A long weekend and the valley bottom is alive with ruck, revellers stirring it up.
Luckily I was wrestling with a nasty sewer pipe and stubborn toilet flange, protecting me from the glut of overindulgence the town has become. The trip to the hardware to pick up closet bolts was a doozy.
Still, I stuck my head out long enough to see the young Cedar Waxwings picking the berries off an Ornamental Cherry. The blue sky crowding the Sunflowers. And the weed doing its best in the lowered sun.
I’ve left out the picture of the sewer pipe and the crowds, I’ve had enough of them for a day.
Willow is distracted by birds, even bothered by them, she is the only dog I’ve had that is so. It could be from the time when she was a puppy and we would give her a bone on the front lawn. The Crows would hoover, distract her and steal her bone. It was funny to watch. I know she didn’t share my sense of humour.
Willow barks at Crows and Ravens like they are a burglar breaking through the front door. I appreciate it out in the bush. Crows and Ravens follow bears around and it gives me a heads up.
But at home it can be embarrassing when she scares off a Hummingbird or Song Sparrow, with her loud bark, their only crime having the audacity to hoover or sit on the garden fence. The Robins especially get a kick out of her, leading her this way and that.
Willow is not the dog you want on bird watching expeditions. I stand between them with hopes they will someday get along. The fact is they already are and I’m the lone man out.
A perfect Spring day. Overcast, rain and snow in the morning. In the afternoon the sun came out with temperatures rising. Willow and I headed for the river to see what we could see. She snuffed up the smells thawing in the wetlands. I envied her yet was content with the sun on my face. Very fine day.
Woke up this morning before light. It looked like it was raining. +4°c the thermometer said. Next I looked it was snowing giant flakes. It was wet regardless.
Before testing outside I made a batch of Huckleberry Preserves. The berries were from this summer when Lisa and I wondered the mountain side. I tasted a few of the frozen berries and was instantly transported back in time picking the ripe berries, feeding a few to Willow to ward off thirst and watching Lisa’s red hair, flipping this way and that, bent down, dodging horseflies, picking only the plumpest and ripest.
Up the pass the snow was deeper and not nearly as wet. Much more enjoyable. The clouds parted to show the long lost mountains, but only briefly, before filling in again obscuring the stars.
Still, the birds sang hidden like a soundtrack dedicated to earth in all it’s glory.
Spent some time watching chickadees and creepers taking seeds from the dried flowers and hiding them in the trees. It should be noted, they shell them, dropping the husk to the ground below, before tucking the meat into the crevasses of the bark.
I’ve watched woodpeckers come right after and steal the seeds. Damn those thieves.
Still the chickadees do their chore with cheerful vigour, regardless of thieves or winter coming quick or slow. I can’t imagine they are coming back to the ones they’ve hidden, trusting instead to the thoughtful nature down the line, birds hiding seeds in the trees above snow-covered ground. What goes around. . .
BC has implemented additional measures to slow the Covid virus. The ant-maskers held a demonstration downtown. I was conveniently in the bush, hiding, watching my grandchildren laugh, marvelling at the frozen lake while the mud puddles were open and thawed.
Just before dark, I watched a young boy with roller blades stick handle a ball down the sidewalk. It made me wish I was young.
The lake has a skim of ice. I’m hoping the cold takes hold, the snow stays put high until it’s hard enough to skate. That’s all it will take to make this old man happy.
I’ve been watching a nest of Crows at work. The mother was quite throughout, she sat on the eggs only to leave for a short while. Once the eggs hatched she was constantly busy going back and forth for food for the hatchlings. It rained a lot and there were worms on the pavement, plenty to choose from.
I had to climb to the third floor to see them. Sometimes my work didn’t take me there, but I did it anyway each day. I always said I’d bring my camera, but I didn’t.
Every time I looked at those birds I couldn’t get over how much bigger they got, day after day.
Today they sat on the edges of the nest, all three black and shiny, confident, if they are lucky they will always be so, the mother on a branch above, her eye on me, trusting, but knowing I can never be trusted.
They looked at me. It’s said Crows can recognize faces, I wondered how those wings worked and when they will figure out they can fly.
The snow covered mountains are over 130km away. There is a haze just above the lowest ridge. Woodstoves I suspect as it was a chilly morning.
More than a few years ago I would look south down the valley and wonder if the haze at the horizon was pollution? And was it there the year before or the last time I looked? It would glow orange. Of course we get our share of pollution when the forests are on fire during the summer months. I’m talking about the rest of the year.
Much of industry is carried on south of us where the majority of the population resides. It could be that I have been missing them, but the skies seem exceptionally blue at the horizons where smoke is most noticeable.
Regardless, it was a beautiful blue day. I can’t help but think we are going to be a more mindful society after this threat passes. I know this; the blue skies sure make the birds feel better, like always, they can be trusted.
A Western Meadowlark, the first of the season, cheers on spring.
Fresh snow the last couple mornings. It is sure to green things up as it melts in the afternoon. Plenty of snow in the mountains keeping us along the lower reaches. It will feel good to get in the high country where the rocks reach the sky, ’till then we will take it one step at a time.
Willow keeps an ear and eye out for rodents busy under the snow.
Yet to see a woodtick, yet they are sure to be around. Lisa checks Willow over after every outing.
The buds will soon overtake the ice.
The garden is starting to call. The frost is still about eight inches down. It will need digging when the pitch fork goes tine deep. Since we have extra time these days there will be no excuse to get lettuce, beets, carrots and peas in early.
Composted manure waiting to be spread on the garden.
The cannabis and tomatoes have been started inside. There are plenty of extras as they may come in handy as currency during these strange days. One Durban Poison plant equals ten pounds of asparagus. It all depends on what people have extra.
Spent part of the day in the studio cutting paper for Lisa to print.
The birds were active in the fresh snow, calling to one another, showing off, getting ready to pair off and nest. It was good to see them. Sometimes you get lucky.