Thursday 29 February 2024

Overnight Snow

    We got about 5 inches (13 cm) of new snow overnight, and that added to the 5 or so inches already on the ground is starting to make things look like one of our normal winters, although the snow on the ground is still far below where it should be.  I had to get the snowblower out yesterday to clear the driveway, and as soon as I have this blog posted, I will go back out, crank up the snowblower, and clear the driveway again.  

    The snow that fell overnight was light and fluffy, a texture sort of like goose down, not like the heavy wet snow that falls when the temperature is just a bit above freezing.   When it is fluffy like this, it doesn’t take me much more than an hour to do the snow blowing.

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Wednesday 28 February 2024

Isn't It Nice To Be Home Again

    Happily, my ordeal in Prince George is over.  It wasn’t a very enjoyable trip.  It included a drive through a snowstorm, an extraction of a molar, temperatures with wind of -25°C (-13°F), and thirty hours without food (but gallons of water) in preparation for the colonoscopy.  Fortunately both the tooth pulling and the colonoscopy were not nearly as bad as I had imagined, but being hold up in a hotel room (close to a toilet) was certainly not very pleasant.  

    Anyway, we are back home again and last night at bedtime,  Kona and Lucifer were happy to take up their usual positions again, sandwiching me in bed.  Once everyone was snuggled into place, we all slept very well, happy to have things back to normal.

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Sunday 25 February 2024

Of Course, Now We Get Snow

    All winter long I have been hoping and pleading for snow to lessen the drought we are experiencing in the Robson Valley.  My pleads had gone unanswered, except for a few teasing flurries that didn’t amount to much.  Overnight we did get snow, about 6 inches (15 cm) of it, and more is forecast for later today.

    I said, “of course,” because over the next three days, I had been hoping that we wouldn’t get any snow.  The reason for that change is that we have a dental and medical appointment, up in Prince George on Monday and Tuesday, which means we will have to drive up there on Highway 16.  For a good part of our snowless winter its pavement has been clear of snow, and normal driving. 

    Two-lane Highway 16 is always a dangerous drive with its twists and turns through the mountains, big trucks sitting on your tail, and always the chance of wildlife darting out onto the road.  That is in the summertime, in winter, you still get all that stuff, plus:  Whiteouts of snow whenever anything goes past you, snow and ice on the surface, lessening traction and obscuring the centerline and edge markings, snow plows blowing snow, plus other dangerous conditions.  

    It looks like we will have to face all of those things now, as we make out way up to PG, and once we get up there, what rewards will we see after those hours of white knuckle driving:   A dental and doctor appointment, not my idea of a good time.  After that, we will have to drive back through all those bad conditions, maybe in the dark, to get back home.  Wish us luck.

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Saturday 24 February 2024

Kjell Needed a Sauna


    The photo above shows Kjell’s sauna.  Imagine how it might look in February, when everything is covered with snow.

Kjell, a Norwegian by birth, was always a big fan of saunas.  Years ago he built himself one beside Beardsley Brook, the creek that ran through the edge of his yard.  He made a dam on the brook which created a nice pool of clear cold water, right in front of his sauna.  After getting all hot and sweaty in the sauna, Kjell and his guests, would walk out on the little porch of the sauna, and plunge into the cold water of the pool he had made.

One day in February, arriving home after a tiring day of teaching, Kjell decided that a sauna would be just the thing to refresh his spirit.  Keeping his school clothes on, but he removed his shoes and slipped on his winter boots so he could walk through the snow.  He slowly trudged his way down the hill to the sauna to start a fire that would heat the sauna up, so he could use it later.

As he walked across the old 2 X 10 planks that went across the creek leading to the sauna, one of the rotten boards broke.  Kjell, still in his school clothes, went flailing head first into the very cold water of his sauna pool.  If he had been tired after his day at school, he soon found himself wide awake and very energized.

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Friday 23 February 2024

    Unlike most book clubs, at the McBride & District Public Library, instead of everyone reading the same book, we are given a theme, and members can choose whatever book they want that relates to that theme.  February’s theme was “Banned Books” and I chose the novel “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie, which often shows up on lists of banned books.  Here is my review of the book:

This National Book Award winning novel, is written in the first person through the eyes of a fourteen year old Native American boy, who lives on a reservation in Washington State.  Because it is written as the uncensored words and thoughts of an adolescent male, it may come off as being crude and sometimes vulgar to people who see themselves as “proper” and above the riff-raff of society.  I found the style of writing reminiscent to that of Demon Copperhead, which was also written as a first person narrative from the viewpoint of a teenager, who also grew up in poverty.

Arnold, the protagonist, was born with hydrocephalus, so he is small for his age, and suffered from seizures, poor eyesight, and stuttering, which make him the target of a lot of bullying on the “Rez”.  He had one friend and playmate; Rowdy, who protected him from bullying.  His parents, have problems with alcohol, so Arnold’s future doesn’t seem all that bright.  

        He is a smart kid, but in frustration at the ancient text book he is given in school, he throws the book, accidentally hitting his teacher in the head.  That night the teacher, who holds no malice and recognizes Arnold’s intellect, visits Arnold at home and urges him to get away from the Rez and transfer out of the reservation school, so he can get a good education and not be dragged down by the reservation culture of dead ends.

Surprisingly, Arnold takes the advice to heart, and decides to transfer to Reardan, a white high school 20 miles away, located just outside the reservation.  When they could, his parents drive him, at other times, Arnold has to hitch a ride to the school, but he is determined attend, and he begins his rather lonely schooling in the richer and whiter school.  At first, he is basically ignored by all of his class mates, but as the year progresses, he begins to have a few friends, which include a tough football player, an attractive girl, and the outcast intelligent classmate. 

Through sheer toughness and determination, Arnold, despite his small stature and a freshman, makes the high school varsity basketball team and starts to become popular with his classmates.   While his transfer to the white school gradually becomes very beneficial to Arnold, his transfer creates problems for him back at the reservation, where everyone, even Rowdy, his former best friend, see him as a turncoat to the tribe and refuse to have anything to do with him.

One thing I really liked about the novel was Arnold’s recognition that alcohol was the cause of most of the problems on the Reserve.  He says something like, “at his age of 14, most white kids have had to go to maybe, one or two funerals, probably for a grandparent, but at that age, Arnold had already gone to 42 funerals on the Reservation, and most of those deaths were caused by alcohol.

Because Arnold is a teen and faces teenage problems, this novel is often used in high school classes.  The novel has sometimes been banned due to content and language, (I found two references to masturbation, and one reference to the slur “Nigger” which was used in a racial joke aimed at Arnold on his first day in the white school).

The other reason some pious person wanted it banned was because after the multitude of unnecessary deaths Arnold witnesses on the Rez, in his frustration, Arnold furiously takes aim at “God”. 

With all of the things now available and accessible to teens on the Internet and in teen culture, trying to to ban this uplifting and enlightened novel is laughable, and seems beyond ridiculous to me.  I am sure most of those who want to ban it have never read it. 

I originally thought that there may be some kickback because the “White” education and mixing with White society, really improved the projection of Arnold’s life, but I didn’t read of any comments about that.

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Thursday 22 February 2024

A Little Green

    This time of year I often find myself starved of color.  Usually in February, everything is covered with snow, providing only whites, shades of gray, and the very subdued charcoal-hued greens of the conifer trees to view.  This year, what little snow we had gotten on the Valley bottom has disappeared, leaving tan grasses, that are not very spirit-lifting.  

    Yesterday on my walk around the pond, I noticed this small stump sticking out of the ice.  It was  covered with vibrant green moss.  The Sun which is getting more powerful as Spring approaches, was blasting down, highlighting one side of the moss, making it a photo-worthy image. 

You can see my paintings at:


Wednesday 21 February 2024

A Big Red "F": A Bad Start To High School

    After my mother’s death, my sisters and brothers cleaned out the house where she had lived and sent me some of the things that related to me.  Among those things were some of my old report cards from both elementary and high school that my mother had saved.  While looking through them this morning, I came across the one above from my first year of high school.  It was a reminder of the the difficult time I had in my Freshman year.

    In elementary school, my grades had always been okay, average or above.  I was not a “straight A” student, but I did okay.  When I was about to enter high school, I was put in the “university lane” which determined which classes I should take.  Among those classes was Latin.  I had never taken any language classes before, and I was interested in Roman history, and knew that a lot of English words were based on Latin words, so I was somewhat eager to learn Latin.

    That eagerness didn’t last very long, once I had gotten into class.  I was almost immediately over my head.  The problem was the grammar.  I must not have gotten much specific grammar in my elementary classes, because suddenly Mr. Blandford, the Latin teacher, was talking about predicate nominatives and how to deal with them in Latin, and I had never even ever heard of a predicate nominative before.  

    I was further hampered in Latin class because I was always so tired.  The year I entered high school, the school suffered from a huge student population, and to deal with it, they began starting having some classes start at 7:00.  Unfortunately for me, that was when my Latin class was.  I was just not very wide awake and ready for scholarly pursuits at that time of day.  Studies have shown that growing teens just don’t function well early in the morning.

    So, I flunked Latin, receiving a big red “F”.  It was humiliating to me to be a failure, but fortunately, Latin was the only class I took in high school that gave me such problems.

    Flunking Latin was such a huge deal when it happened, and seemed at the time, that my whole life would be ruined by it, but looking back, I see it was just a insignificant bump on the road, and it really mean’t nothing to my life.

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Tuesday 20 February 2024

The Upper Fraser River

    The Fraser is BC’s most prominent river.  McBride is located in its upper reaches and Vancouver, 800 or so miles down stream is where it empties into the Pacific Ocean.  Up here where we live it is usually iced over throughout the winter, but this year, due to our very mild temperatures, the Fraser couldn’t really make up its mind whether to stay frozen, or thaw.

    I took these photos of the Fraser the other day, showing its in between state between frozen and open.  

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Monday 19 February 2024

January 30, 1989, The Wildest Weather I Had Ever Experienced

    According to my diary, January 30th was “one of the wildest days I have ever experienced.”  When I woke up in the morning, the temperature was just at freezing, 0°C.  Our driveway was covered with 8 inches of new snow which sat on 3 inches of slush. I had to take several runs with our All Wheel Drive Subaru, trying to weave up our driveway, so I could go to work.  Eventually the car did make it up the drive onto the road.  

    During the morning the wind direction changed and began to strongly blow in from the north.  The temperature started dropping, and a fierce blizzard of horizontal snow began.   It didn’t take long for a power outage to darken the whole McBride area.  The buses were summoned to the local schools which closed early because of the the power outage and quickly deteriorating weather.

    Not much work could be done in our dark Forestry Office either, so we also were allowed to leave early.  After I had slowly and carefully white-knuckled my way down the highway and up our road through the whiteout, I didn’t even attempt to drive down our deeply, snow-drifted driveway, choosing instead to just park the car up along the road, and slog my way through the snow, down to the house.

    With the power off at our house, we reverted into a pioneer mode.  We still had water, thanks to our gravity feed waterline and heat, thanks to our wood stove.  Our electric stove of course was rendered useless, but we were able to some cook soup on top of our wood stove.  We then spent the long evening hours, without any radio or television, trying to read our books by dim candlelight.  

    The power suddenly came back on at 9:00, but the storm wasn’t done with us.  By bedtime the outside temperature had dropped to -20°C (-4°F).   I began becoming concerned that the deep ruts I had made that morning trying to get up the driveway, would freeze in place and cause us difficulties until Spring.  One of my co-workers at Forestry, had her car frozen to the pavement, when the slush around her tires froze.

    When we woke up the next morning the skies were clear and the temperature had dropped further to a very frigid -28°C (-18°F).  It was beautiful though.  It seemed like a white marshmallowy world outside.  The trees had never been so overloaded with ice and snow, and were all bent over with the weight.

    I hitched a ride to work with a co-worker who lived further up the road.  At noon, I borrowed a Forestry truck, bought a 100 foot extension cord at the hardware store and drove home to plug in the block heater of our car to warm its engine, so I could start it (the Subaru was still, sitting up on the road).  I strung the long extension cord from the car down the driveway to the garage, I was then able to connect the block heater into the power in our garage.  I couldn’t jump start the car using the Forestry truck, because the hood release on the Subaru was frozen shut.  I then returned to work.

    After work, I hitched a ride home and when I arrived, I was happily surprised to find that in my absence, our driveway had been plowed by one of the Mennonite farmers who lived up the road.  The block heater had done its job and the Subaru started right up, so with a clean driveway and a warm engine, I was able to drive down our driveway and park the car by the house.

    The cold snap that had blown in by the winter storm, was just beginning.  The next morning it was -38°C (-36°F), followed by a -35°C (-31°F) day, which was followed by four consecutive days of -30°C (-22°F) temperatures, before finally warming to a balmy -28°C (-18°F) day.  While our gravity feed waterline continued to work, the plumbing underneath the house in our crawl space, froze, so I had spend hours under the house thawing out our pipes.

    When we got a morning of -25°C, I was very relieved with the direction the temperatures were taking, but unfortunately that was followed with days of morning temperatures around -30°C  to -25°C (-22°F to -13°F) which lasted for a week.

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Sunday 18 February 2024

Beautiful Water

    I am pretty sure that one of the reasons our waterline froze weeks ago, was because we just didn’t have a strong enough flow going through it.  Now that we have the water flowing through it again, I have made sure that the flow is strong.  Some of that flow drains into my pond, and it was good to see that water is again flowing out of the far side of the pond, reassuring me that the waterline flow is working.

    Open water can be quite beautiful, and the other day as Kona and I walked around the pond, there at the outflow, the water was reflecting the sky and clouds like a mirror.  I was struck by its crisp beauty.  Here are two photos that I took of the outflow. 

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Saturday 17 February 2024

Dream House

    This blog is not about “the house of my dreams”, but rather, the house that often pops up, and reoccurs in the dreams I have.  That house appeared in a dream I had last night, and don’t really know why.  Here is how the dreams often go:

    While in my present house, I remember that there is a house not far away in our neighborhood, that I had started to build, but then for some reason stopped, leaving it to just sit there, unfinished.  I walk behind several neighbor’s houses, to get to that house.  The rooms inside are massive, framed up, but for some reason I had just abandoned it, mid-construction, and there it sits, empty and almost forgotten.  I am always surprised when, in my dreams, I go to it, and see just how far along I had been when I was building it.  

    Last night’s dream did have a new twist.  In it, I began to wonder what its ownership status was.  Did I still own it?  I wondered because in my dream, I realized that I had never paid any property tax on the place, even though I had begun building it many years ago.

    Dreams are so strange.  Sometimes they kind of relate to reality, but only in a fleeting way, as they go zooming off on their unexpected tangents.  Scientists say that dreams are the way that brain cells unload all of thier built up wastes that they have accumulated during the day.  

    I have never believed that dreams mean anything or predict anything, but nevertheless, the human mind does seek out meaning in everything, even confusing dreams. 

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Friday 16 February 2024

Lucifer; Catching Heat From Both Sides

    Because of our unusually mild winter, we haven’t really used our wood stove very often, depending instead on our electric baseboard heaters to keep the house warm.  However, yesterday because we were in a bit of a cold spell (-12°C, 10°F), I did build a fire in the wood stove.

     Lucifer, our heat-loving cat took advantage of the heated wood stove, as well as our upright space heater, by positioning herself between the two; catching the radiating heat from both sources.

Take a look at my paintings:


Thursday 15 February 2024

A Freaking Out Grocery Cashier

     I had an early morning drive up go PG (Prince George) yesterday for periodontist appointment.  I was tempted many times to stop along the way to take photos of the frosted trees in the fog, but it is a dangerous thing to do along the twisty, snow-edged, mountain highway, so I only stopped once to take the photo you see above.

    The most unusual thing that happened during my day in the big city, happened when I was in a grocery store, where I had stopped to pick up some things that we can’t get in McBride.

    I was standing in the checkout line, waiting for the shopper in front of me to get done.  The cashier was an animated, young, East-Asian girl.  I wasn’t paying a lot of attention as she was scanning the customers groceries, but suddenly she let out a shriek, and jumped back from the counter, all panicked and upset.

    I guess what happened was as she was scanning the customer’s groceries, she reached down to grab a box that contained a frozen lobster, and that is what caused her reaction.  She was in such a state that she refused to scan the box, and called over the neighboring cashier to scan the lobster box.  As the neighboring cashier came over to do that, the young cashier explained her action.

    It seems that once before, she reached over to grab a box containing a frozen lobster, and as she picked the box up, one of its big claws slowly emerged out of the end of the box; scaring the poor girl to death.  She said that since then, she has even had nightmares about the emerging lobster and its claws.   

    Fortunately, none of my groceries prompted the same reaction in the girl, and she slowly calmed, getting back to normal, as she scanned my ordinary foodstuffs. 

My current painting also features frosted trees and fog:


Tuesday 13 February 2024

"Oh Yeah, Our Food"

    Yesterday we decided to order some Chinese take-out for supper.  I called Ray at his restaurant with our order then waited for the twenty minute cook time before showing up to pick up the order.  When I walked in, I saw Ray come out from the back with a guitar.

    A couple of months ago, while waiting for an order, Ray mentioned something about a guitar, and I hadn’t been aware that he played.  Guitars have always helped me get through those low times growing up, and given me some of the most fun experiences in my life, so I am always happy to talk about guitars and help people who might need help with playing one.  

    Ray seemed like a beginner, so next time we ordered Chinese, I gave him a book of guitar chords that I no longer used.  He was very grateful, but a bit overwhelmed since the chord book showed 4,004 different guitar chords, about 3,980 more than anybody needed.

    Yesterday, when I walked in, Ray told me his classical-type guitar with nylon strings was out of tune and he asked me if I could tune it for him.  I was happy to oblige.  

    Ray’s guitar was way out of tune, and since I had my iPhone with me, I whipped it out and opened up the app that I use for tuning my guitar.  Ray who didn’t know such an app existed, and was fascinated when I showed him how you just plucked a string and a pointer would move toward a green line, as you turned the guitars tuning pegs up or down, until you arrived at the right pitch and the app would “Ding”

    He asked me if he could get such an app on his phone, and I saw that he also had an iPhone so he could.  Ray wasn’t familiar with the App Store, so I showed him the icon, opened it, and then “clicked” on the looking glass icon to find the guitar tuning app.  When the space came up to type in the name of the app, I was surprised to see that there was no keyboard that came up on the screen, just some Chinese characters on the bottom, which left me confused.  Ray saw my confusion and did something to bring the English keyboard onto the screen.

    I then typed in the name of the app, and when it came up, and we downloaded it.  When it was open, Ray used it to re-check the tuning on his guitar.

    I was enjoying helping Ray with his guitar, forgetting all about the time, and then realized why I was in the restaurant:   I was there to pick up our supper.  “Oh yeah, the takeout.” 

    I was sure, my wife was home wondering what happened to me and our food, so Ray went back into the kitchen and brought out our order, and after paying, I hurried home to my hungry wife.

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Sunday 11 February 2024

My DNA Lacks the Sports Gene

    Today is the Super Bowl.  I could care less, but it is hard not to be aware of it because it is so hyped-up and is saturating all of the media.  Over my lifetime, I have become aware that in their DNA, most males possess the sports gene.  They love sports, talk about sports, follow sports, they are glued to the television set when big sport events are on.  I recognized long ago, that I am missing that sports gene.  

    As a child, my family would gather around the television to watch the “Big Game” and I was there in front of the TV with them.  When I was in high school, I did enjoy the excitement of our basketball and football games, plus going to those events was a wonderful excuse to be away from home and meet up with girls after the game.

    As a child, playing sports in the neighborhood was my primary activity.  I played softball, basketball, and football with my neighborhood friends, and loved it.  I think one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much was that I was blessed with a really athletic body.  I was fast, and could jump really high.  When I was in the 6th grade, I won the 100 yard dash for my age in the City Track Meet.

    In high school, I was on the track team and made it to the Indiana Regional Track Meet as a high hurdler.   I was the school’s Decathlon Champion in 1964, after competing in all of the track events except pole vaulting.  I was very good at sports, but my tastes were slowly changing.

     I started to realize that I didn’t really care that much about sports, and by the time I started university, I was brave enough to tell my father that I wasn’t going to go out for any more sports.  I knew that would make him unhappy, and throughout my life I have always felt like because of that decision, I had become a disappointment to him,  but by that age, I knew what I really loved:   The Arts.   The visual arts and especially music, which was exploding into new directions among my generation of “Baby Boomers”.  

    In university, I participated drama, I came to love literature, took a few art classes, discovered photography and film, and played rhythm guitar and sang in a rock and roll band.  I left sports totally behind.   Since university, I followed the arts, the same way sports fans follow sports teams.

    I am sure many of my male friends can’t understand my enthusiasm for the arts, just as I can’t understand their excitement for corporate sports. 

You can view my paintings at:


Saturday 10 February 2024

February, Now and Then

    These two photos show approximately the same place on the dam of my pond in February.  While different cameras were used and I was not exactly aiming them in the same direction, I think you can see the how this February (on the left) differs from the more normal February of 2016 (on the right).  Of course, every year’s weather is different, but certainly what we are getting this year is pretty extreme compared to what our February should look like.

    While a mild winter is a lot easier for us to take, the lack of snow is very troubling, considering we are already suffering under an extreme drought since last summer.  We, and all of the plants and animals that live in the Robson Valley, need snow on our mountains, in order to prevent an even more dire situation this summer.

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Friday 9 February 2024

My Fifteen Minutes of Fame: Blown

    After a year of teaching in the two-room school in Avola, BC, a job and place I hated, I resigned, without a job or a place to live, to go to.  When the school year ended in Avola, and we had to move out of the teacherage, fortunately, the McRae’s, a retired couple, and our only close friends in Avola, invited us to live with them while we figured our future out.

        We had a lot of money saved from four years of teaching, so while we stayed with the McRaes, we started looking around for a place to buy in the still rather pristine and spectacular mountainous Robson Valley.  We needed to put down some roots.  

        While at McRaes, we were shown a copy of Harrowsmith magazine.  It was a newly minted Canadian publication featuring articles and ads for people living rural lifestyles.  It was exactly the kind of information I was interested in.  While browsing through it, I noted that they were promoting their first photo contest with the top prize being a 35mm Nikon camera.

        That peaked my attention, since I had always been an avid photographer.  As I scanned through the list of categories of the photo contest, I thought about some of my photos that might fit.  One of the categories was “Friends and Foes of the Garden”.  I had a really crisp closeup of a toad that I photographed on a beach on Vancouver Island (but figured Harrowsmith wouldn’t know it wasn’t taken in a garden).   I wrapped the slide up for protection, mailed it off as an entry in the contest, and pretty much forgot all about it, as we busily searched for a property in McBride

        Eventually we found a place we wanted just outside of McBride, and bought the five acre “Hobby Farm” and moved in.  We were kept busy making the place our own, meeting people in the community, and exploring the area.  When Christmas arrived, we decided to drive down to Indiana to see our families.

         We were of course somewhat worried about leaving our mainly wood stove-heated house in the dead of winter, depending only on a few electric space heaters to keep it warm, during our absence, but I hoped for the best.

After our Christmas trip, we returned to our house and discovered that “hoping for the best” didn't really work very well—our house had frozen-up during our absence.  I had left a trickle of water running in the bathtub, thinking that the flow would keep our water from freezing, but the drain under the house must have frozen, because the bathtub was filled to the very top with a solid block of ice.  The toilet tank had also frozen cracking its ceramic tank.  We had no water.

Depressed, we trudged through the snow over to our neighbor place.  We discovered that Kjell too had frozen up and had no water.  While we had been away, Kjell had been collecting our mail, so while everyone was commiserating about frozen water, I sorted through our mail and amongst our letters, was one from Harrowsmith Magazine. 

        It contained some much needed good news—it congratulated me for being chosen the Grand Prize winner in their first photo contest with my close-up photo of a toad.  I had won myself the Nikon camera!

I was, of course, very excited about winning the Nikon Camera in the Harrowsmith Photo Contest, and amongst my other mail was a postcard from Canada Post, telling me that a package was being held for me at the McBride Post Office.  Because New Year's Day had fallen during the weekend, Monday was the Federal holiday, and so it wasn't until Tuesday, Jan. 3rd, that we could to go to the post office to pick up the package. 

The package not only included my new camera, but also contained three copies of the glossy Harrowsmith Magazine, in which my award winning photo was published.  I was anxious to leaf through the magazine to search for my photo.

Once back into the car after leaving the post office, I quickly scanned through the magazine, suddenly there it was—a centerfold of my toad close-up.  Filled with pride, my eyes scanned down to the caption below the photo, “Grand Prize winning photo by Bob Marchant.”  

“What???  Bob???”  My name is David.

I was immediately deflated.  Here was my only chance at national fame, and the magazine had gotten my name wrong—isn't that always the way things go, my “fifteen minutes of fame” spoiled.

“Oh well,” I rationalized, “I did at least got a brand new Nikon camera out of the deal.”

You can see my paintings at:


Thursday 8 February 2024

A Beautiful Sight

    About an hour ago I got a call from Nick, our neighbor.  Nick, whose house  told me a wonderful thing:  Water was coming down our waterline.  What a glorious thing to hear after three and a half week of no water from our frozen waterline. 

    So far it has only been a small dribble coming out of our taps in the house, but hopefully the pressure will build over the day and get back to normal.  I went out and opened up this hydrant in our barnyard to clear out any air-locks in our water line.  

    Anyway, seeing some water come down our line is the first positive news we’ve had in a while, and although it isn’t totally back to normal, it has lifted our floundering spirits.

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Wednesday 7 February 2024

Knock Yourself Out

        In about 1975, my third year of teaching in a one-room school in an isolated lumber mill camp in the middle of British Columbia, the mill owner decided to do something to provide a bit of outdoor recreation for the kids and workers who lived in the camp.  They built an ice skating rink.    Building a rink was an appreciated gesture, since there was no TV or radio reception in the camp, and about all we could do for outdoor recreation was to bushwhack snowshoeing and cross-country skiing without any trails.

    One night my wife and I decided to walk over to the skating rink to get some exercise.  It was a very windy night and after a half an hour of normal skating I decided to get creative.  One of the popular winter toys for my students, at the time, was a “Crazy Carpet.” sled, which consisted of a heavy plastic sheet with hand grips on the front.   Like the name suggests, the kids would sit on top of it and pull up the grips so the Crazy Carpet curved up in front of their legs like a toboggan.  

        I noticed that there was a Crazy Carpet laying on the side of the rink so I grabbed it and tried to use it like a sail, letting the wind propel me across the ice.  At some point in my ice-sailing, I slipped and fell slamming my cheek against the ice.   I don’t know what happened next.

        I assume my wife took me home to the teacherage, because I have no memory of the event, but I woke up on our couch, and and kept asking what had happened, and my wife would repeatedly tell me, that I fell on the ice and hit my head.  I then would doze off, wake up again, and ask her the same question.  I kept doing this over and over.

    Needless to say, she was getting pretty concerned.  There were no doctors in the camp, or within 120 miles of the camp, and no roads out to drive to a doctor.   The only way out of camp would was to fly.   

         The next morning I taught school for a half a day, and then was able to get a seat and fly out on the company’s DC-3 which traveled the 370 miles back and forth to Williams Lake, twice a week.  Once in Williams Lake, I went to the hospital and got an X-ray.  The doctor told me just to take it easy for a few days.  We spent the weekend in Williams Lake then flew back to camp in -30°F temperatures on Monday morning.

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