Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Chilliwack Rotary Christmas Parade 2013

The Chilliwack Rotary Christmas Parade took to the streets last Saturday, December 7th, 2013 despite some very chilly -7° C temperatures.  The sidewalks were packed with thousands of people bundled in everything from sleeping bags, fur coats to arctic gear to fight the cold.  Warm hearts and an awesome 78 entry parade kept everyone joyful & happy to be there. 

This was my first try at taking photographs outside at night and it was encouraging.

The next event to look out for is, the Canadian Pacific Railway 2013 Holiday Train in Agassiz on December 15th, 2013 at 6:30 pm, Agassiz Agricultural Grounds .  Bring a food item to donate for local distribution.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Wayward Pines Orwellian Message - In A Time of Universal Deceit

Agassiz, BC is the location of the exterior movie set for the Fox TV Special called "Wayward Pines". To accommodate filming a set, half a (small) town in size, has been built on Pioneer Park.  All the buildings that you see below are constructs.  Filming resumed early this week and more is planned sporadically until February. 
I noticed on my walk about that graffiti had been painted on one of the buildings, "In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act".
I had heard those words before, they are often attributed to George Orwell but likely incorrectly. There is a great little article about George Orwell and the hunt for the origin of this message at "The Quote Investigator" for you literary types; website linked here for convenience.
I should mention that there is also a  lovely slideshow of the building of the Wayward Pine set done by the local newspaper, The Agassiz Harrison Observer, it is definitely worth a look and can be found at: Slideshow: Pioneer Avenue transforms into Wayward Pines - Agassiz-Harrison Observer
Agassiz, BC is a pretty special small town, the movie set, the largest currently in BC is very interesting to see.  So, take a drive and have a look and while you are at it check out some of the local businesses.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

How Chilly is Chilliwack? Update Chilliwack Has The Warmest Year Round Temperature in Canada

Frozen Strawberry Plant © Stephen Mullock

Special Update: Since I wrote this post Maclean's Magazine has reported that Chilliwack has the "Warmest Year Round" temperature at 10.5°C in an article called "Canada's Top 10 Cities For Weather".  How cool or warm is that!

The eastern Fraser Valley communities of Agassiz, Chilliwack, Harrison Hot Springs and Hope are not noted for cold temperatures when compared to other parts of Canada.  In fact, Chilliwack's coldest monthly daily average temperature occurs in January and it is 2.3°C above zero (or 36°F).  Cold but not freezing. 

Not to say that it can't get chilly in the "Wack", on December 11, 1968 temperatures dropped to a record -21.7°C or -7°F. 

What about snow?  The eastern Fraser Valley seems to get some snow each year. Many residents hope for a snowfall just before Christmas but, sadly, many Christmas days are green.  Snow is more common towards the end of December and the beginning of January.

What are the monthly average daily temperatures for the Winter Months of December, January, February and March?

December      3.1°C        37.5° F
January          2.3°C        36°    F
February        4.7°C        40.5° F
March            7.0°C        44.5° F

Source: Environment Canada

What Does This Mean for Housing?

Over the years building requirements has been strengthened to make our BC dwellings more energy efficient.  In this province all new construction must meet the British Columbia Building Code (BCBC). In the Fraser Valley walls in homes must be insulated to R20 and ceilings to R40. 

Continued emphasis on building houses that are more energy efficient and having fewer greenhouse gas emissions is something BC should maintain - there is always room for improvement.

A great place to find out what BC is doing to build smarter is at the Homeowner Protection Office.

Older homes built before 2008 will have a variety of insulation R ratings that may be difficult to determine.  I would suggest that a potential buyer of such a property should use a Realtor© for guidance, ask permission of the homeowner to view the electrical and natural gas bills of the dwelling, get the building inspected and if necessary acquire thermal imaging.

Imagine living here...

Stephen Mullock RI
is an award winning full-time real estate specialist with 30 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) of Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty for experience, local knowledge and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Old Red Barn and McGuire

The Old Red Barn and McGuire ©

This old barn in Chilliwack is short a couple of boards but still looked great in the afternoon sunlight yesterday.  Mount McGuire enjoys a few of the days last rays of sunshine as well.

Chilliwack, has rich farming community that continues to evolve.  Buying farmland, smallholdings or acreage in Chilliwack or Agassiz BC is quite a process as family needs are joined with business plans a host of land issues.  Not every property is a good fit and often times a longer search time is required.  If you are looking please contact me, if you are thinking of selling this is an excellent time.

* Currently, I have buyers looking for 3-5 acres with a good house and a barn for 3 horses.

Stephen Mullock RI
is an award winning full-time real estate specialist with 30 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) of Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty for experience, local knowledge and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Wayward Pines TV Event Series - The Agassiz Exterior Set

The sleepy little town of Agassiz, BC has been transformed into the Idaho community of Wayward Pines for the filming of a TV special series of the same name. Last Friday and Saturday the stars and crew were back in town filming, unfortunately, during one of the worst rain and wind storms we have had.  I felt sorry for the crew and the actors both - at times the art of make believe must be a very hard job.

I picked todays sunny and bright weather to have another look around at Agassiz's Wayward Pines do-over.

Pioneer Park, usually an open green space with towering trees, across from Agassiz's commercial core is home to "Wayward Pines" a Fox event TV series about a secret service agent (Matt Dillon) that comes to town to investigate the disappearance of two federal agents.  So the story begins and through 10 episodes the peels of the town begin to come off revealing a creepy intent beneath the skin of the small town smiles.

Welcome to Wayward Pines

All the buildings on the left in the above picture are part of an amazing set design transforming and in many ways improving the town of Agassiz.

Matt Dillon, M. Night Shyamalan, unknown and Carla Gugino
The picture above was taken on their first filming visit to the exterior set in August of this year. Director M. Night Shyamalan second from the left is famous for some truly great films such as "The Sixth Sense" and "Signs".

Now to some observations about Wayward Pines, I've been noticing some strange signs in the Wayward Pines set.  The first was all sunny and bright.

Today I saw a different sort of notice with a more malicious tone to it.

Every small town needs a few good Realtors® I am hoping that they turn out to be some of the good guys in the Wayward Pines series.

Imagine living here....
 Stephen Mullock RI
is an award winning full-time real estate specialist with 30 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) of Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty for experience, local knowledge and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Autumn in the Coastal BC Forest

Autumn comes like a small town parade to the coastal British Columbia forest in an eruption of colour and season end growth that marks its' decline into winter's slumber. Joyous and brief, mushrooms of all sizes and descriptions emerge in colonies or by themselves. Outrageous deciduous fall tree colours, contrast against the more stoic evergreens.Here are some of the pictures, I'd like to share with you, from my walks in the forests near Agassiz and Yale BC this past week.

A Walk in the Woods ©

Still plenty of green in the woods that hangs above our group but it is on the verge on of change.  The air is a little cooler, soon we will want to wear gloves, as we take a walk on Green Mountain, Agassiz BC.

Green Mountain Gold © Stephen Mullock

 That dab of light on the trail above seemed to beckon me.

A Quiet Moment in the Woods © Stephen Mullock
 A more heavily forested area near Yale BC provides the locale for the above shot and the next two pictures.  I was attracted to the light on the Douglas fir tree bark in the foreground and also liked the downward hanging boughs of the tree to the right.  Light was shining through its' moss. The autumn colours beyond reflect on the forest floor adding unity. I was happy to spend some time here.

Colony and Treed Impressionism © Stephen Mullock
 With a Impressionistic background a community of mushrooms looks like so many raised umbrellas.

Red Caps, Green Face © Stephen Mullock
This striking group of vividly coloured, small and delicate mushrooms were found at a tree base. The forest moss in the upper right hand corner reminds me of an old man's eye, nose and mouth - perhaps looking over them.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

10 Great Songs about Home and Hometowns since 2004

There are a lot of great classic songs about Home and Hometowns; "Homeward Bound" by Simon and Garfunkel, "Our House" by CSN&Y to mention a couple of fine songs now sadly overplayed, but what about newer songs?   Looking back the last 10 years there have been some fantastic songs, not all have become famous, that are worth checking out.

Here are 10 of my home and hometown song favourites from the year 2004 and onward.

Back Home on the Farm © Stephen Mullock

1.  "Beautiful House"

     by Leeroy Stagger (2005)
     from the album "Beautiful House"

Foundation: Leeroy Stagger is a Canadian Alternative - Singer Songwriter from rural B.C.  I don't know a lot about Leeroy Stagger, I found this song on an CD EP from A&B sound in Vancouver, BC by far the best song on it, and, it has been a favourite ever since.  I enjoy this unflinching, earthy humour and gentle vibe to this Leeroy Stagger mini song drama, "Beautiful House". Couldn't find a good video of this song on YouTube (lots of lousy stuff) I would recommend checking out iTunes.

You and me in a little house
The kids are watching mickey mouse
Sitting, waiting for me patiently
And the porch wraps around the whole damn thing
The sun beats off your wedding ring
You're watching the waves crash from our backyard

And this is our house
Beautiful House
This is our house
Beautiful House
This beautiful house

And the driveway floods cause it cant not rain
The door creaks driving you insane
The neighbors dog keeps you up on most nights
The record room smells of pot smoke
Your crazy uncle ruined the joke
Your mother laughs and lights a cigarette

2.  "Welcome Home"

      by Dave Dobbyn (2005)
      from the album "Available Light"

Foundation: Dave Dobbyn singer song writer from New Zealand with this song he extends his arms in welcome to new comers to New Zealand with the reassurance "so welcome home, see I made a place for you".  Lovely.  YouTube video.

3.  "Home"

     by Phillip Phillips (2012)
     from the album "The World From The Side Of The Moon"

Foundation: Phillip Phillips comes from Georgia, USA and was the 11th season winner of American Idol in 2012.  The song "Home" was a massive international hit from this his first album. YouTube video.

4.  "The House that Built Me"

     by Miranda Lambert (2009)
     from the album "Revolution"

Foundation: Miranda Lambert was born in Texas and is married to Blake Shelton.  With this award winning song Miranda explores a return to a family home and a maelstrom of thoughts and feelings - such beautiful melancholy.  If the walls could talk. YouTube video.

5.  "Home"

     by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (2010)
     from the album "Up from Below"

Foundation: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros  are large 12+/- member indie band that was formed in Los Angeles.  Wonderful uplifting "hippie" type energy with endearing duets between a strong male and female singer.  I would suggest that the album "Up from Below" and "Here" be explored first. YouTube video.

6.  "Going Home"

     by Leonard Cohen (2012)
     from the album "Old Ideas"

Foundation: Celebrated Leonard Cohen, born in Montreal has been one of my favourite singer-songwriters since my youth.  This weary "winding up a career" song of returning home still shows the 78 year old Cohen as being in full mastery of his considerable writing talents.  Recommended albums: "I'm Your Man (1988)" "Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967)" "The Future (1992)" and of course any "Best Of" recordings you can find.  Jennifer Warren's "Famous Blue Raincoat" is a beautiful tribute album and is also recommended.  YouTube video.

7.  "Mushaboom"

     by Feist
     from the album "Let It Die" (2004)

Foundation: Canadian singer-songwriter Leslie Feist has a distinct sound and an expansive imagination. This playful song is about a longing to leave a second storey apartment behind for a family and a little house in the woods. Mushaboom is a rural community located in Nova Scotia, Canada the province in which Feist was born. YouTube video.

Old dirt road
Knee deep snow
Watching the fire as we grow old

I got a man to stick it out
And make a home from a rented house
And we'll collect the moments one by one
I guess that's how the future's done

How many acres how much light
Tucked in the woods and out of sight
Talk to the neighbours and tip my cap
On a little road barely on the map

8.  "To Build A Home" (featuring Patrick Watson)

     by The Cinematic Orchestra (2007)
     from the album "Ma Fleur"

Foundation: The Cinematic Orchestra is a British jazz-electronic group that last recorded in 2007. The song "To Build A Home" features the vocals of Canadian Patrick Watson and it has been used in both television and film. YouTube video.

Out in the garden where we planted the seeds
There is a tree that's old as me
Branches were sewn by the colour of green
Ground had arose and passed its knees

By the cracks of the skin I climbed to the top
I climbed the tree to see the world
When the gusts came around to blow me down
I held on as tightly as you held onto me
I held on as tightly as you held onto me

9.  "Home"

     by Jack Johnson (2013)
     from the album "From Here to Now to You"

Foundation: Jack Johnson a surfer dude and mega talent has softly rocked into world promenience and once again recorded a solid album of good material. The song "Home" stands out with its gentle observations of house and home - makes you feel like you are right there with him, in a jungle paradise like Hawaii. YouTube video.

10. "Death to My Hometown"

      by Bruce Springsteen (2012)
      from the album "Wrecking Ball"

      Foundation:  International rock and roll star Bruce Springsteen pulled no punches when he recorded his last album "Wrecking Ball " in 2012.  The show that he gave in Vancouver was phenomenal although I do wish that he had played "Thunder Road".  This song "Death to My Hometown" pins the distress many American and other cities in the World have suffered since the financial meltdown in 2008.  No one has gone to jail.  This song is a cautionary tale and a call to arms that the danger to our hometowns come not with soldiers and war but rather with financiers and commerce. Strong stuff indeed.  YouTube video.

If you have a favourite song about Home, House or Hometowns from this century 2000 + let me know.

Here are some other suggestions from my friends - thank you all.  (some recorded before 2000):
  • Feels like Home by Randy Newman
  • Small Town and Big Dreams by Paul Brandt
  • Who Says You Can't Go Home by Bon Jovi
  • I Love this Town by Bon Jovi
  • Home by Blake Shelton
  • I'm Coming Home by Michael Buble
  • The Long Way Home by Norah Jones 
  • Grandma's Feather Bed by John Denver
  • Our House by Madness

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

"Wayward Pines" Event TV Series Set, Agassiz BC

Wayward Pine TV set underway

The Wayward Pines street set is well underway on Pioneer Park in downtown Agassiz, BC, and, if you have ever been interested in how these false store fronts are created for movies and TV, here is a first hand experience you might enjoy.

Creepy Merry - Go - Round

Pioneer Park, usually an open green space with towering trees, is home to "Wayward Pines" a Fox event TV series about a secret service agent (Matt Dillon) that comes to town to investigate the disappearance of two federal agents.  So the story begins and through 10 epsiodes the peels of the town begin to come off revealing a creepy intent beneath the skin of the small town smiles.  Okay, I am guessing a little here about the storyline.  To be directed by master film maker M. Night Shyamalan, whose successes include "The Sixth Sense", "Signs", "Unbreakable" and "The Village", we can look forward to a good tale, beautifully portrayed and filmed well.

Wayward Pines Town Set being built

Have a visit to Agassiz, the friendly merchants along Pioneer Ave. Agassiz would enjoy your business as well so be sure to drop in.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Elk Mountain Chilliwack Revisited

Stephen Mullock
There is something to be said about climbing a mountain that gives you an entirely different perspective on the immensity and fragility of our planet.

We are use to dealing with numbers when we talk about such places the difficulty of the climb (intermediate) the length 8 km, the elevation gain 800 meters (2625 feet) - but silent on the experience.  Perhaps, because each one of us is different and every person's journey unique.

The trail is steep in places so expect to be breathing heavily and sweating profusely as you labor up to the top.  As you climb, you may notice a lack of sirens, trains, and car noises that surround our daily Valley Floor lives.  No cellular reception to distract you either.  Peaceful and quiet except for forest noises. Tree tops rustling high up in the wind, small bird calls.  There is of course, that aforementioned drumming in your ears from your heart as it pushes you onward.

There is a well marked and established path snaking through grand strands of evergreens, so dark in places that they threaten to block out the sun, a craggy viewpoint over Chilliwack and at the peak, an open alpine meadow.

There are a couple of spots where it seems as if you are walking along the very spine of the mountain; the ground falling away from you on either side.  The first is a well trodden earthen path in a thick forest and the second near the summit - exposed rock sticking out, splintered, serrated, a vertebra.

Mount Baker
Up close or afar there is plenty to see; chipmunks, pica, birds, trees of all sorts, alpine flowers such as Paintbrush, Mount Baker in nearby United States, Mount McGuire, Mount Slesse, Cultus Lake, the Chilliwack Valley and Fraser Valley, Chilliwack, Sardis and so much more.

A big part of the pleasure is the company you keep and here I have the good fortune of once again walking with the Hermann's Hikers of Harrison.

Elk Mountain Hermann Hikers
 Imagine living here...

Previous Posts and more Pictures about and from Elk Mountain

 1. September 8, 2011 Elk Mountain Hike 5
2. Video 1:20 minutes Steve and Ian climb Elk Mountain - great scenery  I didn't realize it at the time but fellow Royal LePage Realtor® Ian Meissner was filming our hike- hope you enjoy it.
3. July 29, 2012 Mount Baker Chilliwack's backyard Volcano

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Vedder River Rotary Trail, Chilliwack BC

Queen Anne's Lace © Stephen Mullock

A walk down the Vedder River Rotary Trail is a wonderful way to spend some living in Chilliwack. Located just south of the impressive Garrison Crossing residential development and University of the Fraser Valley campus this trail has been gaining popularity since it was opened with walkers, runners, bicyclists and equestrian enthusiasts.  The Vedder River is also one of the top fishing spots in the province.

Vedder Bridge ©

Some 15.5 km in length (30 km return) the trail follows the north dyke of the Vedder Canal and was built in partnership with Rotary, Canadian Forces base Chilliwack and the City of Chilliwack.   A number of smaller pathways flank the trail; of special interest is the Great Blue Heron Reserve.

Seasons on Vedder River ©

This walk is peaceful in a mindful way, the river and seasons change as do we on our own personal journeys.  A few moments along the trail are a wonderful way to recharge and regroup.

© Stephen Mullock


    • Volkert Vedder was an early 1870s settler that owned lands in the immediate vicinity
    • Go figure!  The river east of the Vedder Bridge is called the Chilliwack River to the west it is named the Vedder River.  Here's why  At one time the Chilliwack River flowed north through Sardis and Chilliwack to the Fraser River, close to where the bridge is today, but a log jam changed it course and its waters began to spill into the minor stream called Vedder Creek.
    • The Vedder canal was built in 1925 to help with the draining of Sumas Lake.

Parking can be found in a number of locations, next to the Vedder Bridge just off Vedder Road, Peach Road just off Keith Wilson Road, Lickman Road, and Sumas Prairie Road.

View Larger Map

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Harrison Hot Springs - Cooling Off

A Quilt work Blue
A criss cross of blues in the fading light of a perfect July evening highlight Harrison Lake shoreline features.  Living in the eastern Fraser Valley whether it is a community like Harrison Hot Springs, Agassiz or Chilliwack comes with the added benefit of being able to escape summer's heat with an evening swim in either Cultus or Harrison Lakes.  A great way to cool off and so close.

Here are some other recent Harrison Lake pictures.

There are a number of apartments for in these buildings they offer views and ready access to the beach and lagoon.

Some else finds this community to be a photographer's playground.

Echo Island sits quietly below a wind swept sky.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Part Two: The Spirit Caves of Yale BC

 Continued from Part One: The Spirit Caves, Yale BC. The province of British Columbia is given birth from the Fraser Canyon War.  As the dreams of quick riches fail to materialize the miners depart, the gold rush is over - calm is retored.

Almost as if a dream was lifting the terrible images of this area at war seem to disappear. I am once more in the moment with breath, bone and muscle slowing moving me towards the top. There is no hurry.

We come to a lookout and see the Fraser River snaking through the canyon below.  Vantage points  like this one were used by the Yale First Nation people to keep a watchful eye against marauding tribes travelling up the river looking for slaves.

The trail is narrow and steep changing quickly from soft forest trail to rock, sand and pebble. It is the later material that requires the most attention as it tends to give way at critical times. Poles are recommended for additional support and stability.

Below are a couple of odd looking plants, unfortunately I have no idea of what they are.  An excellent book in this regard is "Plants of Coastal British Columbia including Washington, Oregon & Alaska" by Jim Pojar and Andy MacKinnon.


There must have been quite a windstorm as fallen trees block the trail in a number of locations requiring our group to either clamber over top or duck under them.  After about 2 hours we come to a forested peak and here we have our lunch. Looking around you can see how the forest is changing - it is here that the coastal and interior forests meet. 

The Spirit caves are best seen on the slopes furthest from the trail and vary in size, there are openings large enough to provide easy access inside. I am content to remain in the light.

Spirit Caves

We find some snow in one cave even this late in May. Fortunately, the air is still - no ghostly voices arise from the toothless mouths of the Spirit Caves on this day.