Mid May

A Merlin or Pigeon Hawk enjoyed its catch, of a small song bird, on top a power pole.

Time is getting scarce, too much to do, between work and usual spring chores.

The garden is in except the tomatoes. Lettuce is up and won’t be long before we will be having fresh salads. We have about ten different varieties for a good mix.

Willow, Maynard and I spent a pleasant morning watching swallows fly in and out of the holes in the bank containing their nests.

It’s been dryer than a popcorn fart, not hot, poor weather and wind. Plenty of snow still in the mountains. We had a sprinkle last night, enough that I don’t have to water.

Douglas fir flowers.

Cloud cover for the lunar eclipse, I was disappointed. The light did turn odd through the clouds. Could well imagine this was concerning in ancient times before eclipses could be predicted.

It won’t be long before the mountains start crying.

I’ll take a mulligan

A Ruffed Grouse.

Damn near stepped on a wild chicken. It didn’t move until I was above it. I stopped and waited for Willow to catch up, lagging behind, busied with the smells of mice. The grouse and Willow locked eyes at the same time. Willow gave a bark, the grouse took off in a great flutter of wings and then glided, never more than ten feet off the ground, into the timber, seemingly looking for a place to land. It was long gone or hidden. I knew better from the many times I followed these birds into the trees while packing a twenty-two, only to come up empty, my father laughing at my optimism of an easy shot. The easy shot, he said, was when it was standing right in front of you. It makes me laugh I still don’t see them sometimes. The twenty-two is hidden, but I still crave my father’s mulligan sometimes.

Mother’s Day

A couple of scanned B/W film strips from our old 120 twin reflex camera. Lisa is pregnant with our son Hunter. The film on the right is light struck which wasn’t uncommon if it wasn’t wound properly before opening the back of the camera. It looks like I ran out of film at an inopportune time.

For Mother’s Day Lisa and I headed behind the mountain for breakfast. We snapped a couple pictures, puttered here and there. I remarked that in many of our earlier pictures she was always pregnant. I looked out these photos when we returned home. Lisa always felt comfortable in front of the camera and always felt beautiful when she was pregnant. Who could ever argue.

Lisa is a wonderful Mother and Grandmother. Our children would agree. We are lucky to have her.

Early May

Lisa celebrates spring.

The garlic has all come up. First time in a few years. I planted it deeper last the fall. The onions are also up. The garden has been dug, with manure mixed in. I planted three rows; beets, early lettuce and late lettuce. Everything has been planted thick so we can enjoy the thinnings. The tomatoes, basil and cannabis are doing well inside and I can’t wait to put them out so they don’t have to be cared for. An inside gardener I am not.

A good start to oncoming summer.

If I take the picture in the right light I can obliterate the second homes and condos that line the shores of Lake Windermere.

In the Windermere

A website I enjoy reading is, In the Windermere, by Alex Weller.

The writing, research and photographs are fantastic. The material highlights local history. Many of the subjects Alex covers are ones I am familiar with and enjoyed talking about with my late father.

Alex does not romanticize history, rather, reports it with footnotes and links to back it up.

So often while reading Alex’s website I am reminded of my father’s recollections of First Nation People and the many names that settled this area my family has called home since 1912.

My father would often point out injustices in those early days of settlement. Alex’s website often confirms, through research and linked footnotes, many of the stories my father and I would discuss.

History was a real time and place. Even the smallest areas have great stories. History reflects and has repercussions until today. I can’t get over, when reading, In the Windermere, how politics haven’t really changed much, but the area sure has.

Line Up

Haze in the east. The waning moon mid right. Lake Windermere the way it should be.

The sky cleared on Saturday morning. Willow and I awoke early and headed out to see the planet alignment of Jupiter, Venus, Mars and Saturn. We looked for high ground with an unobstructed view of the east.

We waited for the moon to rise. By then it was getting light. I could not see any of the planets with my naked eye. I tried several settings on my camera to pick up the planets, hoping I could see them when enlarged on the computer screen, however was unsuccessful.

Moon rise.

A couple things could have been working against me. First, there was a slight haze in the east and could have easily obscured the dim light of the planets. Second, it gets light early here at our latitude of 50°N. And finally, I may have brought the wrong lens, opting for a wide angle instead of a lens that could have focused and enlarged a small part of the sky.

It was still a rewarding morning. We listened to chicken drumming and turkey’s gobbling. Four large Swans flew low over our heads, Willow seemed fine, but I was touched. When the sun got close to rising the song birds started up.

A few Crocuses on the trail in daylight heading out.

meteor, snow, fox, shopping, driving

The Lyrids fly tonight, unfortunately it is socked in with clouds. The Lyrids Meteor Shower can be a good one. Although not known for large numbers, about 20 an hour, the meteors can be bright and stretch across the sky. I saw one a few years ago that lit up the trees around me, an amazing sight in the dark of night.

A quick trip into and back from the city today. The Trans Canada highway has been diverted through Kootenay National Park while work is being done on the #1 near Golden. Lisa counted 65 semi trucks going the opposite way between Radium and Castle Junction (approx. 100km). This was at 5:30 in the morning. On the way home at 7pm on the same stretch she counted 145.

We saw a lot of precipitation, snow, sleet, rain. When we arrived in Calgary the flakes were as big as silver dollars. I had to put the truck in 4 wheel just to get around the parking lots.

A remarkable site on the way in, near Hector’s Gorge, a Red Fox, beautiful in the morning light, a full tail as long as the rest of its body. Remarkable, because this area has never had foxes, however, sightings have started to become common. This is the first fox Lisa and I have seen. They will have to get along with the Coyotes and Wolves. From what I understand they won’t attack dogs so Willow won’t have to worry.

No trip to the big city is complete without a trip to Costco, or as I like to refer to it the 10th level of hell. Parking, crowds, gluttony, anger. My goal is to get in and out as fast as I can. Lisa gives me a list, she has her own, mine is garbage bags, fruit, parmesan cheese and toilet paper. I am in and out like a wedding dink, back in the truck trying to figure a way out of the parking lot.

Back home we noticed we did not get much moisture.

Everything is getting faster while we slow down. I demanded Lisa turn off Siri giving directions, because it was confusing me. That was a mistake and costed us some time.

Lisa ribbed me. Even asked if I wanted her to drive. Jesus!

skyward

Canadian geese heading north.

A couple of walks on the weekend. We checked out where the old dogs reside. It is enjoyable walking the burn at this time of year. Eagles, flickers, juncos, robins, hawks and bluebirds entertained us with flight and song.

Missing was the sound of meadowlarks, although we have heard them in the valley bottom. Looking over the great expanse of long ago burnt forest we spotted a small herd of whitetail, having been spooked by something unseen by our eyes.

This was a fine spot to lay down our old dogs. Willow and Maynard ran and took in the sights, sounds and smells.

***

The Easter weekend was very busy in the valley. Visitors from Alberta took over the town. Lisa and I discussed our plan for summer to try to stay sane. On our days off we will leave early in the morning, about 6, head for the bush and return in the afternoon after the Albertans are settled heading back into their accommodations.

Alberta tourists will be out in force this year, and who can blame them stuck where they are. Oil is back on the table and they will be squeezing the rocks for every last drop, clamouring to get out to the valley, to their second homes or Airbnb.

Meanwhile Canadians do what we do best, assume a feigned posture, pretending to give a shit about the environment. It is discouraging what has happened to the Valley in our so called leaders haste to cater to the tourist. The gentrification is total, unavoidable and complete.

A typical right winger from Alberta. The trailer he was hauling was full of snowmobiles. More and more have Canadian flags flying or, like this one, fatuous stickers.

lamb

Busy weekend. Lots of tourists.

Things have changed dramatically at the resort. The mood is better. One bad apple does make a difference.

I picked the wrong week to take the long underwear off. Well below freezing everyday this week. Perhaps the end of April will be the new target for shedding the second skin.

Spotted a sick ewe at the resort. It is separated from the herd. Its head is low and lies in gravel. She can still get up. She is bleeding from the hind end. It’s a bit early for Bighorn Sheep to give birth. Maybe a still birth. We have been telling guests to give her room. It is safe on the resort grounds. Unlikely a cougar will take her down there. If people bother her she will wonder off and be picked off by predators.

The best case is the herd will come back and she can rejoin. Or it will make it back to the herd on her own. A perilous journey on her own, but one she may risk. It is amazing how a herd will protect the slowest.

If it can’t she will go to a place to be killed and eaten. Cougars, coyotes, bears, eagles, crows, ravens, dogs, magpies and even songbirds will see she doesn’t go to waste.