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Randsco News

It takes time to create blog entries and not everything that happens, merits an entry. So, we've created this 'news' section, to keep readers up-to-date with our misadventures and accomplishments. Read about it here FIRST, before it makes it into a blog entry.

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Bicycle Crash

May 7th, 2011  · stk

NewsBrief: [title] blah blah •

Bad Day for the Oop

The Hutton House - Alex took a tumble on her new bicycle (which has gears and front/rear hand-brakes). She went into a steep ditch not too far from our driveway.

Mom and Dad weren't there to witness the event, but heard a crying Alex walking down the long driveway.

"I think I broke my arm," she says.

Alex looked fine. No cuts, scrapes or blood anywhere. But when Dad felt her arm through her long-sleeved jacket, he was immediately concerned.

"That doesn't feel right," he said to himself.

He quickly exposed the arm, by taking off the jacket. Sure enough, it looked like Alex had dislocated her elbow.

Mom took Alex down to Urgent Care facility in Ladysmith. She's down there right now getting X-Rays - to make sure there's nothing broken - before they consider putting her elbow back in place.

Poor Oop. :(

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Updated: 27-May-2011
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Five Tips for Hiking with Kids

April 25th, 2011  · Nicole

In her first article for randsco.com, guest author Nicole provides five tips for hiking with kids. Just because you have young kids doesn't mean parents have to put away their hiking gear. Hiking with kids is a great way to combine family time, healthy exercise and teaching children about the natural world. Learn more!

Five Tips Help Make Hiking with Kids FUN!

It is definitely heart-warming to see kids bathing in bubbling brooks, climbing over rocks or boulders and appreciating the flora and fauna as they pass them by. Hiking and camping with your own kids is a great way to teach them about the beauty of nature, cooperation and healthy living.

If you’ve been taking your kids on hikes and would like to make it an even better experience (or want to and fear that they'll whine and complain) - this article will arm you with five ideas that will increase your chances for a successful outing!

5 Quick Tips for Hiking with Kids

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Updated: 18-May-2011
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A Tandem Touring Kayak

April 3rd, 2011  · stk

NewsBrief: [8th Boat Added to Fleet] Scott & Rachel bought yet ANOTHER boat, a tandem touring sea kayak. This brings the number of boats owned or held by Randsco to a mind-numbing EIGHT! Are they crazy or what?

Eighth Boat Added to Randsco Fleet

Powell River, BC - Reporters learned yesterday that the Randsco executive staff took an unscheduled trip to Powell River Kayaking, on the Sunshine Coast, to pick up a twenty-one foot tandem kayak. This addition ups the total of boats owned or held by Randsco to - a whopping - eight!

"For a desert rat," said Scott, "this is far more boats than I thought I'd ever have!"

The new boat is a Current Designs Libra XT kayak, a high-volume, double (or triple) passenger touring kayak. It's overall length comes in at a garage-stuffing 21 feet 8 inches and the fiberglass model - which is the one the Kimler's purchased - weighs a back-breaking 92 pounds. The upper deck gel coat is a pleasing light blue color ("Caribbean Blue" according the the Current Designs color chart).

"Ewe," said Scott, "Doesn't that sound fancy?"

"It's not a fast boat," said Rachel, "but it will hold a ton of gear, is really stable and - best of all - it can seat three people, so we can take Alex out for some kayaking fun!"

The center hatch serves a dual purpose, as it can be used to stow gear (with two paddlers), or can be used to seat a third paddler. It even has a molded fiberglass "seat" built right in, for this purpose ... which was one of the selling features for Scott and Rachel.

"As Alex becomes more proficient with paddling," explained Rachel, "we can move her from the center hatch to the forward seat. Then we can take two kayaks with us on our family trips: a single touring kayak and this Libra XT double."

Rounding out the stats on the Libra XT, the boat has a 32-inch beam, forward and rear hatches. The forward hatch has a 22 gallon volume and the rear hatch has a 27 gallon volume. The maximum load rating for the Libra XT is an astounding, scale-straining 850 pounds! (You really CAN take the kitchen sink!)

The Libra XT has proven itself with many tour operators because of its safety, seaworthiness, comfort, carrying capacity and quality construction. Indeed, Scott & Rachel bought this boat from such an operator - Adam Vallance, the owner of Powell River Sea Kayak. They picked up this used kayak at their location in Okeover Inlet, a beautiful location and great launching spot for the Desolation Sound Marine Park - a kayaking destination paradise.

"We'll have to do some kayaking here," said Rachel, as they loaded their "new" kayak onto the Subaru station wagon.

This brings the number of kayaks owned by Randsco to five. Two recreational kayaks at the floating cabin, two single touring kayaks and - now - this triple touring Libra XT "bus"!

"We have too many boats," said Scott, "We must be out of our minds!"

The reviews by paddlers about the Current Designs Libra XT are much what one would expect. "The stability is amazing," wrote one reviewer, "we never tipped [and] it holds a TON OF GEAR ... almost 220 pounds worth".

"Comfortable ... very roomy ... tons of storage capacity."

As one might expect, some people complained about the speed of the boat. One couple said they averaged only 4 to 4.5 mph in the boat. Some don't like that there isn't drainage around either cockpit or hatches.

We are looking forward to family kayaking trips in our "new" Libra XT. Keep an eye out on Randsco for our shakedown cruise in this boat that some call a "touring Cadillac" (and others call an "aircraft carrier")! LOL

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Updated: 7-May-2011
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BC Nursing Crisis - Five Years Later

March 15th, 2011  · stk

Five years ago, we wrote about the nursing crisis that British Columbia anticipated. How did British Columbia respond? How is socialized Health Care working out for residents of British Columbia now? Find out in our "BC Nursing Crisis" update ...

BC Government Cuts Health Care Despite Shortages & Overcrowding

Back in 2005, when Rachel had just over a year to complete her BSN degree, we wrote about the BC nursing crisis facing the Canadian Province of British Columbia. This bode well for job placement and when Rachel graduated from the UofA in 2006, many of the BC Health Authorities were hiring nursing graduates. (She accepted an offer from VIHA and has been gainfully employed there since).

Fast-forward to 2011 and the latest issue of "BCNU Update" (a BC Nurses' Union publication) describes a very different experience for those now graduating with a BSN degree. Despite an acknowledged and continued shortage of nurses, BC Health Authorities are facing government cut-backs and many recent nursing graduates are finding it difficult to find full-time nursing jobs. In an effort to make ends meet, many newly educated nurses are having to accept work outside of health care - namely in the service-sector - serving coffee Tim Horton's doughnut shops or selling paperback books at Chapters. Sadly, it's their only employment option.

BC Nursing Crisis

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Updated: 28-Apr-2011
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Woodshed Take Two

February 14th, 2011  · stk

NewsBrief: [2nd Woodshed] Less than a week after completing the "free" woodshed, the substructure failed. The shed had to be unloaded and beefed up! Lesson learned? There's a reason Scott likes to over-engineer things ... there's no such thing as a free lunch ... remodeling a woodshed is more expensive and time-consuming that making one right, from the start ... and more! ...

Woodshed Substructure Fails!

Hutton House - Reporters got a giggle as they walked around the "recycled" woodshed at the Hutton House last Thursday. Less than a week ago, they had photographed a completed woodshed that held three and a bit cords of wood. Today, the woodshed sat empty and the flooring had been pulled up. Apparently, the substructure failed in the middle of the night on Wednesday.

"I heard a loud 'CRACK'," said Scott, "It woke me up and I immediately knew it was the woodshed."

Scott had completely underestimated the weight of three cords of (wet) cedar wood and - in an effort to save costs and move forward - had (in a very uncharacteristic fashion, mind you) under-engineered the woodshed substructure.

"Nearly every one of the deck screws used to hold the substructure - failed," reported the embarrassed builder.

"You can see them ... here ... and ... here," he said, walking with reporters around the partially dismantled woodshed.

Asked if he was going to abandon the project, Scott replied, "Oh no, it just needs to be beefed up. It'll be back to holding wood within the week."

And so, the reporters left and Scott went about the task of completely dismantling the old 2x4 cedar wood substructure, getting it ready for replacement. It took the better part of two days to unload the wood, cut out the flooring, dismantle the substructure, remove broken screws and prepare for a new, better, stronger, substructure.

Scott took a trip down to the nearby building center, making almost $200-worth of purchases. (For those keeping score at home, the "free" woodshed is now up to $600!)

Rachel thought Scott was holding up well, given this sad turn of events.

"What can I do?" he asked, rhetorically, "I'd laugh, but it'd only make me cry. You make a mistake, you learn from it and you move on. I can't believe I under-engineered something ... I am like the King of over-engineering!"

It took Scott another couple of afternoon's worth of work to replace the old substructure with one that's beefier and better.

He jacked up the woodshed, re-leveling it and resetting it on the four 8-inch by 8-inch piers, tying it to the substructure using 5/16" diameter galvanized lag bolts, each 5 and a half inches long. He replaced the front 2x4 edge with 2x6 pressure-treated lumber and placed a 2x6 cleat under the rear 2x4. (Only the two side 2x4's remain from the original substructure, as they're under the plywood siding and more of a 'bear' to replace).

Joists were spaced closer - every foot, rather than the original foot and a half. 2x6 pressure treated lumber replaced the 2x4 cedar joists and each end is now supported using galvanized joist hangers.

Pressure-treated lumber was also wedged and leveled cross-ways, beneath all of the interior joists - front, center and rear. They rest directly on the ground and provide complete substructure support, for the interior of the woodshed.

Lastly, the cut-out flooring (numbered before removal) was re-laid.

When reporters returned to look at the beefed up shed, they were surprised that there wasn't more evidence of the work.

"Really, it's only these two cut marks on the floor," said one reporter.

"And numbered planks," laughed another.

"Laugh if you will," said Scott, "I've learned my lesson about 'free', 'recycled' woodsheds! Apparently, there's no such thing as a free lunch, eh?"

"After $600-worth of materials and a complete substructure re-do, this is one shed that definitely isn't free. By the same token, it will now easily support 3-4 cords of wood ... wet or otherwise."

"All that remains now," said Scott, "is restocking it with wood! Any one of you reporters want to put down your recorders and help?"

"Didn't think so," Scott said, as he watched every one of the reporters head back to their cars.

"Oh ... don't forget about the painting," he yelled, "It still needs paint!"

By that time, however, everyone had left. Scott then opened a beer and sat back to admire his new, built-as-it-should-be woodshed.

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Updated: 28-Apr-2011
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