The Willow Tree

The Willow Tree on Vimeo.

It’s difficult to imagine our backyard without this particular willow tree, but all living things must come to an end. The large willow tree has withstood harsh winters, aphid infestations, and drought over a period of approximately 40 years. The wondrous willow has provided shade, branches for children to climb on, nesting places for numerous species of birds, and majestic beauty for our neighbourhood.

Our family has fond memories and considerable sentiment for this willow tree, it’s removal bringing literal tears to my wife’s eyes. To a tree removal crew, it is just a tree. To us, the willow represents several generations of laughter and joy in our family. I can still picture our eldest daughter at 14 years-of-age, perched on a rather precarious branch, reading a good novel while sheltered from the glaring sun, our youngest shouting out with joy as she swung on the hammock fastened between two large branches, our small Shih Tzu, “Missy” getting her leash all tangled up around the trunk, looking rather sheepish and helpless.

With this in mind, it is time to say a heartfelt goodbye to an old friend who gave us more than we could possibly give back.

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Cutting down the stump before grinding.

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Memories of the Family Farm: A Place Called Home

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The modern grain farm in Saskatchewan.

I wish I had a better picture (closeup) of this farming activity last fall, but I was on my road bike and in a bit of a hurry. I was impressed with the amount of grain trucks and activity on this farm, just north of the Trans Canada Highway 1, along the west side of the Grand Coulee highway. Outside of the scale of activity, it reminded me so much of working on our family farm, harvesting with my dad and other relatives. As a teenager and young adult, I often hauled grain in one of our three-ton trucks or the semi tractor with a belly-dump trailer similar to those pictured above, except not tandem trailers.

Custom combine outfits were later to take over even that job. Farming has changed immensely, but my love for the land and the good memories of harvest time have not 🙂

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#LoveLife

Saying goodbye to an old friend…again

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2010 Jeep Wrangler

If you have ever driven and/or ridden in a Jeep Wrangler, you know how much fun they can be. In the winter, with a hard-top, they are a superb daily driver. This sturdy four-wheel-drive vehicle can handle just about anything you encounter, from icy highways to three foot (1 metre) snowdrifts. In the summer, with the top off, it is like having a whole new vehicle. The sights and sounds are just so much better in a Jeep.

We have slowly been downsizing our lives, and my beloved Jeep was destined for the chopping block. I was sad to let it go as I have so many great memories exploring Canada and the US in my almost invincible Jeep. As a cyclist, the Jeep sat in my driveway most of the time. In fact, it only had approximately forty thousand kilometres on it – I have put on more mileage on some of my bicycles!

Alas, an eighteen-year-old girl will now enjoy this fine utilitarian vehicle. Her rather personable and wealthy parents just purchased the Jeep for her as a gift yesterday. I hope she takes care of it and enjoys it as much as I did 🙂

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2010 Jeep Wrangler. Photographed along with a white tail deer and a fox at our family cabin in Candle Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada.

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Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend

Most road cyclists are quite obsessive and possessive of their road racing bikes. The obsessive part is reflected in the cleanliness and careful maintenance of a nervous and twitchy race machine. The possessive part relates to our riding experiences on a particular bike, often over a period of many years.

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