Thornhill BC Fall Fair – Part Three – Horses to Flowers Then the Veggies

Part three of my Thornhill Fall Fair visit, or, I should have said it this way, “The Skeena Valley Fall Fair.” Yes, I forgotten the proper titles of the event, my apologies. This is indeed the Skeena Valley Fall Fair, not just Thornhill’s. OK, now that that is out of the way, let me get on with the final leg of the adventure. We did the Four H Club, watching the cows and chickens, along with the bunnies, but then there was the equestrian events, which I do not fully understand, but was fun to watch nonetheless. Then we ended off with the indoor events, where art and plants get judged, and you can view the results. There were some interesting things to see.

Every once in a while, I see something that catches my eye, and these flowers sure did. I love the colours that these flowers had. It was too bad there was not enough light to capture their full essence. These really would have looked awesome with the speed-light, or just some more sunlight. This was as good as I could get with the light that I had. It was raining by this time. I know Suzette likes these too… becuase of their purple colours. It is just eye catching.

OK, first off, this building was hard to get a good shot in becuase of how it was lit. Again, I needed a super strong flash to get the right colour and quality I want. Secondly, the ladies with their horses, how could you not walk passed an equestrian event, and not have a look. Sure, if you hate girls and horses, you could walk by, but I do not know anyone like that. I am not sure what is going on here with this event. I know there are judges who ask the riders to walk the horses around, make them stop, then make them move again. Most of the time they stand still, waiting for their turn. Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves, and the horses seem to not care.

Sometimes you just gotta laugh out loud, and enjoy the exhibits. These carrots made me go, “awwwwww,” as I stood there looking at them. Yes, “Two Carrots in a Loving Embrace,” is what I would call this, or something “twisted” like that. This one won first place, so others liked them too. There were many other exhibits to see, and a few booths with merchandise for sale as well. Sadly, at 4:40pm, it ended, and we made our way to the car to go for a drive around town.

Me and Suz., were thinking that it would be awesome to enter something for next year. I was thinking maybe a photograph or two, and see where I stand with the judges at the Fall Fair? Not sure what she would enter, but I am sure it would awesome too. See you all next year at the Skeena Valley Fall Fair!

Thornhill BC Fall Fair – Part Two – Racing Rabbits 4 H Style

On to the next event at the Thornhill BC Fall Fair, as we head off to the Rabbit Races at the Four H Club. Actually, this was more like an obstacle course, than a race track for rabbits. The idea here is to help and run your rabbit through a maze of obstacles. You can lead your rabbit, push it, and even give it treats through the course, but you cannot pick it up while in the race, though if the rabbit does leave the course, then picking it up and putting it back on the track is acceptable. This was fun to watch, and if you have ever owned a rabbit, you can see how much of a challenge this is.

Like all races done with animals, there is a level of unpredictability, and with rabbits, case and point. The above image, the owner and rabbit raced through the course in record time, and with no trouble at all. The rabbit was in top form, and easily navigated through the course in under a couple of minutes. However, the girl(s) before him were quite another story.

The rabbit, named after a a character from the motion picture “Star Wars,” was not so happy to be on the course. The tow young girls who were in charge of him, was having the most difficult time controlling what direction the rabbit was hopping to. Not once, but three times the poor rabbit hopped back to the starting line, only to be picked up and turned around to race the course–again. The girls did manage to get their rabbit through the course, but it took some might.

Most of the racing rabbits make it through the course in good time. And for the record, no rabbits were harmed throughout the event. All in good fun.

Thornhill BC Fall Fair – Part One – Off to the Zucchini Races.

Well, that time of the year already, it is the 2018 Thornhill Fall Fair, and just like last year, a little on the damp side. But all was good as we sped off to the fair grounds, which are just across the main highway from my house. We drove. I had no trouble getting a good parking spot, and after paying our fare, we headed off to the zucchini race trace, just making the beginning of the event before they start the races. The turnout was good, about the same as it was last year, and the number of participants look to be a little more too this year. The tension was in the air, as the racers got their zucchinis into position. It is race time!

The first event was the best looking zucchini. Of the thirty or so shots, I cannot find that one. As for the race track itself, conditions were good, with just a little rain on the surface, the Sun poked through the clouds just making the track dry enough for some good racing. The race ramp was set-up, and ready for the first group. The second part of the race was the fastest zucchini. They raced 24 zucchinis, in eight races. However, at any time, a zucchini could also go the distance, and win the furthest zucchini.  So zucchini number ten was the one to watch out for.

This was a shot of zucchini number 10, the Baby Zucchini, just before it broke the all time distance, by just reaching the other end of the court, by 30cm. I believe number 10, also came in third, over all, as the fastest zucchini, wining twice out of four races. Yes, the Baby Zucchini maybe still wearing a diaper and sucking on a soother, but she rips down the track like there is no tomorrow. And for the owner, well, she was unbelievably excited too, driven by an eight year old girl from Thornhill, BC.

I think the biggest entertainment was watching the zucchini racers enjoying themselves. This was a good turn out this year, and I was happy to see a few people supporting the Zucchini Races this year– my second year as a spectator. Job well done zucchini racers–well done!

The Wet Stuff Has Arrived

The days are getting wetter, and shorted, all signs of the impending season of doom, …er, humm, winter! Sure, we have fall as the next official season, but around here, we jump from summer, right into the winter, skipping fall altogether. But, hold on, they (the weather prognosticators) are saying that we may in fact have another one of the those El NiƱo winters, when it just rains the whole season. Which would be in stark contrast to last winter we got, in the first dump, up to 30cm, ending up with a combined 110cm, sticking around becuase the rest of the year stayed frozen. But nonetheless, I kind of look forward to this becuase it would mean less getting stuck in the car, and I can leave that shovel in the shed. But the snow was kind of interesting, having not seen so much of it in thirty years, from my old home.

In the image, above, is the top of Thornhill Mountain, showing the Snowmobile Emergency Hut, and an antenna (possibly the RCMP repeater) that I took from Suzette’s place. It sorts of gives you an idea of her Eastern view from her house. The mountain is about 2600 metres high, and I think this is one of the higher parts. But you can see the clouds, and they are all around–completely overcast with drizzle.

However, it has not all been just rain, rain, and more rain. The weather front is divided up into little cells, or mini-systems, so you get isolated showers instead of the all-day shower. Once in a while, the Sun’s rays do reach the ground, for an hour or so.

Rain–It’s On Its Way

The wet season is on its way, as is part of our normal weather ways, and already I am hearing the locals moan and groan. The wet season is part of the landscape, and a fact, but it is changing. No one could have predicted the two months of reaching a “Level – 4 Drought” conditions, over the summer months of July and August. So the question everyone is asking, what kind of winter will we have this year?

Winters, when I a young child, growing up in the Skeena Valley, I remember winters fell into one of three categories. One, a super cold and snowy winter. Two, a dry and cold with little snow. Three, The brown, supper mild, with nothing but rain. This year, all bets are off, it seems.

I drove by the fire rating sign on Keith Avenue (or Highway 16 west bound) today, and it was showing “High,” so I gather the forest is still far from wet enough to lower it. Even with the cool and overcast days, the forest could still, potentially go up in flames. Thankfully, we have had no forest fires near us. Very happy about that!

The Last Long Weekend of Summer Comes to a Close.

Sadly it has arrived, and we pay homage to its last moments, spending it out at the river, so we say can farewell summer, farewell. The day was awesome, bright and warm, and everyone was outside enjoying it seemed. We decided to spend the afternoon over at the Fishermen’s Memorial Park, where the Kitsumkalum River meets the Skeena River. Here, there are boat launches, the bridge that takes you to Prince Rupert on Highway 16, and the Train Trestle that also follows the river Westward, but best of all, it is a park just on the outskirts of town, just a five minute drive.

We sat and stared at the twinkling sunlight dancing on the water, as the Sun sank lower into the West. We knew that this possibly could be the last time we will see the waters like this until next year. Yes, coming soon is the wet season that the North West Coast is so famous for. And that is what makes today so special: it is the Sun, the summer’s heat, and everyone enjoying and relaxing in these moments. The kids go back to their schools, and the working class will ramp up to meet the demands of the Winter Markets, and everyone else should be preparing for the up coming winter ahead.

As I was exploring out by the shore, out on the rocks I came upon this, a painted stone of a Ladybug, glued to the rocks underneath the trestle. Right now, you can walk to it becuase the river is very low, but in a few weeks it might be under water. It was cute, as I walked over it. I thought someone had a great sense of humour, and some time, and extra glue they did not want any more. It made me laugh, and Suz., too when she seen it through my camera’s view finder. Could this be a “guy” lady bug, I wonder?

A picture perfect day, indeed, with blue sky and warm air, plus the glacier green water of the Kitsumkalum River, you could not ask for a better day to sit by the river. What a summer! Packed with many sunny filled days, and one of the driest seasons on record, I think summer 2018 will be one for the record books. Bye-bye summer…. sniff-sniff.

The Unofficial End to Summer is Here.

It is over: August, summer and those warm and cosy long days. The last blast of our extremely hot and dry seems to be coming to an end. It has been quite the season, to say the least. This year will go down in the record books for one of the driest summer here on the North West Coast. With the golden lawns and water restrictions still in place, we did very good as a community. In all, I am glad to see the rains return, and along with it, the clouds and cooler weather. My tan, well that does not look like it is fading any time soon. Oh yes, the State Run baby sitter starts up next week–beware that traffic at school zones.

As of today, the forest fire rating is still in the “Extreme,” with camp fire bands still in effect. Even though we are getting overcast skies, and some precipitation, it is not enough to quench the forests thirst. For example, at the for-way stop, there was a large backhoe clearing the trees to make way for the yet to be constructed Round-a-about at the junction of Highway 16, and 36 in Thornhill, BC, and seeing the soil, it was dry and dusty–as the rain fell. So, even thought I am not an expert on forest management, as a lay person, I can tell you that the forest is still extremely dry.

Camp fire bans are still in effect, with the exception of Ferry Island within the municipality of Terrace, BC. For me this make sense, as it is an island surrounded by the Skeena River. If the place did catch fire from a run-away camp fire, the likelihood of the fire spreading into the neighbouring forest is very low. Though with the extreme weather conditions I see, this might be risk, but that is why we insure our homes and property–right.

The young ones start their time at the institutions next week. As their little mind get moulded into socially fit individuals, parents breath sighs of relief, as they can continue with their careers, and paying for the respite. Yes, I am talking about schools opening up next week, and the dangers of roads lined with kids. Beware, and be vigilant, keeping an eye out for wondering young ones must be top of mind when starting your commute on Tuesday morning. At least I am lucky in this sense as my commute does not take me through any School Zones on my way to work.

I am planning on an easy, no frills, weekend. With the long weekend, I plan on completing my unpacking that started a year ago. As it looks like I will be staying here longer than I expected, I might as well make it more of a home. Right now, today, I am hanging photos, most from last month–just to brighten up the place. This weekend will be a low impact one, with my itinerary wide open with nothingness–but filled with goodness. Place large smile here.

August Sunset Over Terrace, BC

After dinner, we drove up to the Arena/Sportsplex, along Kalum Avenue in Terrace, and parked the car, looking West, a perfect view of the setting Sun. Armed, still with my camera, I wanted to get this evening’s sunset because there were a lot of clouds in the sky, unlike most nights with the cloudless days we have been getting used to, so I anticipated a nice show. Sure enough, as predicted, the sunset was as awesome as you could get. Setting at about 9:00pm daylight savings time, in the evening, the event was early enough that getting ready for work for Monday was great, I was in bed by 10:00pm. So I took about twenty shots before calling it quits.

This shot was close to the end of the sunset, before the light was gone. It happened fairly fast too, about half an hour, from when the clouds turned to a pink colour, to total darkness. The above shot was just before the sky went dark, so another five minutes before then. I love the orange! The weekend is now over, same with the summer–sigh.

Sockeye Spawning in Williams Creek

It is that time of year, when the Sockeye runs start, and the fish start their spawning cycle in Williams Creek, near Lakelse Lake, British Columbia. I saw them last year too, but the day we went was really cloudy, making the light awful to get good photos. This year, lots of light, as the day was a mostly clear and warm one, so capturing them with the camera was not a problem. The creek was low, much more than usual, so getting around the shore was easy. Saw some other wildlife to that you do not normally see.

Above, a shot of Williams Creek from the Fish Viewing Platform. Like I said, the day was awesome for photos. We also took at little walk towards the bridge where Highway 37 is, the Terrace to Kitimat Highway. We had no trouble getting around the sand banks becuase the creek was so low. We even seen a small host, a small black and yellow garden snake among the rocks by the bridge. Suz said I could not take it home.

And right by the bridge, a lone Sockeye, waiting for his mate, or her mate. Hard to tell which is which with these guys. And the name: Sockeye. Who and how did someone come up with that?

They are a deep red colour, and blend in nicely with the red and green rocks in the creek. You will have no troubles seeing them in the creek, there are a few spawning here today. From what I understand, once they mate, they then die. The following year, the eggs hatch, and the small Sockeye swim back to the ocean, and then they come back four years later, mate and spawn, and the cycle continues. I am not sure of this, but I think that is how it work for these guys.

You can see a few in the last photo, above. They just wait until the time is right, and then the Female lays her eggs, and Male fertilizes them, and then they swim away as their lives end. Suz noticed that this year that the Sockeye looked smaller than usual. Must be from the hotter then normal summer we have been having this year.

The 2018 Bulkley Valley Fall Fair: We Make It!

We left Thornhill, BC around 9:30am, already an half hour late. But Suz, made good time on the highway, and she never speeds–never–which is a great thing. We stopped off at the Kayak store, looked around, then headed for an early brunch at a Mexican Restaurant in Smithers, then off to the Fall Fair. We saw a lot of stuff, and did not see a lot of events that we wanted to do, only becuase we got into town so late. When we got back to Thornhill, it was well after midnight. An awesome time, and my butt feels it from all the driving.

We like trying new things. There is no sense going to a distant town, doing the same old thing you did the year before. So when we got into Smithers, BC, we changed it up a bit. Our first stop was the Kayak Shop. ( I am not going to list their name here just yet.) We are thinking, still, about getting kayaks. A friend suggested that we check this store first before we buy becuase they are more pro sports than any other store on the North Coast. Yes, they did have a lot of inventory, but their prices were a little on the high side. I guess if you want good stuff, you pay for it. They did not have cheap stuff. Anyway, we have a better idea of what we should get moving forward. It was worth the stop, looking around for ideas.

We had some yummy food over at the “The Trackside Cantina,” right in Smithers BC for our brunch. The food was awesome. An Awesome place for when you are in the mood for Mexican!

We got to the fair grounds around 1:00pm, which is unusually late for us. But we got a great parking spot, very close to the second gate, which had hardly any line-up to get in. And, as we figured out at the end of the day, was very close to where we sat for the Rodeo! That alone, made the day there awesome!

We hit the Arts and Crafts displays first. There were the usual stuff to see, but some of the entries did stick out for me. Like this exhibit, which looks to me like a close rendition of the “Stranger Things 2” monster from Netflix – in my humble opinion. Well, you judge for yourself.

Then onto the equestrian events. There is nothing more awesome than seeing Man at one with the animals, but seeing women with their horses, taking it to the next level. I forgot what this event is called, maybe Suz can refresh my mind, but these women, with their horses, we awesome as they did this  obstacle course.  And every rider had issues with different parts, making this exciting to watch. Some horses hated the water, while they blasted through the rest of the course, and others could not do the balancing box, yet had no troubles going through the water. It was fun to watch.

After we did some more exploring, we got to our seats over at the Rodeo. We made sure we got good seats this time, compared to the ones we had last year. We were too close to the fence last time, so I could not get any good shots with the camera. This time–it was awesome! I got so many awesome shots, it will take me days before I pick out the good ones. So here are a couple of random shots I picked:

Yes, way better shots this year! Not having a fence on the road, is awesome! Lots of action shots, using my 28 to 300mm Telephoto lens, in Aperture Priority Mode, with the ISO set to Auto, on my Sony A77. The clouds were thick making it overcast this year, so my light metre was all over the place, so having the ISO set to auto, between 100 to 28,000, made the difference.

Like I said, I had so many great shots to pick from, I could have spent the whole night just going through them all tonight. I think I took aver 800 shots of just the Rodeo time alone. I will have time later on this week to go through them all–yes, that time issue–not enough of it.

Needless to say, we got home super late. In all, we had a great time. I would do this again. Now, time for some rest. I will correct my grammar and spelling tomorrow.