Tuesday 30 April 2013

Cosmic Reversal

    I don’t want to alarm anyone, but I fear that the cosmos is not unfolding the way it should.  For eons of time, in the northern hemisphere, winter was followed with a season of warming, called “Spring”.
    Now, for some unexplained reason, even though the warming had started in the interior of BC, suddenly for some unexplained reason, the seasonal direction reversed and it seems that we are moving back into winter.  I am very distressed with this situation, and I hope that someone will check into what happened and correct it.
    I took the photo along our trail this morning.

To view my paintings, go to:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Monday 29 April 2013

Springtime in the Rockies

    I don’t feel I have to say much today, because the photo I took this morning sort of says it all.

To view my paintings, go to:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Sunday 28 April 2013

Highway 16 Revisited and Other Painting News

    In my painting “Country Road”, I had Hwy. 16 bisecting the lower portion of the picture.  It confused a lot of people, who didn’t know what it was (one person thought it was a pipeline).  The confusion troubled me for a long time, until I finally decided to just paint the highway out.  You can see a photo of the “Before” and “After” above.  As I look at the “After”, I see I still have a bit of work to do on the lower right-hand edge of the new road I created.
    The other day when I was at the library, Sarah, who is back from spending the winter in Scotland, asked me why I never put my painting “Ice” on the website.  I had to confess that I didn’t realized that I hadn’t.  I have now corrected that oversight, and as well, I added “Birch  Bark”, my last painting, to the website.
    Today, I have now started a new painting.  It is a painting of fire.  You can see the square I painted today and watch my progress daily, by clicking on “Current Work” at the top of my website:  

Saturday 27 April 2013

The Good Side of Lucifer

    I have spent a lot of time on this blog writing about our cat, Lucifer.  I am afraid that most of the comments I have made have been negative in nature.  For sure, Lucifer can be a pretty mean cat; I have lots of scars on my hand to prove it, and she keeps our guests on guard when they visit,  but she can also be pretty sweet at times.
    She is often affectionate, and endearing to Joan and I.  Here is a photo I took the other day when I was at my desk, working on my blog.  Lucifer, could have gone anywhere in our house to take a snooze, but she chose to come to close to me to do so.  I am sure she could have found somewhere more comfortable, and she made me feel special, when she chose to curl up in my presence.

To view my paintings, go to:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Friday 26 April 2013

They're Watching You

    It is always a treat to see a wild animal when we are out walking the trail.  Fortunately, it is a fairly common occurrence.  However, I’m sure I would be surprised to discover how many more animals were out there that I walked right by without seeing.  Their camouflage is remarkable, and as long as they don’t move, they are extremely difficult to see.
    These are photos I took over the last few days.  Hiding in the top photo is a ruffed grouse, which is a chicken-like bird.  Every spring they make a sound like a beating drum, in an attempt to attract a mate.  I wouldn’t have seen this one, if I hadn’t first heard it.
    The bottom photo shows a deer relaxing on the ground.  It was only the light colored patches and the two eyes that made me notice it.  I do think I am getting better at spotting animals than I used to be.

To look at my paintings, go to:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Thursday 25 April 2013

Favorite Clothes

    Here is a staged photo of me wearing a couple of my favorite clothes.  I don’t really have an explanation of why I reach for some clothes to wear, over and over, while I have a whole closet-full of garments that remain untouched year after year.
    I had a blue shirt that I liked to wear.   It was getting so worn, that eventually, my elbows ripped through the arms.  That was a few weeks ago.  I realized that it was finished.  I considered maybe cutting off the sleeves and making it into a short sleeve shirt, but I knew the material was just getting too thin.  Even still, I didn’t throw it away, I hung it over the back of a chair, just in case I thought of some use for it.  A week later, I cut off all of the buttons, so that I could maybe use them for something, but I didn’t throw the shirt away.
    The Milnes have been clearing out some of their unwanted clothing, and they gave me a lot of Dave’s unwanted shirts.  Most of them have joined all the other lonely shirts hanging in my closet, but one shirt, which I tried on and I really liked.  (It is the beige shirt peeking out of from under the blue  pullover in the photo.) 
    The beige shirt was made of heavy material, and fit well, but it had one major problem.  The sleeves were way too short for me.  It was a dilemma.  I really liked the shirt, but I hated that the sleeves were way to short for my arms.  Then I had an idea; I would cut off the cuffs of my old favorite blue shirt that was still hanging over the back of the chair, and sew them onto the beige shirt to lengthen the sleeve length.  That is what I did. 
    If you look on the photo, you can see the blue sleeves that I sewed onto the beige shirt.  Of course, I had to sew the buttons back on the cuffs, since  a week ago, I had cut them off, to save.  The shirt now fits me, even though, in the photo, the sleeves still look too short.
    The dark blue pullover I am wearing, is a long time favorite.  Unfortunately, I somehow tore a hole in the front, which immediately made Joan want me to ditch it, I have come close to doing that a couple of times, but so far, I haven’t been able to put it into the wastebasket.  
    If I was rational, I would just throw out the aging worn-out favorites, and start wearing all of the other shirts in my closet, but for some reason, I cling to these old favorites, and all the other shirts remain hanging, unused. 

To view  my paintings, go to: www.davidmarchant.ca

Wednesday 24 April 2013

"Birch Bark" Finished

    I painted the last square of “Birch Bark” a few days ago, but then I spent a few hours touching up and repainting a few areas.  I added darkness along some edges to make the bark “pop out”, and look a bit more 3-dimensional.  I think I am done now.  
    I began the painting on November 25, 2012.  In total, it took me 106 hours to paint this picture.  It is my 42nd painting.  I haven’t yet decided what I will paint next, but when I do, I will, you will be able to follow my progress on the “Current Work” section on my website, located at

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Plant Those Peas

    The snow is mostly gone now, except for a few small patches, slowly melting in the shade.  Most people around here plant their whole garden in the middle of May, and think that now it is presently too cold to plant things in the garden, because it is still freezing at night, but some plants (like peas, and lettuce), actually like this cool weather. 
    “Plant as soon as the garden can be worked”, is what I have read on some seed packages, and my garden is beautifully workable right now.  It was warm and sunny yesterday, so I planted both the lettuce and peas.
    We always plant “mesclun” lettuces, which is a mixture of several lettuce varieties (leaf, butter, romaine, for example), in one package.   The fact that I had 3 different leftover mesclun lettuce seed packages, plus one new one, that I planted, means I should have a really wide range of varieties of lettuce when it comes up.
    The pea seeds that I planted, I had saved from my last year’s crop.  We got a mixture of snow and rain overnight, so that extra moisture should help all those seeds, now snuggled under the ground, germinate.

To view my paintings, go to: www.davidmarchant.ca

Monday 22 April 2013

Earth Day Artifact

    Happy Earth Day!  After we got back from our morning walk, I went out to the attic of my shop to dig out this “Ecology Flag”, so I could take this photo.  
    As someone who has always been nature oriented, I was supportive of the protecting nature from a very early age.  I remember my Grandmother Schmidt getting regular newsletters from the Wilderness Society when I was a kid, so there was a family connection.  I grew up running around and playing in the woods, despite all the ticks and poison ivy.
    The environmental movement was very much in its infancy back in the very late 1960’s.  You didn’t hear much about nature sciences,  but I was extremely interested, and after returning home from Peace Corp training, I enrolled in two biology graduate courses:  “Evolution” and “Ecology”.  It was in 1970, while I was taking Ecology, that we began hearing about the proposed “Earth Day”.  
    My professor was motivated to organize a Earth Day celebration at the University of Evansville.  I helped with the event, and somehow convinced my mother to sew up an “Ecology” flag, that could be flown during the celebration.  I had seen an image of the flag somewhere and drew it up for her to use as a pattern.  As you can see, I still have the flag.  It is something you don’t see any more.  It never really caught on as a symbol.  There is an “Earth” flag that is a bit more common now.
    My ecology flag really hasn’t seen the light of day for quite a long time.  When I dug it out of storage this morning, I was surprised to find a hand written sticker with a $4.00 price on it.  It seems that at one point in its existence, it had been for sale at a rummage sale.  Fortunately, it wasn’t sold and was returned to my parent’s basement, where I retrieved it some years later.
    In one of Neil Young’s songs, he penned the line:  “Look at Mother Nature on the run, in the nineteen seventies”.  Sadly, looking back, the ‘seventies’ were ‘good’ years for Mother Nature, in comparison to what is going on today.  The naive hope we had of changing people’s behavior; to create a more nature friendly world, has been a dismal failure.  
    It is nice to still have the ecology flag, if only to remember those naive days of faith in humankind and hope for the future.  After seeing the flag once again, I think we will put it up somewhere for the summer, rather than just stick it back in storage until the next Earth Day rolls around.

To view my paintings, go to:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Sunday 21 April 2013

Underwater Garden

    I have been so busy monitoring and watching the plants starting to push there way out from the ground, that I had kind of forgotten that a similar push is taking place underwater.  The other morning as I walked along the dam of our pond, I noticed the foliage of this water lily that was catching the sunlight and starting to push its way up to the surface, which is still 2 feet (60cm) above it.  
    When I first built the pond, I was anxious to establish aquatic plants in it, so I searched around, collecting plants from local lakes.  At Horseshoe Lake, which sits beside McBride, I found some huge water lily tubers that were floating near the shore in the spring.  They looked like the arms of an octopus, with suction cups.
    I brought a few of the tubers home and buried them into the muddy bottom of the pond along one side.  They have grown there ever since, and now this clump has somehow spread to the other side of the pond.  Water lilies always remind me of art nouveau art, which I have always liked.

To view my paintings, go to:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Saturday 20 April 2013

And Then There Were Two

    Every fall, I buy a couple of “patio slabs” (large rectangular pieces of concrete) to put in the back of my pick-up truck for extra weight that gives me more traction in the winter.  In the spring, I take these slabs and plant them in the driveway in front of my carport, to slowly create a “paved” surface to drive on.  
    That is what I was doing yesterday afternoon, when I happened to glance up and a bit of unexpected gray color caught my eye.  It was a big hawk, on the ground by the corner post of my fence.  
    “Great,” I thought, “an unexpected opportunity to photograph some wildlife.”
     I ducked inside the house to grab my camera.  Luckily, he was still in the same spot when I came out.  I immediately started to snap shots.  It was then that I noticed the reddish brown object that it was feeding on.  It was one of our chickens.  My heart sunk.
    I chased the hawk away, and carried the corpse down to the far end of the pond to let the other predators feast.  I wanted to discourage the hawk from coming around the yard looking for our other two chickens.
    Generally, I have been fairly successful with preventing predators from eating our livestock and pets.  There was one bad example that happened once when we went on vacation.
    Before we left, we had 24 chickens, who free ranged.  We were gone for two weeks.  Upon returning we discovered that we only had 4 chickens.  I don’t know if it was hawks or coyotes who took advantage of our absence, and the absence of our dog, Mac, who we had taken along.
    Now, it looks like our two remaining chickens will have to forfeit their free-wheeling lifestyle for a while, and remain in their run, until  I think it is safe for them to venture out in the world again.
    Of our three chickens, there was one that seemed to lay most of the eggs, while the other two just hung around together, wandering around the yard.  Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure it was our one worker that was killed.  Life is precarious living out here on the frontier.

To read older blogs or to view my paintings, go to:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Friday 19 April 2013

Chicken Feast With Gravy

    I have mentioned before that our cat, Lucifer, is an extremely finicky eater.  Her tastes change daily.  As a result whenever we are in the grocery, we have to buy a very wide variety of flavors for her.  “Salmon with Gravy”, ‘Chicken Pate”, “Shrimp and Cod”, “Beef Feast”, “White Fish”,  and “Tuna Feast with Gravy”, the varieties seem endless.
    Sometimes she devours them, sometime she is outraged that we would try to feed her such stuff.  Whenever we open a small can of “Fancy Feast” and put half of it in her bowl, we keep our fingers crossed, as we watch her meander over to the newly presented food, to pass judgement on it.
    First, she sniffs around it, to see if it passes muster.  If it does, she then will take a few exploratory licks, and if it passes this further test, she will start to devour it with gusto.
    If her food fails to pass the sniff test, she becomes very indignant, and turns her back on it, and vigorously paws at the floor in disgust, as if she is trying to bury feces, or some other indescribable abomination.  You can watch her paw in disgust by clicking this link: 

 This usual act of rejection happens on the day after we open a can.  She may have eagerly eaten half of the can the first day, but she seems to have a real aversion to the other half the can a day later.  
    It used to seem so wasteful when we had to dump Lucifer”s untouched food into the trash, but fortunately, we found a way to make use of it.  Now we just put her left over food outside, and our chickens quickly race toward it and clean every particle out of the cat bowl.  There is nothing finicky about our chickens.

To view my paintings, go to:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Thursday 18 April 2013

My Fabulous Crocus Border

    My imagination ran wild, a few autumns ago, at the Costco store.  There on the shelf was a big bag of eighty crocus bulbs, for a very reasonable price.   I envisioned an explosion of the purple flowers lining our sidewalk leading up to our front door.  What a wonderful welcome that would be to visitors.  I immediately grabbed the bag of bulbs and put it in my cart.  I also bought a big bag of grape hyacinth bulbs to line the other side of the sidewalk.  What an impressive display I was going to plant.
    Once back home, I spent an hour and an half kneeling on the cold damp ground, as I dug in my bulbs, and covered them over.  When spring arrived, the disappointment began.  Most of them came up, a few of the crocuses were purple, but the vast majority were white, which just didn’t carry the same punch.  The grape hyacinth, that did come up were small, scattered, and patchy.  
    The next spring, the number of crocuses and hyacinths diminished even more.  Since then, every year, there are less and less that bother coming up.
    So far this spring, I have one purple crocus and two whites bordering my sidewalk.  My disappointment seems to be growing a lot faster than my crocuses.  
    I walked out yesterday afternoon, and took a closeup photo of the lone purple crocus.  From a distance, a single crocus can’t give the impact of a huge colorful swath of them, but if you take the time to kneel and get up closes, so that you can peer down into the flower, the beauty of the lone crocus, does equal the splash of color of a group.

To view my paintings, go to:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Wednesday 17 April 2013

Moving Tomatoes and A Crazy Robin Update

    My greenhouse is unheated, so this time of year, when it still dips below freezing, I hesitate to keep my tender tomato plants in the greenhouse overnight.  Since I transplanted them into pots, they take up too much room, so I can no longer keep them under the grow light.   So every day, I cart them out to the greenhouse, to give them time in the sun, and every evening, I load them back into the cart and wheel them back to the house, so they can stay warm on the dining room table overnight.
    I will be doing this for a while, until I think its safe to plant them in the greenhouse.

    Do you remember the crazy robin that I wrote about when I was down in Indiana?  It kept seeing it’s reflection in a window in my mom’s basement, and repeatedly pecked at it in an attempt to drive the robin, it was seeing, away.  Then, a few days later, I noticed that it was standing on top of the side mirror or my mom’s car, again pecking at the reflection of itself, it was seeing there.  It was making a mess of her mirror with all of its beat smears.
    I talked to my sister the other day, and Jane told me she had solved the problem of mom’s messy side mirror, by putting a plastic bag over the mirror, whenever the car was parked.  That seemed to solve the problem, but then a new problem arose.
    Jane lives right next door to my mom’s house, and after a couple of days, she noticed that the crazy robin, frustrated by the plastic bag on my mom’s side mirror, had flown over to her house and was beginning to attack the mirror on her car.  It seems to be one mighty determined bird.

To view my paintings, go to:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Tuesday 16 April 2013

McBride Gets A New Store

    Like all the small rural villages in BC, McBride has struggled to keep it’s businesses viable.  Because of its small population (around 700 in the whole area), there isn’t a whole lot of consumers for a business to survive on.  Because of this small market, prices have to high, and this in turn, hurts the business.  With all these problems, it is gratifying to see that Home Hardware has expanded its operation in McBride.
    When the Stedman store tanked and closed, we had another empty building in McBride.  Fortunately, Home Hardware bought the building and fixed it all up and now runs its home products and decor there.  All the other hardware and building supplies remain in their original store.   This new home products store, opened yesterday, and Joan and I went in to take a look.  While we were there a man walked in, looked around and said, “Wow”.
    That’s exactly how we felt.  Home Hardware did a very tasteful and attractive reno on the inside of the building, and I think all their customers will really appreciate the effort.  Good Luck and thanks, Home Hardware.

To read blogs from 2011 and 2012 or to view my paintings, go to:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Monday 15 April 2013

Let It Be--Naked

    The music industry is always changing things around, to get your money.  They re-package songs into “Greatest Hits” or “The Best of” albums, usually throwing in a previously unheard recording, to entice you to buy music you already have.  Since the onset of iTunes, at least now, you can buy just one song off of an album, instead of buying a bunch of songs you already have, a second time.
    Over the years, I have bought the same songs over and over again, as the listening-media changes. First, I bought the record, then, eight-track, cassette tape, cd, and currently digital.  I realize no one is forcing me to buy anything, but if I love a song, and want to continue to hear it now and then, the fact that I have the song on a record, doesn’t mean I can listen to it, because I no longer have a turntable.
    I don’t follow music closely, like I used to do, but occasionally, I think of a song I would like to have and I go to iTunes, and then, while I am there, I am confronted with all the new music that is now available.  That is what happened to me last night.
    I was thinking about  a couple of the old Kink’s tunes, that I really like, so I went  to iTunes.  When I got there, I saw that they were featuring a Beatles’ album, “Let It Be--Naked”.  My first impressions were negative; “Great, they’ve repackaged an old Beatle album, with the word ‘naked’, to make more money”, but then out of curiosity, I started listening to the song samples.  I was really impressed.
    As you can see from the photo, I still have the old “Let It Be” LP.  I have listened to the songs hundreds of times since I bought it way back in the carboniferous epoch.  What really struck me about the “Naked” album was its simplicity and clarity of sound.
    When The Beatles originally recorded the album, they were in the midst of breaking up.  They had the songs recorded, but rather than finishing the album themselves, they turned it over to Mr. “Wall of Sound”, Phil Spector, who played around with all his reverb, and blurred the sounds all together.  Now, someone has taken those original Beatle recordings, and made it into an album, where just the four Beatles and their instruments can be heard.  I found the results, so amazingly fresh and the sounds so clean and distinct, that I once again, laid down my money and downloaded the songs.  It’s too bad I had to wait 40 something years to hear how really great those songs really were.

To see my paintings or to read blogs from 2011-12, go to:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Sunday 14 April 2013

Do You Want a Coke, Dave?

     One of the things that has always made me different from most other people was my choice of drink.  While all my friends, were reaching for a beer, or a glass of wine, I was always reaching for a Coke.  People would often kid me for my choice, but they always accepted it, and after a while, they began having a Coke ready for me, when we visited.   I would often get Coca-Cola gifts, because they knew I liked to drink Coke.
    All of the cans you see in the photo were gifts.  The thing on the right is really a pencil sharpener, next to it, is a Coke from Thailand, that the daughter of a friend brought back to me from her trip there.  The big “Coco-Colo” can is a light from China, and the Coke can on the left, I don’t really remember who gave it to me or what country it originated from. 
    Stored in my shop, I have several of the shapely green Coca-Cola bottles, one was from under the ocean in Hawaii.  I have an old Coca-Cola tray from the early 1950‘s featuring a girl running along a beach, holding a bottle of Coke in her hand.  I also have a miniature Coke bottle that hangs on our Christmas tree as a decoration.
    I guess by now, you get the picture; that I have always been a Coke drinker.  In the early 1970’s, I learned about the “Cola Wars”, and how whenever the Republican’s came into office in the States, they immediately changed the pop machines in the White House to Pepsi, and made sure they took Pepsi along when they made foreign deals (Nixon, holding a debate with Khrushchev in front of a Pepsi display).
    The Democrats were always making sure that Coca-Cola went along with their foreign interactions.  They made sure that servicemen in WW II were always within arm’s reach of a Coke.  As a result, they spread the drink throughout most of the world, during the 1940’s.
    Being on the left side of politics, Coke was always my choice.  I was never one to drink it daily, but I sure looked forward to having it to wash down the pizza, we made, every Friday night.
    Several months ago, after reading about all the harmful effects of fructose, I just decided that I wasn’t going to drink Coke any more.  I was never keen on Diet Coke, so I just decided not to drink, any carbonated drinks.  My friends are all puzzled, and wonder what happened, but I have been pretty hard core about not drinking it any more. 
    I must confess, pizza does go better with Coke, but as I get older, I have decided that even though I have spent a lifetime guzzling the stuff, it would probably be  a whole lot healthier, if I stick with a big glass of water.

To read older blogs, or to view my paintings, go to:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Saturday 13 April 2013

Visually Exciting Rhubarb

    I have always been visually drawn to the rhubarb plant because of the color and textures of its stalks and foliage.  Rhubarb, as a result, has been the subject of two of my paintings.  As the snow melted in my garden, rhubarb immediately began to push its way though the near frozen soil.  From a distance, I noticed the buds of orange against the dark dead debris of last year’s plant, and took my camera over to investigate.  Here is a close-up of the rhubarb I saw.

To see my rhubarb paintings go to:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Friday 12 April 2013

Swan's Rest Stop

    Because the Robson Valley is part of the flyway for many birds traveling north, we get to see a lot of birds that don’t actually live here.  They fly in, take a rest, and then head on to points north.  When we passed the marshy area long Hwy. 16 between the Fraser River and the McBride townsite, we spotted some swans taking advantage of the water. 
    You can get some idea of their size, by comparing them to the small ducks and the Canadian geese in the photo.

To read my older blogs or to view my paintings, go to:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Thursday 11 April 2013

Fire in the Valley

    The other day when we drove toward town on Mountain View Road, we saw the smoke from across the river.  I knew immediately what was burning...the giant piles of logs that were stripped off of the area where they made McBride’s environmental award winning sewage treatment lagoons.  The unwanted trees that were cut, were then piled, and they sat there on the perimeter of the site for a couple of years.  Now they were being converted to carbon.
    I have always been appalled by the amount of waste that goes up in flame in central BC.  True, it used to be worse.  Back in the 70’s and 80’s, after an area had been logged, sites as large as 200 ha. (500 acre) were routinely torched, just to get rid of the scrap wood.  The smoke would be so thick in the valley, that the mountains were obscured, and the sun was reduced to a orangish round glow in the sky.  I couldn’t help but think of all the houses that could have been heated with all that wood.
    In those early days, when I was working for the BC Forest Service, I was often part of the crew that walked around with kerosene “drip torches” lighting cutblocks.  Blocks were generally lit in the middle, when that fire got really roaring, it would suck the air toward the middle, then up into the sky.  Once this airflow was established, the outside areas of the block could be lit.   The wind created by the fire in the center, would cause the perimeters to burn toward the center instead of spreading to the timber outside the block.
    During one slashburn on the Goat River, the wind caused by the fire got so strong, forearm-sized chunks of wood were blown up into the air by the firestorm.  Many burns “escaped”, often burning areas of virgin timber, larger than the original cutblock.
    Restrictions have fortunately limited the cutblock slash burns.  Huge piles are still put to the flame, but the burning has been very much reduced.  Despite the reductions, it is still depressing to see all of the wood that is considered “junk” and is then burned just to get rid of it.

To read older blogs or to take a look at my paintings, go to:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Wednesday 10 April 2013

A Good Rainy Day

    Today is grey and rainy, which is great.  We don’t need rain; all of the melting snow has already left all the low areas full of water.  I have a very weather-oriented personality, and have a hard time getting motivated when it is grey and gloomy outside.  Knowing all this, it probably seems strange that I was hoping we would get a rainy day, but I was.
    The reason is, that I have to start working on my income tax.  It is something I really hate doing.  Even though, I now use a computer program that makes the ordeal a lot easier, it still puts me in a situation where I’m not really sure what I am doing, or why I am doing it, and I hate the insecurity of not knowing if I am doing it right.
    I plug in all of my numbers into the boxes, then when I’m done, the program fills out pages with a lot of other numbers on them, and I just have to assume that it is right.
    The fact that it is raining outside, eliminates one excuse for me to procrastinate working on my income tax.  When it is nice outside, I am just too good at rationalizing that I shouldn’t be wasting a sunny day by being in the house, and that I should do something outside.  
    Once I get done writing this blog, I still have one other excuse I can use, before I have to sit down and drag out all those tax related papers.  I have to make some soup for lunch.  Unfortunately, that will only take 30 minutes at the most, then, unless someone unexpectedly drops in for a visit, it looks like its tax time for me.

To read my older blogs or to see my paintings, go to:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Tuesday 9 April 2013

The Big Melt

    This time of year, when the snow and ice begins to melt and frozen ground turns into mud, is called “break-up”.  Everyday more patches of ground and open water are visible.  Different bird calls can be heard, as birds begin to migrate back to the Robson Valley for mating and family raising, or just to stop in for a breather, before traveling further north.  
    A few seconds before I took this photo, I spooked 3 mallard ducks, who thrashed into the air, as I approached.  They were the first ducks of the year to visit my pond.

To view my paintings or to read blogs from previous years, go to: www.davidmarchant.ca

Monday 8 April 2013

Conversion Unlikely

    About 8 years ago, I got a call from an acquaintance, asking me if I would be interested in playing some music.  I have already mentioned the long musical drought that I went through, after I sort of burned out on just playing music by myself, so when I got the call, I was very excited at the possibility of playing again.
    I packed up my guitar, and headed over to the guy’s house full of eager expectations.  When I got there and he explained what we were going to be playing, the happiness inside me immediately died.
    “Another guy is coming over, and we will be playing jazz”, he told me. 
    “JAZZ?”,  What a disappointment.  I hate jazz.  I can’t play all of the weird chords, it bugs me that they always take a good song, strip it of its melody and those things that I liked about it, exchanging them for discordant sounds and irregular rhythms.  It is just way too chaotic for my simple mind.  Despite my feelings, I was so desperate to play, I continued to go to the jazz jam sessions as long as they continued, and I struggled to contribute, but my heart really wasn’t in it.
    Whenever I run into friends or acquaintances who really like jazz, they try to convert me.  When I was visiting with my mother in Indiana, one of Mom’s caregivers, who was a real jazz fan, tried her best to make a jazz convert of me, but fortunately, she didn’t have any music with her, so was spared listening to it.     
    Yesterday, I played guitar with a friend, who is solidly based in the jazz sphere.  We are so differently musically oriented, it was difficult to find common ground, but I think we both had fun trying.  When I left, he was confident that he would be able convert me.
    Maybe my genetic makeup is somehow deficient or lacking in something.  I know I don’t have the male sports gene, and maybe I am also missing the jazz gene.  Whatever the cause, jazz leaves me cold.
    I realize I am speaking in generalities.  The word jazz encompasses a wide range of music, and I like some of the jazz that came out in its  early evolution, and I also like some of the pop oriented songs that have a jazz feel to them (like some of Sting’s music), but that is about as close as I come.
     I would like to say now, to all those jazz proselytizers out there, that you are wasting your time, working on me.  Nothing makes me turn off a radio quicker, than a jazz tune.  
     To quote an old Bob Dylan song:  “It ain’t me, Babe.   It ain’t me your lookin’ for, Babe.”

For my older blogs, or to view my paintings, go to:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Sunday 7 April 2013

Heat Seeking Feline

    This looked mighty uncomfortable to me, but I guess the awkward position afforded Lucifer more radiated heat, than she would have received by lying more comfortably on the desktop, and heat was what Lucifer was seeking.

To read older blogs or to view my paintings, go to:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Saturday 6 April 2013

A Homemade Sub

    Ever since the truck carrying the frozen Subway bun dough crashed, and we ended up with some of the dough, I have been wanting to make myself a submarine sandwich.  For a long time, our oven was broken and couldn’t be used to bake the bread, then, when we got a new oven, our first experiment with the dough was making small buns.
    Well, I am happy to report, that I finally was able to bake myself a bread for a sub, and pile on all the fixings and eat my first homemade submarine sandwich.  Since I normally just have a 6 inch sub, I cut the dough stick in half for my sandwich.  It was delicious.  Today for lunch, I plan to duplicate the meal using the other half of the bun.

To read older blogs or to view my paintings, go to:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Friday 5 April 2013

The Fraser River is Now Ice-Free

    Despite an occasional roadblock in its way, Spring continues to slowly claw its way into existence in the Robson Valley.  A couple of days ago, I was happy to see that the mighty Fraser River had lost its ice covering and is now showing us open water.  
    Yesterday, I felt optimistic and got out my bicycle from winter storage in the barn.   I had a dental appointment and decided to brave the gusty winds and bike into McBride.  The trip would have been hard enough, since it was my first bike outing of the year, but the winds made it down-right brutal.  By the time I got back home, my legs were feeling pretty wobbly.  I took this photo as I crossed the Fraser River bridge.
    I mentioned roadblocks in my opening sentence.  At this moment, we are experiencing one:  it is snowing, but winter’s back has been broken.  Most of the fields in the valley bottom are now snow free, much to the delight of the Canada geese, who have been honking around for several weeks.  I expect this current snowfall to be pretty short lived.

Older blogs and my paintings are found at:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Thursday 4 April 2013

Squirrel Gymnastics

    The black cylinder with the holes, is a bird feeder in which I put chopped peanuts.  Our crazy squirrel visits it daily.  Usually, he just gets on it and hangs, either right side up or upside down, as he works the peanut chunks, out of the holes.  Today, he must have been feeling that he needed a change because he was trying a totally new technique.  He had awkwardly positioned himself, astride the two feeders and was getting the peanuts out that way.

To read older blogs or to view my paintings, go to:  www.davidmarchant.ca 

Wednesday 3 April 2013

Subway Buns

    Do you remember all those sticks of frozen Subway dough from the overturned truck?  Well, yesterday, since we now have an oven, we got one of the sticks out of the freezer, I cut it into six pieces, and we put them into a pan to rise.  This is a photo of the buns, now that they have risen.  Right at this moment, Joan is preheating the oven, and hopefully, we will have these buns for lunch.

To read my older blogs and to view my paintings, go to:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Tuesday 2 April 2013

Our Stove Saga

    In past blogs, I mentioned that the lower element in our oven had burned out, and that I was waiting for the replacement to come in the mail.  Finally, it came, and I was faced with the problem of installing it.  Our oven has the element hidden beneath the oven, and there was no obvious way to get at it.  I had hopefully assumed that I could just undo some screws in the back and slide the old one out, but it was more complicated than that.
    I did a search on the internet, and did find some directions.  They were so poorly written and I thought they must be describing some other model of stove, but after I poked around for a while, I understood what they were talking about.  I had to take off the side of the stove to access the burnt out lower heating element.
    This I did, and was able to get the old one out, and put the new one in.  That being done, I reconstructed the stove, plugged it in and waited.  Everything worked except the new element, which had cost me $70 to order.
    “Now, what?”, I asked myself, and headed back to the internet for ideas.
    There I found a discussion of something called a “thermal fuse” that it seemed to often burn out when an element goes.  I read the description of the thing, and headed back to the stove to try to find it.  When I pulled off the protective plate from the back of the stove to look for it, I was confronted with a maze of colored wires all looping and snaking off in different directions.  At that point, I knew I was out of my league, and need professional help.  
    There is no appliance repair person in McBride, or even in the Robson Valley, so I looked in the Yellow Pages for one in Prince George.  Unfortunately, it was Good Friday, and all the places I called were closed.  The following day, I got a return call from Evan, who has a repair business called Omnitech. 
    When I explained to him all the particulars about our stove, he checked and told me that the model stove we had, didn’t have a thermal fuse, and so the problem was probably a damaged control panel.  After further checking, he told me that KitchenAide no longer made replacement control panels for our 13 year old stove.  He would try to find one somewhere and we had maybe a 50/50 chance that it could be fixed.
    Joan had an appointment in Prince George early today, so we had to go up yesterday and stay over.  I made arrangements with Evan saying I would haul our broken stove up with us to Prince George.  That meant taking the canopy off of my pick-up so I could put the stove in the back.
    We drove ourselves and the stove up to Prince George yesterday.  I dropped off the stove as soon as we got up there.  Then we did shopping and waited around for Evan to give us the prognosis.  When he called, he told us he had found a control panel from a different model of KitchenAide stove, but it didn’t fit.  So that meant we had to find a new stove in Prince George.
    We checked around in various stores, and Joan really liked the design of a Samsung at the Future Shop.  In all our searching, we discovered and were attracted to induction stoves.  Using a new technology, they heat extremely quickly, and use a whole lot less power.  the Canada EnergyGuide rated most of the normal stoves used between 550-600 kW per year while the the induction stove used only 350 watts.
    There was, of course, some drawbacks with an induction stove.  The main one was that the cookware had to be attracted to a magnet on the bottom.  That meant that aluminum and copper pans could no longer be used.  We thought about all our pans, and for sure, there were some that could not be used with an induction stove.  Our aluminum popcorn popper, and some aluminum no-stick pans were out.  I was pretty sure that most of the others were stainless steel and would be alright.
    The woman at Future Shop, who explained all about induction stoves, said they were going to have a “VIP” sale on Apr. 17 and everything would be 20% off.  We explained about living out of town and our old stove no longer working, and after talking to the manager, she was able to knock off 15% off the price on the floor model that Joan liked.   So, instead of buying one, then having to wait for it to be delivered to Prince George, then us having to drive up to get it, we could just take the one from the stove immediately.  Since it was the stove Joan liked the best, we took the deal.
    Today, we returned to McBride with the new stove and installed it into its new home.  Then we started looking at our cookware.  All those pots and pans that I was sure were stainless steel, must have some kind of alloy on the bottom, because most of them will not attract a magnet, and are suddenly useless to us.  It was pretty devastating news, since they are great cookware with a lot of life left in them.  That’s them in the photo.  Joan said it was like loosing old friends.
    Fortunately, we do have enough that do work to get us by for now, and that we can use until we can purchase some new ones.  I guess that is always the case with new technology, you have to leave behind a lot of still useful things.
    Despite this setback, I must say that there is absolutely no comparison with the heating speed of our new stove and the old.  Joan, who is a wiz at baking was starting to suffer withdrawal, from the fact that she couldn't bake anything with our old broken oven.  We are already defrosting some of those freebee frozen Subway buns, so that they will start to rise and we can pop them into our new oven, and see what they taste like.

To read older blogs or to view my paintings, go to:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Monday 1 April 2013

First Mosquitoes of the Year

    I wish I could tell you this was an April Fool’s trick, but unfortunately, it is not.  Yesterday, I encountered the first mosquitoes of 2013.  I counted 3 of them, and I am happy to report that all three have been sent to a better place, like the one laying upside down in the photo.  
    The first mosquitoes we get every year are the big dozy ones.  If there have got to be mosquitoes, these are the kind to have.  They are very slow and lumbering, so they are easy to kill, and aren’t as pesky like the tiny ones that attack, bite, and can really drive you nuts.
    I find it totally amazing that any mosquitoes are out.   There is very little open ground, everything is still covered with at least 12 inches (30cm) of snow and it still dips below freezing every night.  Water has just began to pool in a few places, but I guess thats all these guys need.  I sure hope we don’t have a bad mosquito outbreak this year, it can ruin an entire summer.

To read older blogs or to view my paintings go to:  www.davidmarchant.ca