Tatla Lake Gymkhana

11 horses waitingThe Tatla Lake Gymkhana is an annual event geared more to the control of the horse than the events offered in a rodeo.

There was bareback riding, weaving through a course of poles –

12 bareback ridingAnd barrel racing –

13 barrel race 1

14 barrel race 2I got a lot of pictures like this!

15 rear endAs well as the events, the audience provided great subject matter.  And they did not move so fast!

16 audience, kids

17 audience, kids 2

18 audience Christine

19 audience (Patrick)

20 contestantsThe funniest event, from the audience point of view, was the tire race.  A saddled rider carried a bareback passenger, who had to catch and hang onto a tire while the rider went round a barrel.  Then the passenger had to get back on again.

tire 1

tire 2
tire 3Offloading the passenger was usually easy enough.

tire 4But getting the horse close enough to that strange swinging object so that the passenger could climb back on again sometimes required a lot of persuasion.

tire 5

tire 6

tire 8

tire 9Not quite

tire 10

tire 12Hooray!

tire 13.  At last!




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Solstice at Ginty Creek

1 hot summer mo rningThe solstice at Ginty Creek was upon us before I had time to think.  Note the roses in the foreground.  I cannot get enough of them.

2 roseThe humming birds tailed off for a while – down to a few visits a day – but now there are more fighting over the feeder again.

3 hummerI am now down to 2 volunteers, Ben and Fred, both from England although they had not met before they came to me.  They are both quite handy with tools and ideas, and this was a project they did without much prompting from me.

4 leg

5 high 5(They have their own way of doing things…..)

6 screwing top

7 cutting top

8 table topA well-earned beer!

9 well-earned beer(The table will not stay there – it’s destination will be revealed in a future post.)

So far, they have been working a couple of 6-hour days then taking some time off.  Now they were going to embark on a much more ambitious trip.  They would fly to Hunlen Falls and canoe the Turner Lake chain for a couple of days.  They would walk the 30 km to Highway 20 at the bottom of the Bella Coola Hill, then hitch-hike home.

It would finally be a bit of time off for me, too.  By a quirk of fate, none of the last three volunteers had ever driven a car, let alone had a license.  This meant I have had to drive them everywhere.  I have not had time alone for weeks and I sorely miss it.  This was the last I saw of the two volunteers when I drove them to Tweedsmuir Air’s Dock, the Nimpo Lake float plane base.  I expect them back tonight some time.

10 nimpo dock

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cranesLasse was getting a ride to Williams Lake and I had to take him early to Tatla Lake; by a quirk of fate, none of the 3 remaining volunteers had ever driven a car so I have had to take them everywhere. As we were already 40 minutes en route, I decided we could all go to Tatlayoko, which is an hour south of Tatla Lake. On the way we were graced by these four sandhill cranes.

niutsA public campground has been made out of the old mill site beside the lake.  Fred is in the canoe, Ben and Jean on the shore.  The Niuts are in the background.  Then Ben and Jean had a turn.  Looking up to the Coast Range.

canoeingI left the other three beside the lake and drove south another 30 or 40 minutes.  I was hoping to find some flowers on a meadow I had seen years before, on Potato Mountain (on the left.)

potato rangeThe road got narrower and narrower ; it would soon end at  Bracewell’s Wilderness Lodge.

vanI managed to find a cow trail heading up the mountains. The first treat was an umbellifor I am too lazy to look up properly.

umbelliforThe next was a stone crop I often see at Nuk Tessli 

stone cropI was hoping to find the balsam root daisy, and it was in the forest in abundance.

balsam root daisiesI climbed higher and soon began to reach patches of meadow.

daisies lower meadowsAt first they seemed rather ordinary, but as I got higher still, I started finding harsh paintbrush (a different species than the one growing at home.)

harsh paintbrushThe meadows were now a lot more colourful.  (The white is the poisonous death cammas.) Apart from the blue, small-flowered penstemon, none of these species grow at Nuk Tessli.  The underlying sandstone /limestone mix of Potato Mountain produces a very different soil.

death cammasIt was now getting quite steep.

steepHere is a nice mix.

mixI could have wallowed among the flowers for hours, but the mosquitos were terrible!  Much worse than at home.  But the butterflies were also out in full force.





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June Volunteers

1 2 x 6sThe heat has brought out the blackflies, and long-sleeved shirts, pants, and headnets are in order, especially on the yurt site, which is sheltered from the wind.  The yurt site is baking hot!  My neighbour has a mill and he could make rough-cut 2 x 6s.  Our task was to make a level platform on top of the log foundations.

2 IMG_39873 IMG_3998Some final notching

4 notchingEt voila!  From the left- Lasse from Denmark (he stayed on for a while after his contemporaries left), Fred from England, Ben from England about to decapitate him, and Jean from France.

5 proud crewNow we just need the decking – but I have yet to figure out how to get that as there is no planed lumber to be had closer than Williams Lake, and  I don’t have a trailer.

I have often taken pictures of Perkins Peak.

5a perkins peak sunriseThere is a mine near the top and you can drive way above the treeline when the road is dry enough.  I had never had the opportunity to go.  I had heard there was a lot of logging, and that the logging roads confused the way.  Anyway, we went in search of it and climbed high up into the cutblocks.

5b clearcutAfter a lot of backtracking and messing about, I decided that was as high as I was going to be able to take a vehicle, and left the boys to continue on foot.

5c 4 hikers 2None of them were all that experienced, but they found their way to the peak and camped by a lake just below it.  They even found their way down again!

Back at home, we started the outhouse.

6 outhouse 1

7 outhouse and yurt siteLasse left after a few days, and this was as far as we got on Jean’s last day.  I will have to buy some plywood to make the seat.

8 ben in holeI will be going into Williams Lake tomorrow: today we put the metal on the roof.

9 outhouse roofThe volunteers have not been my only visitors, however.  A lady wrote and said she had met me years ago when I gave a slide show in Edmonton.  She and her husband were visiting Bella Coola for the first time – could they drop by?  They were self-contained in a camper.  A couple of days before they left home, I read their emails properly – and found that her husband was a construction worker and plumber.  Wow!  Almost impossible to get a plumber here.  Could he move the reverse osmosis filter from under the sink to the basement?  It gurgles when it processes water, annoying me at night, and also I worry about it freezing when I go away, as it is very difficult to drain it.  The filters needed changing, too.  That job was a year overdue, and suddenly we were very short of filtered water.  The untreated well water is safe – just tastes horrible.  So we had to make a run to the river (which has dropped and cleared a little since the spring flood) to get drinking water (which had to be boiled.)

13 river for drinkingOf course, my 2-year-old filter system was out of date and it was hard to find the right filters.  But Brian managed it just in time.  Here he is dismantling the filter.

11 reverse os filterAnd here it is installed in the basement.

12 reverse os 2What great luck they wanted to come at just this time.  Next year I want a bathroom installed…..

Other friends had talked about coming through as well – and they all came at the same time.  There were 9 people for dinner that night.  My yard looked like a camp ground.

10 campersA while ago, I had found some kitchen cabinet doors at the share shed at the dump in Williams Lake.  While the boys were hiking at Perkins Peak,  I struggled to install the first two.  It took most of 2 days!  Brian wanted something to do for his second day here, so he finished off the rest in no time – and made all sorts of nice finishing touches I would never have bothered with!

14 cabinetsI’ll have to keep my eyes open for more matching doors!  (And invite Brian and Gladys to visit again!)

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1. summerAs so often happens on the Chilcotin, we have no real spring – the seasons turn directly from winter into the headlong rush of summer.  There is so much work to do!  The garden is forging ahead.

2 gardengardenWhen I cam back from Williams Lake with the new batch of volunteers, we ran into the leaders of the 300 head of cows that my neighbour was turning onto the summer range.  Fortunately we had to nudge our way through only a small proportion before reaching my turnoff.

3 cowsI’ve had very little time to enjoy the burgeoning life, but I snatched a couple of moments to notice the flowers:  Silky phacelia.

4 silky phaceliaSmall-flowered penstemon and pussy toes.

5 penstemon and pussytoesThe vivid purple penstemon with inch-long blooms.

6 pink penstemonBlue-eyed Grass

7 blueyed grassA few scrappy paintbrush.

8 scrappy paintbrushAnd everywhere the heady scent of wild roses.

9 wild rose 1

10 wild rose 2It’s been hot, hot, hot.  No frost for about 3 weeks until a couple of days ago.  It shrivelled some of the garden stuff but it is still growing like crazy.

Most sunrises have been rather insipid, as often happens with clear skies, but the other morning we had a great display.  Every few minutes the light changed dramatically.

11 sunrise 1

12 niuts sunrise

14 FP sunrise

15 s

16 pen sunrise

17 final sunrise



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