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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.  

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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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Friday, 5 August 2022


When we were kids we were taken several times to Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky.  It was exciting to be camping and to go on the daylong tour of Mammoth Cave, seeing its stalactites, stalagmites, and the other limestone formations that had developed over thousands of years.  Perhaps the most memorable moment on the tour was when the tour guide turned off all of the lights and we sat there in TOTAL silence and darkness.

In our late teens, my cousin Dan and I returned to Mammoth Cave several times to camp and go on the cave tours.  I think it was probably around 1972 that my cousin Dan started doing a lot of spelunking with friends who were also interested in caving.  They organized caving expeditions to some rather unknown caves they found out about in Kentucky.

A few times I was able to join in on their explorations.  It was alway a strange feeling to be in a cave, lying on your belly, trying to crawl through the mud of a low narrow passageway and suddenly think about all of the tons and tons of rock lying between you and the outside world.

Most of those caving trips took place in rather wild areas of Kentucky.  I remember on one of our excursions we were traveling to a cave in someone’s mini-bus.  The vehicle was slowly bumping up a weed-grown, unused trail on the side of a hill.   As it climbed the steep trail narrowed.  I was sitting in the passenger side when the bus began to get closer and closer to the steep drop-off at the edge of the hill.  It was at this point we stopped and the driver suggested that I open the door and check how close we were to the edge.  

I opened the door and put my foot down through the high weeds.  My foot went down and further down.  The truck was literally resting just on the edge of a cliff.  I got back in and we all kept our fingers crossed as the bus slowly, with a lot of braking, inched its way back down the slope.

    The group set up camp across from a cemetery. The area was forested mountainous country with steep valleys.  There was a railway nearby to where we camped.  Looking down the track we could see that it traveled over a trestle that spanned a deep canyon and then beyond that went through a tunnel.  

In the group was a family with a couple of kids.  The father and the kids wanted to explore the railroad trestle and went down and started walking down the track.  The idea sounded crazy and dangerous to me, but I went along.  We had gotten out on the trestle a bit, when I heard a train.  I tried to tell everyone without showing my panic, to get off of the trestle and return to flat land quickly.  Luckily, everyone made it back before the train rounded the corner.

Looking back now on those caving trips, I realize that it wasn’t being in the caves that I remember, but the things that happened outside.  I do vividly remember the entrance of one of the caves we explored, because a creek about one and a half foot deep came right out of the cave’s mouth.  We had to wade through the water to get into the cave.  Once inside the cave the creek channel was off to the side and we could walk on firmament.

    The photo above shows my cousin Dan, checking out creek coming out of a cave.  Below, walking the trestle before the train came.

    I have another caving story for tomorrow.

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Thursday, 4 August 2022

The River by James Alexander Thom

This 1981 novel is based on a true story that began in 1755 in a small pioneer settlement in the frontier of Virginia.  Mary Ingles and her two young sons were outside their log cabin, when their settlement was attacked by a band of Indians who brutally killed Mary’s mother, her infant niece, and other residents in the hamlet.  Mary’s husband and brother who were some distance away working in a field, didn’t even know about the attack.

Mary, her two boys and sister-in-law were abducted by the natives; forced to travel with them as they made their escape.  Mary, in hysterics, who was pregnant and near her delivery date, was put on a horse with one of her sons as the party traversed through the rough mountainous wilderness for days, then weeks as they headed for the tribes home.  She gave birth to a girl along the way.  The Indians treated her with understanding during the birthing and the ordeal of their travel, compared with the brutality they had demonstrated during the attack.

They seemed to gain respect for Mary, after the brave and unflinching way she gave birth and the dignity she tried to maintain despite her fear.  The head of the raiding party seem to show her special attention.

On the 800 mile wilderness journey to the Indian village, the group followed various rivers, finally traveling a long distance beside what is now the Ohio River.  Mary made herself try to remember the landmarks along the way, thinking they would be the only way she might ever find her way home to her husband.

Once they arrived at the Indian village, Mary strove to keep her dignity and seemed to maintain the special status she had been given my the warrior leader.  Her two boys adapted quickly and seemed to thrive in their new life with the Indians.  Her baby was often cared for by a young woman who had recently lost her baby.  There were several other captive whites in the village, including an older Dutch woman named Ghetel.  Also there were two French traders that lived with tribe.

Mary rejected a chance to live with the warrior leader and was then given to the French traders and made to make clothing which they sold.  At one point she and Ghetel were taken by the French traders to collect salt and Mary convinced Ghetel it was their chance to make an escape back to Mary’s pioneer home.  An escape meant Mary would leave her two boys, who seemed to like Indian life, and her infant daughter who was loved by the young Indian maiden and would never survive the trip back to the pioneer settlement.

Mary and Ghetel made their escape with only a hatchet, blankets, and the clothes on their backs, into the wilderness.  The whole latter half of the novel then concentrates on the epic struggle the two women had to endure in their attempt to get back to Mary’s husband.  Their trip was horrific, eating the roots of plants once nuts and berries disappeared when winter arrived.  Eventually they were without blankets and clothing due to mishaps and wear.  Even cannibalism reared its ugly head as they starving women struggled to stay alive.  

Mary often had to guess which rivers and creeks to follow.  They often had to hike miles up the tributaries in order to cross them then backtrack to get back to the river they were following. 

Follow the River is a fascinating account of the terrible ordeal that the two women undertook, and their unwavering determination and will to survive.  It is a true story that will amaze the reader.

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Tuesday, 2 August 2022

Turbulent Clouds

    We’ve had a couple of days of thunderstorm warnings and did experience several storms.  The atmospheric turbulence did create some dramatic cloud formations around sunset last night.  

    The thunderstorms overnight did stress out Kona again and led to another sleepless night for me as she again clung close in bed.  She ended up spending the night on my pillows and tight against me, so I spent the night trying to sleep without a pillow and clinging to the edge of the bed.

    Today the weather has cooled, our heat wave seems to have ended and hopefully the storms have all passed over.  I am overdue for a peaceful night of sleep.

You can view my paintings at:


Monday, 1 August 2022

The Dog, The Cat, and a Mosquito

    I had a horrible night last night.  Kona started pawing my bed at 2:30.  I figured that she needed to go outside, so I got up, walked downstairs, put her on a leash, grabbed a flashlight and took her outside.  She didn’t seem that urgent to do anything, but she did do a short pee.  I thought it was a bit strange that she woke me up for that.

    We came back in the house and then she was all nervous and jumped on my bed.  She clung tightly beside me, then it began to thunder outside.  It must have been distant thunder or a sense of thunder, that woke her up in the first place.  Kona is terrified of thunder and trembles in her panic of it.  

    When the thunder intensified, she couldn’t be calmed.  She pawed at my neck, draped herself over my head, nervously twitching and bumping me relentlessly, despite all my efforts to calm her.  I tried to hug her tightly to give her security, but it didn’t ease her at all.  Eventually the thunder ceased and slowly Kona calmed down, but she stayed cuddled up tight against my head.

    Then Lucifer the cat jumped up on the bed and she positioned herself tightly against my right side (Kona was clinging on my left).  I was unable to go back to sleep, afraid to move and cause agitation to the animals.  I lay there motionless, with my eyes closed, trying to sleep, but then the pets were joined by a mosquito that kept trying to get its ounce of blood from me.  Every time I felt like I was getting close to dozing off, the mosquito came buzzing around my head.

    Another wave of thunder came throwing everything back into chaos.  This was then followed by another period of calm with the pets, but the mosquito continued to bother me.  Eventually I did finally fall asleep and managed to get an hour and a half of shuteye, but upon wakening, I sure didn’t feel very rested. 

You can view my paintings at: