Tuesday 29 November 2016

Snow, After the Sun Came Out

    All of the snow photos I showed yesterday were taken under a gray overcast sky.  As the day progressed the clouds began to disperse, and the sun began to peak shine through, highlighting the snow-covered trees.  The pale blue sky added some color to the scenery.  

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

Monday 28 November 2016

Snow, Beautiful Snow

    Over the weekend we got a beautiful snowfall that changed our environment into a winter wonderland.  One of the interesting effects of all the snow on the trees is the silence.  All that snow muffles all irritating sounds (like the far away highway) which are always in the background if you stop to listen.  Of course the biggest change to the neighborhood is the way the snow transforms everything we see.  Here are some photos:

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

Sunday 27 November 2016

Detailing Every Twig

    Our dog Skye was a rescue dog who must have spent part of his young life living rough without a home, scrounging for food, and trying to avoid mean dogs.  As a result, she is very paranoid and food oriented.  We have had her for a few years now and finally she is starting to act a bit like a normal dog.  
    One of the dog characteristics she has finally started to use is curiosity, exploring her environment through her sense of smell.  Now when we go for a walk down the trail, she stops at every twig or stem that arcs over the path and she carefully smells it, up and down its length so she can determine if any wild critter had rubbed by the twig as it walked down the path.
    This behavior does slow us down on our walks, but it is good to see that some of Skye’s dog genes have started to emerge through her funk.

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

Friday 25 November 2016

Snowy Tree Textures

    A fluffy snow really brings out the texture of trees.  I have always liked the lace-like delicacy of the birches and aspens juxtaposed with the clumps of snow on the spruce and fir.  These are photos of what I saw this morning on the other side of the road.

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

Thursday 24 November 2016

Is That One of My Fence Posts?

    Do you see the fence post with the hole in it?  I spotted it the other day while walking on Horseshoe Lake Road, and I wondered if I was the one who drilled those holes.  When we first moved to and bought our place in McBride, I was without a job and needed employment, so I took a job at a local cedar mill that made post and rail fences, mostly to export to the US.  
    Day after day, thru the freezing winter and heat of summer, I stood before the drilling machine  in the unheated building, where I grabbed fence posts off of a conveyor belt and drilled holes in them.  I don’t know how many fence posts I drilled, but it seemed like a mountain of them.  
    It is only natural for a few of those split cedar posts to have been used by local farmers, but still I was surprised to see one again.   This one looked like it was a replacement for a post that had rotted away since it was all alone and not part of a rail fence.
    Below is a photo of one of the complete rail fences and the other photo is one from the late 1970‘s, showing me drilling posts at the drilling machine when I worked at the mill.

Check out my paintings:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Wednesday 23 November 2016

Cat in the Poof

    Joan has a hard time passing up cute pet accessories in stores.  A few years ago she came across this fluffy cat “igloo” and determined that it was something that our cat Lucifer needed, even though the cat already had a similar shelter, although not in white.  Joan bought it and put it out on our balcony for the cat.  She called the thing, that looked like a fluffy big hollowed out marshmallow, the “Poof.” 
    It sat on the balcony for a couple of years without our cat taking the slightest interest in it, but lately Lucifer has decided that it was acceptable to her.  
    Throughout the day, Lucy used to play the “In and Out” game with us, first wanting to go outside, then quickly deciding she wants to be inside, then outside again.  
   Now the weather is still fairly mild and we let the cat go out, and then hours later Joan and I begin to realize we haven’t seen the cat, and we go to find her.  More often than not, we find her safe, secure, and comfortable, curled up and snoozing in her poof.

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

Tuesday 22 November 2016

Wow, a Dipper!

    While I take a great interest in birds, I am not very good at identifying them.  If I see an unusual bird I try to remember exactly how it looked, but by the time I get to a bird book, I have forgotten the details.  Yesterday when I was walking around the pond, a grey bird, about the size of a robin flew by and landed on a branch sticking out of the water. 
    I couldn’t identify it until I saw its body start bobbing up and down--then I knew, it was a dipper, an American Dipper to be exact.  They hang around water, but usually fast running water diving in and out of the current.  They are called “dippers” because instead of standing still, they continually bob their bodies up and down.  
    It was a bit puzzling to see it because, like I said they like mountain creeks and running water, and the water in my pond just sits there.  At any rate, it was interesting to see it.   Below is a short video clip of the Dipper, doing its thing.

See my Paintings:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Monday 21 November 2016

Hanging Around

    I have been mentioning how unusually mild the weather has been in the Robson Valley this fall.  Normally by this time ice has formed on my pond and most of the lakes.  Since there is still open water, it seems that there is no pressing reason for the waterfowl to move on south, so they are still hanging around.
    On one of our recent walks on Horseshoe Lake Road I was surprised at just how many ducks there were out on the water swimming around.

Check out my paintings at:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Sunday 20 November 2016

McBride Christmas Fair

    Yesterday I spent most of the day selling my calendars at the McBride Christmas Fair.  Above is a photo of my table.  I also sold some McBride T-shirts and Nadia’s “Bear in the Window” books.  As I was sitting there, an acquaintance came by and said, “Oh, there you are, I couldn’t find you.”
    I replied, “Yes, here I am.  There are three things you can count on:  Death, taxes, and me at the Christmas Fair.”
    It seems I have been selling at Christmas fairs for ever.  Yesterday was a bit of a deja vu moment for me because as I was getting into the cabinet to dig out all the things I needed to take to the fair, I came upon a pile of McBride T-shirts.
    Years ago I designed a McBride logo and had several orders of T-shirts printed.  I used to sell them at Christmas Fairs for many years, but eventually, my stash of T-shirts was reduced to uncommon sizes and colors (mostly pink) which just weren’t selling.  So I stopped trying and they sat in the cabinet for about 10 years.  When I found the shirts I thought, “What the heck, I might as well drag them to the fair and try to get rid of them.”
    That’s what I did, without much hope of actually selling any, but surprisingly, I sold more than half of them.  Even though they were “old” to me, they had been so long out of view to the public they thought they were something “new.”   Of course, it helped that I sold them at a real bargain price of $4 and $2.
    One adult customer surprised me by buying one and immediately putting it on over her other clothes.
    The Christmas Fair is always a bit nerve-wracking for me because I lay out several hundred dollars getting my calendars printed, and although they always seem to sell well, I am never sure.  Luckily I sold my normal amount at the fair; enough to pay for all the printing, so next week at the Valemount Christmas Fair all the ones I sell will be profit.

Check out my photo-realistic paintings:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Saturday 19 November 2016

Cows in the Mist

    I’ve just enough time to post this photo, then I’m off to McBride’s Christmas Fair to hawk my calendars.

Look at my paintings:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Thursday 17 November 2016

Mists and Mountains

    Yesterday when we were out on our walk a mist started to form and slowly flow over the fields.  At the same time clouds were forming around the mountains.

See my paintings at www.davidmarchant.ca

Wednesday 16 November 2016

That November Look

    While it still hasn’t gotten very cold, at least thanks to an overnight snowfall, it looks like November.  The snow we get when the temperature is just around the freezing point are not my favorite.  While they have a lot of volume and are attractive, they are wet, very slippery, and messy.  When the temperatures are lower, we get a snow that is safer and much easier to deal with.  

To see my paintings go to www.davidmarchant.ca

Tuesday 15 November 2016

Those Amazingly Clever Chinese

    President-Elect Trump has said that climate change is a hoax that the Chinese government has perpetrated to create a burden on US production.  Well you certainly have to hand it to the Chinese, when they do something they really do it thoroughly.   
    Here I am living in an obscure and unimportant section of BC and those crafty Chinese have made our fall weather so warm that the pussy willows are blooming.  Our temperatures for this time of year, both daytime highs and night lows, should all be below freezing, but it has been so warm that it caused confusion in nature.
    The Chinese have spread this hoax not only in BC, but throughout the whole world.  Reports out yesterday said that 2016 temperatures have been the warmest yearly temperatures ever recorded globally.  Chinese planning and follow-through are truly remarkable.  

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

Monday 14 November 2016

Creatures of Habit

    I guess it is because we do the same thing at the same time every day, that our animals follow our lead and fall into the same strict schedules.  Every morning I spend the first couple of hours, after breakfast, working on my computer.  Lucifer, our cat got into the habit of napping in her cardboard box while I am on my computer.  
    This morning I was a bit late in getting to the computer and when I got there, Lucifer was already curled up waiting.
    Daylight saving time really upsets our dog.  She is used to getting her food at a certain time, and when daylight saving time shifts the hour 60 minutes later, she goes crazy wondering why the food isn’t in her bowl when her biological clock says it is time.
    When I used to have Angora goats.  They would spend most of the day in the paddock by the barn.  Several times I accidentally left the gate open.  A few brave souls ventured outside of the gate, but they soon returned back into the security of their paddock, it is what they were used to. 

See my paintings at:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Sunday 13 November 2016

Ready for the Christmas Fairs

    There are always a lot of things to be done in the fall in preparation for winter.  One of the things that I always have to do is get my trivia and cartoon calendars ready to sell at the two Christmas fairs in the Valley.  This coming Saturday is the one in McBride, and that is followed next Saturday by the Christmas Fair in Valemount.  
    I planned out the calendars, set up the pages and made a digital file, had 180 of them printed, and my final chore was to bind them and punch a hole in each one for hanging.  Yesterday I completed that final task so now all I have to do is get the bed sheet I use for a table cloth washed and make sure I have enough money in my “float.”

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

Saturday 12 November 2016

Big Conk

    Conks are fungus that grow inside trees.  They put out a mushroom-like fruiting body on the outside of the tree is the part people can see.  I came upon this giant conk growing on an aspen tree the other day.  It is one of the biggest conks I have ever seen.  I put my pocket knife on the fallen tree to give some sense of scale.  The knife is 3.5 inches ( 9cm) long, so the width of the conk is a about 16 inches (40cm) across.  
    I mentioned that most of the conk grows inside of the tree, decomposing it.  You can see in the photo how “punky” the wood is.  That weakened the tree causing it to blow down in the wind.
    I have seen people collect conks and paint images on the underside of the conk, then sell them.

You can view my paintings (not on conks) at www.davidmarchant.ca

Friday 11 November 2016

Leonard Cohen

    Yesterday I was reading a book on my iPad when there was a “ding” and a banner flashed from BBC news flashed across the top of the screen.  It said that Leonard Cohen had died.  It was another shock in a week that had already been shock enough.  
    Leonard Cohen was an important part of that exciting period in my youth when music was exploding into exciting new directions.  Cohen had trying to eke out a living as a poet, and noticed how much more lucrative music was, so he decided to put melodies to his poems and see if that would make him a living.  His poems and melodies were so personal and unique that they caught on like wildfire.
    His gravelly voice, haunting melodies, simplistic arrangements, and personal lyrics were something I certainly treasured in those days and became part of the soundtrack to my life.  One of my all time favorite songs. “Sisters of Mercy” came from his first album just entitled “Leonard Cohen” which I think was recorded in 1967.  
      Leonard Cohen was one of Canada’s treasures.  Just a few weeks ago, he released a new album at 82 years of age.  He had to renew touring in his old age because his manager had absconded with most of his earnings. 
    A couple of years ago, I was talking music to my nephew, and he mentioned how he liked the song “Hallelujah” the Jeff Buckley version.  I told him I still liked the original Leonard Cohen version, and was shocked when he replied, “Who?”
   How could anyone not know Leonard Cohen, but I guess even if they don’t, his songs live on.

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

Thursday 10 November 2016

Beaver Mountain

    Here is a shot of Beaver Mountain with clouds around its shoulders as our unusually mild autumn weather continues.  I really like photos like this featuring big blocks of uniform colors.

Check out my paintings:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Wednesday 9 November 2016

Why I Moved to Canada

    This morning after the US election, reaffirms for me the reason I immigrated to Canada back in 1973.  Coming of age in the US during the strife and conflict of the 1960’s and 70’s, gave me a shocking  glimpse of the country I grew up in.  LBJ, and later Nixon, were both gung-ho about the US involvement in the civil war in Vietnam.  Plenty of information was available at the time about the lies the government told to get into, and bolster support for that war.
    I questioned and sought information and it became quite clear that the whole murderous disaster, that was killing tens of thousands of Americans and millions of Southeast Asians, was built on falsehoods.  What really confused me was that the average American either couldn’t see those facts, or ignored them, and supported and believed what was being said by the government.  I did what I could, volunteering as a draft councilor to give information to young men who wanted to know what rights they had concerning the military draft, and I went to local and national anti-war demonstrations in an effort to influence the government to stop the slaughter in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.
    In 1968, I worked for Eugene McCarthy, a peace candidate, but he got nowhere, then Robert Kennedy, another peace candidate was assassinated.   Instead the country, full of fear that a there would be Communists  landing on our shores if we didn’t stop them in Vietnam, elected Richard Nixon, another war monger.  The war was intensified, more young Americans were shipped off to die in the jungles.  The weekly report of the number of Americans and Vietnamese killed, increased.  The bulk of the American public with their flags waving, believed the lies and contributed to the whipped up hatred toward those who spoke against the useless war.
    Finally in 1972, again I began to hope that the war might be ended.  George McGovern, another peace candidate actually became the Democratic presidential candidate, but the Republicans, wrapped themselves with the flag, pumped up the fear and called for “Law and Order.”     Again a large majority of Americans ignored all of the factual information that was available and gave Nixon one of the largest landslide victories in US history.
    It was then that it became obvious to me that the voters in the US were so full of fear and so easily bamboozled, that I no longer trusted them to make rational decisions about the future of the country in which I lived.  I began to seriously look for a more compassionate and reasonable country to live in.  Canada fit the bill, and they spoke English, so Joan and I filled out the Canadian immigration forms, I took a job teaching in a one room school in the middle of the Canadian wilderness, and we became proud Canadian citizens.
    It was so refreshing to live in a country with socialized medicine, a country where its military was used not for war, but as UN Peace Keepers, and a country that valued the same things I did--compassion, open mindedness, progressive politics, and respect for all of its citizens.  Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of problems and shortcomings in Canada, but I have so much more trust and faith in its people, than I ever did all those conservative Americans.  
    Looking back, I see I have made a couple of really good choices in my life.  One is marrying Joan, and the other is moving to Canada.
    My sincere condolences go out to all those insightful and compassionate people in the US, who find themselves feeling trapped and bewildered this morning.

As always, you can see my paintings at:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Tuesday 8 November 2016

Unusually Warm

    McBride’s normal high temperature for November 8 is +1C (34F).  It is now 9:45 in the morning and the temperature is 16C (61F), which is amazingly balmy for this time of year.  Tonight’s low is forecast to be +7C (45F), instead of the normal low temperature of -7C (19F).  
    It has been a surprisingly warm fall.  If we hadn’t had the frosts earlier on that killed my garden, those plants could have had another month of growing.  
    I am not going to blog anymore today, I’m going out to take advantage of the warm weather.

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

Monday 7 November 2016

Where's Lucifer?

    Our cat Lucifer likes to accompany us when we do our walks around the pond.  Yesterday when we were ready to do our walk, Lucifer, who is normally “Johnny on the spot,” was nowhere to be seen, so we proceeded without her.
    On our way back, the mystery was solved, there she was on the roof.  When she can’t push open the door to get into the house, she often climbs up the post to the balcony, where she hangs out in her cat shelter.  Yesterday, she must have been sleeping soundly when we left, and missed out on the walk.

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

Sunday 6 November 2016

In Decline

    I saw this plant at this McBride Community garden.  I found the color combinations unusual and beautiful.   

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

Saturday 5 November 2016

Temperature Variations Along Hwy. 16

    We took at trip to Jasper, Alberta yesterday, so we drove past Mt. Robson.  Whenever we make that curve and suddenly face Mount Robson I feel obligated to take a photo.  That’s it above.
    Its nice that vehicles now show outside temperatures.  Before they did, I always sort of assumed that if it was a particular temperature at home it would be the same pretty much along the highway, but it is amazing how much the temperature dips and rises as we travel.  Of course, we live in a mountainous  topography so that creates a lot of pockets of variation.
    As we drove the 100 miles (160km) to Jasper yesterday, I was surprised at just how much temperature change we experienced.  Early in the morning when we left McBride, the outside temperature was 11C (52F).  As we drove the degrees rose and fell, sometimes a couple of degrees in a few of miles.  At one place in Mt. Robson Park it had dropped to below freezing at -1C (30F)   When we got to Jasper it was 4F (39F).
    I guess that is why we have gotten into the habit of always packing a wide variety of clothes in the car when we travel down the highway.

View my paintings:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Thursday 3 November 2016

A Little Green

    We are now in the season of brown and gray.  As someone who craves color, I have to lower my expectations.  In my walk along the trail, I was able to find a bit of green amongst the brown.  The mosses and ferns are stubbornly hanging on to it.  Above are mosses carpeting the roots of a tree and below are some fern fronds.  

To view my paintings go to:  www.davidmarchant.ca

Wednesday 2 November 2016

A Tree Grows Through It

    I don’t remember exactly when it was, probably about 35 years ago, but I had a large wooden gate across the entrance to my pasture that I no longer needed.  I removed it and not wanting to throw the gate away, I leaned it against a picket fence and forgot about it.  
    A few days ago I spotted it, still leaning against the fence.  What surprised me was that in that last 35 years, a sapling started growing through the gate and is now a fair sized young tree, locking the gate in place.  Even if I now had a use for the gate, I wouldn’t be able to move it unless I cut down the tree.

View my paintings at:   www.davidmarchant.ca

Tuesday 1 November 2016

Day of the Dead

    Today is the Day of the Dead in Mexico.  In 1981 Joan and I traveled to Mexico to look at the Aztec and Mayan ruins and experience the country.  We weren’t aware of the Day of the Dead when we made our arrangements, and were quite surprised to see all the displays of gruesome foods:  sugar skulls, chocolate coffins, and “Bread of the Dead”, arranged in the stores of Mexico City.  
    Eventually we found out what it was all about.  On this day it is customary for families to pack up a “picnic” lunch and go to the graves of their ancestors, eat their meal among the tombstones and talk to their deceased family members.  Marigolds seem to be the flower of choice for the occasion.  It all seemed a bit strange to us, but I guess foreigners viewing our “Halloween” have a similar feelings.  Below are some old photos of what we saw relating to the Day of the Dead.