The second pandemic volunteers had a very busy time and because the snow had now gone, a great deal of work got done. Most of the volunteers already had some skills, which was a bonus. There was the usual firewood:
I wanted to lay a cable between my house and cabin – the collection of extension cords was cumbersome and wasteful of power. I finally got some suitable cable. It could be buried out of the way.
The first big job I wanted to tackle was a way across the wetland to the south bluff. Beaver had flooded the old trail with a dam. I had walked across it when it was frozen in the winter but the trail was knee deep in water now.
The easiest way to cross it was to use rails from a fence that had been put up at least 25 years ago. The fence had multiple holes in it and bore no relationship to anyone’s property boundary. It was mostly on crown land so I figured I would put it to good use.
At first we laid logs in the wet areas and pegged them to the ground.
Then we had to cross some flowing water.
This was the official opening,
but afterwards they went back and made it 5 logs wide. The will be much better for snowshoeing.
Then we could clear the trail up to the south bluff
Harry enjoyed his new companion.
At the top, we were rewarded with the sight of a white tailed deer crossing the river.
Next I took Philipp and Mareike to the bog holes on the road. We dug some channels to drain them, and then the two volunteers removed a huge rock that has always been a problem. It seemed impossible, but then we found it had split into 4 pieces, no doubt because of the heavy traffic crashing on it year after year.
Meanwhile, Franzi and Johannes were figuring out how to build a canoe rack onto my trailer using parts of a trampoline I found at the dump.
They successfully designed it so that the ATV could be loaded and unloaded when the canoe was still in place. (And yes, I gave them ear protectors and helmets but no one would wear them.)
It was full moon time, and I was lucky enough to see a perfect sequence.
(The redness of the ridge is part of the 2017 Kleena Kleene fire.)
Finally, “Freedom Day” of our 2-week isolation came around. Off we went to Tatlayoko Lake to try the new trailer arrangement. Two could canoe and the other two could play on the ATV.
Being lower down, spring was already happening down there.
I made a quick trip to town and, at the Pollywog rest area I had some bluebird entertainment. First I noticed him on a tree beside the pond.
As I angled to get a better view, he flew to the driver’s door.
Next, to the passenger mirror.
Then to the passenger window frame,
And finally, launched himself against his reflection in the mirror.
He did this several times. And the way he behaved, he had done this before. He just knew there was another bluebird in the truck. I stopped later in the day and did not see him. I asked others to do the same but no one else saw him. Maybe you have to be there early in the morning.
The taste of freedom meant the volunteers were itching to move on. In their last few days with me, they did several odd jobs – digging out the stump from last fall’s blowdown,
putting a couple of loads of wood into the woodshed,
replacing the kitchen faucet,
And some mechanicking.
And then the second pandemic volunteers were gone.
Once again it turned very cold.
We had a couple of big dumps of rain.
The other day I went to a neighbour’s ranch to pick up kidneys and liver. Fred from the Precipice (co-author of Captured By Fire) was there (at left, with the hat) and my neighbour Jade in the background. Foul freezing rain was whipped on a squally wind. It was too cold to visit outside, and because of their small boy, the ranchers preferred not to have us in the house. So we visited on socially distanced buckets in the shop – kept nice and cool for obvious reasons.
I have been buying these ranchers’ beef for years but it has had to go through a licensed slaughterhouse. Recently, ranchers have been allowed to kill and sell a limited number of animals themselves. Open range beef is the closest one can get to wild meat because of all the weeds the animals eat. (In winter they get weedy hay, too). Slaughtering on the farm means that the meat has no stress hormones in it. Your average supermarket beef is full of them, and this, on top of food that cows can’t digest (corn) adds considerably to the bad reputation for human health that meat often gets. A range cow is beef at its best. Jade and I will share half this animal.
And the weather stays cold. Most of the garden is in, but it is sitting there, waiting. However, the green time is coming.