Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

I would like to wish all my dear blogger friends the very best for the coming new year.
We will be spending this evening quietly by the hearth with family, as we celebrate the past and look forward to the future.
No pomp, no parade.
We will greet 2010 with gentleness, care and due respect for what Time has to offer.
May this year bring everyone the profound Joy that is gained through the calmness of Wisdom.

xx

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I Wish all my Dear Friends a very Merry Christmas and a Wonderful Holiday Season!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

High School Concert 2009

Bobby - ready for his first concert performance.


Bob plays the clarinet and has his sights set on advancing to play the saxophone.

video

... you get the general idea!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Pieces From The Peaks

A lone kayaker, slicing the calm between frost-laden shores.

Haunting calls from a single black V, as it wings its way through the sapphire cold sky.

Groans, whale songs, rumbles and gunshots echo down the valley as the lake ice settles into slumber.

The sun shows itself - the snow sparkles back.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sunday

Looking up toward Showoff from the base of the mountain.


Some pre-season snowboarders bootpacking up the slope to poach some air!


Oh oh... someone not quite used to winter driving?


Apparently so...


Fortunately the trees caught the vehicle before it ended up in here.
No injuries.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Contrasts

Lime plant at Exshaw, Alberta

Coal mine at Sparwood, British Columbia

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Autumn in the Peaks

Through the looking glass...

Beau and the pumpin patch.

Jenny and friends...

Just past full...

Alone on the lake.


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hype or Health?

I am in a bit of a quandary.
My uncertainty is with regards to the H1N1 flu bug that, according to the media, will soon grow to pandemic proportions.
Do I listen to the media?
Or do I follow my own skeptical heart?
For one, I am doubtful and mistrusting of the pharmaceutical industry - that which holds our health care system within its sovereign grip.
Indeed, the science of medicine has come a long way across the past two centuries. It has increased the understanding of how our bodies work on a physical level and how disease affects our bodies on that same plane.
But I believe our health is much more than the sum of those two parts.
It is a whole - an entirety.
A combination of things we can see and feel.
As well as a composition of those that are ethereal and intangible.
There is, too, a difference between the medical industry and the creation of drugs in an attempt to heal us. We have to keep in mind that, for every drug that masks or corrects a symptom, there are side effects - sometimes deadly ones.
This leads to what I feel is another misconception - the idea that our doctor can heal us. A doctor cannot heal us.
We mend ourselves.
We are responsible for our own health and healing - whether it is physical, psychological or spiritual. We do fall ill, that is a truth - some more ill than others and we do what we may, depending upon the circumstances.
But we are in charge, whether we believe it or not.
Secondly, I am very skeptical of the media. Our news has gone from reporting circumstances within our immediate locale, to satisfying a lust for sensation, through vivid detail pertaining to war and famine, to depicting ghastly acts of violence upon each other and warnings of impending pandemics.
All on a global scale.
These accounts have mutated from simply maintaining public awareness to an attempt at keeping us bound within the clutches of fear - the most powerful and perfidious means of control.
Furthermore, it is imperative that we heed and accept our own responsibilities. We have to be culpable for our singular actions - and reactions. Instead of allowing others to dictate, by following along as sheep to slaughter, we are obliged to gather up the reins and steer our own direction - to reason and decide what is best for us on our own terms. Doing this, and doing it within the confines of what is socially acceptable is not easy.
But it must be done.
Life is difficult but, in the end, it will become far more so, as long as we continue to permit outside influences to do the thinking for us.
I could go on and, veritably, I could argue on both sides of the fence. It is a fine line and I have merely scratched the surface.
But again I look back upon my original dilemma...
Do I have my children immunized against swine flu or not?
My instinct, albeit cynical, yet which I trust most implicitly, tells me No.
Then my head speaks to me with the logic of the press, saying Yes - for how could I forgive myself?
I weigh the chances.
I keep myself informed.
But, I do not fear.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Missig...

I'm ot able to write much.
Well, I guess I still ca but I have a letter o my keyboard that refuses to work.
ow I kow where all those lost socks from the dryer go - somewhere betwee the letters "M" ad "O"!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Smoking Waters

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

this morning ...

Bobby had a choice - either bring a load of firewood inside or shovel the walk...



This is the backlash from the storm Grace was experiencing on her wild, northwest coast. The winds off the Pacific are blowing north and the edge of the disturbance is dumping snow farther inland - right on top of us!
This morning Bobby and Jenny could not wait to get out and frolic in the white.
Tucker took one look and did a quick one-eighty back to the house.
The roads are treacherous, with black ice and drivers who have yet to adjust their habits for the poor conditions.
Gene cannot work today, as the shell of the house he is building is under almost four inches of snow.
I am home with Tnu and Jack - a warm fire is radiating from the grate.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Laurentian Mountain Point of View

This is the view from Mum and Dads' deck in Quebec. Beth and I just spent ten lovely days visiting with my folks.

video

Friday, October 09, 2009

It Wasn't Me!





As a rule, I don't begin praying fervently for snow until the end of November. Therefore, I cannot take the blame for the snowstorm mother nature set upon us last evening. Dusk brought a wind howling down from the north that quickly dipped the thermometer below freezing and dashed thick snowflakes against the window pane. Within minutes two or three inches of snow had blanketed every exposed surface. The storm let up as rapidly as it descended, leaving everyone surprised and shivering in its frosty wake.

If you enlarge the top frame it gives you a good idea...

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Fallout Across the Border

Spiderman, Spiderman,
Does whatever a spider can
Spins a web, any size,
Catches thieves just like flies
Look Out! Here comes the Spiderman.
Is he strong?
Listen bud,
He's got radioactive blood...

Of course, the thought never ocurred to me, but one cannot cross the border into the United States carrying radioactive cargo.
Since the 9/11 scare, security has been tightened quite significantly. No doubt this law is in place to avoid the transport of unstable elements such as Plutonium, Uranium, Strontium, Palladium, Eugene, etc.
Eugene?
Apparently we lit up the Geiger counter as we passed through the border gates on Saturday. My unassuming family van was instantly surrounded by gun-wielding guards with hand held radiation detectors flashing red. They instructed Gene to pull over and informed us that we were "hot".
Luckily, we had been forwarned and Gene produced a letter from his doctor explaining that he would be radioactive for a period of time after undergoing an ECG stress test.
We were quickly separated as a border officer guided Eugene to a small room where he monitored his radiation levels. The officer also asked him questions regarding the stress test and gathered other information before allowing us entry into the country. Meanwhile, my vehicle was searched and I, too, was "Geiger counted", but we were green to go.
Fortunately, radioactivity is not contagious!
The crossing back into Canada the following day was less eventful, with only having to fill out a declaration and make a duty payment on some items we purchased while in the US.

Friday, September 25, 2009

reprint - for lack of time and slow dial-up...

Through the smoke of distant fire
Drawn into the dusky sky
Growing stronger - rising higher
There it met my eye
Its glow was sure - a firey red
A pagan sight it's true
From the sleeping sun it fed
And yet it was quite blue


Any idea what it is?

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Study in Pink

I took this photo early today.
As the sun rose, it caught the clouds at an unusual angle.
The eerie morning light illuminated the landscape, creating a surreal glow that reflected itself from the wet surface of the deck.
Tucker also appeared to be enjoying the moment.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Stewed Red Tomatoes

It's Fall. And the nesting urge is upon me.
As the days grow shorter and the winds blow colder, I feel I must reap and gather. Although I don't have a vegetable garden per se, I do have a selection of tiny, green plastic pots bearing fruit. Well, in this case, tomatoes... which, arguably, are indeed a fruit - but I use them in a vegetable context...
These tiny, green plastic pots were purchased through Jenny's school to help raise money for her class trip to Quebec next spring. The entire idea being, that the plants growing in these tiny, green plastic pots be transplanted to a traditional garden or large planter. In my case, this did not happen. I moved into my new home this spring, and the idea of hoisting a large bottom-half-of-a-barrel filled with soil and seedlings was not appealing at all. So, there the wee plants remained - in the tiny, green plastic pots.
Throughout the summer I tenderly cared for the tiny flora. The dill discontinued, the cilantro croaked and the basil breathed its last. The parsley promised not to perish, but the tomatoes triumphed!
There they were - four of the most-cherished vegetablefruit in the valley.
Today, I swept down upon them. I reaped and I gathered. Then I cooked.
I don't know if I can eat them now...

After the Harvest

The End Result

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

In Memory of Patrick Swayze...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Why.

Skiing B1st in 2006.

Each year, we look forward to winter and, along with it, our preferred sport - alpine skiing. We do, of course, enjoy everything the other three seasons our temperate zone offers up, but our true passion lies among the folds of the snow-covered hills.

Spring reveals growth and renewal - an efflorescent season of rebirth, delivering possibilites and potential.
Summer settles into relaxed freedom - escorting a period of sultry peacefulness while fashioning maturity.
Autumn, spring's reverse counterpart, declares further change - with the achievement of growth, it dictates reaping and gathering, while heralding a period of slumber.
Winter, a span during which the land is in repose - bearing with it a blanket of colder temperatures - and snow.

As members of the ski industry, we depend upon it. Without snow we would be unable to satisfy our urge, and other's, to glide over the packed and sweep through the powder. Elements of physical fitness and a sense of well-being are addictive, as is the resulting adrenalin rush.
The social aspect of this mountain sport is important, as well. There is nothing quite like the muffled resonance of whoops and hollers from like-minded enthusiasts, as we make our way through the the trees on the backside (and, hopefully, not our backside) of the mountain. This is an individual sport but, to share it with a friend, or several, most certainly adds to the fun - and can be handy if one finds themself in a tight spot.
Once the lifts have closed, and the patrollers have done their final sweep, the communal feel will often spill over into apres ski. Stiff boots are replaced with comfortable hikers and bulky ski suits substituted by soft, warm woollies and fleece. Refreshments, hot and cold, are held high beside the fire in honour of the moment, followed by boasts and embellishments of the day's adventures. Tired and happy souls will soon make the trek down the mountain, home to warm dinners and snug beds.
Only the fortunate few get to rise early, braving the frigid morning air, to do it all again!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

When the cat's away...

Beau in front of the fire - notice his short front legs.

... should I worry?
I thought we had lost Beau over the weekend.
He is such a bold and friendly kitty and I was sure that had landed him in trouble.
He disappeared for more than a day and I feared he had been scooped by a weekend visitor and whisked away to the city.
A good example of Beau's bold attitude is, just the other evening, we were out at the front of the house watching a doe and her twin fawns feeding on the empty lot across the road.
Beau caught sight of them, crouched down in the tall grass, wiggled his back legs and pounced, right into the nose of the mama deer! She just looked at Beau, with her big doe eyes, and sniffed noses with him.
Imagine! Wee Beau attempting to take down a deer who's head alone was larger than his body!
Beau did return last evening, none the worse for wear, although he is favouring his right front leg. There were many people about over the long weekend and I think he just went visiting - after all, it wasn't nearly as exciting here as it was several doors down...
Now that all the action has passed, he appears content staying at home.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Wait Ten Minutes...


I awoke this morning to frigid feet and a nose fit for an eskimo kiss.
After last week's heat, with wild storms and rain, one might think this would be a welcome respite.
Could it not have waited just one more day?
It's presently the last twenty-four hours of the summer holidays and many are hoping to lounge in and about the lake. A couple of hardy souls are out this morning, braving the single-digit temperatures, but, other than the accompanying whitecaps, the lake is quiet.
A fire is now roaring in the fireplace as I sit with my coffee. Patched sunlight is creeping down the mountainside across the valley and will soon slide across my deck. Tattered clouds are sweeping from the south, banking ominously above the northern horizon, and the wind is tossing the leaves about.
A fresh snowfall caps the peaks.


We have a saying in the mountains:
If you don't like the weather,
Wait ten minutes.
It will change.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Wind Over Windermere

video

The wicked southwest gale brought trees down all over Windermere. Huge willows, that have been standing for years, were scattered like matchsticks and once stately pines were split into halves, as though snapped by the hands of a giant.
A second wind storm - no rain this time - blasted down from the north in the early evening, wreaking further havoc. I was in town at the time and returned to find my deck in shambles.
My large, heavy corn plant had been tossed onto its side and was surrounded by dirt and scattered pebbles. The comforter from my outside couch had blown completely free and was wedged against the railing at the other end. The tablecloth would have completely disappeared, had it not been held down by my Christmas cactus - a hardy little fellow. The only reason my bike was still standing was because I had it cabled to the rail and my flowers were also spared, as they are located at the southern end of the deck.
Wild weather, indeed!

Monday, August 31, 2009

How many different ways can you say...


...I hear, or see, a train?

Sandpoint Idaho has to be the iron horse capital of the world!
Apparently, no less than forty to sixty locomotives pass through that town on a daily basis.

Last weekend, every time one passed by, I couldn't help but jest about their ubiquitous presence - without using the word train...

I hear something.
Can you feel that?
What's that noise?
There must be an earthquake.
Is that a helicopter?
Another tractor-trailer unit must be passing through town...(an entirely different post).
Can you hear that?
What's that banging?
I hear a whistle.
What are those lights?
What's that screeching?
The ground is shaking.
WHAT DID YOU SAY?


I have always found trains facinating:
Their power.
Their noise.
Where are they going?
Where are they coming from?
What are they hauling?
I can't help pausing to listen and watch every time one rolls by, shrieking and pounding, along the rails.


A helicopter flew directly over our heads yesterday morning...
"Oh, look, a train!"

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Manx A Lot

Beau and Jenny.

After a certain amount of head-scratching, followed up by some concrete research, I discovered we've inherited no ordinary kitty.
It turns out that Beau is a Manx cat.
Manx are typically known for being "tailless", yet their tails do come in all lengths. In order to avoid a certain genetic defect, where the spine is too short causing severe problems, breeders will always incorporate a tailed cat in their breeding program.
Other characteristics of this type of feline include shorter front legs, a broad chest, a plush, "double" coat of fur, a longer-shaped head with ears set far apart, prominent cheekbones and large, slanted eyes - all of which Beau possesses.
Beau does have a long tail, but the odd thing is that he cannot hold it straight in the air. Rather, it will flop over, quite comically, from side to side, wagging awkwardly when he walks.
Another distinguishing attribute is Beau's penchant for playing in water. He loves helping when I water my flowers and he will actually roll in any spills and puddles. I've also had to put his water in a sturdy dog bowl, so he won't knock it over and play in it - or vice versa. I've often discovered Beau soaking wet, and he appears quite content being so. Apparently, he'd rather jump in than drink it! This, too, is another profound characteristic of the Manx breed.
So, there it is - the long and the short of it...
Beau's odd looks and remarkable behaviours have been explained.
Thus far...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

This little piggy went to market ...


The weekly Farmers' Market was a feast for the eyes, nose, tastebuds - and sore feet.
We wandered through stands loaded with fresh fruit, vegetables and bakery items, arts and crafts, hand-made jewelry, trinkets and carvings. Buskers were on every corner, sending their soft melodies out to wind through the marketplace and the aromas of brewing coffee, baking breads and hamburgers twisted tantalisingly about our heads.
I came home with ten pounds of baby potatoes, a bunch of carrots, two huge green onions, half a dozen cobs of corn, three pounds of tomatoes, one large English cucumber, two cloves of locally-grown garlic, a baby yellow watermelon, a pint of juicy blackberries and four loaves of different Artisan breads...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

August ...

Mama deer and babies.

Colleen and daughter, Trina.

Lake Windermere.

Hidden Bay beach.

C'est Beau...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

R.I.P.


Two days ago Ian, Eugene's older son, discovered Smoke in his favourite shady spot.
It appears Smoke lay down and crossed the Rainbow Bridge in peace.
He is now at rest on a sunny hillside next to Henrietta.
I also believe that Scat crossed the same Bridge several weeks ago, but we will never know for sure.

Rest in Peace Scat and Smoke - we love you.

Enjoy yourselves as you bask in the sunlight, pounce on field mice and chase butterflies...

Monday, August 17, 2009


Beth and Tucker up Pedley Pass - elevation approximately 4,000 feet.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Smoke


Eugene has a cat - a very old and beautiful cat.
His name is Smoke and he has been in Gene's family going on twenty years now.
Alas, old Smoke is looking toward the Rainbow Bridge, I am afraid.
Gene came over today and asked if I would take a look at his lovely grey tom. It was heartbreaking to see his rheumy eyes, matted coat, distended belly and to feel his bones, sharp and protruding, beneath his skin. Smoke was calm and he looked up with trusting eyes as I held him in my lap on the drive to the vet clinic.
Of course, at his age, the prognosis is not good - cancer or congestive heart failure is the apparent diagnosis. We could do the heroics and spend a fortune in vet bills, but Gene and I both want to see him live out his days the way nature intended. So, the vet gave him an injection for dehydration, a steroid to make him feel perkier and some ointment for his eyes.
When we got Smoke home, he lept from my arms and headed for a the shade where I fed him a bowl of canned salmon. He has had such a difficult time eating lately, that it was good to see him enjoy a meal. No more cat food for Smoke - canned tuna and salmon from now on.
We hope that, when his time comes, Smoke will wander off and find a sheltered spot with a view where he can lay himself down.
It seems that our furry friends are leaving us as quickly as they are finding us.

Take care, Smoke.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Fur flying everywhere...

Jack

Tippy

Beau

I simply could not resist!
Jack, so named, because my kids were watching a Jack Black movie when we got him, is a multi-coloured Abyssinian guinea pig. Tippy, named for the white tip on her right ear, is a rabbit of unknown breeding and the kitten, Beau, is the result of a brother and sister pairing. Beau has bowed front legs, either a result of inbreeding or possibly an inherited dwarf gene. The only pet we actually purchased was Jack and the other two are rescue animals. We decided to buy Jack, because we could not find any guinea pigs that were up for surrender in town.
Murphy's Law promptly kicked in and there are now four guinea pigs up for adoption...
We are also looking at adopting a Brittany Spaniel through the National Brittany Rescue and Adoption Network in the United States. I am waiting to hear a reply to my inquiry as to any Brittanys that are available, suitable and whether adopting internationally is feasible. It would be so nice to be able to offer a good home for some of those orphaned (young and old) dogs.
We have our hands full now and are looking for a sizeable hutch for the Jack and Tippy. At the moment, they are in a cage divided with cooling racks held together with twist ties!
Necessity is indeed the mother of invention.
I love these furry creatures and I often wish I lived in a place where I could take them all in! Alas, that is not to be, but I will rejoice with the ones who have found a home with us.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Sunday, August 02, 2009