What a month, eh?

January. Oh boy. Big expenses, difficult journeys, unpleasant occurrences, and a few good things.

A devil or a deer?

The weather was just plain weird, with many days above freezing and some severely below. This included a snowstorm just before the trip to Kam to pick up the Mrs. from the airport. Fortunately I’d just spent Big Money on new tyres. This past weekend, the last of the month, featured another return to -20 which figured largely in the ‘final event’.

Small box, tiny contents, big price tag.

Happy Anniversary to Us was the highlight of the month for sure, even if it wasn’t any big celebration. I don’t like big celebrations anyway. The milestone was the important part. The whole story of ‘Us’ is an odd one, and one day I may tell it. But not today.

Inflamed sky.

There were many pictures taken as I continued to try and adapt my photography to my failing eyesight. I’ve got sort of a plan out of it, and none too soon as the Nikon has come up with a new failing of not focusing except in ‘flower’ (macro) or ‘mountain’ (distant) modes. Usually. Sometimes it does. Sometimes it hunts past ‘in focus’ and can’t get a lock. In a way it would be better if it just locked up completely, instead of continually enticing me to use its fine lens and then not being able to deliver an image.

Have a squid sandwich (bacon butty).

The ‘final event’ (I hope) of the month came on the coldest night (-20C) when my body decided it wanted a trip to the ER in an ambulance. Oh that pain again. You know how when you’re in agony and it seems like eternity is passing but it’s really just a few minutes? I hope you don’t. In fact the pain started at about 10:00 PM, the morphine didn’t touch it, and I was in the hospital before 2:00 AM. So it really was eternity. At least this time I got a good doctor (it’s a roulette game what ER doctor you get these days). There was much discussion about the possible cause, a review of the testing so far, and some question as to why things hadn’t been followed up on. Yeah, I was wondering about that too.

Squeak doesn’t object to Marley using her as a pillow. I can’t imagine why not.

At any rate, January is done and dusted. Now it’s time for February, which I hope will have more positive things in it. Or at least less bad weather? Regardless of that, I have more pictures to post and more to take and plans for many things.

Now if only something catastrophic doesn’t happen and spoil it all. Again.

It’s cold

Okay so not taking photos or even going outside. It’s -37C (-35F) this morning; the coldest yet this Winter. And it’s predicted to get colder this week – right before it warms up to freezing by next week. Weird weather this year. In fact so cold this morning inside (despite the furnace firing every few minutes all night) that the Nikon’s battery was ‘too low’ to take a picture of the thermometer.

Older photo from before the severe cold hit.

My photo project that I’m not getting at is to get used to using the Canon, due to the problems with the Nikon and my eyesight. Obviously not working on that just now. I did make a start, but the results are not good so far: one acceptable image out of twelve. This isn’t the camera’s fault, it’s mine. Hence the need to practice and see if I can find a way to use a camera ‘blind’, as it were.

Oh the secondary eye test didn’t go well either, which was expected. Now I wait to hear if I get an appointment with the specialist – probably in six months.

Warmed up the battery and got the (fuzzy) shot.

What’s all this, then?

It’s been an interesting week here in the Cariboo. High temperatures around -15C (5F) and significant snow, along with gusty winds to make both those factors ‘more interesting’. I’ve been burning a lot of wood.

What?! Snow?!

Needless to say I haven’t done much; just waiting out the weather. It’s been too cold to take many pictures – the camera actually freezes up (low Wednesday night was -20C). It’s not unusual to have these conditions here, but in January not November!

Marley doesn’t like this.

Funny thing: Amazon sent me a message saying they didn’t know when they could ship my order. This was odd because I hadn’t ordered anything. Checked the info and … the order date was December 9, 2021! Nearly a year old and they just got around to saying they didn’t know when it would ship? I didn’t even remember making it, or why I made it (for a lens case; probably doesn’t matter anymore as evidently I don’t really need it). I cancelled the order. I mean that’s just ridiculous! They should have some sort of automatic cancellation if an order can’t be filled in, say, 30 days.

Cold and snow and wind.

My friend Wally called, said he was coming up this weekend to finish closing up his cabin. I laughed and suggested he didn’t try, what with the weather and all. They certainly aren’t ploughing the road out there! You know what? After agreeing it wasn’t worth it he turned around and came up anyway. I’m not sure, but I think he’s frozen to death somewhere along Wilcox Road. Perhaps I should notify the RCMP, but on the other hand there’s nothing they could do about it either. The last time one of my foolish friends went out there when they shouldn’t have I chased after them in the Xterra – until I couldn’t go any further. They had plunged on into the depths of the snow-filled forest – and suffered for it (although they didn’t die). Why do people persist in going forward when they can see the road is blocked? (That’s metaphorical as well as literal.)

Looks pretty when the sun shines.

Anyway it is now warming up so … time to split more wood in preparation for the next cold spell.

Here’s a boring video of me actually doing something: Clearing Snow

Oh yes: I forgot to make my bi-annual anti-DST rant so … Well just look up any of the past posts relevant to the time change. They are all still valid.

Things going on around here

How about this weather, eh? 32C (90F) on Friday, frosted lawn this morning. Summer left us like a thief in the night. (Lytton, the town that isn’t there anymore, set a new record September high for all of BC of 39.6C/103F.)

A small amount of rain Sunday helped damp the smoke out of the air. There are no serious fires burning near us, but enough small ones (including one 1 km behind our house) that the weather forecast one day said “smoke in the morning …” and we’re all having PTSD from the memories of past wildfires. The nightmares are real, and I think we need financial compensation from the government.

Speaking of which, certain provincial ones have decided to hand out cheques to their citizenry to help with the rampant price-gouging because nothing eases inflation like pumping more money into the economy, right? (You can just see their report cards: “Economics 101 [F]”). But don’t worry because after reporting record quarterly profits the grocery chains have assured us the increases they make are just covering their costs. Also, pigs fly.

I have not finished my pre-winter preparations around here and may not get to because suddenly it’s time to start harvesting wood. As in the overnight temperatures have dropped to where lighting the stove may be necessary at both locations while I get wood in for the season. The trick is to cut and stack it faster than you burn it.

Will we be going out to the cabin this week? Good question. I haven’t finished up even what I can do out there yet, and I just got back from WL hospital with five new holes in my arm.

Are things going well around here? No, not really. There’s huge room for improvement, and we all know it won’t happen.

Sneak preview.

Too day

Back home for a bit. How long? Well …

Let’s start with the trip back on Monday and having to be in 4WD for about 1/3 of it because the rain combined with the ‘grading’ of the road made for many kilometers of muck to power through. Thanks, road crew. One day you may even learn how to do it right. It went right into solid raining that evening so I don’t expect it’s getting better out there.

Shopping. Why do I even bother to make lists? Whatever I want, they haven’t got it and don’t know when they can get it. The only certainty is that if the stocks are replenished the prices will be higher. This project has already gone in to the “outrageously expensive” category, and it would be worse if I could get the missing bits. Hmm, maybe they’re helping me out there? No, it’s just dragging out the pain.

Now tomorrow it’s supposed to maybe not rain as much. That’s the update from “sunny”, made necessary because I planned to fix the trailer that day. Can’t have any co-operation on anything, can we?

The ‘work crew’ chickened out and want to wait until there’s fewer mosquitoes. So that would be what? January? Maybe February. It has been an awful year for mozzies and with the weather continuing to alter between rainy and hot the little buggers will continue to breed like crazy.

Another odd thing is that when I first tried to fire up the new computer at home it ran in to problems. I had to boot it in ‘recovery mode’ and reset some files because the CPU was timing out. Nothing like seeing hardware failure errors being reported on the brand new laptop you got to replace the one full of hardware failures, eh? Eventually I got it talked ’round to working, but I wonder if another jostling trip down the road will shake it loose again. It shouldn’t be a physical problem, and yet there’s nothing else that happened which could cause the change. On the upside it does work with the wireless printer and with the card reader. 90% success so far.

We’ll see how the rest of the week goes. Lawn needs mowing here again but it may not stay rain-free long enough to do it.

Mother & child. Taken with Canon G11, through the window early on a cloudy morning. Significant cropping.

Plans? What are they?

Right. Had it all figured out. Monday, mow lawn before it starts raining Wednesday.

Er, starts raining Tuesday.

Uh … didn’t even get the mower started before the sunshine turned to dark clouds and the rain began – on Monday.

So much for plans.

Now for other things.

Pileated on a poll. Nikon P610.
Same spot after bird flew off. Canon T100 & 250mm.

This is the reason why I looked into longer lenses for the Canon (more on the Nikon at a later date). I had some fun looking at ‘bargain’ long lenses, reading and watching reviews. Well what do you expect from a $150 lens? Right. While the reviewers put their best faces on and try not to say anything bad … well one of the lenses bent noticeably in the middle like a wet noodle. Yeah, that’s quality build! *LOL* Some of what I looked at were mirror lenses. I had one once. Guess what? The laws of physics haven’t changed since then.

The apologetic reviews were about how you can fix the flaw in post, ’cause you know everyone is willing to spend hours correcting images that took a fraction of a second to make. Hmm. Might be easier to just draw the scene by hand on a piece of paper with a pencil.

Anyway … no new lenses. Oh and from when I started looking a week or so ago until this post the prices on every one went up about 33%. I make that 1700% annual inflation rate. You know, every time I go to the store at least $100 disappears and yet even in my feeble state I have no problem carrying the bag in.

Never mind. At least it isn’t snowing. That’s scheduled for tomorrow.

Canon 1Ds & 300mm

Could see the full moon eclipse Sunday due to clouds. This is half a moon taken with the big camera. Another reason why I want a longer Canon lens.

Leftover winter shot taken with the Olympus E410.

So it’s “play it by ear” from now on as I try to sort the many little and some not-so-little jobs of Summer into a scheduled fraught with rain.

There and back

Made the first cabin trip of the year, just to check things out. Actually got in this time: the glacier road was thawed and not too bad to drive on. Even so it didn’t help the aches and pains I already had from cutting up a neighbour’s tree for him and then splitting four barrows of wood for me. The jostling of going down that gravel highway at 60-80 clicks didn’t make anything any better. Fortunately some neighbours out there had already been in so I didn’t have to clear any trees off the road. Fergus was first in, and had to cut five. I could have gone in last weekend but herself was away at daughter’s wedding. Look, it’s too confusing even for me to understand so I suggest you don’t even try.

Same ol’ place.

The good news is no big damage to anything and the batteries were full up. The bad news is a packrat tried to move in and made a mess, including dragging tools off. They have a king of jackdaw behaviour about shiny things like screwdrivers. Now I get to see how well the new flooring, along with a lot of other stuff, cleans up from rat mess.

The lake is high.

Now I’ve got to come up with some kind of plan for tackling all the things that still need doing there, along with the clean-up. This includes removing that travel trailer, a process which I dread because it’s big and heavy and will end up clogging the driveway at home. Assuming I can get the van going to move it, and somehow get it up the hill at the cabin and through the tight trees and … yes I know I got it in there. Getting it out is another matter, believe me.

First loon of the year.

The other things working against me include ambient temperatures that run between 0 and 10 Celsius, and a forecast of pretty much cloudy with rain for the next two weeks. This is problematic when your electricity comes from solar panels because despite claims to the contrary they do not produce power in all weather. PVs need direct, bright sunlight to work. Anyone who says otherwise is either stupid or a liar. Possibly both. I can say this because not only have I designed numerous installations besides my own, but have fixed even more systems that were concocted by people who definitely did not know what they were doing.

So when the sun doesn’t shine the batteries have to be recharged via the generator, and gasoline is $1.95/L here now which makes for damn expensive electricity. Like about $1 per kilowatt hour. This also ups the cost of going to and from the cabin, as well as increasing the expense of self-harvested firewood for winter heating at the house. Or Summer heating at either/both places due to the lousy weather we’re having. And no I would not be surprised to see it suddenly flip into hot and dry with wildfires everywhere again. It has happened before (2017, the year of the worst fires).

I don’t know what I’m going to do yet. The bathroom needs a complete overhaul and the upstairs needs finishing and the exterior needs restaining (it weathers horribly on the windward side). Never mind all the other chores of daily life like lawn mowing. Oh yes; the wood trailer needs some serious repair.

You know, the best plan might be to take the year off and just enjoy life instead of trying to undertake all these big projects that ultimately I will not see the benefit of. It’s going to be one horrifically expensive year no matter what I do, that’s for sure.

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.

 

Eye see

Vision impaired.

Things:

1). I do not like the chromebook. Mostly due to the fact the OS does not handle certain functions well, like file handling. The ‘sliders’ for scrolling vanish when not being used, a very bad thing for me. The keyboard is too small and so is the screen @ 11″. I have not found one single thing that it does better than a real computer, and most things it barely manages to do as well. Meanwhile my ‘real’ computer continues to throw random faults.

2). Eyesight isn’t getting better, which is not surprising. Basically it’s like having eye strain within two hours of getting up. Useless and annoying. At its best the right eye isn’t much good. Sort of like the chromebook.

3). Inflation about gives me a heart attack every time I go to the store. Politicians have decided to give us a one-time gasoline rebate check. It amounts to about one tank full in Jojo at current prices. Fortunately I do not have to drive to work every day like most people. What the hell are they going to do? Quit working? Quit eating? No indication anyone is going to try and tackle the underlying problem. Instead our Fearful Leader, Prince Harming, is looking to consolidate his position as Absolute Ruler through an illegal deal made with the opposition. Whether through bribery or blackmail I don’t know, but this one is something to protest about (unlike the emergency act use).

4). My wife has made arrangements to come home. Whether or not they will happen is another thing. So far the itinerary changed within hours of her buying the tickets, and the flight plan itself is a nightmare of no sleep for her for about two days. She says she will never use West Jet again.

5). I find myself following fewer and fewer social media sites, including but not limited to photography ones. Why? Because I can’t see the pictures and can’t afford the equipment. I think my own postings may end when I run out of the ‘backlog’ because not only do I have trouble shooting but I can’t trust the computer to process an image or keep it.

6). Spring is trying desperately to arrive. The compacted snow is melting and there are robins in the yard. Unfortunately overnight lows are still below freezing and we keep getting fresh precipitation that turns to ice. I have had the first call from a ‘lake neighbour’ wondering if it’s possible to get out there soon. No, it’s not. I went up to the city the other day (for the meds I can’t get in town) and the two larger lakes along the way are still clearly frozen from shore to shore. March is awfully early to expect otherwise.

I think I’ll make some cookies, before they raise the price of the ingredients. Again.