December

Well I certainly can’t complain about the weather too much so far this December.  We’ve had a lot of sun – very few days without at least some.  There has been no precipitation at all for a couple of weeks.  It has not been cold – down to about -15C at night and -4C during the afternoon, and when the sun shines it is balmy.

We have also, though, had a lot of fog.This has translated into hoar frost on the trees.  When the sun hits it, little showers of frost crystals rain down.

It picks out the details of the vegetation is a completely different way.

But even when the sun breaks through, the fog hangs around in the south/west quarter.

These are all areas where the fire was – and probably still is – burning: I guess the heat reacts with the cold and creates the vapour.  Even from a bit further north, looking south, the same thing happens.I went to the library at Tatla Lake the other day and drove through downtown Kleena Kleene just as the fog cleared.  Because of the open Klinaklini River, the frost is always more dramatic there.

The line of murk on the next picture, however, is smoke.  Not sure if it is still the fire or a pile of burning slash.Here, however, the upper layer is fog and the lower haze is definitely smoke.  Perkins Peak behind.The clearer afternoons have meant that it is possible to see the sun meet the horizon.  It is almost at it’s southernmost destination.The low light creates some interesting abstract effects on the snow.

A month after I arrived home from Harry’s book tour, I took my final trip of the year to town.  I chose December 5th, 2 days after the full moon, as I knew I would have moonlight in the morning.  It is always more pleasant to be aware of the surrounding landscape.  I was expecting bad roads so I left home at 3.30:AM (to make sure I got there for 8), and did not arrive back until 6.00:PM so most of the journey was in the dark and I took very few pictures.  The road, however, was icy only in the western end and a bit slick close to town where fresh snow was falling, but the rest of the route was bare and in fact there was no snow at all there.  The sun was low for the first part of my journey home.

At home I’ve been puttering about with chores.  I still have not broken all my snowshoe trails: not only is the snow quite difficult to crunch down, the trails are also littered with an amazing number of fallen trees.  Many are too difficult to get around and I have had to drag a chain saw on a toboggan to deal with them.  The snow, of course, makes the work take twice as long.I was thrilled one day to see a few redpolls at the feeder.  They add a bit of colour to the bird life.It is interesting to see the way the birds behave with each other.  Chickadees give each other space.  Rarely are there two on the feeder tray.  They sit on nearby branches and wait their turn to dive in and get a seed.  The redpolls, however, buddy up like chickens.  They are a little smaller than the chickadees but both birds act as if the other is not around.In the upper picture you will notice a pine cone on the feeder tray.  One is put there occasionally by the squirrel.

The other day I received a seed catalogue and I checked through ancient seeds I already had to see which were still viable.  I tossed out a lot of peas and beans.  I thought the squirrel might enjoy them so I threw them on the deck hoping that would keep the squirrel off the feeder tray for a while.  The squirrel loved them – but not in the way I expected.  He/she spent a couple of hours gathering up all the large seeds off the deck, one by one, and putting them onto the feeder tray.  By the end of the day he/she had also added several more cones and a couple of dried mushrooms.   I tossed them further away and now only a few make it back each day.

Last Saturday was the Tatla Lake School’s Santa breakfast.  It is always a lot of fun.  First there is a big meal.Then the kids put on a concert.

Yesterday was the first time since I’ve been home that the sky was clear enough in the morning to see the sunrise point.  It will rise just to the right of that tree on the shortest day.And we finally had pretty colours on the mountains.

About wilderness dweller

I have lived for more than 30 years as a Wilderness Dweller. Most of that time was in cabins I built myself far from the nearest road, high in the mountains of British Columbia, Canada. My "retirement" home is accessible by a bush road but still far from neighbours. I live off the grid, and operate this blog by solar-powered satellite internet.
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7 Responses to December

  1. Tracey says:

    Merry Christmas Chris,
    I enjoyed the squirrel “art”. How very interesting that he/she relocates the offerings in this way. Perhaps the squirrel is sharing offerings with his feathered friends as they so kindly share the rest of the year with him?
    Best of the season to you,
    Tracey

  2. Carol says:

    Best Wishes from Ireland, hope you have a lovely Christmas. I have enjoyed your all your posts and books. Regards, Carol

  3. Not sure my last post went through, so I will do it again.?:)
    I admire your lifestyle and your blog, which I have been reading for some time now, but I do wonder how you get your water. A drilled well or Spring? If I was younger I would endeavor to do something like what you do, I love the wilderness and the wildlife, so please continue writing and I will continue reading. ? Living in the lower 48, Conn., we do live in the woods in a log cabin and heat mostly by wood, but a little more sophisticated then you, but we do like the wildlife and the wilderness. Take care, and I’m glad you made it through those awful wildfires.

  4. Cathy says:

    I enjoyed this post. What a beautiful house you have. Excellent pictures (as always) of the hoar frost, the fog, the smoke – interesting that the fire can still burn when there’s snow and cold, low light abstracts, the birds, the squirel’s antics and the beautiful children performing. How lucky they are to grow up in such an environment.
    I’d probably give up snow showing if I had to cut through all that brush just to make a trail.
    Have a wonderful holiday season Chris and many more happy new years in this beautiful place you live in.
    Cathy

  5. Maggie Wright says:

    Hello Chris,

    Greetings from Washington State.

    Your photos are spectacular. You have an excellent eye. I have read several of your books, and I enjoy your blog. I always look forward to reading your next post.

    For many years my husband and I enjoyed fishing the Atnarko and Bella Coola rivers. We have some precious memories.

    Best always.

  6. Margy says:

    Isn’t it funny how we measure sunrise by trees. Ours is rising at about 9:00 over the trees to the west of our friend John’s cabin and setting by 11:30 behind the trees to the east of John’s place. Now much sun if we get any. We too had lot of fog. I went to town for a meeting on Tuesday and couldn’t get home until Friday it was so thick. We worry about stray logs and fast logging boats traveling in the murk. – Margy

  7. Shelly Kerwynn says:

    Dear Chris
    Thanks so much for your posts. I so look forward to them.
    Well, I finished Harry’s book and relished it! I kept it at work so I could read it during my breaks at ER. I really enjoyed it! Bravo, Harry!
    I’m glad you had a successful book tour and thank you so much for dropping off the book for me in Whistler. That was kind. I wish I could have been in town to meet up with you.
    If you are through Whistler again, you are most welcome to stay the night again.
    But I imagine it will be some time before you leave your peaceful life up there…unless you have another book in you? I hope so.
    All the best!
    Shelly Kerwynn

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