our roof and driveway of pine needles. I do not like that aspect of having old growth trees in our yard.

Leaves make the yard look messy, but are generally easier to clean up than pine needles. The sunshine and gentle breeze made for a perfect autumn day.

On Saturday, I had two of my children help with cleaning up the fallen leaves on the rest of our acre. We had a ton of fun making a huge pile. And we all know what kids want to do with a pile of leaves…

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Autumn Skies

I’ve been enjoying the colours of the sky over the past couple of days. Autumn astounds me at how majestic it can be.

The morning sunrise has pink hues as the sky starts to light up. I pause for a moment at the end of my night shift to enjoy my country living.

The night sky offers a faded orange backdrop to an industrialized world that I am a part of. The black shadows of straight edges are a harsh contrast to the randomness of nature.

Yet there is still beauty to be found in both.

October Mornings

We have been extremely lucky with our good weather here in the Lower Mainland Of British Columbia.

The sun has been shining making beautiful sunsets and sunrises. Many of my friends on social media are sharing images of beauty as the day closes.

Even with the fog in the early morning, it feels otherworldly.

I love living here. I’m not sure if we will ever leave Langley to be honest. There’s something about this suburb that feels like home. Especially during this gorgeous autumn days.

Start of An Autumn Home

Usually I only decorate for Halloween and Christmas. This year I decided to add some warmth to our home and bring in more of an Autumn feel.

Our house is starting to become a country home. Pine cones, candles, a fire in the background- it makes for a cozy feel. With the interior decorations well under way, it was time to make a country dinner.

Skillet with sautéed beef and egg noodles made our home aromatic. Time to sit down and enjoy the comforts of our home as a family.

Leafers

I couldn’t believe what they were stealing from my property today.  I was at my kitchen window in plain view of them. These two older, retired women entered my yard and began snipping leaves off of our vine maple.


Mind you, it didn’t bother me.  But curiosity came over me, so I went outside to speak with them.  They were super friendly and told me what they were up to.  Of course, my thought was that they wanted the fall coloured leaves for some Pinterest inspired art project or flower pressing.  But I was wrong. Turns out they wanted the green leaves only because the red and orange ones wouldn’t work.


They were collecting the leaves in order to create a dye for silk scarves.  Scarves that they were going to give away to friends and family at Christmas. It was a lovely idea. I told the ladies they were welcome to come back any time to collect leaves because it saves my children from raking them up when they dry up.

In the end, it looks like I have made some new friends in my neighborhood. Even though they were leaf thieves.