Mid December

Lake Windermere, it’s never been much for me to imagine a glacier running ridge to ridge.

A few cold nights coming on. I am building a rink for Cooper and Scarlett.

I have never built a backyard rink. No need because we live so close to the lake.

However, kids are not allowed to wander like they used to, plus it might be nice to watch the kids skate while I get supper ready.

The problem is the land isn’t level. There is going to be 10″ of ice on one side and an inch on the other.

Copper and Scarlett have a lot of energy. This will do them well.

Willow helps dragging the Christmas tree to Lisa’s delight.

Late October

Get me to the sun!

Hurt my back this morning lacing up my boots. The good thing about getting old is you never have to say, ‘I’m out of shape,’ instead you just say, ‘I’m old.’

In the mountains the sun goes down and comes up a thousand times depending on where you are standing.

Willow and I headed behind Swansea to walk it off. We pushed to the upper reaches and stopped before the ridge. Willow was happy. The snow was fine on her feet. It was about -10°c and didn’t ball up. The sun felt good when we broke into it. The waning moon held steady in the blue sky.

Willow in her natural habitat, loving life.

This will be one of the last trips into the high country. Snow will start flying in earnest. The cold will take hold. Sure there are snowmobiles and ATV’s that can deliver me to where I want to go, but I’ve never liked the smell of gasoline and exhaust. . . nor do I like the noise, plus they all break down. I know that’s part of the fun if you like that, but it’s not for me. Willow concurs. When I can’t get there under my own power I’ll narrow my circle.

Waning crescent.

November can be the shits, low cloud, snow, wet and freezing temps. It’s the month the weather can’t make up it’s mind to shit or get off the pot. However, without fail, by the end of the month the lakes are frozen and the mountains are filled with snow.

Next years garlic.

Down in the valley bottom I finally got the garlic in. It’s late so I planted it a little deeper to keep it away from the cold. Not sure if this is a sound strategy. We will see come spring. The one thing I know about gardening; regardless of neglect life seems to flourish.

Planting a garden is saying a silent prayer.

down where the fish don’t bite

Whew! A quick week. The light on both ends of the day is expanding and coming on quick. Orion is still visible at night, but won’t be for long, washed away by the glare of spring.

People out walking here and there, holding hands, old and young, succumbing to the urge taking over deer and birds. The second is nature the first is love. That’s the way we like to think of it, one separate from the other.

I’m an old-timer living to an age once impossible by the majority of humankind’s existence. Nature hasn’t adjusted and given me, and others, much of a roadmap or purpose to living past the ripe age of 35.

My DNA is too damaged to pass on even if I could. Young ladies all look like flowers to me. Nothing to sing about, only admire. No tweet or bugle, no rubbing horns on dry branches. In 99.9% of the time humans existed men my age would have been 25 years dead and for good reason. Young men don’t start wars.

And that’s why I feel lucky. This my 57th spring. The wind in my beard. The mountains unchanged from the ice age, the river rolling, slowing, making noise only when the rest is tuned out, that’s something I’ve been taught, and the stars, the stars common with the old ancient man getting ready.

slippery

Starlings.

My nephew Christian warned me. He parked his truck, stepped out, slipped and slid under his parked truck. He was wearing poor shoes at the time, dress shoes. He said it happened fast. He spent some time pretending to tread water, looking for gripage to pull himself from under the vehicle.

This morning a truck pulling a trailer full of snowmobiles was in my gravel parking spot at work. I parked on the pavement. Shut off the vehicle. Took three steps, in good boots. Three confident, nobodies getting in my way steps, since it was the start of the day after all, light just breaking, when I hit on some smooth clear ice over the dark pavement, common, with above freezing temperatures during the day and below freezing at night

It was arse over tit. My shoulder hit first then my hip. A fresh Timmie’s coffee went sailing (this is the true tragedy of this story, if it was a beer I’m sure I wouldn’t have spilled a drop). I felt pretty good considering. Once inside the managers asked why I had snow on my toque. I said, because I didn’t have my skates on.

No harm done. Christian was right, it happens fast.

Boxing Day

A quiet Christmas with all of our families staying within their households. The foot of snow a few days earlier helped the spirit.

Lisa and I had a small turkey. It provided plenty of leftovers and broth for soup. The woodpile is holding up. I mix tamarack and fir, pine and birch, keeping the pitchy stuff for kindling.

It is hard to know when we will all be together again. I try not to think about it much. Having plenty to do keeps my mind off it.

***

The cloud is crushingly low, the backroads are blocked leading to heights above the din.

***

There is plenty of tourists, most from Alberta, skiing, staying, travelling, snowmobiling, dining, partying, defying the no travel recommendations. I don’t worry about them. They can’t be taught or reasoned with. They’re the reason I have a job, thank God.

***

A couple more days off and I’m going to enjoy them.

a Coating

A couple of Bald Eagles consider the weather in the Valley bottom.

Woke up this morning before light. It looked like it was raining. +4°c the thermometer said. Next I looked it was snowing giant flakes. It was wet regardless.

Before testing outside I made a batch of Huckleberry Preserves. The berries were from this summer when Lisa and I wondered the mountain side. I tasted a few of the frozen berries and was instantly transported back in time picking the ripe berries, feeding a few to Willow to ward off thirst and watching Lisa’s red hair, flipping this way and that, bent down, dodging horseflies, picking only the plumpest and ripest.

Lisa gives a wave.

Up the pass the snow was deeper and not nearly as wet. Much more enjoyable. The clouds parted to show the long lost mountains, but only briefly, before filling in again obscuring the stars.

Still, the birds sang hidden like a soundtrack dedicated to earth in all it’s glory.

Very fine day.

Willow listens for mice under the snow.

mid december

A stellar day in any season. Above freezing. Reports have it the ice is thin.

Watched chickadees do their business. Sharpened the saw. Ran around town, wasting my time, to no avail.

Very fine day.

round one

Pleiades, Taurus, Gemini, Orion and the hunter’s fierce dog Siris shining through the clouds. The mountain and landscape is illuminated from the valley’s man-made light bouncing off the clouds.

We headed out last night before the peak of the Geminid Meteor Shower to get the jump on the shooting stars. It was overcast so we pointed the camera towards any opening. Lisa saw several meteors. I saw one spectacular one, unfortunately our cameras were pointed elsewhere. That’s the way it goes.

We are planning to go back out tonight. The weather looks about the same. It’s only about -15°c but feels colder, not because of wind chill but because I’m getting old. I don’t think it phases Lisa though. I just try to keep up.

With luck we will spot some. Even if we don’t I’m damn lucky.

hiding seeds

Spent some time watching chickadees and creepers taking seeds from the dried flowers and hiding them in the trees. It should be noted, they shell them, dropping the husk to the ground below, before tucking the meat into the crevasses of the bark.

I’ve watched woodpeckers come right after and steal the seeds. Damn those thieves.

Still the chickadees do their chore with cheerful vigour, regardless of thieves or winter coming quick or slow. I can’t imagine they are coming back to the ones they’ve hidden, trusting instead to the thoughtful nature down the line, birds hiding seeds in the trees above snow-covered ground. What goes around. . .

***

BC has implemented additional measures to slow the Covid virus. The ant-maskers held a demonstration downtown. I was conveniently in the bush, hiding, watching my grandchildren laugh, marvelling at the frozen lake while the mud puddles were open and thawed.

***

Just before dark, I watched a young boy with roller blades stick handle a ball down the sidewalk. It made me wish I was young.

The lake has a skim of ice. I’m hoping the cold takes hold, the snow stays put high until it’s hard enough to skate. That’s all it will take to make this old man happy.

Scarlett and Cooper, posing nice for their Grandma, in matching pyjamas taking advantage of a fine November day.

Late December

_LME4387Cooper enjoys riding solo.

There has been plenty of work this holiday season and more to come, but it has been the family times that have made it worthwhile.

_LME4396 Scarlett winks as she rides by.

Plenty of fresh air and good food. More importantly most of our children have come to visit. We take what we can get when we can get it. We miss our children but are happy they are doing well. These times are a highlight.

_LME4503Loud and proud. Two peas in a pod.

_LME4375Teaching the youngsters how to tackle a corner.