There will be no new normal

RCE_5249A Song Sparrow greets the day.

Work wise things are back to where they were before. It’s almost like the virus never happened. Maybe it was a drill. Plenty of vehicles holidaying from Alberta. There is even vehicles from the United States. Odd, as I thought the borders were closed to non-essential travel. Perhaps vacationing is essential, I know it is for the well off.

Still plenty of people not going back to work as they make more on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). It doesn’t matter to me, I am not eligible. People who think these programs and health care for all is available to everyone in Canada is mistaken. I don’t want these benefits from our government. I am happy making slightly more than minimum wage. Somebody recently said to me, it’s because I refuse to accept the terms or ‘play the game’. Maybe so or I could just be fucking stupid..

I believe you don’t ask (or fight) for something that should be given, especially if promised. That’s a rule decent people adhere by. It’s the way it used to be. Dropping a deer off to people who need it. It’s not charity, nor do you need thanks, it’s what you hope would be offered if the shoe were on the other foot. Someday my health will go, I won’t be expecting help from our health care system (even though I’ve paid premiums my whole life), I won’t have the energy to fight for it, I’ll  be better served by the end of a loaded gun. I jest, but you need a mountainful of hope to get by in this day and age.

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RCE_5205Wildflower by Lisa.

I planted a portion of the garden yesterday, peas, carrots, beets, lettuce a few things will have to wait until things warm up. Today I am waiting for the rain to stop to plant a couple rows of spuds.

Yesterday, was also the first day without long underwear. It seems I keep it on longer each year. Truth is a feel a little naked without it.

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RCE_5255Fresh Juniper Berries. A powerful source of medicine.

It has been work and straight home these past few weeks. The snow is melting and the roads will be opening into the mountains. Fuel prices are going back up, not that they went down very much here. They should be back up to about $1.50 a litre by May long. 

0pt out

RCE_7828Crocuses, a sure sign of spring, are blooming in abundance on the benches and valley bottom.

Willow and I went into the bush, yesterday, to get some firewood. Storms have been threatening, clouds raining on the mountains, not much in the valley bottom. Lisa is afraid the government may close the bush due to the virus. The fear is fires will start and the province will not have the resources to fight the fires. It is a legitimate concern.

RCE_7790The surrounding mountains are still covered with many feet of snow. A quick melt could cause flooding in the valley.

The company I work for has extended my hours from three days a week back to five. This is very helpful for Lisa and I. Lisa, who was laid off from work several weeks ago, spends 7 hours a day trying to get through to check on her Employment Insurance claim. So far no luck and I don’t expect that will change. I mentioned in a previous post Lisa and I are not the kind of people who collect or are able to collect on many of the government programs available during the Covid19 crisis. I am okay with that. We are resourceful and will do anything to get by. I do believe, however that we shouldn’t have to pay into EI as we have done our entire lives without ever being able to use it when we lose our jobs, as Lisa has. I still believe, regardless of resourcefulness, a person or families best defence in these strange times is to be sitting on a piss pot full of money with nice secure, defined government pensions rolling in, another thing we pay into but never will collect.

RCE_4944A murder of crows peck seeds from a freshly thawed field.

The Albertan tourists and second home owners are back in force. There is no way they are going to stay away. The reports from BC and Alberta health ministers fall on deaf ears. And who can blame them, living in a concrete shithole like Calgary, spitting distance from their neighbours, it must be downright depressing.

RCE_5075No longer is the ice off the creeks and lake and the Osprey reappears.

Are we going to be different after this virus passes or are we going to go back to jumping on planes winging our way around the world, building second and third homes, piling motorboats onto a tiny lake and polluting and consuming at every opportunity with reckless abandon. I can imagine we will.

Regardless if this slowdown lasts for another week or several months it has been a nice respite from the usual ruck that is the tourist trap we call home.

down the valley

RCE_5065The snow covered mountains are over 130km away. There is a haze just above the lowest ridge. Woodstoves I suspect as it was a chilly morning.

More than a few years ago I would look south down the valley and wonder if the haze at the horizon was pollution? And was it there the year before or the last time I looked? It would glow orange. Of course we get our share of pollution when the forests are on fire during the summer months. I’m talking about the rest of the year.

Much of industry is carried on south of us where the majority of the population resides. It could be that I have been missing them, but the skies seem exceptionally blue at the horizons where smoke is most noticeable.

Regardless, it was a beautiful blue day. I can’t help but think we are going to be a more mindful society after this threat passes. I know this; the blue skies sure make the birds feel better, like always, they can be trusted.

worm moon

moon risesmGoodness me! Who took a bite out of the Moon!

Lisa and I headed for Brewer Ridge to watch the Full Moon rise over the valley.

The Moon always seems to take it’s time rising, especially when it’s cold. Lisa and I took pictures of the mountains until the light ran out. We admired bright Venus above and at our backs. Orion unveiled in the darkness along with the Twins of Gemini, Pleiades appeared just before the Moon.

CRW_0006-Pano.smThe last of the days light on the eastern slopes.

At last the few whispy clouds in the east became illuminated and the Moon peeked out behind the rocky crags.

RCE_4737The Moon picks a spot to rise along the ridge.

we can only prey

CRW_0015smBald Eagle, photo by Lisa.

Lisa and I saw a Northern Hawk Owl yesterday. It was a fortunate sighting. Owls are an animal that seem to be able to look directly into your soul. Unfortunately it was very low light and I wasn’t able to get a clear photograph.

The owl even soared down and caught a mouse in the snow and long grass. As soon as it flew away a Raven trailed after it, hoping for it to drop the mouse I suspect.

Opportunists get a bad rap. Not born with the sharp beak and killer claws it must depend on it’s smarts and perseverance. It has to steal it’s meal.

This is often the same with people. It used to be the poor steeling from the rich. Now it’s the politicians and big business men stealing from the many poor. Just a little bit from each, it’s counterproductive to completely ruin the hand that feeds you.

Like the Raven they quickly adapt. Even manipulating folks into leaving treats and rewarding them with trinkets.

Still you have to hand it to the Ravens, Crows, Turkey Vultures and Magpies. It was unfair of me to compare them to crooks in suits.

Lisa and I went out this morning in better light to look for the owl. They are very territorial and are often seen time and again in the same spot.

It was no where to be found. We saw the Bald Eagle photographed above. Lisa took the photo not trusting me after my shaky focus with the owl. 🙂

winter colours

CRW_0007Follow the ridge. Telemark through the spruce.

There is a little extra daylight. Not much but noticeable. There is something to be said about the colours of winter, deep shades of grey, colours only seen at this time of year, hues of mauve and blue.

CRW_0004-PanoEvaluate the shadows in winter to plan a walk in summer.

To be without would be a shame. To see them a gift. The owl on a snag, eagles waiting for a fish or a duck to get separated. The mountain ridge fully defined. And the quiet that accompanies it.

CRW_0009Willow.

cloudy to clear

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The Geminids were hidden by the near-full moon and clouds. We waited looking for a hole in the clouds, but one never opened up. That’s the way it is sometimes. It’s the same with fish biting. No matter how much we try there are some things that won’t be controlled. 

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Tomorrow, with luck, I’ll be back in the bush. 

frozen over

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It’s the kind of weather that feels cold. Snow or rain most of the time, wet and overcast. Everything is grey, it seems, even the snow.

Inside is hot, outside holds a chill. Caught between seasons and unusual for November, usually cold as fuck frozen

Got in a few casts before the lake was completely frozen. The fish weren’t biting. The next time I’ll be dangling a hook down a hole in the ice, never hopeful with such a situation, no action on the lure, no casting where the fish just jumped.

Late October

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Was behind the mountains where we used to catch fish in the streams. Where we sipped the cold water from the spring beside the trail. How we used to look forward to it on a hot day after exploring the back country, or hunting for deer and elk, sometimes we only came home with chicken. I remember thinking, if it wasn’t for all these damn trees I’d be able to see something to shoot at.

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Now the trees are large and I wonder sometime if they were always there. Every trip it’s like I’m seeing them for the first time. Same as the ridges, the way the light hits them. It’s cold in the creek bottom, dark and icy, but those ridges basked in the last light look mighty inviting.

I don’t go far, never have, there is still plenty of ridges, I haven’t walked, without ruck or crowd, right under my nose. Tamarack, old, hard, and twisted. Scree slopes, waterfalls, fish behind rocks, mountains that change depending on the light, enough for 10 lifetimes if you had four sets of eyes.

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It’s getting chilly. The snow is on the mountains. You could die if you break your ankle, freeze if you fall through the ice, get lost in the crooks and crags, too scared to move in the dark.

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Who needs a jet plane to explore? When you can count on the stars.

either or

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Two Boxers got on Willow, she realized she was in trouble and was fighting back. I saw it from inside and ran out. A couple boots and I picked up Willow. This is not what you are supposed to do when your dog is being attacked by other dogs.

The Boxers where persistent. They snapped at her. Unlike some of the other fights I’ve been in I had to use both feet. I hit them in the chest. I was out of breath by the time the Boxers ran off.

I knocked a Rottweiler out once, when I was a youngster I was bitten plenty, I kicked him right under the chin. The clack his teeth made was like the sound when a good punch lands. It was square. Never planned.

He stumbled around for awhile and retreated.

It can go either way. That’s dogs for you when they remember they were once wild.