Late November

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A proud raven, with a shiny red piece of meat in it’s beak, flew and perched on our roof. I distracted Willow, so she wouldn’t see, but she caught a whiff. The barking started, the raven took off into the grey November sky. 

Used the last of the summer onions today. The ones I plucked out of the dry earth when the sky was shrouded in smoke from forest fires. They were tucked away and it was lucky I’d found them.

We still have plenty of beets, spuds, carrots, garlic and smoke. The firewood is also plenty, more than holding up.

November, when the ground is either froze or not, can be harsh. The light continues to diminish, colours disappear and are replaced by grey. It can rain or snow and footing must be tested.

There’ll come a day, sure as hell, we’ll suffer shortages.  But for now, thank God, it’s only money.

***

Rode into the bush tonight just to make sure the stars were still up there. It’s been awhile since the sky has cleared. Sure enough there they were between breaks in the clouds. They were all out of place from the last time I looked. It is reassuring to become aligned once again.

We were treated to two owls hooting back and forth. The one who started first sounded like a dog barking. Willow’s hackles went up. Her circle got smaller and she barked back. Then another owl started. It was the the barking owl, the barking dog and then the hooting owl, over and over, for about ten minutes. Finally, between the three of them, they must have worked out their differences and stopped the chatter. Quiet returned. Willow’s circle grew.

***

Down in the valley or up in the mountains, at my age, I’m lucky, I walk where I want, I’m either not worth the bother or too much trouble. Willow stays alert just in case my bluff is called.

Clearing

_LME8804-sm.jpgThe Milky Way dips below the horizon, leaving the night to the brilliant winter stars.

Willow and I took for the benches, beyond the ruck, into the burn. We arrived early. The Moon wasn’t down and Orion wasn’t up. We neither had a cup of coffee or a beer to expedite the wait. Willow occupied herself looking for mice. I thought about hunting. How I could have filled the freezer by now, instead I’m foolishly after stars.

_LME8818-Pano.jpgIt was an exceptional fall day. No clouds, cool but with sunshine. Today cannnabis is legal for recreational use in Canada. It is the step in the right direction to give people the right to do what they have been doing all along. Growing, packaging, advertising, pricing distribution and tax collecting will now be handled and approved by government and friends.

_LME8794-smA meteor streaks beside Mars before it follows the moon over the eastern ridge. 

It is odd to see folks so long in favour of prohibition now on the other side, espousing and controlling the market they see as lucrative.

_LME8820-smAlong the fence line, into the darkness, chasing the night.

Wouldn’t it be funny if everybody just grew their own.

More small gardens would be a good thing.

It took the moon to go down before the sky was dark enough to make out The Milky Way.

_LME8799-smOrion rises, in pursuit of Taurus and Pleiades. The trees limbs point to Orion’s Belt.

Very fine night.

 

 

harvest moon

RCE_1129This one is lucky I traded my rifle for a camera.

There is a time you realize everything you thought was big isn’t really.

The bush around our house was thick. It was built between town, the train tracks and the lake. The bush was overgrown. I thought it could hide just about anything. Indians would get their liquor and walk over the bank. They would fuck and fight. Laugh and cry. Freeze to death, at times just die. Sometimes they would smash our forts. Young guys mostly, before pure sorrow took over their souls and made them drunks.

_LME8594Reaching the creek bottom.

In the trees, we drank their stashed wine and thumbed through Penthouse magazines, found behind the bookstore. At night if there was a fight in the house I’d escape into those trees. I’d break branches off fir and bury myself under moss. No need for a fire, every branch accounted for and smoke gives your position away.

Even now, while in the bush, it becomes my whole world. It’s a downfall really, when the Royal Group is as far away as France. When the distance across the Kootenay is equivalent to the span of the Atlantic.

_LME8589A cathedral, the only thing missing is a preacher, thank God!

Walking the mountains is awarding, regardless of illusion, the colours at this time of year are vibrant. A trout on the line renders the chill forgotten.

It’s not the biggest world, but I can still get lost in it.

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Fall

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It was my little girls birthday today. It is hard to believe she is grown up. I remember her having a hard time breathing after she was born. And later how stubborn she was. She could dig her heals in.

In all this time past she has grown into a beautiful, confident young women, while I’ve stayed the same, still worrying about my children, while they console me, never growing a year older or wiser. That’s time for you.

It’s been steady rain for most of the day. Willow and I walked off the mountain in it. It’s warm not close to snow yet. More summer than winter.

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dear deer

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Heard Willow putting up a helluva fuss. Popped my head out of the studio and there she was head to head with a Mule Deer.

Deer kill dogs regularly within town limits by stomping them. Our neighbours Cocker Spaniel was killed a couple years ago. At this time of year the deer are starting the rut.

We are careful when we put Willow in the yard, making sure there isn’t any deer around. They will be circling my garden regularly now food is getting scarce. The sunflowers are blooming, the ground is still full of carrots and beets, along with the cabbage calling their name. It must look like a smorgasbord.

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Willow and I have an agreement to try to look after each other. I get annoyed at her because she follows her nose, rolls in shit, eats live mice and birds then throws them up later. She also has issues with me. I fall asleep in cold places, forget some days to head into the bush, push her back while going through the drive through and insist Scarlett and Cooper are her masters.

When I saw Willow nose to nose with a deer, I picked up what was closest, a plastic pale and ran for the deer. It didn’t move for a second, then realized I meant business and turned and ran. I threw the bucket for good measure.

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It was a terrible throw. Landing wide. Willow looked embarrassed for me. I tweaked my shoulder in the doing, damn I’m getting old.

Early September

RCE_1099Fall Fireweed gone to seed.

Whew! Thank goodness the summer is over. There is always a sigh of relief after Labour Day. All my white clothes have been cleaned and pressed and put away. This morning there was no standing in line at the coffee shop while a herd of tourists looked at the chalk board menu like they had never seen the word ‘coffee’ before. I was in and out like a wedding dink. It’s fall, back to Carharts, plaid long sleeved shirts and not driving ten miles out of the way to avoid downtown.

RCE_1114Solomon’s Seal berries.

It was close to frost this morning. My wise sister Deb has covered her plants tonight. I’m going to risk it. I could be sorry come morning. We have had a great year of tomatoes with most of them ripening on the vine. There won’t be many green ones to ripen inside this year. They are delicious! It will be at least February before I’ll be able to buy one in the store.

RCE_1097.jpgWild Asters.

I got a text from my good neighbour. He is on a road trip going across BC visiting his kids and grandkids. It’s been awhile since he’s been able to do that. I thought he may want to know how his garden is doing, I’ve been looking after it in his absence. Instead, he said his laptop was stolen from his vehicle in Vancouver. He was pissed. In the spring he stopped in Canmore and had a giant block of cheese he bought at Costco stolen from the cooler in his vehicle.

He really has to start locking his doors, but I wasn’t going to say that. I texted back, ‘on the bright side think of the fun you will have filling up a fresh laptop with brand new porn’. An hour later, I was getting worried I’d stepped over the line, then a bing on my phone, ‘you know it.’

RCE_1108Rose Hips. As plumb and full as I’ve seen in the wild. It is said they have 20x more vitamin C then oranges.

It’s good to have the land cooling after another bad summer. Winters are traditionally bad in the valley. Work drying up. Only minimum wage. Cold and overcast in the valley bottom. No doubt this winter will bring challenges.

Fall is underway. The firewood is in. I worry like usual, maybe someday all the demons will come home to roost. ’til then the colours keep changing and the birds keep flying above the creeks.

smoke show

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We had a touch of rain on Monday morning. The smoke has cleared enough to be able to see the mountains.

BC Premier, John Horgan toured some of the places hit by wildfire, shrugged his shoulders in front of the cameras, and said this could be our new normal.

You hear it a lot – this is our new normal.

It’s been two bad fire years in a row.

***

The garden seems to be wilting early. The tops of the spuds are dying off same as the onions. There is a couple of big holes in the garden where the peas and garlic were. The red cabbage has formed good heads and will do plenty of growing once it cools. The carrots are getting large the same as the Detroit Dark Red Beets. Every meal contains both prepared in some form or fashion, from grated raw to boiled to roasted or barbecued.

***

Perhaps it’s the heat or the orange haze that blankets everything. The mountains obscured, the traffic, the gentrification of downtown, yoga, soaps and massage, just another place of haves and have nots, the lake, misted, picturesque if not for the hundreds of motorboats running hither and yon across it’s surface, seemingly oblivious to sky, mountain, shore or water. It’s still summertime after all, but I can’t help feeling sad.

***

The mosquitoes are out in force. If you’ve read this far, you know I find them the least of summer irritants. The nights are getting longer. The moon is waxing gibbous, half full, not blood red. The constellations can be easily seen. The temperature will drop to 5° just before dawn. It feels good.

Everything’s fine I tell myself until it will be again.