I’ll take a mulligan

A Ruffed Grouse.

Damn near stepped on a wild chicken. It didn’t move until I was above it. I stopped and waited for Willow to catch up, lagging behind, busied with the smells of mice. The grouse and Willow locked eyes at the same time. Willow gave a bark, the grouse took off in a great flutter of wings and then glided, never more than ten feet off the ground, into the timber, seemingly looking for a place to land. It was long gone or hidden. I knew better from the many times I followed these birds into the trees while packing a twenty-two, only to come up empty, my father laughing at my optimism of an easy shot. The easy shot, he said, was when it was standing right in front of you. It makes me laugh I still don’t see them sometimes. The twenty-two is hidden, but I still crave my father’s mulligan sometimes.

Mother’s Day

A couple of scanned B/W film strips from our old 120 twin reflex camera. Lisa is pregnant with our son Hunter. The film on the right is light struck which wasn’t uncommon if it wasn’t wound properly before opening the back of the camera. It looks like I ran out of film at an inopportune time.

For Mother’s Day Lisa and I headed behind the mountain for breakfast. We snapped a couple pictures, puttered here and there. I remarked that in many of our earlier pictures she was always pregnant. I looked out these photos when we returned home. Lisa always felt comfortable in front of the camera and always felt beautiful when she was pregnant. Who could ever argue.

Lisa is a wonderful Mother and Grandmother. Our children would agree. We are lucky to have her.

In the Windermere

A website I enjoy reading is, In the Windermere, by Alex Weller.

The writing, research and photographs are fantastic. The material highlights local history. Many of the subjects Alex covers are ones I am familiar with and enjoyed talking about with my late father.

Alex does not romanticize history, rather, reports it with footnotes and links to back it up.

So often while reading Alex’s website I am reminded of my father’s recollections of First Nation People and the many names that settled this area my family has called home since 1912.

My father would often point out injustices in those early days of settlement. Alex’s website often confirms, through research and linked footnotes, many of the stories my father and I would discuss.

History was a real time and place. Even the smallest areas have great stories. History reflects and has repercussions until today. I can’t get over, when reading, In the Windermere, how politics haven’t really changed much, but the area sure has.

Line Up

Haze in the east. The waning moon mid right. Lake Windermere the way it should be.

The sky cleared on Saturday morning. Willow and I awoke early and headed out to see the planet alignment of Jupiter, Venus, Mars and Saturn. We looked for high ground with an unobstructed view of the east.

We waited for the moon to rise. By then it was getting light. I could not see any of the planets with my naked eye. I tried several settings on my camera to pick up the planets, hoping I could see them when enlarged on the computer screen, however was unsuccessful.

Moon rise.

A couple things could have been working against me. First, there was a slight haze in the east and could have easily obscured the dim light of the planets. Second, it gets light early here at our latitude of 50°N. And finally, I may have brought the wrong lens, opting for a wide angle instead of a lens that could have focused and enlarged a small part of the sky.

It was still a rewarding morning. We listened to chicken drumming and turkey’s gobbling. Four large Swans flew low over our heads, Willow seemed fine, but I was touched. When the sun got close to rising the song birds started up.

A few Crocuses on the trail in daylight heading out.

skyward

Canadian geese heading north.

A couple of walks on the weekend. We checked out where the old dogs reside. It is enjoyable walking the burn at this time of year. Eagles, flickers, juncos, robins, hawks and bluebirds entertained us with flight and song.

Missing was the sound of meadowlarks, although we have heard them in the valley bottom. Looking over the great expanse of long ago burnt forest we spotted a small herd of whitetail, having been spooked by something unseen by our eyes.

This was a fine spot to lay down our old dogs. Willow and Maynard ran and took in the sights, sounds and smells.

***

The Easter weekend was very busy in the valley. Visitors from Alberta took over the town. Lisa and I discussed our plan for summer to try to stay sane. On our days off we will leave early in the morning, about 6, head for the bush and return in the afternoon after the Albertans are settled heading back into their accommodations.

Alberta tourists will be out in force this year, and who can blame them stuck where they are. Oil is back on the table and they will be squeezing the rocks for every last drop, clamouring to get out to the valley, to their second homes or Airbnb.

Meanwhile Canadians do what we do best, assume a feigned posture, pretending to give a shit about the environment. It is discouraging what has happened to the Valley in our so called leaders haste to cater to the tourist. The gentrification is total, unavoidable and complete.

A typical right winger from Alberta. The trailer he was hauling was full of snowmobiles. More and more have Canadian flags flying or, like this one, fatuous stickers.

lamb

Busy weekend. Lots of tourists.

Things have changed dramatically at the resort. The mood is better. One bad apple does make a difference.

I picked the wrong week to take the long underwear off. Well below freezing everyday this week. Perhaps the end of April will be the new target for shedding the second skin.

Spotted a sick ewe at the resort. It is separated from the herd. Its head is low and lies in gravel. She can still get up. She is bleeding from the hind end. It’s a bit early for Bighorn Sheep to give birth. Maybe a still birth. We have been telling guests to give her room. It is safe on the resort grounds. Unlikely a cougar will take her down there. If people bother her she will wonder off and be picked off by predators.

The best case is the herd will come back and she can rejoin. Or it will make it back to the herd on her own. A perilous journey on her own, but one she may risk. It is amazing how a herd will protect the slowest.

If it can’t she will go to a place to be killed and eaten. Cougars, coyotes, bears, eagles, crows, ravens, dogs, magpies and even songbirds will see she doesn’t go to waste.

Strong Thermal Emissions

Due north towards the lights of Invermere.

Good reports of Northern Lights recently, unfortunately I have slept through the best storms.

Damn chilly in the morning. Last Saturday I shed the long underwear for the year and I’m tempted to put the long thermal underwear back on. Every year it goes on earlier and comes off later. Maybe there will come a time, despite global warming, they will stay on year round. Just for the record, it is not the same long underwear I wear for 7 months straight. I do change them every month or so, usually when my leg hair starts growing through them.

Crocus

Lisa and I went for a walk after work. We stayed in the valley bottom wondering the benches just above the wetlands. Willow ran and dug for mice.

The morning was cold, but the afternoon was spectacular, blue skies from the Purcells in the west to the Rockies in the east.

The crocuses have just started to open. A sure sign of spring. Nodding onions were also sprouting on every exposed hillside. They are the best when young, also the most dangerous as they can be confused with camus that is poisonous.

My garlic and bunching onions are up in my garden. It looks like there will be a good crop of garlic this year as every one planted in the fall is coming up. This has not been the case the last two years.

Very fine day.

Early April

Scarlett helping with the seedlings.

Grey days, typical for April. Lisa and I wondered the creek both Saturday and Sunday this weekend. It was good to be out.

We don’t get as much done on the weekend as we used to, but I like to think we take care of the important stuff.

Willow makes the best of her time on the trail beside the creek.

The kids came over yesterday. Scarlett hasn’t been feeling well. It was good to see she was feeling better. She and Cooper helped me take the seedlings from their starter trays and put them in individual pots. Not my favourite part of gardening. I only start plants I can’t get at the nursery. It is a necessary annoyance. Keeping plants alive until they are ready to be planted in the garden is a chore. I am depended on for water, heat and the right light. The plants should realize like everyone else in my life, I just ain’t that dependable!

Cooper helps with planting.

Haven’t found any wood ticks yet. The garden is waiting to be turned over. The ice is off the small part of the lake. Sap is in the spruce needles and smell good when squeezed between your fingers.

An Eagle, tail feathers in the sun and head in the shade, hunting the fields. Lisa had to be quick to get this shot.

Lisa and I had an argument coming out of the mountains.

Lisa said, You saw a chickadee in the trees beside the creek, coming up, maybe it will be there again.

I said, No it was a chicken.

Lisa said, You said chickadee.

I said, I know what I saw. It was a chicken, a grouse to be exact.

Lisa said, You said chickadee. I was looking for a chickadee.

I answered adamant, No I didn’t. Why would I even point out a chickadee?

Lisa said, Well that’s what you said… maybe you’re starting to stutter.

It is impossible to win an argument with Lisa.

Very fine weekend.

Willow will jump into Lisa’s arms when she asks.