Published: October 17th 2012October 17th 2012
Truly, the mind boggles.
Since I'm a (long, long, long) ways behind in the blogging, please enjoy this post, written as a kaleidoscope of impressions instead of a day-by-day recap.
We spent about two weeks with our cousins in Nelson. We had originally intended to move on earlier, and be back in the States for July 4th, but between a combination of truly rainy weather and a desire to stay and celebrate Dianne's birthday with her, we ended up staying much longer. Two weeks, to be precise, including Canada Day, July 1st, and America's Independence Day, July 4th, which happened to be Dianne's birthday, as well as her daughter-in-law Mary's. (We were also present for the birthdays of other daughter-in-law Shannon, and grandson Noah.) Through some beneficent alignment of the stars, we ended up being there at the same time that a number of other people came to visit. Cousins from Detroit and Lincoln showed up, along with family friends, and Dianne had 3 workers at her house at once, in contrast to the norm of 1 or 2. In end the final rundown of people we met at the house was this: Dianne, Anna, Jacob, Hanna, Ché, Shannon, Morgan, Mariah, Jules, Mary, Luke,
I wasn't kidding when I said we ate well.
Noah, Nick, Kathleen, Ross, Will, Maya, Isaiah, Chaz, Dave, Dan, Esther, Lois, Ben, Roy, Sally, and Andrew. Please keep in mind that most of these people were staying on the property at the same time.
During our stay there, we ate incredibly well, dining on salads made from greens in the garden with homemade dressing, fresh strawberries, quinoa, moose sausage, curry, fried tofu, spinach salad, many variants on rhubarb crisp, elk stew, vegan crepes, baked salmon, potatoes au gratin, kombucha, hot dogs, homemade hummus, crackers, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed butter, peanut butter, turkey, watermelon, green beans, bread and cheese, hazelnuts, peas, ice cream, apple spice cake, cheesecake, german chocolate cake, chocolate crumble cake, and black forest cake, not to mention the ubiquitous breakfast oatmeal with milk, cinnamon, rhubarb syrup, and molasses. (If you are wondering about the preposterous amount of cake in this list, we were there for three birthday parties, all of which had more than one cake.) We ate suppers at Dianne's, Mary's, and Kathleen's houses, and at a few potluck outdoor affairs.
Most of the potlucks were on the porch of Dianne's house, the oldest building of the four current residences, which they built when
Somehow, the glitchiness makes it look cooler.
they moved onto the property decades ago. Chairs were produced from everywhere, and benches dragged away from walls. Threading a path through became kind of an adventure! Sometimes there would be a bonfire down at Ché and Shannon's place, a collection of self-contained rooms arranged across from a giant bus-converted-into-living space. (Ché was actually in the process of finishing these buildings when we arrived, splitting most of his time between that and helping to reroof April and Ross's house.)
Other things we did for entertainment included 2 trips to Ainsworth hot springs. Shannon works there, so we got a family discount. After making our way out of the changing room, we came into an outdoor area with one large hot pool, a smaller really hot pool attached to original cave network, and a tiny icy cold "plunge" pool. I spent most of my time in the large pool, while Jessie mostly hung out in the cave pool. The cave was fantastic, brightly lit, full of the sounds of dripping and running water, with stalactites hanging down and small echo chambers scattered about. We both avoided the plunge pool like the plague.
We took hikes around the mountain, including
An exciting moment at the bonfire.
up the Forest Service access road, where we glimpsed just a flash of moose-hide as a youngling crashed away from us and the trail. The rest of that hike was beautiful, with a crystalline stream of runoff dancing down the ditch by the road, great puffy clouds floating overhead, and the wind sighing through the leaves and boughs of the pines and hardwoods lining the trail, but not quite as exciting. We also took hikes up the road behind the houses, which led up towards their water pump and alongside their creek. We hiked all the way up to the top of that trail, where the air got thin and cold, and the mist refused to clear from the water even at midday, looking for Rascal, who had mysteriously disappeared. Jess and I were a little bit stressed out about it, but the working hypothesis was that he had gone with Anna and Jacob, who taken off on a hike of their own. When they got back in the afternoon, our little fellow came trotting in behind them, and they explained that he had trailed them out of the driveway and that they had expected him to turn back fairly
A Narrow Fellow
This little guy was crossing the driveway as we set out on a hike.
quickly, but instead he kept up with them the entire way.
The meadow where the water pump was located was beautiful, full of purple and fiery red flowers and lined by trees full of birds. Jess even spotted a black bear while walking Rascal up there! (Rascal was quiet and focused while the bear was around, but once it was gone, he put on quite a show of bravado.) Of course, all the scenery there was beautiful, but frequently damp. It rained probably half of the days we were there, and there was some severe flooding in the local area. The provincial park's picnic area and playground was half-submerged, Kootenay lake rose about a foot each night, and a bridge was washed out and an elderly man killed just a few towns over.
The rain trapped us in the campers some days, where grandsons Noah and Nick would visit. They don't usually get much of an opportunity to hang out with folks (relatively) close to their own age, so it was good for them. They are both big video game fans, Nick especially, and spent a fair bit of time playing Legend of Zelda and other games on
Again, I wasn't kidding about the scenery.
the 3DS. Noah had a table-top roleplaying game he'd been trying to play for some time, but hadn't had enough other players. Eventually the four of us, plus their older brother Luke, got the rules figured out enough to play. I got to be GM (Game Master), something I've always secretly wanted to do. We used a preset adventure from the book, but added our own flourishes along the way. The story was set in a post-apocalyptic environment, and our player characters raided a more advanced, almost-alien settlement in search of munitions with which to defend our town from hostile hill tribes. The book was set up in a choose-your-own-adventure type fashion, with branching story paths, but it was not very well-organized. (That was a big part of the reason we had to add our own embellishments.) We somehow made decisions that led us to the end of the story quite quickly, but we had fun playing.
When some of the other cousins, Ben and Andrew, were around during the last days of our stay, we went up Noah and Nick's house and played what was called "the boat game". It used the pieces and some of the rules
of a Pirates of the Caribbean licensed board game, but a lot of it was home-brew. The object was to sieze control of the seas, whether as a law-abiding member of the Royal British Navy or a ship-stealing scalawag of a pirate. It was an interestingly strategic game, with alliances formed, sold, and broken, control of ships paramount in importance, and gold pieces a rare and valuable commodity, though not as valuable as Davy Jones' Heart, which allowed you to SUMMON THE KRAKEN! and blast your opponents' ships back.
Part 2 coming soon!
There are more photos below