this & that

A nice weekend. They sure fly by. Lisa and I did manage to get out for a couple walks. Last weekend we went snowshoeing and wanted to try and get out this week but couldn’t find the time.

***

I had to replace my windshield wipers on my truck. I looked at the flyers and saw they were on sale at NAPA. I hadn’t been in there for years. The last time was not a great experience. Overpriced shit with dipshit clerks. However, that was years ago.

Time to give them another chance I thought. The first thing I noticed when I went in was the four people in there, two at the counter sitting at stools and two clerks on the business side were not wearing masks, even though they are mandated by the Provincial Government for businesses. Not a big deal I thought, even though my mask was firmly pulled snug over my nose.

Dust was on the product and shelves. I found the wipers but nothing marking the ones on sale in the flyer. A matter a fact, nothing had a price on it. I understand this is done because automotive stores have different pricing for different customers. Automotive mechanics get the lowest pricing, I expect to pay the highest. Which is okay with me as long as I get decent service.

Now this is where NAPA let me down. Even the four jokers at the counter were doing sweet bugger all not one of them asked if they could help me. A matter of fact none of them even looked in my direction. I could have been naked with dynamite strapped to my torso and I don’t think they would have even noticed. Most automotive stores have a chart beside the wipers that tell you which ones fit your vehicle, this place didn’t have that handy chart.

One of the guys kept telling his story that ‘fuck’ was every second word. I doubt he would have told it differently if I had of been standing there with my grandkids.

So I left, climbed back into the truck with Lisa, told her, regardless of new management NAPA is the same old place.

We drove up to Canadian Tire and 5 minutes later I had new wipers on the truck. Also got a better price than what NAPA advertised in their flyer.

***

The sun went down this afternoon and the sky turned red. It was brilliant while it lasted.

We are expecting some warmer weather this week. I have to say I’m looking forward to it.

***

Covid cases are spiking again. It seems the experts and government advice this time, with the Omicron strain being milder, is to let the virus run its course. The messaging through our health system and legitimate news sources (CBC) is all over the place, often contradicting themselves. 

The truth is they probably don’t know what the hell is going on anymore than any of us.

The anti-vaxxers and Covid deniers are all yelling from rooftops, ‘WE WERE RIGHT’! The vaccine didn’t work, even though it prevented death when the more virulent strains were dominant, and their other mantra ‘COVID IS NO MORE THAN A COLD’! Excuse the nearly 5.5 million people who have died worldwide from participating in the joy.

I’m not sure what I would prefer more; dyeing from Covid or listening to the noisy conspiracy theorists celebrating.

***

Perhaps the best thing to do, is stop trying to think we can save the world, or even think we can make a difference, and start laughing at it. There is plenty of comedy being peddled.

Early 2022

A couple pictures from 2022.

Happy New Year! A very fine day. First footed Deb this morning. Lot’s of laughs and some special coffee, made extra sweet to ward off the chill. Willow and Maynard enjoyed a few treats. Kurt and I talked about our diminished cocks. . . it’s tough to know when to replace an old rooster.

The geese and their business.

Lunch at Kelsie and Tom’s. I lost a basement soccer game against Cooper 8-10. I was tripped at one point and rolled around trying to draw a yellow card. He just laughed and punted the ball in the net.

Hunter and I headed out into the bush, in the afternoon, to give the hounds a run.

Even the snow under our feet gets interesting. It is the consolation prize for getting on.

Willow and Pedley are still getting used to each other. Willow is not fond of puppies. Pedley is trying hard to get Willow to like her. Willow is not much for playing, however they seemed to enjoy the snow and a few sticks thrown for their amusement. Hunter commented that he hopes Pedley doesn’t pick up any of Willow’s bad habits. I secretly hoped Hunter doesn’t pick up any of mine.

Willow catching snowflakes.

If you are reading this, all the best in 2022.

Dinosaur

A fine day and quick update. Some running around in the morning for supplies and the post office and dump. Willow and I headed for the creek. She let me have it when I was able to find a dry route across the creek. It was a fallen log, slipperier then greased cat shit. She would have been fine but for the shear bank on the other side. I didn’t go out of her sight. She walked the bank while I cut a few boughs of cedar. She returned to normal when I returned over the bridge.

Later I stuck a piece of wire through the meat of my hand between my thumb and index finger. It was clean through and made me laugh when I pulled it out, not that I’m tough, just that it looked funny. It bled a bit so I stuck a tight glove on to act as a compression bandage, it did the trick.

I did this while trying to bend a piece of wire into a hook to hang an elk skull I found on the same wrong side of the creek I mentioned earlier. Willow looked at me, hand bleeding, as if to say, I told you not to cross that iffy log.

Split some wood, tried to carve a heart out of a piece of driftwood we gathered in the fall, but shit the wood was hard. I thought it was cedar, but it must have been fir. To make matters worse it was a root.

I ended up making a monster out of the root. It was a giant snake with front legs. It balances perfectly on the table. I painted it’s forked tongue red. Thats the way it is, you start off carving hearts and end up seeing a creature you never knew existed. Copper and Scarlett are going to love it more than a smooth wooden heart anyway.

About 3:45 the sun went down in a tight flash leaving the ridge lit for a couple of precious minutes.

Lisa is making me supper for my birthday, the kids and our parents are invited. I’m pretty lucky. I can’t wait to see what everyone thinks of the snake head dinosaur. . . not me the carving.

Supper is just about ready and the guests are due to arrive.

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.