2013: A Year In Review

The new year is just a couple of days away, which is cause for mulling over the year that has just passed, and evaluating how it went.

2013 wasn’t a bad year, but there were definitely some challenges along the way. The beginnings of the year saw a visit from Mike’s mom and dad, skiing, and moving out to the farm where I work. We went ice fishing, winter camping, and spent a lot of time packing and unpacking.

Mike HATES moving, which means our often-nomadic lifestyle is very hard on his sensibilities. Moving usually leads to much tension, and quite a bit of needless bickering. We made it though, and got through it all and settled in at our new place.

When spring rolled around, we finally gave up our older orange SUV and bought ourselves a brand new Dodge Ram 1500! It’s been a really great truck, we just love it, and it’s been a blessing all this winter when a metric sh*t-ton of snow fell on Alberta for the first time in quite a few years.

We also went and got our gun permits, with the intention of taking up hunting come fall. we know how gear intensive hunting can be, we are preparing ourselves by reading lots of reviews of gear, in magazines and online. Currently I’m in love with trail camera reviews, you can do so much with them, not just for hunting.

One of my best friends, Wendy, and I also put in our first real garden once the snow melted, and we grew ourselves a bumper crop of carrots and turnips, primarily. We learned a lot over the spring. We also spent a lot of time half-drowning the local gopher population.

Later in the spring, we adopted a new cat, named Torc. Also, a new BBQ, which Wendy dubbed: Lord Farquaad. The reasons for this should be obvious, if you are familiar with Shrek.

It’s an excellent BBQ, and no, I am not overcompensating for anything. So there.

Then, during the first day in June, I got a phone call that Mike was in an ambulance on his way to the hospital after a fall from a ladder. Thus began several months of DOING ALL THE THINGS MYSELF, and although I don’t like to admit it, those months were, at times, really the shits. I am used to Mike being my super-helpful and awesome bestest friend, and then suddenly he needed help with everything and I still had to work 10 hours a day and run the house and look after kids. There were some days when I was so very annoyed that he hurt himself, but I think I did my best to be there for him, to take him to every specialist appointment and come home every day at lunch and make sure he got fed and coffeed. I like to think I did a pretty good job. Torc helped, of course.

In the midst of Mike recovering from his injury, and finishing our lease at our townhouse, and moving the last of our stuff, and fighting with our former landlord, we also bought our very own ponies: Lyra and Waffles.

We also ended up in the care of one very ominous llama. His name is Ominous Llama (or Rocky, I suppose) and he lives with our horses and we sort of look at him, but he’s feral, so we don’t really get to touch him or anything. He’s a pretty, erm, special guy.

The summer was not as exciting as we had hoped, with Mike being laid up, but we did get out to Ontario to see his family, and that was definitely a highlight of the year!

When we returned from Ontario, Mike was able to go back to work on modified duties, and life started getting back to some level of normal.

We did get in one overnight car camping trip, and I took my grandma to Radium Hot Springs for a weekend, just the two of us.

Hunting season was upon us, and we were fortunate in that Mike bagged his first deer (and then another) which means our freezer is pretty full, and we have all gorged ourselves on jerky.

No, I didn’t get anything, but that’s mostly because I wanted Mike to get a deer first and then by the time it was my turn, they were all dead. Seriously.

Mike started school to wrap up his first year millwright apprenticeship, which ate up all of November and most of December. I spent much of that time canning and preparing for Christmas. We got all of our shopping done early, and I made many gifts for our family and friends, including sponge toffee, gingerbread marshmallows, BBQ Sauce, dulce de leche, gourmet garlic butter, fudge, and other delicious treats.

School was a stressful time for Mike, which led to a strained end to 2013, but once he finished the week before Christmas (with an 81% average, I might add) he settled down and we had a completely wonderful Christmas.

I got a great set of cast iron cookware, and some additional trays for my dehydrator, and a pressure cooker! I see so many canning and preserving parties in 2014. Mike got a fancy game processing kit, and an 8-gun firearms safe, among other things. We also got new hunting knives from Shooting Authority, and some great binoculars, and an awesome dehydrated food cookbook. Really, it was a fantastic Christmas, and not because we got things, but because I got to spend almost 5 days with my family, including my brothers and sister, whom I haven’t seen since August.

Also, sleigh rides, with my grandpa.

So it is that 2013 has come to pass. I look forward to all that 2014 has to offer. We made it through the trials and tribulations of the previous year, and I feel like at this point, we can handle anything. That isn’t a challenge though, universe. In fact, I could do with some dull. Honestly.

About the author

Mike & Cal have been backpacking around Alberta for the past decade. This site is where they share trip reports, photos, and tips and tricks for getting outside.

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