Mid July

Yellow Columbine.

Was up early to watch a near full waning moon hoover above mountain tops catching the days first rays of sun. It’s been good to have time off to relax. Lisa pointed out the last time we had time off in the summer, our son Hunter could stand on my hand, about 26 years ago. That was when we would head down to Montana.

It’s getting hot. The garden is going full tilt. Another 5 days and the peas should fill out. Cooper and Scarlett are going to like that.

Tomorrow I plan to stick close to home, weed the garden, make sure everything is watered, pick the rest of the garlic scapes and make pesto. Lisa also wants olive tapenade and salads galore. It is too hot to turn the oven on to cook in the house. 

So far the skies are clear, blue, smoke free. With luck they will stay that way.

Spiders

A tiny spider on a wild orchid.

There is a unique spider that has taken up residence outside our basement door. Unique, because he is almost entirely white and has two spots on its belly that look like eyes, possibly to scare off predators; it works with me.

It spins perfect webs in the corner of the doorframe. More than once I have dragged my head through them leaving the basement, which causes me to quickly turn to make sure the spider is still in it’s corner and not on the web around my head.

I’ve since learned to mind its presence ducking as I enter and exit. 

The spider outside the basement door.

It captures a grasshopper a day. The grasshoppers are getting larger as it warms up. Yesterday it caught one that was bigger than itself. The spider came down and immobilized it in a hurry. The grasshopper made a mess out of the web. The spider wrapped and cradled it and then proceeded to suck the juice out of it.

This morning, I thought, after such a catch the spider may take the night off from spinning another web, but come morning another perfect web was strung in the corner of the doorframe.

It reminded me of a spider my father and I watched during a summer long ago. Like this one it grew to a large size. We named it, though I can’t remember what it was. It strung its web on the beams above the door of our log cabin. Come fall its web would have frost on it. In the afternoon it would come out and sun itself in the middle of the web. 

When it looked like it could not possibly live any longer due to the cold, my father brought out the .22 Winchester bolt action rifle. We backed up about 50 yards or so. I can’t remember if he got the first shot or I did. The spider had grown to about the size of a quarter and didn’t stand a chance. One shot was all it took.

I can guarantee this spider won’t suffer the same fate. Discharging rifles in town is frowned upon. Maybe a bird will ignore those eyes on its belly and have a meal. If so, the bird may be surprised it tastes like grasshopper.

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.

mid July

lake_smAbove the lake.

It seems these last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. Lisa and I still make time to get out in the bush regularly. The weather has been clear and hot. The garden is chugging right along.

Our children have been out to visit. It has been nice to have them with plenty of laughter filling the house. We helped move Lisa’s parents into a new home. Their old place was getting too large for them. Now they live just a stone’s throw from us. This is a relief for Lisa. It was so nice to see our kids taking time away from their schedules in the city to come home and make their grandparents welcome. They think the world of their Grandparents, and know how hard they have worked for everything. Lisa and I are very proud of our children.

RCE_0397Glacier Lillies. Maddy and Lisa telling Chad to pay attention,
while he takes a photo of the large peaks.

The photos in this post are from a place I find very special. Lisa, Maddy, Chad, Willow and I hiked in yesterday. It has been several years since we have been there, due to roads and bridges washed out. There was a time I would hike from wherever the road ended. But I was young and stubborn then. My Father and I even had some long hikes into Leman Lake.

RCE_0373.jpgAlpine Forget-Me-Not.

Back then the trail crossed several slides with tall skunk cabbage and elder bushes. It was closed in thick. You never knew if a bear or moose was going to be waiting for you around the next corner.

We all looked in vain for a way to cross the swift creek. While Lisa, Chad and I were looking for a deadfall across, we noticed Maddy on the other side putting her boots back on. That ended the search. We all took off our boots rolled up our pant legs and subjected our feet to freezing cold water and sharp rocks. Willow crossed enthusiastically, got caught in the current, and came out about twenty yards downstream.

RCE_0412Scorpion Weed. 

We took time to rest, along the trail. It was still steep and in some places overgrown. Lisa reminisced about hiking here while pregnant with Kelsie. Being pregnant never slowed her down. We wondered around marvelling at the sights and smells.

The hike reminded me to try to stay in good enough shape to be able to show these places to Cooper and Scarlett when they are old enough to hike the mountains on their own. That will be sooner than a blink of an eye. Yet that same, seemingly small, time will start taking a toll on my hips and knees. No doubt, just as my father, my balance will be tested on logs over the creek and I’ll curse the rain for making the rocks slippery.

willow_smWillow takes a dip.

We looked for wild flowers and porcupine quills. Maddy and Lisa alerted Chad to pay attention, because,  if I pointed out a ‘Glacier Lily’ on the way up, I may ask him what it was on the way down and he better know the answer.

RCE_0511Sky, rock, bush and water.

To experience these places with loved ones is a gift. The colour of the lake, the sky and large mountains, the smell of spring slides bringing down old spruce, the ice and snow and how I cheer it now, thinking if we could only get a few cold years the glaciers could build up again, how I am a fool to think such things are up to me, the fish and bears and all the wild flowers, the overgrown trail with so many ghosts and so much yet to show.

I always try to look extra hard before I leave, because I never know when I will see it all again.