Sunday 30 June 2013

Community Sanctioned Gluttony

    For as long as I have lived in the Robson Valley, the tiny hamlet of Dunster has used the Canada Day long weekend as an excuse for gluttony.  That is when they hold their annual Dunster Ice Cream Social.  It is a chance for locals to get their plates piled, as high as physically possible, with slices of pie, pieces of cake, all smothered with globs of ice cream.
    Of course, Joan and I only go to contribute to the Dunster fundraising effort, and only pile our plates high to show solidarity with all the other people there.  On my plate I had some chocolate pie, carrot cake, and a piece of blue berry pie, all covered over with scoops of vanilla ice cream and mint chocolate chip ice cream.  I felt obligated to clean my plate.
    I am always happy to help Dunster raise money.

Visit my website to see my paintings:

Saturday 29 June 2013

Lady Bug, Lady Bug

    A couple of weeks ago, as I was trying to combat an infestation of aphids on our plum tree, I was bemoaning the fact that for about 15 years, I haven’t seen any lady bugs around here.   We used to see them, but they seemed to have disappeared.  I was thinking about them because they eat aphids, and in some places you can buy them to put in your garden.
    Yesterday, I was weeding the garden, while Joan was inspecting her rose plants.  She called out to me to get my camera, because there was a lady bug on one of her rose plants.  Sure enough, there was.  I was very happy to see the little critter as I snapped her picture.
    Eager to get the bug over to the plum tree, I gently picked it up and began to carry it over to the plum tree.  It crawled up from my palm and sat on the top of my hand, and then the strap from my camera happened to sway over my hand and knocked the lady bug somewhere off into the grass.  There was no way I could find it amongst all the blades of grass, so there I left it.  
    I was angry with myself, for trying to manipulate where she should eat, and as a result I may have harmed it.  I only hope that it is okay and thriving.

View my paintings at:

Friday 28 June 2013


    What you are looking at is the business end of a porcupine.  I have only seen a few porcupines during the 40 years I have lived in Canada.  They are generally nocturnal, but do sometimes roam around during the day.
    I saw this one last Sunday along the logging road leading to the Goat River Trail.  By the time I got my camera out, it was already heading for the bush, so I was not able to get a shot of his face, but then again, its all these 30,000 spiny quills that make the porcupine interesting.
    I have heard lots of stories about porcupines and dogs.  The unfortunate canines that try to attack a porky, will soon have a face that looks like a pincushion and dog will have to unfortunately have all those quills pulled of his face, one by one, by someone using a pair of pliers.
    The other porcupine stories you hear are about what they eat. They crave sodium, which is found in salt and as a result, things like plywood ( the glue), sweat soaked handles of wooden tools, and tires seasoned with road salt become some of their favorite meals.  They chew big holes in plywood, and things like outhouses built in the bush have to have to be lined with metal around the base, to prevent the porcupines from eating the plywood.  
    Often, people camping or hiking and have left their vehicles parked overnight in the wilderness, have returned to their trucks to find that a porky has eaten it’s tires and brake lines, leaving them stranded and a long way from home.  People in the know often wrap their vehicles with wire fencing to keep the porcupines from doing damage.
    I have also heard that in places it is unlawful to kill porcupines.  Because they are slow moving, they are considered a good emergency food source for people lost in the bush.  I don’t know if this is true or not.  At any rate, the porcupine is another interesting critter that lives up here in the Robson Valley.

Take a look at my paintings at:

Thursday 27 June 2013

Non-Violet Violets

  I have only seen two kinds of wild violets in the Robson Valley.   The yellow on is called the Stream Violet, and the white one is the Marsh Violet.  Both seem to like to grow in dark, moist, environments, and you have to get in close to really appreciate their beauty.

Look at my paintings at:

Wednesday 26 June 2013

Champ the Dog

    On Sunday, when I joined the work party to go out to the Goat River Trail, I rode with Juan, a “wwoofer” from Madrid.  Woofers are members of World Wide Opportunities for Organic Farms, which is an organization that enables people to travel to foreign lands to work and board on farms.  Minutes before, I had just met Juan for the first time, and as I piled into his truck he introduced me to his funny looking stubby little dog, “Champ”.  
    As Juan drove me out to Goat River, we had a chance to get acquainted and I learned a lot about Juan and Champ.  Juan had been in McBride a few years ago working on a farm, and it was there that he met Champ.  They must have hit it off, because when Juan went back to Spain, he took Champ with him.  Now a couple of years later,  the pair have returned to the Robson Valley to do another stint on the farm.
    Juan told me that although Champ is a small dog, it is a very courageous (and a bit foolhardy).  He has no fear or big dogs or other big animals.  He recently encountered a black bear, and chased it into the bear’s den.  Champ entered the den and was being beat up by the bear, when Juan, was finally able to Champ away.  If you look carefully at the photo below, you can see a few reddish areas on Champ’s back which where he was bitten by bear.
    I think Juan said that Champ was about 10 years old, but his age doesn’t slow him downl.  Juan, Champ, and I hiked several kilometers to the cable car crossing, and on the way back, my feet and legs were wearing out, causing me to fall behind.  Juan was walking up ahead, but Champ often stopped, sat, and waited until I came into sight, then  he would turn and catch up with Juan.  I really appreciated Champ’s apparent concern for me.
    When we got back to the muddy area, where we were building the boardwalk, in an attempt to cool off, Champ would lower his belly down in the soupy muck.  On the upper photo, you can see his dark mud covered stomach.

See my paintings at:

Tuesday 25 June 2013

Goat River Trail Workday

    On Sunday, I joined 3 others and went out to the Goat River to work on the upper Goat RIver Trail.  My first task was putting a spring on the outhouse door, so it would hold itself shut,   Once I had the spring on, I joined the others who were clearing the side of the road that had grown in with young cottonwood and willow trees.  We did this so we could get the pickup as close as possible to the trail, because we had to carry boards down the trail, so we could build some boardwalks over a muddy section.
    While Roy and Al worked on dismantling the old boardwalk that was starting to rot, Juan (a guy from Madrid), and I hiked down to the cable car crossing to see how it survived the winter.  It seemed to be in good shape, so I took some photos of it and we hiked back and joined in the boardwalk construction. 
    I was pretty beat by the time we packed up the tools and headed back to the truck.  I was looking forward to being able to sit on the 45 minute drive back to McBride.  I didn’t move around much that evening after I got back home.

To view my paintings, go to:

Monday 24 June 2013

A Marten in My Bedroom

    As you can no doubt tell, the photo above is fake.  It is a poor composite I constructed in Photoshop, but it does pretty much show what I saw this morning at 4:45, when I raised my head off of my pillow to see what all the commotion was.
    I was asleep and I heard some scratching noises.  I assumed it was the baby squirrels (I had discovered they had a nest up under the eaves of our house.  I figured they were venturing around up in the ceiling.  
    Since there was nothing I could do about it, I tried to go back to sleep.  Then I was roused by our cat, who was jumping around by the window, and knocking off papers and books that were sitting on the short filing cabinet below the window.  
    I raised my head off of the pillow once again to yell at the cat, who seemed mighty interested in the curtain, or what was behind it.  Surely, I thought, those baby squirrels hadn’t gotten in through the window.  At that point, a head peaked out from behind the curtain--it was the marten we had been seeing around the house.
    I usually have the window shut overnight, because when it is open, the train whistle that originates across the river and valley, over a mile away, sounds like it is coming from just outside our house.  Over the last few nights, despite the train whistle, I left the window open, because it has been so warm.
    We do have a screen on the window, but it is held by some slots, and the marten managed to slide it out of the slot and squeeze through the crack on the loose side.  Now, it was hiding behind the curtain, and Lucifer, our cat was stalking it, even thought it was a lot bigger than she was.
    I jumped out of bed, my mind racing through all the possible solutions of how to get the marten out of the house.  The marten, who by this time was feeling outnumbered, to his credit, was trying to get back outside, but couldn’t get the window screen open.
    The cat jumped, and the marten responded by leaping down to my guitar case, then the floor and finally behind a dresser.  Lucifer followed, and as the marten vocalized various hissing and growling moans at the cat, I tried disparately to get the screen out of the window, so that if the marten got back on the windowsill, it could escape back outside.
    I yelled at the cat to get away from the marten, and finally got her out of the bedroom, at the same time, I opened the door to our balcony, thinking maybe I could get the marten to go out that way.
    In the end that’s what happened.  Once the cat was gone, the marten came out from behind the dresser, and I herded it out into my office, and seeing the open door, it scampered out to the balcony, and I closed the door behind it.
    Needless to say, it was a while before, I calmed down enough to go back to sleep.  Life in the frontier is not always as relaxing and stress-free as urban dwellers often imagine.

View my paintings at:

Saturday 22 June 2013

Baby Squirrel

    Yesterday at 5:30 in the morning, I got out of bed and walked down stairs to go to the bathroom.  As I was sitting there looking out of the open window, heard some scritching sounds coming from the cedar siding outside of the house.  I figured that it must be a mouse crawling up the wall.  I wondered if it would make it to the window, and I could see it.  Suddenly, I saw a shape move in the corner of the window, but it wasn’t a mouse.
    It was a baby squirrel.  I hitched up my pants and grabbed my camera and went outside to investigate.  I don’t know where the baby squirrel had come from.  I couldn’t see the mother anywhere.  I took some photos, and even picked it up and put it over on the birch tree.
    Later in the morning when I was painting, Joan called to me and said the baby squirrel was in our house.  We had the front door open, and the thing had slipped under the screen door and was in our mud room.  I grabbed it again, and it bit me on the thumb as I held it and took it outside, again putting it on the birch tree.
    There are always so many mysteries that happen around here that never seemed to get solved.  I am still wondering what the back story of the baby squirrel is.  Hopefully, its problems somehow got resolved.

Visit to see my paintings

Friday 21 June 2013

The 25,001st Version

    It is one of the most recorded songs in history,  some 25,000 covers of it have been recorded.  It was written for a musical in 1933 by George Gershwin, with lyrics by Dubose Heyman.  It has been recorded by Sam Cooke, Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra, most famously, Janis Joplin.
    On October 15, 1960, it was recorded by John, Paul, George, and Ringo.  It was the first recording session that those 4 ever had together.  They had it pressed onto onto 9 acetate discs, but none of them survived.
    Like just about everyone else, I was familiar with the song, but it never took any particularly high place among my musical likes.  Then, about 7 years ago, I started jamming with some acquaintances who played jazz.  I don’t like jazz, but I was really hungry to play music, so in an attempt to find common ground with the others, I started to work up the song.  It is after all, a jazz standard.
    As I was playing it to myself over and over, I fell upon a slow bouncy kind of rhythm and some chord changes with my guitar, that I especially liked.  That inspired me to really learn the song.  When the jazz jam thing stopped, the song stayed in the back of my mind incubating for several years.  With my recent re-emergence to music, I started playing it again, and introduced my version to the musicians who show up for our Tuesday night jam session at the McBride library.
    A couple of days ago, it was raining, and Joan had gone up to Prince George, so I started messing around with GarageBand, Apple’s recording software.  I recorded the rhythm guitar part, thinking I could use that as a background, so I could try to come up with some kind of lead guitar for the song.
    One thing led to another.  I had the rhythm guitar part, I then recorded 3 vocal parts (two in unison and one harmony), I put down a bass line, and finally messed around with my guitar until I figured out some lead riffs.    
    I really like what it became, and even though I hate the sound of my own voice, I am putting it out to you.  The first day of summer seems like the right time to introduce the song’s 25,001st version.

I apologize for the inconvenience, but I can't seem to get the recording on this blog, but if you are interested in hearing it, you will have to go to my website at this link:

Thursday 20 June 2013

Summer Solstice

    Tonight at 10:04 Pacific Time the Sun reaches the Tropic of Cancer, which is as far north as it is going to get.  This triggers the official start of summer and our longest day.  According to the stats, this morning the sun rose over the Robson Valley at 4:33 AM and will set tonight at 9:32 PM.  In reality, because of all the mountains, the rising and setting of the sun is curtailed.  I took this photo at 9:20 PM a week ago.
    I never really know how to react to the summer solstice.  On one hand, I welcome the official start of summer, but then I can’t help but be aware, that from now on, all the days will be getting shorter, as we move toward winter.  I’ve got to keep telling myself that we still have the warmest and sunniest days ahead of us, before we have to seriously consider winter.  Just the same, this morning I did finish splitting and stacking my first load of firewood.

Visit to see my paintings.

Wednesday 19 June 2013

Mountainview View

    We live on Mountainview Road.  When we first moved here the road was just a dirt road.  It might be more accurate to say it was a mud/dust road, depending on what the weather was doing.  Fortunately, the first part of the road was eventually paved, which made our life a lot better.
    McBride is located south of the Fraser River.   Mountainview Road, winds its way along the lower slopes of the Park Range of the Rocky Mountains, which lie on the north side of the Fraser.  As it gains elevation it gives some really wonderful views overlooking the Robson Valley.  
    Yesterday afternoon, I drove further up Mountainview Road to get some firewood.   On the way back, I stopped and took this photo at one of my favorite views.   The peaks in the background are part of the Dore River valley.

Take a look at my paintings at:

Tuesday 18 June 2013

A Good Year for Lilacs

    All of the flowering trees seemed to have gone way beyond the call of duty in the Robson Valley this year.  Whenever we have driven into McBride, we have spotted beautiful colorful trees just overwhelmed with  flowers.  The lilac bushes too have been heavily laden with bloomd.  Most were in there prime a week or so ago, but our pink lilac is just now flowering.
    Culps, a family in Dunster, put on their annual lilac tour a couple of weekends ago.  They have 100 different varieties of lilacs on their beautifully situated farm, which is nestled beside the Fraser River.
    The small trumpet shaped flowers of the lilacs look dramatic when viewed from up close, and of course, when you get that close you are also surrounded by the sweet perfume that they produce.

Take a look at my paintings at:

Monday 17 June 2013

Attack Grouse

    On our evening walk down the trail, I saw this ruffed grouse standing statue-like on a branch.  I stopped, stood still and took this photo.  Joan had stopped and stood behind me.  
    Once I put my camera back in its case, we started walking again.  At that point the grouse furiously flew at us, with a loud flutter of wings.  After the initial charge, it took off in the opposite direction on the trail, making lots of noise. 
    We figured it had some chicks hidden on the ground and was trying to divert our attention away from them.  This sort of protective behavior is sure different from the normal grouse behavior which is to stand still or to quietly try to sneak away unseen.

My paintings can be viewed at:

Sunday 16 June 2013

Our Furry Poppies

    We’ve had this hairy looking poppy plant growing at our place ever since we moved here in 1977.  It  originally grew on the east of the house, but we moved into the garden so it would get more sun.  Amazingly, after at least 35 years, it is still alive and thriving.  
    I’ve taken numerous photos of its big red orange blossoms, but yesterday when I was out weeding in the garden I noticed how interesting and unusual it’s leaves and buds are.  It is covered with soft furry hairs.  I took this photo to show you what I saw.

My paintings can be viewed at:

Saturday 15 June 2013

Cedar Waxwings

    Here is one of my most memorable photos.  I took it in 1996.  At the time, I had a herd of angora goats, and a lot of very poor fences, so I couldn’t really let the goats roam freely around in the pasture.  What I ended up doing was to play shepherd and herd my goats every day after I got home from work.  It was something I kind of enjoyed, because it gave me time to unwind after a day at the office.
    I would walk the goats down to the pasture behind my pond and let them stuff themselves with whatever vegetation they desired.  I would just stand around with my whip, which I would snap if some goat was acting up.     
    One afternoon as I was standing beside a grove of alder trees, I happened to glance over and spotted a nest of young cedar waxwings.  They were getting so big, they were taking up all the space in the nest, so I realized that they would probably be leaving the nest very soon.  Always eager to take a good photo I stuck the idea of returning with my camera, into the back of my mind to later retrieve.
    Unfortunately, I failed to remember the nest until a few days later.  I immediately grabbed my camera and headed down to the alder trees.  When I got close to where I had seen the nest, I quietly, took off my regular lens, and attached the telephoto lens so I wouldn’t have to get really close to the young birds in the nest.
    The camera being ready, I crouched low and slowly and quietly began to tiptoe up to where the nest was.  When I got to where I figured I was close enough for the shot, I swung my camera into place in front of my eye, ready to snap the picture.  What I saw in my viewfinder was an empty nest.  The waxwings had already left.  Damn, I had left the shot too long, and now I had missed it.
    In frustration and disappointment, I stepped back from the tree.  At that point my eyes happened to raise up from the nest and there the young waxwings stood on a branch, straight and still all in a line, trying to blend in to the scenery.  I aimed my camera and got, not the shot I had originally came for, but one just a good.
   As the years passed, I lost track of the photo, but I thought about it quite a bit.  This morning I thought about a box of old photos on a bookcase in the living room, and luckily there I found it. 

View my paintings at: 

Friday 14 June 2013

Poultry in Disarray

    I don’t know what happened, but suddenly all the normal habits of our chickens have vanished.  They used to lay eggs, and they used to automatically go into the chicken house at night to roost, but they are no longer doing any of those things.
    Something traumatic must have happened.  One of our three hens is missing, we get no eggs, and as this photo shows, they are spending their nights in the branches of the trees instead of in the chicken house.
    Earlier in the spring one of our 3 hens was killed by a hawk.  We then bought two more hens, so we had 4 chickens.  A short time later, one of the new hens died mysteriously, and the two original chickens shunned the lone newcomer.  
    The missing hen was one of our originals, so now we seem to be down to two, and they don’t really like each other.  It all a sad situation.

You can see all of my paintings at:

Thursday 13 June 2013

Grey Days

    We’ve been getting a lot of grey showery days lately.  Luckily, I got my garden weeded and the lawn mowed before the wet weather set in.  I took this photo of the Cariboo mountains yesterday.  The grey skies and snowcapped mountains looks almost exactly the same way they do in mid-winter. 
    Joan told me that this weekend McBride is celebrating “Pioneer Days”, complete with it’s parade down Main Street.  The parade features people in costumes throwing candy, lots of horses pooping on the pavement, while the firetrucks and ambulances provide a soundtrack of wailing sirens.
    This annual festival is usually accompanied with rain and showers, so I guess the weather we are experiencing is just preparation for the weekend event.

You can view my paintings at:

Wednesday 12 June 2013

Driving Around in Trucks

    I sometimes question my masculinity.  I am not what is often thought of as a typical male.  I have absolutely no interest in sports, and I am not a motor-head.  I am not interested in loud powerful engines or going fast in vehicles.  This being said, I must say that one of the things I really enjoyed during my 23 years of working at the BC Forest Service (or the Ministry of Forests, as it was later rebranded) was being able to explore the Robson Valley by driving around in trucks.
    Our district was huge, as big as the country of Belize.  It was made up of mountains and valleys.  Highway 16 went through one valley east and west, and Highway 5 went through another valley north and south.  The rest of the area could only be accessed through a few secondary roads, some well maintained “Forest Service Roads” and a lot of very poor logging roads.
    The jobs I often had to do were varied.  I had to sometimes go out to pristine areas that were slated for logging to do timber cruises.  I had to get fire fighting equipment to fires, ferry barrels of jet fuel for helicopters, take boxes of baby trees to tree planters visit visit isolated side valleys to determine what kind timber types were growing there.
    Sometimes the remoteness of the places I had to go to meant that a helicopter, ATV, or snowmobile had to be used, but most often it meant driving a big 4 wheel drive forestry truck.  I really enjoyed slowly bouncing along unexplored roads, not knowing what lay behind the next bend.  
    Of course, driving in the trucks was just a means of getting where we had to go.  Once there, things often became much more physical.  Tromping up mountains, and spending the day, fighting our way through the devils club (nasty spiky plants), fighting mosquitoes, or snowshoeing through heavy snow.  What a glorious thing it was to finally return back to the truck after a hard day in the bush, and to be able to finally sit down again.  It was always a welcome reward at the end of an exhausting day, even if it still meant  a half an hour of bouncing along a logging road, then another hour’s worth of driving on a highway before I finally got back to the office.
    Because the Forest Service used to hire on a lot of extra people over the summer, it meant that we needed extra trucks for them to use.  One of the things I always looked forward in the spring, was being part of the crew that was driven  up to Prince George, to pick up the brand new rental trucks and driving them back to McBride.
    Not only was it enjoyable to drive a brand spanking new truck, the trip always gave us some “city” time, and since we had a truck, we often took advantage of the situation by purchasing items that we couldn’t carry in our own personal vehicles.  I bought a rototiller once and hauled it home, and another time bought a fruit tree that wouldn’t have fit in my car.
    I will always have fond memories of those forestry trucks.  They were not only a means of exploration and adventure, but also a sign that a hard exhausting day was finally over.

You can view my paintings at:

Tuesday 11 June 2013

My Forestry Truck

    Above you see my painting, “Old Green Truck”.  This 1977 GMC was once a Forestry truck.  When when the BC Forest Service got done with it, it was put up for auction.  My neighbor, Kjell bought it thinking he would use it to drive up the old logging roads to the alpine for skiing.  He did use it, but not very often.  I, on the other hand was borrowing it all the time, for hauling of firewood, and lumber, and other such rural items.
    One day, Kjell approached me and said, “Since you are always borrowing the truck, why don’t you just buy it from me, and then I will borrow it from you.”   That sounded reasonable, so that is how it came to belong to me.  Insurance and fuel were always expensive, so I only insured and used it during  the summer.  Its mileage was horrible.
    Most of the time it sat.  It became a real organic vehicle.  Once, when I had to drive it to work, because it was too rainy to bike, I got onto the highway, and a mouse ran out from under the seat.  Another time, when I started it, it sputtered then blew a mouse corpse out of the tail pipe.  I have know idea how or why it was there.  Mice were always building nests in the heating system, and that sometimes led to smoke coming out of the dashboard.
    Because sat unused for much of the time, and I wasn’t very conscientious about cleaning out the bed of the truck, plants began to grow from the corners and cracks in the bed, where soil and sand accumulated.  It began to get clumps of moss and lichens  growing from the hood.  
    I did get a lot of use out of the truck, hauling my firewood, lumber, sand, gravel, hay, and even the bodies of goats, that had died on me.  It had a major problem with rust, and had a hole in the floorboard on the driver’s side.  I could look down and see the pavement moving beneath me through the hole, as I drove.
    Eventually, the high cost of insurance, made we park it out of the way, in my pasture.  When I bought a small truck, it became more of a decoration than a useful vehicle.  Without insurance, I couldn’t take it on the road, and the longer it sat, the more problems, like the smoking dashboard occurred.  I did use it twice as a subject for paintings.
    After several years of sitting in the pasture, I inquired at the wrecking yard if they were interested in it.  At one time they would come out and pick up old vehicles for free, but they wanted to charge me $40 to haul it away, so my old truck continued to sit.  When a neighbor asked about it, I told him he could have it, if he hauled it away.  He jumped at the opportunity, and from what I hear, he has it running and uses it.

To see my other paintings, go to:

Monday 10 June 2013

The Marten Returns

    Some of the critters we have around here are sure publicity hungry.  On May 23, I wrote about spotting my first marten along our trail.  I took its photo and posted it on on my blog.  They are rather secretive creatures that you don’t normally see.  It wasn’t even in the type of forest where they usually live.  
    I suspect this one got hooked on the international publicity, because the other day, it had scampered  out of the woods, and was running around on the branches of the birch tree that sits 10 feet (3 metres) from our house.  I assumed it was interested in getting its picture taken again, so I obliged it.

Take a look at my paintings at:

Sunday 9 June 2013

And Not a Drop to Drink

    People who live in urban areas are often accused of not knowing where their food comes from.  They often think that water just comes out of the faucet, without really thinking about its source.  Rural people usually feel a lot closer connection to the sources of their food and water.  I felt that close connection on Friday when Joan turned on the tap in the kitchen and discovered that our water pressure was rapidly dropping.
    We had been getting some heavy rain, and that coupled with the fact that the snow on the mountain tops was melting had caused all the creeks in the Robson Valley to really start to gush.  Highway 16 east of McBride, was forced to close for most of a day, when a mudslide from an overloaded creek came washing across the highway.  It always seems a bit illogical to realize that with all this water running everywhere, we had lost water in our house.
    I walked up to Sunbeam Falls, which is the source of our water, to try to discover what the problem was.  So much water was roaring and pouring over the falls, that I was not able to get close to the culvert where our water system intake is located to do anything.  You can sort of see our culvert in the middle of the photo just below the big brown boulder.  
    Saturday morning, a neighbor and I went back up to the falls and found that the run on the creek had slowed considerable, and we discovered the source of our problem-- our culvert had completely filled with gravel, which prevented any water from getting into our waterline.  We have a watergate on the lower side of our culvert, and by opening that, we got the gravel in the culvert to be washed out by the water, and once all the gravel was out, and we closed the watergate, we got our household water back.

Visit my website to see my paintings:

Saturday 8 June 2013

Purple to Pink

    I mentioned in my “Pink Mountain” blog how this time of year the sun shines sideways through the Robson Valley as it sets.  Last night, I was returning home from an engagement and as I arrived down at the flats along the Fraser River by the Stag Ranch, I was confronted with this display of color on the Cariboo Mountains.  

My paintings can be seen at:

Friday 7 June 2013

Spring Bouquet

    I have had some kind of flu over the last two days.  That and all the spring showers have kept me fairly housebound.  I did take advantage of a bit of sun yesterday, and walked the trail.  Along the way, I took a lot of photos of the flowers I saw.   Featured are: , Indian Paintbrush, Western Canada Violet, waterlily, Lady ferns , and Lupines.  

My paintings can be seen at:

Thursday 6 June 2013

Pollen on the Mountainside

    A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting on the lanai, and I noticed that our table was covered with a yellowish dust.  It was pollen from the spruce, pine, and fir trees that surround us here in the valley bottom.  Even though the lanai is roofed over, the fine particles can easily be distributed everywhere by a breeze.  
    Then Monday, I happened to glance out the living room window and I noticed what I at first thought might be smoke on the mountain, until I realized that it was tree pollen being kicked up by the wind.  Because of the temperature difference, events  like pollen distribution always happen a few weeks later in upper elevations.  I wonder how noticeable it would be if I was standing under that cloud of pollen.

Visit www.davidmarchant to see my paintings.

Wednesday 5 June 2013

Recycling Discoveries

    I have a big blue plastic recycling tub that sits beside my desk.  I put all of my scrap paper and junk mail in it.   The other day, I was taking some trash to the dump, and I noticed that my recycling tub was full of paper, so I carted it along to take it to the recycling bins at the waste depot.
    The paper products all go into the big recycling bin.  Normally, I just sort of sling the tub toward the opening in the bin, and the paper all goes shooting into the bin, but on this particular day, I decided instead just to put the scrap paper, a handful at a time, into the bin.   As it turned out, it was a good thing I did.
    I got the first few handfuls into the bin, when I suddenly uncovered two freshly washed towels, amongst the scrap paper in my tub.  That was strange.  I put the tub down and put the towels into the cab of the truck and went back to emptying my scrap paper.  I got a couple of more handfuls in the bin when I came across my tape measure, also hiding in my recycling tub.  I rescued that, and returned to my task only to find an old Forest Service patch that was also mixed in with my recycled paper.
    We have a clothes drying rack that we often set up in my office.  I suspect that when Joan was  taking the dried clothes off of the rack, she set the two towels aside intending to pick them up later.  Instead they got covered with scrap paper.  I probably put the tape measure and forestry patch on the ledge that sits right beside and above the recycle tub, and they had somehow got bumped  and fell in the tub with all the paper and got covered up.
    I think in the future I will continue to empty my recycling tub a handful at a time.  One can only imagine what other treasures I might find.  

My paintings can be seen at:

Tuesday 4 June 2013

Have Pity on those Poor Potatoes

    Potatoes stored in a cool dark root cellar, somehow know that spring has arrived, and when it does, they do what they are suppose to do; they sprout.  If they are not put in the ground, they sprout where they are.  That is what happened to the potatoes in the containers in the photo.
    A good friend of mine, who will remain nameless, let’s just call him “Dave”, is an excellent gardener.  I am always envious of him, because he does gardening the way it is supposed to be done, and he keeps it neat and tidy.  I, on the other hand, just do the bare bones, and hope my garden will grow.  
    But for some reason, “Dave” got distracted this year, and instead of putting his garden in when he should have, he spent weeks digging up dandelions from his lawn.  I tried to tell him of the futility of such an undertaking, but he persisted.  His garden didn’t get planted.
    Meanwhile, down in the darkness of his root cellar, his potatoes had sensed the season and started growing.  Yesterday, he took us down there for a look.   It was a distressing sight.
    Those poor potatoes need to be in the ground.  “Dave” told me he was going to plant them today.  I hope so, I sure hate to see those poor potatoes put out all that energy for no result.

View my paintings at:

Monday 3 June 2013

June Weather

    Even though June has just arrived, in the central interior of BC, we have been experiencing what I usually think of as “June weather” for a couple of weeks now.  For me, June weather is something that changes every 20 minutes.  We get sunshine, which is followed by showers, then its warm and sunny again for a while, followed by more showers.  All the plants love it and because I am someone who likes to take photos of interesting lighting, it gives me a lot of opportunity for photography.
    This is a photo I took during our afternoon walk.  Shortly after we got back home, we got rain showers, and even a bit of hail.  Normally we get this kind of weather through June and into part of July, then the weather tends to stabilize and in the rest of July and August we get hot sunny weather.
    At least that is the way the weather patterns used to work.  Like in the rest of the world, BC’s normal weather patterns are not as reliable as they once were, but at least so far this year, except for an extremely hot week at the beginning of May, things seem to be happening the way they used to.

To take a look at my paintings, go to:

Sunday 2 June 2013

Mallard Ducklings

    I always had to laugh at our dog Mac, whenever we would take him for a walk at Koeneman Park.  One time he saw a ground squirrel by the parking barriers.  Ever since that encounter, as he got close to that spot, he would get down in the hunting posture and slowly slink up to the barriers, hoping to see the ground squirrel again.
    I have been feeling a lot like Mac over the last week.  One morning during our walk on the trail, when we walked close to a swampy pool of water in the woods, we were suddenly surprised by a group of frightened ducklings, scurrying across the water to escape from us.  Because it was so unexpected, I didn’t have my camera ready, and missed taking a really memorable photo.
    Like Mac, all the days following the encounter with the ducklings, as we approached the swamp, I would get my camera out and ready to capture that photo of the ducklings, and I would quietly sneak up to the pool of water.  Of course, the ducklings were never there.  That didn’t stop me from repeating that behavior every time we passed the slough.  I did it again this morning with the same negative result.
      As we continued on along our trail this morning, we eventually ended up walking along the dam of my pond.  There are generally some ducks out in the water, swimming around, and when they see us, they either swim or fly to the far end  of the pond for safety.
    This morning, a female mallard start swimming to the far end as we approached, but instead of quietly doing so, she was splashing the water with her wings and making a lot of noise doing it.  Right away we realized she was trying to distract us, and we figured she had some ducklings hiding near by.
    Sure enough we spotted a small group of young mallards swimming out from the cattails, or bullrushes, as they call them here.  I am pretty sure it was the same group we had come upon in the woods.  This morning, I was able to get my camera out and did finally get a photo of them.
    Every year it seems that I might get to see a mother duck with ducklings one time, then never again.  They always seem to disappear, going off somewhere to be in a place that is a little more private.  Usually, I see them in the pond one day, then they vanish.  I now wonder if they have been going to the swamp to hide in years past.  This is the first year we are walking close to the slough, so they may have returned back to the pond, after being discovered in the swamp.

My paintings can be viewed at: