Friday, April 15, 2011

Up and over the Yellow Lake Pass

We have been back and forth to the city these last few weeks and each time we go it is an adventure in timing our departure so that we arrive at the spot where traffic is stopped for road construction just when the Flagger is starting to wave us through.

This is a big project, - liable to last out the summer, but in case you are planning to visit the road closures are not likely to be so regular for too much longer.

Ten minutes on the hour and the half hour, to get great lines of traffic through from east and west, and a total closure from ten to eleven and from four to five.   The Green Mountain road offers an option if you want to turn off before the construction and wind your way on a narrow, twisty road through green evergreens and poplars and alders just coming into leaf - pretty, but slower, and we usually take our chance on the main highway - partly out of curiosity to see the behemoth machines perched on the side of the mountain and thundering along the road with great loads of rock and boulders, biting away at the bluffs that have towered above the road since it was opened in 1958.

There was still snow in this little valley when we came through a few weeks ago.  The road was once a trail  from Osoyoos to Penticton,  a hundred years ago, and as it nears Penticton it passes through property owned by the Penticton Indian Band, but at the other end, nearer the highway, there are the remnants of old stage coach stoppings, and this old barn that has crumbled badly since we last were through this way fishing.

We went along the Highway on Tuesday.  I have the camera, and watch for new leaves, patches of buttercups,  and any wildlife that might be traveling the woods, looking for sustenance.  As we come up the hill to where traffic is stopped at Yellow Lake I see what looks like a very large woolly dog, ambling along the roadside at the bottom of the bank, but it is, in reality, a small brown bear that has all the lady Flaggers on the road agog with  excitement.

The animals that inhabit the land around the lake must wonder at the noise and confusion - the helicopters taking out brush from high on the hillside where the new road will go, and bringing in telephone poles, and the constant to and fro of heavy machinery.  On one of our trips to Penticton we were stopped further up the road, and while we waited a Canada Goose came up from the lake to peer at the long line of cars.

The ice was not completely gone from the lake, and out in the middle an osprey sat at an ice fishing hole, waiting for lunch.  I fished out the long lens, but wasn't able to get a good picture of him. and so we continued
on our way through all the dust and enormous machinery.

Some of the rock is quite beautifully coloured.

and on our way home we came upon these lovely buttercups, and the driver slowed
down a little so that I could get a rather blurry picture!

Monday we will be going south and over the Richter Pass, so we will see if Spring is still flirting there, or if she has settled down and decided pitch her tent until Summer arrives.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Another morning in the garden with the spade and the handy dandy tool that digs the dandelions.  Lunch and a quick clean-up and off to town to a lodge meeting to keep the ladies in step with some Scott Joplin piano.

Lodge meetings and membership are going the way of the mainline churches, - I can remember being young (25 or so) and newly introduced to the lodge and all its facets that are disdained today, not just by the young, but also by the Red Hat group of middle aged matrons out to have fun, fun, fun!!!

It was a night out - Dad was home baby-sitting and the girls were doing their thing in a well organized and disciplined way.  What was it about turning sharp corners, doing good work, remembering passwords, the ways of the lodge and each officer in it;  all these things that appealed to the enthusiastic  young women of the 50's and 60's.

There was the concept of 'sisterhood' which was taken very seriously, - and 'service', which had been a part of our life forever.  Whatever it was, the Lodge flourished, and so did the friendships it fostered; and the confidence it inspired as young women learned to do their part with poise and precision.  Lots to be said for those days, and the Lodge today is made up of the remnants of those happy times;  little old grey-haired ladies, to all appearances, but the Spirit  is still  splendid and the values remain the same.  And the memories of those no longer living and the years of faithfulness are precious to all.

They are fortified with a few younger woman who do the hard work and keep the flame lit.  The password disappeared a long time ago, along with the opportunity to blackball new candidates for membership (which, of course, one would NEVER do) and slacks were allowed in  place of skirts, but with great reservation.  I occasionally see ladies of the lodge cross their legs - definitely a no-no in days gone by.  But what remains is the idea of service and the loyalty and friendship that sustains the ancient sisterhood.

I came home with a good feeling of having been among friends.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

ABC Wednesday
April 12th, 2011

The letter this week is M

and M is for Music and Mozart, - his Piano Concerto No. 9, played by the marvelous musician,  Mitsuko Uchida with Jeffrey Tate conducting the Mozarteum in Saltzburg.

Jeffrey Tate suffers from a major disability; a spinal malformation resulting from congenital spina bifid and kypho-scoliosis.  My admiration for this man and his accomplishments is boundless,  and you can find more about his life and his achievements here in an article by David Blum at Classical Music.


For more interpretations of the letter M Move over here, to ABC Wednesday, with thanks to Mrs. Nesbitt and her kindly helpers.

Monday, April 11, 2011

April 11th, 2011

The sun shines, but April still shows her fickle side as random clouds
 drop snow lightly on the Cawston Bench.

As I struggle with the Cutch Grass and follow its long straggly roots half way
across a bed of Iris I feel the warmth of the sun on my back
and the fresh spring breeze on my arms.

When I glance up there is a shimmer of green on the curly willows, -
tiny leaves are opening and create this lovely aura around the trees,
and they glitter in the sunshine.

Two red winged blackbirds converse back and forth amongst
the branches, and I scold them as I see them for their impudence in gathering their friends around to eat most of  the buds off the forsythia tree closest to the bird feeders.
I think about moving the forsythia tree away to safety, but then decide 
it will be easier next year to move the feeders to another spot, away from the shrubbery.

I pick a few violets to bring their tender fragrance into the house,
and admire the little patch of daffodils that are ringed around the 
Philadelphia Orange.

Too soon it is time for lunch and I look around regretfully at the beds 
that need new compost and and the new peony bed that is infested with grass
and dandelions.  Still, tomorrow is another day, and it shows sunny on the
weather report.

I have been reading a garden book, - a remainder that I picked up at the
pharmacy and one that is quite a bit more up-to-date than the more formal
tomes I use for research.  This is a book by Katherine Whiteside, entitled "The Way We Garden Now".  Full of wonderfully concise tips on easy ways to garden -
most appealing to someone whose energy is not what it was, but who still finds these new ideas appealing.

What do you think of a Sunflower Folly???
I can imagine a small table, a couple of chairs, a cup of tea.
(or even some other refreshment) 
in the midst of marvelous waves of colour,
with the bees buzzing round
and the sunshine filtering through the lovely tall branches
and in the fall, when the seeds have ripened,  the
little birds that come to feast and visit.


What will Charles think of it, I wonder???