Victoria Day Weekend

RCE_9876smYear old mule deer.

May 24th weekend was always when we took our first swim in the lake. It seemed like it was always hot.

Maddy, Hunter and Bree came out for the weekend. It was wonderful to see them.

Now that our children are getting a ‘leg up’ they are able to come home more often, which pleases Lisa and I. Sometimes they talk about leaving the city and moving back to the valley. They cherish their upbringing and want to give the same to their children.

But it’s not that easy. There are no jobs here. The ones that are available pay minimum wage and last only a season.

Lisa and I have continued to live here by working lots of different jobs and plenty of hours. We have done just about everything to keep our heads above water.

The tourists arrived in force this weekend. We tried to stay close to home. Sirens went off all weekend. The roads get clogged and speed up. I was lucky to learn to drive when the roads were not as busy.

Willow’s hair is loosening. Soon she can be hand stripped.

RCE_9867Eying up the garden.

Some kids that have moved away call this the ghetto. I guess, because there is nothing here for them. And because it can be brutal. But, also beautiful.

The garden is in, tomatoes and all. Willow barks at everything unfamiliar, which is more on a long weekend. Our children hug us when they say goodbye. One day we will be a burden. They will take turns coming home to help out and see how we are doing. I hope, like my Mother and Father did, we can give them something in exchange.

As I get older, I see things change, but don’t think much about it because I hold onto my old ways. Before long it becomes undeniable. The world has changed but I haven’t.

It sounds like something not to be proud of, ’till you realize it’s what makes bullets bounce off your chest.

Tomorrow we will be a day behind.

 

May Burn

RCE_9738smColumbia Lake. The haze is from the many controlled fires being burned in preparation for, what could be, a busy forest fire season.

Feels like we skipped over Spring and went straight to Summer. Warm temperatures in the mid 20’s, blue sky and everything greening up. It won’t be long and we will be praying for rain.

Hiked with Dave, Chad and Todd to the top of the hoodoos. Willow chased grouse and gophers. Sending them into the trees and underground, respectively.

RCE_9774A Blue Grouse struts his stuff. Once Willow caught wind, she put him in a tree. 

The hoodoos are featured prominently in the Ktunaxa Creation Story. It is said they are the remaining ribs of a large water monster that once inhabited the Kootenay and Columbia River systems.

RCE_9775Arrow Leaved Balsam Root. Arnica. False sunflower. The Ktunaxa called it xaǂ. Every part of the plant is edible and was an important food source for the Ktunaxa people.

It’s damn steep once on top with spectacular views of Columbia Lake to the north and Dutch Creek directly below.

RCE_9729Lisa remarked at the length of the Pine needles, saying they would make good weaved baskets. Lisa makes lovely pine needle baskets.

The mountains are still snowed in, but won’t be for long with the heat. Lisa and I went as high as we could last weekend looking for Mountain Orchids. They are close, yet still behind, we found their flat leaves on top of moss on the forest floor.

RCE_9755A couple of Swallows take in the view.

The hike back from the Hoodoos was uneventful, but for a small snake that crossed our path. It was enjoying the heat when we came along. I can never remember seeing one so early in the year.

RCE_9782A small Garter Snake sharing the trail. 

My mother used to tell us kids to get outside in the hot days of May and get sunburned. We were white as daisies after the long winter. She said, by the time it was summer it would turn to tan, and we wouldn’t have to worry about the sun burning again.

I am not sure if that parental advice would go over today, but I’m sure glad I got it when I did.

 

Early May

RCE_9662bSpringtime in the Rockies. A Grizzly Bear enjoys some young fresh shoots.

Spent the weekend in the city visiting our children and grandchildren. They made a wonderful early Mother’s Day brunch for Lisa. We went to our niece Meagan’s 40th birthday party. She has a wonderful family. It is hard to believe she was only 7 years old at our wedding.

_LME7400Willow gets sad when she has to be on the leash, but we didn’t want her rustling up a bear and leading it back to us. 

I am always a little off balance in the city. After a great visit it is good to get back in the mountains. It has greened up over the days we were away. The seeds are starting to break through in the garden. My tender tomato seedlings also lived through my absence.

RCE_9664smThere’s a storm a brewing.

It was warm in the city. It is also warm in the valley bottom, but seems to cool off quicker when the sun goes down. Lisa and I watched a storm across the valley. Earlier we watched a Grizzly. You get a little bit of everything this time of year in the mountains.

sparrow

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A couple of Robins in the garden this evening. The one with the rosy breast hopped around showing off. The other, with a rusty breast, pecked for worms, which are easy to find this time of year.

A constant warm wind is already drying the ground. I watered the seeds planted a few days before. They will come up with or without my help. Still, I have to pretend I’m useful.

I peeled the bark off the firewood I cut in the fall. The trees were down and dead when I found them. Bug killed. Under the bark the larvae were coming back to life. Amazing, these small creatures survive the cold winter under the thin bark. They must be made of anti freeze. They awaken just in time for birds to peck and find them. If Cooper were here I’d grab a couple, thread a hook and show him fish like them too. We would keep the fish and eat it. Without saying a word he would know those bugs were important.

I let two fish go on the weekend. They were beauties. A rainbow and a grayling. They were both brilliant silver. I caught them in the last clear water of spring.

There is plenty of truth and nonsense to go around. Willow barks at sounds far away. I awake and think this is it, then realize I only need to pee.

signs of spring

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Planted peas, lettuce, beets, radish and carrots today. Tomorrow, time permitting, I’ll get the onions and spuds in. The challenge is leaving room for the warm weather vegetables like tomatoes, beans and squash.

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An article on CBC said Canada gives $65 million in aid to war torn Yemen, while we sell $284 million in military goods, weapons, bombs, etc to countries using them against Yeman. The article said, it’s kind of like partially paying for the crutches after you break someones legs. 

The garden looks good. Tons of worms in every fork full. The fall garlic is up. I noticed a spot where one did not come up. I dug around. Sure enough I had planted it bottom side up. It was growing downward. I flipped it. I think it will be fine.

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We like to be smug in Canada about our civility and place in the world.

Willow and I got higher on the mountain than we’ve been since the end of November. It rained while the sun shone. Plenty of snow higher yet.

I talked to a man who was battling cancer. He said he stopped paying taxes. He did some work for me. Said, the government spends money at every turn, including paying themselves first, while he scrambles just to feed himself. The government froze his bank accounts. I paid him in cash. I noticed he charged me GST. I considered it a tip.

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It’s all alive now. Not that it wasn’t before. The trees are budding. The creeks are flowing high, muddy, moving rocks and wood. The birds are noisy, flying into each other. They have a courtship I can’t understand but envy none the less.

We walked the road less taken of the three. Looking for dead fir. Marvelled at the easy going. Saw a pile of bear scat. Willow stayed close. Walked until the snow made our feet wet. Walked until we could hear the melt under foot and in the distance.

RCE_9639The Moon, power lines and Jupiter

There are spirits in the trees. I can’t see or hear them, but I know they’re there. There’s squirrels and grouse, bears and elk. Perhaps it’s the roots buried only inches under my feet. Spruce, pine and fir as deep as they are high.

They may as well be stars.

late April

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Got the garden tilled. It raised to 20° today. It is freezing tonight. This is the part of spring that feels good. The backroads are melting and drying. It will go on for awhile.

Somehow I got a sliver stuck in my finger. It’s a good sliver. In deep. Much bigger than the hole it left going in. Maddy says she is going to come out and extract it. It should be infected by then and will come scooting out. She says she wants to put it on youtube. People love that stuff, she says.

My finger is swelling. I’ll give her till Saturday then, if she hasn’t come, I’ll cut my finger open.

I feel behind watching spring. The birds chatter. I try to see them. Sometimes they reveal themselves and sometimes they don’t.

Somebody looking in would say it’s all by rote, but they would be wrong.

The garlic is up. It’s clear as a bell. The rain is coming. It’s still early enough to turn to snow.

Nothing lasts in spring. Nor does it look the same way twice.

umm

_LME7308It’s occurred to me as I get older I won’t be able to do many things I’ve done for most of my life. For instance; I can’t drink or make love the way I used to.  I can still cast a line and I know the rocks where the fish hide.

But a lot of good that will do me when someone is drinking me dry. Plus I’m old school, I’ve been taught, right or wrong, if you can’t do it someone else will.

I’m used to the way things have become. No saying I won’t get used to it again.

I wrote into a sports channel recently, complaining. It was regarding their coverage of the world curling championships. That made my kids laugh.

My daughter Maddy said, when you complain someone on the other end is pushing rocks around in a Feng Shui Sand Garden while you’re on hold. That made me laugh.

She’s right I guess.

I don’t have a lot of pull anymore. They are going to put curling on whenever they bloody well feel like it.

They’re going to do plenty of other things also, so I better get used to it.

Still, somehow I have to learn to let things be.

I am too old to hurt myself the way I used to. Whether it be with booze or running ten miles in the heat.

Umm!