Friday 30 April 2021

Spring Showers

     This morning when I took Kona out for her first walk, it not only looked like spring, but it also felt like spring and smelled like spring.  We are into a spell of mild showery weather and it hasn’t gotten below freezing on the last two nights, so the grass and tree leaves are starting to show themselves.  I like the little patch of blue sky surrounded by all of the heavy gray clouds in the photo.

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Thursday 29 April 2021

Deer Topiary


    During the winter the deer often dine on shrubs, out in the bush and around the houses.  They can really make an impact on how the plant looks.  The cedar decorative shrub you see in the photo below once grew by our front porch.  About fifteen winters ago, the deer ate all of the tree’s lower branches, leaving only the few on the top of the tree, those that they couldn’t reach.

    The cedar looked very pitiful but I had mercy on it, so I dug it up and transplanted it down by my pond, not knowing if it would survive or not with so little greenery left.  As you can see it did survive, although it still looks pretty ridiculous, with its very long naked trunk supporting its small green top.  That cedar, and the chewed-up ornamental shrubs in town, inspired the cartoon.

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Wednesday 28 April 2021

Cows And Calves

     Here is another backlit photo I took the other day.  I took the shot because of the nice lighting, but once I got home and looked at the picture on the computer, I also liked the fact that it featured a lot of mother cows and their young calves.  You initially don’t recognize the calves on your first glimpse of the photo because they just they just appear to be black blotches on the ground.

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Tuesday 27 April 2021

Wait Fox, Let Me Get A Photo

     This morning as I walked into the living room, half asleep, with my bowl of cereal in my hand, I glanced up to see a beautiful fox, red with black, strolling through the pasture toward the house.  I quickly put my bowl down on the coffee table and rushed for my camera which was on the kitchen counter.  By the time I had it in my hand ready to shoot, the fox was past the house and heading through the gate for the woods.  As you can see I did manage to get a photo, although not a very good one.  

    I had spotted the same fox during the winter when there was snow on the ground and it was difficult to get a good photo of it then also, because the fox kept on truckin’ eager to be on its way.  It is always reassuring to know that the fox is still around; out there eating mice.

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Monday 26 April 2021

Backlit Trees


    I was going to take Kona to Koeneman Park for her early morning walk, but when we got there I noticed a couple walking their two dogs and Kona usually goes into a barking fit at the sight of other dogs, so I proceeded on to Horseshoe Lake.  The sun was just rising above the Rockies and was creating a wonderful backlighting effect on the trees that where just starting to develop leaves.  It made them look all frosty.

    I have blogged before about backlighting and shooting pictures into the sun.  It can create some really intriguing photos.  I certainly like the ones I took this morning.

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Sunday 25 April 2021

Donkey Work

     The other day when I was carting this load of firewood up to where it will be stacked, I began wondering about just how many hours of my life I have spent doing “Donkey Work,” acting as a beast of burden, dragging a load of something or other, behind me.  Having a hobby farm has sure meant lugging a lot of things from one place to another.   It seems like I am always attached to a cart or wheelbarrow, pushing or pulling firewood, manure, compost, fence posts, yard debris, tools; always something.  

    I have resisted getting a small tractor for the jobs because, even though I sometimes complain and I know a machine would make things quicker and easier, this donkey work does give me exercise and is more friendly to the atmosphere.  I just hope that I will last as long as my cart and wheelbarrow.

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Saturday 24 April 2021

Oh No, I Forgot

     For a couple of weeks now I have been taking my tomato plants out to the greenhouse so they can enjoy the heat and sunlight during the day, and because my greenhouse is unheated, I carry them back to the house so they stay warm during our below-freezing nights.  I put the flats of tomato plants in a cart to wheel them to the house.  Once there, I unload them up onto the deck, then take off my muddy boots, go into the house, go to the deck, and carry them inside.

      That’s what I did Thursday evening, except after I had taken them out of the cart and put them on the deck, I went off to do something else, and totally forgot about them.  Thursday night it got down to -6C (21F) and when I happened to walk around to the back of the house yesterday, I came upon the scene you see in the photo—frozen tomato plants.  What a horrible sight after all the time I spent growing them.

    Not all of my tomato plants were killed, fortunately about half of them were sitting on the deck table which is under the balcony, where they got some protection, and most of those survived, but I lost about 40 tomato plants and all of my chili pepper plants.  It is the worst thing to happen to my tomatoes and peppers in the decades I have been growing them.

    I called my friend David to tell him of my unfortunate event, and luckily, he has a lot of extra tomato plants that he will give me, so I should still be able to fill the tomato bed in the greenhouse with tomatoes.

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Friday 23 April 2021

A Lone Goose

     Thirty minutes ago I didn’t know what I was going to blog about.  I had no new photos to show and that is what I usually base my blog on.  Then luckily, I heard a Canada Goose honking on my pond, so I went out to take a look and then, also a photo.  I really like the way it turned out with its silvery gleam.

    Every year a pair of Canada Geese show up at the pond, but they rarely stick around for very long.  Seeing and hearing just the one was concerning.  Canada Geese mate for life, and seeing only the single made me wonder if something happened to its mate.  Hopefully the mate is off preparing or sitting on a nest, although this is the first sighting on any goose on my pond, and usually there are two of them.

    Thousands of geese migrate through the Robson Valley during the Spring and Fall, flying in formation or swimming on some body of water.  We hear the noisy honking of the flocks as they fly along the Fraser River or just fly from one field to another.  It is a sound of Spring.  

    One of the the sights I especially enjoy  is when the geese land on the water.  They arch their wings downward and like in slow motion, slowly tilting their bodies to adjust their approach, they gently glide into the water.

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Thursday 22 April 2021

Longer Days

        The length of the days is stretching out, as is the arc of the Sun.  Its path is now higher in the sky and its setting point behind the mountains is getting more and more westward.  I took this photo the other evening as the sun was about to dip behind the Cariboo Range.  Photographing toward the sunlight highlights the early new growth on the tree branches that is being backlit.

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Wednesday 21 April 2021

Spread Jam

    We couldn’t help but take advantage of the summer-like weather by getting the Tuesday Night Jam out of hibernation for some playing.  It was a last minute decision to meet, so not all of our musicians could make it.  We hadn’t played together since the fall, and I’m sure everyone was missing the music as much as I was.  

    Since Covid is still around, we all spread out on the train station porch to play like we did last summer.  Last night was better than our summer jams because there wasn’t any rain and only one reported mosquito.  It is more difficult to hear each other outside and spread out, but it still worked.

    As the evening progressed it began to cool off, causing some of us to dart to our cars for coats and hats, but that didn’t slow slow the music down.   It was so good to play as a group again, even though some of our songs were sounding pretty rusty.  

    Since we last played I had been trying to play a bit every day at home, but mostly just with my guitar, ignoring my mandolin.  Last night on the songs I usually played with mandolin, I would suddenly come upon a chord and not remember how it was fingered, which was a bit of a shock, knowing I had played some of those songs a hundred times.  There were a couple of songs that I couldn’t quite remember the melody for singing, which was also frustrating.  It’s one of those cases of “Use it, or Lose it.”

    We will continue to meet on the porch Tuesday nights weather permitting. 

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Tuesday 20 April 2021

Dropping Peas


    While I have adapted well to losing a finger, there are still times when I automatically do something then realize; “Hey, this doesn’t work well anymore.”

    That happened to me yesterday when I was planting the peas in my garden.  For years I would hold peas in my left hand, then pick a pea up with my right hand and plant it.  I kept trying to do that yesterday, but every time I moved my left hand, peas would fall though the hole where my finger used to be.  You can see one on the ground; it fell when I was trying to take the photo.

    Of course, dropping a few peas is not really much of a problem, but its interesting how quickly a person forgets and falls into “automatic” even though things have changed.

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Monday 19 April 2021

Unexpected Windfall

    Yesterday was the first time this year that we hung our laundry out on the clothesline to dry.  I was standing on the deck hanging the wash, when I happened to glance down at the lawn and noticed what looked to be an old receipt amongst the leaves.  As I looked more intensely, I saw that it had a curious blue tint, so walked down the steps to investigate.  I was surprised to discovered it was a ten dollar bill.

    I have no idea how it got there or how long it has been sitting there.  It may have even fallen out of the laundry I was hanging, I don’t know.  The important thing is that I feel ten dollars richer, even though initially it might have come from one of my pockets, but I am looking at it as a gift from the Cosmos.

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Sunday 18 April 2021

How Quickly I Am Spoiled

    I guess I am just like one of Pavlov’s dogs.  Pavlov would ring a bell, then immediately feed the dogs.  After a while whenever the bell was rung, the dogs began to salivate, waiting for the food.  Repetition works on Kona too.  If we do something at about the same time for three days in a row, then to Kona, it becomes something that she expects to happen for the rest of eternity. 
    For about a week, we have had beautiful, clear, warm, sunny days.  I would wake up to a day, pristine and perfect.  The following day I would wake up to the same thing, and the next day the same, and the next the same again.  This morning I woke up to an overcast sky and snow falling on the mountain ranges and my first reaction was:  “What?  Where is the Sun?” 
     How quickly I am spoiled.  In my defense, it did seem like we were owed a bit more actual Spring-like weather after the long cool dreary Spring we had experienced.
    The weather front did provide an interesting experience this morning as I lay half asleep in bed.  Things were still, then I begin to hear a bit of a roar, which gradually intensified until small branches starting to bang on our metal roof, and other things started to bang around as the wind increased in strength.  It wasn’t gusts, but just a very long, increasingly strong sustained wind.  I almost began to panic because I wasn’t sure it was going to stop, but finally it did, but a cool gray day has been left behind.

Saturday 17 April 2021

Halcyon Days


    We have been gifted with a series of pristine days; clear cerulean skies, bright sunlight, and comfortable temperatures.  After such a.long winter it suddenly feels like we jumped over spring, right into summer.  This taste of summer is a temporary treat, we’ve got a ways to go before the real thing finally comes, but its unexpected appearance is enough to renew the spirit.  

    The photo was taken from the gazebo at Horseshoe Lake a few days ago.  You can still see some ice and there are ducks frolicking on the water, although they will be difficult to make out in the picture.

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Friday 16 April 2021

Gee, I Wonder Why They Call It A “Goldeneye.”

    Now that my pond has melted we have begun to spot some waterfowl taking advantage of the open water.  Yesterday as I was about to walk Kona around the pond I noticed a pair of Barrow’s Goldeneye swimming and diving on the pond.  They are trusting ducks, so they didn’t take off as we approached, allowing me to take some photos.  

    Beside their unique and distinctive body coloring, they feature bright yellow eyes.  I was surprised when I downloaded the photos on the computer, to see just how brilliantly yellow their eyes were.  


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Thursday 15 April 2021

Trees and Sunlight

    The clear skies we have been experiencing has convinced me that finally Spring has arrived.  We have been taking Kona on early morning walks at Koeneman Park and I have been noticing the trees in the bright sunlight.  Although the birches are still bare, they are still worthy of a photograph.

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Wednesday 14 April 2021

A Real Shot in the Arm For McBride

     Yesterday we got our Covid vaccines.  We have been looking forward to the jab for months.  At first BC gave them to medical personnel, then care home residents and workers, and then shots were given according to age, starting with the older residents.  Just as our ages were getting close, the province decided to give them to all of the residents living in small rural communities.  McBride, of course, is such a community, so yesterday the inoculations began in McBride.  

    I was very happy with the decision to do the whole community at the same time.  We get so many people traveling through from Alberta, where the case count is very high, so I now feel that the Robson Valley will have a bit more protection.  

    The shots will continue in McBride through Friday.  Vaccines will be given to everyone that wants one.  The crazies, of course, will stay way, but the bulk of our community will be protected.   I stopped in at the library in the afternoon and ran into friends who had either already gotten their jabs in the morning or were scheduled to get them in that afternoon.  

    I haven’t had any symptoms from the shot except for constantly hearing the voice of Bill Gates in my head telling me to load the Microsoft operating system onto my Mac and to blindly accept his control over the world—just joking (I thought I’d better make that clear, because a lot of conspiracy-types would want to use those words as “evidence.”)

    Yesterday was a good day.

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Tuesday 13 April 2021

First Bloom of the Spring

    “And the winner is.....A crocus.”

    After the long gray winter, I hungrily await the blooming of flowers.  A lot of flowering plants have sprouted and are showing their leaves in the flower bed beside the house where they catch and intensify the warmth of the sun, but the first plant that actually flowered was this lone crocus.  I have planted 100’s of croci in the past decades, they bloom the first year, then slowly disappear with the passing of time.  Happily, this particular plant is still hanging in there and doing well.

    I’ve got to remember to soon spray the other emerging flowering plants with deer repellent.  The deer usually come around at night an decapitate the blooms just as they start to open up.  Thus is life in the Interior of BC.

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Monday 12 April 2021

Everything is Ducky

    Well, the waterfowl think it is Spring.  The Robson Valley is on one of the migration flyways and so this time of year a lot of ducks and geese can be seen at they make a rest stop on their journey further north.  The lakes have not yet melted, so they find what open water they can in the fields or along the river.  I came upon this mixed flock of ducks enjoying the water in the pasture beside the highway between the Fraser River Bridge and McBride.  

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Sunday 11 April 2021

Kona is Going to Miss the Snow

    While I have had enough of the white stuff for the year, Kona will certainly miss the snow when it is gone.  The snow seems to energize her, she romps, jumps, sprints across it, scooping up mouthfuls, as she runs.  Snow brings her joy.

    While this is sort of a goofy looking photo of Kona, it shows her leaping up after eating some snow.  You can still see a bit of snow in her mouth, and the clump she was eating, on her paw.

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Saturday 10 April 2021

This is Getting Discouraging

     Here is a photo I took of the edge of my pond this morning after yet another overnight snowfall.  The cattails are blanketed and the the edge water that was open is now frozen again.  The sprouts of daffodils growing beside the house had finally poked through the soil and they too are now covered with snow. 

    Come on Winter, Give Spring a chance.

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Thursday 8 April 2021

Through a Veil of Snow

     Our loop trail is getting difficult because of all of the pools of water that have enlarged, so over the last few days Kona and I have been doing our early morning walk at Koeneman Park.  The snow there has almost completely disappeared, so it is now easy to walk.

    This morning as we walked, there was a very light bit of snow gently floating down from the sky, and as we turned to head back toward the car, I spotted the Cariboo Mountains, bathed in sunlight, but somewhat faded due to the veil of snow.  It was a nice effect.

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Wednesday 7 April 2021

The Case of Lucifer The Cat

        The “Case” I am talking about is my electric guitar case, which Lucifer has now taken over as her own.  Before Covid closed down our weekly jam, I pretty much left my guitar case closed with the guitar in it, because I took my guitar to the jam every week, but over the past year I have just kept my guitar sitting out on a guitar stand so I can easily grab it if I want to play, and I left the guitar case open, in the event that I needed to get something out of it.

    Lucifer liked the velvety padded inside of the guitar case, and now she can be found almost daily snoozing in it.  It is sitting on a table in my room, so she feels safe from the dog and comfortable there.

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Tuesday 6 April 2021

Colored Sky and Cattails

I am always on the lookout for unusual lighting and color in the sky.  I noticed the color last night and went out and took the photo above.  When a nice sunrise or sunset is taking place, it is easy to make that the only focus of your concentration but you should make yourself take your eyes off of the sky and look around at the surroundings because often the colored sky is creating some nice effects in other places.
I noticed that the small circles of melt water around the cattails on my pond were reflecting the orangish sky and they made a nice contrast with the bluish hues of the ice.

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Monday 5 April 2021

Water, Water, Everywhere

     I have mentioned before in the blog that as a result of all of the rain we got last year, that the hydrology around our place has changed.  Water from underground sources began to form puddles or springs.  Last fall when a lot of this water started showing itself, I had hoped that through the winter they might disappear, however that wasn’t the case, and now with the melting of snow adding more water, all of those water bodies have actually gotten bigger.

    The photo above shows the huge puddle outside my barn.  If it would have just formed outside the barn that would have been alright, but unfortunately, inside the barn, the floor looks a lot like the outside.  Over the years some cracks appeared on the cement pad that is the floor of my shop.  Now water is seeping though those cracks forming a big puddle across the floor of my shop. 

We have a root cellar under our house, during the winter, when I had to go in there I discovered a 7 inches  pool of water covering the floor.  I I decided to wait until spring, hoping the ground water level would diminish before pumping it out.  I know that hasn’t happened and wonder if it ever will.

    At this point all I can do is hope that once the snow has all melted around our place that we will have a dry period that will slow all of this water down.  Of course there is still a lot of snow to melt on the mountain top above us.

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Sunday 4 April 2021

I’m Dreaming of a White Easter


    Actually that was not what I was dreaming of, but that is what we got.  Every time we start making a little progress on melting the winter snow, Mother Nature comes along and gives us some more.  In my mind (formed when I was a kid living in a more southern clime) I always associate Easter with daffodils, green grass, and colored eggs, but after living so long in the Robson Valley I really should have changed that perception.  Oh well, it is what it is.

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Saturday 3 April 2021

Come On, What’s Next?

    Here is Kona, forlorn, her head resting on the coffee table, looking us straight in the eye.  She is wondering when are going to start doing some activity for her.  Already this morning, we had given her a short walk, we had fed her, after which given her several snacks.  That was followed by a 1.5km long walk through the woods on our loop trail.  “Sure,” she is thinking, “but what about right now?”

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Friday 2 April 2021

One Clump, Two Mosses

    Obviously, I live at a low-excitement level, because yesterday one of the most interesting things I saw  was this clump of moss.  I was walking across the plank bridge at the outflow of my pond when I spotted this spark of color.  Upon closer inspection I saw that the clump of moss was made up of two separate species.  The yellowish green bit in the middle is called False-Polytrichum (don’t confuse it with the real Polytrichum).  The feather-like moss radiating from the edge of the clump has a more people-friendly name—Knight’s Plume.

    I have always been fascinated by mosses and this time of year, before all the other plants explode in growth, they are thriving and more noticeable.

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Thursday 1 April 2021

Two Eagles

        We have been noticing these two Bald Eagles hanging out along the Fraser River as we drive to town.  Yesterday on our trip they were sitting on the branches of a Cottonwood tree right beside the road so I stopped and took some photos.  The one with the white head is an adult and the raggedy-looking one, an immature.   They must be able to glean some food from some of the open water areas of the river because, like I said, they have been hanging around in the same spot.
        Over the last couple of days I have been reading in the news that in the US the Bald Eagles have made a remarkable comeback after being close to extinction decades ago.


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