25 Dec

2018 Christmas Edition of the Hepburn Home Page

Photo by Tj Holowaychuk on Unsplash

Welcome Dear Reader.

Jumped right past the Spring and Fall editions of the home page. It’s not like we don’t have room to put all the ideas.  It’s the time that’s hard to fit everything into.  Time just isn’t big enough even though the scientists say it’s infinite.  Humbug.

We Did a lot of renovations on the duplex

A new bathroom upstairs was the first project for 2018.  In the summer we ripped out the concrete patio and used some of the slabs for other projects (see below), then we hauled in some bricks and made walkways.  Next spring we will landscape and plant new grass.  Thanks for the truck JDH and the help PL.

Jasper and Jayden got married

Wedding day photo

Wedding day photo

A great wedding in June.  everyone had a lot of fun that day.

We made retaining walls

a garden retaining wall

Our garden retaining wall was finished. well almost

Some of the concrete from the duplex was repurposed into retaining walls on the acreage.   Another wall which lines the south edge of the driveway is not quite finished.  Winter set in early.

Gracia went to Seattle Washington with her mom.

I don’t have pictures on this site to show, but the two people who went have some on their Instagram accounts:



Kiersten started her second year of college

She’s been working at DQ for pocket money and entered her second year of a Science degree.  It’s possible she may be able to complete the degree in Red Deer, but as it stands right now the last 2 years will have to be done at U of A.  If RDC adds the necessary courses in time, it would save a lot of money for us.

Gracia is Famous [Sort-of]

Gracia is still working for Terra Centre and the program she runs is the focus of their current funding drive.  They have pictures of her on the corporate website.  Check it out here:


We are celebrating Christmas at home

This year we chose one of the trees in the yard to decorate.  There was a spare string of lights and some extra large ornaments which we put on the live spruce tree.  A nice addition to the decorations for the holidays.

A lit christmas tree at night in the snow

Our little Christmas tree in the front yard

Everyone have a safe and merry Christmas holiday

This form goes to our family inbox.  send us a card.

    25 Dec

    2017 Christmas Edition of the Hepburn Home Page

    Kiersten and JonahPlans were afoot for a great party!  Kiersten and her cousin, Jonah were the guest of honor.  Weather was good. There were lots of drinks, chips and a little bit of healthy food just in case scurvy attacked future’s best hopes. From grade 12 diplomats to diploma recipients was reason to party. One of the many great get-togethers of the past year.

    Over the last winter Kiersten went through a number of vehicles.  She started winter driving the Volvo 850, but it decided one day not to start.  The replacement was Gracia’s old Acura Integra that was stolen-then-recovered.  Within weeks the engine blew due to excessive abuse by past thieves.  Car number 3 is a black Honda Civic and just happens to be the exact same make/model/year as Gracia’s car.  Whenever I give a nice part to one daughter the other daughter becomes jealous. When they’re home together I fear that pilfering of parts will occur in the middle of the night with either daughter tearing parts off their sister’s car. Working light bulbs, wiper blades. Mud flaps.  It’s open season

    Gracia’s been enjoying a good starter career helping young adults navigate various government systems to achieve education and become good parents simultaneously.  She’s liking the job immensely although she’s finding compensation is never equal the effort. Isn’t that true for all of us?  Gracia’s current apartment is quite adult-like.  In some respect she likes the “grown up” atmosphere but worries when friends and high-octane fun fills the apartment. Dinner and a comedy movie shouldn’t be outlawed.  Management posts rules and helpful advice such as designated laundry room use schedule. Guess who gets the Friday evening time slot? No roommates to deal with anymore and that’s the best part for Gracia.

    Gracia came out to the cottage for the first time in many years, airplane mode with Laurie. All of us headed off to tour Ottawa for a weekend. Gracia arranged accommodations on AirBNB which worked out great.  Byward Market, the Museum of Art and War Museum were on the must-do list.  We couldn’t get into the Parliament building tour due to a four-hour lineup for tickets. Thankyou Canada’s 150.  Weather was wonderful, and the outside tour was open, free and uncrowded.

    Kiersten drove out east with myself and her uncle James.  Kiersten was eager to participate in the driving and do a straight-through drive meaning no hotels or stopping.  The land speed record is 36 hours (within the family).  We managed to do it in 38 hours. Start time was 12:30am.  While driving the US portion of the route, we saw a car with a bumper sticker supporting Trump.  We attempted to get a photo, but the car’s evasive maneuvers prevented a clean shot.

    Gracia and KierstenKirsten also worked at camp Northway, just down the lake from the cottage, for one month over the summer. She worked in the kitchen preparing food for all the campers. It was a great experience and she had quite a bit of fun but made little money.  Being on the same lake, Laurie, Gracia and myself saw quite a bit of Kiersten over the summer.  Now that we’ve all returned to Alberta, Kiersten is into her first year of a Bachelor of Science in Ecology which starts at Red Deer College and finishes at U of A. I am still doing the odd website and carpentry, Laurie is working at Pembina Pipelines.

    Have a merry Christmas and a happy new year!

    Thomas, Laurie, Gracia, Kiersten



    A few extra scrapbook style photos from the past few years.






    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.