Mid May

A Merlin or Pigeon Hawk enjoyed its catch, of a small song bird, on top a power pole.

Time is getting scarce, too much to do, between work and usual spring chores.

The garden is in except the tomatoes. Lettuce is up and won’t be long before we will be having fresh salads. We have about ten different varieties for a good mix.

Willow, Maynard and I spent a pleasant morning watching swallows fly in and out of the holes in the bank containing their nests.

It’s been dryer than a popcorn fart, not hot, poor weather and wind. Plenty of snow still in the mountains. We had a sprinkle last night, enough that I don’t have to water.

Douglas fir flowers.

Cloud cover for the lunar eclipse, I was disappointed. The light did turn odd through the clouds. Could well imagine this was concerning in ancient times before eclipses could be predicted.

It won’t be long before the mountains start crying.

Early May

Lisa celebrates spring.

The garlic has all come up. First time in a few years. I planted it deeper last the fall. The onions are also up. The garden has been dug, with manure mixed in. I planted three rows; beets, early lettuce and late lettuce. Everything has been planted thick so we can enjoy the thinnings. The tomatoes, basil and cannabis are doing well inside and I can’t wait to put them out so they don’t have to be cared for. An inside gardener I am not.

A good start to oncoming summer.

If I take the picture in the right light I can obliterate the second homes and condos that line the shores of Lake Windermere.

Line Up

Haze in the east. The waning moon mid right. Lake Windermere the way it should be.

The sky cleared on Saturday morning. Willow and I awoke early and headed out to see the planet alignment of Jupiter, Venus, Mars and Saturn. We looked for high ground with an unobstructed view of the east.

We waited for the moon to rise. By then it was getting light. I could not see any of the planets with my naked eye. I tried several settings on my camera to pick up the planets, hoping I could see them when enlarged on the computer screen, however was unsuccessful.

Moon rise.

A couple things could have been working against me. First, there was a slight haze in the east and could have easily obscured the dim light of the planets. Second, it gets light early here at our latitude of 50°N. And finally, I may have brought the wrong lens, opting for a wide angle instead of a lens that could have focused and enlarged a small part of the sky.

It was still a rewarding morning. We listened to chicken drumming and turkey’s gobbling. Four large Swans flew low over our heads, Willow seemed fine, but I was touched. When the sun got close to rising the song birds started up.

A few Crocuses on the trail in daylight heading out.

Strong Thermal Emissions

Due north towards the lights of Invermere.

Good reports of Northern Lights recently, unfortunately I have slept through the best storms.

Damn chilly in the morning. Last Saturday I shed the long underwear for the year and I’m tempted to put the long thermal underwear back on. Every year it goes on earlier and comes off later. Maybe there will come a time, despite global warming, they will stay on year round. Just for the record, it is not the same long underwear I wear for 7 months straight. I do change them every month or so, usually when my leg hair starts growing through them.

light

Willow and I went out early to catch the grouping of planets coming up in the east. We never saw Saturn, Mars or Venus. We were too early and cold. I pointed the camera down the lake southeast and took a few pictures. Willow sat beside the tripod. She whined a few times and I saw her shiver when I turned on my flashlight to check I was still focused on infinity.

A photograph is made of light. The camera records it without sentimentality or prejudice. The photographer adds that later, trying to show a story to the viewer. The viewer also adds their thoughts to the image. Sometimes the image touches and tells a different story to many different people. That’s called art. Sometimes a picture captures a time and place. That’s a document.

This photo is light only. The light of The Milky Way. The Dark Horse near the centre of the galaxy. The Scorpions Tail. The purple and green aurora signalling flares from the our sun. The lights of Windermere and Fairmont in the distance. The sun showing below the horizon, marking another day.

Some of the light has been here forever while other, even brighter light is recent.

The Northern Lights and stars reflect in the lake. Do the fish take direction from this light? Does it trigger when they spawn, when they go into the many creeks feeding the lake? There isn’t many native fish left in Lake Windermere.

By comparison humans have only had the ability to cast light, shading the skies, for a short time. To capture light even less.

I worry what happens to our souls when we can’t see Andromeda, Aurora and the The Milky Way. Like the fish we may forget our way.

Crocus

Lisa and I went for a walk after work. We stayed in the valley bottom wondering the benches just above the wetlands. Willow ran and dug for mice.

The morning was cold, but the afternoon was spectacular, blue skies from the Purcells in the west to the Rockies in the east.

The crocuses have just started to open. A sure sign of spring. Nodding onions were also sprouting on every exposed hillside. They are the best when young, also the most dangerous as they can be confused with camus that is poisonous.

My garlic and bunching onions are up in my garden. It looks like there will be a good crop of garlic this year as every one planted in the fall is coming up. This has not been the case the last two years.

Very fine day.

Early April

Scarlett helping with the seedlings.

Grey days, typical for April. Lisa and I wondered the creek both Saturday and Sunday this weekend. It was good to be out.

We don’t get as much done on the weekend as we used to, but I like to think we take care of the important stuff.

Willow makes the best of her time on the trail beside the creek.

The kids came over yesterday. Scarlett hasn’t been feeling well. It was good to see she was feeling better. She and Cooper helped me take the seedlings from their starter trays and put them in individual pots. Not my favourite part of gardening. I only start plants I can’t get at the nursery. It is a necessary annoyance. Keeping plants alive until they are ready to be planted in the garden is a chore. I am depended on for water, heat and the right light. The plants should realize like everyone else in my life, I just ain’t that dependable!

Cooper helps with planting.

Haven’t found any wood ticks yet. The garden is waiting to be turned over. The ice is off the small part of the lake. Sap is in the spruce needles and smell good when squeezed between your fingers.

An Eagle, tail feathers in the sun and head in the shade, hunting the fields. Lisa had to be quick to get this shot.

Lisa and I had an argument coming out of the mountains.

Lisa said, You saw a chickadee in the trees beside the creek, coming up, maybe it will be there again.

I said, No it was a chicken.

Lisa said, You said chickadee.

I said, I know what I saw. It was a chicken, a grouse to be exact.

Lisa said, You said chickadee. I was looking for a chickadee.

I answered adamant, No I didn’t. Why would I even point out a chickadee?

Lisa said, Well that’s what you said… maybe you’re starting to stutter.

It is impossible to win an argument with Lisa.

Very fine weekend.

Willow will jump into Lisa’s arms when she asks.

Late March

Kelsie, Cooper and Scarlett called to me to complete the ring. This Fir tree would be well over 300 years old. To think of its place in history. The many forest fires it survived, drought, world wars, colonization and the epic battles of the lands first people. It resides in a place known for warring between the Ktunaxa and the Peigan Blackfeet Pikáni. This one even survived the greed of developers. This area, on the east side of Columbia Lake is now protected, the developers satiated after being handsomely paid off.

This was the time of year I’d get stuck, sometimes on the flat. Teaches me for running around on bald tires. I don’t have to do that like I used to. I’d ask Bucky which tires had the most rubber after the tread was worn off. That’s how you know a good tire. It is easy to slip slide yourself into real trouble.

An old Ranger with a mismatched box. Smelling like oil and rust, but can still deliver a half yard of well rotted manure.

I took one of these roads yesterday. The snow hard in the trees, soft where the sun hits. Four wheel drive can’t save you once the truck starts pushing snow. It gathers under the truck and before long you either need to shovel or hope for another week of warm weather.

Spring clouds with a few more snowstorms inside. I could always walk up that hill if someone was chasing me, I bet they would give up before I did.

The plants have been started inside. Tomatoes (Black Krim, Brandywine and Black Cherry), basil, some flowers and a couple varieties of cannabis. The frost is out of the ground where my garden lays and is waiting to be dug. Scarlett, Cooper and I took down the tall sunflower plants we left for the winter birds.

Scarlett smelled them before she found the Juniper Berries. It’s Spring after all, they are filling with sap. She stuffed her pockets to take to her friend Savannah, she said. Hopefully Kelsie checked her pockets before doing the wash.

***

Amazing everything said is taken seriously. The figuring consciences is that both are inside us. Bad and good. We use them to get what we want.

Kindness works almost always. But if you have to fight back, fight back harder.

*** 

Don’t think I forget every old timer like me on the road is a desperate man. It makes me drive close to the shoulder. Not to mention the middle age driving up my ass and the youngsters taking too long in the Horton’s line. For the most part everyone is respectful. But you never know when that might change. We all have reason after all.

bird watch

Winter finch.

Took off for the creek this morning. At first, we thought the valley bottom would be best. Reconsidered when the mud bogged us down.

The ground is frozen still with melt running over, making a mess of it, challenging buds to appear. Instead we headed higher, until we found a solid layer of ice and snow underfoot. Willow was saved a bath.

The birds have been at it. Most I can’t see. We hear them, chirping and singing, a crow spread it’s wings on the ground, shaking like taking a bath. It is hard to know what it means.

Time to start looking for the first robin singing or owl hooting.