The Light Half of the Year.

Now the sun clears Mount Nogwon on its journey north and we are now entering the light half of the year.

After our cold spell in February, it gradually warmed up to an unpleasant thaw – wild winds and rain.

Freezing point was not too far above us, however.

We had some sun after that, quite nice weather, but the sky was often hazy. Ice crystals have created this rainbow effect.

Dodging snow storms, I made my first trip to town of the year in early March. I hadn’t shopped there since the beginning of December. In previous years, friends would sometimes pass through and bring fresh vegetables, but no one was travelling because of the covid so I was reliant on the Nimpo Lake Store, which has nothing organic and as I cannot tolerate a lot of the chemicals, I rarely found much for me to eat. My greens were endless sprouts. So I salivated at the idea of asparagus and avocados and lettuce and spinach and kale and mushrooms….

I managed to pick a day of dry roads to make the 3 and half hour drive to Williams Lake. Most of the morning was completed in the dark. The day was like most of the winter, largely dull. There was less snow further east and it all looked very drab.

Lee’s Corner is an hour west of town, a nice lookout, and a good place to stop for a break. This area was severely burned in 2017 and I am always fascinated by the bones of the mountain that is now revealed.

The highway was good, but my own 4 km driveway had large chunks of somewhat nerve-wracking glare ice.

Shortly after that, the first spring migrant arrived – in a snowstorm.

It’s always a toss-up between the juncos and the redwing blackbirds, but the juncos won by a long margin this year. There are now about a dozen pecking and scratching around the yard like chickens.

One thing about marginal weather is the lighting effects. The sun my be brief, but it is always interesting. The following two pictures were taken about an hour apart.

Foxy is still around. I see him occasionally in daylight.

But I hadn’t realized that he was not alone. In town, I treated myself to a new toy. A trail camera. I threw a small handful of dog food down, and there they were.

Digital Camera

Naturally, I got lots of pictures of Harry…

And even the neighbours!

In the middle of February, a redpoll came to the feeder.

These guys had not been around since the 2017 fires. At first they were slow to come but after a couple of weeks a big mob descended – probably 20 – 30 of them. They would descend onto the feeders like a swarm of locusts. Gobble gobble gobble, then off in a roar of wings.

When they catch a bit of sun, their red caps glow like coals.

And finally, on the 15th March, in yet another snowstorm, the first redwing blackbird arrived.

In a day or two there were about 15, but their numbers soon tailed off so now there are only 4 or 5. I have had mobs of 40 before, but not last year or this year.

It is still well below freezing at night – often down to -12C, but above freezing in the afternoon, particularly if the sun shines. The snow is going on sunny slopes – my rockery is showing through.

I decided to give nature a helping hand and sprinkled ashes onto the garden. I had enough only for half – it is melting faster, but only slowly.

I have also been restructuring my small lean-to greenhouse. By covering the new box with plywood and blankets, I can keep the interior from freezing even when it is -11C outside. I planted frost-hardy seeds a week ago, and already they are poking through.

I have also been busy painting, and have completed another triptych. This one of the mountains around Perkins Peak. It is about 2 and half feet tall and 5 and half feet wide.

Now all that is left to do before I start spring-cleaning is – income tax!

3 thoughts on “The Light Half of the Year.”

  1. I’ve been away from blogging for a while, mostly because I’ve been away from the cabin. Our good friend John (who built our cabin and has helped us over the years to keep it going) has been going to Bella Coola every two weeks or so to visit his new girl friend. She’s from Powell River but took a job as a counselor in Bella Coola for two years. He is enjoying the area a lot. Enjoy the warmth and longer days to come. – Margy
    Margy recently posted…Book Review: “The Fifties” by David HalberstamMy Profile

  2. Good evening Chris, we miss your blog, the photographs of your surroundings, the dogs, the birds and yes even foxy on your lane. Hope you are keeping safe and healthy. This has been such a weird 14 months and your blog brings joy to our life. Trust all is well with you – health wise. Here on Van. Is. life goes on, it is different but we all will get through this, we just have to keep to Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advise. Anne & John Silins, Chemainus

  3. Hi Christine,
    I occasionally turn to your blog for some inspiration. I found your book in our local Meaford book store about 10 years ago and that’s how I learned about your amazing wilderness life. As I started reading it I realized that you are the same person that came to work at Farm Radio Network to write some articles that, if I remember correctly, related to environmental issues. That was a long time ago….probably in the late nineties. I was the managing editor at the time. I finally decided to send you this quick note. Best wishes to you. Jennifer Pittet

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