Murmur

A Fairy above the forest floor.

A lot of good stuff out there despite it all. It’s always been that way. It takes looking, searching even, sacrificing, just when you think it doesn’t exist it jumps up and slaps you in the face.

Yellow Orchid.

It’s what’s given to you, a gift. Born in the wrong era, hellbent to prove them wrong. Adrenaline and height, lost on purpose just to find yourself back. It’s the only war most people will know.

Twins.

It’s easy to die, to live in these times takes courage, fortitude, strength and conviction. You have to be quick to react, and do so with the same purpose of a murmur of starlings or school of fish.

Solomon’s Seal.

lamb

Busy weekend. Lots of tourists.

Things have changed dramatically at the resort. The mood is better. One bad apple does make a difference.

I picked the wrong week to take the long underwear off. Well below freezing everyday this week. Perhaps the end of April will be the new target for shedding the second skin.

Spotted a sick ewe at the resort. It is separated from the herd. Its head is low and lies in gravel. She can still get up. She is bleeding from the hind end. It’s a bit early for Bighorn Sheep to give birth. Maybe a still birth. We have been telling guests to give her room. It is safe on the resort grounds. Unlikely a cougar will take her down there. If people bother her she will wonder off and be picked off by predators.

The best case is the herd will come back and she can rejoin. Or it will make it back to the herd on her own. A perilous journey on her own, but one she may risk. It is amazing how a herd will protect the slowest.

If it can’t she will go to a place to be killed and eaten. Cougars, coyotes, bears, eagles, crows, ravens, dogs, magpies and even songbirds will see she doesn’t go to waste.

Late March

Kelsie, Cooper and Scarlett called to me to complete the ring. This Fir tree would be well over 300 years old. To think of its place in history. The many forest fires it survived, drought, world wars, colonization and the epic battles of the lands first people. It resides in a place known for warring between the Ktunaxa and the Peigan Blackfeet Pikáni. This one even survived the greed of developers. This area, on the east side of Columbia Lake is now protected, the developers satiated after being handsomely paid off.

This was the time of year I’d get stuck, sometimes on the flat. Teaches me for running around on bald tires. I don’t have to do that like I used to. I’d ask Bucky which tires had the most rubber after the tread was worn off. That’s how you know a good tire. It is easy to slip slide yourself into real trouble.

An old Ranger with a mismatched box. Smelling like oil and rust, but can still deliver a half yard of well rotted manure.

I took one of these roads yesterday. The snow hard in the trees, soft where the sun hits. Four wheel drive can’t save you once the truck starts pushing snow. It gathers under the truck and before long you either need to shovel or hope for another week of warm weather.

Spring clouds with a few more snowstorms inside. I could always walk up that hill if someone was chasing me, I bet they would give up before I did.

The plants have been started inside. Tomatoes (Black Krim, Brandywine and Black Cherry), basil, some flowers and a couple varieties of cannabis. The frost is out of the ground where my garden lays and is waiting to be dug. Scarlett, Cooper and I took down the tall sunflower plants we left for the winter birds.

Scarlett smelled them before she found the Juniper Berries. It’s Spring after all, they are filling with sap. She stuffed her pockets to take to her friend Savannah, she said. Hopefully Kelsie checked her pockets before doing the wash.

***

Amazing everything said is taken seriously. The figuring consciences is that both are inside us. Bad and good. We use them to get what we want.

Kindness works almost always. But if you have to fight back, fight back harder.

*** 

Don’t think I forget every old timer like me on the road is a desperate man. It makes me drive close to the shoulder. Not to mention the middle age driving up my ass and the youngsters taking too long in the Horton’s line. For the most part everyone is respectful. But you never know when that might change. We all have reason after all.

Early March

The fucking world keeps us on our toes. War, racism, bigotry, sickness; not a lot of good news out there.

Our connection to the Earth is in jeopardy. To be clear, the Earth doesn’t care. It will survive in spite of our abuse. Rocks can be moved, crushed and turned into metal, blasted into space even. It is us that have polluted that thin part of the sky that keeps us alive, no longer allowing us to see The Milky Way. The stars that put us in our place are gone.

No wonder we turn against one another.

Something

Chilly, only -10°c in the creek bottom but with a stiff breeze. A difference from the warm winter we have been experienced.

***

An unexpected day off today. Got to the resort and was told to go home due to to it being a stat. The manager usually tells us when he doesn’t want us in on a stat. I’m not surprised, it has been slow for the managers, with ours being particularly aloof, dumbfounded really, and that’s when shit get’s overlooked. Regardless, I was happy to have another day off, even if the money would have been good. Guaranteed it will be a shit show tomorrow with things left undone for three days.

***

Prices are going crazy, inflation the news reports. Fuel a buck-sixty a litre with everyday heading higher. Beef over $50 a kg. Houses in the valley out of reach other than for our neighbours to the east, who, regardless of their constant bitching about how hard done by they are, continue to come in droves, driving three-quarter tons pulling trailers full of snowmobiles and retiring to their cabins (read abominable, opulent second homes) on the shores and hills overlooking Lake Windermere. What a disgrace this once pristine lake has had to endure.

***

Speaking of snowmobile enthusiasts. Willow and I took a drive to a launching spot for sledders. It was the tail end of the weekend and they were all safely tucked in. The lot was littered with garbage, piss and feces. I didn’t let Willow out of the vehicle. She would have worn herself out marking her territory. I once had a Wire-Haired that would have rolled in such offerings.

***

The yahoos in Ottawa have called it a day and left the city. They are so comfortable they can’t even pick a fight against a cause that could make a difference. Sure, it was a ragtag group of racists, homophobes and dipshits, however, there was also lot of regular people there, protesting the fact government is far reaching and incompetent.

Of course, government is incompetent, that is almost the definition of Canadian government. Trudeau’s handling of this crisis has been a disaster. Maxime Bernier, the leader of the People’s Party of Canada is rubbing his hands together at the strides they have made. Whenever you see yellow vested old-time racists, hardworking truckers, and yoga loving, health conscious hippy chicks commiserating together can only signal a movement that may even take Canadian elitists by storm.

***

This of course is all above my pay grade. There is nothing coming around the corner to make it better. When my mother was dying she said she didn’t worry about Lisa and I. We would always get by. I didn’t like she said it, but took it to heart. It didn’t sound like much of an endorsement, but, when you think about how many people don’t get by, it’s something.

early rising

A Pine Grosbeak welcomes the waxing moon.

Willow and I were up early creek bound. Willow knows when I don’t have to work by the clothes I put on. She saw the woolen shirt and was excited. It was clear, with the the moon still up. There was no way she was being left at home.

A piece of toast and we were on our way. We were only a few miles away when I realized I forgot the camera battery, having put it on the charger earlier, an essential piece of equipment if your goal is to take pictures of the night sky. A quick trip back and we were back on track.

Creek bound. This is a single 15 second image capturing 4 or 5 satellites (the one closest to the mountain top could be a meteor. They streak due to their movement during the slow shutter speed. There is a lot of them orbiting the earth. It’s getting tough to get a photo without one being caught in the frame.

Once in the creek bottom we listened for whoots. The Great Horned Owl is the first to get frisky and roost. The creek was silent but for running water. No barks from Willow to let me know we had company. Even the moon choose to go down, darkening the skies, leaving us to our own devices.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been out charting the night sky. It changes every time I look at it. It’s important to become familiar with it again.

long shadows

It is amazing what can be determined with math. Distances covered, to the top of the mountains, to the sun and the furthest galaxies. I don’t understand, but I understand shadows and how they correspond to distance. You learn looking at avalanche chutes and climbing routes when the sun is about to set. It can’t be mastered without turning it into numbers. Still you can get by just looking into the shadows.

Venus and a Waxing Moon

Damn it’s dark early!

It’s dark by five. It’s slow as a motherfucker. Except for the sirens that are out clearing the roads. If they have the beacon light on its just snow.

Plenty of both coming our way. People like me worry about the woodpile and meat in the freezer. I’m not a modern man following the higher-ups flying private jets into Glasgow, talking about reducing carbon, for all I know the carbon they want to reduce could be me. That 1%, who our own Prime Minister is a member of, has to be watched, not for some conspiracy or evil doings they could be conjuring, but for how clueless they are.

Businesspeople, tourists (including politicians and environmentalists, the rich kind as if there were any others) or the new Santa Claus delivering Amazon packages!

It’s tough to believe in anything I hear during lunch or on the phone. Venus appeared on the ridge tonight after a few days of cloud. A waxing crescent moon to the left and above. I had to think about it, but they were right on time and in position.

People say times are going to get tough. No more fuel. I’m going to miss my old Ford, that gas guzzling pig. I’ll narrow my circle. I’ll miss the ridges. I’ll pull the siding from the side of my house, burning it at a pace that matches my march into old age.

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.

smashed salad

A good hail storm rolled through on the heals of the 40° temperatures we have been having. It flattened the garden with marble sized stones. Cutting every broad leaf to shreds. It lasted about thirty minutes, flooding basements and parking lots.

Hopefully the moisture neutralized the lightening. You never know, moisture, hail and rain cuts a thin swath, while heat can be everywhere. This is jest not a livelihood. The tune would change then.

It’s up to the garden to grow back on it’s own. Hail storms spread nitrogen they say, so this is their start. Everything wants to live. The beans better straighten themselves out and grow some leaves. The zucchini with pellet holes have to regroup, toss a canopy up and salvage what’s left. As for the carrots, onions, turnips, beets and spuds, they’ll be ready for stew come fall, hell or high water.

It’s disappointing to see the work smashed. It’s also wonderful to see it grow back.

Nothing is more resilient than a plant with two more months of sunshine left.