Friday 29 April 2022

Lupine Jewels


    Lupines are one of my favorite plants.  I love both its star-burst foliage and its elongated flowers.  This time of year when lupine plants are small and just beginning to grow, they have another attraction for me; the spring raindrops that they catch and hold in their leaves.  They look like jewels.  

    I am not sure what it is about the leaves that keep the drops from flattening and running off, but makes for some delightful effects.

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Thursday 28 April 2022

Educated by Tara Westover

    The McBride Library Book Club theme for April was “New Beginnings”.  I chose the book Educated, by Tara Westover as one of my choices.  

    Tara Westover grew up in rural Idaho under the heel of a domineering authoritarian father.  Her family were fundamentalist Mormons, who strictly adhered to the belief that the father was the ruler of the family, and Tara’s father enforced that rule, even though he was bi-polar and a schizophrenic.  

In today’s terms, he would might be referred to as a “Trumpian” or Qanon follower.  He represented everything that I have come to hate in America.  He was a devout libertarian and fundamentalist, who railed against and was deeply paranoid of:  “The Government”, Science, Public Education, and Medicine, all of which he believed were part of some giant secret conspiracy that was out to get him and his family.    As a survivalist, he forced the family to preserve and stockpile food, fuel, and other basic necessities, and each family member had to keep a “Head for the Hills” bag for their escape when the government came to get them.  

Tara’s father forbade doctors and hospitals, making the family depend on the herbs that her mother collected.  Throughout her childhood, Tara never saw a doctor or got a vaccination, fearing they would rot out her body.  However whenever an extreme accident occurred, like when her brother got a hole in his skull as a result of being forced to work in the very unsafe conditions of the father’s junkyard, exceptions where made and he was whisked to a hospital to save his life, but then, as quickly as possible, retrieved back to the family home to be “medicated” and “saved” by herbs.

Unlike her older brothers who had gone to public school, Tara was “home schooled” but while she learned to read and do basic math, she had very little knowledge of things other than the Book of Mormon and the conspiracy rants of her father.   Tyler, an older brother who had attended school, broke loose from the family to pursue more education and he planted a seed in Tara’s mind that her life could be better with more education in the outside world.

Such aspirations, of course, were totally rejected by her tyrannical father and Shawn her oldest brother, who would constantly verbally abuse her.  Shawn was sadistic and controlling, physically hurting Tara, and even forcing her head into the toilet to teach her who was boss.  

      Tara studied secretly in hopes of passing the test that would allow her to go to Brigham Young, the Mormon University.  With the help of her educated brother Tyler, who had “escaped” from the family, she passed the test and at the age of 17 entered university, having never even been to high school, a fact that had to be kept secret. As a university student, Tara stepped into a classroom for the first time in her life.

At University, everything was new to her and most of it appalled her.  She was shocked at the way the female students dressed and did “ungodly” things like study on a Sunday or drink a Coke on the Sabbath.  Tara had many gaps in her education and she made a fool of herself in one of her university classes by asking the professor what the “Holocaust” meant.  Through raw determination Tara slowly began to get up to speed in her studies and even began to excel in them.

Tara’s life began a rift in her family.  Each time she returned home, her father tried to erase her new found university status by forcing Tara to work in his unsafe junkyard, doing dangerous things.  Her brother Shawn continued to threaten and degrade her, calling her “whore” and racial epithets when her face was dirty from junkyard work.  This treatment really began to upset her, now that she was beginning to be aware of the history of racial discrimination.

Tara’s rise into the academic world was amazing.  With the help of grants and scholarships, something which, at the beginning, morally bothered her, she got a BA in History at Brigham Young University, then got a Gates Scholarship to Cambridge, after which she became a visiting Fellow at Harvard, before finally returning to Cambridge where she earned a PhD in History.

Things were never smooth sailing for Tara.  Every time she visited her family, they increased pressure on her to stay home, and tried to make her feel guilty for leaving, but it was not the life she wanted.  Eventually when she tried to get her father to do something about Shawn’s abusive behavior, her family turned on her, accused her of being the problem, and she was kicked out of the family.  It was traumatizing for her, but with the help of her new university friends and her determination to follow her own dreams, she finally accepted living her life without her family.

Educated was an amazing true story of personal will over family pressure.  Tara’s struggle and determination for independence was an inspiration to read.  

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Wednesday 27 April 2022

My "Expensive" Greenhouse

    One side of my family made their living with commercial greenhouses.  Eventually economics caused them all to close and fall into disuse.  One time when I was visiting back in Indiana, I was able to get several crates of 16” X 24” greenhouse glass that had come from the deteriorating greenhouses.  I drove them back with me when we returned to BC, and used them to build my greenhouse.  

    I also had some big old picture-window glass and I designed the greenhouse so that I could utilize  both.  The greenhouse I built turned out really well.

    In 2018, I was falling a tree close to the greenhouse and it fell right across the greenhouse,  breaking 23 panes of glass.  Fortunately I had just enough extra greenhouse glass to replace all of those broken ones, but that wiped out of my extra glass supply.

    Over the winter, I had 4 panes of glass broken.  I am not sure why they broke, maybe the wind blew them off or blew something onto them, causing them to break.  You might be alb e to see the holes in the roof.  Anyway, It left some holes in my greenhouse and I didn’t have any glass left over to fix it.  I called up to a glass store in Prince George to buy some replacement glass and was shocked.

    I ordered 5 panes and it will cost me $100.  Yikes.

    I hadn’t realized what an expensive greenhouse I had.  If glass costs $20/pane, then the accident I had with the tree would have cost me $460, and if I had to replace all of the glass it would cost me around $2,000.  I was shocked after getting all of the original glass for free, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that nothing more happens to my greenhouse.  

    I didn’t realize what a prize I had in getting all of that 100 year old glass from my family’s greenhouses.  My uncle finally had to hire a machine to tear down his greenhouse because he couldn’t find any one to dismantle it for the glass and pipe.  I am sure glad I got some of the glass before those greenhouses were destroyed.

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Tuesday 26 April 2022

Painting Finished: "Workhorse"

    Today I painted the last of 108 squares, finishing this painting of my old GMC truck.  I started the painting on Jan. 6 and it took me 110 hours to finish it.  Certainly my old truck is not a thing of beauty, but at this stage of my life, I look back at all the scars and wrinkles as evidence of a long life, and I appreciate them.  This old truck and I spent a lot of time laboring together, doing those things that needed to be done. 

    It was painted using acrylics on a 18” X 24” canvas.

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Monday 25 April 2022

Memories of Bruce Cameron

    Back in the early 1980’s shortly after I began working for the BC Forest Service, they went through a reorganization, changing their name to the Ministry of Forests (a name I always hated) and as a result of the reorg, the structure of Forestry changed to put more employees at the local level, where the logging was happening.  As a result, our local Forestry office began getting some new employees.

    One of those that began working at our Forestry office was a guy named Bruce Cameron.  Bruce was a compact guy with a trimmed beard and a bit of a ruddy complexion.  Bruce had a bit of a devilish personality which always made working at Forestry interesting.  

    Bruce was made supervisor of Timber Cruising (measuring and inspecting forests), Scaling (measuring and evaluating logs that came to the mills), and Inventory (keeping track of what trees were growing where in the forests).  

    Even though I had worked without a “supervisor” for years, Bruce became my supervisor, since I was doing the cruising and inventory work.  I was a bit miffed at the thought of having a supervisor, but Bruce was very “hands off” and an easy going guy, so having him as a supervisor really wasn’t a problem.

    When Bruce first arrived to start working at Forestry, he bought 160 acres of land without a house, near Dunster.  I think he and his wife must have moved a trailer onto the land, when they first arrived.  Bruce’s plan was to build a log house on the property.  (Note:  I couldn’t find a photo of Bruce or his log house, so just used one of another log house that I had).

    When Bruce started talking about building a log house, I asked him, “Did you ever build a house before?”

    I will always remember his answer;  “No, but I built a table once in shop class.”

    Bruce, like a lot of people around here, did build his own house and lived in it.  I guess he learned a lot from making that table.

    Another story I remember about Bruce happened in the Forestry Office.   My co-workers were always bringing in snacks for everyone to share during our lunch breaks.  There would be cookies, cakes, and things like that, especially if someone was having a birthday.  

    One day one of the women employees was going to celebrate a family member’s birthday (not a forestry employee’s).  She had ordered a special birthday cake from a local bakery, picked it up during her lunch period, and put it in the refrigerator in the staff room so it would keep fresh until she took it home after work.

    After work when she went to get the cake, to her horror, she discovered someone had taken a slice out of it.   She went ballistic, and who could blame her.  Of course, the guilty party was Bruce.

    He had come into the staff room, opened the fridge door to see what was in it, discovered the cake and assumed it was a staff treat for the coffee break.   Since he was not going to be around during the coffee break, he thought he would just take a piece now, and that’s what he did.

    I could never imagine coming upon a cake and just cutting out a piece to eat without doing some checking about it, but I guess that was the difference between Bruce and me.

    After a few years in McBride, Bruce took a job in another Forest District and moved away.  I, and the other staff members in our McBride Office, were shocked one day in1997 when we received word that Bruce had died.  He wasn’t all that old, and I think it was his heart. 

    I will always remember Bruce with a smile.

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Sunday 24 April 2022

Drama in the Old Well House

    The photo shows our old well house which is now unused and slowly sinking into the ground.  This well house was the scene of a incident back in August of 1979 that could have turned out really badly.  

    My wife had signed on to a female cone-picking crew (forestry used to hire people to pick “pinecones” off of healthy superior trees that were felled for that purpose.  They would pick off the cones from the trees, gathering them, so that they could be used as seeds to grow seedlings that would be planted in areas that were logged.  It was boring and sticky work, but it was a way for a lot of poor back-to-the-landers to earn money.)

    Anyway, my wife was away for two weeks cone-picking in MacKenzie, so I was holding down the fort alone in McBride.

    One day when I turned on our tap, there was no water.  At the time we got our water from a well.  The well was about 15 feet (4.5 m) deep and the well house sat over it.  I went out to the well house to see what the problem was.  I crawled through the tiny door and when I was inside and started positioning myself in the tiny space, part of the floor collapsed and fell into the well.  

    I grabbed the edge of the door frame with one hand to keep myself from falling into the well, and with the other hand, grabbed onto the water pump to keep it from sliding into the well.  With some struggling I managed to extricate from inside the well house, by squirming through the door, all the while keeping a strong grip with one hand on the door frame and firmly holding the water pump with the other.

    Once outside I was able to pull the pump out, along with its plastic intake pipe trailing behind.  

    Now that I think back on it, things could have been terrifyingly different had I fallen into the well without anyone knowing about it and my wife away for two weeks.  Fortunately, the drama ended with a benignly.  In the following days I rebuilt the floor of the well house, re-established the water pump, and put things back to normal.  The incident was forgotten until the other day when I read about it in my diary.

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Saturday 23 April 2022

A Lone Crocus

    This seems to have been a good spring for Croci, because they keep popping up in the yard.  I came across this striped beauty yesterday.

    Whenever I see a crocus I think about Saffron, by weight, the world’s most expensive spice, which comes from croci.   Saffron doesn’t come from the species of croci that I have in my yard.  The Saffron Crocus has a red thread-like stigma that fertilizes the flower and it is that tiny stigma that is picked to get saffron.

    It is a very labor intensive job to pick the tiny stigma for saffron.  To get 1 kg (2.2 pounds) of saffron, 440,000 flowers have to be hand-picked.  It takes 40 hours to pick 150,000 flowers, so you can understand why saffron is so expensive.  A kilogram of saffron costs about $5,000.

    Needless to say, I have never tasted saffron and probably never will, but I do enjoy seeing the croci in the yard.

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Friday 22 April 2022

There Is No Planet B

    Earth Day used to be a day that gave me hope.  I imagined that people would think about this planet we live on and be encouraged to be kinder to it.  Now I find Earth Day depressing, just another day of talk about being green, but talk is just about all we can expect.

    In both Canada and the US, our leaders talk about doing “Green” stuff: electric cars and renewable energy, then they quietly open more expansive oil fields.  Coal-fired generating plants that were closing are being reopened so they can produce crypto-currency for speculators and crime syndicates.  Already the “mining” crypto-currency across the world uses the same amount of electricity as is used in Sweden.  

    We are daily shown pictures of what is happening as Russia invades Ukraine.  Not only are innocent lives being murdered, but homes, factories, and whole cities are being destroyed, converted into useless rubble.  Billions of dollars worth of once-useful things, all of which will have to be re-built, have been turned into rust and ashes.  

    I apologize for this rant.  I know a lot of readers come to my blog to see nice photos and the beauty of the area I live in, but I had to get this off of my chest.  I will try to get back on track tomorrow.

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Thursday 21 April 2022

Aerial Arborist

    I had decided last fall that I wanted to take the cottonwood tree, that was interfering with my satellite TV, down, so I called Courtney Lipke, a local man who does such things.  Courtney came out to take a look and said he could do it, but that he would have to wait until spring because the cold weather was already causing frost inside the bark and so it was starting to get too slippery for the spurs which he used to climb the tree.  He said he would give me a call when spring arrived.

    Courtney, true to his word, gave me a call the other day to check if I still wanted the tree down.  We arranged to have it done last Tuesday, “unless it is windy or rainy.”    When Tuesday morning came it started snowing, so I figured that the job would be postponed, but he showed up at the appointed time ready to go.  By then the snow had stopped.   Courtney harnessed up into all of his safety gear and began climbing the cottonwood.

    Watching Courtney work was fascinating, it was a show that I could probably sell tickets for.  As he climbed up the tall cottonwood, he sawed off the branches as he went.  He was way up there when he was ready to chainsaw the top of the tree off.  I was a bit worried because the cottonwood had been topped eight years ago, and from my timber cruising days I knew that whenever any break was made in the bark, it opens the tree up to rot and I certainly didn’t want anything unexpected to happen to Courtney, working so high off the ground.

    Courtney knew what he was doing, and the top of the tree was firm, so he pulled up his big chainsaw and took off the top, which fell to the ground with a crashing boom.   He then worked his way down the trunk of the tree, cutting off sections of the truck as he descended.  

    I had originally thought I would have him cut the cottonwood all the way to the ground, but then decided to leave it about 10 feet, (3 m.) tall.  That way it would send out new shoots, blocking the view and noise from the road, plus continue to suck up a lot of ground water.  Trees really utilize a lot of groundwater and when they are die sometimes the water table rises, and around my place the water table is already too high.

    I will be long dead before this cottonwood interferes with my satellite reception again, so that is one problem I needn’t worry about, however there is an awful tangle of limbs, branches, and tree trunks in the brush around the tree that I now have to deal with.  Cottonwood isn’t great firewood, but I will saw it up and split to burn as firewood anyway, so most of it won’t go to waste.

    It was quite a show to watch Courtney working so high, without a net.


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Wednesday 20 April 2022

One Tree

    The cartoon above was inspired by all of the problems we have had with trees getting in the way of our reception, both for satellite TV and our internet, which we get through a radio repeater on a mountain.   I love to have trees around our house and on our property, but sometimes they do cause problems.

    We have satellite TV and need to have a clear shot from the satellite dish to the satellite.  When we first got satellite, I put the dish on the eves of the roof and that worked well for a long time, but our house is located very close to the property line, and over the years, the trees on our neighbor’s land grew taller and taller and eventually started blocking out both our internet and TV.

    I ended up having to find another internet provider that used cell phone technology instead of the “line-of-sight” radio signal, so that solved my internet problem.  The satellite TV also needed line-of-sight to get the signal from the satellite which is low on the horizon.

    It was very difficult to find a place on our land to get that signal, because of all of the tall trees on my neighbor’s property.  I did finally find one spot, 54 m. (60 yards) away from our house in our paddock, where I could pick up the satellite.  I put the dish there and had to bury a long cable to the house, but we got a good strong satellite signal and all was well.

    Of course, the trees kept growing.  Every summer when the leaves were on the trees, we began to notice that if it got windy, suddenly we would lose our TV reception off and on.  It was difficult to figure out which tree was causing the problem, but I finally pinned it down to a tall cottonwood that was on our property, between the barn and the road.  

    Eight years ago I hired an arborist to come and top several of the big willow trees that had developed thick branches that arched over our house.  While he was here I also had him top the cottonwood tree that was causing problems with our TV reception.  When that was done, we had good satellite reception again.

    That one topped cottonwood was not done with us, it sent out new branches from the top that grew like weeds.  Again, last summer we began to have TV reception problems again.  I was tired of having one tree cause us so much grief so I called a local arborist and he came out to deal with the cottonwood yesterday.  

    The story continues tomorrow.

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Tuesday 19 April 2022

Peas Are In The Ground

    It’s not the most exciting photo I have ever taken, but it records a significant yearly event, the first planting that I have done this year in the garden.  Yesterday, I planted 4 rows of peas.

    People always think I am jumping the gun when I plant my peas so early, but long ago I read that you should plant peas as soon as you can work your soil.  My soil is quite workable now, so I spread some compost, got out the rototiller, tilled a section of the garden, put  up my pea fences, then planted the peas I had saved for seed last year.

     I took the photo before I covered them with soil.

    Peas like cool weather and even survive a bit of frost when they come up.  One of the other nice things about planting them so early is that they mature before everything else in the garden, so you don’t have everything coming in at the same time.

     Before I covered them, I wanted to water them in the rows, just to get them started on germination.  I got water from the greenhouse and as I was filling up the sprinkling can, I thought, this is the first time in years when I didn’t have to spend time fixing a leak in the greenhouse water pipes after winter.

    I shouldn’t have had that thought because almost immediately after I had it, a gusher of water came spurting out from the pipe in the ground.  Luckily, I have a turnoff valve down there so I was able to turn off the spray before it started flooding that end of the greenhouse.  

    I was so happy after I had gotten the peas planted and made a start in the gardening.  However, when  I got into the house with my upbeat attitude, it was quickly dashed when our microwave suddenly quit working, so I guess we will now have to get a new one.   There always seems to be something that occurs to dampen any of those positive feelings that occasionally happen.  

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Monday 18 April 2022

Useless Pyrex Measuring Cup

    We’ve only had this Pyrex measuring cup for less than a year and already it is destine for the landfill (in our area glass is not recycled).  The cup itself is still in great shape, but unfortunately it has one problem;  the lines marking the different measuring units have faded away and disappeared, rendering it useless for the job it was intended to do.

    It was a waste of energy to produce it, a waste of fuel to deliver it to a store, a waste of someone’s time to put it on a shelf, and a waste of our money to buy it, but I guess someone made money all along the way until it was purchased, and that was reason enough to manufacture it.

    We have a couple of other glass measuring cups that we can still use after a decade or more of years, but I guess modern technology is unable to make reliable new ones anymore.  At least they have managed to make a label on the bottom of the cup, that holds up.  

    What a waste. 

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Sunday 17 April 2022

My Old Denim Milking Jacket

    The other day when I got out to my shop, ready to do some work outside, I realized that the old down coat I was wearing was going to be too hot, so I walked over to the clothes hook by the door and pulled off a denim jacket that was hanging there.  It was my old “Milking” jacket and it flooded my mind with memories.

    For some reason my mother always referred to it as my “Milking” jacket although I certainly never did any milking with it.  I always assumed that maybe when she was growing up on my grandfather’s farm a similar type jacket was used for doing farm chores, like milking.  I have never heard this type of jacket ever referred to as a milking jacket, except by my family.

    I have had this jacket since the 1960’s and amazingly although it is getting pretty worn, but is made of heavy duty denim and it remains in good shape despite all of the work I have put it though.  

    Sometime after 1967 when the Beatles released their Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band album, I bought a Sgt. Pepper’s patch and proudly sewed it onto one of the pockets.  I have always been pretty proud about having the patch, thinking it was pretty unique, but, I just looked on line and you can still but them today for about $5-$6.00, so I guess they are not as rare as I thought it would be.

    I have had and worn my milking jacket for most of my life and it remains a favorite bit of clothing.  We’ve been through a lot together.


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Saturday 16 April 2022

How I Got Kona To Eat Her Food

    In the morning we give Kona some canned dog food and she woofs it down even though we put medicine in it for her joints.  Then in the afternoon we give her some dry kibble-like dog food, and every day she is getting more and more hesitant about eating it, thinking she would rather have something a more exciting.  It has gotten to the point where I have had to start hand-feeding each kibble to her, which she then will eat.  Having “primed the pump” so to speak, I could walk away and she then would eat the rest on her own.      

    Well that is how it worked until yesterday, when after I “primed the pump” and left Kona with the rest in her bowl, she just turned up her nose and also walked away.

    What to do, What to do?

    This is crazy, I thought to myself.  When we are outside, Kona has no problem eating all kinds of things, sticks, grass, etc.  It occurred to me that if she came upon the kibbles outside, I bet she would think she found something exciting and eat them.  Working on that theory, I scattered the leftover kibbles from yesterday out on the carport, and sure enough, this morning as we were beginning our walk, Kona “discovered” some unexpected food (the kibbles I had spread) and ate them all.

    “Location, Location, Location.” is a phrase often touted in real estate, but it also seems to be valid in getting your dog to eat.

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Friday 15 April 2022

Canada Geese Out The Window


    Yesterday afternoon when I glanced out of the living room window, I was surprised to see a pair of Canada Geese out there grazing on the slowly emerging blades of grass in the pasture.  Canada geese are not the most rare or exotic waterfowl, but it was unusual to see them so close to the house.   This mating pair generally show up every spring, but hang out on the far side of the pond.

    Later when Kona and I walked around the pond, the geese surprised me again because they didn’t immediately fly off like they normally do.  Instead they just swam slowly, keeping to the opposite side of the pond from where we were walking.  

    The only other waterfowl that we have on the pond at the moment is a pair of Mallards.  I find both the Mallards and Canada Geese pretty mundane, but that is all that is out there.  In the past I had a flock of spectacular-looking Wood Ducks, but suddenly their numbers just disappeared around here.  I did hear a report of a Wood Duck sighting last year, but I haven’t seen them around my pond in 20 years.

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Thursday 14 April 2022

Pick It Up, Throw it, Watch It Roll

    I heard a quote that was attributed to Henry David Thoreau, although I am not sure that is true.  The quote is:   Firewood warms you twice, once when you split it, and again when you burn it.”   

    Whoever said it, was underestimating the warming power of firewood, at least that is my experience.

    I made a start on collecting my firewood the other day.  I hate cutting down living trees for firewood and so I generally look for something that has blown down, or been cut down and abandoned.  On my mountainside property across the road, I noticed some birch trees (the best firewood around here) that had reached the end of their life and were dying.  I decided to cut them for firewood while they were still useful.

    One of the problems with the plan was that the birch were quite a ways up the steep slope, so after cutting them down and bucking them up, I had to get them home.  Birch is a dense heavy wood, but at least I had gravity and the steep slope to help me.

    I would pick up each piece, throw it down the slope, and watched as it bounced this way and that, until it hit against a tree or brush that stopped it.  After I had done this with all of the pieces I had cut, I walked down to where they were scattered, and once again picked them up, threw them downslope, watching them bounce downhill again.  The photo shows them lying, ready for yet another bounce down another slope to the road.

    On the third throw and bounce, they landed in the wet ditch at the side of the road, below where I had my truck and trailer parked.  Once I got them all there, I had to do the hardest task of the day; picking each one up, carrying it up the steep slippery slope of the ditch and putting them into the trailer.

    I worked up a sweat each time I had to pick them up and throw them, so I really have gotten a lot of heat out of the firewood already, and I still had to unload them, and then split and stack them.  

    Country living is not just sitting around and enjoying the scenery.

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Wednesday 13 April 2022

The Pussy Willows of Horseshoe Lake

    Willows seem to thrive around Horseshoe Lake and they are always the first ones I notice that have put out pussy willows in the spring.  Actually some put them push them out during warm spells of winter.  Yesterday when we drove down there for Kona’s dog walk, we saw a man parked on the edge of the road collecting some branches with pussy willows.

    There are a variety of willows, and thus, pussy willows that can be found at Horseshoe Lake.  Here are a couple of images of pussy willows that I photographed yesterday.  The wind was blowing hard and the branches moving, so it was difficult to get a good shot.

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Tuesday 12 April 2022

1979: Weekend Lookout Man

    In 1979, our second summer after moving to McBride, I was working full time at a local Split-Rail Cedar Fencing Mill.  That first summer I had worked on my first forest fire and so I was known at the McBride Ranger Station.  In the summer of 1979 the forest fire conditions were high and the Forest Service called me to ask if I would spend my weekend days acting as a Lookout up on McBride Peak.  I immediately told them I would.  

    I loved being up in the alpine, and to be paid for being up there seemed like a dream job.  I had already spent a couple of weekend days being a Lookout Man for Forestry, so I knew what to expect.  I was supplied with a pair of binoculars and a portable radio, so I could call in any fires I spotted.  I drove  my 4-wheel drive Scout up the terribly rocky, bumpy, trail to get up to the alpine.  The “road” had tight switchbacks and a scary section where the narrow road clung tightly against a rock face beside a cliff.  The drive up McBride Peak was always an adventure.

    On this particular trip up I started hearing a rattling noise in one of my hubcaps.  I figured that some rocks had gotten in it.  Once I parked the Scout, I put on my backpack and hiked up to the old forestry lookout building (photo above).  I picked out a grassy spot, sat down, and began scanning the valley bottom and distant Cariboo Mountains for smoke.

    I saw three different columns of smoke and reported them to the office.  They turned out to be “old news” to Forestry.  Two were Burning Permits that they were aware of, and the third which was down the valley west of McBride was a fire at the dump, something that was always happening.  I continued my scanning, moving around to different spots on the ridge.

    After a few hours clouds began to darken and thicken and it didn’t take long for it to begin to hail.  I rushed to the lookout building and waited until it let up.  Storms on the mountain tops can be pretty intense and dangerous if there is lightening.  The visibility of the valley bottom had become obscured by clouds and hail, so I called into the office and they said I could come down.

    The storm intensified once I got back to the Scout, but I slowly bumped and jarred myself down the road to the valley bottom.

    The next day, Sunday, Forestry again wanted me up on McBride Peak as Lookout, but I could wait until the afternoon.  During the morning I decided I would pull off the hubcap and remove the gravel that was inside.  When I pried it off I was shocked to see, not gravel, but a lug bolt that had been sheared from the wheel, and other lug nut.

    Yikes, I thought, driving up and down that rocky, steep, trail, without all of the lug nuts could have resulted in a dangerous accident.  I was sure glad I had taken the time to check under the hubcap.  I tightened all of the remaining lug nuts and drove slowly to the Ranger Station before heading up the mountain.  Instead of driving my Scout, I was given and Forestry pickup for the trip.

    A local garage replaced the missing lug bolt the following week.

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