stripped

RCE_7948Willow sporting her new haircut.

We got a new dog. . . well not exactly. It took two sessions but we gave Willow her annual stripping.

Wire Haired Dachshunds grow a thick wiry coat over winter and it has to be ‘stripped’ in spring. This is done by grabbing a few hairs at time and pulling them out.

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Willow with her winter coat digging for spring mice. 

It is not that bad because the hair has loosened and needs to come out. I’m not sure if the hair is even really attached to her anymore, but held in place by all the other long wire hair.

Once it is out they have a smooth soft coat for summer.

RCE_2563Cooper and Willow wrestling over a stick.

Although it doesn’t hurt her, Willow doesn’t like it. She endures Lisa and I pulling, while she thinks of hunting, letting us know if we grab a couple more hairs than acceptable.

At the end of it we have half a dog as what we had at the beginning.

_LME2448Willow trying to talk me into a late night fetch.

Spring Time

IMG_2076Cooper and Scarlett hang loose.

Dug the last of the garden tonight. I am way behind this year. With luck I will get most of it in this weekend.

The cool weather stuff (lettuce, peas, carrots) could have been in 2 weeks ago. However, on the bright side, the good thing about planting late is everything can go in at once. Beans, kale, tomatoes. . . it’s all up to them.

Time seems to be of the essence now, like always in spring. There is only so much to plant a garden, or spend behind the mountain listening to the creek or watching stars playing hide and seek with the tree tops.

Somehow those old trees can still play tricks and make the most of time.

Willow and the beetle.

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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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.

Early

_LME247smWoke up to the sound of Willow throwing-up the stick she ate the day before. She does that sometimes. It was 2:30am. I put her out and cleaned up the mess. I tried to go back to sleep with no success. Since it was clear, we (Willow and I) decided to go for a walk and look at stars. Willow was happy, it took me awhile to get into it. We opted to stay in the valley bottom. The ice is almost entirely off the lake. The Milky Way stretched the length of the lake and was visible regardless of the artificial light. By 7am it was off to work. The days only guarantee would be an early bedtime.