I and Nuk Tessli on Israeli TV!

TV interviewAt the beginning of September, I received a call from Doron at Nuk Tessli, asking if I could meet an Israeli film maker on his way out from the mountains.  Dov Gil-Har had been into Nuk Tessli for the previous few days and the result is now available on line, on the website of the TV show.  It takes about 20 minutes to view.

Doron Erel is well known in Israel because of his climbing history (the first Israeli to summit Everest and so on.)  He felt that, as I was the creator of Nuk Tessli, I should be included in the movie as well.  It is all in Hebrew.  Dov sent a google translation, but I don’t know how to get it onto the website (without copying the whole thing) and in any case, it is so confusing it is hardly worth it.  The film is graphic enough to be able to understand what’s going on.  Unfortunately, they had terrible weather.

Most of the people in the movie are Israeli volunteers.  Blog readers may remember the two Israeli hitchhikers I picked up and brought home to work on the yurt deck for the day.  They are in the movie – the blond guy with the hoarse voice is easily recognizable.11 final pose on deck

While we are on the subject of Nuk Tessli, please note the dates for the first 2016 tour.  I will be there from 20th to 24th July.  If there is an overflow of people, we will offer another tour starting 24th.


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1 thermometer bestIt doesn’t seem too long ago that we were complaining about +35C temperatures!  It is by no means as cold as it can get here – I’ve even known the temperature reach -50C.  But the cold has been persistent.  Every morning for the last week it has reached between -25C and -27C, and even before the first real snow, we had several days in the -20s.  It warmed up for the first snow, got cold again, warmed and snowed again, then we had the full moon and the temperature really dropped.2 moon and solar panelsThe trade-off for this was: SUN SUN SUN!3a red willows

3b snow on cones

5a frosty twigs

5 pink-lit willowsThe garden, needless to say, was toast.  Not because of the snow, but because it was cold before it snowed.

6 gardenI am reduced to eating dried kale and radish sprouts, and harvesting my windowsill gardens.kale sproutsThis is kale.  Below is a tray of beet greens grown from my own beet tops planted in soil.  To see how to do this, check out my e-book: Windowsill Salads: Growing Sprouts and Microgreens”.beet greensThe dogs, especially Badger, like to be inside.  He is sitting in my almost finished greenhouse looking pitiful.  I need to get to Williams Lake to find the right hinges to hang the door. 14 waiting to come inDespite two falls of snow, the road is still drivable without having to have it ploughed.14b roadThe block heater on my van doesn’t work, so I have had to wait until the afternoon, when the shade temperature was a balmy -10C, to go anywhere.  My first trip was to the church to using the washing machine. There, I had a flat tire: fortunately the knitting club was meeting at the same time, and between us we got the wheel changed.19 flat tireGetting the tire fixed was a much bigger problem.  The church is near Tatla, and the store there does a bit of mechanicing, but their compressor had broken so they had no air.  The man at Nimpo in the opposite direction was away for the whole winter; the nearest place to get the tire fixed was an hour and a half west of Tatla, at Anahim Lake.  Even then, the guy is out doing other work a lot of the time so I had to phone first to make sure he was there.  We REALLY need a decent mechanic around here.

The birds of course, were hungry.9a at feederAnd puffed out with cold.

7 BC puffed out

Here are a black-capped chickadee and a mountain chickadee together ; the mountain chickadee has the white eyebrow.9 BC and Mt togetherLife does not always go smoothly at the feeder.

9b spats at the feederThe sun is setting further north every day. On this afternoon (about 4.15:pm) it did not clear Finger Peak.

10 sun behind FPIt did manage to peek out on the far side….11 sun peaking past FPAnd although there had been virtually no wind down below, it must have been blowing like crazy up top, for when the sun finally went behind the mountains it lit the snow plumes in a rim of fire.12 rim of fireLast weekend was the Tatla Lake Christmas Bazaar, held in the school gym, where I had a table of books.20 Tatla fair 1Not the most elegant of venues, but a great social event – everyone knows everyone else, and it’s great to see how people express their creativity.  (I even sold quite a few books!)

Courteney has been making and selling cupcakes since she was about 10 years old.21 courteney's cup cakesA family with three young boys had made kombucha.22 kombuchaDorothy had concocted her usual baking and home-made sausages.23 sausagesAnd Nestor, a long-term perennial, brought his woodwork..     His wife does the painting.25 woodworkAfter the second snow, I started tramping around on snowshoes.  They were hardly necessary, but they will make it easier to break trail when the next fall comes.

4 snow in willows bestI had to include this picture of Harry as he looks so beautiful against the snow.
14 HarryThe river has a lot of ice on it, but it is not yet fully frozen.

13 river from south bluff
26 river, n bluff

29 dogsPuffballs of ice crystals cover most of the surface.31 crystals bestI don’t think there has ever been such a sunny November.27 from n bluffI could leave the house to go to Williams Lake in these cold conditions, but it would be quite a bit of work to put the plants in the basement, make sure the water in the living area was drained, empty all the kettles (if they froze, it would damage them, or at least buckle the bottoms) and so on, and it takes a while to heat the place if the stove is out after the sun goes down.  So I have been watching the forecasts for warmer weather that co-oincides with a better shopping day (Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays don’t work for one reason or another – mainly the availability of decent vegetables), and that also dodges the snow that will likely happen when the temperature does rise. Yesterday afternoon, there was a cloud….32 cloudThursday they are promising RAIN!  So it looks as though I will try and sneak in tomorrow.  Unless things change, this will likely be my last shopping trip until February or March.


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Early Winter Birds at Ginty Creek

feederHaving the feeder so close to the window, means the early winter birds are right in my face at Ginty Creek.  The first to find the fat were 3 whiskeyjacks.1 whiskey jack fatAlmost immediately came the chickadees – mountain and blackcap – and the colourful, robin-sized pine grosbeaks.2 feeder outside window in snowThe chickadees would check out the options but they always managed to dive in and get what they wanted.3 chickadee hopefulWhen the grossbeaks first arrived, they were accompanied by a smaller red bird, which I have not often seen before.4 gross and cross 2It was a pine cross bill.  It’s beak is naturally bent out of shape to aid it in opening pine cones.  It looks remarkably parrot-like, with it’s strange beak and irridescent feathers, but it is not at all related.5 crossbillIt stayed for two days.  The other birds came and went all day, but the crossbill simply sat there and stuffed himself.

I have never deliberately tried to get the birds to feed from my hand.  But when I am out on the deck and they want their food, they treat me as part of the furniture, even perching on me while I worked on the greenhouse.  I was close enough to this downy woodpecker to touch him.6 downy and houseI like to put a branch close to the feeder so the birds have something to perch on, partly because they like to check out the feeding area, and partly because, if I take photos of them there, it looks as though they are out in the wilderness.  (That is Nogwon behind.)7 above nogwon

8 landing

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Winter Comes to Ginty Creek

1 rainIt starts with rain.  We had a surprising amount in late August through October.  Maybe three or four days of steady rain all told (spaced out), which is unusual for here.

When I returned from my book tour, there was already ice on the pond.2a first ice on pondIt thawed as it warmed up, 2 sunrise reflectionsBut was never very far away,1a frost after rainNow when the sun rose in spectacular form,5 bright sunrise east the ice was pink.6 pink iceEn route to Tatla one day, I passed several ponds half frozen.  Swans love to perch on new ice.  They feel safe that way.2bMany mornings were dull.3 dreary mistBut some would clear, and soon we had a dusting of new snow on the mountains.4 snow dust sunriseThe logging company, which has been operating furiously near Perkins Peak for the last couple of years, must have finished in the area for the time being.  For on several days a thick pall of smoke from their slash piles hung over the sky – fortunately south of Ginty Creek.7 slash burningThen we had a little snow around the cabin.9 early skiff snowEven the outhouse was prettied up.9b outhouseThe low November sunlight has a beautiful quality.9a little barn

10 orange snow

11 pink mistThe wind got up and snow blew off the peaks.15 blowing snowDaytime thaws around the cabin meant the snow on the ground usually melted before the next fall happened.  12 wetlandI have had several requests for pictures of this guy.  He is hard to capture well because he is so dark.  He’s stiff and old, (like his mom) but happy (like his mom!)9c BAdgerDandelions were stimulated to peek out again.13  dandelinBut now the pond was really frozen.  The dogs were already running on it.14 frozen pondThe frosts got colder.  The next two pictures were taken on my van windows.18 frost patterns(Now why would a marijuana leaf be there?)19 pot leafThe sun sets directly in front of my window at this time of year, and if I am lucky I get some gorgeous displays.  One was preceded by this non-event.20 November sundownBut it left with a very different picture. IMG_7520And then is snowed for real.  The world was transformed.wolrd transformed 2

early sun on treesAnd it’s back to my winter chore of sweeping the solar panels clear of snow.sweeping solar panels


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Why I Am Too Busy to Post

1 first snowAt last, a snowy day that makes it too difficult to work outside – so now I can tell you why I have been too busy to post!

I always try and get dog-sitters while I go away on my book tours (see previous four posts).  This year, I was lucky enough to have Linda and Leslie, from Holland, come and stay.  They have been managing an alpine chalet in the Swiss Alps for many years, and said they were not experienced at all as carpenters.  But they arrived a few days before I left home, and carpentering was what I gave them to do.  They turned out to be very good at it!

I had picked up some birch hardwood floor in Bella Coola, and they started fitting it into the yurt.

2 fitting first boardsThe first boards had very strong curves to them, and I cut them with a chainsaw.  As the angle grew less acute, they could handsaw them.

3 linda sawingIt was marvellous.  They would make their own breakfast in the cabin and walk up to the yurt and I would not see them until supper time.  I have never had such easy volunteers!  In the mean time, I worked on the greenhouse roof.  The door was going to need a mini dormer otherwise I would be walking into falling ice and snow all winter.  I had never built one of these before and had to figure it out as I went along.6 greenhouse maAs the angle in the yurt grew more acute again, Linda and Leslie lugged the boards up to my house so they could use a jig saw to cut them.4 fretsaw yurtAnd here they are, justifiably proud of an excellent job.  The stove still needs a tile surround and the boards will need a proper finish before they are used.  Probably won’t get done until the spring now.5 yurt floor doneThe following day I left for the book tour.  Linda and Leslie would now have 2 weeks to themselves to enjoy the country and entertain the dogs.

When I returned home, they told me they had another volunteer place lined up in the Bella Coola Valley, in 5 days time.  So instead of crashing and relaxing after the book tour, I went straight into full work mode.  I could not afford to waste Linda and Leslie’s talents.  The strapping had to be put onto the greenhouse roof.

7 venema lLeslie was up on the ladder on one side, and I was on another ladder at the other end.  It was marvellous having Linda as a gopher to fetch things and cut relevant bits of wood.9 venema m

8 venema penultimateAfter the strapping came the roofing. The roof had so many tiny odd angles that I decided the only way I could fit it was to use a flat plastic compound.10 last of venemaThis was Linda and Leslie’s last day with me.  What a stroke of luck that they came to dog-sit.

Only half the plastic was done, and  I slowly finished it alone.  It was very slow work – I climb ladders and on the roof structure with difficulty – the knees don’t bend any more.  Also, the mornings were frosty, and I had to let the ice melt.  Every single piece of plastic was a different size from any other. Finally, the greenhouse roof was on.  11 penultimate greenhouse roofConsequently, the pressure was off.  But I could not relax.  There were dozens of jobs I had let slide in order to get the work done – a lot of it computer stuff – and I slogged away at them.  When the wind was not too bitter, I fiddled with more bits and pieces of greenhouse.  I wanted the peculiar shape because I did not wish to see an ugly corner obtruding into my view from the bay window.  These side panels were such an odd shape, they took almost all day to fit.12 greenhouse roofNow the days are getting short and there is even less time to be productive outside.  The walls are not straighforward either, because I collected salvage glass from the various suppliers in Williams Lake, and had to somehow fit them into the spaces.  It took two days to install these pieces of glass, and that’s as far as I got before it snowed.13 fisrt glass panelsThe greenhouse will provide a cozy shelter for the door.  The feeder is erected close to the bay window.  A lot of birds hit the window last year, and some died, and I read that the feeder should be either 30 metres away from a window, or within one metre.  I wondered if the birds would be frightened so close to the house, but not a bit of it.  While I worked on the glass panel closest to the bay window, they were flitting all around me, even perching on my head!  (The plywood near the base, by the way, will house a dog door.)

We have had several days of temps as low as -12C – it was -16C the other day, and after this snow, the temperature is supposed to drop again.  Be nice to get the greenhouse finished.


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