Heatwave Continues

1 tempThe heatwave continues. Day after day.  Too hot to work in the afternoon.  Too hot to sleep.  But during the night the clear skies allow the temperature to drop almost to freezing.  For a brief time, until the sun gets up, it is deliciously cool.  But when the sun clears the trees, the heat climbs at once.

I took Erin and Ben to Bella Coola.  Ben was going to catch the ferry to his new volunteer place, with renowned wildlife photographer  Ian McAllister.  See his video and read his stunning book, Great Bear Wild: Dispatches from a Rain Forest.  Lucky Ben!

A slight haze of smoke had built up with the heat so on the whole photography was disappointing.

2 cannery

On Walker Island, the big cedar trail offered some relief.  As always I was fascinated by the tactile tapestry caused by the sun and shade.

3 abstract forest


5 forest 2

6 forest 3

7 forest 1This still living tree had a dead centre that had been burned out.

8 holloe tree 1Inside were more fascinating colours and textures.

9 hollow tree 2Small things are always of interest, too.  The thimbleberries were ripe.

10 thimbleberryThis leaf miner had a convoluted journey.  Perhaps there is something in thimbleberry leaves….

11 leaf miner

The temperature hit 35C again as we drove home.  The heat is exhausting.  Even the hummingbirds make me tired!

12 g1 hummers crazyEverything in the garden has bolted.
IMG_4539 IMG_4542This delightful mild-leafed plant, which appears to be some kind of spinach, bears no relationship to any pictures on my seed packets or in the catalogues.  Worth growing, though.  I will have to try and save some seed.

IMG_4540I have radishes as big as apples.

IMG_4543Before I took Erin to the airport, we picked the first batch of kale and dried it.

IMG_4537The endless heat has produced amazing butterflies.  But now the caterpillars are coming to the fore.  These have devoured my lovage plant.

caterpillarsWhen I inadvertently got too close with the camera lens, they shot up these horns!


I have no idea what they are.  I built a cage around them and enclosed them with mosquito netting but they seem to have disappeared….

With all this hot weather, the fire danger has become extreme.  Many areas of BC are suffering badly.  (See the BC Forest Service Active Fire map.)  So far we have been lucky – the nearest out-of-control fires is about 80 km east.  We have not even had as much smoke as some.  But these last 2 days, the winds have been fierce and the smoke has thickened.  The sunrises have been red.

20 smokey sunImagine my delight – and relief – to have a 20 degree drop in temperature today – and rain!

21 raindrops

f22 rom dunesAfter such a long hot dry spell, the greyness and the soft, scented air is beautiful.  It is expressed so well by the Ladysmith Soweto Gospel Choir: Rain, Rain, Beautiful Rain.

The forecast is for rain every day for at least the next week! No doubt I will be sick of it by then.  Especially as I am going to Nuk Tessli to guide in a few days.  My next post will be from there.

Added a day later:

It has been suggested, by a reader, that the caterpillar might be the black swallowtail butterfly, also known as the parsley worm.


Here is the description: it is sometimes called the parsley worm, as well as – Eastern Black Swallowtail,Parsely Swallowtail,Dill Worm, Parsley Worm, Celery Worm,Carrot Worm, Fennel Worm.

The common name depends on what plant someone sees it feeding on.
Larvae feed primarily on plants of the carrot family and some in the Rue Family . It is usually found on Dill, Parsley, Fennel, Carrot, and Rue in gardens, and Queen-Anne’s-Lace, Poison Hemlock, and Lovage in the wild. The caterpillar will stick out smelly orange “horns” to prevent predators or us from picking them up.
It overwinters as a pupa.


Picture and lots more from


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Anahim Lake Stampede 2015

1 bull and signThe 2015 Anahim Lake Stampede parade was led by RCMP officers in full dress uniform.  But where are their horses???

2 paradeGetting ready for the first event.

3 getting ready jpgThe clown who will distract an irate animal when nedessary.

4 clownThe saddle bronc competition.  This guy had a good ride.  They get points for keeping one hand in the air, and for having their spurs on the animal’s neck.

4 saddle bronc 1

5 saddle bronc 2Problem is, even if you stay on for 10 seconds, the only way to get off is usually to fall!

The steer wrestling involved having to launch yourself off a galloping horse at a galloping steer, grab its horns, and fling it to the ground.

6 steer wrestling 1It was a little uncertain as to who was wrestling whom.

7 steer on groundNow for the calf roping.  The man on the right is the father of 5 girls, one of his daughters is twirling the rope.  All the family live for horses.

8 ready for ropingOut of the gate they come.

9 calf roping 1Got him!

10 got hmNow the horse must stand and pull back on the rope while the rider runs to secure the calf.

11 calf roping 2

12 calf rope 3Another sister – using the same horse.

13 calf rope 2a

14 cal rope 2b

15 calf rope 2cAnother really hot day.  Not much shelter on the bleachers.

16 audience

16a cowboy hatsThese kids were having a great time in the shade of their mum’s umbrella.

17 little kidsA more “traditional” sport for the women is the barrel racing (at which the horse-loving family did not compete!)

18 barrelo 1This little girl, whom I remember competing last year, is fearless.  She looks about 9.

19 little girl barrelThere were quite a number of entries for the cow riding.

23 white cow 2

24 white cow 3At the Precipice Cattle Drive Party, I met a volunteer, called Lucas, from Germany.  He and the rancher and market gardeners, plus all their volunteers, had come to the rodeo, and somehow poor Lucas was co-ersed into having a go.  He was given a helmet, cowboy boots, and a 10-second lesson as to what to do.

24a preparing lucas

He’s away!

25 lucas oneFour seconds later…

26 lucas downHe lasted longer than some of the other contestants.  I could not persuade my volunteers to try it!

The last event is the bull riding.  Like the bucking horses, these animals are trucked from rodeo to rodeo.  Most of the time they lead a life of happy decadence, eating and sleeping.

27 resting bullThey have to put up with this annoyance for 10 seconds max!

28 bull ridingThen they trot off back to their corral.

29 done for the day






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My New Deck

3 old deckHere is my old deck – with Brian, my new plumber friend, and Harry.  The deck was made in a hurry with odd scrounged boards.  I have longed for a new one for some time.  At last, I had a little spare money for materials, and I had two volunteers who were good at making things, so away we went!  First they falled a tree.

1 falling treesThen peeled it.

2 peelingThen we ripped the old deck apart.

4 ripping old deck apartThe new deck would be both higher and wider.

5 raising and extending deckWorked stopped for a day or two as Fred was due to leave.  I took him into Williams Lake, and loaded up the truck with lumber for the decking.  It was Williams Lake Stampede weekend, and on the way home we met a group of people making their annual pilgrimage into town to enjoy the show.

6 waggon ride 1

7 waggon ride 2Then I screwed the decking on.  (This picture is included to show that I do some work as well!  As you can see, the blackflies are still a pest at times.)

8  Me

The table created a couple of posts back was designed to be placed over the ugly well.  I wanted to cover it up, but I needed something that would easily be removed if I had any trouble with the water.  The roundness of the table demanded that we got creative with the edge of the deck as well.

15 cutting curve

17 trimming deck

18 cutting curve

18a final curveIn the mean time, the steps that Brian was sitting on in the first picture were replaced.  They are partially composed of fir (which is what I had) hence the snazzy dark wood

18b first steps.All this time, it was excessively hot.  This was the shade temperature.

12 shade tempBut the deck is in full sun.  The thermometre went off the scale.

13 deck temp

It was generally close to freezing in the morning, though.  So when we went outside to enjoy the full moon setting while the sun rose at 5.00:am on the 2nd July, it was quite nippy.

19 moonwatch

20 moonwatch 2Over a period of several days, Ben had laboured to construct yet another addition to my deck project.

9 mystery job

10 mystery job 2

11 mystery job 3And there we have it!

16 the seatIt will eventually have a back to it, but I don’t have suitable lumber right now.  I’ll pick some up when I drive Ben to the Bella Coola Ferry in a few days.

By now we have a new volunteer, unfortunately only short term.  Erin is coating the boards with linseed oil.  She is from Georgia so seemed impervious to the heat.

erin oiling

We put chairs along the edge to stop the dogs climbing onto the wet oil.

stopping dogs

Meanwhile, Ben is being creative again.  Because of all the curves in the structure, it seemed fitting to build – a spiral staircase!

23 spiral stairsWhat luck to have had the money and the right volunteers at the same time.  We took the dog barriers down this morning. Tomorrow I will stand upon the new deck while I do Tai Chi!





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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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