Monday 28 February 2022

My Old GMC in the Snow

     The other day when I was looking for a photo of something else, I ran across this one of my old 3/4 ton GMC pickup truck.  When I had taken the photo, the truck had not used it all winter long and so it just sat there in the pasture under an ever-increasing pile of snow.  As all that snow sat there on the truck month after month, more snow fell, as did rain.  The accumulation of all that precipitation got so heavy that it actually made a dent in the broad hood of the truck.

    I have a lot of affection for that old beast.  We did a lot of heavy work together.   We hauled hay, firewood, and when I was building my house: lumber, and other building supplies.  It was my workhorse, but eventually I replaced it with a newer, smaller, used pickup, and the GMC sat there in the pasture rusting.

    A mechanical-minded, truck-loving, neighbor noticed it sitting there unused and asked me if it wanted to sell it.  I told him he could have it for nothing, if he hauled it away.  He didn’t have to haul it, after about a half and hour of tinkering, he was able to fire up the engine and drive it to his place.

    I found all of the truck’s rust and battle scars, telling and beautiful and I have used images of the pickup in five of my paintings.  I am presently halfway through painting the 6th.

    I am not sure whatever happened to that old pickup.  Gary, the guy to whom I gave the truck, had a collection of old pickups on his property, but in 2020 a mudslide engulfed his home and property and I assume whatever was left of the old GMC is now buried under the slide debris.

    You can view my truck paintings at:

Sunday 27 February 2022

Snow Covered Branch

    I took this photo a couple of days ago, before the wind blew all of the snow off of the trees.  I was standing on the dam of my pond, looking down at it.  I liked the way the illuminated snow-covered branch contrasted with the darker snow and trees behind it.

You can take a look at my paintings:


Saturday 26 February 2022

Is That A Bear By The Pond

    Every time I see the big black furry mass, that is my neighbor’s Newfoundland dog, in our yard, my first thought is, “It’s a bear!”   Then I notice the white patch on its chest and realize it is just Scout from next door.   

    Whenever Kona sees Scout through the window, it might as well be a bear, because Kona goes into a loud barking fit that can’t be calmed.  Poor Scout hears Kona’s conniption from inside our house and wanders away just like a bear would do.

    Since the bears are still all hibernating, curled up in their dens, it will be a couple of months before we start seeing any of them.

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Friday 25 February 2022

Northern Saw-Whet Owl

     I haven’t really seen any interesting wildlife for a while, but at noon yesterday when I was walking Kona around the pond, she stopped me and started to wrestle a stick, trying to pull it out of the snow.  I stood there patiently waiting for her to either get it out or quit in frustration, but her jerking around with the stick made some bird, that must have been sitting on a nearby branch, fly off to a new location.

    I caught a glimpse of the bird as it flew and noticed that it was bigger than a Chickadee, which is the most common bird to see this time of year.  I moved over so I could get a look at the bird and was pleasantly surprised when I discovered it was a Saw-Whet Owl.

    Saw-Whets are tame little owls; the smallest in North America.  They are between 7-8 inches (18-21cm) in length.  

    The last time I saw a Saw-whet was almost exactly a year ago, when one (probably the same one) was sitting in my bird feeder when I went out to refill it with sunflower seeds.  It didn’t fly away, even when I was close enough to touch it.  I got some really nice photos of it.  Yesterday’s owl also didn’t show any fear of me, but it eventually flew off.  

    It is always so rewarding to come upon some wild critter.  It is one of the things I love about living where I do.

You can view my paintings at:

Thursday 24 February 2022

I Guess I Do Have A Lot Of Paint

    The other day when my wife happened to look at my desk, she remarked that I sure had a lot of paints.

    I see my paint box every day and really never thought about how many paints were there, but once it had been said I had to agree with her.  Whenever I see a tube of an interesting color I buy it and over time they accumulate in my paint box.  

    Some of the paint I have had for years and it is getting hard and very difficult to use, so I recently ordered replacements for about 10 of them.

    Even though I have so many different colors, I still have to spend a lot of time mixing them together to get the exact color I need in painting my daily square.  I try to subtly vary the colors in each square, so even if a bluish area in my painting overlaps across several squares, I will use different tubes of blue hues to represent that blue in each square.  Sometimes you can easily see those color variations in the squares and sometimes it is difficult.

    I love color and I think that love is reflected in my paintings.

    Once my cousin asked what I was painting, I told him “Some chrome”.

    He remarked, “What color do you use to paint chrome?  Silver?”

    I explained that when you look at it, chrome isn’t silver, it just reflects all the colors that surround it, so there might be shades of blue from the sky, some shades of green from the trees and grass, and even some of the colors from the clothes I was wearing when I stood near it.

     If you look carefully at an object, there are millions of subtle colors in the there, but your brain usually just “rounds them off” into the color that is most dominant.  When I paint I try to paint in a lot of those colors that your brain usually ignores.

    Below is my painting, “Chrome”.  If you look carefully at the vertical strip of chrome in the center of the painting that separates the grill from the headlight, you might be able to make out in its reflection, my fleshy face, blue shirt, and flesh-colored hands holding my black camera.

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Wednesday 23 February 2022


    We just went through a couple of frigid days.  Yesterday morning it was -26°C (-15°F), but luckily it seems to be moderating.  This morning it was just -16°C (3°F).  Whenever we get these really cold days the skies are deep blue and totally clear.  Luckily there is no wind.  The sun reflecting off of all of the snow is extremely bright and I had to throw out a couple of photos I took yesterday, because my camera couldn’t cope the brightness.

    I was happy that the photo above turned out, because it does give one the feel of what the bright sun shining on all of the snow was like. 

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Tuesday 22 February 2022

Silicone Corn Popper

    Since today is the 392nd Anniversary of the day the Native Americans showed colonists how to make popcorn, I thought I would review the silicon microwave corn popper that we recently purchased.  There are a lot of different models available, but we bought a Hotpop.   We’ve tried it out several times now and found it very quick and easy to use.

    Because it is made of silicon, it is collapsable and doesn’t take up much space for storage.  The photo below shows it in its collapsed stage.  Their are rings in the middle to show you the level of popcorn kernels to use, so you don’t have to measure them out, just fill up to the ring mark.  Then expand the popper, making it into a deep bowl.    

     After adding the popcorn expand the popper and just lay the lid gently over the top without forcing it and as the corn pops in the microwave, the lid will just float on the top of the popped corn.  You don’t need to add oil and so you don’t really have to wash the popper after you are done.  Every microwave is different, but ours takes 3 minutes to pop. 

   The first time I used it I was so eager to try it out that I forgot to expand the popper and just put the lid on when it was in its collapsed condition.  I put it in the microwave and started to cook it.  When I opened the microwave, popcorn was everywhere, so make sure you expand the popper before you microwave it.

    The silicone popper is hot after you microwave it, so use the handles on the top to remove it from the microwave.  We always add salt and butter to our popcorn and I also add MSG and chili pepper flakes to my bowl.

    Like I said, using a silicone corn popper in the microwave is quick, easy, and works without leaving pots to wash.  It is how we will make our popcorn from now on.

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Monday 21 February 2022

Snow Laden

    Here are a coupe of the photos I took yesterday after our big dump of snow, which created a “Winter Wonderland”.

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Sunday 20 February 2022


    It started snowing off and on yesterday, then continued through the night as a precursor to some colder weather (they are saying -27°C, -16°F) tomorrow night.  I am running a bit behind schedule this morning, because I thought I had better get the 7 inches of fresh snow off of the driveway before it got too cold, so I got my snowblower out and cleared the drive before I began my painting and blogging.

    It’s beautiful outside at present.  All the trees look like they are coated with melted marshmallows with all of the snow hanging on them.  I hope to take some photos before the wind blows the snow off of the branches.

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Saturday 19 February 2022

Kona, Helping With Firewood

    I have mentioned before how Kona has become obsessed with picking up and carrying sticks every time we walk around the pond.  Now, it seems, she has taken this obsession to a whole new level.  

    The other day I got out my chainsaw and felled some of the dead Alder trees that grow along the edge of my pond.  Alders have a short lifespan and don’t grow very tall so when they die, I buck them up to use for kindling.  When I was done sawing, I threw the alder pieces onto piles along the path, ready to pick up and haul to the house in the spring.   Over night we got a snow which covered most of the Alder pieces up.

    Nosy Kona smelled the alder out and started digging through the snow to get to them.  She then picked up one of the pieces and carried it back with her to the house.  I was surprised, the wood was pretty bulky and heavy for her mouth, but she was determined.  She starts to do this now every time we walk around the pond. 

    Maybe it won’t be me who has to carry the alder back to the house in the spring, after all.

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Friday 18 February 2022


    Thirty minutes ago I had no idea what I would blog about, so I thought I would walk Kona around the pond.  The temperature is just above the freezing point with a bit of rain failing.  It is perfect conditions for lichen and I noticed a lot of the “old man’s beard” type of lichen (above) hanging from branches as we walked the trail.  I then remembered that just yesterday I had read an article about lichens from the Smithsonian Magazine.   Seeing the lichen and remembering what I had just read made it seem like some Cosmic message directing me to blog about it.

    Lichen (like most living things) are amazing when you learn more about them.  They are often misidentified as moss, but they are totally different.  Lichen are a symbiotic combination of fungus and algae.  The fungus provides the structure and holds the moisture for the algae, and the algae, in turn, provides photosynthesized food to the fungus.  

    The article I read said that many lichen grow extremely slow, sometimes taking a thousand years.  Because of the slow growth it can take 1 million years for lichen to adapt to just 1°C change in its environment, so it will almost be impossible for a lot of lichen to adapt to our rapidly changing climate.  

    The lichen you see in the photo above certainly doesn’t take all that long to grow, the tree that it is on is only about 20 years old, but there are many kinds of lichen, some growing on trees, while other species grow on rocks, (below).

    I love seeing lichen, they seem so ancient and primal.  The Robson Valley is rich in lichen in its many forms.  In our nearby Ancient Forest and other stands of old growth stands of trees, species of lichen have been discovered that exist nowhere else in the world.


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Thursday 17 February 2022

What An Affectionate Dog

    We have had Kona, a Bordoodle (Border Collie-Poodle mix), for about a year and a half now, and we still can’t get over how affectionate she is.  All of our previous dogs would tolerate about 5 minutes of affection and then eagerly squirm away for some distance, but not Kona.  She initiates cuddling and it is us that finally get to the point where we think, “Okay, enough is enough.”

    One of the things Kona often does when I am sitting on the couch, is to jump up beside me, turn with her back toward me in a sitting position, firmly planting her butt against my leg, then she slowly lean backwards until she is tight against me, totally trusting that I will support her.

     In the photo you might think that I am hugging Kona tightly against me, but I am not, she is squeezing her head against mine.  She loves to do this and nestle her head into my neck below my face.  It is quite endearing.  Kona certainly has her faults, but they are quickly forgotten when she begins to cuddle.

Take a look at my paintings:


Wednesday 16 February 2022

Powdered Trees

    A light fluffy snow fell overnight, leaving the trees dusted with white.  Its a good things the Cariboo Mountains are showing blue, because there isn’t much other color to be seen.

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Tuesday 15 February 2022


    The Native Americans introduced popcorn to the colonists almost 400 years ago on Feb. 22, 1630, and I have always been happy that they did, because I love popcorn.  I am not sure how the Amerinds popped it way back then, but it was a big success and spread around the world.  

    In our family popcorn was always a treat made by my mother on those special nights when company came to sit around the dining room table to play games  and it was of course, always available when we went to a movie theater or drive-in.  Our thrifty family sometimes snuck a big bag of popcorn into the theater to avoid the outrageously high prices they charged.

    Luckily my wife loves popcorn too, so every time a snack is needed popcorn is what we make.  We had a really nice popcorn pot, but when we got an inversion stove, we could no longer use it, and had to buy a clunky big popcorn pot that would work on the stove top, but we never warmed to it and kept looking for something better.

    We bought one of those hot air popcorn poppers, but it was poorly designed and popcorn kernels kept blowing out of the top, so we soon stopped using that.

    We tried just using a regular pot on the stove, but it often burned the popcorn which messed up the inside of the pot.  We don’t like all of the poisonous chemicals in store-bought microwave popcorn, so we never buy that, but my wife found a way to make popcorn in the microwave where you just put the kernels in a small paper bag and heat the microwave.  That method worked really well, but we always seemed to have a lot of kernels that didn’t pop.

    Then she discovered collapsible silicon popcorn poppers designed for the microwave and I ordered one.  It came recently, but we didn’t use it right away, and my wife, who doesn’t like clutter, put it away somewhere to get it off of the counter.  The other night we were in the mood for popcorn, but unfortunately we couldn’t find our brand new silicon popcorn maker, because we didn’t know where it was, so we had to revert to using a pot on the stovetop.

    About thirty minutes ago, we came across the silicon popper, so next time we are in the mood for popcorn we will get to try it out.

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Monday 14 February 2022

That's Not Fair

   I have always had a strong aversion toward injustice, even from an early age.  The first time I can remember butting up against it was went I was in the primary grades.  Our school had a lunch program and every day at noon we were marched into the cafeteria to get our lunch.   On one particular day the dessert that was served was rice pudding.  I really liked rice pudding.

    As we ate, one of my buddies said he hated rice pudding and so I offered him a trade.  I would give him something on my plate for his rice pudding.  He accepted and I don’t remember what he wanted, but whatever it was, he scraped it off of my plate onto his own and we continued to eat our lunch.  

    When I had finished with the main course and was just about to start on dessert, one of the cafeteria matrons came by and noticed I had two bowls of rice pudding.  

    “Aw, you have two desserts,” she said and scooped up one of my rice puddings and walked off with it, despite my trying to explain.

    I was so outraged, it seemed so unfair, since I had given up another part of my lunch to get it.  You can probably tell how outraged I was, since 60 years later I still have a vivid memory of the event.

    All my life I have always been upset by all the injustices that I become aware of in this world.  I have tried to support organizations that are fighting to stop those injustices.

    Human beings are not the only species that become outraged at injustice.  One night on television I saw a video clip that showed two primates in cages side by side, so they could see each other.  After each monkey gave the attendant a pebble, each was given a reward.  However, one was given a bit of cucumber, and the other was given a grape.  

    After the second time of seeing his neighbor get a grape, while he got a cucumber slice, the cucumber monkey became so outraged at the injustice, it threw the cucumber slice back at the attendant.

Here is the video of the monkeys:

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Sunday 13 February 2022

Lucifer On The Couch

    Kona seems to get a lot of blog-time, so I thought I should give Lucifer some.  Here she is hugging the back of the couch as she wonders what I am up to.

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Saturday 12 February 2022

     Every morning after I paint my square, I grab my Sony camera and take a photo of the square I painted and another of what the whole canvas looks like.  I then put the photos on my website under the caption “Current Work.”  I automatically did that this morning, but when I downloaded the photos onto my computer I noticed that both of them were blurry.  At first I thought that I must have moved while taking the shots, but usually that just happens with one of the photos, not both.

    I looked at my camera and noticed that there was the blinking error code in the view finder.  It said:  E:62:10.  This filled me with fear, because living in a very rural and isolated place, getting something like a camera fixed can be really difficult.  I decided to try a search on the internet.

    On the search engine I typed in the error code:   E:62:10

    I chose the first search result which was from   The error code meant that the lens was stuck.  Other people had experienced the same problem on their Sony cameras and the website suggested trying this procedure:

    Turn the camera on and immediately, fully extend the zoom lens.  Then remove the battery and tap around the battery case a few times.  Put the battery back in and see if that will help.

    I tried it, but the error code was still there blinking and the view finder, still blurry.  I tried it again and WOW, it worked.  The error message was gone and the view finder view, clear.

    Above on the left you can see the original photo I took this morning when the lens was stuck.  The photo on the right shows the photo I took after I had followed the directions on  

    I am always amazed at the helpful information that can be found online.  I am also thankful that there are people out there like “oldturkey03” (the solver of this problem) who take the time out of their lives to try to help others.

    You can see the paintings on my website:

Friday 11 February 2022

Our Old Spider Plants

    Sitting on the half wall that separates my desk from the stairway are some spider plants.  They are rather rangy looking, but as you can see in the photo, they look vibrant when the sun is streaming through the windows and illuminating them.  

    What I find really remarkable about the plants is their age.  They were given to us by my sister 45 or so years ago and they are still alive.  I never really spent much time thinking about how old house plants get and was surprised when I realized just how old our spider plants were.  They keep chugging along as long as they get water.  I’m afraid they don’t get much additional attention except that during the summer we put them outside on our shady deck.

    Spider plants develop out little “spiders” (left side of the photo) on runners and can be propagated by planting the spiders in some soil.

Take a look at my paintings:


Wednesday 9 February 2022

Hair-Trigger Pussy Willows

    Living in a wintery country, I am always looking for signs of spring.  Certainly seeing pussy willows are such a sign, however I don’t think I can count the pussy willows growing along Horseshoe Lake Road.  They are so eager for spring, every time there is a spell of temperatures above freezing, they begin to burst from their branches. 

    I took this photo yesterday; not yet the middle of February, so they are being a bit premature in their arrival, because there will be a lot of frigid weather yet to endure, before they can do their thing. 

Take a look at my paintings:


Tuesday 8 February 2022

Five Easy Pieces

    Yesterday we noticed that Koeneman Park had enough spots clear of snow, to allow us to walk Kona there.  When we pulled into the parking area, I also noticed that there were some pieces of split firewood laying along the side of the road.  There were deep ruts in the snow at the edge of the road so I assume that they had fallen from someone’s pickup when they drove into the ditch and maneuvered to get back onto the road.  

    I hated to see the roadside littered up with the pieces of firewood, so I picked them up and put them into the car, drove them home, and stacked them with my firewood.

    After living in the Robson Valley for 40 years and annually struggle to cut, split, and stack enough firewood to get us through the winter, when I see some firewood just laying there unclaimed on the side of the road, I pick it up.

    Every time I venture unto a logging road, I always keep an eye out for trees that have been downed and not used, so in the spring when I go out to get firewood, I can cut them up, if no one else has beaten me too it.

    Even through yesterday’s find was just five pieces, they will keep the wood stove going for a couple of hours.  I was happy to add it to my pile.

You can view my paintings at:


Monday 7 February 2022

Seeing the Contours

    Normally when you look across the valley to the Cariboo Mountains, you can see a bit of their features, but you don’t really notice the irregularities of their slopes.   However, the other day their forests had been covered with snow which really showed off all of the subtle depressions and curves of the mountains.  I always like the fuzzy appearance of the mountains after a snowfall.

You can view my paintings at:


Sunday 6 February 2022

A Lot Of Paint For A Two Inch Square

    My paintings consist of squares.  I paint a two inch (5cm) square every morning.  Before I begin, I zoom in on the image of the day’s square on the computer.  On my canvas, I draw in some guide lines, then sketch what I see displayed on the computer.   Once I finish sketching, I begin to paint, while looking at what I see on my computer monitor.  Sometimes the squares are simple without much detail going on and sometimes they get pretty complex.

    The easy squares take about 30 minutes to paint and the more detailed squares can take a lot longer.  Today’s square was complicated and it took me one and a half hours to finish.  There were a lot of colors I had to mix.  When I got done painting the square I glanced down at all of the tubes of paint I had used and was surprised that I had needed so many for just a two inch square.

    This painting is another image of my old rusty farm truck.  Below is the square I painted today.  You can see what the whole painting looks like in the “Current Work” link on my website:



Saturday 5 February 2022

My Old Letter Sweater

    Sometime in the early 1980's, I came upon my high school “Letter Sweater”, unworn, and still in its original box.  It was a heavy duty green sweater with a big white “N” (similar to the photo above) which was given to members of the varsity sport teams at my high school.  I had been given my letter sweater for being on the track team where I was a hurdler.  

    This once honored item had lost its importance and had become something that just took up space after we had immigrated to Canada.  I figured I might as well wear it for warmth, so I did.  An urban hippy couple from Toronto had moved to an isolated settlement near McBride.  (McBride is pretty isolated itself).  They were a strange couple and they called each other "Y" and "R".  When I first met them, they instantly took a liking to me, because I was wearing my letter sweater and they called me "N".

    One day, while I was working for forestry, I was part of a "beetle probe".  We were flown out by helicopter to a remote area of North Star Creek, (one of the tributaries of the Goat River) and dropped off.   We split up then began to snowshoe through the bush all day looking for signs of bark beetle in the spruce trees.

    On this particular day, I was wearing my letter sweater, and as the day warmed up, I heated up from  the exertion of the snowshoeing along the mountain slopes.   I took the sweater off and tied it around my waist and trudged on.

    Sometime later, probably when I sat down to eat my lunch which was in my backpack, I started to cool down and so I grabbed for my sweater only to discover it was gone.  It must have become untied from around my waist and fallen as I snowshoed.  I realized that I didn’t really have time to retrace my steps to find it because we had to meet the helicopter at a spot ahead of us, so sadly, my letter sweater became part of the ecology of North Star Creek, which I guess is appropriate, since the “N’ on the sweater stood for  ‘North’ High School.

    I often wonder what the reaction would be if someone in the future came upon the remnants of the green sweater with a white “N” on it, out there in the middle of the wilderness.  I am sure they would be puzzled.

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