Tuesday 28 February 2023

Come On, Hurry Up, Come On...

    Every morning it is the same routine.  Kona impatiently stares us down, wanting to get through her checklist of eating activities:

    Lick out our oatmeal bowls------------Check

    Lick out the leftovers in the cat food bowl--------------√ Check

    Lick off the knife used to fill the bird peanut butter log-------------√ Check

    Walk up to the shop and get a dog biscuit-------------√ Check

    Come on, Come on,   Fill that bone with peanut butter for me to lick out........Come on, Come on,

    FINALLY:  √ Check

See my paintings:  davidmarchant2.ca


Monday 27 February 2023

1977: Landscaping Our New Place

    Last week I blogged about how the inside of the house we bought in 1977 was not exactly to our taste.  We also had trouble accepting how parts of the outside of our property looked, especially the barn yard.  

    The previous owners had had a menagerie of farm animals:  cow, pig, geese, and chickens.  Each of those animals had their own environment.  As a result, the barnyard was a very unsightly and muddy mess, full of small fenced in areas.   The photo above shows a young me trying to drain an area once favored by pigs and geese.  

    Below, my wife is working to collect some of the manure left behind when the previous owner and his farm animals vacated the property.  Like the inside of the house we just bought, the barnyard required a tremendous amount of work to make it the way we wanted it.  Fortunately, we were young and energetic at the time.

View my paintings at:  davidmarchant2.ca

Sunday 26 February 2023

Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

    The days are racing past so quickly that I am losing all sense of time.  We have the library’s Book Club on the forth Thursday of every month.  This month we were to pick out a novel by a “foreign” author.  I downloaded and read Sister of My Heart by Indian author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.  Having read the book I then lost track of what day it was and missed the Book Club, but here is a review of the novel.

This novel which takes place in the present, it is about the intense bond of two girls, born on the same day and raised as cousins in the same Calcutta household by their mothers.  The girls, Sudha and Anji also have another similarity, they were born when their fathers were away on a ruby-finding adventure which led to their disappearance.  The two girls were raised by their mothers, who without their spouses, had to struggle economically to maintain their large old house and their high rank.

Bijoy, Anji’s father came from an upper caste family who owned a bookstore in Calcutta.  Sudha’s father grew up poor in a village, but arrived at Bijoy’s large Calcutta house with his wife, claiming that he was the cousin of family.  They were accepted as such, and allowed to live at Bijoy’s house as part of the family.  The two girls, when they were born, grew up together, in the rather restrictive environment, (because they were female) which was enforced by their two mothers.  They both longed and dreamed for more freedom.

Shortly before graduating from a Catholic High School, Sudha secretly learned, her dead father had been a fraud and was not really a relation to the family where she lived and grew up as a cousin.  This secret and the fact that her father was also responsible for initiating the jungle expedition to find rubies where he and Bijoy died, filled her with guilt.

Anji dreamed of travel and a university education in literature, while Sudha was more interested in being a mother.  Just before graduation, Sudha met a handsome kind boy when the two girls uncharacteristically skipped school and went to the cinema.  Sudha knew he was the one she wanted to marry.  

Unfortunately, the dreams of the two girls changed when, Anji’s mother, who ran the struggling bookstore had a sudden stroke and could no longer work.  She sought to quickly have the two girls married off before she died.  This threw the dreams of the two girls into jeopardy, because the Indian cultural practice of arranged marriage kicked in.  

Fortunately for Anji, she liked the boy she was forced to marry.  He had been working as a computer programmer in America, and Anji, looked forward to living there, once he promised her she could go to university.   Sudha, however was not so lucky.  The boy she loved, was not considered suitable by her mother, and instead she had to marry an unattractive railroad engineer, who had a domineering mother.  

I will leave the story at that point, but will say that Indian culture’s intense desire for a male offspring further complicates the future of these two girls, now separated by the Atlantic Ocean, as they both fight to realize their childhood dreams.

I really enjoyed the book, the struggles of these two cousins, and descriptions of Indian culture.  My one criticism was that as I was nearing the ending, I turned the page, and found it WAS the end.   I was expecting the story to continue a bit further.

View my paintings:  davidmarchant2.ca


Saturday 25 February 2023

Paying For Air And Cotton

    I am always amazed at how much empty space and cotton that you get in a bottle of pills, and how few pills there actually are.  The bottles are usually opaque so that you can not see just how few pills are in the oversized bottles.  Below is a recent example that we purchased.

ou can look at my paintings at:  davidmarchant2.ca

Friday 24 February 2023

A Sad Anniversary

    Just about every Tuesday night at our Jam, we sing Dylan’s “Chimes of Freedom” to reflect on what is being done to Ukraine.  Of course, singing the song does no good, only Putin, who sees himself as an emperor, can stop the carnage he started by invading Ukraine.   It’s little concern to him how many people die, both Ukrainian and Russian, as long as he remains in power, in his palaces.  

    It’s very disheartening to realize that one person can cause so much pain, horror, grief, and destruction.  There are so many parallels to what Putin is doing now and what Hitler did in World War II and anyone that knows history, knows the brutality and the time it took to end that carnage.  It is sad to realize that this has only been year one of something that one man started, and that will continue until Putin is no more.

View my paintings at:  davidmarchant2.ca

Thursday 23 February 2023


    It looks and feels as though we are in the depths of winter, so you can imagine my surprise when I walked into our hardware store and was confronted with this big display of garden seeds.  It just didn’t feel right.  I know that in a month, I will have to plant my tomato and chili pepper seeds in order to get them started so that when things outside do warm up, they will be ready to plant in the greenhouse, but even that doesn’t seem right, because there will still be snow on the ground.

    Even though I might eventually buy some of these seeds now displayed, I can’t make make myself do it now because with all of the snow and cold outside, consciously I spring feels too far away.

    The photo below shows what it looked like outside the hardware store.


Take a look at my paintings:  davidmarchant2.ca

Wednesday 22 February 2023

The Cold is Back

    The cold is back.  This morning the temperature was -28°C, (-18°F).  As a precursor to the cold, we were given 8 inches (20 cm) of new snow.  That snowfall kept me from painting and blogging yesterday, because I had to get the driveway cleared.  

    I went out in the afternoon with a ruler to see how much snow we had on the ground and found out we had 22 inches (56 cm) of the white stuff.  I think that is what we had last year about this time.  


View my paintings:  davidmarchant2.ca

Monday 20 February 2023

Look at That Ugly Wallpaper

    In 1977 we bought a house on 5 acres of land and moved to McBride.  We loved the view of the mountains and the way the house was situated, but the house itself was very plain looking and its inside walls were downright ugly.  I couldn’t stand the garish wallpaper that was featured in the horrible-looking bathroom (photo above).  

    Next to the bathroom there was a tiny room that was almost too small to be used for anything.  It also had horrible wallpaper  (Photo below)   To make that room even more useless, it had a squat round hot water heater in the corner occupying a big part of the room’s limited floorspace.  Can you see the low round hot water heater with its fancy plumbing in the corner of the photo below? 

    When we moved in we just the room to store all of our boxes of stuff there, until we could figure out where to put everything in our tiny house.

    Another thing I hated about the house we had just purchased, were the low seven foot (2.1m.) ceilings in all of the rooms except for the living room.  Almost immediately after moving in, I started tearing out the low ceilings to show the cathedral-like ceilings they covered. 

    We were young and energetic, without much money, but what extra money we had, we used to totally remake the house.

    Looking back at these old photos, I wonder why we bought such an unattractive house, but I love what we have now turned it into with a lot of work.


View my paintings at:  davidmarchant2.ca

Sunday 19 February 2023

Our Driveway: Then and Now

    It’s no surprise that things change in forty-five years, but it is always a surprise to see just how much they change.  The photo above was taken of our driveway shortly after we bought our house in 1977.  Below is the same scene as it looks today.  It is the growth of trees that has made the difference.  The big spruce tree in the middle of the photo above, blew down and crunched the roof of my barn.  I planted a row of trees along the left side of my driveway, and they now obscure my shop.  A lot of trees grew up behind our name sign.  The old photo was taken before we got street addresses.

Take a look at my paintings:  davidmarchant2.ca


Saturday 18 February 2023

The Far West Cedar Mill: Dangerous

    In 1978 when I took a job at the Far West Cedar Mill in McBride, it didn’t take me long to see what a dangerous work place it was.  My job drilling the holes in the cedar fence posts was safe.   I only had to lug the fence posts onto the drilling machine and move a lever to lower the drills, then put the fence post in a bin, but some of the other jobs in the mill were very dangerous, especially the jobs splitting the logs.   (Photos)

    The logs would be man-handled onto the splitting machine, then operator using his hands, would hold the log in place.  He would hit a lever with his hip and that would cause a large metal blade to come sliding down the log spitting it while it was being held.  

    If you look at the photo above, you can see the upright blade nearing his hands.  While I was employed at Far West, many a finger was lost by a splitting machine operator.  I could never understand why BC’s Worker’s Compensation didn’t shut the place down.  One time a worker lost his whole hand.   

   Not only did the splitters have to be extremely careful with where their hands were, but they also had to be quick if the splitter blade hit a hard knot in the wood causing a large piece of cedar to fly up into the air. 

    Splitting was a crazy-dangerous job.  Several times, when splitter operators failed to show up for work, I was asked to do the job.  I always refused.  It was just too dangerous.

    Once a worker who had lost some fingers, after his time off to heal up, returned to the job; something that is hard to believe.

    While I was very careful about keeping myself safe, I did finally have my accident at Far West.  Part of my job was to climb up on a bundle of finished fence posts to bind them together for shipping.  One day we were out of the regular 1 inch wide steel steel strapping that I used to synch up the bundle.  I told the foreman and he then gave me some narrower strapping, telling me it was just as strong as would work.  

    The foreman was wrong. 

    As I stood, bent over on top of a bundle of logs, cranking and pulling hard on the gadget’s lever to tighten the strapping, the narrower strapping suddenly broke, causing me to lose my balance and fall four feet to the cement floor below.  I put out my arm to break my fall and broke my right wrist.  

    Unlike the other Far West worker I mentioned, when I healed up, I didn’t return to work there.  Luckily, I was able to begin working for the Forest Service, a job I held for 25 years, and loved.


See my paintings at:  davidmarchant2.ca


Friday 17 February 2023

Taking a Job at Far West Cedar Mill

With no permanent employment available at the elementary school and the temporary work with the Forest Service over, reality set in and I knew I had better try to find some kind of regular employment.  That day I had an appointment at Village Esso to get my snow tires put on the Scout, and after dropping it off, I drummed up my courage to do some job hunting.  

I walked down to the end of Main Street to the CN (the Canadian National Railroad) Station to check out the chances of working on the railroad, which employed a lot of local residents, but couldn’t find the CN Roadmaster, who did the employing, so that ended up being an unproductive trip.  With that “no go,” under my belt, I decided to try my luck at the Far West Cedar mill, so I strolled to the edge of town, over the railroad tracks, to their large mill yard; piled full of cedar logs at one end and stacks of the decorative split cedar fences that had been produce and bundled, at the other.  

I found the foreman of the outfit in a trailer and made my inquiry.   He was very eager to have me and hired me on the spot, wanting to put me to work immediately.   After I explained I really wasn’t wearing work clothes and that I had left the Scout at the garage, the foreman took me out to his pickup truck and drove me home so I could get into some work clothes.   He then drove me back at the mill, where I was put to work manhandling 6 foot long fence posts, and using a machine to bevel their ends, before stacking them in a bin.

The next day, my first day as a millworker, was also Halloween.  I had to get up at 6:30 so I could be at Far West at 7:00.  The mill building was a vert huge T-shaped metal quonset hut that was pretty much open on all three ends.  There were some large sliding doors on the end where I worked, but they were generally left wide open, so obviously the building wasn’t heated and the workers had to dress accordingly.  I did wonder what it was going to be like during the cold winter.

I was put to work on a machine that drilled five inch elongated holes in the fences posts, which held the split cedar rails.  My task was to grab a split cedar post, lay it on the drill table, then pull a lever that lowered the units of three drills down through the post.  Then I had to lift the post from the drill table, and put it into a large steel cradle that held them until it was stacked full.  Once the bin was full, I had to climb up on top of it and bind the bundle of fence posts with a steel ribbon.

    Lugging the cedar fence posts around was very physical work, especially the 3-hole posts which are 6’6” long.  For my forty hours of work I get a paycheck of $535.  I would sometimes drill 560 posts a day and bundle them into 7 lifts.

    In the photo below , on the left side you can see the ends of the cedar fence posts, stacked in a bine.  It was my job to man-handle and drill holes in them.

    Tomorrow I will blog about the dangerous jobs at Far West.

                                                 View my paintings at davidmarchant2.ca

Thursday 16 February 2023

Our House: Then & Now

    I came across this old photo of our house, how it looked in the winter of 1982, a few years after we purchased it.  It was pretty much just a rectangle with a mud room tacked onto the end.  1982 was our big snow winter, as you can see.  I had shoveled a lot of the snow off of the roof.

    Below is a photo of our house as it looks today.  I built onto it, adding an upstairs, doubling its size.

Take a look at my paintings:  davidmarchant2.ca


Wednesday 15 February 2023

Beaver Mountain

    Yesterday, being Valentine’s Day, we ordered some take-out at our local Chinese restaurant.  As I drove out of the parking area after picking up a #6 and a #11 for our meal, I started down the frontage road to Hwy. 16 and noticed that the sun was highlighting Beaver Mountain, so I stopped and took this photo.  

    Beaver Mountain is one of the most prominent peaks that we can be seen from McBride.  For years, the only reason I could figure out why the mountain was named  “Beaver” was because it was beside what the local’s called the “Beaver River” (officially named Holmes River). 

    Then one day, while driving down Hinkelman Road I caught a glimpse of Beaver Mountain from a different angle, and to my surprise, discovered that on its horizon was a rock formation that looked just like a beaver crouched on the top of the mountain.  That view of the mountain could be seen in 1912 when the railroad came through and created McBride, and I’m pretty sure now that is why the early settlers in the Robson Valley started calling the mountain Beaver Mountain.

View my paintings at:  davidmarchant2.ca

Tuesday 14 February 2023

A Beadoodle

    When we got Kona, the previous owners said she was a Bordoodle (mix of Border Collie and Poodle), but I am now beginning to think that she is really a Beadoodle (mix of Beaver and Poodle), because she loves to eat sticks so much.  She is very possessive about her sticks and loves to proudly carry them around.

    Our long spell of unseasonable mild weather has started to melt the snow that had accumulated on the ground and as the snow melts, branches and sticks are starting to appear along the sides of our path around the pond.  Whenever Kona sees one of these sticks or branches she tugs and chews until it breaks or comes out of the snow, then with pride she carries it back to the house.

    Fortunately, Kona is good about dropping the stick if I tell her to, otherwise I am sure she would bring her treasured sticks into the house.

View my paintings at:  davidmarchant2.ca


Monday 13 February 2023

Driveway of Ice

    Last night we had a heavy rainfall.  That, along with the daytime above freezing temperatures, has turned the compacted snow on our driveway into ice.  Something like this happens every winter and so during the summer, I always collect two 5-gallon buckets of sand to spread on the driveway when this happens.     Last night we had a heavy rainfall.  That, along with the daytime above freezing temperatures, has turned the compacted snow on our driveway into ice.  Something like this happens every winter and so during the summer, I always collect two 5-gallon buckets of sand to spread on the driveway when this happens. 

    Now I am down to my last bucket of sand and I am not sure if I should spread it now or wait, in case the driveway gets worse.  So far there is just enough irregularities on the ice’s surface for us to be able to drive out, so I will probably hold off on spreading the sand.

    Below is one of my cartoons inspired by my icy driveway.

View my paintings at davidmarchant2.ca


Sunday 12 February 2023

Clean For A Day

    Usually when I think of winter, I visualize our world covered with a blanket of pristine white snow.  Of course the reality is much different, especially when it comes to our car.  To our car, winter is the dirty season, a time when the car is coated with road salt and debris from all of the road “sanding”.   The dirty layer that it must carry around usually lasts for months, since there are no car washes in McBride and the temperatures are normally below freezing, which prevents me from giving the car a wash.

    With our recent weeks of temperatures that are above freezing during the day, I wondered (and hoped) that the hydrant in the barnyard had thawed out and yesterday, I tried it and was happy to discover that it had.  

    “Great,” I thought, “I can wash the car.”  

    I dragged the cold stiff hose out of the barn, hooked it to the hydrant, and I was in business.  I washed the car.  It was nice to see its rich blue color again.

    Of course this cleaning is only temporary and will be short-lived.  The next time we drive into McBride the speckles of dirt will reappear.

    Every time we drive up to Prince George we are tempted to go to a car wash, but then we quickly realize that on our drive back to McBride, the car will get as dirty as it was before, so we just let it be.

    It is nice to have a clean car and not to get dirt on our clothes every time we brush against it, but we realize a clean car is a fleeting pleasure.

View my paintings at:  davidmarchant2.ca


Saturday 11 February 2023

Winter Moss

    While a blanket of snow still covers the land, this rotten remnant of a birch was sticking out, showing off the brilliant green mosses that it is growing on it.  Mosses tend to like cool, moist weather and since our daytime temperatures have been above freezing for a few weeks, I suspect these clumps are actually photosynthesizing food for themselves.  

You can see my paintings at:  davidmarchant2.ca


Friday 10 February 2023

A Beautiful Homecoming

    I spent the day white-knuckling up and back from Prince George yesterday on an icy highway.  Not only was I rewarded by safely returning home, but also by a beautiful colorful sky when we arrived.  The orangish-pink rays streaked through the clouds after the sun had set behind the Cariboo Mountains.  I was happy that I had my camera along so I could share it.

See my paintings at:  davidmarchant2.ca


Wednesday 8 February 2023

Pets Are Not The Only "Watchers"


    About a week ago I blogged about how Kona and Lucifer, our pets are always watching us.  Tuesday night I was reminded that they were not the only watchers.  Every Tuesday night I go to our music jam.  Last Tuesday I happened to look at the map on my iPhone and guess what, when I got to the map, it was already showing the route I should take to the jam.  My phone must have “watching” me over the months and knew where I would be headed on Tuesday night, so it was showing me how to get there.

    Of course, if it knew where I was going, it should have figured out that I already knew the route.  McBride its not that big a place and the route is not very complicated.  The map told me it would only take me 9 minutes to get to the Canadian Legion Hall where we have our jam.

    This is not the only case of my phone anticipating my travels, months ago on Saturdays, I  realized that the map always showed me the route to our friend’s house, where we visit every Saturday evening.  I already knew how to get to their house also.

Take a look at my paintings:  davidmarchant2.ca


Tuesday 7 February 2023

Shooting Trees

    Going through my 1982 diary, I was reminded of one of the more unusual jobs I got while working for the BC Forest Service:

One of the things I always enjoyed about working for the Forest Service was that there were always days when I would be asked to join other co-workers to help them with their jobs.  In the middle of February, the weather was rather mild and I was diverted from my timber cruising  and the typing out of History Records (of cutblocks) jobs and was asked to help the Silviculture Section collect fir and spruce cones that were then send to the Research Branch in Victoria.

This assignment was certainly unexpected surprise because it involved the shooting off of branches laden with cones from high in the tree with a 22 rifle.  I had seen the rifles before in the Forestry warehouse and always wondered why they were there.   I had always hated and avoided guns, and had no experience with firearms.  Luckily, my friend John Bird was my co-worker in the job and he had firearm experience and did most of the shooting.  

It didn’t seem like a very efficient way to get cones, because a lot of shots had to be fired before a branch came down.  I guessed shooting a gun at branches was better than cutting the whole tree down just to collect a small bagful of cones.  

Once the shot-off branch had fallen to the ground, we collected them and stuffed them into bags and filled out tags that told where they were collected.  Beside shooting off branches, we also collected cones from branches left on the ground from areas that had been recently logged.

When we arrived at one cutblock in our Forestry truck, we came across a Mennonite boy collecting firewood and throwing the pieces into the back of a pickup.  Officially, that was illegal, but I always thought it was better to use the abandoned wood rather than just let it rot.  

We stopped to talk to him and to break the ice and to show him we didn’t mind him taking firewood, I joked to him that if his load got too heavy, he could drop some of the firewood off at my house.  I smiled at my cleverness and thought no more about it, but when I got home from work, there were some pieces of firewood beside my driveway.  I then felt bad, thinking that maybe the boy thought I was pressuring him. 

View my paintings at:  davidmarchant2.ca


Sunday 5 February 2023

Not Very Well Camouflaged

     I saw this Ruffed Grouse slowly walking across our driveway yesterday.  It looked so vulnerable out there in the open.  During the summer if you are out in the bush, grouse are really difficult to see because they blend in so well with their surroundings and stand very still, but it is sure a different story in the winter if they are out in the open.  

    Winter or summer, if grouse are on the road, they also stand really still, thinking they can’t be seen, but that strategy sure doesn’t work well on a roadway.  

    I hope this grouse survives the winter, because it looks so vulnerable out there in the snow.

See my paintings at:  davidmarchant2.ca

Saturday 4 February 2023

Side Effects

    Generally I think I am fairly healthy (and as the doctors always add:  “For your age.”   That being said,  my blood pressure is somewhat elevated.  For the high blood pressure I have for years been taking medicine; Chlorthalidone and Ramipril to lower my blood pressure.  They seemed to work well.

    Years ago I got gout and painfully limped around for a couple of weeks because of my throbbing big toe.  I was very confused as to why I suddenly got gout.  I always thought of gout as being caused by a diet of red meat and alcohol, neither of which I consume.  The gout eventually went away, but reoccured a couple of years later.

    As readers of this blog might remember, I recently found myself in the hospital with a case of Pancreatitis.  Again I was mystified as to what caused it.  The doctors really couldn’t give me a reason.  It seemed like alcohol is one of Pancreatitis’s main causes, which I don’t use.  

    The other day I was doing a bit of research on those two drugs I took for my blood pressure and came across some probable reasons for my episodes of gout and pancreatitis.  It seems that Chlorthalidone can cause gout, and Ramipril, in some cases can cause pancreatitis.

    I was happy to finally find some reason for those ailments happening.  I have yet to ask my doctor about these findings, and see if there are some other medicines that will serve me better.

View my paintings at:  davidmarchant2.ca

Friday 3 February 2023

There's a Valley, with a Village...


    The McBride Museum is currently having a show about local music.  The museum has a lot of old musical instruments and its walls are full of old photos showing people from the past playing music.  When I first heard about the show, I wondered if there was anything I could contribute, and I remembered an old 45 RPM record I had bought in the 1980’s that featured a song called “McBride”.  The old record had been in the attic of my shop for decades and amazingly, I found it and took it to the museum.

    The song “McBride” celebrated the 50th Anniversary of McBride being officially recognized at a Village.  It was written by a woman whose last name was Kavari, who was a neighbor.  She asked me if she could use a picture I had drawn of McBride’s train station, for the back of the record envelope.  I don’t know the singer, but his name was Lawrence Joseph.  

    The record was in excellent shape (I guess I never played it very much) and I was able to convert the song to a .mp3 file and with the help of some of our jam members, we were able to figure out the lyrics and now can play the song at our jam.

View my paintings at:  davidmarchant2.ca