Killing frost

Okay, it’s Winter here now: -4C this morning and hasn’t warmed up more than 1 degree in the past two hours. I’m not even going out in it to take a picture of it, whatever it looks like. Instead, here’s a turkey:

Okay, it’s a ruffed grouse.

Otherwise …

Wood hauling is going well, except for being a lot of work. Bigger load capacity = takes more time and effort to load and unload. Truck is managing it, except for not being as fast as the Nissan even when empty because it can’t take the turns. Also the “check engine” light came on after less than five hours driving. It has since gone off again, but not before I’d made an appointment to have it checked. Ford has a service bulletin on it in fact. Anyway, the thing is still horrible to maneuver: at home I take the trailer off and turn it around separately, then reconnect it; that’s easier than trying to do the whole thing together, even with the ‘rear marker sticks’ added to the trailer. Oh I have to fix the suspension again; that road is a terror.

Anyway, three loads has got me three rows full and start of a fourth. So far, so good.

Unfortunately the cold is going against me, and it’s supposed to start raining next week. Cold + wet = slippery. Slippery woods, slippery roads. Right now I’m in town with too many little chores to do up – and a wife making more all the time – some of which really needed warmer weather for. Funny, but for all the cool temperatures I can still sweat through my clothes in short order when working with the wood. Possibly because some of the rounds are 50 lbs. each and … well pretty much a ton of weight per load.

Rocky shore.

It won’t be long before there’s ice showing up. Of course the water line will freeze first. Pretty early in the year to be losing so much heat, and somewhat surprising after the Summer’s roasting. On the plus side I’ve only one more electrical outlet to install. Whether I get that done this year remains to be seen. No big deal if not. I did not get the stain put on outside, so that’s not happening until next season.

Nor have I got results back from the biopsy. Can’t say “no news is good news” because it’s just no news. Had another pain attack in the middle of the night. The inconsistency of the circumstances surrounding these attacks discounts the cause/effect scenario of most possible diagnosis. Oh well …

Fishes.

What next? We wait and see.

One final note: Dave McKeegan’s Facebook fiasco. I don’t really use that abomination of a social media platform anymore, and his experience is similar to mine with Ego-bay.

It’s that time of year again

We are sucking down smoke here, due to fires all over the Northwest. Particularly one at Gustafsen Lake – which is where the infamous fire of 2017 started and turned us out of our home and nearly burned it to the ground. A little PTSD anyone? BC is full of people with nervous tics right now.

Ironically I’ve started harvesting firewood for the Winter heating season:

First logs on the ground.

The air is still fairly clear out at the lake, but the sky looks like permanent cloud. Once you get near town you can smell smoke, and nothing but. This places extra physical demand on the body doing the unloading, which is me. Never mind the extra physical demand on the body doing the cutting, hauling, slicing, and loading – which is also me. I did that whole load in one day, plus splitting up some for the cabin in case I need heat there. Why would I need heat there? Because we’ve already had a couple of frosty mornings:

That ain’t sugar coating.

The forecast says some showers, with rain amounts not enough to do any good against fires but enough to mess up the dirt roads and plans for travelling down them. Fortunately I have a new tool to help me in this job:

2015 F-150 4×4 extended cab.

Yes it cost a lot of money. More than I’ve ever spent on a vehicle before. No it probably wasn’t a good idea, unless you consider that the Xterra was having trouble hauling an empty trailer and ‘throwing codes’ while trying to overheat. The ol’ Nissan was just right for ‘only me’ trips, but didn’t have much cargo capacity beyond a couple of boxes of stuff. It also was 10 years older than this with 100,000+ more kilometres on it. At least this truck is red. Beyond that there isn’t much I like about it.

At the cabin. Probably the last time it will ever be clean.

Good things: the bed allows me to haul more wood per trip. Not a 100% increase as it’s only a 6′ bed, but about 80%. The first load filled one row of the shed whereas the trailer required about 1.5 loads, so fewer trips (albeit more work to get a load ready). It has a 2.7L V6 (smallest 6 cylinder I’ve ever encountered) with twin turbos which should provide a balance of power and economy. So far it’s doing no better than my ’69 Chevy C10 did with its 250 CID inline 6, and it doesn’t have the full size bed of the latter. It is 4×4 and has a differential lock which hopefully I’ll never have to use. Also, it’s red. Did I mention it’s red? Oh and the seats are comfortable.

Bad things: Just about everything else. Topping the list is the excessive amount of technoglitz ‘features’ meant to sell vehicles to the gullible. There are four switches for the dome light. All you need is ‘ON-DOOR-OFF’ on one switch. The dashboard is a nightmare of displays and buttons … you know, kind of like a modern camera that’s loaded with ‘features’ which impress gullible buyers who then set it on ‘PROGRAM’ and never touch the controls again. In fact the 6 speed automatic has a ‘manual’ setting which allows you to pick the gear. Uh, whatever happened to D-2-1? Is this an admission that the transmission isn’t good at its mission and won’t pick the right gear? I haven’t noticed that so far, and it’s been driven at highway speed, plus down the gravel road empty, and back again fully loaded. Seems fine and has plenty of power. But it took me 15 minutes to find the headlight switch. (The owners’ manual, by the way, is a Tolstoy novel mainly about safety warnings with side plots regarding things this vehicle isn’t actually equipped with.) The door locks and key are a nightmare all unto themselves, never mind the remote start – which doesn’t.

All-in-all it’s a case of “let’s see if we can make this marketing joke of a pick-up truck do some real work”. It does not ride or handle well either; you feel every bump, the steering is too heavy, and the tires do not grip the gravel like the KO’s on the Nissan did. The body is massive, which makes it difficult to maneuver either in town or in the woods or even around the yard (turning the whole rig around was extremely difficult). I mean it’s worse than my E250, and that’s actually bigger. Visibility is terrible with this thing (I may add some flags to the trailer as I can not see it at all behind the truck).

But if it can get the job done faster without using a significant amount more fuel (36 gallon tank that will be painful to fill in one go) then … probably still not worth it.

So far it hasn’t displayed enough ‘personality’ to garner a name. We shall see how it works out.

First load home. There was room for a little bit more, but that would require cutting another tree. Next time it will be full.

This week in pictures

It’s been a strange week, and really a bit more than a week since my last post. So here’s what’s been going on.

First up, I had an expedited doctor visit owing to the last pain episode. He wasn’t happy with the symptoms or his exam results, so this was followed by some expedited testing and expedited scheduling of more testing. None of it has found anything yet, but the procedures are wreaking havoc with scheduling any other activities. But I have got  few things done during a couple brief cabin stays.

The second kitchen lamp. It’s a wonder it worked at all. It’s a wonder it didn’t go up in flames.

Yeah I feel like that socket looks. Those little grey-green strands are supposed to be shiny copper, and inside some insulation.

The bathroom is finished! (Probably)

I got the sink installed and working, and refinished the door. The bathroom is now done (as far as I’m concerned; I’ll probably hear otherwise). In fact, there are exactly three more “mechanical” things to do on the whole cabin. Three! After that everything is cosmetic. Of course there’s a lot of that cosmetic stuff.

Lonely kayak.

Our Jane came up with her crew. In a fine case of “hello and goodbye” they arrived the day I had to go back to town to deal with two days of medical stuff and they go home a day before I can return with grandma. Not exactly how we’d like to do it. Of course currently the main highway back to the south is closed because of a landslide so … there may be some delay.

Alongside the long road.

Spotted this on the route to Williams Lake when I went for the first testing. Picture taken with the Canon G11, which is a nice take-along camera. It’s not as small as my little Fuji, but the optical finder gives it an edge for practicality.

The air conditioner quit working in this heat we’ve been having. Buy a new one? Ah ha ha ha! Maybe by November. Despite knowing how they work, I can’t fix it even if parts were available because I lack the specialized tools for refrigeration servicing. Anyway it’s only about 20 years old. Want to bet how long a new one would last? Right.

With no definite schedule for the next test (one which requires a trip to the big city, overnight stay, and leaving the animals in someone’s care) we ponder whether to haul everyone out to the cabin or not. It’d be just my luck that we’d get out there and have to turn around and come back. On the other hand if we hang about here the test won’t be scheduled until December. You can bet on that.

I will make preparations anyway.

Taken with the Canon 1Ds.

The computer at least is working well, although I’m not happy with the changes that have been made to GIMP: the new “features” don’t add any functionality and the interface change is unwelcome as it is more difficult to see and to use. I also admit to being leery of updates as it seems they tend to bring change but not necessarily improvement.

Many things change. As Jean-Baptiste Karr said: “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”. We just don’t know what the actual results will be. C’est la vie.

Junk

While carrying something from the storage shed way out back down to the house, I happened to glance at the ground (always a good idea to see where you’re putting your feet) and saw something sort of greenish, and I don’t mean plant-like. There was what seemed to be a short piece of multi-strand cable and an odd-shaped lump. It looked a little like a toy car.

You know, for a guy with horrible eyesight I’m still pretty good at pattern recognition. After digging it out and cleaning it up it turned out to be this:

One side
The other side

There’s not enough left of it to identify with 100% accuracy, but it was a 1/64 scale die cast van (probably Hot Wheels). The curious thing is: how did it get there? We’ve owned this place for 12 years and I can’t count how many times I’ve been up and down that route under various circumstances. Never have the grandkids been here playing with toys up there, and they certainly wouldn’t have pounded the burnt remains of one into the ground. Prior to our buying the place it was own for many years by another elderly couple. Perhaps they had visiting grandchildren who like to destroy toys. It just seems very odd that such a thing would turn up at that spot now.

On the other hand I did actually buy a toy truck at the supermarket the other day. Why? Because I already had its older brother. To wit:

Two editions of the same truck

Hot Wheels 1963 Studebaker Champ pick-up truck. The original edition yellow version on top of the latest black issue. The castings are identical, but the details have changed. Note the cheapening of the wheels: no more lettered Goodyear Eagles!

I don’t indulge in this sort of thing much these days, as there’s not much point and most of the new ones are pretty poor examples both in design and execution. But when something like this shows up by chance, yes I’ll spring for it. Besides, I always liked Studebakers, and trucks, and toys. Or as Eric L. Woods would say: “I like it. Leave me alone.”

Seriously?

Tuesday: 60 degrees F  and snow all gone.

Wednesday: 30 degrees F and …

Snow …
Snow …
Snow …
Snow!

Four new inches. Shall I look at the satellite and see if the ice is off the lake yet?

Oh well, it’s already melting.

 

From other cameras

Or Automatic Photography.

This grader has been sitting there for a week; they still haven’t done the first 4 kms! (Dashcam)
Big equipment beside the road. (Dashcam)
Bad choice: someone trying to get down the road in a Ford Mustang. (Dashcam)
Exotic animal in the yard. (Wildlife cam)

Wildfires are all around again. Over 30 just in our district, four of them “of note” (i.e. seriously dangerous). Nothing like the one that destroyed the town of Lytton though. Not yet anyway.

Out at the cabin the sky is clear and you wouldn’t know there was a problem. That can change quickly. The one burning at the next lake over is being ignored because it isn’t close to population. Several people have been asking questions about what seems to be a poor response compared to even 2017. Did we learn nothing from that horrendous year? Apparently not.

I’m too old to fight fires – or political battles – so I’ll just keep doing what I can do, to whatever end.

Road trip.

Drove into town today for supplies. Saw a few interesting things.

Someone got themselves a project (early ’50s GMC).
Someone else’s project (first gen Mustang).
One fine ’69.
Yeah I could use this!
Somebody completed their project. I don’t know what it is because I chased him all over town and he never parked anywhere before I lost sight of him.
The thrill of the chase!

Now it’s time to return to the cabin with supplies, and get back to work!

Around the towns

Some things spotted here in 100 Mile and there in Williams Lake. All pictures taken with the Canon G11.

1949/50 Mercury M-47
Com tower
Study in Orange and Gray
Why fly when you can take the train?
Land and sky
Nectar of the gods

Other than these photos the day didn’t go very well. I’m heading back to the cabin to resume work soon.

Colour and Black & White

A few images taken with the Canon G11, demonstrating how colour sometimes gets in the way of a good picture.

Last year’s leftovers.
Remove the colour and see only shape and texture.
Strange colour for a cement truck!
In monochrome the machine’s shape is emphasized.
Engines look good in full tones.
Still look good desaturated.
Boxcar graffiti.
Graffiti becomes less evident in gray shades.

You can decide for yourself which way looks better for each picture: I’m just demonstrating the possibilities to encourage people to try it. Only seconds are needed to desaturate a colour image – or switch it back.

The train was at a siding in Williams Lake on my most recent visit to that city.