Tuesday 30 June 2015

Dunster Ice Cream Social, 2015

    They advertise it as “socially sanctioned gluttony” and that pretty much sums it up.  We went to the annual Dunster Ice Cream Social on Saturday, and the photo above shows what I consumed.  (That is a regular size paper plate in case you were wondering.)
    Here is how it works, you walk along the tables that are covered with various types of desserts, (pies, cakes, squares, etc)   You point out what you would like, and they put some of it onto your plate.  You continue on down the line, adding more and more, until your plate is full, then you reach the last table where they are scooping out the ice cream.  
    At this point, you think, “Well, I got this much, I might as well have some ice cream too,”  so you point out what kinds of ice cream you want and if there is not any room left on your plate they just stack it on top.  
    The Ice Cream Social is also a celebration of Canada Day which happens tomorrow, but after eating all of the above, I had to apologetically decline a serving of the Canada Day Birthday cake.

View my paintings:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Monday 29 June 2015

Castle Mountain Hydro Project: The Power Plant

    Yesterday I wrote about the intake and penstock, today I will look at the power plant.   In the photo above you can see the bare ground where the penstock is buried which goes down to the power plant.  There the water in the 48” (1.2m) pipe is forced through a 4 inch (10cm) nozzle where it hits a wheel with cup-like appendages with great force, causing it to turn the turbines, generating the electricity.
    The force of the water is so great that the cement pad that the power plant sits on had to be 11 ft (3.35 m) thick.  The water is then channeled back into the river.  The electricity is sent through transmission lines and joins BC’s main electrical grid, I am guessing 30km (18 miles) away.  It will pour 6 megawatts of power into the grid at the point of connection for 7 months a year.  
    This is great news for McBride, which during the summer of 2003 had to exist without electricity for a month when the transmission lines from its far away main source of power were destroyed in a forest fire.  Castle Mountain will now, in case of a similar emergency, be able to supply the community with the power it needs, otherwise the power just goes onto the grid.  The building of the hydro plant put something like 3 million dollars into the community, employing a lot of locals.  
    Below are photos of one of the two generators and the outflow which takes the used water back to the river.

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

Sunday 28 June 2015

Castle Mountain Hydro Project

    I am having a hard time putting into words just how impressed, on so many levels, I was today when I went on a tour of the Castle Creek Hydro Project.  It is an example of generating electricity without flooding valleys, or putting carbon into the atmosphere.  It is what is called a “Run of the River” generating site, where water is collected high on a mountain, channeled into a penstock or pipe, then is carried downhill by gravity where its pressure turns turbines which generates the power.
    One thing that I was quite impressed with is that it is a local endeavor, created and built by local folks.  It was not some big company from far away that came in here with a lot of outside people and built it, it was friends and people I know, who live in our tiny isolated community that saw the possibility and struggled to overcome enormous obstacles to make it a reality.  
    It is often said of in the Robson Valley, “There are so many talented people who live here.” and considering that in this area there are only about 7-800 people, it is amazing the wide range of exceptional abilities that they possess.  Because I know many of the individuals involved, I am aware of just how important our environment is to them, and they kept protecting the environment and important consideration throughout the planning and construction of the project.
    There was an enormous amount of planning that had to be done before construction could begin.  I think they said it all began 10 years ago.  Permits and all kind of environmental research had to be completed before permission from the province was given.  Working through the winter in the bush, collecting data, snowshoeing, camping out, wading in the icy water to calculate the winter flow of the water which had to be determined.  Layout of roads, penstock routes, everything had to be figured out.  One person jokingly said today, “a lot of old hippies had to pour through a lot of books.”
    I can’t get over how difficult it must have been to complete this project.  It is situated way up Castle Creek, beyond what could be accessed by a logging road.  A new road had to be built through the bush and along the mountain slopes, big machines and equipment had to be brought in to create the infrastructure for the intake, penstock, and generating plant in the raw wilderness of the Castle Creek headwaters.  Concrete had to be made (and heated) as it was needed throughout the winter.  Luckily both gravel and sand was discovered along the site as the thing was being built.
    I was aware of the project but didn’t realized that the scale of the thing and the difficulty of construction was so great.  The penstock is 48 inches (1.2m) in diameter and is 4.6 km (2.9 miles) in length.  It makes an elevation drop of 287m (940 ft).  It takes only 12% of the water in the river and that is returned back into the river at the bottom.
     The sections of the fiberglass pipe which is used in the upper sections of the penstock were manufactured with all it’s turns and angles in Louisiana (a long way from BC), the lower sections had to be made of steel because of the increased pressure that occurs there.
    The fiberglass portion had to be carefully buried and surrounded by protective sand.  One section is above ground where it crosses a ravine, and sits on top of an enormous I-beam that was once was part of a bridge in Vancouver (see photo below).  Every time there is a change of angle in the fiberglass penstock it had to be secured with a huge cement buttress to contain the pressure.  It is always so amazing to my simple mind just how complicated the engineering is on building things correctly.
    More on Castle Mt. tomorrow.

Look at my paintings:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Saturday 27 June 2015

Cloud Shots

    Here are a couple of shots of the clouds that I took the other day while walking the dog at the airport.  Anvil-shaped clouds usually mean stormy weather brewing.

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

Thursday 25 June 2015

Cartoon: Enemy at the Door

    Every time we open the door, whether it is to go out, to come in, or to let the dog or cat come in or go out, they are there waiting for us--the mosquitoes.  They are quick to take advantage of the smallest crack in the house’s defenses, and it only takes a few to disrupt what you are doing in the house, and is particularly irritating at night when we are trying to sleep.
    Of course, outside it is even more horrible.  I was driven close to a panic yesterday when I carried the cat litter box out to the weedy area near the sewage lagoon where I empty it.  I was trapped with both hands on the box, or trying to hold the box and shovel out the bits, when they brutally attacked.  In my nose, around my eyes, buzzing my ears, stinging my neck--I almost lost it.
    I am really hoping that this plague will soon end.  The weeds are starting to take over the garden and I have more thistles to cut in the pasture, but it is very hard to force myself to do 

anything outside.

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

Wednesday 24 June 2015

Vern Pawloske: One Tough Cookie

    Vern Pawloske has always been one of the Robson Valley’s unique characters.  He has lived his entire life here, running the small off-the-grid family farm with his mother.  He grew up fairly isolated without experiencing those cultural things most of us grew up with.  After the death of his mother, his life changed drastically, suddenly he could be seen everywhere in McBride.  He volunteered and worked on community endeavors, and took part in social events for the first time.
    A few years ago at the library, he learned how to use the computer and how to send emails.  He bought himself a digital camera and started taking photos, last winter he even bought himself a smart phone, and now he no longer has to go to a neighbor’s house to make a phone call.
    During the summer months he lets the insurance on his truck lapse and starts depending on a bicycle, often making the 20 km  (12 mile) round trip to McBride, several times a day, so I knew he was no slouch.  When we were on hikes in the mountains and someone would be pointed out way up ahead, Vern would take off and be the first one on the peak.
    It was last fall when I heard Vern first talk about his plan to bike from his home (just east of McBride) to Mt. Robson, then hike up to Adolphous Lake and then bike back home all in one day.  The total distance for the biking and hiking is 200 km (124 miles), not to mention all the elevation he was going to have to deal with.  It sounded like a pretty crazy idea to me, but Vern seemed determined and told me he was going to do it this summer.
    I thought he would let the idea drop over our long winter, but then heard Vern say that he was going to take pledges to raise money for the library.  This meant that the idea became public knowledge and I knew that it would be hard for Vern not to do it.  
    I worried about Vern and his big bike/hike.  When spring arrived and the roads cleared of snow, Vern started coming to town again on the bike, but not his fancy 27 speed, but his 3 wheeler so he could carry food and supplies home.  I thought he should be out building up endurance for his trip.  A couple of weeks ago I asked him if he had been hiking any mountains this year to prepared for his hike to Berg and Adolphous Lake, and he told me “No.”
    Vern is not one of those exercise addicts that spends all of his time jogging and working out, he just keeps doing his normal life sort of things, and I am sure I was not the only one that worried about his daylong fundraising endeavor.  A couple of days before his trip I saw him walking down the sidewalk in McBride and tried to tell him not to feel that he had to do this at the expense of his health, if he started to experience problems, just stop I told him, don’t let the pressure to succeed cause you real physical problems.  Vern just told me that he could do it without any problems.
    Sunday was the big day.  Vern got up at 2:00 AM, he was on his bike at 3:00 and was pedaling down Hwy 16 in the dark.  The route to Mt. Robson Park is not a level one.  That stretch of the highway is full of long hills and valleys.  He completed the 75 km bike to Mount Robson at 7:00.  He had to abandon his plan to bike part of the way up the trail because of a downed tree, so proceeded up the slopes of Mt Robson on foot.  I suspect he was just wearing his old running shoes like he always does on hikes.  
    The 20 something kilometer slog up to Berg Lake then on to Adolphous Lake is not an easy one.  I hiked up to Berg Lake in my younger years and my ankles were wobbly with exertion by the time I got there.  Vern talked to a lot of people he met along the trail and didn’t really look at what time it was when he got to Adolphous.  He snapped some photos to prove that he made it then started back down.
    It was 10:00 at night when he finally got back home on his bike and was congratulated by some well-wishers.  His 20 hour ordeal had succeeded and Vern went to bed.  He was back up and ready for a new day at 6:00 AM on Monday morning. 
    Knowing what I know about the terrain Vern biked and hiked, I am astounded at what he accomplished in a single day.  It is an amazing feat.  I was happy to pay off my pledge to the library.
    Oh, I forgot to mention, Vern had his 70th birthday last winter.  

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

Tuesday 23 June 2015

Mosquitoes and Thistles

    Yesterday I was dealing with two things I detest, and infestation of mosquitoes and of thistles.  I have been waging an losing war on Canadian thistles for decades.  Every year I go out with my brush saw and mow the things down before they go to seed, and every year they come back to fight another day.  They are just plants with tiny thorns that are always ready to get you, even when they are dead and dry.
    Unfortunately this year the thistle season has fallen during the apex of mosquito season.  At the moment going outside is intolerable, with the small biting variety of mosquito saturating the air.  I started out yesterday with just a hat and my brush saw, but as soon as I started up the machine the mosquitoes attacked, forcing me to rush back to the shop for my bee keeper’s hat and some gloves.
    It doesn’t do much for motivating me to go outside to work on the yard and garden work with the mosquitoes so dense.  I have my fingers crossed that they follow the normal course of events and disappear after a couple of weeks.

Look at my paintings:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Monday 22 June 2015

Cattail Photos

    Doing this blog has certainly made me look more intensely at the world around me, as I try to come up with interesting or beautiful subject matter to photograph every day.  As we walked around the pond in the afternoon, I noticed these backlit leaves of the cattails that grow along the shore.  As usual, it was the color and the variations of light intensity that caught my eye.

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

Sunday 21 June 2015

National Aboriginal Day

    Today is the Summer Solstice marking the first day of summer.  It is the day of the longest period of sunlight all year in the Northern Hemisphere, and in Canada, it is also National Aboriginal Day, a day in which we are to be cognizant of the original inhabitants of the land we live in and give them the recognition that they deserve.          
    The Canadian National Anthem begins with the line,
     “Oh Canada, our home and native land.” 
      A long time ago I heard a comedian joke,
     “Oh Canada, our home is Native Land.”  and ever since then, whenever I hear our anthem I can’t help but think of the truthfulness of that comedian’s lyric.
    Although Canadian history toward its original people was not quite as blatantly brutal as that of the United States, it too was horrendous.  We have just recently received the report of a council set up to study Indian Residential Schools.
    For decades the Canadian government forcibly removed young Native children from the arms of their parents and shipped them hundreds of miles away to residential schools run by the Catholic Church and other religions.   There here they were beaten if they spoke the only language they knew, they were forced to eat food they were unfamiliar with, and often times sexually brutalized.  The whole purpose of the setup was to strip them of their language and culture and it worked.  The report called it “cultural genocide” and that is what it was.
    These children grew up not knowing who they were and found themselves alienated both from the dominant European Culture and their own Native Culture and families.  As you might expect the result has been devastating to most of them.  Growing up without their families or respect, they didn’t have the background to successfully raise families of their own, and the cycle of degradation continued with each generation.
    At least now the history of what happened in Canada is out there, and hopefully it will lead to more tolerance and understanding by Canadian citizens and their government.

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

Saturday 20 June 2015

Fish Truck

    If you say the words “Fish Truck” to anyone around McBride usually what they think of is the vendor who comes around here once a month in an old school bus full of frozen fish to sell.  He lines the sides of Highway 16 with plywood signs painted with neon orange spray paint proclaiming, “Prawns”, “Halibut”, and other ocean delicacies.  
    This is a totally different kettle (or more accurately, “truck”) of fish that I am blogging about today.
     I came upon this fish truck the other day when we were in the park.  It hauls live baby trout around the central part of BC to stock the lakes.  The Fish and Wildlife employee in the photo told me that locally they put trout fingerlings in Shere Lake and Little Lost Lake.

My paintings are on display at: www.davidmarchant.ca

Friday 19 June 2015


    We use oregano every Friday night when we make ourselves a pizza.  Of course we use it a lot for other meals too, but by far our pizza is by far its most important use.   (You can watch a video of me making our pizza here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kb0KES-GB8A  and  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9X32-P5M-k )
    We have been growing oregano in our garden for decades, but we never really harvested or used it until last year.   In the past, whenever I crushed its leaves to smell it or tasted a leaf, it never seemed like the same thing we bought in the grocery store, so it just grew out there in the garden every year and was ignored.
    Last year it started to crowd out our strawberries, and so I started pulling it up just to get rid of it.  It seemed wasteful just to put it on the compost pile, so I thought I would try to dry it and try to use it,  just for an experiment.  When I sprinkled the final product onto our pizza, I was very impressed, the pizza was just as tasty as usual.  I was so happy to know that I could grow the stuff instead of buying it.  It was the big success of last year’s garden.
    Over the past week I have again been harvesting, drying, and crushing the dried leaves of the oregano and now have a whole canister of it that we can use throughout the year.   I tried drying it by just hanging it in the lanai, but it didn’t really dry out enough, so in the end, I put it into our food dryer to really get the leaves crispy enough to crush.  Below are photos of the drying oregano, and of the powdered final product.

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

Thursday 18 June 2015

Grass Spit

    I am on pretty shaky ground here since this is all new information to me.
    Every spring I notice what looks like spit on a lot of the tall grass and weeds that grow here in the Robson Valley.  I always assumed it was probably some egg mass laid by some insect, but never did learn what insect.  I noticed a lot of it on plants yesterday as we walked along a trail, and so took some photos.
    I thought I’d better try to find some information about it if I was going to use it in a blog, but didn’t really know where to start.  Since it looked like spit and I didn’t know what else to call it, I Googled “grass spit.”  Amazingly lots of other photos of the stuff came up and as well as some information.  It seems like this spit is the result of an insect called a froghopper or the logically named “spittlebug.”  Actually it is the larvae of the bug that surrounds itself with, and hides in the spit.  
    Armed with this information, I just went outside to find some spit and further investigate.  I found some and sure enough when I dug unto the bubbly mass I found a tiny yellowish green larvae.   A photo below shows one on the edge of my pocket knife blade.  
    The larvae does suck the juices out of plants, and noticed that around my place I mostly find the spit on thistles, a plant I truly I detest, so I am happy to see them suck away.

You can view my paintings:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Dr. Seuss Trees

    Our poor willow trees have been going through quite a transformation.  They used to be tall magnificent things that provided us with cool shade, then last fall because many of their big limbs where leaning quite precariously over our house, we had them whacked off.   It was a pretty drastic change, and all through the winter they looked more like cactus than they did trees.
    Now that it is spring they are furiously growing back, trying to re-establish themselves by putting out an enormous amount of new shoots.  Joan has been referring to them as our “Lollipop trees” or “Dr. Seuss trees,” and I have to admit that is what they look like.  While they look a bit ridiculous at the moment, I think that in a few years they will look more normal.

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

Tuesday 16 June 2015


    To read some of the things on the internet, the black ugly looking thing you see in the photo is a miracle substance.  It is called “Chaga” and is made into a tea and used as a folk medicine.  The Siberians called it “Gift from God” and “Mushroom of Immortality”, the Japanese referred to it as the “Diamond of the Forest” and the Chinese, “King of Plants”.  If you want to learn more, Google it, there is plenty of information out there.
    I have been watching this black fungus on our birch tree since way back in the 1970’s when we bought the house.  It worried me because seeing a fungus on a tree indicates rot inside and the tree is right beside our house.  This black mass became a point of pride to me when I was working at for the BC Forest Service, after some mushroom experts came to our Forest District to research the variety of fungus which grew here.  I told them about this fungus on my birch tree and they had me collect a sample which they took back to Victoria with the information about where it was growing.
    I learned more about the hard black fungus from Pernilla and Emma, the two Swedish girls that lived in McBride and wrote about it in their blog in January of 2014.  The two adventurous females went Chaga hunting, found some and made tea.  They talked about what a healthy drink it made, but Chaga didn’t look very appetizing source for tea to me, so I didn’t think much more about it.
    This last weekend our friends the Swansons came over and I showed them our birch tree which is  now dying.  Abbie immediately spotted the Chaga and started raving about it and telling us about what a “hot” commodity it was with the health food community.  Now feel like I have a treasure growing right outside our front door.  
    I suspect that when I take the tree down in the fall, I will harvest the stuff, brew some Chaga up, and see if I live forever.  

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

Monday 15 June 2015

Inland Rainforests

    When you hear the word “rainforest” most people immediately think about the jungles in the tropics.  This is as it should be since that is where most of the Earth’s rainforests occur.  But there are rainforests that occur outside of the tropics, they are called ‘temperate rainforests” because they experience winter and summer seasons.  Most of these are found on the coast, where moist weather from the oceans are forced to drop most of its water when they encounter coastal mountains.
    Coastal temperate rainforests are found on the west coast of North America and in Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, and Tasmania.  There is one other type of rainforest that is very rare, it is called the “inland rainforest.”   It is a temperate rainforest but instead of being found close to the ocean, it is found within a landmass.  More than 98% of temperate rainforests are coastal, only 2% can be found inland.  Worldwide, of all rainforests, inland temperate rainforests make up only a tiny 0.3%.
    Fortunately for me, some of these temperate inland rainforests are found in the Robson Valley in BC.  Here it is the Canadian Rockies that cause the clouds to drop their moisture, thus creating the conditions for the rainforests.  These forests are populated mostly with Western Red Cedar and Hemlock trees.  Their thick canopies block much of the sunlight, so the ground is covered with shade tolerant plants like ferns, mosses, and a nasty prickly plant called “Devil’s Club.”  
    Yesterday, I went on a hike on the Lower Goat River Trail which meanders through the rainforest.  It was my first hike of the season, and the 11 km (6.8 miles), took me to the limits of what my old legs could handle.  Here are some photos.  The plant you see with the ferns is called “Skunk Cabbage” because of its odor and it only grows in very wet areas.

Look at my paintings:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Saturday 13 June 2015

Giant Allium

    The other afternoon while I was stacking my hay, I happened to glance over toward the barn and saw the image you see on the photo.  The sunlight was highlighting the Giant Allium that was forming seeds, while in the dark background the deep blues of the Iris was providing a nice contrasting color.  I had to stop pitching hay and run into the house to get my camera.

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

Friday 12 June 2015

Cat in the Window

    In the evening I was at my computer working on a cartoon, and suddenly I sensed movement off to my right.  I was Lucifer our cat, looking at me through the window.  Lucifer taught herself the trick of climbing up one of the support posts for our balcony, from there she can access the roof and look through the upstairs windows.  
    Normally, if she wants to come into the house she just nudges the door open with her head, (it doesn’t latch very well), but if she can’t get it open her next option is to climb up onto the roof try to draw our attention to her presence, so we will let her in.  If we are not around, or otherwise occupied, at least being on the roof and the balcony offers her some protection and shelter.  
    While I am on the subject of cats getting into the house, the other day on CBC radio they were saying that it was Isaac Newton who invented the cat flap on doors.  He cut two holes in his door, one for the cat and one for her kittens.  Later he discovered that the kittens always just followed the mother cat, so didn’t ever use their little door.

I paint, see my works at:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Thursday 11 June 2015

Making Hay

    Here I am, pitchfork in hand, practicing an old agricultural activity--making hay.  Hay is just dried grass and weeds.  The grass by my barn grows tall and profusely, so I try to put it to some use.  I cut it down using a lawn trimmer, then let it lie several days in the sun.  The downed grass is generally thick, after it dries a couple of days, I turn it over so that the underside also dries out.  Once it is dry I gather it up with a pitchfork and pile it.
    If I still had goats, I would store it in the barn, but now I only use it for mulch around my tomato plants in the greenhouse so I just make a haystack and let it sit out in the open all winter.  The deer are thankful to have that pile of hay as a food stuff, and they dig into the snow to get at it.  I lose about half of it to the deer.
    When I had Angora goats their numbers got so big I had to buy bales of hay to feed them through the winter.  That was always a miserable task to have to collect the hay in someone’s field, stack it precariously high on the back of the truck then drive home slowly, hoping bales wouldn’t fall off.  Once home I had to get the bales up to the upper floor in my barn where it was stored.  It was hot strenuous work, and I always hated the itchy feel of bits of hay going down my sweaty back and getting stuck there beneath my shirt.
    Our property is considered a “hobby farm” and collecting hay the way I do it now, is more of a hobby than real farm work.  It always makes me feel like I am somehow connecting to old farm practices of the past.

My website is where you can view my paintings:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Wednesday 10 June 2015

Hot n' Dry

    Normally in June the Robson Valley, in British Columbia’s Central Interior, gets mild temperatures with lots of showers moving through.  Then in late July and early August the weather patterns change and the days get hotter and drier.  Like most of North America’s West Coast this year, BC is experiencing hotter and drier conditions already thanks to the jet stream that seems to be locked in place.  Many places also experienced those conditions through the winter, leaving them with very low snowpacks on the mountains.  We have been getting afternoon temperatures of 27C (80 F), the average high for this time of year is 18C (64F).
    Yesterday I heard on the radio that Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii (formally known as the Queen Charlotte Islands) are experiencing drought conditions even though they are coastal rainforests.  We are fortunate that the snowfall that we received last winter left our mountain snowpacks normal, and so we now have a lot of water moving through our streams and rivers. 
    Because we get our water directly from Sunbeam Creek, which is now running hard with all the snowmelt from the mountains, we have plenty of water available to us.  I am taking advantage of it by watering the garden, twice now within the last week.  People who are dependent upon wells for their water and have to be careful and can’t afford to be so extravagant.  
    The long range forecast for the summer says it will continue to be hot and dry. 

Visit my website to see my paintings:  www.davidmarchant.ca 

Tuesday 9 June 2015

Long Days

    Here we are already in those long days of June.  Part of our weekly schedule is to visit with the Milnes on Saturday night.  During the winter our drive to and back from the visit is done in the dark.  Now on our drive back after 9:00 PM we still have daylight and the sun above the horizon.
    These long days also catch us on the other end too.  The birds start their singing around 3:30 AM and despite all the blinds and curtains being closed, light starts slowly seeping into the bedroom.  The days will continue to lengthen for another couple of weeks and then things start gradually sliding toward winter, wow, that’s a depressing thought.

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

Monday 8 June 2015

Slime Mold

    I am continually surprised at all the bizarre and strange forms of life there are out there that suddenly appear in our neighborhood.  This morning I discovered these things growing on the big pile of willow wood chips I have in my pasture.  They are slime molds.  Slime molds used to be thought of as fungus, but now they have their own classification.  They reproduce by spores and feed on bacteria, yeasts, and fungi.  Below are some closeups of the varmint.

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

Sunday 7 June 2015

Oil Change

    One thing I am really good at is the ability to put things off, especially those jobs that I really don’t enjoy doing.  One such unwelcome job is changing the oil in my truck.  Changing the oil is a really simple chore, all you have to do is unscrew a bolt, which lets the oil drain out, and unscrewing the oil filter then screwing on a new one, screwing the bolt back on, and pouring new oil back into the engine.  
    Changing the oil is a job that a lot of guys do, and many of them actually enjoy working around on a vehicle, but I am not one of them.  I don’t like lying on my back in a very confined dirty space, and I don’t  appreciate the feel of hot black oil running down my hand.   If we had one of those quick, drive-in, oil change garages anywhere close I would be happy to give them my business.  
    McBride does have a couple of garages, but they are all busy and you have to make appointments weeks in advance, so I change the oil myself.  Well, at least I decide I am going to do it myself, although usually quite a bit of time goes by before I actually make myself crawl under the truck.  
    I have been telling myself I should change the oil in my truck for about 3 years.  A year ago, while we were up in Prince George I did make myself go into an auto parts store and I bought an oil filter for the truck.  The oil filter got hidden behind the seat in truck for several months, and when I did discover it, it was mid-winter, and I wasn’t about to change the oil in the snow and cold, so I put the filter into my shop.
    A week ago as I was looking around for something else, I came upon it and immediately felt guilty about not changing the oil a long time ago, and stoically resolved to do it.  As you can see from the photo I put on an old hat, some old coveralls, got my tools, and did it.
    The task went relatively smoothly, except that I forgot to open the air vent on the my oil catching container which caused some oil to overflow onto the ground and some more to splash onto my hat when it belched out of the hole, but thankfully the job is now done and I won’t be forced to do it again for a year, (or two, or three).

You can view my paintings:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Saturday 6 June 2015

Cornflower or Bachelor's Button

     The Cornflower or Bachelor’s Button is a thriving plant around our yard.  It grows and re-seeds like crazy and is pretty close to becoming a pest.  The flowers are a vivid blue which are supported by an interesting onion dome like structure.
    While they grow so vigorously around here, I was surprised to learn that back in their native UK they are an endangered species thanks to herbicides and intensive agriculture.  I was also surprised at learning that they are often used as an ingredient in herbal and Earl Gray teas.

You can take a look at my paintings:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Friday 5 June 2015

Green Wall

    When I built my lanai/carport, there were a few trees and saplings immediately adjacent to the edge of the structure.  Normally, builders clear those kind of things away from the building site, but I didn’t want the trees gone, and figured I could leave them even though they are right up against the roof of the lanai.  
    I am still glad that I made that choice because they make a beautiful wall of vegetation that is cooling and relaxing that I appreciate all summer long when we sit on the lanai.  The trees have bent up some of the edges of the tin roof, but being able to watch the birds and squirrels flitter and leap across the end of the lanai is a fair trade-off for the bent tin.

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

Thursday 4 June 2015

Greggo At The Prince George Airport

    I was up at the Prince George Airport on Tuesday to pick up Joan, who was returning from her European trip.  It was good to see her finally walking toward the terminal building from the plane.  As we were waiting for her luggage to appear, she said, “I want to show you something.”
    She walked me over to the secondary luggage arrival area and she told me to look at the photos that lined the wall.  In the past, when I have spent time in the airport waiting, I had looked the portraits which show a cross-section of Interior BC residents, but since most of the action always appears at the first luggage arrival area, I guess I never saw the photos in the neighboring section.
    As I glanced down the row of photos, I was suddenly gobsmacked--there was the unmistakable face of Greggo, one of McBride’s unique and unforgettable characters.  I am sure most everyone in the Robson Valley knows who Greggo is, but for all you international readers, that is him second photo from the right.
    Greggo is a trapper who lives out in the bush in a small cabin.  He spends most of his time living out there in the woods, without power or a vehicle, although he can frequently be seen talking to someone on the sidewalks or Post Office in McBride.
    I must say, Greggo was the very last person I would have expected to have seen in the Prince George Airport, especially on an advertisement for continuing studies from the University of Northern British Columbia.  It does feel good knowing that when you arrive at the PG airport from some far off destination you will be welcomed with a familiar face from our little isolated mountain community .

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