2020 Summer Solstice

Yesterday was the 2020 Summer Solstice. The days are getting shorter and already we are heading towards winter. June has been damp and very cool. Junuary, my Vancouver friend called it. The sunrise on the longest day illustrates this well.

Despite this, the world finally greened up.

(That is the mail truck in the background. We have mail three times a week.)

Around Riske Creek, on the way to town, the balsam root daisies made a spectacular show. They don’t grow this far west.

The full moon was drowned in cloud, but three days later I got a shot of it on its low summer trajectory.

I have had no volunteers this month. The ones that want to come are stuck on the far side of our borders, some half way across the world. Those that are already in Canada have found a place they like and are keeping their heads down, reluctant to move. A couple plans to arrive at the beginning of July. So I have had to do all my work alone! (Gardening, mostly.)

As always with poor weather, there were sometimes bits of sun in the mornings making dramatic light-scapes.

Beavers dammed the creek last year and kept my pond full. (It used to dry out in a hot summer.) This spring, it has been full of life. I can only assume that the constant water has encouraged duck food, especially for the diving ducks.

Hooded merganser

Ring-necked ducks

Lesser scaups

I see the beaver occasionally – usually when the light is too poor for a photograph – but muskrats, who seem to have appropriated the old beaver house, are much in evidence.

But the best entertainment came from a family of common goldeneyes.

Baby ducks and geese are programmed to follow the first thing they see that moves, which is usually Mum. But this mum kept flying to another pond and leaving them to their own devices. The babies zoomed everywhere like mini speedboats, even when their mother was present.

A rare moment of family bonding. On day one there were 7, now there are 5.

Ducks lay a lot of eggs as their offspring have a poor survival chance. A couple of days later, there were 2.

The following day, Mum was on her own, and that was the last I saw of any of them.

Remember this picture from last November that someone dubbed an “animal graveyard”?

Well now the garden has come into its own.

Silky phacelia and Jacob’s ladder.

As everywhere, our social events have been cancelled. No cattle drive party, no spring craft market, no gymkhana. So it was a real treat to have an Event! Here are members of the Fire Cache learning how to use radiophones. (One man is wearing a mask because his wife works in a Covid ward in Vancouver – however, she was healthy and had stayed 2 weeks when she visited, so there was very little risk; however, the man was kindly being conscientious.) Otherwise the virus is so far from us we hardly need to worry. In any case, keeping social distance is easy.

The radiophone lesson was followed by the Search and Rescue AGM, which had been cancelled in March. Most of the same people are involved. Although we all live isolated lives, it was a rare treat to have a social event.

It was also a rare treat to get sunshine – it has been raining and blowing when we left home. The gloomy weather was back the next day.

So I grabbed the chance of a few hours sun to cross the new bridge over the creek and climb to the south bluff.

I was doubly rewarded to see a mule deer down by the river on the way home. At first, there was only one baby.

And then there were two!

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