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.

winter colours

CRW_0007Follow the ridge. Telemark through the spruce.

There is a little extra daylight. Not much but noticeable. There is something to be said about the colours of winter, deep shades of grey, colours only seen at this time of year, hues of mauve and blue.

CRW_0004-PanoEvaluate the shadows in winter to plan a walk in summer.

To be without would be a shame. To see them a gift. The owl on a snag, eagles waiting for a fish or a duck to get separated. The mountain ridge fully defined. And the quiet that accompanies it.

CRW_0009Willow.

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.

Warm Spell

_LME6666smJan 2018, Eclipse, Wilmer, BC, morning rush hour.

The woodpile is holding it’s own. Six inches of snow melting on top. The coming cold will dry it long before it needs burning.

The New Religion

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I had an argument with a guy recently. It was about dwindling elk populations. He said, elk where being decimated by predators such as wolves, grizzlies and cougars. It was his view that these animals should be culled. I said maybe we should quit hunting elk during their rut and taking the biggest bulls from the heard. Colorado has seen success with managing these hunting practices.

This guy was a hunter and a scientist (so he said) and my comment made him fly off the handle. He over and over again said, ‘Science’ shows it is the predators that are responsible for diminished elk populations.

I infuriated him more by saying, we have to be careful culling animals, because we’ve got it wrong before, I was thinking about those same wolves and plenty of fish species. 

He continued, ranting Science, Science, Science, without so much as offering a fact. It was like the word Science was enough.

I knew he wasn’t worth engaging in an argument. He was a fervent believer.

***

I don’t understand science. I always thought it was nature. The way I alternately blink my eyes at the sky, being the same way we figure out the distance to the stars. 

***

I also don’t understand climate change, but the Science seems to have become a replacement for religion, especially for us in the most prosperous parts of the world. It has sin, guilt and the need for atonement. The Science also promises a way out, if only we live carefully.

And like religion the biggest sinners are the ones who preach the loudest and conjure their desired deity in every conversation and argument. Like the above mentioned hunter/Scientist who, lives on a ranch, and wants to shoot bigger elk.

Today’s Elmer Gantry’s and Jimmy Swaggart’s are now the ‘environmentalists’ living in their big houses on the side of the wetlands, winging their way to explore exotic locations with their light weight Sony cameras, oblivious to there own sins, or perhaps smug in their belief they are pulling the wool over our eyes. 

Fuck I hate religion regardless of what they call it.