Warm Spell

The colours of winter when it warms up.

It felt like spring today. The only thing cold was my feet from being damp. Cut and split firewood. Nothing makes a body feel better. Willow and Lola ran hither and yon. They both got wet and muddy.

The snow melted, got heavy and fell off the trees. For the first time in months, Lisa and I could see deep into the bush, past thousand branch trickery and white out simplicity. No sense, walking off trail, it’s still deep, the warmth making the going heavy. It wouldn’t be long my old legs would be stuck like a long legged moose after a week long mountain blizzard. My only advantage is there is no hungry wolves following close. Perhaps I’m just too blind to know. Regardless, at this stage of the game it’s best to stay on the beaten path.

A feather under runoff. The best of nature is never perfect, it is rugged, torn, chewed up, bloody, cold, wet and beautiful.

That doesn’t mean you can’t be cantankerous, obstinate, disagreeable and ornery. The only rule: as long as it’s not towards the ones you love.

Mid January

An American Dipper on the muddy banks at the headwaters of the Columbia River.

It has warmed up in the past week, we have even had some soggy above freezing temperatures. I am still trying to get used to the new camera. I don’t shoot as quick as I could with the old Nikon. On our walk the other day I missed two coyotes passing on the trail in front of us, later I put the camera to my eye to capture two deer drinking water at the river, and before I could focus they were gone. The two Whitetail Deer would have made a good photo. Oh well.

The skies have been clouded over for the past month. Once they clear I will be giving the camera a go at capturing some star photos. With luck it would be nice to get a photo of Comet 2022 E3 ZTF. Even if it is not visible to the eye, it is possible the camera may pick it up.

The old Nixon place from across the river.

Sunday in November

Above the din. The valley is below that grey cloud cover.

Socked in down below. We headed for higher ground. Lisa said, she hoped it wasn’t a harbinger to come. The valley bottom can close in on you. Sometimes the only way is to meet the blue halfway.

***

A waning moon rolls down the backside of Swansea.

The stores had bare shelves this weekend. The only things left were expensive. Sobeys had a two rib roast, about three pounds for $119. I often wonder who pays that or does that roast go to waste. It could be it is a long weekend and the tourists are out in force. Prices go up on long weekends. It was the same in all three grocery stores.

We keep food in the freezer for these occasions. Some shank meat, garlic, onions, beef broth and red wine makes for a good stew.

***

Willow and Lola. Lola is a puppy and wanted to play with Willow and the stick. She was greeted with growls when she tried to take it away.

Our national broadcaster, CBC, gives us news and entertainment, and also lets us know, or suggests how we should think and prepare. More than likely exceeding their mandate. Lately, there has been plenty of articles about belt tightening and preparing for the worst. If they are to believed, the economy is going to go in the shitter. Higher prices and interest rates, less medical, education and safety nets.

***

Canadians, unlike Americans don’t blame our politicians. We concede it is world wide. Americans put up stickers of President Biden pointing at the increased price at the pumps with the caption, ‘I did that’.

***

It is hard to know what will happen next. We are lucky to live at a time in history, that we don’t die of an ear or tooth infection at nine years old. We get to live to the oldest age in human history. Our warring has slowed. Technology has spared us from the fate of our ancestors. Yet we can only think about how bad things are for us. Plenty of people on this planet have reason to complain, but here, in Canada and the US, for the most part, we do not.

Willow loving November.

Trumpeter Swans

Plenty of honking today as flocks of Swans made their way south. The cold is coming, the weather report says -19°c tomorrow.

Pulled a few more turnips. Walked the tracks to get closer to the Swans. They are difficult to sneak up on, especially with the Willow dog.

A few took off into the wind and made the turn directly overhead. Deep voices and large wingspan, mocking us bound to the ground.

It feels good to walk those tracks, hear the birds, squinting loosing the ruck.

Our National Embarrassment

If you are Canadian and keep an eye on the news you have, more than likely, heard about Hockey Canada and the fallout after a women filed a $3.5 million lawsuit alleging eight hockey players, some members of the 2018 World Junior hockey team, sexually assaulted her. 

It has also come to light that this is not an isolated incident and gang rape may be prevalent in junior hockey.

I have read in many news articles questioning how could this happen and for how long does this behaviour go back. It goes back a long way and it is very prevalent.

This story has brought up many memories for me when I played on the local junior hockey club. I was a local player playing on a team made up of mostly players imported from other areas of Canada and the United States. 

The players were billeted to families in the area, many who were executives for the hockey team or associated with with the junior hockey team.

Many of the import players were decent young men. However many were not. 

Most of the import players received special treatment from the teachers, community members and, especially, the team executive, managers and coaches.

Hockey was important to the community in the 1980’s. If you want young men to play their best you have to build their confidence. To say they got away with a lot is an understatement.

Because I was local I had friends I grew up with who were not involved in hockey. These were the people I hung around with most often. I didn’t get along with most players on the team. It was said, the only players that disliked me more than the opposition were my own teammates. Which was fine by me.

Hockey parties were arranged regularly, usually at a ‘safe’ house. They were often at a billets or executives house. Non hockey players were not invited. Every now and again one or two would show up and they usually got the shit kicked out of them. There was no shortage of alcohol and drugs and plenty of girls, mostly underage.

I went to enough hockey parties to know what went on. Most of my friends didn’t play hockey so our partying was done in the bush or beside the Columbia River. 

***

This is the way group sex or assault happens:

Two of my good friends in high school; he was a good looking guy, smart in every way, good athlete, but not a hockey player, she was also a great student, pretty and athletic. They were an ideal couple, but, on again off again, like most couples at 16 or 17. She had a crush on one of the hockey players, he was a good looking guy, but a complete asshole. He was scouted  and came here with another two of his buddies from another part of Canada. They were decent hockey players, full of confidence and yappy. 

On one of this couple’s ‘off again’ moments, she went to a hockey party and hooked up with her crush, got drunk, went to a room to spend time with him, before the door closed he invited his two buddies to come in with him.

She was the talk of the dressing room at the next practice.

That is how it happens. And it happened all the time. 

My friends, the couple, withdrew, become close, once graduated they moved away, married and started a life together. They distanced themselves from their hometown and old friends. 

This was the 1980’s. There was no laws covering consent of intoxicated individuals.

***

A couple years after I finished playing junior hockey an incident occurred. Three players of the hockey club, players who were my teammates years earlier, and still played for the team, raped a teenage girl.

They were charged and went to court. One after another, the hockey executive got up, and said what upstanding young men they were. As for the girl, she was drunk, she couldn’t remember everything.  Although she had bite marks on her back and was torn up internally, the young men got off. The male judge ruled that she liked rough sex. My mother, who accompanied the young women to court along with the doctor who examined her were outraged. The young men were exonerated, went on to become respected members of the community, while the girl was labeled a slut.

This happens in Canada because we put these young men on a pedestal. Hockey is our national game. We revere the players and they know it. It excuses some of them from being decent human beings. They get a pass from morality and education from an early age providing they can dangle with the puck or dish it out physically on the ice.

***

What has to happen?

The executive of Hockey Canada has resigned. This is good. Instead of a group who’s job it is to protect or apologize, they should be required to make moral choices regarding all players enrolled in Hockey Canada.

In the past Hockey Canada executive used minor hockey enrolment income to settle sexual abuse claims. They did this because these funds, and use, was unlikely to be questioned, unlike an insurance claim or sponsor donations. The people who made these decisions were rightfully let go.

The next thing that has to happen, and this is a big one, the eight players involved in the alleged rape have to step up, admit that it was them that has given Canadian Hockey a bad name. At least some of these players would be newly minted millionaires playing in the NHL, so this is very unlikely to happen. If they are innocent of any wrong doing they should be chomping at the bit to be exonerated.

Finally, the police or RCMP have to pursue the sexual assault case. Even if the young women was paid $3.5 million for her silence, if a crime was committed it must be investigated.

***

I took my young grandchildren to the rink this morning to play hockey. It is a wonderful game, one you can play from the time you can walk to the time you can’t walk. It is special, filled with emotion, thrills and letdowns. My son, when he was small, used to sleep in his hockey equipment after his practices. The game means a great deal to our family.

But if you didn’t know the game, like many parents, or like newly immigrated parents why would you ever want your children to become involved in hockey?

If we want to continue to be proud of our national game. If we want it to be inclusive to all Canadians, new and old, male and female, It is essential we rebuild its reputation.

Weeds

The weed has had a good season. Again, I have more than I know what to do with. Now that it’s legal you can’t even give it away. It’s a good looking plant with a relaxing smell and very receptive to the changing light.

The good stuff people are after is grown inside, under lights, sold by the government, with plenty of fertilizers. That’s fine, especially if you want to get high as fuck (and who doesn’t).

These plants aren’t like that. But they sure will ease the pain and guarantee a good nights sleep.

Canada Day

Yellow roses.

I worked at the resort today. It was busy. The guests and employees were in good moods. It was wonderful to see the guests enjoying the amenities that everyone works so hard to maintain. Guests even asked if they could help with maintenance items like defrosting a fridge or carrying needed furniture. The pool and hot tubs were rocking with the smell of sun screen in the air.

Canada is a wonderful place. If you don’t think so look at the news. We are lucky, just by chance, of where we were born. The least we can do is treat the people we meet; visitors, immigrants and fellow country men with respect. If any people should be pissed off it’s the First Nations, yet they still accept and treat their fellow inhabitants with kindness. They always have, if truth be known.

Canada is a country with plenty of faults and prejudices, hopefully, they are being weeded out and replaced with understanding and tolerance. I believe that’s what’s happening. I see it everyday. Goodness trumps bigotry.

Romaine lettuce before being made into Caesar.

It just doesn’t seem that way, because of the bad constantly streamed to our phones. It is easier to be taken in by negativity than goodness. That’s why they keep streaming and people keep sharing. It is a false narrative if repeated enough may become true. Canadiens are smarter than that. That’s why we celebrate.

***

Willow letting on.

The garden is up and about, putting out. About this time last year a hail storm blew through and knocked every leaf off every plant.

***

Whatever, you have to roll with it. That’s Canadien.

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.

to the end

I took down the small Canadian flag I have been flying over the garden. Unfortunately the right wing has taken over the flag making it their own. I don’t want to be confused with them. Canada hasn’t seen this level of mock patriotism. It’s new, American even.

***

Odd week so far. People quitting, layoffs and firings. A dip in temperature, then back above freezing. They call it business.

Venus is bright in the morning. The moon a crescent. Always something special at dawn.

I’m not supposed to know what is going on, but I know something’s up. Put the binoculars on Venus and it’s a crescent also.

waiting for the sun

Cannabis flower.

Up past 8:30 perusing seed catalogues. It’s the mild weather, I guess, making me think of spring. Another cold spell is coming down the pike, they say. Still the thought of dirt being turned over and busted up has me dreaming.

I bought a 500 page seed catalogue at the bookstore. It’s from the States. Crazy vegetables, a complete chapter on eggplant, big too small, round, oblong, deep purple and green. Carrots 4 feet long, though they wouldn’t be that long in my soil unless they could grow through glacially deposited rock. Plenty types of Bok Choy, Fennel, Kale. It’s alphabetical and I’ve only made it to okra.

Flower barrel.

My garden will be the same I suppose. The turnips were a big hit last year. The tomatoes were slow. I have a theory on that. I bought them instead of starting them and I think they were mislabeled at Canadian Tire. Instead of 55 day Early Girl I got some 120 day pineapple tomatoes. I won’t make that mistake again.

Willow between onions, raspberry and zucchini.

Regardless I ripened them inside and they were still good. Not bitter.

It looks like a snowstorm has blown in. No concern, the back of winter is broken, even if it’s bad the end is near.

Gemma walking the rows. Gemma left us late last year. She hung in there as long as she could. Couldn’t have been a better dog.