Cabin Fever Series IV

my cabin in winter

This is the hardest of the Cabin Fever series to write as I’m trying to think about what I took away from my cabin years. Difficult because there is so much.

After a lot of thought, I think I can place most of what I learned under two broad headings: space and connection.

Quesnel River

The Quesnel River at the end of Seven Mile Road.

Space

I think of this as both time and distance.

Walking for hours and knowing I would not see another person all day.

Talking and singing (very badly) to myself with only the trees to judge.

Walking in the dark and knowing the way by the slight curve of the road and the barely visible outline of black trees against navy blue sky.

These are all things I haven’t done for decades, but I still remember those ridiculously free feelings as if they were yesterday.

Photo by June Hunter

And time. So much time.

There were lots of things to do, of course — chopping wood, hauling water, keeping fires going in the winter, but so much time left for dreaming.

Of course, I had no electricity, so news of the outside world was limited to static-garbled scraps from the William’s Lake radio station, intermittently and randomly snatched from the sky by my old battery-operated radio.

“Come on over to the Boitanio Mall, climate controlled for your comfort …”

“Billy Jack, could you please come pick up your egg delivery from the train station as soon as possible. They’re hatching and running around …”

quesnel river leaf

Limitless hours were left over for chasing random thoughts, reading books from cover to cover in one go, watching clouds, examining the light on a leaf. My Kodak Instamatic wasn’t up to capturing most of this, but that love of  waiting and watching, now part of my photography, was hatched (like Billy Jack’s chickens) back then.

Photo by June Hunter

When I first arrived in Likely, however, I was quite afraid of all that space. I worried (and I know this from the one lonely diary entry I wrote in that whole period) that I might be hollow inside, and that I’d become filled up by the space and there’d be nothing of me left.

At the same time, I felt a bit claustrophobic, surrounded by miles and miles of trees.

I couldn’t say when those fears left me. I know that, at some point, I started thinking of the trees as my friendly neighbours and I guess I just stopped worrying about whether I was hollow or not.

If I’d set out to “find myself” I guess I must have just stumbled over myself one day without really noticing at the time.

Photography by June Hunter

Yikes!  Not a Sasquatch — just me with frozen hair again.

 

Connection

While much of my Cabin Fever Series has been about me being alone out in the woods, the fact is that I couldn’t have done any of it without the support of a lot of other people. Even if I didn’t see people for days on end, I knew I was part of a community.

Back then the mail was delivered to Likely’s post office (a series of boxes at the gas station) on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Mail Days everyone from a fifty mile radius came into town, ostensibly to check the mail, but mainly to see each other. The Likely Bar was the community centre.

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I can’t remember how we arranged this, with no phones, but on a Mail Day I knew I could rely on a ride into town (about 15 miles away) from one of my Seven Mile Road neighbours. And I knew that if, for some reason, I didn’t show up — someone would come to check on me.

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The Road to Likely

Should I feel the irresistible urge for human companionship, on a non-Mail Day,  I knew I could always walk the couple of miles to my nearest neighbours and be welcomed in for a game of Bear Trap and several cups of well-percolated coffee.

Some of those Likely people who let me live with them when I was cabin-less, who loaned me tools, brought me firewood, gave me lifts, and even taught me to use a rifle (bear-in-the-cabin situation, luckily resolved without my having to practice my limited firearms skills) are still good friends today, forty-plus years on. In better days ahead, we should have a Likely bar reunion!

The present-day downtown Likely.

And it wasn’t just the Likely community I felt supported by. Old friends and family wrote to me often, and some even visited me in my little cabin, including my friend from Wales who helped build the cabin and gave me my first driving lessons. My very first lesson ended up in a ditch, but hey …

And my parents, my lovely Mam and Dad … many of you wondered how they fared, worry-wise during those years. I like to think that (without the torment of minute by minute Tweets or Instagram posts) receiving only occasional vaguely worded letters from me, they had just the most general idea of what I was up to. I hope that might have helped with the “no news is good news” frame of mind so valuable to the parents of absent children.

I was always hoping for a letter with my mother’s handwriting when I picked up my mail. I’ve saved many of her letters, and I use fragments of them sometimes in my images, as a thread of ongoing connection.

springlike weather

Photo by June Hunter

My parents never once wrote that I should drop everything and come home immediately, for which I am forever grateful. Once those days were long and safely over, I did tell them some of the more hair raising stories and we had some good laughs.

Mam, Dad, June, flamingoes

Me and my parents when I was living in Vancouver, with Finlay and some flamingoes we picked up on a road trip to the Rockies.

Now it’s my turn, as the mother of young adults, to chant the No News is Good News mantra when they’re off doing inadvisable things. My son thoughtfully gave me a Guatamalan worry doll after his last trip to help with that. What’s that saying about karma …?

Worry Doll

For those of us lucky to be just waiting things out at home during the time of COVID-19, not working on the front lines, and fortunate enough to have a safe and comfortable space to be sheltering in, these past few weeks have been a new and strange kind of space. Connections are being forged by our common effort to protect each other, as well as via the myriad ways of staying in touch online — boomers Zooming, my kids playing out dramatic Dungeons and Dragons campaigns online, WhatsApping, FaceTiming, pod casting, blogging …

For myself, it’s had me looking back on my Cabin years with great gratitude, as I was privileged to have so many life style choices available to me — and the fact that I’m posting online about a time when there were no lines to be on, seems strangely cyclical.

Lastly, a few more random things I took away from those years:

  • Hot running water is amazing. Showers in particular
  • Ditto, being able to listen to music whenever you want.
  • You can get by with very little.
  • If you’re going to be alone a lot, never, ever watch horror movies: advice I follow stringently to this day.
  • Life is better with a dog. A cat is nice too.
finlay&elvis

Finlay and our old cat, Elvis, as a kitten.

Edgar and Geordie

Current companions, Edgar and Geordie.

 

See also:

Cabin Fever Series I

Cabin Fever Series II

Cabin Fever Series III

 

 

 

Cabin Fever Series III

By the summer after its construction I’d gradually moved into the cabin and furnished it with a combination of second hand finds and lop-sided shelving whipped together from leftover two by fours and small logs. I even acquired my own cast iron wood stove which required a team of friends to haul down to the cabin.

House & Home or Dwell magazine, it was not — but it was home sweet home to me for a couple of years.

cabin kitchen

I even purchased my own vehicle that summer — a 1962 Pontiac Strato Chief with a slightly sparkly aqua coloured paint job — a real steal at $120.

june and pontiac copy

The fact that it wouldn’t start, and the small matter of the trunk lid not being attached to the rest of the car, were minor problems compared to my inability to drive.

pontiac-1

The gas tank also had a tendency to come loose …

pontiac-2

By the next winter, however, the trunk lid was attached via barn hinges and rivets, Jack (Likely’s miracle mechanic) had got it running relatively reliably and … drumroll … I’d learned to drive it.

It went to Mexico and back, I converted it into a sort of camper, complete with curtains and I lived in it for a couple of tree planting seasons too. I even sold it to someone else after all that for $50, and she also learned to drive on it, so it really was one of my best investments.

Jack's Place

As chaotic as his place looked, Jack could lay his hand on any part or tool instantly — as if by psychic means — and he could fix just about anything.

The next summer, while I was tree planting, my brother and a friend stayed at my cabin and added a front porch, which gave Finlay a nice spot from which to survey his kingdom.

junescabin

At night the coyotes across the creek would try various calls to lure Finlay from his porch. The “hey, let’s play,” “female in heat,” and “wounded coyote” strategies were all employed at various times, but Finlay was a smart dog and he wisely ignored them all.

finlay on cabin deck

A year or so later I moved away from Likely, leaving the cabin as it was in anticipation of my eventual return. In the end though, I never did live there again. After a year in Nelson I ended up moving to Vancouver and eventually going back to school. I did. however, make trips back up to Likely from time to time and would visit the old cabin, which remained miraculously intact for years.

Below are some photos from the 80’s during a trip back there. Having been empty for years, it was a bit mouse nibbled and cobwebby, but it seemed as if time was frozen — a micro-museum of hippy life, complete with myriad jars of herbal teas, dried flower arrangements and fragments of artwork worked on by cabin lamplight.

cabin living room

The living room with stairs up to the loft.

flower arrangment

bedroom in cabin

The luxurious loft.

teas in jars

june and finlay on cabin deck

Finlay, excited to be back on his porch.

By 1990 the cabin was gone, burned down just before my parents finally got up there for a visit. My dad was a great woodworker, so he’d been anxious to see my handiwork. I never was as good at woodwork as I was at knitting, so perhaps it’s just as well  the cabin lived more perfectly in his imagination. We did all trek into the site and stand by the ashes, so that was a pretty special moment — although short, because we were being eaten alive by mosquitoes.

visit to old cabin

Phillip’s mom, Ollie; Phillip (with our baby daughter Lily on his back; Finlay; my mum, Rita; my dad, Jim; Cait, daughter of Richard and Denise, from whom I inherited the log cabin many years earlier; Phillip’s dad, Joe.

I still go up there every few years to visit friends and we always make a trip to try and find where I lived, although it’s completely wooded over again now. Gold mining has been conducted down there since my time, so even the creek seems to have changed course over the years.

When I remember that time my thoughts vary between thinking how utterly crazy I was, realizing how very lucky I was to have the opportunity, and trying to collate the things I learned from that time.

My next post will be an effort at expanding on that last thought.

 

If you missed them, here are previous posts:

and the final one:

 

 

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Cabin Fever Series II

cabin in winter

At the end of the last post I had acquired my house building book, an idea, and a few logistical problems.

the site

Privacy and neighbours were not going to be a concern, at least.

The first job was to pick a site. I should mention at this point that I didn’t own any land. Not the land that the log cabin was on, nor the land I was planning to build on. The area was part of a mining claim that no-one had currently claimed. At that point in the mid-70’s no-one seemed to care overly much about small construction projects on Crown land. Not, of course, that anyone ever came out to check back then.

trail to cabin

The trail down to the creek. Photo taken years after the cabin was gone, around 2018.

The site I had picked out was a flat shelf of land close to the creek where I was going every day from the log cabin to get my water, about a fifteen minute walk in from the road via a narrow and fairly steep track.

The next issue was the small matter of building materials. I’d decided that log construction was definitely beyond my capabilities and that, in the circumstances, a frame and plywood construction would be more practical.

I did, however, need some logs for the foundations, so a friend with a chainsaw came by and felled three trees for me on the bank above my chosen building site.

And so began the summer of the come-along.

“What is a come-along?” you might well ask. I know I’d never heard of such a thing until someone loaned me one for this task. Anyway, it’s a hand-operated winch with a ratcheting mechanism that allows you to move much heavier objects than you could by hand.

Comealong

I should say at this point, that I could easily have asked someone to help me with this project, but I was stubborn and felt I could, and should, learn how to do this myself.

That whole summer was spent discovering different ways to use a come-along incorrectly — plus, several novel potential ways to injure yourself.

Once again, however, the forest gods must have been watching me, as I  miraculously survived the process, unscathed except for some blisters. Should you ever find yourself with a come-along and some logs to move, let me share some important do’s and don’ts.

First, don’t start dragging the log across the face of a slope parallel to the grade. If you do, it will roll down the slope in a much faster, and less controlled way than you had in mind. Especially DO NOT stand downhill from the log!

Also, if you drag the log at a right angle down one slope to a flat area, the nose of the log will dig itself deeply into the flat area. You will then spend several days of excavating to free it.

It took, as I recall, about six weeks — during which time I learned to drag the log at an oblique angle across the downhill slope, and to make rollers from bits of wood to stop the nose of the log digging in to the “steps” on the way down.

Oh, and patience. I learned a lot about that. Nevertheless, I’m sure the trees and wildlife for miles around heard more swearing that summer than ever before.

By the end of summer I had all three logs down to the flat area where I planned to build, but was a bit stymied as to how to get them all perfectly aligned. Luckily two tree planting friends happened to stop by just then, and the three of us got the logs more or less level and parallel.

lumber sizes

Now I needed the rest of the supplies — milled lumber and plywood. The fact that I didn’t drive complicated things, but by ordering from a small family-run mill on the other side of Likely, I was able to get it all delivered. Of course, with no road into the cabin site, the best they could do was leave it on the landing, about 20 minutes walk from the cabin site.

Cue more swearing as I spent several weeks carrying and dragging all the wood down the trail, piece by piece. I’d carry a sheet of plywood on my back and sometimes, if I started to run downhill, I’d feel quite close to achieving primitive flight.

finlay in creek in winter

Finlay surveying his new neighbourhood — the creek bed mostly frozen over in winter.

Eventually all of the supplies were on-site and just needed assembling. Again, I could have made this a lot easier on myself by simply buying a couple of cases of beer and getting all of the local experienced cabin builders to come over and whip it together in a day or two. But Fair Isle Sock Knitter Extraordinaires do not take the easy path.

I had to admit though, that lumber construction was starting to look logistically quite different from knitting.

It was hard to see how one pair of inexperienced hands could physically accomplish the task. Fortunately a friend arrived from Wales as I was trying to figure out next steps.  He’d never done anything like this either, so we’d spend each evening poring over the “Illustrated Guide to Housebuilding” by kerosene lamp in the breezy log cabin and then head down the hill to try and put what we’d learned into action. Our vocabularies suddenly expanded — words like  “joist,” “sill,” “studs” and “gable end” were bandied about as if we actually knew what we were doing.

framing

Getting it framed, super-well insulated, and clad in plywood started after the tree planting season, and took the rest of the summer, fall and into early winter. Unfortunately I seem to have very few photos of all of this industry, which as a photographer drives me mad. I was still using my old Kodak Instamatic at that time, and I imagine I was saving all funds for building supplies rather than photo developing.

Below is one of the few pictures I can find. You can see that I’m using a Swede saw. All all of the lumber was cut using hand saws due to my abiding fear of chainsaws. No wonder it took us so long!

cabinbuilding june

frozen

Me, hair a bit frozen, towards the end of construction.

By the time we were ready to put roofing paper on the roof, it was very cold and starting to snow. Roofing paper is impossible to work with in the cold as it becomes brittle and breaks, so we worked out the following system.

One of us would be up in the log cabin at the top of the hill. That person would cut the roofing paper to length in the warm cabin and then roll it up, tuck it under one arm, and run at at full tilt down to the new cabin. There, the other person would be stationed on the cabin roof with a broom to sweep off some of the snowflakes that were falling, and, between us we’d attach the pre-cut piece of roofing paper before it got too cold and broke into pieces.

And then repeat. And repeat.

cabin with laddeer

Ladder set up on the roof for scrambling up with rolls of roof paper.

That part definitely wasn’t in the Illustrated Guide, but somehow it worked and the roof was on, just in time for winter to start in earnest.

my cabin in winter

outhouse

Five star outhouse. A bit chilly in the depths of winter, but great view.

Stay tuned for the next exciting episode: moving in and furnishing my cabin.

 

 

If you missed it:

logo with crow

 

does your soul need comforting?

A special Earth Day 2020 post, inspired by the lovely poem, Such Singing in the Wild Branches by the incomparable Mary Oliver.

Such Singing in The Wild Branches

by Mary Oliver — from Owls and Other Fantasies

It was spring
and finally I heard him
among the first leaves —
then I saw him clutching the limb

in an island of shade
with his red-brown feathers
all trim and neat for the new year.
First, I stood still

and thought of nothing.
Then I began to listen.
Then I was filled with gladness —
and that’s when it happened,

when I seemed to float,
to be, myself a wing or a tree —
and I begin to understand
what the bird was saying,

and the sands in the glass
stopped
for a pure white moment
while gravity sprinkled upward

like rain, rising,
and in fact
it became difficult to tell just what it was that I was singing —
it was the thrush for sure, but it seemed

not a single thrush, but himself, and all his brothers,
and also the trees around them,
as well as the gliding, long-tailed clouds
in there perfectly blue sky — all of them

were singing
And, of course, yes so it seemed,
So was I.
Such soft and solemn and perfect music doesn’t last

for more than a few moments.
It’s one of those magical places wise people
like to talk about.
One of the things they say about it, that is true,

is that, once you’ve been there,
you’re there forever.
Listen, everyone has a chance.
Is it spring, is it morning?

Are there trees near you,
And does your own soul need comforting?
Quick then — open the door and fly on your heavy feet; the song
may already be drifting away.

Many of our souls have found comfort in nature over these last few difficult weeks.

If we are lucky, we may have experienced “a pure white moment” or two in the natural world.

I hope it is true that “once you have been there, you’re there forever” because, when the world starts to move on again, we need to remember the things we’ve learned over these quiet, worried, contemplative days.

We need to remember that we need Nature. And I really, really hope that we remember that Nature needs us too.

Now.

And later.

 

 

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© junehunterimages, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to junehunterimages with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Cabin Fever Series I

My “living alone in a cabin in the wilderness” years weren’t really comparable to what people are experiencing now.

The outside world was proceeding more or less normally while I was living “off grid” in the Cariboo in the mid 1970’s and I could, I suppose, have chosen to leave at any time.

In some ways though, I felt I had to stay.

Most days I loved it and, on days when I didn’t so much . . . well, for much of the time I was there, I couldn’t drive and didn’t have a vehicle, so an impulsive exit wasn’t really an option.

I’ve been trying to think of which things I learned during those years that are handy now. I chose that experience instead of going back to school to do my Master’s degree. While there have been many times I’ve thought that was a crazy decision, now that I’m older I’m less sure. Every day I’m grateful for things I learned — about myself, mostly — in my Cabin Fever period.

As it’s a bit of a long story, I’m dividing it into a few parts and will end with a small summary of Cabin Life Tips.

june on bridge

Crossing the log bridge at low water.

The first cabin I lived in was an old dynamite shack, left behind from a gold mining operation. Located several miles down a road that ended in the rushing Quesnel River, it was pretty remote.

Only about half a dozen people lived further down Seven Mile Road than me, and getting to the cabin involved a twenty minute hike from that road, including the fording of the creek that fed into the main river, via the rather dodgy log bridge.

This was less, or more, exciting depending on the season and the water level.

7 mile road

Seven Mile Road

While at the dynamite shack I learned how to make bannock and discovered that no-see-ums can fly through mosquito netting. A fit of rustic craftiness almost lost me a finger when trying to cut a bracket fungus off an old log to make into a candle holder, as one did in those days.  I’m sure I must have learned some other things.

One of them should have been “keep a diary so you can remember this stuff forty years later.”

After a few months in the dynamite shack I inherited another, closer to the road, vacant cabin. I had stayed there before with my good friends, Richard and Denise, but they had two babies by then and were moving closer to the amenities of  “town” — aka Likely, where the one grocery store, bar and post office/gas station were located.

Likely Bar-late 70's

Beautiful downtown Likely, mid-70’s.

June&Tiko

It was during this period that Finlay the Magnificent arrived in my life.

A neighbour stopped by with two puppies that his dog had given birth to. Using a uniquely hard sell technique, he told me that, if he couldn’t find homes for them, he’d be hitting them on the head with a hammer. I hadn’t really been planning on getting a dog, but . . .

Of the two, one was much prettier. I picked the plainer one, confident that the  “looker”  would have a better chance of adoption.

This was the start of a beautiful 15 year relationship.

I was told that cabin dogs needed to be kept outside so they could keep watch for bears, so little puppy Finlay slept in the great outdoors. He would get revenge by crawling under the cabin and getting stuck under the porch, yowling, so I’d have to get up in the middle of the night and pry a board off the platform to pull him out.

He was so tiny that first winter, when we walked through the deep snow to visit the nearest neighbours a couple of miles away, his forward motion was accomplished via a combination of swimming and tunnelling.

babyfinlay

There are so many Finlay stories. He came tree planting with me for years and was a pretty legendary camp dog. His favourite sleeping spot was, not beside, but under the airtight stove in the cook shack. While I was out planting, he would stretch out in the blazingly hot sun beside the tree box supply. Sometimes when we got back we could hardly find him because he’d be completely and obliviously covered in dust.

There will actually have to be a whole separate post on Finlay for some of the other stories. The time he went missing for a week, the memorable day he brought me a bear, how he adapted, years later, to city life . . .

june in a box

My first winter in the log cabin was very enlightening. First I learned that a cabin made of logs needs to be “chinked” — i.e. insulation of some sort put between each log. This one had been built without such consideration, so when it was 20 below outside, it was about 18 below inside — with an arctic wind blowing across the floor. I would keep the airtight stove going all night and still the water bucket, located next to said airtight, would be frozen in the morning.

logcabin w

Log cabin in early winter.

Keeping that stove going all night meant lots of wood chopping, which meant a crash course in the care and maintenance of firewood.

First I learned that if you locate your wood pile under the eaves of the cabin, where three foot long icicles will inevitably form, your wood supply will become deeply encased in ice. It actually took longer to use the axe to chip wood out of its crystal prison each day than it did to split it. That’s the second fun thing I learned — splitting rounds in freezing weather is kind of fun as it only takes a tap with the axe and the wood explodes in a satisfying manner.

Miraculously, by the end of the first winter I had neither frozen to death, nor bled to death in the snow from an axe injury. And I had taught myself Fair Isle knitting.

In kindergarten I had been the worst knitter in the class. I still remember the humiliation of being the only one still forced to struggle on with a tangle of red string when all the others had graduated to actual wool.

Perhaps it was over-weaning pride in my new accomplishment, but I somehow concluded that, because I had mastered knitting Fair Isle socks, I was now ready to build my own cabin.

I headed into Williams lake and bought what was to become my bible.

illustrated housebuilding

It was the description “definitive layman’s book” that sold me. That and “for those who need a lot of help.”

As you can see, I still have the book “Illustrated Housebuilding.” I don’t think I’ll be building any more houses myself but I keep it handy in case either of my kids should feel inspired.

My goal was to build my “dream” cabin  — i.e. insulated to an extreme level, and close to a water source. The log cabin was only a few minutes walk from the road, but was a long trek uphill from the stream where water had to be hauled from. I decided I’d rather be further from the road and closer to the water.

So all that remained to do was get supplies and build it.

Since there was just me, and I still didn’t drive, there were a few technical details remaining to be worked out.

illustrated housebuilding inside

Stay tuned for the next instalment, Cabin Construction!

cabinbuilding june

Read on at:

 

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Edgar and the Great Outdoors

Edgar doing a bit of supervised bird watching/conversing with the crows this morning.

He has only once tried to make a break from his back deck playground.

Many years ago I had a market tent set up for a summer studio sale in the garden. The tent roof was, apparently, enticingly close to the deck.

I was inside the tent when I heard a thud as Edgar landed on the cloth roof. As quickly as I ran out to try and rescue him, he was faster.

Somehow he deployed his “terrified cat” superpowers to make the gravity defying leap back to the familiar safety of the deck.

The experience confirmed his (correct) belief that the outdoors is a dangerous and unpredictable place.

Surfaces that look perfectly solid, for example, are deceptive.

He has never tried to escape since then.

Downy Dating Tips

The Downy Woodpecker is the smallest of all the North American woodpeckers, a compact and handsome little bird, often found in urban backyards.

The male wears a jaunty red cap, while the female restricts her fashion palette to a crisp and dapper black and white.

They are firm believers in the saying “good things come in small packages.”

I was out walking the dog a few mornings ago and heard what sounded like a small jackhammer. A bit rude to be working on a construction project so early, I thought.

But, getting closer to the hammering, I realized the source was the top of a Hydro pole. I then assumed that it was the usual suspect — the amorous male Northern Flicker looking to impress the ladies.

I stared at the pole for quite a while without being able to spot the percussionist. It took my camera lens finally pick him out — a tiny, but talented, male downy woodpecker.

He was exploring the whole T-bar of the pole, testing here and there to find the best reverb. And he’d found the sweet spot for sure, making a noise that echoed richly around the neighbourhood.

So impressive did he sound — he finally attracted a  female Northern Flicker to his perch.
They both looked at each other as if they’d arrived on a blind date . . . and both parties had stretched the truth in their dating profiles.

You can see Mr. Downy trying to look inconspicuous on the far right.

After an awkward moment or two, the downy made a quiet exit stage right — off in search of his true love.

Here’s the actual object of his affections, taking a little spa time at our bird bath. I’m hoping they’ve sorted the confusion out now and that we can look forward to some even littler downies later in the season.

Incidentally, my very first blog post, written in spring 2014 was about a Downy Woodpecker. You can read it here: Downy Woodpecker Drama

Two big things to take away from the 2014 story:

  1. Keep your cat indoors
  2. Donate to your local wildlife rescue centre. Nesting season is always an extra busy time for these volunteer run organizations, especially as they try to work through the Covid-19 complications, so help them out if you can. The organization that saved the downy in 2014 (and countless other birds and other wildlife before and since) is Wildlife Rescue BC.

 

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© junehunterimages, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to junehunterimages with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Edgar Diaries

Edgar, so confident that all will be well, now finds himself nodding off during the Prime Minister’s daily briefings.

He is however, adamant that everyone should listen to the Health Officer’s advice and keep on staying the bleep home. Do not cross this cat. You have been warned.

staycation

And, just in case you need a reminder about the vital importance of hand washing …

More on the importance of keeping to some sort of schedule during these discombobulating times.

4:57 Edgar arrives at my desk.
4:59 Geordie arrives as back up.
5pm is dinner time and some schedules must be adhered to, regardless of whether the humans have lost track of the days. Honestly, they say, what would the people do without us …? A good question.

Photo 2020-04-13, 4 59 24 PMPhoto 2020-04-13, 5 01 03 PM

Because his own luxury pet bed is starting to seem a bit cramped, or perhaps just because he feels like a change, Edgar has now laid claim to the dog’s bed as well as his own. Luckily Geordie is willing to roll with the punches.

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And … a rare win for the human, staring contest-wise.

You know the days are long when you’re competing in staring contests with Edgar.

Stay safe!

Cocktail Party Guests

Cocktail hour is quite a big deal these days.

The rules are as follows: once the dog and cat have been fed (and they are very good at keeping us on schedule with that) it’s cocktail hour.

Actually, that’s about it really. So … rule. Singular.

As it’s still a bit chilly out, the front porch is the best bet for sitting al fresco without a blanket. Toque and down jacket, yes — but no blanket!

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Geordie, with  black and white tux colours and serious expression, does a passably good imitation of a maitre de in a very high class establishment.

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How are the first sips tasting, madam?

Really, it’s a highlight of the day. The only thing that could make it better?

Friends coming over, of course — but that’s not possible right now.

Or is it?

During cocktail hour a couple of days ago we noticed that we DID have company. Marvin and Mavis, after a hectic day of nest building, were enjoying the corvid equivalent of cocktail hour with us.

Bobbing gently in the breeze in the Katsura tree by the porch, they sat together, dozing, preening and softly chatting for a least half an hour.

Just as we were making a move to head inside, they flew off — only to replaced a second later by the next round of cocktail party guests — a pair of collared doves.

It was almost, almost, like sitting on the patio of one of favourite restaurants, enjoying a drink and some people (or in this case, bird) watching.

It’s the little things . . .

 

 

Raven Therapy

I must confess, I’ve been “hoarding” these ravens since mid-March, working on prints of them as a consolation prize for not being able to get up to the mountains more than twice this winter.

It already seems like another lifetime when I took these photos in late February and mid-March — in the all too brief period between the “fractured foot” and “everything in the world has changed” eras.

On the first trip, it was sunny and lovely, and we saw a few ravens.

The most interesting raven moment that day was when we heard what sounded like a chipmunk being strangled in the shadow of a big tree  …

… and it turned out to be this raven noisily bringing up a pellet.

The second trip, just before the mountain trails were closed to the public, was mid-March. That precious day provided a small conspiracy of ravens and lovely soft light for photographing them.

If it had to be my last day of the winter to see them, it was a good one.

 

 

I should put in a special thanks here to my family who were on the trip and who waited, more or less patiently, while I was taking these photos and perhaps a few more.

While I do love my local crows, ravens are somehow a special treat. Even if I can’t see them for weeks at a time, I find the simple idea of their existence to be therapeutic.

When I couldn’t get up to the mountains for the early part of the winter, I watched this video of ravens playing with snowballs over and over again to tide me over. It seemed to speak to many people. I think it’s the most popular video I ever posted on my Twitter account, shared thousands of times.

I imagine they’re up there now, joyfully living their raven lives, with only trees and the skyline reflected in their all-seeing eyes. I’m sure they don’t miss the human company — except, perhaps their ill-guarded and easy to purloin lunches.

You can find some of these images and others now available as prints in my shop.

 

 

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