bird watch

Winter finch.

Took off for the creek this morning. At first, we thought the valley bottom would be best. Reconsidered when the mud bogged us down.

The ground is frozen still with melt running over, making a mess of it, challenging buds to appear. Instead we headed higher, until we found a solid layer of ice and snow underfoot. Willow was saved a bath.

The birds have been at it. Most I can’t see. We hear them, chirping and singing, a crow spread it’s wings on the ground, shaking like taking a bath. It is hard to know what it means.

Time to start looking for the first robin singing or owl hooting.

Early March

The fucking world keeps us on our toes. War, racism, bigotry, sickness; not a lot of good news out there.

Our connection to the Earth is in jeopardy. To be clear, the Earth doesn’t care. It will survive in spite of our abuse. Rocks can be moved, crushed and turned into metal, blasted into space even. It is us that have polluted that thin part of the sky that keeps us alive, no longer allowing us to see The Milky Way. The stars that put us in our place are gone.

No wonder we turn against one another.

to the end

I took down the small Canadian flag I have been flying over the garden. Unfortunately the right wing has taken over the flag making it their own. I don’t want to be confused with them. Canada hasn’t seen this level of mock patriotism. It’s new, American even.

***

Odd week so far. People quitting, layoffs and firings. A dip in temperature, then back above freezing. They call it business.

Venus is bright in the morning. The moon a crescent. Always something special at dawn.

I’m not supposed to know what is going on, but I know something’s up. Put the binoculars on Venus and it’s a crescent also.

Something

Chilly, only -10°c in the creek bottom but with a stiff breeze. A difference from the warm winter we have been experienced.

***

An unexpected day off today. Got to the resort and was told to go home due to to it being a stat. The manager usually tells us when he doesn’t want us in on a stat. I’m not surprised, it has been slow for the managers, with ours being particularly aloof, dumbfounded really, and that’s when shit get’s overlooked. Regardless, I was happy to have another day off, even if the money would have been good. Guaranteed it will be a shit show tomorrow with things left undone for three days.

***

Prices are going crazy, inflation the news reports. Fuel a buck-sixty a litre with everyday heading higher. Beef over $50 a kg. Houses in the valley out of reach other than for our neighbours to the east, who, regardless of their constant bitching about how hard done by they are, continue to come in droves, driving three-quarter tons pulling trailers full of snowmobiles and retiring to their cabins (read abominable, opulent second homes) on the shores and hills overlooking Lake Windermere. What a disgrace this once pristine lake has had to endure.

***

Speaking of snowmobile enthusiasts. Willow and I took a drive to a launching spot for sledders. It was the tail end of the weekend and they were all safely tucked in. The lot was littered with garbage, piss and feces. I didn’t let Willow out of the vehicle. She would have worn herself out marking her territory. I once had a Wire-Haired that would have rolled in such offerings.

***

The yahoos in Ottawa have called it a day and left the city. They are so comfortable they can’t even pick a fight against a cause that could make a difference. Sure, it was a ragtag group of racists, homophobes and dipshits, however, there was also lot of regular people there, protesting the fact government is far reaching and incompetent.

Of course, government is incompetent, that is almost the definition of Canadian government. Trudeau’s handling of this crisis has been a disaster. Maxime Bernier, the leader of the People’s Party of Canada is rubbing his hands together at the strides they have made. Whenever you see yellow vested old-time racists, hardworking truckers, and yoga loving, health conscious hippy chicks commiserating together can only signal a movement that may even take Canadian elitists by storm.

***

This of course is all above my pay grade. There is nothing coming around the corner to make it better. When my mother was dying she said she didn’t worry about Lisa and I. We would always get by. I didn’t like she said it, but took it to heart. It didn’t sound like much of an endorsement, but, when you think about how many people don’t get by, it’s something.

waiting for the sun

Cannabis flower.

Up past 8:30 perusing seed catalogues. It’s the mild weather, I guess, making me think of spring. Another cold spell is coming down the pike, they say. Still the thought of dirt being turned over and busted up has me dreaming.

I bought a 500 page seed catalogue at the bookstore. It’s from the States. Crazy vegetables, a complete chapter on eggplant, big too small, round, oblong, deep purple and green. Carrots 4 feet long, though they wouldn’t be that long in my soil unless they could grow through glacially deposited rock. Plenty types of Bok Choy, Fennel, Kale. It’s alphabetical and I’ve only made it to okra.

Flower barrel.

My garden will be the same I suppose. The turnips were a big hit last year. The tomatoes were slow. I have a theory on that. I bought them instead of starting them and I think they were mislabeled at Canadian Tire. Instead of 55 day Early Girl I got some 120 day pineapple tomatoes. I won’t make that mistake again.

Willow between onions, raspberry and zucchini.

Regardless I ripened them inside and they were still good. Not bitter.

It looks like a snowstorm has blown in. No concern, the back of winter is broken, even if it’s bad the end is near.

Gemma walking the rows. Gemma left us late last year. She hung in there as long as she could. Couldn’t have been a better dog.

Satellites

Four satellites.

I mentioned satellites in my last post with one 15 second exposure capturing five. This has become normal with more and more satellites being launched every month.

It used to be exciting to see a satellite when they were rare. Now it seems you can’t look up with out seeing them. I prefer my stars not moving or streaking in photographs.

The night sky is primal to humans, it is embedded in our DNA. We have lost our view of stars due to earth based light pollution, with many people around the globe never seeing The Milky Way. I can’t help but think we are now well on our way to polluting the sky from above.

Two satellites. The last of moonlight catches the top of a mountain.

Regardless of our advancements in space exploration, which are phenomenal, our lose of vision to the stars will have consequences for humankind. Maybe it already has.

early rising

A Pine Grosbeak welcomes the waxing moon.

Willow and I were up early creek bound. Willow knows when I don’t have to work by the clothes I put on. She saw the woolen shirt and was excited. It was clear, with the the moon still up. There was no way she was being left at home.

A piece of toast and we were on our way. We were only a few miles away when I realized I forgot the camera battery, having put it on the charger earlier, an essential piece of equipment if your goal is to take pictures of the night sky. A quick trip back and we were back on track.

Creek bound. This is a single 15 second image capturing 4 or 5 satellites (the one closest to the mountain top could be a meteor. They streak due to their movement during the slow shutter speed. There is a lot of them orbiting the earth. It’s getting tough to get a photo without one being caught in the frame.

Once in the creek bottom we listened for whoots. The Great Horned Owl is the first to get frisky and roost. The creek was silent but for running water. No barks from Willow to let me know we had company. Even the moon choose to go down, darkening the skies, leaving us to our own devices.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been out charting the night sky. It changes every time I look at it. It’s important to become familiar with it again.

A few photos

Water Ouzel
The short tailed American Dipper. Willow and I watched this little guy for about an hour. It seemed to enjoy performing for our entertainment. Of course, maybe it considered us the entertainment as both Willow and I got stuck in the hip high snow trying to get a closer look.
Signs of Spring
I thought these may be the earliest pussywillows until I found a post from a few years ago of pussywillows in January.
Morning Sun
A small Chickadee or Nuthatch (I love subjects you can study your entire life and still not be an expert) looks for sunflower seeds stashed in the fall.

Early February

Scarlett and Willow. They are a close duo. Scarlett knows that Willow wants her to be the boss. Scarlett treats Willow with ultimate kindness, but scolds her if she doesn’t listen. Willow responds and they are the best of friends.

It seems I don’t have the time I used to. It’s morning, then afternoon and I still don’t have much done then it’s supper and evening with not much crossed off the list.

That’s getting old I guess.

Daylight is extended. February is when you notice it. The snow softened enough today that made me think I could walk in it. Before long I was stuck going up. Willow wasn’t much better. We got to laugh at each other. The snow melted in my boots but somehow I stayed warm.

Very fine day.

Willow

Giving me the gears.

Willow loves laying on our laps, soaking up our warmth and attention. I have a heating pad I will sometimes use on my back when I’m sitting on the couch, if I get up she is sure to be laying on it when I return.

Proud, doing her ‘big dog’ walk.

Still, when we walk the creek she barks my attention, wades the water, encouraging me to throw a stick. She will fetch water logged branches and floating ice if I don’t comply.

Fetching driftwood.

Back home she approves of the fireplace being lit, sleeps deep, twitching now and again, perhaps dreaming of that water logged stick that got away.

Fluffing her feathers while shaking off the creek.