Late October

Get me to the sun!

Hurt my back this morning lacing up my boots. The good thing about getting old is you never have to say, ‘I’m out of shape,’ instead you just say, ‘I’m old.’

In the mountains the sun goes down and comes up a thousand times depending on where you are standing.

Willow and I headed behind Swansea to walk it off. We pushed to the upper reaches and stopped before the ridge. Willow was happy. The snow was fine on her feet. It was about -10°c and didn’t ball up. The sun felt good when we broke into it. The waning moon held steady in the blue sky.

Willow in her natural habitat, loving life.

This will be one of the last trips into the high country. Snow will start flying in earnest. The cold will take hold. Sure there are snowmobiles and ATV’s that can deliver me to where I want to go, but I’ve never liked the smell of gasoline and exhaust. . . nor do I like the noise, plus they all break down. I know that’s part of the fun if you like that, but it’s not for me. Willow concurs. When I can’t get there under my own power I’ll narrow my circle.

Waning crescent.

November can be the shits, low cloud, snow, wet and freezing temps. It’s the month the weather can’t make up it’s mind to shit or get off the pot. However, without fail, by the end of the month the lakes are frozen and the mountains are filled with snow.

Next years garlic.

Down in the valley bottom I finally got the garlic in. It’s late so I planted it a little deeper to keep it away from the cold. Not sure if this is a sound strategy. We will see come spring. The one thing I know about gardening; regardless of neglect life seems to flourish.

Planting a garden is saying a silent prayer.

Can’t Beet Em

Detroit Dark Red

The garden has really hung on during this warm September. The few frosts we’ve experienced have done little damage.

Yesterday, Lisa made six one litre jars of pickled beets. What a treat! She make them with lots of cinnamon sticks, cloves and allspice. The spices are kept in a cheesecloth bag and boiled with the brine then discarded. These pickles are truly delicious! I am going to have trouble keeping my hands off them for the month or so they take to absorb the flavours.

kids

Kelsie, 4 years old.
Scarlett with a handful of worms, 4 years old.

My granddaughter Scarlett loves the garden. She eats peas raw, same as beans and onions – yes onions, she calls them chives.

Today she took to finding worms. She took them from one spot in the garden and buried them in another spot.

She reminded me of another little girl from a time long ago that seems short now.

The picture of Kelsie was taken on a medium format film camera, I had to scan the b/w negative, which took me ages. The picture of Scarlett was taken on my phone.

Times are changing, but the important things stay the same.

varmints

I try to keep the garden free of pests. Every once and awhile one gets in. You have to watch out for deer. This time it was a rabbit. Now a rabbit can cause some damage. They can eat all the carrots, also the lettuce. This one was picking young beans and munching them.

She even made friends with my hound. I’m starting to wonder who that hound serves. After all it’s her job to keep the garden safe.

Before long they were in cahoots, burying unripe tomatoes, both with dirt on their tongues. Me sitting there wondering where I went wrong, nursing a beer, watching the garden get churned up. Counting my lucky stars.

July Hail storm

The peas torn from their fences.

A few more photos of the garden taken about an hour and a half after the hail storm. Fortunately, it sounds like the hail storm cut a narrow path through the valley. Communities to the south and north of Invermere were not hit as hard.

Talked to a few gardeners and it sounds like everybody pretty much is in the same boat with smashed plants. I was lucky because I don’t spend much money on plants nor rely on it for a living and sell produce like some.

Plenty of videos on Facebook of a river running down main street. My neighbours experienced some flooding. Our basement started to flood due to the outside stairwell filling with hail, fortunately I saw it early and was able to shovel out the stairwell before it melted.

I won’t replant anything, I’m interested to see what will make a recovery and what won’t. There will also be plants that may live but be too far behind to produce, I suspect the tomatoes will be in this category.

Tomato plant stripped of it’s leaves. A cannabis plant to the right that didn’t fair much better.

This is definitely an unusual event for this area. We do regularly get hail, but not that big and the storms don’t usually last that long. Luckily the damage seems minimal, although heartbreaking for people who love their gardens, and not wide spread. What can you do?

Beans that were doing so well before the storm. I doubt if they will make a comeback. They do have lots of time however.
Lettuce that has been delicious. I am hopeful a few more salads will be harvested before the end of summer.
Carrots.
Sunflower broken off. They may form new shoots with heads.
I don’t know what the big rhubarb is all about!
Broccoli and cabbage were just not meant to withstand hail stones, still I’m hopeful they will make a recovery.

smashed salad

A good hail storm rolled through on the heals of the 40° temperatures we have been having. It flattened the garden with marble sized stones. Cutting every broad leaf to shreds. It lasted about thirty minutes, flooding basements and parking lots.

Hopefully the moisture neutralized the lightening. You never know, moisture, hail and rain cuts a thin swath, while heat can be everywhere. This is jest not a livelihood. The tune would change then.

It’s up to the garden to grow back on it’s own. Hail storms spread nitrogen they say, so this is their start. Everything wants to live. The beans better straighten themselves out and grow some leaves. The zucchini with pellet holes have to regroup, toss a canopy up and salvage what’s left. As for the carrots, onions, turnips, beets and spuds, they’ll be ready for stew come fall, hell or high water.

It’s disappointing to see the work smashed. It’s also wonderful to see it grow back.

Nothing is more resilient than a plant with two more months of sunshine left.

mid may

Morning light.

Was up the pass this morning. Lisa and I got higher with the week of warm weather and snow melt. The Calypso Orchids have stems, yet no blooms. Next weekend for sure. It’s still early.

Watchful eyes.

The garden is all up. Considering I usually don’t plant until next week, we are ahead of the game. Next week I’ll plant the beans and put in the tomato and zucchini plants. Lisa and I are looking forward to a good feed of greens.

Trees before mountains.

The rhubarb is up and ready to be eaten. The sun is shining still coming up slanted and going down so. It’s a good time of year.

Willow wearing her Thunder Vest in the truck, so excited to get out in the bush.

the row you hoe

Planting a row.

After rain, sleet and snow the day turned sunny. Since I’ve had time on my hands I’ve dug the garden. It is much better done by hand than rototiller.

This afternoon I put in two rows of peas, and one row each of lettuce/spinach/greens and beets. We have some cold weather ahead of us, but they should be able to handle it. I hope to get the carrots, onions and spuds in within the next week. This will be the earliest I have planted.

I mentioned having time on my hands. I have been in quarantine for the past thirteen days due to having close contact with someone who tested positive with Covid. Tomorrow I am out of quarantine.

It has been trying but not as much so as it has been for the people who have tested positive. I know about ten personally. I know at least twenty in quarantine.

Willow plants a rock.

The people in the valley have been lucky while we have flirted with disaster. The area has been busy with people vacationing.

The District of Invermere’s Mayor, Al Miller and Provincial, Liberal, MLA Doug Clovchok have acted less like elected officials concerned about peoples health, and more like members of the Chamber of Commerce or Welcome Wagon, encouraging tourists to visit instead of heeding the warnings, against non-essential travel from Canada’s top doctors.

The Windermere Region is hard hit.

Hopefully no one dies on their watch. Like I said, we have been lucky despite everything.

Willow couldn’t be happier to have us home each day. I’m back to work on Saturday and looking forward to it.

Later March

Clouds of spring over Pinto.

A beautiful day that I didn’t take full advantage of. This evening Willow and I went to the garden. Each fork full revealed a few worms. The frost is out of the ground. Time to get serious and start gardening!

Many years ago I purchased a terrible load of manure from a wealthy local farmer. He charged me double so I thought it was going to be twice as good. It was loaded with rocks from the side of Swansea.

Every year while digging the garden I pull more of those small rocks out and pitch them to the pile near the rhubarb patch.

Tonight, in Willow’s excitement to be back in the garden, she fetched every rock I tossed, brought it back and buried it back in the garden. I didn’t mind because she was helping with the digging.

Sometimes the evening makes up for the day.

late late february

Jeessuss! This vehicle must have ran off the road and tumbled down a bank after an hellacious shootout! Look at all those bullet holes. I wonder of Al Capone was involved?

Spring like weather this weekend. Lisa and I scouted Red Rock Road, running on the west side of the Columbia River between Radium and Brisco. We were looking for an open space to take night time photos. We found windows to the night sky but nothing with an open expanse from north to south.

Plenty of silvers and greys between seasons. The birds are gearing up when the sun comes out, singing, feeling the rise of spring I suspect. I feel it too, but it’s way down there, pushed aside by modern living and various substances ingested to cope with poor light, politicians, a 24 hour news cycle, destruction, pollution, racism, violence and bullshit flinging from every direction.

Being older makes you realize you don’t have much control over any of it, the batting average is starting to go down, if I were a boxer the losses are creeping up on a once perfect record. The world is taking it’s toll. That’s age for you.

Still the feel of spring. The smell of melting ice. The warmth when the sun decides to shine, the light on the mountain tops and clouds after the sun goes down, the time it takes before it turns dark, no wonder the birds wait for this time to go a courting.

Each winter takes a little from us, robbing me of confidence and bringing us closer to our destination.

If it doesn’t snow, it will be dirty snow piles, mud and dust. That’s my cue to start some seeds inside. The garden is only a few months away.