Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Gumpiness Cured and Wildlife Encounters

So I found a cure for the grumpiness expressed in my last post. We went to visit GG in Revelstoke and were reminded that winter is still going strong in some places. At least it makes the skiers and sledders happy.

The Daughter - and yes, that's a house hidden behind the snow pile.

Looking east down GG's street, houses hidden.

And looking south on GG's street. Lots of snow.

GG's back yard - that's  a 5 ft. fence. Typical winter.

And this is the reason we made the trip, so GG could meet the newest member of her tribe:

87 years between these two.

Meanwhile, the snow has rapidly given away to rain, and creatures that have been holed up are on the move.

Early this morning, Lushe (the Husky next door) was making a terrible racket. We thought the mule deer had come creeping in and set him off, but oh no. This was his nemesis:

It was overcast and so the colours are dark.
Yes. Raccoons. And he treed this one. Does that make him a Coon hound?!

"Come on down here so I can play!"

"Dad, he won't come down."
"Nope. He's up there for good."

Updates to be posted as warranted. Note the lack of snow - yes! *insert high-fives and happy dance*

Sunday, March 5, 2017

OK, Now I'm REALLY Grumpy

It is now March. That means I should be outside raking up the winter debris in the yard and having a lovely bonfire. But oh no, this is what is happening right now as I type:

That, people, is more bloody snow, falling thick and fast. And I think the collective minds of everyone in southern BC is about to explode.

Global warming forsooth.

Cro, stop posting pics of your glorious spring or I'll come camp in your backyard! (Kidding - I'd be hard-pressed to find it.)

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Fickle Mother Nature

False spring is an awful prank that Mother Nature likes pull every so often.

The prairies are notorious for having spring blizzards well into May, but here in the Southern Interior, we're spoiled. February is usually when winter's back is broken, and March is gardening season.

Even the robins agree with that scheme. I saw a whole herd of them in town yesterday.

To those who insist that a group of robins is a 'flock', I say that you haven't seen a really large gang of them in operation while migrating. 'Herd' is definitely the most apt description.

Whatever. Both the birds and I and probably everyone else for a few hundred kms around are cranky with the scene this morning.

If I want snow, I'll go up to the ski resorts. As for this, bah humbug.

Monday, February 20, 2017

What The Moon Saw and Correct Quotations

It is somewhat ironic that I haven't found time to write here on the blog because I've been so busy writing elsewhere. Yes, I'm back where I started yea these many years ago, earning my daily bread with a pen ... on in this case, a pen for the notes but a keyboard for the writing. And 'daily bread' comes into this conversation, as will be revealed.

I currently have one ongoing client and one project-specific client. The second came with some rather tight deadlines but it's going fine so far (touch wood). It was while going through my notes from the last meeting (it's a series of stories/articles and so I'm meeting with a lot of people) that prompted this entry.

One of the two women I was speaking with provided a quote: "When words fail, music speaks." and she knew not where it came from.

If I have a bugbear (and I have one or two - do NOT get me started on the Oxford comma) it is unattributed/incorrect/wrongly attributed quotes. This one scored two out of three. It was unattributed and incorrect.

The quote is often incorrectly repeated as "Where words fail, music speaks." and often incorrectly attributed to Shakespeare.

It is actually, "where words fail, sounds can often speak" and is from a fairy tale called What The Moon Saw by our old friend Hans Christian Anderson, in the 31st evening that the moon visits the narrator.

It's a lovely tale. I quite enjoy it. The moon travels 'round the world and shares the observations. Of course there are all sorts of moral lessons included but sometimes it is pure delight, such as this very last piece of the tale.

I looked in, over the lamp, into the little maiden’s bed, where she lay under the neat white coverlet, her hands folded demurely and her little face quite grave and serious. She was praying the Lord’s prayer aloud. But her mother interrupted her in the middle of her prayer. ‘How is it,’ she asked, ‘that when you have prayed for daily bread, you always add something I cannot understand? You must tell me what that is.’ The little one lay silent, and looked at her mother in embarrassment. ‘What is it you say after our daily bread?’ ‘Dear mother, don’t be angry: I only said, and plenty of butter on it.’”

There are a few places on the internet where you can read the entire fairytale. Give it a whirl.

Monday, January 9, 2017

This and That, the January 2017 Edition

There's a fresh coat of snow outside, repainting the landscape a clean, bright white. If only the sun would peek through the clouds, it would be a perfect scene.

As it is, the day is overcast and sombre. Thankfully there are tasks within that keep me occupied, and some outdoor activities after lunch to shake off the lethargy.

In the course of my morning work, I sorted through some recent photos. Let me share a few with you.

Curled icicles

I was curling in Armstrong (a nearby town) on December 30. My first game was shortly after 8 a.m. and so it was still dark, barely a hint of sunrise, when I arrived at the rink. The building has a metal roof, and as is common in this region, the snow is often soft and water-laden. It slides off metal roofs in a gentle curl. The above photo is such a snow curl with a wicked twist. Frozen icicles followed the curl, and look to me (a former farm girl) like a pick-up reel on a combine. A savage one at that.

Our little community has been steadily working at fundraising in order to put a roof over our outdoor skating rink. Not only will it extend the season for our users (it is a very popular winter activity) but will make the site an all-season venue.

The latest fundraiser was a raffle, offering three prizes: a cut-and-wrapped meat package, a propane barbecue and a generous gas card.

I sold many, many tickets, and The Husband bought several; I bought one. The prize draws were made at the local New Year's Eve dance (which we did not attend, as it's far past our bedtime!). Guess what.

The Old, on its way to our recycling centre.

Yes. The Husband won the barbecue, which was the only reason he bought tickets (well, and that he's a generous community supporter). I'd long been campaigning for a new barbecue. The old one is really old, and having provided us with hundreds of excellent meals, is barely limping along.


The New, ensconced in its place of honour.
If that wasn't enough, I won the gas card. Oh yes. I can only imagine the reaction in the hall. No matter, I'm on my way later this week to visit The Son and his family up north, and it will come in very handy indeed.

I watched a TED talk just last night about the mind of procrastinators. You can see it here. And yes, I am a 'goal oriented' person, so it hit pretty close to home. As witnessed by this:

New and old handmade quilts:
the darker one underneath the work in progress is 100 years old,
made by one of The Husband's great-aunts.

My first grandson's baby quilt. I say "first" because he's already 2.5 years old and there's a new version on the ground already.

I started the little bug quilt quite awhile ago, and then set it aside for the summer ... and got stuck into other things ... and then right around Christmas looked at it in severe guilt. A guilt quilt, if you will. With a promised visit looming, I had a date and a goal.So what you see is an almost finished project. The white chalk marks in the blue band are the stitching lines for my needle to follow. Tonight will see that done, and tomorrow morning the quilt will be washed, all the chalk marks will be gone and the quilting pattern will be revealed as the batt inside fluffs up.

January is when the Christmas clutter (for that is what it becomes after the season) is removed, and the house returned to what passes for normal. It's an opportunity to do a good cleaning, and bring out different items to brighten the house, rearrange displays.

These are a legacy from my mother to her children and grandchildren, and the current display on the old sideboard:

Mom's legacy.

They are Amish-style dolls (simple bodies, no faces) that she crafted from a huge antique linen tablecloth that belonged to her great-grandmother. The cloth had some holes and wear, and how, she thought, can one share a single item with many people. The answer was dolls: 10 of them. The bodies and dresses are made from the cloth. And as if that wasn't special enough, she handwrote a card explaining the history of the dolls, then laminated them and pinned one on each doll's back, under the dress.

The ones in the photo are mine, my daughter's, and the one with the yellow ribbon was the doll she made for herself. I look at these and think of her every day.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

'Tis the Season

The snow is gently falling outside, a sign that the temperatures are (thank goodness) gradually rising. The Polar Vortex has hit us particularly hard this year, and early in the season. Perhaps it's because I'm getting older that I find the cold makes me cranky - things hurt in the cold.

I've been doing a lot of crocheting during the past month, as the Daughter found a pattern she liked and ask "Could you please make me a pair?"

Aren't these cool? I've made almost a dozen pair now, of varying sizes and yarns. Got two pair made during a there-and-back trip to the North Country over a weekend. I even made a pair for me.

I'm back to quilting for the foreseeable future, which is toasty warm and cozy, working on my lap.

Today The Husband and I decided to get into a festive mood, to help dispel the winter blahs.

And so we went for a little drive up one of the mountains close by, spotting and evaluating our choices until finding just the right tree. It's thawing out now, before receiving its adornment. The house is already filling up with the sensuous scent of fir.

There aren't small children in the house to push the excitement meter to the top of the line. We don't get into a gift-buying frenzy. Focus is more on the three Fs: friend, family and food.

I'll get some Christmas baking done in the few days - try not to do it too soon because if it's in the house, I eat it! Most of this year's production is heading out the door, to The Daughter's place and other deserving homes.

We received an early Christmas gift this year:

This young man made his debut into the world in the middle of November, a wee bundle of happiness. Everyone is doing well. We were fortunate to have them staying with us for a few weeks before they moved into their own place just a 5 minute walk from us.

Looking forward to the chaos when the older grandkids are here next summer, meeting their new cousin!

Gypsy meeting her new human, and she's in love with him!

However you celebrate the solstice season, be it the summer or winter one, I hope you enjoy health and happiness in the company of those you love, and blessing for the new year.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Chilcotin - Atnarko Holiday

I can't believe how long it's been since last I wrote. Life just putters right along.

Back in mid-October, on what is known in Canada as Thanksgiving Day weekend, The Husband and I decided to forgo a turkey dinner and bust a move out of the valley. We were ever-so-slightly squirrely, and decided to make the complete drive to Bella Coola (having gone only to Anahim Lake on bikes in August) before winter set in.

And so off we went. It's just over 800 km from our place to the coast by this route, over mountains and through valleys, crossing mighty rivers and vast rangeland.

A damp, unsettled sky over the Coastal Mountains
 We left home in inclement weather, After a night at Williams Lake and a very early start west from there, we found fresh snow at higher elevations but not enough to hinder us, just make things 'interesting'.

Highway 20 to Bella Coola is one of only three routes by which one can drive to the Pacific Ocean in Canada. That's a testament to the rugged mountainous terrain in which we live.

The road is famous (or infamous) for the stretch that was constructed from Anahim Lake to Stuie, especially the first 21km or so coming east out of the valley. About 50km in total is gravel, which is nothing special for those who travel rural roads. What is special is that those 21km were dug out of the mountainside by volunteers using Cats in 1953 I think it was. It took them a year. The BC government told them the road couldn't be built, but they proved that wrong. Of course 'road' is a loose term.

It's much improved from those early days but still not for the faint of heart.

You can see the road cuts on some of the gentler grades, far ahead.

Yes, the sign says 12% grade. That isn't the most extreme slope -
 it is 15% in some places, and even 18% for short stretches at the western end. 
One of the 11 switchbacks on the route, and no, those aren't guardrails ahead - they're rocks.

There are no guard rails, and the drops are a very, very, very long way down, and steep. This is no place to be a distracted driver. We've travelled logging roads worse than this, and roads in gumbo clay soils, which is many times worse. The reason I find this road interesting is that it isn't a logging road - it's a numbered provincial highway!

There are no services for long stretches of road, so we always have supplies like fuel.
And we aren't in a hurry, so a picnic lunch along the way suits us fine. Goat cheese and sausage on crackers and a nice bottle of red - perfect.

Bella Coola River

Bella Coola itself is a small, primarily First Nations community on the inlet to the ocean. The Atnarko Valley from Tweedmuir Park to the town has about 2000 people in total. The valley is narrow but surprisingly rich in diversity.

It is located in what is known as the Great Bear Rainforest. We were just a little too late to see the grizzlies in town, come to feed on the migrating salmon, but a few were still lingering in the area, scrounging fruit from trees.

Raven with two salmon - male and female - facing the river and welcoming the salmons' return.

Another of the many totem poles in town.

Tallheo Cannery across the inlet from Bella Coola Harbour, glaciers on the mountain behind.

Bella Coola Harbour

The rainforest is noted for the ancient giant cedar trees that live there. Unfortunately, many of these were logged, but some were spared. This one is just east of the municipal airport, down a short forest trail.

It's hard to appreciate its size until you provide context: The Husband is 190cm tall.

Mountains north of Hagensborg.

Thorsen Creek. There are ancient petroglyphs further upstream but we didn't see them.

Grizzly track on the trail along Thorsen Creek. 

Gumpy grizzly boar in a bear trap. Despite two doses of tranquilizer, he was still rampaging around
and threatening to pop the trailer off the ball hitch.

Mount Saugstad, south of Hagensborg.

We stopped often along the valley, poking along back roads and park trails. It was the most relaxing few days we'd enjoyed in a long time.

Dragon fly, dopey from the cold temperature and warming on The Husband's finger.

Doesn't it have a fearsome face?!
Back home through the Chilcotin we hoped to enjoy breakfast at the Kinikinik restaurant in Redstone. Unfortunately most of the 'tourist' places are closed this time of year. Perhaps next summer.

For Cheryl - one of the fences you asked me about.
Much easier than trying to pound fence posts into the rocky ground.

Just north of Cache Creek, on the west side of Highway 97 are these fabulous 'painted' rocks, stained by iron and other mineral deposits. I always stop to gaze at them if on this road.

And once again, we returned to the dry Interior. Quite a contrast from rainforest to the high semi-desert country, and all within a day's drive, albeit a long drive. Maybe one day you can come along!

The Thompson Plateau.