knocking

CRW_0044igA Pileated Woodpecker on the good neighbours feeder.

the place we call home

A couple of big announcements in the local news this week.

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First, the proposed Jumbo Resort is dead. It has been on the books for over thirty years, at times pulling the community apart, setting business people against each other. 

It was a harebrained scheme from the get go. With bullshit from both sides of millionaires being flung, liberally, at each other. 

I think most regular folks got out of the way along time ago, leaving the fighting to the elitists in Wildsight and Patagonia, and the villainous, Jumbo Glacier Resort and dumbfounded Jumbo Municipality.

However, something good may have come out of it. The area will now be a designated protected area to be overseen by the Ktunaxa First Nation.

Time will tell how this will play out.

The only way this issue was going to resolve itself was by money. Reason, common sense, goodwill, or even a deep desire for preservation or development was not enough.

It took the government paying off both sides. The anti Jumbo folks secured over $16 million and Jumbo Glacier Resort was paid an undisclosed amount for the tenure to the publicly owned property.  

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The second announcement was The District of Invermere down zoning the Octagon Property behind the Invermere Arena. 

Part of the property was where I grew up. It overlooks Lake Windermere. At one time the property was worth next to nothing, because it was on a sidehill and had a train running by almost constantly.

Later the coal trains started running less frequent, with the Albertans buying up most of the other available lake front, the property became more valuable.

After my parents passed away our family quickly sold the land to a couple of wheelers who sat on it for a year and sold it to Octagon for a couple hundred thousand profit.

After Octagon bought it they left it derelict, while lobbying mayor and council for rezoning to build a nine story hotel. 

It was during this period that my parents house became a crack den. Police were called regularly. Octagon refused to board the place up. My parents would have rolled over if they would have seen what became of their house.

One of the hardest things I never did was burning the place down. I would have got everyone out. That wouldn’t have been a problem. I worried about a volunteer firefighter getting hurt.

Instead, I pestered the brass at Octagon, a bunch of snakes, into tearing it down, which they finally did.

Meanwhile the District of Invermere, against the will of most citizens, caved to the wishes of Octagon and granted their rezoning demands. 

Last week, the District down zoned the property so the owner, creditor of the previous owner, can sell it off by the piece. In the end, regardless of their grand plans, that’s the only way they can make their money back.  

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There won’t be a nine story hotel beside the tracks, beside the lake. Jumbo will remain undeveloped. I should be happy, but it takes a bunch of nasty business to come to the right decision. This time money was on the side of preservation, next time. . . who knows.

Norland spud

_LME4593Early potato thinking it’s spring.

The Norlands have begun to sprout in the gunny sack. They were harvested at the end of September with the help of Cooper and Scarlett.

Known as an early potato. The first to be eaten, small, but a root will make up a supper at the start of July if the weather cooperates.

My Father used to say about the first root of Norlands, “There were some as big as dimes and some as big as quarters and a whole lot of small ones.”

The cold room is too warm. The Yukon Gold are solid as rocks. The Norlands have grown soft.

They want to be planted, but the ground is covered in snow with five feet of frost below, so they’re gonna get cooked. Ahead of their time some would say.

mid January

CRW_0010Not much for blue sky even through the -20°c stretch. Hopefully February will clear for the Milky Way to rise sideways adjacent to the mountain tops and church steeples.

Spring, just before it leaves winter, is aways away yet.

we can only prey

CRW_0015smBald Eagle, photo by Lisa.

Lisa and I saw a Northern Hawk Owl yesterday. It was a fortunate sighting. Owls are an animal that seem to be able to look directly into your soul. Unfortunately it was very low light and I wasn’t able to get a clear photograph.

The owl even soared down and caught a mouse in the snow and long grass. As soon as it flew away a Raven trailed after it, hoping for it to drop the mouse I suspect.

Opportunists get a bad rap. Not born with the sharp beak and killer claws it must depend on it’s smarts and perseverance. It has to steal it’s meal.

This is often the same with people. It used to be the poor steeling from the rich. Now it’s the politicians and big business men stealing from the many poor. Just a little bit from each, it’s counterproductive to completely ruin the hand that feeds you.

Like the Raven they quickly adapt. Even manipulating folks into leaving treats and rewarding them with trinkets.

Still you have to hand it to the Ravens, Crows, Turkey Vultures and Magpies. It was unfair of me to compare them to crooks in suits.

Lisa and I went out this morning in better light to look for the owl. They are very territorial and are often seen time and again in the same spot.

It was no where to be found. We saw the Bald Eagle photographed above. Lisa took the photo not trusting me after my shaky focus with the owl. 🙂

looking back

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A chinook rolled in taking most of the snow in the valley bottom.

Willow and I headed into the mountains tonight. We were looking for stars, but knew it would be a tough find. Sure enough it was cloud cover. Sometimes the clouds can be scaled via a mountain pass leading to clear skies. It was worth a try. The roads were ice but decent.

Back in the bottoms we took to the lake, frozen with at least 14″ of ice, glare from melt. Pure hell to walk on, especially in the dark. This is were I grew up. Only yards from shore, across the tracks.

It’s a different place now. The lake is an attraction. A commodity to be bought and sold.

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But, here tonight, it doesn’t look much different than I can remember. More ice shacks, less fish, more lights on the east side filling the sky with pollution.

The tracks are there. My world would revolve around those trains. Watching them roll by, the sound, tracks creaking, listening for oiled ties loose on a stoney bed, coal dropping by the cart load, happy to be burned, eventually getting between me and the lake.

Things change, not quickly, but minutely, it’s hard to detect. Until one day you’re scratching your grey beard, in the same place as when you were young, finally figuring the joke’s on me.