Thursday 28 February 2013

Peeking Through

    One of the main reasons I moved to the Robson Valley was my love of the mountains.  There is a constantly changing visual show of light and color that they radiate.  Here is a shot I took from the back yard a couple of days ago.

To read my older blogs or to view my paintings, go to:

Wednesday 27 February 2013

Coyotes and an Owl

   On our trip down to drop Joan off at the train station, I noticed there was a thin strip of open water on the Fraser River.  I also noticed that on the far side was a coyote standing on the ice.  Then I noticed that there was also a coyote standing on the near side.  That coyote wanted to join the other, but didn’t know how to cross the water barrier.
    As we watched, it turned and ran 150 meters down stream and managed to jump the water where it was not so wide.  It then raced toward his mate, who was walking toward the opposite bank.  On the way back from dropping Joan off, I noticed both coyotes were again on the ice and returning back to our side of the river, I guess they didn’t find anything of interest on the far side.
    This morning when I went into the chicken house to throw some corn and oats on the floor, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a movement, and noticed, there, sitting on the chicken’s roost was a northern pigmy owl.  These are tiny little owls.  Usually finding an owl in the chicken house is bad news for the chickens, but pigmy owls are only 6 inches (17 cm) tall, and was not a threat to the chickens, which looked giant in comparison.  He was after the mice that inhabit the chicken house.  
    When he saw I was taking an interest in him, he flew around the coop a couple of times then swooped down and left, using the chickens small door to the outside.

To read older blogs or to view my paintings go to:

Tuesday 26 February 2013

Waiting At The Railroad Station

    Here is Joan sitting at the McBride train station waiting for a train to take her to Jasper, Alberta.  She is going to visit with our friends John and Di for a few days.  I dropped her off before the train was due, then came back home.  It’s probably a good thing I did, because the train ended up being an hour late in arriving at McBride.  Amazingly, despite being an hour late, it arrived at Jasper on time.
    The McBride train station is a hundred year old building that sits prominently as a focal point at the end of Main St.  It features a cafe/coffee house-The Beanery II, and the Whistle Stop Gallery.  You can see some of the items overflowing from the gallery in the photo.

To read older blogs or to view my paintings go to:

Monday 25 February 2013

Another Powdering

    Our internet has been out all weekend, and these photos were taken a couple of days ago, after another fluffy snowfall.  More often than not, it seems that shortly after a snow, the wind comes along and takes the snow off of the trees, but this year we have had a lot of “winter wonderland days”. 
    The temperatures have been mostly above freezing during the day, and so the 20 inch (50 cm) of snow sitting on the ground really hasn’t gotten any deeper.  Also, I haven’t had to clear my driveway either.
To read my 2012 blogs or to view my paintings, visit:

Friday 22 February 2013

Ear Worms

    Although I don’t really like the term “ear worms”, it does give a name to something that was in need of a name.  It refers to the condition where your brain kind of gets obsessed with a song, and it keeps going around and around in your head.  It doesn’t happen very often, but I’ve experienced it often enough to recognize it when it’s going on.  It seems to happen very easily to Joan, and she always asks me to stop when I start playing a catchy song  on the stereo.
    The most memorable ear worm I can remember, happened back in 1967 when I heard the Cream song “Sunshine of Your Love”.  The rhythms and guitar riffs of the song got into my brain and wouldn’t let go.  I had it rattling around inside my head for a good month.  It still is a problematic song.
    The reason I am writing this blog is because I find myself once again infected with a song.  During our jam sessions, we just go around the circle, and each person suggests or plays a song.  At one of our recent sessions, Dale, played and sang the James Taylor song “Bartender’s Blues”, which is a bluesy country sounding tune, and I was hooked.  
    I had heard the song years ago, and it was sort of familiar, but I was instantly drawn to it.  As soon as I got back home, I downloaded it from iTunes, and learned to play it on the mandolin, and found myself sinking deeper and deeper into its trance.  At our last jam, I brought the song up and it seemed that everyone there also began falling under it’s spell, since we just kept playing it over and over again.  I don’t seem to be anywhere close, to being free of it.  I always want to listen or play it again, and I love it more with each repetition.
    If you are curious about hearing it, here is a link:
Don’t be detracted by the photos, which I really don’t like, just close your eyes and listen to the song.    WARNING:  I take no responsibility for any ear worm infection that might occur.  Perhaps ear worms are an individual thing, but Bartender’s Blues sure has a hold on me at present.

You can read older blogs and view my paintings at:

Thursday 21 February 2013

Brad Strang

   A month ago, I didn’t even know Brad, but I heard him talking to someone else about wanting to find people to play music with, and luckily, I jumped into the conversation.  Since that encounter, I and others have been jamming with Brad on a weekly basis, and music has once again, regained a prominent part of my life, as I learn new songs, and try to remember how I played the old ones.
    Brad is a very talented musician who is amazingly diverse in the instruments he can play; guitar, banjo, viola, harmonica, and bass to name a few.  He is also a song writer and has produced an album, “Blue Mountain Rush” on which he wrote all the songs and played all the instruments.  He is very serious about recording, and the photo shows him sitting in front of his “recording studio”.
    Brad, I think, has only lived in McBride for over a year.  Although I hadn’t met him, I was aware of a new resident, because I started to notice, big humorous carvings at the Whistlestop Gallery.  Brad is also a creative chainsaw carver.  Below is a trailer full of his three dimensional works.

To read my older blogs or to view my paintings, go to

Wednesday 20 February 2013

Longer Days

    Of course, it helps that we are experiencing some clear skies, but this morning at 8:00 when we headed out on the trail, it was really noticeable that the days were getting longer.  The sun was already above the mountains on the horizon, and was brightly reflecting off of the snow on this mountain west of our house.  
    When I decided to take this photo, I thought I should walk over to an area of the pasture, so I could get a clear shot.  It was a difficult walk since it meant getting off of the packed trail.  On one step, the snow would hold me, on the next step, my foot sank a 12 in. (30cm) into the snow.  Luckily, I didn’t have to go very far.  
    I am very much effected by the sunshine.  I can already feel more energy and motivation to do things.  It’s nice feeling to be on this side of winter.

To read blogs from 2012 or to see my paintings, go to:

Tuesday 19 February 2013

Awaiting Redundancy

    Whenever one’s life takes on a new interest, it usually means some money will be spent in pursuit of that interest.  That is what happened to me with the resurgence of playing music.  I had a lot of old equipment, that hadn’t been used for a long time, but a lot of it didn’t work, or didn’t work very well.  
    When the group I jam with recently decided to play a bit of electric music, I lugged my big old guitar amp out of my shop where it had been sitting unused for years.  What a chore it was to have to move that heavy thing around, and it was so big and powerful, that it was way more amp than what I needed to play in a small room.
    I thought about my little Peavy guitar amp, and how much better it would serve my purpose.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work any more, and so it remained sitting in storage in my shop.  It had quit working once before, but then Evan, a friend of mine, offered to try to fix it, and he did.  When I got it back it worked, but after a while, it quit again, and I decided to give up on it, so it became a resident of the shop attic.
    Manhandling my big amp made me decide that I should just break down and buy another small amp.  That would make my musical life a whole lot easier, so that’s what I did.  I ordered a small Fender guitar amp (Mustang II) on line and have been anxiously awaiting its arrival.
    Another thing I started doing was playing around with GarageBand, Apple’s recording studio software.  I used to mess around with it a lot and had a gismo that allowed me to play my electric guitar through the computer.  Now the program has been updated many times, the adapter that allowed me to play through the amp, really didn’t work properly anymore, so I once again decided to bite the bullet and purchased, online, a newer gadget that would do the same thing.
    After I had ordered that gadget, I started looking at the adapter that allowed me to play my guitar through my iPad, and discovered another cable that came with it, that had a USB end allowing me to play guitar through the computer.  I plugged it in, and sure enough, I was able to access all the different guitar amplifier sounds and record in GarageBand.  It looks like I really didn’t have to buy the other adapter that hasn’t yet arrived.  Such is life.
    The other day at the library, I ran into Evan, an told him about ordering a new small Fender guitar amp and waiting for its arrival.  The conversation turned to my old Peavy amp, and he told me that if they weren’t used often, some part of their electric components stopped working.  I asked if I should just plug it in for a while, but he seemed to think that that wouldn’t really charge it up.
    Last night, while I was looking for something else in the shop attic, I saw the lonely Peavy sitting there, so I carried it into the house, and for a lark, plugged it in to see if its isolation had motivated it into working.  I plugged my electric guitar into it, strummed some chords, but there was nothing that came out of the speaker.  That’s that, I thought.
    I went on to do other things, then about 20 minutes later, the Peavy made a loud crackle sound.  Curious, I again plugged in my electric guitar in to the Peavy, and strummed  some chords, and astonishingly, beautiful electric guitar sounds filled the room.  While happy at the rebirth, I had to shake my head when I realized that I would soon have the new one arriving on my door step, and the Peavy would probably end up back in the shop attic.
    Realistically, I’m not sure how dependable the Peavy is.  I doubt it will work continually now on, and I don’t know how long I will have to wait before I play it, each time I plug it in, but still it seems very wasteful to have two guitar amps (three if you count my big one).
    I feel a bit foolish buying both the new computer input adapter, and the new amp, when I probably, with a little frustration, could have gotten by with the old things I had, but I didn’t know at the time.  On the positive side, new things always add a bit of excitement and motivation.

To read older blogs or to see my paintings, go to:

Monday 18 February 2013


   I really don’t use up paint very quickly, but it seems that every time I go into an art supply store, I end up buying a tube of some color I don’t have.  As a result, I have quite an accumulation of acrylics.
    I am sometimes asked which brand of paint I use, and I really don’t pay much attention to brand, I usually buy paint by the color, so I have several different brands in my collection.
     I am usually shocked when I see some artist on TV squeeze out a half a tube of paint at a time, on his palette.  I use just a little dab at a time, but then, I am only painting a little 2 inch square at a time.
    I go through Titanium white faster than any other color.  Second, would be Paine’s gray, which I use instead of black.  The use of other colors pretty much depends on the image I am painting.  If its some plant I use a lot of greens, if there is a big sky its all the different blues that get used up.
    I am always mixing colors, I rarely use a color straight from the tube.  White is the exception.  I usually need pure white to make the bright highlights.  The “blacks” in my paintings are always Paine’s Gray mixed with some other dark color.
    There, now you know all of my secrets.

To read my older blogs and to see my paintings, go to:

Sunday 17 February 2013

Rural Internet

    As we finish walking our trail and are returning to our house, I often glance up to the spruce tree growing next to our house, and take a look at the square little antenna that is fastened high on trunk of the tree.
    This little square gadget is how we get our internet.  Our internet provider is located about 84 km (50 miles) away in the village of Valemount.  The internet signals are bounced back and forth on radio repeater towers situated on the tops of mountains.
    When we first decided to change from extremely slow, dial up internet, which came in on the phone line, and update, to a high speed system that used the radio waves, we had a problem.  The radio waves were “line of sight”, which meant that there couldn’t be any obstacle in the way, you had to be able to see the repeater on the mountain.
    Our problem was trees.  Our house is located very close to the neighbor’s property which was full of tall trees blocking our view of the mountain that housed the internet receiver.
    I spent a lot of time up on our roof, and walking around our property trying to get a view of the radio receiver tower.  I couldn’t find any views anywhere close to the house, where an internet antenna could hit the repeater.  I pretty much gave up on high speed internet.    Joan didn’t give up.  Once, when I was away, she contacted the Valemount internet provider, and they sent someone out to take a look at our situation.  The guy spotted the tall spruce tree sitting right beside our house, and told Joan he could put an antenna up there.
    A short time later, I was terrified, as he climbed higher and higher up the tree, and with his legs wrapped around the tree truck to hold himself, managed to attach the antenna high enough to get a clean shot to the repeater on the mountain on the other side of the valley.  He connected a cable from the antenna to my computer, and  we got our high speed internet.
    As you read this blog, you are seeing signals that travel up the cable from my computer to the antenna on the spruce tree, then zapped by radio waves to a tower on Lucille mountain, where they are bounced along a line of repeaters located on mountaintops to Valemount.  There it is put on a fiber optic line and sent to your internet provider.  Its all pretty amazing.

To read blogs from 2012 or to view my paintings go visit:

Saturday 16 February 2013

Forgotten Apples

    I wonder how many times I have remembered these apples, and then forgot them again.  This whole episode began way back in October, when Joan was coming back from Hawaii.  I was going to drive up to Prince George to pick her up at the airport, and then bring her back home to McBride.  I always like to take some snacks to eat along the way, for the trip home,  so I grabbed two apples, and put them into the cloth bag that hangs behind the driver’s seat.  Joan always keeps things like paper towels, hand cleaner, and a few first aid things there in the bag.
    I got Joan, and we drove home, but I totally forgot about the apples, so they remained in the bag.  Time passed.  The weather got below freezing, and above freezing, below again, and above again, and the apples stayed where they were.  Periodically, I would remember that I put them in the car, and we never ate them, and that I should retrieve them, before they started to deteriorate to the point where they messed up everything in the bag, but then, I would go on to think of something else, and totally forgot about them again.
    This morning, the temperature was +3C, just above freezing, and the outside of the car was really filthy with dirt, so I thought it might be a good time to wash the car.  I backed it out into the driveway, and, at that time, I happened to remember the apples again.  I hesitantly started emptying the bag, afraid of what I might encounter, and there they were.  They were soft, but luckily the skin had remained intact and had not started to really rot.  Everything else in the bag was still okay.
    Now, the two traveling apples are sitting in the compost pile, waiting to be devoured by the first lucky deer to come along.  I am  glad I finally did remembered and removed them before the temperatures  started to get really warm. 
     To read my older blogs and to see my paintings, go to: 

Friday 15 February 2013

Pity the Northern Windshield

    We did some highway driving today.  Driving a interior highway of BC during the winter, makes one really appreciate how essential windshields are.  This morning, within an hour, our windshield got hit 3 different times with rocks thrown up by other vehicles (mostly trucks).  I noticed that Joan started lowering her head every time we got passed.  After a while, it seems like a game: whose first in finding  the chip in the windshield from the rock that just hit.
    To improve traction and to speed up melting, the BC Ministry of Highways spreads what they euphemistically call “sand” on the surface of the highways.  It is, in fact, more like gravel.  When the small rocks get picked up by a vehicles tire, they get thrown and fly like a bullet, and can slam into a windscreen.  After several hits, sometimes weeks after a hit, cracks can develop and spread across the whole width of the glass.  One hesitates to replace the windshield because the next time winter rolls around the same thing is going to happen.
    While I am discussing windshields, I would like to tell you one of my uncle’s travel stories.  Back in the 1950’s, he was traveling across Saskatchewan during the summer.  He stopped at a gas station or restaurant, and while he was there, some people drove up and got out of a car.  There faces were bright red.  Then he noticed that their car had no windshield, and they had been driving with the wind buffeting them in the face.  It must have been a pretty memorable sight because he still mentions it 60 years later.

To read older blogs or to view my paintings go to:

Thursday 14 February 2013

The Aquarium Channel

    We have two “unique” channels on our satellite TV.  One is the “Fireplace Channel”, which shows nothing but a fireplace burning.  We’ve put it on a few times around Christmas as sort of a joke.
    The other unusual channel we have is the “Aquarium Channel”.  As you might guess, it just shows fish in an aquarium swimming around.  We’ve only gone to that one as sort of a conversation starter when we have guests.
    These days however, we seem to be visiting the Aquarium channel much more frequently.  The change in our behavior is because of our cat Lucifer.  The aquarium channel, has become Lucifer’s favorite TV station.
    Over the last 6 months, Lucifer has become more aware of electronic screens and monitors.  She loves to sit in front of the computer and watch the cursor move around the screen.  She likes to sit in front of the TV to watch the action, but her current favorite viewing is watching the fish dart around on the Aquarium channel. 

To read last year's blogs and to see my paintings go to: 

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Morning Walk

    The sun was just over the horizon and breaking through the clouds this morning when we started out on our morning walk.  Our trail, is now hard packed snow, pounded down by our footprints and those of the deer, so the walking is a lot easier now than it is after a fresh snowfall.  
   I could see through the naked trees, that there might be a photo op once we got down to the field, because the sun was hitting the mountains sideways.  When we got to the field, I stopped and reached for the camera to take the shot you can see.  Just as my hand touched the camera, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye, I turned to see a mother moose and calf scampering into the bush.  They escaped my camera, but fortunately, the sun on the mountain did not.

To read last year's blogs or to view my paintings go to:

Tuesday 12 February 2013

Tale of Pie

    On Saturday afternoon, Joan made an apple custard pie.  Since we generally go visit the Milnes on Saturday night, I assumed that the pie was probably going to be shared with them. 
    That night when we walked out to the truck for our trip to Milnes, I was surprised at how dark it was outside.  There was no moon, but you could see a million stars sparkling in the dark.  We got into the truck and started down Mountainview road.
    I made the turn onto Highway 16 and had just rounded the first curve, when Joan said, “We forgot the pie.”  I slowed down looking for the first driveway that I could turn around in.   I found one, pulled in then started to back around onto the highway.  I had just committed myself to backing up, when in the distance I saw some headlights rounding the curve.  
    I wanted to quickly get turned around and because it was so dark, I couldn’t really tell where I was,  backing across the highway, and I swung extra wide so that I didn’t end up in the oncoming truck’s lane.  The arc of my turn was too wide and as I slowed, Joan said, “The road”, meaning I was about to drive off of the edge of the road.  
    The rear end of our truck then started a downward movement as it slowly slide down the side of the 8 foot (2.5m) snow covered ditch.  When the ass end of the truck finally got to the bottom of the ditch, we stopped and sat there trying to get our breathing back to normal.  Our headlights were shining upward  into the dark sky, and the whole truck was heavily leaning to the passenger side.  
    No one was hurt, and the truck seemed undamaged, but there was no way we could get out of the ditch without help, so Joan got out her phone and called the wrecker to pull us out.  I had a heck of a time trying to get my door open and climb out.  You don’t realize just how heavy a vehicle door is until you try to open it by lifting it upward.  
    So we waited, for about 30 minutes before the wrecker arrived.  Lots of cars stopped to offer help, but I waved them on or explained that a wrecker was on the way.  Many of those who stopped called me by name, but it was so dark I couldn’t really tell who it was that was speaking to me.  In between the vehicle stops, I enjoyed the multitude twinkling stars, and tried to figure out exactly which ones were officially part of Orion.   Joan was busy calling the Milnes to explain what had happened and to tell them we would be late.
    Once the wrecker came, it didn’t take him long to pull us out of the ditch.  Once back on the highway surface, we drove back home, got the pie, climbed back into the truck and headed to Milnes, one hour late.

Older blogs can be read at:

Monday 11 February 2013

Spring Chickens?

    Yesterday, the sun was shining and the temperatures were a mild +6C (43F).  In the early afternoon when I was outside, I heard the clucking of chickens, and was pleasantly surprised to see that our three chickens, had thrown caution to the wind, and ventured outside.  
    For months now, they have been huddling in their dark chicken house.  They could have easily stepped outside, but they chose not to.  Seeing them, I found myself hopefully speculating, that some innate inner sense, directly connected to nature, had told them that spring is arriving.  
    All of this sadly demonstrates how desperate I am for spring.  Here I am, putting more faith in the knowledge of chicken, than the reality of the calendar.

To read my older blogs or to view my paintings, go to:

Sunday 10 February 2013

Home Invasion

    As we began to enter the field down by the Fraser River, I noticed some dried plant debris scattered on top of the snow.  As I approached it and saw more clearly what it was.   I knew that it was a mouse nest that had been under the snow, that had been destroyed.  I assumed it must have been done by a hungry coyote.
    As I investigated further, I noticed the 3 pronged tracks of a big bird in the snow, and further away, the imprint of spread wings.  Then I realized that it must have been the work of an owl.  
    Two Januarys ago, I was in this very field, when I watched a great grey owl swoop from his perch on a tree, down to the surface of the snow on the field.  He landed, then stood quietly listening.  He suddenly gave a small jump, landing claw first deep in the snow.  He held this position for a while, then lowered his head to his claws, and when he raised it, he had a mouse in this mouth.
    I found it incredible that he could pinpoint the area of a mouse under the snow, from his perch on a tree, and once on the snow, how he could tell exactly where that mouse was.
    The photo below is a shot of that encounter I had with the owl in 2011.

My older blogs and photos of my paintings can be seen at:

Saturday 9 February 2013

Roof Glacier Record

    Our above freezing temperatures continue to cause all the snow on the roof to slowly slide glacier-like downslope.  The roof glacier on our lanai reached record length before I knocked it off with a shovel.
    In the photo, Joan is holding my four foot ruler up to measure the length of the snow hanging over the edge of the roof.  It was 43 inches (109 cm).  It made quite a crash when it came down. 

To read older blogs or to view
my paintings go to:


Friday 8 February 2013

Litter Box

    The photo shows Lucifer in one of her favorite places.  She loves her litter box.  Often in the summer, when she spends most of her time outside, upon coming into the house, she heads straight for the litter box.  
    We keep her box in the laundry room which is next to Joan’s office.  Last night, Joan went into her office shortly after Lucifer had gone into her litter box.  Joan complained that the smell was seeping into her office, so she carried the litter box outside to the carport, and then opened the window in her office to dissipate the smell.
    A couple of hours later, before I went to bed, I went outside and cleaned out Lucifer’s box and brought it back into the house.  It only took  a nanosecond after I returned it back to it’s place on the floor, before Lucifer went into it, not wanting the clean box to go unappreciated.  
    This morning, when I got up, I noticed that the house was unusually chilly.  I quickly restarted the fire in the wood stove.  A few minutes later I found out why the house had cooled down so much over night...Joan had forgotten to close the window in her office and it spent the night refreshing the air in the house.

To read my older blogs or to see my paintings go to:

Thursday 7 February 2013


    I finally came down with the cold that Joan has been struggling with for weeks.  As a result, I am not feeling very peppy, and so instead going outside and tramping around trying to find an interesting subject for a photo, I just browsed through some photos I took last week after our big snow dump.  It shows the portion of our trail all snowshoe packed, that meanders along the top of the dam for my pond.
    We have had a couple of days now of above freezing temperatures, so all the snow that you see hanging from the trees has disappeared.  There is still a lot of snow on the ground, but the magic of this scene has disappeared.

To read some of my 2012 blogs or to view my paintings go to:

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Compost Diners

   We had just stepped outside, ready to begin our walk on the trail, when we noticed a herd of mule deer making there way out of the woods and onto our yard.  I knew immediately what they were wanting.  I had just put the bucket of food scraps on the carport, so I could take it out to the compost pile on our return from our walk.  Seeing the deer made me change my plans immediately.
    I went to the carport, grabbed the bucket and walked it out to the compost pile and dumped it.  Two deer were already rounding the house and headed in my direction.  So determined were they, that they didn’t mind the fact that I was standing 10 feet away.  They saw the lettuce leaves and banana peels on top of the pile and moved eagerly toward their goal.  Yum, banana peels.

For my blog archive and to see my paintings, go to

Tuesday 5 February 2013

A Day of Melting

    Yesterday, the sun was shining and the temperatures caused the snow on the ground to slump, and the snow on the roof to begin to slowly move downslope and overhang the roof.  That’s what you are looking at in the photo.
    It felt like spring, and made everyone think that maybe “breakup” (the time when all the melting takes place) was beginning.  Today, as I look at the snow falling against the grey sky, reality is starting to sink back in and I accept that we probably aren’t out of the woods yet.

To read older blogs and to view my paintings go to:

Monday 4 February 2013

Distant Drummer

    The Robson Valley always surprises me.  It is so isolated, rural, and low in population, that you don’t really expect to come upon too many extraordinary things, but the people that do choose to live here are a pretty rare breed, who bring with them a lot of hidden talents.  This was reconfirmed to me yesterday when I went to do another music jam.
    At the end of our previous jam, Bob, the guy who was playing the dobro, most of the time, mentioned that what he really liked to do was play drums.  That sounded great to me because, I really wanted to play electric guitar.  So we decided to have the next jam at his place.  
    Yesterday, when I walked into his living room, ready to do some music, I noticed a red drum kit, all set up at one side of the room.  It looked like the typical drum set that you would see at any garage type band, so I just assumed that it was the set that Bob would play.  When the four of us started playing I was a bit surprised that Bob didn’t go over and play the drums, but instead played dobro and mandolin. 
    Later, in the session, some one mentioned the red drum set, and he said he was hoping to sell it.  He then added that the drum kit he liked to play was in a room upstairs, and offered to show it to us.   I wasn’t overly excited about looking at a drum set, because, not being a drummer, all drum sets looked pretty much the same to me, but I climbed the stairs following the other guys as Bob led us into the far room.
    I was gobsmacked.
    I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  Sometimes, on one of those big giant auditorium concerts, I have seen the drummers literally surrounded with drums, cymbals, tom toms and such, and that is what I saw filling this room, the whole room, that Bob was showing us.  There was only space for us to squeeze around the edges.  Bob somehow got behind the drums, sat down, and began to hammer away.  He looked like a pilot in some enormous airplane, surrounded by the massive control panel of the cockpit.
    My camera, which is a high definition video camera, shoots a wider than normal photo, but, I could not get the whole drum set into a shot, so some of his kit can not be seen in the photo.   Even now, as I write this, I am smiling as I think of all those drums in a little room in an isolated house situated below a mountain.
    When we went back down stairs, and resumed our jam session, Bob was back playing the mandolin.  It seemed somehow sacrilegious, for him to be playing a mandolin, when he had all that tremendous drum equipment upstairs.  We did have a good afternoon of playing music, and we are planning to do it again in a couple of days.

To read older blogs, or to view my paintings, go to: 

Sunday 3 February 2013

Losing It

   The recent emergence of music in my life, has come, it seems, with a raft of lost articles.  I can’t find most of these objects, because I haven’t used them for such a long time.  The first thing I realized that I couldn’t find was my pink Bob Dylan book, which was full of the lyrics to his songs.  It was a very useful reference.  
    I looked on the bookshelf among my other music books, but it wasn’t there, and that left me stymied.  Where could it be?  I checked other sections of the bookcase, in case it got mis-shelved, but it was nowhere to be found.
    Years ago, I often took it to “jams”, but it had been such a long time ago, I feared I might have left it at someone’s house.  I checked inside the empty guitar cases under my bed, but it wasn’t there.  Where could it be?  I finally called Dave Milne, who is a big Dylan fan, to see if I had loaned it to him, but he didn’t have.  It was gone.
    Bummer, oh well, now days you can find any lyrics you want on the internet, so I guess I shouldn’t get too upset over losing the Dylan book.
    Then the other night, I thought I would play a bit on my electric guitar.  It had been a long time since I had done that, and since my new musician friends had talked about maybe doing an electric jam today, I thought it would probably be a good thing for me to reintroduce myself to my “axe”.  I picked my guitar off of the stand where it has been sitting for probably a year, and took it into my office to play a bit.
    I played, without an amp, some old Neil Young songs, some Beatle tunes, and some from the Byrds, when the telephone rang.  It was my ex-neighbor Kjell, who seems to have recovered from a recent, near fatal, medical  problem.  He has returned to McBride, and is ready to start cross country skiing again.
    While I was talking to Kjell, I still had my guitar in my hand, and as I was wiping some of the dust off of it, I noticed that one of the nobs, to adjust the sound was missing (see photo).  Damn, now when did that come off?  Surely, I would have noticed it was missing, the last time I had taken it anywhere, but then I had just been playing it for 20 minutes, and hadn’t noticed it was gone.  Where could it be?
    Again, I checked inside the guitar cases under the bed, but it wasn’t to be found.  Replacing the knob  was going to be a big hassle.  I would probably have to contact the maker to get one that matched the remaining one.  Maybe, next time I was in some city with a music store, I could just buy some generic knobs, instead of the gold plated ones.  Damn.
    Yesterday, Joan asked if I had any dirty clothes that needed washing.  I reached down and gathered up some T-shirts and long underwear from the floor, and heard a “clunk”.  The missing gold plated guitar knob bounced across the floor.  I must have fell off the other night, when I carried the guitar from it’s stand, to my office.  What a relief.
    Last night, I went over to the dresser in my office to return some newly recharged batteries to the place I keep them.  When I got there, I happened to glance up at the books on top of the dresser, and there was my pink Bob Dylan book.  Amazing.
    Now,  if I could only find my brown vintage electric guitar cable.

To read some of my older blogs, or to view my paintings, go to:

Saturday 2 February 2013

Form Fitted Bed

    This morning when I was snowshoeing the trail, it struck me that I really hadn’t seen any deer tracks along the trail over the past two days.  We did have a couple of snow storms, so I thought they were probably just hunkered down in some trees somewhere, and not out walking around.
    When I got down to the lower field, I did come upon some deer tracks, so evidently, some deer were out and about.  At the edge of the field I came upon a big depression in the snow.  It was about the same size and volume as a bathtub.    
    There was also some big tracks leading to the depression.  They were bigger than deer, so I suspect it was probably a wapiti (elk).  The tracks were not as big as moose tracks.  The wapiti evidently, had snuggled down in the snow and had a sleep.

Read older blogs and see my paintings at:

Friday 1 February 2013

A Whoomp in the Night

    In the middle of the night, when I was half asleep, I heard a “whoomp” in outside my window.  I figured it must be a big limb from the willow tree that came down because of the heavy snow load.  When I got around to looking outside when I got up, I had my initial thoughts reaffirmed.
    Days ago, I had blogged about how I was trying to cut off some of the big branches of the willow trees that were hanging over our house.  I had chainsawed this branch weeks ago, but it’s top was wedged into the crotch of another branch so it didn’t come down.  That was alright, because, I figured I could use its position to leverage down another big branch that I have yet to cut off.  So this one had  remained upright, supported by a fork in the second branch.
    Overnight, the snow weight became too much for the fork that held it, when it broke, down came the branch I had sawed.  Fortunately, all the snow on the roof cushioned it’s fall, so no real harm was done.  The big branch that had held it up, is still there, and I will have to consider new ways to safely get it down.  I think I will just leave the fallen branch up on the roof for the time being.  I am thinking it might help cushion the fall of the other big one when I get around to bringing it down.
    Winter used to be a time for a lot of down time and relaxation, but this year it has kept me pretty busy.  I am going to quit writing now, I have to go out and shovel the driveway.

To read my older blogs or to see my paintings, so to: