Late June

Willow getting stripped.

A wonderful weekend. It was Cooper’s birthday, as is tradition in our house, he was allowed to pick his supper. He picked BBQ ribs, asparagus, corn, mashed potatoes and garlic toast. He wanted it made by me, which made me feel special. I also made a salad. His great Grandparents came over, to make four generations celebrating his birthday and enjoying supper.

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Blue sky and ridges.

Lisa and I were behind Swansea early this morning. We finished stripping Willow. It has taken a few sessions to get her done. She is not fond of sitting still while we pull her long wire hair out a few strands at a time. Although it doesn’t hurt her, our previous Wire-Haired seemed to enjoy it, she sometimes puts up a fuss until we give her a break and let her have a run. She looks good now just in time for the upcoming warm weather.

Bunching onions.

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The garden is coming. Lots of lettuce for every meal. The garlic is putting out scapes that are delicious and spicy. The spuds have blossoms. The peas have come up like never before, assuring the kids will have plenty to pick. Today was clear blue skies, still snow to come down in the high country, the heat is on it’s way.

Scarlett working on a drawing.

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Inflation is up in Canada. Lisa and I are careful, as we always have been, learned from growing up without much. It’s our normal. That’s not to say we save every penny, quite the contrary, when we have money we spend it, but we can also make do with nothing if we have to. We have cut back plenty since the start of 2022.

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The tourists from Alberta are out in force. Today I was cut off only once. Car alarms sounded through downtown, the sound of summer locals call it, two Albertans got into a yelling match in the Canadian Tire parking lot, this makes my heart glad, a guilty pleasure to watch a couple of type A arseholes go at each other.

The wealth that rolls in from Alberta into BC is insane. Boats, RV’s, large four wheel drive vehicles trailering ATV’s of every make and size. It is incredible! There is no restraint from our neighbours to the east.

For the record I have been accused of hating on Albertans. I should make it clear I don’t hate Albertans. I hate people that disrespect the place they choose to holiday. In this area, the majority guilty of contempt are tourists and second home owners from Alberta. It’s just the way it is.

I am sure the inhabitants who live three hours from Vancouver feel the same about the Vancouverites who recreate and tear the shit out the area they call home.

There are plans to build camps for workers earning minimum wage so they have places to live and serve tourists from Alberta. Atco trailers have been proposed. Some rich guy has even graciously donated the land. Of course it ain’t free and they well be charged rent. It’s promised the rent will be reasonable, something the workers can afford.

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Up the creek this morning, plenty of tourists camping, sleeping in. Tonight is the kind of evening I used to go back and clean up the mess, garbage and empties they leave behind. Now Lisa and I do it in September at the end of tourist season, it is impossible to keep up otherwise.

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Lavender.

CBC had a news story about large companies taking advantage during this spell of inflation to raise prices, blaming the war in Ukraine or the pandemic, to justify jacking prices and registering record profits. Many Canadian gas and oil companies, historically not the most virtuous or upstanding of corporate citizens, are guilty of this practice.

Jagmeet Singh, the leader of the federal NDP party suggested the offending companies should have their profits taxed heavily and their windfall dispersed to Canadians in the form of a rebate. Of course, this will never happen, but I like his thinking. Unfortunately, there is too many Canadian businesspeople and politicians who still think greed is good.

My kind of cabbage.

single leg trap

There ain’t many left, but I see a few downtown. Usually they are hell and gone creek bound, stumbling up or down a mountain looking for bears, goats, sheep, elk, moose or the next good huckleberry patch, always keeping an eye out for straight pine, without a knot for the first twenty feet, something that will lend it’s self to easy dovetail and make a descent cabin.

The fish and muskrat will come, same as the beaver and lynx, bobcat and coyotes. There is still people that want to wear fur. Sometimes just a bit for trim. The animals get to live on in a place where they won’t bear their teeth.

You ever try opening a trap to set an animal loose? It’s easier to kill them with a rifle or rock. That’s why you never see three legged wild animals.

It’s a collaboration. They don’t get to watch the world go to hell. They live like their fathers. The snow gets deep and things don’t turn out, they wonder about something easier, sunshine for instance in the November cold. Then it gets colder and finally the sun comes back making everyone feel special.

The animals trapped given their druthers, more than likely, would prefer having their hide on the hood of a rich bitch instead of being eaten by magpies.

Not that any of us get the choice.

Rain

Lavender.

The garden is coming. We have enjoyed some wonderful salads. Everything is up and if I don’t get the fences up for the peas soon they will flop over and will have to be trained.

Iris.

The rain has been falling for a couple of three days now. The grass is knee high. The good neighbour Larry’s feral cats, the mother and kittens, are starting to wonder around. She took up nesting under his hot tub that hasn’t been operational for ten or fifteen years. The cat’s a calico. Larry’s a radical. Not sure how the kittens look. All I hope is they stay across the road, which they won’t. Larry might, but the cats will wonder.

Red Cabbage.

We still can’t see the tops of the mountains due to storms. If it heats up the snow will melt up high, the rivers will swell and the wetlands will flood. It’s been a long time since Athalmer has been underwater, lot’s of fill and dykes. Can’t say it won’t happen again.

Murmur

A Fairy above the forest floor.

A lot of good stuff out there despite it all. It’s always been that way. It takes looking, searching even, sacrificing, just when you think it doesn’t exist it jumps up and slaps you in the face.

Yellow Orchid.

It’s what’s given to you, a gift. Born in the wrong era, hellbent to prove them wrong. Adrenaline and height, lost on purpose just to find yourself back. It’s the only war most people will know.

Twins.

It’s easy to die, to live in these times takes courage, fortitude, strength and conviction. You have to be quick to react, and do so with the same purpose of a murmur of starlings or school of fish.

Solomon’s Seal.

Calypso Wild Orchids

A Lady’s Slipper with an antenna that reaches to the end of the universe.

Odd day, everyone off, guarded. Arguments and discontent. Cutting off and swerving. It was good to get home. Lisa said, Let’s head up the pass. Look for Orchids.

The forest floor at spring time.

Last week they were small stems. Snow in the ravines. The Tamaracks turning lime with new needles.

This mountains are still full of snow, the sun is tilting in our favour, making the forest bloom as it has for thousands of years, hell or high water.

Willow finds Orchids.

A bit of bear shit here and there, rocks turned over and stumps torn, getting the early beetles, maybe even before they come out of hibernation.

The Lady’s Slippers were everywhere under foot, making me walk gingerly, drunk like, to avoid squashing such beauty.

Mid May

A Merlin or Pigeon Hawk enjoyed its catch, of a small song bird, on top a power pole.

Time is getting scarce, too much to do, between work and usual spring chores.

The garden is in except the tomatoes. Lettuce is up and won’t be long before we will be having fresh salads. We have about ten different varieties for a good mix.

Willow, Maynard and I spent a pleasant morning watching swallows fly in and out of the holes in the bank containing their nests.

It’s been dryer than a popcorn fart, not hot, poor weather and wind. Plenty of snow still in the mountains. We had a sprinkle last night, enough that I don’t have to water.

Douglas fir flowers.

Cloud cover for the lunar eclipse, I was disappointed. The light did turn odd through the clouds. Could well imagine this was concerning in ancient times before eclipses could be predicted.

It won’t be long before the mountains start crying.

I’ll take a mulligan

A Ruffed Grouse.

Damn near stepped on a wild chicken. It didn’t move until I was above it. I stopped and waited for Willow to catch up, lagging behind, busied with the smells of mice. The grouse and Willow locked eyes at the same time. Willow gave a bark, the grouse took off in a great flutter of wings and then glided, never more than ten feet off the ground, into the timber, seemingly looking for a place to land. It was long gone or hidden. I knew better from the many times I followed these birds into the trees while packing a twenty-two, only to come up empty, my father laughing at my optimism of an easy shot. The easy shot, he said, was when it was standing right in front of you. It makes me laugh I still don’t see them sometimes. The twenty-two is hidden, but I still crave my father’s mulligan sometimes.

Early May

Lisa celebrates spring.

The garlic has all come up. First time in a few years. I planted it deeper last the fall. The onions are also up. The garden has been dug, with manure mixed in. I planted three rows; beets, early lettuce and late lettuce. Everything has been planted thick so we can enjoy the thinnings. The tomatoes, basil and cannabis are doing well inside and I can’t wait to put them out so they don’t have to be cared for. An inside gardener I am not.

A good start to oncoming summer.

If I take the picture in the right light I can obliterate the second homes and condos that line the shores of Lake Windermere.

Line Up

Haze in the east. The waning moon mid right. Lake Windermere the way it should be.

The sky cleared on Saturday morning. Willow and I awoke early and headed out to see the planet alignment of Jupiter, Venus, Mars and Saturn. We looked for high ground with an unobstructed view of the east.

We waited for the moon to rise. By then it was getting light. I could not see any of the planets with my naked eye. I tried several settings on my camera to pick up the planets, hoping I could see them when enlarged on the computer screen, however was unsuccessful.

Moon rise.

A couple things could have been working against me. First, there was a slight haze in the east and could have easily obscured the dim light of the planets. Second, it gets light early here at our latitude of 50°N. And finally, I may have brought the wrong lens, opting for a wide angle instead of a lens that could have focused and enlarged a small part of the sky.

It was still a rewarding morning. We listened to chicken drumming and turkey’s gobbling. Four large Swans flew low over our heads, Willow seemed fine, but I was touched. When the sun got close to rising the song birds started up.

A few Crocuses on the trail in daylight heading out.

meteor, snow, fox, shopping, driving

The Lyrids fly tonight, unfortunately it is socked in with clouds. The Lyrids Meteor Shower can be a good one. Although not known for large numbers, about 20 an hour, the meteors can be bright and stretch across the sky. I saw one a few years ago that lit up the trees around me, an amazing sight in the dark of night.

A quick trip into and back from the city today. The Trans Canada highway has been diverted through Kootenay National Park while work is being done on the #1 near Golden. Lisa counted 65 semi trucks going the opposite way between Radium and Castle Junction (approx. 100km). This was at 5:30 in the morning. On the way home at 7pm on the same stretch she counted 145.

We saw a lot of precipitation, snow, sleet, rain. When we arrived in Calgary the flakes were as big as silver dollars. I had to put the truck in 4 wheel just to get around the parking lots.

A remarkable site on the way in, near Hector’s Gorge, a Red Fox, beautiful in the morning light, a full tail as long as the rest of its body. Remarkable, because this area has never had foxes, however, sightings have started to become common. This is the first fox Lisa and I have seen. They will have to get along with the Coyotes and Wolves. From what I understand they won’t attack dogs so Willow won’t have to worry.

No trip to the big city is complete without a trip to Costco, or as I like to refer to it the 10th level of hell. Parking, crowds, gluttony, anger. My goal is to get in and out as fast as I can. Lisa gives me a list, she has her own, mine is garbage bags, fruit, parmesan cheese and toilet paper. I am in and out like a wedding dink, back in the truck trying to figure a way out of the parking lot.

Back home we noticed we did not get much moisture.

Everything is getting faster while we slow down. I demanded Lisa turn off Siri giving directions, because it was confusing me. That was a mistake and costed us some time.

Lisa ribbed me. Even asked if I wanted her to drive. Jesus!