Saturday 31 October 2020

Wasteful Deception

    The supplements I ordered arrived yesterday.  The order was for two bottles of the same pills.  Because I have been using the supplement for years, I knew what to expect:  the new bottles would only be half full.   Like every other time I have gotten it, it made me mad to see how the company is trying to mislead the customer by putting the pills in a big bottle that is more than twice the size of what is needed. 

    When it is sitting on the shelf, the consumer sees the big opaque bottle and assumes it is full of pills.  Companies used to fill the empty part of the bottle with cotton, so the pills wouldn’t rattle around, but now they don’t even do that, they just give you air.

    As an experiment because I had two “full” bottles, I opened them both and poured the contents of one bottle into the other to see if one bottle would hold the contents of both.  It could, and I still had room in the bottle so I added the ten or so pills I still had by my bedside, and there was still enough room to add them into the bottle too.

    What an unnecessary waste of plastic when the world is being buried in the stuff.


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Friday 30 October 2020

Cranberry Marsh/Starratt Wildlife Area

    We had business in the nearby village of Valemount the other day and while we were killing time in between appointments, we took Kona for a walk at the Cranberry Marsh/Starratt Wildlife Management Area that lies just south of the village.  It was a rather gloomy day, but the mountain scenery was different than McBride so it was a nice change from our usual walks.

    We only saw a handful of waterfowl in the marsh, but most of the water was frozen and the cattails are very thick so it was difficult to see what else might be lurking around, hidden from view.   Driving home to McBride in the rain we saw many more waterfowl than at Cranberry Marsh, because there was a big flock of ducks grazing in a field near Dunster.

You can view my photo-realistic paintings at:


Tuesday 27 October 2020

Kona, Off The Leash

    Our last dog Lexi was a wild one and couldn’t be trusted off of the leash, so we always had to have her leashed up when we went for a walk.  That was the habit we were in when we began walking Kona, but Kona is a lot more trustworthy and obedient, so yesterday when we took her down to Horseshoe Lake Road for a walk, I let her go without a leash, and boy, did she go.

    Kona loves to sprint.  Horseshoe Lake Road is a straightaway with bushes bordering both sides.  Kona streaked down the road for about 60 metres (yards), stopped turned to see where we were, and when I waved her back, she rocketed back too me, then immediately turned, and at speed of light tore back down the road again.  What a joy it was to witness the exuberance in her sprinting.

    As her masters proceeded slowly through the snow, down the road at our leisurely pace, she continued to sprint ahead, streak back to us, then streak ahead again.  She covered about eight times the distance that we did, and got a whole lot more aerobic exercise.

    It was a treat once we got back home, to see how tired she was for the rest of the afternoon.  She curled up on the couch and took a nap instead of pacing the house, hoping we would let her outside to chase the squirrels.

Take a look at my paintings:


Monday 26 October 2020

"Tailgate" My Latest Painting

    A few days ago I finished painting “Tailgate,”  which is an image of the rear of the old GMC pickup truck that I used to own.  While most people would probably not think that rusty deteriorating pickup trucks are not worthy of a painting, I really love the colors and war-wounds of this old workhorse of mine.  It is the fifth time I have made the truck the subject of a painting.

    The painting was done on an 18 x 24 inch canvas using acrylics.  It took me 74 hours to paint all of the squares that make up the painting.

You can see my other photo-realistic paintings at:



Sunday 25 October 2020

Floating Ice Patches on the Fraser River

    The sudden freezing temperatures has caused ice to begin forming on the Fraser River.  We saw these patches of ice floating by yesterday on our way to town.  As winter progresses the Fraser will totally freeze over.

    As you can see, that teepee is still sitting there on the far bank.

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Saturday 24 October 2020

A Lot of Stairs Climbed

    About a month ago I discovered that my iPhone was keeping track of my physical activities.  It records how many steps I have taken and how many flights of stairs equivalent I have climbed.  I find it really interesting and helpful, and it does make me want to get more exercise, just by showing me what I have done and making me want to do more.

    Yesterday I blogged about our frazil ice problem with our water system.  Our water intake is on a nearby waterfall, so whenever we have problems, we have to hike part way up a mountain slope to fix it.  Yesterday I had to walk up to the falls two and a half times (the half happened when halfway down the slope Glen realized he had forgotten his gloves at the intake, so I walked back up to get them).

    Later in the day I was surprised when I looked at my day’s activities and saw that I had climbed the equivalent of 40 flights of stairs.

    On a normal day I do more walking (with the dog) and not so much climbing, but losing our water always takes a priority to everything else.  Luckily, we still have our water today, so we can do more dog walking.

You can take a look at my photo-realistic paintings:


Friday 23 October 2020

Frazil Ice, Our Latest Problem

    2020 is a year that keeps on giving. 

    Yesterday we lost our water and when Glen and I got up to our water intake we discovered a new problem--frazil ice.  Frazil ice, I have now learned, is very tiny ice crystals that form in super-cooled water (it can be colder than the freezing temperature).  Anyway these tiny ice particles can sink to the bottom of the water, unlike normal ice that floats on the top.  We’ve never encountered frazil ice like this before.

    Because it doesn’t float, it can clog up water intakes.  Our big culvert was almost totally filled with “slush” which prevented water from getting to our intake.  The photo shows Glen shoveling out the slush in our culvert.   We got the water going again, but after a couple of hours we lost it when it clogged up again.  It was then cleaned out again, and then by this morning the water was gone.  

    Glen and I hiked up to the falls again this morning and re-routed the water on the falls so more would get into our culvert, then dug out the slush that had filled our culvert again, and replaced our filter.  As a result we were able to get some water flowing back to our house, but the pressure is very low, so we will have to go back up to the falls this afternoon and do it again.

    While we were up there we ran into another neighbor he and several other people who get their water from Sunbeam Creek are also fighting frazil ice in their water systems.

    It is all so discouraging. 

You can see my photo-realistic paintings at:


Thursday 22 October 2020

Ice On The Pond

    I like to record those naturally occurring events caused by the changing of the seasons:  The first robin in Spring, the first snow in the Fall, when the pond ice melted, and when it froze.  The pond froze overnight, so unless we get a stretch of warmer weather, the ice will stay on the pond until late-March or mid-April.

    I always miss seeing the sunshine sparkling off of the water during our long winters, when the pond is a white flat plain of snow.

You can view my paintings at:


Wednesday 21 October 2020

Kona: Built For Speed


    Our new dog loves to run, and boy can she do it.  I thought we had fast dogs before, but they were nothing like Kona.  I mentioned this to a friend, who then asked for some photos.  I tried, but all I was able to get were these blurry ones.  They do give you an idea of her speed.

    She runs like a cheetah or greyhound.  See how she compresses her body, then like a spring, explodes it as she stretches out.

    Kona has discovered squirrels in our yard and remembers where she saw them.  Now whenever she is outside, she spends her time sprinting from one squirrel place to another, getting lots of exercise, but never seems to tire.    She loves the out of doors.

Take a look at my paintings:

Tuesday 20 October 2020

I Won't Be Needing This For A While

    Winter has arrived upon us quicker than normal this year, catching me off guard.  I had planned to tear out the garden and till it, mow the yard one last time, and do several other tasks before winter’s onslaught, but rain held me off, and now suddenly, it was winter.

    The weather experts say this early winter is the fault of El Nina, the sister of El Nino, which has established herself in the Pacific, with a promise of a colder than normal winter for Western Canada.  Great, just the way to top off already terrible year.

    As you can see, yesterday I dedicated myself to trading the places for my machines.  I put the lawn mower and rototiller into the barn for winter storage and got out my snow blower, ready for action. 

    The sudden winter has put the pressure on get a lot of things done quickly, before winter hits us really hard.

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Monday 19 October 2020

Not Iceberg Lettuce, But Snow Cabbage

    All of that Fall rain kept me from harvesting a lot of veggies from the garden, but now suddenly it is winter and I have had to scramble to get things out before it gets too cold outside.  Here is one of my red cabbages all powdered up with snow.  I did get finally get them out of the garden and they are presently stored in my unheated shop which will hold them for a while until I can get them into the crawlspace under the house for the winter.

Visit to see my cabbage paintings.


Sunday 18 October 2020

Turn Your Camera Vertically

    I take a lot of vertical photos.  Often you can get a better composed picture if you just turn your camera vertically.  It quietly drives me crazy if I see someone taking a photo holding the camera in the normal position in taking a photo of something that would be much better if they just turned their camera vertically.  

    I took these photos yesterday.  The photo above is more interesting than the one in the landscape position and seems to have more energy.

    Next time you see something you want to photograph, be it a person or landscape, try turning your camera to see if it is better vertically.

Take a look at my photo-realistic paintings:


Saturday 17 October 2020

First Snowfall

    We got a taste of things to come yesterday with the first snowfall in the Valley.  It was one of those wet messy snows, the worse kind because they are so slippery.  For a while it was almost close to a whiteout as we drove into McBride, but then it settled down, then quit. .  By late afternoon most of snow that was on the yard had melted away, but at least we have been initiated now.

    While in town during the snow we noticed that the tire store was pretty busy with people scrambling to get their snow tires put on their vehicles.

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Friday 16 October 2020

Why Make It Worse?

    Back in the Jurassic Period when I was working at the Forest Service, one day a carload of computer experts made the drive from Prince George to our office to upgrade our computer system.  At the end of the day when they drove back to PG, nothing worked.  I am periodically reminded of that incident because I am continually running into similar problems these days on the internet.

    For some reason sites that always seemed to work fine are suddenly changed, and as a result they they are made more difficult than they were previously.  Some of those changed sites that I used daily, I just don’t bother with anymore.

    I just finished doing the layout on the calendar I make every year and so I went online to upload it to the website I use to get it printed.  I have used this website for years without any problems.  The website was fairly straight-forward and I would click on the buttons and the thing would get done.

    That wasn’t the case yesterday however,  the website had been changed (upgraded I assume).  When I tried to jump through all of the hoops trying to get my calendar printed, I failed.  Instead the site just kept sending me around and around, circling back to web pages I had had already seen, asking for information I had already given.  I was never given any indication I had done something wrong or needed to correct something, I just never did get to any place where I could upload my calendar even though I pressed that button numerous times.  After so long circling around and around on the site I was getting dizzy so I gave up.

    I did leave a message about my problem and later in the day, the big corporation sent me an email, so later today I will give them a call, and hopefully be able to talk to a real person.

    I’m sure the changes they had made to their website helped them in some way (probably helped an algorithm) but as a consumer who wanted to give them business, it sure didn’t help me and caused me great frustration.

You can view my photo-realistic paintings at:


Thursday 15 October 2020

Lingering Leaves and Snow

    Some of the Aspen leaves are still clinging to their branches even though we are beginning to get some snowfalls on the slopes.  Their colors are becoming more subdued, helped by the gray skies.

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Wednesday 14 October 2020

Kona, A Real Cuddle-Bug

    We have a dog!  We are calling her “Kona” after the dry-side of the Big Island of Hawaii.  She doesn’t have anything to do with Hawaii, but the sound “Kona” was part of her original name (Nacona, which is a cowboy boot) and we would rather have a dog named after Hawaii rather than a boot.  

    Kona is leggy, lanky, and vertical, a two year old “Bordoddle,” (Border collie/poodle mix) one of those trendy “designer” dogs that are very popular, and usually come with genetic problems.  Kona has hip problems, but her previous owners were very conscientious about treating it.  They had to give Kona up because of problems with their new baby.   We were happy to adopt her into our household.

    Every dog is different and have different personalities.  Most of our previous dogs were more bulky with lots of muscles on their bones, Kona has a body similar to a Whippet, all narrow, thin, and tall.   None of our previous dogs were very “cuddly.”  Kona loves to snuggle up close, which is nice. 

    We had an interesting first night with Kona.  At 5:00 AM our smoke detector decided to beep periodically to warn us that the battery needed changing.  The high piercing sound of the beep scared Kona.  When I got up and turned on the light to dismantle the smoke detector, and saw that Kona was just standing there trembling.  I coaxed her into bed, and petted her to get her calm. 

    It worked and eventually she was lying tightly beside me, her head resting on my arm.   It was nice, except that after a while I had to change position, but she remained stuck tightly to my side.

    Then Lucifer our cat decided to join the Love-In.  She had been snarly at Kona previously, but the bed seems to be a safe-zone, and soon Lucifer was purring on one side of me and Kona snuggling on the other.

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Tuesday 13 October 2020

Is That Winter Coming?

  •     I noticed these snow-covered trees yesterday up in Rainbow Canyon.  It seems that winter is suddenly in a rush to show itself.  We dipped below freezing last night and the road reports are mentioning snow in some of the mountain passes in BC.  
  •     All this doesn’t sit right with me.  Where was our glorious Summer?  Where was our sunny Fall?  It seems like Winter is the only season we can count on anymore to do what its supposed to do
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Monday 12 October 2020

Thanksgiving, 2020

  •     Today is Canadian Thanksgiving.  Let’s face it, 2020 has been a hard year for everyone and it is sometimes difficult to come up with things to be thankful for, but we are alive and that is a big one, and most of us are not in pain, and that is another big one.
  •     I am also thankful for hope, something that enables me to see beyond today and imagine a brighter tomorrow.  

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving

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Sunday 11 October 2020

Fading Away

    I guess you can tell from looking at my paintings that I really love color.  One of the things I find so difficult about winter is the lack of color, giving us mostly shades of gray and white.  I was happy with the exuberant yellow display the trees gave us for Autumn, but that is daily fading, fading, away.  Its sad to watch the dullness take over.

you can see my colorful paintings at:


Saturday 10 October 2020

Castle Creek or Cottonwood Creek?

    The valley behind that row of yellow trees on the ridge is known as both Castle Creek and also Cottonwood Creek.  One of the things that caused me a lot of confusion when we first moved to the Robson Valley was that a lot of the creeks and rivers had two names. 

    I would hear someone talk about the Blackwater River, then look on a map to see where it was and not find it anywhere.  Over time it eventually dawned on me that most of the area drainages had two names:  an official name and a local name.

    Here are some examples (official name is on the left):

        McKale Creek-----Blackwater River

        Castle Creek------Cottonwood Creek

        Nevin Creek-------King Creek

        Holmes River-----Beaver River

        Holliday Creek---Baker Creek

    The early settlers in the valley had given those waterways names, but later the government gave them the official name, but in many cases the official name persisted.

    If you are curious about any Robson Valley place name you can find the history behind it at:

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Friday 9 October 2020

Tired of It

    Have I ever mentioned on this blog just how tired I am of rain?  No?  Well then I’ll tell you now:  I am really tired of all of this rain we have been getting.  The soil is so saturated water is just sitting on the surface.  Luckily we live on a slight slope, so the puddles are just in the low areas.

    Every morning for the last couple of weeks I have been walking the trail loop after breakfast.  There are some low muddy spots where I have to splash through puddles, but this morning there were puddles where I had never seen them before.

    Most of the leaves in the woods have now dropped.  Because the surface of the trail is so irregular with a lot of tree roots, it is easy to trip or slip, so I have to spend a lot of my walk looking down to where I am stepping.  The photo shows what I have mostly been seeing on my walk through the woods.

Visit to see my photo-realistic paintings.


Thursday 8 October 2020

Trump References in Decade-Old Songs

    I always listen to music when I am painting my square every day.  The other day my computer shuffled to the John Gorka song, “Where Bottles Break.”  Gorka wrote this song about greed way back in 1991.  Surprisingly (big surprise) there is a reference to Trump in the lyrics:

    “The buyers come from out of state

    and they raise the rent.

    Buy low, sell high

    You get rich and you still die.

    Money talks and people jump

    ask how high low-life Donald what’s-his-name

    and who cares

    I don’t want to know what his girlfriend doesn’t wear

    It’s a shame that the people at work

    Wanna hear about this kind of jerk.”

    Here is John Gorka singing his 2013 version of the song:  where bottles break

    Another song that sometimes shuffles to me is the Don Henley song,  “Gimme What You’ve Got.”  It also is a song about greed and was written in 1989.  Here are some of its lyrics:

   “Now it’s take, and take, and takeover, takeover.

    It’s all take and never give.

    All these trumped up towers

    They’re just golden showers

    Where are people supposed to live?

    I think the “golden showers” reference in this 30 year old song is interesting in light of current revelations of Trump and golden showers.

    I also know of one other Trump reference in an old song.  It is a Woody Guthrie song that we sometimes play at our jam.  In this song the reference is to Fred Trump (Donald’s father) in the 1950 Guthrie song “I Ain’t Got No Home.”  It was written after Woody’s experience living in Beach Haven, a Trump-owned apartment that discriminated against Blacks.

    “Beach Haven ain’t my home

    I just can’t pay the rent,

    my money’s down the drain,

    my soul is badly bent.

    Beach Haven is a haven where only White folks roam,

    No, No, Old Man Trump, Beach Haven ain’t my home.”

    Here is a link to the song:

    Donald, who always demands to be at the center of things, should be pleased knowing even decade old songs are about him (or his father).  He doesn't seem to be unhappy about negative references, as long as it's just about HIM.

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Wednesday 7 October 2020

Deciduous Slope

    You are looking at the Park Range of the Canadian Rockies.  I was in McBride yesterday afternoon and when I walked out of the train station, this is what I saw; the yellow and green patches of the slope.

The yellow leaves are the Aspen, Birch, and Cottonwood trees, and the green patches are Douglas Fir, Spruce, and Balsam (Fir) trees.

    The main reason so much of the slope is covered with deciduous (trees with leaves) is because back in around 1913 a forest fire swept through, destroying the original forest which was probably all conifer trees (trees with needles), and when the area grew back, the deciduous trees won the race.  It has always been  rumored that the original surveyors in the valley set the fire to make their surveying job easier.

    It is probably a good thing that the slope is now covered with patches of both deciduous and conifer trees because leaved-trees don’t really burn well, and in case of a forest fire, they would hamper the progress of a fire, thus providing some protection to residents in the valley.

You can see my photo-realistic paintings at:


Tuesday 6 October 2020

Hanging on to Fall

    Please excuse my indulgence, but I know what happens after Fall, and so I am trying to hang on to Autumn as long as I can.  Here are a couple of photos I took at Horseshoe Lake yesterday.  Our brief window of beautiful sunny weather as disappeared and now it looks as if we are into a long period of wet gray and gloom, but thankfully the trees are still providing a bit of color.

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