Category Archives: Pictures and Images

         A short “report” upon returning from another MDS (Mennonite Disaster Service) volunteer stint, this time near Lone Butte (100 Mile House) in the Caribou country of British Columbia, Canada.
This was MDS’ first “contract” in the area.  The reason we were so late starting was due to the roads having been closed because of the fires and it took a while to get the “all clear.”

Thanks to precautions by the owner, such as spreading fire retardant around the buildings and having a sprinkler system going fed by the solar panel array as the power grid was down, some of the buildings and animals survived the fires.  The dogs and horses did not survive.  Though many buildings throughout the fire area were saved that way, the ranchers lost over 30,000 heads of cattle, many of whom had to be put down having their hoofs and legs burned from running through the wildfires trying to escape.
Wildlife, especially the smaller rodent populations that provide food for the larger carnivores, was decimated.  Hungry cougars and other large predators are now roaming ever closer to remaining winter feed lots and even homes.   Children have to be driven inside vehicles to school bus pick-up points though you can see some daring lonely souls, who probably do not have the luxury of a parent at home able to drive them, walking along the roads.  One does not have to wonder long what would happen if they were attacked.
The goal of our 5-man crew was to get as much of the replacement house covered, laying up of trusses, sheathing and if possible, installation of the metal roofing.  We got as far as the tar paper and strapping, which will ensure the building stays relatively free of snow and rain on the inside, barring whatever blows in through doors and windows as yet not installed.  With the onset of winter up there, about 300 miles north of the border, or from Chilliwack which is where I live (practically on the 49th parallel) we probably will not be returning until after spring breakup.  By then there should be several more projects identified and contracted for by our project managers.

Following are some pictures I took the time to snap as the work progressed.  Couldn’t waste much time off the job as the days are short up there – it reminded me of the Peace River country in northern Alberta where I was raised, if a bit warmer and wetter and the mud not quite as sticky as our great plains gumbo.  If the pictures appear fuzzy, it’s because they are greatly reduced from their original format.

Images and captions:  This is the house we worked on.  It may seem large but it has to accommodate a large family.  IMG_0169

House againIMG_0170

… house…IMG_0154

Solar panels and power house.  Behind is the log cabin the family is now using as temporary abode. IMG_0166

…angle consultation.  The man in the black cap is the owner. IMG_0184

This is part of the area the family calls “Elizabeth’s Pond” IMG_0175

A bit more of “the pond” and the “floating fence” which sits on several feet of soft peat and is often under water. IMG_0180

Close up of “floating fence” and edge of pond.  I was told that if someone ventured here they’d sink over their head in peat and mud. IMG_0164

Children’s play area (one of several!) IMG_0153

Log playhouse. IMG_0152

Burned area near the homestead/ranch, and a small lake.IMG_0194

More of burned area – close up.IMG_0189

… and more… IMG_0200

My faithful companion van and mobile tool box,  properly “decorated” with high country mud.  Individual patiently looking out and waiting for me to take my pictures along the forest road is my friend, Vic Janzen, one of MDS’ project managers and project leaders.  We rode up together on this particular project.

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A month ago, this is what our sun looked like at high noon here, 300 miles south of the raging wild fires. IMG_0006

I must say that, as much as I enjoy giving away time and resources to help others it never ceases to amaze me that as a nation people willingly let their pathocratic leaders blow off tax dollars on destroying people and the planet and fail to find it offensive that there is “no money” to help the very people who pay the taxes used to build the military hardware; the military machine and to pay the inflated “salaries” of rich, elitist rulers.  How can a supposed intelligent species be this dumb?  This uncaring?  This unfeeling?  This crass?  This ignorant?  This stupid?  How many of “us” is there for every one of “them”?  Yet we claim to be democratic societies.  Is this what we really want?  If not then why is it that those who propose change are always spurned, scorned, distrusted or even “elimitated” so the sharks can continue to have free range over the planet?  Surpasses my understanding.

As a final note, I saw the full glory of the Milky Way for the first time since leaving the Peace River country in 1964!  Prevailing winds must have “miraculously” blown the smoke away from the area where we bunked.  We seldom realize how much city environments create horribly polluted conditions until we find ourselves far enough up in the mountains, or far enough north that city smogs can’t reach there… yet.

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Dear December 11, you shouldn’t have…

Thank you so, so much, dear December 11… but really, you shouldn’t have… 

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The backyard, yesterday, December 11, under 30 centimeters of snow.

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A different angle, you’d think this was Scandinavia. Where are the reindeer?

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The front yard, looking north. Still no reindeer. Too early?

What was it like two days before?  This is what the camera was looking at, in the backyard: 

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These very pretty little roses blossom all year round. Today however, they are buried under the snow.

Two days ago also, in the neighbour’s back yard we had to bring down a tall and very dangerous tree.  Here it is, waiting for a friend to haul it away for fire wood: 

 

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And today?  Today it’s just cold, cold, cold. Predictably the schools are closed.  For me, more shoveling of the white stuff, compliments of global warming.  I’ll say this, it’s good for the tire, mitten and snow suit for kids business.

Pictures from Latest Kayak run on the River

Thought it’s time to post a few more pictures from a mid-summer kayak paddle on the River…  This was taken on the fifteenth – a week ago.  Enjoy!

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Immature red shafted flicker, you can still see the scruffy baby feathers – yes, a bit shaky but hand holding in a kayak, pointing up in the sky’ll do that at high magnification…! 

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Hope river reflections in the morning – and you can already see and sense those fall colors developing.  

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River otter – Hope river – actual caption: “What cha lookin’ at?” 

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Red barn – this is an encore: I just love this scene. I have a special folder of just “red barn” images taken over the years passing by this “Kodak moment” farm…

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Turkey vulture… either cooling off or just showing off.

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Lesser yellowlegs (large sandpiper) feeding on the banks of the Hope river.  Notice the flattened shape of the leg bones – these birds can actually swim if they are forced to. 

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Receding waters on a back channel of the Fraser river – every bit as wonderful to be in this as it looks, perhaps even better. 

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Mid-summer Fraser: expanding gravel bars, receding waters.  As I never wear shoes (and usually nothing else either – blushing) while kayaking, here’s where you are truly thankful for tough soles and feet. 

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Hi there, excuse me, uh, sorry a bit drunk.  I seem to have gotten myself tangled up here, can you help me?  No?  OK, well, have a nice day… 

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Picturesque landscape-Fraser river channel with Mt. Cheam in background – typical Chilliwack view.

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Typical gravel bar grasses

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mini “sunflowers” (they’re not, actually, but I don’t know what they really are – relatives of the dandelion?) blowing in the wind

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Camera follies – some sort of goofy setting that lets the camera have fun with landscapes

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More camera follies. Next generation won’t even need a photographer. Just send the camera out by itself to get pictures… !

Some New Pictures from the Hope and Fraser Rivers – July 24th and 26th

Many years ago, a client who then owned a small second hand store here in Chilliwack gave me a used Powershot (Canon) camera for some work I’d done she was thankful for beyond what I charged.  The camera served me well for many years but finally broke down a couple of months ago.  I sadly had it recycled and decided it was time to upgrade to a new Powershot.  A model SX 720 HS – a pretty impressive little camera for the non-professional.  Now I get to take pretty decent pictures of wildlife and macro shots of plants, flowers and insects.

The following pictures are some results of my efforts in learning how to manipulate this little computer.  It’s got a 40X  optical zoom lens, plus very good digitally enhanced zoom up to 160X.  Enjoy.    (PS: if any of these pictures interest you and you want to use them for whatever purpose, please feel free to do so – all permission granted… 🙂 )

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Blue Heron on the Hope River

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Daytime moon

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Blue Heron on an arm of the Fraser River about 100X zoom shot

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Water plaintain(?) – Hope River

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Female Mallard enjoying the sun

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Fraser River back waters starting their summer drop

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Pearly everlastings – Fraser river banks

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Thistles – Fraser River

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Some colourful Fraser river gravel bar rocks and a piece of driftwood

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Yeah! The gulls are returning again. Flight of California gulls returning to their winter feeding grounds on the River

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The Fraser river in full regalia and summer glory!

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Two smiling young mallards swimming along but ever watchful

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Blue damselfly on a blade of grass – Hope river shallows

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Skittish solitary or spotted sandpiper on the Hope river

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Immature rufous hummingbird on a honeysuckle branch

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Red dragonfly – I wanted to emphasize the beauty of her wings

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A spider web in an Alberta spruce: this spider’s on crack!

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A Western crow on a distant snag giving me the eye

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The red barn – on the little Hope river

 

Beauties from the River and around the Neighbourhood, part Deux.

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Fleabanes

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Some kind of plantain? Colourful!

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Life doesn’t get any better than this; kayaking the River in summer – taking a tanning and reading break on a sand bar

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A mallard nest on one of the many little islands

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Young Pacific willow shoots on a sand bar

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Mount Cheam from East Chilliwack – February

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Peaceful channel off the River

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English hawthorn (more common here than Pacific or western hawthorn) in full bloom

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One of many swamps hidden from view of boaters; havens for ducks, kingfishers, flycatchers, small herons and warblers

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Wind spinners using “local” materials: a rusted hunting knife, some driftwood, fishline and hooks all dug from the sands

 

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Sun Reflection

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Eroding sand bar

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On the River in August

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Down another “narrow” channel; returning home and storm rising. (poor definition: using old flip phone camera in this shot)

Beauties from the River and the Back Yard

I’m going to take a short break from issues, essays and short stories and try, once again, to post a few pictures of spring in what I call my back yard.  Well, some is indeed from the back yard, but the wild stuff, that’s from the Fraser.  If this works… enjoy.  If it don’t then I’m going to have to figure out what I’m doing wrong.  Here goes.

Looks like it worked this time.  I think the images are self-explanatory.  I like the natural sculpture of driftwood that resembles the skeleton of some alien animal.  Backyard flowers are azaleas, blueberry bells, Russian laurel in full bloom (never seen it so beautiful before – and I noticed that the bees come to it, then immediately leave, they don’t even land, but lots of flies in the blooms.  Then there’s the rhododendron saying, “I’m almost there…”

Enjoy the view.

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