Saturday morning we woke in the master suite of the log house, grabbed breakfast (but no coffee 🙁 ) without disturbing the boys. They were having a weekend off, Gaylene was taking them with her to her parent’s in North Vancouver from where they could catch the ferry back into the city. Our task was to show Kate around and how everything works as she would have been on her own once we left as Gaylene was due to be away for the next fortnight but her plans had changed at the last minute. Ben should have been around, although mostly at the other property, but he decided to go to see his girlfriend in the US, at the last minute. Anyway, Tracy was due back on Tuesday but doesn’t live on site. Are you following this? Welcome to our world!
We carried on regardless, going through the feeding regime for the horses, who keep being moved which complicates things when you’re trying to learn the process; we had brought in Lokota and Doc as the rain must damage them in some way! Just doing as we’re told. Added to this we had run out of Dunner’s anti-arthritic medicine – we didn’t know and now feel very guilty – and were getting low oats, the mainstay for most of them. Gaylene has always said that they don’t need grain twice a day but try telling the horses that! They know when their feed is due without a watch.
Initiating Kate was our main task for the day as we should also be getting some time back from the grass cutting, haha! Sunday would be a day off and we leave on Monday. Mid morning Gaylene messaged me to go and find the dogs who’d run off. Bella leading Sammy astray again, he never leaves the property when he’s on his own with us. I looked all over the ranch and saw no sign if them so concluded that they had made their way back to her. Not so as she shouted to me whilst on the phone to someone who probably has a hearing deficit now. This was a good excuse to show Kate the trail beside the ranch and eventually a prim little Bella came trotting back, all innocent. Sometime later, an exuberant Sammy returned as well. It is a bit concerning when he is out as pitbulls have a bad reputation and would carry the blame for any untoward eventuality but nothing this time fortunately.
Late morning Gaylene found us to take Roger with her to pick up her car and bring the truck back, before she headed on to Vancouver. As we had walked around the far side of the house I was aware of the unit by the back door obviously running but quite noisily, something of which I hadn’t noticed before but thought little more of it. I showed Kate how to clean the pool, tricky with a total lack of suction which seemed weird but probably some switch of which I was unaware. I then suggested a coffee as it was midday and we hadn’t stopped since 8am at which point Kate mentioned that she’d like some breakfast! We retreated to the cabin where it became apparent that there was no power. I checked the barn, no power there. I went over to the house for the same reason and came across Gaylene’s fitness instructor who had come to give her a workout, she didn’t feel like it but had got her to clean the house and do the washing instead!
Dora was most upset to find that the power was off. The laundry room was overflowing with bedding, duvets, towels and clothes to be sorted for washing, could I deal with it when the power came back. No. She hadn’t started hoovering and was concerned about the large heavy rug in the entrance hall, would I help her take it outside to shake? No. How was she supposed to clean the house with no power, she had to get back to clean her own place, would I do it later as it had to be done for the new owner’s visit on Monday? No! How unhelpful of me. I suggested we put all the dirty washing in cupboard and throw the counterpanes over the beds; the rug could be swept to get the worst of the dog hairs off. Dusting, polishing, sweeping and mopping don’t require power. I’d nearly finished my work for the day and wasn’t prepared to start being housemaid when I had Kate to help out and wanted to go next door to see if they had power and something seemed to be going on outside. Not sure how she will report me back to Gaylene but not in a favourable light I’m sure.
A storm had hit us and taken out the power cables up the road. We had been aware of being showered with pine needles when we’d been mucking out the pens but the trees surrounding the property had actually protected us from the high winds. I messaged Gaylene about the power deficit and she just said that Roger knew about the generators, the noisy thing by the back door, except that he wasn’t back, delayed by the live wires whipping across the road a few blocks up. I met up with Kate again who told me that there was power at the loghouse (a separate generator as it transpires). She meanwhile, had minimal food so decided to go to get some supplies. I took the Gator round to the back door and picked up 3 loads of washing from a slightly less stressed Dora, to get done in the log house. Filled the washer up with the first load only to find that the appliances weren’t connected to the generator, heyho.
I returned to the main yard to check how things were to find it, all the driveways and lawns under a carpet of pine needles and branches of various sizes, so much for me blowing it completely clear after grass cutting on Thursday! I had been aware of loud noises earlier and assumed I was hearing thunder, although had seen no lightening. It became apparent that this was the sound of huge branches breaking off the trees, weakened, no doubt, by the 3 month drought. Despite the continual lack of strong wind at ground level it seemed that it was perhaps, not prudent to be outside in these conditions. Other than standing right in the middle of the yard, one tends to be under or near huge trees. The horses were all out of their shelters but otherwise seemed reasonably calm, all standing at the back of their paddocks and pens, under the trees, but nowhere wasn’t.
Roger returned with some information about what was going on and what to do. Gaylene had known about the power outage before they left so told him about the generators in the car as she drove away to her parent’s! The next task was to take Meg and Angel into the barn but that meant moving Locota to another smaller unprepared stall. We got that ready and moved him without event fortunately and brought Meg and Angel in, noticing a massive amount of woodfall in their paddock next to Johanna’s property where a huge tree had fallen against her power lines, snapping one. I went back round there to check she was ok but there was no-one in at her cabin, hopefully a good sign despite the carnage over there, so left her a note.
When I returned we went to check on the outside horses again. Those at the bottom end seemed a bit jittery and we cleared loads of huge branches from their pens, which were also littered with pine cones, including half a tree which must have landed on the tin roof of Dunner and Rocker’s adjoining stalls. This must have really spooked them as it was the first time he wouldn’t come over to us, even when tempted with food. Tinkerbell, the mini was barely visible behind the debris in her pen which did seem to have taken the worst of the falling branches.
By early evening everything was reasonably under control so Roger and I retired to take advantage of our lovely big sunken bath. We sunk into the suds when it eventually filled but as it still wasn’t all that cold out the bath seemed very hot so I opened the adjacent window. A while later, just as the water was cooling I heard a voice calling us. It was Johanna down on the doorstep underneath us, responding to my note. I tried to poke my head out of the window to talk to her but kept slipping back down the slippery sloping sides of the bath! We gave up once we realised each other was ok, with us feeling distinctly guilty with our facilities.
We have since learnt that half a million people lost power in the Vancouver area (didn’t realise that there were that many people in Canada, never mind Vancouver) and this morning, Monday, 60,000 are still without.