Sunday 30 June 2019

Gluttony At Dunster

    We made the trek to Dunster yesterday to fill up on a week’s supply of desserts in evening.  It was the Dunster annual Ice Cream Social.  We were joined by a large ravenous crowd, all their to get their sugar fix from the pies, cakes, cookies, and ice cream.  Along with all of the eating, there was much socializing and a celebration of Canada Day which is today.  
    Every time we go to the Dunster Ice Cream Social I am amazed at how loud it is inside the Dunster Hall with everyone talking to each other.  I was having difficultly doing the same thing over all of the noise of the other chatter.

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Saturday 29 June 2019

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
     In 1942, Lale, a refined young Slovakian Jew, finds himself in a rough, crowded box car, filled with other Jews, headed who knows where. He had “volunteered” as a worker to the Nazis, thinking it would save the rest of his family.  After days of hunger, near suffocation, and standing, the doors of his boxcar are finally opened and he finds himself in a half constructed Nazi “work camp” named Auschwitz. 
      A number is tattooed on his arm and he begins to be initiated into the brutality of his new life. He quickly decides to do whatever it takes to survive.  He keeps his head down, his mouth shut, and is very obedient to his Nazi oppressors.
      He befriends another Jew, who has the job of tattooing the numbers on newly arrived prisoners, and he is told that by becoming a tattooist, a better life can be had. Lale jumps at the chance and is taught the tattooing and soon, after his patron disappears, Lale, becomes the camp tattooist and gets a bit more food and a room of his own. 
       Lale is stricken by love to Gita, one of the Jewish prisoners he has had to tattoo.  Over the months, then years, their relationship grows, despite the restricted opportunities they have to be together.  Gita works in a building, strangely called “Canada”, sorting the clothing confiscated from prisoners.  There they sometimes find jewels or currency, hidden in the clothing.
      Lale soon evolves into the camp’s wheeler-dealer, using the wealth Gita finds, to bribe workers from outside and guards, to get medicine and extra food for his fellow inmates. 
      As you might expect, the storyline was brutal and I only read short sections at a time, I really wasn’t very eager to start reading again, whenever I stopped.   I think the whole concentration camp situation was just too depressing.  Reading was easier and picked up after the Russians liberated the camp. 
     The book introduces the moral quandary of a Jew, helping the murderous Nazis carry out their exterminations, in order to save his own life. It seems an impossible situation that many of the camp “kapos” faced. 
     I didn’t realized until the end, that this novel was based on a true lives of Lale and Gita. 

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Thursday 27 June 2019

Cannabis Conversations

    Last July, Canada legalized recreational marijuana.  I have long believed that pot should be legal, so I was very happy when the Canadian government finally took that step.  Since I am not a user, and I live in a small village in BC, I have really seen no difference in local life during the year that pot has been legal.  Canada has been extremely slow in getting pot product out to the public, so I assume most of the people that used pot before legalization are still getting it from the same unauthorized dealers as before.
    Anyway, I noticed that there was going to be a forum called “Cannabis Conversations” at the McBride Library last night and so I went.  It was a very interesting event that featured the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police), village officials, a community health nurse, our Regional District Rep, and the high school principal.  The meeting was set up so the public could ask any questions they had about marijuana and it’s new status.
    What really blew me away was the rational, enlightened, and unbiased atmosphere of all concerned.  There was none of the hostile attitudes that used to surround discussions of pot, just people asking sensible questions and getting sensible answers, even from the police.  
    I asked about where I could get some pot seeds, because I would like to try growing some.  The RCMP said I would probably have to get them at an authorized pot store.  They said although every household is allowed to have 30 seeds, only four marijuana plants at a time could be grown.  
    The nurse told me that although CBD, an oil derived from cannabis, did seem to help some people who had trouble sleeping, studies showed that eventually it’s effectiveness wore off.  It did seem to really help reduce pain by rubbing it on sore portions of the body.
    The principal explained that you couldn’t “overdose” by smoking pot, but you could “overdose” by eating it because the time it takes to feel some effect is so delayed that often when nothing happens quickly, people take more, then more, then when it does start to happen, it can cause rapid heart beat, blood pressure rise, and heightened paranoia.  I put the word overdose in quotes because a pot “overdose”, doesn’t kill people, unlike an overdose of other drugs.
    I was curious and asked whether the legalization of pot made the work of the RCMP more difficult, less difficult, or the same.  (There are a lot of new rules around pot now).  They said that it made their job less difficult, because they didn’t have to spend time messing with small infractions of the previous pot laws and could concentrate on more serious crimes.
    The most negative thing I heard was that since legalization in Washington state, the most calls to the poison hotline are now about kids getting into pot edibles.  These are not yet legal in Canada, as they are still working out laws about the products.
    It was a really informative gathering, and I went away feeling that a new and enlightened era concerning pot use had really begun in Canada.

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Wednesday 26 June 2019

Jam Night

    All week long I look forward to Tuesday night.  That’s when we meet at the McBride Library and have our music jam.  I always find it very enjoyable.  It is an open jam and anyone can come.  Last night I had this photo taken of the musicians, and the people you see are pretty much the regulars, but the participants vary from week to week.
    Last night the instruments include several guitars, a lap steel guitar, mandolin, a bass, an accordion, drum, tambourine, ukulele, and piano.  We go around the group and everyone takes turns choosing songs to do.  
    Here are some of the songs we played:
        Will the Circle be Unbroken (traditional)
        Heart of Gold (Neil Young)
        Country Road (John Denver)
        Blue No More (Buddy Guy)
        Keep on the Sunny Side (Traditional)
        Sweet Georgia Brown
        For What It’s Worth (Buffalo Springfield)
        They’re Going to Put Me in the Movies (Beatle’s Version)
        Whiskey on a Sunday (Irish song)
        Five Foot Two 
        Blues Stay Away From Me
        Behind the Clouds (Brad Paisley)
        Bartender Blues (James Taylor)
        Christmas (The Eagles)
    The jam starts at 7:00 and goes until 9:00, so we only have two hours.  We take full advantage of the time and play straight through without taking any breaks.  
    Now I only have seven more days until we can do it again.

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Tuesday 25 June 2019


    I really dislike graffiti.  I know some artistic people who like it, and think it is a modern creative form of art, but I see it as a usually ugly and chaotic form of self grandiosity (look, here are my initials or symbol) done at someone else’s (the property owner’s) expense. 
     I thought it was especially rich one time when I heard of a graffiti “artist” that was outraged that another graffiti “artist” had painted over “his” graffiti, thinking nothing of the owner of the property that he had painted over.  
    It upset me when I was in Europe and saw all of the graffiti sprawled across old heritage sites and buildings.  It seemed to be everywhere.    I think these graffiti “artist” should put their “art” on canvas, but I guess then the public wouldn’t be forced to see it.
    As a child I remember seeing people’s initials or names painted on roadside rocks outcrops or signs, and my mother telling me, “Fool’s names and fool’s faces always appear on public places.”  I’m sure that is partially the reason I feel the way I do about graffiti.
    Fortunately here in little McBride, about the only graffiti that we see are on the boxcars that travel through the village.  
    However all that being said, the other day I saw a boxcar with some graffiti that I actually liked.  I thought it was both clever and very well done.  I know nothing about it, but at least I didn’t find it an eye sore.  
    Below is a photo of the graffiti I liked.

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Monday 24 June 2019

Yet Another Shower on the Horizon

    Our Junes are characterized with a lot of rain showers.  This June it seems that we are getting more than usual.  It’s sunny for 20 minutes, then raining, then sunny again, then raining again.  I’m not really at the point of complaining though, all of the horrendous forest fires that have hit BC over the last couple of summers, have made me happy to see the rain. 
    The weather seems to agree with the cabbages and potatoes in my garden, but my beans and corn would probably appreciate a little more heat and sunshine.
    I spotted this rain shower coming out of the Dore River drainage yesterday.

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Sunday 23 June 2019

1969: Peace Corps and Woodstock

    I often listen to “The Sunday Edition” on CBC radio, as I paint my square on Sunday mornings.  That was what I was doing today.   This morning they spent an interesting 45 minutes talking about Woodstock, which happened fifty years ago this summer.  For an old guy like me. it shook loose a lot of old memories.
    Fifty years ago at this time, I was living in an old school located at a country crossroads on the island of Hawaii named Pepeekeo.  I was taking Peace Corp training, with a group of other university grads preparing for a stint in the Philippines.  (I never made it to the Philippines, but that is a different story.)  At any rate, there I was living in Hawaii for two and a half months.
    Then as now, music played a really big part in my life.  I was deeply devoted to Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, The Beatles, The Byrds, and the Buffalo Springfield.  Both the Byrds and the Buffalo Springfield had broken up, but in 1969, David Crosby of the Byrds, had joined up with Stephen Stills of the Buffalo Springfield, and Graham Nash from another really good harmony-based group, The Hollies, to form Crosby, Stills, and Nash.  They put released their first album in May of 1969, and it’s vocals and guitar riffs, blew me away.
    Anyway, had to pretty much leave music behind in Indiana, when I went for Peace Corp training in Hawaii, although I did end up buying another copy of the Crosby, Stills, and Nash album in Hilo, even though I didn’t really have a record player.
    Their song “Wooden Ships” reflected what I saw in Hawaii, ie. a lot of young people leaving their mainstream life behind, retreating to the islands to eat berries or whatever they could find, and survive the best they could.  I was shocked the first time I saw a guy, sit down at a restaurant table and finish off the leftovers on a plate that remained after a diner had left.  
    Anyway, I was still following music the best I could despite the restrictions of the Peace Corp training.  It was during my training that I came upon an article in one of the weekly news magazines telling about the big music festival at Woodstock.  It told of the huge crowd of people like me and the mud and rain, but also the musical talent that had performed:  not only Crosby, Stills, and Nash, but also Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, The Who, Mountain, The Band, and others that I really liked. 
    I was saddened to have missed such a monumental musical event, but it wasn’t hard for me to  rationalize that at least I was living in the paradise of Hawaii.
    The photo shows part of the beautiful shoreline of the Big Island.
If you want to listen to the CBC discussion about Woodstock, here is a link:

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Saturday 22 June 2019

Bear Cub Walking Up Our Sidewalk

    This morning as we were in the kitchen fixing our breakfasts, my wife looked out the window and this bear cub walking up our sidewalk.  That has never happened before.  We couldn’t see the mother anywhere, but she may have been nearby in the woods.  
    I didn’t want to encourage the bear to start hanging around so I started to open the door meaning to scare it away, but as soon as it heard the sound of the door, it was gone.
    Friends have reported a lot of bear sightings this year.  Lots of mothers with cubs, so I guess the bears did well over our cold and long winter.

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Friday 21 June 2019

Lupines Again

    I strive to have an interesting or beautiful photo for my blog every day, and often I don’t have anything to show.  That was the case today, I had nothing, but fortunately I can take a walk around my pond to find a subject to photograph.  I did that a few moments ago and came up with a few nice shots of some of the plants I saw.  Today I am showing you some of my Lupines.   I also saw a few other nice plant images for future blogs.
    Lupines are now in full bloom and although I have taken hundreds of photos of the long bean-like blooms, I always come back for more.  Here are the Lupine photos I took this morning.

Take a look at my paintings (including a Lupine) at:

Thursday 20 June 2019

Rolling in the Grass

    The other day when we took our afternoon walk, the wind was blowing and I think it must of energized the herd of horses in the field beside the road.  As we got closer to them we noticed three horses standing around a puddle of water.  One of them kept pawing at the puddle with one of his front legs, causing water to splash up from the puddle.  It did this repeatedly for a long while until the novelty of the game wore off.  Later we saw this other horse just rolling around in the grass enjoying it’s back rub.
    There are a small herd of horses in the big field and it often seems like they are a herd of wild horses, free and on their own.

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Wednesday 19 June 2019


    I was happy with all of the rain and showery weather that we have been getting lately, because I knew it would make my garden grow, however I always forget that it will especially make all those weeds in my garden grow and the fact that the ground is wet makes it difficult to get out into the garden to deal with all of those weeds.  I did make an attempt at weeding yesterday.  I weeded two rows of cabbages and the scarlet runner beans.
    I remember having to do a lot of weeding in our garden as a kid.  I really hated it, being out in the hot sun pulling out weeds when there seemed to be so many other fun things that I would rather be doing.  Now as an old retired guy, I don’t really mind weeding so much, unless the mosquitoes are bad, but the old body gets stiff if I do a lot of it at one time.  We have a little wheeled seat that I sit on and wheel my way down the row as I weed.

    Unfortunately, weeding alway only gives a short-lived reward.   You pull the weed out, but because you can’t get all of the roots, three days later the weed has regrown and it’s hard to tell that you had actually done anything.  I do try to keep on top of the weeds this time of year.  Probably in a month, the job will have become so overwhelming that I lose control of the garden and it then sort of does what it wants.

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Monday 17 June 2019

Buttercup Season

    Flowering plants all have their own season.  They are timed to come out at a certain time each year.  For many, their time to bloom is set to the length of daylight.  At present, now that the dandelions have come and gone, I have been noticing that the Buttercups are in bloom.  The yellowish specks you see in the photo above are Meadow Buttercups.  Buttercups are pest plants by the farming community, because most animals won’t eat them.  
    The photo below show the Buttercups that grow in my yard.  I’m not sure if they are a different species or just the Meadow Buttercups that have learned to grow low to the ground because of the lawn mower.  They are not tall and leggy like the Meadow Buttercup.  Because they are a short plant, they  make a fair looking ground cover.

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Sunday 16 June 2019

Morning Sunshine

    Nothing too exciting here, but I just really liked the way the sunshine and shadows of the morning were lighting the front yard yesterday.  The scene also shows some of the explosion of plant life that occurs in our short northern growing season.

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Saturday 15 June 2019

Lupines Are In Bloom

    This morning the Lupines and Horsetails were all heavily pixilated with dew.  Thousands of sparkles clustered along the edges of the leaves and my pant legs got wet as I brushed up against them walking down the path.

You can see my painting of a Lupine:

Friday 14 June 2019

Quilt Show, 2019

    Members of the Valley Piecemakers were busy yesterday hanging and folding their handiwork for their 2019 Quilt Show at the McBride Elks Hall.  The quilts will be on display from 10:00 to 3:00 on both Friday June 14th and Sat. June 15 at the Elks.  From what I saw yesterday the colors will be dazzling to the eye and the complex designs will be intriguing to the brain.  Not only quilts are on display, but also other items that feature the skills and imagination of local fiber artisans.
    There will be door prizes and a last opportunity to buy raffle tickets for the beautiful scenic mountain quilt that will be given away on Sunday at 3:00.  I am always amazed at the talent we have residing in the Robson Valley.

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Under the Hosta Leaves

    Here I am photographing my favorite plant again.  I really like the beauty and graceful curves of the veins of the Hosta leaves and these photos really show them off.  The fact that they are backlit gives the leaves a nice glow too.

You can see my many paintings of Hostas at:

Wednesday 12 June 2019

My Healthy Dandelions and Horsetail

    This year the dandelions and horsetails in my field seem extraordinarily healthy.  Yesterday I started whacking them down to use for mulch, hopefully the dandelion seeds will compost a bit before I use it.  As you can see the horsetail are knee high and the dandelions come up to my mid-thigh.  

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Tuesday 11 June 2019

A String of Caterpillars

    When you walk under one of our deciduous trees these days, you have to be careful because you may entangle yourself in a web of minuscule caterpillars.  These tiny creatures are Leaf Miners, which eat and tunnel their way through the narrow layer which separates the top and bottom surface the leaves.  They are presently making their way down to the ground on individual strands of web, or in a convoy on a single strand (photo above).
    Because they are so small they don’t seem as threatening at tent caterpillars, which bring a lot of “icky” factor with them.
    You can see from the photo below, just how tiny they are.

You can see a painting I did of called "Aspen Leaves" which shows the tracks
leaf miners made through leaves by going to:

Monday 10 June 2019

Our Jungle Garden

    I am a big fan of foliage, and right now the narrow garden along the front of our house has taken on that “jungle” look that I love so much.  The plants are all fighting for their share of the sunlight, elbowing each other out of the way.  The variety of leaf shape, textures, and shades of green delight my senses.  When I think of how the soil below is so full of chunks of concrete with just marbled streaks of soil I am amazed at the lushness of the growth that it supports.

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Sunday 9 June 2019

Oregano, Just In Time

    Every year we get oregano from the garden and dry it.  Every Friday we use that oregano when we make our pizza.  Last year I either didn’t harvest enough, or we used more than usual, because at present we are down to less than a teaspoon of oregano.  Fortunately, the oregano in the garden is getting big enough to harvest.
    That’s what I did yesterday, I cut off the tips of the plant and put it in the drier, so by next Friday it will be dry and we will have enough to season our pizza. 

    The photo above is a small patch or oregano that went feral and is growing in the woods adjacent to our garden.  I don’t know how it managed to escape.  It is from some oregano that we grew many years ago.  We hadn’t grown any oregano for years, when I came upon this “wild” bunch.

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Saturday 8 June 2019

He Doesn't Like Green?

    Last week when we were in Jasper, our friend Di told us about a local painter who didn’t like the color green and so painted the trees every color but green.  I had to shake my head in confusion; how could someone not like green?  Thinking back I recall hearing once before about an acquaintance who lived in Hawaii, and had so much green around him everywhere, that he didn’t like green.
    I thought about the color green today while I was painting a square on my current painting, because it was all green, in fact, practically the whole painting (above) is green.  Green seems to be one of the most dominant colors in just about all of my paintings. 
    While I am a fan of just about all colors, I have come to realize that I have a real preference for the green.  To me it is symbolic of life and nature, and those are things that are extremely important to me.  

You can see all of my paintings at:

Friday 7 June 2019

Look At Those Clouds

    The Robson Valley had some beautiful, white, billowy, clouds on display yesterday afternoon.  I sometimes wonder if everyone gets the same pleasure out of seeing beautiful clouds as I do.  If not, I guess it’s their loss.  

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Thursday 6 June 2019

New Cards

    I had some cards and prints made of six more of my paintings.  I now have “Old Green Truck,” “Succulent,” “Ancient Forest” (Devil’s Club), “Rhubarb Leaves,”, “Window Box,”, and “Nasturtiums” (a section of my “Bucketful” painting).  The photo above doesn’t do them justice.  They are now available at McBride’s Whistle Stop Gallery.

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Wednesday 5 June 2019

June Showers

    Our very dry month of May, with the sky filled with smoke from Alberta forest fires, coupled with all the crazy weather in the rest of the world had me worried and wondering what our June would be like.  Our Junes are usually filled with a lot of showers from unstable air masses moving in from the Pacific Ocean, and that was what I was really hoping for this year.   So far, the beginning of June is living up to that expectation.
    I always like to see the curtains of rain on the mountains and that was what was happening yesterday.  Here are some photos I took.

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Tuesday 4 June 2019

Lucifer Rescue

    When we left to go to the Pioneer Day Parade on Saturday morning, our cat Lucifer wanted to be outside, so that’s where we left her.  She didn’t greet us when we returned, but since it warmed up she has been spending most of the day outside.  
    In the afternoon, my wife was sitting out on the lanai and thought she heard Lucifer softly meowing.  Upon following the sound she spotted the cat 24 ft. (7.3m) up in a tree.  When she was younger she had once climbed much higher in tree and I had to rescue her using an extension ladder on the back of a pickup and holding a long board with a platform on top, to extend my reach.  It was harrowing.
    Since that experience Lucifer has not ventured very high up in a tree, but I suspect on Saturday when we were gone, something (probably a bear) came into the yard, and she scrambled up the tree to be safe.  At any rate there she was, and she was afraid to come down.
    Fortunately we had had our willow trees topped, so she could only go up so high, and by standing at the top of an extension ladder I was able to reach her.   She has been extra affectionate since the rescue, and isn’t keen to go outside, unless we are out there.

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Monday 3 June 2019

Dr. Cowburn's Tiger Moth

    The other day as I was in the carport getting ready to go to Pioneer Days, I heard a familiar sound in the sky.  I rushed into the yard to confirm my suspicions, and yes, it was the late Dr. Cowburn’s Tiger Moth once again flying across the skies of the Robson Valley. 
    Dr. Cowburn was our local doctor in McBride for decades.  He owned and babied an old Tiger Moth biplane.  It was always a rare treat to hear it puttering around and seeing the bright yellow plane against the deep blue sky.  When Dr. Cowburn died, I had heard that two men who had grown up in the Robson Valley and had since moved to Prince George had bought the plane.  So while I was happy that at least it still had some connection to the valley, I was sad that I would probably never see it again.
    I was happy to discover that I was wrong.  It had made an appearance at McBride’s Pioneer Days, and what an appearance it was.  While the parade was noisily inching its way down Main Street, I heard the sound of the Tiger Moth’s engine, and suddenly it was swooping low over McBride.  Not only was it swooping low, it was doing steep climbs, dives, twists, and even loops.  It was an wonderful and exciting addition to the parade.  Dr. Cowburn was never so nervy when he was puttering the biplane around the Valley.
    Thank you for those responsible for the memories and the show.

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Sunday 2 June 2019

Pioneer Days, 2019

    This weekend McBride is having it’s Pioneer Days celebration.  Barbecues, contests, music, and of course the parade down Main Street, with its old cars, big trucks, wailing sirens, horses, kids in costumes, and lots of candy being thrown to spectators.  For the second year in a row now, we had a beautiful day, instead of showery cold weather.  
    Our “Jam” played music on Friday evening and will be doing another “performance” in a few hours.  Wow, two gigs in three days, we are going to get big heads.
    I always try to take a photo of my favorite parade participant and you can see that below.  I especially liked the “cow” pulling the wagon.  

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