take it easy

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Willow goes for a stick!

Lisa and I were up the creek this morning.

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Wood Lily.

The valley bottom and roads are absolutely crowded with tourists racing in every direction at once, all in a hurry to have fun and see as much as they can in the time they have away from the city. It sure keeps you on your toes while driving with folks doing the damndest things. The ambulances and STARS helicopter have been busy the last few weeks. That’s summer for you!

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Wild Orchid. 

I made the mistake at stopping at a summer market. It is a touristy place and I rarely stop. The prices were beyond belief. Even the tourists were complaining at the till, $14 for a small basket of cherries, $7.50 for a few leaves of lettuce. At that rate, I have about $100,000 worth of lettuce in my garden I can’t give away! I also had people nudging and bumping into me. They obviously didn’t get the memo about the Covid pandemic and the importance of social distancing. I got the hell out of there. Lisa thought I was nuts to stop in the first place.

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Paintbrush.

Lisa and I got off the main roads and turned behind the mountain and followed the creek. We stopped and walked a familiar trail, breathing easy away from the ruck of the maddening crowd.

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Fireweed.

The flowers are out in abundance due to our wet early summer. Willow enjoyed a swim.

Once back home we decided it safer to stay put.

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mid April

RCE_5047Had to bribe Willow for this picture. She was amply rewarded with a generous piece of breakfast sausage.

It’s never too early to get a truck full of wood. The backroads are still snow covered. Got lucky finding a down pine and fir before heavy snow. Both dry but thawing out. I cut and Lisa loaded. Willow kept the perimeter.

We saw Whitetail Deer, the rivers are clear and I could have brought home fish if the season wasn’t closed. It’s hard to know when we won’t give a shit. For now everything is fine.

Lisa and I talked about the anxiety we have been feeling, especially when the virus first hit, and how we are feeling now. We both can do with a lot less. Still, having a shitload of money stockpiled, including pensions, would be the best defence. Neither, we have, but neither did all our descendants before us.

The grass is greening. I’m looking for garlic to come up.

Toby Creek

RCE_4985It doesn’t look like much, but Toby Creek used to flood the entire business district of the Valley. With plenty of bulldozers it’s path was changed to a less harmful route. I still look for signs of the delta it once cut running into Windermere Lake and the Columbia, instead of the gravel pit it runs through now.

It will be an odd Easter weekend. All of our kids will be staying put, isolating in their houses in Calgary. Lisa and I will miss them. Of course, we understand the necessity of social distancing. We are planning a group Facetime session. We have a turkey in the freezer that we plan on cooking. It should keep us fed for awhile. 

All the talk about our social responsibility and the importance of staying home still hasn’t sunk in for many Albertans as they clamour into the valley. Entitlement pure and simple. Many have gone on line to remind us they built our area, including our small hospital, and how we would be nothing without them. It’s not surprising – I’ve heard it all my life. Meanwhile my children stay away from their home, knowing this is bigger then them. We miss them but are proud of their resolve.

I was disheartened by Prime Minister Trudeau’s address today. He didn’t pull any punches, delivering news of mass unemployment, how many infections and deaths Canada can expect, also stating how long we may have to endure the isolation and social distancing measures. It was sobering.

British Columbia has done a good job and been lucky at flattening the curve. Part of that is we had a later school spring break than other provinces. 

Hand dug about half the garden. Transferred the seedlings into pots. Some things are still normal.

early February.

 

Roads closed. Ice, snow all the rest. Avalanches. Spring is coming early. RCE_4643You wan’ed to write before the booze and weed kicked in. To all those youngsters looking ate he moon. 

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The cedar rushing by. My nose in the air, figuring a challenge.

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My land  is nor much. It melts, sun dries, the land turns dry to shit. So they said it was coming. 

RCE_4655Other than that it’s all good.

storing it up

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The Chickadees have been busy in the remaining sunflowers. I put a couple large heads on the deck so we can watch the tough little birds do their business. They fly from the garden, to the deck, to the trees where they hide the seed for future consumption, presumably when the cold and snow hits and food is scarce.

A Downey Woodpecker has been watching them and I wonder if he will be the beneficiary of all their hard work.

Like all of nature these small birds seem to work extra hard just to survive. They hide ten times what they will need, because they know most of it will be gone when they need it.

A Turtle lays a hundred eggs and only a small number survive. A tree produces many cones, some fall and lay dormant, some are eaten by birds. Some sprout and are trampled and die or don’t get enough light. Sometimes it takes a lightening strike or fire to clear the brush and let them survive. Without going ‘above and beyond’ perhaps all would have died out by now.

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Then there is us. Humans are the cruelest animal, it is our nature to wreak havoc on animals, resources and the natural world, because we feel we are somehow above or separate from the trees and fish and even the coal in the ground. It’s because, like every other living thing, we guard our young. For them, we produce and consume much more than is required. In this moment of time we have gotten too good at being cruel. All of our seeds are still in the trees, we have ten times more than we need, but we’ve killed off all the woodpeckers.

The last 200 years, even the last 2000 years is such a small amount of time for nature. It is our hubris, maybe even our nature and our weakness, to think we are on top, or somehow in control.

anger or instinct

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The dog before Willow was named Slinky, she was brave like Willow, but also a physically perfect specimen of her breed.

She would dig for hours for gophers and mice. Once I saw her leap into the air and catch a bird taking off out of the long grass. She didn’t like the cold and wouldn’t swim. She often looked at me like I was crazy, as if to say, isn’t there an easier way.

In the bush she was always on guard, refusing to sleep as long as we were in the open. 

When the girls were young they would light a fire in the yard and have friends over. This was the same time my good neighbour Larry had a constant stream of couch surfers at his place, most harmless enough. Lost souls he was lending a hand at the expense of his wife and children who had moved out.

Every now and again Larry got a real winner. Roy was one of those. He came off like a salesman, he had the bloated look, the laugh when nothing was funny, but no teeth, except one right in the front. Larry told him, try to hang onto it as it could be the anchor for a plate.

Roy even got a job running the local bar, until he was drinking more than they were bringing in.

Roy, once a long time ago, was coming home drunk and ran up on the kids having their fire. Slinky got him before he got there and bit his hand, she was aiming for his nuts, but he wisely got his hand down in time. 

Roy’s night was over. The booze and dog bite will take it out of you, especially if you have no teeth to bite back.

The kids got me, I escorted Ray the remaining way to Larry’s. I was concerned he might report being bit by a dog. I told him I was pissed off, because my dog might have caught rabies from him. 

Lisa was concerned that Slinky was turning angry, the friendliest dog, could bite someone. Lisa asked me to take her to the vet to see if she was in pain, maybe she had bad teeth. It turned out I had bad teeth, Roy had one bad tooth, but Slinky’s teeth were in perfect condition.

Slinky was doing what just came natural.

In this day and age we have plenty of threats running up on us. Some of them are real, most are not. I’m like an old dog and can’t tell the difference. My hackles are up, my bad teeth are sensitive to hot and cold. It’s a miracle I have any bite at all. 

I’ve heard it

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Seen it this way before.

Still disconcerting.

It looks hopeless,

this time with science

on their side.

It was in the sixties. . . or seventies

eighties even

they said it the same

but different.