Visitors from Down Under

Well I haven’t been spending much time in blogger land as I am too busy outside working to blog. I do know that people are wondering how it is going as I have recently seen a couple of my silent “followers”. One of the silent followers came all the way from Australia to see us.
Of course there is more to the story than meets the eye — it wasn’t a “I must see this house they are working on” kind of blog follower but rather a friend who follows the blog. Ron and I meet Judy on Beachcomber Island in Fiji back in December of 1982 — I needed dental floss and struck up a conversation. turns out both of us are nurses & farm girls who were kindred spirits and liked to write letters. So we visited with her in Melbourne where she lived at the time and she took us home to her parent’s sheep station. We then visited with her, Craig (her husband) and their girls Alex and Hannah when we were in Australia for our family reunion in 2003. So they are now retired from the sheep and farming world and are doing some travelling. We were thrilled when they sent a email last October telling us they would be visiting in the spring.
She does follow the blog and was excited to see the house in person but better yet was the awesome visit we had with them and their travelling companions Peter and Sue. They are on a serious North American travel blitz that is quite extensive in locations and time so we thought that perhaps just chilling out and relaxing here with us was better than trying to cram in a few Saskatchewan sights in 3 days. So we had 3 very laid back days with loads of laundry being done, tons of tea being drank and some good food being consumed. We did go for a walk every day and we toured both the University of Saskatchewan and the river Saskatchewan. We also did a local farm tour – both the small size and the supersize kinds as they had questions that we couldn’t answer about farming here.
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Walking the property line, exploring native flora and fauna despite the wind and the ticks!
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Craig & Judi, Ron, Sue & Peter in front of the Peter McKinnon Building U of S Campus.
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We saw some wild life while they were here but Sue and Peter were captivated by the gophers!
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The University Bridge and the Saskatchewan River via the gang plank of the Tiger Lily. The weather wasn’t stellar.
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No tour of Saskatoon would be complete without a picture of the lovely Bessborough Hotel.
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We always like to showcase local food when we have company so I had saved saskatoons (which my mom had gotten for me as we didn’t have any last year) and turned it into a saskatoon pie. We also had rhubarb and dumplings, pulled pork, sirloin tip roast on the bbq, potatoes from our garden & a few local pints of brew plus some New Zealand wine (thanks Peter) and even some rye (long old story there hey Judi!) and some scotch. All this was surrounded by some great conversations at the dining room table.
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Checking out our neighbour and his farming/cattle operation which is a small scale one. It was a quick visit with Kevin as he was trying to finish seeding before the rain started again but Penny showed us the calf sheds and the cow barn.
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So then big equipment and big farmer locally means Stevenson’s so we drove into their yard – Peter said “good day mate” and the conversation was on. They had just finished seeding but still had a bit of harvesting to do from last year but were very happy to stand and chat — it was a great exchange of information going both ways about farming in two different countries/continents.
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No time at our house would be complete without a pit party and fortunately the weather turned around that evening as we had family and friends out for more lively conversation and a “pot luck” supper — new word for the Auzzies.
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The wind died down and we had a fire with thanks to Spencer for manning that. No s’mores though as we had other desserts but they had experienced them before as Judi’s niece-in-law is a Canadian from Toronto. It was nice for Spencer to visit with Judi and Craig as he had spent some vacation time with them at Merrimbula when he was in Australia. Too bad they didn’t see Alyssa but she is away at Spruce Meadows competing so she wasn’t able to come home.
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Final morning good byes. They were leaving as the weather turned lovely so hope they had a great drive to Brandon/Winnipeg. Then they were off to New York (via Toronto), Washington, Toronto, Vancouver and home. Wow they will have lots of pictures and loads of stories to remember.
They had spent quite a bit of time in Alberta, British Columbia and Alaska before they got here and they were very happy to experience the prairies and see wide open space. The vista here felt good to them even if they did think the weather was rather cold although we thought it wasn’t bad at all so it is very much a perspective on your “normal” weather. They were amazed at our blizzard photos from this year. The weather is a universal conversation. We’ve been to Australia when it was so dry and forest fires raged and yet while they were here the rain was pouring down there and Peter and Sue had some water issues in their house. Here at home, as I write this, the flood waters are just leaving Calgary and High River were the rain did devastating things to the landscape and it will take a long time to return to “normal”. It is very green here and we have had enough moisture for now but certainly nothing like Alberta. The reason I am in doing the blog during the day is that it rained this morning so I wasn’t able to continue painting.
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I thought that perhaps I should end with a picture of the house as it is a blog about a house! Although this isn’t the most up to date painted picture this is from a couple of days ago. The white trim is now all green except where it is yellow! Yesterday was an amazing paint day with perfect weather and great progress. We didn’t make our goal of completing this side before our down under visitors arrived but we are making strides towards completion. The top two levels of scaffolding is very close to coming down – final green, yellow trim boards up and chaulking to do then it is time to move down a level. We are really hoping that before August we will have all the main elements completed.
This entry was not so much about a house but rather about what a house holds – friendships and lazy mornings, sunsets and contentment or a pint with a story. We are blessed and appreciate it daily.
Bernie and Ron

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5 Responses to Visitors from Down Under

  1. georgina says:

    wonderfully written my dear!!

    Like

  2. Patti says:

    Looks like all of you had a wonderful time. So great to have friends from all corners of the world. And your house is looking great.

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  3. Laurel says:

    Loved the story on your Aussie friends Bernie! Hope you don’t get near the water we got here.
    Laurel

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  4. Melanie Rempel says:

    No matter what stage your house is at , you can always make it a home. That was awesome you could reunite with friends from Australia, that pie looked yummy! I like to showcase local goods too, seems we have have the same thinking: pulled pork, saskatoons. Trevor likes to add farmer sausage to that list.

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  5. Flora says:

    Thanks for last blog & sharing stories of your visitors– they sounded appreciative of your good job at entertaining them. They have wonderul stories to take home with them! And thanks for the pictures of the last stages that you are working on. Hope you have a great summer! I am hanging around here enjoying our beautiful summer!! Have volunteered for the Jazz Festival & enjoyed some awesome music! Take care– Flora

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