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 - Sept. Week one/2008
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of the Day.
started raining last night and has been spitting off and
on all day. The clouds have been heavy, low and grey all
day and we definitely haven't seen the mountains since
yesterday. I didn't even go for a walk today, the first
in a long time. I did have to drive out for a meeting
this afternoon and finally got to see the last of the
damage done by a huge cutting machine that's been on our
road the last few days.
Everything has been mowed down to nothing including some
beautiful little pines along the road that we've always
called the Christmas trees. In fact more than one
family living on the road, including ourselves, have snuck
away with a tree for Christmas if the snow has been too
deep to go find one in the woods. It's a shame
to see them gone now, especially since it would have been
at least 50 years before they were tall enough to pose
any danger to the power line
That cutter sure throws the stuff! It looks like a big
skidder but has a huge cutter on the front hydraulics
that looks just like a lawn mower except supersized and
can be turned on edge so that the cutting blades are facing
outward. On Wednesday the dogs and I could hear this thing
booming and howling out on the road as we walked the back
trail, so we cut through the woods because I wanted to
see how it operated. We came in behind it and kept our
distance because this thing throws chunks of wood up to
a 100 yards away.
When the operator comes up to a grove of trees,
he just raises this giant lawn mower up onto the side
of the tree near the top and just grinds it down.
The noise is unbelievable and of course the trees are
snapping off and pieces of wood are flying. All that's
left after the equipment passes are broken off trees and
ragged stumps. Makes a heck of a mess both under the power
line and on the road where these bits of wood end up being
strewn all over the place. It sure shook the mosquitoes
out of the brush too. First I've seen in awhile.
We kind of had a mess with the beetle kill that was knocked
down along the power line as it was. It was supposed to
be burned, but because a lot of the slash was green and
set on fire before the snow melted, most of it didn't
burn up. It just turned the logs black. Add to that the
devastation caused by the latest equipment and all I can
say is I hope the grass grows up quick because it sure
isn't much of a sight for visitors to our area. That's
progress, I guess.
We're supposed to be getting some nice weather here
for the next week. Or let me put it this way,
the Lower Mainland is supposed to be getting nice weather.
That high pressure system moving up from the south is
supposed to grow stronger and I'm hoping that it pushes
up past us. That should bring clear skies for a week but
I don't want to hold my breath. The jet stream just isn't
coming as far north as it used to so who knows what will
come. They didn't exactly predict this rain for us so
that was a surprise.
It was a shame it was misting this morning. We were sitting
at the table having some breakfast when I saw this
bird out on the lake dive into the water and then it looked
like he was having a real struggle getting airborne again.
I was sure it was an osprey even at that distance but
I've never seen them have a problem getting back out of
water. It was small wonder he had difficulty though. I
ran out with my camera and got pictures of him getting
airborne, almost losing this big fish, almost lose altitude
and splash back several times, and then finally he got
going out over the lake. He must have barely been able
to hang on to his prize because it was in an awkward position
compared to the way the predator birds usually carry their
fish. It was hanging way below the bird and a face-on
picture I have of the osprey shows his legs stretched
just about to the max. No wonder! I think his eyes
were bigger than his stomach because that trout
would have fed both of us for a couple of meals easily!
I just really wish there hadn't been rain between me and
the osprey. A clear day with contrast and color would
have made for a bunch of nice pictures.
I'm not sure about writing over the weekend. I probably
won't get a chance again before Monday so have a great
technology is a wonderful thing and sometimes it can swipe
you across the ear when you least expect it. I
woke up yesterday morning expecting to get lots of work
done for a client but as always, took a look at my emails
first. One business email led me to look at a guy's portfolio
and I thought, "Jeez, that's not so great, maybe
I should take a look at my own through fresh eyes."
I opened up my own and it still looked pretty good so
I clicked on the first website in the portfolio just as
a potential client might. It comes up and I go, "Whoa!!
What the heck??" A showcase image with flash
embedded definitely does not look right in Firefox. So
I open up Explorer and it still looks fine there.
It soon becomes obvious that last week's Firefox update
of my browser not only had some new bells and whistles
and a different toolbar, it also screwed up how
at least one web page looked on it. I'm sure lots
of people that use their different browsers appreciate
the effort that goes into keeping those browser windows
updated and fresh with new gadgets and what not. But it
sure would be nice if they would inform website builders
of changes that are going to affect how a site looks.
I was lucky that I happened to check the site because
I had already only the week before and normally wouldn't
have checked on it again for a month. That means a client's
site is not as perfect as it can be which is hardly fair
to them. The client might only use the Microsoft Explorer
browser and never notice that his site doesn't look right
to 27% of the population on the 'Net.
Aside from the annoyance of the progress nerds,
trying to figure out what was causing the problem with
the image was another thing again. It isn't uncommon for
something to work well on one browser and not on another.
The whole point of being a good web builder is to make
sure you test your sites on the major browsers and they
work. And this one did. Now it doesn't, so what's up?
I beat my head against the wall most of yesterday
morning before giving up to do some staining,
worked on it last night, and again all of this morning
before I came up with a fix. It's not that there weren't
several ways of camouflaging the problem or circling around
it, some quick and easy and some not. But that's not what
I wanted to do. I wanted to know what was
causing the problem for future reference. Unfortunately,
I never did find the answer and just had to do a work
around, but the time lost was extremely frustrating.
You know, I often wonder what happened to the old
adage of, "If it's not broke, don't fix it!"
There are lots of products I have become accustomed to
or liked over the years. Then suddenly it's gone to be
replaced by something NEW, and IMPROVED! And I don't like
the new and improved product, it doesn't work for me or
doesn't do the job. It seems that every single business,
both bricks and mortar and on the Internet, feel the need
to be constantly updating or changing their product. Microsoft's
Vista operating system is a prime example of something
that doesn't work half as well as the previous operating
systems, Windows 2000 Professional and Windows XP.
If you have a product that works well and a good following
with more coming on stream all the time, as has been the
case of the Firefox browser for years now, why feel
you have to make extreme changes just to keep ahead of
a dinosaur like Explorer? In fact, so many web
builders, software gurus, nerds, and Internet icons had
a deep hate on for Bill Gates and anything Microsoft,
hence the move to Firefox. But the last thing you want
to do if you're making improvements to Firefox is piss
off the very people that Microsoft pissed off to begin
with. Me among them.
We picked up some extra channels a few days ago on our
satellite television because programming on what we had
was so bad, it wasn't even worth turning the TV on. It
only took us a day or so to discover that we were most
drawn to the old TV programming from forty and fifty years
ago. I laughed and looked at Andy and said, "It's
pretty bad when modern television shows are so bad we're
paying $10 more a month to watch shows produced forty
years ago!" And it's true! Those shows are
better than anything you get on TV today.
Most of the garbage on TV is just that, garbage. I'm not
sure who producers are trying to appeal to as an audience,
but they're definitely not succeeding with me. And I'm
not alone. Perhaps our friends and neighbours are all
strange as well because they all agree on pretty much
the same thing. What is being aired on television is for
the most part, particularly the reality shows, crap. And
that includes the news! The only thing we can think of
is that the main stations and their affiliates are losing
so much audience to the Internet that they don't bother
to put anything on worth watching anymore.
And this brings me back to the previous point about
NEW and IMPROVED. Actors and producers from so
many of the old television shows admit that their show
would never have made it today because it would never
have been given the chance. Many shows such as Star Trek
took years before an audience and fan base
built up to the extent that when execs tried to cancel
the show, there was such an outcry, that it was extended
to another season. And we all know where Star Trek mania
Numerous old shows that were the best ever put on
TV can still stand the test of time. Where a new
series comes on now, I might get into it at first, but
it doesn't take long before I'm bored with the acting,
the concept, poor writing, or repeat story lines Yet I
find I can sit down and watch the old shows and marvel
at the fact that after all this time, they're still funny,
or still heartbreaking or still interesting.
Comedy especially fascinates me with the old shows. No
swearing required, no sexual innuendoes, yet you can still
bust a gut laughing. I still think that one of the funniest
comedians on the face of the earth is Bill Cosby. Why?
I've never heard a swear word come out of his mouth but
you know what he's talking about when he
describes something in one of his skits. He didn't have
to swear to be hilarious.
But nowadays all the television shows are NEW and IMPROVED.
And if they don't get the ratings they want in
the first six weeks, it's off the air. It doesn't
matter that it had a lousy time slot or most people had
never even had a chance to go check out more than one
episode, it's gone. We'll go on to something else new
and improved. One of the best shows I had seen in some
while was canceled. Why? Well, it probably didn't pick
up the viewership it needed because you never knew what
time it was going to be on. It changed days and time slots
on a regular basis. Even people like me that had become
immediate fans and were determined to find the show, couldn't
half the time. I read the blog about it online and the
actors and producers were horribly frustrated because
they couldn't get the same time slot three weeks in a
row and knew that it was a recipe for disaster.
And of course, it was.
So what's with NEW and IMPROVED? I don't know. Maybe it's
such a fast paced world out there that businesses feel
they have to keep changing things to appear progressive.
Or maybe they're just flailing around trying to find something
that works. Something that sells. The next big thing!
Or maybe they're trying to pick up a younger demographic
and the attention span of our young people is so short
now that new and improved is all that catches their eye?
Apparently there is no such thing as brand loyalty anymore.
Because while not all consumers may be loyal to their
brand, the brands aren't being particularly loyal to us
Oops. Sorry folks. Got off on a tangent there and
got long winded as usual. So here's the weather
report. It froze last night. Today tried to be sunny but
there was high overcast most of the day so it didn't quite
do it. It was warm enough that I got the second coat of
stain on my boards though, so I was happy. I don't think
it made it much above 55 degrees today and it's cooling
right down again. We got some rain yesterday so everything's
pretty damp and there are more heavy clouds rolling in
tonight so it's hard to say what it will do.
There's a high pressure system building off the south
coast but it's kind of hard to determine whether we'll
get a piece of it or not. The weatherman showed all sun
icons for the Lower Mainland for the next week so I'm
really hoping it comes our way. I know one thing. We've
got to get out there fishing. There were more fish
jumping all over Nimpo Lake today than you could shake
a stick at! And I'm talking pole jumpers! Yet
there was hardly anybody out there at all.
Labour Day folks! We just had a humdinger of a day.
Not only did it start out clear and beautiful, but it
stayed that way for most of the day for a change. We actually
got up to 15C or nearly 60F today and aside from a chilly
little breeze that sprang up from out of the north this
afternoon, it was a really pleasant day.
So...due to it being a nice day, I didn't get work done
on the computer again. You can't beat sunshine and we
haven't been getting enough to waste what we do
get. According to the news hour tonight, August
was an exceptionally wet month with fewer than normal
hours of sunshine. And they got more than we did!
But you know what? We don't get hurricanes!
We watched the news channels closely last night and this
morning following Gustav's progress. It looks as though
it didn't turn out nearly as badly as was predicted, but
it still made a mess. New Orleans got lucky this time
and if they're really fortunate, they won't see another
hurricane before 2011 when the Corp. of Engineers expect
to have all the levees up to snuff.
You know, people in Gustav's, Hanna's and now Ike's path
may not appreciate people like us complaining about a
cold August and a little rain in comparison to what they
face....and there's no doubt they do have it a little
rougher. But if I didn't like the constant threat
of hurricane or tornadoes, then I guess I just wouldn't
People do have a choice of where they want
to live for the most part. From a selfish perspective,
those people that insist on living below sea level are
costing me money. I can see everyone being surprised
the first time around with Katrina. But there is no way
that anyone that insisted on rebuilding in New Orleans
should be able to get house insurance for hurricane or
flood damage. So far as I'm concerned, they should never
have been allowed to rebuild any place in New Orleans
destroyed by flooding. It was discussed after Katrina
whether New Orleans should be rebuilt, but somehow, that's
been lost in the shuffle. Which is kind of silly when
all the experts are warning that ocean levels will continue
The way I figure it, if you're living on a flood
plain, a river delta, or in a city that requires dikes
or levees to keep the water out, you should be
unable to get insurance for flood damage. Nor should you
get government aid after the first time. You want to live
there? By all means, go for it! Keeps you out of my part
of the country. But I don't see why I and every other
man jack working person paying taxes and outrageous insurance
on their homes should have to pay for your foolishness.
It's about time people started taking responsibility instead
of expecting everyone else to shoulder it for them. As
Andy says, we're in the age of, "It can't be
my fault. It must be someone else's." I've
had about enough of that way of thinking and I'm waitng
for the rest of the country to wake up and feel the same.
Oh, and I have to weigh in on the American media's attempt
to sideswipe Sarah Palin, McCain's running mate, about
her pregnant and unwed daughter. The Republicans
must have been shivering in their boots when that came
out. Especially the Religious Right Wing. Obama's
reaction was classy. I like the man more and more every
day. And I'm Republican!
Last Day of August
got our first hard frost of the year last night,
on our peninsula anyway. I realize other folks have been
getting frost up away from the lake for some time now.
It dropped to -2C and stayed cold this morning and never
got too much above 10 to 12C (50F) today. It was super
when the sun was shining but darned cold when the clouds
It's really hard to dedicate the day to computer
work when you get up and the sun is shining outside.
I generally sneak outside thinking that I can do some
work. Shortly after, the clouds move in, it gets cold
and it's not particularly pleasant to be outside anymore,
especially without a specific project to work on, so you
move inside. Except that now it's too hard to get motivated
to work on the computer. So then I think...well.....maybe
it's time to go for a walk and we'll make it a long one
so at least I don't feel like I've shot the whole day
down. Besides, it'll make the dogs happy. And that's it.
Just about the biggest thing I've accomplished all day
is taking the dogs for a walk. That's just sad.
Actually, I had to be a yes man today. Andy was trying
to figure out all the angles on the greenhouse, which
trust me, because of the way it's being built, is not
going to be easy! Since I want to stain all the studs
going into the framework prior to them being nailed together,
there's really no second chance to resaw everything. So
he's measuring many times before cutting. Actually, he
decided to do a mockup which we studied as it lay on the
ground. I've decided I can throw my two cents in if there
looks to be a problem, but otherwise, I'm just going to
agree with everything. Hell, I'm getting
a greenhouse! If you think I'm going to foul that
up or slow it down by opening my big mouth, you have another
In any case, the project is moving forward and we'll see
how it all comes together. One stalling point is the dirt.
Andy figures that I'll need in excess of four yards of
soil in the greenhouse planting beds. That's about 16
Bobcat bucket loads. Easy enough if you're using the Bobcat
to put it inside the greenhouse, but once the framework
is up, it will have to be hand shoveled over the footing
from the bucket up to 12' to the bed. There was a time
when I would have nonchalantly said, "No problem!
I'll just wheelbarrow it down to the greenhouse and hand
bomb it inside!"
I'll tell you. I'm one who has broken my back doing things
the hard way all of my life, but I have now discovered
the power of the Bobcat! I have finally been married
to Andy long enough that I have seen the light!
My father raised a bunch of kids that could always
boast a larger foot size than hat size. Or to put
it more succinctly, more brawn than brains, by far.
I have, since a I was a kid, been on the wrong end of
a shovel, mattock, or wheelbarrow, and have continued
to punish myself throughout my adulthood on one project
or another, most notably gardening in the last few years.
I have literally spent hours trying to get a single large
rock up into the back of a very tall 4X4 pickup because
it was flat, the right color and just the rock to go in
a certain spot around a pond. Never mind that there were
two ponds and the rocks were all flat and all
big. In fact in term of wages, I often wonder how
many man hours I wasted dragging those rocks in.
So after seeing how quickly and efficiently Andy can dispatch
stumps, rock, dirt, manure and whatever else, I no longer
volunteer to do things the hard way. It's nice to not
wobble to bed with your back so bent out of shape you
can't stand up straight, or creak out of bed in the morning
and attempt to get down stairs without doing it on all
There's nothing like taking evolution backwards....!
To get back to the point, we're trying to figure out how
to keep from doing things the hard way when it comes to
moving soil into the greenhouse. We can still get it down
there on the Bobcat, but getting if from there to the
inside is still undecided. It's tough enough that we don't
have the amount of manure we need, but we can get some
sand and I'll probably throw a few bales of peat moss
in there as well, and that's easy to transport.
There are lots of things that will take a year or
two to figure out for that greenhouse, especially since
I've never had one. I helped to run some commercial
ones when a teen, but that's not the same as having a
little home one. Although 12'X12' probably isn't that
little. I figure the biggest challenge is going to be
figuring out how to get bugs in there, most specifically
pollinators. There's only one door and that's on the cool,
north side. I don't think all that many bugs will come
in from there and while there'll be vents up high on the
gables, I think that's too high for bees. I'll plant a
few flowers dearly beloved by pollinating insects in with
the veggies next spring, but I still think we're going
to have to take one pane of glass out to get a direct
airflow that will draw bees and the like inside and put
it back when it cools in the fall.
I'm also not sure what will work for a soil mix inside
I love using manure for just about everything,
except veggies like potatoes that will go scabby in soil
that's too rich, but I don't know how well it will work
inside a greenhouse. I figure to mix in stuff that will
help to promote drainage as well as hold moisture but
I don't know which I'll need more with an automatic irrigation
system. For that matter, I still have to study on what
plants to put in there. Vine tomatoes and cucumbers will
take up less room, but I've never grown a vine tomato
in my life. Is the season long enough here and is
there enough sun?
You can have a greenhouse with all the heat you want in
this country, but without sunshine such as the kind of
summer we've had this year, you're not going to get much
fruit from a plant that takes a long time to mature. And
yes, I know, it's kind of jumping the gun planning this
far ahead with only concrete footings on the ground but
I'm pretty excited about the whole process anyway!
The back woods are still pretty moist since that
last rain and the heavy dews we've been getting.
Even though the trail is really wet in places, I'm not
seeing any tracks, yet there's loads of coyote scat around.
Like the grouse, they've been eating red soapberries from
the look of it. (I think the local natives used to make
Indian ice-cream from them and they were in such high
demand that they were traded to tribes in Bella Coola.)
We are definitely getting our squirrels back. It seemed
their numbers dropped drastically after the pine beetle
outbreak, or they were awfully quiet for a couple of years,
anyway. Maybe the squirrels were just buttoning up and
keeping their chattering down because of those hawks that
have been hanging around the area? Whatever the
reason, they're back in force! Maybe not to previous
numbers but what they lack in numbers they make up in
sound very easily. We've had several on the point this
fall driving the dogs nuts, way more than in the past
few years. Nothing like a squirrel giving you heck for
being in your own garden.
The chipmunks are what we've really seen increase
in number. We have one that raids the bird feeder
every day which may or many not be the same one that lives
outside the basement door in among the lumber and firewood
there. A month or so ago I had to open the basement door
and shoo out a chipmunk that I thought one of the cats
had drug in. It's just that he seemed to be remarkably
lively and unruffled to have been a cat toy. Actually,
he seemed pretty calm for a creature that was trapped
in a basement with a human and three cats nearby.
I'm guessing now that after moving into his new digs,
he came through the cat door by accident or while doing
some investigation. He's really tame so I'm assuming he
belongs to our neighbour that is ill and no longer here.
The free peanut butter and sunflower seeds dried up there
so he's come mooching to our place. But he's not the only
one. They're all over our property in every beetle killed
log pile we have, lumber and what not. I watched one the
other day that wanted to cross our driveway. He kept starting
out but Mocha was laying there and would perk up her ears.
As soon as I stepped out on the deck and Mocha turned
my way, he was gone like a shot across the driveway right
behind her. The chipmunks have definitely got the
dogs flummoxed around here. What's scary is that
they seem a lot brighter than our dogs too....
I've started a new week so you'll find last week's articles
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!