Sunday, 17 January 2021

A Patch of Sunlight

    I am always looking for interesting and unusual lighting.  That is what prompted me to take this photo the other day.

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Saturday, 16 January 2021

Look What Arrived Yesterday

    Yep, that’s another guitar strap.   If you haven’t read my blog of Jan. 8th you probably don’t know what all of the fuss is about, but after I ordered two (and my wife another one) I received a fifth guitar strap yesterday.  I am not sure why.

    I am beginning to think if you look at something online, it automatically comes.  I will have to wait for my credit card bill to see if I have bought all of them or whether some of them are just “freebees”.  I had enough instruments for the first four, and even though I don’t really need this fifth, I guess I can put it on another guitar I have that I rarely use.

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Friday, 15 January 2021

Hard Slogging on the Trail

    While our heavy snow has been beautiful, it has really made walking our loop trail more difficult.  The photo above shows the section of trail that runs atop our dam.  (That’s the trail in the middle of the photo.)  All of the young trees on both sides have been bent down by the heavy snow.  Several sections of the trail looked like this and I had to stop, shake the trees, (which often covered me with snow) before I could proceed through the tangle.

    I was pretty exhausted by the time I got back to the house.  Kona wasn’t really impacted by the stooped trees, she was able to walk right under the snow-ladened arches.

    I was glad I walked the trail though because I did get a couple of photos that I liked.  (Below)


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Thursday, 14 January 2021

More Snow Photos

    The snowfall we had on Tuesday night left us in a beautiful world.  Yesterday I showed you some photos that I took in the overcast early morning.  Today I have some shots showing the scenery around our house with the sunshine highlighting some of the snow-covered trees.  The photo above shows the scene I have photographed a thousand times before (even yesterday) but it is always changing depending on the light.

    Below is a shot from our balcony.

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Wednesday, 13 January 2021

We Finally Got Some Snow

    I was beginning to think this was going to be a pretty snowless winter.  It seemed strange to be sitting in the middle of January with bare fields and yards.  Last night however Mother Nature did finally get back to work and produced about 6 inches (15cm) of snow.  

    This was a wet heavy snow so all of the trees and bushes were bent over when I got up.  The weight was too much for some branches and they broke off and fell to  the ground.

    I usually spend some time painting in the morning, but had to forego that in order to crank up the snowblower and clear the driveway.  The temperature is still mild (overnight it was -2C, 28F, normally it should be -15C, 5F).

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Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Angora Goats

    Way back in the late 1980’s, after we had well settled in to the “Hobby Farm” we had bought in the Robson Valley, I decided I wanted to raise some kind of animals.  We had a barn, fences, and pasture so it seemed logical to give farming a try.  I knew I always got too attached to animals, and I didn’t want to raise anything that I would have to kill, so after some research I decide that I wanted to raise Angora goats.

    Unlike most goats that are raised for milk and meat, Angora’s are more like sheep and are raised for their “wool” which is called Mohair.  It is warmer than wool and takes dye better.  The fiber is fine, white,  and wavy.  It is what was used for Santa Claus beards, Shirley Temple’s wig, expensive suits, and sweaters.  

    I did some checking and discovered that there was someone a couple of hours away that raised Angora goats.  I gave him a call and soon found myself driving back to McBride with a puzzled Angora buck and doe in the back of our Scout.

    Getting the goats was exciting change for us.  I enjoyed going out every morning to to the barn so I could let the two goats into the pasture.  We would spend a lot of time just standing by the fence watching them wander around the pasture munching grass.

    Below is a photo of our first goats:  Wotan, our buck and Brunhilde, our doe, sharing a bowl of oats.

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Monday, 11 January 2021

Seepage Ice

    I suspect you are getting tired of hearing me talk about all the underground water that is seeping to the top and freezing, but the phenomenon is getting worse by our garden.  I hope you can see all of the ice that is slowly forming as the water seeps up.  The fenced area in the photo is our garden, and like during the summer, when our garden continually flooded, the same thing is happening through the winter, only now the water freezes in place.

    I guess I will have to dig a trench in the spring to channel the water into an underground drainage pipe that runs between the garden and the greenhouse.  

    While I don’t have many outside jobs I can do during the winter, the list of work that needs to be done after winter is over, continues to grow.

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Saturday, 9 January 2021

Books, Cats, and Guitars

    One of the major changes in television news broadcasts since COVID has been that the talking heads are no longer in the studios, but in their homes.  I had blogged before about how interesting I found it to get a glimpse into the homes where they live.   While these “home visits” have now become normal, I am still enjoying seeing the backgrounds behind the talkers.

    In most of the news broadcasts I watch the backgrounds are books.  I always try to read the titles to see what they have been reading.  I noticed right away that one of Judy on PBS NewsHour has “Grant” on her bookshelf.  It is a book that I had read.

    Another thing that now makes the news broadcasts interesting is seeing cats in the back ground.  It seems that several of the broadcasters have cats snoozing or wondering around in their house.

    One of the big surprises has been how many guitars I have seen in the newscasts.  This especially seems to be the case with a lot of the doctors that are interviewed about COVID.  Seeing the guitars always makes me wonder what kind of music they play.  


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Friday, 8 January 2021

I Guess I Don't Need Any More Guitar Straps

     Throughout last year, my wife would periodically ask me what I might want for Christmas.  I have so much stuff already, that I couldn’t really give her an answer.  About a week before Christmas I was playing my guitar and got frustrated with my guitar strap.

    It was a cheap thin nylon one that was continually getting twisted on my back to the point it was more like a rope, than a strap.  More importantly, it would sometimes slip out of the buttons on my guitar, making my guitar almost drop to the floor.  

    “”Aha,” I thought a better guitar strap is something I would really like to get for Christmas, so I checked on line, picked out one that I would like and showed my wife the guitar strap that would be a nice Christmas surprise for me.  There was one problem;  it was only a week before Christmas.

    On Christmas morning, I was a bit disappointed that there was no guitar strap under the tree.

    Weeks passed, and every time I played the guitar, I thought, “I really need a better guitar strap,” so I went online, found the one that I liked and decided I would order two of them:  One for my acoustic guitar and one for my electric guitar.  I put them into my online shopping cart and pressed the “BUY” button.

    A few minutes later my wife ask me what I was doing, so I told her I had just ordered two guitar straps.

    “Oh, no.” was her response, “I ordered you one for Christmas, but it is on Back Order.”  

    Well, it looked like I would have three guitar straps, but that was okay; I could use one for my acoustic, one for my electric, and one for my mandolin.

    Yesterday there was a box at the Post Office.  It seemed too big a box for the guitar strap that my wife had ordered, but when we got home and opened it there was a guitar strap in it, and another guitar strap, and another guitar strap, and a forth guitar strap.  

    I was guitar strap rich, but also confused.  

    I assume that the back order had been filled, and joined with my order for two straps, but why did they send me four?  I don’t really have an answer to that, maybe someone got confused with the math and made a mistake.

    I put one on my acoustic guitar to try it out and was very impressed.  My guitar had never felt so secure.  I was very happy with my, and my wife’s, purchase.  I now have a skookum (a British Columbian First Nation’s word meaning “really good.”) guitar strap for my acoustic guitar, one for my electric guitar, one for my mandolin, and one for my 12-string guitar.  

    I won’t be needing any guitar straps for a while.

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Thursday, 7 January 2021


     On the way back from walking the dog yesterday afternoon, we spotted a Bald Eagle down on the river.  I pulled the car over on the side of the road, grabbed my camera, and opened the car door just in time for it to take flight.

    I didn’t get the photo I wanted but at least you can see the bird.  I think that most eagles migrate south for the winter, but some stay in the Robson Valley all winter. 

    I once took the train up to Prince George in the winter and was surprised at how many eagles I saw along the way.  I assume they stay plump eating all of the carrion, created by the trains hitting the animals that use the tracks during the winter. 

    I’m not sure how much food can be found down by the river when a lot of the river is frozen, but I guess the bird knows what it is doing.

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Wednesday, 6 January 2021

O Pioneers! by Willa Cather

     This is the second book I have read by WIlla Cather, a rather unrecognized and under appreciated American author.  Having read and enjoyed Cather’s  My Antonia., I thought I would try O Pioneers!  and like her My Antonia, this novel was thought-provoking, well-crafted, and engaging.     

    The book which is about early agriculture in the prairies, starts out with all of the main characters as children.  Alexandra the protagonist, has two oafish older brothers, and Emil, a sensible younger brother.  Their Swedish immigrant family has struggled to scratch out crops on their farm located on the harsh unforgiving Nebraska tableland near a small town.  

       Their agricultural efforts haven’t produced many positive results and their father, who has struggled to make the farm work, lies dying.   While most of their neighbors have given up, abandoning their farms to retreat to an easier existence in the cities, Alexandra’s dying father still believes there is wealth in the land and recognizes Alexandra as being the smartest of his children, and makes her promise to keep the family’s land after his death. 

        Alexandra with her intellect and modern thinking, innovates and invests, buying up the parcels that her neighbors are abandoning.  She begins planting clover and then wheat which thrives, instead of planting corn which generally failed.  The farm and her brothers prosper under her guidance.   When her brothers married, she generously divided up her acquired land, so they can each run their own farms. 

         During Alexandra’s rather lonely life she has had one soulmate; Carl, an ex-neighbor, whose family had moved away during their youth.  Years later, Carl, whose city life has been rather unsuccessful, revisits forty year old Alexandra on his way to the goldfields, and her older brothers, fearing her marriage, try to strip her of the ownership of the family farm, which she had saved, turned profitable, and where she lives. 

         O Pioneers! is a beautifully written piece of literature that immerses the reader into the hardships, human frailties, and loneliness of those prairie pioneers.  Cather’s story paints a picture of those hard times, the people, and the situations in a way that stick with the reader.

    The cover of this e-book edition must have been chosen by someone who hadn’t read the book.  There are no covered wagons in the novel, it takes place on an already established farm.

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Tuesday, 5 January 2021

The Freezing Line

    The other day on our afternoon walk I couldn’t help but notice the freezing line on the Cariboo Mountain slopes.  You could clearly see where it was below freezing because the snow was still on the trees, below that elevation the temperatures where above freezing causing the snow on the trees to melt.  The temperature that afternoon on the valley bottom was 4C (39F).

    The photo below shows the same freezing line on the Rocky Mountains that run on the opposite side of the Robson Valley.

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Monday, 4 January 2021

Mouse Diving

    Whenever we take Kona on a walk down a country road, she spends a lot  of her time, not walking, but by mouse diving.  She will stand very still, listening to the weeds along the roadside, then suddenly she pounces head-first with her front legs tucked under her, into the weeds and snuffles around.  She never catches any mice, but that has not dampened her enthusiasm for the activity.

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Sunday, 3 January 2021

It's Only Icy Where We Walk

    While I have forgotten all kinds of things in my life, I have maintained an amazing capacity for remembering jokes.  As a  kid I was a Cub Scout.  One of the perks of being a Cub was that every month I got a copy of Boy’s Life magazine.  All that I can remember about the Boy’s Life magazine was that on the last page they had lots of jokes.

    One joke I still remember was about two old ladies who went out to their car and discovered it had a flat tire.  One of the women turned to the other and said, “Well, luckily it is only flat on the bottom”.

    In my New Year’s attempt to be optimistic, I thought of that joke this morning when I saw the ice on all of our paths;  “At least it is only icy in the places that we use.”

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Saturday, 2 January 2021

Not Exactly The Winter I was Hoping For

    Where is our winter?  The temperature yesterday was +4C (39F) the wind roared like a freight train and continued throughout the night.  The trees bent in submission and we kept our devices charged waiting for the power to go out.  Miraculously it didn’t.  Rain joined the wind and this morning when I looked outside, I didn’t see anything to give me hope.

    I am very sunlight oriented and find it hard to be motivated when we get day after day of thick cloud.  The rain and wind dampen what little motivation I have left.

    After I took this photo I spent some time throwing gravel onto the driveway which was turned to ice by the rain falling on the compacted snow.  

    Anytime the UPS guy delivers a parcel, he struggles getting his van up our driveway.   A couple of weeks ago, after several attempts at getting up the slope you see, he had to put chains on the tires to finally be able to drive out.

    I sure wish Mother Nature would stop playing games and give us the snow and colder weather that used to be normal.

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Friday, 1 January 2021

2021: A New and Better Year

    While the photo above looks stormy and moody, I am going to say it looks like the light is about to break through the gloom.  How’s that for optimism.  2020 was a bummer and so I am looking at this new year to be one helluva lot better.  Stay safe, out there.

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