love

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The Lyrids are flying. Tomorrow they will peak. Weather permitting Lisa and I will be out fishing for them.

We went out tonight to test the waters. As soon as the coffee was made the clouds rolled in, we went out just the same.

I am easily discouraged these days; clouds, moon interfering. I long for dark skies with starlight so bright it casts shadows, the treetops tangled in a bottomless sky and the rivers running silver.

Souls, like bats, fly so close they take my breath when I duck my head.

Lisa pushes me until I see the beauty.

trouble down below

_LME4835-smThe spring Milky Way over a frozen lake.

This isolating, quarantining, whatever you want to call it is going to kill me. Lisa and I have been looking at each other with tiger eyes. Luckily she knows how to run away from me. I shaved my beard, that made Lisa happy. Lisa says I have Ron Duguay hair and Bobby Clark’s smile, her two favourite hockey players growing up. Desperate times call for desperate measures. If it means me not putting my teeth in so be it.

The valley bottom is all upset, yet the sky still marks time and reminds us where we stand. I feel comfort in that.

Once this is all over, I’m going to get in shape so I can catch Lisa anytime I want. Till then, fortunately, she pretends to trip up once and awhile.

worm moon

moon risesmGoodness me! Who took a bite out of the Moon!

Lisa and I headed for Brewer Ridge to watch the Full Moon rise over the valley.

The Moon always seems to take it’s time rising, especially when it’s cold. Lisa and I took pictures of the mountains until the light ran out. We admired bright Venus above and at our backs. Orion unveiled in the darkness along with the Twins of Gemini, Pleiades appeared just before the Moon.

CRW_0006-Pano.smThe last of the days light on the eastern slopes.

At last the few whispy clouds in the east became illuminated and the Moon peeked out behind the rocky crags.

RCE_4737The Moon picks a spot to rise along the ridge.

looking for eagles

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Not a lot of snow but enough to shovel each day. We went looking for eagles after work in the last of the light. There was only a lone Magpie picking at the remains left over from the Eagles. How I enjoyed watching these animals when I was a youngster. Their flash and gregarious call. Flying from branch to branch above the nest. Under the nest were half eaten fish, small bones, and pieces of birds; ducks by the looks of it. It must be good to be an Eagle. Willow took advantage, rolling on anything that smelled, mostly fish, but carried a ducks wingspan for a length, before I scolded, and demanded she dropped it. She gets sick on feathers. Those Eagles like to spread the love, discounting fish, rodents and any bird smaller than them, of course.

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Venus and Saturn sat above the mountain at dusk. Venus is unmistakeable in evening or dawn either east or west. It’s hard not to be roused by it’s sight, hanging above the ridges against a not yet dark sky.

Lisa gave Willow a bath when we arrived home.

Very fine day,

thin ice

_LME4259-PanosmThe River of Souls.

Willow and I followed the road west. It was twisted and busy. Folks heading to the resort in the mountains. When we got to the resort we kept going. Trying to put the light behind us in an attempt to get realigned with the stars.

There was very little snow even at higher elevations, much more on the east side of the valley where we feel more comfortable. Probably could have gone straight to Jumbo. I ain’t afraid of ghosts, it’s the living that scare the shit out of me. I was afraid to see Oberti, Morrow, Deck and Bergenske having a wiener roast talking over how they can keep milking it.

_LME4231-PanosmPleiades in the creek bottom.

It was all the jets going over that reminded me of those jokers. I hate jets, blinking across the sky, interrupting the stars, it pisses me off we even thought of such a way of transportation. Maybe it’s the abuse of such an invention that bothers me. It’s either flying fattened business people across the globe or the above mentioned dipshits to their desired destinations, where they consider themselves explorers, but the locals know they are only annoying tourists.

It was tempting to turn up Delphine. Even in summer the road quickly turns to shit.

But I ain’t young. -16°c feels cold in these early days of winter. I’m getting older and running off the road and walking out doesn’t appeal to me.

The snow will be deeper in no time, cutting off the bush.  Best to make hay while the sun shines.

story time again

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Bishop’s neighbour was a recluse and the most social guy he knew – both. He stayed up all night and hid out in the day behind pulled curtains. He was a drunkard, and a womanizer, drug addict, miscreant, he could be obstinate and a genuine prick on the wrong day, even with Bishop. In the same week he could be well dressed, connected, a phone to his ear, rounding up business and a tee-time. They lived across from each other in the park going on thirty years.

They both agreed on tourists and condos, they were both breast men, but as they grew older they more appreciated a quick mind, smiling eyes. Neither said so each other or anyone else for that matter. Sometimes, like a tomato plant touched with frost, his neighbour tried harder, developing fruit too quickly with the women he encountered. They both were guilty of this foolishness, but they only recognized the fault in each other.

His nieghbour installed a hot tub in the front yard for just this purpose. It was sunk into the ground. It wasn’t fenced. Bishop fell into one night after running out of Rye, drunk and crossing the street looking for reserves. They say a person can drown in a cup of water. Bishop found that out. He was rescued, while flaying his arms, pumping his legs searching for bottom, taking on chlorine. His neighbour pulled him out by the collar of his jacket. Said, “What the fuck you goin’ for a swim at this hour?”

Once, in summer, he set up a pool table beside the hot tub. It ran down hill from southeast to northwest. If you had to shoot from due south, there was no way to avoid it, at least one foot was in the hot tub. This made him laugh saying, “About time you got your feet wet.”

The first of winter can do things to people. Bishop drove his truck off the road, was stuck in the bush for two days, building fires as close to the truck as he dared. Thawing ice and snow and throwing ashes under the wheels. He was lucky to get out before Spring.

Tonight, Bishop’s nieghbour walked outside, yelled something to the sky. Continued walking with a hand gun at his side. Fully outside, he pointed the gun in the air and fired several shoots. On the last shot, the ice broke, and he fell into his frozen hot tub.

Bishop yelled across, “What the fuck you goin’ for a swim at this hour?”

He pushed the broken ice aside. Fired another round into the sky. Booked it like a wet marmot inside. The police drove by about fifteen minutes later, slow with their side lights on.

This was the first sure sign of winter – the ice was thin, somebody has to test it before it hardens.

He’d check on his nieghbour come morning. They were both due to go into hibernation.

new moon

_LME3701Backroads.

It’s been awhile. The stars are up there still. The old moon this morning was a reminder of dark skies, the best time to wonder around. 

So off we went.

_LME3698Andromeda.

Plenty of cloud, not the best conditions. Willow and I headed higher without further success. We walked the old road trying to register bearings. Taurus, up in the valley bottom, was down in the mountains. Cassiopeia was left, showing the way to Andromeda. Despite the weather, or the week, or the news, or our predicament, distance became irrelevant.

That happens when you are where you belong.

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Early

_LME247smWoke up to the sound of Willow throwing-up the stick she ate the day before. She does that sometimes. It was 2:30am. I put her out and cleaned up the mess. I tried to go back to sleep with no success. Since it was clear, we (Willow and I) decided to go for a walk and look at stars. Willow was happy, it took me awhile to get into it. We opted to stay in the valley bottom. The ice is almost entirely off the lake. The Milky Way stretched the length of the lake and was visible regardless of the artificial light. By 7am it was off to work. The days only guarantee would be an early bedtime.

Early December

_LME9439-Pano-smThe sky above Lake Windermere. Pleiades directly above Taurus. The lights of Windermere and Fairmont. A satellite streaks at the top of the frame.

The snow still hasn’t started to fly in earnest. It’s coming, it always does. Meanwhile, I’m still getting used to the cold. My toque goes on in the morning and doesn’t come off until bed. Lisa even wore hers through the weekend. She looks cute in a toque.

_LME9441.segComet 46P/Wirtanen can be seen in the leading photo. This is it enlarged. It looks like a green smudge. Throughout December it will rise in the eastern sky towards Pleiades. 

Our house can be chilly. We believe in putting on a sweater before turning up the heat. The woodpile is holding up. It has some good wood in it. Fir, tamarack, pine and even juniper. It’s good to mix it up. If you are cold and need it warm quick, pine is the way to go. If you want it slow and hot, fir. If you are going to bed and want some embers in the morning, then tamarack. If you are staying up, maybe you’ve had some wine or smoke, juniper will set the mood with it’s wonderful smell and light.

Every know and again I’ll get a few blocks of spruce. It’s light put hard to split due to it’s twisted grain. If it freezes hard in November the trees crack like gunshots. When splitting, it is not uncommon to come across a worm, pale white, as big as a finger, hiding in the wood. It always crosses my mind maybe someday I’ll be happy to come across this protein.

Speaking of protein. I made mincemeat on the weekend. Currents, raisins, apple, brown sugar, sherry, suet, orange and lemon peel and every spice in the cabinet. I think those old-timers knew how to cook.

Lisa makes wonderful pastry and has promised me tarts.

Winter is looking better all the time.

There it is

_LME9434ISS appears in the west. The streak is its movement captured in a 30 second exposure.

There have been plenty of times I’ve seen the International Space Station go across the night sky. Tonight was the first night I planned for it. It seemed only fitting with newly arrived Canadian, David Saint-Jacques aboard. 

It is the first time a Canadian has been in space since Chris Hadfield in 2013.

Chris Hadfield has been an inspiration to Canadians, sharing his experiences, singing songs and even writing a children’s book. 

I followed Hadfield’s photography when he was on the Space Station. He took wonderful images of the Canadian landscape as it appeared from space. They were both fierce and fragile.

_LME9425-Pano.smA panorama of three photos facing east. Taurus, Hyades and Pleiades can be seen in twilight. A meteor streaks towards Nutmucqcin. 

I arrived early took a few pictures and set up the camera. Sure enough the Space Station appeared right on time in the west and started across the sky. It increased in brightness as it moved directly overhead. It was my intention to get a photo of it against the eastern landscape, however the cold made my camera loosen from the tripod. Metal parts shrink in -12°c. The camera had been sitting without use for a half hour. By the time I secured the camera ISS was gone. That’s planning for you and why I’ll never work for NASA.

From what I read and hear all Canadians are excited to have another astronaut to cheer for and wish David Saint-Jacques a safe, successful mission.