background

_LME2620-smMines and clearcuts.

In town or up the pass, it makes no difference, the creek still bubbles and the stars jump. In this day and age the trick is cutting out the noise and light. Not easy. Still, the stars and Milky Way outweigh fireworks anyday. The sound of a log caught on a sandbar, geese honking, trumps the gunshots and voices spouting nonsense.

It’s about putting your ear to the track, looking high and deep, not being taken in. It’s not that hard.

Garden

CRW_0009A robin who was singing into the sun turns his back for the camera and scratches it’s ass.

It was good to get out and catch up with the garden. Despite good intentions I am once again behind. Spring always seems to sneak up.

The garden needed digging. The garlic, planted in the fall is not yet up, it could be because it was trampled by the deer before the ground froze. It is hard to say if it will come up. The weeds got shaken and tossed to the side. Tomorrow I plan on running a rototiller through the garden and maybe get a few spuds in the ground. I’ve started a few plants inside, but they are not ready to be put out.

I think we should prepare for another dry one.

***

During the week Lisa and I headed behind the mountain along the creek. There is more yahoos in the bush then ever. We saw some people shooting down the road. We weren’t in their line, but somebody could have easily been. Before I could think, I was out of my truck and asking them what the hell they thought they were doing. They apologized, which I didn’t give a damn about.

Lisa calmly asked, once I got back in the truck, if my new thing is giving people carrying high powered rifles shit?

***

The sun felt good today. My head has been clogged with a cold. The first one I can remember in years. My arms are sunburnt and scratched from pulling out the old raspberry canes. Very fine day.

early may

RCE_2606smThe absolute colour of spring.

We were able to slip behind the mountains into the bush this evening. Lisa said bring the camera we may see bears.

We did see a truck that looked like they were hunting bears. You probably wonder how I can tell if they were hunting bears. I will tell you sometime, but for now I will keep it to myself. I wish many hunters luck, these I did not.

We got higher than we have since November. Willow enjoyed the snow which was plenty and stopped our ascent just below where we find orchids.

RCE_2603Willow digs in.

I looked to patches without snow for orchids, though I knew it was too early. Willow ran for sticks and snowballs, raised her nose for the smell of rodents and scratched and dug for thawing scent.

Many of the slides have not yet come down. The grass is greening in the valley bottom. It felt good to be out breathing the air, listening for birds, feeling the last spring snow underfoot and looking for trees that died during winter to add to the woodpile.

 

local

 

_LME2481-Pano.smJupiter peaks around. The Teapot’s down there above the ice.

I keep telling myself I can write whatever I feel like, but usually I don’t. It’s got me into trouble in the past.

I’m employable only because I can lift more than fifty pound. They keep me around because I can lift a lot more. Not that I’ve written anything but the truth. As I told our current MLA when he came after me, ‘what the fuck do people care what I think anyway’. I was trying to satiate him, but he saw a fight and an opportunity to crush a perceived enemy, not even really an enemy, but someone not sharing his message.

CRW_0004

These men are a dime a dozen. Everything, especially politics, has become religion where if you can’t agree you go to war.

I should have been a roofer. Putting roofs over people’s heads is an honourable trade. I would only espouse the virtues of small town politicians who championed the most roofs, overlooking the money they received in kickbacks, much more than a roofers wage. Just guys saying yes.

It is interesting to note the small time politicians who have had the biggest impact on local communities don’t live there anymore. They were happy until they were voted out or retired. After that. . . they move. The towns; each campaign they devoted their love to, and changed in there image, in the rearview mirror once they stopped collecting. Meanwhile we stay and clean up their mess.

CRW_0013

Hey man, I’ve seen it over and over. That’s the burden with being in any one place for a long time, I guess.

brother and sister

IMG_0049Scarlett and Cooper

We went to Costco today, or as I like to say, a visit to Dante’s Inferno. We even drove an hour out of the city to a Costco we thought may be less busy. We were dreaming.

Still it’s hard not to get caught up in it. A person can buy a giant bag or oranges for the same price as a regular bag of oranges back home. The problem is, what to do with all those oranges?

***

I filled the truck up with fuel tonight. It took over 100 litres. It has a big fuel tank and I usually don’t let it get under half empty. The same fill up at home in British Columbia would have cost me $30 – $40 more, all carbon taxes. Carbon taxes are designed to make people think if they need the fuel before they fill up, it is a way to curb consumption and it works. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it is about time we ask people to pay to pollute. It is also notable to see Mr. Trudeau and family on yet another holiday that involved a private jet.

There is a lot more carbon taxes coming down the pike federally and for every province. I have been on a plane/jet twice in my life. I am certain I’ll never be on another again. Still, I cherish a few gallons of gas to get me out in the bush. I hope I can always afford it.

At the same time, regardless of carbon taxes, I don’t believe consumption will go down. Wealthy people, like our own Justin Trudeau, will make up for it jetting off to more, less busy, beautiful destinations, happy to spend more to escape the riff raff.

***

At night Lisa puts Cooper to bed, which is easy :-), while I put Scarlett to bed, which is hard. Cooper is usually so tired he dozes off after he reads a book. Scarlett, on the other hand, has me lay on the floor while she reads me books. Sometimes it’s ten books, and of course she can’t read. I ask If I can read them and she tells me ‘no’! Then I put her in her crib. At first, I would leave the room. Lisa and I would hear her fuss. After 20 minutes we’d go back in and she would have her pyjamas and diaper off. Once she peed the bed.

So now after she reads me a story and gets in her crib. I sit in the rocking chair with the light out until she goes to sleep. Sometimes I think I fall asleep before her. So far the pyjamas have stayed on.

***

Tomorrow Cooper and I are doing some handyman chores. We are fixing a wonky light switch, a loose toilet paper holder and a toilet that doesn’t flush right. I would never do this without permission from Kelsie and Tom who seemed pleased.

Cooper and I inspected the toilet tonight and we both agreed it needs a new flapper. That means a trip to Home Depot, or Heaven as we like to call it.

selfie shtick

IMG_1483Selfie on a post-it note of me sucking on a sore tooth.

The kids are sticking to their routine. They awake and are in bed on time.

***

The city keeps chugging along. I don’t believe I could ever get used to it.

***

I saw a semi hauling a large piece of equipment stuck on a corner. Traffic backed up a mile. It had several pilot vehicles as it weaved the city streets. The equipment probably being transferred to the ring road construction. It looked to me like he was screwed. However, when I returned the same way about a half hour later it was free and on the side of the road. All the men were out of their vehicles looking at the scraped light standard on one side of the road and the demolished tree on the other. What to do?

***

My daughter bought us a Starbucks gift card so we could get coffee. I enjoy the Americano. Today we had one at the bookstore. I bought a New York Times and a copy of Ron Rash’s novel The Risen. It was a hardcover edition regular $33 for $5 on the discount table. It is a good story and quick read as I am almost finished it.

I can certainly see why there is a constant stream of Calgarians into our neck of the woods each weekend. I have noticed at the bookstore and malls that people are not so much there to shop as to hang out.

***

We ran into another set of grandparents at the park the other day. Their grandson was a little older than Cooper, but seemed hesitant. Before long he was tagging after Copper to the highest parts of the play structure.

The grandfather stood in front of me often blocking my valuable sight of my grandkids playing. He wanted to know where I was from. I told him BC. Where he asked. Invermere I said. He laughed, that’s not BC he said that’s just a small part of Alberta. I’d heard this all before.

He went on to tell me ‘we’ fuel your economy. Then he said, Alberta funds the entire Canadian economy and what do they get in return, if it wasn’t for us, yada fucking yada, repeat.

He also went on about kids today. Millennials living in their parents basement, which his son was one. I hoped his grandson didn’t hear his grandfather’s estimation of his father.

He told me about their big house, their vacation house and ‘toys’; 4×4’s, sleds. motorhome etc. Albertans work hard and play hard, he summed up.

I have ran into this type over and over. You can’t avoid them where we live. To have come across this one in his home environment was just bad luck. It always amazes me how such boring, deficient, dimwits have accumulated so much wealth.

***

The forecast calls for snow that will surely green thing up once it melts.

wilderness

DSC_4543Redwing Blackbird.

Lisa and I are in Calgary taking care of our beautiful grandkids while their Mom and Dad are at a wedding in Mexico.

They are such good kids. We have tried to keep them busy and on schedule to keep them from missing their parents to a minimum. So far we have been successful, but it’s only day 3 of 8. The birdhouse project I planned and expected to take all week was completed in a morning. This had a lot to do with Grandma Lisa who believes once you start a project you finish it. The kids had fun putting roofs on the hollow logs, drilling holes and using screws and nails to complete the project. Of course they got to use all the tools, including the power tools (with assistance) themselves. The houses look great and they are very proud of them.

Each morning before the kids awake I take Willow and Gemma for a walk at Fish Creek Park. It runs for miles in the creek bottom. Mostly large poplar and cottonwood trees and plenty of birds. The entrance to the part of the park we normally access is closed, so we go to another entrance further west.

The path goes down a hill to wetlands with cattails and a few ponds. Signs say the pond is storm runoff and to use caution as the pond will rise quickly during wet weather.

The Redwing Blackbirds chirp and protect their nests, the females in the rushes below. They will hunker and show off their colourful shoulders to the dogs if they feel we are getting too close. Yet they are much less afraid then their rural counterparts. They have become used to humans walking by.

DSC_4542Singing!

This evening, once the kids were in bed I went back to see if I could get some photos. Not having brought my camera I took my daughters oldest Nikon. I had planned it during the afternoon, charging the battery and found a memory card.

The first thing I noticed was the paths were much more busy in the evening. Unlike the morning, when the few people I met responded favourably to my, ‘good morning’. Almost nobody responded to my, ‘good evening’. They looked to the edge of the path.  The ones who did respond looked confused.

Perhaps they had reason. I was wearing an old plaid lumber jacket and had a scruffy Willow dog on a leash (I left Gemma home as she pulls too much for taking photos).

I had about 10 minutes of light, the birds hunkered saving their energy, their shrill song only used sparingly.

I closed my ears to the sound of the city, the hiss of the cars on the roads and the voices, everywhere, all wanting to be heard. The Blackbirds amazed me by their resilience. Would they loose their nests during the next storm when the rainwater was all funnelled through underground corridors to their pond?  I wondered if this part of strong wilderness could sustain Willow and I, both of us on a leash?

Tomorrow morning my Grandchildren will greet me with sleepy eyes, tangled hair and big smiles.