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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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Clearing the Dock

April 14th, 2008  · stk

NewsBrief: [Dock Move] After a memorable voyage, Candace and Richard managed to tow the new dock across Barkley Sound, to the floating cabin • [Meanwhile] Back at the Hutton House, Scott took advantage of sunny weather by painting the chicken coop and clearing a pile of wood from the clearing.

Dock Move

Taylor's Landing (AKA Kimler's Cove) - Roving Randsco reporter, Candace Taylor, filed a report on Saturday's dock tow, across the Barkley Sound, that night from the cabin. The cell phone connection was "iffy", but the gist of their day's adventure was relayed.

After catching a couple of honking dungeness crabs in the Ucluelet harbor, and tying off the new 10-foot by 30-foot dock (it was first reported to be 25 feet long, but apparently, it's now swelled to it's true size of 30 feet) the towing began. After leaving the harbor, the seas became very rough and the open water passage to the broken group islands went at a snails pace and the occupants of the tow boat were tossed and rolled, to the point of sea-sickness.

It's unclear exactly who blew grits, but it's known at this time that both dogs lost their lunch. It's assumed that the other sea dogs, the more experienced pilot, Richard and his gimpy first mate, Candace (she's blown out a knee and is awaiting reconstructive surgery) ... fared only slightly better.

The tow rope broke a couple of times, in the rough water and much time was spent retrieving and reconnecting to the free-floating dock.

"At one point," Candace said, "I looked over at Richard and asked him, 'Are you thinking we should just cut this dock loose and forget about it?'"

"The waves were coming off our starboard side, the whole time we were making our open water passage," said Candace, "this cause the boat to roll violently, side-to-side and everyone was green."

The gruesome twosome prevailed and they eventually reached the relatively protected waters of the Broken Group.

"We do have some good news," said Richard, "On our way out, we found about 200 feet of tug boat rope. It's thicker than your wrist and must be worth about $1000, at least."

When asked why he didn't use that rope, after the other kept breaking, he said, "The tug rope is so thick, I've got nothing to tie it to on the boat!"

By dusk, the dock was at the cabin and Richard worked into the dark, disconnecting the old dock and moving it to it's new resting place, then positioning the new dock into place.

It was a rough ride, a long day and everyone was dog tired ... so to speak. Yay! The new dock is in place and looks great!

 

Meanwhile ...

Hutton House - Saturday's nice weather was followed by another day of sunshine. The weatherman called for rain by noon, but it never happened.

Thinking it might rain in the afternoon, Scott took advantage of the morning sunshine and busied himself by applying a semi-transparent stain to the chicken coop. Because it had been built in a hurry, right before winter, he'd never had a chance to protect it with paint or stain.

Sitting in the sunshine, eating a peanut butter and honey sandwich, the Oop supervised, while Scott layered on almost a full gallon of stain.

The hens were in a kaffuffle all morning, because they didn't have access to the coop, while their angled walkway was being stained. Then they were upset because the door was shut. Then it was that the nesting boxes were open. Scott eventually let them out of their run and they had free range of the yard.

"Where did they go?" asked Scott, retorically, "Straight to the flower garden, where they proceeded to tear into everything."

As soon as the coop was painted, it was back into the run, for the chickens.

"Man, they really tear things up," said Scott, "Their run looks like a war zone and I'm sure Rachel would be unhappy if her flower gardens looked the same."

clearing before clearing after

Hover over the photograph to see how much wood Scott could chuck, when he made like a woodchuck and chucked wood.

After painting the chicken coop, Scott headed down to the pasture, where he finished sawing up the slash. After finishing that, he let Alex "drive" the truck down and then the two of them loaded up the firewood and hauled it up the hill, dumping it into the old dog run, where it's now in a pile and still needs to be stacked.

It took two full pickup truck loads, to move all the firewood.

One of the two piles of wood have now been cleared. The remaining pile has a lot of bigger logs in it and will require a chainsaw, to get it cut into woodbox-sized pieces.

"Gradually, the clearing is getting cleared," reported Scott.

After moving the wood, Scott polished off the day by giving the clearing it's first haircut of the season. The mow job will help keep down the thistles, nettles and other weeds (primarily).

Busy spring days!

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Hookey (ish)

April 12th, 2008  · stk

NewsBrief: [title] blah blah •

Burning Down the House ... NOT!

Hutton House - Spring has finally arrived in Yellow Point. Today! (It seems like).

Spring has been very slow in coming this year. We keep having to steal from the woodpile, each evening, as temperatures stay WAY too low. The hummingbirds have returned, the robins are plucking worms from the ground, once again, but most mornings, there's still frost on the windshield. It just hasn't warmed up much and there's been a pot full of rain (mixed with hail and snow).

Today, Scott was scheduled to attend a "live fire" burn, at a delapidated old house, as part of a volunteer fire practice. He was looking forward to going, but after a quick look at the weather forecast on Randsco, noted that today is going to be the warmest and nicest day in two weeks.

With the lagging Spring weather, Scott has many outdoor projects that have been put on hold, in various stages of completion.

"Great," said Scott, "The first NICE day in forever, it seems and I'm supposed to be dressed in turnout gear, playing the role of a marshmellow at a weekend weenie roast!"

He had already considered playing hookey, while making an egg breakfast, with Alex (Mom was sleeping in, preparing for her first of two, 12-hour night shifts at the hospital). As the Oop and Dad were eating, he was mulling over his options.

"Please, Dad," said the Oop, "Don't go to the fire hall. Stay here and play with me!"

"Well Oop," he said, "If I stayed home, I'd want to work. Maybe you could be my little helper."

"OKAY Daddy!" the Oop immediately replied, "I'll get my wagon and then I can work outside with you."

Well, that pretty much settled the day for Scott, who was now of the mind to give the house burn a miss ... until Carey called from the fire hall.

"Are you coming? There's only 5 guys here and we need some pallets, do you have any?"

"Yeah, I have 5, but my little girl just made a very strong case for my staying." Then Scott explained the weather/Oop scenario.

After the call, Rachel got up (who can sleep in when the smell of frying bacon and the sound of telephones ringing are in the air?).

"You should go," she said, "I was going to take the Oop out anyway, to do some shopping."

So, Scott grabbed the 5 pallets and headed off to the hall. Once there, we drove over to Boat Harbor, where nearby, was the old log cabin that we were going to burn down.

At the end of a little dirt road, we parked the Chief's pickup (loaded with pallets), Tender 6 (water tanker, as there are no fire hydrants in this area), Engine 7 and Mini (Forest Fire truck). As we began to set up the scenario, an angry neighbor approached, complaining about the impending fire. He wanted the cabin hauled out, not burned and was afraid that flying embers might damage his newly painted steel roof, and the smoke would bother his wife and (a bunch of other things). In the face of angering residents, we canceled the burn and went back to the fire hall. There, we practiced some draft pumping from our portable tank and participated in a hydrant hook-up training session, so the morning wouldn't be a complete waste.

Lunch was catered, so we all ate on the patio, then went back home.

Scott passed Rachel and the Oop on the road, they headed out to go shopping and Scott heading back to get some of those "spring chores" done, which he wanted to do anyway.

In the end, it wasn't a "hookey" day. Though he didn't get to do the live burn, Scott did manage to get in some good training and still have a sunny afternoon, working in the pasture, whittling down the slash pile!

The only bit he missed, was Oop being his playmate and helper. :(

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What's Up Dock?

April 11th, 2008  · stk

NewsBrief: [It Floats!] Hey, for $4,000, we bought a piece of "land" that floats. Check it out! (You can't find THIS on eBay)!

It Floats!

Ucluelet, British Columbia - Reporters will be gethering around this weekend, to watch Randsco cabin mates Candace and Richard launch and tow a 25-foot by 10-foot floating dock, from Ucluelet to the cabin at Julia Passage.

The newly repaired dock was purchased for $4,000 CAD and will be used to replace the front dock at the floating cabin, which is sinking and settling below the waterline, in one corner.

The dock was originally built and used by the government of Canada, but suffered severe damage after a ship smashed against it. The dock was repaired and then put up for sale.

Randsco cabin partners learned of the sale from another Julia Passage cabin owner, long-time friend and Ucluelet resident, Wally, and were keen on its acquisition. The floating dock is bouyed up by several extruded polystyrene sytrofoam billets. It's constructed of heavy 6x8 and 6x6, creosote-treated lumber, which is much more stout than your normal run-of-the-mill wharf. Planking is all 2x6, creosote-treated cedar and the lot is tied together with galvanized hardware. There are also 4x6 tie rails around the perimeter.

"It'll save us loads of work," said Richard, about the purchase, "and it's all quality materials that we couldn't get at the price offered, let alone the labor to build it!"

"It's certainly not the kind of thing you can easily find on eBay," said Scott, adding, "and the shipping fees would kill you!"

"If you'd told me a couple of years ago, when we were living in Edmonton, that we'd be spending our money to buy a wharf," chimed in Rachel, "I'd have said that you were crazy."

The dock transfer will take place this weekend, as Richard and Candace are planning on heading to the cabin, then boating over to Ucluelet. They'll tie up the wharf and then tow it approximately 25 kilometers, across the Barkley Sound, to the cabin in Julia's Passage.

Unfortunately, Scott and Rachel won't be able to help with the dock towing, as Scott will be participating in a live fire exercise, on the weekend. (Someone in the area has an old house they want to demolish and have donated it to the fire department for a practice burn).

Randsco executives will look forward to seeing their new dock on their next foray down to "Taylor's Landing" (AKA "Kimler's Cove") - the cabin.

"Just think," joked Scott, "We'll be sitting on our new dock in the bay!" :p

Build Yer Own Wharf: Resources

Marine Foam (Engine soundproofing, floatation foam, etc.)

Online Floating Dock Plans (Suitable for lake docks, not sturdy enough for an ocean dock)

Scott Marine Dock Kits (Also dock hardware, ladders, pilings, etc.)

Playstar Docks (Not sturdy enough for the west coast marine environment, but great for lakes, bays and such).

West Coast Floatation Systems (And Finally, a place that knows what kind of docks are required for a rugged, marine environment ... and they're in Duncan, about 20 kilometers south of us! ;) )

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SS Randsco

March 14th, 2008  · stk

NewsBrief: [New Boat] Visitors to the Hutton House on Vancouver Island will be happy to note that the Kimler's have purchase a new, sea-worthy yacht. A 19-foot Bayliner Cuddy Classic, the 135HP boat will serve as transportation to the floating cabin.

New Boat

Hutton House - Reporters learned that yesterday, the Randsco group had acquired their new corporate flagship yacht, which they promptly dubbed, "SS Randsco".

The yacht is actually a 19.5-foot Bayliner "Classic" power boat. It has a cuddy which, in nautical terms, is a small cabin in the bow. It also has a canvas top (in need of some repair), an awesome GPS unit, mounts for two down-riggers, a 135HP, 4-cylinder I/O motor and a galvanized trailer.

The yacht easily seats six passengers and has power to get up on plane quickly. It's small enough to easily tow on the road and big enough to offer overnight camping for four people.

The randsco crew towed the new boat and trailer back to the Hutton House, then promptly threw a tarp over it, to protect if from the impending rain.

Reporters have noted no other activity regarding the boat, although they did note that several bushes were removed (and the land cleared), near the wood-shed, to make room for the new investment.

Alex took the arrival of the new boat in stride. Asked what she thought about it, she quipped, "it's cool!" (although she has yet to climb aboard).

The flagship vessel is reportedly easy on fuel, although the proof of the pudding will be when the Randsco staff take the boat to the floating cabin off the west coast of Vancouver Island, this Spring.

Reporting live from Yellow Point, this is Skip Larson.

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Yolking it Up

March 6th, 2008  · stk

NewsBrief: [Yolking it Up] Hutton House hens have been laying eggs for nearly 3 weeks. They're laying almost four eggs a day and three have been HUGE double-yolk eggs.

Double the Fun

Chicken Coop West - The Hutton House hens have been laying eggs now for nearly two weeks. They've finally gotten into the groove and since they began, we've collected nearly three dozen eggs.

Alex has really gotten into gathering eggs. She is eager to let the hens out of their coop in the morning, feed them table scraps and scratch and check for eggs.

We have a bit of a game in the morning, playing "guess the number" game, where we try to guess how many eggs we might find in the nest (so far, all the eggs have been laid in only one of the two nests. Superstition or habit?)

This morning, Alex was the winner. She guessed four eggs and sure enough, she was right.

Actually, the number could be FIVE, if you're counting yolks. (One of the eggs gathered this morning, was a double yolk eggs).

We've had three such "monster" eggs, so far. They're HUGE and you've gotta figure that they hurt like crazy to lay!!

After a bit of research, we learned that double-yolk eggs are common among hens that are new to laying. Their internal reproductive system is mis-timing a bit and they're ovulating too rapidly. If this is the case, then the number of double-yolker's should diminish, over time.

Interestingly enough, there's all manner of egg laying oddities: eggs within an egg, eggs without yolks, eggs with multiple yolks (the most being 9 yolks in one egg) and odd-shaped eggs. There's pictures of many of them at this "odd eggs" website.

For now, we're enjoying our farm-fresh eggs (they do taste better and the yolks are much more yellow than store-bought).

Rachel thinks the double-yolk eggs would make great soft-boiled eggs. Alex isn't as interested in the eating, as the gathering.

The other day, when checking for eggs, Alex accidentally let the hens out of the nesting boxes, into the yard at large. She didn't panic. She led them all over to the dog run and closed the gate. (Rachel, who witnessed the "chicken escape", said it was hilarious, as Alex ran across the yard, a hen ran right behind her).

Now Alex says, "I their Mom!"

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