Monday, July 30, 2018

Meltdown by the tracks

July 29th

... wearing grandmother's silver necklace ...
Last night we went to the beach for a late night swim for some and fishing for others.

Betty had a meltdown by the tracks.

When we got out of the car she wanted to stay up there parallel to the railroad tracks and play.

Everyone else wanted to go down to the beach or directly to the water.

Only Betty thought this was a good idea.

She did a squat and then hugging her arms around her legs, and the biggest torrent of feelings came out of her in the form of a cry that involved lots of tears and lots of mucus.

I don’t know what brought her around eventually.

It may have been total control of the chip bag that was originally for sharing.
... midden bauble in hair ...

Later in the evening she asked if she could wear the necklace I had taken off and put in my bag.

I had used it when I dressed up to go into Canadian Tire in the afternoon and hadn’t taken it off yet.

I told Betty that she might not want to wear it long, for it was heavy.

So on it went along with a piece of bubble gum that she popped in her mouth.

Her dad told me I am never allowed to give them bubble gum again, and when I do, I can only give her one piece, though the older kids can have two.

As well, Betty was wearing the hair bauble from the Cabin 4 midden patch, the elasticity of the hair ornament long gone.

I put it in her hair, telling her that it would slip out since there was no elasticity in the band.

Having it slip out would have been true of any one else’s hair, but not of hers. The tight curls keep anything that is slipped into them there, and there, securely. Things almost of to be cut out of her hair.

I have been trying to say something different about the cabin, in this blog, since Doral likes to know what is going on every day.

... the size of one piece of bubble gum partially chewed ...
I don’t know if I said that 4 of the kitchen cabinet doors are up, and all other pieces of the cabinetry are in different stages of being finished. Some closer to the end than others.

Miranda’s goal was to get it finished before anyone arrived. That goal has been extended, I think.

As to the baby grass that I have been tending, Richard said it looks like a big chia patch.

I am taking that as a compliment.

I was thinking last night that if I started watering the roadside lawn, it might green up.

I might do that as a welcome mat for you for next weekend when I am eagerly waiting for your arrival, St Albert Johnsons.


Saturday, July 28, 2018

Dessert First

July 28, 2018

I woke from a nap and called Michael, Alice and Betty upstairs for ice cream: Tiger Tail or Bubble Gum. I found a new box of the President’s Choice Sugar Cones and they were so happy, since they know this is the giant of all cones. It wasn’t until I had the ice-cream in their hands that I could smell chicken cooking and I looked at the clock: 7:30 pm. I apologized to Miranda who was just coming into the room, for co-opting dinner.

She said, “Well, they probably wouldn’t have eaten it anyway.”

I made the kids promise not to tell anyone that they had dessert for supper and that their dessert was going to be poached chicken. They were fine with that, especially Betty who has know learned to dig down into the cone with her fingers to catch any ice-cream that her tongue misses. Plenty of ice cream made her appropriately full.  She just isn't ready to bite into the waffle cone yet.

I commanded all of the children to have a small plate for their chicken, since it was dessert. Michael refused, had a large plate and filled it with chicken.

Thirty minutes later they were eating a snack bar on their way down to the lake for the last swim of the evening. Bottomless. Their appetites are bottomless.

Richard, Kevin and Tara are arriving tonight. I went to the roadside bedroom and looked out of the window of the bedroom they will be sleeping in. Suddenly I knew I had to wash them, though I doubt it will make any difference to Kevin and Tara. I took down the blue and white striped curtains and scrubbed them with Naptha soap. While I was rinsing them I noticed that they are home made, someone using a fancy stitch to finish off the hems and to decorate the seams. This could have only been Bonnie McLoone. I let the curtains dry in the sun and then ironed them. While I was pressing the seams I was thinking about her work -- all this sewing. I also had Michael, Betty and Alice come to watch me iron, since this is a task that is new to them. They loved putting their hands on the warm fabric, taking turns, running in and out of the room.

The hem of the curtain is shorter than the windows now. 

I love seeing the curtains up.

I give myself a C+ on washing the windows, since I only had time to do one of the two sets of windows in that room.

A job for the next person who sleeps there.

If they care.


Friday, July 27, 2018

Dash the Cat Strikes

We went to the Bulk Barn, buying a treat for the day. 
The children choose OKDOKEE bubble gum.
You have to eat all of this candy down to the centre to get your bubble gum.
Alice is very mad at Michael for he has sharper teeth and so has bitten down more layers.
She only licks her treasure and it is going to take a long time to get to the centre that way.
The power on Michaels cheeks is residue from that huge gob of bubble gum.

Betty's knee shows her scratches from Dash, the cat.
I spoke with Miranda again about the work she is doing on the cupboards.

There was a coat of finish last night, one this morning, one at noon and that will finish them off.

I saw her sanding down some of the finer points this morning.

In the same moment I heard Michael crying and now sitting on a lawn chair.

Betty with bubble gum residue on her mouth.
He had been running and landed on his side, his arm and his leg. Betty was also crying, coming down the road, and blood on her knee.

I looked and it was an old scab from where the cat had scratched her that was open again.

All of this made me think of the difficulty of doing work and how mothers can keep up with many jobs at the same time.

I let Alice take her first try at watering the grass last night.

Ramen noodles on their way to Alice's mouth.
I admit to admiring the gentle sway of the noodle 
held between her two hands.
She is not quite as enamoured with the water as Michael is.

She did want to test out the functions of the nozzle: soaker, horizontal, flat, spray, mist and jet.

As I was watering last night I noticed that all of the trees that are just at the window on the west side of the house, that had been cut down when the men were roofing, were trying to come back.

Some of the willows were already three feet high, so I took the clippers and went at them.

Betty shows me her bubble gum.
Michael came out in his pyjamas to help me.

He likes the fact that I go down low and find the most bottom part of the twig for him.

I like the company and his idle chatter, telling me about the cat and how dangerous it is to ever have a door open and let her out.

I reply that I would fear having an eagle swoop down and pick her up and he agrees.

Michael showing how noodles can be slurped.
Dash, the cat, did catch 2 mice the night before in the cabin.

I know for Miranda had to clean up what was left. I asked if that little domesticated feline knew that she should eat her catch, since I know her as a house cat. Miranda replied yes.

Concerning the watering of the small patch of grass in front of the cabin? I continue to monitor it, today focusing on spots of earth where the seeds didn’t catch.

I reseeded but first flipped off anything that has surface there as I have watered.

Betty, eating her noodles sideways.
I am always curious about what will surface after a few waterings: the dinner knife from a kitchen surface laying flat, just a hair’s breath under the earth; a hair elastic that has bobbles at each end of it; a rusty, fluted pop bottle cap; the white striated plastic cap from a tube of tooth paste; 2 inches of a the flexible curve of a drinking straw; a child’s four wheeled car, the wheels stuck to the chaise with dirt.

All detritus now.


Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Cabinets

... my long shot of the cabinets ...
... my close up of the cabinets ...
Alice's purse
I knotted the top to shorten the strap for her.
Miranda moved the folding tables into the garage, laid out the cabin cabinets, stained them front and back and is waiting until tomorrow to put on the last coat which will take 24 hours to dry.

I am sorry that so much work can be compressed into one sentence.

As for me, I remain obsessed with watering the new grass and clearing the brush from the play area.

I think what is driving me is that I believe Richard will take the tree limbs I have been putting in a pile, and take them down to the burn area.

I want to get as much as I can into the burn pile.

But if that were true I would work faster on the big items and leave the little ones behind.

Instead,  I pull on an Oregon Grape plant, and then decide to find the mother root and end up pulling long roots out of the ground … like chasing something down a rabbit hole.

Still I am happy and persist.

I told Miranda today that I am having so much fun with her children.

Betty is malleable when it comes to singing. If I pull out the Sally Go Round the Sun book she will sit and sing, longer than I have time to do that task.

Still I sit and sing.

I am accustomed to having a piano nearby.

Failing that, the Solfah method is still available to me.

Thank goodness I haven’t forgotten that.

No songs in this book ever change key so I keep learning new ones. She will sing forever. Sweet.
... Alice on the rope swing ...
Michael and Betty waiting behind for their turns

... my heart is always in my mouth when they swing out ...

When I was at the thrift store in the spring, I saw a rattan purse with beads on the chorded strap.

I wondered if a little girl would like to carry this around. I hung a small stuffie on the zipper. Alice walks around with the purse on her shoulder so many times that I feel embarrassed that I didn’t spend more for it.

I looked in the purse tonight.

What I saw really made me laugh: sun glasses, a ball point pen shaped like a carrot, a balloon, some jewellery she bought at the dollar store, a small container of hand lotion that Kalina gave her for her birthday, a bumble bee finger puppet and some Kleenex.

Curious what is precious to a child. Tonight she saw a yellow silk Chinese change purse that was in my jewellery chest. First she asked me how to open and close it.  Then she asked for it. Why would I say no.  I thought it would go in her purse, but no, she put it in her jewellery chest.  No real concept about money yet.

When I tell Michael that he must keep his foot
in the loop at the end of the yellow rope,
he launches with it there
and then takes it out as he swings.

Oh well.
That is about my day, Doral. I couldn’t decouple the hoses. 

I have three hoses strung together to make it over to your cabin.

But that takes up my only outlet and I can't get to my own flower beds.

 I need some water to the compost as well.

I came to the realization that you have water on your own lot – running water. I am going to hook two of the hoses up there and use the third to start soaking the ground around my perennials.

I am having the good life.


Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Cabin on Lot 4

... playing in the new cabin ...
July 24, 2018

In the spirit of continuing to report on what is going on in the Johnson Cabin, tonight there is a sleep-over in the cabin.

Miranda left my house with 3 children, 4 art books and some pencil crayons.

The children are keeping journals by drawing a picture every night of something that happened in their day.

I walked over with them to water the new grass again.

I was thinking of getting down on the ground and looking at that space from a side view instead of down on it, for Glen showed me that by doing this, you can see the beginnings of seeds as that first little piece of green pokes up through the ground.

Then I thought a big no. Too hard for me to get up and besides, the ground was already wet so why would I do that. As I put the hose down, Alice knocked on the window from the cabin and then came out on the porch. “Grandmother, you are getting water on our windows.”

... the look of the unfinished kitchen ...
... another small miracle ...
“Thanks, Alice. I will keep the hose lower tomorrow.”

“Hey, look at the green. You have grass!”

Well, that was a surprise to me.

She was right.

There is a gentle wash of green over the clay and sand. I have been focused on the large pebbles and small stones that I didn’t remove from the area.  I could only see the small bits of paper and the twigs that I didn’t remove, and on the quack grass growing.

I didn’t see the green seedlings that are beginning to show through the earth.

My next task over at the Johnson Cabin is the  play area.  I want to take out the flowering dog wood and rake the lawn to pull off the debris that landed there when the larger trees were dragged out.

... fish caught by smaller nets and in a bucket ...
... these are also catch and release fish ...
On other notes, Miranda and her goslings go down to the lake early each morning, hoping to catch a fish. They have 2 fishing rods that can cast.

Dave Card and his son Caleb came for a 2 day visit.

Michael gave Caleb a turn on the rod.

Three casts from Caleb and a fish bit. Another 10 inch Northern Pike bites the dust.

... waiting for a fish to bite ...
Michael has been casting in that spot for hours with no bites. The randomness of when a fish bite’s cannot be predicted.

And now back to the Johnson Cabin. When I went in this morning, I noticed that Miranda has stained the box of the kitchen cabinets and I think she is ready to put the doors back on.

“I have spent an incredible amount of time on those cabinets and I think it is time to call it quits,” she said to me tonight.


Nursing Mothers

Part 1:  Some thoughts on the recent news about a Stake President denying a nursing mom a Temple Recommend.

When I see an issue like this being discussed on social media I like to go out searching more to see what people are saying.  I search a bit through Sisters Quorum and Mormon Feminist Housewives to see how American Feminists are taking this issue on.  I always come across thoughtful dialogue and sometimes raging comments to the posts in the comment section.

I began to reflect on my own experience: a conversation I had with an old friend in Edmonton many years ago.  She told me that "in the old days" mothers used to nurse their babies in church, and there was no problem.  They opened up their dresses and nursed their children, the breast fully visible, the sacrament tray passing by them, no problem.

Then mothers were asked to sit on the back row of the chapel and nurse their babies.  The deacons passed the sacrament to them back there.  We both wondered what is the difference between having the sacrament tray pass by a nursing mother on a pew, and having all of the mothers at the back of the chapel and having the deacons pass the sacrament to them.

At any rate, the next step was mothers were asked to nurse their babies behind the curtain that separated the chapel from the recreational hall.  You could hear behind that curtain.  It was cloth, not the vinyl push and fold curtains of today.  So women were behind the curtain, they could hear and the deacons circled out of the chapel, and passed the sacrament to them in the recreation hall.

Now I have to skip a few generations, long past when my children were grown, and a woman came to me upset, because the new chapel would not have a place for nursing mothers.  They were to go nurse their babies in the women's washroom.  "No one eats their meal in a bathroom.  Why should a baby?", she asked me.  She wanted to know what to do.  I don't know which of the actions she took, or if any, but when the chapel was built, there was a room created for nursing mothers.  Not a victory in the sense that women are asking for today, but at least a room of their own, and probably with the meeting being piped in electronically.

So if I can go back now to to the Exponent II website, I was curious about the picture they chose to accompany this issue.  One of the many figures in the painting is a nursing mother, leaning against a wagon wheel, everyone going about their journey and no one really curious about her.  No one getting a pillow for her back, or giving her a seat in a wagon, or providing any comforts for her.  No drink of water at hand.  She has taken off her bonnet and is feeding her baby.  That must be the point of the picture, that the band of saints are travelling on, and she is in their company, feeding her child.

So there it is, not a new issue.

My daughter Rebecca Johnson was kicked out of a pub in England for nursing her baby some years ago and wrote a public essay about her experience.  So the problem is not just a Mormon problem.  But in this case, it is a Mormon experience that needs to have some dialogue.

Part 2:  How to agitate for change?

So the question is, what to do, and do the American feminists need our help. Probably not.  They are a powerful group. 

Thinking about whether or not American feminists need our help and support, I started thinking about how to be successful if we do choose to be activists.

I saw the Exponent Essay is asking women to write to the general authorities, the women who have positions on general boards of the church.  So, there is a little dark humour in me, for I am sure that in the past, someone would have corrected me if I had called these women general authorities.  My best guess is that someone would have told me, only men can be general authorities.  But I give the writer of the essay a salute for acknowledging that these women are general, rather than local authorities.

But will the stamps we put on the letters to them be worth the postage.  The past has shown us that these issues are not taken to the women for discussion (I am not footnoting a blog post, but in this respect see what Cheiko had to say on this point.  In her case, the decision was made before they even came to the women.)  So if we can rely on past experience, we are going to be wasting our money, writing to female general authorities.

I am at an intellectual impasse.

If we write letters to the general authorities, those letters are sent back to us, asking us to go to our local authorities.  I tried this with the Joseph L. Bishop fiasco, and have talked to my home teacher and bishop, but didn't get a visit with my stake president, whom I cc-ed, but from whom I didn't get a written response.

There could not be two more genuine, kind and thoughtful men than these my bishop and my home teacher, but what I couldn't get across in my letter to them is that I need something to be done, either at the general authority level, or at middle management level about the care of the woman that J.L. Bishop raped.  There just is no getting at that specific point.  What do I want?  I want the church to settle with her and let her begin to heal.  I want something specific to happen. She has a suit against them.  Just settle with her.   I don't want assurances that "things" are going to change.  Just do what is right by her.

So what does this have to do with the nursing mothers being denied temple recommends?  Well, I think maybe the post by Sam Young where he tells people to get in touch with an apostle?  That might work.

If people ask their bishop to ask their stake president, to ask their area leader, to ask their seventy, to ask to speak to an apostle?  That seems to be the only way to speak to the general authorities on any issue.

To be clear, now. What is it that I want?

I want a place on the pews for all of us and that includes nursing mothers.

How to get that? Turmoil on social media? I don't want to believe that is the only solution.  Any of you have any ideas you want to share?

July 25, 2018

And here is an addendum to the post above


Proof that there is a sunny beach

Shady Beach
Bonnie sent me 3 pictures, proof that when the sun shines on the Ramp Camp, there is shade at the Shady Beach.

As you look at the pictures, I will just chat.

As Bonnie, Glen and I were working on the Shady Camp (that would be gathering the brush and putting it on a tarp so that Glen could carry it down to the burn pile) I stopped at a large area of ash from a former fire pit. 

I asked Glen what I was to do with this ash, since it is right on the path, and while adults go around the ash, children step in it, and the curious ones stop and stomp in it.

He said that he was thinking of putting it in a wheel barrow and then digging a large hole and dumping it in the ash hole.

long shot of Shady Beach
Glen's head is just to the left of the Douglas Fir that towers in the middle of this picture
That made Bonnie and Glen laugh. 

I was focused on the literal way of getting that trash away and didn't know why they were laughing. 

He said it was a reference to an old joke that Doral used to tell.

Now a couple of times I have heard Glen tell another old joke of Doral's which I remember. 

The second joke of Dora's which Glen has referenced a couple of times this week goes like this:what is it that men do standing up, women do sitting down and dogs do on three legs? 

Ramp Camp (Sunny Beach)
Ah, sweet blistering sun at the Ramp Camp
Sun all the way down
There is a long pause.

Few people will take a guess at the answer to this joke, the answer to which you will find at the bottom of the page.

The other joke around the clean-up here is how do you catch an elephant? 

The answer is, dig a large hole, build a big fire in it, wait until the fire dies down and there are plenty of ashes there, and then an elephant will come along and look down.  At that point, kick the elephant in the ash hole.

A potty mouth humour joke. 

I know.

One I would hardly share with my grandchildren. 

And I don't even remember Doral telling that one, but Glen does.

Well, now I have chatted enough that  you can see the difference in shade between pictures 1 and 2 (Shady Beach) and picture 3, Ramp Camp, all pictures taken at the same time of day. 

Two very shady spaces, and one brilliant with sun, since it is taken just after crossing the railroad track and before descending that small road to the beach. 

Look how much sun there is on the road, and by extension the beach below the road which only barely shows up for those who can spot the concrete ramp.  The people are the beach are only blurry figures.  The sun is shinning everywhere -- no shade.  No shade under the old apple tree and that little cherry tree on the right has barely taken off with its rooting.

Well, I am at the bottom of the page now, so ... the answer to what is it the men do standing up, women do sitting down and dogs do on three legs is .... shake hands.

Such a bad joke.


Monday, July 23, 2018

Breaking in the Shady Beach

"Get a handful of twigs this size."
Many things are new at the Shady Beach.

We have a fire ring and places to sit around the fire – a two seater chair (I think a remnant from the old bowling alley) and a log that has been rolled in place.

Glen came early to whittle hot dog sticks and to make the fire.

He sent Richard’s children out to collect small twigs (only as big as their fingers) for starter kindling and then accepted bigger sticks from around the area.

“Do you know what three things it takes to build a fire?” he asked.

“Heat, fuel and oxygen.”

They seemed to know the answer.

The only problem he had was the kids over feeding the fire.

"Put some small ones way, way down at the very bottom of the pit."
They were ready to throw all of the sticks and the logs in the forest.

The Bates sent down tables for food.

We used logs for the appetizer section.

Deer meet sausage was available as well as regular hot dogs.

There were salads and desserts and beverages for all.

Children ran to the water and played.

"Get the lighter down low."
Adults chatted with one another.

I didn’t count how many people were there – maybe 40 of us.

What I could see is that the area could accommodate 80 people and still not be crowded.

And vehicles can drive down and find parking.

Glen and Connor made a step the goes right through one of the logs: 2 steps up and 2 steps down.

If you please, you can go around the log.

"Add a few more sticks."
"We have to get this going before the crowd arrives."
The next day as I was sitting in the area, Art Treleaven walked through.

I saw Glen ask him for help with a rock, and then Greg went over to assist.

I was confused at what they might be doing since I couldn’t imagine the destination for a rock being rolled uphill.

I saw Glen settle the boulder down a few times, checking that it was flat.

Then he put a handsized rock on the boulder, walked 8 paces away, turned and threw the rock in his hand, hitting the one on the boulder squarely and knocking it off.


A roaring fire and no one knows how much work it was.
Now the beach is set up for Duck on a Rock (a medieval children’s game).

Appetizers on a log and in a wash tub.
The area between the Shady Beach and the Ramp Camp has been cleared, a new bridge going over the stream, and an old willow, now dead and bending to the earth was cut – leaving a side chair should someone want to sit by the stream and read. I am going to pull some of the brush out of there tomorrow.

What is a fitbit for, if not to rack up steps while doing a little work.



Glen whittling willow sticks to roast hot dogs with.

LtR: Lurene, Wyona, Betty, Miranda, Zach, Adam, Glen, Laynie, Moiya, CelesteThe log in front of this line of people is the log that has a step cut through it.  I don't think the picture makes it that clear, but the steps are the beige colour through the middle of the log.  Glen is right at the center of the step, so at the point where he is standing, imagine the log to come straight through and you will see how high that log is that we had to either go around or roll over.

Moiya and Wyona cutting buns from Askews.

Eating them is the next best thing to home-made.

... little groups of everyone beside the fire ...

Salad with the famous Citrous Dressing

Bonnie Wyora and Zoe swimming
... unidentified swimmers on blue dock ...
... roasting our dinner ...

And a Happy Time was Had By All

Shady Beach Duty

.. Glen called time out from working for a drink of water ...
I was on Shady Beach Duty today.

LaRue owns the lease for the CPR land at this spot.

It is the area that we use as a driveway that parallels the track, a lovely spot, one that we need for shade, now that the old apple tree was cut down.

For some time boaters from Sicamous have come to Annis Bay, enjoying this spot.

Of course, the boaters are welcome to any spot on the beach, but fifty feet of the land from the tracks is owned by the CPR and LaRue owns the rest to high water.

Those are the pieces of land that we are tending.

I went down to do a little work there this morning.

Glen came after he had finished his bike ride with Connor and Nicco (Richard’s old boarder) along the top of Larch Hills.

The Johnson baby-trio were there doing some pushing and shoving about whose turn it was to be on the yellow rope swing.

three of the five boats lined up 
along the beach area can be seen here

as well, Glen is holding the new well-loved
beach driftwood Gandolph staff

I am still at rest.
Glen told Michael, Alice and Betty to ask their mother about the Golden Rule, something they told him, they haven’t heard about yet. I don’t know what she told them, but they came back to the yellow rope swing, ready to take just one turn each and go to the back of the line.

When no other child is there, I might let them ride the swing forever. They think uninterrupted (for them) swingtime should also happen, even when there is a line-up. So we practiced -- one turn each – swing out, swing in , grandmother grab the rope and hold it so it doesn’t accidently go out again, and then go to the back of the line.

I had been clearing the Oregon Grape Berry bushes from the path this morning, making it easy for adults to get to the swing. Children just scramble over the logs, across a plank bridge and scramble up the side of the cliff. Glen was carrying tarps full of debris away. Bonnie Wyora joined us with clippers and a rake, laughing at what she found around one tree trunk in her pseudo archeological dig around it.

Photo: Bonnie Johnson

a random artful feather
She said if she had something precious as a child, or even know and didn’t know what to do with it, she would put it down close to the trunk of a tree to keep it safe. Now she was getting to uncover the treasures of other people who thought that way.

Glen slowed me down a bit on the area around the swing, pointing out that there are some other areas that also need help. And that I could leave a bit of vegetation under the trees. And besides, he said, 2 men are going to come into this space with pick axes and in a couple of hours, level this off enough for one large tent. Hearing this, Bonnie was quick to offer her 10 person tent and her hammocks. We walked to the left in the thicket, to just the right place for the hammocks, Glen pointed out, – no blocking the path through the forest that others will take through there.

Glen pointed to a low blue rope around a tree saying that the rope is killing the tree. He took it off and sure enough since the rope was placed on the tree, the circumference of the tree had grown and the rope had cut way into the bark. There was a long log across 2 trees, and other camps used to put a tarp up there to keep themselves out of the rain. Now only the log is left and the ropes high in two trees. So that will be a job for tomorrow. No use destroying the tall, tall Douglas firs because of our ignorance or maybe our lack of respect for the tree.

Finding old copper and black coloured tin cans, so rusted that the sides break away when I pick them up, or a telegraph wire anchored into the ground, transmittors half broken and the wire very hard to pull up, I began to think of how many people must have been in this spot. Glen said if we dug much deeper at that spot, we will uncover a midden of items and that perhaps we should leave well enough alone.


The word was only partially familiar to me. That is, I could spell it but I didn’t know what it meant. I told him, good job, throwing a word into the conversation that I couldn’t bring up a definition for. He started with, on the coast the Indigenous people would eat and leave the shells behind which would build up ….

Later on in the day, and tired, I laid down on the beach for a rest, wondering aloud about Indigenous legends concerning the cedar and the Douglas fir tree. I couldn’t remember which of them is a clumsy but kind and friendly giant who used to walk around accidentally knocking people and things away, now turned into a tree. I am sure it is the tree with the roots which reach out and knock people over as they walk through the woods today, or at least that is the truth of that legend.

And the tree also remains kind, giving people its bark for hats, clothing and blankets, its wood for canoes, its soft branches to lay on. “It must have been the cedar tree”, I said to Glen. He replied, “The tree that we just cleaned up to be a walking log for the children is driftwood cedar. Look at its roots.” If any of my readers come to visit the beach, they will have to look at those roots. Odd. Still giving today in the form of a log walk for children practicing balance.

I laid on my back, looking up the at the boles (a forester’s word for the trunk of a tree). The green boughs of the tree hung gracefully, the russet coloured wood of their branches bowed gently up to the sky, the bright light of the sun filtered out by the needles of the tree.

Boaters from the Sicamous condos, who sometimes use this beach, had been coming straight to the beach, then slowing down, noticing the 2 new docks in the water and the black and yellow No Trespassing sign on the tree. They slowed down and cruised back and forth, looking for a new space, the first one siding up to the high pile of rocks that marks the end of the shady beach. Then dropping anchor there. “They are surprised that the area behind the beach is now inhabited”, Glen said, “as well as surprised at the new docks”.

As the day progressed, other boats joined the first one, lining up, dropping anchor, but no one ever getting off a boat, nor none of the beautiful wake board boats ever taking their riders for a ski. Just sitting there in the sun, occasionally riding out a way on a floatie and then back to their boat. By the end of the day 8 boats were there – three by the willow at the sandy beach and 5 lined up just to the left of our docks, their anchors dropped.

“Those anchors aren’t really heavy enough to keep the boats steady against the current of the water,” said Glen. “The boats will eventually slide down closer to our dock until they will have to start up their motors and move back a bit.”

A little later Glen was still sitting right beside me as I lay resting and I heard Glen shout, “Which is your boat? I am going to climb on it and jump off. If you jump off of my dock, I want to jump off of your boat.  Which one is it?”

“Hey, I was just going to jump off of the dock,” said the man who had swum over and put his beer on the edge of the platform.

“Well, I just want to jump off of your boat. Which one is it?”

“Fair enough”, said the man taking his beer and swimming back to his boat.

Janet Pilling and her friend, Tanya, on paddle boards
Janet and her friend, Tania, came later to go out on their paddle boards. Tania’s is a new, deluxe paddle board, purchased for her by Patrick, her husband. She is steady and sure on the paddle board, jumping off and on at will. Janet is also steady. We have 2 paddle boards at the beach and only one paddle, so Janet’s paddle really works for her, for she always has access to a board. The woman go out further than we let the children go. “I wish she would wear her life jacket”, her husband says. She makes me wear my helmet when I quad.” “Is it the law to wear your helmet?”, I ask. “Yes,” he says.

Dave Card arrives with his son, Caleb. They bring a coleman stove and a pot to the beach, preparing to make instant soup for supper and stay over for the night. Miranda has been trying to light a fire with a magnifying glass. The camp fire. She positions the sun on a piece of bark. Just as it seems as though it will ignite, someone walks through the field of the sun and the light goes out. She tries three times.

On the fourth time, it is I who walk through and ruined the experiment. She continues to try, this time on a piece of bark in the fire rim. Still no hit. I wonder if 2 magnifying glasses would be help, for I notice that we have three at the house. Dave Card is beside her, now with fuel and as I walk away, I notice the fire is going.

The children are elated, thinking she has started the fire with the magnifying glass. She has said to me, “Well, I don’t have to worry, giving this magnifying glass to any of the children that they might start a fire. It just isn’t going to happen.”

Well, not the end of my day, but the end of my typing.


Shady Beach BBQ

Yesterday Laynie and Miranda thought a BBQ at the beach would be a good way to gather everyone together to celebrate the new look of the shady beach.

Around noon families began to arrive with their cars full of food.

The hexagonal Bates table was brought to the area, as well as two large oval tables to hold food.

A long log was the appetizer site, packages of chips lines up so that people could identify which kind of salty potato offering to take next.

The area around the new “step over the log” has been lines with stones and filled in with pebbles. Deck chairs were artfully placed around the campfire which was now in full blaze.

There was rain last night so the morning was cool, most of us wearing a jacket until about noon.

But not the children. They went right to the water, and some swam out to the new buoy marked Lot 12 – thank you, Marcia and Art. Others headed for the blue dock which sports a brand new aluminum ladder so people can get up on it with ease. Glen and Laynie took measurements for that ladder, went to town to buy it, installed it, and are looking for feedback. Is it better than the old ladder, or the same?

Connor has donated a yellow rope, now repurposed into a swing from a high branch of a Douglas Fire.

Glen knotted the rope , starting with a rope just at Landon’s height, then adding more knots for taller people who want to swing from a bank, over an open beach.

A call went out to those who really know their knots for a special one at the end of the rope for a foot. Greg knew the way to tye that knot.

For him it came with a song about a rabbit, having the rabbit home out of a hole, loop around a string and go back into the hole. He tied it perfectly. Just not exactly where Glen wanted it.

On the second tying of the knot, Glen just had to test the rope for strength. So out he went, swinging from the bank toward the water and then back.

The line-up for the rope swing began: Alice, Landon, Michael, Kalina, and Zoe. Well, to begin with, Glen took the first try on it, testing out the strength of the branch, wondering if it would hold. His enthusiasm for his swing was mirrored in other who followed. Michael swung out and back, next, not with a cautious first swing, but with a bold and determined swing as he had seen Glen make. Other children followed in the same manner. Hard for parenting adults not to have a certain amount of fear, manifest in tension in their own bodies when they see their children doing this. Glen went back into the forest to clean out the brush around the swing with the chain saw, others coming forward to take the limbs and saplings over to the beach burn pile.

Whenever I hear the chain saw, I search out its location. I want to know what the next vision is as we tidy up the Shady Camp area. There is a marker at that end of the beach: two tall concrete pylons. While I was in that area Glen told me he thought they might be a location of a shake mill. I know that in this area there was also a landing for logs that had been pulled out of the push and were going off to market via a boom in the water. Perhaps that is further down the beach. Glen said he knew leveling had been done in this area at some point. I couldn’t tell, but he stopped the buzz of the chain saw long enough to show me that the slope of the land gave that away. Glen was creating a small space for Connor where he can keep his trailer. There is too much temptation to steal fishing gear when it is left in the fishing boat in full view of other boaters who might ride by. Someday someone might think that the space where the trailer is was just “there”. We laugh all of the time at the misunderstanding that the “now” look is primitive nature to someone who just passes by. No, this is nature, groomed and tended, I laugh. Already hundreds of hours invested in making the railroad lease area. Hundreds of invisible,loving hours donated from Laynie, Connor, Glen, and Miranda.


Sunday, July 22, 2018

Singing Around the Campfire

Michael and Oscar on the log, far left
Autumn and Dafne, middle and at the back
One evening, just as Michael and Alice and I were leaving the beach, the Wood family were beginning to cook s’mores over an open campfire.

They invited us to stay.

There is nothing like the feeling of inclusion, sitting on a log, holding a s’more that has the combined smell of chocolate and marshmallow close at hand, and watching how another family negotiates evening fun.

... the big red cooler / every large family should have one ...
To me, the best part of the evening was when when Dan Wood started to sing family songs and other joined in.

“I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” was not familiar to most of the people there 

Odd, since the train would probably pass by us at least 3 times as we sat singing.

But of course it makes sense.  The grandchildren in this group are ages 13 to 3 -- all 17 of them.

The hit song of the night was a suggestion from Brandon Vaugh,  “Throw it/him/them out the window…”.

I had forgotten that song.

Sing or say any nursery rhyme, and when you get to an appropriate break sing, “throw it out the window / the second story window / if you can’t sing a rhyme / and do it in time then / throw it out the window.

"Do you mind if I take your picture?"
The best part of the song to me was going around the circle, and as it was everyone’s turn, the whole group would swing their bodies and their arms toward the participant as it was their turn to sing.

This made Michael nervous.

He walked to the back of the circle and pulled up a chair behind Dan.

As the singing came full circle back to Dan, he had the group all point to Michael who was on the spot now and came up with a rhyme.
No, we don't mind.  Go ahead.
In the variation of this song that the Woods were using, it is OK to say any part of the rhyme that you know, or anything about its story and someone in the group can start singing the rhyme and knows the words.

Autumn knew a wonderful call and response song about a Moose. She sings a line, you sing it after her. I am going to track that song down and learn it for future campfires. We also sang “The Bear Went Over the Mountain” which had a residual effect on Michael.

He could spot a bear behind every bush as we left the campfire and made our way home.


Before and After Look

Glen felling trees / the extension ladder far right
More for the "Before and After" look at the beach

The "after" look will be in subsequent posts.  Here is the look of this space when I got down there.

Much work had already been done.

There was a big burn pile by the waters edge.

Laynie had pulled out of the forest, what Glen had been cutting down.

The Douglas Firs still towered high in the sky.

Together, Glen and Laynie were looking for a space for a swing.
Piper in her water safety vest

The children played in the sand.

"Cover me with a towel, please, grandmother."
They have no idea of how much work is going on at the beach, essentially for them.

I couldn't maintain the work pace, for the bar is set high with Glen, Connor and Laynie.

I am tired.  I can still lay down on a hard surface and go to sleep in about 30 seconds, so I take advantage of that skill, and find a place on the sand.

This works for me and I sleep for two hours.

When I wake up, Betty wants to test out my space.  I am fine with that.


Working on a new vision

Connor and Glen Pilling

Cutting out a step through a log for easier beach access
On Preparing the Shady Camp

July 20, 2018

I was in the Slacker Zone this morning. I had watered the new grass and thought I would rake out the area under the slacker line, for after cutting out some of the boxwood, there were still rough roots that some who falls off the line might hit. I came upon a stump I could not work out with my pitch fork. While thinking that I would move on and leave it until someone came who could tug on it harder than I could, I heard Glen’s voice calling, “Hello. Can I borrow your extension ladder?” I asked what job he was doing.

“Cleaning the garbage out of the second large camping area, the one that gives shade. My main purpose is to put up a No Tresspassing sign there, for people have been coming in, camping and leaving their garbage there.”

“Fine. Can I bring the kids and come along?”

“Feel under no obligation. I am not asking for help. You don’t need to come.”

“But I want to.”

Betty, Alice and I pulled the red wagon along the lakeside road of the railroad tracks and joined Landon, Piper, Connor and Glen.

Piper Hicks picking up precious beach-worn glass
to give to her grandmother as a gift.
By the time we got there a lot of work had been done. A huge pile of garbage from under the trees was now in a pile. Actually two piles of garbage, one to the left of me and one to the right. Laynie was pulling trees out of the forest that Glen had already felled. She was stacking them by the side of the water so that we can burn them in the fall. She said that there would be an open work policy. Do whatever you wish to clean the beach. Piper was busy collecting all of the beautiful broken glass, the greens, the browns, the blues, the clear glass. She was putting it in a pile to give to her grandmother.

The wish list already made before Miranda and I got there:

1. Providing shade – This was one of the major reasons for cleaning the camp up. The beach has been virtually inaccessible between 11 am and 5 pm because of the extreme heat with no shade except that provided by umbrellas for those who can stay under them. Laynie had watched her kids in only partial shade over there and had sunburns on the tops of her feet. We checked as we worked to see when it would become too hot in this spot. At 1 pm we were still working in the shade. Then the afternoon moved on and when early evening came there was still lots of shade back in the trees. This is a perfect place for the family where the mom likes to watch kids from the shade. And the beach is beautiful. The only drawback is no cement boat launching pad to use to walk into the water with. I have a pair of beach shoes from Trish and Jack which are working for me in this new spot.

2. A place for a swing: we have a ladder from the Slacker Line Kit which we can’t seem to find a place for on Lot 4. So either this ladder or a bigger tire swing when available would really work on one of the limbs of the Douglas Forest Tree that is at the edge of this camp. The tree towers above everything else and there is a tall limb there that screams out ladder or swing.

... making a sand castle with a bucket ...
3. Steps over the large log that was prohibiting easy access to the beach: this was accomplished when Glen took a chain saw and cut out a piece that would make a step.

Seeing it was too tall for me, he made two other steps, one up and one down, that I can negotiate.

Then Glen and Connor did in-fill with gravel and sand to make this a lovely place all of us began to use.

... Glen, using the chain saw, to remove
sharp edges from the log children walk on ....
4. Transformation of a long piece of drift wood that the children were already walking on, into a safe long piece, since the scars of tree limbs long gone are still on the main trunk.

Glen clipped off the knobs that would tear at the skin of little people who fell off and he cut off a jilldarm, he said.

I asked him how to spell that.

He said he didn’t know. It was not the long branch that went perpendicular to the trunk.  It was the tiny pokes left in the ground that foresters trip over.

Google didn’t help me with a definition.

... Miranda capturing children able to play in the shade ...
5. Placement of a No Trespassing Sign / Private Signs – Glen is torn over putting these signs up. LaRue leases the land along the railroad track, along which we drive to access this space.

Formerly, this space has been available to all. 

On my recent trip there a couple of weeks ago, I pulled garbage out to the beach that had been left back in the trees: a broken lounge chaise, assorted plastic water toys/mattresses, water wings, bags of plastic cups. I was wondering if I should ask Dave to come down and get the rubbish, but it seems unfair to ask him to always hall away trash that belongs to others.

6. Disposal of a long 2 “ rusty chain that is a hazard to children. The metal chain/rope is buried deep in the sand. Connor worked for a long time digging it out of the shoreline. It was too deep for him to succeeded.

... one pile of trash left by
 thoughtless campers at this spot ...
7. Final placement of the blue dock with its anchor and newly purchased ladder for easier access. It only makes sense to put it down the beach, some yards away from the long dock we now use.

8. Moving the fire pit down to the beach area, instead of having it in the trees – a fire precaution.

9. A map for children that lets them know the lovely places along the beach.

From left to right while looking at the water?

The Willow Beach, The Healing Circling, The Ramp Camp, the Little Canadian Stream, the Shady Camp, an unnamed stream which is now only 3 small trickles of water, the Sandy Beach, and the 49 Sign on the Railroad. That is going to be a map drawn by many children.

 Like the "woods" in The Adventure of Christopher Robin, perhaps?

... signs to go up on trees ...
I wanted to also take a walk/swim to the 49 Sign so that I could see if it was still there, since I remember my dad pointing out to me that the property is some yards to the west of that sign. Bonnie and I did that with Michael, Alice and Amir. Amir walked when he got to the stream before Sandy Beach. All three of us ran into a number of huge boulders that are on the projection before Sandy Beach – all with hurts to different parts of our bodies.

Swimmers beware at this point.

... campfire up in trees ...

... time for fire safety and get this
campfire out of the woods and onto the beach ...
At the 49 sign on the railway I stop.

What does that mean?

49 miles to where?


I can hear my dad pointing to that sign and saying, “The property ends here,” and with a sweep of his right arm and a drip of his right wrist, he points out the exact place to me. My best guess is halfway through Sandy Beach, though I have no idea.

... learning to balance on the log ...
LtoR:Michael (6), Alice (4), Landon (7 )Betty (3)
I told Bonnie that Glen might have a better idea of where it is, but if I ask he would probably say, “Who cares. We have no neighbours from there to the outskirts of Sicamous, and no neighbours east going up Larch Hills.”

Yes, who cares since all of us are only caretakers.