warriors

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It’s an imaginary world. Sometimes we’re deep in the bush other times dreaming at night.

Willow slept most of the day after the cold night. The cold can take it out of you. It’s like exercising without moving. It strips the body, leaving only what’s needed.

Being older, it takes on greater meaning. Sometimes wisdom is just concurrence letting things be. Then again, I’ve never been more prepared for a fight.  That’s the old man talking.

Cold water. Ice. Temperatures dipping. Snow. Knee deep. Frost bite. Dim light.

We’re all warriors until we slip on a patch of ice.

February Stars and Planets

_LME9609-Pano_smThe Milky Way over Columbia Lake. Venus can be seen over the ridge. Jupiter is above and to the right. Light pollution from the town of Canal Flats and atmospheric airglow contribute to the surreal colour. It should be noted these colours can not be seen by the eye but is recorded on the camera’s light sensitive sensor. 

It cleared up this weekend and only seemed fitting to get a few shots of the stars. Jupiter and Venus rise in the morning before dawn near the brightest part of the Milky Way, as viewed from this part of the Earth.

_LME9573-Pano.smThe Hoodoos and stars.

Lisa, Willow and I headed out in to the brisk -25 night. We drove south to Columbia Lake then walked to a bluff. The lake groaned below, the ice contracting in the cold. It is a sound I grew up with and always makes me feel good. I always thought it sounded like whales singing when I was a kid.

We had to wait for Jupiter and Venus to rise along with more of the Milky Way. Finally they were up. Luckily we weren’t yet frozen. Very fine morning.

nice hips

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Woke up and all the puddles were froze. Some as nice as skating rinks. It reminded me of when the girls skated the puddles and the joy of finding such a surface.

Willow and I took to the creek behind the mountains. It was easy going after leaving the ice behind. The snow crunched under foot. Willow rode on top of the surface. The pussy willows were replaced with ice crystals.

Several flocks of Buntings flew and blended into the flat sky. I knew they would never land for a picture. The minus 13 wind was cold after yesterdays plus 8.

early February

RCE_1852The garden gate.

Here it is the start of February and the temperature is 8°c., in a month it can go as low as -40!

A warm wind rolled in yesterday. The snow has mostly melted in the valley bottom, leaving puddles on the frozen ground.

RCE_1854Willow with a full coat of hair, looking worried, while winter seems to be coming to a premature end. “Did I grow this hair for nothing?” she was heard to say.

I had three people mention gardening to me today. It seems too early to consider. Still I looked at seeds online. Willow and I even strolled out to the garden. The deer have really trampled my garlic rows. Hopefully the plants won’t be effected. There is deer shit from asshole to tea kettle (asshole to tea kettle, was a saying my father regularly used. It means a lot and afar).

The forecast is calling for cold temps.

It was a good day to hang out in the wood pile.

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Cooper’s and Papa’s axes.

the rod and gun

lwr&gLake Windermere Rod and Gun centennial poster. 

The above Lake Windermere Rod and Gun poster caught my eye (not difficult as it was designed by Lisa). The poster is for their annual Banquet and Dance. This year the club is celebrating their 100 years anniversary of being in existence. To my knowledge they are the second oldest club in the Windermere Valley

The Rod and Gun does many worthwhile environmental projects throughout the valley and also espouses and teaches ethical hunting, fishing and gun safety to local youth and adults.

The picture on the poster is of A.M. Chisholm. I believe he was one of the founding members of the Rod and Gun.

Mr. Chisholm is posing with his very alert dog, which looks like a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. The photo looks to have been taken at Tayton’s Bay on the shore of Lake Windermere in Invermere. 

Mr. Chisholm was a well read author and wrote several novels that were widely published at the time.

big rivers.jpgOne of Mr. Chisholm’s books, saved by my father.

My father, I believe, looked up to Mr. Chisholm and his writing prowess, as he kept one of his books until his death. He passed the book onto me along with many others. The book’s title is, The Land of Big Rivers. It was published in 1924, by Chelsea House of New York City.

In the photo on the poster Mr. Chisholm is cradling a double barrelled shotgun. It is the same shotgun my grandfather purchased from him. The shotgun was then handed down to my father.

By the time I came along the shotgun was no longer used, having been declared , ‘too old’, by my father. However, tho’ I never shot the gun, I was shot by it. . . and more than once. 

In a display of unsafe gun handling, my older brother would load it with nickels and shoot them at me. I would be told by my mother to go downstairs and call my brother for supper. I’d call from the top of the stairs and he wouldn’t answer, then I’d go down stairs, open his bedroom door and be looking down two large barrels. In hindsight, I am grateful he never mistook a nickel for a shot gun cartridge, which were everywhere in our house. My brother thought it was the funniest thing, and it was for that day and age.

wynanneMy sisters, Wynanne (tallest) and Deb (smiling, middle) with cousins Lloyd and Valerie after a successful duck hunt. Wynanne is holding the same shotgun.

My father handed the antique shotgun onto my Brother-In-Law Tim’s very capable hands. Also fitting as my sister Wynanne may have been the only one to ever fire the gun.

All the very best to the Lake Windermere Rod and Gun Club on their centennial.

mid January

img_1449Photos from a previous eclipse.

Cloud cover obscured this years lunar eclipse. The day before was nice and the day after. The night of the eclipse, the light of the moon could be seen through the clouds, but disappeared once it darkened in the Earth’s shadow. It will be awhile until another comes our way.

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Lisa and I spent a few days in Calgary visiting our children and grandchildren. It was so nice to see them.

Lately, I have been reminded that my ‘stock has gone down’. As we age, society lets us know we are not as valued. I understand it. I can’t work the way I once did. Nor do I have as much to contribute, in taxes, energy, or innovative ideas. I have a hard enough time trying to get Netflix on the TV, let alone navigating the in’s and out’s of being a contributing citizen of, what seems like, a world I understand less and less with each passing day.

I know it’s only going to get worse. Not that I’m complaining. I’m not sure if I want to continue to contribute, just as long as I’m never a burden.

Going to the city always exacerbates these thoughts.

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img_0918Cooper and Willow.

It’s tough being three. You get told what to eat, what to wear, and what to do. You get asked constantly if you have to pee, and if you say no, they say, maybe you should try.

I could tell Cooper was feeling some frustration. He is three and wants to do everything himself.

He doesn’t want to put mitts on or zip up his jacket. He wants to climb into the truck even though it take a long time. He doesn’t want to eat a decent breakfast, he prefers Eggos.

It is good to be a Grandpa. Him and I can team up. Cooper makes me feel needed and I. . . let him do what he wants.

We took Willow to the park. Willow had to be on a leash. Cooper was in charge of Willow leading her onward to mice, which there seems to be no shortage in the city. I told him, Willow wants him to be the boss. He liked that. Willow dug at the frozen ground and deadfalls for the mice tunnelling below.

Willow is not used to being on a leash but seemed to know the score.

Later we stopped at a restaurant and had soup, chicken fingers and fries. Cooper put enough ketchup on his plate to float a boat, I didn’t say a word, other than to ask him if he had to pee. He said no and I took his word for it.

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IMG_0935.jpgScarlett getting her morning massage.

Scarlett, likes to sit with me in the mornings. Her hair and bangs are long and shade her eyes, before they are tied back for the day. She is as cute as a button and brimming with smiles and energy.  I can already see the strong headedness of her Mother and Grandmother. She has already made it clear that she will not take any guff her brother is handing out.

***

A litre of gas is 40¢ less a litre expensive in Alberta than BC. This amounts to about $60 less on filling up my truck in Alberta. Most of it is extra taxes we pay in British Columbia, including additional green house gas taxes.

The argument is the higher taxes will drive down consumption. I am sure it works. I know I don’t take as many trips into the bush. However, in BC, incredibly, many of the biggest polluters are exempt from the taxes.

The green house gas taxes go into general revenue, some used to pay for our already bloated public service or even given back to the largest polluters.

I live beside the train tracks. Several coal trains go by everyday taking the dirtiest fuel to ships on the coast to be burned for electricity in oversea countries.

Something tells me our politicians, regardless of stripe, really don’t give a shit.

***

The world seems more confusing. Then again, with age, things get simpler. Making a difference is right under our thumb. . . did I tell you about my grandkids?

img_0910Willow chews the log Cooper is sitting on.

Pussy Willows

rce_1838Fresh cut pussy willows for the studio.

This is a first. Pussy willows in January. Before this, the earliest I have seen them is mid-February. They appear much more commonly in March.

I wasn’t looking for them, it being too early. They just caught me eye. At first I thought they were ice or snow. It is hard to believe they are out so early.

This has been a strange year. Not only have we not had a cold streak of -20° for an extended period, we have not had much snow in the valley bottom.

The ice on the lake is also thinner than it is usually. There haven’t been many trucks or ice shacks on the surface. Nor has the Whiteway, a skating and skiing track on Lake Windermere, been able to open.

Last year near the end of February, after a warm spell, I convinced Lisa to come with me to look for pussy willows. She said we were too early and she was right, we didn’t find any. We were in the same spot I found this years. On the way back down the mountain I got the truck stuck and had to dig it out of the snow.

This year we can get higher into the mountains. There is still plenty of snow, but I suspect the snowpack is way down.

There is still lots of winter left and things could turn around. If not this will go down  as a very mild winter.