I had intended to write a Solstice post, but I have been so busy it has turned into a Boxing Day post. (Did you know why it is called that? It was England’s Queen Victoria who started it. She deemed that on the 26th of December, boxes of food should go to the poor.)
The last post dealt with the -30s temperatures – the coldest it reached was -32C.The afternoons would warm to about -20C and that makes for lovely hiking weather.
But inevitably, the sun came to an end. You can see a front coming in on the above picture. There were clouds hovering at sunset.
And the next day it was warmer, but the mountains had gone again.
I made another trip to town. Snow was forecast so I left an hour earlier than usual – 3.30:am – but saw moon and stars all the way. I had thought that, with my earlier start, the road might be more empty, but I have never seen it so busy. I must have met 50 logging trucks and a few other assorted vehicles in the first two hours. The wet year has meant that a lot of the hauling had to be delayed because the bush roads were undriveable. The mills in Williams Lake had almost run out of trees. So now the trucks are hauling like mad.
It did snow a bit in Williams Lake, and it got quite warm – only a few degrees below freezing, and what with the salting, the roads became a sea of mud. I don’t normally drive to Williams Lake so often in the winter, but this year I had stuff I wanted to do. I have have received enough money from the property sale to enable me to buy a few toys! I finally have my ATV!I also bought the trailer. I used to be able to back a trailer quite well – but that was 50 years ago. I did not think that the cramped yards in Williams Lake were good places for me to practice, so I left picking up the toys to last, and got the various vendors to point me in the right direction for home!
Both the morning and most of the afternoon journey (4 hours each way) were in the dark, so I couldn’t take pictures. This was a pity as shortly after leaving town we had the most spectacular sunset. However, with the excessive traffic on the road (throwing up walls of mud until it got a bit cooler as I travelled further west), the lack of places to draw off (one must be leery of the road sides under snow; the plough makes a nice flat edge, but the flatness often overhangs the lip of the ditch. More than one motorist has come to grief that way), and the extra concern for the trailer meant that I did not dare stop.
I could see the ATV in my rear view mirror. As it grew dark, whenever I touched the brakes, red light flushed against the trailer and the ATV’s headlights glowed like slanted devil’s eyes.
An ATV was not the only toy I bought. I also got a plough for it.Although I had a lot of instructions from the dealer, it still took a bit of time to figure out how to put everything together. More time was needed to get used to the controls and find the best angle for the plough. Up to now it has always been a problem to find someone to plough me out, and I will still need to pursuade a heavy machine owner to come if we get a big dump of snow, but for now I have ploughing independence.Yet another present to myself is a new camera! I now have a Canon SX60. The view in front of me when I first put it together was the interior of my living room. People have often asked to see more of where I live so I thought I would include it in this post.
I love the new camera and can play with the really good zoom. The weather has stayed mostly fairly mild and dull. Sometimes, at the end of the day, there is a hint of what it might have been.The same camera is pretty good for close-ups.The day before the Solstice, it was clear enough to see the sun go down. How wonderful to think that it’s resting place will now travel back north again.Usually by this time of year, my bird feeder is full of pine grosbeaks. Their lovely red plumage brightens up the winter. But this year there is not a sign of them. The cold snap must have encouraged them to go elsewhere. All the birds that come are clothed in various shades of grey. We have the chickadees, downy woodpecker, and grey jays.Latterly, a Clark’s Nutcracker has also been visiting. He is much the same size as a whiskeyjack, but has a shorter tail and much longer, stronger beak.He is most interested in the bones I am feeding to the dogs.On warmer days the squirrel tries to sneak a few treats as well.