Wednesday 31 August 2022

    August 8th was “National Sneak a Zucchini onto your Neighbor’s Porch Day”, and unfortunately, we missed it.   Now we are stuck with these, and several other zucchini that are still hiding under the leaves of our zucchini plants.  There is no way we will be able to use all of these zucchini. 

    I picked a large one a month ago and even though we have eaten most of it, there is still a large chunk of it in the fridge.

    This happens every year; the zucchini always get away from us.  I only really need to plant one plant, but it seems like zucchini bedding plants always come in pairs, so I bought and planted both of them.   Realistically, we would only need 1/8th of a zucchini plant to satisfy our needs.

    Some things never change.  I have a similar photo to this one that I took in 2013, it looks like I just don’t learn.  Below is the 2013 photo.

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Tuesday 30 August 2022

Busy Bees

    These bees were hard at it yesterday on one of our sunflowers.  As the progression of different plant species bloom, then die off throughout the summer, the bees have to continually move to whatever flower is currently available to the next.  As we move toward fall, there are less and less blooms available for them to harvest, but they have worked things out over the millions of years of their evolution, so I won’t worry about them starving.

Take a look at my sunflower painting:


Monday 29 August 2022

Whacked Bushes

    Red Osier Dogwood is a common bush with white berries that grows on our property.  Yesterday when we did a walk around the pond we noticed that all of the Osier Dogwood bushes we came upon had been thrashed.  It didn’t take us long to figure out who the marauder was; it was our neighborhood black bear.

    My plant book says the berries are “bitter and inedible,” but I guess bears haven’t read the book, because they seem to love the berries (as do Pileated Woodpeckers).  The white berries are now mature and the bear has traveled through the neighborhood sampling them.

You can take a look at my paintings:


Sunday 28 August 2022

A SIgn of Autumn

    Our Boston Creeper that covers the gate going to our garden has leaves that turn a brilliant red in autumn.  We spotted these leaves yesterday, and although they are not yet red, they seem to be anxious to get to it. 

    The last couple of days have felt like autumn, with coolish temperatures and overcast skies.

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Saturday 27 August 2022

Evening Storm

    We have been getting a lot of storms passing through lately, with streaks of lightning and crashing thunder.  Fortunately they have been accompanied with downpours of rain that lesson the chance of a forest fire.  Kona, although still scared from the thunder, seems to have gotten a bit use to the storms, and isn’t as terrified and trembling as she was earlier in the season.  

    All of the rain sure makes it look gloomy outside, but I am happy to have it, after seeing all of the horrific fires burning across the world.

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Friday 26 August 2022

My Hodgepodge Diaries

    If one thinks of a series of diaries, they might visualize a line of uniformed volumes on a shelf.  I started writing diaries in 1973 when we immigrated to Canada and continued with them until 2003, when I retired.  Above you can see some of them.   Each new year I had to scrounge around to find a “diary” to write in, so they ended up a real hodgepodge of books and booklets. 

    Certainly, they are not a uniform collection, but they are really valuable to me, and I am so glad I took the time each night to write in them.

    I have been slowly reading through them and it is a strange experience.  Some of the mundane things I had mentioned in the diaries, I remember quite clearly, while other experiences that seemed noteworthy, I have totally forgotten about.  I come upon interesting things that had happened, but now I scratch my head and wonder about some of the details that I failed to mention, which are now gone in the fog of time.

    Each Friday at the McBride Library we have a “Writer’s Group” that meets and writes.  That’s what we do there:  We just write, whatever we are working on.  I find it hard to write at home with so many distractions and a faltering motivation, but when I go to the library to write, that is what I do.  At the library I have been reading through my diaries, digesting and picking out the good bits and writing them down. 

    I am so thankful for my diaries and having the chance to “re-live” the past through these documented  memories.  I still have a lot more to go since I am only in the 1980 diary.  The 1980 diary is the old large gray book.  It was an old blank accounting book that I bought while working at the Goodwill Store as a Conscientious Objector in 1971.  At the start of 1980, I couldn’t find a regular log for the year, so in desperation I just used the old accounting book as a diary. 

You can see my paintings at: 


Thursday 25 August 2022

Morning Haze

    This morning as I looked back at the house from the path on the pond dam, everything was green except for a light bluish haze between me and the mountain slope.  I suspect that all that green will becoming more and more yellowish as the weeks march toward autumn.

Take a look at my paintings:


Wednesday 24 August 2022

Putting Up Winter Food

    When the veggies start maturing in the garden and greenhouse, we start eating them, however there are always so many, we cannot eat it all fresh, so we have to start preserving them.   Things like our  tomatoes we can and others, like the green beans we freeze.  That is what we have been up to over the last few days, and there will be more days ahead that we will have to dedicate into doing the same.

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Tuesday 23 August 2022

Building Blues

    My big project for the summer was tearing down my old deck, which was getting rotten, and building a new one.  I am almost done with the new one, which is pictured above.  The photo below shows the old deck as I was demolishing it.  You can see that it really needed replacing.

    While I enjoyed building, it sure becomes a frustrating task for me.  Whenever I am in the midst of a construction project, I always loose sleep.  I wake up in the middle of the night, then start thinking about what is the best way to construct certain things, which causes my mind to run away with all of the possibilities and I can’t get back to sleep.

    The actual building is also frustrating.  I always encounter unexpected problems and obstacles and strain my brain trying to figure out how to deal with them.  It seems like every board has to be custom cut, because of the way things work out. 

    I measure a board, walk up to the shop to cut it, carry it back down to fit into place, then see it is still too long, so carry it back up to the shop and shave a bit more off of the end.  I carry it back to the deck and discover it is still too long, so carry it back to the shop and shave a bit more off of the board.  Back to the deck I carry it only to find that the board I just cut is now a bit too short.  

    All this back and forth has actually worn a path in my lawn. 

    I have a pair of reading glasses and a pencil in the shop and another pair of glasses and a pencil at the deck.  I always inadvertently stick the glasses or pencil in my pocket, then when I return to cut a board in the shop, discover I have carried the glasses or pencil away and have to walk back to the deck to get it.

    These days when building, screws are used instead of nails.   Here in Canada, we not only have Phillip-head screws,  and star-head screws, but also have Robertson-head screws.  The different screws I used for the deck each use a different screwdriver.  I have a “driver” drill with changeable bits to drive in the screws, but I am forever holding a board in place to screw into another board, reach for the driver only to discover the wrong bit is in it, so I have to stop everything, get up and find the right bit before I can proceed.

    Looking back at all those frustrating things, it really feels like an accomplishment to finally get the deck done, and it really is nice to check a major thing off of my “To Do” list.



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Monday 22 August 2022

Canadian Coins

On Feb. 4, 2013, Canada stopped making pennies.  While it seemed like a historic step, it didn’t upset many Canadians.  Since then we just don’t have pennies anymore.  Prices are just rounded up or down.  If something is $ .92, we pay $ .90.   If the item costs $ .93, we pay .95, and life goes on.

In 1987, Canada stopped printing $1.00 bills and instead made a $1.00 coin.  The eleven-sided coin was to have the image of Voyageurs (Early French Canadian trappers who used canoes), but instead of sending the newly designed dies to the mint by secure couriers, the Canadian government saved $43 by putting them in the mail.  The dies disappeared and the mint never received them.  

Afraid that the dies might have fallen into the hands of counterfeiters, the government just decided to design a whole new coin.  On this one they put a Loon on the front.  It did arrive at the mint and was then put into circulation.  Since it had a Loon on the front, everyone started calling it a “Loonie” and the name stuck.  (Photo above).

In 1996, Canada introduced a two dollar coin.  Everyone started calling it a “Twoonie.”  It has Queen Elizabeth on one side and a bear on the other.  It was a big joke to say that Canada has a coin showing Queen Elizabeth with a “bare”  behind (bear behind).

                                        Take a look at my paintings:

Sunday 21 August 2022

First Snow, Last Light by Wayne Johnston

Sometimes a traumatic event that occurs in childhood, that will color the rest of one’s life.  That is the driver of the storyline in First Snow, Last Light, a novel that begins in the late 1930’s in Newfoundland.  The traumatic event that occurs is something that is the most feared thing that can happen to a child; the sudden disappearance of their parents.  That is what happened to 12 year old Ned, the protagonist in this novel.  What  had always seemed to be a stable and secure family-life to Ned, suddenly evaporated.

Before Newfoundland became a province of Canada, Ned’s father, who had come from a rather poor family, had managed to make himself the right hand man of Sir Richard, the person who ran Newfoundland.  Megan, Ned’s mother had grown up in Britain, and after meeting  Edgar, Ned’s father who was there studying as a Rhodes Scholar, married him, and moved with Edgar when he returned to Newfoundland.  Both parents loved and doted on Ned and his family life seemed secure.

  A corruption scandal caused Sir Richard to be ousted from office and Ned’s father lost his job and couldn’t find another.  Megan begged for the family to move back to her home country of Britain, but soon the family became so desolate, there was no money to pay for the fares for such a trip, even if Edgar allowed it.

There also is a unique character in the novel that I haven’t mentioned;  Fielding.  She was a very tall, crippled, woman journalist, with a prickly personality and a sharp tongue, who Ned’s father secretly loved and often invited over to their house for dinner, although whenever she came, she never ate anything.  She lived in a hotel full of prostitutes, and had a reputation of being a heavy drinker.

On a snowy November day, 12 year old Ned walked home from school and found that his house was locked and dark, void of both his mother or father.  Everything else in the house was like it was when Ned had gone to school.  He had to break into his house, and there he waited, thinking something must have suddenly come up, causing his parents  to leave, and figured they would soon return, but they never did.   

In a panic Ned sought out his track coach, Father Duggan, at his school.  Duggan came back with Ned to the house to stay with him until his parents returned, days passed, weeks, and month’s passed, but Ned’s parents never returned.  They had totally vanished.

Father Duggan was allowed to live with Ned in his house, and became sort of a surrogate father for Ned.  Ned was a talented athlete and as he matured, under the tutelage of Father Duggan, broke all kinds of track records for the mile and high jump.  Ned eventually got a track scholarship to a university in Boston.  

He loved Boston and New York, and was impressed by the “go out and get rich” attitude of the Americans.  After seeing the poverty his family experienced after his father lost his job, Ned vowed to himself, that he would get rich enough so that he would  never be dependent on someone else for a job.  

He decided that when he went back to Newfoundland he would start a tabloid newspaper, like he saw in the US, and make his fortune.  Upon his return to Newfoundland, that is what he did.

Ned’s father’s side of the family which had a bit of am unsavory reputation played an important part in his life after the disappearance of his parents, but they were people that Ned didn’t enjoy being around.  On his return to Newfoundland, Ned continued to see Father Duggan and Fielding, as he became very wealthy, first with his tabloid newspaper, then with several stores, and eventually by establishing the only television station in the Province. 

Father Duggan and Fielding, both loved Ned as a person, but not the wealth or the power he was acquiring.  The mystery of his parent’s disappearance continued to dominate Ned’s thoughts, and he spent huge amounts of money trying to discover what had happened to them.

The novel is full of unexpected turns:  On the night before Newfoundland became part of Canada, Brendan, the last baby born to be born in Old Newfoundland, miraculously survived after his mother died giving birth, and Ned adopted the baby and allowed Ruby, the baby’s aunt and only relative, to live in his house to raise him.  Brendan becomes like Ned’s son, and Ned often has him appear on Ned’s late night television program, where Ned talks about whatever he wants, often about his parent’s disappearance.

Although there were long sections during my reading of the novel when I wondered where it was going, slowly over time, clues about what caused Ned’s parent’s to disappear were slowly revealed. I enjoyed the novel’s mystery, it’s unique characters, and learning a bit more about Newfoundland history and culture as I read.

I do wonder about why there is a photo of a blond girl with her face turned away on the cover of the novel, since such a character doesn’t appear anywhere in the novel.  Maybe whoever designed the cover promised his girlfriend he would put her picture on the cover of a book. 

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Saturday 20 August 2022

A Box of Tomatoes

    Yesterday I picked the tomatoes that were ripe in the greenhouse.  I always grow a lot of different varieties of tomatoes and when it looked at what I had gleaned, I was surprised at all of the different colors and shapes.  In the box there are “early” tomatoes, elongated paste tomatoes, dark tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, and pinkish tomatoes.  I have no idea of where that convoluted yellowish tomato came from, it doesn’t look like anything that I had purposely planted.

    My grandparents and uncle owned a large greenhouse grew tomatoes commercially.  As a kid I worked for them picking tomatoes in both the greenhouses and out in the field.  I am sure that is part of the reason why I grow tomatoes every year, the other reason of course, is that I love the taste of a homegrown tomato.

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Friday 19 August 2022

Fern Reflections

    The other day when I walked out onto the balcony, I happened to look down upon our “water feature”, a small pool I had once dug.  I noticed how the reflections of the ferns were nicely silhouetted against the mirror-like surface of the water, and I had to take a photo.

    The image looks like some deep pool of water in the jungle, surrounded by all of the encroaching plants around its edge.

You can see my paintings at:


Thursday 18 August 2022

Stayin' Alive

    This sad-looking house plant is really quite remarkable.  Twenty-five or thirty years ago it belonged to one of my co-workers at the Forestry Office.  It started to look really bad, so they decided to toss it. 

     When I heard about it’s death sentence I asked if I could have it and got it.  I knew that often if you just cut the top off of plants they will send out new shoots, so I whacked off about the top third of the plant and took it home.

    It sat in the corner of our dining room for ages, just a sawed off stump, but eventually, as I had hoped, it sent out new shoots which became the two thick forks you see at the top of the trunk, rich with foliage.  It continued to grow in the corner of the dining room, but last year it got to the point where it was just too tall, unbalanced, and malformed, so I decided to finally shuck it.

    Before I got around to doing that, my soft heart intervened and I decided to once again just whack off the top.  This time I didn’t have much faith that it had enough life in it to re-sprout.  After I had whacked it, I put it back in it’s dark corner in the dining room, where it was regularly watered.  It sat there, unresponsive for half a year.

    The last time I looked at it, it showed no signs of life, so I thought I should dump it, but didn’t get around to doing it.  Yesterday, my wife directed my attention to the plant, and I was utterly amazed to see the big green sprouts forming near its top.  

    The plant took its time, but it seems, it’s not done with being alive.

Take a look at my paintings:



Wednesday 17 August 2022

Fraser River Sunset

    Last week after the jam I took the photo of the moon coming over the mountain.  Driving home last night after the jam, when I got to the portion of the road that runs along the Fraser River, this is the view I saw.  It was nice to see the colors of the sunset reflecting in the Fraser.  

    As the days get shorter, it won’t be long before it will be totally dark when I drive home from our jam.

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Community Garden Box

    Even though we have a big garden at home, my wife also grows some things in a box at the Open Gate Garden (McBride’s Community Garden).   In her box she grows carrots, beets, cabbage, sunflowers, and some flowers.  I accompanied her there yesterday to help her water it and took this photo of all the things she has growing.  Everything is looking pretty vibrant and healthy.

Take a look at my paintings:


Monday 15 August 2022

A Second Too Late

    These beautiful horses were all lined up beside the watering hole.  I put the viewfinder of the camera to my eye and was carefully composing the photo.  Unfortunately, with the other hand I held the long leash with Kona on its end.  Kona had not yet noticed the horses, but when she did, she erupted into loud barking, which panicked horses.  It was at that instant that I clicked the shutter of the camera, so instead of getting a nice shot of the horses by the water, I got this unorganized blur of activity as they scampered away.  Thanks, Kona.

Take a look at my paintings:


Sunday 14 August 2022

Fog, Precursor of Fall?

    Living in the Interior of BC has taught me to be very aware of the changing of the seasons.  Today we woke up to fog, which often occurs in the autumn, so even though we still have a month before it officially begins, it was a reminder that fall is out there in the distance and coming closer. 

    That is always a bit sobering while we are in the midst of what always seems like an endless summer.  Seeing fog this morning prods me to get busy with all those things I have been hoping to achieve this summer.

You can see my paintings at:


Saturday 13 August 2022

Greenhouse Bounty

    Nothing compares to the taste of home-grown vegetables, and we are finally seeing some rewards for all our greenhouse labors.  The tomato crop has been coming in for a couple of weeks now, in fact, we have already picked enough tomatoes for my wife to can some of them for the winter.  More are on the way.

    The other thing I grow in the greenhouse are peppers and chilis.  Below is one of the green peppers, which will soon be picked and used on one of our Friday Night pizzas.

View my painting of some of my peppers:


Friday 12 August 2022

Backlit Petunia

\    Yesterday I was on the lanai spreading the garlic I had just dug, out to dry.  As I walked away I noticed how the petunias in one of our hanging baskets was backlit which illuminated all of the tiny hairs on the stems.  I whipped out my iPhone and took a shot of it.

    I have mentioned before how much I liked backlighting for photos because it intensifies the colors and makes a lot of the usually un-noticed details of the subject more apparent.  

Take a look at my paintings:


Thursday 11 August 2022

Luckily It Came With A Downpour

    I was awaken at 4:30 this morning by Kona scratching on the edge of my bed.  It was a rude awakening, and I staggered to take Kona outside, figuring that she had to pee.  She did, so I brought her back inside to hopefully continue with my sleep.  When I was outside, I noticed a few clouds in the still gray morning sky but nothing out of the ordinary.

    Ten or fifteen minutes after getting back in bed, I started hearing raindrops hitting our tin roof, the drops intensified, and then really started to plummet against the roof.

    “That’s good,” I thought to myself, because it had been very hot and dry, but then lightning and crashing thunder began.  Kona jumped on the bed, terrified and trembling, as she started draping herself on top of me and couldn’t be calmed.

    I then remembered that not long ago the same thing happened:  Kona, woke me up during the night, I took her outside and about 10 minutes later a thunderstorm occurred.  Kona, it seems can sense coming storms, before I hear anything.

    With all the thunder and the trembling dog against me, I realized I was not going to get any more sleep for a while, so I got out my iPad and clicked on the Lightning Tracker app to see where the strikes were happening and noticed that one had hit on the mountain slope less than a half a mile from our house.  (Red dots are lightning strikes, the blue dot is our house).

    Seeing all of the lightning strikes in the area, sure made me happy that we had gotten a lot of rain before and after the lightning hit.  After seeing so many reports about the horrendous forest fires in Europe, North America, and BC, it makes me very appreciative that we got lots of rain with our lightning.

Take a look at my paintings:


Wednesday 10 August 2022

Moon Rise

     Last night as we were packing up all of our instruments after our jam on the Train Station porch, the moon was just starting to peak over the trees.  I took time from my packing and got my camera.  The shape of the moon looked strange, being partially obscured by a cloud that was nearly the same color as the sky.  Although the moon looked full, the actual full moon will be on Thursday.

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Tuesday 9 August 2022

Day Lilies in Evening Light

    Even though our Day Lilies come up every year, we rarely see actual flowers on them.  However this year we were a little more conscientious about spraying them with deer repellant and we did get to see some flowers.

    A few evenings ago when we were getting some unusual light from a sunset, I took this photo of the Day Lily blooms.  I thought the lighting gave an interesting effect.

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Monday 8 August 2022

Red Sky at Night

     This was the brilliant sunset we witnessed last Saturday night as we drove home after visiting friends.  That regular visit is about the only time we get to witness sunsets over the Valley, since they are rather obscured from our house, but as the days shorten, all too soon we will be making our drive home in the darkness and will miss the explosion of color in the sky.

You can see my paintings at:

Sunday 7 August 2022

Gardens and Quilts

    Yesterday was the “Arts and Gardens Tour” around the Robson Valley, which allowed residents to see some of the spectacular local gardens of their neighbors.  I am too much of a lazy gardener to be part of the tour, but the Foster’s, our neighbors, who are very serious about their garden did have their garden on display.  Above is a photo of their well-manicured garden.

    As far as the “Arts” part of the tour, they asked my wife if she would hang some of her quilts near the garden and so, with her fingers crossed that it wouldn’t rain, she did.

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Saturday 6 August 2022

My "Deliverance" Experience

    The photo above shows me emerging from a cave during on of our spelunking expeditions, but before  you read today’s blog, you might check out yesterday’s blog because I posted a new photo showing a bit of the train trestle and tunnel that I had written about.   I was sure I had some pictures, but couldn’t find them, until I realized they were from old movies not photographs.


Now, today’s blog:

One of the most memorable of my caving experiences always comes to mind whenever I hear some reference to the 1972 movie “Deliverance” which is about some urban canoeists traveling to an extremely rural area populated by “Hillbillies” to run a wild river that was about to be flooded by a dam.  The locals didn’t much like seeing these “city folks” in their area that ultimately led to trouble.  The experience I had wasn’t as extreme as what happened in the movie, but with “Deliverance” in my mind, it was pretty upsetting.

On our caving trip, we set up camp in Burnside State Park in Southern Kentucky, then proceeded some distance down a highway before turning off and traveling down some dusty country road that took us further and further away from civilization.    I am not sure how, whoever was directing us, ever heard about this cave in such an obscure place.

We stopped, unloaded the carbide caving hats, coveralls, and backpacks and other caving equipment before hiking to the cave which was just a small hole on a rocky slope.  Into the dark, damp void we crawled, one after the other.  I don’t remember anything special about the cave and after about four hours my wife, who was along, and I had had enough of the dark gloom of the cave and so turned around and crawled back out into the beautiful green, fresh-aired, world outside.  The other spelunkers  continued to explore the cave.

My wife and I, happy to be back outside, hung around, exploring the area between the cave and the van, which was parked on the edge of the gravel country road.  As the two of us were looking around, I spotted a lanky rough country-looking local man walking down the road toward us toting a rifle. 

Seeing the gun made us nervous.  The man came over and started talking to us.  We were friendly toward him and explained about the cavers inside and how they would be coming out any minute.  We were both getting bad vibes about the guy as he talked to us.  Then the hill country man started telling us about making corn liquor in his still, and that increased my anxiety.   Making illegal moonshine was something I just didn’t want to hear anything about, but we continued to humor him, wishing he would go away.

After about a 30 minutes, the guy did finally leave and continued ambling down the road with his rifle on his shoulder.  We were relieved, but remained nervous about him.  

Eventually, Dan, my cousin came out of the cave.  It was probably around 4:00 in the afternoon.  He suggested that he would drive us back to Burnside State Park, drop us off and we could begin cooking supper while he returned back to the cave to pick up the other spelunkers.

On our trip back to the campsite we told Dan all about our visit with the gun-toting hillbilly.  Dan dropped us off at our campsite, then immediately return to pick up the others.

At dusk, Dan returned with just one of the other cavers.  He said he met Bob walking down the highway, and Bob didn’t know where the others were.  He explained that when the others came out of the cave there was gunfire, and the group all hit the ground, then scattered in different directions.  

Dan and Bob got back in the van and headed back to the cave site in hopes of finding the others.  Joan and I remained at the camp, bewildered and anxious about what had happened to the other cavers.  

It was dark when Dan returned and we were very relieved when we saw all of the remaining cavers climb out of the van.  They had all eventually made it to the highway, where Dan picked them up.   It was a hair-raising and certainly a memorable caving experience, but looking back all of the interesting things I remember all happened outside, not deep in the recesses of a cave.


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