late august

RCE_3260smAn unnamed, unclimbed mountain – so happy the gore tex climbing hordes
are off shitting on the well known peaks miles from here.

Saw Winter Maker this morning, a waning sliver came up in dawn, later I faced the rising sun taking the cold from my bones; once again saved without having to confess or spend a minute in church. Sometimes you get lucky.

RCE_3313.jpgSoon it will be ice.

There are signs everywhere summer is on it’s way out. We have had frost at this time of year. It’s getting close, the other day was 3°c. The garden is flattening, except for the carrots, smoke and cabbage, who are revelling in the cool of night.

RCE_3295Willow casually smokes a cigar in her own private natural spa.

Was along the creek a range over. Willow swam the blue moving water fetching sticks. She learned quickly to use the current to her advantage. I threw sticks into an eddy, they would go around and around then finally spill out into the froth of the main channel. Willow did the same, fighting to get caught in the eddy, then using her thrusters to speed out of the eddy on just the right orbit, capturing the stick every time! It required perfect mathematical calculations on her part – the speed of the eddy, her weight, the speed of the main current, her mass and it’s effect on water resistance; all of that and the same calculations for the stick, just to be safe! Or. . . she just naturally knew what to do. Both are science, both are nature.

RCE_3308Determination.

The sun went down and turned to twilight, as dramatic as it’s entrance.

Sometimes you really do get lucky.

Early September

RCE_1099Fall Fireweed gone to seed.

Whew! Thank goodness the summer is over. There is always a sigh of relief after Labour Day. All my white clothes have been cleaned and pressed and put away. This morning there was no standing in line at the coffee shop while a herd of tourists looked at the chalk board menu like they had never seen the word ‘coffee’ before. I was in and out like a wedding dink. It’s fall, back to Carharts, plaid long sleeved shirts and not driving ten miles out of the way to avoid downtown.

RCE_1114Solomon’s Seal berries.

It was close to frost this morning. My wise sister Deb has covered her plants tonight. I’m going to risk it. I could be sorry come morning. We have had a great year of tomatoes with most of them ripening on the vine. There won’t be many green ones to ripen inside this year. They are delicious! It will be at least February before I’ll be able to buy one in the store.

RCE_1097.jpgWild Asters.

I got a text from my good neighbour. He is on a road trip going across BC visiting his kids and grandkids. It’s been awhile since he’s been able to do that. I thought he may want to know how his garden is doing, I’ve been looking after it in his absence. Instead, he said his laptop was stolen from his vehicle in Vancouver. He was pissed. In the spring he stopped in Canmore and had a giant block of cheese he bought at Costco stolen from the cooler in his vehicle.

He really has to start locking his doors, but I wasn’t going to say that. I texted back, ‘on the bright side think of the fun you will have filling up a fresh laptop with brand new porn’. An hour later, I was getting worried I’d stepped over the line, then a bing on my phone, ‘you know it.’

RCE_1108Rose Hips. As plumb and full as I’ve seen in the wild. It is said they have 20x more vitamin C then oranges.

It’s good to have the land cooling after another bad summer. Winters are traditionally bad in the valley. Work drying up. Only minimum wage. Cold and overcast in the valley bottom. No doubt this winter will bring challenges.

Fall is underway. The firewood is in. I worry like usual, maybe someday all the demons will come home to roost. ’til then the colours keep changing and the birds keep flying above the creeks.

a rainy start to summer

_LME7756smWillow’s smile.

Very fine day to wrap up the long weekend. Most of it was spent in the shop/studio wrapping up loose ends. Because it’s a holiday there wasn’t many texts coming in. Nowadays, everybody expects texts to be answered right away. I try my best to oblige, but it takes me away from actual work. Today I made some progress.

It rained most of the day. I kept the door open, so Willow and I could enjoy it. With luck it will help minimize the forest fire danger. It was especially welcome this weekend when the bush is filled with revellers lighting large camp fires and setting off fireworks. Not that they are the biggest threat, the only forest fires this year have been started by loggers.

***

_LME7730Babies Breath above the graves.

In the evening Willow and I set off for the bush. There is a special calm after a raucous long weekend. First we went to Windermere to the old graveyard. I promised I would say  hi to Mom and Dad.

Windermere is a strange town now. It was one of the first communities in the Valley. The few historical sites that remain are surrounded by huge second homes (cabins they are called by their owners) that are occupied only six weeks a year. The town is 80% populated by second home owners. The school has remained open only by offering special programs that appeal to families throughout the valley. Otherwise it would have been closed long ago.

This is one of the weekends the second homes are occupied. I got some dirty looks driving toward the graveyard. My pick up didn’t fit in with the Cadillac SUV’s and Beamers. Plus my licence plate was the wrong colour. For all they knew I could have been casing the place.

Walking the rows between the old names. There was the Fishers, Crooks, Tegarts, Kimptons, Youngs and plenty others dating back to the 1800’s. There was also Bingo, the Best Darn Dog in the Land. Dug recently.

My Grandfather once owned a strip of land from the highway all the way down to the graveyard. It didn’t have a drop of water. The land wasn’t worth spit.  They had a ditch from Windermere Creek they got their water and  irrigated the gardens. It must have only been a trickle during summer. They raised turkeys and chickens and sold vegetables. It wasn’t easy. Long after my Grandfather sold, the land was bought and subdivided by a developer. It is now covered in large houses overlooking Lake Windermere. People that never have a thought of what came before.

***

_LME7743Indian Paintbrush.

After that Willow and I headed for the hills. The looks we got leaving were not as bad.

Once in the bush, the rain falling, we finally felt ourselves.

_LME7761Wood Lily.

Ice out

RCE_9406The colour of spring.

Yesterday afternoon I walked the west side of the lake to watch the last of the ice go out. It is late this year, stretching well into April. My father used to say April 12th was always a good pick for an ice out ticket. Recent years it’s been near the end of March. It seems a strange year for the ice to hang on late. The ice didn’t get as thick as it has in past years. It shows it is the spring wind and rain that takes it out, regardless of thickness. This spring, so far, we have not had much of either.

_LME0033_smThe Milky Way overtaken by dawn. Ice out March 11th 2016. Over a month earlier than this year. It is easy to imagine when the Rocky Mountain Trench was filled with ice.

This past weekend I put two pick-up loads of manure on the garden. It was good not to have to shovel shit in the rain. The plants I’ve started are up inside the house. I will only have to look after them inside for a month and a bit before they can go in the ground. I learned my lesson long ago about starting plants too soon and having to care for them inside while they turned into long leggy monsters. The garlic and rhubarb is up. There still is some frost in the ground and patches of ice and snow in the valley bottom. The garden could be dug anytime and planted with the cold weather vegetables, such as beets, lettuce, onions, peas and carrots. Even spuds would be okay.

RCE_9407Ice out, April 15th, 2018.

This morning is rain, snow in the mountains. The ice will be completely gone and the lake will be lividus, angry even. That’s the way I’ve grown to like it. Too nasty for motorboats piloted by city tourists dragging skiers, riling up and running over waterfowl, while posing for Instagram selfies and drinking craft beer. By then the roads will be open into the backcountry, even the birds will get the hint to head for the hills. Meanwhile there is still time to walk the tracks along the edges of the lake.

getting on i guess

RCE_4340

i wipe my eyes with the same hand holding my glasses.

i pee in the middle of the night and keep the seat up because i know i ll pee again before morning.

there is no longer need to exclaim.

time does go by faster.

do you have bumps behind your ears? skin tags and brown spots in spots you never knew you had? asking for a friend.

fort

RCE_9396smLow clouds cast shadows on the ice.

The ice on the lake is hanging on. It will take either wind or rain to get rid of it. The ice wasn’t as thick this year as the year before. It snowed on the weekend and I was glad to see it. I like winter. There is something about fresh snow and spring clouds.

Spring is coming. I’ve always liked late snows.The birds are making lots of noise. The rhubarb is breaking through the ground. Soon the garlic and last year’s lettuce seeds will be showing. I should dig the garden early this year. Get the spuds, carrots, beets and peas in early. As usual, I started a few tomatoes and weed plants inside. Black Cherry and Early Girl for the tomatoes and a Sativa for weed. They will be ready to transplant by the end of May.

The backroads are mud, ice and snow; in that order. I have been keeping to the valley bottom for Willow’s walks.

A few winters ago I spotted what looked like a treehouse from a distant hillside perch. It is a spot I only walk in the winter. In spring, fall and summer it would be well hidden with foliage. I have always intended to check it out, but deep snow always deterred me.

On the weekend I found myself again looking at it across a mile wide coolie. Still hard to see, it kept starring back. Since there was little snow I thought I would finally check it out.

RCE_9384Three windows, aesthetically placed.

It was a bit of a scramble, through thicket and deadfall, the route I choose, but other than carefully crossing a small patch of thin ice over moving water, it was a nice walk. The treehouse had been there awhile and had been abandoned for just about as long. There was no way into it, not for me anyway. The ladder was long gone. There was a thin rope hanging. Too old and thin for me. I stayed looking up, where I belong

It wasn’t the work of kids. It had two sunning decks, a locking door and three framed windows facing east. Not a bad set up. My guess it was built by young adults for a place to squat during summer while working trades, though the trade wouldn’t have been carpentry.

Packrats had shredded a bed or mattress and stuffing lay below the fort. Willow enjoyed going through it. She loves chasing rats when given the opportunity.

RCE_9389Watch that first step.

A roll of poly lay covered in forest debris. Old beer cans scattered. Those beers must have tasted good on a summer day watching the sun leave the eastern mountain tops from such a vantage point. Most of the trees used for support were dead or dying. The firs would survive. They will be stunted but standing long after the fort disappears entirely.

It was a steep haul back to the trail that the here and there snow made double difficult. Should be a quick melt from here on in.