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.

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.

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.

a reminder

A Raven at the dump, saying don’t feel sorry for me, you filthy bastards!

It’s good to wake up and not have to go to work. A long weekend gives that little bit extra. Fuck laying the clothes out on Sunday. Rushing, getting a shave in, reconstructing your constitution, always important to see you through.

To have a whole other day is a reward. The lawn ain’t mowed. The beans aren’t in. Still time to putter. Have a beer between jobs. Entertain Willow. Lounge at breakfast. Read the paper. All the good ones are online now. I am going to be pissed once my eyes go for good.

A smart man would take advantage of this extra time. After all the shit could hit the fan at any time. Still the odds are in my favour. It’s been awhile since an astroid hit, so excuse me if I take my time.

The wild orchids are up same as the spinach. Hummingbirds test the feeder and chase each other off.

It makes me wonder where my personal responsibilities lie considering the state of the world. How can I be happy when bombs are falling in the Middle East, when lies are being pushed be governments and officials of every creed?

The mountains are getting a dusting of snow. The frost is off for a few days at least. The plants will feed us through summer.

The stars are up each night. Doing their best to shine into my soul. They remind me to fight for what I think is right, but most of the time, they remind me I am part of something huge.

They remind to take advantage of what has been given. I can fight at the drop of a hat, but I have to be reminded to watch birds.

mess

Covid has sent people looking for recreation in the bush. It is one of the few things the government has encouraged people to do. Some trails have become exceptionally busy. Other places have been destroyed by people looking for a place to party and shoot off guns. Garbage and destruction has become commonplace.

Lisa and I have enjoyed the trails and roads up Windermere Creek for years. It is one of the first spots I can remember following my father through the bush. Logging and mining have taken it’s toll. Because this spot is close to the valley bottom it has attracted record numbers of tourists running snowmobiles, All Terrain Vehicles (ATV’s) and four wheel drives. The result is a mess around every corner.

That is not to say Albertan’s are responsible for all the mess. They alone don’t hold ownership on stupidity. Unfortunately we get some of Alberta’s worst out here, however, sadly, there is plenty of locals that also fit the profile.

This winter, someone tried pulling the water pipe out of the underground spring many get their drinking water. In all the years passing this spot I’d never seen such nonsense.

In this spot bottles and cans, garbage, live trees cut, old TV’s (to shoot at), snowboards, mufflers (possibly stolen for the catalytic converters), a truck canopy and spent rifle and shotgun shells.

Every spring Lisa and I clean some of these areas and take the garbage to the dump. Not this year. It is too much of a mess and it will only be added too. These spots are spoiled. They have already become dumping spots.

My hope is the yahoos and dipshits will stick to these spots, happy to trash these areas only. I know that is wishful thinking.

As for me, I’m not going back for two reasons; it’s painful to see and I’d be tempted to carry a club.

early June

RCE_5618More rain in the valley bottom, snow in the mountains. We took an extra special trip behind Swansea, beside the swollen creek running pure mud, under a canopy of black spruce. My kind of day Lisa remarked.

RCE_5630

It would be nice to have a rainy year for a change. It does the bush good. I expect the bush to be extra busy this year with people from out of province camping in every nook and cranny due to campsites being closed to out of province visitors. The rational for this decision is to keep people close to home during the pandemic. Both Alberta and British Columbia have implemented this rule.
RCE_5629

In our neck of the woods I have already seen Albertans camped in the damndest places with, motorbikes, ATV’s, trailers on jacked up trucks, booze and loud music, sky high bonfires and not a drop of water in a five mile radius. It’s a recipe for disaster. At least if the recreational and commercial campsites were available to them they would be kept in check with plenty of water available and threat of a scolding if they get out of hand.

It started to pour, we were back down too soon for my liking.
RCE_5633

long weekend

_LME3237Dave rolls a dart, Chewy licks the papers. It’s a joint effort.

Damn, this has been a busy long weekend. Calgarians tailgating everywhere they go. All in a hurry to have fun. Making the most of it, they must figure.

While driving through town I saw two incidents of road rage. All four involved were from the city. One had a Flames front licence plate, stealing another’s parking spot. Cue the horn, hand gestures and expletives. I am ashamed to say this warms my heart. I wish the Flames were as aggressive.

It never ceases to amaze me how people act on holiday while trying to relax.

It also never ceases to amaze me the wealth that flows into the valley. If Alberta is hurting, we don’t see it here.

Also, if there is a climate crisis we don’t see it here. It’s big cars, trucks, boats, RV’s, ATV’s and huge second homes built as close to the water as they can get away with. All spewing CO2, polluting the land and water. Perhaps when they start worrying I should too.

Some of these folks can be counted as our most vocal environmentalists. Always reminding us they love it so much this is where they decide to vacation, drive, boat, ATV, fly, build, spend their money and die. Don’t think I don’t appreciate it. I have a $16 an hour job because of it.

Tonight the sky is blue. The breeze is warm. My arms are tanned and I have a full garden of food.

Very fine day.

selfie shtick

IMG_1483Selfie on a post-it note of me sucking on a sore tooth.

The kids are sticking to their routine. They awake and are in bed on time.

***

The city keeps chugging along. I don’t believe I could ever get used to it.

***

I saw a semi hauling a large piece of equipment stuck on a corner. Traffic backed up a mile. It had several pilot vehicles as it weaved the city streets. The equipment probably being transferred to the ring road construction. It looked to me like he was screwed. However, when I returned the same way about a half hour later it was free and on the side of the road. All the men were out of their vehicles looking at the scraped light standard on one side of the road and the demolished tree on the other. What to do?

***

My daughter bought us a Starbucks gift card so we could get coffee. I enjoy the Americano. Today we had one at the bookstore. I bought a New York Times and a copy of Ron Rash’s novel The Risen. It was a hardcover edition regular $33 for $5 on the discount table. It is a good story and quick read as I am almost finished it.

I can certainly see why there is a constant stream of Calgarians into our neck of the woods each weekend. I have noticed at the bookstore and malls that people are not so much there to shop as to hang out.

***

We ran into another set of grandparents at the park the other day. Their grandson was a little older than Cooper, but seemed hesitant. Before long he was tagging after Copper to the highest parts of the play structure.

The grandfather stood in front of me often blocking my valuable sight of my grandkids playing. He wanted to know where I was from. I told him BC. Where he asked. Invermere I said. He laughed, that’s not BC he said that’s just a small part of Alberta. I’d heard this all before.

He went on to tell me ‘we’ fuel your economy. Then he said, Alberta funds the entire Canadian economy and what do they get in return, if it wasn’t for us, yada fucking yada, repeat.

He also went on about kids today. Millennials living in their parents basement, which his son was one. I hoped his grandson didn’t hear his grandfather’s estimation of his father.

He told me about their big house, their vacation house and ‘toys’; 4×4’s, sleds. motorhome etc. Albertans work hard and play hard, he summed up.

I have ran into this type over and over. You can’t avoid them where we live. To have come across this one in his home environment was just bad luck. It always amazes me how such boring, deficient, dimwits have accumulated so much wealth.

***

The forecast calls for snow that will surely green thing up once it melts.