New Neighbours.

1 ryan and jadeMeet my new neighbours, Ryan and Jade (with daughter, Wren.)  They have bought the river property that I was selling.  They came for only a short visit this time so there was not a lot of opportunity to take pictures.  Here is one of Jade when they came to look at the place in March.  She is holding Wren and Herb.

2 jade and kidsI have to say I think I am very lucky, just as I was with the sale of Nuk Tessli.  In both cases I have sold to people whom I really like and can have a good connection with.  At Nuk Tessli I can go back up there and guide and enjoy the place without all the hassles – and even get paid for it!  (I will be guiding this year from 16th – 25th July.  Check out the website:

Jade and Ryan have similar ideas to me as to how life should be lived.  Ryan is a handy carpenter and mechanic, but his main interest is growing things: he is very interested in medicinal plants.  Jade designs and manages websites, and has other computer skills, but she is also a fantastic fine furniture maker.  See her website:  My father was a fine furniture maker, and my brother took over the family business.  It will be nice to have that kind of operation going on close to me again. Jade and Ryan plan to move in here full time in July.

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The New Batch of Volunteers.

4 making boxesI am very relieved to be able to say that the new batch of volunteers are great.  Not particularly skilled, but they are interested, work hard, get along with each other – and laugh at all my jokes!  Izarro from the Basque part of Spain is on the left, Lion from Germany in the middle, and Lasse from Denmark on the right.  Our first job was to put an extra wall around my cold frames.  Sawdust will be placed between the walls to act as insulation and hopefully extend the growing season.  This is all a big experiment so we’ll see how it goes.

3 starting boxes Once the boxes were finished, we could dig the rows.  Manure was brought from the big pile I rescued from the burned barns on the lower propertyand spread along the rows.4a manuring gardenThe next day, Izarro and I planted it!

5 Izarro in gardenMeanwhile, the men were doing a construction project.

8 drillingThey made a canoe rack for the pickup.

9 canoe rackThis meant I could take them to the lake across the road and I give them some canoe lessons.

10 Izarro and Lassein canoe

11 2 boys in cnoeThere is a bunch of all the usual work: chainsawing –

6.chainsawing jpgwood splitting – (Izarro has had practice with this at home!)

7 Izarro splittingAnd bread-making.

7a breadmakingAnd they are all enjoying every minute of it.

I took them down the Bella Coola Hill to help my friends with some gardening.  The ponds at the top of the Hill were still frozen.  (This is exactly the same altitude as Nuk Tessli.)

12 frozen pond IMG_3447

The weather was superb!

13top of hillBecause of the work at my friends’ place, there was no time to go lower down the valley – I will take them on a later trip. But on the way back up the Bella Coola Hill, we had a great bear sighting.  He was feeding right beside the road – the biggest black bear I have ever seen.

bear 1He was totally unbothered by us as we photographed from the van.

bear 3He was so relaxed that he began to sit down.  (He is chewing, not growling.)

bear 4

bear 5

bear 6We left him having a little snooze.

bear 7




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Spring At Last.

1 1st greenAt last the spring has arrived with the first flush of spring green.  With warm weather forecast for over a week, the leafing out will happen fast.

2 aspensThis species of willow blooms now.  It has bright yellow blossoms.

3 willowBut although the temperature is warm, the sky is no longer blue.

3a clouds and mtThunder clouds built up.  We had a lightning storm, and even had a decent  rain! (for about an hour.)

4 green and cloudThe humming birds have been going crazy at the feeder.

6 hummer 1

7 hummer 2The rain, however, has come at a cost.  The lightning has already sparked off fires.  The evening light is filtered orange.

5 smoke lightEvery afternoon more thunder rumbles and I must shut down the computer system in case of a strike.  The blackflies are suddenly a real pest (but so far few mosquitos.)


IMG_3556And this morning smoke hid the mountains and filled our lungs with the acrid forest fire smell.  The sun rose blood red.

smoke sunrise



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A Classic Chilcotin Contraption

I say “classic”, because it was made with materials I had lying around: on the Chilcotin you NEVER throw anything away.

First I visited the scrap wood pile.

2 scrap woodAnd drilled some holes in two identical pieces of 2 x 4.

1 drilling IMG_3387

Next I scrounged around the rusting body of an old stove.

3 old stoveThis originally had two cast-iron ends that were held tight around the drum by three long bolts.  The bolts and copper tubes that encased them were perfect for my project.  They did not even need cutting to size.

Next I tipped out my can of nuts and bolts, and found exactly the right number of nuts and washers needed.

4 nuts and bolts

Before phones were introduced, the telegraph line ran right through this property. (See my book: Ginty’s Ghost).  When it was dismantled, Ginty commandeered the poles for fence posts.  You can see the brackets that held the glass insulators on some.

6 bracketsAnd here is a post with a number on it.

5 pole #Ginty also commandeered the wire.  The property is wrapped with miles and miles of it that she used to make fences, now all fallen down.

7 wireIt was the wire that I wanted.  With it I made a bunch of these.

8 hooksAnd I put everything together – et voila!  A pot rack above the cookstove!

9 pot rack

It even has a string with a hook to hold the door of the warming oven open.  The door was originally designed to stay open by itself but it now flops shut.  The warming oven is too hot for rising bread, and I always had to prop the door up with a stick.  Now I have the hook!


I’d been thinking about having a pot rack for a while.  The whole project took half a day – and it didn’t cost me a penny!

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Spring Moon

9 moon 1I hope you are not to sick of moonset pictures, because there are a number in this post.  First, however, some signs of spring.

1 thermometreYes!  Minus 11C (+11F!)  This happened two days in a row and it is still down to -6C most nights.

The hummingbirds have arrived, but they are faced, in the morning, with a popsical.

2 popsical

We are having constant cold, furious winds – everything is getting desperately dry and dusty.  However, the birds are coming regardless.  The purple finches are now accompanied by their lady friends.

3 purple finchesThe dunes are now bare of snow, and the first jacob’s ladder is blooming.

4 jacob's ladderAnd I was fortunate to come across this very rare Scottish desert mouse.

5 scottish desert mouse

The full moon sank into cloud, but two days later, I was lucky enough to see this display.

10 moon 2

11 moon 3

12 moon 4

13 moon 5

14 moon 6Back to land again.  The very first dwarf birches are showing their leaves.

15 dwarf birchAnd this morning I found the first early purple violets out.

16 violetaLast Friday I went to The Wizard of Oz at the Tatla Lake School.  An excellent production.  I was driving home in the dusk and saw two different black bears.

6 black bearAnd the next day, when I was returning from my dunes walk, I came across these grizzly tracks on the road, covering my tire tracks of the night before.  You can distinctly see the claw points far ahead of the toes on the front paw (which is in the rear).  My boot print is beside them – not the biggest grizzly ever, but a fair size for all that.  The dogs were totally calm so I knew the bear was long gone.

7 grizz tracks


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