Tuesday 31 March 2015

Our Picket Fence

    It is quite common to hear in old movies that people dream about eventually living in a cute little house with a white picket fence around it.  Well, I guess I can say that I have achieved part of that dream, because our house does have a picket fence around it, actually most of our property is surrounded by a picket fence, but it isn’t white, it is a cedar picket fence.
    The fence was built by the retired guy that built our house back in the early 1960’s, and it is impressive how much work he must he must have put into splitting all the cedar pickets and constructing the fence.  From the length of the fence I estimate that about 1,800 pickets were used.  The guy probably went out into the bush, found the cedar logs, cut them to about 4 ft. (1.2m) lengths, then using a froe, split the logs into pickets about 3 to 5 inches (7 to 12 cm) in width.  He also had to split all of the cedar fence posts, dig the holes and set them into the ground before he could nail all those pickets onto the rails.  It seems like it must have been a tremendous project, all the while he was building the original house.
    The fence is now about 50 years old.  With its aging it has taken on a very rustic patina.  It is now covered with lichen and moss as you can see in the photos.

Look at my paintings:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Monday 30 March 2015

Surprise, Vern

    The photo above shows Vern, turning in surprise and disbelief, at the sudden eruption of “Happy Birthday” after he walked into what he thought was an empty Elk’s Hall in McBride.  It was his 70th Birthday and he had spent the day as he always did on his birthday, working outside with his chainsaw.  He had never had a birthday party except in the past with his immediate family.  This surprise birthday party for Vern included a potluck dinner and presents, was attended by 30 friends.
    Remote and isolated small villages tend to have a lot of unique and genuine characters.  Vern is one of them.  He spent his whole life in the same small farm in the Robson Valley.  For most of his life he worked on that little farm taking care of his mother.  His life was pretty sheltered.  I was surprised to learn last year that he had never been to the annual Dunster Ice Cream Social a big community event just 15 miles from his home.
    With the death of his mother, Vern has really expanded his horizons.  Now we see him everywhere, at square dancing, at the library, out on hikes in the mountains, doing trail work, helping with the community garden, and ripping down the highway on his bicycle.  He is making up for lost time. 
    This summer he is planning a fund-raising event for the library, gathering pledges to sponsor him in a 200 kilometer biking and hiking ordeal from McBride to Berg Lake in Mt. Robson Park in one day.
    Below are some more shots of Vern’s surprise birthday party.

Take a look at my paintings:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Sunday 29 March 2015

Old Document Found in Library Book

    Joan is always checking out cook books at the McBride Library.  The library is not a huge big one so the selection is not enormous.  The other day she checked out a cook book on coffee cakes, and other such sweets, and as she was leafing through it she was surprised to find amongst its pages, a note that she had written five years ago.
    In 2010, we had a family reunion in McBride.  Family members came from the US and Holland.  Since it was a special occasion, we were going to take a break from our usual healthy diet and have a “Deep Fry” Day.   This led Joan to research recipes for doughnuts and Buffalo wings.  
    She found the old note on the doughnut page of the library book and the note was a recipe for the Buffalo wings.  
    I remember the big feast of deep fried foods, it was delicious.  As everyone snacked on the greasy food, our relatives from Holland were glued to the TV watch the Final in the World Cup Soccer game.  While the food was great, the score was not--Holland lost.

Look at my paintings:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Saturday 28 March 2015

Sampling the Waters

    We walk around the pond a couple of times every day.  Even if Skye has just had a big drink of water from his bowl at the house, she still always stops to sample the water at this particular place at the pond.  I guess it tastes especially good from this location.

Take a look at my paintings:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Friday 27 March 2015

Ice Free Pond Day

    I ask your indulgence.  I know this really doesn’t matter much to anyone but me, but it is very important to me--yesterday was the first ice free day of my pond.  It is yet another reassuring sign that Spring has arrived.  Because it has been such an important day, I usually mention it in my blog.  I have noted several times this year that spring weather has arrived early, and by checking back on my passed blogs that is certainly the case.
    Last year the pond became ice free on April 20.  In 2013 it was Apr. 15, and in 2012 it finally melted on April 21, the year before that it was Apr. 22.  As you can see it generally melts after the middle of April, and this year it happened in March.
    It is always a treat to see the reflections and sparkles of open water when we look out our window.  Yesterday was also the first day I saw some ducks on the pond.  Normally they start arriving when the pond is still mostly ice covered.

Feel free to view my paintings:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Thursday 26 March 2015

Indian Trail Trees

    It occurs rarely, but sometimes you discover a bit of information that really peaks your interests and stimulates your thoughts.  It happened to me last night when I read an email that my brother Roy sent concerning Indian trail trees.  I had never heard of such things, but the minute I saw a photo of one, I knew exactly what he was talking about.  I immediately thought of the “Elephant Tree” which was an odd looking tree that was a local landmark for our family.  In the photo above you can see a 1935 photo of the tree.  The young girl is my 94 year old mother.
    It seems that Indians (Native Americans, Amerinds, or First Nation peoples) purposely deformed trees to serve as markers along their trails.  Some of these trees, which were usually white oaks, can still be found in the forests of North America.  I was totally unaware of this practice, and now having seen some photos of other such trees, (Google “Indian Trail Trees) I am sure that our Elephant Tree was one of these trail markers.
    As a kid I was extremely interested in Indians.  I had an arrowhead collection and loved to read about them and dream about becoming and archeologist digging up Indian artifacts.  All this time in my neighborhood there was an actual living structure with Indian origin, and I was totally unaware of its connection with those first inhabitants of our community.  I wish I would have known.
    It is really a shame that there was so little known about those early people that had once lived in our neighborhood.  I grew up thinking that all physical traces of them had disappeared under European settlement.   I find it a bit heartbreaking that the once standing Elephant Tree, was part of the Indian legacy, and I didn’t know about it.  I wish I had more photos of it.
    The Elephant tree is no longer standing, but it was located within sight of Darmstadt Road in Evansville, Indiana in a wooded area beside Oak Ridge Cemetery.  I did write an earlier blog about the Elephant tree in 2014:  

You can see my paintings at:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Wednesday 25 March 2015

Cat in the Window

    One thing about cats, they know how to relax.  The other day when I walked through the yard, I glanced toward the bay window and there was Lucifer stretched out on her fluffy pad, luxuriating in the warm rays of the sun as she lazily watched the world go by from her perch.

Check out my paintings:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Tuesday 24 March 2015

Ice Textures

\     The over-night freezing of the pond left some interesting textures of ice.  If you use a bit of imagination you might be able to see the reflection of the snow-capped mountains and light-blue sky on the ice. 

You can see my paintings:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Monday 23 March 2015

Waterlily Under Ice

    My pond can’t seem to make up it’s mind whether to melt or freeze.  During the day it melts away and during the night it freezes again.  The spring-like temperatures pushed this waterlily into the growth  mode and it was interesting to see it’s spring green color through the film of ice that covered the pond in the morning.

Take a look at my paintings:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Sunday 22 March 2015

Elk Through the Snow

    Yesterday we forced ourselves to go to the McBride airfield to walk the dog in really miserable weather.  A wet snow was blown by strong winds.  I didn’t expect much from the walk except for misery, but once we got out on the runway, Joan noticed a big herd of elk (Wapiti) which looked like ghosts animals on the horizon.  
    I tried several times to get a decent photo of the elk.  It was difficult since the snow was blowing directly at the camera when I aimed it at the elk.  I was happy when I you could at least sort of see the elk when I got to look at the photos I took.
    I was right about our walk, it was very miserable, but at least there was an unexpected reward in seeing the huge herd of elk.  I haven’t seen any elk all winter long, and suddenly here is a giant herd of them.

You can see my photos at:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Saturday 21 March 2015

Making Charcoal

    When my yard debris pile burned down to coals, I decided that I would try to make some charcoal for the garden.   Charcoal is created by burning wood while starving it of oxygen.  To do this I just put an old canner over a pile of the glowing coals (photo above).  This limited the air that the coals got and instead of burning away a leaving a bit of ash, they burned without oxygen leaving charcoal which is just carbon.
    Charcoal is a really interesting substance.  It can last for more than 10,000 years without breaking down.  Recent archeological discoveries in the Amazon, show that there was once a civilization living there that used charcoal in order to farm in very wet areas to prevent nutrients from leaching out of the soil.  Since I learned that I have been very interested in putting charcoal in my garden, and over the last couple of years have added charcoal to my garden, but this is the first time I have made some.  You can read more about “biochar” in a blog I wrote a few years ago at this link:

    My little charcoal making experiment did work, and I spread the charcoal I made on my garden.  You can see it in the photo below.

Look at my photo-realistic paintings at:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Friday 20 March 2015


    Here is something I haven’t done in decades--burning a pile of debris.  It is not that we don’t have a lot of yard debris around, because we do, a huge amount.  We have lots of trees, and bits of them are always falling to the ground, but instead of burning all the sticks and branches, I have been piling them.  I don’t like the idea of putting carbon in the air just to get rid of things, but now those piles have gotten so big I am not sure what to do about them.  
    Last fall when we had the tree trimmers in they topped some trees out by the road, and didn’t have time to chip up the branches.  There were a lot of branches all tangled up on the ground.  Faced with such a big job, I finally gave in and decided to just burn them.  
    I admit burning piles is a pleasant, enjoyable, and satisfying job, but it still bothers me about putting more carbon in the air just to get rid of unwanted sticks and branches.

My paintings can be seen at:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Thursday 19 March 2015

Pushing the Spring Envelope

    In the Central Interior of BC, spring-like conditions do not always arrive at the same time every year.  This year they arrived about a month early.  When those conditions come, things happen very quickly.  There is still ice on my pond and still have a few piles of snow on my yard.  However, animals are always pushing the spring envelope, eager to get on with their work.  Yesterday I saw my first robins, and killed my first mosquitoes.

Look at my paintings:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Wednesday 18 March 2015

Birds and Windows

    Monday morning while I was painting (note the bit of green paint on my finger tip)  there was a loud thud on the window behind me.  I knew immediately what it was--a bird had planned to fly through the house, had suddenly come up against an unseen plate of glass from the window.  This is a pretty common occurrence, millions of birds die each year from collisions with glass.  I have had owls, hawks, grouse, hummingbirds, and a myriad of other fowl slam into our windows.
    Because this has happened so many times before, many years ago I strung up fine nylon netting across a lot of our windows, but over the years some of blown down and that is what happened to the window this bird had slammed into.  ( I have since re-strung it across the window.)
    As soon as I had heard the “thud” on the window, I walked out on the balcony to see if I could find the bird.  Because the thud was so loud, I was expecting to see the corpse of a bigger bird laying on the balcony floor.  I was surprised to see this small sparrow.  I am notoriously bad at identifying little brown birds, but I think this might be an American Tree Sparrow which was on his way north for the summer.  
    Often when the bird hits the glass, they are not killed, but merely stunned.  Fortunately, that is what happened in this case.  It was immobilized by the collision, but its eyes were open.  I picked it up took the photo and put it on the railing.  I wobbled a bit, and I steadied it and was going to leave it standing there until it came back to consciousness. 
    As I watched, the sparrow started to lose its balance again teetering to one side, then falling off of the railing.  During its free-fall it suddenly regained its wits, starting flapping its wings, and flew off.  Hopefully it has no longterm effects with its crash into the window.

View my photo-realistic paintings:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Tuesday 17 March 2015

First Butterfly

    This coming Friday marks the official start of Spring.  Physically, that doesn’t usually mean much around our neck of BC, because there is still a lot of winter-like weather ahead, but this year things are different.  Our unusually mild weather has made it feel like spring outside.  We are about a month ahead of where we normally are this time of year.
    I have been hearing the honking of geese as they make a stop in the Robson Valley during their spring migration North.  Yesterday I even saw my first butterfly of the season flittering around the unused firewood in my woodpile.  The only snow that is left in our yard are a couple of remnants from  the huge piles that were made by my snowblower months ago.
    I still don’t trust the weather enough to put the snowblower away, but it does make me feel foolish to see it sitting there on the carport with the yard bare of snow, and the temperatures being so mild (12C, 54F).

Take a look at my paintings:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Monday 16 March 2015

Helicopter Hauling

    Whenever we are walking our dog Skye at the McBride airfield, we always keep an ear tuned for incoming aircraft.  It happens very rarely, but yesterday afternoon we heard the chop of helicopter rotors and after scanning the skies, finally saw the speck off in the distance.  As it got closer we were able to discern that there were two specks.  Down beneath the helicopter was a snowmobile dangling from a long-line.
    The mountains surrounding McBride have become a destination for snowmobilers.  “Sledders” come from Alberta and Saskatchewan to tear around in the deep snow of the alpine.  Of course this means occasionally a snowmobile wrecks or malfunctions and if you are way out in the back country often the only way to get your expensive machine out is to charter a helicopter and pay the big bucks to have your snowmobile hauled out.
    Whenever is see a helicopter slinging cargo I think of an experience that I had while I was working for the BC Forest Service.  There had been a forest fire way back one of the tributaries of the then untouched Morkill River.  Because there had never been any logging in the area, there were no roads anywhere close to where the fire was.  A firefighting crew and camp had been ferried in by helicopter and after a few days the fire had been extinguished and the crew dismantled the camp and they were flown out.  Firefighting equipment and tents were left there.
    I was asked to fly out in a helicopter and collect all the remaining supplies.  I was always up for a helicopter ride, so was flown out and after a 30 minute flight, the chopper landed at the campsite.   The pilot got two big nets out of the helicopter and we proceeded to load the chainsaws, fuel cans, “piss tanks” (hand-tank pumps), polaskis, tents, and cookware into the two nets.  Then the pilot took off and hovered just an arm-reach over my head and I hooked the line from one of the nets onto the rocking underbelly of the helicopter.  This being done, I ducked down and got out of the way of the helicopter and watched as it lifted and then disappeared over the mountains on the horizon.
    When the helicopter was gone I had time to kill until it returned for the second net, and in this void of activity, the thought struck me that I was totally alone in the wilderness, and that there was probably not another person or even a road within 40 kilometers (30 miles) in any direction.  It was a bit of a sobering thought, considering how populated most of the world is.
    Nothing happened during my isolation, and after about an hour the helicopter returned and hovered while I attached the second netful of supplies.  Helicopters weren’t allowed to carry passengers while slinging load, so I had to wait another hour after it’s second load for it to return and pick me up.
    Being all alone in the wilderness, so far away from anyone was one of those unique feelings that I will always remember.

Look at my paintings:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Sunday 15 March 2015

My iPad and Clock Radio

    I spend a good many hours listening to CBC radio.  When I paint I usually listen to it through the computer.  I really like the fact that if I don’t like what is on in my time zone I can go to an earlier time zone and listen to a different show.  I often use the same “time shifting” at night.  
    When it is time for bed, I usually do 40 minutes or so of reading, then I turn on the clock radio to “NAP”  This allows me to listen to the radio as I doze off, and after an hour the radio turns itself off.  On weekends, I don’t particularly like the shows that are on the radio when I go to bed so I use the CBC app and timer on my iPad, to listen to a show in the Newfoundland time zone as I fade into slumber land.
    If I wake up in the middle of the night, I often press the “Nap” so the radio will play for an hour then turn itself off.  I glued a round plastic plug on top of the “NAP” button so I could easily feel and identify it in the dark without turning the lights on.  You can see it in the photo above the “2”.  I smeared a glob white acrylic paint on the button to the right of it for identification in the dark.  That button turns the radio off.
    Last night I was listening to the iPad when I went to sleep.  I woke up in the middle of the night and heard CBC playing.  In my confusion I assumed since the power went off yesterday, it probably screwed up my clock radio settings which caused the radio to go on in the middle of the night.  I didn’t want to turn the light on, so I just reached over and felt the “Off” button on the clock radio.  I pressed it but nothing happened--CBC kept playing.  
    I figured I didn’t press the off button hard enough so I pressed it again, this time with more pressure.  Again CBC just continued to broadcast uninterrupted.  It was at this point that I realized that CBC was not coming from the clock radio, but the iPad.  I had forgotten to set the timer when I went to bed, so the iPad just kept playing throughout the night.
    Once I realized this, I reached over in the dark and grabbed my iPad and lifted the iPad cover off which caused the screen on the iPad to light up.  It was a bit of a bright shock for the eyes in the darkness of the room.  Then before I could turn CBC off on the iPad, I had to punch out my security code number.  I did this, then turned CBC off.
    All this activity woke me up a lot more than I wanted, but fortunately, I was able to go back to sleep without much effort.
    All this technology is nice to have, but in the confusion of being woken up in the middle of the night, it can be a chore for the half-asleep brain to figure out what is happening.

You can see my paintings at:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Saturday 14 March 2015

Getting Something Off My Chest

    Every once in a while I just have to get something off of my chest.  Usually it is Lucifer our cat.  I’m not certain what the attraction is, maybe it gives her a position of power, or perhaps it is just an opportunity to steal my body heat, but whatever the cause, Lucifer likes to lie on top of me, rising and falling as I breathe.
    I am pretty a pretty tolerant person and often sacrifice my own comfort, so that Lucifer is not disturbed, but sometimes she starts making me so hot, I just have to get her off.  She never takes this personally, because next time I am laying down in bed reading, up she comes and settles back down on top of me.
    If you look carefully at the photo, you might see that Skye, our dog, is also there lying on the bed beside my feet.

View my paintings:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Friday 13 March 2015

Murals of McBride

    Yesterday, I had to take my truck into town to get it worked on.  After dropping it off, I had to wait for Joan to get out of her knitting group so she could take me home.  I was a bit early for the pick up so I walked out of the garage wondering how I was going to kill some time.
    Once outside I glanced to my left and there was the gigantic mural photo of some of McBride’s early trainmen standing beside a monstrous steam locomotive.  This mural was done by Matthew Wheeler a local photographer and artist, who figured out a way to enlarge an old photo into this enormous size.  It is a remarkable achievement.  I am amazed both at the amazing sharpness of the old photo and Matthews ability to enlarge and mount it.
    McBride also has a few more murals.  Below, you can see the mural local artist Glen Frear painted on the side of Scotia Bank.  The photo cuts off about half of the train, because part of my view was blocked by parked cars, but the painting of the train runs the entire length of the building.
    At the bottom is a shot of another one of Matthew Wheeler’s historical photo murals showing a team of old winter loggers.  These murals certainly spruce up the town and are a lot more interesting to look at than the boring sides of the buildings.  They demonstrate some of the creativity and talent that McBride has to offer.

You can see my paintings at:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Wednesday 11 March 2015

The Brown Season

    Now that most of the snow has disappeared from the valley bottoms of the Robson Valley, we are moving into what I refer to as the “Brown Season.”  While it is nice to add brown and tan to the long held gray and white color palette of winter, I still find this a very frustrating time of the year.  As the temperatures become milder, I feel a great need to be outside doing gardening things, but what a person can do is very limited.  The ground is still frozen or too cold for planting.  Many of those places that do thaw out during the day have turned to mud, which in itself is not very conducive to outside activities. 
    Any one who reads this blog periodically knows how much I enjoy being out poking around in the bush, discovering unexpected beauty and plants growing in the woods.  This time of year there is just not much happening out there as far as plant life is concerned.
    In a month the brown will begin to turn to green, but until then I feel pretty much like I am in a holding pattern.

You can view my photo-realistic paintings:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Tuesday 10 March 2015

Nailing It

    I have been doing weekly cartoons for the local paper since the early 1980’s.  For the past year I have been doing different cartoons for two local papers.  That means I have done a lot of cartoons over the decades.  Most of them are based on humorous everyday things that happen, but periodically I get mad about something and do a more political cartoon to get it off of my chest.
    While I throw a lot of cartoons out there, and people come up and tell me that they really thought a particular one was funny, or that they cut a favorite out and have it taped to their refrigerator, I have never gotten such a big blast of positive responses as I have gotten for the one you see above, which was in one of the papers last week.  Here is the back story.
    Last fall in McBride’s municipal election, the voters threw out the old government that had been doing a lot of stuff in secret, and were unresponsive to the desires of the public.  In their place a new slate of municipal officials were elected to replace them.  Since then the booted politicians have been on a campaign to cause trouble for the newly elected officials, trying to make them look bad.  Blogs were created for this purpose, and a never ending line of negative things have been tried to paint the new council in a bad light.
    I was getting pretty fed up with all the sour grapes, and came up with the idea for the cartoon.  When it was published, it certainly hit a chord with the public, and I have gotten a huge amount of positive feedback, including phone calls, and  people stopping me on the street to tell me it was a great cartoon.

    It doesn’t happen very often, but it feels good to occasionally really “nail it.”

My paintings can be seen at:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Monday 9 March 2015

Moody Ice

    Despite the warming temperatures, my pond is still covered with a thick layer of ice.  Here are some photos.

Take a look at my paintings:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Sunday 8 March 2015

Seedy Saturday

    It doesn’t take much mild weather after a long Canadian winter to get gardeners thinking about the coming growing season.  This being the case, enthusiasts packed the Dunster Schoolhouse yesterday for the annual “Seedy Saturday” which is held every year in March.  It was a chance to hear talks on various gardening topics, exchange seeds, and visit with friends and neighbors in the Robson Valley.
    Yesterday I made the drive to Dunster to attend the event.  It was the first time I was able to attend and I was not disappointed.  I listened as Stefi McLean explained her growing techniques and love of perennials.  Then Penny Waechter (photo above), who has a business supplying hanging baskets to various locations in Jasper, told us her secrets of how to make the flowering explosions.
    After a delicious free lunch, Jill Howard (photo below) led us into the world of garlic and how to successfully grow it.  Her talk was followed up by Garry and Wendy Lowe (bottom photo) local professional farmers who ship their organic produce all over BC, who explained how they extend their growing season using portable hoop greenhouses.
    It was all very inspirational and I was eager to get out and put my hands in the dirt, but I will have to wait because the ground is still frozen and will be for a month.

You can see my paintings at:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Saturday 7 March 2015

Joan Waffles

    Much to my delight, Joan spends a lot of time exploring food ideas.  She monitor cooking shows on TV and checks out food ideas on the internet.  Somewhere she heard about cooking bacon on a waffle iron and was curious to give it a try.  We had an open package of turkey bacon in the fridge, and yesterday she put some slices onto the waffle iron and what you see in the photo was the result.
    The bacon cooked rapidly and was soon on my bread and ready to eat.  She later tried some latkes (potato pancakes) on the waffle iron.  They were crunchy, tasty, and also a success.  Who would have thought a waffle iron could be used for something besides making waffles.

My photo-realistic paintings can be seen at:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Friday 6 March 2015

Hidden Garden

    Yesterday, as we were doing our walk at the McBride airfield, I happened to glance down at the base of an icy pile of snow.  Melting had caused a mini cave to have opened up beneath the ice and the ground.  In that tiny space clumps of moss were thriving and sending out their spore structures.  This time of year I am so hungry for any signs of “life” that I lay down on the tarmac and took this photo.

My photo-realistic paintings can be seen at:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Thursday 5 March 2015

Tales of Turkey Jerky

    I try not to eat mammals, but I am too weak to deny myself of other animal products, so that leaves me eating, chicken, turkey, and fish.  Whenever we make the drive up to Prince George, we have fallen into the unhealthy habit on our return trip, of always having a big bag of chips, or cheezies, to munch on.  We realize it is awful junk food, but we seem to need something like that to entertain our mouths driving home.
    Many years ago, we discovered turkey jerky.  It is tasty, and whether it is healthier or not I don’t know, but it feels healthier.  The problem is it is really hard to find around here, and as a result, we only have it about once every two years.  Luckily, on a past trip to Costco, we did find some, and so we bought two bags, but we didn’t get a whole lot of enjoyment from them.
    One bag disappeared almost immediately.  Upon returning home from our shopping trip, Joan nonchalantly tossed one of the turkey jerky bags onto our kitchen counter.  I seems like a miracle, but the bag hit perfectly at a narrow crack between our wall and the kitchen counter, and slid through the narrow crack, disappearing forever.  I haven’t yet figured out how to get it out, short of dismantling our kitchen cabinets.
    Okay, that was one bag down, one to go.
    We started out faring better with the second bag.  Joan, Skye (our dog) and I drove up to Prince George on Tuesday, and broke into the turkey jerky on the drive up.  After such a long period without, it was good to once again savor the turkey jerky as we drove.  When we finished with our small snack Joan resealed the bag and slipped it into a catch-all bag that hangs behind the driver’s seat.
    Once in Prince, we made several stops to do our shopping.  While in Costco, Joan asked if we needed to buy any junk food for our trip home, and I stoically said, “No, we’ve got the turkey jerky.”  We did check in Costco, to see if they had more turkey jerky, so that we could stock up, but alas, they had none. 
    After returning to the car, we noticed that Skye had a guilty look on her face.  When Joan investigated, she discovered the reason--in our absence, Skye had broken into and devoured the remaining contents of our turkey jerky.
    As a result, we ended up again buying some junk food to eat on our drive back to McBride.  

You can view my paintings at:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Wednesday 4 March 2015


    When I was a kid I first saw Emmy Seegmueller as a threat.  We idolized our Uncle Bill.  He was an adventurous bachelor, who loved to travel, going to exotic places like “out West”, Alaska and Mexico.  He got to drive the tractor on my grandfather’s farm, he took us kids to movies, and let us play Chuck Berry and other rock & roll 45‘s from his collection on his record player.  Emmy seemed a threat to all those things because my Uncle Bill was going to marry her.  And it happened, Emmy Seegmueller became Emmy Schmidt.
    Of course, it all turned out differently than our young minds imagined, because we soon discovered  what Uncle Bill knew all along--that Emmy was a loving, warm, generous, and talented person.  It didn’t take her long to become the central organizer in most of our family’s activities.  She hosted and cooked delicious meals, and whenever there was a family event, it was usually because of her initiative.  
    We spent many a hour eating and visiting in the warm light of “Bud” and Emmy’s comfortable house.  Whenever Joan and I would travel down to Indiana,  once we had visited with our immediate family, we were always eager to drive down the road to see what Bud and Emmy were up to.
     Emmy was usually up to quilting.  She was a very talented and creative quilter, always having an intricate and colorful quilt on the go, and another one in the planning stage.  She and Bud especially loved to spend time in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.   Their frequent camping trips eventually resulted in her getting a yearly gig, dressed as a pioneer woman, sitting on the front porch of a log cabin, quilting and explaining the skill to curious tourist.  She was wonderfully gregarious.
    Sadly Emmy died a couple of days ago.  I know our visits to Indiana will never be quite the same, because of the huge hole she leaves in our family.  We loved you Emmy.

You can see my painting "Hoosiers" featuring Emmy at:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Monday 2 March 2015


    Even though it is now obsolete technology, I still have my record albums.  I can no longer play  them, without a bit of work.  I do still have a turntable that I could hook up, but I am not sure of the condition of the needle, or how well it functions.  
    When I was growing up these records were such a huge and important part of my life.  I put in a lot of hours to earn enough money to buy a record, and despite my parents disapproval, it was a sacrifice I was happy to make.  The music that they provided gave me a lot of enjoyment and got me through a lot of hard times.  Many of these records would “snap, crackle, and pop” when I listened to them, others would skip, but I played the records so much that those audio problems became a part of the songs.  I remember stacking pennies on top of the stylus in an attempt to weight the needle down in the groove so it would skip.
    I was surprised about 20 years ago when a friend, who was baby sitting for some children that were brought over to her house, told me that the kids had never seen a record player and were very intrigued by how it worked when they saw one in her house.  That was the first time I really felt the march of time.  How could something that had been such a big part of my life suddenly be obscure and old.  I remembered being similarly intrigued as a child the first time I came across an old Victrola. 
    I have kept up with the changing technology.  This music that I first bought as an LP, I later put on a reel to reel tape recorder, then bought again as a cassette, after which I purchased I lot of the same songs as CD’s.  Now a good chunk of this music is on my computer and iPad as digital music.
    Oh well, here sit my records.  Even if they are no longer get played, they bring back a lot of good memories, and fill up a space underneath the television.

See my paintings:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Sunday 1 March 2015

Putting Snow to Use

    Whenever I clear my driveway, using either a shovel or a snowblower, I create piles of snow along the edges.  The snow-piles usually just sit there until the warmer weather make them slowly melt away.  Yesterday I actually put one of these piles of snow to use--I used it instead of a ladder.  
    I like to prune off the top of my cherry and crab apple trees, so that when the summer arrives we can sit on the lanai and view the Cariboo Mountains without the top of the fruit trees blocking the horizon.  Normally to prune the trees I need to drag out and stand on the step ladder, so that I can reach the top branches.  
    I realized yesterday that the piles of snow that line the drive were high enough to enable me to just stand on them instead of using a ladder in order to prune the top of the trees.  Being a lazy sort of person, when I saw that I could do the job without dragging the ladder out of the shop, I immediately grabbed the pruners and started working on the trees.

See my paintings:  www.davidmarchant.ca