Thursday 30 September 2021

The Old Tete Jaune Bridge

    On Tuesday, BC Hydro, the Provincial Electricity Utility, scheduled a power outage to replace some neighborhood power poles, so our house was to be without electricity for 6.5 hours.  We didn’t really want to sit in the house unable to use anything all day, and since my wife needed to go to the Government Agent which is in Valemount, we decided to just take a leisurely drive there.   Since we had no timeline, we decided to take some of the few available backroads to get there, so we could enjoy the Autumn colors.

    Our first deviation from the Highway 16 was taking Blackman Road that went south to the tiny community of Tete Jaune Cache, (locally pronounced “Tee John Cash”) then continuing southward, connecting later to Highway 5 to Valemount.  

    One of the Robson Valley scenes I like the most is the approach to the old Tete Jaune Bridge that crosses the Fraser River.  This old wooden bridge is picturesque by itself, but with the magnificent mountains in the background and the yellow autumn trees to frame the scene, it was a “must stop” for a photo.

    The Fraser River by the bridge is also quite attractive, as it’s opaque-greenish glacier-fed waters are channeled through the rocky outcrops, but I didn’t take a photo of that because I was facing the sun and couldn’t really get a good shot.

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Tuesday 28 September 2021

Four Stories From McBride's Past

    The other evening we had some long-time friends over and of course our conversations soon turned to telling stories of the “good old days” in McBride.  Here are a few that were told:


    There were two hardware stores in McBride, the smaller one was called Fort Electric. The proprietor was a guy named Lyle, who could often be a really miserable person and a lot of people always avoided his store because of it.  He had a small TV by the counter which he watched all day and  Lyle got very irritated if someone came in and asked him a question while he was watching one of his favorite soap operas.

   When Jim, who grew up in the US, first moved to McBride, he needed a broom, so he went into Fort Electric to buy one.  Lyle was watching TV, so Jim went wandering around the store looking for brooms.  He found some brooms, but they were sort of strange looking and didn’t have a price tag on them.  He picked one out and headed to the counter to ask Lyle how much it was. 

   Lyle looked at the broom and said, “$40.00”.  Jim gulped at the price, thinking, “My god, where did we move to if a broom costs $40?”  

   He couldn’t believe a broom could cost $40, so asked, why it cost so much.  Lyle said it was a curling broom (a strange northern sport where players sweep the ice in front of a sliding “rock”).   Jim , who had never heard or experienced curling, then asked if Lyle had any regular household brooms.  He was then directed to another section of the store, and was greatly relieved once he saw the price of the regular brooms.


   Another time Jim needed some kind of cast iron part for something, so first he went to the bigger hardware store.  They didn’t have the part he needed so Jim then had to go to see if Lyle had one in his store.  He told Lyle what he needed and Lyle walked Jim to the back of the store (I guess there was nothing good was on TV).   Lyle pulled out a drawer with a few cast iron parts in it .  Jim found the exact piece he needed, (the only one like it in the drawer) and said he would take it.  

   Lyle told him, “You can’t have it, its the only one I have.  What if someone needs it?” 

   Jim told him, “I need it.”  

   Luckily, Lyle then relented and let Jim buy it.


   When I was working for the Forest Service, there was a forest fire that we were sending a small crew out to fight.  We had to supply them with fire fighting equipment and food.  We needed a styrofoam cooler for the food and didn’t have one in our warehouse, so I was sent to find one.  I checked the bigger hardware store first, but since they didn’t have one, I braced myself and headed over to Fort Electric to find one. 

   I got there, looked around for one while Lyle was watching TV, then I spotted one on a high shelf behind Lyle’s counter. I asked to see it and he reluctantly got it down.  It was covered with dust and must have been sitting up there for years.  I told him I would take it and to bill it to the Forest Service.  

   “Oh, I don’t want to sell it to the Forest Service,” Lyle said,  “it takes too long to get my money.”

    I shook my head and told him that the cooler must have been sitting up there unsold for years, at least now someone was buying it and he would eventually get some money for it.  Lyle did then decide to sell it to the Forest Service.


   There was a little second-hand store in McBride, Jim was looking around in it one day and happened upon a really nice looking suit that fit him (he is fairly tall).  He liked it so took it up to the elderly lady who was running the store and asked how much it was.  Mrs. Mummly looked at the suit and said, “Twenty-five cents.”

   Jim, who was astounded at the ridiculously low price, questioned, “Twenty-five cents?”

   Mrs. Mummly looked again at the suit and said, “Well, how about ten cents?”

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Monday 27 September 2021

Chasing Sunlight

    Yesterday it was pretty solidly overcast for most of the day.  Later in the afternoon a few breaks occurred in the cloud cover which allowed bits of sunlight to illuminate some of the Autumn color in the trees.  The fast moving clouds caused those spotlights of sunshine to race across the landscape, first lighting here, and then there, continually changing the scenery.

    I would look out the window and see some interesting lighting, grab my camera, and rush outside to take a picture.  Often by the time I got out to the pasture the lighting had changed.  I did this several times and eventually got some nice shots.  Here are two that I like.

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Sunday 26 September 2021

Subdued Autumn Colors

    The yellows of our Robson Valley Autumn are slowly showing themselves, but the colorings are somewhat subdued due to our grey overcast skies.  Hopefully some sunny weather will show us a brilliant display before the leaves disappear.  So far our forecast looks like more clouds, showers, and rain.

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Saturday 25 September 2021

Sticky Clay


    After our dry hot summer, I had to deal with hard rock-like clay while digging the potatoes or digging the hole beside the house to get to the waterline.  For weeks now we have been getting rain and showers and the clay is no longer hard, it’s soft, slimy, and sticky.  

    The other day I had to refill the useless hole I dug, because the plumber never came and colder weather is coming.   The slimy condition of the clay made it a difficult task.  It stuck to the shovel and wouldn’t come off unless I banged it against something, and with every step I took, my boots got heavier and heavier, while I became taller and taller, as, the clay stuck to the bottom of my boots.  

    Happily after a frustrating couple of hours I was finally able to get the hole filled.  I hope that when I dig the rest of the potatoes the garden will have dried off a bit.  If not there will be slimy clay on the surface of the spuds and I will have to scrub each one before I put them away for the winter.  

    Heavy clay is not my favorite soil type.

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Friday 24 September 2021

Wow, Look at this Mushroom

    Yesterday when I was out by the barn I came across several huge mushrooms.  I was really surprised at the size of them.  As you can see, this one is 11 inches (28cm) across.  I am no mushroom expert so I looked it up and I am pretty confident that it is “The Prince” (Agaricus augustus).  The size, color, appearance, and little skirt on the stem all match.   The Prince is edible and is considered a choice mushroom to eat, but I am not going to try it unless I get confirmation from someone who is a mushroom expert.

    I will always remember a professor in a botany class tell about poisonous mushrooms, particularly about one kind that people mistakenly eat.  They are perfectly fine for about four days, then they die, and nothing can prevent it.  That story has always made me pretty wary of what mushrooms I put in my mouth.  

    I have eaten local Morels and Shaggy Manes and would sort of like to try The Prince, but won’t until I get someone who knows, to confirm it’s identity.

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Thursday 23 September 2021


    This was the scene this morning when I took Kona out for a morning walk around the pond.  The effect when mountains take on the reddish color of the Sun on the horizon during a sunrise or sunset is called “Alpenglow”  from a German word meaning “Alps glow.” As you can see the trees are starting to take on a yellowish hue, but the color is fairly subdued in the photo because they are still in the shade of the mountains.  I am looking forward to a more brilliant display in the coming days.

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Wednesday 22 September 2021

Travel Surprises

    During the summer, our jam has been playing outside on the Train Station porch.  For the most part, the weather had been beautiful and it was quite enjoyable to watch the evening sunlight play across the town and mountains beyond.  One of the other joys of playing on the porch was the travelers who happen to discover us and either joined in on the music or just watched.  Many took videos which they sent away to friends saying, “Look what I found in McBride.”   Not that we are such a talented find, but I think the travelers really enjoyed the surprise of a small town concert.

    The experience made me think of a trip we took to Mexico in the 1980’s.  Among the various places we ventured to was the Pyramids of Teotihuacan.  This was an immense Meso-American city built by the natives around 100 BC.  We walked around exploring and climbing up to the top of the pyramids and when we got to the top of one of them, we found a crowd of people all gathered around listening to an impromptu concert by some Andean musicians who had lugged their instruments to the top and were performing.

    It was such a wonderful and memorable surprise; something that I will always associate with our trip to Mexico.  I hope that our Jam playing at the train station will be an enjoyable memory for some of the vacationers who happened upon our playing.

    Because of the weather is no longer very conducive to playing outside in McBride, our small group is now playing inside at the Legion Hall.  We are not welcoming visitors because of Covid restrictions.  It’s not as fun as what we experienced outside, but it is what it is and so far, we are still able to get together to play.

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Tuesday 21 September 2021

Common Snipe

    The other day I noticed this bird pecking around in the banks of my pond.  I didn’t know what it was and after some research discovered it was a “Common Snipe”  (I don’t know what an Uncommon Snipe looks like).   I didn’t know that Snipes were shore birds.  The only reference to Snipes I had ever come across in my life was a “Snipe Hunt”.  That is a trick you play on people.

    My cousin and I heard about Snipe hunts in a western, I think.  Some cowboys were going to play a trick on some dude that came into town.  They started talking to him about going on a Snipe Hunt and he became interested in going.  They told him he could be the one to hold the bag.  They took him way out in the middle of nowhere and told him to stay there, holding the bag close to the ground, while they spread out to herd the Snipes toward him.  

    Of course, what they did was all go home and leave the poor guy out there all night holding the bag like a fool.

    Upon learning all about a Snipe hunt, my cousin and I thought it was a good trick, so we sought out someone to “hold the bag”.  When one of my cousin’s relatives, a younger kid who seemed naive came for a visit, we organized a Snipe Hunt. 

    We told him we would let him take the prized position of holding the bag.  In the evening, we walked him out to the end of my grandfather’s pasture.  We gave him the bag, told him to stay there and we scrambled off to “herd the snipes”  toward him. 

    We left him there in the pasture as dusk creeped slowly into night.  He eventually found his way back to my grandparent’s house, crying.  My cousin and I got bawled out for leaving him there and I have always felt guilty for doing it.  

    I knew a Snipe was some kind of bird, but since I had first heard about a Snipe Hunt in the context of a western, I always assumed it was some kind of dry land fowl.  It was a surprise to me to find out it was a shore bird and to have one come visit my pond.

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Sunday 19 September 2021

Rain Squall

    It was hard to make ourselves go out for our afternoon walk yesterday, realizing that we were probably going to face heavy rain, but fortunately by the time we got to our  Horseshoe Lake Road destination, the storm had mostly moved on.  However in its wake it left a fairly dramatic sky, with towering gray storm clouds and a veil of rain on the distant mountains.

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Saturday 18 September 2021

The Golden Age of Stupidity

    I saw a newspaper article the other day entitled “Are We Living in the Golden Age of Stupidity?”  I knew exactly what the article was about and I knew the answer:  YES.  

    Last week when I went to the post office to pick up our mail, there was a letter addressed to me with a snarky yellow Post Office sticker on the envelope telling me that the address was wrong.  This in itself was ridiculous, because I didn’t send the letter, write the address, or even know who sent it.  There was no return address on the envelope, just a handwritten statement:  “From a northern resident.”  It was all very strange.

    When I opened the envelope I found a two page printed diatribe attacking the medical profession, the Canadian Government, and the Covid vaccine.  It was unsigned of course.  I could only shake my head in disbelief as I skimmed through the thing.  It was full of statements about “science says this and science says that”, all of which were false.  One sentence that caught my eye was that whenever a virus mutates, the virus “becomes weaker”. This was followed up by a statement that “therefore the Delta variant is a very weak virus that poses no threat.” 

    I know enough biology and evolution science to know that usually when a virus or any living thing mutates, it is generally harmful to the organism, but every once and a while, a mutation can instill great advantage to an organism.  The Covid virus has gone though hundreds, maybe thousands of mutations, most of which caused no concern to humankind, however a few mutations have given the virus new powers.  The Delta variation is one of those.  It has enabled the virus to spread much more easily and rapidly through the human population.

    As far as the Delta variant posing “no threat”, the author of this fictional document might try telling that to the hospitals around Western Canada that are on the verge of practicing triage (deciding who they will treat and who they will let die) because there are no longer any ICU beds or medical staff available.   The author should try selling this “snake oil” belief to the people whose urgent cancer treatments have been postponed because all the beds in the hospital are full of Covid-infected people who thought they were “too healthy” or smart to bother with getting a Covid vaccination.  

    It is disheartening to see so many people swallowing such disinformation.  They question and avoid the vaccines, but rush off to farm stores to get horse worming medicine to use on themselves in an attempt to prevent the virus they say is not a risk.  Truly, we ARE living in the Golden Age of Stupidity.

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Friday 17 September 2021


    After a night of rain, we woke up to snowcapped mountains.  Certainly the temperatures are cooling as we move toward Fall.  You can’t really see it in this photo, but some of the deciduous trees are slowly yellowing.  In the Robson Valley, Fall is always a hint that one should get busy with all of those things that need to be done before the long winter arrives.

    I have enough firewood, there are still some things that need to be done in the garden, but that heavy burden of getting my plumbing project finished is at the top of my “to-do” list.  I am hoping to tackle that on Monday.

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Thursday 16 September 2021

As Luck Would Have It

    The other day as part of my plumbing hell, I had to do a simple task:  Drill a one inch diameter hole through the wooden siding and floor joist header that sits on the foundation of my house.  I had to do this so I could install an outside faucet.  Before I started I carefully checked and measured where the spot should be from the inside and under my house so that I wouldn’t hit a floor joist.

    After measuring inside, I went out to measure and mark the same spot outside, then I began drilling.  I thought my old 1” drill bit was dull because it seemed to be drilling the hole very slowly.  I drilled and drilled and very slowly the hole started to hollow out.  I stopped several times to try to sharpen the drill bit with a file.  

    Then suddenly as I drilled, the bit started jumping around, something it shouldn’t be doing.  I persisted with the jumping bit, but seemed to be getting nowhere.  I couldn’t understand what was happening, so I withdrew the bit from the hole and looked inside.   As I studied the hole I finally realized what the problem was:  Beneath the cedar siding there was a nail that had been toed-in to the header right in the middle of where my drill bit was trying to go.  

    “Well that is just great,” I thought, realizing that my simple job had just become a lot more complicated.  I had already drilled the hole through the siding and I didn’t want to start a new one in a different location, so I somehow had to try to pull out the nail through the 1” hole that I had dug.

    I first tried a pair of pliers, but it wouldn’t go through the 1” hole,  the claw end of a hammer would also be too big, then I remember this old nail pulling tool I had with a narrow head, “Maybe that might work.”

    I had my fingers crossed all the way back to the shop hoping that it would be narrow enough to go into the hole and be able to grasp onto the nail.  The head of the nail had been worn off by the twirling drill bit.  

    The old nail puller did go into the hole and it was able to get a good grasp of the nail by me hammering other end of the puller with a hammer.  I had to do this, then pull, several times and slowly I was able to work the nail out.  (The photo shows the nail sticking out of the hole after I had worked it part of the way out.)

    I eventually did get the nail all the way out of the hole which allowed me to finish drilling the hole.

    Of all the places I could have drilled, it seemed amazing to me that I had picked the one place where there was a hidden nail.  I was sure lucky that I had an old obscure tool that was small enough to allow me to get into the hole and pull it out.  It was a very frustrating event, but it at least ended well.

    Here is a photo of my old tool which a friend has informed me is called a "Cat's Paw."

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Wednesday 15 September 2021

A Wild Jam Session

    It was a wild time at our Tuesday Night Jam last night, not because of the music, but because of the inclement weather.  We were playing outside on the porch of the train station and even though we were somewhat sheltered by the porch roof, that didn’t always provide the protection we needed. 

    There had been dark clouds and some periodic showers throughout the day so the fact that we got rain, was not really a surprise.  By the time our 6:00 start arrived I was still hopeful it would hold off, as were the other three dedicated musicians that showed up to play, but it wasn’t long after we began that the weather arrived.

    The force of the wind and rain was an unpleasant surprise.  A couple of times strong gusts knocked over our music stands, throwing our songbooks to the ground.  We huddled as close to the train station walls as we could, but a few raindrops still managed to find us.

    We hardcore musicians stuck it out for an hour and a half, until cold fingers and darkness finally made us stop.  The experience made me realize that our time of playing outside was coming to an end.  We had had a good run throughout the summer, but with Fall moving in, it is time for me to start inquiring about an inside venue for our jamming.

    I took the photo of wet Main Street (below) as we began to pack up our instruments to go home.


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Tuesday 14 September 2021

Covid and the Environment

    I often think about how this pandemic has changed those things that we used to do to protect the environment.  The cartoon shows one of them.  We would never use a “Drive Thru” when we went to a fast food place.  Driving through put more carbon into the air as you sat in the car ordering and waiting for the food.  We always parked and went inside to order and eat.  Now we avoid going inside and pollute the air instead.

    Another obvious change was the use of shopping bags.  We always took our own bags when we went to the grocery to avoid using so much plastic.  Then because of the fear of transmission of the disease through touch, stores outlawed bags brought in, and we were back using those hated plastic bags.

    Covid had limited the amount of driving that people were doing and maybe that is still the case, but now as cases again soar, it seems people are pretty much driving as much as they used to.  I assume the huge increase in shopping online and having things delivered by a courier is more efficient than everyone driving to the store and back to get things.

    Take a look at my paintings at:

Monday 13 September 2021


    The frequent rain showers we have been getting have been just what the fungi has been waiting for.  The fungus, which is mostly a network of web-like structures growing underground, send their fruiting bodies (which we call mushrooms) up into the air so they can disperse their spores.  I saw this   photogenic cluster of mushrooms sticking up through the moss the other day.

    Fungus is everywhere and scientists are just now understanding how valuable they are in their partnership with trees and other plants; transferring nutrients to them. 

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Sunday 12 September 2021

A Community Good-Bye

    Friday was the memorial gathering for Bob Elliott, a friend I used to work with for years at the Forest Service.  Unfortunately I had an appointment in Prince George which lasted longer than expected, so we were late in getting back to McBride for the event.  As soon as I got back home I left for Bob’s memorial, hoping that it was still going on.

    Fortunately, it was just down our road so I didn’t have far to go.  I didn’t know exactly where it was being held, but there where signs along the road which I followed.  They took me down the road beside, and then behind, the cement yard.  I had never been down there before and didn’t know what to expect.  I rounded a curve that overlooked the valley bottom below; full of cars parked in a hayfield. 

    It was a beautiful setting which made me feel really good.  Bob was a popular guy in the area and that was evident by the large turnout.  Once I had parked, I wandered over to the groups of people socializing.  By the time I arrived, the organized part of the memorial had finished and so I just entered into the conversations.  I mostly sought out my old co-workers from the Forest Service.  I was cheered to see Grant there, someone whose company I had always enjoyed, who had moved away and I had not seen for more than twenty years.  

    There was a picnic type dinner served and people ate under the large tent as dusk began along with a light shower.  I was very impressed with the community’s good-bye to my old workmate.

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Saturday 11 September 2021

Twenty Years Ago

    I’m sure most everyone who was alive and old enough, remembers this day twenty years ago.  I imagine that most people who see the photo above, expect to see an airliner fly into one of those buildings in the center.  Planes slamming into those buildings has become such an iconic scene. I’m sure I have seen it hundreds of time on TV.  It was the day terrorists unexpectedly destroyed the World Trade Center and the Pentagon buildings, killing thousands.

    I certainly remember that day.  I woke up to the news on my clock radio, that a plane seemed to have crashed into one of the World Trade Center Buildings.  As we ate our breakfasts, there was a news bulletin telling of a second plane hitting the other building.  I had my ear plugs in, listening to the special broadcast on my transistor radio as I pedaled my bicycle to work, when the news came across that the first building had collapsed.  I remember saying out loud, “Oh, no.”

    I had felt a special kinship to those stark and sterile-looking towers because just 6 months earlier during our March Break, we had visited friends in Manhattan and had gone to the top of the World Trade Center to view New York City from that lofty perch.  I remember the elevator ride to the top of the building, with the Hispanic elevator operator giving us commentary about the building in his rapid New York accent, as we were whisked upward.  I wondered if he was doing that when the planes hit.

    I don’t think much work got done at our Forest Service office that day.  I know I was paying more attention to the radio, with all of it’s breaking news broadcasts and rumors.  After work and back home that night, we watched the special programming in disbelief, as more and more videos of the event made it to the screen.  It was certainly a day that was seared into my memory.

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Thursday 9 September 2021

Mountain Rain

    Here is a shot of the a mountain shower being backlit by a bit of sunlight filtering through the clouds.  The weather is sure hinting at Fall, but hopefully there are still some of those glorious Autumn days ahead of us. 

    We do live in an Inland Temperate Rainforest so I guess I shouldn’t be to negative about rain showers.  This year those periodic showers saved us from the horrendous forest fires that torched so much of BC just south of us.

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Wednesday 8 September 2021

Garden Gate

    I couldn’t really decide what to blog about today and finally just decided to show you a photo of our garden gate, red with the Virginia Creepers.  

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Tuesday 7 September 2021

Pileated Woodpecker

    Lately we have been hearing a lot of loud, “Wuck-a, wuck-a, wuck-a” as a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers have been flying back and forth across our place.  I couldn’t really figure out why they had suddenly made themselves so neighborly, until the other day when I saw one of them greedily stuffing itself with the white berries of the Red-Osier Dogwood.  That was quite a surprise, I didn’t realize that woodpeckers ate berries, I thought they just ate the insects they found in trees and stumps.  They eat a lot of ants.

    Pileated Woodpeckers are are North America’s largest woodpeckers and always remind me of Woody Woodpecker, the cartoon character.  Unlike Woody, Pileated Woodpeckers are generally shy birds, but luckily this one was so busy eating that it paid me little mind as I snapped some photos.  

You can take a look at my paintings:


Monday 6 September 2021


    Yesterday when we went to take a walk down Horseshoe Lake Road, we were surprised to see two horses standing on the road nibbling on the tall grass growing at its edge.  They had somehow managed to get out of their pasture.  We thought we’d better call the owners, but didn’t have their phone number, but did have the phone number of their son, so we called there.  We told his wife about the escapees.

    She said she would call her in-laws and let them know.  We figured we would just hang around until someone came.  We waited and waited and no one came.  

    I thought that maybe I could get the horses to walk down the road past the gate to their pasture, then open the gate and maybe herd them back into the pasture.  It didn’t really work.  As I got close to the horses instead of retreating like I had planned, they briskly walked past me toward the parking lot.

    I quickly called my wife who was in our car, parked there, and told her to drive the car into the road to block the horses.  She did and that blockage plus our barking Kona, persuaded them to move back where they were.  I called the owner’s son again to see what was happening and was basically told “nothing was happening, the owners were away.”  

    I tried to re-do my plan of getting the horses to move back so I could open the gate, but this time, using the car, driving slowly toward them.  The plan started to work, but when they got close to the pasture, a black horse appeared in the pasture that the escapees seemed to fear.  They started to move away from the pasture and the black horse, back toward our car.  

    I figured that the black horse in the pasture was probably bullying them and that is why they escaped in the first place.  I called again to explain the situation and ask what I should do.  The son told me, the owners don’t seem to be around, he couldn’t do anything, so we might as well leave, which we did.

    So there is really no satisfying ending to this story.  I don’t know if the horses are still out our not.  A simple activity like taking a walk around here can sure lead to unexpected events.


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Sunday 5 September 2021

Learning the Guitar

    Having just gotten a turntable has reminded me of my youth and how much I depended on a record player.  My parents, who wanted me to learn music, had me played the trombone during elementary school, but it was something that I really didn’t care about.  I hated all the practicing I had to do every night.   However in about 1962, I developed an intense interest in Folk music, and really wanted to learn how to play the banjo, so I saved my money from my lawn mowing and tomato-picking jobs I had and ordered a banjo from the Sears catalogue.  

    When it arrived I bought a book of banjo chords and a folk song book that showed what chords to play.  After learning the chords and messing around with it, realized that the banjo I had purchased was a 4-string tenor banjo and not a 5-string banjo, that I loved hearing so much in Folk Music.  I hadn’t realized that there were two types of banjos.

    I found an ad in the back of a Folk Music magazine for 5-string banjo necks (extra long, Pete Seeger style).  I bought one and convert my tenor banjo to a 5-string.  I practiced and learned enough to play the banjo in a folk group some friends and I formed in high school.

    I spent most of my playing and alone in my room and I soon realized that a banjo by itself wasn’t very satisfying.  I figured a guitar was much more versatile than a banjo, better suited and satisfying when playing by myself, so I bought a guitar and started to teach myself how to play it.  I was never able to take any music lessons.  I was motivated enough just to make myself figure things out.

    I taught myself both banjo and guitar by buying books that showed the chords and a songbook that showed what chords to play when.  I played by ear, not reading the music.   Hours and hours were spent alone in my room messing around and practicing on the banjo, then later, guitar.  Every time I saw someone play a guitar on TV or in person, I watched very carefully what they were doing, then tried to do the same thing with my guitar.

    If I wanted to learn a song I liked, but didn’t have a book for to show me the chords or lyrics, I had to play the song on the record player, over and over.  I would figure out which key the song was in, which made knowing what chords to play, easier.  To learn fancy picking, I would put an album on and play the song at half speed, ie. if it was a 33 rpm record, I would play the song at 16 rpm, thus slowing the picking down so I could better figure out what was being done.

    Getting the lyrics to a song meant listening to the song over and over on the record player; writing down a few lines, listening to it again, writing more lines down, repeating the process until I got all of the lyrics to a song.  It was all very time consuming.  The earlier music books showing songs I liked, were a rip-off.  They would show the songs using very difficult chords, and I would have to transpose the chords into easier chords (the chords that the artists actually used.)  Later books that were published did show the actual chords as well as lyrics to a song, but they were very expensive, but made learning a song was a whole lot easier and quicker.

    These days things are a piece of cake:  All one has to do is do a search on the internet (name of song, chords) then the song pops up with lyrics and chords.  Also videos abound, showing how to play the song and the fancy bits.  It is all so much easier than what I had to go through.

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