Mid September Rain

Pine Siskin

Grey and rain, frost the last couple mornings. It’s feeling like fall. September can’t be beat.

Most of the tomatoes are in. Sitting in flats waiting to ripen in the dark in the basement.

Split wood for the fire. Saw a herd of Pine Siskins. I told Lisa it was too early, but she was damned and determined to warm the old place up. Since we have a lot of wood and grandkids sleeping over I agreed before being overruled.

Back in the ‘old days’ we went as long as we could without heat. My sisters and brother can attest. Oil, coal and electricity has always been expensive. Frost on the walls and old coats used for covers. You could watch your breath until dipping your head under the covers to warm up.

Wind and big defined clouds should be celebrated. When the clouds burst open we should all run outside and feel the water on our faces, soaking us to the skin. My grandkids agree.

Durban Poison

Early September

Beside the river.

Stepped out the other morning, along with Willow. From the step Orion was up, Sirus still down, the Twins were overhead, a crescent waning moon with earth glow if I squinted and a streaking falling star went right down the middle. What are the chances. It pointed back to Perseus. One left over maybe. It could only be a good day after that.

***

The Cedar Waxwings are back, eating the shrinking berries. They are careless birds and fly into windows. I put them on the window sill away from predators. Sometimes they revive themselves and fly away and sometimes they die. Willow is interested either way regardless of scold.

***

This is the last long weekend of summer. The tourists have been unrelenting to the glee of our business community and small time politicians. The rest of the people, the people on the front lines are done with them. Even the gift of earning minimum wage isn’t enough to satiate the masses. There is an aggressiveness in this year’s tourists I haven’t seen before. Things are changing. Alberta is leaderless and searching, the wealth and decadence is slipping, some executives can’t buy second homes on the lake with their yearly bonus. Times are tough. Still they want to get it all in while they can, that’s the hurry, that’s the panic and aggression. It’s contagious, running from the top down.

Two of my coworkers were assaulted, last week, by guests, in a resort that charges $400 a night.

***

September is a wonderful month. There is a chill in the air. The skies have cleared of smoke. The sun is tilted in such a way to light the mountain tops in morning and before bed. Then there are those winter stars.

hounds

Gemma walks around without purpose, she is getting old, but she loves it, like she can tell, the trees get tall for a reason and the creeks swell by the season on time.

It bothers Willow not able to give her a bark and return her to earth. She tries the same to me on occasion. So far, I listen

I guess our final wish is to run wild, jumping, getting tangled in leashes that are placed around our necks. Once they are off, it is a startled surprise there is no were to go.

Gemma

maintenance

Being a  maintenance man at a busy resort is pretty easy. Toilets that don’t flush, plunging, shovelling snow, cutting lawn, making sure the pools and hot tubs are clear. There really isn’t much to it. If it gets too complicated a professional is called in.

Today I was called to a unit because a child had locked the bathroom door and shut it.

This is a call we get regularly and one I respond to with haste, because the kid is usually on the other side of the locked door upset because they are separated from his or her parents.

So I dropped what I was doing and went straight away. When I got over to their unit, the child and two parents were safely on the outside of the locked door. The Dad said the child had locked the door and pulled it shut.

I looked at the youngster who was about three years old and could tell his Dad was throwing him under the bus. Parents are always a little embarrassed about having to call the maintenance man. The dad probably had locked the door and the young fellow had simply shut the door. I asked the youngster if he had been to the pool and complimented him on the bicycle helmet he was wearing.

I got out my small screwdriver and inserted it into the hole of the privacy lock. It was being stubborn and wouldn’t unlock. Mom, Dad and child were over my shoulder.

Dad said to his son, see how much work you caused.

I said, I may need a smaller screw driver.

They said, oh yes!

I went outside to my tool bag. Was rummaging around and noticed the youngster had followed me out. As I knelt he stood close. I rooted around in my bag. I knew I didn’t have a smaller screw driver. He watched intently. I took the same screw driver I had and said, let’s go I think this one will do it.

He never said a word, but followed me back inside. He stood close while I worked away at the small hole that pops the lock open on the bathroom door. Damn, this should be an easier job! The parents were in the living room. The young fellow on my shoulder. 

I talked to him the whole time. What’s your name, how old are you, just trying to make conversation with a child that had not yet learned to speak. He just kept looking at me with those big eyes.

And then he did something. He let loose an adult size fart. One I would have been proud of. I heard the adults in the living room stop talking. They most certainly thought it was me. The child and I looked at each other, but said nothing. We both should have said something, but didn’t, what was there to say.

Just then the bathroom door popped open. The young man had reached behind him and was clutching a handful of his shorts. I yelled to the parents the door was open. I didn’t tell them their child probably needed the bathroom.

The youngster and I gave each other one final look. A moment shared. If I see him in the pool I’m going to give him a wave.

July Hail storm

The peas torn from their fences.

A few more photos of the garden taken about an hour and a half after the hail storm. Fortunately, it sounds like the hail storm cut a narrow path through the valley. Communities to the south and north of Invermere were not hit as hard.

Talked to a few gardeners and it sounds like everybody pretty much is in the same boat with smashed plants. I was lucky because I don’t spend much money on plants nor rely on it for a living and sell produce like some.

Plenty of videos on Facebook of a river running down main street. My neighbours experienced some flooding. Our basement started to flood due to the outside stairwell filling with hail, fortunately I saw it early and was able to shovel out the stairwell before it melted.

I won’t replant anything, I’m interested to see what will make a recovery and what won’t. There will also be plants that may live but be too far behind to produce, I suspect the tomatoes will be in this category.

Tomato plant stripped of it’s leaves. A cannabis plant to the right that didn’t fair much better.

This is definitely an unusual event for this area. We do regularly get hail, but not that big and the storms don’t usually last that long. Luckily the damage seems minimal, although heartbreaking for people who love their gardens, and not wide spread. What can you do?

Beans that were doing so well before the storm. I doubt if they will make a comeback. They do have lots of time however.
Lettuce that has been delicious. I am hopeful a few more salads will be harvested before the end of summer.
Carrots.
Sunflower broken off. They may form new shoots with heads.
I don’t know what the big rhubarb is all about!
Broccoli and cabbage were just not meant to withstand hail stones, still I’m hopeful they will make a recovery.

Orchids

Mountain Orchid

Lisa and I had a good trip up the pass on the weekend. It has been busy.

We had an eye out for wild orchids. We caught sight of plenty of Venus Slipper’s and even a few rare Yellow Lady’s Slipper’s. The Venus was especially prolific. These small orchids are only about three to four inches high, but stand out among the moss on the damp forest floor.

Calypso Orchid.

The next two wild orchids to appear will be the showy Wood and Franklin.

On another subject, we had a light frost this morning. It doesn’t look like it damaged any of the plants, however, I had to put the run on two small buck mule deer with nub velvet horns that decided to trim two of my flower baskets.

Willow sniffing out the Orchids.

Sure a storm

I haven’t wanted to turn the news on. It’s too grim. The announcement of 215 graves found around around a Kamloops Indian Residential School seems too much to bear. Yet it shouldn’t be surprising considering our history and treatment of First Nation Peoples.

Where is my legacy in this terrible history. My school years were mostly fine. My Grandfather was shot five generations ago. It changed our trajectory. Our family became what we did because of it.

I don’t know what reconciliation looks like, to both ask for forgiveness and understand someone else’s pain. To be pushed under, held under until you beg but never given a breath.

To watch your children taken away. To who knows where. Where many would never return.

This isn’t news, everybody knew it went on.

***

When I was young we had a fight outside the school. It was the Aboriginal kids against the White kids. There was some good battles going on among the older kids.

We were in grade one but had both failed it once. I held on to Scotty and we pretended to fight. We became good friends.

Scotty’s grandfather Mose was hit on the highway. His father Ray died on the hill near our house.

Scotty and I ran into each other once and while and always had a good laugh.

Scotty died, young as well.

***

I am ashamed to turn my face against such grim history.

Bumblebees, dipshits and the real deal

It is interesting to see different animals and bugs appear and disappear. Bee species are one that have changed over the year. The most prevalent bee now is the one commercialy used to produce honey. I can never remember seeing these bees when I was a youngster. They gather pollen all over their legs and body and fly away slowly back to the nest with their bounty.

The pictures here are of a bee I’ve never seen before. The first thing I noticed was it’s size. It is the size of about a quarter. It seems to defy physics with it’s small wings allowing flight. The second thing you notice is it’s long beak that it sticks inside the flower to suck out the nectar, kind of like a hummingbird. A matter of fact, the other day, a hummingbird was doing the same in the gooseberry bushes, along side one of these giant, and there wasn’t much of a size difference

The bee would load up and fly away, After a short time it would be back. It didn’t seem aggressive. Perhaps it is a queen getting a jump on a hive.

***

A long weekend is slamming us in the face. Regardless I’m looking forward to a few days off.

The Albertans are streaming into the Valley, defying the no travel order, trying to avoid the Covid restrictions in their own province, imposed because of Alberta’s high case numbers.

Even Alberta’s Premier, Jason Kenny, says Alberta has a compliance problem.

Damn, I hate politicians.

With that said, traffic seems to be down with rec vehicles sporting Alberta plates. Very unusual heading into a long weekend.

***

Invermere Mayor, Al Miller, has even asked tourists to stay home this weekend so we may have a good summer. This is surprising. The Mayor’s mantra, up to now, has been for the ‘respectful’ Alberta tourists to defy travel restrictions and come to the Covid free, open for business, Columbia Valley. He has been acting less like a mayor and more like an old addled Welcome Wagon lady.

Surely, he can see the end is in sight and he doesn’t want to be judged by history as a complete moron.

Still give Mayor Miller his due, this time he did the right thing. It might even cost him a couple bucks in his hardware store.

***

My good neighbour Larry went planting in the bush today and found the first Calypso Orchids. Bastard!

mid may

Morning light.

Was up the pass this morning. Lisa and I got higher with the week of warm weather and snow melt. The Calypso Orchids have stems, yet no blooms. Next weekend for sure. It’s still early.

Watchful eyes.

The garden is all up. Considering I usually don’t plant until next week, we are ahead of the game. Next week I’ll plant the beans and put in the tomato and zucchini plants. Lisa and I are looking forward to a good feed of greens.

Trees before mountains.

The rhubarb is up and ready to be eaten. The sun is shining still coming up slanted and going down so. It’s a good time of year.

Willow wearing her Thunder Vest in the truck, so excited to get out in the bush.

Solar wind

Greens and purple auroras give way to approaching dawn.

Lisa called me to look at the Northern Lights at around midnight. They were spiking and visible from within town. Having been asleep for a couple hours I didn’t feel much like going out to take photos.

About 3 am I had a change of heart and Willow and I packed up the camera and headed for the dark part of Lake Windermere.

The Milky Way arches across the sky. The light of Invermere, BC can be seen to the left of the frame.

The auroras had died down yet were still visible in the northeast as a stream of solar wind hit Earth’s magnetic field.

Geese, ducks, coyotes and hooting owls provided a fitting soundtrack to the clear moonless morning. It felt good to be out looking up. Very fine start to the day.