stripped

RCE_7948Willow sporting her new haircut.

We got a new dog. . . well not exactly. It took two sessions but we gave Willow her annual stripping.

Wire Haired Dachshunds grow a thick wiry coat over winter and it has to be ‘stripped’ in spring. This is done by grabbing a few hairs at time and pulling them out.

RCE_2541

Willow with her winter coat digging for spring mice. 

It is not that bad because the hair has loosened and needs to come out. I’m not sure if the hair is even really attached to her anymore, but held in place by all the other long wire hair.

Once it is out they have a smooth soft coat for summer.

RCE_2563Cooper and Willow wrestling over a stick.

Although it doesn’t hurt her, Willow doesn’t like it. She endures Lisa and I pulling, while she thinks of hunting, letting us know if we grab a couple more hairs than acceptable.

At the end of it we have half a dog as what we had at the beginning.

_LME2448Willow trying to talk me into a late night fetch.

may long

RCE_2652Riding in the back of the truck.

Was up early. Scarlett and I headed to the store. We were planning a big spaghetti dinner. Scarlett picked out ice cream treats. I let her have one for breakfast.

Good neighbour Larry sold plants, over the weekend, to tourists. Tomatoes and peppers mostly. They look good this year. Brandywine, Cherokee, Black Cherry and Thai Dragon.

The long weekend brings out the tourists in force. They race and honk their horns at each other. Sometimes they bump into each other in the parking lots and yell at each other. Still, I don’t blame them for wanting to be out here, away from Calgary and the malls, freeways, casinos, high-rises, pavement, neighbours that you live right beside but don’t know, shopping, shopping, fees and movie theatres.

We headed up the pass to look for orchids. We were only five minutes off the main road and we never saw another person. They were all fighting for coffee at Kicking Horse Café, thank God.

Last week there was still snow.

RCE_2631Turning wild.

Today, Scarlett and Cooper ran, climbed banks and contemplated the tops of trees. They found paths in the bush. They followed moose tracks until they were out of sight and we had to call them back. 

RCE_2651Mountain orchid.

The Calypso Orchids were out. Small, among the forest floor, almost invisible, sinking into the moss. 

RCE_2630Kelsie, Scarlett and Cooper, climbing towards the ridge.

I pointed out a snowy mountain and suggested we should run up there. Scarlett and Cooper took off in it’s direction. It had fresh snow. You can do much worse than run towards an unclimbed ridge.

The kids sat in the back of the truck for the ride off the mountain.

background

_LME2620-smMines and clearcuts.

In town or up the pass, it makes no difference, the creek still bubbles and the stars jump. In this day and age the trick is cutting out the noise and light. Not easy. Still, the stars and Milky Way outweigh fireworks anyday. The sound of a log caught on a sandbar, geese honking, trumps the gunshots and voices spouting nonsense.

It’s about putting your ear to the track, looking high and deep, not being taken in. It’s not that hard.

Garden

CRW_0009A robin who was singing into the sun turns his back for the camera and scratches it’s ass.

It was good to get out and catch up with the garden. Despite good intentions I am once again behind. Spring always seems to sneak up.

The garden needed digging. The garlic, planted in the fall is not yet up, it could be because it was trampled by the deer before the ground froze. It is hard to say if it will come up. The weeds got shaken and tossed to the side. Tomorrow I plan on running a rototiller through the garden and maybe get a few spuds in the ground. I’ve started a few plants inside, but they are not ready to be put out.

I think we should prepare for another dry one.

***

During the week Lisa and I headed behind the mountain along the creek. There is more yahoos in the bush then ever. We saw some people shooting down the road. We weren’t in their line, but somebody could have easily been. Before I could think, I was out of my truck and asking them what the hell they thought they were doing. They apologized, which I didn’t give a damn about.

Lisa calmly asked, once I got back in the truck, if my new thing is giving people carrying high powered rifles shit?

***

The sun felt good today. My head has been clogged with a cold. The first one I can remember in years. My arms are sunburnt and scratched from pulling out the old raspberry canes. Very fine day.

early may

RCE_2606smThe absolute colour of spring.

We were able to slip behind the mountains into the bush this evening. Lisa said bring the camera we may see bears.

We did see a truck that looked like they were hunting bears. You probably wonder how I can tell if they were hunting bears. I will tell you sometime, but for now I will keep it to myself. I wish many hunters luck, these I did not.

We got higher than we have since November. Willow enjoyed the snow which was plenty and stopped our ascent just below where we find orchids.

RCE_2603Willow digs in.

I looked to patches without snow for orchids, though I knew it was too early. Willow ran for sticks and snowballs, raised her nose for the smell of rodents and scratched and dug for thawing scent.

Many of the slides have not yet come down. The grass is greening in the valley bottom. It felt good to be out breathing the air, listening for birds, feeling the last spring snow underfoot and looking for trees that died during winter to add to the woodpile.

 

brother and sister

IMG_0049Scarlett and Cooper

We went to Costco today, or as I like to say, a visit to Dante’s Inferno. We even drove an hour out of the city to a Costco we thought may be less busy. We were dreaming.

Still it’s hard not to get caught up in it. A person can buy a giant bag or oranges for the same price as a regular bag of oranges back home. The problem is, what to do with all those oranges?

***

I filled the truck up with fuel tonight. It took over 100 litres. It has a big fuel tank and I usually don’t let it get under half empty. The same fill up at home in British Columbia would have cost me $30 – $40 more, all carbon taxes. Carbon taxes are designed to make people think if they need the fuel before they fill up, it is a way to curb consumption and it works. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it is about time we ask people to pay to pollute. It is also notable to see Mr. Trudeau and family on yet another holiday that involved a private jet.

There is a lot more carbon taxes coming down the pike federally and for every province. I have been on a plane/jet twice in my life. I am certain I’ll never be on another again. Still, I cherish a few gallons of gas to get me out in the bush. I hope I can always afford it.

At the same time, regardless of carbon taxes, I don’t believe consumption will go down. Wealthy people, like our own Justin Trudeau, will make up for it jetting off to more, less busy, beautiful destinations, happy to spend more to escape the riff raff.

***

At night Lisa puts Cooper to bed, which is easy :-), while I put Scarlett to bed, which is hard. Cooper is usually so tired he dozes off after he reads a book. Scarlett, on the other hand, has me lay on the floor while she reads me books. Sometimes it’s ten books, and of course she can’t read. I ask If I can read them and she tells me ‘no’! Then I put her in her crib. At first, I would leave the room. Lisa and I would hear her fuss. After 20 minutes we’d go back in and she would have her pyjamas and diaper off. Once she peed the bed.

So now after she reads me a story and gets in her crib. I sit in the rocking chair with the light out until she goes to sleep. Sometimes I think I fall asleep before her. So far the pyjamas have stayed on.

***

Tomorrow Cooper and I are doing some handyman chores. We are fixing a wonky light switch, a loose toilet paper holder and a toilet that doesn’t flush right. I would never do this without permission from Kelsie and Tom who seemed pleased.

Cooper and I inspected the toilet tonight and we both agreed it needs a new flapper. That means a trip to Home Depot, or Heaven as we like to call it.

selfie shtick

IMG_1483Selfie on a post-it note of me sucking on a sore tooth.

The kids are sticking to their routine. They awake and are in bed on time.

***

The city keeps chugging along. I don’t believe I could ever get used to it.

***

I saw a semi hauling a large piece of equipment stuck on a corner. Traffic backed up a mile. It had several pilot vehicles as it weaved the city streets. The equipment probably being transferred to the ring road construction. It looked to me like he was screwed. However, when I returned the same way about a half hour later it was free and on the side of the road. All the men were out of their vehicles looking at the scraped light standard on one side of the road and the demolished tree on the other. What to do?

***

My daughter bought us a Starbucks gift card so we could get coffee. I enjoy the Americano. Today we had one at the bookstore. I bought a New York Times and a copy of Ron Rash’s novel The Risen. It was a hardcover edition regular $33 for $5 on the discount table. It is a good story and quick read as I am almost finished it.

I can certainly see why there is a constant stream of Calgarians into our neck of the woods each weekend. I have noticed at the bookstore and malls that people are not so much there to shop as to hang out.

***

We ran into another set of grandparents at the park the other day. Their grandson was a little older than Cooper, but seemed hesitant. Before long he was tagging after Copper to the highest parts of the play structure.

The grandfather stood in front of me often blocking my valuable sight of my grandkids playing. He wanted to know where I was from. I told him BC. Where he asked. Invermere I said. He laughed, that’s not BC he said that’s just a small part of Alberta. I’d heard this all before.

He went on to tell me ‘we’ fuel your economy. Then he said, Alberta funds the entire Canadian economy and what do they get in return, if it wasn’t for us, yada fucking yada, repeat.

He also went on about kids today. Millennials living in their parents basement, which his son was one. I hoped his grandson didn’t hear his grandfather’s estimation of his father.

He told me about their big house, their vacation house and ‘toys’; 4×4’s, sleds. motorhome etc. Albertans work hard and play hard, he summed up.

I have ran into this type over and over. You can’t avoid them where we live. To have come across this one in his home environment was just bad luck. It always amazes me how such boring, deficient, dimwits have accumulated so much wealth.

***

The forecast calls for snow that will surely green thing up once it melts.