Monday, 17 May 2021

Horse Incident

     The other day while walking Kona down Horseshoe Lake Road, we perked up when suddenly the herd of horses that are pasturing there became animated and frisky.  Soon the herd was running back and forth.  They were a beautiful, graceful sight that we felt privileged to witness, however after a bit, most of the horses settled back down, but one black mare kept pursuing a younger brown horse, quite aggressively.  It chased it back and forth, then into the bushes and along the fence.

   We heard one crash, but both horses came out the other side of the bushes, the black, hot on the heels of the young horse.  She chased it again back into the bushes again and when they re-emerged the young horse ran into the wire fence, got tangled up, freed itself, then jumped over it, safe from the pursuit at last.  It limped a bit so it must have hurt its leg.  You may not be able to tell from the photo, but the small brown horse is standing outside the fence and the black horse inside with her head down.

    We knew who owned the horses, so we drove over to their farm (a month ago they lost 6 horses when their barn burned) to tell them about their horse getting out and probably injured. The owner immediately got into their truck to check out the situation.  I don’t know any more about what happened after that.  We sure hope  the young brown horse wasn’t injured too badly.

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Sunday, 16 May 2021

Spring Waterline Maintenance

     Our water comes from a waterfall on Sunbeam Creek.  He have a large culvert in the middle of the falls to catch the water and funnel some of it into our waterline.  (The arrow is pointing out the culvert.). Every spring when all of the snow on the mountain top begins to melt in earnest, torrents of water come shooting down the falls carrying rocks and gravel with it.  That gravel can fill up our culvert and stop the water from flowing into our waterline.

    To prevent this we have a heavy iron grid-like screen (initially used by Highways for screening gravel) that we put over the top of our culvert to prevent the rocks from collecting inside.  We take this heavy duty screen off every winter so it doesn’t cause our intake to freeze up with ice, and then every spring we have to put it back on. 

    As you might imagine by the steep slope of the falls, maneuvering the screen onto the top of the culvert is a rather dangerous job,  I wore a safety helmet and was strapped onto the culvert so I wouldn’t be swept away if I slipped.  Together with Glen, our neighbor and fellow waterline user, we manhandled the screen into place, so that takes care of one of the yearly worries I have this time of year.  Hopefully the spring runoff will be mild and we don’t encounter any unexpected problems with the waterline.

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Dewy Horsetails

    This morning I happened to see these sparkling Horsetails, backlit and shining like diamonds in the sun.   When I first came to BC and saw Horsetails growing on the side of the road, I thought they were small trees.  Horsetails are ancient plants, as a kid I found 250 million year old fossils of Calamites (ancestors of Horsetails) in the walls of a neighborhood railroad trench.

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Friday, 14 May 2021

I Fear For Our Big Cedar

    Back in 1977 after we bought our place, whenever we were driving down the road toward it, we would look for the top of a big dead cedar tree that grew in our barnyard, so we could tell when we were getting close to our driveway.  I hated that the big Western Red Cedar was dead, but I took some consolation in the fact that right beside it, a younger cedar was growing, and it continued to grow these forty plus years.

    Now it looks like that cedar, which was just starting to get big, is dying.  Two-thirds of its lower needles have turned reddish brown.  Cedar needles do periodically turn reddish brown and are then replaced by new green needles.  The process is called “flagging”, but what is happening to our cedar seems well beyond that.  It looks like it is dying. 

    Western Red Cedars do grow where there is a lot of moisture, but they can’t survive in standing water, and that is what has been happening with this one, because of all the rain we had last summer and fall.  Underground water seeped down the mountain slope beside our property and accumulated in the old bogs that are in our yard.  Bogs have been saturated, with water sitting on its surface, for a year and a half now.  One of those big old bogs is right beside the cedar and it is still full of water.

    The needles on the very top of the cedar haven’t yet turned red, so I guess there is still hope.  Around here, Western Red Cedars can grow for hundreds of years, that is what I had been hoping this one would do.  Cedars are my favorite tree and I would sure hate to lose this one.

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Thursday, 13 May 2021

Fog Again

     We had another foggy morning today.  It was clear at our house, but when I took Kona down along the river at Koeneman Park, I found it shrouded in mist.  Above, is a photo of the foggy Koeneman homestead cabin silhouetted in the fog.

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Wednesday, 12 May 2021

More Morning Fog Photos

        Here are a couple more fog shots from yesterday.  The sunlight through the fog created some magical effects as I was walking Kona down Horseshoe Lake Road.

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Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Early Morning Fog


    The sky cleared off overnight causing the temperatures to cool.  This morning it was -3C (-6F) and the cold air over the warmer pond caused fog to form and vent off of the water, giving it a sinister feel.

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Monday, 10 May 2021

Colors of the Robson Valley Spring

     White-capped mountains, blue slopes, and new, light green leaves on the trees, I love to see to witness theses colors on the topography during the spring.  As the season progresses, the lime-green tree leaves will mature and darken, and not be as beautiful as they are right now.

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Sunday, 9 May 2021

Spreading Her Wings

     I took a look at my pond yesterday after hearing a lot of racket emanating from it and saw that there were four Canada Geese out on the water.  I have had a pair of geese out there before, but this is the first time I have had four of them.  I was happy to get a photo of one of them spreading its wings, stretching them out and flapping them, like one would do after waking up.

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Saturday, 8 May 2021

Greening Up

     The onslaught of green was sure noticeable this morning as I walked Kona at Koeneman Park.  The tan dead grass had been submerged from view as new green blades pushed their way into dominance.  While the Birches have not yet leafed out, the Aspen and Cottonwood have begun.  There is a sweet fragrance in the air from the Cottonwood, that always lifts my spirit whenever I walk outside.

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Friday, 7 May 2021

Two Are Still Alive

     On my April 24th blog I told the sad story of how I had forgotten about my young potted tomato plants and left them outside overnight, resulting in about 30 of them being killed by frost.  Gemma’s Person responded to the blog saying if I hadn’t already ditched them they might come back.  I had zero confidence that they would, but I left the wilted plants in the greenhouse, and yesterday I was surprised to discover that two of the tomato plants were showing some new growth.  I was amazed.

    I find it pretty inspiring how some living things overcome situations that seem hopeless.  If they didn’t I guess that a lot of species would have disappeared millions of years ago.

    I did manage to finally plant all of my tomato plants in the bed of my greenhouse yesterday, so I will no longer have to cart them back and forth to spend the nights in our house.

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Thursday, 6 May 2021

Deserted McBride

     There was a cold north wind blowing down the deserted streets of McBride on Tuesday night when we had our jam session on the porch of the train station.  Because of the coolish temperatures (13C 55F) only 4 musicians showed up to play (we did have 4 people in the “audience” also).  We played for two hours in the cold wind until my cold fingers started having trouble holding my guitar pick.

    The McBride train station is located at the end of Main Street and as we played our music on the porch we could look down Main.  The odd car drove down the street and a few walkers strolled by, but other than that, the village felt pretty deserted.  The vacant look is not because of Covid, it is the way things look in McBride pretty much every evening, since all of the stores are closed and nothing else is happening.   

    I stopped between songs to take this photo because I liked the way the low sun was lighting the the empty town.

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Tuesday, 4 May 2021

The Forgotten Home Child by Genevieve Graham

The Forgotten Home Child by Genevieve Graham

In 1869 a Dr. Bernardo of London set up an organization to deal with the impoverished children of the city.  Many parents could no longer support their kids, and other children, abandoned by their parents lived by theft on the streets of the London.  Their hand-to-mouth living conditions were terrible, reminiscent of Oliver Twist and other Dicken’s novels.  

Bernardo’s idea seemed like a win-win.  He would get these children, give them safe clean places to live while they would be educated and trained in things that would leave them with the experiences they would need to survive as adults.  Once the kids were trained up in things like domestic skills for the girls and trades like metal and woodworking for the boys, they were shipped to the Commonwealth countries where they would work for families until they were 18, then they would be free to live as they wished with some money they had earned during the time they were indentured.

    The British Home Children organization existed from 1869 to 1948 and sent its wards to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa.  During that time 120,000 children were sent off by Dr. Bernardo to work in “the Colonies.”

While the idea sounded good on paper and while in England things were good in the Bernardo homes, once the children were sent to the colonies, most were exploited mercilessly.  Many of the people who signed up to receive the kids were only looking for cheap labor.  

The  London Home Children suddenly found themselves doing farm work, something they knew nothing about, and they were often forced to live year round in barns and sheds.  Many were abused; mentally, physically, and sexually.  They were shunned by the communities where they found themselves and looked upon as uneducated, dirty, thieves.  

The Bernardo scheme was a nightmare for many of their wards, because once in the foreign country, there was very little checking up to see the situations they were living in.

The Forgotten Home Child is a novel that follows a handful of these Home Children, who after being rounded up on the street where they lived with their wits, were put into Bernardo Homes, educated and trained, then shipped off to Canada.  There they were exploited by the cruel farmers, struggling through the Depression.

The novel follows the lives of Winnie, Jack and the others in their group of street kids, who in London, depended upon each other to survive, then finding themselves separated and alone, living almost as slaves in rural Canada.  They desperately sought to find and reconnect to each other in the huge unknown rural environments where they now lived.

I found myself sucked in to the storyline of the novel and eager to see how it was all going to turn out.  It was an interesting way to learn about one of the dark segments of Canada’s history.

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Monday, 3 May 2021

Angry Clouds

    Kona and I took our afternoon walk at the McBride Airfield yesterday, beneath a really dramatic sky.  The photo above shows how the sky looked facing west and the photo below shows what I saw when we turned around and walked back to the car.  Luckily it didn’t start raining until we had arrived back home.  I love to see these powerful, menacing-looking skies with their billowing clouds with dark underbellies and interesting light.


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Sunday, 2 May 2021

Horses and Spring Aspen

     When I saw this scene I was initially attracted to the light green of the Aspen trees against the deep blue of the mountains.  Then I noticed the grazing horses silhouetted in the foreground and they put a nice completion to the photo.

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Saturday, 1 May 2021

You Did It There?

     Our cat Lucifer has the whole world out there to do her business, so I was a bit perturbed yesterday to see that she had chosen our garden to do it.  More specifically, she not only chose our garden, but she chose the exact spot where I had planted my row of lettuce seeds the other day.  Here she is next to the row marker stake covering her mess.  Sometimes it is hard not to believe that the Cosmos really doesn’t want me to grow a garden.

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