Chilly

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Colour in the sky. The Milky Way will start rising in the coming months, first parallel to the the valley bottom, slowly turning straight up and down. Six satellites can be seen in this photo. It’s tough to get a photo without them showing up.

It is not often the cold is too much for Willow and I. Perhaps it is that we aren’t used to it, it having been a mild winter.

We headed for the south end of the lake. It surprised me that it dipped to -31°c. I took a few pictures but wasn’t really into it, my hands freezing on the aluminum tripod legs. Willow whined when we stopped to take photos.

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Looking back towards the lights of town. The curve of the shoreline is due to the Space-Time Warp continuum. Just kidding! It is caused by sewing multiple images together to form a panorama.

I spotted Comet E3 ZTF and took a photo, however not that interesting as I had to point the camera almost straight overhead. It would be nice to try to take a photo with the 200mm lens, but I would need a sky tracker.

A fog started to roll in hastening our departure. The last thing I wanted to do is depend on a compass to find our way off the lake.

A damn cold morning.

Skating

A spectacular day, after so many with cloud cover. Lisa and I headed beyond the ruck to skate beyond Windermere.

Each year we get older and loose a little balance. Thats the way it works. We try harder to compensate, but are mindful not to bump our head.

The Toby

Driving through town the other day, I saw Mrs. Peters walking. I pulled over and thanked her for what her and her husband meant to Lisa and I and our family.

Ron and Elizabeth Peters owned and operated the movie theatre in Invermere. Toby Theatre was the hub of downtown. Its big neon sign and movie posters in glass cases mounted on the exterior were a constant pleasure for every kid and adult while growing up in the Valley.

Inside was a thing of beauty. Snack bar with the best popcorn and cold fountain drinks (I was once addicted to the Cherry, it froze my throat and gave me a headache if I drank it fast enough, and I always did), the aquarium in the lobby, the model planes flying high off to the side as not to interfere with the projected light from the film, and the films were always good.

That was our entertainment growing up. I went to every movie. If it was restricted, my Mom would write me a note saying it was ok to let me in. I saw bare breasts and gore. Mom and Dad were probably happy I was out of their hair. I saw True Grit with John Wayne, during the 70’s, countless times.

Toby Theatre showed films. Sometimes the films were not new releases, like you see in theatres today. Sometimes they were older, but always great.

Ron and Elizabeth didn’t put up with rowdy or rude customers, this was also their home after all. They invited you in, you toed the line and it was wonderful to see movies on a big screen.

My children were lucky enough to go there before The Toby shut down. They loved it as much as us.

By then they had also started renting VHS and DVD movies. We would often send the kids down to rent a movie on Friday nights. We would also tell them to pick us up some popcorn as well.

Small town theatres like Ron and Elizabeth’s don’t exist anymore. Back then it was an escape, an oasis in a place lacking in the kind of magic it provided.

Things are different now. I could watch any film shown at the Toby’s 45 year history on my phone. But it’s not the same.

They call what has happened gentrification, or progress.

After talking to Elizabeth on the street. Telling her what a wonderful place they had, how it meant so much to us, we bid farewell. I turned and was walking, thinking she may not remember me, I have a grey beard after all, when she said, give my best to Lisa, Kelsie, Madison and Hunter.

Photos of Kelsie taken at The Toby Theatre.

November 1st

Hanging on.

It’s damn near winter, the snow could fly anytime in the valley bottom, it’s wetter than a river otter’s pocket. The garden still has kale, cabbage, carrots, turnips, fennel, beets and cannabis (since it was legalized you can’t give it away).

***

We had fourteen kids came to our door for Halloween. I bought full size chocolate bars to give away. A group of what looked like 10 or 12 year old girls yelled trick or treat. One was dressed in a fur jacket, miniskirt, fishnet stockings and high leather boots. I can’t imagine the conversation with her parents who let her go out in that costume.

***

I made soup on the weekend from a few bones picked up at the store. I browned them in the oven and then made a beef stock. I added grilled, cabbage, leeks, turnip, beets and carrots. All from the garden.

The soup was exceptionally gaseous. I tried to work alone. Warned Lisa. Even Willow seemed disgusted.

When I make soup I like it to last for a few days. I had it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This was the soup that kept giving.

Last night Lisa made Chili. It was a welcome reprieve from the explosive beef vegetable bisque. Not nearly as combustable, Lisa bringing me down gently. I have to get the dog to start trusting me again.

***

Had to deal with a miserable couple today. He was an ugly little cuss, he looked like Danny Devito, except fatter, shorter, uglier and not funny.

He looked at me only as someone who should serve him. That isn’t a problem with me as long as you treat me with respect.

Some people feel entitled. Sure enough, I checked his plates, he was from Alberta, they were vanity plates. With a Fuck Trudeau sticker. These guys are a dime-a-dozen out here. We get the worst of the worst from our neighbours to the east. They’re not all like that.

I took his plate down like I used to take a number of a hockey player that cheap shoted me. You never know when you might run into these arseholes again.

***

After work I chopped wood, tended the pile and filled the woodbox. About as good a job a man can do. Calming the mind. Chopping, assessing, figuring the mix of wood to make a perfect fire.

memory walk

Brilliant Jupiter hangs in the west.

A quiet morning walk. Orion is up. Mars is red between the red giants Aldebaran and Betelgeuse. To set your eyes on them is to get your bearings. To realize the biggest and fastest is only because it’s closest. An optical illusion.

Orion, Taurus, Pleiades, Mars and four satellites.

The cemetery is dark. I know my way around. The tourists still haven’t blocked Mom and Dad’s view. They used to dig the graves here, a chore given to them by my Grandfather, for extra money after the war. They will be the last of us buried here. Lake view even for the dead has skyrocketed.

It’s an easy walk under the stars.

Weeds

The weed has had a good season. Again, I have more than I know what to do with. Now that it’s legal you can’t even give it away. It’s a good looking plant with a relaxing smell and very receptive to the changing light.

The good stuff people are after is grown inside, under lights, sold by the government, with plenty of fertilizers. That’s fine, especially if you want to get high as fuck (and who doesn’t).

These plants aren’t like that. But they sure will ease the pain and guarantee a good nights sleep.

Night Walk

Willow and I were up early for a walk under the stars. It has been clear for awhile, unfortunately we picked a morning that was cloudy with a few stars poking through here and there.

Using the lights of the Valley bottom to illuminate the trees. Pleiades and Mars can be seen above the trees in the centre.

Willow decided to drag her face through a patch of burrs and is now covered in them. She has been patient but not overly pleased with me picking them out.

An old shack nestled in the wetlands.

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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.

The Bottoms

There used to be family who lived in the valley bottom beside the salmon beds. Mosquitoes, swamp, their house flooded every year in high water. They also had the train tracks running right beside their house.

The CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway) came to them, said they wanted to twin the track and they would give them above market value for their place.

The property owner said, no. The CPR countered with a better offer and he still said, no.

Negotiations went on for awhile without the home owner budging. The CPR finally built the twin rail on the other side of his house. The opposite side was out of the question due to the flow of the Columbia River. He and his family lived there for the rest of their time, trains running on either side of them.

Some locals thought they were nuts, others thought good for them for standing their ground.

***

Lisa and I headed north on the highway today. It was peaceful after Radium. Not much traffic. We stopped in Edgewater, Brisco and Spillimacheen. We stopped and bought some smoked meat and Gorgonzola cheese to have for lunch. Absolutely delicious. We picked up a few plants at a roadside nursery even though the garden is full. It was a nice outing.

Lisa asked me on the way back if I still liked where we live.

We live in town and things are changing by the minute. When developers started putting up condos they looked out of place. Now our place, without an 8′ fence, on a big lot with a garden looks out of place.

***

A few years ago the Mayor stopped by my place to tell me our place, as the town grows, will be the next to be zoned commercial.

He was a snivelling little bastard who’s claim to fame was captaining the local Jr B hockey team to a championship.

His point was, sell now and get out of Dodge. He also didn’t like me very much and took satisfaction in telling me the score.

Once he gave up small town politics, he counted his money, cashed in favours and got the hell out of town.

***

Perhaps we are like the family that lived by the tracks. Refusing to leave, stubborn, while the place takes on a different life, changing. Sometimes I feel like the trains are running on either side. But where do you go?

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.