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.

In the Windermere

A website I enjoy reading is, In the Windermere, by Alex Weller.

The writing, research and photographs are fantastic. The material highlights local history. Many of the subjects Alex covers are ones I am familiar with and enjoyed talking about with my late father.

Alex does not romanticize history, rather, reports it with footnotes and links to back it up.

So often while reading Alex’s website I am reminded of my father’s recollections of First Nation People and the many names that settled this area my family has called home since 1912.

My father would often point out injustices in those early days of settlement. Alex’s website often confirms, through research and linked footnotes, many of the stories my father and I would discuss.

History was a real time and place. Even the smallest areas have great stories. History reflects and has repercussions until today. I can’t get over, when reading, In the Windermere, how politics haven’t really changed much, but the area sure has.

Strong Thermal Emissions

Due north towards the lights of Invermere.

Good reports of Northern Lights recently, unfortunately I have slept through the best storms.

Damn chilly in the morning. Last Saturday I shed the long underwear for the year and I’m tempted to put the long thermal underwear back on. Every year it goes on earlier and comes off later. Maybe there will come a time, despite global warming, they will stay on year round. Just for the record, it is not the same long underwear I wear for 7 months straight. I do change them every month or so, usually when my leg hair starts growing through them.

Bah

The snow has been falling all day. Shovelled the paths a couple times to break it up. At minus 10 celsius its light, a pleasure to move.

Tomorrow I’ll be on a plow, digging out tourists in small cars.

Santa rolled by this evening, I went outside and wished him a Merry Christmas. This Santa has a booming voice kind of like our mayor. He mustered a quiet ‘Merry Christmas,’ back. If he was off his sleigh I might give him a kick in the nuts if it didn’t forever put me on the naughty list. And when I say nuts I mean the uncracked ones, Brazil, Walnuts and Pee Cans. It’s Christmas after all.

The good neighbour always makes me laugh.

Ray Crook 1918 – 2021

Ray enjoying a birthday dessert.

Sadly, Ray wasn’t able to recover from a fall in his apartment and passed away peacefully at Columbia House on December 1st.

During my last visit with Ray at the hospital he was in good spirits and knew the score. He talked fondly of the housekeeper that found him, his nephew now living in Switzerland and the times he and my father spent cutting trail in Kootenay National Park.

Ray was an accomplished historian and someone I enjoyed talking to about long ago times. His memory was fantastic. He clarified many valley events for me and taught me plenty of things I didn’t know.

Ray was well known in the community, driving his scooter downtown each day, stopping to talk with anyone, laughing usually ensued.

Life is a gift. Ray gave back with his always cheerful nature and natural decency.

When I look up, from my garden, towards downtown, Ray will always be riding his scooter along the paved path. Like the way it should be.

Rest well Ray.