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.

Old Man

The Columbia River headwaters.

Snow day. I shovelled here and there, not as fast as I used to. My stock is going down.

I envy folks that reinvent themselves. One day throwing fertilizer out a hopper, the next, an IT specialist or an acupunturist.

That’s not me. I shovel snow and will always shovel snow.

***

The Columbia disturbed, for the moment.

The birds have disappeared. It was a good cone year and they should be out in force. I hear them. Not many. It worries me.

***

A Big Eared Deer caught in the garden.

It is the same thing with birds as it is with the river, we aren’t here long enough to become an expert.

***

All the good things are the same. Take the sky for instance. The clouds and stars offer a pass.

***

Still old, still part of the earth. No quarter asked or given.

Sliver

Waxing crescent with Earth Shine.

A thin new moon appeared before dark. Later Venus and Saturn showed up. The tripod stayed put, I ratcheted the new camera up to 5000 ISO and shot it handheld. It’s grainy, the detail leaves a little to be desired, just to be able to do it is something.

The moon, Bison Horn or Witchcraft Symbol. It’s all good.

A skiff of snow, too little too plow, but enough to shovel. Later, it turned into a glorious day. If this keeps up, I may have to ask for a few days off. Nice winter days are the best days of the year and hard to come by.

Weekend

Enjoying every moment.

A fine week behind us. The skies finally cleared and it was nice to get to see some blue skies. Lisa and I had some nice fires in the fireplace and went on a couple nice walks. Weekends are always the highlight.

The weekdays are good, I look for anything to make me laugh. Luckily I work with people that feel the same. It passes the time and makes some of the more difficult or trying work easier.

***

Last Tuesday, on the way to work, I thought I would go through the drive through at Tim Hortons and get a coffee. Early in the morning, off season, it shouldn’t be much of a wait. There was only one car ahead of me. I was in luck, I thought. Usually the line can be out of the parking lot.

He took awhile to order. When he was done I pulled up and saw he had ordered $101.64 worth of stuff! Of course, he was even longer at the pick-up window. The line up behind me was out of the parking lot. There was only one person in the car ahead. They had BC plates. Usually it’s the red and white ones causing grief. I was late for work when I am usually 15 minutes early. Tim Horton’s staff got him through and apologized for his actions, saying, with such a big order he should go in the front. I paid my $2.15 for my dark roast, black. I envisioned a School Board Employee, someone in management, buying a round of coffee, bacon and egger sandwiches and doughnuts for the early morning meeting, thinking everyone else in the world is on their lazy ass schedule.

What can you do, but laugh.

***

A rotten tooth above the gum line of the valley bottom.

The mountains have light around them. The colours are gray with blues, days getting longer, not in the morning yet, but in the evening. In January you take what you can get.

Tomorrow is Monday, I’ll get up and do it again. And if I don’t feel like it, I’ll remember how many times I didn’t feel like it, but did it anyway.

Ghosts

The souls came out and flew sideways, flattening out, then through me. They are hard to avoid. My Mother always said, don’t be afraid of them.

Here I am in the bush dodging souls, flying fast, like bats coming out of the night, when I can’t even see my hand in front of my face.

Willow says, hang in there.

They take my breath with them. Someday I’ll ask for it back.

Early Morning

Willow and I were up early with hope that the skies were clear. To our delight the stars were shining. So off to the other side of Swansea for dark skies to try and catch a glimpse of Comet 2022 E3 ZTF.

I couldn’t find it with my naked eye but was hopeful the camera could pick it up. I knew roughly where it should be located among the stars and pointed the camera in that direction.

Comet 2022 E3 ZTF has passed around the sun and is nearing its closest distance to Earth. The last time the comet passed near the sun was 50,000 years ago.

Sure enough, once home and the pictures downloaded I was able to locate the Comet, but it is very dim. I am not sure if I could be able to spot it with my eye alone. However, I stand a better chance now that I know exactly where to look.

It was nice to be out looking at the stars after, what seems, like a long stretch of overcast skies.

Warm Spell

The colours of winter when it warms up.

It felt like spring today. The only thing cold was my feet from being damp. Cut and split firewood. Nothing makes a body feel better. Willow and Lola ran hither and yon. They both got wet and muddy.

The snow melted, got heavy and fell off the trees. For the first time in months, Lisa and I could see deep into the bush, past thousand branch trickery and white out simplicity. No sense, walking off trail, it’s still deep, the warmth making the going heavy. It wouldn’t be long my old legs would be stuck like a long legged moose after a week long mountain blizzard. My only advantage is there is no hungry wolves following close. Perhaps I’m just too blind to know. Regardless, at this stage of the game it’s best to stay on the beaten path.

A feather under runoff. The best of nature is never perfect, it is rugged, torn, chewed up, bloody, cold, wet and beautiful.

That doesn’t mean you can’t be cantankerous, obstinate, disagreeable and ornery. The only rule: as long as it’s not towards the ones you love.

Early January

Willow enjoying being inside, basking in the winter light.

Things have settled down. The kids have returned home. It was great to have them all out.

The excitement has dispersed into the realization of another year with plenty of challenges.

CBC keeps letting us know that things will get worse before they get better. Inflation will continue to rise along with interest rates. It is inevitable as countries try to lower carbon emissions. Of course, it will hit the poorest hardest.

Our staff at the resort is down to a skeletal crew as flu and Covid takes its toll. Everyone’s happiness just before Christmas is long gone, as the work load gets shared between fewer.

Our neighbours to the east keep flowing into the valley, unrelenting, big trucks, loud mufflers with trailers hauling ski-doos.

“Where are you sledding?” I ask

“Up Forster Creek” they say.

Forster Creek is a swamp of snowmobiles in the winter.

“Can you get up as high as Thunderwater Lake?” I ask, already knowing the answer.

“Shit ya” is the answer.

I remember when it took two days skiing to get there, with a night over in an old cabin, that was a godsend for its limited supplies and hopefully a few sticks to get the fire going. Back then the rule was to leave more than you used. If you drink the powdered soup, you leave a tin of beans and replace the wood in the morning.

Now it’s just a destination, something to be crossed off a list, while frightening every living thing within five miles in every direction with BRAPPP, BRAPPP, BRAPPP. To think we care about emissions or nature is a joke.

Meanwhile, I bluff, pretend, showing respect or recognition when none is warranted. I remind myself my opinion means nothing, it’s just part of the job to be nice.

***

This is not exactly a Happy New Year’s Greeting. It is hard to know what 2023 will bring. I wish everyone the ability and courage to be ready for anything. Fight back when you need to and embrace every happiness that comes your way.

A few birds

Lisa took this picture of a Water Ouzel (American Dipper). She did a good job sneaking up. The blur in front is Lisa shooting through reeds and tall grass. This little bird is one of our favourites to watch.

It seems Lisa and I have moved into old age gracefully, one of our favourite pastimes watching water birds. The dip and dive. Some are solitary while other species stay close together. Eagles are always watching ready to pick off a straggler.

A raft of common Coots. The body of a duck, bill of a chicken and legs of a turkey. If you look them up in a bird book they could be in any category.

The grocery stores have had limited supplies in the valley. Turkeys are limited but available. Lisa’s Mom and Dad wanted one, but when they found out there is not as many available this year choose not to get one, so it could be left for a family.

They have been poor, so they know what it is like. They also know the value of depending on others. Their gesture in the world we live in is rare, where people snap up things that are in short commodity and sell them for a profit, be damned, regardless of need, going to whoever can pay the most.

Goldeneye, moving between the old pilings of the swinging bridge in Athalmer.

Moses dropped some tablets, containing the commandments while coming down that mountain. I’d bet, ‘Leave some for others’, would have been on there.

Up the mountain we saw Townsends and Siskins all too quick and crafty to get their picture taken.

Winter

Lisa walking Lola and Willow. Long shadows, a constant reminder to get the sun on your face at every chance.

Cut a Christmas tree this weekend. I had to drag it for quite a ways so it may be flat on one side.

The dogs got along. Lola ran while Willow stayed close. Got the truck up the first branch to the first landing. It bucked a few times looking for traction. Lisa wouldn’t have liked it. It was fine. It is when the truck starts pushing snow that you have to watch out. Before long you’ll be sitting on a heap of snow with no traction and every spin of the tires digs you deeper.

My shins hurt the next day from breaking trail. Willow and Lola slept good, even into the next day.

The tree is in a bucket of water in the basement. If it was outside it would be eaten by the deer.

***

A few trees to choose from.

I’ve been enjoying driving the snow covered roads. A little bit of drift here and there. Once and awhile I put it in four-wheel drive. Usually when I have to get somewhere quick without spinning. On the highway regardless of conditions it stays in two-wheel, you burn too much gas otherwise.

***

Got a half pound of beef jerky for a good price. Some paté cheaper than bologna. Lisa and I are looking at the sales. I won a pound of coffee on the weekend for being the 50th person through the till. I’ll take it. I’m stocking up on protein and Peruvian blueberries. It won’t be long and we will have to knock off a wild turkey for Christmas.

***

I made fennel liquor in October and it’s just about ready.