Let’s see if I can get my newsletter out in time for Christmas for a change.
It seems the last few years I was always late.
Today is a perfect day to write it. It is snowing since early this morning and I bet we have at least a foot of fresh snow on the ground by now. I love this kind of weather.
Unfortunately Kim and Josh had plans to drive up from Kamloops today and now I suspect they have to cancel. It is snowing from Vancouver all the way up north, past Prince George, making the roads pretty treacherous. I guess I will have to celebrate my birthday without them.
But we have plans to drive to Kamloops shortly after Christmas to meet with the kids. Kristi and Felix are in Vancouver over the holidays visiting with Kristi’s family and Kim and Josh are staying in Kamloops, celebrating Christmas with Josh’s family. Weather permitting we will all be able to meet on December 26th at Kim’s for a late Christmas/Birthday party.
2013 was a rather wet year with lots of bugs. After a decent January, we had an unusually warm February, wet March, warm sunny April and then a very wet and cool May and June. It took until the middle of July to finally warm up. But then it got really hot and sunny making it possible to still go swimming in September. With the cool wet weather in May came the bugs. Lots and lots of black flies and mosquitoes. After this year’s experience with black flies, I can tell you I don’t mind mosquitoes at all. But BLACK FLIES!!!! Well, what the heck, who “invented” such a vicious animal? After those pesky things were finally gone out came the wasps. Lots and lots of wasps. It got so bad that there was no wasp spray for sale anymore anywhere in the Cariboo. Lucky for me they didn’t bother me that much but they rather “liked” Stephan. He got stung on 3 occasions, sometimes multiple times. Not fun, not fun at all. We were very happy once the first hard frost hit and got rid of them.
During the year we were able to get away a few times, starting with a few fun ski trips to Sun Peaks and Timothy Mountain followed by a gorgeous trip to visit friends in Hawaii.
At the end of February we flew to Honolulu, where we got welcomed with fresh leis, made out of beautiful orchid flowers. We then stayed for 10 days with our friends in KoOlina, enjoying the beautiful beaches, exploring the Albatross Sanctuary, the Buddhist Temple, Waikiki, Iolani Palace and much more. Visiting with the turtles was one of my favorite things to do. I love those turtles.
They are just fantastic, almost as if they are from a different world. We explored the whole Island of Oahu and enjoyed ourselves very much.
Then in May we drove to Lake Chelan, Washington to pick-up our new boat. While we were there we rented a cabin on Lake Chelan for a week and explored, together with friends from Vancouver, the whole area. What a beautiful place. It reminded me a lot of our lake, just a little bit warmer than Horsefly Lake and not quite so remote with a very cool little town, Stehekin, at the end of the lake.
And once again we went to see family in Switzerland. In October we flew to Amsterdam. After spending 2 nights and one day exploring this fantastic city we flew to Switzerland where we first visited with Stephan’s parents for a week and then went to my mom’s place. Unfortunately, a few days after we arrived at Mom’s place Stephan had an emergency operation. First it was suspected that he had appendicitis but during the operation they detected a rather large lump and had to remove 15 cm of the large and small intestine. That of course mixed up our travel plans very thoroughly. Lucky for us we had good insurance and Kim was able to go home to take care of the ranch. So after a week in the hospital and over 2 weeks later than planned Stephan and I were able to fly back home. Business class!
Two weeks after we came home we had to vaccinate, sort and sell our cows and calves. Since Stephan was still quite a bit under the weather, both Kim and Felix came home and helped. Within 5 hours we sorted, vaccinated and got the calves ready to ship. Everything in extremely cold and snowy weather! The next day we had the calves picked up and shipped to Williams Lake for the auction and Felix was put to work, mounting chains on the tractor and hauling firewood.
Calving was once again no problem at all. We had 55 calves born in March and April, but this year most of them were females. It is funny how that goes. In 2012 most of the calves were males! We did keep all of the heifers, a few very nice replacement bulls (all beautiful black animals) as well as a few late born calves.
Since the big “cattle work-up” life has calmed down a little bit, giving Stephan time to heal. In between feeding the cattle and snowplowing he can take it a bit slower and will hopefully soon be his old self again.
At the resort we did have some challenges too. In the spring we discovered that the “Twin Birch” cabin had some damage due to freezing water lines and the “Lonely Pine” was invested with ants. It was almost easier to fix the “Twin Birch” than the “Lonely Pine”. Those pesky ants were very tough and it took quite a bit to get them out of the house. Keeping my fingers crossed they won’t show up again next year. I tell you, we DID have a major bug year. Once the weather finally smartened up business picked up a bit and we did have a nice summer season.
We were able to enjoy our new boat, taking trips up the lake, hiking to Archie Creek Falls, hiking with friends the Suey Bay/Slate Bay trail while at the same time collecting delicious mushrooms, sunbathing on the white sandy beach at the end of the lake, going out in the evening for a few hours of fishing or to just float around and enjoy the sun and the beautiful, quiet surroundings.
On July 20th the Horsefly Volunteer Fire Department organized an ATV Poker Rally up and around Horsefly Mountain. The weather was perfect and there were quite a lot of ATVs and SideBySide’s attending. It was a very fun day, that got even better when I won third prize. So exciting! There is another ATV Rally planned for next year and I would recommend you try to attend. It was very well organized and quite easy to drive. Stephan had just started haying the day before and couldn’t go with me so I had my friend, Jo, who had never driven an ATV before, come. She did have a great time as well, even though most of the time she “ate” my dust!
And last but not least………I did raise chickens and turkeys again, but this time just for us. The new rules and regulations as well as the higher prices for feed and birds just makes everything too difficult to raise them
commercially. So I raised 60 meat chickens and 20 turkeys for our kids, some friends and us. But since we had to butcher them ourselves everybody that wanted birds HAD to come help butcher. Everything went perfectly. We did buy a plucker and with the help of 7 people, the chickens were done in 2 hours. Plucked, cleaned and chilled. The turkeys were done a few weeks later by “just” Stephan, Esther, Beat and me and they too were done in no time
So I think that’s about it.
Our year 2013 in a nutshell.
Now all that’s left to do is to wish you all a very
MERRY CHRISTMAS and a GREAT, HAPPY, HEALTHY 2014.
Monika + Stephan Schlaepfer-Gysi
2014 is at the door;
life is short……
never regret anything that made you smile