SPRING WORK

We’ll start off with a morning view on this post. Taken about mid April.

I was fortunate to acquire a volunteer from France, Laetitia. She was inexperienced at wilderness living, but wanted to learn. She proved to be a very hard worker and extremely useful.

First, the rows had to be dug over in the garden. (The cardboard is an attempt to keep the grass down. It is always rampant next to the house, where it catches the drips from the eaves.)

Then the horse manure I collected last year was wheelbarrowed in. Snow is flying on a gusty wind in this picture.

Laetitia wanted to learn to split wood. As with most beginners, the mall simply bounced off the wood in her first attempt, but she soon learned to snap her body and regularly filled the woodbox during her month’s stay. Her technique tended to smash the wood so I always had plenty of kindling!

At the beginning of May, it was time to take off the winter tires. So Laetitia learned how to do that! Experience that will be useful for her as she planned to drive her camper van up to the Yukon for the summer.

She loves dogs. She had one of her own. Pepita was starting to shed and she collected dog hair. She was keen on crocheting and intended to incorporate a bit into her craft work. Dog hair is a lot harder to spin than sheep’s wool.

After our very warm winter, the spring became very cold. I was reluctant to plant the garden but it’s a job I find painful to do so was glad to have Laetitia do it. We had previously set up the irrigation, pumping water from the beaver pond, and the ground had been well soaked as everything was still extremely dry.

Laetitia’s van needed mechanical work so we took it to Bella Coola.

Half way down the Bella Coola Hill we ran into the first spring green. It’s such a lovely time to visit with new leaves and the mountains still covered in snow.

The van would have to stay down there for a few days as parts were needed. I had driven down in my truck so was able to bring Laetitia back. But we had time to visit a couple of places. First the tide flats.

And then the Big Cedar trail. It is guarded by a skunk cabbage plant, at this point in full bloom. The skunk aroma is a great springtime feature of the Bella Coola Valley. It should be sitting in water but the little creek was bone dry.

The big cedars never fail to impress.

This tree was still living but it had been burned out inside at ground level.

Hooker’s Fairybells proliferated on the forest floor.

Going back up the Bella Coola Hill we had a good view of last summer’s fire.

We saw our third bear just before we left highway 20. This one was obliging enough to pose for us.

We have grizzlies around, too. This one was caught on my trail camera.

Digital Camera

The camera has also recorded a fox,

Digital Camera

And an otter. It is quite way from water, but we had noted otter skid marks in the snow during the winter so there must be a route between a slough up in the burn and the river.

Digital Camera

But my favourite trail camera picture is one of my neighbour, Jade, who jogs along the road sometimes. She is very fast!

Digital Camera

Towards the end of Laetitia’s stay we had a fire cache practice. We congregated around the Tatlayoko Fire Cache.

Marc is in charge of this particular cache (there are seven in our area) and he gave us a lecture.

We filled our tanks from the nearby river.

Pumped water into a bladder,

And watered the dandelions.

We were not too far from Tatlayoko Lake so we went down there to finish off the day.

Fumitory was blooming.

When I took my spring volunteer of last spring down that way, we saw a gorgeous driftwood horse.

It has now multiplied!

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