warm spell

that damn moon

+ 5 all day. melt coming off the roof. clouds gathering on the shoulder of mountains. walking in puddles. still warm air. feeling good.

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.

waiting

Taking the snow off the trees.

Woke up to +2 temperatures with the stars out. Unheard of at this time of year. It is never above freezing and clear. By light up it had clouded over. During the day it reached +5. A helluva difference from the -30 a week ago. The roads will be a skating rink if it dips again.

The rain is falling on frozen ground. Everything will have a pebble come morning. Being not as sure on my feet as I used to be I’ll tie a cushion to my ass just to be safe. No sense wearing helmet, nothing left up there to damage.

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The good thing about a chinook in January is it puts a new sheen on the skating rinks. The skim of water fills the skate marks and cracks. Natures Zamboni. Loved it when I was a youngster.

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The tourist crush has slowed. Still plenty around and I can’t blame them. Tough to keep people with the means in one place. They prefer scattershot to taking aim, hitting as many places as they can instead of looking down the barrel. Thats luxury in any era.

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Travel

Regardless, this warm spell has me wondering instead of wandering, which could be slippery. My good friend Dave says I should know the difference between the two. Good advice in January.

Early 2022

A couple pictures from 2022.

Happy New Year! A very fine day. First footed Deb this morning. Lot’s of laughs and some special coffee, made extra sweet to ward off the chill. Willow and Maynard enjoyed a few treats. Kurt and I talked about our diminished cocks. . . it’s tough to know when to replace an old rooster.

The geese and their business.

Lunch at Kelsie and Tom’s. I lost a basement soccer game against Cooper 8-10. I was tripped at one point and rolled around trying to draw a yellow card. He just laughed and punted the ball in the net.

Hunter and I headed out into the bush, in the afternoon, to give the hounds a run.

Even the snow under our feet gets interesting. It is the consolation prize for getting on.

Willow and Pedley are still getting used to each other. Willow is not fond of puppies. Pedley is trying hard to get Willow to like her. Willow is not much for playing, however they seemed to enjoy the snow and a few sticks thrown for their amusement. Hunter commented that he hopes Pedley doesn’t pick up any of Willow’s bad habits. I secretly hoped Hunter doesn’t pick up any of mine.

Willow catching snowflakes.

If you are reading this, all the best in 2022.

Rest

The Columbia River freezing. If it backs up far enough it will take out bridges. It’s good to see a small glacier advancing regardless of season.

It has been so nice for Lisa and I to have a few days to spend with family. We have been fortunate to all be in good health with plenty of food to share. Last year we said we would figure out a way to be together come hell or high-water.

It’s turned chilly at about -25°c. Tomorrow is back to work and it’s supposed to get colder with the windchill. I’ll probably be in a plow cleaning up parking lots, shovelling off walkways and tending to guests minimal problems.

With the Covid Omicron strain running rampant I will be ducking my duties with guests unless it’s urgent. What is urgent – fire and flood, everything else can wait. My job description doesn’t include getting Covid because somebody doesn’t know how their DVD player works.

However, I am a realist, due to how quickly this variant is spreading, I get the feeling we all are going to have trouble staying out of this disease’s path.

Steamboat mountain at the left. Sitting in the middle of the Columbia. Like a big steamboat or where the river boats could be heard signalling to the ragged folks watching them pass?

The sky has been deep blue on occasion, the snow covered mountains incandescent in the sun long after the valley bottom is in shadow.

I woke up early this morning to chase stars. It was overcast. I went outside to make sure, and saw light spikes to the NE. I knew what they were right away. The air had ice crystals and the lighted billboards along the highway were shining straight up.

They looked cool, some of them shined then dimmed. It’s Christmas. I thought it would make a good shot, but it represents everything I hate; light pollution, billboards with faces of realtors, standing sky-high, selling off the valley to the wealthy oil executives to the east. And also the plight of the people on the Shuswap Nation that feel they have no other option but to do business with these arseholes. Not that that is an excuse. I can only try to understand.

The snow beneath our feet.

Once the sky goes down for good after a day of shining strong the landscape turns grey, ground to sky. That’s when our lives become real.

For me, I protect what I love and tell them a bright day is coming again tomorrow.

Boxing Day

A wonderful Christmas with most of our children around. We missed Maddy and Chad.

Lot’s of food, of course, and presents.

Cooper and Scarlett couldn’t believe their luck and must have figured they’d been good for the entire year. Food and presents kept coming.

We missed out last year. Considering everything that went on with the pandemic, we were determined not to be apart again.

If there is a lesson to be had, it’s how to stay together in a world that we are told is crumbling.

Everything that comes over our table has truth and some fabrication. I still stick my nose out at night to test the temperature and see if the snow is falling.

It’s cold and I like it. Frozen boots with warm socks. Ice hanging off the river’s edge. Eyelashes thick with frost. Breath freezing into shapes like a Genie coming out of a lamp. Snow, swift, kickable under step. The wood splitting easy at 20°.

dark skies

The clouds part for a glimpse of morning stars.

Been out a few times looking for Comet Leonard. So far no luck seeing it. The clouds and snow have made it difficult.

The bright stars of Orion can be seen, through the clouds, in the east before work.

Here and there the stars shine through. With luck we will get a crisp cold spell and the accompanying clear skies that go along with it.

Early December

The diving cliffs.

Unseasonably warm. Plenty of rain in the last few days with temperatures up to 12°c. Yesterday, I saw worms on the sidewalk. Amazing for December. The ice on Lake Windermere has melted. Surely a cold spell must be coming?

We are told this is remnants of an atmospheric river from the west coast, tamed down, yet still screwing thing up in the Rockies.

It’s difficult to remember such a mild start to December. The way things are going the tourists will be putting their boats back in the lake. Rule number one for the rich; calm water always needs to be churned up, same goes for blue skies.

It could be the new trend, smoke in summer and fall in December.

Willow wades the creek with her full winter coat grown regardless of mild temps.

Old Ray

Mom always said, never get on a train that isn’t moving.

Dropped off at the good neighbours to make sure he was still hanging on.

Ray tripped and fell, spent hours beside the toilet before pulling himself to his bed where he couldn’t get up. The cleaning lady noticed his curtains weren’t open in the morning and checked and found him there. They stuck him in the hospital where he adjusted.

If you live to be 103 you probably have to make some adjustments along the way.

The other good neighbour is still harbouring weed plants with buds the size of Christmas ornaments. We talked about how we are sleeping, our children not trusting the government, their reluctance of the vax, the news, bringing guns to a protest and the west coast sinking, also the usual things, if we have enough firewood, the lack of snow, finally a skim of ice on the big lake and a bunch of other stuff that only made us laugh.

I hold out hope for him. He is charming. I told him he should open a bed and breakfast. It would be authentic. He could give a lesson on how to stew tomatoes. I could put up a sign, GARDEN TOURS, being right across the street. Spin off business.

By the time they get sick of our antics and decide to warehouse our sorry souls I hope old Ray’s still in there to teach us how to adjust.

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.