June Flowers and the Rain

1 flower mix 1One good thing about all this cold rain is that the June Flowers have thrived.  Very often they are just a flash in the pan that shrivels quickly in the heat.  These displays occur in comparatively bare patches amongst the overall green.  2 flower mix 2The tall blue flowers are the Small-flowered Penstemon.  The white and pinkish ones are Field Pussytoes and, you’ve guessed it, Pink Pussy Toes.  Below we have Golden Agoseris, sometimes called False Dandelion.2a agoserisAnother penstemon, with much larger flowers grows in clumps on cliffs or in stony ground.  Richardson’s Penstemon.  There is a healthy display around the Kleena Kleene post office.  But it is not doing well this year.  It doesn’t like the rain.3a richardson's penstemonNor does the Silky Phacelia.  It was beaten to bits almost as soon as it bloomed.4 silky phaceliaThe Silver-leafed Butterweed, however, is thriving this year.5 silvery butterweedThe Cut-leafed Anemone is performing as per usual.6 cut leaf anemone bestThe Early Purple Violets have hung on much later than normal.7 violetsYarrow is abundant,8 yarrow bestAnd even the fireweed is starting to bloom – a month before it should.9 fireweedAnd of course the king of colour is the Common Red Paintbrush, unfortunately just in small, scattered clumps in this area.10 paintbrush bestThe aspens behind the paintbrush already have a silvery cast because of the very active leaf miners.  Their dining habit s never fail to intrigue me.11 leaf minersThe Lodgepole Pines are blooming.12 pine flowersThe rain beat all their copious pollen into the puddles.13 pollen on puddle 114 pollen on puddle 2

15 pollen on puddle 3The Wild Roses are struggling.16 roseThe Grasses are enjoying the rain.17 grasses in rainThe Dandelion seed has been pounded into the ground.18 dandelion heads

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November in June

1 aaaTemperature – 8C (45F).  Fierce, bitter wind.  Dumping rain.  At Nimpo Lake, 40 minutes west, kids were making snowmen yesterday.  Almost the whole month has been like this.  It has been more like November than June.

Three weeks ago we had the annual summer craft fair at the Eagle’s Roost Resort near Tatla Lake.1 fair croppedIt was bitterly cold.  It kept raining and blowing.  At one point we had a furious hailstorm that sent everyone diving for cover.2 hailstormAs I drove to the fair in the morning, I noticed a small crack in the top left of my windshield.  After the hailstorm, it was right across.  It will have to be fixed on the next town trip.

Now we have an extra driving hazard.  At the beginning of the month, the range cows were turned out, which in our unfenced area means they roam along the road.3 cowsBecause of the initial early spring, logging was also started at that time.  Often it is mid June before they let the trucks on the road.4 logging sign

5 logging trucksSometimes we have had a brief flash of sun when it first rises and can shine underneath the cloud layer.  Note that the main mountains are hidden.6 storm warning

7 rainbow

8 sunrise on roadOften we are complaining about the heat and drought at this time of year.  The land is certainly benefitting from all this rain.  We’ve had about 6 decent falls since the snow left.  But it has been so cold.9 pond rain bestThe garden is struggling.15 struggling gardenThe kale that wintered (at the back) has shot up into flower stems and they are delicious to eat but I wanted to put something else in there.  I felt pretty mean hauling them out when the little wild bumble bees loved them so much.16 bees kale flowersOccasionally, the sky would halfway clear overnight.  The resulting morning mist made it look more like Fall than June.10 novembermistAnd when the sky cleared like that, we got hard frosts.  Lettuce.12 frosty lettuceItalian parsley.11 frosty parselyStrawberries very belatedly putting out the first flowers.13 frosty strawberriesAnd kale.  It becomes very stiff.  I eat it in my morning miso soup.  Picking it in these conditions is like snapping icicles.14 frost kale 1We did have four warm days in the last 3 weeks.  They ran consecutively.  On one, the temperature reached 30C! (85F).17 sunrise lightBut the cloud was never far away.18 foreground lightAnd back came the rain.19 heavy rain

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Precipice Cattle Drive 2016

10 driving cowsI could have stayed at the Precipice for the 2016 cattle drive overnight on the Friday, but I love mornings and I elected to go down early on the Saturday.  The Precipice is south of Anahim Lake and a little over 2 hours’ drive.  I left just after sunrise, which is around 5.30 by the clock right now.1 early sunThere were two groups of pelicans on Nimpo Lake.2 pelicansWe’d had two days of cold rain – a few flakes of wet snow at one point – so this morning’s un was very welcome and the light was spectacular.  Drawing closer to the Precipice, the cloud lifted off the mountains revealing settled snow on the higher trees.3 road to precipiceThe above picture shows the logging road: soon I was plunging down the rough, narrow, steep Precipice road.  Fred, one of the residents has a hobby of building stone people.  Over the few years that he has been there, they have bred indiscriminately and multiplied to thousands!4 stone peopleI was in good time for the start of all the activity.  First was saddling up.  (The Precipice is lower and wetter than Kleena Kleene, hence the lusher growth.)5 saddling up

6 saddling up 2

7 saddling up 3The cows were already in a fenced pasture, and they were rounded up.  They were inconsiderate enough to stay in the trees and shade – very difficult to photograph!8 rounding up cowsLee, the rancher, likes to walk in front of the cows and call them up the trail.  He is the man in the dark blue/grey shirt and red suspenders in the middle.  Jade and Ryan, my new neighbours, elected to walk with him.  They have their kids, extra clothes, and lunches on their backs.9 Jade and RyanI stayed behind to photograph the riders.11 ridersI complained to Lee that he should go back to having red cows.  They make much better pictures!10a driving cows 2

12 driving cows 3A few hours later, everyone was home.  The youngest cowboy was introduced to the horses (which his aunties were riding.)13 start em young!Then everyone relaxed….14 neighbours…until it was time to barbecue the steaks.14a barbecueAfterwards, it was music time!  (Lee used to play in a rock band.)15 LeeThe seated musician is Clint.  He needs to read the score all the time; when the wind blew the pages over, the music stopped!16 Clint, Lee and DavidThe sun went down and the fire became our source of light.
18 round the fireNext morning was a pancake breakfast.19 pancake breakfast

20 Lee cookingAs I left the valley, I disturbed a large black bear.  It is the fourth bear I’ve seen this year, but the others ran off too quickly to photograph.21 bearA couple of days later, Fred came by on his way to the Coast.  I had a couple of great stones flanking my road at the edge of my property and Fred hauled rocks up the hill with him and built me a couple of stone people.22 FredThank you Fred!23 My stone person

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Spring Update

1 pondI still can’t get used to the new spring green.  The Chilcotin is never green for long – by August it has usually dried up and turned brown.

Crazy beetles are whizzing about on the pond.1a crazy beetlesMost of the cut-leaf fleabanes around here are rayless: in other words they do not sport the white “petals.”  One bank hosts rayed flowers; they have pinkish undersides and are very pretty.  (No, they are not the introduced garden daisies.)1b pink fleabanes bestIt keeps raining a bit on and off, and we are getting typical thundery lights on the mountains.3 thunderlight middle mt

2 thunderlight w2Some of the showers are bringing hail.4 hailOthers are bringing the snow well down the mountains.  Generally the weather has been somewhat cool.  The rain we are having today (again! – it’s the third decent rain!) is welcome, though, as there is already a “fire of note” within 100 km of us.

The garden is loving it, too, although it is too cool for it to make much progress at the moment.  Most people plant at the end of May but I have got most of my seeds in already.  In the foreground are various kales and collards. They were planted before the drip hoses were placed so here the hoses lie on top of the ground.  In all the rows behind, the hoses are buried.  It remains to be seen how well those will work.5 garden sproutingRight at the top of the above photo is a green strip of the kale that wintered.  It is currently producing more than I can eat.7 kaleThe cold frame in the greenhouse has been providing a daily salad for over a month, now, and the cold frame I planted outside is also doing really well.  Despite assiduous efforts at growing sprouts and microgreens, one can never get enough leafy veg in winter.  (It is a 3 and half hour-drive to the nearest supermarket – often longer in winter.) Having all this abundance, fresh-picked straight into my  mouth, is a gourmet feast!6 salad

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Internet Hill Update

1 full spring internet hillThings have been happening on Internet Hill: here is an update.  (You can just make out the big fir tree at the top – an anomaly in this country of pine and spruce.)

A few days ago, the concrete base was poured. ( The following three ph0tos, were taken by John Kerr.)2 form for baseA couple of days later, despite a rare rain, the frame for the tower went up.3 starting tower

4 tower topNow, when I walk on the dunes, I can see it. (Just to the right of the fir.)5 new towerNext stage will be to put up the solar panels and dishes to relay the signal.


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