July Hail storm

The peas torn from their fences.

A few more photos of the garden taken about an hour and a half after the hail storm. Fortunately, it sounds like the hail storm cut a narrow path through the valley. Communities to the south and north of Invermere were not hit as hard.

Talked to a few gardeners and it sounds like everybody pretty much is in the same boat with smashed plants. I was lucky because I don’t spend much money on plants nor rely on it for a living and sell produce like some.

Plenty of videos on Facebook of a river running down main street. My neighbours experienced some flooding. Our basement started to flood due to the outside stairwell filling with hail, fortunately I saw it early and was able to shovel out the stairwell before it melted.

I won’t replant anything, I’m interested to see what will make a recovery and what won’t. There will also be plants that may live but be too far behind to produce, I suspect the tomatoes will be in this category.

Tomato plant stripped of it’s leaves. A cannabis plant to the right that didn’t fair much better.

This is definitely an unusual event for this area. We do regularly get hail, but not that big and the storms don’t usually last that long. Luckily the damage seems minimal, although heartbreaking for people who love their gardens, and not wide spread. What can you do?

Beans that were doing so well before the storm. I doubt if they will make a comeback. They do have lots of time however.
Lettuce that has been delicious. I am hopeful a few more salads will be harvested before the end of summer.
Carrots.
Sunflower broken off. They may form new shoots with heads.
I don’t know what the big rhubarb is all about!
Broccoli and cabbage were just not meant to withstand hail stones, still I’m hopeful they will make a recovery.

disconnect

There is two gay guys at work. They don’t trust me, because I’m an old motherfucker. I try to strike up conversation, but they won’t have it. I want to ask them if they like the mountains and rivers. I’m one of the ones they have had to watch out for.

They have plenty of tattoos, I wonder how they will weather, or if they’ve thought about it.

They obviously like the sun, awesome haircuts, I’ve never seen such tanned heads.

They are young and I’m up there. I’ve got nothing to teach. The rivers and bush is long gone and I’m too old for learning.

get ready it’s summer

Wood Lily.

Lisa and I have been very busy as Covid restrictions are lifted and businesses plan for the mother of all summers.

The forecast is calling for 40°c temps. It has topped of at 36° today. It makes you get up extra early and try to get work done before noon.

This mornings waning moon.

I remember running printing presses in this kind of weather, dealing with problems the heat could cause with paper and ink. Those were the days, NOT!

The garden is spectacular, although the heat is making the broccoli bolt. We are giving it away and eating it as fast as we can. The peas have blossoms and pods waiting to fill out. The sage is a hedge of purple flowers.

Varied Thrush with a worm.

This year the garden was in early due to having to quarantine in early April. I dug and planted because I could. It won’t make much difference in August. A few good neighbouring gardeners have stopped to ask why my garden is ahead. I confessed the early date I planted. They commented it was risky, but I’ll bet they will be doing the same next year. Us old-timers can be competitive. To be honest, I’m not sure if I will continue with an early schedule. I got lucky this time, next time could be different.

Last weeks trip. The mountains are shedding winter.

The lake is covered in Albertans in motor boats, every second home and Airbnb filled, the beach parking lot is wall to wall red and white plates. I must be mellowing, because I am almost happy for them whooping and wallowing in excess and entitlement. Like me they would rather be nowhere else, so who am I to judge. It also reminds me to either be working or out of the valley bottom and in the cool mountains come the weekend.

Fool Hen.

Lisa and I still have a stick of firewood to get for winter. We have spotted a couple sticks of dry fir off the beaten path. We may have to wait for it to cool down to gather it up proper.

Lisa debarking and splitting.

late late february

Jeessuss! This vehicle must have ran off the road and tumbled down a bank after an hellacious shootout! Look at all those bullet holes. I wonder of Al Capone was involved?

Spring like weather this weekend. Lisa and I scouted Red Rock Road, running on the west side of the Columbia River between Radium and Brisco. We were looking for an open space to take night time photos. We found windows to the night sky but nothing with an open expanse from north to south.

Plenty of silvers and greys between seasons. The birds are gearing up when the sun comes out, singing, feeling the rise of spring I suspect. I feel it too, but it’s way down there, pushed aside by modern living and various substances ingested to cope with poor light, politicians, a 24 hour news cycle, destruction, pollution, racism, violence and bullshit flinging from every direction.

Being older makes you realize you don’t have much control over any of it, the batting average is starting to go down, if I were a boxer the losses are creeping up on a once perfect record. The world is taking it’s toll. That’s age for you.

Still the feel of spring. The smell of melting ice. The warmth when the sun decides to shine, the light on the mountain tops and clouds after the sun goes down, the time it takes before it turns dark, no wonder the birds wait for this time to go a courting.

Each winter takes a little from us, robbing me of confidence and bringing us closer to our destination.

If it doesn’t snow, it will be dirty snow piles, mud and dust. That’s my cue to start some seeds inside. The garden is only a few months away.

waxing

Tonights’s gorgeous 80% waxing gibbous moon.

It’s still winter and I’m already missing winter. It’s light at 6 pm. The snow is melting. We might get a few more snowstorms or cold spells. March can pack in a lot of winter if it decides. Still we have turned the corner.

Soon I will have to justify my 8 o’clock bedtime. The revellers will be ten-fold. I won’t be able to walk barefoot and shirtless into a snowstorm to remind myself I’m only an animal and not a very good one. I won’t be able to piss outside under the cloak of darkness. My paws are soft and I have no fur. My teeth are either missing, dull or hurting.

My strength is cruelty. It’s what makes us try to tame nature all around.

Starlight

First you have to get through the spruce.

Finally the low clouds have cleared leaving the skies blue during the day. The temperatures have dropped, as they do when it clears in January. A small price to pay for the kind of winter sunshine that warms body and soul.

Willow and I were up early without a plan nor agenda. We set off south. Everything we saw was both magnificent and plain as day, but in the middle of the night.

It was good to see the stars after a long absence. The Milky Way is still mostly down. I squinted to see it and aimed the camera at where it should be come February. No luck. This isn’t the year it decided to come up a month early. Still it was worth a look.

Telegraph road.

Willow found a log and dug for a few mice scared shitless from the snuffing above.

The stars look different every time I see them.

Very fine morning. We will be hitting the fart sack early tonight.

november

We had more kids trick or treating than we have had for years. We put the candy in a big bowl in our driveway and waved to as many as we could from our kitchen window. You never know what to expect.

***

Lisa and I kicked off November walking the east shore of Columbia Lake. Lot 48, for years scheduled for development, is now protected. It took millions of dollars to do so. We took the trail beside the lake and stopped often to admire the large fir trees with roots exposed from the banks eroding. I thought about being young and how I would have loved climbing these trees. I thought about now, could their large branches protect me in a storm. Where would I put my bed. Sure there was plenty of years dry branches to keep a fire going for days. We saw ruffed grouse along the trail. Willow put them in the trees. Chickadees got close, not deterred from our intrusion, going about their business hiding bugs and seeds for winter. Plenty of elk tracks coming and going, but not enough for a herd. One scraped the bank picking an awful spot to access the lake. Willow noticed as well and smelled the tracks almost falling herself. Although he could of, my father never hunted this area. It was their wintering ground and even if the animals came early coinciding with hunting season they were to be left alone. There was no regulation that said to do so. Now the area is protected and thank goodness. If not, the animals would be shot, the large fir snags would be cut for firewood or artisan lumber and four wheel drives, quads, side by sides and dirt bikes would tear it all apart without a thought.

***

2020 is winding down. The cool air feels good.

putting the man in manifestation

RCE_6351-Pano

A little rain to keep us sane after a stretch of high 30°’s.

Lisa and I were in the bush a few days ago. We picked 8 freezer bags of Huckleberries. It’s nice to find them plump and plentiful. Scarlett and Cooper are coming to visit and they love them.

The garden is booming, we have too much broccoli. It is being given away and frozen, but still threatens to bolt. I made broccoli and cheddar soup the other day and it was a big hit.

The peas are just about finished. The second planting of lettuce is coming along nicely. It will bolt quickly in this heat. I am considering another planting to come due in fall, perhaps some radishes and beet greens as well.

Yesterday I wrote an email to the managers where I work asking for a raise. In the email I justified the reasons I felt deserving. I didn’t send the email, I figured I would have Lisa read it over tonight before sending.

This morning I was called into my managers office. He closed the door and gave me a raise, the exact and generous amount I asked for in the email that was never sent.

I fucking near fell on the floor, for the raise but also that I had written the email the night before.

Lisa called it manifesting or co creating your world through the energy you put out. I said it sounded like a bunch of bullshit to me. More of a coincidence I figure.

Regardless, I’m thankful, very fine day.

August 1st

_LME6501

Pea patch.

A good thunder storm hit in the evening. It felt good after the hot weather.

I left for work about 5:30 in the morning. Lisa always gets up to say goodbye. Because it’s been so hot she opens the front door to get a cross breeze with the open windows. This morning a bird flew in. It did a couple laps of the front room and went out the door, or so we thought.

This evening Lisa went to her sewing room, she spread the closed curtains to let air in through the open window. To her surprise a bat fell out onto her. The bird that flew in and out wasn’t a bird at all. The open door at that hour must have looked like an inviting open cave.

I looked for my fishing net and finally found it under the back seat of my truck. The bat was hidden, but finally flew. It and I worked together, he refused to hit me and I was as careful as I could. I set it free into the darkening evening sky. Lisa took a video and sent it to Scarlett and Cooper.

***

_LME6499Poppy seeds.

It’s a busy weekend. Broken glass at every intersection from tourists bumping into each other.

***

The nitrogen from the thunderstorm will do the garden good. The small amount of rain is like spitting on a campfire. It all makes a difference though.

***

_LME6495Some green.

The air is cooling, Lake Windermere is warm. If I was a little younger and knew a place along the shore not so busy I’d dive in.

backroads

_LME6476Five Finger Road.

Some nights don’t feel quite right. Was hotter than a three dollar pistol today. Not a cloud.  Willow and I went out looking for comets and stars. The moon was waxing, close to going down. I remember these hot summer nights, but not fondly. The best was being in Lake Windermere, diving at night, not being able to see the bottom or sky.

The smell of water in the air as the earth cooled is unmistakably summer. Willow was startled by a toad. She barked. I got her away from it before she got over her fear and ate it. I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have agreed with her and damn sure it wouldn’t have agreed with the toad. Sometimes you have to run interference.

The Milky Way is turning, sticking straight up and down. The backroads are calling, with their sides of long grass and dark trees. Hoots, loons, birds calling their final chirps, coyotes yip yiping, and stars moving like anything else matters.

My granddaughter, covered in raspberry scratches and mosquito bites, wondered the pea patch and brought her bounty to me to open for her. She could get into them if she had to, but she is kind.