Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Summer Camping 2013

Summer vacation for us is usually time with family, doing chores around the family farm, and spending some time back woods camping in Forest Services sites.  This year was no exception.  Two weeks filled to the brim with sun, farm work, camping, fishing, dirt roads, and lots of family time.

Let's get started ... first up, farm work.  The grapes needed trimming and weeds trimmed back.

The peaches needed harvesting ...

Then off to Christian Valley, in behind Big White ...

... to Nevertouch Lake.

Forest Services camp sites are either free or require just a small sum of money to stay at.  The trade-off?  Pit toilets, and very basic sites with no services.  You are expected to supply your own water, garbage services, and toilet paper.  Clean up after yourselves, and leave things better than you found them.  In return you get serenity, peace, quiet, incredible flora and fauna, and intense beauty all around.  The people you meet are overwhelming friendly and generous.

This isn't camping for the faint of heart.  There are lots of dirt roads to contend with.

Long, rolling dirt roads ...

With tree harvesting happening during the weekdays ...

... and campsites nestled in between.

Setting up camp.

Sites with incredible views.

Of course, fishing to help you relax.

After five days of camping we headed back to the farm to finish off our chores ... although we did take a day off to visit Summerland.

To ride the steam train.

After riding the train Walter declared he had ridden every type of transportation except for space rockets - cars, trucks, buses, sky trains, boats, planes, and steam trains.  Wow - only six and already so many ways to move around!

Monday, August 26, 2013

PNE Equals Family Fun

Here on the West Coast of Canada we have the PNE.  That's the Pacific National Exhibition.  This is a place for 4H, Superdogs, "free" concerts, trade shows, rides, games, and lots of food.  It's been around since 1910 ... which means I experienced it as a child ;)  The focus for most of us is to go on the rides, win fuzzy toys, and eat the mini-donuts / cotton candy / corn dogs; ... and maybe catch a Superdog show.  Although Walter has been once before when he was a toddler he doesn't remember it.  So this year was like the first time for him.

Going to the PNE isn't a cheap event.  If you want cheap you draw out your own twister dots and play games at home.  Having said that, we did our best to not over-spend ... which is no small feat.  Before you even get in the door you have to find and pay for parking.  PNE parking had gone up to $20 this year, but some friendly nearby homeowners rented their back lane parking for $12.  Admission for adults?  $16 CAD each.  (Children under 13 are free - phew.)  Unlimited ride pass for under 48"?  $29.75.  We managed to get in the gate for $61.  Finding rides that Walter could go on (he's around 42" at the moment) was a bit of a test.  The good thing was that many allowed a parent to ride along for free.  Case in point, the mini roller coaster:

This meant we didn't have to put out for an over 48" pass for Dad (Mom - that's me! - is afraid of heights, and would likely toss her cookies on any kind of spinny ride ... which means 99% of the rides don't like me).  An over 48" ride pass costs $42.75 (remember there's 12% tax on all this spending).

Walter thoroughly enjoyed himself ...

Even Dad enjoyed himself ...

Games weren't cheap.  All seemed to cost a minimum of $5.  We did five games - so that was another $25.  $21 on a candy apple, mini-donuts, and a funky slurpee (mostly funky because it came in a tall, narrow re-useable cup).  And we mustn't forget the PNE prizes - we had to buy tickets for that because after touring the PNE prize home we knew we wanted it!

The final cost:

$12 - parking
$61 - 2 adults entry; under 48" ride pass
$25 - games
$21 - food and drinks
$35 - PNE prize home and 50/50 draw

Total Cost:  $154

No, not the cheapest family fun, but we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves which meant a lot.  You certainly don't have to spend a lot of money (or any money) to have fun, but when you do don't regret it and make good memories while you do.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Blogging land is interesting during the summer months.  Just before the heat of summer you start to read blogs where the writer is re-thinking their blog, needs time away, isn't sure of their focus anymore, or simply feels drained.  Others tell you they will be gone or blogging sporadically in-between vacations.  Still others, like me, disappear.  Some of these vanishing bloggers are in the navel gazing camp and you either do (or don't) hear from them again.  That's not me.  I was on vacation ...  I'm just paranoid.  I didn't say anything before going because I obviously think that only burglars read my blog and I didn't want them knowing that the house was unoccupied and just ripe for the picking.  If I'd been super organized and on-the-ball I would have scheduled some blog posts for while I was away (like those lights on timers).  I'm not that organized, and I'd likely trip on any balls that got in my way.  All this rambling to say that I had a great vacation with lots of outdoor activities and time with family and friends.  I'm rested, happy, and ready to carry on.