Early April

Scarlett helping with the seedlings.

Grey days, typical for April. Lisa and I wondered the creek both Saturday and Sunday this weekend. It was good to be out.

We don’t get as much done on the weekend as we used to, but I like to think we take care of the important stuff.

Willow makes the best of her time on the trail beside the creek.

The kids came over yesterday. Scarlett hasn’t been feeling well. It was good to see she was feeling better. She and Cooper helped me take the seedlings from their starter trays and put them in individual pots. Not my favourite part of gardening. I only start plants I can’t get at the nursery. It is a necessary annoyance. Keeping plants alive until they are ready to be planted in the garden is a chore. I am depended on for water, heat and the right light. The plants should realize like everyone else in my life, I just ain’t that dependable!

Cooper helps with planting.

Haven’t found any wood ticks yet. The garden is waiting to be turned over. The ice is off the small part of the lake. Sap is in the spruce needles and smell good when squeezed between your fingers.

An Eagle, tail feathers in the sun and head in the shade, hunting the fields. Lisa had to be quick to get this shot.

Lisa and I had an argument coming out of the mountains.

Lisa said, You saw a chickadee in the trees beside the creek, coming up, maybe it will be there again.

I said, No it was a chicken.

Lisa said, You said chickadee.

I said, I know what I saw. It was a chicken, a grouse to be exact.

Lisa said, You said chickadee. I was looking for a chickadee.

I answered adamant, No I didn’t. Why would I even point out a chickadee?

Lisa said, Well that’s what you said… maybe you’re starting to stutter.

It is impossible to win an argument with Lisa.

Very fine weekend.

Willow will jump into Lisa’s arms when she asks.

Activity

Who needs a toboggan when you can slide down hills on your bum?

The birds have been active as of late. Plenty of chirping and fluttering in the trees. Some even allow me to see them. A wonderful weekend treat. The melt continues.

Our house also has been active. Lisa and I are looking after our Grandkids, Cooper and Scarlett, while their parents are on a short vacation. It has been very nice for us. They certainly keep us on our toes. It makes me wonder how we raised three children while running a very busy business. We both agree we couldn’t do it now.

Willow trying to prove she is actually a big dog.

We had our daughter Kelsie when we were young, especially for today’s standards. In doing so we are young grandparents. Thank goodness!

Handsome Cooper, sweaty as usual.

I took Cooper to his hockey practice on Friday. It was good to be in the rink again. Cooper scored three goals in the scrimmage. One was a highlight reel goal scored while laying on his back, sweeping it in with his stick. It really was something! His coaches came over and congratulated him on such an effort. After, I told Cooper he did so well because I laced his skates. He just laughed and said, “No. Papa”.

Talking , laughing, crying, mad, happy. It is hard to tell.

Scarlett is difficult to take a photograph of. She is moving and TALKING all of the time. She can climb hills as fast as her brother and seems to have a competitive streak, something she has inherited from her Mother and Grandma.

Outside in the bush.

It is a wonderful gift to watch them grow, laugh and even struggle. To be a part of their lives, to have them feel comfortable with us is incredible. Lisa and I can’t imagine it any other way.

Filling their water bottles at he same spring their Great Grandfather and Great Great Grandfather did so. They agreed the water was sweet.

Late in the afternoon a bird sang. I couldn’t make out the birdsong, but all types of birds, Chickadees, Sparrows and even crows seemed to be stirred.

Sometimes you get lucky.

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.

Dec. 6th

On December 5th the clouds cleared. Lisa and I had our grandchildren, Scarlett and Cooper, over for supper. While we got a fire going, picking kindling and blocks of timber I pointed out Venus, Saturn and Jupiter in the brilliant sky.

Venus, the brightest, was about to go down, Saturn was hard to see in the twilight and Jupiter, the highest, ruled by its position high in the sky.

The next day we awoke to snow. The clouds took over the sky. Luckily, before the end of the day they lifted. Cooper and I were shovelling snow. I pointed out a young moon in the still daylight. Cooper acknowledged it said, “There’s Venus above.”

I had to squint to see it. Cooper has good young eyes. It made me proud he knew the name of that point of light.

Being a grandfather is nice. When I was a parent I tried my best but did a lot of things wrong. I worried all the time for one. Worked too long and thought being a good father was holding the line.

Now, I don’t worry. Kelsie and Tom are wonderful parents. I’m a kid again, but with the knowledge and eccentricities of an old man. I get to teach Cooper and Scarlett about the garden, the stars in the sky and what firewood burns best for Grandma. If that ain’t blessed I don’t know what is.

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.

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.

old stories

There are plenty of stories being told, the same as it’s always been, but there is more of them. I’m old and my antenna only picks up a few.

Stories get told on the internet now, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tic Tok. I’m not a member so I don’t understand. Still I bet they are good stories.

People have sex or perform for people willing to pay. It’s a legitimate thing They are storytellers.

Lisa and I used to do the same. We would go beside the river and make love. Sometimes we would take pictures. They are some of the best photos I’ve ever taken. Fortunately or unfortunately there was no market back then.

Both Lisa and I worry about our kids discovering those negatives after we die. We talk about throwing them out but we can’t do it. Still I don’t want to shock them.

My stories are slow now, boring even. Experience is dull.

All my experience has added up to nothing. All my stories have become dull. That’s the world for you, refusing to slow down to my aged pace. Thank God.

hiding seeds

Spent some time watching chickadees and creepers taking seeds from the dried flowers and hiding them in the trees. It should be noted, they shell them, dropping the husk to the ground below, before tucking the meat into the crevasses of the bark.

I’ve watched woodpeckers come right after and steal the seeds. Damn those thieves.

Still the chickadees do their chore with cheerful vigour, regardless of thieves or winter coming quick or slow. I can’t imagine they are coming back to the ones they’ve hidden, trusting instead to the thoughtful nature down the line, birds hiding seeds in the trees above snow-covered ground. What goes around. . .

***

BC has implemented additional measures to slow the Covid virus. The ant-maskers held a demonstration downtown. I was conveniently in the bush, hiding, watching my grandchildren laugh, marvelling at the frozen lake while the mud puddles were open and thawed.

***

Just before dark, I watched a young boy with roller blades stick handle a ball down the sidewalk. It made me wish I was young.

The lake has a skim of ice. I’m hoping the cold takes hold, the snow stays put high until it’s hard enough to skate. That’s all it will take to make this old man happy.

Scarlett and Cooper, posing nice for their Grandma, in matching pyjamas taking advantage of a fine November day.

before the freeze

The last of the open water.

Very fine day. My hound is feeling better. Lisa and I took one last look at the lake. Marvelling at the still water open before the freeze. Later we headed for the mountains, throwing the truck into four wheel drive.

Willow caught on the wrong side of a fight. A Penrose drain and some antibiotics needed to make her feel better.
A curious bird.

I offered Scarlett and Copper $5 each if they could find a bird in their guide book. It made me feel good they found the American Dipper and damn near got in a fight about who would hold the book for the picture.

Scarlett and Cooper making their old grandpa happy.

It cleared as much as it does in November. Jake climbed a tree in his between fall and winter boots. A true swinger of birches. The sun was down by 4:30 and dark by 6.

The fire is on. My arms remain strong. Plenty of wood needs splitting. A good day rouses me as much as a bad, when it doesn’t I’ll have to take a good long look.