Fuck Zoom

RCE_5926Willow agrees!

The world is changing and there is plenty I don’t understand or know how to navigate.

Last week I had my first Zoom meeting with four other people. It was a business meeting. I found it awkward. I didn’t realize how much I rely on body language and looking into peoples eyes to understand what they are saying. From my perspective I was half blind.

I believe they were also at a disadvantage, however they were more experienced with the Zoom experience than I. They were also all younger than I. Perhaps the only disadvantage was my age. Like I said the world is changing, social cues are also changing, for instance I’ve never felt bullied by something someone wrote on Facebook.

Two of the people in the meeting, were obviously not interested in being there. Although they were the ones who requested the meeting they were disengaged. Maybe it was the hour (early).

Everyone was in a makeshift office, kitchen, bedroom or home office made to look impersonal, or professional as they have been taught, no personal pictures at your desk etc. A bright spot was when a dog barked, I made light of it, but it fell on deaf ears, they were gone to shut up the dog.

To be distant in such an environment is easy, to be engaged is difficult.

I failed at this first meeting. I am getting old. There are new ways I don’t understand. It’s unlikely, at my age, I will ever get it. That’s okay with me. I prefer my meeting face to face, even if it’s six feet apart.

And that’s coming from someone who doesn’t even really like the company of people.

hard in the mountains

RCE_5991Rare Yellow Orchids 

Lisa thought it was a good idea to take a trip behind the mountain and look for Yellow Orchids. I thought it was too early.

We walked to a spring where we have found them before. It was tricky as we had to find a crossing to the creek that was running quick. Sure enough, Lisa was right (should I have doubted?) and the Yellow Orchids had just started to bloom.

RCE_5983Oregon Grape, blossoms promising a good year of ‘grapes’.

We also noticed plenty of young cones on the pine and spruce. Oregon Grape is covered with blossoms, possibly suggesting a good crop of the sour pitted fruit.

RCE_5986Young Pine cones covered in pollen. Pine pollen is used medicinally for many ailments. I told Lisa it is also said to boost testosterone, she said, ‘we should take some home’. I chewed on a few cones on the way home. Very sweet. Sure enough, I was harder than algebra when we pulled into the driveway. Unfortunately, Willow wouldn’t let me get close to Lisa. What nature gives, nature also takes away. 

It has been a damp year so far. The plants and trees seem to be enjoying it.

early June

RCE_5618More rain in the valley bottom, snow in the mountains. We took an extra special trip behind Swansea, beside the swollen creek running pure mud, under a canopy of black spruce. My kind of day Lisa remarked.

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It would be nice to have a rainy year for a change. It does the bush good. I expect the bush to be extra busy this year with people from out of province camping in every nook and cranny due to campsites being closed to out of province visitors. The rational for this decision is to keep people close to home during the pandemic. Both Alberta and British Columbia have implemented this rule.
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In our neck of the woods I have already seen Albertans camped in the damndest places with, motorbikes, ATV’s, trailers on jacked up trucks, booze and loud music, sky high bonfires and not a drop of water in a five mile radius. It’s a recipe for disaster. At least if the recreational and commercial campsites were available to them they would be kept in check with plenty of water available and threat of a scolding if they get out of hand.

It started to pour, we were back down too soon for my liking.
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rain mostly

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It makes me feel like I should be in the bush, slipping and sliding, looking for spruce to take shelter, the bears like it, snapping off flower buds, so why shouldn’t I take a bite of those big yellow dandelions, more fluorescent as fall sunflowers, both on the verge of kissing colour behind.

planting schedule

RCE_5234Willow tries to harvest gophers.

There is a whole lot of theories out there. Some say you plant when the snow is off Baldy, or when the snow pulls up Three Finger Slide.

Others say you keep a close watch on worms, two weeks later, the tender stuff, like tomatoes and squash can go in. Frost and greening of grass, count too.

As for seeds, put them in whenever, even the year before.

RCE_5191What’s down there?

If I had two hundred years to plant a garden I might get it right.

This is only my thirty-fifth garden, not counting my father’s and grandfather’s gardens, that I only ran through raiding radishes and carrots. 

It’s life, those plants, they can be delicate, but most time strong, like everything I guess.

The storms are close to the mountains, the snow is melting in rain. It will start sliding. Down here we keep watch and try to make sense of  it all.

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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.

***

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.

***

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.

mid April

RCE_5047Had to bribe Willow for this picture. She was amply rewarded with a generous piece of breakfast sausage.

It’s never too early to get a truck full of wood. The backroads are still snow covered. Got lucky finding a down pine and fir before heavy snow. Both dry but thawing out. I cut and Lisa loaded. Willow kept the perimeter.

We saw Whitetail Deer, the rivers are clear and I could have brought home fish if the season wasn’t closed. It’s hard to know when we won’t give a shit. For now everything is fine.

Lisa and I talked about the anxiety we have been feeling, especially when the virus first hit, and how we are feeling now. We both can do with a lot less. Still, having a shitload of money stockpiled, including pensions, would be the best defence. Neither, we have, but neither did all our descendants before us.

The grass is greening. I’m looking for garlic to come up.

Spring

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Slept in and had the moon damn near go down without my witness. Dug part of the garden, mixing in some manure. The seedlings are coming up and giving me anxiety, because I hate caring for young plants. If I had my way I would just buy the plants I need. I feel sorry for the seeds that fall into my hands.

Once the moon was down the sun was shining on the western mountains. It would be so much easier if everything was opposite. Like today. The moon goes down and the sun comes up. Of course it doesn’t work that way most of the time.

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Once the moon was down a Cooper’s Hawk landed above. I think Willow and the bird were working in cohoots. Willow was ripping open rotten logs looking for mice. Almost all were skedaddling out, oblivious to Willow, but obvious to the hawk.

Damn saddened by the passing of John Prine. He sure has given me some good times. I used to play him all the time driving the backroads with a beer in my hand.