The Forest of Moss: On Ferry Island

These look like “sprouts” when I first seen the image in my photo editor. I was quite happy with these images, and I think I took about ten shots of this clump of moss on a tree stump just off the road that goes North to South, on Ferry Island. Ferry Island in on the Skeena River, just East of Terrace, BC; a great place for a small hikes. The moss was a brilliant green colour, rather fresh, obviously this spring’s growth, and quite thick, which is why I stopped to photograph it.

I used my Sony 30mm Macro lens, and took these shots at about one to two centimeters away. This is why I love this lens so much, its min. focal length is around five millimeters–very close. With all of sun light, this was the perfect time of day to do shots like this. I think my shutter speed was one thousandth of a second, with my aperture set at f2.8.

You see why I like this tiny cheap lens so much! Shots like this are awesome, and I think the lens was about $100.00. Next to my 114mm lens, this is the only other prime lens I own now. The world looks so different when you are this small.

The Shadowy Trail of Ferry Island

With the Sun hovering pass late noon on the service access road on Ferry Island, I took this photo, thinking that it looked neat the way the Sun casting its light through the trees on the road. By this time, the temperature was a blustery 15C, and I felt I had to undo my jacket from the spring day warmth. It was hard to get the shot too becuase of the amount of people who were also out hiking, as I did not want people in the photo. But with time ticking by, and I needed to get to a bathroom, this was the time to get the photo, with people out in the distance. The other folks were far enough away, it did not mess the composition of the image too badly.

I have seen many shots taken from this vantage point, but none had shadows like this in them. So I felt quite lucky with the timing. Once the leaves are out, this place is always in the shade, but with the Sun so high in sky, the shadows seem sharper and more pronounced than usual this time of year. Sadly, you only get to see this image as a 500 x 300 pixel image, you should see it as a 6000 x 3000 pixels.

Hole In The Wall

After several trips down the highway between Terrace and Prince Rupert, BC, we finally found the very small train tunnel some locals call, “The Hole In the Wall.” It is hard to find due to the bushes and tree growth along it and the highway. For the record, the tunnel is about a half hour drive from Terrace, BC, if you drive the speed limit, and is after the level train crossing and Car-Wash-Rock, another famous land mark along the road. With the sunny skies, we picked the perfect time of day to shoot the tunnel.

ADDED: Quote from Suz., “Heading from Terrace, this is after the Kasiks overhead rail crossing on the highway and the turn-off for the Kasiks Wilderness Resort.”

I was using a 144mm lens, so fairly wide, to show you just how close to the road this is to the highway. Actually, in this shot, you are looking at the “old” road, as it was before the 1980’s. The main highway is about twenty metres further away. Behind me are thirty years of tree growth, so hard to see if you are just driving down the road.

Also, the tunnel itself is not very long, perhaps fifty metres in length, as you can see the light from the other side where the sun was shining.The question I ask is, why build it, when you can either go around it, or blast more rock away to make it less of a corner. But, they did it, it looks neat. As far as I know, this is the only train tunnel along this stretch of highway between Terrace and Prince Pupert.

Pussy Willows Buds are Out

For the record, these are what my mother told me these were–pussy willows. Actually, I have no idea what their scientific name is, or what the locals call them, so, for the purposes of this post, I will refer to them as pussy willows. During my youth, a long time ago, seeing these pussy willows here in Thornhill meant that this was a sure sign that the full on spring season has started. Now, you can throw your winter gear back into the closet, and whip out the (warmer) summer clothing, with rain gear too, as spring also signals the Rainy season. On a supper nice day, with nothing but clear skies, seeing these pussy willows popping out among the trees is a sight for sore eyes–winter is behind us now–for good–until next year.

According to Suz., the Mason Bees really loves these pussy willows. As I was photographing this shot, above and blow, the tiny bees were all around me, taking as much pollen as they could carry with them. As for the true name of these little baby bees, I am not sure either. Some call them Mason Bees (though I am not sure they eat cement, are members of the Free Mason Society, or just hide among cracks in the bricks of your house), or call them orchard Bees, someone please tell me?

Anyway, enjoy the day! Must go now–Suz., has arrived!

Construction at the Four-way Stop Begins

This started about last Monday, or so, when the clearing started. I first noticed the surveyor’s ribbon marking the side of the road, then it moved to the trees, and then on Tuesday (April 10, 2018) the Arborists started their work. By Wednesday, well over the ninety per cent of the area was cut down, and by today, most of the wood and branches had been cleared away. With the change to skyline, comes the great view from the road, but a huge change nonetheless for most who grew up here over the years. But this is all in the name of progress, as next year, we should see a double lane round-about in this very spot.

In the above image, I am looking West, towards Terrace, at the New Bridge. It is here that the new round-about will be built.

I know that they had to cut down the trees now, this time of year to beat the birds that might nest here. Apparently, you cannot cut down trees with nesting birds in them–it would be uncool and not nice to the birds if you do this. The trees are cleared now, and then work will slowly begin without the knowledge of hurting any birds.

Because people were not suppose to collect firewood during the clearing, the Highways Contractors hired a security guy to make sure no one entered the Construction Zone. Even signs were posted at both entrances, and along the main highway stating that you must keep out. I am not sure if this guy is posted all night and day, but I felt sorry for him–a boring job–to say the least.

Anyway, the view has changed now in an impressive way. In this image you can see the “really old highway” that connected to the Old Skeena Bridge and Queesnway Drive, and the new route that connects the bridge traffic to the newer junction of HWY16 and 37, the Kitimat Highway (upper road).

Kick’n Back On A Friday

Regardless if it is Friday the Thirteenth today, it is, and I am happy that it is just Friday, the end of the work week, and I am ready to start my weekend with full anticipation of a great couple of days ahead. The week past was just as typical as the week before, with a few hick-ups that caused some excitement, but for the most part, I would call it a routine and typical one. Work was good as well, with about the same status as my private time, the same amount of excitement, but that quickly went into the “normal” class of “typical,” on the scale of “normal.” But the past week did have a moment of discovery. 

Going through my year end taxes, that evil part when the Government asks you to calculate all the money that says you owe it, and to make sure it balances out, I discovered an “investment” error from my former employer’s RRPS company that handles its “extended benefits” for us employees. The mistake came in the form of how much it took from my income as its allotted amount that is says it took for my long term “investments.” Sure, for most of you, 0.4 per-cent does not sound like a lot, but in the business of Corporations who are nickle and dimming their consumers, this is a billion dollar money machine game they play. As for my former Employer, I am sure they are in on it too. As far as my Government is concerned, who cares, it is not their money–I over paid. I phoned them on Thursday, only to be railroaded with long waits on hold, and the endless run around from the human voices on the other end.  Am I ashamed–yes–I am sorry I worked for these people now–they are lairs.

On a happier note, I got to see a natural spring, right near where I work, in an area where you would never suspect to see one.  I swore to the secret location, never to reveal it because it is on private property, and the owner says that the City has no ideas it is here. But it was amazing to watch it, as the water gurgled away into a little pond. The property owner says the water runs all year around, and never freezes completely in winter. This place, the Skeena Valley, is a geological treasure trove. It is unreal what lurks below our feet. To bad it was not a hot spring–free and natural hot tub! 

The main intersection of Highway 16, and Highway 37 saw some changes that people took notice this weekend. They are starting to clear out the trees along the main road and the Old highway, to make way for the “Round-about” being built for 2019. I asked one the Construction guys that works where I work, why cut the tree now? He said that it is due to clearing them with no nesting birds in the trees. They cannot cut down trees with nesting birds on them. So now is the time to do that. As a side effect of all these trees being cut down, are the people who scooped in to collect the wood for firewood for themselves. Apparently, no one was allowed to touch that wood, as that area is an active construction zone. Perhaps when people who live in Terrace see free useful items, everyone lays claim to it regardless of the legal issues–firewood being one of those. Anyway, enjoy the free firewood.

The weather is slowly becoming like what spring weather should be. This morning I did have ice on my windshield, so the nights are cool, but the days are getting nicer. I suspect that this weekend will have an ice-cream stop in it too, like last week. Wearing shorts, is back too–a good sign that winter is long-gone. Overall, I think during my holidays, I will swap my winter tires over to summer’s. Sigh.

Well, time to do some real work now. Happy Friday the Thirteenth everyone—err TGIF, I mean! LOL

Pieces of Bornite

Today I am going to talk about Bornite, and not just the mineral, but the Mountain, and the Bornite Range too. But first I bought some small chunks from a booth at last weekend’s Terrace Wellness Expo at the Terrace Sportsplex arena, called “For the Love of Rocks.” A catchy name for a rock proprietor, I must say so myself. I guess I am a sucker for things shinny, like quarts and Bornite. Anyway, on with the story.

But while I was digging around on the Internet searching as to what Bornite is, and where to find it, I was amazed that just a hope-skip-and-a-jump from where I live, there is the mountain called Bornite Mountain, which is part of the Bornite Range, just less than eight clicks (Metric) North from me. It remains to be said if there are deposits of Bornite in it or not, as no one definitively said yes, or no to that question. I am going to assume that where you find Copper Ore, so too Bornite be lurking in with the rocks. From my research, Bornite is from Copper Ore, so it could be quite possible that there is indeed Bornite in these hills. Perhaps a hike is in in order?

I bought these from a lady at one of the booths at the Wellness Expo last weekend. Her business is located at a place outside of Smithers, BC, called Telkwa, BC. She does not have a store, yet, but runs from with in her home. The company’s names is “For the Love of Rocks,” and with some on-line sleuthing, I am sure she can be located with her rocks. I bought these from her for a few dollars, so I thought to myself this is a good price. There were not many left, so I grabbed the three common colours she had left, Purple, Green and Gold one each. Anyway, they look sparkly neat with their colourful shine.

Sorry – all I could find of her, is her FaceBook Page. I guess she has no proper Website yet.

The End of a Great Week, End.

I dare say that spring has sort of sprung, albeit the weather is still on cool side. The year’s accumulation of snow is melting fast, as our temperatures climb higher. Rain is in nextweek’s forecast, so will accelerate the melting of the snow. For example, to hit 15C in down town Terrace, BC, and we had high clouds with periods of Sun light poking through. So getting out was on everyone’s mind, and with that, the country side was loaded with people as they ventured around. 

So last week was a busy one, as it was a short week for most, I worked the holiday, as my employer does not recognize a few of religious holidays. Once Friday rolled by, it was sweet pure relief to start this weekend. Last we were getting periods of snow, this week appears to be the warm up. However, since this is the North Coast, once there is full on spring, there is full on rain, what I call the deluge season. Once the rain starts, then spring has kicked in, and behind that the torrents of mosquitoes. But enough of all this bad news, lets talk about the a good stuff…

Saturday was the 2018 North West Wellness Expo Workshops, where Suzette helped here friends out at the “Peace Infusion” booth. This year, it was held up at the Terrace Sportsplex Arena, where there were fifty other society’s, groups and businesses set up. Suzette loved it. While she stayed at the booth, I watched a moving on meditation, which was about an hour long. It was good. And I think Suzette had a great time at the booth too. I have a great photo of her there, but I want to get her permission before I post it here.

Today, (Sunday) was more of a casual day for us. We did not meet up until 2:00pm, as we both had our morning chores to do. One time on today’s agenda was a strip to the Ice cream Building. Not sure what the name of the company that operates it, but it sure was nice to have a slew of awesome flavours on a waffle cone, on a nice 15C afternoon. We did a bit of shopping to. Suzette bought some more seeds at Canadian Tire like potatoes, onions, more flowers and we hit the Dollar Store too.

Looking forward to the news week, and spring. I have holidays soon, so looking at deciding what to do with the time off from work. I have plans, but nothing scribed in stone yet.

April Fools, or Just Fools?

Listening to all the news on the United State wanting to drop out of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), or at least awing it in their favour, got me thinking about what lays in my future as a Canadian. And to be fair, I am only referencing this on my own personal life–a life that is almost spanning five decades now. So I think I have some experience under my belt. I remember a time before NAFTA. There was a time long ago, that Canada only had bi-lateral agreements with other trading nations, and it worked. But people wanted bigger, better, with more profits, and the ability to grow at more accelerated rates, and at the time, this was the Automobile Market that launched it. But this was far from the utopia of free markets that the businesses wanted. There will always be outside forces that could bring down, or at least distort, the economy, and as corporations grew mightier then the countries they lived in, so to were the negative effects of the market shifts.

When listening to the U.S. president say he was pulling out of NAFTA, or at least change it into his favour, I thought to myself this must be a April Fool’s Joke of some kind. Could this be true, or just another one of his “flip-flopping” agendas he is so famous for? Changing his mind through an early morning Tweet on Twitter, like a teenager on social networking. The ramifications of all of this is the Markets bouncing up, then down, reacting to every tweet, like a farmer in his fields watching storm clouds pass by.

Sure, it is nerve-racking, as the media plays on every and tweet the US presidents throws out into the Internet. But remember, you can only cry “Wolf” so many times before no hears again.

So here is how I look at it. And I have lived through a bunch of rescissions in my lifetime. We may have our cars and oil increase in costs, but these are commodities that will not bring down our neighborhoods and governments. Sure, it will sting as a small portion of the work force will have to adapts into new industries, but there basic needs that can be met to keep our nation running as long as we have the will to do so.

We can produce our own basic needs like food, building materials and modes of transportation. Unlike some other countries, Canada has the ability to move forward at both the micro and macro levels inside our borders with self sustaining ease. We are, after all, an exporting country, thought not as efficient as China or the U.S. due to our small population, but we can pick ourselves up and run with it. We are fortunate that we are not reliant upon service industries, and raw resources, we have kept a sizable manufacturing sector alive.

So it is far from not being the end of the world when the U.S. president tweets the end to free trade. In the end, he will only hurt the people he leads–his own country. Sure Canada, and Mexico, will under go a transformation too, but both nations will pick up where they left off, and continue to grow, as we all look for more stable markets to trade with. And with the changing world dynamics through tools like the Internet, and digital money, it is quiet possible the U.S. will be left behind if they stagnate.

We need to eat, and we can grow our own food. We need homes, and we can build them. The only thing that will hurt us in the current market economy, is the mountain of debt that the average Canada carries–this we must get under control. But perhaps we need this market shift to correct the economy after all? Homes are out of reach for now for many people, so a good shake up might be what we need.

Day of the Swans

Who knew a trip to the lake today would land me a few dozen shots of the great Swans that call the Kitimat Valley their home. As Suzette suggested a drive out to the lake, her intuition of going out to the lake on a nice day paid off with more than just some landscape shots on my camera, but included a couple of families worth of Trumpeter Swans too. A total surprise, there were the swans, swimming gleefully, very close to shore. Sadly, there were other humans walking along the shore, so it was only a matter of time, as we walked closer, they would fly away. 

No doubt, these are swans. Now I wished I had a 1000mm lens, as these were shot with a 300mm, not quite close enough for this lens. It would have been nice to closer shots, but there were just to many people also walking along the shore. I was the only one with the telephoto lens camera, so the others had to get really close with their phone’s cameras to get the shot, and that was what scared off the birds.

They sure are mighty birds. No idea at how big they are, but I wager their wingspan could be about two metres, or more. It took them less than five seconds to get into the air, and they were just as awesome to look at in the air as they were on the water swimming around.