A Frost Morning In Thornhill BC

Yawn! It is not even a Friday, and this does feel like a Friday the Thirteen kind of day. Lets see, where to begin… The Septic is backing up, and the Land Lord just happen to be here doing various maintenance projects, so he is currently working on that. This is the start of some vacation time that I have owed to me from my work. I have a meeting with my Bank, and so far to, and it is not even 10:00am, five scammers have called; some are down right funny. Anyway, it is a cold one, so let me being the Post.

First thing, it is cold outside. It is just at the freezing mark, and there is some wind, but not much. My windows have no frost, but my car is just covered. I took off to Walmart around 8:30am, for some items I needed for breakfast, and I had to chip away at my windshield, as it was encased with a thick layer of frost. The last two days have been dry ones, with lost of sun, and clear skies, so it is no big surprise that the night time temperatures are falling below the freezing level. During the day, we have been getting close to 18C, so no big complaints there.

Second thing, and a real big issue, not life threatening, the septic system is backed up. I think it needs the sewage-sucker machine to come in and slurp the tank out. Thornhill does not have sewer service, so all properties must have their own septic fields. This is why so few like to live here, or own land, it is pricey to put on in now-a-days. So, my toilet started making “gurgling” sounds, and would not flush properly. This went on for a couple of days, and I was thinking that maybe it was plugged. I phone the caretaker, and he said it was the sewage tank being full, and that he will get someone on it as soon as possible. So, as I type this out, there are two guys under the crawl space of the compartment, working on the plumbing, and a sewage sucker truck outside, sucking up the sewage from the septic tank.

Third thing, I spend the last part of the day, yesterday, trying to set up a meeting with my Bank for a mortgage, or the possibility of getting one. As the housing market shots upwards, I figure I might as well see if I qualify, now that I have over a year’s time living here, and a year with my car loan. So I have a meeting set up, but the lady at the Customer Counter, told me that they are swamped with requests, as everyone wants to move here with the promises of well paying jobs on the horizon. So I spent some time this morning getting my documents ready that she said they needed to my assessment. My fear, the Bank will take too long, as the housing market slips away to unreal prices, and all the good deals are gone–leaving only million dollar homes left over that no can afford.

Lastly, five phone SCAMMERS in a row! Yes, I had some funny ones. I had, what looked like a local caller, from the Grand Forks area of British Columbia, but never bothered to answer that one. Then two from India, as it was real easy to ID the callers on the web. One was a robot voice that said I was going to jail becuase of my income tax. The other said I was in trouble by the IRS in the United State of America, becuase of goods tax not paid on some perches I supposedly made there. They left messages, at least. I do not buy from the U.S.A., as I am personally boycotting them right now. I would rather buy from China. But it was the East Indian Ascent, from the very young sounding girl, that gave that away, right off the bat. Next was a guy claiming that my PC had a service ticket issued on it, and that he was going to up-date my OS. I answered that one. Hum, let see, Oh, I run only LINUX on my machines, and there is no outside support for that OS, so SCAMMER. I was chuckling, and I hung up on him. The last one, for now, was an American sound lady, with a very sexy voice, sounding like she was from Texas, claiming that my Life Insurance Claim was being issued, and I had to give her all of my personal information, including Banking information. I hung up on her becuase I was getting ready to type out this post.

So that has been my day so far, and it not even 10:30am, on a Saturday morning.

The Hills Look Bright Today

A little tongue and cheek with the photo I chose for this post–a shot of down town Terrace, BC looking North East at Terrace Mountain, all lit up by the setting Sun. In the for ground is Lakelse Ave., and Emerson Street; pretty much the down town centre at the old mall parking lot. But anyway, let me get on with the post. It is Thanksgiving day, Monday, a holiday for us here in Western Canada. Me and Suz., did get out for the afternoon. There was a drive down the Prince Rupert Highway, to Ackers Point Telegraph Point, then a romp around town before we called it a day. I did get lots done at home; more or less cleaning and organizing. Oh, then there was the awesome dinner over at Suz., place, totally yummy! You could say it was a great day overall.

Yes, it did rain. We needed it. According to the forestry website, we are still in a level-four drought classification for the North Coast. Even Suz., admitted that in all of her life, she has not seen it this dry here in the Skeena Valley. Climate Change, or what! Last year, at this time, the mountains were completely white with snow. Today, they look like are in the middle of summer: dry and bare. Even with what little rain we got over these last few days, it is not even close to what we need.

Holidays, you gotta love them! Need more of them. This working life it sometimes to tough on a guy.

The Long Weekend is here: We Made it for Another One!

I have been basically preparing for it, getting as much done ahead of time as I can, here at my work, so the short week coming up will be a smooth one. Normally, I get the “Friday Rush,” as everyone else from other businesses, that I deal with, are trying to do the some thing. My Friday was filing up with just the little items of work that normally precede a long weekend. October 8th, will be Thanksgiving Day, here in our neck of the world, so most of the country will honour it; there are few places that are hold-outs, but I am sure the people will stand and demand it too as a statutory holiday. And finally, rain, it is happening, the clouds have moved in above, and there is the odd sprinkle when I drove home. The badly needed moisture could, once again, soak us, giving the forest the rain it needs. All of this is making the next seventy-two hours looking great!

So, work, I was feeling great when I locked the doors for the weekend. As you know, I deal a lot with logistics, so getting all my shipments out to their destinations, is a big part of my day. But I received stuff too, and the normal rhythm of every long weekend is getting hit with an extra amount of incoming goods to process. Hey, I do it too, as I go through the shipping flurry, on long weekends too, no doubt causing extra grief to my counter parts in the valley. Today, was different. My receivings was just like any other normal work day–just a few items, taking only a small part of my day them processed. I will say that this is just part of the season, though my experience is still short, comparing to last year, it was a slow time too. Nonetheless, I was happy knowing that I have no loose ends to deal with when I come back on Tuesday.

Apparently not all of Canada celebrates Thanksgiving Day with a stat. holiday. I was, some what shocked, to learn that there are provinces that only “observe” it: New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. But we are also several weeks early from our neighbours down South too, from when they celebrate it, but my point is, it is nice to have it off from work. I do believe we will be having turkey also on Saturday, so Monday is just a day for getting rested up, and doing lots of household cleaning chores.

The rain has come. So far, just overcast skies with the odd sprinkle here and there, but we are scheduled for some significant rain showers throughout the long weekend. The Skeena River is super low, and many here in the valley are noting that too–finally. And the mountains all look like the Southern mountains becuase they have no snow on the tops of them yet, just dry and dusty looking. This is not normal to go so long into the fall season without seeing snow covered mountain tops here in the Skeena Valley.

Well, I must go and get organized for the day. I am doing laundry right now, having a few issues with the washing machine–dealing with that right now. Everyone, have an awesome, super great, long weekend, (you to on East Coast) and Happy Thanksgiving!

Back to the Extreme Rating

Just a little post for today on how dry it is up here on the North Coast of British Columbia. When me and Suz., drove down onto Keith Avenue, where the Forestry, Forest Fire Rating sign sits, it was indicating that our forest fire rating is in the “Extreme” rating. Suz., finally told that, “yes, this is unprecedented for this area,” on how dry, and how warm, it is this year, she said. As we head into October, so far, this month is looking dry too.

My next door neighbour keeps a rudimentary rain gauge where the community garden lays. It indicates that for the month September, only 48mm of rain has fallen at that spot in Lower Thornhill, BC. He says that the last time he saw a year where it was this dry this late in the season was around 1976.

As for the dry weather, when I got into my car this morning, 5:00am, the temperature was a cool minus 2C, but not a cloud in the sky that I could see. The stars were out, shinning like diamonds, but no rain as far as I could see. However, this land is funny, as the weather can change within minutes. Maybe we will get some baldy needed moisture in the coming days.

Loving the Autumn Colours of the Trees in Terrace, BC

We hit the weekend, and with it, super awesome weather–again. Another weekend with not a cloud in the sky, and with warm air, to “almost” make you want to throw the shorts back on. Sure, it is a little cool in the evenings, but that could be all forgotten with the amazing day we just had. So much was done today, and now so tired to type it all out that I will just cut to the highlights, and spare you the details. I took the camera out in the afternoon to shoot some of the streets of Terrace, BC, to capture the changing trees, as their leaves get ready to fall for the winter. And today is also the Banff Mountain Film Festival, which is my second one. It was an action packed day.

All week I was preparing for that opportunity to walk around town to take photos of the changing colours of the trees. So I scouted the down town area in Terrace, looking for the best trees to photograph. With the help of Suz, as she drove in her car, we hit some of the locations I wanted to shoot with the camera. Our first stop was on Kalum Street, right near the Court House. There I shot the above image, right on the corner. The maple trees there are awesome, and with the right light, this looked great. The second stop was on Lazelle Avenue, just passed the Medical Building, looking East, towards Kalum Street. The whole street was bursting with colours from the trees. See image below.

You can clearly see how awesome the day was in this image. And yes, I waited for most of the cars to drive off from the street before I started shooting. Tomorrow is supposed to be as awesome!

To end the evening off, me and Suz., went to the Banff Mountain Film Festival, where we watched ten films that were submitted for the tour. Like last year, these films were awesome to watch. We really enjoyed ourselves, and were entertained. I would like to go to next years event too. I highly recommended it! The tickets were twenty dollars each, and the event was about four hours long, held at the R.E.M. Lee Theatre, in Terrace.

As We Enter Into the Fall Season

As a famous playwright once wrote, “Parting is bitter Sweet,” and I quote these words as we leave the summer season as a memory behind, as the sky darkens so early now. The campers out on Kalum Lake were living it right to the bitter end, as the weekend came hurling to a sudden close. Not only are the schools open for the children, but the “Regular” season starts to ramp up to a deafening pitch for those campers. Back to the grind. The smell of illegal recreational drugs fills the air, along with the smoke from a dozen campfires, and as the night creeps in with the coldness of the changing season, we decide to take leave from the chaos and confusion, and head back to this thing called civilization. Bye summer time, bye.

Paying homage to the day of equal light and darkness, I aim my camera into the horizon above the lake and press the shutter for a 30 second exposure. “Why not,” I ask myself. The camera can see far better than I can in this light, almost twilight to my eyes, and the viewfinder lights up with the captured image, so bright, I need to squint to see it. I pack up my photography equipment, as I did a shoot with me and Suz, using a speed-light, and we trudge through the sand along the beach, back to the car. It was tough going, all that weight, sinking in the sand, walking in the dark, but we made it back to the car, only to face the thirty minute drive back to town in the pitch back of the early night.

Now in my bed, resting from the day’s activities, I am thinking of tomorrow–it is now the fall season. The hope is that Mother Nature will throw us a couple more weeks of awesome Sun filled days, to cheat the impending winter wrath yet to come. Thinking positive here. Thinking positive!


What Did You Do On the Last Day of Summer?

Happy Autumnal Equinox! The last of the summer is here! Yes, I know: “booooo.” But , hey, it will be back again, next year–deal with it. Anyway, the last day of summer gave up no ghost as far as the weather goes. It was a cloudless sky, with temperatures reaching up to 25C in the valley. I have the photographs to prove it. I even got burnt slightly from the Sun. My Vitim “D” levels are at the maximum. Yes, it was a summer’s day. So, naturally, I did my photographic rounds, celebrating the celestial event, and took photos of my area in its natural spender. It involved a personal hike up Terrace Mountain, and a walk with Suz., along the low laying sandbars of the Skeena River, just North of the Old Bridge in Thornhill, then an evening (officially fall now) at Kitsumkallum Lake. An action packed day, with over 12gigs of photos.

This is on Terrace Mountain, looking South East at the Skeena River. You can see both bridges, crossing into Thornhill from Terrace, and Ferry Island on the right (Terrace, BC). I used the Back Eddy Trail this time to climb up the mountain, and it took me about fifteen minutes to get to the Rocky outcrop locals call “Baldy.” I used my 14mm lens for the shot to get everything in. Already the Sun was climbing to high in the sky, so I have to deal with lots of lens flare. I stayed on the mountain for about an hour, taking lots of shot of the landscape. The only wildlife I met was a very unhappy squirrel who did not like me being there. I also ran into two families of hikers too, along the trails. After that, I climbed down, headed for home, showered and Suzettet met me at my place.

We walked along the sand flats, right across from where I hiked up Terrace Mountain, along the Skeena River. With the river being so low, we could walk (North of the Old Bridge) where river water would normally be. It was like being on another land–sand–lots of sand. In this shot, above, the rocky out crop, is where I took the first photo in this post from. You can see the trees here are starting to turn into their fall colours.

River art is everywhere, where you least expect it to be. This spiral of rocks could not be seen from the road because it is placed in a depression about a kilometer from the bridge. There many such sculpture/monuments around, that locals built. Some are awesome to see, others are personalized, and some are weird.

Like this inukshuk, built on the mud, still in the water. Not to sure if this was built when the water was lower, or it was created in the water? It looks really good, standing at less than 30cm high. I guess if you have a big enough sand box, even the gown-ups like to play too.

I will end this post with some Macro Photography with. I shot this below the Old Skeena River Bridge. Moments before I took this shot, a butter fly landed on it. I missed the shot–but Suzette got it with her Smart Phone. I hope she publishes it.

It was an awesome day. The last day of summer, went out with a bang. Even our Forest Fire Level with placed back into the “Moderate” level again, after having a couple of weeks of cooler weather with rain. But it was not enough to quench the forest’s needs. Everyone is wonder what kind of winter season is in store for us. Will it be a snowy one, or a green winter?

How Low can a River Flow?

We went for our much needed hike along the trails along Ferry Island, which is part of the community of Terrace, BC. The first leg of our mini journey was to walk up the sand bar to the northern most tip of the island. I marveled at just how low the Skeena River is, at almost the same levels as last February, when we last walked here.

When I drove over the old Skeena River Bridge yesterday, I noticed that the little causeway between the large boulders and the northern sand bar were almost joined by dry land. It was not until this morning that the ground between these two areas were completely dry, enough that we could easily walk up sand bar. This would appear that the water level of the Skeena River dropped almost 30cm, over night. So we decided to hike the area.

I would have thought that with the rain we had over the last couple weeks, this would add to the river’s water flow, but that does not seem to be the case in my mind. This raises a few questions. Could it be that the inland areas that feed the Skeena River are dryer than normal? Is this a normal water level for this time of year? I could be looking at a normal cycle that the river goes through year after year., so nothing to worry about–right?

I know a couple of factors. We did have an extra ordinary dry summer, reaching Stage Four Drought Conditions, over the summer season. We went nearly a month and a half with Stage Four. We also had a low snow pack from last winter, and I am sure that will still be effecting our environment. The river is very important for many in the community. Many depend on the river for food and revenue, if that is gone, that could be very disruptive. How low can a river flow?

Either they are getting Old, or it is Snow?

The tops of all the mountains were dusted with a fine covering of snow, about the 2500 metre mark. At first, when I saw this, it reminded me of grey hair, but I quickly snapped myself back to my senses, and knew that it was snow. According to Suz., this snow fall is early for this time of the year, by about a couple of weeks. Could this be a sign of what is to come this winter season?

The have been very cool, with yesterday’s lows of about 4C, then bouncing back to 18C, according to my home thermometer. We did just come out of a couple of days were it rained off and on, with lost of low level clouds, so it would makes sense that if cooled off, snow would blanket the mountains this time of the year. But it is a scary sight, knowing in just a few weeks, our summer like days will disappear and replayed with a white blanket of snow. Anything could happen with “The New Normal.”

Wetter Weather and Thoughts On the Great Melt-Down 10 Years Ago.

We are getting hit with rain, as the rainy season kicks in, though seemingly earlier than last year, it is welcomed. And I just realized that this week marks the tenth anniversary of the 2008 Great Melt-Down, that crashed the markets and change the world, unseen since the Great Depression of the 1930s. In all, the week is going good. Work is chugging along, and I am almost finished unpacking all of my boxes from the time I moved here to Thornhill, BC.

I was surprised that the Forest Fire Rating was set back to Low so quickly. We are only less than two weeks into the rainy season, and the rains seems lighter this year, so I was looking at the Forest Rating sign a little puzzled, as the arrow was placed in the green section. I thought that this might be to soon. Well, even the website says it “Low,” so who am I to argue. The good news, the campfire ban is lifted, so get out, in the rain, and have a camp fire. Oddly, camping season is also over too.

I was checking my journals from a decade ago, and came upon an entry from September, 27 2008. At the time I was living in Fort Langley, BC, working for Bell Canada. I wrote about all the news of the Melt-Down, and how it seemed, “over exaggerated.” Boy was I wrong; the news was correct, as my work saw over 150 employees in October 2008 get laid-off. All around me, nothing seemed secure and talks of lower Interest Rates and Buy-Out for Banks, blanketed the news. The cause and effects, they said would last for years.

Reading an on-line article on the BBC’s website, today, about the effects of the Melt-Down, the developed nations around the world have been experiencing lower than predicted birth rates. Yes, I only need to look at the schools around the Skeena Valley, to see this. The schools are half the size they were when I went to them. Home ownership is another one, as more younger people are renting because they cannot afford the market value for homes. And then there are the lack of good paying jobs. Yes, lots of low-paying jobs to go around, but few sustainable jobs to build a family with. So it looks like Generation Screwed is going to morph into the following generation with these market effects. The BBC article did say it could take another twenty years before we see the glory days of the pre ’08 era back, but the Market landscape has forever changed.

This week, I should have all my boxes sorted and unpacked. A few weeks ago I bought four sets of shelves, and that so far, has made unpacking nicer. I have a very small “compartment,” and brought an entire house with me. So, a sizable amount will live in boxes, until need, but the good news is, have more living space. I hope I find better living arrangements soon.