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

kids

Kelsie, 4 years old.
Scarlett with a handful of worms, 4 years old.

My granddaughter Scarlett loves the garden. She eats peas raw, same as beans and onions – yes onions, she calls them chives.

Today she took to finding worms. She took them from one spot in the garden and buried them in another spot.

She reminded me of another little girl from a time long ago that seems short now.

The picture of Kelsie was taken on a medium format film camera, I had to scan the b/w negative, which took me ages. The picture of Scarlett was taken on my phone.

Times are changing, but the important things stay the same.

Sunday Morning

Lisa and I decided to have coffee on the backside of Swansea. It was up an old steep road we haven’t travelled in some time. Before long we were on our perch, Willow chasing her nose, the clouds lifting and descending, depending on the direction.

Fall is here, colours are deep from the rain. We walked the ridge. Without rain we could have seen Baldy Mountain.

The mushrooms have popped up and gone inky. Solomons Seal has turned rouge in the cooling air.

Both Lisa and I commented that it is such a relief the fall season is upon us. We are both looking forward to the slowness and quiet that accompanies winter.

looking out

A long weekend and the valley bottom is alive with ruck, revellers stirring it up.

Luckily I was wrestling with a nasty sewer pipe and stubborn toilet flange, protecting me from the glut of overindulgence the town has become. The trip to the hardware to pick up closet bolts was a doozy.

Still, I stuck my head out long enough to see the young Cedar Waxwings picking the berries off an Ornamental Cherry. The blue sky crowding the Sunflowers. And the weed doing its best in the lowered sun.

I’ve left out the picture of the sewer pipe and the crowds, I’ve had enough of them for a day.

Purple Kush

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.

varmints

I try to keep the garden free of pests. Every once and awhile one gets in. You have to watch out for deer. This time it was a rabbit. Now a rabbit can cause some damage. They can eat all the carrots, also the lettuce. This one was picking young beans and munching them.

She even made friends with my hound. I’m starting to wonder who that hound serves. After all it’s her job to keep the garden safe.

Before long they were in cahoots, burying unripe tomatoes, both with dirt on their tongues. Me sitting there wondering where I went wrong, nursing a beer, watching the garden get churned up. Counting my lucky stars.

Falling Star

This photo from the night of the Perseids shows Taurus, Pleiades and Perseus. It also has a few stars belonging to the bow of Orion. The summer stars are surrendering the sky to the winter cosmos.

The two faint ‘scratches’ in the sky are satellites. It is difficult to get photos of the night sky without satellites showing up somewhere in the frame. Very different from when I was a kid and I would search for them among the stars, squinting to detect movement. I have read, in the future the majority of ‘stars’ in the night sky will be in motion, making them not stars at all, but satellites.

The larger streak is a meteor. Although difficult to detect in this small version of the photo, green can be seen in the streak at the beginning and end. This colour is often detected as the small grain of metal, dust from a long ago comet enters our atmosphere and burns up. I always feel lucky to see this natural phenomenon.

Catch a Falling Star

Lisa and I drove the backroads we were so familiar with when we were younger. There is a lot more roads now. We managed to find our way to our old spot. Willow ran this way and that, even going for a swim in the starlight. The Meteors were falling all around. To see it is to believe.

Perseids

A Perseid Meteor or an Iridium flare.

Wasn’t sure if I could see through the smoke, but gave it a try. The Perseids are flying. Willow and I stumbled through the bush at 3 inn the morning trying to catch a glimpse. Not the best conditions, but you’ll never catch a fish if you don’t put a line in the water.

I saw satellites. I have a feeling we will be seeing more and more of them as space becomes commercialized under the influence of Earth’s egotistical billionaires like Musk, Branson and Bezos.

On the other hand the Perseids were hard to come by. True I could be a night early, still a bite would have been nice.

I set the camera to open for 30 seconds every 32 seconds and aimed it at Cassiopea. Willow and I wondered and went for a nap in the truck. It was a poor effort, but we were just practicing for tonight.

Memory Walk

Hunter strides the ridge.

A wonderful Friday hiking with my son Hunter. We were up early, Hunter had eggs and toast ready for me. After just about hitting a deer we turned off the pavement onto a rough steep road. We reached the trail head by 7am and started through the bush on foot. We had planned it so we would spend the cool morning in the bush and rocks and be back to the truck in the afternoon, the hottest part of the day.

I point the camera towards Chisel. Photo by Hunter.

The hike we choose was a tough one. Uphill all the way and then back down legs burning from holding back from tumbling down the steep pitch.

A helicopter flies, below our perch, looking for fires.

By 10:30 we were above tree line and on the ridge of Chisel. Now I’m not as young as I used to be, I have to remember anything I go up I have to come down. Hunter was patient waiting for my sorry ass. We gained elevation. A helicopter flew by well below us. Scouting for fires no doubt.

Willow the route finder.

Chisel Peak is also known as Indian Head. The Ktunaxa Nation calls it Naⱡmuqȼin from the Great Chief in their creation story who bumps his head on the sky and falls backward to be forever looking skyward.

Nutmuqcin on a clearer day. Can you make out the Chief lying on his back, his face looking skyward to the right, his breast plate in the centre, and his knees slightly raised to to the left?

I found an Eagle feather just below the summit. I took it as a sign to stop or I may need wings to get down. Willow and I stayed put admiring the view while Hunter, without me holding him back, dashed ahead to the crown.

How am I supposed to keep up?

The walk down was the same route going down, slipping here and there, riding sections on my arse. It was a day to remember spent with my son Hunter with the knowledge days like these are few and far between.

Smoky skies.