Sunday, April 29, 2012

Adventure 17- Bike riding to Trent River

My favorite spot
For as long as I can remember, it has been a goal to have Natalie accompany me on a ride to the Trent River. Her and I had been there before, numerous times, but always with her either in a trailer or on the Bike Buddy. So me, being excited and forgetting how far it actually was. I figured that she would be fine, what with all her two weeks experience and everything. So we packed a snack and some water and off we went, Marshall leading the way.
(Follow our route here)

Swamp crossing
The  upper Trent River holds a place in my heart. Back when I was a child, we went to this area often. Trout fishing, fossil hunting, swimming, and when I was older, camping and imbibing. This particular location used to have a bridge that crossed high above it, but that was removed many years ago, before I remember. The road in and out has been disabled for years to keep motor vehicles out. Of course, quads and motorcyclist will do their own thing and construct trails around the concrete blocks and cross ditches. I do not want to give exact location for this place, as it is wonderful and most often I get it all to myself. If one walks upstream from the crossing about a kilometer there is a wonderful sandstone slope that contains pools and waterslides. Natalie and I spent a few hours one day fossil hunting and building rock piles in this area, while battling horseflies that seem to always be present near the river in the summer. I also remember when I turned 9 or 10 having my birthday party on the Trent. It was my favorite place to come and it still is.

Big puddle
The bike ride to the river was longer than I expected, although I had never taken a beginner rider with me before. She had a few crashes along the way, mostly due to loose gravel or not appropriately applying her brakes when travelling down hill at a high of a rate of speed. Many tears were shed today. They were always quickly turned off and she continued along the way. We had a pair of quad riders pass us along Trent River Main, who were very gracious and slowed their speed to go by. Once we turned onto the spur that would drop us down to the river bottom, Natalie spotted all the puddles. It was one puddle after the other, and she surely rode into each and everyone. What fun for her, grinning ear to ear and hollering. We had to walk the bikes down the last 200 meters of the road, as the cross ditching and quad track is much to advanced for Natalie. She was getting braver all the time today and before long she will be rolling down those same places.

Nice flames
I had the foresight to place my flint and steel in the pack before we left. As someone who has always had the  urge to learn how to survive and live off the land, lighting fires is a skill that must be practiced. Today I had success. Leaf litter was all around from the Big Leaf maple trees, fairly dry, plus small sticks that had been left behind when the river receded. I gathered a big bundle of leaves and twigs, gradually getting ones the thickness of my pinky finger. I began by striking the flint with the steel, making sparks but with not very good results. It is really hard to direct the sparks and the leaves were not quite bone dry. Natalie suggested using some toilet paper. Taking her advice, and another five minutes of striking, I had success. I felt like Les Stroud. I picked up the tinder bundle, blowing in it gently to get the leaves to ignite. I placed it on the ground and added small twigs until we had a substantial little fire burning. I was thrilled. We used the fire to toast almonds, one at a time on the end of a flat stick. They tasted wonderful. I longed for some sausages or smokies to roast. Next time.

"I did it!"

Marshall wants to eat this one
We did a little target practice with our slingshots. Natalie is now strong enough to pull the bands on the one I crafted for her in '08. I had made six for the different kids in my life back then for christmas presents. That was a fun time building those. I also made an alder fork slingshot that I never used very much, so I put a few rocks through that one too. Not very accurate with irregular rocks, but fun all the same.

Snack, so tasty
We used our containers from our snack to toss water on the fire before heading out. I showed Natalie a new  tree that she had not identified before, the Yew tree. She thought the Yew was pretty sweet and strange at the same time, since they grow berries. Not at this time of year, but what looked like flowers were forming on the branches. We walked back up the hill out of low lands, and Natalie rode through some more big puddles, on some fairly steep bits. I was impressed with her bravery. With more puddles and a little bit of "Are we there yet", we made it home. To celebrate our return we both decided to ride through the creek crossing leaving the trail. It is something that I often do on finishing a ride, well deserved and really wet feet.

Rite of passage
Our longest adventure was probably our funnest so far. So much easier for me not having to pull her along the whole way, just some encouraging words and a back rub to stop the tears after a pile up. 14 kilometers is a pretty big endeavor for someone who has only been on a bike for two weeks, and she did fabulously. Great job Natalie, hopefully next time we think ahead and bring something else to cook on the fire. I am wondering about trying the fire bow? Find Adventure.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Grandma's House

Beautiful House
Many of you who have driven through Union Bay in the last 25 years have noticed a beautiful home perched on the edge a four lane section of the Island Highway. With its rare gambrel style roof, river stone veneer siding and interesting and clever yard art, this casa stands out to most who have seen this place.

Window sill
Well this home is my grandparents place. It was built over two years, starting the 31st of July 1985, and moved into in October 1987, it was built using stack wall construction. Stack wall refers to a structure that has its bearing walls created with blocks of cord wood with a concrete-type mortar. This is very similar to building with a masonary medium such as blocks or bricks. A major challenge with stack wall is that no two pieces have a level surface to work with. This causes problems with "framing" the doors and windows. Not to mention the tremendous amount of work actually sawing, hauling and splitting the cord wood. Beyond all the challenges, this is a green, low waste, and potentially economical method to create a home built house.

Grandpa's caribou
My Grandpa, Dave, had always wanted to create a retirement home for himself and my Grandma, Shirley. In the early sixties they bought a home along the Van West logging road, where they raised their six children. My mom was the oldest of the brood. I believe the property was an acre, if not just about. Grandpa always maintained a wonderful garden, was an expert fruit tree grafter (did you know that you can grow pears on an apple tree? Well ya can, as well as many different varietys on the same tree), ice tree artist and wonderful community minded man. He turned me into a seafood hog, always having interesting and delicious items for us to sample. Fried Eulechon is still a memory of my youth. I thought they were wonderful. I learned to eat raw oysters, deer organ meat, drink clam nectar, catch trout in small creeks ( he could walk a stream without ever getting his feet wet? I still don't know how), and picking chantrelle mushrooms.

Salvaged post and beam
In 1969 they purchased the property across the logging road from their existing house. It was used as a ice skating rink in the winter by all the local kids. In the early 80's my Grandparents discovered stack wall construction and he began brainstorming in earnest how to create such a place. In the yard of the existing house, where a chicken coop once stood, he experimented and built a shed with red cedar blocks. It was a learning experience, but it must have been a good one, because two years later he began prepping the site to build the big house. A neat thing for me, is that my Grandpa from my dads side did the site prep with a Cat dozer.

Hand built door
Starting out with 25 cords of red cedar, with all the sap wood split off, some gravel and a cement mixer, Grandpa, with the help of a bricklayer, started laying the first courses of blocks. That first month the walls were to the level of the first floor and it was left for the winter. Grandpa worked as a custodian with the school district so he had the summers off, and working afternoon shift he was able to accomplish things in the morning before he went off to work. Most of the raw materials for this house were harvested from the area. All the cedar, including the hand split roofing came from waste timber up the road. The main beam supporting the upper floor joists came from Tree Island, as well as the corner posts of the structure. The door framing, and stair treads also came from Tree Island. The beams were formed with a Alaska mill and a adze, leaving wonderful tool marks in the wood.

Hand painted mortar
The following summer the walls were finished, the hand framed trusses were erected and the cedar shingles installed. That winter they spent their time sanding every bit of wood to remove the discoloration caused from wintering unprotected, warmed by a oil barrel stove, burning the waste wood from construction. Much better than landfill. Soon it was time for drywall, cabinets and painting. Amazingly to me, Grandma painted all the mortar on the inside of the house with grey paint to give it a uniform appearance. The wood was treated with linseed oil and paint thinner. What a tedious, time consuming process. Good thing she has a steady hand and an artists eye. The facing of the chimney on the inside is covered with beautiful flat and polished stones. The original Pacific Energy stove was just replaced a few months ago, showing the durability to the product.

Chimney and new Pacific Energy stove
I still remember as a young guy helping move things across the road to the new house. It was really exciting. The construction of this house was a real community event. Most folks in Union Bay helped out at some point or another. My Grandparents had hats printed up to give as thank you gifts to helpers. These "Stackwall Crew" hats were a sought after commodity, that were hanging on many deer racks around Union Bay. I was excited to get one as a gift, and wore it proudly, even though I was a little young to help very much. The house became a bit of a tourist attraction as well. A book was kept of all the guests that visited during and after the construction. Signatures numbering over 1500 grace the book, from all continents of the planet. It is a museum piece.

Cedar stairs and chimney stone work
In the mid nineties the exterior was getting weathered and began to become too much to maintain so they had stone veneer installed to allow for a beautiful appearance, but a weather resistant siding. Near this time Grandpa became very ill, from years of heavy smoking, he was struck with terrible emphysema. We almost lost him in '96, but he was strong and made a grand recovery. He was hampered for the next decade and a bit, it never stopped him from building. He became renowned for his miniature models that he created from cardboard and red cedar. He modeled many of the historical structures in Union Bay, Cumberland and other areas of the Comox Valley. He made a scale model of Union Bay in the early 20th century, at the height of the coal mining days. His models are displayed at the local museums.

Union Bay Post Office, in miniature
After Grandpa passed in '08, Grandma has done some updates, including new flooring, and some exterior updates, like an asphalt shingle roof, new deck and fencing. It is a great home with much historical value to me and my family. I was grateful for Grandma sitting down with me and chatting about the home, sharing the photo album and tales of trail and error that made the house the solid palace it is. Next time you see the house, have a honk for Grandma and think about the hard work that went into creating a significant landmark in Union Bay.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Adventure 16- Bike riding Seal Bay Park

This looks familiar
As I proudly reported in last weeks adventure, Natalie is now mobile. She rode her bike everyday after school this past week, and after only one week of being able to ride on her own, she is all over it. It is still a little strange to me to see her pedaling without any help from me, aside from words of encouragement and hints to make riding easier. We have even found a place for Dusty to sit on her handle bars.

Practice session
We spent some time between rain showers on Thursday night, riding around Cumberland, down to the park and into the Ulverston Station subdivision. She had a couple of small wipe outs on the gravel road down by the lagoon. She cried and was scared when she went down, but soon shook it off and she got back on the bike and continued on.(I highly recommend your child wear gloves while learning, getting scrapped palms is so painful. I remember what it is like, so Natalie always wears riding gloves) I taught her how to shift the Grip Shift and with that Natalie was able to ride up hills that were seeming to big to her. It is so fun to hear her and watch her cruising around, calling me to speed up and go faster. On Saturday we pedaled back and forth on Eagles Drive in Merville together for over an hour. She started calling me "Grandpa" and telling me to go faster. I was having a hard time keeping up without really going hard. So surprising to me how fast she advanced and her bravery has improved ten fold. Her only fear is of cars and that, in my mind, is a fine thing to be cautious of.
Lets do this
So today I proposed that her and I travel to another of the Comox Valleys gems, Seal Bay park. The park is full of trails that are mixed use. Some trails are for walkers, and others are to be shared by the former, as well as cyclists and equine alike. We arrived at one of the many trail heads, just at the top of Hardy road hill. This access is part of the fifteen kilometer Horse, Bike loop. We began by riding straight ahead down the trail on what would appear to be either an old road or railway grade. It was a flat, straight double track that follow the ridge that continues above the East side of the Comox Valley, right into East Courtenay and Comox. 
Pretty double track
Seal Bay was last logged in 1913 and the forest began regenerating in the '20s. The large second growth forest is really spectacular, with its under story of sword fern and salal. According to the pamphlet at the trail head, the park was first "discovered" in 1970 by members of the Comox-Strathcona Natural History Society. They pushed their way along the old railway grades, and through the thick underbrush to discover a wild place that would make a perfect nature park. The park protects 1610 kilometers of biodiversity and nearly one kilometer of beach frontage. The largest section of the park is the upland area, on the west side of  Bates road. This is the area that contains the most variety of trails, and the only area with trails for cyclists and horse riders. The water side is for hikers and even has a wheelchair accessible route. This is a wonderful place that I have not had the pleasure to discover with any regularity and I hope we can do more of it.

Look at that grin
Natalie and I had a great time playing on the double track. We were out and back in a little over an hour. This section is a wonderful place for a child to practice in a narrow place, before moving on to more technical terrain. The path is void of roots and fallen logs or branches. The low slope make for a easy pedaling and control. We did leave this road to take a single track to give it a go, but we found out that it was too advanced for her and she had a wipe out. The route descended a bit and it was twisty, and she got out of control, not using enough brake. Then she locked up her back tire and lost traction. Boom, into the thules. No problem, after a few tears, back in the saddle and off she went. The trip ended with big smiles and high fives. That made the adventure perfect and she was already asking for more. She must be related to me!

I would recommend if one hasn't visited Seal Bay park, do wait. Not that is is going anywhere, but is such a magical place to get lost in, you will want to spend many hours away with you family. Find Adventure!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Adventure 15- Northeast Woods

Mucky crossing
Without any idea of where to take our adventure this week, I suddenly had a brainstorm to go visit Northeast Woods in Comox. This area is a place I have been familiar with for the last few years. I am not sure if that is because I have not spent very much time in Comox beyond working and going to the beach, or that this place is a hidden gem that hasn't publicly promoted as a fine place to recreate. I am glad we made the trip.

Old Turkey Tails

We began by parking our car beyond the Comox municipal works yard off Torrence road. Highland Secondary school and several playing fields are also in the vicinity. This general area has many beautiful stands of timber and I often wondered why there was such a forest in seemingly prime building land. Now I know. Northeast Woods was slowly protected over the last 40 or so years. There was even once a municipal landfill in the area. It was fully granted as a Wildlife Management area in 2001. 313 acres are covered in the management area, and this is an important place for migratory birds and waterfowl, as well as deer, small mammals, fish and amphibians. We unfortunately did not see any wildlife, the evidence of woodpeckers abound. Many rotten standing dead tree trunks were riddled with holes.

Busy Woodpeckers

With no map or any direction we just began following trails, changing our path whenever a new one presented itself. We found a few built up jumps that Natalie had fun running and leaping off of. I tried to photograph her mid jump. Now that is a challenge that I couldn't meet. Lots of fuzzy pixels. Marshall also joined us today for some fun in the woods. It is so joyful to watch him bound through the brush looking for tossed sticks and is back before I turn around, stick in his mouth, waiting for me to throw it again. The sign at the trail head showed dogs on leash, but all the other canines we encountered were off lead, so I quickly allowed Marshall that freedom as well.

I made him stay, the only time he rests
The forest was a mix of Douglas fir, Western red cedar, red alder and surprisingly Sitka spruce. It don't often spruce trees that numerously. Also many prickly, deep green, holly bushes were sprinkled about the undergrowth. Salal bushes were very healthy with broad, lush leaves and tall stems. The ground in this area is fairly moist, in some places close to the swamp are down right wet, which would account for the happy plants and trees. We munched on Indian corn (flowers of the Oregon Grape bush), admired trilliums and smelled skunk cabbage. Natalie climbed in a rotting burned cedar stump. We ate girl guide cookies and told jokes. It was a peaceful time. The landscape has little in the way of elevation change. No big hills for kids to have to climb and complain about.

"It doesn't smell that bad"

The trails are mixed use, some are reserved for walking or running only, while others are for sharing with mountain bikers. I am looking forward to taking my bike for a few hours exploring the different lines. I would suggest these trails are beginner/ intermediate. A couple of small jumps and roll off drops, but little in the way of roots and other technical features. I like the twisty and tight corners. With little elevation change riding up and down for a few hours would be less tiring than Cumberland riding.

Indian Corn

Natalie was a lucky girl this weekend. I stopped at Trail bikes on Friday after work to have a look at kids bikes. There was a sale on Trek bikes. I am very happy with the new Trek that I bought a month ago and the customer service was second to none. I picked out a new 24" mountain bike for her, and on Saturday we went to pick it up. She was thrilled. It has been 4 years of me encouraging and helping her to get comfortable on a bicycle to hesitant responses. Sheena helped her out three weeks ago, and that help more in that hour than all the time I had invested. So we practiced on the trail behind the shop and she was able to ride without assistance after I helped her to get started. A little more practice yesterday, and she was so close. So today I reasoned that today she should get out again since she wouldn't have another chance for a week. After my help a couple of times, she was determined to ride on her own. She pushed off, got her foot on the pedal and she cranked herself down the road! It was amazing. She hit the brakes and off she went again. She spent half an hour going back and forth down our street, starting and stopping. It was so thrilling for me. She had a smile on the whole time, and it was so joyous to see. I believe the hardest part has been overcome and she will just build skills from here, and she will be ready to ride across Canada with me when she graduates high school.

So happy

Have a great week everyone. Get outside and enjoy the gorgeous spring weather and get your kids out to learn the natural world. Find Adventure.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Adventure 14- Beachcombing

Can't go under so...
I spent a most wonderful long four day weekend in Merville this Easter. A brilliant sun rising over the coast mountains and the Salish Sea welcomed the day each morning. I was able to enjoy mountain biking with Marshall and Sunny on some new to me double track trails that have just enough debris to make a slow meandering ride interesting and challenging. A brushy, sizable grand fir windfall made for a scrambling crossing. A relaxing beachfire with Sheena and my sister,complete with  veggie hotdogs and organic rootbeer, while watching juvenile coho splash in the shallows was the close to the day on Saturday. Natalie was in Port Alberni camping with her mom for both Friday and Saturday nights. It was so precious to sleep in and have some "me" time for a good portion of the weekend. A lot of planning and communicating about how to make the tiny houses livable was accomplished this weekend as well. I am feeling really positive and enthusiastic about this transition.

With time at a premium for the day, and date scheduled to go to Campbell River to visit some puppies, I decided that the adventure for the week would be beachcombing. Interesting driftwood and rocks cover the landscape. Natalie and I love to scan for one of a kind pieces and cool shapes. This trip we would be looking for things that could be incorporated into the tiny house. Door and drawer pulls, coat hooks, and legs for tables or chairs were on our radar. Natalie also has showed an interest in the art of wood burning, thanks to her Grandma Kelly, in Ucluelet.

That is a piece of plastic in her mouth
 We had about an hour and a half this morning before we needed to leave for Campbell River, so we ate a fast breakfast of yam fritata with rooibos tea and off we went, with a backpack on. Marshall accompanied us for this little jaunt. Three houses down and we had the beach to ourselves as the rest of the homes along the stretch are high-bank and an not visible from the beach. This stretch of the east coast of Vancouver Island is sparsley populated and has the most amazing shoreline and ocean. An un-impeeded view of Desolation Sound, Powell River and the Coast range make for some gorgeous landscapes. Sea gulls, pacific loons, cormorants, harbor seals, and many species of ducks, including harlequin and scooters. The area is also a playground for Bald eagles. There is always something interesting to see and hear.

Always a funny face
We were successful on finding unique driftwood that may be used in the tiny house. Natalie found so many beautiful rocks, of all sizes and colors. It is so hard for us not to bring them all home. We are both collectors of natural art. Art created by the forest and deep within Mother Earth. We spotted many chunks of old growth red cedar that I hope to harvest to make shakes to side a sauna or other out building, giving them a real west coast feel. We discovered a nice sized Sitka spruce fallen from shoreline erosion. We decided to walk the log and climb around the branches. That was a lot of fun climbing on a jungle.

The prickly jungle
With a backpack full of lumber we went home and drove north to Campbell. Marshall, who was wet from swimming, came with us. He was allowed to play with the three grown dogs at the puppies house. The dad dog is an Irish wolfhound who is 140lbs, making Marshall look like a shrimp. It was so fun to watch them play and the little puppies scramble to dodge the big ones feet. A couple of the pups wanted to try playing, but wisely they changed their minds.

Natalie and Willow
Once home Natalie was successful in using the woodburner that I have, and after dinner her and I went out and practiced riding her bike. I was holding the back of her saddle for balance, and with out her knowing, I let go. Off she went. It was such a great moment for us. I have been waiting patiently for her to ride on her own, and to see it made me laugh uncontrollably. I am so proud of her for getting out of her comfort zone and do it. A huge thanks to Sheena for trying new techniques and getting her comfortable enough to keep practicing. It won't be long now. A weekend full of adventure, it was tremendous. Bring summer. Find Adventure.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Alternative Housing

For quite sometime now I have been interested in non-conventional home building. Be it tiny houses, with under 200 square feet of living space, stack wall or cob construction which used materials from the earth to create a shelter, or recycling man-made rubbish like tires and shipping containers to make a new version of the "Canadian Dream".

Most of my excitement for such unusual projects is to learn to build houses and living space with less harm to the planet. Typical stick framing creates literally tons of construction waste, most of which ends up in the landfill. By utilizing smaller home size, even with conventional techniques will save a huge amount of waste and energy. A tiny home can be built with very little waste and can be more thriftily planned. Precision planning is easier with dimensions of such little size. Less plywood and stud trimming is needed, since the house is 90 percent less than what is normally considered a barely livable, small house. A contractor who builds many, many new homes and makes a large percentage of profit per build will be less worried about the trash and will just pass that waste on to the purchaser of the home. A perspective builder of a tiny home most likely has a smaller, more carefully planned budget as well as being concerned with the planet and wastefulness. Recycling old tires into home foundations will keep the useless bits of rubber and steel from being landfilled or burned.

I am really wondering about creating a home with more sweat and elbow grease versus just signing a few forms at the bank, and purchasing a cookie cutter home in Pleasantville. After years of working hard to pay a mortgage and seeing little results and feeling tied down by it. I want to live a simple life, save money, donate to charity, volunteer and just have much more time. Time is the thing we all only have so much of, no matter if you have a few dollars of a few billion dollars. To be awarded that extra time would be a blessing worth living in a tiny house, using a composting toilet and having a little private space. Sacrificing a dishwasher, flat screen television, and en suite bathroom to gain extra time to do fun things with my daughter, write, learn a new skill and to work on a project is completely worth it. I believe that given a chance to do things differently, many would also choose to make these adaptations to their lives.

To me, saving money and conserving are fantastic reasons, but doing it differently is also a wonderful thing. Spending twenty thousand dollars on a septic field, or using clean water to flush sewage into a city pipe is wasteful. Composting your own night soils is something that I am keen on. It may sound gross, and it is not for everyone. If you learn about how much clean drinking water is polluted just to flush something that one has been taught to ignore once out of a diaper, you might change your tune. I read the Humanure Handbook and changed my thinking about how a composting toilet works and how inexpensive and clean is can be.

I was very inspired by the conversation with my Grandma yesterday. I learned about her house, which was built by my Grandpa and Grandma, as well as extended family and friends. Much of the building materials were harvested from the wood and the beach, including the walls, beams and roofing material. The waste was used to heat the home while is was under construction so they could work in it during the winter and allow things to dry and keep the chill off of the workers. That is my kind of recycling!

Plans are in the works to make some changes in my existence. I am hoping to begin living in a tiny house this year sometime. I am very excited to live in an alternative dwelling, created by our own hands, with out visiting a bank and living with less. Too much clutter makes for a cluttered mind, too much space makes one feel lonely, a chance to give Natalie a different perspective, and more time with me. This is an exciting change that I will be sharing on this blog, and I hope to inspire others to live with less. Find Adventure.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Adventure 13- Family History

Today I needed to accomplish three things in a limited amount of time. An adventure needed to take place, and I needed to see my Grandma. It had been much to long of time since I had the pleasure of visiting her at her home in Union Bay. She was alone this weekend, and missing her daughters 50th birthday in Kamloops, because of some new discomfort that is affecting her while she sits for too long. I also had been meaning to interview her for some writing I want to do about her magnificent stack wall home, that was built by my Grandpa and her twenty five years ago. I will be posting about the house in a future blog, pictures included. So we traveled south and had a great visit with my grandma this afternoon.

Todays adventure was less of an adventure more an experience for Natalie. She mostly just sat and drew pictures for Grandma. As Grandma and I reflected on her scrapbook of photos from the construction of the house, I would point out different photos contained in the pages. I showed her snaps of my sister and myself as children, her great-great-Grandpa that she didn't meet, her great Uncles with less grey hair and beer bellies, long gone pets of their family and things I remembered about those days. I was ten when the house was completed, so my memories were somewhat vague on a lot of the images. It was neat to be able to help jog Grandma's memory, asking questions. She was so happy that I was interested in the house and what it represented to her. Natalie got to see pictures of her great Grandpa when he was a strong, middle aged man, working and creating. She only knew him in his later years when the emphysema was strongly taking its toll on him.

It has been hard to keep up with my extended family. Having my own life and family to focus on, work and my recreational endeavors leaves little perceived time to visit with my kin. I do believe that it is so important for children to see where they came from and to have quality time with their elders. With much wisdom, patience, time and kindness, a perfect guide to life. It is like a teacher with out grades and tests, only questions, answers and hugs. Much joy in seeing what the grandchild can do, reading and writing, physical activities and ability to speak for themselves as a person, no longer a infant.

As we were leaving,Grandma imparted some wisdom on Natalie. "Getting chores done quickly is good, so there is more time to have fun." I had to chuckle, as this is what I always say to her, and hopefully Grandma's soft, wisdom filled voice will linger in Natalie's head and she will remember this for years to come. Make time for the experienced ones in life, learn and listen, and be grateful that you have the opportunity to share with your next generation. Find Adventure.