Friday 31 October 2014

Pumpkin Dump

    I have had a weakness for sweets throughout my life.  Luckily, Joan is an excellent cook and baker and keeps me well supplied with sweet delicacies.  However since she has been away, I find myself craving rich desserts and since I am too ashamed of my cravings to buy solutions at the grocery, I have been suffering.  
    In the midst of one of my cravings, I thought I would just make myself something.  I remembered a very rich dessert I had once down in Indiana called “Pumpkin Dump” and I figured that might just satisfy my sweet tooth.  I checked out the recipe from the internet then started looking around for ingredients in the pantry.  I found a small can of condensed milk--check, we had bags of frozen pumpkin in the freezer--check, butter--check, eggs--check, and sugar --check, all were on hand.  All that I needed was a box of white cake mix.  So I loaded Skye into the truck and we drove down to the grocery.
    Once back home I started making my Pumpkin Dump.  The recipe made a lot--a 9 X 13 inch pan was required.  I got it all prepared and popped it into the oven.  When it was done a delicious pumpkiny smell filled the house, but I patiently made myself wait until after I had finished my meal before I started spooning out a bowlful of the Pumpkin Dump.
    Even though I am a certified sweet tooth, the pumpkin dump was just way over the top.  It was so sweet it made me shudder.  I forced myself to finish the bowl, but I felt icky.  I really hate wasting food, but despite that, I vowed not to eat any more of the pumpkin dump, and I took to out to the compost pile and dumped it, scattering some compost over it so as not to attract animals.
    Well, it did unfortunately attract an animal.  Later in the day when I was wrestling with our dog Skye, I got close to his mouth, and what did I smell?   Yep, pumpkin.   Skye had obviously sniffed out the dumped pumpkin dump in the compost pile.  
    Skye doesn’t spend much time outside, but her discovery motivated her to enjoy the great outdoors more.  Now every time she goes out, I have to keep an eye on her so that she doesn’t head for the compost pile.  I have even started to call her “Pumpkin.”

You can see my photo-realistic paintings at:

Thursday 30 October 2014

Autumn Color Holdouts

    In recent blogs I have made references to the sad fact that as winter approaches, the brilliant colors that accent the landscape, are rapidly disappearing.  Yesterday, I happened upon a couple of stragglers to the trend that are continuing to be brilliant, despite the late season.  Above, you can see the leaves of a mountain ash tree.
    The photo below shows the leaf of a geranium (Geranium macrorrhizum, I think).   It is a plant that because of its vigor has become a pest in our flower garden, but the insects love it, and it does sport some amazingly colored leaves in the fall.

You can see my paintings at:

Wednesday 29 October 2014

Fall Colors of Grass

    Now that the leaves are gone from the trees in the Robson Valley, the only accent color that is left for the landscape is that provided by the weeds and grasses.  Here are a couple of shots showing those golden colors.

My paintings can be seen at

Tuesday 28 October 2014

Lanai to Carport

    This is what our lanai looked like the other day, after one of our fall winds.  Nature it seems was giving us a hint that it was time to move all of the summertime lawn furniture out and store it in the barn, and to convert this space back to its other use, as a carport.  
    During the warm season, the lanai is a wonderful place to sit outside.  All the naked trees you see in the photo become a green wall of leaves and from our chairs we could look down, over the fruit trees, the pond, and across to the mountains on the other side of the valley.  Joan, the animals and I, would sit watching the birds busy at the feeder, and the squirrels scampering over to get their share of the sunflowers, as we sipped our lemonade.  
    But as Shakespeare said in one of his sonnets, “Summer’s lease hath all too short a date” and now it seems that date has arrived, and this space, full of pleasurable summer memories, becomes a place where I park my pickup truck.   It’s all too sad.

You can view my photo-realistic paintings at:

Monday 27 October 2014

A Wish Come True

    On yesterday’s blog I used the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for, because it might come true.”  This warning usually means that your wish may technically come true, but in a negative and unexpected way.  Yesterday I had a wish come true, but in an unexpected good way.  Let me explain.
    Our water pressure started to drop on Saturday afternoon.  We have a gravity feed water system whose source is up on a waterfall on Sunbeam Creek.  It is very dangerous up there with the slippery rocks and the possibility of falling down the cliff.  Joan made me promise that I would never go up there and work on the waterline by myself, so I don’t.
    When our water pressure drops, it is usually because the screen that filters our water is clogged up with particles, so it needs to be changed.  The neighbor who usually helps me with this task is away on vacation.   (It’s really amazing how often waterline problems happen when he is away).  Anyway, I called the other two households on our waterline to see if anyone could go up with me and watch in case I had an accident.  Both these neighbors are mothers with children and they had no one that could help me.  I also called a guy my absentee neighbor had previously said could help me, but he is in the hospital.
    So yesterday, I spent a good deal of time worrying about losing our water if I had no helper.  Then I got a call from one of my neighbors, who said she had arrange for someone to help me.  Nathan the helper, came over and we went up, fixed the waterline problem, and I was much relieved.
    Then later, after I had eaten the left over stir-fry I had made the night before, for supper, I was really craving something sweet, but there was nothing in the house that I could think of to satisfy the craving.  I thought about making some chocolate chip cookies, but that seemed like that would take too much time before I could eat them, so I just sort of gave up and resolved to suffer the craving.
    As I was sitting in the living room, Skye came and bored her eyes into mine, and I figured she wanted to go outside.   So I opened the front door to let her out, and there on the door step was a container with a chocolate chip sort of cake--exactly the kind of thing I had been craving.  
    There was no note, so I don’t know where it came from, or when it arrived, but it was an unexpected wish come true.  I suspect it might be from one of the neighbors showing appreciation for me working on the waterline, but I really don’t know.  Where ever it came from, I sure appreciated the timely gift.

You can view my paintings at:

Sunday 26 October 2014

The Good News is That It Finally Stopped Raining, . . .

    This morning when I woke up and looked out of the window, I was reminded of the saying, “Be careful what you hope for, because it might come true.”   For days now I have been wishing that it would stop raining, and last night it did--it began snowing.
    This is really the worst kind of weather we get, this sloppy snow.  When the temperature is just around freezing, snow is the most slippery.  Driving becomes very dangerous.  Once it gets colder there is more traction, and driving on snow is safer. 
    This snow was not that unexpected, we are in that season, but still, it always is a bad surprise when I actually see it.  As I write this, the slushy stuff is still falling, they are forecasting rain this afternoon.  It looks like its going to be pretty much an “inside day.”

You can see my paintings at:

Saturday 25 October 2014

Moss Mini-Gardens

    Yesterday, Skye and I took a walk down the landing strip at the McBride airfield.  It was a bit cool, but the sun periodically came out from behind the clouds to illuminate the fields and mountains and warm things up.  I took some landscape shots, but what really attracted my attention was the strip of mosses that line the edge of the tarmac.
    I have always loved mosses, and it is in the spring and fall seasons, before the explosion of growth of taller and more dominate plants, and after they die off, that moss is noticeable.   I don’t think many people take the time or effort to look closely at it, but I find these mini-landscapes quite beautiful.  Here are some of the shots I took of the little clumps of moss yesterday.

Take a look at my photo-realistic paintings:

Friday 24 October 2014

House Dog

    We have had our dog, Skye, for about a year now, and she is still surprising me with her behavior.  All the other dogs we have had have been male, and she is a female, so I am not sure how much of a difference that makes, but it seems to me that Skye just doesn’t act like most normal dogs.  The main difference is how she would rather be inside, in the bedroom, than to be outside exploring.
    It’s difficult not to compare her with our last dog, Mac, who was a yahoo-kind of dog, always out sniffing around, and exploring, always ready for adventure.  When we took him on a walk, he was always out front, and if he got a whiff of some critter, off he would tear.  Skye likes to go on walks in a position in between Joan and I.  If she picks up a scent of another animal, she stops, plants her butt on the ground and refuses to go farther.
    Even when it is not a matter of walking through the bush, Skye would rather be in the house.  Mac spent most of his days outside, even if all he was doing was laying on the front porch.  Skye will go outside when Joan and I go, but she tends not to stay very long.  Yesterday, I went out to do some work on the garden, and I encouraged Skye to join me.  The minute I turned my back, she nuzzled the door open and went back into the bedroom.  The weather was fine outside, but she only stayed outside a minute.   She would just rather be inside.
    When I tried to get her to walk the trail in the afternoon, I walked on into the woods, and turned around to see where she was.  Skye had stopped, planted her butt on the lawn, refused to look at me and instead was staring off in another direction (photo below).  Despite my calling she would join me on the trail.  I was able to convince her to do the shorter walk around the pond, though.
    Skye did have a traumatic life after she was abandoned, and obviously, she is still effected by those times.  She has a lot of nightmares when she sleeps, and hopefully they are diminishing, but I am still surprised at her lack of what I think are basic dog traits, like wanting to explore in a safe environment and wanting to be outside on a nice day. 

You can view my photo-realistic paintings at:

Thursday 23 October 2014

Off to Tropical Climes

    Yesterday afternoon, I braved the torrents of rain to drive Joan to McBride’s train station, where she caught the train to Prince George, the first leg of her journey to visit her brother in Hawaii.  Certainly the weather we were experiencing here was an encouragement for her to leave.
    Hawaii is one of my favorite places, and my memory of it is always infused with brilliant colors and warm sunshine, something that is getting more and more scarce in the Robson Valley, as we move toward the winter season.
    Joan’s trip will trigger a change in status for me at home.  The eyes of Skye our dog, and Lucifer the cat, constantly monitor Joan’s movements at home, especially when she is in the kitchen, as she has assumed the role of the “Provider of Food”.  Now those eyes will now be focused on me, and it will be me that will be under scrutiny and pressure.  I will do my best to fill her shoes, while she is in sandals.

To view my paintings, go to:

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Unsettled Day

    Woke up to pouring rain, then as we settled down to eat our breakfast, the television informed us that a gunman had shot a soldier at the National War Memorial in Ottawa.  The weather made us cancel our walk on the trail, and we substituted the shorter walk around our pond.  A lone merganser flew off as we approached.
    After the walk, I proceeded with my normal schedule, by painting, but the normal CBC show I listen to as I paint, had thrown off their normal schedule to cover the continuing assault that was happening in Ottawa.  
    The dreary weather, coupled with the guns and violence that is happening in the capital of Canada, does not do much to invigorate my mood.  I hope both will soon pass into history.

You can see my paintings at:

Tuesday 21 October 2014

A Wood-Splitting Luddite No More

    Since moving to McBride in 1977, I have split a lot of firewood.  Once I had the firewood cut and unloaded, I grabbed my splitting maul (sort of a cross between an axe and a sledge hammer or an ax with a really heavy thick head), and began swinging it down on the wood, thus splitting it.  It always worked pretty well, unless the piece of wood had a lot of knots in it, which meant multiple swings, or pounding on the maul’s head with a sledgehammer.
    Splitting firewood can get tiring, but I would just work on the pile little by little.  Friends and relatives, after looking at all of my finished and stacked firewood, often asked me, “Do you have a log splitter?”, to which I would answer, “No, I use a maul.” 
    After hearing this the response was always, “You should get yourself a wood splitter, its so much easier,”   but I guess I am a bit of a luddite when it comes to splitting wood, and I just kept on using my maul.
    When I was away, visiting down in Indiana, a friend contacted Joan to tell her that Costco was having a good special on a small electric wood-splitter, and she ordered it.   A day or so after I returned she came home from town and told me to go out and look in the back of the car.  I was totally surprised to see what she had bought me.  It came just in time to deal with the big pile of firewood that Gary Moore gave me.  
    So now I am a high-tech wood-splitter, and instead of swinging the heavy maul, I put the firewood on the rack, and press two buttons.  The wood-splitter does all of the hard work.

Take a look at my paintings:

Monday 20 October 2014

Rivers of Wind

    McBride can be a very windy place in the fall, as Pacific Ocean weather systems buffet BC.  One of the best places to experience the winds is McBride’s air field.  I know this because we often go there to walk our dog, up and down the runway.  
    Yesterday, was unusually warm for October (probably close to 20C, 68F), and the wind was ripping at our house, so we knew what we were in store for, as we drove to the airport.  Once we got out on the tarmac, it was hard to hear with the roar of the wind in our ears, and I sometimes was pushed in unexpected directions by strong gusts.  The orange windsocks, located on both sides of the runway were out stretched, rigidly stiff with the wind.  With the wind at our back, we got to the end of the runway in quicktime, turning around to make the trip back to the truck, was another story.  We had to lean into the wind to make headway.  I finally just took off my hat, because it was too much of an effort to try to keep it on my head.
    The puzzling thing about all of the wind we were experiencing, was that it was just on the runway.  We glanced over to the airfield’s wind generator which sits just 100m away from the landing strip, and noticed that it was still, or occasionally moving just a bit.  Once we walked over to the hangers, the wind dropped off for us too.

    The wind does act very much like a river, fast currents flowing in one place while nearby, very calm.  Of course, they couldn’t locate the wind generator right beside the tarmac due to safety rules, but it is too bad it isn’t closer to the middle of the river of wind that sweeps down the runway.  It could sure generate a whole lot more power.

You can view my paintings at:

Sunday 19 October 2014

Bunchberry, Through the Seasons

    Bunchberry, which has the scientific name of Cornus canadensis, is a common low-growing plant that grows on the forest floor of British Columbia.  It is a relative of the dogwood tree, and has a similar looking flower.   The white “petals” that you see are not actually petals, but white leaves.  The real flowers are the tiny things you see in the middle.  These tiny flowers develop into the berries that are “bunched” together, giving the plant its common name.
    Since I have taken a lot of photos of bunchberry throughout the season, I thought I would show you some images of  the plant throughout its growing season.    

You can see my paintings at:

Saturday 18 October 2014

I'm Sorry, Geraniums

    Gardening can sometimes seem so cruel.   The geraniums that we have in our window boxes, were late to start blooming, and it is only been lately that they finally started showing their colors  profusely.  Unfortunately, with winter on the horizon, their vigor had to be cut short, because they can’t survive outside in the Canadian winter, instead they will have to spend the season inside of the house.
    So I got out the pruners and cut off all of the flowers and leaves, so that I could transplant the geraniums into pots, where they will slowly recover and spend the winter in the warmth, looking out at the snow from the windowsill of my bedroom.  Next spring, once the cold has gone, I will put them back in the window boxes. 

You can see my paintings at:

Friday 17 October 2014

Garden Wrap-Up

    Yesterday, I dug the carrots out of the garden.  They are the last things I had to harvest.  As you can see by the photo, they did really well, the biggest carrots I have ever grown.  Now that everything is out, I am thinking about how well my garden did this year.  There were certainly some hits and some misses.
    The biggest disappointments were all caused by a deer that jumped the fence and stripped several of my crops.  As a result, we got no green beans, or cabbages, and thanks to a bear we also got no apples, and it ate the only plum that was hanging on our tree.  
    My potato crop was a bit of a disappointment.  I grow several varieties red, brown, pinto, and fingerlings.  In past years, the reds have been terrible, and I almost gave up growing them, and the browns have been my big producers.  This year it was the opposite, my reds did really well, and many of the browns rotted in the ground and I didn’t get as many potatoes as I need.
    I harvested and froze lots of peas.  Half of my corn crop didn’t produce any ears and which bummed me out to the point that I didn’t pay much attention to the other half, and picked it to late giving me very chewy “horse corn,” as Joan calls it.  I can still us it in soup.
    We had a bumper strawberry crop, and we grew kale for the first time, which did really well, even though the deer ate it too, but we found we weren’t all that crazy about eating it, despite it being such a trendy food.
    One of the things I was most pleased about was oregano.  We use oregano every Friday when we make pizza, and in the past, we have always bought the herb.  This year a lot of oregano came up among our strawberry plants, and even though it didn’t really smell like the stuff we bought, I dried some and tried it on the pizza, and it worked very well, so we won’t have to buy it any longer.
    In the greenhouse it was a good year for both our tomatoes and chili peppers.  Joan canned lots of tomatoes and pickled peppers, which look good on the hutch we bought for the pantry (below)

You can view my paintings at:

Thursday 16 October 2014

Brain Scan Cartoon

Q:  How do you come up with a blog every day?
A:  I don’t always find something to blog about, if I can’t find anything, I can always drag out one of my old cartoons and use it instead.

You can see my paintings at:

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Autumn's Last Blush of Color

    Some of the trees are still sporting some autumn colors, but the leaves are quickly disappearing.  Autumn has already lost its intensity.  I took this photo yesterday while there was still a bit of yellow in the landscape.  All too soon we will be moving into the shades of gray color schemes.

You can view my paintings at:

Tuesday 14 October 2014

Adams River Salmon Run, Part Two

    The few times I was able to make my way through the Adams River Run crowds, so that I could actually see the salmon spawning, I was struck by just how many of salmon there were dotting the river.  In our Robson Valley rivers, there aren’t nearly so many in one place and the ones we have locally are much bigger in size.  The salmon we get are Chinook salmon, and they can be about 2.5 to 3 ft. (75cm-90cm) in size, and much broader.  The salmon in the Adam’s River were Sockeye salmon.  They  were slimmer and they seemed about half the length of the Chinook.
    One of the obvious characteristics of the Sockeye salmon, is that when they leave the salty ocean and begin their swim up the freshwater rivers, their color changes from a gray-blue to a bright red with a green head, and their head shape takes on a hook-like grotesque shape as they use up their reserves making their way up to the spawning grounds.  They make the whole trip without eating.

    Out in the Adams River I saw a photographer in a wet suit,  laying in the river, filming the underwater drama.  From the photo you can see just how shallow the spawning grounds are.  

    Once the salmon have given their all to laying and fertilizing their eggs, they have nothing left, and they die.  The photo on the bottom shows the corpses of two salmon.  Even thought they are dead, they are not done.  Their decaying bodies not only provide food for their young when they hatch, but also for a myriad of other creatures, bear, eagles, and hungry animals of all kind.  It was recently discovered that the salmon runs transfer a tremendous amount of nutrients from the ocean to the interior of BC.  Not only the creatures benefit, but they in turn, pass on the nutrients to the trees, thus enriching the forests.

You can see my paintings at:

Monday 13 October 2014

Adam's River Salmon Run

    For years we have been hearing about the Adam’s River Salmon Run.  Every fall the salmon leave the ocean, after 4 years out in the Pacific, and start an epic swim up the rivers in BC to lay their eggs in the creeks and rivers of the interior of the province.   Then they die.  They swim hundreds of miles, against the currents, jumping waterfalls, fighting fast water, just to fulfill their destiny.
    It is always a moving sight to see these huge fish, bodies, battered and torn, still splashing and swirling in shallow rivers, using up their last shreds of energy to spawn so that there is a next generation of salmon.  
    Salmon swim up the Fraser River.  They swim past our our property, after an 800 mile ordeal from the ocean.  We can see them in local rivers of the Robson Valley in late summer, but having heard so much about the Adam’s River Salmon Run, I thought it would be worth the 300 mile (482km) drive to see one of the world’s premier salmon runs, so yesterday, dark and early, Joan, Skye, and I climbed into the car and began our trip.
    There wasn’t much traffic on the highways, all the way down to Kamloops.  We found a bit more traffic when we got on the Trans-Canada Highway heading toward the little town of Chase, BC.  Just east of Chase, we saw an exit sign “Exit for Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park, 6 km.”  That was our destination, so we exited onto the off ramp which climbed a short slope.  Once on top of the slope, we were surprised to be confronted with a long, long, line of cars, bumper to bumper, stretching as far as we could see, across the bridge that crossed over the Trans-Canada highway, and the Adams River and the road beyond.
    “Surely, all these cars aren’t lined up for 6 km (3.7 miles),” we asked each other hopefully, but sadly they were.  We took our place within the lineup, and at a glacial pace proceeded toward the park.

    Stop, and crawl forward.  Stop, and crawl forward.  After about a half an hour, we came upon a sign which told us that the park was 2 km ahead, by this time there were cars parked on the side of the road, not a good sign.  I noticed that there was a 50m space on the opposite side of the road where cars had not yet parked, by some signs that had a “P” for parking along with some arrows pointing in both directions.
    “Should I or shouldn’t I?”
      I did.   Next time there was a gap in the oncoming traffic, I left the slow creep forward and whipped the car around to the opposite direction, and parked in the empty space, along with a few other people.   We put Skye in her leash, grabbed our sun hats, and locked the car and started off, but then the oriental guy in the Mercedes SUV, who parked behind me, asked if we could park there.
    I told him, “I guess so,” but then he said something about the signs.  I looked more closely at the “P” sign I had seen from across the road, and then noticed that there was a faded out circle with a slash over the “P’ meaning “No Parking” and the arrows showed where--right where I was parked. 
    Disgusted, we piled back into the car, now pointing in the wrong direction, took advantage of a kind person, who let us back into the long slow line heading to the park, and began our crawl again.
    Cars were parked on both sides of the road, as we slowly made our way and eventually, made it to the park entrance, where we came upon a booth in front of a parking lot.  I was never so happy to hand over $5 before in my life--because along the edges of the parking lot, there were still empty spaces.
    Once parked, we again strapped up Skye, got out of the car and joined the multitudes.  It was an unbelievably huge crowd.  I was surprised at how many oriental people there were, I would estimate 60%.  BC’s demographics are changing, but we don’t notice it in our little corner of the province.  There were people (and dogs) everywhere.  Skye was pretty freaked out by all the people and dogs, but managed to control her anxiety.  

    Before coming, in my imagination I saw a few other couples leisurely strolling along the trail that ran beside the salmon filled river, but in reality, there was a thick mob of humanity, moving slowly, making it difficult to even get to the edge of the river.     The viewing platform which I had heard about (top photo) was completely full, I gave up even trying to get to the front rails to look out over the Adams River.  A report I heard on the radio today said that “a quarter of a million people visit the park for the salmon run every year.”  It was unfortunate that this year they all decided to come on the same day we did.

    Tomorrow’s blog will actually show some salmon and not people.

You can view my paintings at:

Saturday 11 October 2014

Autumn Light

    The combination of autumn colors and the fact that the sun is taking a lower orbit, creates some striking images in the Robson Valley.  On Thursday, Joan and I stuffed ourselves at the McBride Library’s fund-raising Thanksgiving Dinner.  After finishing the meal, we waddled out the doors of the Elk’s Hall, and were confronted by the golden color of the mountain slopes as the setting sun shone upon them.  
    As you can see, the slopes of the Park Range of mountains contain a lot of deciduous trees.  A hundred years ago, there was a large forest fire that wiped out the coniferous trees that covered these slopes.  It is rumored that the surveyors, sent to survey the valley, torched the slopes to make their job easier, but who knows for sure.
    Below is a shot I took in the morning as Joan, Skye, and I were finishing up the last leg of our trail.

Take a look at my paintings.  

Friday 10 October 2014

Spoiled Animals

    Yesterday, I was using the lawn mower to mulch and collect all the leaves in our yard.  As I stopped to empty the bag that held all the chopped up leaves, I glanced over toward our front porch and noticed Lucifer, our cat, safely snuggled inside her new cat house.  She did have an older cat house, but the neighbor’s cat started using it over night, and that rendered it unusable in the eyes of Lucifer.  When we were up at Prince George on Monday, Joan saw this cat house, and bought it for our spoiled cat, then when she got it home she put an extra blanket in the bottom to make it super soft for Lucifer to lie on.
    Then, I glanced over at the sidewalk, and there sprawled our dog, Skye.  Joan had just given her a soup bone, she had recently bought for the dog.  Skye, who had just cleaned out her bowl of some dried dog food and some chunks of chicken thighs (bought and cooked especially for Skye), was now laying there working her tongue, to get out the last remnants of marrow from the soup bone.
    We sure spoil the animals around here, but its nice to make them happy.  Before I got back to mowing, I walked to the carport and got a bucket, filled it with some water, and then carried it over to the bird bath, where I cleaned out the old water and filled it with some fresh.  I like to see happy animals.

See my paintings:

Thursday 9 October 2014

More Moss and More Info on Hops

    In an earlier blog about moss, I mentioned how well moss grows in the moist dark forests that we have around here, sometimes it seems to cover all available surfaces.  The photo above shows another example.  This tree was cut down probably 15-20 years ago, and the the top of the stump appears to have made an excellent growing platform for moss.

    After reading the blog about hops, Ingeborg, a friend from Belgium sent me some more information:
     “After reading you blog I wanted to share this information with you .
Hop-shoots are in Belgium a delicacy and people pay big money for them . When the hop plant starts to grow in spring , the new shoots are unearthed and harvested . They can be eaten raw, you can blanch them shortly,sauté them in butter and serve with sauce hollandaise made of beer and many more variations . They are considered the most expensive vegetables . When you will look up recipes in english you will notice that the shoots are green in contrary here in Belgium they are kept underground until ready to harvest . ( Just the same like white asparagus contra the green ones ) . 
The white shoots are more tender and full of flavour . Maybe this will spark some interest to try it out yourself . Included a photo of the harvested hop-shoots. “

You can see my paintings at:

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Lunar Eclipse

    All yesterday on CBC radio, they were talking about the “Blood Moon”, the lunar eclipse that was supposed to happen overnight at 4:00 BC time.  It seemed unlikely that I would be conscious at that time since that is outside my normal operating hours.  Also, the weather report was for cloud and rain, so I figured that, for me, it was going to be a “no show.”
    As it happened, I did wake up at 5:00 AM and did remember about the lunar eclipse, so as an aside to my trip to the bathroom, I went outside to see what was happening.  Although there were a lot of clouds in the sky, there were also some breaks in the cloud cover.  The “Blood Moon” bit of the eclipse (during the full extent of the earth’s shadow the moon takes on an orangish, coppery color), was well over when I viewed the eclipse, but you could still see the shadow on the bottom of the moon made by the earth’s shadow.
    This is probably not the most exciting of astronomical events, but I always find them interesting to see.  Unfortunately, it seems most of the times when they happen, we have a thick covering of cloud.  Anyway if you missed it, this is what I saw.

To view my paintings, go to:

Tuesday 7 October 2014


    About all I know about hops is that it is used in the production of beer.  It seems they impart a bitter tangy flavor.  Hops grow as vines.  We planted some along the wire fence that surrounds, (a supposedly protects) our garden, to make the fence more visually pleasing.  They grow like gang-busters up the fence, eight feet (2.5m) high.  They have these green “flowers” which this time of year turn tan in color.
    It is no surprise that Germany leads the world in the production of hops.  They have been growing it there since the year 736.  Because ours are just decorative plants, we have no use for the actual hop.  Fortunately, our friend Dave Milne brews some beer for himself and he collects a small quantity of our hops crop every year to flavor his brew.

You can see my paintings at:

Sunday 5 October 2014

Changing Light

    Weather changes quickly in the mountains, and so does the light.  Below are some photos I took yesterday morning.  I took all of them within a period of half an hour.

See my paintings at:

Saturday 4 October 2014

Legacy of My Old Green Truck

    It was after dark, last night when I finally got home from my trip.  I was exhausted as a dragged myself and my backpack into the house, so I didn’t notice anything different outside.    This morning as we went out to begin our walk down the trail, Joan drew my attention toward the area where our firewood is stacked, and there sat a big pile of bucked up wood.  
    “Where did THAT come from?” I asked.
    “Gary Moore brought it by for you,” was the reply.
    For years, my old green truck sat in my pasture, rarely used and rusting away.  At one of the past Christmas Fairs where I was flogging my calendars, Gary Moore, a neighbor who lives up the road, came up to me and asked if I wanted to sell the old truck.  He evidently had been noticing it as he drove past the house, and knew I hadn’t been using it.  Joan, who didn’t like looking at it rusting away in the field, had been after me to get rid of it.  I had inquired at the junk yard, but they wanted $40 to tow it away, so I just let it sit.
    When Gary made the inquiry, I made an instant decision, and I told him, “I will GIVE it to you, if you haul it away.”  Gary, who enjoys messing with engines, was overjoyed, and so was Joan when I told her.
    I was surprised how quickly he got the old beast running when he came over to get it.  It was sad to see the old truck’s final drive, out of the driveway, because not only had I hauled a lot of hay and firewood with the old girl, but I had used “her” as the “model” in a couple of my paintings (“Old Green Truck” and “Patina”).
    About a year after Gary got the truck, I ran into him, and asked about the truck, he told me he was pleased with the condition of the engine, and said he was going to bring me a load of firewood, inquiring, how long the pieces should be.  I told him no longer than 16 inches (40cm).
    Years passed and I never saw the firewood, and figured that Gary had forgotten all about it, but it didn’t really matter since I had given him the truck for free and was happy to have it gone.
    While I was visiting down in Indiana, Joan said the old green truck came down the driveway loaded with wood, and Gary got out and told Joan that this was the firewood, and put it in the pile you see.  I was deeply touched that Gary had remembered and had come through even though after all this time.  I was happy to get the wood, because you can never have too much firewood.
    Below is the painting “Old Green Truck” that I did when the truck was parked out in my pasture reflecting a sunset. 

You can see my other paintings at: