mid April

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Lisa and I had breakfast in the mountains this morning. There was an inch of fresh wet snow that squeaked underfoot. Willow ran rampant. Every track was the first of the day.

We heard the drumming of a Piliated Woodpecker. He was kind enough to pose for a photo and even followed us along on our walk. Willow tried to put the run on him without success. Why would he be bothered by a small, seemingly clumsy fur ball stuck on the ground?

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Once the sun started to burn off the cloud the Pine Siskins and Chickadees started singing, jumping from branch to branch faster than my camera could follow.

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The Ospreys are back. It is amazing how quickly they appear after the ice is off Lake Windermere. They are busy on their nests. Platforms are built on poles around the lake so the hawks won’t build nests on power poles. Many years ago, before the platforms, there were plenty of power outages and fried birds.

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I raked the lawn yesterday and it has almost instantly started to green up. The rhubarb is starting to poke through. Soon we will be cursing the heat. But for now the sun feels good on our faces. Very fine day.

 

 

 

Early

_LME247smWoke up to the sound of Willow throwing-up the stick she ate the day before. She does that sometimes. It was 2:30am. I put her out and cleaned up the mess. I tried to go back to sleep with no success. Since it was clear, we (Willow and I) decided to go for a walk and look at stars. Willow was happy, it took me awhile to get into it. We opted to stay in the valley bottom. The ice is almost entirely off the lake. The Milky Way stretched the length of the lake and was visible regardless of the artificial light. By 7am it was off to work. The days only guarantee would be an early bedtime.

between seasons

CRW_00144smWhich way to go?

This is spring. Lisa and I had snow during breakfast in the mountains this morning. We huddled while Willow hunted. The thawing winter smells must be wonderful for her. The clouds shine every shade of grey. Birds sing from thick once and awhile they let us see them. Every now and again the sun shines through, warming us up. Still it was chilly enough to put a small fire on to warm the house.

CRW_0014Western Meadowlark letting it’s voice be heard.

early April

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We’re going in search of birds this weekend. I have been hearing Meadowlarks. It looks like it could rain. I’ve stopped looking at the forecast. It could be good, or bad. Like most things it can go either way regardless. With luck we will see some Meadowlarks. 

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I looked at one of my old check stubs from the School District. A hundred bucks each cheque went to CUPE 440 – the union. It went to pay and advance apathy, discontent, laziness and sleepy carelessness intent on killing inventive, heartening, truthful labour. 

There are many wonderful people stuck in the union. They toil and deliver regardless of being surrounded by the worst workers in Canada who have landed, finally, a job, after many, they could finally be their thoughtless selves. Nowadays, that’s a union’s purpose.

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There is no gold plated pension waiting for Lisa and I. Hopefully the body holds up to keep working. I met a fellow today recently retired. He said he spent the winter sick. I told him that’s what retirement will do for you. He laughed, but neither of us were joking. 

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Lisa bought some oil for Willow that is supposed to keep ticks away. It smells like oregano, so much so, I’ve thought about calling Willow ‘Spaghetti’, which would be a good name for a Long Haired Dachshund. The oil must work, because after a day in the bush, there was nary a tick on her while I picked one off my neck. Now I’m wearing the oil and we both smell like pasta sauce.

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It’s tough to say goodbye to winter. It’s a season you can hide and hang out in. The silence, the early dark, where every star shines bright, Orion and his dog Sirius chasing the sisters Pleiades and Hyades across the frozen sky. To be on earth, watching, is both awful and the most amazing gift given.

colours

CRW_0042Red on the mountains. The melting snow causing streaks.

Every season’s has it’s own colours. Ones that only show up once a year. Ones that can’t be photographed no matter how hard you try. They happen near the edge of mountains at sun up. Or the way the ice turns deep blue before it turns over and sinks to the bottom in spring.

CRW_00092.jpgKingfishers on dried Mullein. The female, left, is more colourful than the male.

It seemed the winter was a long one. We had an early fall snow and then nothing much until February. Still we had it all. Just not spread out. Some cold temperatures dipping to -30°c and staying there. Snow, mostly in February, but not much overall.

CRW_0002Storms depending on where you stand.

The frost is coming out of the ground. There’s still patches of snow in perpetual shade. That comes with mountains.

CRW_0046March full moon on the rise clearing the ridge.

The garlic should be popping up soon, along with self seeded lettuce and spinach. They arrive at the same time as thousands of weeds. It takes a discerning gardener to pick them apart.

CRW_0031Hunting on ice edge.

The days run longer. Summer with heat, smoke and fire is on it’s way. But for now the mountains are ever present, jagged and comforting, the sky deep cobalt, waiting on stars, in the east.

CRW_0037Mallards on ice edge being hunted. A Raven (middle), dips his beak, unnoticed, waiting for leftovers.

ever-present mountains

CRW_0009Wilmer

The March winds are starting to blow. It won’t be long the ice and snow will break up, turning every patch of standing earth wet and muddy.

The birds have been singing and I even saw a few young Bighorn rams clacking heads. It’s good to practice the the fight and fuck so when they get older they’ll be good at it. It’s the same for humans whether we think so or not!

Show off

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There mornings are brilliant but a chilly -28°. The afternoons warm to about -3. These are fantastic days when spring is trying to bust through.

This male Northern Flicker knows the score. He is banging on the top of the pole getting the metal parts singing with vibration. He is a real show off, securing the first of the sunshine, trying to attract a mate.

When I was a kid we used to have a Flicker that rapped on our metal chimney cap. It made a heck of a racket throughout the house.

To all of our delight my father used to sing:

The woodpecker pecked
on the school house door.
He pecked and he pecked
till his pecker was sore.