Early February

Trying to focus.

A wonderful weekend so far. Lisa and I went to school with Scarlett to hear her read. We were proud. The kids came over for supper. Willow barked and let on. Vocal she is.

Dave came over with a $100 bottle of wine to accompany us watching the sun go down. We drank it out of mason jars. I rustled up some cheese, meat and bread. We were like a couple of high breds.

There are worse deaths than bumping your head on the sky.

Lisa and I drove the loop around Lake Windermere, spotting Eagles and Deer.

Willow barked and let on.

So far so good.

Skating

A spectacular day, after so many with cloud cover. Lisa and I headed beyond the ruck to skate beyond Windermere.

Each year we get older and loose a little balance. Thats the way it works. We try harder to compensate, but are mindful not to bump our head.

Old Man

The Columbia River headwaters.

Snow day. I shovelled here and there, not as fast as I used to. My stock is going down.

I envy folks that reinvent themselves. One day throwing fertilizer out a hopper, the next, an IT specialist or an acupunturist.

That’s not me. I shovel snow and will always shovel snow.

***

The Columbia disturbed, for the moment.

The birds have disappeared. It was a good cone year and they should be out in force. I hear them. Not many. It worries me.

***

A Big Eared Deer caught in the garden.

It is the same thing with birds as it is with the river, we aren’t here long enough to become an expert.

***

All the good things are the same. Take the sky for instance. The clouds and stars offer a pass.

***

Still old, still part of the earth. No quarter asked or given.

Weekend

Enjoying every moment.

A fine week behind us. The skies finally cleared and it was nice to get to see some blue skies. Lisa and I had some nice fires in the fireplace and went on a couple nice walks. Weekends are always the highlight.

The weekdays are good, I look for anything to make me laugh. Luckily I work with people that feel the same. It passes the time and makes some of the more difficult or trying work easier.

***

Last Tuesday, on the way to work, I thought I would go through the drive through at Tim Hortons and get a coffee. Early in the morning, off season, it shouldn’t be much of a wait. There was only one car ahead of me. I was in luck, I thought. Usually the line can be out of the parking lot.

He took awhile to order. When he was done I pulled up and saw he had ordered $101.64 worth of stuff! Of course, he was even longer at the pick-up window. The line up behind me was out of the parking lot. There was only one person in the car ahead. They had BC plates. Usually it’s the red and white ones causing grief. I was late for work when I am usually 15 minutes early. Tim Horton’s staff got him through and apologized for his actions, saying, with such a big order he should go in the front. I paid my $2.15 for my dark roast, black. I envisioned a School Board Employee, someone in management, buying a round of coffee, bacon and egger sandwiches and doughnuts for the early morning meeting, thinking everyone else in the world is on their lazy ass schedule.

What can you do, but laugh.

***

A rotten tooth above the gum line of the valley bottom.

The mountains have light around them. The colours are gray with blues, days getting longer, not in the morning yet, but in the evening. In January you take what you can get.

Tomorrow is Monday, I’ll get up and do it again. And if I don’t feel like it, I’ll remember how many times I didn’t feel like it, but did it anyway.

Ghosts

The souls came out and flew sideways, flattening out, then through me. They are hard to avoid. My Mother always said, don’t be afraid of them.

Here I am in the bush dodging souls, flying fast, like bats coming out of the night, when I can’t even see my hand in front of my face.

Willow says, hang in there.

They take my breath with them. Someday I’ll ask for it back.

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.

Winter

Lisa walking Lola and Willow. Long shadows, a constant reminder to get the sun on your face at every chance.

Cut a Christmas tree this weekend. I had to drag it for quite a ways so it may be flat on one side.

The dogs got along. Lola ran while Willow stayed close. Got the truck up the first branch to the first landing. It bucked a few times looking for traction. Lisa wouldn’t have liked it. It was fine. It is when the truck starts pushing snow that you have to watch out. Before long you’ll be sitting on a heap of snow with no traction and every spin of the tires digs you deeper.

My shins hurt the next day from breaking trail. Willow and Lola slept good, even into the next day.

The tree is in a bucket of water in the basement. If it was outside it would be eaten by the deer.

***

A few trees to choose from.

I’ve been enjoying driving the snow covered roads. A little bit of drift here and there. Once and awhile I put it in four-wheel drive. Usually when I have to get somewhere quick without spinning. On the highway regardless of conditions it stays in two-wheel, you burn too much gas otherwise.

***

Got a half pound of beef jerky for a good price. Some paté cheaper than bologna. Lisa and I are looking at the sales. I won a pound of coffee on the weekend for being the 50th person through the till. I’ll take it. I’m stocking up on protein and Peruvian blueberries. It won’t be long and we will have to knock off a wild turkey for Christmas.

***

I made fennel liquor in October and it’s just about ready.

Late November

A River Otter shows interest in Willow and I. I have a new camera and am still getting used to it. This was taken in low light and I was disappointed my focus wasn’t as sharp as it could be.

It seems winter has caught up with us. Not a lot of snow, but it is coming. The temperatures have cooled down. Yesterday it was minus 19. Cold enough.

Ruffed Grouse. Focus on point.

Lisa and I have been busy with our various jobs and with family. We are old enough to know how important it is to make time for the people we love, especially our grandkids, Cooper and Scarlett.

Canada geese

Winter is my favourite time of year. The air feels good. The snow is fresh, plainly cleansing the mountains and valley bottom. The streams run strong depositing icicles on the low hanging branches. And not least of all, the slippers, covers and fireplace all feel good after a day outside. That’s the old man in me talking.

Join me for a skate on the Lake Windermere. This was about a week ago before the snow flew. The ice isn’t very thick, but to get out there in November is always a treat.

November 1st

Hanging on.

It’s damn near winter, the snow could fly anytime in the valley bottom, it’s wetter than a river otter’s pocket. The garden still has kale, cabbage, carrots, turnips, fennel, beets and cannabis (since it was legalized you can’t give it away).

***

We had fourteen kids came to our door for Halloween. I bought full size chocolate bars to give away. A group of what looked like 10 or 12 year old girls yelled trick or treat. One was dressed in a fur jacket, miniskirt, fishnet stockings and high leather boots. I can’t imagine the conversation with her parents who let her go out in that costume.

***

I made soup on the weekend from a few bones picked up at the store. I browned them in the oven and then made a beef stock. I added grilled, cabbage, leeks, turnip, beets and carrots. All from the garden.

The soup was exceptionally gaseous. I tried to work alone. Warned Lisa. Even Willow seemed disgusted.

When I make soup I like it to last for a few days. I had it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This was the soup that kept giving.

Last night Lisa made Chili. It was a welcome reprieve from the explosive beef vegetable bisque. Not nearly as combustable, Lisa bringing me down gently. I have to get the dog to start trusting me again.

***

Had to deal with a miserable couple today. He was an ugly little cuss, he looked like Danny Devito, except fatter, shorter, uglier and not funny.

He looked at me only as someone who should serve him. That isn’t a problem with me as long as you treat me with respect.

Some people feel entitled. Sure enough, I checked his plates, he was from Alberta, they were vanity plates. With a Fuck Trudeau sticker. These guys are a dime-a-dozen out here. We get the worst of the worst from our neighbours to the east. They’re not all like that.

I took his plate down like I used to take a number of a hockey player that cheap shoted me. You never know when you might run into these arseholes again.

***

After work I chopped wood, tended the pile and filled the woodbox. About as good a job a man can do. Calming the mind. Chopping, assessing, figuring the mix of wood to make a perfect fire.

Deep Fall

All the up and down, older its harder to keep track. Been told things are good and bad. Haven’t been able to tell the difference. Now older, I don’t care as much. It’s hell on the writing and photo taking, also making love suffers. Is it age, no longer have the want to fight like in the old days. Lovemaking and fighting, nobody can tell me they aren’t connected.

Still, if truth be known, it’s good not to be a slave to fighting and sex. Cripes, before long I’ll be sitting to pee. Drinking lite beer. Less calories and low alcohol. I’ll start birdwatching, not unusual, but will go out with the group. Start wearing a sweater in the fall regardless that it’s still goddamn hot. Start limping to let everyone know my advanced age. Swear off whisky. Refuse spicy stuff because, ‘it will keep me up at night’. Take my boots off every time I enter the house. Keep the slippers beside the door. Wash my dentures every night. Religiously, brush my remaining teeth. Teach the hounds English instead of learning dog. Pull out the flowers before they go to seed, saying, ‘I’ll never smoke all that shit.’

It doesn’t sound good but old age does have its advantages.