At the end of last week, the surgeon who gave me a new knee made his spring visit to Bella Coola. It was a good chance to see what he thought (he admired his carpentry work!) and I also visited two different physiotherapists and got a lot of homework to do. Thankyou again to everyone who has offered encouragement. I can now walk slowly across the room with no sticks, but I still use poles or crutches outside – partly because it is faster and I am less likely to be eaten alive by blackflies! I still can’t quite manage without pain killers, but I am obviously getting there.
As usual, I stayed with my friends at Stuie, about 80 km up-valley from Bella Coola. (This is Melican, one of the mountains seen from their backyard.)
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Just this last day or two, spring has arrived. The hummingbirds were the first sign.
And against the mountains it made a rainbow.
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Two great friends drove me north. Len (who took the picture – I have none of him) drove my van and I rode in Alan’s car. My van is stuffed with item’s from Doreen’s mother’s condo – that is why there are chairs tied to the roof.
I have been driving to and from Vancouver on and off for over 30 years. It was only about 6 years ago that I realized you could see Mt Baker from the freeway.
Near Williams Lake we picked up a young volunteer from Austria. He will be my driver and gofer for a while. I had a good two hours’ shopping to do in Williams Lake. Thanks to everyone’s help, I survived it!
Max, who had been looking after the dogs while I was away, had to leave a couple of days before I got back. So two more friends drove up from the Bella Coola Valley to fill in for him – and clean house and provide us a lovely dinner when I got home.
So a total of 10 people have been involved in helping me through this operation. What would I have done without them! Thankyou everyone.
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Thank you so much everyone who has asked me about my new knee. As far as I know I am doing fine, but it is so hard to find answers to questions here in the big city. One gets pushed from one answering machine to another. Yesterday I found I was overdosing hugely on the pain meds. They gave me two prescriptions with ardent instructions that I must take the pain meds in order to do the exercises required to rehabilitate the leg. (Knee replacements are very painful.) I read the instructions on the bottles and kept to the dosage on the labels – but should have taken one or the other – not both. Misinformation abounds. Every day it seems as though there is a new crisis to deal with and it takes hours on the phone to get nowhere. And people wonder why I don’t want to live in a city!
Of course, living in the bush has its problems. I will be driving north 2nd and 3rd May – but I have had to organize 4 drivers and interim dog-sitters for this time – my current dog-sitter needs to leave before I get home. I have also arranged a baby-sitter for me as I need a gofer to fetch and carry – I am still on crutches – and will not be able to drive for a while.
I left Ginty Creek with new snow on the ground and encountered two lovely sandhill cranes beside the road.
At 108 Mile, the aspen catkins were showing.
Down in the canyon, spring was burgeoning.
At first, the weather was gorgeous.
(I could take this photo as there is massive construction on the freeway and the traffic was stopped!)
I have several friends in greater Vancouver, but Doreen’s condo was my choice due to the lack of stairs! Doreen, like so many of my current friends, was originally a hiking client at Nuk Tessli.
Some of the grounds are communally groomed
The cherry blossoms were at their prime.
Doreen does the garden at her end and had a great display of tulips
The garden is not all that is nice about the condo. It has a great view of the Port Mann Bridge
And also the north shore mountains.
And I am doing physiotherapy in a jail! Many of the buildings along here are part of the penitentiary. This one is a restaurant now, but the physio building is similar. We get our exercises in the basement so it has a real dungeon feel…
Almost all previous trips to Vancouver have been in November to promote books. It has been a bonus to be able to enjoy the spring. But oh so noisy! Song sparrows and robins sing in the garden, but a junk yard across the river bangs and crashes heavy metals, trains go by endlessly, planes stack overhead when waiting for space at the airport, and the freeway has a constant roar.
I could not have wished for a better (and very long-suffering) host – she has been absolutely marvellous! – or a better place to stay – but I can’t wait to get home!
We had our spring in the middle of winter: now we are getting chilled, gloomy, wet snow.
The birds at the feeder had begun to scatter, but they all flocked for treats when the ground was covered.
A rare visit from a crow.
And a new migrant, whose song greeted me on my return from Bella Coola: A song sparrow.
In the mean time, Max was sanding the beams in the house. My bed is under the tarp on the left so you can imagine what a mess the place is in. I knew it would have been better to sand the beams before they were in place, but at that time I had no time, nor did I have a power system to run a sander.
Nico taking his turn. (He is smiling!)
Nico and Mareike are building a deck. I do not have boards for the top at the moment, so we are using scrap stuff lying around. At least I should be able to sit on it while I am recuperating from the knee replacement. In the pre-surgery material I am reading, it advises the patient to imagine themselves in a favourite place. In my mind I will be on the deck in the early morning sun listening to the song sparrows in the wetland. (I’ll try not to think of the mosquitos who will start soon no doubt)
I want to plant a few alpines I collected in the mountains last summer. Max and Nico fetched a pile of rocks.
And I now have a new rock garden
(I will be leaving for Vancouver on Sunday. The surgery is next Thursday, the 18th. Please forgive me if I do not answer email for a few days.)
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This time we went right down to the waterfront.
Mareike and Nico wanted to go out kayaking. Janice, who owns the boats, said they were the first tourists of the year.
Away they go!
Max and I continued along the coast a couple of miles to the small waterfall that drives Bella Coola’s hydroelectricity.
The water makes lovely abstract patterns on the sculpted rocks.
From there, we could look across the inlet to the old cannery, which was the kayakers’ destination.
Here is a close-up of the buildings. We could see the kayak on the beach but it is very small, even in this magnification.
Despite the cold weather, Bella Coola is far more advanced in their season. The skunk cabbages were already out:
And the salmon berry flowers.
Back home, we had to make bread. These volunteers are big bread eaters. Max on the left, Mareike, and Nico.
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I have been incredibly busy!
Two weeks ago when I last wrote, the snow still lay thick on the ground. I took ashes and scattered them onto the rhubarb patch. The building behind is all that’s left of the Packrat Palace.
Then we started to get incredible weather. Long, hot sunny days with little wind. The snow started to go.
I made my second shopping trip to Williams Lake. Here is my favourite view near Tatla Lake on the way home.
A few nights later, we had a full moon.
Here it is just about to disappear. Like a ghost.
When I was in town I picked up some volunteers. I am ripping out the temporary kitchen I have lived with since I moved into the house.
So life this last week has been a nightmare of living in dust with everything piled wherever their is space: and I am cooking for 3 others beside myself.
Here is Mareike from Germany.
Nico from France,
And Max from Germany
And here, not quite finished, is my new kitchen.
The weather man is having some fun with us.
After the gorgeous sunshine, we had RAIN!
There were several thawing days, a bit of hot sun, but mostly gloom and strong warm winds. My bushroad became a terrible mess.
Half the snow disappeared. This is what it normally looks like in mid April.
Two nights ago, it froze a bit.
The puddles on the road made interesting ice patterns.
That afternoon, it got gloomier than ever, and started to snow in earnest.
It dumped snow for several hours. At first it was just above freezing, then just below.
Then, last night, the temperature dropped to -17C.
On Thursday I go to town for my second shopping trip of the year. I will be picking up two volunteers. I plan on gutting my house and doing the interior carpentry work. In 3 weeks I leave for my knee replacement. So these next few days is the only time I have to clean house, pack for the trip, bake bread and cook a meal so we have something to eat when we get home, and finish my income tax. But how could anyone stay indoors and do chores on a morning like this!
Spring birds are arriving quickly now. Juncos have been here a week.
This morning a starling came. Starlings are the only alien bird I see here. This guy looked as though he wished he were somewhere else. He was not genetically designed for -17C temps
But the sun soon reached the cabin.
The flock of redpolls appeared in their usual noisy fashion. (They will be heading north soon.)
And once the dishes were done, on with the snowshoes and away I went on a hike.
By noon the snow was sticky and a hot wind was blowing again. More snow is forecast.
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First: Arthritis Interrupted.
DON”T BUY THE BOOK!
A man (or team? Who knows with these guys?) calling himself Jim Healthy has a great website for people with chronic ailments like type 2 diabetes and arthritis. His recipes on My Healing Kitchen are to die for – and quite simple. Halibut (or any fish, meat or tofu) marinated in green tea….. He and a Dr Sinatra have put their names to a book called Arthritis Interrupted. They maintain you may not need a joint replacement if you follow their food and supplement ideas.
The Arthritis Interrupted website had me inspired. There are great free downloads on it. I am not usually taken in by advertising hype but something struck a chord with me. Whoever wrote this site is a master advertiser. Even now I find some of his other products desirable. But I will not do business with these people again.
I found the site about 6 weeks ago On Feb 5th. I am due for a knee replacement mid April. I did not take pain killers or supplements when I found the site. It was 10 days before my first shopping trip of the year.
I thought the website so good, I splurged and ordered the book for $35.00
The only supplement I had was Bromelain, a pineapple extract that someone had given me but which I had not tried. I immediately took some between meals as suggested. Within 3 days I had a knee the size of a football and pain like I had never suffered before. I wrote to Jim Healthy asking if others had suffered the same way, but no reply.
I waited for the book, and waited and waited. On Feb 22nd, I receive an email from the company saying they had shipped it priority mail. That was 2 and half weeks after I ordered it. I checked my credit card info: sure enough, they had billed me for two items, one apparently the book and the other the priority mail – total over $74.00. The really annoying thing was that they had the gall to charge for priority mail but waited so long to ship it. I wrote and complained – no reply. 5 weeks after I bought the book, it arrived. It had a cheap glossy cover, but the inside was simply a computer printout. The content was mostly a rehash of the free downloads. It came with a CD. That contained only the free downloads.
There are also inconsistencies with the information. MSM is a painkiller that should be taken with meals, otherwise it causes stomach upsets.. ”Jim Healthy” (no wonder he does not use his real name) says this in one place; he also says you should not eat 3 hours before bedtime; then he says to take megadoses of MSM at bedtime.
He got most of his info from much better books, The Arthritis Cure and Maximizing the Arthritis Cure by Dr Jason Theodosakis. (At $0.01 each used from Amazon.ca you can’t go wrong! ) The following comment shows the difference between these comapnies.
I cannot take the arthritis miracle-cure, glucosamine as I am allergic to shellfish. Dr Theo was advertising a joint supplement containing glucosamine from other sources. It also contained “full RDA Vit C.” I am unfortunately sensitive to commercial Vit C or ascorbic acid (which is in many foods, even organic). I did not understand what Full RDA meant. I wrote to Dr Theo and he replied at once saying he was sorry but he advised me not to buy his supplement. I sure wish I could take Vit C – I would have bought a ton of his products.
On my shopping trip I did buy supplements that “Jim Healthy” suggested and also changed to a full anti-inflammatory diet (I didn’t have to alter much as I haven’t eaten sugar or processed food for years.) And I have to say it worked quite well although I had to give some supplements up because of stomach problems. I am also making my own glucosamin/chondroitin supplement with cartilage-rich bones and eggshells a la Jim Healthy – fortunately I have local sources of grass fed beef and chickens that run around. I still have knee pain, but most of the inflammation is under control. I guess people are supposed to follow this routine for 3 months before they see much improvement and my operation will come before that, but with luck I can keep the osteoarthritis that is also present in other joints at bay.
So was I ripped off at having to pay $74 for this info? Actually, all together it was probably worth it. It certainly gave me a new way of looking at dealing with arthritis, even though that information is in other places and if I’d known, I would have gone there. The website, My Healing Kitchen, has great food ideas and I will continue to peruse it. The big quarrel I have with Jim Healthy and co is their sloppy business practices. I will certainly never buy anything from them again.
The dull, gloomy weather didn’t seem to want to leave.
But gradually the cloud cleared.
Then the sun was glorious!
I’m sitting and sunbathing where my deck will be. (The coat over the back of the chair is to block a sneaky little wind.) I actually bared my forearms!
I went to Nimpo Lake to pick up mail and along Highway 20 saw the first pussy willows.
This is the twig time of year. I love to bring them into the house and watch the various buds unfold long before they will do so in the wild.
The forsythia was stolen from a bush in the Bella Coola Valley last weekend. It has opened in the house. The advanced pussy willows were from down there, too. The knobbly twigs at the back are cottonwood. (The primulaceae are from my last trip to Williams Lake).
This morning I snowshoed up onto the north bluff. The warm weather was melting the recent snow and the weed stems were popping up again, leaving interesting shapes where they had been.
The mountains in their new snow coats were spectacular.
Above is Noghwhon. Below is Middle Mountain set off by dead, beetle-killed pines.
Here is a panoramic view from the top.
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