late June

RCE_0106

There is only two things to do on Canada Day weekend. You can either get out of town, deep into the bush, or stay hunkered down at home, don’t even try to go out and get a coffee, or beer or groceries or anything else. All the locals know it. The area is taken over by revellers from the city. We’re told we need them. I certainly can’t blame them for trying to escape the city. Most have manners, but some are hell bent on partying and tearing the shit out of the countryside and waterways. The latter all have big toys, four wheel drives, ATV’s and loud motorboats. The business people jack up the prices on everything from a loaf of bread to a litre of gas. This is the good time, they say.

RCE_8347.jpg

We have elected to stay hunkered down. The garden needs weeding. Lisa is going to pickle the garlic scapes. I am looking forward to cracking a jar in the winter. They are going to be good. So good I probably won’t be able to stand myself.

RCE_8357

Willow will miss the bush this weekend but she will have plenty to bark about around here. Yesterday, she caught a young bird in the garden. She killed it, of course. Once I clued in to what was going on I stopped her from eating the small bird. She wasn’t happy with me. My old Wire-Haired, Slinky, was a master hunter, unlike rodents birds never agreed with her upsetting her stomach until she purged herself and vomited feathers. Willow is much more delicate than Slinky so I didn’t want to take a chance. There is nothing worse waking up to the sound of a dog trying to get something up.

RCE_8370

Thinking of Slinky, this was her least favourite weekend. All the Canada Day fireworks scared her. We would try to spend most of these weekends in the bush, so she wouldn’t have to put up with it. Willow on the other hand can sleep through thunderstorms and fireworks.

slinkSlinky. Scraped or not never slowed down.

A good rain today. The garden is coming. I got the foot long grass mowed before the skies opened up. I am hoping all the moisture will be good for the huckleberry crop. Cooper loves huckleberry jam and he is depending on me.

 

Victoria Day Weekend

RCE_9876smYear old mule deer.

May 24th weekend was always when we took our first swim in the lake. It seemed like it was always hot.

Maddy, Hunter and Bree came out for the weekend. It was wonderful to see them.

Now that our children are getting a ‘leg up’ they are able to come home more often, which pleases Lisa and I. Sometimes they talk about leaving the city and moving back to the valley. They cherish their upbringing and want to give the same to their children.

But it’s not that easy. There are no jobs here. The ones that are available pay minimum wage and last only a season.

Lisa and I have continued to live here by working lots of different jobs and plenty of hours. We have done just about everything to keep our heads above water.

The tourists arrived in force this weekend. We tried to stay close to home. Sirens went off all weekend. The roads get clogged and speed up. I was lucky to learn to drive when the roads were not as busy.

Willow’s hair is loosening. Soon she can be hand stripped.

RCE_9867Eying up the garden.

Some kids that have moved away call this the ghetto. I guess, because there is nothing here for them. And because it can be brutal. But, also beautiful.

The garden is in, tomatoes and all. Willow barks at everything unfamiliar, which is more on a long weekend. Our children hug us when they say goodbye. One day we will be a burden. They will take turns coming home to help out and see how we are doing. I hope, like my Mother and Father did, we can give them something in exchange.

As I get older, I see things change, but don’t think much about it because I hold onto my old ways. Before long it becomes undeniable. The world has changed but I haven’t.

It sounds like something not to be proud of, ’till you realize it’s what makes bullets bounce off your chest.

Tomorrow we will be a day behind.

 

fort

RCE_9396smLow clouds cast shadows on the ice.

The ice on the lake is hanging on. It will take either wind or rain to get rid of it. The ice wasn’t as thick this year as the year before. It snowed on the weekend and I was glad to see it. I like winter. There is something about fresh snow and spring clouds.

Spring is coming. I’ve always liked late snows.The birds are making lots of noise. The rhubarb is breaking through the ground. Soon the garlic and last year’s lettuce seeds will be showing. I should dig the garden early this year. Get the spuds, carrots, beets and peas in early. As usual, I started a few tomatoes and weed plants inside. Black Cherry and Early Girl for the tomatoes and a Sativa for weed. They will be ready to transplant by the end of May.

The backroads are mud, ice and snow; in that order. I have been keeping to the valley bottom for Willow’s walks.

A few winters ago I spotted what looked like a treehouse from a distant hillside perch. It is a spot I only walk in the winter. In spring, fall and summer it would be well hidden with foliage. I have always intended to check it out, but deep snow always deterred me.

On the weekend I found myself again looking at it across a mile wide coolie. Still hard to see, it kept starring back. Since there was little snow I thought I would finally check it out.

RCE_9384Three windows, aesthetically placed.

It was a bit of a scramble, through thicket and deadfall, the route I choose, but other than carefully crossing a small patch of thin ice over moving water, it was a nice walk. The treehouse had been there awhile and had been abandoned for just about as long. There was no way into it, not for me anyway. The ladder was long gone. There was a thin rope hanging. Too old and thin for me. I stayed looking up, where I belong

It wasn’t the work of kids. It had two sunning decks, a locking door and three framed windows facing east. Not a bad set up. My guess it was built by young adults for a place to squat during summer while working trades, though the trade wouldn’t have been carpentry.

Packrats had shredded a bed or mattress and stuffing lay below the fort. Willow enjoyed going through it. She loves chasing rats when given the opportunity.

RCE_9389Watch that first step.

A roll of poly lay covered in forest debris. Old beer cans scattered. Those beers must have tasted good on a summer day watching the sun leave the eastern mountain tops from such a vantage point. Most of the trees used for support were dead or dying. The firs would survive. They will be stunted but standing long after the fort disappears entirely.

It was a steep haul back to the trail that the here and there snow made double difficult. Should be a quick melt from here on in.

late march

RCE_9364

At loose ends these days. Took to the creek in the evening. Thought it would be good to be under the trees. Up the road someone had cut a big live fir. It landed across the road. They had taken the bulk of it and left the rest that had fallen to the other side. Too much work to tramp through the three feet of snow, probably.

You can tell a lot about people’s tracks. These were lazy people. They didn’t need the wood or they wouldn’t have cut a live tree. It will be a year before it can be burned. With all the dead wood it seems a shame to cut a live tree.

RCE_9355

Why should I care. The province allows clearcutting of entire forests. Places I used to wander beside the Palliser look as if they have been scorched by fire. Even the thin stuff up Windermere Creek is fair game. Slash piles and oil cans, the only thing left over. Sure it will grow over. The abuse the trees and creeks and land puts up with and still survive is a miracle in itself.

Lisa likes to call me the ‘tree police’. Suggesting I take things too seriously. She loves a grove of trees in an area we frequent. She finds peace and healing there. The trees rise above all others and reach their spiny fingers into the sky. Darkened grey or white, green and blue they are a sight that never fails to uplift.

RCE_9354.jpg

One of the trees is leaning. It has woodpecker holes up it’s trunk. Limbs are breaking and not being replaced. It lives, but is dying. We have been watching for several years, wondering when it will fall towards the creek.

I tell Lisa some day we may come around the corner and the trees will be cut down. She doesn’t agree, the trees are of a variety that are not normally harvested. There would be no reason to cut them down, but to watch them fall. She has more confidence in humans than I.

RCE_9371

A town politician/developer in the village at the headwaters of the Columbia River talked about, ‘a God given right, that if you pay a bunch of money’ for a second home, a person should be able to do what they will with the lake shoreline to launch their motorboats.

God given rights, sure as shit, have fucked things up in the past. It’s what allows pollution to flow downhill. Everything and anything below us is on their own. It’s why we look at mountains, trees, rivers and creeks as dead, as something only to be conquered.

RCE_9361.jpg

It’s been grey for awhile now. Typical for March. Wind and spit. Mud and melt. The buds are appearing on the low brush, when I squint my eyes I can see them on the high branches also.