Saturday 31 December 2022

Snoozing in the New Year

    In my youth when the clock struck twelve on New Year’s Eve, we bundled up, went outside, and made noise, banging the bottom of pots and pans with spoons to welcome the coming year in.  As adults, we would gather with friends on New Year’s Eve for a feast, and then at twelve we shouted,  “Happy New Year”, kissed our spouses and hugged our friends.  

    As we grew older, we still gathered with friends, but it became harder and harder to stay up for midnight.  I remember one year, we could only make it to 11:00, so we celebrated Alberta’s New Year (Alberta is in a Time Zone that is one hour earlier than ours.). 

    Then came Covid and we began to spend our New Year’s Eve alone and at home and we found ourselves in bed sleeping away, when the New Year arrived.

    There for a while, it looked like this year we might return to gathering with friends for the occasion, but unfortunately, the Cosmos was against us, so again tonight, we will snooze in 2023.

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Friday 30 December 2022

Snow Curl

    Every day I am constantly looking around for something interesting to take a photo of, so I can blog about it.  Obviously, there are a lot of days where it is a struggle to find something.  Well this is all I could come up with today.

    I do find it interesting the way snow adheres to itself and bends rather than breaks.  Its amazing sometime to see just how big a bend can get and how far it can extend over the edge of a metal roof and not fall apart.  When that happens I usually try to break it off.   I really have to have hit it with a lot of force with a shovel to make it break apart and fall down.  I am always worried (probably needlessly considering its strength) that it will fall and hurt Kona or Lucifer.

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Thursday 29 December 2022

For Better, For Worse

    I do just about all of my reading on my iPad.  I download ebooks free from the Libby App that our library is associated with.  I always have to have something to read, or I get nervous, so it is very convenient when I finish one book, I can instantly download another, without having to wait and then drive into town to the library.

    Here is a review of For Better, For Worse, which I recently downloaded and read:

    I have always been interested in that period of history around World War One, and it’s effect on the caste system of England, so found this novel very entertaining.  The story kept me engrossed and entertained.

The novel takes place in England immediately after the end of World War I.  Stella is a young nurse in a military physical therapy hospital, who fell in love with John, a recovering soldier.  When he recovered, he got his orders to return to fight in France, but before he had to leave, they decided to marry.  They had 16 days together before he left.  He was then killed a few days before the war ended.

A few weeks later Stella received a letter from John’s aristocratic family, who she hadn’t met, inviting her to travel to their home for Christmas.   She decided to go although, being a “working girl” she was somewhat fearful of meeting them, but she made the trip, traveling by train to the small town where they lived.

    Her fears were somewhat justified because although Doreen, John’s mother was superficially polite to her, Stella didn’t really feel it was sincere.  John’s father however did seem genuinely pleased that she had come.  Rosalie, John’s extroverted and straight foreword sister, told Stella that she really wasn’t welcome in the house, and her mother would soon get her to leave.

On the day of her arrival, Stella was tired and cold after her long train trip and unexpectedly collapsed.  John’s parents put her to bed and called the doctor.  After his examination, he informed everyone that Stella was pregnant.   This was a shock to Stella, and immediately, she felt a change in Doreen’s behavior toward her.  Suddenly Doreen seemed very kind and generous toward Stella.

Roger, John’s father had always been kind and generous and arranged for a section of the house to become a home for Stella and her future child.  Stella, really had little choice but to stay.  As a pregnant woman, she would no longer be allowed to work in the hospital and would be in dire straits financially without a steady income.  Stella began to see that Doreen was very domineering and status driven, and she began to be somewhat fearful, suspecting that all Doreen wanted was her son’s baby.  

Months passed and after Stella gave birth to a baby boy, her fears about Doreen’s motivation seemed correct.  Doreen just wanted John’s child, and became more bullying and cruel toward Stella.  Stella refused to be intimidated by Doreen, and with the help of John’s father, Phil (Rosalie’s crippled husband) and the staff at the house, Stella was finally able to get out from under Doreen’s thumb.

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Wednesday 28 December 2022


    Since Christmas and Boxing Day were over, we thought we’d better drive into McBride because we had a few things we needed to do.  We needed to check the post office for mail, drop off some things at the library, and renew our auto insurance.  We packed ourselves into the car and drove into town.

    Our first stop was the post office;  it was closed, so we drove on to the library.  To our dismay, we discovered it also was closed.  We weren’t being very successful with our goals, but we shrugged our shoulders and headed for the insurance office--you can probably guess what we discovered there, Yes, it was also closed.   Three out of three:  One Hundred Percent.

    We then realized what the problem was:  The Christmas holiday fell on a Sunday, so everyone got Monday off.  Boxing Day, another holiday was on Monday, and since that is when everyone got Christmas off, Tuesday became the Boxing Day holiday.  

    Our trip to town was entirely a washout, we were able to walk Kona at Horseshoe Lake.

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Tuesday 27 December 2022

Old Age

    About 20 years ago I saw a TV news piece where they were trying to teach teenagers to be more empathetic toward old people.  They had the teens put on thick clothing to restrict their movements, thick gloves to hamper their dexterity, blurry googles to blur their eyesight and ear protectors to mute their hearing.  Then they had the teens try to do regular household things to demonstrate to them what it was like to be old.

    I am getting old, but fortunately, I am not all that restricted in my life yet, but I certainly feel it slowly coming.  I can’t see as well as I used to, I have trouble understanding what I hear, especially in crowds, and I have lost a lot of dexterity in my fingers.

    It’s not a all that great getting old, but like they say, it sure beats the alternative.

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Monday 26 December 2022

A Boxing Day Forever Seared into My Memory

    The 26th of December is a holiday in Canada called “Boxing Day”.  It has its roots in England where the day after Christmas, noblemen would box up small presents for their servants.  Now in Canada Boxing Day has become a day of shopping, with stores offering big sales.  

    For me, whenever Boxing Day comes around, I can’t help but think of Boxing Day in 1997, when we lost John Bird, one of our closest friends.  John was such an active guy, hiking, jogging, eating right, and  what happened on that Boxing Day was an unbelievable shock.

    This is the entry from my diary on Dec. 26, 1997:

Our lives were changed forever at about 5:20 this afternoon.  We had just sat down to eat our way through our pizza, when the phone rang.  We looked at each other and frowned the way we always do when we get a phone call during our meal.  My wife got up and answered the phone.  As she talked ,I knew something bad had happened.  I figured it had something to do with her mother, who is alone at xmas in Honolulu.

    When she got off the phone.  She looked stunned and said,  “John Bird  is dead and we have to go to the hospital to help Margaret.” 

    This was just unbelievable, and I asked “What happened?”  My wife had been given a few details but she mentioned skiing, something which John had spoken about doing when we saw him at Margaret’s last night.  I imagined that maybe he had been caught in an avalanche or something.

We immediately drove to the hospital.  I walked right by Margaret, who was sitting huddled on a bench with Ann.   Her face was turned away from us and I hadn’t recognized her.  She seemed so small I thought it was a little girl.   When we did finally recognized her, we went to her.   It was pretty bad.

    She kept wailing “ I don’t want him to be dead.” 

    We still didn’t know what had happened.   But slowly, over time, she told us that John hadn’t been feeling to well this morning and was experiencing a shortness of breath and wanted to go for a ski and get some fresh air.  He came back home and was taking a bath and started to get pains and a tightness in his chest.  He called Margaret to pick him up and take him to the hospital, thinking he was having an asthma attack.   She came over,  he walked to her car by himself and she drove toward town.  (The hospital is only 5 miles away,)

As they got close to the Fraser River bridge, John started saying “Oh Shit, oh shit” and had a violent seizure.   When Margaret got to the hospital, the staff tried to resuscitate him, but they couldn’t.      

        Crystal, a nurse came over to us as we sat there on the bench and asked us if we wanted to see Johns body, and after a bit, Margaret said she wanted to, and asked us to come with her,  so we accompanied her into the room where John was laid out.

    There was John, still in his hiking pants and jacket.   He looked natural except for a green plastic airway vent still in his mouth.  Then I noticed that his right eye lid was not totally closed and his eye was dull and lifeless.  That is when it really hit me that he was gone.

We all broke into tears again and ended up in a sobbing group hug.

        We had told Margaret to spend the night with us and so my wife drove Margaret to our house and I drove her 4-runner.  We talked and cried, and tried to figure out what to do.  I drove up to John’s house and got his address book so we could call and tell people.  While I was gone Margaret called Gary,  John’s brother.

    I was going to call Linda, John’s ex-wife, who had moved away, but her number wasn’t in the book, so I called Trevor and Norma and told them what had happened to John and got Linda’s phone number from them.

    I hadn’t been in contact with Linda for a long time and I knew it would be a difficult phone call.  When I told her who it was, she excitedly said, “David!” and was really happy and surprised that I had called.  This was disturbing to me, because I was about to crush her happiness with the news about John’s death.  When I managed to choke out the news about John, and Linda was just stopped dead. 

    She finally managed to say she would have to phone me back.

    Bob, who is a councilor came over to help Margaret and we were able to contact Allison, one of Margarets’s close friends, who we had thought was going to go to Smithers today, but luckily, she had put it off a day, so she came over.   Allison also didn’t want to be alone that night, so in the end, Margaret went to stay with her.

     Eventually, everyone left and we were alone in our grief.  After such a harrowing day, neither of us got very much sleep; my mind was just racing the whole night.

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Saturday 24 December 2022

Snow Days

    This rustic looking “bird house” shows what the countryside is looking like after our last snow.  The snow will be continuing throughout the day, so I guess it’s roof will be piled a bit deeper by tomorrow.  

    A lot of the last snow has come to us horizontally with strong winds, so there is a lot of drifting to contend with.  The photo below shows a drift up by the road.  The snow is probably close to 2 feet (60cm) deep at the edge of the drift.

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Friday 23 December 2022

Frosted Eyebrows

    I hardly have any eyebrows, but what I do have got frosted the other day during our spell of Arctic weather.

    I had a doctor’s appointment at the hospital, so my wife dropped me off then went to do some grocery shopping.   After I was done, she still hadn’t returned, when she texted me that she was still at the grocery and the car wouldn’t start.  

    Luckily McBride is a tiny place where everything is close by, so I texted her I would just walk over to the grocery to see what the problem was.  I walked the two blocks to the grocery store, found the car, but not my wife.  I got in the car, pressed the START button, and the car started right away.  As I sat in the car, I glanced at the rear view mirror and saw that ice had formed on my eye brows and the fake fur of my hat while I walked to the grocery, so I took this photo.

    I saw my wife, who had walked across the street to the garage for help.  I told her I had started the car, so she walked back across the street to the garage to tell them their help was no longer needed.

    I think the problem was a weak battery in her fob, since I had no problem starting the car.  I am not sure I like these “keyless” starters in cars.  They can sure lead to a shock when the fob batteries get low.

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Thursday 22 December 2022

Kona in Down

    My wife was going to take Kona with her when she went into town for groceries.  She didn’t want Kona to get cold in the car, so she rolled up the sleeves of one of her down coats and put it on Kona.  It was a bit big in the body, but she synched it up a bit in the back and then it fit good.  Here is a snapshot of a somewhat confused Kona in the nice warm jacket.

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Wednesday 21 December 2022

WINTER Solstice

    With the Winter Solstice, it is now officially winter, and what a brutal beginning to the season we have.   The official start of winter always seems way out of sync where we live in British Columbia.  We have been having winter weather (cold temperatures and snow) for a good month already.  

    I got the image above last yesterday afternoon at about 5:00 from the Living Earth App and the ugly big purplish-red  splotch shows the Arctic air mass that is covering most of Canada and dipping down into the States.  That white dot in the purplish-red splotch is where we live.

    This morning, the outside temperature is -38°C (-36°F).  The only good thing I can think of to say about that is that the air is very still, not even a breeze.  With wind, the temperature would be extremely dangerous.  Tonight it is forecast to get down to -40° which is the same temperature in both Celsius and Fahrenheit, but I have my fingers crossed that maybe it won’t make it.

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Tuesday 20 December 2022


    All of the windows in our house are double-glazed, except for one that I installed last summer, it is triple-glazed.  When the outside temperature gets to -15°C (5°F) frost starts to form around the edges of the double-glazed windows (photo on left).  The colder it gets, the more frost forms along the edges.  In our current cold spell the outside temperature is more than -30°C (-22°) and you can see the frost that has formed on the double-glazed window.  The window on the right is our triple-glazed window, whose photo I took at the same time as the double-glazed one.  It is frost free, except for just a bit in the corner.  

    It would be nice to have all triple-glazed glass in the house, but it is very expensive.  The small triple-glazed window I bought for the bathroom that came with a screen and opener, cost $800.  As nice as it would be to have all triple-glaze, it would be terribly expensive to replace all of the windows in the house.  

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Monday 19 December 2022

The Wood Stove is Blazing

    Arctic outflows are not my favorite weather features, but unfortunately that is what we are presently having to deal with.  And it is not only us, it looks like this one is going to move down into the American midwest.  

    This morning when we woke up the outside temperature was a frosty -34°C (-29°F),  Our electric baseboard heaters are busy pumping out the heat and our wood stove is full of birch firewood to add additional warmth to the house.  Tonight the forecast is for -37°C (-34°F) and then it is supposed to slowly warm a bit.  

    I hope this frigid weather disappears quickly, I am not a fan.

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Sunday 18 December 2022

Rock-Solid Soup

    Every other week I make a big pot of soup to eat for lunch.  Because it is a lot of soup, there isn’t always room in the fridge to store it, so I store it out on the balcony.  On the really cold nights (this morning it was -27°C (-16°F), when I go out to get the soup, I find it is frozen solid.  In the photo you can see the frozen soup with a spoon stuck in it as far as it would go.  

    When the soup is frozen I usually just put it on top of our wood stove for a couple of hours to thaw it out.  It has to be sitting on the wood stove for quite a while before the soup liquifies enough for me to put some in a bowl, and even then, I have to microwave the bowl of soup before it is hot enough to eat.

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Saturday 17 December 2022

Purple Snow

    This was the scene out of our living room window the other evening.  The sky over the blue Cariboo Mountains was orange and the light made the snow purple.   Having a bit of color is such a treat during winter when things are usually shades of gray.

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Friday 16 December 2022

Finally, Key Lime Pie

    Key Lime Pie is one of my favorite desserts.  My wife made me one back on November 12th, and although I was really looking forward to eating it, I never got the chance, because that evening after supper is when my pancreatitis began and I soon found myself in the hospital.

    During that period, although I completely lost my appetite because of the pancreatitis, I did regret not being able to eat Key Lime Pie.

    As part of my recovery, I was put on a no fat diet, so for a couple of weeks there was absolutely no Key Lime Pie and then once I was back to regular food, the occasion for Key Lime Pie never arose.  This week however, the cosmos created an opportunity, and my wife once again made a Key Lime Pie.   This time I was able to eat it.  It was a wonderful taste treat after all of these weeks of deprivation.

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Thursday 15 December 2022

A Sunny Winter's Day

    It’s been a while since we had walked Kona on Horseshoe Lake Road.  With all of the snow on the ground the places where we can easily walk is limited.  Luckily, Horseshoe Lake Road is always plowed and there is no traffic on it so it is a perfect place to walk in the winter, as long as the wind isn’t blowing.  

    Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day without any wind so we decided to go there for a walk.  I took this photo looking partially into the sun and that is what caused the colorful flair in the photo.  I think it certainly emphasizes the sunshine.

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Wednesday 14 December 2022

Highlighted Treetops

    This is how the treetops looked this morning as the sun rose over the mountain.  Just a bit of unexpected color in an otherwise gray landscape.

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Tuesday 13 December 2022

One Dog Night

     In the 1970’s there was a popular singing group called “Three Dog Night”.   Supposedly, they had taken their name from the Aboriginal practice of sleeping with their dogs to keep warm.  A really cold night was one where they slept with three dogs.  Now for me, every night is a “one dog night”.

    Kona always gave us problems at night.  We had her sleep on her dog bed, but she was always restless and would get up and then wake us up.  What was worse was her insistence that we get up at 6:00 every morning.  It was not a great situation as for as getting a good night of sleep.

    Eventually we moved her dog bed into my room, and I kept the door closed to limit her wandering throughout the house.  That worked a bit better, but Kona still insisted on getting us out of bed in the dark at 6:00.

    The next thing I tried resulted after one night when Kona was scared by some lightening and wouldn’t calm down, so I put her with me in my bed, and she spent the night cuddled up close beside me, and we made it until 7:00.  Since then, I just have Kona sleep with me every night in my bed.  Amazingly she stays there the whole night.  If she starts getting antsy, I tell her to go to sleep, and she does.  Every morning now, she lets us sleep until 7:00.

    Of course there is a downside to the situation.  I am usually just allotted a narrow strip along the edge of the bed to sleep in, but I am managing to use it effectively.  Kona loves to have her butt, tight up against my back.  I guess it feels like she is with her mother again.

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Monday 12 December 2022

The Cabbage Returns

    We don’t really have a good place to store the cabbages that we grew in the garden, so we had the last remaining two just sitting on the counter.  The outer leaves were drying out, so yesterday I started ripping off the old dry leaves until I got down to the still healthy ones.  Unfortunately there was a bad spot on one side that seemed to go pretty deep, so I just decided to chuck the cabbage.

    I took it outside and put it on the compost pile.

    Later that afternoon, what did I see, but Kona carrying the cabbage around outside, occasionally, sitting it down in the snow and chewing on it.

    When Kona finally came into the house, we found her on the couch along with the cabbage.

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Sunday 11 December 2022

Drooping Snow

    Today is overcast, gray, and uninspiring.  As I walked around outside, looking for something to photograph, I spotted this clump of snow on top of a fence post.  It is drooping and seems to have lost all of its energy.  Perfect, I thought, it is exactly how I feel on a day like this.

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Saturday 10 December 2022

Snow Sculpture

    The other day when I was making the snowshoe path around the pond, I noticed the sunshine highlighting this clump of snow-covered clump of weeds.  I thought it was worthy of a photograph.

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Friday 9 December 2022

The Snowshoes are Out

    Every winter we reach a point where the snow is just too deep for you to easily walk anywhere.  When that point is reached, it is time to get the snowshoes out.  There are really just a few places I generally have to go to in the yard, and I use the snowshoes to mash down a path to those places.  I need paths to the woodpile for firewood, the bird feeder to keep them fed, the compost pile to get rid of food waste, and around the pond so we can walk Kona.

    Once I have mashed down the snow with the snowshoes, then we can walk those paths in our regular winter boots, without relying on snowshoes.  I made all those paths the other day and it sure made walking them easier, plus Kona doesn’t get so many snowballs on her legs when she is on the paths.

    In the virgin snow, even with the snowshoes, I still sink about 6 inches (15cm) with every step I take.

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Thursday 8 December 2022

Snowball Legs

    It warmed up yesterday with the temperature climbing to just below freezing.  As a result, the snow softened and became a bit more sticky.  Kona who loves the deep snow, enjoyed romping around in the white stuff, but there was a price to be paid for her fun; snowballs started forming on her legs.  Many times she had to stop and try to bite off the snow that formed on the bottom of her feet.

    Now whenever Kona has been outside, when she comes in, we have to take her into the shower and run warm water on her underside to melt all of the snowballs.  Fortunately, Kona is good about it and marches right into the shower and patiently stands there while we shower her lower side down.  The process adds another chore to our day, but it can’t be helped, and Kona loves to romp in the deep snow.

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Wednesday 7 December 2022

Insulation from the Sky

    I am sure that yesterday when I wrote that I liked to have a lot of snow, there were readers who rolled their eyes.  People that live in milder climes which sometimes get snow, get the wet, slushy, type of snow.  That kind of snow is terrible.  It is heavy, hard to deal with, and slippery.  It is a chore to shovel an drive in.  Fortunately, we don’t get much of that type of snow which usually comes in temperatures that hover around the freezing point.  

    The snow we get through the winter is very light and fluffy.  It is easy to shovel and it has another good characteristic:   It is excellent insulation.  In the photo you can see a foot of snow on our roof.  Even though our house is already well insulated with 12” of fiberglass insulation on the roof, getting another foot of fluffy snow adds even more insulation, and we can usually feel the difference inside.  We don’t have to burn as much wood when there is a good layer of snow on the roof.

    I always hope for a big snowfall before we get really cold weather because it helps insulate our buried waterline by keeping the frost from penetrating to far into the ground.

    We got a bit more fresh snow overnight and I just got done snowblowing my driveway for the third day in a row.  The forecast is now calling for flurries instead of snow, so hopefully I won’t have to get the snowblower out again tomorrow.

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Tuesday 6 December 2022

The Snow Cometh

    Our frigid weather is warming somewhat, but now the snow is falling.  I had to get out my snowblower yesterday to clear the driveway and I had to get it out again this morning to do it again.  At present there is 12 inches (30cm) of snow on the ground, but it is supposed to continue falling throughout the day, tonight, and tomorrow, so I suspect I will have to get the snowblower out again tomorrow too.

    I don’t really mind the snow, I like it more than I like the really cold temperatures we sometimes get.  As it piles up, eventually it will get so deep that you can only walk in the paths you have made or wear snowshoes if you want to got somewhere else.

    The snow we get is not the wet heavy variety.  It is light and fluffy.

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Monday 5 December 2022

Hoar Frost

    Whenever we experience a long really cold spell, flat crystals of ice grow on top of the snow and pond ice.   This is called Hoar Frost.  I noticed some examples of hoar frost yesterday on the pond ice. 

    A layer of hoar frost can be very dangerous when it forms up on the mountain slopes, once more snow covers it.  The hoar frost layer is very unstable and when the heavier snow blankets it, the hoar frost layer can slide which causes an avalanche.

    Ski technicians constantly test the stability of the mountain slopes by digging down through the snow to see if there is any weak layers that might cause instability and avalanches.


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