Proposal

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Damn good hike. I’m not used to hiking with so many people, but it was worth it. The dogs got along, that’s important. We headed where I left a coffee cup, used for booze, a few years before. It’s not like me to leave anything behind.

The hills are steep, they always will be.. The snow, hard from the slide, unforgiving, slippery if not careful.

Hunter had it planned. Bree’s Mom and Dad, sister and husband were along. Lisa and I played dumb. Not hard for me.

I was up the week before to check the trail. The snow was hanging on. I figured right, it would be mostly gone by Canada Day, I always think it wouldn’t take many years of chilly weather before the glaciers grew back. It’s too bad we measure everything in lifetimes.

When the time was right Hunter asked his soul mate to spend the rest of their lives together.

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Lisa said from the first time she met Bree she knew her and Hunter would be together forever.

To be able to share such a special day was wonderful.

eve

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Tater blossom.

The garden has taken off. The peas have outgrown the fences. I’m not sure if I should try to extend them or let the vines strangle themselves, thus slowing the vines. Since I am a lazy gardener I will let nature take it’s course.

The cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and kohlrabi are taking over. We have some hot weather coming up and I hope they won’t bolt.  My experience with broccoli and cauliflower is limited, so will just have to wait and see.

The first spuds should be ready in a week and I’m looking forward to them.

It is the eve of Canada Day. The Valley is full of people wanting to celebrate, yet not sure what is acceptable or where to go. I noticed many people just wondering around town aimlessly today. Maybe we are turning into zombies with maple leaf tattoos!

Father’s Day

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Came across a mother Black Bear with two cubs. A couple barks and the cubs were up a tree followed by their mother in a flash. Amazing how fast they can climb. We left them alone as not to stress them. 

Lisa treated me to Father’s Day in the bush. We made a day of it heading a valley over to the Palliser. Going the extra mile was worth it. We never saw another vehicle after turning off the highway onto Settler’s Road.

We explored in the country we love. The creeks and rivers were raging. We picked up a few stones for Lisa’s rock garden, some firewood, hiked a cut block, let the hounds run and took a few pictures.

We even got around to stripping Willow of her winter coat. This can be quite a chore but wasn’t that bad as we did it after the hike and Willow was tired and did put up much of a fuss.

When we returned to cell reception my phone started buzzing with Father’s Day wishes from my children. When we arrived home I returned the calls to my kids and grandkids.

Very fine day.

(The photos were taken by Lisa)

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Cutting up a stick of firewood while Maynard looks on.

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The rain has the mushrooms popping. Not sure what this species is so it stayed on the forest floor instead of added to the soup pot.

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Heart Leaved Arnica. An edible plant, widely used by indigenous people before colonization.

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An odd puffball?

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Lunch on the side of the road.

father

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The crows keep me posted each morning. I’ve noticed the three young ones are getting brave, wondering further apart. The mother is still in the highest trees looking out. I’m the first to arrive at work and she greets me with her caw, caw. My sister Deb told me to listen for the sound between the call, the silence, as it is part of their language. I skim the pool of ants and bugs, most still alive, getting the pool ready for the guests to enjoy pristine swimming. I put the bugs over the wall for the crows. They’ve come to expect it and the only reason they await my early arrival.

***

A touch of rain tonight, true enough to make the garden grow. The peas have already out grown the fences. The brassicas leaves cradle the rain, holding the precious lenses, magnifying purple veins. The broccoli is sky high, the kohlrabi is billiard ball size and the cabbage can’t be denied. 

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***

The weed is well on it’s way. Weird not to have to hide it, like I’ve done for the last 20 years. Not that I tried very hard. They will be turned quick and have the entire month of August to bloom.

***

Had a large Wolf Spider in the bed the other night. I saw it as I was getting in and swooped it onto the floor. Instincts kicked in and I squashed it. Deb puts spiders and bugs outside, she does it with a feather duster. I don’t have one. Usually I just leave them alone. I was afraid the spider would give me bad dreams, but it didn’t. Perhaps I’m too old to feel. I killed a snake once for no good reason when I was a youngster that haunts me still. It’s important to be careful about what you kill.

***

My father got me looking into the sky and the running creek. It’s been my downfall and my salvation. 

***

When you get older the apologies never given start to add up. I wouldn’t help with homework. I was distant. I was younger then, full of anger that I thought was virtue. Looking back, I’m not sure I could do anything different. Every injustice rippled through my body and reflected out. I tried to teach them through my indiscretions that they didn’t have to be like me.

That’s the best I could think to show.

***

The swallows swoop in the evening, I think of them as giants. Dinosaurs flying through the air from ancient times, mouths open, eating mosquitos, chewing through clouds, just in time to reveal the setting sun.

black & white

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RCE_5981Making a getaway.

RCE_5938Ancient fire circle.

RCE_5937Pine Siskin.

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. 🙂

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.

Late October

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Was behind the mountains where we used to catch fish in the streams. Where we sipped the cold water from the spring beside the trail. How we used to look forward to it on a hot day after exploring the back country, or hunting for deer and elk, sometimes we only came home with chicken. I remember thinking, if it wasn’t for all these damn trees I’d be able to see something to shoot at.

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Now the trees are large and I wonder sometime if they were always there. Every trip it’s like I’m seeing them for the first time. Same as the ridges, the way the light hits them. It’s cold in the creek bottom, dark and icy, but those ridges basked in the last light look mighty inviting.

I don’t go far, never have, there is still plenty of ridges, I haven’t walked, without ruck or crowd, right under my nose. Tamarack, old, hard, and twisted. Scree slopes, waterfalls, fish behind rocks, mountains that change depending on the light, enough for 10 lifetimes if you had four sets of eyes.

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It’s getting chilly. The snow is on the mountains. You could die if you break your ankle, freeze if you fall through the ice, get lost in the crooks and crags, too scared to move in the dark.

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Who needs a jet plane to explore? When you can count on the stars.

story time

 

_LME8758.jpgAn hilarious day. The sky cleared during the night and got down to minus 10. I got to work early to enter yesterdays jobs because the computer wasn’t working the day before.

The groundsman came in next and said, fuck it’s cold, I hope the irrigation didn’t freeze.

Next, the young guy came in and said, what should I do?

Since I ain’t the boss, I said, whatever.

The groundsman said, go check for ice.

We hadn’t had any moisture during the night so that meant, driving around in the cold looking busy till light.

The young fellow radioed and said, we are going to need more salt to melt the ice.

I said, you have two buckets.

He said, they are already used.

He also said, you guys should come out here.

When we got there, every sidewalk and staircase was covered in a thin layer of ice. It looked pretty in a Disney kind of way. . . and dangerous. I imagined someone coming out of their building looking to the brilliant morning sky and stepping on the walk and going ass over tit.

I said, what the fuck is this.

The groundsman said, shit, I forgot to turn off the irrigation.

The sprinklers had turned the resort to ice.

The inventory of salt was in storage a mile away waiting for winter. Since the managers and supervisors with keys to the storage don’t get in till sun up. I grabbed the bolt cutters, jumped in the truck, and got the salt.

We poured a shit load of salt on the resort and had everything thawed by the time the guests awoke and the managers arrived.

Of course, I will have to explain a cut lock at the storage unit, but I’ll think of something.

The groundsman, still walked into the lunch room at 9 am and used the toaster to make toast and peanut butter, even though we don’t take coffee breaks, like nothing had happened. If I was him I would have been ducking my head.

The young guy impressed me, once the sun was out he swept up all the remaining salt. It looked like nothing had happened.

Not bad, I say, for three guys getting paid a pinch more than minimum wage.

The rest of the day was pure sunshine.

ro dun dent

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A mouse has decided to make it’s home in our studio. It has chewed the weather stripping at the bottom of the door. I blamed Willow at first, thinking she was scratching at the door, though I’ve never seen her do so. The mouse has even got into my big teacher’s desk and chewed into my bag of veggie and flower seeds.

Willow knows it’s inside and it drives her nuts. She sniffs and snorts and follows it from one hiding place to another. Once under the old Heidelberg press it is safe. Willow falls asleep with her nose beside the pallet.

If Willow doesn’t pick up her game I may have to buy a trap.

***

The garden has gone from wet to bone dry over the weekend. It doesn’t take many sunny days to parch the earth.

The garden is producing more than we can eat. Tonight it is mixed salad including kale, spinach and chard, beets, carrots and spuds.

Another week and the zucchini and squash will be ready. 

The beans are also on the rise, this year will be quite a crop as it seems every seed germinated.

***

A lazy Sunday after a busy week.