Tag Archives: Ginty’s Ghost

Heading south with Ginty’s Ghost

The excessive warming over the latter part of the weekend had melted most of the snow and the road to Vanderhoof and then south from Prince George was mostly bare, except for an hour south of Quesnel where there was ice on the road under the rain.  The ground was bare when I arrived at 100 Mile.  I stayed with my friend, Patricia, at the 108, and it snowed a little overnight: I managed to sneak a short hike into the Walker Valley.

Trumpeter swans must always put up with smaller birds dogging their footsteps as the swans’ long necks enable them to grub up roots and debris that the other birds can feed off.  Here they are accompanied by Canada Geese.

I took a chance at going to Kamloops via Littlefort.  It is a high road and the new snow might have caused problems but the road was clear and I drove through a winter wonderland.

Back down to bare dry ground again.

As with 100 Mile, the publicity at Kamloops never got to the papers in time due to mis-communication between me, the hosts and the publicist, but the Vernon museum excelled themselves and I had a great turnout and excellent sales.

More snow overnight in Vernon but in Salmon Arm the little they had was mostly melted.  My friend had an amazing crop of Mountain Ash berries this year.

Yesterday I drove the dreaded Coquihalla.  No matter which way you go, mountains cut Vancouver off from the rest of the province.  I could have chosen a lower route through the Frazer Canyon, but I decided to chance the Coquihalla.

It is scattered with warning signs:

There are two high passes.  The first was quite snowy.

But the second was a breeze – although there were some quite dramatic ice formations where creeks had seeped down rocks.

Down and down we went and reached the Lower Mainland at the bottom.  What a wonderfully diverse piece of real estate we live in!

About half an hour before my destination near Burnaby, it started to rain…..

I’ll be speaking Wednesday 14th at Vandusen Gardens, 15th at Unity Church on Oak Street.  For more details of these and future engagements, see the speaking tour page on this site.







On the road with Ginty’s Ghost

Just before I left home, I went to Williams Lake to pick up a Belgian couple who will help Hugo house-sit while I am away.  The first thing was to have a bread-making session.  Hugo is already a competent bread-maker but it was a first experience for the other two.

Another treat I have allowed myself at Ginty Creek is a vaccum cleaner.  It is impossible to sweep the rough plywood floor clean (I will be putting a nice floor on top so do not want to try and paint it).  Here is Laetitia assembling the vacuum cleaner.

The van got a real clean-out before the start of the tour for a change.  The solar power system can’t really handle a powerful vacuum cleaner so we ran it on the generator.  You have no idea what a big step having a vacuum cleaner is!

I needed winter tires: it would benefit me to be in Ws Lk at 7.00am so I left at 3.30 am.  Despite a horrible forecast, at Ginty Creek it was mild (-2C) and dry.  Forty minutes later at Tatla Lake, it was -4C and snowing a little.  It was dry snow, and when I met the night-driving logging trucks (the only traffic on the road), great billows of blizzardy clouds swirled up.

An hour later, it was -6C – and raining!  I slowed right down (my tires were very poor) and got to Williams Lake an hour later than I hoped, but I was fitted right away.

Two hours later I was on the road to Prince George.  It was now -9C – and STILL raining.

It was bizarre.  The roads were not too bad, but even with the windshield wipers going full speed, it was impossible to keep the windshield clear.  Everyone had to keep stopping and scrape off the ice.  I had four hours of this. There had been a couple of fatalities the day before and the road had been well gravelled – but with huge rocks instead of sand so that passing vehicles threw up stones and put three stars on my pristine windshield, one of which immediately developed into a crack all the way along the bottom.  Later I talked to a couple of people who drove up the same day and also received windshield cracks.  There were no doubt many more.  Still, it is better than being dead.

I stayed with friends half an hour west of PG.  There was about a foot of snow at their place, and it was still -9C and raining.  The following morning I went into town.  Oh what a muddy mess – still well below freezing, still raining, and add fog and mud thrown up by the traffic, plus huge dirty heaps of snow everywhere.  I was late for my radio interview and did not have time to finish setting up my booth at the fair before I was due at the University of Northern BC to give my slide show.

UNBC is at the top of a long and gloomy hill densely forested.  PG is known for its moose population.  I give slide shows at the university every time I go to PG.  One year, at about 10.00pm in a freezing foggy dark, I drove down to highway 16 and turned west.  It is at the point when the streetlights suddenly get fewer and the speed limit increases to 80 kph.  Just as I was putting my foot down, a huge bull moose reared out of the ditch straight at me.  I saw his big antlers and bulging eyes framed by the passenger door.  Being icy, sudden braking was not an option and I looked ahead to make sure I was not going to hit anything if I swerved, then back at the moose.  He was gone.  I told my friends: they said that moose had been causing a lot of trouble around the university.  The following year a wonderful road sign had been erected depicting an angry moose facing a car with its hood buckled up and crumpled.  I cannot seem to find this picture.  If I come across it, I will put it in here.

Friday I was at the |Prince George Civic Centre at 8.00am to finish setting up. The new book, Ginty’s Ghost, is on the round table at the front, my other 9 books behind.  (The tryptich hanging on the back wall is one of my paintings – done when I still had time to paint!)

We closed at 8.00pm, so a long day – particularly as it was still well below freezing, with thick fog, and icy drizzle settling on the windshield.  Saturday we sold from 10 – 6, and Sunday 10 – 4, but we also had the fair to take down.  A bonus was that the weather had finally cleared.  It warmed up Saturday and was plus 10 C when I left the fair a little after sundown at about 5.00pm last evening.

Today I drive to Vanderhoof to give a slide show tonight – only an hour and the weather is clear and not too cold – then 100 Mile on Tuesday, Kamloops Wednesday, Vernon Thursday, and Salmon Arm Friday.  Then I crash!!!!  It will be 4 days before I speak again in the Lower Mainland.  For details of this tour, check out the slide show page on this blog.




Ginty’s Ghost Published

I picked up several copies of the new book, Ginty’s Ghost, from the post office the other day.

Cover for Ginty’s Ghost

$21.95 plus 5% gst = 23.04.

I just mailed a bunch of books and found that the original $6.00 I quoted is too low for postage.  It costs $8.00 for one book and $15.00 for two books.  Those who have already sent cheques please don’t worry about it.

I am adding this comment on 23rd October.  I was at the P O again mailing more books and new computers are installed.  The price of most books mailed in Canada are anywhere between $10 and $13 dollars.  This is quite ridiculous but that is what it is costing me to send books to you.  More than one books seems to be very little more.  I will quite understand if you do not want me to mail you any at that price!

Ginty’s Ghost  is a departure from my other 9 books.   Instead of being about Nuk Tessli, the remote, fly-in mountain eco-resort I built and owned for 23 years, it is about my new home at a property I call Ginty Creek.  Only two people lived here before me, Ginty Paul and her father.  Ginty was a renowned eccentric.  The book is partly about my efforts to establish myself on her (long abandoned) property, and partly about Ginty herself, the last told in letters she wrote and by stories from people who knew her.

I will be doing a month-long slide show tour to promote this book.  I shall be starting in Prince George and Vanderhoof, and travelling south through the Okanagan to the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.  Note that I now have a new page for my slide shows.  The complete itinerary to promote Ginty’s Ghost is posted there. My nine other books are listed on the book page:

Any good bookstore will be able to acquire this book for you.  In about 6 months, libraries will have it, too.  But here is a word or two about buying books.

It used to be that the author got more or less 10 % of the shelf price.  In other words, a $20 dollar book would bring me $2.00 in royalties – anything up to 15 months after they were sold.

Then electronic ways of buying books erupted.  Now my usual contract is 17% – of what the publisher gets.  This looks like a big figure until you break down the facts.

The publisher knocks 40% off to the book store.  He gets, therefore, 60% to pay the printer, the distributor, his staff and overheads, plus make a modest profit.  60% of a $20 book is $12.  I get 17% of that $12.  If the book is sold through Amazon, they take 60 %.  the publisher gets 40% ie $8.00 – I receive 17% of $8.00 – up to 15 months after the sale.

I use Amazon.  It is convenient as I live so far from a book store, and often cheap – especially when second hand books are concerned.  But you are doing both the publisher and especially the author disservice if you buy new books through Amazon.

Still, it is better than not buying the book at all!

I will be selling all my books on the slide show tour.   I buy the books at book-store price, in other words, I get the 40% discount from 3 of the publishers, although Harbour gives me a 50% discount.  I also receive the royalties from the remaining percent – up to 15 months after I purchase them – but I obviously earn a great deal more if I can sell the books myself.

I do mail order as well – but will charge an extra $8.00 for mailing ($15 for 2 books.).  However, you will receive a personally signed copy. Please see the blue paragraph at the head of this post added on October 23rd.  Mailing has suddenly jumped up from between $10 and $13 dollars for a single book n Canada!!

Even if you do not purchase a book at all, request it into your library.  Authors get a kind of royalty from that as well.  And please don’t feel bad about buying books from Amazon – it certainly saves money and I know all about that!  But if you are able to attend a slide show and can possibly wait until you meet me, I would much appreciate it.

September volunteer work at Ginty Creek

Yesterday I took the two volunteers, Camile and Ron, to Williams Lake to catch the bus.  I drove my wobbly van to the garage, and Camille drove the truck.  I left the van for its $2,000 job and so now I have only the truck at home.

Camille and Ron have been with me for a month.  They were not at all skilled with tools, but they learned a lot and did a lot of good work.

One of the big jobs was dismantling the top half of the packrat palace.

This was created by the previous resident, Ginty Paul, as a lodge for recovering alcoholics but it was never finished.  The full story will be in my 10th book: Ginty’s Ghost, which will be in the stores any time now.  (But if you are going to be at one of my slide shows, please buy the book from me as I get a lot more money!  Details of the itinerary, which runs from Prince George to Vancouver Island, will be on this site very soon.)

The timber was mostly too packrat-stinky for internal use, but I can use it for outdoor constructions.  Here is Ron ripping off some 2 by 6s.

Camille pulling nails

And Ron pushing the last of the superstructure down

As you can imagine, there is a monstrous mess to clean up still.

The next job was to rip out the kitchen….

…and redesign it to accommodate a sink.  (Got no plumbing yet, but I do have a sink!)

I taught the volunteers how to use a chainsaw and we cut down some small trees…..

and bucked them up….

…so we could make a floor and an extension under the roof that used to cover an old trailer I had there….

… and build a rack for the solar panels.

I did not have the solar panels but got the specs from the internet and taped together several large pieces of cardboard to make a template.  Of course this had to be the day it rained – and the cardboard got all buckled and wrinkly so I hope I got it right!  The panels weigh about 75 lbs each so we don’t want to be lifting them up and down all the time.

Ron is drilling the holes that correspond to the screw holes on the frame of each panel.

Then we dragged the heavy frame to the foundation and heaved it up.  The men supported it while I put a temporary prop at the back, and then Camille held it until we got a couple of stronger supports in place.

There are 6 panels: they will go in the top 6 spaces.  The bottom section is to lift the panels off the ground so that the snow that slides off the panels won’t bury them. (The diagonal are just temporary.)

It looks pretty ugly but it will look better when the panels are on and will soon weather

It is traditional to put panels on the roof, but my roof faces the wrong way, and also I get huge winds here.  I did not want the house to blow over!  Where the panels are situated they will be sheltered from the worst gusts by trees.



More wintry than winter!

A big gap again – once more I have been incredibly busy – this time working with an editor to fine-tune the manuscript for Ginty’s Ghost (due out this fall.)  I have an outdated computer and our programs were not compatible so this made an enormous amount of extra work.  The editing was supposed to have been done in January but the editor was 7 weeks late – then we had the program problem – and of course the publisher wanted it last week so it was a terrible scramble to get it done.  Normally I enjoy the editing process but not this time.

At first it seemed as though the snow was going to melt away.  The trails thawed on the sunny side and stayed frozen on the shady side so they all became very lopsided and difficult to walk on.

trail thawing at Ginty Creek

But almost every day for quite a while, we have had more snow.

One morning at sunrise, we had a dramatic burst of light.

Very soon it was pouring with rain – after several hours it turned to snow.  It was wet and heavy and stuck on the trees.  It was the prettiest snow we’d had all winter.

There had been quite a bit of bare ground on sunnier slopes. but this new snow covered everything again.  The birds were frantic for food.  Most of the redpolls have headed north, but there are now about 20 juncos and about 50 redwing blackbirds.  They are voracious eaters.

redwing blackbirds

One morning the sky was clear.  It was -14C.  Nogwhon was a rich orange.


Finger Peak floated disembodied above a layer of fog.

But by afternoon, the storm clouds were piling up again.

storm clouds over Finger Peak

More Winter at Ginty Creek

A long time since I have written as I have been very busy.  First I worked on the manuscript for Ginty’s Ghost (my 10th book, coming out in the fall) with the editor.  This took many days because my computer is ancient and our programs were not compatible.  All sorts of funny thing were happening!

Then I went to Williams Lake, and was away 3 days.  The weather has been mostly very cold, gloomy and windy this month.  Highway 20 on the way to town looked mostly like this:

Chilcotin highway

My road is still covered with snow so it was a real surprise to find that Highway 20 was bare and dry all the way to town.  Just a few miles east of my roadway, even the land had hardly any snow.

At Ginty Creek, however, the temperature has dropped well below freezing at night – this morning it was -18C.  About a week ago, it was -25C, and that is when the first spring migrants arrived, the male redwing blackbirds.

redwing blackbirds


Unlike further east, here it just keeps snowing.  there is still not a lot, but there is more than we have had all winter.  Once in a while during these cold, dark three weeks, we have had a spectacular part of a day.

sunrise on an un-named peak

clear morning at Ginty Creek

The cold has kept the snow fluffy and easy to travel on.

south bluffs at Ginty Creek

Tree shadows make interesting shapes over uneven ground.

shadows on snow at Ginty Creek

The river is still frozen over in most places.

McClinchy River

But the earlier species of pussy willows have suddenly popped out.

pussy willows

Bella Coola seems to have solid rain or snow.  This means that the mountains are usually hidden so this sunset was a lucky one.

sunset at Ginty Creek



I have been working on a new book all winter.  It is about the place I am describing on this blog.  It will be called Ginty’s Ghost.  Ginty Paul was the previous eccentric spinster who lived here.  The manuscript is now ready to send to a publisher.  I hope the book will be on the shelves by the fall of 2012.  It will be book # 10.  For the other nine, see this link.

The next job was to finish my income tax.  (I never have to pay any but I still have to go through the motions.)

So now I am free to do some carpentry work.  I’ve been stepping over a pile of lumber to go to bed all winter and I now utilized these boards.

cutting wall boards on the kitchen steps

Kitchen steps make a great sawhorse. I have used them for all my building projects both to stand on and as a work bench.

I sided the closet I made for coats last fall.  You can see how the wall boards have darkened since I put them up last spring.

a closet for coats at Ginty Creek

There is a huge amount of work to do on the house but I will have no money to buy the materials I need to finish it until I sell my mountain ecotourism business. You can see the plywood floor I am living with in the top picture.  But the house is warm and it is located in a beautiful place.