stripped

RCE_7948Willow sporting her new haircut.

We got a new dog. . . well not exactly. It took two sessions but we gave Willow her annual stripping.

Wire Haired Dachshunds grow a thick wiry coat over winter and it has to be ‘stripped’ in spring. This is done by grabbing a few hairs at time and pulling them out.

RCE_2541

Willow with her winter coat digging for spring mice. 

It is not that bad because the hair has loosened and needs to come out. I’m not sure if the hair is even really attached to her anymore, but held in place by all the other long wire hair.

Once it is out they have a smooth soft coat for summer.

RCE_2563Cooper and Willow wrestling over a stick.

Although it doesn’t hurt her, Willow doesn’t like it. She endures Lisa and I pulling, while she thinks of hunting, letting us know if we grab a couple more hairs than acceptable.

At the end of it we have half a dog as what we had at the beginning.

_LME2448Willow trying to talk me into a late night fetch.

late may

CRW_0012smA wild turkey. Too late for Easter and too early for Thanksgiving! 

Got the garden in. Better late then never, yet I’ve been later. It all seems to work out, despite my foolish  worry and woe.

CRW_0017.smWild flower. Venus’s Lady’s Slipper Orchid.

local

 

_LME2481-Pano.smJupiter peaks around. The Teapot’s down there above the ice.

I keep telling myself I can write whatever I feel like, but usually I don’t. It’s got me into trouble in the past.

I’m employable only because I can lift more than fifty pound. They keep me around because I can lift a lot more. Not that I’ve written anything but the truth. As I told our current MLA when he came after me, ‘what the fuck do people care what I think anyway’. I was trying to satiate him, but he saw a fight and an opportunity to crush a perceived enemy, not even really an enemy, but someone not sharing his message.

CRW_0004

These men are a dime a dozen. Everything, especially politics, has become religion where if you can’t agree you go to war.

I should have been a roofer. Putting roofs over people’s heads is an honourable trade. I would only espouse the virtues of small town politicians who championed the most roofs, overlooking the money they received in kickbacks, much more than a roofers wage. Just guys saying yes.

It is interesting to note the small time politicians who have had the biggest impact on local communities don’t live there anymore. They were happy until they were voted out or retired. After that. . . they move. The towns; each campaign they devoted their love to, and changed in there image, in the rearview mirror once they stopped collecting. Meanwhile we stay and clean up their mess.

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Hey man, I’ve seen it over and over. That’s the burden with being in any one place for a long time, I guess.

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.

Birthday

Albert RiverBob and Ron at Cedar creek.

Took your great grandchildren Cooper and Scarlett ice fishing last weekend, down below the old house where we used to skate and set lines. You should see those two, they are so wonderful. Lisa and I checked over our shoulders more than a few times to see if you were at the window waving.

Still run into plenty of things you’d find interesting. The Siskins were alive in the bush this morning. Zzweet zzweet in every direction through the trees. A few even allowed me to see them. Mighty kind of them.

CRW_0026Female Pine Siskin

A Water Ouzle arrived along the creek, bobbing up and down, driving Willow nuts. It was along the trail we walked often. Where you would point out cougar tracks and small orchids. Where an owl flew over us when I was small. There was something about that owl. It had power. The way it stopped moving it’s wings and sailed into the thick, silent, disappearing behind spruce and moose moss.

CRW_0022Water Ouzle (American Dipper)

A lot of things have changed in the valley since you left. Some for the better some naught. Still it’s easy to find those old trails. Not sure I ever told you this, I know you know, still, I appreciate you showing me all those places and animals so long ago. It’s always kept my boat pointed in the right direction.

Say hello to Old Joe Noseitall!

pine grosbeak

grosbeak copy

This guy was singing for some loving. Spring is in the air. It was a beautiful song. I heard him before I saw him.

He wasn’t as enamoured with me as I was with him. I snapped a quick photo and off he went.

Sometimes you get lucky. I hope the same for him.

birdsong

RCE_2431A White-Winged Crossbill makes a landing.

Willow and I were up into the mountains once work was complete.

The day with bright sunshine reached 10°c. The snow, in the valley bottom, is melting with nowhere to go. Big puddles reflect the blue sky. Soon the frost will come out of the ground and the water will be absorbed where it can do some good.

_LME0075Sun halo. Caused by ice crystals in the air.

Willow and I walked a frozen snowmobile path into the mountains. The birds, numerous, chirped in unison, but most refused to be seen. It’s hard to consider yourself a smart animal in their company, under the spruce, rock and snow while they rule from above, laughing at our plight nature inflicted.

CRW_0012A Pine Siskin, responsible for the trees going ‘zzzweeeet’!

Once off the path I sunk up to my knee. I remembered being young, setting off in the morning in the cold, before the sun cleared the mountains, walking easy on top of the snow, only to find the same snow soft once the afternoon took over, and having to slog back slowly home, taking twice the time for the same distance.

RCE_2442.jpgColour among the buds.

I kept the windows open on the ride home listening for song.

CRW_0015A couple of Crossbills commission last years’ copious cone crop.

Very fine morning.

ever-present mountains

CRW_0009Wilmer

The March winds are starting to blow. It won’t be long the ice and snow will break up, turning every patch of standing earth wet and muddy.

The birds have been singing and I even saw a few young Bighorn rams clacking heads. It’s good to practice the the fight and fuck so when they get older they’ll be good at it. It’s the same for humans whether we think so or not!

February Stars and Planets

_LME9609-Pano_smThe Milky Way over Columbia Lake. Venus can be seen over the ridge. Jupiter is above and to the right. Light pollution from the town of Canal Flats and atmospheric airglow contribute to the surreal colour. It should be noted these colours can not be seen by the eye but is recorded on the camera’s light sensitive sensor. 

It cleared up this weekend and only seemed fitting to get a few shots of the stars. Jupiter and Venus rise in the morning before dawn near the brightest part of the Milky Way, as viewed from this part of the Earth.

_LME9573-Pano.smThe Hoodoos and stars.

Lisa, Willow and I headed out in to the brisk -25 night. We drove south to Columbia Lake then walked to a bluff. The lake groaned below, the ice contracting in the cold. It is a sound I grew up with and always makes me feel good. I always thought it sounded like whales singing when I was a kid.

We had to wait for Jupiter and Venus to rise along with more of the Milky Way. Finally they were up. Luckily we weren’t yet frozen. Very fine morning.

nice hips

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Woke up and all the puddles were froze. Some as nice as skating rinks. It reminded me of when the girls skated the puddles and the joy of finding such a surface.

Willow and I took to the creek behind the mountains. It was easy going after leaving the ice behind. The snow crunched under foot. Willow rode on top of the surface. The pussy willows were replaced with ice crystals.

Several flocks of Buntings flew and blended into the flat sky. I knew they would never land for a picture. The minus 13 wind was cold after yesterdays plus 8.