Wanderers in the shadowed land.

Our long voyage across the country has ended and, while it is pouring outside at the moment, we are snug in our new home in Fruitvale, BC. I thought I’d share some photos from our journey so you can marvel alongside us at the beauty of this land in which we live.

We began, obviously, in Ontario. Do you know how long it takes to drive from Hamilton to the Ontario-Manitoba border? FORVER, that’s how long! Or, twenty-four hours of driving spread over four days, which amounts to nearly the same thing.

The thing about Ontario is that most of the northern bits of the province look the same, that is, endless forest on a bed of rock. I was reading The Lord of the Rings to James and we looked at each other doubtfully when we came across Frodo’s hopeful claim in the midst of the Old Forest:

O! Wanderers in the shadowed land 
Despair not! For though dark they stand,
All woods there be must end at last,
And see the open sun go past.

We certainly weren’t seeing any end at last to the vast swathes of trees, trees, trees . . .

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But end it did, eventually, and opened into the lovely world of Manitoba in the spring-time, a world of big skies, endless fields and open roads.

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And again into the mild hills of Saskatchewan and the flatlands of Alberta, with cheerful, puffy clouds floating in a cerulean sky.

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And finally, the heart-lifting sight of mountains! O, what a sight!

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Those were the landscapes that met our thirsty eyes. And here are some more photos of us along the way. We may as well begin at the beginning, hey? Rather than sleep on the hardwood floors of Darlington Manor after our belongings had all been packed away on the  moving truck, we gratefully accepted Hilmer and Meagan’s offer to sleep over at their place. They watched our kids the next morning, too, as we zipped about town finishing last-minute business. (Thank you again, lovely friends!)

And then we posed for our last family photo in Hamilton, hopped into our van and began our trip!

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Cheery travellers:

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June kept a pretty close eye on me during the trip. When I looked at the map book of Canada, she also wanted a map book to peruse. When I knitted, she wanted some knitting needles, too . . .

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We stopped for breakfast and bathroom breaks and playground adventures most days.

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And half-way through our trip we stayed at Uncle Martin and Auntie Annette’s place. It was so refreshing to catch up and have some room to roam after the confines of the van and motel rooms! The weather was just perfect (21 degrees and sunny), the birds were chirping cheerily and we were pleasantly surprised to have our misconceptions about Manitoba cleared up.

James loved exploring the farm and watching the milking of the cows; when we drove away the next morning and we asked him for his thoughts on Uncle Martin & Auntie Annette’s place, he sighed, “I could stay here forever.”

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Auntie Annette took James and me on an evening ramble and pointed out all sorts of fascinating nature tidbits. Move to Fruitvale-25

Like these pretty ladyslipper flowers, just in bloom:

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Esther and Nick popped by the next morning, too!

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The kids did really well on the long drive. We aimed for about six hours of driving a day, which usually took us from about 9am to 4pm. We began our days with an hour or so of quiet time, then read aloud from books or listened to an audio book and looked for wild life. Once we arrived in our destination city, we’d find a motel, check out a playground if the weather was alright, and get some dinner.

Alice got tired of being put into her carseat and gave a minute of formal protest each time I buckled her in before resigning herself to the inevitable. June was alright as long as she didn’t feel left out. I would occasionally read aloud to James while sitting in the back seat with him and she didn’t appreciate the party for two going on without her; if I’d read to her, too, and have a good chat with her, she’d brighten up again. And James was happy so long as he was mentally engaged. Jake and Marietta had given us a Curious George audiobook for the drive and he loved listening to that! And towards the end of our trip we listened to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – that day flew by!

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The girls both napped in the van as we drove.

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After eight days of driving, this sign was a sight for sore eyes!

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Our new home:

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The side of our home, and a peek at the back yard:

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The back of the house:

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Huge yard:

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The greenhouse:

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And one of the three garden beds. They were completely overgrown with weeds when we arrived, but are now growing radishes, beets, carrots, corn and potatoes!

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The inside of our home was rather bare bones for a good week or so as we waited for the moving truck to arrive. Alice started pushing and walking behind the lawn chair!

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Our not-so-cozy makeshift sleeping accommodations. Notice the little foamy under my sleeping bag? I could not handle sleeping right on the floor and that bit of cushiony goodness made a world of

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Happy day! The moving truck arrived! Our home quickly began to fill up with many boxes!

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Our new place is right next to an elementary school and James found recess rather irresistible in the beginning. Just parked himself on a perch and observed. Thankfully the novelty has worn off a little and he’s not quite so blatant anymore! 🙂

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We celebrated James’s fifth birthday shortly after moving here!

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James loves playing Bird Bingo, so we got him Bug Bingo for his birthday. So many crazy insects!!!

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He had asked for hotdogs and tortellini soup for his birthday dinner, so we had a little hotdog roast before a thunder storm rolled in and drenched the fire.

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Alice’s favourite game these days is “Where’s Alice?” She can play for ages!

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Mom and Dad popped by for a visit this week! Being so much closer to the Fraser Valley certainly has its perks, and family and friends visiting is high up on the list. It was wonderful to see them again!

A group effort putting the play set back together again:

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We checked out Beaver Creek Park with mom and dad. It reminded us of going the River House back in Chilliwack because the kids found lots of rocks to chuck in the water.

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We really arrived here at the perfect time, just as summer is getting started! Last week we checked out the Pend D’Oreille river and Champion Lakes and we’re planning to visit Christina Lake this coming week. There are so many beautiful places nearby!

Here are a few photos from Pend D’Oreille:

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And yesterday was my birthday!

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And one final photo in this epic blog post!

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