is about a remote area in west central British Columbia, Canada
called the West Chilcotin. Surrounded by numerous glacial mountain
ranges, alpine lakes teeming with wild Rainbow Trout, and full
of wildlife. Living here goes from no running water or electricity
to spacious log homes with all the conveniences and without
Wilderness Adventures - Dec., Week One/2008
you would like to see pictures of wildlife, mountains, lakes,
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Check out the Picture
of the Day.
is a continuation of Search and Rescue stories sent to
me by Floyd Vaughan who flew in the Chilcotin for years.
"One search I was on was for Jimmy Stilas who was
chief of the Ulkatcho Band at that time. Jimmy was one
of the better chiefs, and had a trap line down the Dean
above Salmon River. The band office called me and wanted
me to go look for him as he hadn't came back to Anahim
when he was supposed to.
I flew down to his cabin on the Dean River but couldn't
land there because the river there was still open, and
I was on skis. I could tell that no one was there as there
was about three inches of fresh snow, and no tracks except
older snow machine tracks going every direction. With
no smoke showing in any direction I started to follow
the snow machine tracks, as best I could toward Tanya
The tracks were really hard to follow through the trees,
and with the fresh snow on top of them. After about two
hours I tracked them to Tanya Lake by circling back about
50 times to find the tracks again. He had been checking
his trap line and the tracks went all over the place,
so after around three hours I had to return to Nimpo for
While I was getting fuel I notified the band office, and
they sent some guys down river with snow machines to try
and help follow the tracks. When I got back to where I
left off I followed the tracks back towards the river,
and Jimmy's cabin for another two hours circling until
I was almost dizzy. After I was nearly back to the river
I come out on this small lake, and couldn't find where
the snow machine left the lake. After looking for about
15 minutes I decided the snow machine had came onto the
lake but hadn't left it as far as I could tell.
There was no smoke or camp and no hole in the ice which
left me wandering where it could have gone. I touched
down on the lake a few times to test the ice, and each
time I broke through into water, and couldn't tell if
it was lake water or overflow. After a while I spotted
something on the ice, and after bumping it with one of
the skis I knocked the snow off it and could see that
it was a thermos bottle laying on top of the ice, so could
speculate that the snow machine had gone through the ice.
I figured Jimmy had swam as long as he could, and being
unable to get up on the ice he had tossed the thermos
bottle on top of the ice before he gave up. They got some
divers in two days later and found him and the snow machine
in only eight feet of water under the ice right where
the thermos was laying.
The next search I was on was for Ken Keran when he was
guiding for Lester Dorsey. Lester was camped at Tom Matthew's
place just below Satie Cahoose's, and had sent Ken on
a day hunt with two American hunters.
When I got the call I flew down to their camp, and found
out they were hunting north of the Dean River with just
a saddle horse each. They had taken only a lunch for that
day with no sleeping bags, and had been gone three days
I started looking between the Dean River and Gatcho Lake
along all the old wagon trails, and the many meadows and
swamps. After several hours with no success I went west
along a string of lakes ending up at the outlet of Segutlet
Lake. This was so far away and through such bad country,
and miles of wind fall that I thought there was no way
they could be here but decided to fly the shore line anyway.
Segutlet is a big lake about 15 miles long so after flying
the south shore to the west end I turned east, and started
down the north shore. I hadn't gone three miles when I
seen a smoke at the east end of the lake, so when I got
there they were all waving their arms and jumping up and
After I landed I asked Ken if he knew where he was and
he said he did, so I ask, "Where?" and he didn't
have a clue. They hadn't had anything to eat for two days
so I opened my survival kit and gave them some granola
and candy bars. In Ken's defense I know that the country
he was in is real confusing if you can't see the sun or
stars for days on end. After the three of them had something
to eat I took Ken up so he could see how to get back to
the Dean River with the horses, then flew the hunters
back to camp. They seemed glad to see a sleeping bag and
Lester's stew. I then took some grub to Ken as it would
take him two days to get back with all the wind fall he
had to go through.
For years after Ken would never admit he was lost, but
did say that he was real glad to see the airplane land.
Pan Philips told me he had never been lost either, but
that he was kind of confused one time for about a week."
that sounds like Pan. Thanks Floyd!
We got some really wet, sloppy snow last night that
froze instantly onto whatever surface it lit on.
That included our satellite receiver for our Internet
that had to be cleaned off twice because we lost the signal,
even though the snow didn't last for long and there wasn't
much of it. The beauty of it though, is that it froze
to all the ice around here, and has provided great traction
as a result.
Walking was a breeze today compared to yesterday
and even our main road is now in excellent shape for driving
where yesterday, Andy said he was sliding all over the
place coming in from the highway from town. This will
give the Highways guys a breather.
I've managed to miss the news and weather for a couple
of days so I don't know what we're supposed to be getting
but I know some people that are going to be very
disappointed that there wasn't more snow.
Anahim Lake Community Hall had their Christmas Cabaret
last night. Since they were borrowing some tables from
our Hall I actually knew about it but completely forgot
to mention it in here. I'm sorry about that folks! But
just to redeem myself, the Christmas Craft Fair
is on December 13th (next Saturday) and will be held at
the A.L. Community Hall. (I wondered what happened
to holding it at the school?)
The Anahim Lake School concert is being held on
December 17th at the school, and the Christian Academy
Concert is being held on the 18th. Everyone welcome!
I'll post these dates on the newsletter section as well.
For the locals, don't forget about the general
meeting at the Hall tomorrow night to discuss the purchase
of tables and chairs. It might not hurt to get a few volunteers
to help out with the New Year's party, either. Speaking
of which, Anahim Lake has a New Year's party scheduled
as well but I haven't heard whether it's actually going
to be put on.
Looking For The Lost
great stories about Search and Rescue in the Chilcotin
from Floyd Vaughan.
"The next time I was involved in a search it was
for Rodger and Wanda for one of their hunters on the Ulkatcho
mountains. Rodger had been trying to track the hunter
for two days when they called me.
I think what happened was that Rodger told the hunter
to stay on this stand, and when he came back he was gone.
Rodger found his horse later that day but no hunter, so
the next day they called me to look with the helicopter.
I flew almost all day with no luck, and no smoke. About
sundown I came over this little opening and saw two people
waving at me so I landed. Rodger had tracked him down
and found him about twenty minutes earlier and all was
OK. The hunter had seen me flying over many times but
for some reason he would hide, not wanting people to know
he was lost.
The Sager boys and some of their friends decided to go
up on the Ulkatcho mountains one winter on a snow machine
trip. When they didn't show up by dark, Bryce Sager called
me to see if I could find them.
I got up on the mountain with the Cessna 180 just as it
was getting full dark, but there was a good moon so I
could see fairly well. It didn't take long to track them
up to the bottom of a steep canyon where there were dozens
of fight holes in the snow where they had been trying
to get out of the canyon. (Fight
holes are bad stucks.)
They looked pretty beat so since I couldn't land there
I dropped some grub and matches, and went back to Nimpo
to tell Bryce the good news.
Later that night, Wayne Escott and some others went up
there with snow machines and got them out of the canyon,
and home. Then there was the search for a twin engine
Islander Aircraft with about six Europeans on board. After
it was missing for about a month I got this call from
the wife of one of the passengers wanting me to look for
it. The airplane was missing between Smithers and Vancouver,
and the Air Sea Rescue search ended after about two weeks.
When I got the call from the woman in England she told
me that a medium or crystal ball gazer had talked to her
dead husband and told her where the airplane had crashed.
She had me fly to the place to have a look, explaining
what the country looked like, and the latitude and longitude
on the map. This went on for over six months with a flight
about every week. Mostly I used the twin engine Baron
because it was so much faster getting to the places she
wanted me to look.
Over the months the bills added up to over $12,000 and
I never saw anything. She always paid promptly and never
complained when I never found anything. After about six
months she finally gave up and I never heard any more
from her. I always looked where she wanted me to, even
though I didn't believe in what she was doing.
Then there was Darcy Christenson and the time he ran out
of gas in the Ulkatcho Mountains which I covered in the
other writing I did for the grandkids. I also did several
other searches for him, all turning out o.k.
One time when he went missing I found his airplane above
timberline on the Itcha Mountains, and couldn't see anyone
around so radioed back my position and landed to investigate.
I was in the Cessna 180 J.C.Q. which wasn't as good an
airplane in deep snow, and on steep slopes, as Darcy's
After I landed and found no one around, and ski tracks
of two people leaving towards Anahim, I decided to try
to follow the tracks in the snow with the airplane. After
I got myself dug out and turned back down slope, which
took about an hour and a half, I got off and followed
the tracks to about a mile below timberline where I lost
them in the trees.
About four hours later, Darcy and his girl friend made
it to 4 mile and got a ride to Anahim. The problem was
that he had a bad battery, and couldn't get the airplane
started, and the Lycoming engine can't be hand propped
after the starter is engaged. He took the battery out
and packed it all the way back to 4 mile about eight miles.
Afterwards I got him a good battery and took him back
up to get his airplane.
Darcy and I had always had this agreement that if one
of us went missing, we would keep looking no mater how
long it took, and would not let the cost of the search
have any influence on how long it took. Darcy and I were
good friends all through the years, even though we were
fierce competitors in the fur buying and flying for people
in the bush. " - Thanks Floyd!
we thought we had a mess yesterday weather wise, it isn't
much better today. It started raining in earnest in the
middle of the night and the result is everything
covered in a sheet of ice. Walking today was downright
difficult because both the road and back trails are glazed
It was as thick as pea soup out there with all the moisture
in the air this morning. The trees were dripping and it
took a long time for the sun to burn through the fog.
When it did, it was usually a shortlived event before
the fog would come rolling back in again. Now we
have clouds coming in so I don't know if we'll get snow
or not. The temperature is sitting right around
freezing so it's possible. I understand Prince George
got about 30 cm of snow while Quesnel got a foot and even
Kelowna got freezing rain yesterday.
Search and Rescue
delighted to have received some Search and Rescue stories
from Floyd Vaughan today. It couldn't have come
at a better time because I also received a complaint that
I'm writing too much about the present political situation
and in the past, the RCMP. I hope there aren't a lot of
you out there that feel that way, and if so, I apologize.
Floyd Vaughan has been a long time pilot in this country
and has a lot of stories to tell. Sometimes I would love
to get into his head and write the series of books that
I know are in there. He sent me several stories and printing
them all today would take up too much space, so I'll just
split them up and print them over the next few days. They're
awesome and very much what this country is about. Thanks
"The first search I was on was for Murray Vanoy who
lived on the Blackwater, between the Home Ranch and Eliguk
Lake. Murray had a family of two boys about 7 and 9 and
two girls about 3 and 5 years. He had filed on a place
about ten miles northeast of their place on the Blackwater
just east of Laidman Lake.
I think it was spring 1971 that I got a call that Murray
was missing between the two places where he was cutting
trail. I flew out and followed the trail he was cutting,
and after about an hour I found a tractor upside down
on the trail. I couldn't see anyone around, but figured
he must be under the tractor. I couldn't land anyplace
close so had a helicopter come up from Bella Coola with
a doctor. The helicopter pilot had me go with him so he
could find the place, but by the time we got there it
was starting to get dark, and the pilot said he couldn't
stay more than ten minutes.
The tractor was in a swamp, and it was late spring with
the mosquitoes swarming real bad, and the doctor had city
shoes on. After wading through the six inches of water
and swamp we found Murray under the tractor with just
his head above water. The doctor was fighting the mosquitoes
real hard but had a quick look at him and said he was
When we got back to the helicopter they decided to come
back the next day to get Murray out. I didn't go the next
day, but Dr. Vanderminne the coroner said that when they
got there the next day, Murray had only been dead about
an hour. Nothing ever came of it but the other doctor
had been in such a hurry to get out of there that he misdiagnosed
The next search I was on was for a fisherman I had taken
to upper Kluskus Lake (Ghost Lake) with two other guys.
When I went to pick them up one of them wasn't there,
and we couldn't find him. I flew until dark but still
couldn't find him so took the other two back to Tshaca
Lake Lodge, and told
everyone we would try again the next day.
After we had looked for over a week, and his friends had
landed their twin engine airplane on the strip at Tshaca
with gear up, we decided to get some help.
We went down to Antone Babtiste's place on the east end
of Tshaca, and offered his family five hundred dollars
to find the lost fisherman. The next day they brought
him into the lodge a little hungry, and with a gray beard
but otherwise in good shape. The old guy was 86 years
old, and had wandered off to pick berries and couldn't
find the lake after that. He had lived for all that time
on berries and water. It was a good thing that it was
in the fall of the year with lots of berries or he wouldn't
have made it. I think some of the nights were a bit cold
for him, but he seemed in high spirits and good health."
more tomorrow, folks!
We've had a real dog's breakfast for weather here
Andy went out really early this morning headed for Williams
Lake. Not long after 6:30 he was back. There was freezing
rain last night and in talking to the highways guys, they
were doing their best to try and get sand on the highway
but with a road temperature of -6C the rain was
freezing instantly. Andy made it nearly to Towdystan
when he noticed the road was even shinier than before
and decided to try his brakes on it to see how slippery
it was. The truck just kept on going down the middle
of the highway like he had no brakes at all. He
got turned around and made his way back home. Since Andy's
a truck driver from way back, for you, me, and the general
populace, we might as well just stay in bed because if
he had to turn around, the rest of us wouldn't
have had a hope. I know that when I went outside this
morning, even the gravel had a layer of ice on it and
you could barely walk on it.
Andy went back out before eleven and finally made it into
town after two. He said it had rained so hard at
Alexis Creek that it had formed an ice sheet probably
about an inch thick, and where the rain had run
onto the shoulders of the highway, it had frozen instantly
into a thick layer of ice.
Since the new contractors took over Highways about three
years ago, their head office has refused to allow them
to use mag or salt because it's more expensive than sand.
All they have is barely enough salt mixed into the sand
to keep it from freezing into a solid block in the back
of the trucks. But in a case like this, it's just not
enough to make the sand stick to the road. Had they
poured the salt or mag to it, it would have burned that
ice right off. As it was, Andy said they had tried
using plows and ice scrapers on a grader to break up the
ice to little effect. Not particularly cost effective
either. It's a mystery to me as to why the government
puts so much emphasis on drinking driving counter attacks
but won't force the contractors to make the roads safer
to drive in winter.
Williams Lake got snow and then freezing rain on
top of it which probably slowed our mail guy down,
as did Highway 20. He had to put chains on just to drop
the mail off at Alexis Creek and he was pretty late getting
here today. When I was up getting the mail at Nimpo he
fired back past the post office on his way to Williams
Lake, which means he only went as far as Anahim Lake and
not to Bella Coola. Either the highway in that direction
is closed or he was warned to not even try the Bella Coola
Hill. Can't say I blame him for that! That is
not a road you want to be on if it's glazed
over with ice because there isn't a lot between you and
the river a 1000 feet below.
I understand that the RCMP have warned people to stay
off the road between Clinton and Williams Lake because
of freezing rain as well, so this is a big, messy system
that's rolled in.
It got up over 6C or a balmy 43 degrees Fahrenheit
today and it's been spitting rain off and on all
day. There's a lot of water laying on the ice in front.
It'll make for awesome ice skating and be as smooth as
a baby's bum if it doesn't snow before it's safe to walk
on the ice. That scenario is highly unlikely though judging
from what's coming in over the mountains.
A neighbour told someone who has been my walking partner
since the grizzly bears have been around, that he thought
there was bear scat at the top of his driveway. We took
a close look at it when we went out today but I didn't
see any bear tracks. There were rose hips that had been
half eaten and dropped on the snow, which had stained
it red. But without any other sign, I'm guessing it was
a grouse or fox that did it. I'm hoping, anyway.
I lose my walking partner for a month next week so I'll
be on my own. We didn't see any fresh sign in the woods,
although it will have been hard to see any on the frozen
The Unholy Alliance
disaster has been averted in Canada for now since the
Governor General has agreed to allow Stephen Harper to
suspend Parliament until the budget is tabled in January.
It was to be expected as it's rare for a Prime Minister
to ask for a Parliamentary suspension and the wish is
always granted when they do. However, it will all start
over again at the end of January so my preference would
have been for an election call.
It was bitterly cold today. Not so much
because of the temperature, because it actually made it
up to -3C again today, but it sure didn't feel like it!
There was a vicious little breeze that could chill you
to the bone in no time! I suspect that the still open
water on Nimpo Lake is very close to the freezing temperature,
so the wind is carrying that damp cold right to us. As
a result, I didn't go for a walk today. I wanted to, but
every time I stepped outside for a moment to test the
temperature, I just could not get up the nerve to face
that wind. It has teeth!
It was just short of -14C or 6.8F when I went to bed last
night but had warmed up a degree or so by this morning.
While it was clear as a bell with a cold moon last night,
we had pretty heavy overcast today. So the sun never did
break through to warm things up. Too bad it didn't. That
lake will have just been booming with the sun warming
up the surface of the ice. It'll be interesting to see
if we actually get some of the snow predicted for the
province, or if it will pass us by yet again.
This is a short one today. We've got to go out this evening,
and I still need to get some work done.
see that pack of piranhas in Ottawa are still intent on
tearing down the sitting government. Do you know, it wouldn't
matter to me if it was the Conservatives trying to form
a coalition with the NDP and the Bloc, or as it is now
with the Liberals doing it, but regardless of anyone's
political stance, what's happening in Canada right now
is very simply wrong. And it would seem that a great
many Canadians feel the same way, reacting with an anger
that is unprecedented which is why I feel another
election should be called. Because right now, I think
that Harper would finally get his majority. People that
normally don't even vote conservative are siding with
Harper on this one, as do I. I don't think in a
time of economic crisis that the country can afford an
unstable government, and that's the most polite
description I have for what those three parties would
be if they formed a coalition.
I don't think Harper is on the right track asking the
Governor General to suspend parliament for two months
until he can table a budget at the end of January. He's
still going to have a fight on his hands then against
the parties trying to tear down his government. They will
continue to trot out the "Confidence Vote" for
so long as he has a minority government, so he's always
going to face this. Better to face it now when he
has a large, angry, Canadian majority backing him,
and before he loses the impetus he has gained.
Floyd sent me a great email that perfectly describes what's
happening now. The kind of thing to make you shake your
head and wonder what happened to this once great country
that we live in. I don't know who the author is or I would
give them credit here, but it's well done!
Let me see if I have this all straight.
The NDP had already hatched a plan for a bloodless coup
díetat prior to the economic statement by Mr. Flaherty.
It apparently didnít matter that Canadians just voted
and elected Mr. Harper.
Mr. Layton doesnít care that we just had a $300 million
Mr. Dion announced his intention to step down, but the
coup will put him into the Prime Ministerís office even
though he got the fewest votes of any Liberal since Confederation.
The Bloc Quebecois holds the balance of power and the
key to government stability.
Hang on, do I have this right? Mr. Duceppe is the defacto
Prime Minister in this game of political monopoly?
So, to recap: Mr. Harper won, but really lost the election.
Mr. Layton lost, but actually won. Mr. Dion quit but is
going to be Prime Minister. And Mr. Duceppe is laughing
his backside off because he is the one who is really in
charge of the stability of Canadian government while being
committed to breaking up the country.
Hmmm. I just wanted to make sure I understood all of it.
Welcome to our new banana republic Ė land of the political
That pretty much sums it up. Sad, isn't it? That those
bunch of yahoos could take Canada down to a level that
you would expect from a third world country.
On to nicer subjects because we can pretty much kiss our
country goodbye for now.
The ice is still growing on Nimpo Lake and there
isn't a lot of the Main Arm left that isn't frozen over.
The lake has been making a lot of noise the last couple
of nights but last night it was just howling. I love that
eerie alien wail that you get under the ice. There's just
no sound like it!
We're all still hoping the cold will hold for a couple
of weeks for good ice, but there is a low pressure system
winding down from the north that's supposed to bring snow
over the weekend. Whether it will miss us or not is another
matter. The temperature dipped below -13C last night and
never got above -3C again today. We had a lot of cloud
until this afternoon so the air took a while to warm up.
Still, it eventually turned into a sunny day, albeit a
The Chill Down
about a reversal in weather! Our balmy temperatures
have done flown the coop and have been replaced by downright
chilly ones. Last night it went to -12C or 10
degrees Fahrenheit and never got above -3C or 27 F at
the warmest part of the day, and even as early in the
evening as it is now, it's already -10C. I don't know
what it's going to go down to tonight but I suspect it's
going to be bloody cold.
The nice thing about weather like this is that invariably
it brings sunshine with it. So even on a walk
with the neighbour today, though it might be crisp and
cold, you've got that sunshine and it can make all the
difference in the world to your mood.
When I got up this morning I would have sworn the lake
was completely frozen over. Even studying the Main Arm
carefully through binoculars, it was so still that it
looked frozen. The sun was reflecting off of ice shards
that were obviously not moving, so it had to be frozen!
Then I saw a fish jump. Well okay then. Unless that
fish jumped through the ice, the Main Arm wasn't frozen.
Still, it was afternoon when a breeze came up and ruffled
the surface of the water, that you could be sure
it wasn't frozen. There must have been broken ice floating
in the water, but not moving when I looked in the morning,
which is what the sun was reflecting off of. Just as well,
freeze up this week would be a week too early at least.
Besides, there's snow predicted for Friday and like I
do every year, I'm hoping we get good ice without it being
snowed on too early.
The last two years the ice has been just terrible, especially
for cross country skiing. There's nothing like skiing
over a spider hole to get your heart thumping.
Since we've received less snow this year than the last
two Novembers, I'm hoping that we're back to a normal
cycle. Mind you, with global warming, what's normal?
Things are going to get a little rough on the wildlife
now. My walking partner and I cut through the woods on
an unbroken trail today. There isn't that much snow, but
what there is we were breaking through while the dogs
were walking on the crust on top. That bodes ill for moose
and caribou if that's happening already. Most other places
around Nimpo, including Anahim Lake, have far more snow
than we do so it's going to be a long, hard winter for
the game unless we get a couple of feet of the fluffy
stuff to slow the wolves and coyotes down.
Our unfortunate thawing and freezing cycle has made it
pretty icy everywhere. Walking down the road means finding
patches of gravel, patches of snow, or gingerly balancing
on the packed ice where necessary. Driving is even worse.
I travel our road pretty slowly most of the time, but
especially when it's icy because we've got some wicked
corners. I found myself doing an unintentional four
wheel drift across the road a couple of times today
and another neighbour said she thought sure she was headed
for the ditch. She's got excellent ice tires on and was
driving slower than she normally does, but the only thing
that stopped her from going off a corner was her tire
caught some dirt on the edge of the road.
I called the head of our highway maintenance crew late
this afternoon and was super pleased with the results.
He said there was a truck scheduled to sand our road right
about the time of my phone call, then called me back tonight
to inform me that the job had been completed. Wow, can't
ask for more than that! You guys have got my salute!
I know that Highways hesitates to sand gravel roads, especially
ones that have had calcium put on them, because as I understand
it, salted sand really fouls them up. We rarely see conditions
like this in the fall, but sometimes, you just have to
put something on to break that hard packed ice down a
bit. Even if the sand does nothing more than embed itself
in the ice to give us a little traction.
The Christmas Month
like it or not, it's here. The Christmas month is
upon us. I think that everyone has mixed feelings
about Christmas. Actually, maybe not. I know some people
that live for Christmas. It's their favorite
time of year and they eat, breath, drink, and shop Christmas.
That's wonderful if you're in that category. I'm not.
To me, Christmas is a time of year that most people
really can't afford. No matter how hard you try,
I think that you spend more money at that time of year
than any other, no matter how well you budget. I think
that we all budget for gifts, or most of us anyway, but
it's hard to budget for those little things that sneak
up on you. You can make allowance for the extra food,
snacks, hors d'oeuvres and refreshments. But I never seem
to make enough of an allowance. Maybe because
I never know how many extra dinners I might make or even
how many people I'm going to invite over. I can
cook like a hot damn but I'm no Martha Stewart
when it comes to organizing a dinner. I cook, you eat.
That's it. I don't do meal planning ahead of time. I just
decide what I'm going to make and I make sure that there's
lots of it, as well as lots of wine of both colors, beer,
and one of each of the most common hard liquors available,
and that's as fancy as it gets. Maybe that's why I go
over budget at Christmas. Lack of planning.
We go to the grocery store to do our shopping, and of
course this time of year there's all kinds of extra goodies
out, so you get a little of this and a little of that.
Not much by most people's standards I guess, but still,
it adds up. Then there's the odd few people that I deal
with in business for whom I get a card and something
sticky, gooey, and really bad for you. I suppose
I could write that sort of thing off against my business
but always forget to, just as I always forget to budget
for it. Oh yeah, and don't forget the token boxes of candy
or cool little gifts that you have to keep, "Just
in case." Of course you usually never need
them so if it's chocolates, you eat them even if you don't
need them, and the gifts get donated to the next bingo
or spot dance we have at the hall. Didn't budget for that
stuff either. The same goes for replacement bulbs you
need for strings of lights, wrapping paper, Christmas
cards and postage for same, and the stocking stuffers.
Little stuff, but it all adds up.
We're pretty fortunate because our gifts don't go on credit
card or if they do, it's all paid off before the next
bill. But I know that there are a lot of people out there
where that is not the case. Especially people with families
where there's expectation on their children's' part for
presents to be under the tree on Christmas morning. Sadly,
this year is going to be tough on a lot of families
where one or both parents are out of work or expect to
be in the near future, victims of the new economic times.
There's been a lot of reporting on the television about
that this year and there are different stories. Most people
said they would be cutting back on spending, and some,
like one woman, said they would be doing without for themselves
in order to still buy gifts for their children. Okay.
That's cool if it works for you. But I guess the
ones that are in the scariest position of all are those
parents that say they'll have to go deeper in debt to
buy for their children. That's just not a good
thing. While it might be tough to explain to your children
why there are fewer presents under the tree this year,
it might also teach your children fiscal responsibility.
If they can learn from you that when times are tough,
you have to cut back on the frills, it will pay them back
many times over when they are adults out on their own.
I realize that a lot of those kids 'NEED' that
iPod, or Xbox or Wii, but they really don't. What
they need is clothes and shoes to wear to school. That's
all they actually need.
I know that parents want to give to their children. And
I realize that it's really hard on them when they can't.
Especially if their kids know how to lay the Smith and
Jones guilt trip on them. "But Bobby down the
street got a brand new snow board!!! How come I didn't???!!"
Well, let's see. How about Bobby's daddy is a police officer
and isn't likely to lose his service industry or factory
job anytime soon?
Everyone wants to do right by their kids. After all, that's
why you have them. Not to deprive them, but to give to
them. But the way I look at it, if you've given your child
the same opportunities as any other to go on to be a hardworking,
useful adult, then you've done your duty by that child
regardless of your income range. Not giving
your kid the latest gimmick in technology is not
depriving your child. Not being able to pay the
light bill or put wholesome food on the table because
you had to buy that gift for that child is depriving you
of self esteem. It takes a lot of guts to tell your kids
that you can't afford to buy them Christmas presents,
but most of the children I have known throughout my life
can be a lot more grown up than their parents give them
credit for when it comes to crunch time. And that brings
me to another thing.
Why not make your children's presents where possible?
I know, a lot of parents don't have the time and think
their kids won't appreciate the effort they've put into
making a gift. But why not? I know to this day, the gifts
that my parents hold most dear involved labor and love,
not cash. Why not the other way around? Or, if you're
not the 'build it' kind of person, get what kids need
to build it themselves. Give a tween or teen a
gift certificate for paint, brushes and stencils at the
local hardware store and tell them they can paint their
room whatever colors they want. I guarantee
it will cost less than an iPod, keep them busy for awhile,
and even pump their esteem because....hey! They get to
make a decision and it's a major one! Camouflage
anyone? All right! So who cares if you don't like
it. You only have to repaint if you're going to sell your
home or once the kid moves away. I know some of you are
shaking your heads, going, "Wow, she is so out of
touch with reality!" Hey, that was only one suggestion
and I'm the most real, down to earth person I know! Maybe
that's why it seems so simple to me. Oh, and I was raised
in a family where there wasn't a lot of money. In the
early years after moving to Canada, we had presents but
not that many and no wrapping paper. In later years, we
had too many because one parent overspent, hence,
my dislike of overspending at Christmas. But had
I been handed the money for a can of paint and told I
could paint my room whatever color I wanted, I would have
been walking on air!
Anyway, now that I've gone on with the long winded dialogue,
I've decided that I'm going to take a page from my own
book and budget for the Christmas extras this year. Or
The owners from the store tell me that their snowmobiling
this weekend was fabulous, Saturday being a little better
than Sunday. It got pretty warm yesterday and they saw
a lot more dirt from the melting than they had the day
before. There was a lot of stucks but they got a lot of
trails broken out which is great. That means they will
have created a good solid base for the winter. Even
if no one can go up now for a couple of weeks, it means
the trails are no longer bottomless if we get a lot of
Speaking of which, it's trying very hard to do that right
now. Our temperature has been dropping steadily all day,
much as the weather forecasters predicted. (Hey! They
got something right!) There's a cold front moving in that
created a lot of wind last night and may just bring us
snow tonight. I think tomorrow or Wednesday it's
supposed to clear off and give us a little sun.
Just on the itty bitty chance that you didn't notice,
this is the start of a new week. Last week's blog can
be found at November
The purpose of this web site is to draw attention to a
remote area of west central British Columbia. It is a
beautiful area that relies heavily on tourism. The search
engines don't know much about the West Chilcotin, Anahim
Lake, Nimpo Lake or any of the other small communities
in the region and I hope to change that! Even as large
as this site will eventually be, there just isn't enough
room or time in the day to fully describe this incredible
country but I am going to try scraping away at the tip
of the iceberg, so join me!
the links, and see what the West Chilcotin is really like!