On June 8th our esteemed nephew Ben Bleakley (David & Inga’s son) walked across the stage to receive his Bachelor’s degree at U of C. What a handsome & wonderful man he is!

Ben Graduates

He & his girlfriend, Omanthi, left the next day for their SE Asian adventure!  We’ve received a few photos from them – my favourite with this beautiful elephant!


A very special event happened on June 24th – not quite on Mom & Leslie’s birthdays, but not far after.  Here he is:  Quinton Lee Salenga, 8 pounds, 10 ounces.  So the first of the Usher cousins became a grandparent – Granny Butler (Kim)!  Desiree & Carm are the proud & happy parents of this cute little bundle of joy.  Look at those cheeks!


Ace of Spades (our landscaper) has started working on our landscaping.  They finally delivered our water tank (holds 1000 gallons!) to collect rainwater & it will be automatically used in the irrigation system until it runs out – then town water will “kick in”.


A HUGE pile of mulch was delivered on the street & boulevard in front of the house.


We have white rocks around the house outlined in the black interlocking bricks.  There is a dry pond which collecs overflow of rainwater.


It took a complete day to spread the cedar mulch in all sections of the yard.  From the front porch, looking right to the back yard.  That little row of bushes are lilacs.


Looking left to the front yard:


On Saturday June 29th, our dear friend Debra (from Vancouver) visitied us for the 1st time! We were so happy to have her here!


The weather was absolutely perfect – blue skies, temps in the low 20’s & a very light breeze.  We took her out to the Hills & checked out our bluebird boxes where we found both Mountain Bluebirds & Tree Swallows in most of the boxes.  Here is one of the boxes David made us with a little swallow head poking out (& mate sitting on the fence).

then the female bluebird – couldn’t get a shot of her in the box.

Blue Bird, female

Too bad we couldn’t find the male – she’s not quite up to his glory!  Here’s a reminder for those who don’t know (taken by Bill in this area a couple of years ago).


There were lots of wildflowers in bloom.  Black-eyed susans & wild roses to name a couple.

Debra very kindly took us out for dinner the 2nd night & we had a lovely meal at the Star.  Here we are after walking home.


You gotta include a selfie every now & then eh?

On July 1st, we flew our Canadian flag from our new flagpole & I wore my Canada t-shirt.

We had more visitors – from Calgary & area.  Bill’s business partner who started LivingWorks, Richard Ramsay – along with his wife Carol, 2 daughters & 1 son-in-law.

We’ve had a really great time having visitors.  We have more scheduled over the summer & fall!  I have taken my Mom’s advice & put some treats into my freezer for when someone unexpectedly drops by!  (Thanks Mom)  No sugar added carrot cupcakes with cream cheese icing.


Not professional, but tasty.

Our landscaping has taken a turn for the worse – with the fellow we hired giving up after we discovered the sod had not been laid correctly.  The soil hadn’t been levelled correctly & when Bill mowed, it would cut some grass down to the quick & some left long.  So Blaine (our builder) has taken over.  He has A LOT of experience laying sod & will do a perfect job, I know. (& he did!)




July 23, 23 & 25th:  Our dear friends Lorne & Joey Kingwell visited!  We drove them out to the Cypress Hills & took them out to our birding area at the ranch east of town.


What fun to have them stay over instead of getting up from dinner & going home!

A few days later, our friends from Saskatoon came to stay – Ron & Julie Jensen!  They are some of our SK birding buds.


Then it was time for the big reunion!  Our dear cousins, Karen & Penny planned not only a Primo’s get-together – but included all their children & grandchildren as well.  The total number of visitors was about 60 people!


Many stayed in the Cypress Hills campground, many in the Lodge there – while Mom & Brian stayed here with us!  I made dinner for Mom, Brian, Uncle Bud, Penny & Wilf.  Joan & Norm joined us later for dessert, since they were out of town visiting other relatives until then.

On Aug. 4th in the evening, we headed to the the campground for a pot-luck dinner.  Penny & Karen had cooked ham & turkey (with all the trimmings) – plus others had contributed snacks, salads & desserts.  Uncle Bud also made the trip, though he doesn’t like to travel.  It will probably be the last time the brother & sister get together.  This I felt, was the definitive photo of the weekend!


Pretty cool eh?  Bud aged 95 & Mom 98!  The next night we had a buffet dinner with everyone at the Lodge.  It was an excellent roast beef dinner with saskatoon pie for dessert (& lots of other great offerings).  Here are a few photos from the event.  I will not label everyone – but wanted to put a few of my favourites in the blog:


I have to mention that Frannie was one of the stars of the show, as she danced with the “image” of Steve!  Ha ha!


I asked anyone who was coming back through Maple Creek to stop in to see our new house here & was so happy to have lots of visitors stop in!


The Ushers arrived at exactly the same time as cousin Lorne!


Erling & Anne are on their way to the east coast!

We took Mom & Brian to the overlook at the hills.  You can see for nearly 50 km on a clear day (& it was a lovely clear day!).

In mid-Aug we had our deck awning installed.  The installer is an important member of LivingWorks (Bill’s ex-company) – Tim Houle.  He owned this awning business before he joined LW & decided to come out to install it himself (with an assistant).

Here is the awning with Tim installing.  Also, I have now perfected Mom’s brownies (& added espresso powder & cream cheese icing!).  I gave some to the guys, & put the rest in the freezer in case of drop-ins!  (There you go Mom!)

We had our favourite American cousins visit on Aug. 22-26!  Dana, Paul & Lou-Ann Buck!  It was so wonderful to have them see our new home & experience the beauty of the area.  Paul & Lou-Ann live in Montana (Paul’s daughter got married in April, so we attended).  Lou-Ann just moved to Missoula from Oklahome, to be closer to family.  Dear Dana just lost her job & her beloved dog before she came here, so it was a good thing for her to have the support of everyone.


Here they are geting a photo taken to send to Paul’s other daughter in Michigan, who just announced her pregnancy with a second child!  (Hallelujah!). Dana is mimicking feeding the new baby w/ a sheepskin!  HA HA!

We also took them to the top of the Hills!  It was so enjoyable to have these 3 visiting us for awhile since it has always been us going to visit them!  It was Paul who contacted us to reconnect with these wonderful relatives after Bill moved to Canada many years ago!  He belongs to the Elks & his work area included north of the 49th into Canada where he went regularly.  We are so happy to have reconnected with these beautiful people.

While all this was going on, we were having major trauma with 1 of our 2 kitties.  My little girl, Katrina, had kidney failure!  This is usually fatal in cats.  We have lost 2 of our other 3 cats to this terrible disease.  The amazing thing is that shortly after she was diagnosed, she started acting so spunky & playful, we couldn’t believe she was still sick.  So we had her tested again, & her levels were all “normal”!  A miracle indeed!  Our vet in Calgary (whom we love a lot) recommended we bring her to Calgary to get an ultrasound to see what her kidneys looked like.  So I went on my own to Calgary & stayed overnight w/ Mom (poor little Katrina had to stay overnight at the vet’s).  The 2 sisters have never been apart before.  Bill told me later that he had lots of trouble with little Natasha, who cried quite a bit!  Suffice to say, our vet said her kidneys are perfectly formed & all the cells looked regular.  The only thing he found was some tiny stones in her bladder.  We will monitor her & continue to hope for the best!


She is obviously not too self-conscious about her shaved tummy!

Had dinner w/ Janie while in Calgary.  Great to have a catch-up since they will be few & far between from now on!  Here are Mom & Janie!


In order to keep up a LITTLE with the birding theme of this blog, I guess I’ll need to add a few photos from OTHERS.  Bill & I are too busy to go birding, but we some friends who kindly send us photos of birds!  Here is Lorne Kingwell’s spectacular Osprey:


These are from our SK birding bud, Don Weidl:  juvenile Rose-breasted Grosbeak & Hudsonian Godwit (a pretty rare bird for his area near Broadview).

next a Cooper’s Hawk & Common Nighthawk.

I FINALLY held our housewarming on Sept. 10th, after many, many delays due to trying to finish everything around the house.  I set up for a lot of people, but we only had 7 show up.  Oh well, at least I fulfilled my “obligation”.

Here are all the goodies.


…and here are 4 of the people.  Our real-estate agent came early with her daughter & grandchild, but left soon after.  This is Trevor & Nola (our plant lady & local florist), then Blaine our builder & his wife Vonda.

In mid-Sept. my old roommate from Shell days (around 1975) came for  a couple of days.  Cheryl & husband Dave Elliott live in Nelson, BC, but Cheryl is from SK (Wadena) & they were making a big trek out that way, stopping wherever the mood struck them.  Interestingly, cousin Jane knew Dave from her days working in Banff (he also worked there), so I invited Jane along for the 1st night’s stay.


Here are Dave, me, Cheryl & Jane.


Since I couldn’t fly the Norwegian flag for the Primos weekend on the 1st of Aug, I finally flew it when Primo Jane came this time!  How funny that Cheryl said they were wondering if someone was flying a confederate flag when they saw it from a distance – certainly didn’t expect Norwegian!


Then it was back to the SK flag!

Jane went on to visit cousin Karen (who lives a little over an hour north of us) for a few days.  Happily, she was fed pancakes with chokecherry syrup for breakfast!  Yummm!


The following week my nephew, Ben, & his girlfriend Omanthi came for a visit.  There’s Ben’s photo at the very top of the blog.  He received his diploma & walked acros the stage at the U of C & left the next day for the trip to the far east.  They had such a good time & wish they were still there!  We took them up to the hills, of course  & had lunch at the Resort there.  Here they are:


We also took the obligatory photo at thge top of the look-off.


They only stayed 1 nite, but of course I made Ben’s favourite dessert, Uncle Jack’s chocolate Mousse.  I made a full recipe & sent the remainder home with him!  We also took them out birding to a ranch nearby & have to say, Ben got pretty good at spotting birds.

About a week later we had to go into Calgary for one of Bill’s meetings.  While there we made a stop out to Bon Ton Meat Market (I’ve known it for over 45 years when it was located downtown – then it re-located to the Stadium Shopping Centre where Ben worked for several summers while he was in school! )  We’ve butchery in the family!  We spoke to a good friend of Ben’s (Brian) who looked after our request for some beautiful rib-eye steaks to take home with us.

Soon after we returned to the Creek, my hairdresser, Jackie, came for a visit & to give me a haircut.  Our drive to the hills was absolutely beautiful, the fall colors being at their height.  Of course I have a shot of her at the lookout point.


She stayed overnight of course & we had a lovely steak dinner (plus I made choc. Mousse again)


When we got up in the morning, there was nearly a foot of snow on the ground & it was still snowing like the blazes!  Notice all the little birds getting sustenance from the feeders!

93860D76-167D-45E5-98F7-4E277B38BE6BShe wasn’t going anywhere that day!  So she stayed another day & the following day they’d cleared the streets & the highway – so off she went at last!  She’d had to make special plans to have her cat looked after another day (who definitely wasn’t happy with her when she finally got home – all you cat people know what I mean!).

Our dear cousins Penny & Wilf were so wonderful to invite us for Thanksgiving – turkey dinner with all the trimmings!  We laughed about the turnips, which is a vegetable I only like raw & they love it cooked.  (Bill doesn’t like either.)  But they had  carrots & peas as well as potatoes & gravy, & of course stuffing.  Such a treat & I brought my 1st pumpkin pie (which was a little overdone, but was okay).  Here they are after dinner when we had a chance for a really good visit with them.  Wilf was showing us photos of their big trip to Italy!


The next big event in our lives was Halloween! We’ve never had kids to our door before & after asking various friends around town how many we should expect, it varied from 50 to 200!!!  I carved my very first pumpkin.


It wasn’t a work of art, but stood guard at our door to welcome trick-or-treaters!  We didn’t count exactly, but it must’ve been somewhere between 30 & 40!  I gave all my leftover candy away.

Meanwhile, back in Calgary, my darling cousin Steven spent his birthday (Oct. 30) with Mom.  They worked out that the last time they were together for his BD was probably 1961!!  Anyway, he dropped in on Halloween & took a photo of Mom as “The Good Fairy”.


Pretty cute for 98 eh?  The next day we had to go into Swift Current & were able to have a little visit w/ Karen (who was staying at her pad there) & dressed up as an Ewok.  She’s holding a bowl of popcorn balls which she made to give to friends aorund town!  (Also pretty cute for 60-something eh?)


We received a photo of cousin Joan who dresses up to give out her treats!  I guess I’m going to pull up my socks & get dressed up for next year also!


Good stuff eh?!

On a much sadder note – our dear Aunty Jo passed away, peacefully in her sleep, on Nov. 1st.  She was the last Bleakley sibling of 5.  It feels a bit empty in the Bleakley family realm now.  But she had suffered with Alzheimer’s for many years so we hope she has found peace – & her family also.

The following week our investment advisor came for a visit because he was heading out to go hunting (big game).  BUT…he asked to make dinner for us!!!  Holy Mackerel – I’ve never had someone come to my home & cook me dinner!


Here’s Dave in my kitchen enjoying some wine while he cooks!  He made us a beautiful salad, then BBQ filets with stuffed baked potatoes – then apple pie for dessert!  (Actually his wife made the pie- he’s \not a baker).  It was wonderful!

There are our salads on the left, then Dave enjoying his own cooking.  We think he’s such a great guy – but this was the icing on the cake for me!  Here we are doing a selfie as he leaves the next day!


On Nov. 22-23 we had to head into Calgary for some meetings at LW for Bill.  We managed to get a group together to go out to dinner.  We were saying farewell to Jane, who is going to San Diego for a couple of months to take care of her friend who has had knee surgery.  We managed to get David & Brian as well.  I think this is a great photo to end on – a selfie of this group!  Too bad we never seem to have any fun.


See you next time!

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