Mid September

CRW_0028.jpgPlenty of moisture for September. Still good to have the seasons change, with longer nights and cool mornings. The mountains have a touch of white. Plenty of mushrooms for soup in the bush. Lisa never eats the soup the first day, she lets me eat it, if I’m still alive the next day she’ll have some.

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A small sparrow braves the rain to have a chance at the garden’s sunflowers. Lots of overcast, the full Harvest Moon has passed and still no frost.

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The smoke blossoms have ripened and need to be cut and dried. They have done well considering the lack of sunshine. It really is a beautiful fragrant plant. As usual there is much more than we can use. The rest will be given away or traded to friends, who like I, refuse to get from the government. 

RCE_3518.jpgFall is still on.

Perseids

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You know you’re getting old when you go downstairs to get something but forget what it was once down there. Then as soon as you are back upstairs you remember. . . ah my teeth.

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Wet on and off most of the weekend. I can’t say I’m disappointed. It’s good to face the warm rain. I prefer it to smoke any day.

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The Perseid Meteor Shower is underway, but will be obscured by the moon and clouds, at least, for the next few days.

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Was behind the mountains looking for Huckleberries. There was a few, along the cut, under the small pines. Picked enough for a taste. Time is scarce these days. It seems I’m due off the mountain as soon as I work the tension out of my joints.

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These days it’s the far off dangers we fear while the small seemingly inconsequential pains go ignored. Crooked small town politicians, poor education and inadequate health care for everyone but the rich gets a pass in the face of such impending doom dominating the 24 hour news cycle.

We would all better off if we worried about the crooked little bastards running the local schools, weaselling away money while looking forward to retirement. Or the entire bunch of our small town and provincial politicians, changing the landscape to benefit themselves.

There is plenty to get riled up about right under our noses, before even thinking of Trudeau or Trump, in truth, two narcissist, blowhards that should be ignored while we focus on events closer to us, including the lives of neighbours and family, substantially more important.

long weekend

_LME3237Dave rolls a dart, Chewy licks the papers. It’s a joint effort.

Damn, this has been a busy long weekend. Calgarians tailgating everywhere they go. All in a hurry to have fun. Making the most of it, they must figure.

While driving through town I saw two incidents of road rage. All four involved were from the city. One had a Flames front licence plate, stealing another’s parking spot. Cue the horn, hand gestures and expletives. I am ashamed to say this warms my heart. I wish the Flames were as aggressive.

It never ceases to amaze me how people act on holiday while trying to relax.

It also never ceases to amaze me the wealth that flows into the valley. If Alberta is hurting, we don’t see it here.

Also, if there is a climate crisis we don’t see it here. It’s big cars, trucks, boats, RV’s, ATV’s and huge second homes built as close to the water as they can get away with. All spewing CO2, polluting the land and water. Perhaps when they start worrying I should too.

Some of these folks can be counted as our most vocal environmentalists. Always reminding us they love it so much this is where they decide to vacation, drive, boat, ATV, fly, build, spend their money and die. Don’t think I don’t appreciate it. I have a $16 an hour job because of it.

Tonight the sky is blue. The breeze is warm. My arms are tanned and I have a full garden of food.

Very fine day.

tick toc

RCE_2868The morning sun shines a spotlight on a Tiger Lily.

There is an old joke I love. It goes like this: Did you here that Johnson and Johnson have developed a new product for the millennium? It’s call KY Y2K. It lets you put in 4 digits instead of two!

The joke is a play on the hysteria that accompanied the calendar switching from 1999 to the year 2000. The thought was that many computers would think it was the year 1900, as computers only recognized two digits in the calendar instead of four, thus confusing banking, shipping, airfare and anything and everything ran by a computer. 

It was reported on every news station and everyone held their breath at midnight 1999. Lisa and I even took out some cash from the bank to see us through until they sorted the mess out. Some people did a lot more. Of course it all turned out to be hype. The calendar switched and everything ran like the day before. 

A lot of tech companies made a ton of money from the impending doom. 

Fake news it would be called today.

***

Todays political and environmental landscape is much different. We are on the edge of environmental ruin as our world heats up due to CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels.

Canada contributes between 1 and 2% to the worlds CO2 emissions. Even if we were to shut down every form of industry that produces green house gasses we would still be doomed.

Still, it’s worth a try. I travel in a vehicle but most of my trips are longer than 2 miles but shorter than 10 miles. I don’t have boats, ATV’s, a second house nor do I plan on getting any, I grow most of our food but eat a steak every chance I get (I’m working on it). I realize I am lucky to do so. 

In this area the most fervent environmentalists are wealthy people. They spend their winters in warmer climes, or on trips where they ‘help out’, they wear layers of Northface, shop at Mountain Equipment Coop,  have several pairs of boots for every occasion, carry mirrorless cameras, get on jets every holiday, stay in second and third homes, and preach. . . they preach science. How we are doomed.

Science has become the new religion. I used to feel guilty about masterbating, now I feel guilty about eating steak and contributing to more cow farts in the atmosphere. Then again, it could be that masterbating doesn’t hold the same appeal as it once did.

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Still that doesn’t mean something isn’t going on. CO2 occurs naturally and in abundance to what humans have produced. It’s a balance we may well have fucked up.

The future could be as bleak as is reported, while we live in the most generous of times. Where more people than ever on earth have access to healthcare and food and water. Where we should be counting our lucky stars. Mostly because of science

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Perhaps only science can save us. Is there a way to gobble up this, seemingly minute, compared to natures production, but devastating CO2, that has perched us on this precipice?

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I love my children and grandchildren. I try to show them the happiness in having less, or having more in less.

The stories of kindness and living simply are not meant to make them weak but strong in the future.

The bird calls, the first spuds from a well tended garden, the cones on top of trees framed in a blue sky. The river high and low and the difference between seasons.

***

Perhaps I am a fool, shy of two digits while the world’s clock ticks towards midnight.

after the rain

_LME3007A few thinnings.

So far it’s been a wet summer. That’s ok with me if it means no smokey skies.

_LME3020Spuds.

The garden is coming around like it always does in summer regardless of smoke, sun rain or mist. Even my negligence can’t keep it down.

_LME3026Lavender.

_LME3028.jpgBlack Crimson Tomato.

_LME3056.jpgWillow eats the last radish.

Rain

RCE_2845.jpgThe look Willow gives trying to convince me to give her a bite of my breakfast.
It works every time.

Thundershowers on and off this past week. It is something we haven’t seen for the last few years. Thunder, yes, showers, no. Lightening without showers is hazardly in a bone dry forest, as the last two years have proven. With luck we won’t have smoke filled skies this year.

The garden is benefitting from the moisture and lightning that releases nitrogen. I have long noticed a growth spurt after thundershowers.

The garden is beginning to produce, we have wonderful salads each night, consisting of a mix of about ten different greens.

RCE_2837A small Song Sparrow weathers the storm.

Lisa, Willow and I were back in the bush today cutting firewood. We got most of it done between storms.

Very fine day.

wilderness

DSC_4543Redwing Blackbird.

Lisa and I are in Calgary taking care of our beautiful grandkids while their Mom and Dad are at a wedding in Mexico.

They are such good kids. We have tried to keep them busy and on schedule to keep them from missing their parents to a minimum. So far we have been successful, but it’s only day 3 of 8. The birdhouse project I planned and expected to take all week was completed in a morning. This had a lot to do with Grandma Lisa who believes once you start a project you finish it. The kids had fun putting roofs on the hollow logs, drilling holes and using screws and nails to complete the project. Of course they got to use all the tools, including the power tools (with assistance) themselves. The houses look great and they are very proud of them.

Each morning before the kids awake I take Willow and Gemma for a walk at Fish Creek Park. It runs for miles in the creek bottom. Mostly large poplar and cottonwood trees and plenty of birds. The entrance to the part of the park we normally access is closed, so we go to another entrance further west.

The path goes down a hill to wetlands with cattails and a few ponds. Signs say the pond is storm runoff and to use caution as the pond will rise quickly during wet weather.

The Redwing Blackbirds chirp and protect their nests, the females in the rushes below. They will hunker and show off their colourful shoulders to the dogs if they feel we are getting too close. Yet they are much less afraid then their rural counterparts. They have become used to humans walking by.

DSC_4542Singing!

This evening, once the kids were in bed I went back to see if I could get some photos. Not having brought my camera I took my daughters oldest Nikon. I had planned it during the afternoon, charging the battery and found a memory card.

The first thing I noticed was the paths were much more busy in the evening. Unlike the morning, when the few people I met responded favourably to my, ‘good morning’. Almost nobody responded to my, ‘good evening’. They looked to the edge of the path.  The ones who did respond looked confused.

Perhaps they had reason. I was wearing an old plaid lumber jacket and had a scruffy Willow dog on a leash (I left Gemma home as she pulls too much for taking photos).

I had about 10 minutes of light, the birds hunkered saving their energy, their shrill song only used sparingly.

I closed my ears to the sound of the city, the hiss of the cars on the roads and the voices, everywhere, all wanting to be heard. The Blackbirds amazed me by their resilience. Would they loose their nests during the next storm when the rainwater was all funnelled through underground corridors to their pond?  I wondered if this part of strong wilderness could sustain Willow and I, both of us on a leash?

Tomorrow morning my Grandchildren will greet me with sleepy eyes, tangled hair and big smiles.