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.

Sorry It’s Policy

Busy for any long weekend. The tourists and second home owners from Alberta are out in force.

I set out early this morning to get a few pictures of the valley. It’s rainy and the colours are saturated.

My trip on the highway was eventful with Albertan after Albertan passing me on slick roads, regardless of me traveling 5 over the speed limit, trying to get home, no doubt, before the weather grew worse.

Plenty sirens of emergency vehicles heading into the pass. I learned later multiple accidents had closed the highway.

The highway turned my mood and I thought about all the places the tourists refuse to look either from being blind, or not wanting to acknowledge what is part of the natural local, like staff houses in the worst parts of town, or the end of grey streets overlooking dark second homes on the east side.

Invermere has become gentrified, right down to $4 cups of coffee, art galleries selling shit wallhangings, a moose made from rusty car parts and the District brass trying extra hard to provide tourists more places to take Instagram photos, completley forgetting about the small town that attracted tourists in the first place, caring little for the people who work and live in the town.

It is sad really how short sighted our District Council and the business folk and realtors are.

Perhaps not so short sighted if your only goal is to line your pockets with money. Unfortunately these are the folks that make policy. In their eyes the bigger the line up through Sinclair Canyon the better. Tourists smashing into each other is music to their ears.

Grey day all around.

looking out

A long weekend and the valley bottom is alive with ruck, revellers stirring it up.

Luckily I was wrestling with a nasty sewer pipe and stubborn toilet flange, protecting me from the glut of overindulgence the town has become. The trip to the hardware to pick up closet bolts was a doozy.

Still, I stuck my head out long enough to see the young Cedar Waxwings picking the berries off an Ornamental Cherry. The blue sky crowding the Sunflowers. And the weed doing its best in the lowered sun.

I’ve left out the picture of the sewer pipe and the crowds, I’ve had enough of them for a day.

Purple Kush

Early September

Beside the river.

Stepped out the other morning, along with Willow. From the step Orion was up, Sirus still down, the Twins were overhead, a crescent waning moon with earth glow if I squinted and a streaking falling star went right down the middle. What are the chances. It pointed back to Perseus. One left over maybe. It could only be a good day after that.

***

The Cedar Waxwings are back, eating the shrinking berries. They are careless birds and fly into windows. I put them on the window sill away from predators. Sometimes they revive themselves and fly away and sometimes they die. Willow is interested either way regardless of scold.

***

This is the last long weekend of summer. The tourists have been unrelenting to the glee of our business community and small time politicians. The rest of the people, the people on the front lines are done with them. Even the gift of earning minimum wage isn’t enough to satiate the masses. There is an aggressiveness in this year’s tourists I haven’t seen before. Things are changing. Alberta is leaderless and searching, the wealth and decadence is slipping, some executives can’t buy second homes on the lake with their yearly bonus. Times are tough. Still they want to get it all in while they can, that’s the hurry, that’s the panic and aggression. It’s contagious, running from the top down.

Two of my coworkers were assaulted, last week, by guests, in a resort that charges $400 a night.

***

September is a wonderful month. There is a chill in the air. The skies have cleared of smoke. The sun is tilted in such a way to light the mountain tops in morning and before bed. Then there are those winter stars.

smoke & Mirrors

The sun rises in darkened smoky skies.

The smoke in the valley has been crushing. I think about my father in his later years how difficult this would have been for him.

Forest fires are raging all over BC. I expect skies won’t clear for awhile yet. Last year was clear. The largest fire in BC was burning close to us, about 60km to the south. It was almost like forest fires took the summer off due to Covid. This summer is a return to summers previous.

The valley is exceptionally busy with tourists, going hell bent this way and that, dragging boats, ATV’s and other expensive noisy toys in tow. Alberta keeps bitching about how hard done by they are, but you couldn’t tell it from the white and red plates polluting the valley air and waterways on this side of the provincial border.

It is hard to recognize the valley bottom in times like these.

Of course, valley business owners and small town politicians (the same folks in many instances) are rubbing their hands together while chanting into the grey skies, ‘more, more, more’, while their staff, paid minimum wage are crowded into run down staff houses.

I read the valley newspaper, The Columbia Valley Pioneer, this morning. It is the newspaper Lisa and I started 16 years ago. The look of the paper hasn’t changed much in that time, the picture I took of the wetlands still adorns the masthead. It is odd to see it week after week. Reading the paper I often think, do I live in the same town this newspaper claims to cover? True, the newspaper is now owned by a chain notorious for poor coverage of the communities it serves, however, it does occur to me, with some irony, it’s me that no longer fits in.

Mid July

Rising above.

Been hotter than. . . well, hell! Lot’s of smoke. The sun comes up red and goes down the same. It will get worse before summer is over.

Purple flowers. Nothing like a hail storm to make everything bud.

Wind today drying everything out. Fires burning across BC will flare up and become harder to contain.

Catching rays.

The garden is bouncing back. It thought it was dead, so has been working extra hard trying to mature. I cut lettuce and let it sit to ooze out the bitter white milk. I remember, as a youngster pulling dandelions and touching my tongue to the milk of it’s cut stocks and just about dying of thirst with it’s bitterness. The lettuce is still pretty good.

Another couple weeks of +30 weather is forecasted.