Matthew came to me straight from England. He had never left the country before, never been in a plane, and never volunteered. Poor guy was thrown in at the deep end.
The big job was removing the remaining debris from inside the burned packrat palace. This was mostly ash, billions of nails, and fibreglass, some only half-consumed, hence the dust mask and enveloping clothing. The bug net was necessary as the blackflies were just enough of a nuisance to be annoying – otherwise it has been the most amazing bugless year ever.
All in all, we took three large loads to the dump.
Another heavy, dirty job was to landscape the west side of the house. Debris from the dug basement 6 years ago is as barren as the day it was left there, despite my efforts to grow clover and wild weeds. We dug it down to the original forest level and used the fill to extend the rock garden constructed last year (on which quite a few plants are surviving.) We also shovelled a load of manure (extracted from one of the barn next to the packrat palace before it was burned) on top, but nothing else can be done with it until it rains, as I don’t have enough water in my well to spare for it. We were greatly helped by a couple of visitors who insisted on earning their night’s stay. Harry and Badger are worn out from watching us work.
Matthew was staying only two weeks so, after the Anahim Lake Stampede (previous post), we went down the Bella Coola Hill.
The classic calendar-picture alpine flowers were out; blue lupin and red paintbrush: the white bog orchid filled the air with its scent. Heckman Pass at the top of the Bella Coola Hill is the same height as my old cabins at Nuk Tessli, where I am going in a few days so these are a preview or the flowers I can expect there.
We had left early, and cool shadows still crossed the road in the Bella Coola Valley. Not far along were two young foxes, presumably siblings. This one was limping quite badly so I do not know if it will survive.
A little further along we stopped at the mortuary pole.
Our particular destination was to try and find the big cedars on Walker Island. I had been unsuccessful on previous trips; however, we finally got the right place.
The squirrels, however, didn’t care what size they were!