5th UNniversary Party Prep

It feels like we’ve been working up to this since May. In a way we have, since our sole motivation to get anything done outside these days is the knowledge we’ll have people to show our efforts off to come August. That and some things couldn’t wait – the railings on the deck were literally rotting away, and the stairs shifted sideways as we walked down them. And my garden is always a work in progress. I started several massive garden projects last year that I couldn’t finish, leaving parts of the yard looking hideous and colourless, so I was determined to finish this spring… only it rained, and rained, and rained. I found boulder after boulder in my way. It slowed me down a lot, and Richard had to be very patient about the 6 cubic yards of soil in a mountain in front of his shop. Seems like I’ve worked on it every night and every weekend for the past few weeks, though I know I took time off for inside things. August came fast, but I finished the main two out of three, as of this morning. Richard did a lot of work both inside (ensuite bathroom) and outside (deck), but sacrificed a lot of time on his Jeep, and with all the travel for work and events, he couldn’t seem to finish any one project. He announced to me that this party is just too much work and we should take next year off, and I argued that we really have so much of our yard done, the major projects list is getting shorter each year. I was confident we’d get done with time to spare. And then weekend before last, he took the Bobcat and a jackhammer to the concrete pad next to the house. You know, the only hard flat surface we have in the best possible spot for setting up the outdoor kitchen for the party. Great! Forget all those other projects, triple the pace, and up the stress factor – we’re getting a new patio. Crazy man. NOT my fault, don’t let him tell you it was my idea. The timing was right cost-wise, it looks fine (issues with the hot weather concrete pour mean it’s going to get revisited come September to achieve better than fine), and it’s done, but what a panic. Luckily this year we’ve had extra help. Our neighbour Jonathan’s grandson Devon, 12 years old and a bit bored on his summer holidays with grampa, was a huge help with my garden projects, especially since he came with a golf cart equipped with a box and a trailer for hauling all the rocks around. He taught me how to back up when towing my trailer, woo hoo! Then on Monday, Ben and Adrie arrived en route to their vacation for the week, to stay the night and help out. Ben and Richard finished the stair railings and got the kitchen equipment onto the new patio, along with the … Continue Reading →

UNniversary Garden Party

A belated Happy BC Day, everyone! I had a two day work week this week – waiting for my next assignment now – so I have no excuse not to post the photos from our wonderful long weekend. There are fewer than usual, as I was either run off my feet or completely relaxed, and therefore hardly ever picked up the camera. The preparations were exhausting, and overall we didn’t get much sleep, but this was definitely one of the quieter, more relaxing UNniversary weekends we’ve done. We missed all the children, though! Their excitement and laughter brings something special to our event – it was like not having children around at Christmas. Next year should be back to normal, and then some! But we had fun, and the weather, finally, was nearly perfect. Our local guests who joined us Saturday night included a 2-year-old cherub named Elle, and she had learned some new words for the occasion: “Garden Party”. It definitely had more of a garden party feel this year, a little less rough around the edges. I’m especially pleased with my decorating splurge, the colourful paper lanterns with LED lights. After work on Tuesday, I went back and bought a few more for next year. I’m hopeful that by next July, when party prep gears up again, we’ll have much less to do in the yard because so much work got done this year to make our space as welcoming as possible. Three of our visitors weren’t here last year to see the major landscaping changes from last spring, and they were all very impressed. Thanks for that, we’re so glad you enjoyed our place – and of course, the food. If you couldn’t make it, here’s what you missed.

Out Of the Weeds

Good morning, campers. Actually, they aren’t up yet – except maybe the ones in tents. Despite forecasts to the contrary, I woke up at 4am to the now familiar sound of showers, and dashed outside to rescue anything caught in the wet. Lovely. Luckily someone else had been there before me, perhaps before they retired for the night, and put most of the chairs and baby Olson supplies under the canopies. The Sesame Street book talked to me when I picked it up, so I guess that’s a good sign. I found a puddle in my cushy camp chair, a couple of soggy rolls of paper towels and other items at the uncovered fringes of the outdoor kitchen, and moved several damp chairs and other things under cover to hopefully dry out by morning. The rain has already stopped, and we only got about half a centimeter, but I’m peeved that showers didn’t show up in our forecast, as we could have prevented all our things from getting wet. At least I moved my new paper lanterns under cover before I went to bed! Since my early morning exercise woke me up completely, I’m enjoying one of Richard’s delectable brownies from the best ever brownie mix from Costco (thanks to the Lunds’ friend Ottawa for introducing us to these at Marrowstone!) and catching up on one of the last pre-party tasks I didn’t get done by Friday afternoon. Posting the pics of all our preparations. Richard and I have been working every evening and long hours on weekends on projects in the yard and shop, as well as planning menus, seating, decorations, etc, to get ready for this weekend, and I think the lack of sleep and bad backs were worth it. We were really in the weeds Friday morning, but it all came together. I didn’t quite get everything done in my garden, but overall, the place looks great. And the food… Richard has outdone himself. But more on that later.