Hunting Knife

My father’s old hunting knife was left to my brother. My brother Ron passed away last fall. His wife Leslie was going through stuff and came across it and passed it on to me. I had almost forgot it. It brought back a lot of memories of hunting and being with my father and brother.

Although it was my father’s knife my brother and I took our turns packing it and sometimes playing with it. My brother was exceptionally good at handling knives, throwing and catching them, laying his palm flat and stabbing between his fingers until the knife was a blur. My father didn’t see this.

Later my father got a new hunting knife, a gift from my mother, much nicer, expensive and shiny. My father’s rule was a good knife had to be christened with blood before it was properly broken in. That fall we were out early and bagged a deer. The new knife didn’t see much action after that as food became more plentiful.

This old knife would have been used to skin and dress many animals, most before I started hunting. It was an important tool in our family. Sharpened more at the tip for skinning, the last animal a bear.

The knife is a Solingen with an elk carved into the stag handle. From information I could find, it was made during WWII. It may seem unusual German knives were imported during that time, but maybe not, German knives and rifles were sought after for their quality. I like to think it was a gift from his father, presented to my dad when he returned from the war. Of course, this is more likely my romantic notions getting the better of me. There is only three people that would know the origins of this knife, my grandfather, father and brother who remembered everything.    

I own several Solingen/Boker knives and they are among my favourites. 

The blade of this knife has a patina on the blade that I am fond of. It is due to the high carbon content of the blade and just the way I remember it when I was a kid. I thought about cleaning it up and putting a razor edge on it, but decided against it. It is still plenty sharp. I am sure some of the dark dirt in the stag handle is ink from my father’s hands, dirty from toiling with the type and presses in the newspaper shop.

It is a wonderful keepsake full of memories. I am happy my Sister-in Law Leslie decided to give it to me.

Cooper saw me typing this today and the photograph. He liked it. I asked if he wanted the knife. He said he did. He may change his mind, but for now, it makes me feel good I could pass it on.

Day one

Fishing hole.

The first day of a week off. Willow and I headed out for some fishing. I expected the bush to be busy. To my delight it wasn’t, not sure why. We stopped at the first lake and put the boat in. Caught a couple nice Cut Throat Trout that we turned loose. We had left over roast at home in the fridge. I was using a barbless hook and they came off easy.

Willow saying, ‘Let’s get this show on the road’.

An Eagle sat on a tree, also fishing, we kept an eye on each other. The fish were deep but came up with my hook. I didn’t want to get into a spitting match over who’s fish it was in case I hooked one the Eagle was interested in. This has happened to me before. I have a policy never to hook Eagles or Beavers while fishing.

A dandy! It threw the hook into my finger. Good thing it was barbless.

I never saw a soul until the fire marshall rolled up on me. They check to make sure people put out their camp fires. Low and behold it was a teacher I worked with at the School District. He also taught our kids. He was one of the good ones, probably the best. We had a good talk. We called it after the mosquitos had had their fill.

The garden is producing. Willow is asleep. The sprinkler is going. I am sunburnt. Sometimes you get lucky.

dreams

It was a big dog, face twice the size of mine, docile. It would have been okay if it wasn’t for the two cougars following me. The older was injured the young one was following along. Dogs are smart, instinctual, they smell fear. I was the intermediate between both worlds, cougar and dog. Not understanding either.

The old cougar woke up, knocked out most likely, saw the young one. The big dog knew right away the game was on and started barking, slow and deep, its giant face, jowls and eyes jiggling.

The cougar reared back and made itself twice as big as the hound. There was no reason to step in.

***

The last dream. I was playing hockey and had to put the puck in an empty net and couldn’t do it.

***

Usually something goes wrong.

***

But sometimes I am swimming in the deep water out at the logs. Doing backflips into the lake when the sun goes down, while a girl in jean shorts straddles the log watching me. If the time is right I elevate into the sky. That’s better than anything conscious or dreaming.

***

Willow asks if we are going fishing tomorrow and I tell her, ya.

Lazy

A handsome cinnamon Black Bear reacting to a bark from Willow. It turned and disappeared into the bush. Willow’s bark often sends bears up trees.

Lisa and I spent a quiet weekend at home. The valley was extremely busy with it being the Canada Day long weekend. The week leading up to the weekend was rife with hard work for Lisa and I. It was good to kick back and take it easy. We didn’t leave the yard on Saturday.

A bunch of Wood Orchids.

This morning we were up early, Lisa gave me a haircut and shave, then we took for the mountains. We figured most of the revellers from Alberta would have their minds on getting back over the BC/Alberta border. The roads were busy in the valley bottom. Once we left the black top it calmed down.

We have a week off coming up. Lisa said she can’t remember when we had a week off in the summer. We are looking forward to it.

One more look.

Canada Day

Yellow roses.

I worked at the resort today. It was busy. The guests and employees were in good moods. It was wonderful to see the guests enjoying the amenities that everyone works so hard to maintain. Guests even asked if they could help with maintenance items like defrosting a fridge or carrying needed furniture. The pool and hot tubs were rocking with the smell of sun screen in the air.

Canada is a wonderful place. If you don’t think so look at the news. We are lucky, just by chance, of where we were born. The least we can do is treat the people we meet; visitors, immigrants and fellow country men with respect. If any people should be pissed off it’s the First Nations, yet they still accept and treat their fellow inhabitants with kindness. They always have, if truth be known.

Canada is a country with plenty of faults and prejudices, hopefully, they are being weeded out and replaced with understanding and tolerance. I believe that’s what’s happening. I see it everyday. Goodness trumps bigotry.

Romaine lettuce before being made into Caesar.

It just doesn’t seem that way, because of the bad constantly streamed to our phones. It is easier to be taken in by negativity than goodness. That’s why they keep streaming and people keep sharing. It is a false narrative if repeated enough may become true. Canadiens are smarter than that. That’s why we celebrate.

***

Willow letting on.

The garden is up and about, putting out. About this time last year a hail storm blew through and knocked every leaf off every plant.

***

Whatever, you have to roll with it. That’s Canadien.

Late June

Willow getting stripped.

A wonderful weekend. It was Cooper’s birthday, as is tradition in our house, he was allowed to pick his supper. He picked BBQ ribs, asparagus, corn, mashed potatoes and garlic toast. He wanted it made by me, which made me feel special. I also made a salad. His great Grandparents came over, to make four generations celebrating his birthday and enjoying supper.

***

Blue sky and ridges.

Lisa and I were behind Swansea early this morning. We finished stripping Willow. It has taken a few sessions to get her done. She is not fond of sitting still while we pull her long wire hair out a few strands at a time. Although it doesn’t hurt her, our previous Wire-Haired seemed to enjoy it, she sometimes puts up a fuss until we give her a break and let her have a run. She looks good now just in time for the upcoming warm weather.

Bunching onions.

***

The garden is coming. Lots of lettuce for every meal. The garlic is putting out scapes that are delicious and spicy. The spuds have blossoms. The peas have come up like never before, assuring the kids will have plenty to pick. Today was clear blue skies, still snow to come down in the high country, the heat is on it’s way.

Scarlett working on a drawing.

***

Inflation is up in Canada. Lisa and I are careful, as we always have been, learned from growing up without much. It’s our normal. That’s not to say we save every penny, quite the contrary, when we have money we spend it, but we can also make do with nothing if we have to. We have cut back plenty since the start of 2022.

***

The tourists from Alberta are out in force. Today I was cut off only once. Car alarms sounded through downtown, the sound of summer locals call it, two Albertans got into a yelling match in the Canadian Tire parking lot, this makes my heart glad, a guilty pleasure to watch a couple of type A arseholes go at each other.

The wealth that rolls in from Alberta into BC is insane. Boats, RV’s, large four wheel drive vehicles trailering ATV’s of every make and size. It is incredible! There is no restraint from our neighbours to the east.

For the record I have been accused of hating on Albertans. I should make it clear I don’t hate Albertans. I hate people that disrespect the place they choose to holiday. In this area, the majority guilty of contempt are tourists and second home owners from Alberta. It’s just the way it is.

I am sure the inhabitants who live three hours from Vancouver feel the same about the Vancouverites who recreate and tear the shit out the area they call home.

There are plans to build camps for workers earning minimum wage so they have places to live and serve tourists from Alberta. Atco trailers have been proposed. Some rich guy has even graciously donated the land. Of course it ain’t free and they well be charged rent. It’s promised the rent will be reasonable, something the workers can afford.

***

Up the creek this morning, plenty of tourists camping, sleeping in. Tonight is the kind of evening I used to go back and clean up the mess, garbage and empties they leave behind. Now Lisa and I do it in September at the end of tourist season, it is impossible to keep up otherwise.

***

Lavender.

CBC had a news story about large companies taking advantage during this spell of inflation to raise prices, blaming the war in Ukraine or the pandemic, to justify jacking prices and registering record profits. Many Canadian gas and oil companies, historically not the most virtuous or upstanding of corporate citizens, are guilty of this practice.

Jagmeet Singh, the leader of the federal NDP party suggested the offending companies should have their profits taxed heavily and their windfall dispersed to Canadians in the form of a rebate. Of course, this will never happen, but I like his thinking. Unfortunately, there is too many Canadian businesspeople and politicians who still think greed is good.

My kind of cabbage.

single leg trap

There ain’t many left, but I see a few downtown. Usually they are hell and gone creek bound, stumbling up or down a mountain looking for bears, goats, sheep, elk, moose or the next good huckleberry patch, always keeping an eye out for straight pine, without a knot for the first twenty feet, something that will lend it’s self to easy dovetail and make a descent cabin.

The fish and muskrat will come, same as the beaver and lynx, bobcat and coyotes. There is still people that want to wear fur. Sometimes just a bit for trim. The animals get to live on in a place where they won’t bear their teeth.

You ever try opening a trap to set an animal loose? It’s easier to kill them with a rifle or rock. That’s why you never see three legged wild animals.

It’s a collaboration. They don’t get to watch the world go to hell. They live like their fathers. The snow gets deep and things don’t turn out, they wonder about something easier, sunshine for instance in the November cold. Then it gets colder and finally the sun comes back making everyone feel special.

The animals trapped given their druthers, more than likely, would prefer having their hide on the hood of a rich bitch instead of being eaten by magpies.

Not that any of us get the choice.

Rain

Lavender.

The garden is coming. We have enjoyed some wonderful salads. Everything is up and if I don’t get the fences up for the peas soon they will flop over and will have to be trained.

Iris.

The rain has been falling for a couple of three days now. The grass is knee high. The good neighbour Larry’s feral cats, the mother and kittens, are starting to wonder around. She took up nesting under his hot tub that hasn’t been operational for ten or fifteen years. The cat’s a calico. Larry’s a radical. Not sure how the kittens look. All I hope is they stay across the road, which they won’t. Larry might, but the cats will wonder.

Red Cabbage.

We still can’t see the tops of the mountains due to storms. If it heats up the snow will melt up high, the rivers will swell and the wetlands will flood. It’s been a long time since Athalmer has been underwater, lot’s of fill and dykes. Can’t say it won’t happen again.

Murmur

A Fairy above the forest floor.

A lot of good stuff out there despite it all. It’s always been that way. It takes looking, searching even, sacrificing, just when you think it doesn’t exist it jumps up and slaps you in the face.

Yellow Orchid.

It’s what’s given to you, a gift. Born in the wrong era, hellbent to prove them wrong. Adrenaline and height, lost on purpose just to find yourself back. It’s the only war most people will know.

Twins.

It’s easy to die, to live in these times takes courage, fortitude, strength and conviction. You have to be quick to react, and do so with the same purpose of a murmur of starlings or school of fish.

Solomon’s Seal.

The Bottoms

There used to be family who lived in the valley bottom beside the salmon beds. Mosquitoes, swamp, their house flooded every year in high water. They also had the train tracks running right beside their house.

The CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway) came to them, said they wanted to twin the track and they would give them above market value for their place.

The property owner said, no. The CPR countered with a better offer and he still said, no.

Negotiations went on for awhile without the home owner budging. The CPR finally built the twin rail on the other side of his house. The opposite side was out of the question due to the flow of the Columbia River. He and his family lived there for the rest of their time, trains running on either side of them.

Some locals thought they were nuts, others thought good for them for standing their ground.

***

Lisa and I headed north on the highway today. It was peaceful after Radium. Not much traffic. We stopped in Edgewater, Brisco and Spillimacheen. We stopped and bought some smoked meat and Gorgonzola cheese to have for lunch. Absolutely delicious. We picked up a few plants at a roadside nursery even though the garden is full. It was a nice outing.

Lisa asked me on the way back if I still liked where we live.

We live in town and things are changing by the minute. When developers started putting up condos they looked out of place. Now our place, without an 8′ fence, on a big lot with a garden looks out of place.

***

A few years ago the Mayor stopped by my place to tell me our place, as the town grows, will be the next to be zoned commercial.

He was a snivelling little bastard who’s claim to fame was captaining the local Jr B hockey team to a championship.

His point was, sell now and get out of Dodge. He also didn’t like me very much and took satisfaction in telling me the score.

Once he gave up small town politics, he counted his money, cashed in favours and got the hell out of town.

***

Perhaps we are like the family that lived by the tracks. Refusing to leave, stubborn, while the place takes on a different life, changing. Sometimes I feel like the trains are running on either side. But where do you go?