December 1st

Last light.

Most of the day on a plow, jumping off here and there to shovel. The housekeeping manager hit a deer coming in. She was fine. Her KIA looks fucked. The deer dead as a doornail. To make matters worse a big dog ran onto the road to feed on the deer. Stressing her further that the dog would then be hit on the road.

***

A young houseman wondered where his team was. The team are the housekeepers.

He said, I think they have left. Can I go home?

I said, I can’t see them leaving early. Call them on the radio.

OK, he said, but looked dejected.

He told me later his girlfriend was home alone. Their young son was having his first day at daycare. They live in staff housing and everyone else was at work.

He said, she is home alone.

They probably don’t get a lot of alone time.

If I was the boss I would have given him the rest of the day off. With the advice to pull off on the way home and jerk off, as not to disappoint her with his pent up anticipation.

That’s probably why I’m not the boss.

The Moon and Jupiter in a close conjuncture.

The sun came out a good hour before noon. That’s winter. It’s lovely. Lisa says I have to change my shirt daily because I sweat shovelling and stink.

Just the way she says it turns me on.

Late November

A River Otter shows interest in Willow and I. I have a new camera and am still getting used to it. This was taken in low light and I was disappointed my focus wasn’t as sharp as it could be.

It seems winter has caught up with us. Not a lot of snow, but it is coming. The temperatures have cooled down. Yesterday it was minus 19. Cold enough.

Ruffed Grouse. Focus on point.

Lisa and I have been busy with our various jobs and with family. We are old enough to know how important it is to make time for the people we love, especially our grandkids, Cooper and Scarlett.

Canada geese

Winter is my favourite time of year. The air feels good. The snow is fresh, plainly cleansing the mountains and valley bottom. The streams run strong depositing icicles on the low hanging branches. And not least of all, the slippers, covers and fireplace all feel good after a day outside. That’s the old man in me talking.

Join me for a skate on the Lake Windermere. This was about a week ago before the snow flew. The ice isn’t very thick, but to get out there in November is always a treat.

Weekend

Willow fetching sticks in the Columbia River.

A very good weekend. A sleep over with our Grandkids, a family dinner of ribs, vegetables, garlic mashed potatoes and my favourite triple chocolate cake. To top it off, I tagged along north to Golden to watch Cooper play hockey.

A Canadian Goose swims into the golden hour.

Lisa made the entire weekend special for my birthday.

A Bald Eagle watches over for an opportunity.

Saturday Willow and I found time to walk down the river and watch the geese and eagles. We took a few pictures and Willow chased a few sticks.

Willow swims up to an ice ledge but can not pull herself up. She proceeded to swim a few yards upstream to the rocky shore.

Very fine weekend.

Warm

Crazy dreams, cozy. People alive, that haven’t been seen for awhile and plenty of dead people too. All the people I love or did.

Had my head down today. In and out of a plow, shovelling snow. It was just a skiff. Winter eases us into its season. Sometimes it can be a bastard. Freezing beards, crawling up ankle socks, long underwear and Lullulemon britches, which are similar if not the same thing, when I wear them my ass looks anything but nice.

Wood heat, electric blankets. Putting your head under the covers and flexing. Whatever it takes to keep warm.

Shovelling, plowing, gathering around the fireplace. 

All those friends and family in the dreams working hard to keep warm.

Sunday in November

Above the din. The valley is below that grey cloud cover.

Socked in down below. We headed for higher ground. Lisa said, she hoped it wasn’t a harbinger to come. The valley bottom can close in on you. Sometimes the only way is to meet the blue halfway.

***

A waning moon rolls down the backside of Swansea.

The stores had bare shelves this weekend. The only things left were expensive. Sobeys had a two rib roast, about three pounds for $119. I often wonder who pays that or does that roast go to waste. It could be it is a long weekend and the tourists are out in force. Prices go up on long weekends. It was the same in all three grocery stores.

We keep food in the freezer for these occasions. Some shank meat, garlic, onions, beef broth and red wine makes for a good stew.

***

Willow and Lola. Lola is a puppy and wanted to play with Willow and the stick. She was greeted with growls when she tried to take it away.

Our national broadcaster, CBC, gives us news and entertainment, and also lets us know, or suggests how we should think and prepare. More than likely exceeding their mandate. Lately, there has been plenty of articles about belt tightening and preparing for the worst. If they are to believed, the economy is going to go in the shitter. Higher prices and interest rates, less medical, education and safety nets.

***

Canadians, unlike Americans don’t blame our politicians. We concede it is world wide. Americans put up stickers of President Biden pointing at the increased price at the pumps with the caption, ‘I did that’.

***

It is hard to know what will happen next. We are lucky to live at a time in history, that we don’t die of an ear or tooth infection at nine years old. We get to live to the oldest age in human history. Our warring has slowed. Technology has spared us from the fate of our ancestors. Yet we can only think about how bad things are for us. Plenty of people on this planet have reason to complain, but here, in Canada and the US, for the most part, we do not.

Willow loving November.

Remembrance

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The full moon the evening of the eclipse. By the time the eclipse happened it had completely clouded over. That’s the way it works sometimes.

Remembrance Day, not sure what to make of it anymore. The news is full of discontent and war. Should the day be a reminder that discontent can easily turn to war?

I’m older now and can see further into my father’s eyes. I’m still a youngster sitting beside my Grandfather while he took his jackknife and cut into a black spot on his hip and took out shrapnel 50 years after Passchendaele.

Men were born to fight. Would I have been a better man in battle? There is guilt in not fighting.

***

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Looking between the mountains. The colour of the evening sky on a cold clear night.

Some chill in the air. The turnips in the garden were pulled just in time. We are eating the carrots as fast as we can. Lisa makes kale chips often with the impossible task of using them all up.

***

The lake has a skim of ice. If we get some cold without snow the skating will be spectacular.

Trumpeter Swans

Plenty of honking today as flocks of Swans made their way south. The cold is coming, the weather report says -19°c tomorrow.

Pulled a few more turnips. Walked the tracks to get closer to the Swans. They are difficult to sneak up on, especially with the Willow dog.

A few took off into the wind and made the turn directly overhead. Deep voices and large wingspan, mocking us bound to the ground.

It feels good to walk those tracks, hear the birds, squinting loosing the ruck.

November 1st

Hanging on.

It’s damn near winter, the snow could fly anytime in the valley bottom, it’s wetter than a river otter’s pocket. The garden still has kale, cabbage, carrots, turnips, fennel, beets and cannabis (since it was legalized you can’t give it away).

***

We had fourteen kids came to our door for Halloween. I bought full size chocolate bars to give away. A group of what looked like 10 or 12 year old girls yelled trick or treat. One was dressed in a fur jacket, miniskirt, fishnet stockings and high leather boots. I can’t imagine the conversation with her parents who let her go out in that costume.

***

I made soup on the weekend from a few bones picked up at the store. I browned them in the oven and then made a beef stock. I added grilled, cabbage, leeks, turnip, beets and carrots. All from the garden.

The soup was exceptionally gaseous. I tried to work alone. Warned Lisa. Even Willow seemed disgusted.

When I make soup I like it to last for a few days. I had it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This was the soup that kept giving.

Last night Lisa made Chili. It was a welcome reprieve from the explosive beef vegetable bisque. Not nearly as combustable, Lisa bringing me down gently. I have to get the dog to start trusting me again.

***

Had to deal with a miserable couple today. He was an ugly little cuss, he looked like Danny Devito, except fatter, shorter, uglier and not funny.

He looked at me only as someone who should serve him. That isn’t a problem with me as long as you treat me with respect.

Some people feel entitled. Sure enough, I checked his plates, he was from Alberta, they were vanity plates. With a Fuck Trudeau sticker. These guys are a dime-a-dozen out here. We get the worst of the worst from our neighbours to the east. They’re not all like that.

I took his plate down like I used to take a number of a hockey player that cheap shoted me. You never know when you might run into these arseholes again.

***

After work I chopped wood, tended the pile and filled the woodbox. About as good a job a man can do. Calming the mind. Chopping, assessing, figuring the mix of wood to make a perfect fire.

Cutter

Westman & Baker, Guillotine paper cutter, circa 1910.

Spent the morning in the studio cutting cards and booklets.

Our paper cutter was made by Westman and Baker, a Canadian Company. They went out of business around 1923.

Perhaps their equipment was too good and they hadn’t built in obsolescence like companies like, Apple, Ford, Facebook and just about any successful company. It is never about making things that last anymore. It’s always about selling more stuff.

The jaws of the beast.

I’ve used plenty of high tech cutters. They are easier to use, but don’t do as good of job and they break down, until you relent and buy a new one.

This cutter has been around. My father used to sit me on it in the back shop of The Lake Windermere Valley Echo newspaper and job printing building.

Back guide adjustment.

Even then I used to ask he put the blade down.

Later we used it in our printing business. It was the only cutter we ever had and served us well.

Now it sits in our studio. It doesn’t get used like it once did.

Cards printed on Neenah Environment duplexed with Classic Linen Red Pepper, cut to order.

This cutter depends on feel. The pressure on the paper and the way the blade feels as you draw it down over the surface of job work. I can tell instantly if I am creating a burr on the spine of a booklet or cube of business cards.

To work with this reliable tool is very satisfying.