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.

early rising

A Pine Grosbeak welcomes the waxing moon.

Willow and I were up early creek bound. Willow knows when I don’t have to work by the clothes I put on. She saw the woolen shirt and was excited. It was clear, with the the moon still up. There was no way she was being left at home.

A piece of toast and we were on our way. We were only a few miles away when I realized I forgot the camera battery, having put it on the charger earlier, an essential piece of equipment if your goal is to take pictures of the night sky. A quick trip back and we were back on track.

Creek bound. This is a single 15 second image capturing 4 or 5 satellites (the one closest to the mountain top could be a meteor. They streak due to their movement during the slow shutter speed. There is a lot of them orbiting the earth. It’s getting tough to get a photo without one being caught in the frame.

Once in the creek bottom we listened for whoots. The Great Horned Owl is the first to get frisky and roost. The creek was silent but for running water. No barks from Willow to let me know we had company. Even the moon choose to go down, darkening the skies, leaving us to our own devices.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been out charting the night sky. It changes every time I look at it. It’s important to become familiar with it again.

A few photos

Water Ouzel
The short tailed American Dipper. Willow and I watched this little guy for about an hour. It seemed to enjoy performing for our entertainment. Of course, maybe it considered us the entertainment as both Willow and I got stuck in the hip high snow trying to get a closer look.
Signs of Spring
I thought these may be the earliest pussywillows until I found a post from a few years ago of pussywillows in January.
Morning Sun
A small Chickadee or Nuthatch (I love subjects you can study your entire life and still not be an expert) looks for sunflower seeds stashed in the fall.

Early February

Scarlett and Willow. They are a close duo. Scarlett knows that Willow wants her to be the boss. Scarlett treats Willow with ultimate kindness, but scolds her if she doesn’t listen. Willow responds and they are the best of friends.

It seems I don’t have the time I used to. It’s morning, then afternoon and I still don’t have much done then it’s supper and evening with not much crossed off the list.

That’s getting old I guess.

Daylight is extended. February is when you notice it. The snow softened enough today that made me think I could walk in it. Before long I was stuck going up. Willow wasn’t much better. We got to laugh at each other. The snow melted in my boots but somehow I stayed warm.

Very fine day.

Willow

Giving me the gears.

Willow loves laying on our laps, soaking up our warmth and attention. I have a heating pad I will sometimes use on my back when I’m sitting on the couch, if I get up she is sure to be laying on it when I return.

Proud, doing her ‘big dog’ walk.

Still, when we walk the creek she barks my attention, wades the water, encouraging me to throw a stick. She will fetch water logged branches and floating ice if I don’t comply.

Fetching driftwood.

Back home she approves of the fireplace being lit, sleeps deep, twitching now and again, perhaps dreaming of that water logged stick that got away.

Fluffing her feathers while shaking off the creek.

this & that

A nice weekend. They sure fly by. Lisa and I did manage to get out for a couple walks. Last weekend we went snowshoeing and wanted to try and get out this week but couldn’t find the time.

***

I had to replace my windshield wipers on my truck. I looked at the flyers and saw they were on sale at NAPA. I hadn’t been in there for years. The last time was not a great experience. Overpriced shit with dipshit clerks. However, that was years ago.

Time to give them another chance I thought. The first thing I noticed when I went in was the four people in there, two at the counter sitting at stools and two clerks on the business side were not wearing masks, even though they are mandated by the Provincial Government for businesses. Not a big deal I thought, even though my mask was firmly pulled snug over my nose.

Dust was on the product and shelves. I found the wipers but nothing marking the ones on sale in the flyer. A matter a fact, nothing had a price on it. I understand this is done because automotive stores have different pricing for different customers. Automotive mechanics get the lowest pricing, I expect to pay the highest. Which is okay with me as long as I get decent service.

Now this is where NAPA let me down. Even the four jokers at the counter were doing sweet bugger all not one of them asked if they could help me. A matter of fact none of them even looked in my direction. I could have been naked with dynamite strapped to my torso and I don’t think they would have even noticed. Most automotive stores have a chart beside the wipers that tell you which ones fit your vehicle, this place didn’t have that handy chart.

One of the guys kept telling his story that ‘fuck’ was every second word. I doubt he would have told it differently if I had of been standing there with my grandkids.

So I left, climbed back into the truck with Lisa, told her, regardless of new management NAPA is the same old place.

We drove up to Canadian Tire and 5 minutes later I had new wipers on the truck. Also got a better price than what NAPA advertised in their flyer.

***

The sun went down this afternoon and the sky turned red. It was brilliant while it lasted.

We are expecting some warmer weather this week. I have to say I’m looking forward to it.

***

Covid cases are spiking again. It seems the experts and government advice this time, with the Omicron strain being milder, is to let the virus run its course. The messaging through our health system and legitimate news sources (CBC) is all over the place, often contradicting themselves. 

The truth is they probably don’t know what the hell is going on anymore than any of us.

The anti-vaxxers and Covid deniers are all yelling from rooftops, ‘WE WERE RIGHT’! The vaccine didn’t work, even though it prevented death when the more virulent strains were dominant, and their other mantra ‘COVID IS NO MORE THAN A COLD’! Excuse the nearly 5.5 million people who have died worldwide from participating in the joy.

I’m not sure what I would prefer more; dyeing from Covid or listening to the noisy conspiracy theorists celebrating.

***

Perhaps the best thing to do, is stop trying to think we can save the world, or even think we can make a difference, and start laughing at it. There is plenty of comedy being peddled.

Boxing Day

A wonderful Christmas with most of our children around. We missed Maddy and Chad.

Lot’s of food, of course, and presents.

Cooper and Scarlett couldn’t believe their luck and must have figured they’d been good for the entire year. Food and presents kept coming.

We missed out last year. Considering everything that went on with the pandemic, we were determined not to be apart again.

If there is a lesson to be had, it’s how to stay together in a world that we are told is crumbling.

Everything that comes over our table has truth and some fabrication. I still stick my nose out at night to test the temperature and see if the snow is falling.

It’s cold and I like it. Frozen boots with warm socks. Ice hanging off the river’s edge. Eyelashes thick with frost. Breath freezing into shapes like a Genie coming out of a lamp. Snow, swift, kickable under step. The wood splitting easy at 20°.

Mid December

Lake Windermere, it’s never been much for me to imagine a glacier running ridge to ridge.

A few cold nights coming on. I am building a rink for Cooper and Scarlett.

I have never built a backyard rink. No need because we live so close to the lake.

However, kids are not allowed to wander like they used to, plus it might be nice to watch the kids skate while I get supper ready.

The problem is the land isn’t level. There is going to be 10″ of ice on one side and an inch on the other.

Copper and Scarlett have a lot of energy. This will do them well.

Willow helps dragging the Christmas tree to Lisa’s delight.

Ronald Ernest Ede

My brother Ron was laid to rest today. He passed away a couple weeks ago. It has thankfully been busy to keep my mind occupied. My bones have hurt, head, joints, I haven’t been able to think proper. Last night I wrote his eulogy. Not really a eulogy but a few stories. It wasn’t hard to come up with stories as we shared plenty of times together. My Sister Wynanne spoke wonderfully and said so much, things I wanted to say. Our Sister Deb with Kurt sang a beautiful rendition of Go Rest High On The Mountain.

Ron was eight years older than me and kept me from plenty. Times were not easy when we grew up. The truth is they were harder for him than I. Plenty was expected from him. That goes with the territory when your father gives you his name.

We fit in some good times and I learned a lot from Ron. I was always welcome to go through his records and magazines. They were a treasure trove of information for the young me. I swear I learned to read reading Penthouse Forum.

When I was sixteen he took me down to Montana where we went from one down and out bar to another. We were always one step away from getting into fights. It was probably the size of his arms, the jagged scar across his chin and his gregarious nature that kept us out of them.

One of those nights, at a topless bar, we stayed until closing. We found ourselves on the street at 3am with nowhere to go. Another patron with the same problem as us started in on me verbally. Of course he was older and bigger. Ron thought it was funny. The guy said he’d just been released from prison and I didn’t doubt it. I figured I’d get in the first shot and I’d make it a good one. While the guy blabbed on trying to rile me, I reached into my pocket and arranged the coins into my closed fist into a column. The guy didn’t see me but Ron did. Ron stepped in and put the run on the guy without lifting a finger. The guy was never a threat, I just didn’t see it. Ron said he wasn’t worried about me, he just didn’t want to spend the rest of the night in jail. He also said, if you are smart you don’t have to fight. That advice probably came at the right time in my life.

When you are born in 1956 you could go on to be a modern man or you could live a life similar to your Father and Grandfather. Men who’s only way was to push feelings down. I think Ron did this and like his father and grandfather it caught up with him. Some people inherit feelings. I believe Ron inherited his Grandfather and Father’s horror of war and their mental anguish. 

About ten years ago Ron with the help of his wife Leslie, who has always been by his side, quit drinking. I never asked, but I suspect he had to lay some of those inherited demons to rest. His Grandfather and Father would have been proud.

When Ron was diagnosed with cancer he faced it with determination, grace and never felt sorry for himself. He always said, he should have been dead long ago from liver or lung cancer, the rare form of blood cancer he caught seemed like a joke to him.

The past two weeks since Ron has passed many people have expressed their condolences to me. Some have said how unfair his death has been, because he was able to put away the alcohol, perhaps a longer life should have been promised. I don’t think Ron felt his cancer was unfair. I don’t think he thought fairness had anything to do with it. He told me, it is hard to feel sorry for yourself when he saw people much younger, in the clinics and hospitals, facing their own battles with cancer.

I’ve spent a lifetime learning from my brother. I’ve followed him around all these years and am going to miss him paving the way.

late sept

Willow enjoys a carrot.

Pure skies. Lisa, Cooper, Scarlett, and I looked outside before bed. We were getting a few fresh breathes. The conversation switched to stars. Seriously. We started talking planets and constellations. Was Cassiopeia a W or an upside down M? Where was Neptune? I couldn’t point to a direction. If it won’t show it’s face I won’t give it the time of day. . . or night. Screw you Neptune! The Cassiopeia WM, on the other hand is a quandary of significant importance. Scarlett can print MOM in big bold letters. I turn the paper over, making it look like a mistake, saying, it says WOW! So when she sees the letters in the stars she knows what they have in common.

While we looked a bright meteor streaked down the side of Perseus. We all saw it. What are the chances? Lisa said, make a wish. The next day Scarlett admitted she didn’t make a wish. I confessed neither had I, why be greedy.