Activity

Who needs a toboggan when you can slide down hills on your bum?

The birds have been active as of late. Plenty of chirping and fluttering in the trees. Some even allow me to see them. A wonderful weekend treat. The melt continues.

Our house also has been active. Lisa and I are looking after our Grandkids, Cooper and Scarlett, while their parents are on a short vacation. It has been very nice for us. They certainly keep us on our toes. It makes me wonder how we raised three children while running a very busy business. We both agree we couldn’t do it now.

Willow trying to prove she is actually a big dog.

We had our daughter Kelsie when we were young, especially for today’s standards. In doing so we are young grandparents. Thank goodness!

Handsome Cooper, sweaty as usual.

I took Cooper to his hockey practice on Friday. It was good to be in the rink again. Cooper scored three goals in the scrimmage. One was a highlight reel goal scored while laying on his back, sweeping it in with his stick. It really was something! His coaches came over and congratulated him on such an effort. After, I told Cooper he did so well because I laced his skates. He just laughed and said, “No. Papa”.

Talking , laughing, crying, mad, happy. It is hard to tell.

Scarlett is difficult to take a photograph of. She is moving and TALKING all of the time. She can climb hills as fast as her brother and seems to have a competitive streak, something she has inherited from her Mother and Grandma.

Outside in the bush.

It is a wonderful gift to watch them grow, laugh and even struggle. To be a part of their lives, to have them feel comfortable with us is incredible. Lisa and I can’t imagine it any other way.

Filling their water bottles at he same spring their Great Grandfather and Great Great Grandfather did so. They agreed the water was sweet.

Late in the afternoon a bird sang. I couldn’t make out the birdsong, but all types of birds, Chickadees, Sparrows and even crows seemed to be stirred.

Sometimes you get lucky.

Early February

Scarlett and Willow. They are a close duo. Scarlett knows that Willow wants her to be the boss. Scarlett treats Willow with ultimate kindness, but scolds her if she doesn’t listen. Willow responds and they are the best of friends.

It seems I don’t have the time I used to. It’s morning, then afternoon and I still don’t have much done then it’s supper and evening with not much crossed off the list.

That’s getting old I guess.

Daylight is extended. February is when you notice it. The snow softened enough today that made me think I could walk in it. Before long I was stuck going up. Willow wasn’t much better. We got to laugh at each other. The snow melted in my boots but somehow I stayed warm.

Very fine day.

Willow

Giving me the gears.

Willow loves laying on our laps, soaking up our warmth and attention. I have a heating pad I will sometimes use on my back when I’m sitting on the couch, if I get up she is sure to be laying on it when I return.

Proud, doing her ‘big dog’ walk.

Still, when we walk the creek she barks my attention, wades the water, encouraging me to throw a stick. She will fetch water logged branches and floating ice if I don’t comply.

Fetching driftwood.

Back home she approves of the fireplace being lit, sleeps deep, twitching now and again, perhaps dreaming of that water logged stick that got away.

Fluffing her feathers while shaking off the creek.

this & that

A nice weekend. They sure fly by. Lisa and I did manage to get out for a couple walks. Last weekend we went snowshoeing and wanted to try and get out this week but couldn’t find the time.

***

I had to replace my windshield wipers on my truck. I looked at the flyers and saw they were on sale at NAPA. I hadn’t been in there for years. The last time was not a great experience. Overpriced shit with dipshit clerks. However, that was years ago.

Time to give them another chance I thought. The first thing I noticed when I went in was the four people in there, two at the counter sitting at stools and two clerks on the business side were not wearing masks, even though they are mandated by the Provincial Government for businesses. Not a big deal I thought, even though my mask was firmly pulled snug over my nose.

Dust was on the product and shelves. I found the wipers but nothing marking the ones on sale in the flyer. A matter a fact, nothing had a price on it. I understand this is done because automotive stores have different pricing for different customers. Automotive mechanics get the lowest pricing, I expect to pay the highest. Which is okay with me as long as I get decent service.

Now this is where NAPA let me down. Even the four jokers at the counter were doing sweet bugger all not one of them asked if they could help me. A matter of fact none of them even looked in my direction. I could have been naked with dynamite strapped to my torso and I don’t think they would have even noticed. Most automotive stores have a chart beside the wipers that tell you which ones fit your vehicle, this place didn’t have that handy chart.

One of the guys kept telling his story that ‘fuck’ was every second word. I doubt he would have told it differently if I had of been standing there with my grandkids.

So I left, climbed back into the truck with Lisa, told her, regardless of new management NAPA is the same old place.

We drove up to Canadian Tire and 5 minutes later I had new wipers on the truck. Also got a better price than what NAPA advertised in their flyer.

***

The sun went down this afternoon and the sky turned red. It was brilliant while it lasted.

We are expecting some warmer weather this week. I have to say I’m looking forward to it.

***

Covid cases are spiking again. It seems the experts and government advice this time, with the Omicron strain being milder, is to let the virus run its course. The messaging through our health system and legitimate news sources (CBC) is all over the place, often contradicting themselves. 

The truth is they probably don’t know what the hell is going on anymore than any of us.

The anti-vaxxers and Covid deniers are all yelling from rooftops, ‘WE WERE RIGHT’! The vaccine didn’t work, even though it prevented death when the more virulent strains were dominant, and their other mantra ‘COVID IS NO MORE THAN A COLD’! Excuse the nearly 5.5 million people who have died worldwide from participating in the joy.

I’m not sure what I would prefer more; dyeing from Covid or listening to the noisy conspiracy theorists celebrating.

***

Perhaps the best thing to do, is stop trying to think we can save the world, or even think we can make a difference, and start laughing at it. There is plenty of comedy being peddled.

Early December

The diving cliffs.

Unseasonably warm. Plenty of rain in the last few days with temperatures up to 12°c. Yesterday, I saw worms on the sidewalk. Amazing for December. The ice on Lake Windermere has melted. Surely a cold spell must be coming?

We are told this is remnants of an atmospheric river from the west coast, tamed down, yet still screwing thing up in the Rockies.

It’s difficult to remember such a mild start to December. The way things are going the tourists will be putting their boats back in the lake. Rule number one for the rich; calm water always needs to be churned up, same goes for blue skies.

It could be the new trend, smoke in summer and fall in December.

Willow wades the creek with her full winter coat grown regardless of mild temps.

Orchids

Mountain Orchid

Lisa and I had a good trip up the pass on the weekend. It has been busy.

We had an eye out for wild orchids. We caught sight of plenty of Venus Slipper’s and even a few rare Yellow Lady’s Slipper’s. The Venus was especially prolific. These small orchids are only about three to four inches high, but stand out among the moss on the damp forest floor.

Calypso Orchid.

The next two wild orchids to appear will be the showy Wood and Franklin.

On another subject, we had a light frost this morning. It doesn’t look like it damaged any of the plants, however, I had to put the run on two small buck mule deer with nub velvet horns that decided to trim two of my flower baskets.

Willow sniffing out the Orchids.

late march

Willow digs for mice. She had a good hole going. Snuffing and biting the thawed ground. Once and awhile she would stop and listen for movement under the ground and then furiously start digging again.

Our walk today took us up on the benches. The truck ride there was mud, snow, ice and lots of running water; melt flowing right on time.

Lisa told me sometimes she shuts her eyes when I’m driving the backroads when the trip gets hairy. She doesn’t like the feel of the truck sliding sideways or backwards. I told her at this time of year it is unavoidable.

We walked to where Ara and Slinky continue to watch the valley bottom. The tall grass was flattened from the winter snow. The new stuff was busting through. Still not enough birds for my liking.

***

On my day off I worked at a print shop. It felt good. Most of my life I’ve worked in printing or newspapers. I’ve done everything from working the darkroom to driving the paste-up pages to the press.

Working in the industry felt good. I never had to question my technique or method. I relied on experience. It was the same on my day off, like getting back on a bike.

I am a maintenance man now. Printers are a dying breed. Nobody reads anything on paper anymore. Toilets and heaters always need fixing. Every time something goes wrong I have to dial up Google to tell me how to fix it. It is usually an easy fix.

Printing on the other hand is hard, but always feels good.

This is one of those ‘good old days posts’.

***

Spring clouds from the benches.

Spring. Wind with empty tree branches flailing. Sunshine, sure, but with interruptions. Two Juncos in different locations surely must be a sign. Crows baying picking their spots. Ice melting south to north.

early March

An early arrived bluebird gives a look.

A perfect Spring day. Overcast, rain and snow in the morning. In the afternoon the sun came out with temperatures rising. Willow and I headed for the river to see what we could see. She snuffed up the smells thawing in the wetlands. I envied her yet was content with the sun on my face. Very fine day.

Willow tastes the wind and water.

February

A sign of spring.

Very fine weekend. Yesterday Lisa and I went skating on the lake. We got on in the south to try to avoid the ruck. Willow also enjoyed the time having no problem keeping up with us. We saw a lot of people doing the same as us, enjoying the fresh air. Many remarked on the friendliness of Willow and wondered about her breed, never having seen a Wire-Haired Weiner Dog before. Most of the people we saw and talked to were tourists. I was happy for them to be enjoying the lake and ice on skates and x-country skis.

Today we headed into the bush, staying on the roads that are open and plowed. We hiked into a spot we go to often. Last night people had started a fire and cut down live trees to feed their large bonfire. They left a mess, beer cans, food and garbage. This is not unusual. I can never understand cutting down live trees to feed a bush fire when dried wood is so readily available. We threw snow on the fire and remarked that we will have to come back, when the roads open, to clean it up. Lisa said something that worried me. She said, she is not sure if she likes this spot anymore.

So many places we once loved have been ruined or destroyed by the crowds. It is disappointing. We are pushed further, usually up the creeks and rivers as most small lake shores have been littered with campers/partiers.

With heavy hearts we turned back, looking for spring in the rising temperatures. Just like many years previous I looked for the earliest pussy willows, to our delight a few were breaking through the skin of their buds. It is amazing what a few hours of above freezing temperatures will do. Also amazing what such small things can change the spirit from dark to light. Very fine weekend.

Mid January

Maynard stays alert, his eye out for the moose we spotted earlier. Lisa is comforted by his continued vigilance.

The lack of snow allows us to travel the backroads normally cut off at this time of year. Lisa and I took off for the logging roads early in the morning. We were rewarded by spotting a cow and calf moose. They crossed the road in front of us as we travelled higher into the Palliser.

The lack of snow also allowed us to harvest some easy down fir for firewood. It was a good size, dry as a bone, yet needed the splitting maul to bust it into smaller chunks to load.

Willow off the beaten track, chasing sticks, nose out, snuffing up the good air.

Willow and Maynard ran rampant. Willow more so, while Maynard stayed close behind me even while sawing the wood.

A light snow fell continually while the sky was clear in spots showing blue. Just one of those days you wish you could hold onto forever and bring out when things aren’t going your way.

Very fine day.

Maynard and I make our way.