Friday 31 July 2020

Stewarts' View

    The other day we drove up the road to do some rubbernecking at the mudslide.  We continued on past the trucks and heavy machinery moving the landscape of the mudslide area around, and proceeded up Mountainview to what we always referred to as “Stewart’s View”.  It is at a high, open point of the road, overlooking the valley.   You can see the Fraser River, farms and pastures, and the split in the Cariboo Mountains where the Dore River enters.  It is a view I love.
    Decades ago when we first moved to the Robson Valley, David and Helen Stewart lived in the nice old farmhouse across the road from the view.  David was an adventurous world traveler and instructor of Anthropology at the University of Calgary and Helen was an artist and writer.  I heard that when they bought the house this lower side of the road was just a forest, and when it was cleared for pasture, this glorious view was created.
    Stewarts left the Valley long ago, but around here places and houses are often known by the names of those who used to own them, so for us this scene will always be Stewarts’ View.

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Thursday 30 July 2020

Something Akin To Hope

    I experienced a strange sensation yesterday; something akin to hopefulness.  Over the last months it has seemed like we have been facing an ever darkening horizon:  our dog, the Covid restrictions, non-stop rainy weather, no water, no finger, and then thousands of mosquitoes.  They were all bearing down on me, but yesterday I caught a whiff of a thought that maybe things were getting better.
    Laurel, a university student who had taken on a job as a gardener came over and worked for a day.  I had warned her about the mosquitoes, but she had been dealing with them daily on other jobs and took up the challenge of our sorry garden. 
    The day was sunny and quite pleasant with a 25C (77F) temperature.  She attacked our weed-laden garden and by the afternoon, I couldn’t believe the difference.  The weeds where gone, I could see soil, and to top it all off, you could actually stand out in the garden without a hat and not be eaten alive.  I won’t give Laurel credit for the mosquitoes, but the experience was a wonderful change.  It was like things had returned to the way they used to be.
    It all gave me hope that maybe things might be turning around.  However fleeting that thought might last, it was nice to experience it after such a long time.

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Wednesday 29 July 2020

Weather Forecaster, Par Excellence

    A week ago I went out on a limb and predicted it would rain every Tuesday night until fall.  I was hoping that I would be wrong, not remembering that whenever I hoped that I would be wrong, I am always right.   
    The weather office had forecast a week of hot sunny weather with high temperatures between 31 to 34C (88-93F), but despite the prediction, by yesterday afternoon grayish clouds had started to form over the Cariboo Mountains, and by 5:45, as I was driving in for our music jam on the porch of the train station, I could see rain falling both to the east and the west of McBride.
    Sure enough during our mosquito infested jam it did start to shower.  At one point several of the players had to get up mid-song, and scramble themselves, instruments, and music stands closer to the walls of the train station for protection from the rain.
    Above is a photo of our view from the train station porch last night, looking down Main Street.

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Tuesday 28 July 2020

Mowing Hell

    I have been pushing lawn mowers around since I was in the third grade.  It has never been a job I liked very much, but over those sixty years I have come to except it as burden I am destine to do.  Of all those miles of pushing a mower, I can’t recall any that made me feel as miserable as the mowing I did last evening.
     All of the rain and then my injury, meant that the lawn had not been mowed for a month or so, and the rain showers had really encouraged a lot of grass growth, so the lawn really needed mowing.  The fact that a university student who is working as a gardener and has taken mercy on us, is coming over tomorrow to work in our sorry garden, meant that we have been scrambling around trying to make things as pleasant for her as possible.
       The biggest problem for her will be our mosquito infestation, which is terrible.  Mowing down the grass and weeds will encourage the pests to go elsewhere, but last night, during the time I was mowing, they were still present in hoards.  
    I wore long sleeves and legs, I put on my ear protectors, then a bee keeper’s netted hat over my head.  I wore heavy gloves to keep the mosquitoes off of my hands.  I cranked up the mower and began.
    Instantly, I was surrounded by the pests.  They couldn’t get too my face, but I could feel them on my back, biting through my shirt.  My ear protectors slipped off of my ears, when they were bumped by a low hanging tree branch, I didn’t want to raise the netting on my hat to put them back on my ears and I didn’t want to stop, I just wanted to get done as soon as possible.
    The grass was very thick and damp underneath, so I had to go slow, despite the insect assault.  About every 5 steps, the cut grass would clog up the mower’s chute, and I would have to stop and prod around with a stick to open it again.  I was getting hot; the sun was putting out a lot of heat, I was sweating, and the netting surrounding my head held the heat inside.  
    It was all a horrible experience.  I did stick it out until the lawn was done, but it didn’t look great with all of the big clumps of cut grass everywhere. 
     Hopefully the mosquitoes will now lack hiding places in the lawn and move off somewhere further away.  Unfortunately, I fear there will still be a thousands left to pester the poor student gardener as she works tomorrow.
    Please note that the smile on my face in the picture was just for the photo, it in no way indicates my true feelings at the time.

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Monday 27 July 2020

Coincidence: My Painting and Nik Kershaw's Album

    Whenever a coincidence occurs it seems like some kind of Cosmic direction is behind it.  I don’t believe that, but the mind sure wants too.  Here is a coincidence that happened to me last week: 
    I paint a square of a painting every day.  I am currently painting an image of the tailgate of my rusty old bluish truck.  I am attracted to the scars and rust that time created on the old truck over the years.  Many of the squares I have recently painted have patches of turquoise with the yellows, oranges, and reds of rust.  
    As I paint I generally listen to music on Apple Music.  They know what kind of music I like and suggest albums that would appeal to me.  I have downloaded some Nik Kershaw in the past, so the other day Apple Music alerted me that Kershaw had released a new EP with six songs.  When I saw the album cover I was amazed, it was a piece of rusted, blue painted metal with very similar colors and shapes to the images I had been painting.
    That wasn’t the only coincident with the album.  When I was listening to the songs, another coincident occurred particularly with his song “These Little Things”.
    I could have been easily killed in the recent accident where a rock flew down the waterfall and took off my finger.  Had the rock hit my head, I would have died.  This event has made me love the fact that I am still alive, and that is the underlying theme of “These Little Things.”  It seems as if the Cosmos wants to re-enforce my appreciation of life, even the mundane and ordinary parts.
    As I read the lyrics, the song brought tears to my eyes, and still does:

“And here we are and oh we are alive now
Each day brings these little things for us

It is what we make it
It’s what it is, ain’t that the truth 
though it maybe 
Not the most exotic fruit
Celebrate it
Every trivial pursuit”

    If you want to hear the song, here is a link:

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Sunday 26 July 2020

McBride And The Ancient City of Paestum by Gary McCullough

    Lately I have been corresponding with Gary McCullough, an old university friend.  I suspect I must have been complaining too much about our current mosquito infestation because he  did some research, and sent me this interesting historical account of the city of Paestum.  I’m not sure it made me feel any better, but I think he was trying to give me encouragement to bolster my resolve in dealing with the pests.   He is my guest blogger today.

     Why The Residents Of McBride, BC, Are More Heroic Than The Greeks And Romans
                                                             Whom We So Admire
                                                                    Gary W McCullough

    I was reading an article concerning the different life-styles and the competition for the tourist trade between the west coast Italian cities of Naples and Salerno.  I didn't know this -- and you may not care to know this -- but Naples is a lively, up-to-date city whereas Salerno's charm lies in its being comparatively quaint and quiet.  There are sites to see in and around both locations.  Naples, of course, is about five miles from Pompei.  ('Nough said, huh.)  But Salerno has its sites as well.
    A handful of miles southeast along the coast from Salerno is Paestum.  (Say, PEST-um.)  Paestum was a city that was built by the Greeks when the Greeks were at the top of their power and influence.  The Greeks erected temples and edifices there: it was a mini-Mt Olympus.  As the centuries and the power of the Greeks waned, the Romans became the power that possesses Paestum ... and, amazing to you and me, the Greeks didn't seem to mind.  The Romans admired the Greeks; they loved the monuments the Greeks had built.  But, alas and in time, the Romans couldn't stay there.  The place was unbearable.  The Romans had once conquered the known world, but they couldn't handle Paestum.
    The Greeks and then the Romans, in their effort to bring fresh water to Paestum, had created mires, marshes and swamps, and those mires, marshes and swamps became breeding grounds for mosquitoes.  The Greeks bailed in the 200's BC, and the Romans started running for cover in the 500's AD.  Neither empire could stand being bled alive my the mosquitoes.
    Listen:  Paestum contains the three best-preserved Greek temples in the world.  They are in far better shape than anything on Mt Olympus.  Why are they in such good shape?, you ask.  Because the mosquitoes were so bad that no one went near the place; the ruins were over-grown; and they were saved for a few millennia.  Go ahead, look it up.  P-A-E-S-T-U-M.  Try "Paestum mosquitoes" on Google.
    The Greeks and Romans wouldn't have lasted a week in McBride.  Remember that, fellow citizens.

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Saturday 25 July 2020

Green Tomatoes

    Here is a shot of a cluster of tomatoes in my greenhouse.  Like the rest of us, they are waiting for the Sun.  The anticipated Sun and warmer weather that had been forecast for today, so for has failed to materialize.   The tomatoes and I continue to wait.

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Friday 24 July 2020

Rain On The Mountains

    After reading all of my complaints about our summer’s nonstop rain, a friend wrote me that in North Carolina they “only get rain on days ending with the letter ‘Y’”.   I thought was such a good line that I decided to steal it for this blog.
    Last evening the sun was shining so we felt obligated to go outside, take advantage of the sunshine, and go for a walk.  Of course as soon as we began our trek, we could see the showers falling on the mountains.  Fortunately, the precipitation held off while we were walking, and didn’t get serious until we got back home.  
    Sections of my garden are now a write-off; some plants like beans, corn, and pumpkins prefer heat and sunshine, instead of clouds, coolness, and standing water, weeds however are loving it.  This morning as I splashed out to the greenhouse it struck me--I don’t even like to walk past my garden this year.
    Our forecast is holding out the promise of a week of sunshine starting tomorrow.  It would certainly lift my spirits if it actually happens.

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Thursday 23 July 2020

McBride's 1986 Mudslides

      The instant we heard about this year’s mudslide, many of us “old timers” flashed back to 1986 when a similar slide occurred up the road at Bevier Creek, the creek just west of Willox Creek (the one currently causing this summer’s problem).  
    The 1986 mudslides happened because of a very cool spring that failed to slowly melt much the enormous snowpack built up in the mountains.  When a spell of really hot temperatures suddenly hit, all of that snow melted very rapidly, causing torrents of run off erupting down the slopes. 
    Normally Bevier Creek is an insignificant streamlet that doesn’t warrant a second glance.  I took the photo above a few days ago and it is currently running really hard, usually it would have about a tenth of that flow.  I had heard stories while working at the Forest Service about a Bevier mudslide that had occurred around 1972, but by 1986, those events seemed like things that happened a long time ago, that had nothing to do with the present.  
    In 1986 Bevier’s bi-polar nature became evident when it’s normally passive nature suddenly switched over to its aggressive mode.  It and several other Robson Valley Creeks changed their flow rate dramatically.
    Here are some of the events that followed:

     On May 26, 1986 there were several mudslides on several creeks in the Robson Valley.   Bevier Creek was the most dramatic.  Some friends of ours had a really nice newly built home below the road and Bevier babbled peacefully through their property.  At the time, we were always jealous of properties that had a nice creek on them. 
        When the Bevier let go, Kim was outside when he heard the roar upslope.  Immediately he figured out what was happening and ran for the house, screaming for Lasanne to get out.  Inside, he grabbed his toddler daughter and with his wife, ran for the door.  They leaped from their porch and running up a side hill.  Kim fell, falling on top of his daughter, scrambled up and continued toward safety.
    They looked back at their home just in time to see the mudslide engulf it up to the windows, splashing up to the roof.  A  boulder the size of a kitchen table crashed through the walls. 
    Their recently built house, where all of us counter-culture folks used to hold our annual Halloween parties, was a write off. 
    A couple of weeks later, I went over to help Kim.  Their piano and most everything else inside the house was destroyed, except for the recently arrived boulder that remained lodged in the basement.  Kim’s tractor was buried under rocks, trees, and mud.  His car was pushed a quarter of a mile away, while his van ended up in his neighbor’s yard.   
    Kim wanted to try to dig through the three feet of solidified mud that sat his daughter’s room in an attempt to retrieve some of her toys.   We tried, but It was useless.   The silty mud, rocks, and wood, had congealed into a state similar to cement.  You really needed a pickaxe to dig through it.  We soon gave up on the useless task. 
      After seeing the damage done, having a creek on your property no longer made us jealous.
      When the mudslide settled down, a Highways’ crew began working to re-establish Mt View Road which had been washed out.  There was a man down in the creek bed on a D8 Caterpillar tractor pushing debris to the side, when another mudslide suddenly came down.  The operator had to leap from the Cat to save himself.  He broke his arm or shoulder but was pulled from the mud to safety by a workmate.  Amazingly, the force of the mud flow was so strong that it flipped the Caterpillar over, and a D8 is a really big heavy machine.
    Creeks all over the valley were gushing mudslides.
    Dore River on the opposite side of the valley from us, had had an avalanche way back in the mountains.  The snow slid down, damming the river.  Water then began to build up behind the blockage, until it got to the point where the snow dam broke under the pressure and a wall of water tore down the Dore River drainage, jumping the Highway 16 bridge, washing two cars off of the highway into the ditch, and damaging homes on the lower side of the highway.  Mud washed sideways from the river as far as the overpass, half a mile away.  Luckily no one was killed in these mudslides.
      I was working for the Forest Service at the time and they sent me and a coworker up to tell a trapper who lived in a cabin near a Nevin Creek, to get out of there.   On our hike up to his cabin we were on a footpath that paralleled Nevin Creek, and we could hear its roaring torrents below us, punctuated with the knocking sound of boulders that were being bouncing along by the force of the water.
    I don’t remember if we found the trapper home or not, but I will always remember the billiard ball-like sound of those rolling boulders in the liquid mud. 

    Like that 1972 and the 1986 mudslide,  those events had begun to be buried our memories, until this summer’s repeat brought them once again to the surface.  How quickly we forget about the dangers of living in the mountains, once things settle down.

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Wednesday 22 July 2020

Showers: Every Tuesday Night Until Summer Ends

    Every time I make a prediction I am proven wrong.  I am hoping that is the case for the one above.
    Tuesday night is our jam night.  Covid-19 has forced us to play outside on the porch of the McBride train station.  On a normal summer, that would be alright and even pleasant venue, but like everything else this year, things haven’t turned out that way.
    The Robson Valley seems to be stuck in a continuing weather pattern that gives us nothing but showers and rain, making it difficult for us to play on the porch.  That was the case last night.
    An hour before we were set to start, I noticed that our area was under a severe storm warning with possible strong winds, hail, and heavy rain, and as I drove into McBride I saw rain falling on the mountains just west of town.
    I was the first one at the station, so I just sat on the bench in the strong gusts of wind, waiting to see if any one else would show up.  Our steel guitar player arrived, so we both just sat and talked about the mudslide as the showers began.
    It was raining harder when our electric guitar drove in from Dunster, making three of us talking on the porch.  Our washtub bass player arrived in his car but didn’t get out, he just talked through the falling rain, then drove off, but as the showers were beginning to slacken, our fiddle player arrived.
    Having four musicians gave us a critical mass, so we all opened our cases and got our instruments out.  (I was going to give my mandolin it’s first jam tryout since I lost my finger.)
     We had gotten through a few songs when our electric bass arrived and joined the group.  We continued playing until 8:00.
    During that last hour, the showers had ceased, the sky began getting lighter, and the winds had stopped.  The lack of wind created another problem--mosquitoes.  It is hard to slap a mosquito away when both hands are busy playing an instrument.  We all tolerated the mosquitoes for a long time, but eventually their increasing numbers made quitting and packing up a viable option.  It’s too bad about all of the mosquitoes, had they not been present I am sure we would have continued playing for another half an hour.
    It seems that no matter what the forecasts predict in advance, by the time Tuesday arrives precipitation is falling from the skies, and now the mosquito explosion has just compounded our difficulties. Fortunately, we are a music-hungry group of players who are determined to practice our craft, so no matter what obstacles are thrown before us, I think we will persist.  

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Tuesday 21 July 2020

Small Orangish Butterflies

    Last evening as we were celebrating a rare sunny sky by taking a walk, I noticed a preponderance of small orange butterflies on the many wildflowers that lined the edge of the road.  They seemed to be everywhere.
    I know that one of the survival strategies species sometime use is to have all of the members develop at the same time, thus flooding the environment so that they all can’t possibly be eaten because there is just too many of them.  I don’t know that that was the reason so many of these butterflies were present, but there were sure a multitude of them.  Maybe they were all gathering to party before mating.
    Whatever the reason, they did add an interesting visual note to our walk.

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Monday 20 July 2020

McBride Mudslide: More Danger Identified

    When I wake up in the morning, I reach over and turn on the clock radio to hear what CBC has to say.  This morning when I did so, I was just in time to hear that geo-techs had discovered a 200 meter crack in the area that was the source of the mudslide on Willox Creek.  They said that the crack could cause another mudslide at any time--all bad news for people up the road who have been evacuated and all of the others that must cross the mudslide area to get to town. 
    We drove up past the area yesterday to get our first glimpses of how the neighborhood has been rearranged by the slide.  It was shocking to see just how much debris was visible from the road.   The top photo shows the area where the house was destroyed and the photo below shows a view of the house across the street.

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Sunday 19 July 2020

It May Be Turbid, But It's Water!

    Yesterday we were filled with joy when we unexpectedly heard the gurgle of water in our pipes.  Our good neighbors had gone up to the falls and cleared enough rocks off of the intake to allow water to flow into our waterline.  What a relief to have water once again coming out of our taps.
    I rushed outside to open the hydrant in the paddock in order to flush out the mud and dirt that usually comes with the initial flow.  I cranked the handle open, and water sprayed, coughed, and sputtered, as the chocolate liquid spurted from the nozzle.  I took about 15 minutes for the water to clear and the airlocks in the line to disappear.
    We celebrated later by taking well needed showers.  It had been more than a week since our last ones, and we had waited a week or so before taking those.
    Glen and Nick weren’t able to move the boulders on the falls to direct more water into our culvert, so at present it isn’t being completely filled, and we may lose the water again, but for now, our life has taken at least one step toward normalcy, what a joy.

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Saturday 18 July 2020

Air Field Wind Generator

    Since we had already walked Jervis Road so many times lately, and the mosquitoes were so bad on Horseshoe Lake Road, we decided to walk up and down the tarmac at the McBride airfield.  It had been quite a while since we had done that.
    The walk was uneventful, but I did enjoy seeing the wind generator standing in front of the cloudy Cariboo Mountains.  
    The wind generator was generously donated by Dr. and Barb Jackson.  It provides power for the airfield and what isn’t used goes onto the grid.

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Friday 17 July 2020

At Least I Got A Corn Story

    I grew up in rural Southern Indiana, so corn is part of my heritage.  That being the case, I plant corn every year in the garden, even though the Interior of British Columbia is not prime corn growing country. 
    This year our spring was very late in coming.  Unlike most gardeners around here, who start their corn in the house then transplant it outside, I generally plant my corn directly in the garden, but with the lingering cold weather, I didn’t dare plant outside, so I too planted my corn kernels in a flat in the shelter of my greenhouse.
    I watched the flat for the corn sprouts, and watered it every other day or so in order for the kernels to germinate.  I watched and watered, watered and watched, but nothing happened.  A week went by, then another, still nothing happened.  I poked my finger in the soil to see if I could determine why the kernels didn’t sprout.  I was surprised, because I couldn’t find any.
    I gave up, bought another packet of seeds, and planted them in the garden. 
    A couple of weeks passed then something curious happened:  corn started sprouting in my pepper bed (photo above) and the tomato bed in the greenhouse.  What was going on??
    I can only surmise that mice must have smelled the corn kernels I had planted in the flat, dug them up, ate most, and then buried the rest to eat later.
    Meanwhile, the corn I planted outside has struggled to grow in the extremely wet and cool weather we have been getting.  As you can see in the photo below, not exactly “Knee high from by the forth of July,”  it’s just a bit above ankle high.
    My corn crop will be a write-off this year, but at least I got a story out of my efforts.

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Thursday 16 July 2020

Our Summer Without Summer

    This summer is stacking up to be a non-event in the Robson Valley.  Throughout our long winter, I eagerly wait for signs of spring, and the days of warmth and sunshine to follow.  I await days when you can walk outside without jackets or boots, days when the heat and sunshine make the garden explode with growth.  Well it is beginning to feel that maybe I will just have to keep waiting until next year.
    Last summer and fall were miserable with constant rain and showers, and this summer we are seeing the same weather pattern, only more intense; puddles in the garden, puddles in the yard.  
    It is getting pretty discouraging.  This morning I was once again awaken by the pounding of rain hitting our roof;  It was hard to get out of bed to face it.
    The weather itself is enough to get me down, but this year it is coupled with having no water coming out of our taps, due to the torrents coming down our creek, and the fact when you do get a break in the rain and step outside, we are now being attacked by hoards of mosquitoes.  All of those many summer jobs; weeding the garden, mowing the lawn, etc. are just not getting done.
    I hope that our miserable summer doesn’t extend beyond the Robson Valley and that most of you out there are having a real summer.

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Wednesday 15 July 2020

I Can Play "D"

    The first thought I had after realizing that I was going to lose the ring finger of my left hand was, “How am I going to play guitar?”  Immediately, I started visualizing guitar chords to figure out which ones I might be able to play and which ones definitely required the use of my ring finger.  One of the first chords I thought about was “D”, an easy chord.
    Playing D requires the first three fingers of your left hand, pressing down three strings.  The chord forms a triangular shape with the first two fingers pressing down two strings on the second fret, and the third pressing down the second string on the third fret.  
    Even though my hand is still bandaged, I couldn’t help but see if I could play a D, using what fingers I now have, and fortunately I can.  I can press down the strings on the second fret using just one finger, and use my second finger to hold down the string on the third fret.  It is still awkward with my fingers still stiff and bandaged, but seeing that I can play D has given me hope.
    Many people upon hearing about my finger loss, have told me about Djanglo Reinhardt  and Jerry Garcia, both virtuoso guitar players with missing digits, in an attempt to encourage me, but playing music is so important to me, I don’t really require encouragement.  I am determined to figure out how to keep playing.
    Tuesday night is our jam night, and although I can’t yet play, I went just to sing.  We now meet on the porch of the McBride train station.  All of the rainy weather we have been getting has been a deterrent to the jam happening, and it was showering last night, but the station’s covered porch was broad enough to shelter us.   I found it a bit scary to just sing, I am so use to playing at he same time.
    Last night at the jam we had a keyboard, a washtub bass, a steel guitar, an electric bass, a fiddle, and an orphan hollow body guitar (the player forgot his amp).  We had a good time, but I am anxious to get playing guitar and mandolin again.

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Tuesday 14 July 2020

Mosquitoes,The Next Wave to Hit Us?

    Last evening we decided to try to take a walk down Horseshoe Lake Road.  It had been a few weeks since we had been there since the area had been closed due to flooding,  The water had all gone down, but the road was still blocked by barricades to keep vehicles out.  We walked around the barriers and started down the road.
    About halfway down the road  it became very evident that taking our walk here had been a really bad idea, as we were quickly surrounded by a swarm of aggressive mosquitoes.  It was so bad that we turned around and headed back to the protection of our car, but just opening the car doors to get in allowed the mosquitoes to also get in.
    We swatted the intruders all the way home.  We figured we probably already had enough potential mosquitoes at our house, without introducing newcomers.
    I have always associated the flooding of the Fraser with bad mosquito infestations.  If that is the case; we are in for pretty crappy days in what is left of our miserable summer.

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Monday 13 July 2020

McBride Mudslide Update

    Helicopters continue to buzz around the slope above our house and we can still hear the sound of heavy machinery working in the distance, but most of the excitement about the Willox Creek Mudslide has diminished, as work crews try to make things somewhat normal again.  The residents who were trapped on the other side of the slide can now follow a pilot truck through the mudslide area to access McBride and the rest of the outside world.  
    Willox Creek, that had crossed Mt. View Road east of the top of the hill you can see in the photo, had jumped it’s bank and begun to run on the other side of the hill during the slide.  Heavy machinery re-dug it’s regular channel, and it is now back where it belongs.  There have been several slides since the initial slide and geo-techs are still monitoring the area for new danger.
    The other day some unexpected, far off, thunder made us wonder if another slide had begun.  Later we were reassured upon hearing another, more identifiable, rumble of thunder.
    We walked up the road yesterday to check out what was happening.  I was hoping to get some shots of the destruction, but this is as far as they would let us walk.  Unfortunately the weather forecast shows no relief from the rain and showers. 
    I am sure I am not the only one getting tired of all the excitement in the neighborhood and long for some sort of normalcy to return.

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Sunday 12 July 2020

Roadside Water Sources

    We are beginning to get water occasionally now through our tap, as kindly neighbors hike up to Sunbeam Falls and use a long prod to move debris off of our water intake culvert.  This has enabled us to do some laundry and shower.  During the time we had no water at all, we relied on friends who have a well.  Later other friends provided us with jugs of water they no longer needed.
    We did also start to use a couple of springs of clear water that trickle out onto the side of the road.  This water was running clear and clean even though all of the creeks in the area were muddy.  Before we put in our gravity-feed water system on Sunbeam Falls, our elderly neighbor was often seen walking up the road with her basket of bottles to fill at these springs for her drinking water.  
    In most places drinking water from the side of the road is a dangerous gamble that risks disease or poisoning, caused by nearby agriculture or industry.    Fortunately this spring water has nothing above it but untouched forested mountains.  We are extremely blessed to have these clean, natural, water sources available in case of an emergency.

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