Wednesday 30 June 2021

Fraser River Reaches the Road

    Every Spring the Fraser River rises with melt water and we have watched its water creep toward our road, wondering if it will reach it.  In the 40 something years we have lived in the Robson Valley it never has, but this morning when we drove to town, waters from the Fraser had started to spread across the road.  

    The extremely hot weather persists (38C,  100F today), so the river will continue to rise.   We are beginning to wonder if our only route out will be flooded.  Luckily we have enough supplies stored away to live on, if it does.  

    It is difficult to ignore the fact that weather-wise, things are changing.  We spent two summers breathing smoke from distant forest fires that obscured our mountains and blotted the sun, then last Summer intense rains saturated the ground, causing mudslides and mosquitoes, now we are into a record breaking heat wave.  Summers used to be so enjoyable and benign, now we know longer know what is going to hit us.

    Below is a shot of pastureland between the Fraser River and the McBride townsite.


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Tuesday 29 June 2021

Stewed Tomatoes

    This photo makes my greenhouse look like a pile of junk, but please excuse its appearance; desperate times call for desperate measures.  The extreme heat we are experiencing (41C, 105.8F  today) is intensified inside my greenhouse, which has been reaching daily high temperatures of 51C (125F) or more (the greenhouse thermometer doesn’t go any higher), and I am surprised my tomato plants are still alive.  

    In an attempt to try to lessen the heat inside the greenhouse, I put up whatever I could find (feed bags and old pieces of Tyveck) to try and prevent at least some of the sun from penetrating the place.  I haven’t really been able to tell that it has made any difference, since the temperature reading yesterday was the same as the day before.

    It seems I spend my life wishing that the weather we are getting would change into something better.  Last year is was the extreme amounts of rain that was causing all of the problems.  I will try to be positive by saying the weather around here does provide a lot of grist for conversation.

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Monday 28 June 2021

More Heat, More Flooding

    All sorts of new temperature records were set across BC yesterday.  Lytton, BC set a record for the hottest temperature ever recorded in all of Canada; a sizzling 46.6C (116F).   Locally we had 37C (98.6, just like body temperature), I don’t know if that is a record or not, but I suspect it is.  Today the Robson Valley is expecting 39C (102F), something I never expected to experience in the normally cool, comfortable Canadian Rockies.  Tomorrow is supposed to be our hottest day of this heat wave.

    As I mentioned yesterday all of this heat is rapidly melting the snow in the alpine, gorging the creeks and rivers causing them to overflow onto the Valley bottom.  The photos show a pasture, adjacent to McBride.  There are a couple of ducks out there, but not any cows.  

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Sunday 27 June 2021

River Rising

    There is still a lot of snow up on the mountaintops and as the “Heat Dome” establishes itself over the Robson Valley that snow is melting rapidly, and all of that melt water is draining into the Fraser River, causing the low lying land to flood.  The very stable high pressure system associated with the Heat Dome is causing the unusually hot temperatures to just sit in place, and that means there will be more melt water and flooding in the valley.

    You can already see the beginning of the flooding at Koeneman Park, where the river water is beginning to creep onto the lawn.  The white particles you see on the water is fluff from the willow trees.


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Saturday 26 June 2021

Hot Times

    Years ago when I moved away from Southern Indiana to the Canadian Rockies, I thought I was leaving the really hot summers behind.  I guess I did leave the horrible humidity behind, but take a look at our forecast for the coming week.  These kind of temperatures shouldn’t be happening here.  The normal daytime high temperatures for this time of year is a very comfortable 19C (66F).   

    Beside being uncomfortably hot outside, this string of high temperatures is scary.  We are surrounded by forests and live in fear of forest fires, like those that cinderized much of BC a couple of years ago.  While I have often hoped for a bit more heat for my garden, this is not what I had in mind.  The garden is getting very dry and I have been hand watering it every evening.  The temperature in my greenhouse yesterday got to 46C (115F) which is way to hot for my tomato plants.

    This heat is part of the extreme heat that has settled over the Western and Northwestern US, and it has now spread in to Canada, covering most of British Columbia and the prairie provinces .  While we are not suffering like some of those other places, it is concerning.  There isn’t much you can do about the weather.

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Friday 25 June 2021

S n a i l M a i l

     I am not a great fan of Canada Post, having had several run-ins with them in the past about their ridiculous policies and prices, but yesterday something happened that made me even more skeptical of their operations.  We drove into McBride to pick up our mail at the post office.  Among our letters was what seemed to be an envelope with a card inside of it.  It seemed strange because the stamp had a poinsettia on it, but I sometimes use old stamps to mail letters, so I guess it wasn’t that unusual.  

    The return address was that of an old neighbor who I correspond with at Christmas, but it was a bit alarming to receive a card from her this time of year.  I immediately wondered if something bad had happened to their family.  I cautiously opened the letter and discovered that there was a card inside, but it seemed to be a happy sort of card, which was a relief.

    Confused, I looked again at the envelope, and more specifically the postmark.  It was sent on Jan. 13, 2021, five months ago.  I was shocked.  I know it takes a really long time for mail to get to our isolated part of the world, but come on, 5 months?  Jeez.

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Thursday 24 June 2021

Foggy View

    We woke up to fog this morning and I took the opportunity to shoot some photos.  This is the view we have looking out over our pasture and pond, toward the Cariboo Mountains.  Fog always gives the viewer a nice gradient of hues on the different stands of trees.  I was also happy that my Lupines were in full bloom and added a nice touch of violet to the photo.

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Wednesday 23 June 2021

Curly Kona

    Because Kona can be such a wild dog, we have been keeping a leash on her whenever we walk her outside.  Yesterday I thought since I was going to be gathering hay out in the pasture, I would just let her wander around on her own, like a real farm dog.  

    Fortunately there were no wild animal smells around so she didn’t tear out into the bush to investigate, she stuck fairly close to where I was working.  It was a very hot day (30C, 86F) so when she got hot and thirsty, she waded into the pond to drink and cool off.  When she walked back out, her legs black with pond muck, so we had to give her a shower when we went back into the house. 

    I towel dried her and when I was done, this is what she looked like.  I was impressed with her hair; so curly and interesting.

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Tuesday 22 June 2021

Fox Keeping To Its Regular Schedule

    I keep a pretty regular schedule: I get up, eat, then after breakfast I drive Kona down for a walk in the park.  It seems that the neighborhood fox keeps to a regular schedule too, because our schedules always seem to intersect as I drive home from the park.  Numerous times now I meet the very young fox trotting down the road with breakfast in its mouth.  

    I drive really slowly and the fox just keeps going down the road until my car gets right across from it (that black blur in the lower right hand corner of the photo is my car’s side mirror), then the fox ducks into the bushes on the side of the road.  I sure hope the fox doesn’t get hit by a car because it always seems to be on the road.

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Monday 21 June 2021

The Beaver on Beaver Mountain

    Beaver Mountain, or “The Beaver” is one of the prominent mountain peaks that can be seen from the townsite of McBride.  It was always a bit of a mystery to me why it was called that when we first moved to the area and viewed the mountain from town or Hwy. 16, because we could see no obvious reason for the name.  Then many years later while visiting with friends on Hinkelman Road, I happened to glance up at the mountain from that direction and the name became obvious, because you could see a rock formation on the horizon of the slope that looked very much like a beaver.

    Last night while visiting outside with those same friends, my lawn chair faced Beaver Mountain and I just couldn’t help but take a photo of “The Beaver”.  Below is a photo showing how the mountain is usually seen.

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Sunday 20 June 2021

Ghost Finger

    People are curious and often ask me if I can feel my missing finger.  The answer is yes.  My finger is "there" but it's not there.  It is very strange and bizarre and I would have thought that after a year my nerves would have figured out that my finger is no longer there.  If I lay my hand down on a table, I can feel all of my fingers touching the table top except for my ring finger, which feels like it is lifted up so that it isn’t touching the table top, but it seems like it is still there.

    I can “move” my finger; lift and lower it, although it no longer exists.  When I make a fist with my left hand, there is a tightness, like a stiff muscle mass is preventing me from closing my fist  completely, although all of my other fingers are closed completely to my palm.

    I am happy to report that I can pretty much play all the chords I need to on the guitar, although not as efficiently, and I have been able to adjust my typing.  My left hand is still sensitive in the “digital gap” where my ring finger was (almost like getting a mild electric shock) and unfortunately, every time Kona comes and wants a pet, for some reason she always jabs her nose right in there, causing me to flinch.

    I have adjusted and my life hasn’t really changed much.

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Saturday 19 June 2021

Day Lily Leaves

    Drops of water usually make for an interesting photo.  I took this one with my iPhone after a rainfall.  I was quite impressed with how well the photo turned out.   We’ve got a rainy day going for us today, so it seemed like a relevant picture to post.

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Friday 18 June 2021

The Landscape I Love

    People live in various places for various reasons.  One of the main reasons I live in the Robson Valley is because of the ever-changing beauty of the landscape.  I love to watch the shadows cast upon the fields and mountains as the clouds roll across the sky.  I took this photo the other day when we took Kona out for a walk on Jeck Rd. 

    I am always a sucker for green and there was such an intense green in the foreground which stood out strongly against the dark shadows of the Cariboo Mountains, that I had to take a photo, even though not much else is going on.  Because I love to take photos, it’s really nice to live in a place that offers so many opportunities to take beautiful ones.

You can take a look at my paintings:


Thursday 17 June 2021

Living With Danger

    The other day while looking for a map of our waterline, I came upon a map I had totally forgotten about.  In 1999 people in the Robson Valley who were living in areas of potential hazard received a map from the Regional District showing where those dangers were.  I guess like everyone else, I looked at the map, worried for a couple of days, filed the map away, then forgot about it.

    Last July after really heavy rains several houses were wiped out by a mudslide: 


    That exact area was shown on the 1999 Hazard Map very precisely as being in danger.  I was impressed by the accuracy of the study the map was based on.  Property we own is also shown on the map (shown below) as being threatened.  

    I remember as a teen about hearing that California was going to fall into the sea because of earthquakes, and I thought, “Why would people lived there?” 

    There are not many places on this earth that aren’t threatened by some kind of danger:  earthquakes, floods, droughts, fires, volcanoes, disease; there is always something out there that can get you and everyone has to weigh the threats and hope for the best.


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Wednesday 16 June 2021

Tuesday Night Horse Ride

     While I always think of Tuesday night as our Jam night, it also seems like it is the night when people get on their horses and trot into town.  It has happened for two weeks in a row now.  As we are on the front porch of the train station playing music, we look out on McBride see riders on horses coming down the street.  

    They stop and listen to us as they visit with one another and their dogs check out the neighborhood.  There were nine riders last night (not all are on the photo)  I apologize for the ridiculous photo, but by the time I thought of taking a photo all the horses and riders were all facing away from us ready to leave.  That’s Lenny, our washtub bass player standing there looking at the horses.

    When the horses arrived we played a couple of songs featuring horses.  We played “Don’t Fence Me In”, “Turkey in the Straw”, and Randy Newman’s “Rider in the Rain.”  It’s always nice to have a bit of an audience even if some of them are sitting on top of horses.

You can view my paintings at:

Tuesday 15 June 2021


    Anyone who has looked through my paintings probably realized, by the number of Hosta paintings, that Hostas are one of my favorite plants.  We have a lot of shade around our house and we first bought several Hostas because they could tolerate shade.  Once I saw their broad, ribbed leaves, beautiful shades of green, and jungle-like appearance, they quickly became my favorite.

    We have a jungly flower bed against our house, and one of the joys of summer is watching the organized chaos of its growth.  Here is the best Hosta photo that I have taken so far this year.

    You can view some of my Hosta paintings at a link at:


Sunday 13 June 2021

Water Lilies

    One of my most rewarding achievements was digging my pond.  I did it to create more habitat for plants and animals on my property.  Once built, I went out to find natural occurring flora to get it established quickly.  One of the things I planted in the muck on the bottom of the pond were water lily tubers that I found floating on Horseshoe Lake.

    They now provide me with yearly pleasure, as I watch the lily pads and then the flowers, poke their heads above the water to bloom.   It was a wet mucky mess to plant them, but I am now well rewarded for doing it.

You can view my paintings at:


Saturday 12 June 2021

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting

     When you live in a small isolated place you have to get used to waiting.  Because a lot of items we need are not available locally, we have to order them on the internet, then wait, and wait, and wait.  The websites brag of “same day or two day” delivery, but I would be happy getting one week delivery, if they could do it.  

    Recently something happened to the port on my iPhone, preventing me from charging it.  I tried different cables, but the problem seems to be in the port.  Luckily I figured out a solution; since my phone can be charged wirelessly, all I needed to do was get myself a wireless charger.  I scanned the internet to find the store that I thought could get it to me the quickest, and ordered it.  

    After I placed the order, they sent me a link so I could track my order’s progress in getting to me.  It was delivered to Canada Post in Richmond, BC (near Vancouver) and I watched with dismay as it sat there for a week.  All this time I was without the use of my phone, so I was overjoyed when it finally arrived.  I made a special trip to the Post Office to pick it up.

    I opened the small package and to my total dismay discovered that Apple doesn’t include a plug-in to an electric socket, just the cable, which had an odd-ball C-USB port, something I don’t have, so basically the charger is useless until I can get an adaptor.   I called Vincent, our local computer guy, but unfortunately he had just sold the last adaptors he had, and had just put in an order for some more, so I suspect it will be at least another week  (if I am lucky) before he gets them in, so I guess I am back to waiting, waiting, waiting.

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Friday 11 June 2021

A Patch of Ferns

    There is an area just below the dam of my pond that seems to provide the perfect habitat for ferns to grow.  It is moist and partially shaded by some birch trees and ferns cover the ground.  I love to look down at the ferns as I walk on our path around the pond, especially this time of year when the ferns are pointy and upright.  

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Thursday 10 June 2021

Potato Planters

    Every year the McBride Community Garden plants and sells potatoes as a fund raiser.  Last year was a complete bust, after all of the rain flooded the field, ruining the potatoes, but gardeners are an optimistic bunch and so they gathered last evening, between the day’s rain showers, to plant this year’s crop.  

    Vern (in the coveralls) donated the land and dug all of the trenches, so the rest of us didn’t have to work very hard to put the potatoes in and cover them up with dirt.  

    Hopefully the weather will give up a better crop this year.


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Wednesday 9 June 2021

Evening Grosbeaks

    We spent a sunny afternoon visiting with friends on their porch.  While we conversed, we watched a group of Evening Grosbeaks shopping for sunflower seeds from the bird feeder.  Grosbeaks are unusual looking birds with their huge beaks and coloration.  They remind me of parrots and for some reason “clown-birds,” whatever they might be.  

    The Grosbeaks have been constant visitors at our friend’s feeder, so I suspect they must be nesting nearby.   During the winter I sometimes have a group of Grosbeaks visit my feeder and I have always found it strange that even though there is a daily supply of food there, they show up for a week, then disappear for months.

    I was happy to see the Evening Grosbeaks because their population is reported to be in decline.

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Tuesday 8 June 2021

Sparkling Water: Straight from the Tap

    We did go up to the falls the other day and were able to restore our water running back to the house.  Because our water is tumbling and rolling as it comes down the long waterfall, it picks up a lot of air.  Quite often after we get our waterline going again, all of those air bubbles don’t have time to disperse, and when we turn on our tap to get a glass of water, we see a mass of tiny air bubbles.  Unlike carbonated water, then bubbles don't add any taste.  They slowly rise to the top and disappear leaving us with a glass of clear cold water, straight from the mountains.  

    I was not able to get a very good photo of the mass of tiny bubbles in the glass, but hopefully you can get the idea.

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Monday 7 June 2021

I'm Going To Get That Squirrel

    I am no longer feeding birds, because I didn’t want any bears around the bird feeder.  As a result things have been a whole lot calmer outside with Kona, because without the daily supply of sunflower seeds, the squirrels aren’t hanging around either.

    However, the other day when we were returning from our walk, there was a squirrel chattering in the willow tree, as I opened the car door to let Kona out.  She immediately rocketed over to the tree and would have climbed it, if she had been able.  She got up as far as she could and then tried unsuccessfully to stare the squirrel down.

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Sunday 6 June 2021

Horsetails, A Spruce Tree, and Lupines

    I thought this image was a nice combination of textures and  colors.  I took the photo walking with Kona on the path around my pond.

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Saturday 5 June 2021

Adventure Before Bedtime

    There was a fox just outside our window last night, just before we made the move to prepare for bedtime.  The fox scampered away, but we worried because our cat Lucifer had been outside, usually curled up in her cat bed on the front porch bench.  When we opened the door to check on her, she wasn’t there.

    I wasn’t overly concerned, foxes generally don’t kill cats, in fact cats often put the run on foxes, however when it was time to go to bed, I went went outside to call for Lucifer to come into the house, but the cat didn’t show up.  I did detect a very faint “meow” coming from somewhere.  I kept calling, listening, and following the sound until I eventually found Lucy in the crotch of a limb about 15 feet up a willow tree. 

    Despite all of my prompting to come down, Lucifer seemed very insecure about attempting the awkward climb down the tree.  I figured it was going to take too long for her to conger up enough nerve to climb down on her own, so to save time I got an extension ladder, propped it up on the tree, and climbed up to get her.  She howled with fear when I grabbed her by the scruff of the neck, and lifted her from her high perch.   I held her “kitten-style,” away from my body so she wouldn’t scratch me as I climbed down the ladder.

    Finally, after securing Lucifer safely back into house and putting the ladder away, things were back to normal and we could “close up shop” and go to bed.

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Friday 4 June 2021

Koeneman Park Bog

     I have mentioned numerous times in my blog about how all of the water that fell as heavy rains last summer and fall are still with us, as ground water.  On our property, springs and seepages that I had never seen before still have standing water in them.  This is also true at Koeneman Park. 

    The dark green, un-mowed area you can see in the photo used to be just normal lawn, but now it is boggy islands of clumpy grass sitting in water.  I have never seen this area like this in the 35 years we have lived here.  I am sure all of these newly created marshy areas are encouraging to our already over-populated mosquitoes.

You can take a look at my paintings:

Thursday 3 June 2021

Bad Luck: One, Two, Three

    They say that bad luck comes in threes.  If that is the case, I guess my bad luck is over, although it doesn’t seem like it because all of these cases of bad luck are on-going.  Readers will no doubt recognize the photo above as being a shot of Sunbeam Falls where the intake to our water system is located.   It is in the middle of the photo covered by the torrents of water. 

    Yesterday evening the water to our house suddenly disappeared.  We walked up to the falls to confirm our suspicions, and sure enough, the hot weather we have been having over the last couple of days, has caused a lot of snow melting in the alpine, which led to the water flow of Sunbeam Creek to turn into a raging torrent.  We couldn’t really get close enough to see exactly what happened but I suspect our culvert filled up with gravel carried by the fast water.  There is a grid over it to prevent bigger rocks from getting in, but not the smaller ones.

    We will probably be without water for a while now; until Sunbeam Cr. slows down and we can work up there.

    The second item of bad luck came in the form of our yearly Spring explosion of mosquitoes, making any activity outside around our house, almost unbearable.   That too will be lasting a good while, probably only three weeks, if we get lucky.

    The third bit of bad luck, after I was already depressed by number one and two, occurred last night as I was about to go to bed.  I plugged in my iPhone to charge it, well I tried, but the port would not accept the cable, so I tried another cable, but it wouldn’t insert fully either.  It seems there is some problem inside the phone which now prevents me from charging it.  This morning I ordered a wireless charger for the phone, but it will not arrive until next week.  

    I guess we are doomed to struggle on until these problems are eventually resolved.  I will try to stay positive.  We are scheduled to get our second vaccine next week and that is something we are looking forward to.

                                                 Visit to see my paintings.

Wednesday 2 June 2021

Lawns of Hawkweed

    I have never been a lawn fanatic.  Since I was in elementary school in the 1950’s I have had to  mow lawns and never found much pleasure in it.  I am always a bit surprised at how seriously some people take their lawns; fertilizing them, chemically treating them, and watering them.  I was surprised a long time ago upon hearing on a gardening show, people wondering how to get rid of moss growing in their lawns, I love the moss in my lawn and I am happy to have a diversity of other green plants growing there.  I usually mow around things like daisies and forget-me-nots when they pop up in my lawn.  

    All that being said, it does concern me to see how Hawkweed is taking over mine and other lawns in the Robson Valley (The photo above shows mowed Hawkweed at Koeneman Park).  There used to be grasses growing in the lawns, now it is Hawkweed, which just muscles out all the other plants.

    I have always loved coming upon new wild flowers and I distinctly remember the first time I saw the orange flowers of a hawkweed plant growing beside a secondary road near a railroad crossing.  I stopped the car, got out to take a look at the flowers I had never seen before.  It is not a rare sight anymore, it is everywhere.

    Hawkweed originated in Europe and is now invasive throughout the Pacific Northwest.  Like so many invasive plants, once it is established it has to be accepted, because it is now just too widely spread to wipe out.  An area of 1 square meter of hawkweed can produce 40,000 seeds.

    Even if you constantly mow and prevent it from flowering, seeds will get to your lawn and take over.

    Pesticides can wipe out patches of the stuff, but I am not interested in adding any biocides to the Earth, so I guess I will just have to live with my lawn of hawkweed.   Below is a photo showing what hawkweed in flower looks like.


You can vier my paintings (none of Hawkweed):

Tuesday 1 June 2021

Apple Blossom Time

    Many of our fruit trees died over the winter.  We lost our two plum trees and all of our cherry trees that we have had since 1977.   Some of our small apple trees were knocked way back, but still alive.  Luckily, our bigger apple trees survived and are celebrating by putting out a floral display greater than they have ever done before.

    The white blossoms in the photo above are from an apple tree.  The burgundy tree below is our crab apple, it has never looked so good.

                                            You can see my paintings at: