Saturday 30 July 2022

The Jungle Beside Our House

    We have a narrow strip of a flower garden that runs along the side of our house.  It is right beside the sidewalk, so I go by it all of the time.  Its lushness is one of the things I look forward to seeing during the summer.  The Hostas and ferns give it the feel of an exotic jungle, despite the garden’s small size.

You can view several paintings of the Hostas at:


Thursday 28 July 2022

Sandhill Cranes

    While walking Kona on Horseshoe Lake Road, I glanced over toward the lake and noticed three long necks sticking out above one of the artificial islands.  From the distance, I wasn’t able to tell what they were until I heard the distinct “gobbly” sound that one of them made, then I knew they were Sandhill Cranes, probably the parents and their young,

    It’s probably been only 15 years since I was made aware of Sandhills around here.  Most pass through on their migration, but some over-summer in the valley, and I imagine this trio is one of those.  In the fall when the migrating Sandhills come through you can sometimes see about 100 of them out in the fields resting and carbo-loading for the rest of their flight south.

Take a look at my paintings:


Wednesday 27 July 2022

A Stellar Evening

    Usually on our jam nights the weather isn’t very cooperative.  It is either cool, showery, windy, or a combination of them.  Last week it was windy until it settled down and then the mosquitoes came out in force, finally causing us to shut down our jam early, but last night things were perfect when we gathered on the train station porch.  It was warm with a gentle breeze, the sun was shining, and I wasn’t attacked by mosquitoes.

    Others noticed the stellar conditions and ventured out onto the streets of McBride.  The horse riders came by for a listen, and others, who were out for an evening stroll or a bike ride, joined in to sing or just to listen or watch. 

    I start looking at looking at the weather forecast for Tuesday on about Thursday, hoping for a nice evening, but I suspect that we won’t have another like last night for the rest of the summer.

View my paintings at:


Tuesday 26 July 2022

Waiting For A Train


    “Waiting For A Train” is an old Jimmy Rogers’ song that our jam often plays, and I couldn’t help but think of it yesterday when my wife was doing exactly that, sitting in the lobby of McBride’s train station.  She is on her way to Jasper, Alberta, to visit a friend.  The visit used to be a yearly one, but because of Covid, it has been several years since the two have been able to get together.

Take a look at my paintings:


Monday 25 July 2022

The Biggest Surprise of the Summer

    I got quite a surprise the other day; it was a phone call from Horseshoe Lake Ventures saying that my snowblower was fixed and ready to be picked up.

    “What?” I asked myself in disbelief.  I was totally gobsmacked.

    The snowblower broke in the middle of the winter in 2020-21 and even though Horseshoe Lake Ventures didn’t realIy deal with snowblowers, they told me to bring it over and they would fix it, so I  took it to them to be repaired.

    They needed to order some parts and that is when things stopped.  For weeks, then months, then a year, I waited, but they kept telling me that the parts were still on back order.

    When the winter of 2021-2022 was approaching, I was in a panic.  I was going to need a snowblower to clean my driveway and all Horseshoe Lake Ventures could tell me was that they were waiting for the ordered parts.  In desperation, I broke down and bought another snowblower.  By that point, I assumed that the back ordered parts would never arrive.

    I used my new snowblower all though last winter and had given up on ever getting the old one back.  I pretty much erased it from my memory, when I got the unexpected phone call.

    I just returned from picking the snowblower up.  It started on the first try and moved like it had never been broken.

    My big question now is what will I do with it.  I don’t really have a place to store it, but for now, I managed to push some other things out of the way so I was able to put I could store it in my shop.  I jokingly asked my wife if she wanted it.  It would make clearing the driveway a lot quicker with two snowblowers working on it, but she declined the offer.

    I guess I will sell it once the winter season gets a bit closer.

    I must say I am really impressed with Horseshoe Lake Ventures, who stored over the year and a half, waiting for the parts to arrive and once they did, they fixed it quickly.

You can see my paintings at:


Sunday 24 July 2022

Bus Trip, 1980

    I have been going through my old diaries and came upon a bus trip I took from McBride, down to Vancouver Island in 1980.   After breaking my right wrist in an industrial accident while working at a very unsafe mill that made cedar rails and posts, I was laid up at home.  Since I was right handed and had a cast on my right hand, and that it was February with snow covering the ground, there wasn’t a whole lot I could do at home, so I decided to take a trip down to the Lower Mainland to visit some friends and relatives.

The bus ride down to Vancouver was an interesting experience due to the people I met.  When the bus got down to Blue River, a group of CN (Canadian National Railway) workers got on.  I talked to one of them for a bit, when he asked me if I wanted to join them in a “party” in the back of the bus, and smoke a joint.  I thanked him for the offer, but told him I had better decline.

        A bit later at Cache Creek, the seat next to mine was filled with a guy who was eager to tell me all about the wood-burning car he was going to build.  

When I off at Abbotsford, to meet my friend Earl, I didn’t even recognize him:  He had shaved off the beard he had sported the whole time he was in McBride.  Unfortunately, Earl had just come down with the flu and was feeling pretty rocky, but he did take me to a bank and the library.  That much pretty much wiped Earl out, so he had to take a nap when we got to his apartment.  I walked to explore the nearby mall, while he slept.

The following day, Earl was in even worse shape, so I felt that instead of being a further burden to him, I would travel on to Victoria, so he could just rest.  As I walked to the bus station, I was approached by a man all draped in banners and carrying a flag about Jesus.  He asked me if I was hungry and when I replied, “No” he walked on.  I wished I could have taken a picture of him.

Once back on the bus,  the seat next to me was occupied by a lady from Austria and we talked all the way to Vancouver.  She lived on a hobby farm and had a son and a daughter.  She told me that she wished she had never had any children because they were too much trouble and never turned out the way you wanted.  I found it interesting that she would reveal her secret feelings to me, a stranger on the bus, but I guess she felt safe to “unload” on me, knowing she would never see me again. 

    After reading about those experiences on the bus in 1980, I couldn’t help but think about how much things had changed.  For one thing, Greyhound buses have disappeared and no longer have any routes through BC.  Another big change was talking to other passengers.  If I got on a bus now, I bet everyone would be isolating themselves, sitting there with their eyes locked onto their cell phones or computers.  I don’t think there would be much interaction between passengers these days.

You can view my paintings at:



Saturday 23 July 2022

Plastic Fake Bricks

    I have been tearing off the deteriorating planks on our deck, so that I can replace them.  When I got them off and was raking the debris that had accumulated on the ground below them, I came across this fragment of a sheet of plastic that was supposed to look like bricks.  Originally it had a sticky back so they could stuck on a wall, supposedly to make your wall look like a brick wall.  

    The fake bricks were on some walls in our living room when we bought the house in 1977.  They looked so tacky and fake that I hated them with passion.  Ripping them off of the walls was one of the first things I wanted to do when we moved in.  

    Whenever I think back to how our house looked when we bought it, I remember those “bricks”, and it was a real flashback to find the fragment of them under my deck.

    Below is a photo of our living room after we moved in.  You can see some of the fake bricks on the side of the chimney.

You can view my paintings at:


Friday 22 July 2022

Moss Campion

    During one of my first experiences of being up in the alpine, I came across a beautiful small pillow of tiny green leaves, accentuated with clumps of tiny purple flowers.  I rifled through my plant book to see what the plant was and discovered it was called Moss Campion.  Since then, whenever I am up in the mountain tops, I always look forward to coming upon the beautiful little plant.

    Luckily, Moss Campion can also tolerate living in rock gardens in our valley bottom and I planted a clump in mine.  The other day while we were up in the lanai, I noticed that our Moss Campion was blooming and there was a bumble bee working its way around the minuscule flowers.  You wouldn’t think such a small flower could produce enough to interest a bee, but the bee seemed very interested in the flower’s nectar.  Below is the photo I took.


Take a look at my paintings:

Thursday 21 July 2022

Flowering Potato Plants

    My potato plants are looking really healthy this year.  My wife commented that they look like something you might find in a flower garden.  I hope the potatoes growing underground are as healthy looking as what is growing above ground.  Below is a snapshot of the potato plant flower.  These are the flowers  of “red” potato, the “white” potato flowers are, as you might expect;  white.

Take a look at my paintings:


Wednesday 20 July 2022

A Little Excitement on the Way to the Jam

    Last night was our jam night.  I drove up the road to pick up a fellow musician and then drove down the sloping road that snaked down to her house.  When I rounded the corner of the road, I saw a teenage girl on a “quad” (ATV) just below me, racing around a curve in the gravel pit (photo).  Like a movie in slow motion, I watched as she rounded the curve too quickly, then saw her and the quad, slowly tip over.

    I stopped the car, ran down to the accident and found her laying on the ground dazed, and weakly yelling for help.  She was trapped under the overturned ATV and was unable to get out from under it.   Tried to calm her and I told her I would try to tip the machine that was laying on its side and was dribbling gasoline, off of her.   As I did, I was surprised just how hard the heavy machine was to move. 

    I managed to tip it enough for the girl to free herself out from under it, then I set the quad back down on its side where it rested and looked the girl over for injuries.  The only obvious injuries that were visible  was a goose-egg bump on her forehead and a bit of blood that had trickled down from under her hairline.  I don’t know if she had injuries to the rest of her body.

    She didn’t seem to be in shock, but just in case I made her lay down in the gravel while I went for help.  Her grandparents home was in sight just across the road, so I raced over there and found her grandmother and explained what had happened and the teen’s condition.  I told her I wasn’t sure if she needed to go to the hospital.  The woman yelled for the rest of the family and they all rushed over to the gravel pit to help.

    I figured they were now in charge and didn’t need me, so I got into the car and continued down the road to pick up Ingrid and continue on to the jam.

    I sure hate to see kids roaring around on ATV’s.  There are so many accidents.  This teen was lucky she didn’t break her neck.  I don’t know what all injuries she did get, but I wonder what the situation would have been with her trapped alone under the machine, if I hadn’t just driven down the road and saw what had happened.

You can view my paintings at:


Tuesday 19 July 2022

A Bio-Diverse Lawn

    There are people that like mono-culture lawns, with just one kind of grass neatly groomed and growing.  I am not one of them.  I have a lawn full of whatever comes up as you can see in the photo.  I cut it just enough so that it doesn’t get totally out of hand and cause more mowing problems in the future.  When I do mow, I like to notice the succession of different plants as they come into bloom.  First comes forget-me-nots, dandelions, and some of the grasses, the buttercups bloom, followed by the clover and the purple flower you see in the photo that I never know the name of.   

    The bees and other pollinators move from one species to the other as they each take their turn in germination.  

    I blogged about how, during my youth, I hated mowing the lawn and at the time sometime wished that instead of grass, our yard was covered with concrete.  That, of course, was stupid, childhood thinking.  I still find mowing a chore, but I don’t hate it.  

    I recently came across an article in The Guardian about plastic lawns, that actually made me love my lawn.  Among other things it said that:

    “Artificial lawns get hotter than bitumen and concrete. Without a blade of grass, and no shading vegetation, they are furnaces, emitting an unpleasant smell of melting plastic. For dog owners, there are particular perils, and not just the smell of dog urine. “Whoever has fake grass in their garden,” one hapless owner on the Isle of Wight wrote last week, “Don’t let your dogs on it, it’s just burnt my dog’s paws.”

    Artificial “lawns” turn out to be high maintenance after all. They need to be watered to cool them down. They need special cleaning products to get rid of smells and stains. You even have to vacuum them to get rid of leaves.”

    The article also mentioned how plastic lawns eliminate wildlife.  They provide nothing for birds or other insects.  They are just wildlife voids.  

    Like I said, the article made me really appreciate my wild-looking lawn and I wonder why humankind is to set on destroying everything that is life-giving.

    If you would like to read the whole article here is a link:


Monday 18 July 2022

A Discovery: Lentils Don't Pop

    This blog brings together a couple of things that I have previously blogged about:  Eye glasses and our silicon microwave corn popper.

    Yesterday I decided to pop some popcorn.  I got the silicon corn popper out and set it on the counter, then went into the pantry to get some pop corn.  My wife has put the popcorn and other things in glass jars to keep them safe from mice.  I didn’t have my glasses on, but I grabbed what I thought was the pop corn and poured some into the corn popper, put it into the microwave, pressed the buttons and waited.

    I was a bit surprised that I didn’t immediately hear the corn popping like I usually do, but thought nothing of it and walked into the living room.  Then when I went back into the kitchen I could smell acrid smoke.  I opened the microwave door and out the thick smoke came pouring out into the kitchen.  

    I grabbed the corn popper, ran outside with it and dumped the still smoking contents into the garden. (Photo above)

    I was really confused as to what just happened and why.  Slowly I pieced the story together.

    When I went into grab the jar of popcorn off of the cupboard, because I didn’t have my glasses on;  everything was blurry, I grabbed the jar of lentils instead.  I didn’t recognize that it was lentils, not popcorn, when I poured it into the corn popper, and the microwave caused the lentils to burn.

    The terrible smelling smoke stayed in the kitchen for a long time even though we opened the windows and doors. 

    I have decided to put a label on the popcorn jar.

    Below is a photo I blurred to give you an idea of the way the jars looked to me.  When I went to get the popcorn, the jars were not sitting side by side so I could compare them.  That is the popcorn on the left.

You can see my paintings at:


Sunday 17 July 2022

Slash Burn Scars

    The other day when we were walking on Museum Road, we got this view up the Dore River valley.  It spurred memories of my time working for the BC Forest. 

    See the irregular patches of green on the mountain slope, they are the remains of old slash burns that escaped.  I just shake my head in disgust every time I see them.

    Logging was done further down the slope of the mountain.  After they got done logging, there was always an amazing amount of “waste” (unwanted trees, limbs, etc) strewn all over the logged area.  The practice was then to have a “slash burn”.  The cutblock (area logged) was just set alight to burn up all of the wood that was lying around.

    Often forestry staff were eager to get the process of burning all of the slash over with, so it was often lit up when conditions were too dry.  As a result, the flames racing through the cutblocks, would continue its upward movement into all of the trees on the mountain slope above the block.  All those scars you can see on the slope are the result of escaped slash burns.

    I hated slash burns from the first time I experienced them in the Robson Valley.  Just like during forest fires today, very thick smoke would fill the Valley, obscuring the sky and mountains and damaging every one’s lungs.  Later when we learned about carbon in the air causing global heating, I was further disgusted when the Forest Service put out a publication saying the slash burning didn’t contribute to global warming because it was smoke from trees, a renewable resource.  It was of course, total BS, an attempt to “greenwash” the practice.

    Fortunately, under public pressure, the Forest Service has greatly diminished the practice and slash burning is now rarely done.

Take a look at my paintings:


Saturday 16 July 2022

Disappearing Mountain Snow

    If the snow that accumulates on the mountain tops all winter melts to quickly in the Spring, it will cause the Fraser River to flood.  Last winter the snow accumulation up there was 50% higher than normal, so we were concerned about flooding.  Fortunately, we had a long cool spring so the alpine snow melted slowly and while the river level got high, it really didn’t do any real flooding.

    The other day we did our afternoon walk down Museum Road for a change of scenery.  It allowed us to get good views of the Park Range of the Canadian Rockies, the mountains above our house.  As you can see most of the alpine snow that you can see from the valley bottom, has melted away.   There is still a lot of snow up there that can’t be seen, that is yet to melt, but seeing how much has disappeared, gives us hope that the Fraser will probably not flood this year, and that means less mosquitoes.

You can view my paintings at:


Friday 15 July 2022

The Mystery of the Awful Smell, Solved

    For months, whenever we walked through the pantry hallway, we have been getting a whiff of something smelling like a decomposing animal.   The smell was persistent.  I assumed it must be a dead mouse trapped somewhere.  The smell became more intense whenever we opened the doors at the bottom of the pantry, which held stacks upon stacks of jars, bottles, and boxes of foodstuffs.  but I could not see anything obvious that could be causing it.  

    I had figured that eventually the smell would go away when the mouse corpse dried out, but the awful smell continued to linger.  Finally in frustration and  determined to find and eliminate the source of the smell, I took everything out of the bottom of the pantry and wiped the interior clean.  I couldn’t find anything causing the smell, so I put everything back into the cabinet. 

    Months past and the smell continued.  Confused, I pretty much gave up the search as hopeless.

    Yesterday I was going to fix myself a sandwich for lunch, but couldn’t find anything to put on it in the fridge, when I remembered seeing a can of sardines in the pantry.  I got it out and when I was about to tear through the cellophane covering when I noticed that awful smell.  I examined the can of sardines, the cellophane wrapper seemed a bit discolored and not very pristine, and as I handled it, the smell intensified.   The sardines can must have been flawed, and as it deteriorated and decomposed, produced the horrific smell we couldn’t find the source of.

    Now that I have dumped the sardine can in the trash can in the shop, we can walk past the pantry without shaking our heads wondering about that awful, mysterious, smell.


View my paintings at:

Thursday 14 July 2022

Exotic Hosta Flower

    We have a lot of shade around our house and we bought our first Hostas hearing that they can grow in shaded areas.  I quickly fell in love with the subtle coloring of their veiny broad leaves because they reminded me of something you might see in a jungle.  When they started to throw up a flower, that too looked like an orchid, or some other tropical jungle plant.

    Here is a flower I saw yesterday on one of the Hosta plants that is growing beside our sidewalk. 

You can view my many Hosta paintings at:


Wednesday 13 July 2022

Where Are My Glasses?

    After a lifetime of good vision, now as I age my eyes have deteriorated and I need reading glasses in order to do most things.  We have glasses spread around the house, some in the living room, some at my desk, some in the bedroom, and even some in the bathroom, but nevertheless, it seems that I can never find a pair when I need them.   In frustration, I continually buy new glasses (often three pair at a time), but despite that, they always seem to disappear and I can never find any.  

    My constant complaining motivated my wife to organize a collection of glasses out on the kitchen counter so if I couldn’t find a pair anywhere else, I could at least find some there. 

    However, glasses always seem to be moving from place to place and I still find myself asking:  “Where are my glasses?”  At least now, when I can’t find any, I know there should be a pair I can use out on the kitchen counter.

See my paintings at:


Tuesday 12 July 2022

Sweet Smells of the Season

    Whenever I step outside during the spring or summer, I am suddenly surrounded by the delicious smells of the flowers and bushes that are blooming.  Presently, it is the smell of the Mock Orange bush that sits outside the front of the house.  It is covered with white flowers, and puts out an intoxicating scent that attracts not only me, but all of the bees and other pollinators in the neighborhood.  

    The scents of the seasons change as the different plants take their turn blooming, then concentrate on making their seeds, allowing other plants take up the mantle to make their flowers, and send their fragrances into the air.  No one plant’s scent lasts long enough for a person to get tired of it, the smells are constantly changing.

    The fragrances are a wonderful gift of nature, so wake up and smell the coffee if you will, but also take some time to smell the flowers.

Take a look at my paintings:


Monday 11 July 2022

Pea Thief

    We have a deer fence around our garden and whenever I am working in the garden, I enclose Kona in there with me.  She spends her time listening for mice in the weeds, pulling up the stakes at the end of the rows to chew on them, and lately, she has a new way to entertain herself-- stealing peas off of the pea plants.  I caught her the other day chowing down on the pea pods.

    I didn’t realize that dogs liked to eat peas until I caught Lexi, our previous dog, eating them out of the pail of peas as I was picking them.  Kona is a real plant eater and in a previous blog I have written about her eating dandelions.  I guess now that the dandelion season has passed, she has had to move on to the next delicacy.  

You can view my paintings at:


Sunday 10 July 2022

Dark Cloud Bank on the Horizon

    Yesterday evening as we were driving to visit friends, we glanced back and noticed a bank of dark clouds in the northwest.  It looked pretty threatening, but whatever happened there didn’t happen at our friend’s house.  Storm after storm have been moving through the Valley, but they are very spotty.  While driving down the road you come upon pavement that is all wet, suddenly followed by pavement that is dry, indicating an area where the rain shower didn’t fall.

    It had been getting pretty dry, but all of these showers passing through has remedied that problem.

You can see my paintings:


Saturday 9 July 2022

A Memorable Medical Procedure

    Back in the fall of 1979, my friend Earl, who lived in town mentioned to me that the oil tank that sat just beside the house he was renting, was starting to lean and needed to be set right before winter.  At the time I was working at a cedar fence posts and rails mill, and I remembered that they had a big 20-ton jack that I could probably borrow to lift up the low side of the tank, then make a new foundation upon which it could sit.

    I got permission to use the jack and went to pick it up on Saturday morning.  The big heavy machine jack was in a shed, I dragged it to the doorway and set it down.  I then went outside to lift it and set it on the ground.   I planted my feet solidly on the ground, bent over, lifted the jack up and swung it through the doorway, to set it on the ground.   Unfortunately, when I set it down, instead of setting it on the ground, I miscalculated and set it on my big toe.  The runners I was wearing didn’t give my toe much protection.

    My toe hurt for a while, but not enough to prevent Earl and I to jack up the oil tank and set it straight.

    That night while I was in bed, my big toe really began to throb with pain.  The pain  became excruciating worse through the night that seemed to last forever. 

    In the morning, my big toe swollen and my toenail was a deep purple color.  I was in terrible pain and decided to drive myself to the hospital.

    When the doctor looked at my toe, he said the pain was being caused by all of the buildup of pressure beneath the nail and that he would have to put a hole in the nail to release the blood.

    He, along with a nurse, walked me down the hall to a small room where he had me sit on a stool with my foot propped up on a counter. 

    I was surprised when he got out a paper clip and partially unwound it.  He told me he was going to use it to burn a hole through my toenail.  He lit up a burner, held the paperclip over the flame with a pair of pliers until it was sterilized.

    I was beginning to feel a bit faint and told the doctor that I had a history of sometimes fainting during medical procedures.  He acknowledged the information as he moved the glowing paper clip toward my purple toenail.  The paperclip when through my nail without much resistance, releasing a gush of dark blood, which the doctor began to wipe up.  

    By this time my circle of my vision was getting smaller and smaller as I began to pass out.  I had just enough time to tell him and the nurse that I was fainting, before I totally slumped on the stool.  They supported me, while one of them stuck a cotton ball of smelling salts under my nose.  I partially came through and they told me they were going to take me to another room so I could lie down.

    Still supporting me, they walked/dragged me down the hospital hallway toward the room.  During that trip, I happened to look over into one of the rooms we passed, and noticed one of the high school teachers visiting his son.  When he looked over and glanced at me being dragged down the hallway, I thought to myself, well there goes my reputation, figuring he must think I was recovering from a drunken weekend or something.

    The paper clip procedure quickly worked wonders on my toe, the pain disappeared and the whole incident became a memorable event in my medical history.

View my paintings at:


Friday 8 July 2022

Feeling Like The Photographer In "Blow-Up"

    In 1966 I went to see the movie “Blow-up.”  What I most remember about the film was the one scene where the photographer walked into a concert and the Yardbirds were playing a song.  Wow, I thought, I really like that song (  ).  To me, that was the most memorable part of the film, but the storyline was interesting also.

    It was about a fashion photographer that happened to snap a photo in the park, then when he got home and developed the picture and blew it up, he noticed what looked like a body laying in the bushes.  

    Yesterday, I drove to a local mill to pick up some lumber.  Unfortunately there was no one at the mill.   I was hauling my utility trailer and couldn’t turn around at the mill entrance, so I drove on down the road a bit until I could find a place to turn around. 

    Once I got back to the mill entrance, I stopped to wait a bit, hoping the owner would show up.  He didn’t.  As I waited I noticed what looked like an immature Bald Eagle sitting on a lift of lumber.  I was some distance away, but I zoomed in and took the photo you see above.  I was sort of a boring shot, of the bird sitting there on some lumber, but I always take photos of the wildlife I see.

       This morning when I uploaded the photo to my computer, I was surprised and did a double take because the eagle, or whatever it was had a dead squirrel clutched in its claws.  I felt just like the photographer in Blow-up, when he saw a corpse in the photo that he was unaware of when he took the shot.

View my paintings at: