Friday, August 24, 2018

Duct Tape Jeans

Rebecca says I should be hanging out with a younger crowd. 

Like the 14 year olds, she said.

I was in the act of putting repairing the rip in my work jeans with duct tape when she made her comment.

I got the idea from Charlene McClung.

Now I have to go test the repair job and see if it really works.

I think it is really, really going to work and be far less air-conditioned than it was before.


(Writer's Note:  The duct tape only lasted 3/4 of one weeding session.  Duct tape as a tool for mending only gets a 75% rating. That it, it last only about 1 3/4 hours before ripping out.  So, good for a quick fix.  But it won't save those jeans.)

Roof going on the Lot 5 Cabin

When we were putting the roof on the cabin on Lot 4, Anita Johnson was in Edmonton
and wanting to follow along as the work was done.

So here is the report for the roof work on Lot 5.
Here Marina is out doing some measuring while others
are up on the roof, working on the shingling.

I came around the corner of the truck and I was as surprised
to see her kneeling on the ground, as she was surprised to see me with my camera.

Ryan, Dan Wood's nephew on Marina's side
is on the roof with Dan.

I think I can see the reflection of Dave Wood
on the porch of the house, doing some cutting.

Dave was climbing the ladder and asked me if I remembered putting the roof
on this cabin 20 years ago.  In fact, he can remember me up on the roof.

That is a memory I have erased.


Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Walk to Sicamous, Part I

Photo Credit: Anita Johnson
Front: Ceilidh Johnson
Back: Emily Yun and Meighan Johnson

Photo Credit: Anita Johnson
LtoR: Ceilidh, Arta, Emily, Dalton, Meighan
Photo Credit: Anita Johnson
LtoR: Arta, Emily, Dalton, Ceilidh, Meighan

.... the trail goes from Sicamous to TRAIL END
which is where we being the walk toward Sicamous ...
I remember a pleasant walk part way to Sicamous years ago.

I have been longing to repeat that adventure. So on a day when the air was smoke filled and there was a question about “what to do” some of us started out on a five part adventure:

1) Greg’s Path,

2) an Uphill walk,

3) Trail End to Trail Beginning, and

4) Old Sicamous Road.

Photo Credit: Anita Johnson
LtoR: Dalton, Emily

... admiring the height of the ferns along the path ...
I am counting Old Sicamous Road as four and five, since it seemed like a longer stretch than the other 3 legs of the journey.

Greg’s and Glen’s Path (soon to be renamed The Grandfather’s Path)– Dalton, Emily and I tried this stretch a few days ago.

The path goes parallel to the railroad tracks, but since it is forested on both sides, there is a feeling of being among the trees more than being on the track.

Photo Credit: Anita Johnson
LtoR: Ceilidh, Meighan, Arta, Emily, Dalton

... we pause for a photo on the trail ...
And even the feel of being more in the forest than being near the water.

I noticed that the people with me were beginning to give names to the spaces that have been created: the tree that is shaped like a ‘U’, the bowed tree that looks like a hotwheels track, X marks the spot (where two trees criss-cross in a perfect X), the Little Canadian Stream, the Meadow Stream, and “the place where a Douglas Fir upended and ruined the path (except for the saving grace of a chain saw later on)”.

The path is covered from the sun, branches stretching out to shade us.

The boles of the trees are so high that I have to touch someone for stability as I throw my head back to see the tops of them. There are places where Greg has filled in gravel to make the walk easier.

I see rocks that have been moved by him along the way.

Photo Credit: Meighan Johnson
LtoR: Ceilidh, Meighan, Dalton, Emily, Arta, Anita

... our crowd on the walk to Sicamous ...

I see branches in tidy piles.

Each time I travel the path I see more work that has been done, so sleuthing and trying to figure out what has been done next becomes an adventure.

There is only one point where I think I am seeing something that is not of Greg’s hand. There were three big indents in the blackberry patch.

My guess is that bears were in there, since I can’t imagine any human pushing the vines back in such a spectacular manner.

I took a nice fall forward before I had gone 10 yards.

I tripped over a big rock.

Photo Credit: Anita Johnson
LtoR: Dalton, Meighan, Emily, Ceilidh

... walking down the road just under the Pilling house ...
I had my sunglasses on.

I wasn’t paying attention to the ground.

I was gazing around in wonder at the beauty.

 I took this as a lesson to take off the sunglasses when I am in the forest.

As well, I watched the ground for the rest of the hike and I couldn’t have taken a better lesson.

The roots of the Douglas fir criss-cross the trail with such beauty, sometimes even acting as the step up to another level of the forest.


Marina's Cabin Roof

Lot 5 is getting a new cabin roof.

I slipped over to take a few pictures while I was out watering some grass this morning.

I met Ryan, Dan's nephew, who is here to help with the project.

Tonight I could hear the noise going on over at that cabin.


Another pic for those who like to keep up with the joy of hard work on Lot 5. 


Chasing the fruit flies

When some spot in the kitchen is alive with fruit flies it is in me to play detective.

I find out where they came from.

Now, I want to eradicate them.

I targeted the bananas in the middle of the island by making banana muffins.

In doing so, I pulled the chocolate chips out of the fridge.  I didn't get them there fast enough and they are half chips, half slabs of chips melted and then re-solidified.

Photo credit: Rebecca Johnson

Late evening

The Smokey Sky August 20, 2018
It was in the pantry that I found the real culprits, a bucket of fruit flies delicio – the potatoes Doral bought for potato salad, now a swimming pool of liquid with tiny potato rounds floating on top.

I took care of all of that and now my night has come to an end.

Rebecca and I made 3 large pizzas with the left overs we found in the fridge – not that the two of us could finish off 3 pizzas so they are stored in the fridge now for a better day, a brighter day -- tomorrow.

I can tell for we have seen blue sky today.


Sunday, August 19, 2018

Lost Belly Pouch

Having only 300 more steps to go on my Fitbit, I took a walk up to the main stage at the Roots and Blues Musica Festival last night just as the dusk as falling. I left my fanny pack on the chair beside Rebecca, thinking I would be back in less than 5 minutes.

 I got interested in a trio of string players who would break from their music to do an acapella trio and then take to their fiddles and bass again. And that lead to listening to a quartet from Horsefly, B.C. – their music a cross between spirituals and Tennessee folk music. When I got back to my chair, yes, the fanny pack was gone. I retraced my steps, then took the journey to find a volunteer so that I could find the lost and found.

In the meantime I thought about what I was carrying: my meds, a lot of cash (for the merchandise tent at the Festival), 2 credit cards and my government ID. My phone wasn’t even on the list of worries, for I can buy a phone in an instant. But the government ID?

I have to go back to Alberta for that and I am not quite ready to return yet.

I was somewhat resigned and thinking a bit about the work to replace all of that.  Since I measure all loss from one to 10, 10 being dead, the loss was minimized for me.

Bonnie and her friend Shonna-Lee were walk toward me as I reached the Lost and Found tent. Under her arm was my fanny-pack.
LtoR: Shonna-Lee, Arta, Bonnie

Loving the signs at the Festival Washrooms.  

As well, the smoke filled air is just how 
things are in Salmon Arm right now.

“No one was at the chairs and I thought I would take care of this for you.”

“Thank you for thinking of its safety. And thank you for the best rush of endorphins I have had today.”

Finding my stuff?

A good day.

Being at the Festival?

The best day ever.


Thursday, August 16, 2018

Walking the Lots

Come, walk the Little Canadian Stream with us.

LtoR: Meighan, David, Anita, Emily, Dalton
We walked lots 12, 13, 9 and 10 today.

The “we” was Anita, Dalton, Emily, Meighan and David.

Lurene gave us her permission and Wyona acted as the poxy for the Bates.

David Pilling told me to come by anytime, so that covered off 3/4's of the getting permission part of our journey.

I was surprised by the back lot of David and Shauna Pilling’s home.

They have created a walkway that goes down to the water along the Robertson Creek.  At least partially.

As well the Pillings have a lovely space in the woods along the path of the stream going up toward the highway, the branches of the trees nearby being woven back into themselves and to the trunk of the tree in graceful arches.

Why didn't I take a picture of that!

Welcome to the Bates' Home

... from the vantage point of the new steps ...
Later I walked back home from the beach, trying out Greg’s new stairs that lead over the little creek, past the wooden bench and up to the crest of the hill, all overseen by a monstrous statue.

That doesn’t mean that the statue is big, only that its pose will scare people under age 8, I think.

I didn't make 10,000 steps today, but I came close.


Tuesday, August 7, 2018


August 7, 2018

The last thing Bonnie said to me last night is that it is hard to enjoy the charm of the morning shift and the hilarity of the night shift in the same life.

That is why we are a good match today. I am up for the 7:15 arrival of Michael, Alice and Betty. 

Bonnie finished off the night shift at 2 am, having played the new spice game variation of "Splendor" with Eric, Rebecca, Bonnie and Thomas until that hour.

A few days ago Catherine did the night shift by taking down the wasps nests.

She suited up and then with “One Shot” she went after the nests in the two pot lights on the porch, and after the wasps that were “somewhere” on the bottom deck. Those are the ones who had stung Betty three times and Thomas once. She thought she found them in some foam mattresses but was not sure.

LtoR: Catherine, Catie, Rebecca, Thomas Emily, Dalton

... scouting out the best direction for Catherine's attack of the wasps ...
No one was available to help her, more than stand at the door with it open, ready for her to run if absolutely all of the wasps were not in the nest at the moment of the spraying.

I would say that the event took place about 11 pm.

Tally: no wasp bites for Catherine.

Wasps:  a few left, but not many

The next morning, I was sweeping up a massive numbers of those that fell from the pot lights and those that rolled out of the foamies.


Saturday, August 4, 2018

On Catching a Rainbow Trout

August 2, 2018

... rainbow trout country ...
But did this fish fall from the sky
as in the story of "The War with the Sky People"
see Secwepemc Lands and Resources
Miranda and her three children and I were at the Shady Beach with Michelle Wood, her three children and Michelle's friend, kd.

A silver fish came swimming toward the shore on the top of the water.

It circled around and then kept coming on course, skimming the top of the water, toward land.

We were all shouting, "Look, a fish, a fish and it is swimming right towards us. Quick.  Someone.  Catch it."

 A silver fish swimming towards us on the top of the water? 

I wondered if I were inside an Indigenous legend and not in real life.

Michelle grabbed a fishing net and waded out to about the depth of her arm pits.

She reached out and caught the fish, though that is not really true. 

The fish swam right into the net.  She just held the net still and it swam right into it.  Oh, maybe a little bit of guidance of the net on Michelle's part.

Then the fish flipped around in the net and tried to get out.  Michelle was holding it as far out from her body as she could, while still managing the thrashing.  There was a moment when she had a little trouble keeping it in the net.

Once on shore and slithered from the net to the fine gravel in front of us, there was a lot of discussion about the fish, though it was pretty easy to identify.  All of us knew a beautiful rainbow trout. It was surely big enough to keep.

But no woman on shore had ever gutted a fish. That is what was holding us back from keeping it.  If we were going to keep it, Michelle thought we should hit it in the head and get it out of its misery.  Michael was wanting to pan fry it. He didn’t seem to understand the reservation of all of the women.

Someone pointed out that though the fish was still alive, it would not be for long. It had talon marks on its underbelly and with that initial mortal wound and now us keeping it out of the water for our discussion, surely it was dead.

After a great amount of consultation a child was told to paddle out in the water in his orange kayak and let the fish drop off the back to its watery grave.

We wished the paddler of the kayak had gone a little further into the water,  than about 6 yards from the shore, for it looked to us like the fish was going to float right back to us, this time dead.

Someone has a picture of the underbelly of the fish with marks where it was ripped by the talons of a bird.

I will post that when it surfaces just as proof that I am not making up the story I am telling.


Friday, August 3, 2018

The Wind and the Waves

.. a different day, but similar wind and waves ...
August 2, 2018

At 5:30 pm the wind came up again.

And this time I could see the waves from my house beating the shore.

All of the children wanted to take a swim so we walked down across the tracks to the Ramp Camp. We watched for snakes, or a lizard or anything that would skitter across our path. I sat at the beach while Michael ran into the waves with his snorkel and mask. Alice ran down the beach for her lifejacket and soon joined him. I could hear them laughing with every wave that knocked them over. Soon they were bobbing with the water, but still the gasps of delight were coming.

When Michael got cold he came out, but our towels were all down the beach. He was so frozen he covered himself with the pads that belong on a beach chaise. “Thank you, grandmother,” he said when I told him I would walk down to the Shady Beach to get him a towel. But of course, I couldn’t walk down with Alice still in the water. I tried to coax her to swim along with me, but the cold hit her at that moment and she was out, running down the beach, now crying for a towel, herself.

We sat at the Shady Beach reading a French version of the book, Captain Underpants. They wanted to know if I could read French. Yes. I did not tell them that just because I can read it, doesn't mean I can understand it. They wanted instant translation. That wasn’t necessary since they know the story and before I can finish any sentence, they jump in with what the correct English words should be.

The white dock was bobbing in the water, and now warm, they decided to ride the waves while standing on the dock. What made this successful is that the water had beat the dock into shore and so they could scramble on and have the joy of bobbing while close to shore. Michael fell off, banged his shins on the rocks below. Now I could explain to him what the term, barking your shins means.  He cried for quite a while.

... this time, Bonnie finding joy in the waves ...
When we left to walk up to the cabin, a train was going by. Today I have been emphasizing “staying a respectful way back from the train”, a concept they are not that happy with, but I am staying with the concept.

Alice can’t help running down a steep path when she sees one. This time she noticed the road down to the Ramp Camp, took a good run at it, slid on the loose gravel and experienced a good slide on her bottom, which was only covered by the thin fabric of her swimming suit.

 She had a right to howl over that. So she was my second casualty while I was watching the kids at the beach.

Betty just played up and down the shoreline. When it was time to go home, she walked barefoot, skipping from one fine, sandy spot on the road to another, while I carried her shoes up the hill.

We went straight to the ice-cream island when we got home, although Alice went straight to have a warm soak in the silver claw-footed tub in my bathroom, howling again for her mother at both the hurt and the indignity of the slide on the road.

 “I just can’t help myself from running,” she wept to her mother.


Thursday, August 2, 2018

Twenty pounds pressure

August 2, 2018

... Michael ran back and got goggles for his mother ...
 Alice and I went to do the early morning watering on the new grass at the front of her family’s cabin.

She skipped along the path and around the cedar home to the water spigot and I followed her to see that she did it just right.

I watched her though I don’t remember if she did four turns to the right or the left. In either case the round handle flew off and water shot 30 feet in the air.

 I tried to turn the hose so that the water went on the lawn instead of beating down on the new tin roof.
... Miranda working valiantly ...

I unhooked the hose from the pipe but that did nothing.

A lot of solutions crossed my mind. Just wait until all of the water drains from the cistern across the road? Just go without water until Glen gets home at night.

Go get help by calling Brendan Robertson.

 I imagined that I would stand on Lurene’s lot line and call across to see if he was awake yet and willing to continued extended kindness to me.

 ... Arta circling Miranda ...
document the events with her camera
I couldn’t think of how to turn off the water to this cabin.

 My solution was to tell Alice, “How about running and getting your mother to help us. Tell her we really need her.”

Alice ran home and said to her mother, “Help. Explosion.”

I stood holding the water, now spraying 20 feet in the air.

I noticed that the crows were unhappy when they flew through it, flapping their wings and cawing. 

... set back to keep out of the spray ...
I noticed that the water was falling harder than I wished on the road-side lawn of weeds that I have been carefully nurturing.

Miranda came back, now with all of the children. First she made a search all around on the ground to find the wheel-like handle that had flown off.

Finding that, Miranda made about 15 valiant tries, but each time the nozzle got cross-threaded. 

“If only I had a pair of pliers that would hold this,” she said.

Just 15 minutes earlier Glen had unhooked a nozzle from another set of hoses for me, as he had picked up some business papers on his way to work.

... the water whips around ...
So I knew just the pair of pliers Miranda wanted, Glen having taken them out of the garage, and me having put them back.

In a display of cooperation, Miranda held all of the equipment and Michael twisted the pliers toward success.

The rest of us stood by watching.

“You can do it. You can do it.”

We all cheered when they were successful.

Michael went to water the grass at the lake-side of the house while Miranda and I looked for any water damage.

 ... her children, watching as she worked with the water ....
Seeing none outside, she went inside and the windows on the road-side of the cabin held tight

There was some water that had leaked into her bedroom on the lakeside, but that was because Michael had tried out the jet setting on her window while he was alone on the other side of the house in those few seconds when we left him unsupervised.

... Can she do it? ...
The jet setting.

 Such a powerful choice when squirting water at your parent’s bedroom window.


Alphabet Beads

In the interest of continuing the conversation about the treasure uncovered when the deck was removed, I just found these two items.  One is a small alphabet bead, the letter N.  The hole is still good to go and this could be used in a jewellery project. 

As well I picked up a container full of what I thought was Betty's make-up, a small container with dark matted powder, I thought for her eyes.


It is a pop bottle lid with dirt caked into it.


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Caption Contest

Post submitted by Bonnie Johnson

Photo Credit: Bonnie Johnson

I love this photo. I can't find the right caption for it.

 Caption ideas:

1) Grandmothering is complicated.

2) Last ditch attempt to instill compliance on saftey rules.

3) Hard to look contrite, when feeling such joy and freedom.

4) Glad it's not me I'm trouble.

5) Well, actually grandmother, I'm right and you are wrong. I don't need my foot in the loop.

6) Best fricking grandmother ever!

The Perfect Morning

I am going to describe a perfect morning.
Photo Credit: David Pilling
Photo of Shuswap Lake looking towards Aline Hill 
from Road 109 in the Larch Hills

Betty and I left the house early.

Everyone was invited to come with us. We were the only ones who wanted to go to the saskatoon and huckleberry bushes. I wanted to put surveyors tape on them so that in the brushing and clean-up of trees on lots 4 and 5, I don’t loose my precious berry bushes.

Glen told me that the berries were drying on the branches but Betty and I took a small dish along.

Who doesn’t want to collect dried berries?

On our way past my raspberry vines I could see fruit hanging from every branch. Betty held the dish while I picked berries. She may have eaten most of them as she was holding the dish.

Then we went on to find the saskatoon bush to wrap the neon pink tape surveyors tape on one of its branches. We didn’t have much tape. Glen gave me about 12 inches, which was generous for it was all he had in his pocket.

That mission completed, finding the huckleberry bush was easy for it has been pointed out to me. Now as I looked carefully, I could see that I have about 6 huckleberry bushes in a row. That is a lot of dried berries to pick.

Betty and I also put some water on the roadside lawn of the Johnson cabin.

I am wanting to green it up for the arrival of the St. Albert Johnsons (Doral and Anita). The weather has been dry. Everything is yellow. The lawn loved the moisture. It is now a mass of tall clover and low weeds, the greenness of which I shall call grass.

On another topic, but related, this week, Brendan Robertson asked me how much I would take for a sale on my house. I told him it has no price. I have everything I want or need living here.

My story tells why picking huckleberries and saskatoons with a little girl is all the happiness I need.

Even if the berries are all shrivelled and dried up.



Photo Credit: David Pilling
Sky at the Shuswap
At the breakfast table there was a request for me to read an story from my Gitxsan collection of Indigenous stories (from a class I took at UVic). 

A couple of days ago, I had asked Miranda  if I could tell potentially chilling, thrilling and bloody stories to her children.

She replied “Why not, they hear stories like that other places.”

This morning I choose “The Whirlpool”.

In this story, a disabled child curses the gods of the sky for letting snow fall in the spring.

He is admonished not to curse the gods. It is too late and the people are already snowed in.

The people try to escape. Their canoes are sucked into the whirling vortex of a whirlpool that is on the Skeena River. One canoe breaks loose and they alone get to safety. That canoe was the one carrying a grandmother and a small girl who has not yet reached menses.

To this day, the crest which is at the head of their house is the head of a woman on a man’s body.

The End.

[I choose to be the one in the story along with Alice who was saved - a grandmother and her grandchild, a small girl not yet having reached menses.]

Being trained in colonial myths, I reached in my own cultural backpack to make sense of the story.

Lucky for me no one knew the word admonished, so I have been focusing on that word all morning. Afterall, the small boy was admonished by his elders not to do that.

Miranda modeled the word for the kids by admonishing me not to leave dirty dishes on the counter at nights so that mice and ants are attracted to the food on them. She also gave me eye contact with her admonishment.

I modeled admonishment for the kids by telling Miranda that she should not be letting any of her kids go to kindergarten if they interrupt when someone is telling a story. I told her that also refers to kids going into Grade 2 as well.

The End.