Happy New Year!
We hope you had a fantastic Christmas and we wish you all a beautiful New Year.
Once again a year has come and gone and I say good riddance. It was a very stressful year, with lots of ups and downs.
After a lengthy battle with his health Stephan’s dad passed away at the beginning of the year. His condition worsened very quickly at the beginning of January and Stephan flew to Switzerland. Unfortunately he didn’t make it in time. But it was good that he was there to say goodbye together with his mom and siblings. Since Kim got laid off from work during the winter months she came and helped with all the chores and with the fun stuff. Cross-country skiing, snow shoeing and every Wednesday playing Crib at the Horsefly Pub. We never won though, but didn’t really care. A few months later Kim found a new job as an Environmental Monitor, moved to Prince George and has been working mostly in Labrador, 3 weeks in, 1 week out.
A few months later we had to say good-bye to Myka. She was such a great dog, over 13 years old and with us all the time. Moving cows, driving in the tractor, cross-country skiing, hiking, swimming and chasing bears away. Since we simply can not be without a herding dog, we brought home 9 week old Copper in June. Copper is a Red Heeler (Australian Cattle Dog) with lots and lots of energy. Max was disgusted. But after a while he got over it and they are quite the team now.
In May we were invited to a wedding in Kelowna and decided to take a small vacation. We took the travel trailer and Max and spent a few days at Fintry Provincial Park near Vernon. We had a beautiful spot right along the lakeshore. Captain James C. Dun-Waters was the incredible man who, between 1909 and 1939, made the Fintry delta a Garden of Eden with an octagonal barn for his cows, a beautiful mansion and a power generator using the nearby waterfall. Lots of it is still standing and so we explored, hiked and kayaked. After 3 days we moved to Bear Creek Provincial Park in Kelowna. Unfortunately we didn’t have as nice a spot as before, but we still enjoyed ourselves with more hikes, exploring Kelowna and a beautiful wedding.
A few days after arriving at Fintry we got a phone call from Felix. Our grandson decided to join this world 2 weeks early, which meant, we would miss his birth. We had plans to be there but Liam Felix Schlaepfer was born on May 27, 2015. A healthy little baby boy. Two week after his birth Stephan, Kim and I drove to Calgary to visit our new grandson. What a cutie. Since then he has grown lots, sits and crawls and loves his new food: mashed beets and other veggies, as well as yoghurt, eggs and other good stuff. Unfortunately Felix and his family live quite far away in Calgary. Exactly 1000 km from our house to theirs, 11 hours of driving. So far we were able to see them at least every two months which is great, since Liam is growing like a weed. All this traveling was only possible with the help of Wwoofers Charlotte and Thomas as well as the help of neighbors and friends. Thank you so very much!
Back home again we had to get going with work, work, work. The cabins, the campground, the garden, the fences, the calves; everything had to be done and taken care off. The resort opened, because of our spring travels, on July 1st. The calves, all born between the end of March and the beginning of May, needed to get vaccinated, branded and ear tagged. Always a very busy day. But with the help of our neighbors, Sharon and Roy as well as Kim, everything went smoothly and without a hitch.
There were 85 calves born at the Double C Ranch this year. They look very sweet but they can deliver quite a kick and Kim, who is the one who moves them, can attest to that with various bruises at the end of the day. Stephan was also busy building and repairing fences with lots of help from Roy and Jack. Most of the days I would bring lunch up to the ranch for them. I would set up a folding table and chairs and we would have a lovely lunch in the middle of a meadow surrounded by cows who couldn’t figure out what we were doing.
The resort was very busy for the two main months, July and August, and so I was very busy with cleaning, looking after guests, mowing the lawn, working in the garden, etc. We did have a very dry summer, with lots of wildfires in British Columbia. Lucky for us we live in a somewhat wetter area and did not have any fires. But once again campfires were not allowed for quite a while.
On July 25th the Horsefly Volunteer Fire Department organized an ATV Poker Rally up to Eureka Peak. Normally motorized vehicles are not allowed up there and since it is very remote, hardly anybody every gets to see and explore this beautiful mountain peak. One of THE reasons why there were over 100 ATVs at the start, even though it rained like crazy. It is not a race. You just drive along a predetermined route and at certain points you get a card. At the end the person with the best poker hand wins the big price.
After a short while the weather cleared up a bit and our group (Sharon/Roy, Jo/Brett, Nancy and Stephan and I) had a blast exploring the beautiful mountain side, driving along alpine meadows in full bloom. It is absolutely gorgeous up there and the drive through mud and rain was well worth it.
At the end of August Stephan, Slavko, Thomas, Sharon and Roy went on another ATV Tour up Big Timothy Mountain. Thomas, our new Wwoofer, had just arrived the day before from Switzerland and Slavko was visiting us for a few weeks from Germany. For them both this was an exciting adventure, even though Thomas’ wrists hurt quite a bit afterwards. Big Timothy Mountain is a 2160 meter high cinder cone, about 80 km east of Horsefly with beautiful views over the Cariboo and the many lakes in the area. There is about a 1 ½ hour drive with the trucks and ATVs on trailers and then another 2 hours drive up a sometimes very step, very rocky trail. Stephan and I have been there before and it is worth every minute of it. Another very beautiful place!
In September Stephan got really sick and I drove him to the emergency at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. They kept him for a week while all kinds of specialists tried to figure out what to do with him. He is now on Steroids and an immune blocker and feels a lot better. The hard part is now to find out which immune blocker works for Stephan so he can get weaned off the Steroids. So fingers crossed that his specialist comes up with a solution.
In October we had to do another trip to the Rheumatologist in Vancouver and after a few days, staying with our friends Jo and Brett (who looked after me as well while Stephan was in the hospital and kept me sane! (Love you guys) We took the long way to Calgary from Vancouver along Highway 3 to Greenwood. In Greenwood we had a fantastic dinner in the grocery store. Yes, in the grocery store, in the aisle with the noodles and the canned veggies. The next day we drove to Ainsworth Hot Springs and enjoyed the hot pool and the caves. And after that, the long drive to Calgary. We visited with Felix, 6 month old Liam and Kristi for a few days and celebrated Felix’s birthday. After that the even longer drive home. Even though there was a lot of driving we had fun and could only do it because Thomas agreed to stay longer and look after our place. At the same time he installed a propane furnace in our house and the lodge. What a guy. Thank you so much Thomas!
Then in November we sold our calves which once again meant bringing the herd in, sorting and deworming the cows. Once again we got help from Sharon and Roy, Kim and Jake and Thomas. Everything was done in a short time and all that was left was bringing the calves to the auction in Williams Lake. That took a little bit longer since Stephan wasn’t able to find a cattle liner. He had to drive the calves himself with the horse trailer. Three trips to Williams Lake (75 km one way) and back. But that went without a hitch (no pun intended) and for once we got a really nice price for our animals.
November and December was spent at home, with one short trip to Vancouver to see the specialist and with another great visit with Jo and Brett. (I love the trips to Vancouver). The weather was extremely dry for quite a while until, finally, at the end of November we got some snow. After that very cold temperatures and lots of sunshine. But it didn’t last. Within a day it warmed up all the way to plus 10 C and everything melted in no time. There was mud and dirt everywhere. Just Awful! Shortly before Christmas it snowed again and since then we have a white winter wonderland. I love it. Time to play in the snow.
Well, we hope you all had a very nice Christmas and we wish you only THE BEST for the New Year.
Stephan + Monika Schlaepfer-Gysi