Sunday 29 June 2014

Dunster Ice Cream Social Dummies

    Yesterday was the annual Ice Cream Social in the small hamlet of Dunster, BC.  The Dunster Community Hall was bulging at the seams as the hoards of sugar and fat craving local residents pushed their way through the doors toward the tables ladened with pies, cakes, and of course, ice cream.  Signs along Highway 16, proclaimed that this was “Societal Sanctioned Gluttony” so the crowds indulged themselves guilt-free.  
    Besides all the desserts, one of the attractions of the affair is all of the dummies aligned on the highway and around the hall celebrating the event.  Again, Prince Phillip and the Queen were represented and this year baby, Prince George made his first appearance (This ‘Baby PG’ is a inside joke for locals, since Prince George, BC has a mascot, Mr. PG who looks similar). There was even a dummy  climbing the a telephone pole for a better look.

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Saturday 28 June 2014

Source of Multiple Heat

    Henry David Thoreau was wrong, when he said wood heat warms you twice; once when you split it and again when you burn it.  I don’t know how he came up with two, it seems to me he missed a few warming steps.  Since I get the wood in the spring, I first get heated up cutting the wood.  Then I warm up again when I have to carry all the chunks to load into the truck.  I am sweating once again, when I get it home and have to climb into the truck canopy to throw the wood out onto a pile in my yard, then there is the splitting and stacking.
    I am happy to announce that all those heat sources are now behind me, as I have all my winter’s wood supply gathered and stacked (sorry for the strange aspect of the photo, but the only way I could get all my wood in the photo was standing on the roof and holding the camera at an angle).  
    Getting all the firewood is always one of my most important spring/summer jobs, so it is always a big burden lifted from my shoulders to have it all stacked and ready to go.

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Friday 27 June 2014


    Glen is the voice of doom.  Whenever I get a phone call from Glen, it is usually bad news.  It usually means that something is going wrong with our water system.  We get our water right from the middle of a waterfall.  It collects in a culvert then the weight of the water gives us pressure in our homes.  There are four of us on the system, and because Glen is in the first house and it is located a bit higher than the rest of us he notices the drop in pressure first.
    Wednesday night, I got a call from Glen, when I heard his voice, my heart sunk, but he immediately assured me, “Don’t worry Dave, the water is alright.” so I breathed sigh of relief.
    He then talked about how well the system has been working lately and how we hadn’t any problems for quite a long spell.  Then he told me that he was going away on Thursday, and he just wanted to warn me, that he wouldn’t be around in case something did happen to the water (Glen and I are usually the two people who have to deal with water problems.
    Joan was in Jasper yesterday, and I was home alone, and turned on the tap in the kitchen to get a drink of water and to my dismay noticed that there was hardly any water coming out,  the pressure was really low.  
    “Great,” I thought, “The minute Glen is away the problems start..
    Joan doesn’t like for me to go up to our water intake on the falls because it is so dangerous (slippery rocks, and a long way down into the canyon), so I needed someone to go along with me just for safety, if I went up to fix the water.
    I knew Glen was gone, and Bruce, the other neighbor who sometimes helps, was also away.  The 4th neighbor was alone with her kids, so she couldn’t help.  It was a problem.  Then I thought of Dave, who lives down the road by the creek.  He isn’t on our system, but he is a good guy and might lend me a hand.
    I gave him a call, and he agreed to go along with me, without hesitation.  We climbed up the slope, I saw that our culvert was half full of sandy particles, and all I had to do was to raise the watergate, and the sand flushed out.  I closed the watergate and our waterline began to fill once again.
    It is so nice to have generous neighbors who are always eager to lend a hand.  Thanks Dave.

    The photo is of the jungly forest along our trail and has nothing to do with the blog.

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Thursday 26 June 2014

The Foggy Foggy Dew

    Yesterday we had a foggy morning with a heavy dew.  It provided some unusual light for me to photograph.  Above you can see the mist rising off of my pond.  Below is the backlit dew on the horsetails.

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    Yesterday we had a foggy morning with a heavy dew.  It provided some unusual light for me to photograph.  Above you can see the backlit dew on the horsetails.  Below is the mist rising off of my pond.

Wednesday 25 June 2014

Long Days

    Last Saturday was the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year.  It is so nice to have the light, usually after 9:00 PM (21:00), when I return from some activity away from home.  Tuesday night was our jam session, and when I was driving home, there was a nice light show going on in the sky as the sun made its way toward the horizon at the far end of the Robson Valley.  I pulled the truck (still smelling of dead mouse) over to the side of the road and took the above photo of the sunset over the Fraser River.
    When I got home and was unloading all my musical instruments from the truck, the sunset was still going on and taking on a more rosy hue.  The picture below is the setting sun illuminating the clouds over the Cariboo Mountains.  It was taken at 9:30.

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Tuesday 24 June 2014

Cat and the Mat

    Since our cat Lucifer is a pretty haywire beast, when we saw that the local hardware store was selling doormats that said “Cat Is Nuts”, we just had to buy one.  Lucifer didn’t think too much of our purchase, and was a little peeved at our little joke at her expense, because now, just before she comes into the house, she stops on the mat and begins scratching away at the writing.  She has almost entirely obliterated the “S” on the word “Nuts” in her attempt to eradicate what she feels is an insult.  

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Monday 23 June 2014

A Smoking Picnic Table and a Dead Mouse

    A group of people in the Robson Valley have joined together to save garden seeds that do well in our location.  They had a meeting in Dunster yesterday, so I decided to go.  When I got into my truck, right away I smelled a dead mouse.  This has happened for a few days lately, I think a mouse crawled up in the trucks ventilation system and died.  The smell wasn’t to unbearable so I drove on out to Dunster.    
    It was a very hot and sunny day (30C 86F) and it got hot as we sat around in the sun.  In the middle of our circle was a picnic table with food and drink waiting to be consumed.  About mid-way through the meeting, Johnny jumped up from his chair and said something about smoke.  He grabbed a gallon water jug that was sitting on the table in the sun and moved it to the shade provided by an umbrella.
    It was then that I saw what he had seen.  The jug with its crystal clear water was concentrating the bright sunlight which it projected onto the surface of the table and the table, like a magnifying glass in the sun with a piece of paper, had started to burn the tabletop.  Smoke was coming out of a charred spot.  This was an amazing thing that I had never seen before, so I took some photos.
    After the meeting, eating, and a look at some of the nearby gardens, I walked up to the truck ready to drive home.  Because it was sitting in the sun and I had the windows shut, when I climbed into the truck I was again confronted with the aroma of dead mouse, but after I aired out the cab, and my sense of smell got used to the odor, I drove out of the driveway and began my journey back to McBride.
    As I drove down the highway, I had an idea.  I thought maybe if I turn the vent fan up to high, the smell of the mouse would quickly dissipate.  So I turned the knob up to the highest level and it began to drone, then suddenly, the drone sound was replaced by a rapid thump, thump, thumping.
    Immediately, my nostrils were filled with the most putrid smell imaginable.  I thought I was going to faint or gag.  I could hardly breathe.  Luckily, I didn’t gag, instead I turned off the fan and rolled down the windows.
    Here is what I think happened:  The bloated dead mouse corpse was lying in the vent by the fan and putting out a faint odor.  When I turned the fan to High, the corpse got sucked into the fan which split the rotting corpse open, freeing all the putrescent gases fermenting inside the body, and they got blown out all of the vents in the cab of my truck.   It was horrible.
    With all the windows down and driving at highway speeds, I managed to make it home.  I left the windows of the truck open over night, and I hope that soon all the mouse body parts quickly dry out and cease to smell.  
    It was a memorable afternoon.

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Sunday 22 June 2014

My Lupine Patch

    Sometimes you get it right.  Because lupines are one of my favorite flowers, and the pond is one of my favorite places, I thought I would combine the two and plant some lupine down in a corner of my pond.  Luckily, the few lupine I planted there seemed to like their new home and thrived.  They spread their seeds around and now I have a beautiful patch of lupine that come up every year without any input from me.
    Here are some photos of my lupine patch.

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Saturday 21 June 2014

National Aboriginal Day

    Today, the Summer Solstice, is in Canada, National Aboriginal Day.  It is a day set aside in recognition of the Indian people of country, whether they are called ‘Native Americans,’ ‘Amerinds,’ ‘First Nations,’ or ‘Innuit’.  While these people were treated somewhat better in Canada than they were in the US, their story is still a very tragic one.
    Despite they way they were treated, they still somehow possess dignity and wisdom, and fortunately have come through for the country in ways that I have always appreciated.  When Canada was about to give even  more power to Quebec than the other provinces, it was a First Nations member of the Saskatchewan legislature whose vote stopped the Meech Lake Agreement.  When environmentalist fought the BC government in an attempt to save unique old growth forests from total decimation from logging, it was the power of the First Nations that finally forced the government to save key areas.
    Now my hope again is focused on the First Nations people of BC in a new environmental fight.  The Federal Conservative Government and Big Oil are trying to force a pipeline across pristine parts of BC in order to ship tankers, full of dirty Alberta tar-sand oil, down the narrow, rocky, and treacherous BC coastline to China.  This pipeline will have to cross Indian land, and will threaten the livelihood of native fisherman, and they are rising up against it.  Lets hope they will be able to stop this threat to BC’s, and the world’s environment.
    BC’s coastal First Nations have always been recognized for their arts, especially totem poles and carvings.  The photo above shows an example of the carving and their unique design forms.  It was done by Rocky Jones, a First Nations carver who lived in McBride during the 1980’s.

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Friday 20 June 2014

A Bee's Eye View of Iris

Here are some close-up views of some of the iris that are now blooming around our yard.

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Thursday 19 June 2014

Joan's Phone

    Because we live in a place where there are a lot of areas where there are no people, whenever I have to drive up to Prince George, Joan always insists that I take her iPhone along in case of an emergency.  I am rather ignorant of all the functions that can be done with her phone (to read about  one of my most humorous iPhone adventures read my “Another Prince George Adventure” blog of November 27, 2014), but I do know how to make a phone call using the iPhone and that is all that would be required in an emergency.
    When I drove up to Prince last week, Joan again insisted that I take her phone along, so I put it into my pocket and off I drove.  Once I was up in Prince George, I dropped off a prescription at Costco so that it would be ready later when I returned to do some shopping, then I headed off to the Subaru dealer to get a service done on my car.  It usually only takes an hour to do the service and to check over the car, so I planned to just stick around the dealership reading, until the car was ready.
    About the time the car should be done, one of the mechanics came out and told me that there was a small oil leak in one of the gaskets, and since it was still under warranty from being fixed before, did I want to get that replaced while I was there.  It meant waiting another 3 hours, but I told him to fix it.  I decided I would just take off on foot, and do some of the other shopping that needed to be done, while they worked on the car.
    I made the long walk down to a shopping center and it didn’t take me but a 20 minutes to buy all those things I needed, so I had lots of time to kill until the car was ready.  When I am up at Prince George, I usually just eat at Costco, or a fast food joint, but since I had lots of time to wait, I decided to just go to the Red Robin Restaurant and relax and have a leisurely meal.  This I did, then slowly walked back to the garage.  The car still wasn’t done, so I read some more in the book I had along with me.
    Once the car was finished I picked up some coffee pods for Joan, then went over to Costco to do the main shopping.  Once I was finished there, I gave Joan a call on the iPhone to say I was heading home, and started the long 2.5 hour drive back to McBride.
    When I pulled into our driveway, I was a little surprised to see Joan, Skye, and the cat, all sitting there waiting for me.  Usually they are all in the house, since they never really know exactly how long my return trip would be.  When I got out of the car, Joan told me, “So, you ate at Red Robin didn’t you.”  I confessed I did, and she said, “You sure spent a long time at Costco.”
    “How did you know?” I asked.
    “I followed you on the computer,” was her reply.  
    It seems that the “Find my iPhone” function on Joan’s phone allowed her to track my every move and see exactly where I was.  She had followed me around the whole day on the computer.

   Here all this time I though she wanted me to take her phone in case of an emergency.

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Wednesday 18 June 2014

Two Photos

    The idea behind this blog was to take photos of things that I found interesting then write about them.  I recently took two photos of things that I caught my eye, but I don’t have a lot to say about them.  I took the photo above when we visited the Culp farm.  A mass of petunias and some geraniums were plastered against the glass of a greenhouse.  I really liked the combination of colors.
    The photo below shows a close-up of a stalk of cattails growing beside my pond and the subtle variations of green.

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Tuesday 17 June 2014

Skye's Detour

    I am aware that dog’s have senses that are far superior to those we possess, and because of this they are aware of things that we aren’t, but I am really puzzled by this one little quirk in Skye’s behavior.
    Joan and I take Skye out of a walk on our trail twice a day.  Skye is a very timid dog and doesn’t venture off of the trail.  In fact, she is so timid, she only feels secure walking between us, not out in front.  While she stays on the trail the whole way, when we get to one particular spot on the dam, instead of staying on the trail, she veers off of the trail and makes a short little jog through the grass, as shown in the photo. 
    I can see no reason for this, there is nothing on the trail that I can see that would make it suddenly unsuitable for walking on, and I can’t find anything on her little detour that might be more appealing than the trail, but she does the same thing day after day.  Its one of life’s little mysteries.

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Monday 16 June 2014

Culps' Lilacs

    Every spring, the Culps open up their beautifully situated farm in Dunster to the public so that people can view and smell their blooming lilacs.  They have scores of varieties growing in the gardens that surround their house which is located close to the Fraser River.  Lilacs are not the only attraction of the afternoon, since there is also a table full of delicious snacks to nibble on and the inevitable socializing.  
    Even though this event has been going on for years, Joan and I had never attended.  When we woke up yesterday, we thought we were going to miss it again, because it was pouring rain.  Fortunately, the rain stopped late in the morning, and although the skies stayed cloudy, we decided to gamble on the weather, and luckily, it cooperated.   

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Sunday 15 June 2014

Tent Caterpillars?

    Last week when I drove up to Prince George, I noticed that just east of the city they were having another year of tent caterpillar infestation.  The aspen and other deciduous trees were stripped of their leaves.  I was very happy that they hadn’t shown up in the Robson Valley.
    Yesterday as we were driving down Highway 16 east of McBride near Jervis Road, I glanced over at the mountain slope and saw a swath of bare aspen amongst the other trees.  It looked suspiciously like maybe we are seeing the beginnings of a tent caterpillar invasion here.
    Years ago, the Robson Valley suffered though a couple of years of tent caterpillars.  In hard hit areas, trees were stripped of their leaves, both caterpillars and their droppings fell from the trees onto people, everywhere you stepped, your foot squished caterpillars.  Outside it seemed like you could hear them munching all around you.   It wasn’t much fun.
    I felt extremely lucky that they didn’t really do damage at our place.  They were bad at Dunster and east of McBride, and the year we finally started to see them at our place the caterpillar population suddenly collapsed ending the invasion.  They were very bad in Prince George last year, even downtown.  Below are some photos I took up of their invasion of PG.

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Saturday 14 June 2014

Welcoming Mountains

    Yesterday I mentioned that you see mostly trees on the drive from McBride to Prince George.  On the return trip, in places you can catch quick views of mountains off in the distance, but it is not until you get into the Robson Valley that the mountains become a prominent part of the landscape.  It is always a welcoming sight to suddenly be nestled in the flat valley of the Rocky Mountain Trench, with the mountain ranges sloping up on both sides.
    The other day as I was returning from Prince, there was some nice light and the shadows of clouds playing across the slopes of the Park Range of the Canadian Rockies and in the foreground a blanket of dandelions in the pasturelands provided a nice yellow-green accent color. 

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Friday 13 June 2014

Six Bears and A Moose

    We make the trip up to Prince George about once a month to stock up on supplies.   The 135 mile (217 km) strip of Hwy. 16 from McBride to Prince George is lined with trees.  You can see some mountains on the McBride end, but like I said, most of what you see are trees.  The trip would be pretty boring if it wasn’t for the wildlife that hang around on the side of the road.
    I made the trip yesterday, and I saw 6 bears, several deer, and 1 moose.  People generally think of bears as mean-tempered meat-eaters, but mostly they eat plants.  They especially like dandelions.  That was the big attraction along the side of the highway yesterday.  Because I made the trip alone yesterday, I stopped along the highway like a tourist, and took photos whenever I saw a bear.  Here are some of them. 

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Wednesday 11 June 2014

Early Morning Dew / Frost

    We have had a couple more June frost episodes since I first blogged about it last Friday.  This morning we had a temperature of +2C (35F), but there were still patches of frost.  On this morning’s walk, the sun had just come over the mountain as we walked toward our house.  This backlighting gave a magical appearance to the dew and frost covered plants so I took these photos.

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Tuesday 10 June 2014

Being Bald

    They say, if a man is bald in the front, he is a thinker.  If he is bald in the back he is a lover.  If he is bald in the front and the back, he thinks he’s a lover.  Lucky me.  
    For all of my conscious life, I have admired and envied males who had good hair.  My father and my brothers all had great hair.  It was straight, thick, and orderly.  During the long hair era of my youth, I embraced the fashion.  I grew my hair long, and had run-ins with the school authorities because of it, but my hair was never straight and good, mine was always wavy, with curls that flipped up at the ends, and difficult to manage.  I hated it, and did what I could to make it straighter with constant washing and blow drying, I even borrowed my mother’s iron to make it straighter, but I learned that its always an uphill fight to try to overcome nature.
    Then around the age of twenty, fate dealt me a real ego shattering blow--baldness.  For someone who loves hair so much, it was a condition far more hateful than wavy hair, but while I didn’t like, I accepted my destiny.  
    I am a strong believer in being up front and honest, so I don’t do anything to hide my hair-challenged condition.  Some men do the comb-over thing to hide it, others wear a cap all of the time to cover it up, others with lots of vanity and money have hair transplants done, but I just put it out there--here I am, this is me.
    I always remember a guy at work, who always wore a ball cap, both outside and in the office.  I don’t remember what happened on that particular day when I saw him without it, but I was shocked to discover that he was balder than I was.  I never want to have that shocking effect on others, so I always try to show my bald head from the very beginning, when I am introduced to someone I don’t know.
    In the winter, if I am wearing a hat during an introduction, I always try to nonchalantly take it off so they see what I really look like.  Of course, this has some disadvantages too, if they always see you bald, then later see you on the street with a hat, they might not recognize you without all that extra skin showing.
    While I would really prefer to have a nice head of hair, I accept myself as I am and I am happy to be me.  I feel lucky, so many people have to live their lives dealing with problems that really have consequences.

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Monday 9 June 2014

Nadia and George Get a Computer

    When I got my new computer, I decided to find a new home for my old one, which still worked.  Our friends Nadia and George didn’t have a computer, and I figured Nadia, who I have been helping with her book, could probably make good use of it.
    I have been working with computers so long, that most of what I do, is automatic and done without much thought, so it is always surprising to see someone, without that experience,  suddenly overwhelmed by things as elemental as using a mouse, or closing a program.  It all takes time and experimentation to learn and to feel comfortable when confronted with such a huge volume of totally new material.
    They are scheduled to be hooked up to the internet next week and that will really open up their world.

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Sunday 8 June 2014

Pioneer Days

    This weekend the little village of McBride, BC is celebrating Pioneer Days.  This annual event is an excuse for a parade, contests, pancake breakfasts, and other such activities.  Here are some of my favorite photos from yesterday’s big parade.  I especially like the one showing Robert Frear towing the big truck with his wheelchair.

Santa's other job

Throwing snowballs at the crowd.

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