Yearning for Summer Already

Forget spring, let us talk about summer. With all of this sunshine and warm weather over the last few days, we are being teased, then left in denial when the nights go back to freezing again. The last week has been repeating itself like this with just one rainy day that left us with just a sprinkle on the ground. The days are growing longer by leaps and bounds, and rumour has it, next spring starts–no word of a lie.

Me being the selfish person who lived in the Lower Mainland for nearly thirty years, seeing all this sunshine after what seems the longest winter, but normal for the North, I crave summer now. I am getting excited that I soon, I can walk outside in a Tshirt and wearing running shoes, and then finally ditching the toque. Yeah, I do not mind if Climate Change brings a little heat up here sooner than later, but that is just me. I have so many plans for the upcoming summer.

But first things first, we need to worry about spring. In my youth, living here, I remember that spring is very wet here, and with that, there is this thing called the “Spring Run-Off.” But with all the weather fluctuations since then, I fear that we may never have a consistent, predictable spring, again. Oh, winter will be with us, but the quality of spring and summer maybe put into doubt.

Regardless, this entire year has been a whole new experience for me. As the anniversary date draws nearer, the first day of summer (since I first moved here), every day in the Skeena Valley has been chalked with new experiences. Seeing the snow was an awe inspiring moment that lasted one night until I had to drive in it. Thankfully, snow tires work like a hot damn. The wind, which is normal here, but never reaches the point where the trees get blown over, and the power goes out, and then the rain, which can last several weeks at a time. As long as I do not have to shovel it, I am happy.

The above photo is the bushes behind my old place in Langley, BC, back in August of 2013. That was a very hot summer, as I remember it. Maybe we will have that type of summer up here? Who knows. I am sure the Forest Fire people would not want it, but I think the flowers would.

Like a Hit to Head

Well the weather is nice and “springy” with 12C and no rain in sight around here. Still, snow lingers on the ground, but the air smells of spring and good times to come–it is almost magic. Anyway, today’s post is about all those people who think they deserve more than everyone else, yet they do the least amount for it. There are a few ingredients, such as respect, skill, and even to a degree, merit, but these qualities you need to earn by the social standards set by your peers. Self proclaimed leaders and invented titles, such as those you would call scammers and swindlers, every society has them buried amongst the general population. Around here in Terrace, BC, we have our share. But one guy in particular stands out above all the others I have met since I moved here last summer. The truck driver that wanted me to sign his log book. Ya, like I need a hit on the head.

When this person wanted me to sign his log book, I thought “why would I sign that—a log book.” So I told him that it is company policy for me NOT to sign anything of Government in origins, unless directed by the Company Owners. (Yes, I played stupid.) He insisted, and even said that he has Receivers do this all of the time, and that this was his company’s policy. So I said, “Then I need to make a phone call.” Then time all of a sudden time became an issue. His troubles of being an Owner-Operator, and having several employees working for him, was so much stress, and that I was only adding more unnecessary stress to his already stressed out day–he needed to get going on his next trip. (Yes, cue the violins.)

Log story–short, I use to drive trucks for a living. Yes, in my humble younger days, I was a Commercial Truck Driver, and did both short and long haul all over North America. So I knew how the game was played, and heard of all the tricks and stunts played by other drivers. Now I stay away, far far away from driving trucks becuase of both Dead Beat Bosses, and my health–in that order. So listening to this guy, just conjured up many memories of all the dishonest drivers that I use to work with, and who tried to pull scams like this.

Here are the facts. Only the driver and the Scale Officer touch that log book when the driver is on en-route to the destination point. The Bill of Lading are the shipping documents that the Driver carries from the Shipper, to the Receiver; both of these are legal documents. In my current employment, I only sign the Bills of Lading, and I put the times and date on that document–not the driver. If it does not match his Scale Logs, then that is his problem, he has to deal with the Government and his Employer.

After ten minutes of him trying to get me to sign is documents and Log Book, he gave up. But not with some choice words after I unloaded my product from the trailer. I wrote in my logs, that this driver was not following procedure, and that my company should request that he be barred from hauling for us, for life. We will see how far that will goes.

Anyway, that was the start my day.

Watching the Eagles Fish the Eulachon on the Skeena River

It was a nice day for a drive, as we almost went to Prince Rupert, BC, but we stopped short to where the Eulachon fish were gathering in the Skeena River as they laid their eggs and die. They were not hard to spot where they were, as all you had to do was find the thousands of seagulls and the fifty or so Bald Headed Eagles scooping them up to eat along the shores, and on the floating chunks of ice. Also, there were lots of people there too, both taking photos, and some catching them for their dinner. It was quite the sight to see. And for the record, I saw only one Eulachon, but it was in a Seagull’s beak, twenty metres away up in the air. But I have seen a lot when I was kid. For the birders, you would have been in awe at the numbers of Seagulls and Eagles there were.

After today, I realized I need at least a 500mm lens, or greater. The Eagles were smart; this was as close as I could get with a 300mm telephoto. Every move I made, it stared at me with those eagle eyes.

Anyway, you are not going to find anything about the Eulachon fish on any sports fishing guide website. The little fish hardly has any commercial value what so ever. However, these are a food fish for the local aboriginal peoples. I have heard them referred to as Candle Fish, or Salvation Fish, becuase of the time of year you catch them in the river, and the oils the little fish makes. Yes, I have seen people light them on fire, and they burn like a candle at the tail. But you can make what is called Eulachon Grease from them, and store it for later on in the year. Harvesting is done in Late February and March, at the end of winter. After a long winter, these little fish will keep a whole village going until full on spring.

I would say that there was about thirty cars parked along the Prince Rupert – Terrace highway, or Highway 16. The little fish only swim a short ways up the Skeena, close to where the tidal water ends, so it was fair ways from Terrace, about fifty kilometres to see this. I am not sure how long this will last, but it was a feast for the birds! Maybe nest time I will have a stronger telephoto lens for my camera.

Saving Time On Top of Bad Hair Day

First, Daylight Savings Time sucks. Enough said. Second, having bad hair also sucks. However, today is full of awesomeness becuase spring has come. What can I say. The warmer weather kind of trumps bad hair day, by a long shot, but not having to loose an hour of my time just so someone else happy so they can enjoy more productivity from their workers–just stupid.

I must be getting cranky in my old age. But I do like my routines: getting up at a set time, then going to sleep when it is bed time. Now, having to jump around with changing time, is, in my opinion, just impractical. I have said this countless times on my Weblog in the past, “just leave time alone,” Government. Just leave it alone.

Anyway, I thought I would call today a day of bad hair. Yes, right now, as I sit and type these words to you, I have a bad case of bad hair. I washes it, combed it, and brushed it again, but to no avail, my hair does not want to look well groomed. So I am leaving it. However, I have a theory as to why I am having so much trouble with my hair. I think it is all becuase of the warmer weather we are getting here. My house is heated with electric heat, so it is very dry inside, yet outside, it is very humid. So going back and forth, from inside to out, my hair is protesting. I should point out that I have very short hair, so there is hardly any weight to keep it down. So, I have a lot of areas on my head that has hair randomly pointing in any direction other than where I want it to. All I can do is just keep wetting it down.

Perhaps it is “Hat Day,” today?

My Thoughts on Trade Wars Over Oil

The opinions expressed below are mine, and mine alone: this is me thinking out loud.

I believe that British Columbia is in a great position to embark on the path of becoming energy self-sufficient, and adopting the highest standards possible of any industrialized region in the world on Carbon reduction. It is no secret that there is a possible trade war between the Alberta and British Columbia Governments over oil pipelines. The BC Government as slapped limits and restrictions on the oil pipeline that runs through the Lower Mainland, and with that Alberta has proposed to cut off all old it currently sells to BC as a result. This tit for tat trade war could very well be a blessing for BC, albeit cause short term pain for some, but over all, a boon in the long run to both the economy and the environment.

The Lower Mainland gets most of its gasoline from Washington Sate in the US, as I understand. Here in Northern BC, where I now live, we get our gasoline from Alberta. You might be wondering why I would endorse such a cock-o-many idea if it is going to effect me the most, rather than all those in the Southern half of BC? Simple, we can more then likely absorb the increases in fuel costs more than anywhere else under fossil use, until we convert to renewable energies. Sure, it will be painful, and effect our standard of living in the short term, but we will bounce back better, stronger and faster, then the rest of the Country.

Here is my point. We are a smaller, less dense, populations base. Northern BC is primarily focused on Mining, harvesting and Tourism. By harvesting, I mean we log and process trees, and catch wild fish. All of witch is heavily dependent on oil, currently, however; over time all these industries can convert to electricity, something that we create right here, right in our back yards. BC has a huge capacity of potential electric power, through the use of hydro dams, thus, a carbon free and renewable resource.

We have the technology, we now have to implement it. We can drive electric cars, transport our goods with electric trucks which are now available on the market. We send electricity to mines and mills, so that generating electricity through fossil fuels is prevented. And even with all this growth in electric usability, we could probably still have plenty to sell to other markets—all carbon free, with less of a footprint on the environment.

I say, “lets do the trade war over oil with Alberta,” this is our golden opportunity to change, and start reversing the effects on the environment. Let BC become the new frontier in renewable energy!

Frozen Onion Lake

Me and Suz., decided to drive out to Kitimat, BC for the afternoon to check out the town. The drive was about 40 minutes each way, and we stayed about two hours in the town, but along the way we passed Onion Lake (twice). We stopped at the lake on our way to Kitimat becuase there was really good light from the Sun. It was high noon when we went through and stopped at the lake. Once we got to Onion Lake, it was obvious that there was a tad bit more snow their than there was back in Terrace and Thornhill, BC. We also stopped at Hospital Beach, right on the Pacific Ocean.

Of course, it has been about three weeks now since our last major snow storm, so what you are seeing here in the photo is left over from that time. The last couple of days have been really awesome with sunshine filled days, hitting above the freezing level, but very cool at night. So the snow will be with us for a while longer, so it is melting slowly–as we want it to. If it melts too fast, then we have massive flooding, so it is good that Nature is taking its time with this. But the rumour is, next week (Seven days from now) we could get into the fast warm-up that we do not want. But then again, it would be nice if we got some super spring weather now, rather than in April or May.

Kitimat was awesome. The small town seems like it is doing great. We saw lots of people driving around like us, and the local shopping market was packed. The snow banks their was still very large, but the roads were in perfect condition. Once we bought our coffees, we drove down to Hospital Beach where sat in the car watching the seagulls catching small fish our the Pacific Ocean.

The time at the beach was even better with the temperatures warmer than in town, but the wind was still the issue as it was coming in from the North, steady at a about 20km/hr. The smell of the saltwater was very nice to breath, and the water was crystal clear. I cannot not get over how clean the air is now–if you were only here back in the ’80s.

It was great to get out of town and explore. I cannot wait for actual spring to get here! LOL

Scammer’s, You are too Funny!

Over the last two weeks now, I have been getting SPAM phone calls, emails, even a survey that was mailed to me, asking for some weird information, to a private organization. The level of frequency it hitting fever pitch. Most scammers are emailing me, and a quarter of those are from phone calls, and then there is the one piece of mail in the Post. I am not to terribly surprised, as this time of year some people are in debt and desperate for money, while those who are well-off, are usually tight in the wallets, so the flow of cash trickles this time of year. What made me write about scammers today is the call I just had a few minutes ago.

I just got home from work, and sat down at my PC to check emails when the phone rings. Normally I just wait to see who it is on the call display, then let it go to voice mail if it someone I do not know. I was not paying that much attention, and sometimes it is the girlfriend who phones around this time of day. Though Thursdays, she is usually out at her classes and social events. So I answer the phone. It was a women with a New York accent who says, “Hello, may I have few minutes of your time for this special offer…. your name was chosen to….” and I hung up. Then the phone rings again–I am letting it go voice mail!

I let it go straight to voice mail. It was a computerize voice synth, stating that it was the Canada Revenue Service, and I have a criminal warrant against me, and that I must pay in Bitcoin before I jail for the rest of my life. I thought this was crazy, two in a row.

Last week was the best. This East Indian chick phoned, and left a message on my machine saying that she was from a Collection Agency, and that she was directed from the “Toronto Corporate Office, representing the Credit Agency,” and that I have a debt that needs to be paid off by 4:00pm that day, or my credit history will be adjusted. This one was one of the best I have heard so far, but she got her “official” titles mixed up. The part about payment was outrageous too, as this Collection Company only collects money through Bitcoin. Imagine that? I used to work for a collections company in Langley, BC, so I know a lot about the rules about phoning people up begging for money.

Sadly my phone number is out in the Scammer’s data bases, or they got a list from my local Telco–which would not surprise me. But yes, the frequency of the scammers and sophistication is growing by leaps and bounds.

As the Piles of Snow Get Smaller

Another great morning in Thornhill. Hovering around 3C this morning, the light dusting of snow we had last night is all gone, and it appears that the day is promising to be even warmer than yesterday possibly reaching 5C. All good news. I even took a walk, just to get out of the apartment, and of course I brought my camera. I walked about three kilometers, more or less, around the Northern part of Lower Thornhill. I needed to get out and stretch my legs.

About 8:00am I got to Highway #16 and Clark Street, when I took this photo during my little walk. You can still see the huge snow banks left over from the five back-to-back snow storms from earlier this month. The air was warmer (well anything is warmer that minus fifteen) but still should have brought a hat or tuque/block heater. The wind was blowing from the South, but still has a chill to it. 

Last night on the news, I heard that the Lower Mainland (Vancouver) was suffering with their little snow storm. I could not feel sorry for them having gone through a North Coast winter. Here, snow tires are the law if you want to commute between Thornhill and Terrace, BC, as you have to cross on the Highway. To enter on the highway, mandatory snow tires are required between October and April. The Lower Mainland should have those same laws in place, even if they only get a day of winter.

On my way home, I took this photo of the snow banks across the highway. I am being a little cheeky here becuase these were the larger snow banks. This is looking East on Frontage Road, looking at my old high school on the other side of the highway. These snow banks are nearly two metres deep!

I guess I should start spelling tuque/touque/toque as “block heater” like the locals do. LOL The Spelling Nazis just swarmed upon me with a vengeance!

The Warm-up Begins

Great news, Terrace seems to have unlocked itself from the deep-freeze it was held under the last three to four weeks. It was raining today with a high temperature of 5C! Welcomed news if you like things a bit warmer. But to tell you the truth, the cold did not bother me that much; it was the snow adding up each time a storm rolled in. Even today, two weeks after the last big dump of snow, we still have about 40cm of it laying on the ground. Sure, the roads were kept in great shape, but if you like hiking, well, then there was none of that to do unless you can snow shoe yourself around the valley. I do not own a pair of snow shoes.

Like magic, or living in another world, the warm air mixed in with gentle rain, filled my nostrils. No more use for a toque and a pair of gloves, being outside took on a whole new emotional state. Doors and locks seem to work effortlessly. Walking without the need for cleats is now possible as the ice begins to melt away from the walkways. Though I should point out that only half the sidewalks are cleared of snow. There just seems to be too much of it for Snow Removal after clearing the roads for the motoring public. However, the nice sounds of dripping water from the roof/gutters was enough to put a smile on my face.

In general I see that most everyone in my social circle seems to be happier, or more radiant, aside from the cold and sniffles that have developed from the extra long cold snap. Sure, the sunshine during the cold weather was nice, but having warmer air to breath and moister with it, I think makes people better. As the Law of Nature goes, you take what Mother Nature dishes out…. (praise nature), you will take it, and you will like it, no matter what it is. Remember, spring is twenty five days away!

A Winter Trip to Rosswood, BC

Since the weather was nice, or not snowing on us to death, Me and Suz., took a trip out to Rosswood, BC in my car. The roads were in great condition, albeit if you did not have winter tires on, you were stuck, but I do, and traveling is awesome on the snow and ice with them on. I took my time, just to be on safe side, and we made it there and back without any worries. And as per usual, we stopped at the General Store, then drove around Curtis Road, then headed back to Terrace.

We did notice one thing as we were getting closer to Rosswood; the snow seemed less there then what we have in Terrace. But still, we have to much of it no matter where we were on the North Coast. At least they have good road clearing too.

Suz., was telling me that this year is a little bit unusual in the fact that normally when it snows, like it did a few weeks ago, it usually warms right up again, melting it away. This year, the cold snaps seem to time perfectly with each snow storm, falling it and leaving the snow to linger. This is why there is so much of it on the grown. They say (the weather forecasters) that we have another week of cold Arctic Air pushing down from the North, and hopefully after that it will warm up again. But I must say, I cannot complain as I feel the weather is not that bad–better than rain with dampness all the time.

It was a great trip. A great day for a Sunday drive.