Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Heading Home (Humboldt) for the Weekend

Not long ago my buddy Darren enquired if I had plans for the July 20th weekend and if we were available to help celebrate his parents Tony and Sandy Stroeder's 40th anniversary.

As Chrissy and I didn't have plans we set in motion a trip back to my hometown to help celebrate one of my favorite/best hockey and baseball coaches of my youth. It was a no brainer decision for us...Drive 6 hours each way along blooming canola field to visit family, some old friends and eat way too much. That's just a good time.

We headed out Friday after work arriving in Saskatoon at mom's a little late in the evening, but not too late for a quick drink on the patio at Specklebellys.  The next morning we breezed through the 2nd Avenue Sidewalk sale (no purchases but the following picture) before meeting Stephanie and family at the Saigon Rose for lunch.

From there we headed out to Humboldt for the big anniversary party. We actually ended up being the first to arrive -Which was great as we got a guided tour of the impressive Stroeder backyard garden.

Eventually, other well wishers showed up including my buddy Jeff (Son #1) who I probably haven't seen in about 7 or 8 years. Much like myself, he had a few grey hairs and a couple of extra pounds but he definitely earned them through raising 3 kids.

Eventually, Darren (Son #2) and his entourage from Oragami Accounting showed up. Their arrival was almost comical; as a group they are a motley bunch of all ages, physical sizes and ethnicity. Shortly after Darren and his crew arrived we headed out for a touch football game at the site of my old HCI Mohawks glory days at Glen Hall Park.

It was a humbling experience being back on the old field a dozen plus years later and a lot slower. Thankfully I was playing a bunch of accountants and computer programmers (zing!).

After spraying my sweaty self down at the local campground Chrissy and I took a quick run out to Humboldt Lake (Stony Lake) to check out my brother Lawrence's cabin. Much to Lawrence and Betty's surprise we got a quick visit and tour of the cabin. It's amazing to see the difference in the building within a short time. Lawrence did an awesome job - pictures to come in a future post.

We got back to the Stroeder's in time to raid the giant food spread and get in some more visiting.

Jeff, who is now a Vice Principle had some fantastic tales of elementary school children. If you happen to see him ask for the 'Juicebox' story.

We capped the night off with some pictures before rushing back to Saskatoon.

The Stroeder Family
Tony and Sandy on their 40th
Jeff and Family
Jeff and myself
Sunday for lunch we joined Stephanie and her family for a bbq lunch at her house. Even with renovations ongoing they were fantastic hosts. We didn't visit for too long though as the Yellowhead was calling.

On the way out to Saskatoon from Edmonton we marvelled at the full color of the Canola crops and on our return we stopped to take a few pictures.

I am sure there is more canola planted this year then any other year ever. We pontificated that prices were high and sure enough, it is pretty high.

Nearing Edmonton we stopped at one of our usual pit-stops; the gas station along the highway in Innisfree.

I initially sat on an ant hill, and once I de-anted myself I was accosted by a grasshopper. Obviously a plague of biblical proportions was upon me.

We stretched our legs with a little wedding waltz practice and then continued on home from my homeland pilgrimage.

It was good to see the old hometown and my Saskatchewan family and friends. Thank you to the Stroeder's for the invite. Congratulations again on 40 years.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Camping at Medicine Lake

Earlier this summer I joined Adam and Ivan for a camping trip to Medicine Lake Provincial Park. It was decided that the trip would be a guys only weekend and I think that suited Chrissy just fine as she had been travelling for work and wanted to rest (She finds it hard to rest when I am around...weird).

We arrived at the our campsite and promptly set up our tents and went for a walk to get some wood.

Even before we got back to our site the rain started. We scrambled around through our gear and came up with a makeshift shelter using a tarp, extra tent pole, an empty beer can, a cooler, an axe and a bunch of rope (pictured in the back during dryer times).

Many nearby lightning strikes and multiple beers later the rain stopped and we got a small fire started with Adam`s kerosene drenched cotton balls. Unfortunately we used most of them that night and had issues with the wet wood the next morning. 

After way too long the fire eventually caught on and we set to work burning the giant log situated in our site.
Note the rotisserie ax innovation developed by Adam.

Adam and Ivan have camped together many times and are comfortable just vegging out and sitting around the fire for hours on end. Me, not so much, I get a little stir crazy just sitting around. Every once in a while, between rains, I would get up and take a walk to the lake and skip rocks.

This would be followed up with more waiting out the rain and more beer in which I may or may not have fallen asleep.

With the sun out again Ivan and I coaxed Adam away from whittling wood to go for a walk on a nature path. The trail was pretty overgrown and wet, but it offered up some nice scenery and a good harvest of old mans beard for future fire starting.

Like all good trails and hikes it ended at the waters edge. Medicine Lake itself isn`t very large, but with its small size it remains quite calm and serene.

It was a nice and easy weekend and I recommenced the campground for anyone looking to unwind. However, if you are like me and need some diversions I would not suggest you stay for any more than a couple of nights.

Thanks to Adam and Ivan for letting me tag along, and special thanks to Ivan who let me use a bunch of his pictures for this blog.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sand on Whyte

For the last week the fine folks who run the Ice on Whyte Festival have expended their artistic festival offering into the summer with Sand on Whyte. They have had a bit of a rough go with far from ideal weather, but their creations have held up rather well to the elements.

While not a lot of sculptures they are all top quality. Aside from the great sharp features of the work I really liked how the angles of the sun and the relative dryness/dampness affected the color of the sand.

Chrissy and I were lucky enough to watch some of the artists sculpt their work and it was interesting to see them form their 'slurry' mix and apply it.

My sandcastles at the beach now seem even more pathetic. Time for me to elevate my game.