24 Dec

2016 Christmas Edition of the Hepburn Home Page

Merry Christmas Tree

Hello all!  You are now reading the one and only transmission of the Hepburn Christmas letter of 2016, written by your friendly neighbourhood K-dawg.  I don’t know about you but I didn’t do much this year.  Finished grade 11 (on to senior year! Woop-woop!)  had a pretty uneventful summer, other than taming the outside cats and watching Netflix.  I guess we did go to Gracia’s convocation (more on that later).  But hey I can drive now!!  Got my license so that’s a plus.  Well, I did do one really cool thing this year:  I went to New York City!  It was a week of crazy busy tourism and not much sleep. It was probably the best week of my year though!  As for senior year, it has been kind of a blur so far, because of all the prom committee meetings and all the homework; I have a feeling it’s going to be a good last year of high school though.

On to the other Hepburn child, Gracia has had a pretty eventful year.  She graduated university with a bachelor of arts in psychology, and got her first real job working at a school for pregnant and parenting teens.  Over the summer she had a different job working with the YMCA with exchange students from Quebec.  Subsequently she got to go to Montreal.  I’m sure if you ask her she can show you cool pictures from that.  When she was in Montreal however, her car got stolen!! (oh plot twist hey!).  But two good things resulted from that:  It gave her bored sister something to do – driving Gracia to and from Edmonton – and she was forced to get a newer car that ended up having better gas mileage.  A few weeks after she had bought the new car, of course, the police found her old car.  The battery is garbage and the vacuum cleaner that was in the car is destroyed, but other than that it seems OK.  Moving on from stolen cars, Gracia and I had our first Thanksgiving without the parentals, as they were at a wedding.  I drove up to Edmonton to spend the weekend there and had loads of fun hanging with my older sibling.

And now on to the parentals.  Mum got a new fancy job in Calgary.  And in order to not have to drive there every morning, mum and dad bought a duplex for mum to live in the basement and rent out the top.  Mum is enjoying the new job so far.  Dad worked the census during the summer and I can say from what I saw that that was an adventure and a half. He is also taking an online course so he can also get a fancy new job.  And so, all is well in the Hepburn home.  The cats are happy, and so am I.merry-christmas-bw

 

A warm happy Christmas to all,

 

Love from the Hepburns

 

22 Dec

2015 Christmas Edition of the Hepburn Home Page

Looking back on last years Christmas letter, I found a few gems. One of Laurie’s favorite moments of 2014 was “Planning flower beds for next year”.  That plan came to life, but not by Laurie’s hand alone.  The flower garden is possible only with a ribbon of family and friends weaving through it – both past and present. Feature rock [Jasper, Jonah, Brian, Tracey].  Patio and retaining wall [Jim, Judy, John, Karen], Dirt: [Jim, James, Cathy], The flowers and plants that give the perennial beauty, attracting birds and butterflies: [Phil, Wendy, Teresa, Karen, Heather, Dave, Judy]  And making sure visitors find their way in the night; the landscape lights [Stewart, Cathy].  If you’re wonder why your name is, or is not shown, it is either you, or me, have forgotten something.  Most likely me.

A quote that rang true: “Didn’t build a dock – that’s next summer”.  Sure enough, we did it.  The logistics of getting the dock material out east could fill an hour-long comedy show.  Cargo:  3500 lbs of reclaimed fir, a stove, a boat, 4 passengers with luggage.  Vehicle: Abandoned and resurrected-from-the-dead Ford F250 oil-field truck, gross capacity: 3000 lbs.  You do the math.   While using both hands and all strength to navigate a turn in the highway, I hear Kiersten say to her cousin “It feels like we’re going to tip over”

It was a fun summer, but Gracia was not there to complete our foursome.  She was working for the YMCA chaperoning a bunch of exchange student to the best spots in Alberta, which brings in another quote from 2014 “Gracia didn’t get her car fixed (Greyhound ahoy!)” listed under things we did NOT do. Chaperoning requires a car, so we got to fixin’ the classic low-rider Acura.  At the end she took them home via train to Montreal.  #WorstTripEver.  No. Er yes. Maybe.  Definitely no.  In her words there were some really fun parts of the trip and not-so-fun.  No beds?@!  True.  3 1/2 days, no bed.  At the end she got to poke around Montreal and have some fun.  Meanwhile back at the cottage, the dock got built.  It was me who drew the short straw and drove the truck home.  Laurie flew.

There was another gem titled “Things we didn’t do” and the quote is “Laurie didn’t get fired in the great PennWest layoff of 2014”.  True, however she got fired in the great layoff of 2015!  Layoffs became a  a bad habit with PennWest as oil prices dropped.  It was a few months of stressful job hunting, but finally found work with fabrication company Bilton Manufacturing.

Kiersten is tearing away her dependency by learning to drive.  She’s proclaimed that I gave her the old blue Volvo wagon, but I have ulterior motives.  The sooner she’s driving herself to school the sooner I can get a full time job. The requirements to ownership were that Kiersten help fix the car to a safe roadworthy standard.  So far she’s learned about CV axials and lower control arms and other can-I-have-the-keys-now related stuff. As for my career, I’m studying at home to become certified in Mapping software know as ArcGIS.  I’ve come up with a quick map showing where we were this year.

26 Oct

2015 Fall Edition of the Hepburn Home Page

carrots in a basket

carrots fresh from the garden

Carrots are all that’s left in our garden. Even after several hard frosts, the tops still look green and alive. Fall is a great time of the year when you have a garden. It’s the time to get a reward for all that hard work.

Our garden is in a new location and the soil was “hot”. Not temperature wise, but in the sense that it was too rich. Composed manure takes a long time to break down. It’s sped up by turning the pile frequently. This stuff looks like soil but on closer inspection there is still a lot of straw. The onions, potatoes and squash did not grow at all. The spring was very dry which was more than half the problem. The other half was that we went away for a month in July. The garden turned to a giant weed patch. manure comes with weeds. That’s a fact.

We even got a soil test kit ( the cheapy one) and it told us that the soil had a high pH.  I thought cow sh#t was acidic.  I just have to figure out what to put in the soil to correct the condition.  I think the straw helps with drainage; sometimes a good thing, sometimes a bad thing.

A hand of mulch

A hand full of bark mulch

flower bed with feature rock

a flower garden at last

The flower bed in the front was a blooming success.  I had very little to do with it except to make sure there was a proper irrigation system.  I’m not going to sit by and [have my wife] spend  a lot of money on beautiful perennials just to have them die of thirst.

In the spring I got a load of trees.  I should mention that here since I think I got them after I posted the spring edition blog. I put them in the old garden.  They were fairly beaten up from the ride. It had been a windy day and the trap over the trailer flapped around, breaking and wearing branches off the trees. I think most of them will recover.

A row of little spruce trees

A row of little spruce trees