May Burn

RCE_9738smColumbia Lake. The haze is from the many controlled fires being burned in preparation for, what could be, a busy forest fire season.

Feels like we skipped over Spring and went straight to Summer. Warm temperatures in the mid 20’s, blue sky and everything greening up. It won’t be long and we will be praying for rain.

Hiked with Dave, Chad and Todd to the top of the hoodoos. Willow chased grouse and gophers. Sending them into the trees and underground, respectively.

RCE_9774A Blue Grouse struts his stuff. Once Willow caught wind, she put him in a tree. 

The hoodoos are featured prominently in the Ktunaxa Creation Story. It is said they are the remaining ribs of a large water monster that once inhabited the Kootenay and Columbia River systems.

RCE_9775Arrow Leaved Balsam Root. Arnica. False sunflower. The Ktunaxa called it xaǂ. Every part of the plant is edible and was an important food source for the Ktunaxa people.

It’s damn steep once on top with spectacular views of Columbia Lake to the north and Dutch Creek directly below.

RCE_9729Lisa remarked at the length of the Pine needles, saying they would make good weaved baskets. Lisa makes lovely pine needle baskets.

The mountains are still snowed in, but won’t be for long with the heat. Lisa and I went as high as we could last weekend looking for Mountain Orchids. They are close, yet still behind, we found their flat leaves on top of moss on the forest floor.

RCE_9755A couple of Swallows take in the view.

The hike back from the Hoodoos was uneventful, but for a small snake that crossed our path. It was enjoying the heat when we came along. I can never remember seeing one so early in the year.

RCE_9782A small Garter Snake sharing the trail. 

My mother used to tell us kids to get outside in the hot days of May and get sunburned. We were white as daisies after the long winter. She said, by the time it was summer it would turn to tan, and we wouldn’t have to worry about the sun burning again.

I am not sure if that parental advice would go over today, but I’m sure glad I got it when I did.

 

sparrow

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A couple of Robins in the garden this evening. The one with the rosy breast hopped around showing off. The other, with a rusty breast, pecked for worms, which are easy to find this time of year.

A constant warm wind is already drying the ground. I watered the seeds planted a few days before. They will come up with or without my help. Still, I have to pretend I’m useful.

I peeled the bark off the firewood I cut in the fall. The trees were down and dead when I found them. Bug killed. Under the bark the larvae were coming back to life. Amazing, these small creatures survive the cold winter under the thin bark. They must be made of anti freeze. They awaken just in time for birds to peck and find them. If Cooper were here I’d grab a couple, thread a hook and show him fish like them too. We would keep the fish and eat it. Without saying a word he would know those bugs were important.

I let two fish go on the weekend. They were beauties. A rainbow and a grayling. They were both brilliant silver. I caught them in the last clear water of spring.

There is plenty of truth and nonsense to go around. Willow barks at sounds far away. I awake and think this is it, then realize I only need to pee.

a piece of April

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The Robins that were late returning seem to be everywhere now. They have been poking around the manure and compost in the garden. A fork full of dirt reveals worms working the soil. It’s time to put my back into it and get ‘er dug. I haven’t looked yet to see if the Robins are cleaning and refurbishing last years nest. I will give them privacy until the foliage returns and they can hide behind the drapery.

Jumped

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Chased a Kingfisher around the sloughs. It was having fun with me. I’d get the camera to my eye and it would launch into the sky a chatter and waving. It came back when I turned my back, trying to get my attention. I am old enough not to mind being made fun of.

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A herd of Goldeneyes took to the sky when we crested the hill after the tracks. It was Willow’s fault this time. She considers the shore and river her own. I tell her she is too small to think so, but she doesn’t listen to sense; never has. I’m guilty too. It’s a miracle, sometimes to our detriment, we get to hang onto our beliefs. So far the coyotes have been kind enough to let us continue to lie to ourselves.

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A Bald Eagle stood for us. Even turned it’s head away, not concerned, looking to the slough in the west. It whistled to it’s mate hidden in the tangle. They will be picking chicks off the water soon. Diving for newborn lambs on the crags above the river. Some will loose their balance. The smell of blood on the rocks below will bring Magpies, Crows, Ravens, the Wolves will get a whiff, by then the Eagles will be back in the trees, nesting.

nest

Willow is much more comfortable with all this than I. She raises a ruckus over the littlest thing and cares naught over swimming the river that rises quick once the sun reaches midday.

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Sometimes it makes me wonder who’s in charge. The Big Dipper is pouring by midnight. The Coyotes yip yip at the waxing moon. The first of the owls who who in the morning before light. All this while I keep steady.