January Thaws

1 thermometreWe often get January thaws and they are all absolutely miserable.  It’s been like this for over a week now.  At first it froze overnight and we got a few gleams  of sun.

2 susnet starting thaw

3 early light before thaw.But mostly it was dull, dull, dull.  Objects appeared in a different light than they did when it was freezing.  I have passed this tree numerous times and never managed to get an acceptible photo of its texture and colour.

3a aspen trunk

The wind blew from the south and it often came in gusts.  Pine needles started to litter the snow.

4 scattered needlesThe branched item is a bit of dead mistletoe.

5 mistletoeStumps started to emerge.

8 stump showing

A downy woodpecker began to visit the feeder.  He, at least, was a bright spot.

downyThen it started to rain.

6 rain on skylightAdvantage: no shovelling the snow off the solar panels.

7 wet panels

Disadvantages – too numerous to mention.  I ache.  I have no energy.  Plodding through the snow is twice the work and no fun.  I find the humidity very uncomfortable.  The noise from the highway is magnified by the damp, low air and the wind direction.  There are more trucks than usual on Highway 20 this year as the chip trucks are running steadily from the sawmill near Anahim, and they are also hauling logs from further west, which doesn’t happen very often.  When the trucks come down either of the steep hills that bracket my place, their air brakes judder and roar, even though these hills are well over a kilometre away.  It is the one major disadvantage of this place and something I cannot learn to ignore.  When the clouds are high and the wind is different, I hardly hear them.

And, of course, the yard is a disaster.  Good job the Icers I bought for my boots arrived from Lee Valley in the mail.  I would not be able to move on the ploughed areas without them.

9 yardFor the first part of the thaw, Puntzi Mountain, the weather station 90 km to the east, advertised sunny and much cooler weather than we had.  Bella Coola in the west showed warm and wet.  We had obviously moved over the mountains to the Bella Coola weather system.

This morning, Puntzi forecasted -11C and some sun.  Max temps were supposed to be +2C.  Which side of the mountains were we going to be this time?

Yesterday evening, there was a glimpse of Finger Peak.

10 last night

This morning, the sky was red in the southeast (where the sun rises at the moment.)

11 sunriseSupposed to be warning weather, but there is always hope.  However, at +2C (as opposed to Puntzi’s -11C) we seem to still be in the Bella Coola weather system.  It advertises +6C and rain.  The Norwegian site touts a maximum of +7C and mixed sun and cloud (but it has proved to be not very accurate and it is showing the wind coming from the wrong direction at the moment.)

So we’ll have to see.

The next day

Hooray!  we’re in Puntzi!  Not quite as cold as they are, but it is freezing, and the morning sky was loaded with huge stars.  Looks like we’re going to get some sunshine!

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The Days Are Getting Longer!

1 sunsetThe days are getting longer – after all the new solar year is almost a month old.   How short the days seem to get when the year is dying – how much longer the same day length seems when spring is on the way!   The sunrises and sunsets have not been visible very often, but when they are it is possible to see how much the rising and setting points have moved.  On the shortest day the sun sets to the left of the bare-branched tree.  Two days ago it died against the south flank of Finger Peak.

6 sunriseThere is still a lot of dull weather, but sunshine happens more frequently, and with the longer days I finally felt I could shove the generator back into its storage cave.

As soon as I was ploughed out for the second time, I made all the usual trips.  Tatla Lake for laundry, dump and library, and Nimpo Lake (in the opposite direction) for gas and mail.

4 Nimpo store 1The store has an impressive array of icicles (showing that the roof is not well insulated.)

5 nimpo store 2Since the snow plough came, the dogs now have a new favourite spot.

2 dogs on snowbank 1

3 dogs on snowbank 2This morning was gorgeous.

7 clearingHow can I possible stay inside when it is like this!  The road to hell is paved with good snowshoeing!

8 trailFirst down to the cabin near the river (the one that is for sale).

9 cabinThen up the south bluff.

10 south bluff

10a trudging upFrom the top one can see the lake across Highway 20

11 view across lakeAnd from the end, one can look further south.

12 view southIn deep snow years, moose often hang about around the river.  There are lots of tracks, and here is the evidence: mooseberries.

13 moose berriesThe dogs were very interested in something down the bank.  Next, Badger barked – and at that, out ran a moose.

14 moose 1What extraordinary leg movements they have.  They seem to use their joints in ways that defy normal biology.  But they are superbly designed to get around in deep snow.  He ran up this steep bank like it was a ploughed, level sidewalk.15 moose 2I can’t handle this kind of snow without big clumsy things on my feet.

16 top of slope

17 slope and mts.Soon I dropped down to my neighbour’s road.

18 neighbour's roadThere were fresh moose tracks along there as well – and the big round footprints made by a wolf.

19 wolf tracksJust before I went off the road and back onto a snowshoe trail, I passed these old truck ruins.  I see them and wonder about their history often.  Mostly, they are uninteresting as a photography subject.  Sometimes the light is just right.

20old truckAnd there we have it.  As I write, the sun has finally cleared Finger Peak as it sets.  A perfect end to a perfect day.

sunset again(Supposed to snow tomorrow.)

 

 

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Snowed In Again.

1 sunset firstWe had 3 gorgeous days before I got snowed in again.  The third day was so warm and windless, I did a whole hike without wearing a coat.  However, despite the warmth and the sun, the snow stayed cool and fluffy.  It was a fabulous afternoon. I decided to tackle the north bluff. (The treeless patch in the middle distance, above the solid cliff, is what I call the south bluff.)

3 river from Nth bluff

I broke trail up onto where the sand dunes occur – now below the snow.  I followed the tracks of some kind of wild dog – my own dogs sink much deeper in the snow.

4 trackMost of the fallen trees were covered in snow, but this root was displayed well.

5 tree patternThe dogs found it hot up there, and preferred to rest in the shade.

6 Harry in shade

The waxing moon welcomed me on the way home.

7 waxing moonBut the cloud came in at sundown.  I have not witnessed a full moon for 4 months.  It has always been cloudy.

2 sunset 1And after that, it was gloom, gloom, gloom again.

8 dull again 1Then, it started to snow.

10 snowingOnce more I was reduced to continuously sweeping snow off the solar panels.

11 solar panels

12 solar panel detailThe pine grossbeaks flocked to the feeder. (The dull-coloured one behind is a female.)

12a pine grosbeaksAfter 3 days, it quit.  There was not quite so much as our big dump at the end of November, but it was still pretty deep.

12b Harry deep snowOnce again I had to dig out my trails and the vehicles.

13 vehicles snowed inAnd once again I tried to find someone to plough me out.  The neighbour who usually does it had not yet got his cat home – the track had finally been replaced, but now the motor wasn’t running well.  The man with the big tractor who ended up ploughing me out last time, was not answering his phone or emails.  I tried Interior roads, but they will not plough anyone out until their grader is in the area – and it would be over a week before that happened.

Trouble was, I had arranged for friends to pick up a couple of boxes of vegetables from town. Local vegetables are pathetic (and totally chemically-laden.) I really miss fresh greens and, because of this dull weather, my microgreen gardens have been doing very poorly. I am lucky if I get a small mouthful every other day. My friends expected to pass through Saturday, or maybe Sunday.

Finally, the tractor man replied.  He had had to make an emergency trip to Williams Lake and as a result was well behind with his ploughing schedule.  However, he would try and come by Saturday morning.  Then his wife phoned me and told me his tractor had broken and he would have to try and weld it.  If welding did not solve the problem, he would have to order a part and that would take time.  So everything was up in the air again.

In the mean time, the weather stayed dull.20 dull again 2Then, one afternoon, without much warning, I suddenly saw a mountain emerge from the fog.

14 first clearingForget the tasks I had planned to do – I was going outside!

15 Finger PeakThe fresh snow was a foot deep.

16 re-breaking trailIn unbroken snow, I sank to my knees, even with snowshoes on.

17 shadow pattern firstI am always fascinated by the abstract patterns created by snow shadows.

18 shadow pattern 1

17a shadow pattern 2

19 shadow pattern 3When the sun set, it backlit the snow-covered branches.

backlit iciclesBut the sun did not last long.  Two more dull days, then, Friday evening, there was a hint of clearing again.

21 hint of clearingI also got word that the plough should be along some time Saturday, all being well.

It was very frustrating, for once again it was a beautiful day, but I couldn’t go anywhere.  I couldn’t even walk along the road without a huge effort.  It started with the morning moon.  It is now waning – you can see that it is just over a week since the last moon shot when the snow began.

22 clear moon

The sun rose with yellow glow.

23 morning shadowsAnd early afternoon, Badger barked.  Sure enough, here came the plough.

24 plough 1

25 plough 2So now my yard is graced with large piles of snow.

26heaps of snow

The one west of the main window was so big I had to dig some of it away before I could watch the sun go down.

27 sunset

 

 

 

 

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World Wide Weather Website.

1. gloom

I was recently informed of this fascinating world wide weather website.  It comes from Norway!  So far, it has proved to be just about as accurate as the “local” Puntzi Mountain site 100 km from my place (in other words, not all that much.)  But the site is amazing as it lists every little tinpot place imaginable.  It’s even got Kleena Kleene in there, and Heckman Pass, which is at the top of the Bella Coola Hill.  (There is also a weather cam at the top of The Hill, but at night or in thick weather you cannot see anything.)  The other amazing thing is that the info pops up instantly – far faster than anything on Google.  I have looked up all sorts of microscopic places that I have come across all over the world and within a split second, they are on the screen.

If you scroll to the bottom of the page of each place, you get a bit of info  – including population.  It says Kleena Kleene’s population is 0!  There are in fact 10 or 12 of us within a 10-mile circle.  Anyway, I have had a lot of fun with this site!

 

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Neighbours

The Chilcotin is a very scattered area and I consider my neighbours to be anyone who lives within a 2-hour-drive radius.

One inhabitant recently published these two videos.  The first is about  The Tatla Lake Christmas Craft Fair (which I had hoped to attend but was snowed in at the time), and his neighbour, The Earl of Lunch Lake.  They give a pretty good look at my community.

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