they walk amongst us… the unvaccinated!

They walk amongst us, they work amongst us, their children go to the same schools as our children, they  shop amongst us, and they provide “care” for us if we are ill (scariest of all).  If you go to a hospital, you might be cared for by a health professional who thought that their own “personal health choices” was more important than your life.

And they breath amongst us, the scary bit.  Back in the days of AIDS, the feeling was that someone who was having unprotected homosexual sex was basically a criminal for spreading a deadly disease.   YET we have people continuing to breath the same air we breath …..who did not accept a treatment that would have ended this pandemic.

They have their reasons, ……things they have heard….things they have seen on youtube, things they have even dreamt up themselves. 

I have heard almost every type of disease quoted as the reason NOT to have the vaccine….. cancer, autoimmune diseases, infertility…. The list goes on.  A neighbour gave the excuse that a friend of hers “almost died from vaccine”. Funny how they do not WARN those around them that they are NOT VACCINATED!

What troubles me is that this being one of the biggest “personal health decisions” that  they are making, and they have not consulted a doctor to discuss their concerns.   In fact it seems that on this issue that the unvaccinated have decided that doctors are part of a broader conspiracy  to harm people.  I guess being a doctor, THIS  IS the hardest part of it all.  What will happen when they have a headache that they think is cancer, who will they trust when they have abdominal pain that is not going away.  Will they believe a doctor who says “I think you need this treatment”…… and will doctors who are already overburdened with too many patients, want to waste time on someone who does not trust them on a basic issue like this.

The sad truth is that for many who have opted not to get the vaccine as a “health choice” do not REALLY have concerns about the vaccine, for many are the same people who would not wear masks. They JUST do not care, and are not about to have anyone tell them what to do, kind of like drunk drivers. No concern for those around them, ………selfish…You CAN get away with driving while drunk…. until something happens, and its bad.

Seeing a group of nurses creating memes saying that they had been the heroes last year with Covid and that they are being fired now for making a “personal health decision”is so troubling for me. 

They are not being fired (a lie) they are being required to have the vaccine in order to look after high risk patients. THINGS change. Would you be OK with the school bus driver to carry on after their vision went?  A firefighter who had developed a fear of heights?  A lawyer who has dementia?  What about Typhoid Mary. She was just an Irish immigrant who needed a job, only problem was that the only jobs involved cooking for people and she carried typhoid fever. She went to jail for many years.

NOT to say that there are not Doctors as well who are adding to this big lie as well. In fact our governing body, the College of physicians and surgeons are disciplining doctors for spreading misinformation.

We are all tired of all of this. A year and a half, going on 2 years of our lives being extremely affected by a disease that should have been curtailed right from the beginning, except for a group of people who have little concern for fellow human beings. A part of me wonders if SOME of these people are so marginalized in their thinking that they actually FINALLY have something that they can hold the rest of us ransom for. Gives them power….. that they would never actually have had. Something that they can fling around at the rest of us, who are just wanting our lives to be normal again.

The very sad NEW thing, is that BECAUSE of those who choose NOT to get vaccinated, we are now starting to need booster shots, as the ones who got the vaccine at the beginning are becoming more prone to Covid. The new Delta variant is MUCH more infectious than the original covid. AND most of the world has only been able to vaccinate about 2% of their population. So the unvaccinated are not only affecting those here, they are also affecting the rest of the world, because the US is going to start doing 3rd booster shots for the most prone individuals.

I guess I would like to end this blog on a positive note. Those who are unvaccinated make up a very small group of people. They seem to be a very vocal group, but they ARE THE MINORITY. In British Columbia they announced a vaccine passport will be required to attend all non essential venues, such as restaurants, gyms, night clubs…. etc. On Monday the Covid vaccine bookings were up 174%. 👍👍👍

Janet……

sometimes you need a reboot….

Sometimes you just need to reset your entire brain. Turn it off and turn it on again and see what comes up. So on August 2nd, we left. WE just left. We decided to leave….. after a year and a half of covid and then the 2 weeks of being UNDER THE heat dome and then another month of smoke and fear of fire. We decided that we had built our home as fire proof as we could and there was little we could do here anyways ……. other than go MAD……😤

We packed up motorhome and drove down to the Olympic peninsula, and …. rebooted. Tried to find that place of mind that we always get to when we go away in the winters, where all we really need to worry about is …. where we are going to camp today, what will do DO today and what we will have for supper.

Because it was peak of summer, we could not find a camping spot anywhere, and Tucker gets so pissed at all the other dogs in campgrounds anyways…. so we dry camped, which Ken has us set up for in this new RV. We have enough solar to be able to run the CPAP (Ken’s) all night and have plenty left over for charging things and lights. No Air-conditioning though, which was only an issue one night. There was a heat wave while we were down in Washington and coastal towns that usually never get that hot, were well over 35 C 95F….. But we have resolved that we could rectify that easily by getting a small fan, just to move air. The nights were cool.

We were able to travel down to Washington, because we have dual citizenship US/Canadian. The US border is closed to people from Canada and Mexico driving across border, but flying is totally open. Seems kind of crazy. We were not even asked about Vaccination or covid tests. We camped for the most part at Casinos. No booking required, and long as you are self contained, people just seem to come and go as they wish. You DO have to check in with the casino and some places you had to get a “rewards card”. I usually (purely out of obligation)went into casino and “parted with some money” 🙂 for our camping. WE WERE impressed that being on indigenous lands, they were quite strict about masks. I read somewhere that First Nations have the highest rate of being fully immunized.

Our destination was La Push, a place we DID have a reservation on the western coastal side of the Olympic penninsula. It is a First Nations resort area, and they were VERY strict about masks, because they had been closed down for a year because of covid. Many lives and livelihoods would be affected by an outbreak.

These are Poppy Jasper, the rocks that are unique to the olympic penninsula. The way that the different coloured minerals settle creates a lovely poppy appearance which is accentuated with polishing them (with tumbler).

These are turtle rocks, another stone found primarily on the olympic penninsula. They ALSO polish up nicely, and I am hoping to put the poppy jasper and the turtle rocks into the floor design. (they match my cabinets 🙂)

Thanks to the rock books we were able to find many lovely beaches that were empty except for us and a few other rock hounds.

This was a scene I thought I captured on camera, on a farm, in a rural area. After I watched for awhile, I realized that both of them were statues…. ODD place to have statues this perfect.

OH and beer….. the Pacific Northwest is known for the beer, so we filled our growlers (a few) times.🐅

These are called concretions…. rock has formed around bits of grass or something and formed these symmetrical shapes. The beaches north of Port Angeles were covered with them, very interesting, some of them that had worn away had crystals in them.

Tucker is NOT a water dog, but just wandered out during the heat wave.

We USUALLY travel in the winter, and the tides tend to be higher in the winter, and lower in the summer, so in the summer THESE are the kinds of things we get to see with the low tides.

We DO love the ocean, and we found ourselves wondering what we are doing living where we are. There seems to be no signs that, despite the horrendous summer we have had, that anyone is willing to do anything to alter the course of climate change. So we will likely continue to have very hot, very smokey summers. The almighty dollar will always win. We are about to have a federal election and there is very little talk about climate change…… SO we did find ourselves looking at places we might dream of living. We are like that. We do those kinds of things, I guess it goes along with the vagabond way we are.

I just LOVE these HUGE barnacles.

We got home a week ago, we had to get covid tests and fill out all of our info on arrivecan app. The covid test was $189 each and it was hard to find a place that we could get the test. The results took about 36 hours.(we found a lab called anylabtestsnow……)

Many years ago we went to a medical conference that was geared for physician health. They introduced us to a concept that we were just reminded of on this trip. TARZAN HOLIDAYS. Tarzan never let go of the “rope” before he had another one to grab onto. The suggestion was that you never come home from a holiday until you have planned the next one. SOOOO we have booked our next trip a month after we got home from this one, and will be back on the olympic penninsula soon.

Oh and ONE more thing. I turned 65 on this trip and decided to make the day special, I would get a hair cut. I have not had a proper hair cut in over 2 years. (I have been cutting it myself). I found a very lovely salon in La Conner and had a wonderful visit with a stylist whom I just loved. I have decided that I am going to go to La Conner for my haircuts from now on.

Back in BC…. we encountered very heavy smoke on the Coquihalla, and even donned our N95 masks. But by the time we got home our lake has cleared out and we have had great clear skies since.

We have been home a week now, I am back to work and mask mandates have been implemented. I am totally appalled at the number of people still wishing to work in LTC (with the most vulnerable people) who have not been vaccinated. MORE ON THAT IN NEXT BLOG

Much love to all, Janet, Ken and Tucker the OCEAN dog.

Covid….vaccine… immunology etc 😊

If I had only learned immunology when I had the chance.  😊1986 was the year I started medical school, I do not think I am a genius and there were clearly classmates MUCH smarter than I was.  But to get accepted into medical school back then, you had to beat out 18 other people. One in 18 people got accepted.  It was funny being in Med school, I was not sure  I belonged there, until the first set of exams, and I managed to score “in the pack” so finally was comfortable that I might survive in that setting. I only say this in that getting INTO med school was not a walk in the park.🤔 It seems though that the way everyone talks these days, you could easily get a med degree in a crackerjack box.

One of the courses in 1st year was immunology.  It was a new course to the curriculum, and EVERYONE struggled with it.  It was a tough course, and tougher … not totally knowing its relevance in the real world of being a doctor.   As such, that the teachers, who were a cool couple of guys designed a T Shirt at the end of the year, “if I had only learned immunology when I had the chance”.

That was 35 years ago, and clearly immunology has become relevant to many areas of medicine, but never so relevant as this past year with the covid  virus and the subsequent vaccine.  The past 6 months have really been something, taking the hardest course in medical school and suddenly every Tom, Dick and Harry has become an expert in it. ENOUGH to advise others as to the right thing to do.

As a doctor, I am fully aware that every tidbit of information I give to someone, I am fully responsible for.  If I am wrong in any way, and if something bad happens, I am liable, responsible, and someone could actually sue me.  So for many reasons, I try to only give information what I feel to be correct, and the safest information that has been studied in large numbers of people.

You can easily come to the wrong conclusion about an issue looking at a small group of people.  For instance, if I had 3 friends named Sally and they all got breast cancer, one might be apt to conclude that there is something associated with the name Sally and breast cancer.

The thing about medicine, or any profession I am sure is that you learn the concepts from the ground up and you continue learning using the groundwork you have learned. Ken and I are rockhounds and know a smattering about the rocks that we like, but we have never learned the real basics of geology so that when someone asks me about how they are formed etc, I can only give my interpretation of how they are formed, I cannot say with any confidence that this is actually true. The concept of doing your own research in a field that you have absolutely NO training at, is a dangerous folly.(unless … of course…. you go all the way back and do anatomy, physiology ….? Immunology.)

I guess it would be like me having to name a rock on the beach, and my life depending on being 100% right. (I would be so screwed)

The thing about the vaccine is that there WERE large control studies before it was shown to be safe. What control means is that large ~25000 were given the vaccine and approx the same number were given a placebo, and the number who died was about the same in both groups. (if you think about a town the size of 25000, there likely are a few people who die most days….of quite natural causes.) So the vaccines WERE shown to be safe.

so the control group would be the same as the placebo group….

I guess the OTHER main thing to prove was…. do the vaccines work? Well there are VERY few studies in medicine that show the kinds of effects that are as BLATANT as this vaccine. Usually in medical studies you need a statistician to show the difference between 2 groups to show if a drug actually made a difference.

Well with the Covid vaccine, all you need to do is to go to the death rate in the USA, and calculate that the vaccine started to be given around the end of December 2020 in the US. There are VERY few things in medicine that are THIS cut and dry. No one could argue that the vaccines do not work. Any “Dummie” could see where the vaccines started.

I am not sure that there is a lot more to say other than those who are not vaccinated are at a MUCH MUCH higher risk of getting the virus AND getting seriously ill. First off, all those who have been vaccinated CAN still spread the disease, despite not becoming ill with it themselves. Second, most of the restrictions have been lifted, and so the Covid Virus CAN spread around a lot more, its just there will be less who show symptoms (IE the vaccinated).

This is where the term “herd immunity” comes in. Those who have had the vaccine (if they have a good immune system) do not become seriously ill with it and although they can still contract the virus and spread it, it is MUCH less so that if they had not had the vaccine. If EVERYONE had the vaccine, the disease would drop in society, protecting those who have poor immune systems.(those whom the vaccine does not provide enough immunity to fight the virus) EG those on chemo, the elderly and those with chronic diseases.

This new Variant of the covid virus has been shown to be MUCH more easily spread. The original Covid replicated a LOT, only in some people, and those people were called super spreaders, but the Delta variant has been shown to do this in most people with the virus, which is why it is so infectious.

The OTHER thing that no one seems to talk about, is LONG COVID. Those who become seemingly permanently disabled because of Long Covid. The damage done by the virus having permanent effects. Lung disease, dementia….. it all depends on where the virus attacks.

Much love to all, make your choices wisely.

Janet

We WILL rebuild…. the soil

Talking with the contractor…. Photo credits Auntie Pat

If the last month has taught us anything, its that we need to build up our soil and protect it. When the temperatures got up to 45 degrees Celsius here, at the end of June, there was no way I could keep our plants watered. We would water by drip tape at night and in the middle of the day the plants were VERy frumpy… Although we are fortunate to have a great well and were able to water this much, many are not and who knows for how long you will have a great well.

Its just that the exposed ground dries so very quickly in high heat, and the water is GONE

Photo credit Auntie Pat

SO when the going gets tough the tough gets growing… or something like that. 😀

notice how grim this garden looks….

So we have started putting down wood chips… in a BIG way. Years ago we watched the video…..https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rPPUmStKQ4 BACK TO EDEN GARDENING DOCUMENTARY FILM.

The concept of Back to Eden gardening is that you take wood chips from the companies that trim trees (hydro etc) and layer it with compost, manure, and it breaks down into a lovely soil that retains moisture and needs far less watering. Some say they never need to water, but usually you have to water some. The man who developed this form of gardening went out to the forest near where he lived and thought……everything grows in the forest without additional watering, how can I recreate it. When I saw the film, I had been going out into the forest behind OUR property and gathering dirt, because it seemed so healthy. But his method seemed to work better, and I could not bring the whole forest floor home. 😀

We were “gifted” with about 8 dump truck loads of wood chips and so we arranged them in this 90×40 foot space, approx 2-3 feet deep. Over the years they settled and created this lush garden (this picture is very early in the year) This is mostly just broken down wood chips.

Our garden from our previous house in Scotch Creek. This would have been our 3rd year of Back To Eden (BTE) garden. After a few years, you no longer even see the wood chips, they just compost.

Fast forward to now….

The new garden I am working on up on the second tier of our property, I have layered top soil, then wood chips and then manure. As a test I planted some beans up there in mid May. The area has NO water, and it has rained twice. The temperatures have gotten higher than ever seen in Canada, and still the beans grew. I only planted a few. This garden is for next years garlic.

This is the new row on the upper tier. It will be 200 feet long and about 8 feet wide. It doesn’t look like it in the picture but it IS wider than it looks.

I should add that I also planted some potatoes in wood chip piles with NO watering and the plants are coming along well now.

So we have been gradually adding wood chips to all parts of the garden we can get at with the tractor.

I have tried to take pictures as we have been doing this…over the past month or so, to show our progress.

There are concerns with wood chips that the nitrogen will be held up as the wood chips break down, causing anything planted to possibly suffer from low nitrogen. So we are starting to add nitrogen on top of the wood chips to allow for that. These little morsels are alfalfa cookies…. (actually alfalfa pellets). I am sure they ARE cookies for horses. They suggest you add lawn clippings on top of the wood chips, but we do not have lawn, so are adding alfalfa. We HOPE to get more manure later in the summer.

Not sure if it shows in these two pictures, but they are before and after, and how much more lush the garden looks with the wood chips. Of course the smoke kind of takes away from that.

BEFORE……
Here are our tomato plants at the front, I had to create a tunnel through them to find the ripe tomatoes yesterday.

Now THIS is my 3 sisters North American native garden. It is a method of growing 3 vegetables utilizing the advantages of each to help the others. Corn, Squash and climbing beans. Corn takes a lot from the soil (a heavy feeder) but grows tall, and the beans use the corn to climb up, but the beans also provide nutrients to the soil for the corn and the squash. The squash provides shade for the roots of the corn and beans, and also keeps weeds down. I do not think I planted this properly because the beans did not get going early enough to start climbing and have been completely shaded by the very successful growth of the other 2 crops. I will know what to do differently next year. 🤔. This year lots of corn and crookneck squash.

a week ago…..
The smoke is just getting worse….

It DOES look a bit like a plane here. I wanted to show the solar panels. We do NOT have a LOT Of them, but they were helpful during the VERY hot spell, (the heat dome the last week in June) we had our air conditioning heat pump on, and our energy consumption was near to zero, with the help of the solar panels. In the news BC hydro said that they hit their peak of usage that week, the highest amount they have ever recorded. …..BUT not from us 😀. THAT includes charging our electric car.

They say when you are dealt lemons, make lemonade…. WELL if we are going to have scorching heat with climate change, it makes sense to at least try to take advantage of it.🤔

So THIS is where we live. If you look at the centre of the map, there is a blue area (lake) and KAMLOOPS to the left and down. Salmon Arm to the right and down from where we live. We have no fires within 25 KM of where we live. HOWEVER…. we are totally surrounded by large fires. The statement today on the weather station was that our air currently is the worst on the planet.

I guess what we are experiencing now is climate change and the poorer nations have been experiencing this for a long time with draughts, floods etc.. I guess this year is a chance for the richer nations to experience climate change. I hope that one of these days, something will happen to convince people that our addiction to fossil fuels is killing our planet.

So that is what we are upto

thanks for reading, much love

Janet, Ken and Tucker.

(there is) Still life, under the dome

It is hard to know just where to begin with this blog. I feel like we have been left too long in a sauna, and then thrown in a fire (a wee bit melodramatic) THERE ARE 2 Parts to this blog PRE JULY 1 and then July 1st. 2 stories.

We have just come out of a week of temperatures that we have never seen, and most of our country has never seen. All time records have been broken and in fact our little town likely broke an all time Canadian record temperature of 45 degree Celsius (113F). There is flooding in the north, because the glaciers are melting.

Sadly, a town 200 km from us, (Lytton) broke that record each of 3 subsequent days, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, and on Tuesday ( June 29th) the temperature of 49.5 C (121F) was felt to possibly be the hottest place on earth that day. Up here in the Great White North.

Sadly the following day, June 30th, the town burned down, the people had minutes to escape and at least 2 people died in that fire. Trying to imagine being at temperatures that high for that many days and then a fire. Lytton is a small town, adjacent to a First Nations reserve and both burned. I guess my feelings have been since the start of this heat wave that we should be making sure that the people on the reserves are OK, rather than looking for unmarked graves at the old residential schools, but I guess that is controversial. Let us above all …look after the living!

Meanwhile (over the past week) Ken and I were trying to keep our little farm watered, to save all of the plants/trees we had. We planted several trees this year trying to provide future shade and all of them seem to be shrivelling and dying. The garden we have been watering twice a day. The ground ROCK hard, hard to know how we will get all of those garlic out of the ground (pick ax). Our water is high in Iron, which seems to be plugging many of our watering lines.

dried out everything

totally dried out potatoes

We have been fortunate to receive several loads of fresh wood chips from a company pruning, trees in the area. Our ultimate goal is to cover our entire garden with at least a foot of wood chips. They hold in the moisture, decreasing the need for watering substantially. With a future of draught and increasing heat, having the ground covered keeps the ground cooler and more moist. We had gotten several rows of the garden covered with the chips before the heat became extremely intense last weekend.

So we have been getting loads of wood chips from these pruning guys, and then we have been taking the chips and distributing them with the tractor. I was telling the guy last week about the time in Oregon when we had some guys running our chipper, and they left the 4 wheeler next to the pile of chips and the tail pipe was touching the chips and I looked out and we had a huge fire, a 30 foot pile of brush was ablaze. Fortunately the fire dept came quickly and coastal oregon is nowheres near as hot and dry as it is here, and so they were able to put the fire out in an hour or so, and we watered the pile overnight.

So back to present time, he backed in with a load of new wood chips and into the remaining chips we had left over from last delivery. He was standing talking to Ken (getting ready to start to dump them) and I had gone to get some fresh garlic to give them for the wood chips and was running towards where they were and I saw the fire start in a matter of a minute where the tail pipe was touching the pile. FROM EXPERIENCE I started yelling, the guy moved the truck and Ken and I got the hoses going and quickly put out the fire. It was quite ironic, because it was SOOO hot that day and after this happened the guy said that he had been telling the crew today about what I had told him last week about the hot tail pipe.

Stories are always so much easier to tell, when they end well though. We have been able to keep the garden watered, but we have to be on it all the time. It is sort of like, I worked so hard to get all this stuff planted for future years, I am not about the lose them now, if only I could keep them watered for just one more day……We are lucky to have a well that has lots of water.

So about July 1st. THIS IS MY STORY OF JULY 1 2021 A few months ago I decided to have a party on July 1st, thinking that perhaps this year there might be fireworks on the lake and we could watch them from our high perch. GOODNESS SAKES WHAT A MISTAKE. I thought at the time that our covid vaccine would be lowering the numbers such that the province might open up on that day, and it would be a good day to visit with friends.

We were warned of an impending heat wave about a week before it happened. Although it DID look like the improved covid situation was leading to an opening up of the province, the friends whom I had invited were not relishing the idea of camping in RVs at very very hot temperatures.

We hunkered down indoors for the most part for several days with the extreme high temps, even put on the air conditioning, (which I never thought we would use.) It just seemed so unfair, to have finally gotten to a stage with Covid, after a year and a half… where things were opening up, and NOW THIS! It was right down to the actual day that the restrictions were lifted that the weather became unbearable.

June 30th came and I was chatting online with my sisters, worrying about all of them (scattered throughout BC), I thought we should connect. I have one sister who is a twitter whiz…. and while we were chatting she reported that Lytton was literally burning down. People were literally running for their lives. So very sad. My contribution to the chat is that I tend to follow radar, and was reporting to them a storm (thunder and lightening type) was sauntering its way up the province and might come close to Quesnel lake, where one of my sisters were at her cabin. (The storm did not really hit her area directly, but the following day one could see on the wildfire maps many new fires that had developed in the wake of that storm) It was quite isolated, just the one system, opening into a big system in the north of the province, and many subsequent fires.

So June 30th was the last day of the extreme heat. On a side note, Ken and I lived in Edmonton the summer of 1987, when we had had several days of extreme heat, each day followed by a thunderstorm, but after the last day, all looked quite normal, and then suddenly the biggest storm I had ever seen hit and turned out to be a massive tornado that hit Edmonton July 31 1987.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmonton_tornado

I have always had a feeling that strong systems are followed by a strong disruption (my own interpretation of meteorological stuff) So I knew that something was going to happen, something big.

So back to July 1st. The weather was a bit cooler, things started to come together for a bit of a family get together. We had Talon for the day. His parents, Dylan and Sarah were there for dinner (and for the night). Our other son Josh and a friend were there as well.

Josh went outside and said he could hear thunder. So we all went out and sat and watched for the lightening. (it has been too hot to sit on patio for at least a week) Then it started to pour. So we sat out on our patio, under the overhang, the temp dropped gradually from 38 C down to 28 C in the course of an hour and Talon ran around in the rain barefooted. It was so much fun,.. I did not take any pictures. It was the happiest of the happiest evenings, Covid was over, the heat wave was over and it was raining. WOW, what more could I ask for? I had my whole family together, bliss.

Dylan even set us up with a firehose system. He explained that if we ever have to use it to haul the hose out BEFORE we turn the water on, as it is too heavy to haul when there is water in it. GOOD practical information, I guess that is why, in the movies, the firemen have several of them hauling the hose.

So I guess that is about when all hell broke loose. (Kamloops is the largest city near us 90,000, it is where I work and where both of our kids live and also where my sister, and many friends live, about 45 miles away)

Dylan, Sarah and Talon were spending the night, and Sarah and Talon had gone to bed, and Dylan was flipping through facebook messages on his phone. Suddenly he says Juniper has been hit by lightening and a fire has started …. and then Valleyview. (These are very large suburbs of Kamloops, coming our way from Kamloops, first is Juniper a VERY large suburb with only 1 way out of, THEN Valleyview and then Barnhartvale, which is where Dylan and Sarah live and have horses, dogs and cat (Barnhartvale is the closest to us) ). The pictures were being posted all over facebook, and they were frightening. Sarah immediately said that they had to go home because it looked like things were heading towards Barnhartvale. (very concerned with horses etc) The thunder and lightening that hit us with all the rain, was now hitting Kamloops with no rain and way more aggressively.

So everyone left, we were back to chatting with my sisters and reports are that there are at least 7 fires in and around Kamloops, all started by the lightening. Other suburbs… Aberdeen, Railley …..The thought of a city THAT large burning was just so disturbing. Dylan phoned, had not gotten home yet, but from where he was, Kamloops looked like it was glowing, and so asked us to come and help them evacuate. Livestock, horses and cattle etc are a real problem with fires and evacuation, where do you take them?

So we then assessed our vehicles, the electric car we had forgotten to plug in. Our Jeep we had not gotten gas in, thankfully Josh had borrowed it and saw then empty light was on, and put SOME gas in. We pondered which vehicle would be better to take….? GOOD QUESTION?

Our friends in Juniper has essentially 10 minutes to evacuate, and they hit the road before the police came door to door, many people in Juniper took 1.5 hours to get down to the highway. (a distance of about 2 miles)

This was the fire in Juniper which was posted
I believe this was the Juniper fire as well

I must say that the thought of several fires surrounding a city the size of Kamloops was very frightening. We opted for the Jeep and started down the road, waiting to hear from Dylan, wondering whether we should be doing anything. All reports were that the traffic was a nightmare with so many people evacuating different suburbs….. all culminating onto the highway. Josh was driving home and said it took forever to get through the city, in what is normally just a few minutes.

So Dylan got to his house and assessed that they were not in immediate danger and were going to get some stuff prepared, but it looked OK for the time being. We both agreed to phone each other if there was any need for help. We turned around, opting to stay out of a disaster area, and there was still lots of lightening at our place, so still not out of the woods (pun intended)

THEN … all of a sudden…. THE RAINS CAME TO KAMLOOPS, and it poured. …and poured. Not to underestimate the contributions of the fire departments, and they did an absolutely amazing job saving the city…I DO think Mother Nature chipped in BIG TIME. WHO knows WHY she would help us after all we have done to her?

So all of these fires became “under control”, and (at least in Kamloops) things settled down. The evacuation orders were even recinded in the middle of the night. Kamloops was already dealing with evacuees from other surrounding towns are risk.

So that is my story of July 1st, a very noteworthy day in my life. There are more fires around us, after the intense heat wave, so things are still concerning. AND we now have the smoke to deal with.

But, our numbers for Covid are very low now. Sadly BC has had 700 sudden deaths ever the past week, felt to be from the heat wave, and that is about half of the number of people who have died from Covid since the beginning of the pandemic.

Thanks for reading my blog, and much love to all

From Janet, Ken and Tucker.

the calypso bean and other stories…

Plant now or forever hold your peas…. It is finally time for everything to be in the ground, and not wanting to look back in August and wish I had planted more. We bought a minute pot this year and so cooking dry beans is easy, and does not take planning the day before and soaking etc. Over the years I have found it so easy to grow Calypso beans. They are the most delicious bean, used in South American dishes, VERY different from other beans.

They grow as a nice bush, take hardly any work, and then I just leave the plant, to let the pods dry out. I then just leave the plants in a dry place and when I have time, I shell them. Problem is that I did not grow many, and only got 2-3 meals. So this year I am trying to get beans in where ever I can squeeze them.

I have also gone back to some other beans I have grown in the past, but never used. (I have jars of bean seeds)

Painted Ponies.,…
These are the Hutterite beans
Yellow eye beans, felt to be the original beans used to make Boston beans.
I am trying to remember the name of these ones, anyone know?

These are 3 varieties of the scarlet runners. I. know one is scarlet, one is pink, and I do not not know the colour of the third one, but I WILL.

I have a song about seeds……. called WITH THIS SEED, as they are Important….perhaps more important than DIAMONDS. I have put a link here:

https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/7CVCwAav0YNzKh6Nz21EDm

So the hope is that we dry all of these beans and when all of the other food we have grown is eaten up, in the dark of winter, we can have bean soups.

Hot weather came and with a gusto, and though it has not been hot for long, it has been dry for a long time. We have had maybe a couple of good rains since March.

So my garlic farm/garden is totally dependant on ME…. (well,… and Ken) 🤔

I guess I feel TOTALLY responsible for the success/failure of my crop, by either overwatering or under watering. Usually you can blame the weather on it getting TOO much water. But now it would be my fault alone.😀

Other horticultural adventures we are taking in what might be considered a bad year to do…….. LAWN

We have not had lawn for at least. ..30 years, however living in a dustbowl/rockpit, chronic cough and runny nose, we thought it might be time to see how the other side lives. We have planted slow growing grass mixed with clover. When we see clear evidence that this starts to resemble LAWN, we are doing to get one of those old fashioned lawn mowers that you push… no motor. They apparently make them again. Stay TUNED.

We have spent QUITE awhile working on the greenhouse in the house. In particular the sink and the counter around it.

As usual, I was trying to use my rocks to create a design. I created a design using different colour groups…..

And then I put the sink in and realized that nothing in my design matched the sink.

So then we went on a search to find COBALT BLUE tiles, and …well, did not find anything close to anything that would match this sink. Tiles tend to be sold in tile stores and its not like you can just buy a few of them and take them home, NOOOOO. You have to choose a tile and then order a quantity of them and then wait forever to have them delivered. It is not a system that allows for you to go in and get a couple of cobalt blue tiles to make your design work.

So first of all I tried using some beads, which created a line of blue to tie in with the sink, but it was not enough.

So back to the drawing board. I was kindly gifted with blue PEI beer bottles, for my project.

We smashed them and put them into the rock tumbler.

gradually they smoothed down and eventually I incorporated them all into the countertop.

We added a second tap, to be able to hook a hose to the tap to water the plants that way. So finally the job is done, now moving OUTDOORS for awhile.

Of course we have had this guy LOTS lately, and we do not have to carry him very much, he is the greatest little hiker, according to my FITBIT, he can easily do 6 KM….. and he seems to run a lot of the way. The only problem is to keep him going in the same direction we want to be heading in 🙂

We will soon have neighbours below us and possibly also above us, more stories to tell.

Much love to all

Janet, Ken, and Tucker the dog……

Rhubarb and other harbingers of spring…

Spring begins and all of the little sprouts of things that we planted that have apparently survived, are showing themselves. Such as Rhubarb……. Now THIS was a total surprise, because I was thinking that I wished that I had gotten around to planting rhubarb last year. And what were those red blobs over there in the garden? OMG Rhubarb. And then, OMG, am I loosing my mind, how could I have forgotten that I planted rhubarb? And … who GAVE me the rhubarb? 🤔🤔

Questions, questions, all answered the next time I chatted to my sister. Even before the topic came up I remembered that she had given me several “hunks” of my mothers rhubarb plant last fall. She has been “caretaker” or the famous MOM’s rhubarb for all these years, and now she said she was relieved, because if anything happened to HER plant she knew she could get some of mine. Handmedowns…. of my mothers wonderful rhubarb.

As a garlic grower it is important to grow rhubarb, so…. you know when you garlic should be up. I figure if the rhubarb can push its way through the cold hard ground, so should the garlic be able to. Lo and behold it DID!

Softneck Garlic (Italian)
Yugoslavian hardneck

So not all the garlic is up, but a good representation of my garlic.

Oh and these garlic are also up, they are planted on my HUGELKULTUR garden.

Hugelkultur is where you layer a mound starting with rotting trees, branches then dirt and compost. Everything grew very well in these mounds last year, and overwintered quite well too.

HUGE beets from last year….

I was too busy in the fall to harvest everything, we WERE building a house then…🙄

Blackberry sprouts.
sedum
Columbine…
Lupins..

speaking of sprouts…. look at how much THIS guy has sprouted. His boots are SOOO full of water, the water is coming OUT the holes in his boots. you can not quite see the water coming OUT of the boots in this video. We DO have a bit of a spring that needs to be redirected this year. Lotsa fun making rivers and dams…

Grandpa reading books and “Mother Earth News” to Talon. He LOVES hearing about large hoop houses and how to build wooden trays for seed starting…. 🥦🍅
His main new word THIS week was SHIT….or was he saying shirt? 🤔
A wine rack makes a perfect parking garage for cars and trucks.🚙🚗🚎at least THAT is where HE stored them.
We have about 600 tomato plants on the go….. could feed a small town🤔

Hoop house full of tomato plants, trying to keep them all warm at night is a bit trying, fingers crossed we can keep them alive until the end of April.

We HAVE been making progress with our house and though I would like to take more pictures, all of our building materials are still stacked in some of the rooms. So by finishing the doors and the trim, it is a way of cleaning up.

We have found that to buy glass windows like this one, it is a LOT cheaper to buy the glass separately and get a local door company to put the glass in the frame/door. This is the door to our spare bedroom. It is a design that allows the light through, but not images of naked guests 😊

Our laundry room does not have windows, so I thought that by putting these windows on the two rooms that open into the laundry room that it will have lots of light.

….also by adding the old stained glass windows above the doors. We still have to find tiles for beside the old windows.

This picture is looking from the laundry room, the greenhouse is on the left and the guest room is on the right.

We are loving our house and our lot, even more with all the snow gone.

To all the ones we have lost this year.

This has been quite the year, it is just a year now that we moved our motorhome onto this property

The hardest to deal with I finder the losses…, the ones who have passed on this year, that we have not had a chance to say goodbye to. It is not like good byes are often possible, under usual circumstances, but they are so much harder now.

I have already written in this blog about my fathers death last June, where he fell and broke his hip after coming out of the Handi Mart getting his lottery tickets. 91 years old, on his way to his truck. We were not able to visit him, or have any input into his care (or care decisions) until he was beyond the ability to interact with us. We missed being able to be there for him when he needed us most.

I wanted to write about those whom we have lost since then…

War has unintended consequences, ( collateral damage). For me though, it had unexpected benefits. The people I have got to know because of common views against the war, became some of my closest friends over the years. And I am missing them now.

In late January 2003, I went to the Mayor of Bandon OR, for help in organizing a rally against the Iraq war. (I was naive enough at that time to think that NO ONE was actually FOR the war, it was so obvious enough to ME what was going on). He kind of smirked at me, and politely told me that he did not agree with my feelings about the war. To his credit though…….. he put me in contact with some people whom he thought might share my views. What a life changing action that was for me. The people I met thanks to the mayor’s actions, felt the same way that I felt about war, and were poised and ready to take action.

So that was the start of an incredible time in my life, we all started organizing rallies…. (and we did MANY rallies), education events, parade entrants etc. Somewhere in here I started writing music. I learned that I was the worst poster maker of the group, but there was lots of artists to help me

The three I became closest to were Frank, Marjorie,… and Bobbie. ( Francis Quinn, Marjorie Feldman, and Roberta Seigstew) This was a friendship that spanned all of these years. We went to rallies in Washington DC, where Frank (he was not young then), was one of the few hundred people who got arrested at the White House for remaining close to the outside fence and not moving. (things HAVE changed)There must have been about 10 of us from Bandon alone who went to that rally.

Oh Look, Bush and Cheney were there too…..

Then Marjorie, Frank, Bobbie and I did the peace march (with the Rural organizing project) from Salem to Portland in 2005, where we marched from the Capitol of Oregon to Portland, camping at night in tents along the way. It was a 7 day walk together.

Frank Quinn 2011

We also joined a group “WOMEN IN BLACK”(WIB) in coos Bay. It was an international group of silent protest. We went a few times to Coos Bay, then decided that there were more of us from Bandon, and so we started our vigil in Bandon every Friday. Women in Black, though not specifically anti war, were more of a statement against the violent deaths everywhere. Women in Black began in Israel/Palistine, on both sides of the wall, mourning the losses of their loved ones.

This is what our side of the highway looked like. We maintained our silence for an hour every Friday

I even wrote a song about Women in Black. While I stood there each week for an hour, I did not always know the other women who were standing there, I always knew they would be very nice people, who else would stand here regardless of weather, to bring attention to the deaths of those whom they did not know.

Sadly our weekly stance quickly took on an opposing force of veterans who did not fully understand our intentions. They took up across the road, in a very patriotic stance with flags and sometimes even patriotic music. This went on for a LONG time, and tended to attract more people with common views who were looking for a way to express them. Although a group of us women started with the Women in Black, quickly Frank joined us, because he was often the driver and he felt just as strong as we did. I guess we were the WOMEN in Black….. and Frank. Then other men joined our “Women in Black”. I believe it was during this time that our local Veterans for peace was formed. Eventually, the veterans for peace decided that they represented a different entity, and so they formed on the third corner of the street ( There are 4 corners to every intersection). I am sure you can imagine that this intersection created quite a scene. We had people stopping to film us often, as this corner was along highway 101 a major highway for coastal Oregon.

Marjorie and me..

During this time of antiwar Rallies etc, we often invited the group over to our house for pizza parties after the events. They were great get togethers of like minded people.

me and Frank

With all of the travel etc, I had gotten to know a lot of musicians from all across the US, who were doing political music at events. One of those musicians was Anne Feeney. Anne was well known politician folk musician and we did run into her often at events. At some point in all of this she contacted me and asked me if I would be interested in putting on a house concert for her. So essentially that was the start of a long line of our house concert series. I figured if I got such a large crowd over to our house for a pizza party after a rally, it would also be a great way to support political musicians who were travelling (on tour). IT is a long ways from Portland to San Francisco.

I guess I wanted to give some perspective to some of those that we have lost recently.

Marjorie and Frank and Bobbie were a chapter in my life, that has come to a close recently. Frank was walking his dog in early February and fell and broke his hip. After a long time in hospital and rehab, he passed away a few weeks ago. He was about the kindest person you could imagine. He was softly spoken and always very profound in whatever he said. In many ways with the loss of Frank I feel the loss of Marjorie and Bobbie from the previous years as well.

Bobbie died in late fall of 2018 after a difficult struggle with congestive heart failure.

Bobbie Seigstew at our going away party Bandon January 2011

We all visited with Marjorie who was in the hospital (at the time) January 2019 for a “group hug”, for Bobbie. Marjorie died in May of 2019.

This is Marjorie Feldman on the right and on the left is Buck whom has also left us a few years ago.

When we were there in January of 2020 we were able to have a day to visit with Frank.

So just like that all 3 of them are gone, it is so hard to even imagine Bandon without them. To us they WERE Bandon.

In Feb 2021, Anne Feeney died from complications of Covid. She had fallen and fracture a vertebra, and had a surgical procedure in hospital, where she contracted Covid.

Also lost to us this year was Debbie Culhane, she was a nurse, friend and eventually a neighbour in Eugene. We often camped in her driveway in Eugene when I was getting radiation treatment. She developed a lymphoma the year after my cancer treatments ended. She said was not as scary going through chemo, after having had a friend go through it first. I was sure hers was much harder then mine. Sadly she survived that cancer and developed another cancer last summer that had already metastasized. She passed away at home in November. She had been in the hospital for some time where no one could visit, but a group of the neighbours arranged for her to be brought home, and she died that night.

Ken and I with Debbie Culhane

I am lost for words to say about the loss of Ian (Cadence) Frank, just a week ago, just 30 years old, died suddenly in Portland Oregon. Friend to our son Josh, and son to friends Rick and Dianne Frank, from Bandon Oregon.

Cadence contacted Josh on January 6th, during the capitol Riots asking if it might be possible to come to Canada. We all said YES.

Much love to all who read, virtual hugs to everyone.

Janet, Ken and Tucker.

second dose today….

I must say I am feeling pretty special and very lucky to have been one to receive the second dose of the covid vaccine. Here in BC there are multimillionaires who are breaking the law in order to get the vaccine.

Josh, our son, got his yesterday, and sounds like he had a rough night with fevers etc. We both got ours this early because we both work in LTC. I guess it is a “perk” of the highest order. When it boils down to it, it is NOT to protect us, but to make us less apt to inadvertently infect those in Long term care.

It was ironic (and very sad) to have lost a friend to the disease yesterday. https://www.post-gazette.com/ae/2021/02/03/Anne-Feeney-obituary-folk-singer-political-activist-death-69/stories/202102030167

Anne Feeney, to any who attended any of our house concerts back in Bandon, was a frequent guest. In fact Anne is the one who convinced me to begin the concert series. She had survived Lung cancer to everyones surprise (including her own), but I am sure that the damage done from that left her more exposed to the more severe form of Covid. Someone just posted on facebook that 100,000 Americans had died of the virus just since the beginning of the year, and I guess Anne was one of them. So sad, the article explains a lot about her activism and what a wonder she was.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, our area (our province and even our part of the province) have fared quite well in that we have not seen a lot of cases, but the past few months the numbers have gone way up in our area, and our nursing homes have had outbreaks and even deaths, and now we have a large outbreak of 91 at our closest hospital. Ken and I have essentially hunkered down and pretty much stayed home since before Christmas. This has been mostly because we have so much to do with the house, and also because there is very little to do safely anywhere else. I guess we have been doing this for a year or so, but it is more apparent with winter, the whole isolation thing. This picture is quite amazing… a phenomena that we have noticed when there is a cloud over the lake and a calm lake, you can see the reflection of the other side of the lake on the water, but you cannot see it directly. Kinda sneaky.

The thing about living on the Northside of a mountain, is that there IS a part of the winter that you do not “see” the sun for a period of time before the solstice and after. It is hard for us to know exactly how long that time frame IS, because around here, NO ONE sees the sun for long periods of time. A few weeks ago we got a glimpse of the sun in the morning, and then yesterday it was a sunny day and we had sun for several hours. We finally eked out a few KW from our solar panels.





We try to do a big loop of all of the properties up here every morning. With all the freeze melt, freeze melting, our driveway is solid ice, so we are thinking next year of just letting nature take its course and having a skating rink

we did finally get all the outside siding done and this is what it looks like from the front. A bit odd?

We have been working hard at getting a shower finished, but with all of the details we have put into this, it is taking forever. We purchased a large thick glass window from a friend (the kind you use on out door decks), and then Ken (with some help) was able to create a frame for the window (with cedar finished with the vinegar/steel wool solution), and lift it into place.

Ken made the funky little cabinet on the side of the mirror (there is one on the other side) from these window we hav been packing around for years that came from a ???ship?

I must say we ARE having fun seeing a need for some THING ….. and then rummaging though what we have to create that THING.

The showers were not intended to have tiles on the floor of them, however… the concrete did not work out as planned and so we opted to tile the floors to cover up the ?weird? concrete. So we ended up with a lip where the tiles end. Likely a good place to stub your toe. So I hauled out my polished rocks and created a more gradual landing… from the shower.

and then the OTHER shower……

So we needed someone to check out his Dad’s work… he seems OK with it?? This is Talon our grandson, his dad, is our son Dylan… and he is a plumber.

We do not get quite as much done on the days we have Talon, but we have LOTS of fun.

I must say we are totally loving our house and feeling very grateful to be in a house that is so far removed from town.

We are loving our house more all the time.

Much love to all. Janet, Ken and Tucker…

The next stage of our project:

We are going to call it….. “You are on your own“. Because of an error in my calculations (something that I thought had been paid for in the summer and was not billed) and a change in my employment status…. again not necessarily a bad thing…. Our funds ran out this last month. WHICH technically is a good thing, because we have found out that you cannot pay a contractor to be creative in the way YOU want to be creative. So we are moving forward, basically on our own.

For instance, this railing. We needed this done for the occupancy permit, which we needed to be able to have regular house insurance. So we found this lovely beam floating in Adams Lake and have coveted it for 3 years and Ken has lightly sanded it and put several coats of finish on it. So for some reason the builder opted to get do this railing, instead of Ken (which I would have preferred). Neither Ken nor I are very good at stopping a builder who has a plan …….. (goodness sakes, big mistake). First of all, the builder went and had the Rebar powder coated Black ??? So Ken went down to hardware store and bought ordinary rebar and cut it to size. We wanted the railing at 36 inches, which is code, but the builder insisted on 42 inches which HE thought was code… Plus took 2.5 days to get this little job done. Ken could have done it MUCH quicker and the way we wanted it. Just a short example of where we are at with the builder. WE DO actually like our builder, but not necessarily all of the people who work FOR him. We still need to “wrap” the posts with older wood.

We have (as of a week ago) a functioning sink. Which we bought in Quartzsite a few. years ago. It is from Morocco and solid piece of rock. We were THRILLED to find a perfectly matching mirror at Habitat for Humanity (restore). Old sewing machine stand that someone had made into an “island”. Tile work behind sink not complete yet.

There WAS a tiny flaw in the mirror where someone had put a screw, and so I decided to cover the hole up with a shell. The shell looked too alone, so I decided to add some “friends”…. and then got carried away and now it looks like THIS. I MIGHT just have ruined a perfectly good mirror. Stay tuned.

Then I have been working on the back splash behind the sink it OUR bathroom. I think it ultimately needs a mirror that will tie in the sink. I should also say that I cannot seem to get a picture that does this justice. It is gorgeous to the naked eye, pictures not so much.

So this is where we are at with the siding. Almost done. corregated metal bottom and cement board shingles on top. Nothing flammable except the soffits under the roof just at the front.

We have WAY more snow now, lots has fallen over the holidays and Ken has been out plowing the road daily and some days more than once. The fellow who owns the rest of the lots up here has parked his truck with the blade here for the winter so we have no worries about having to get a machine to plow with.

So this is the starts of the shower in our bathroom. We are trying to achieve a “steampunk” look for the house, and so these are ceramic tiles that look like old boards. As I was doing this over Christmas, I figure that it looks more like “The Manger scene look” than the “steam punk look”.

This is the view from the shower, so we WILL have to put in glass. We may tend to use WAY too much water having showers and enjoying the view.

We did actually get a lot done over the Christmas holiday, we opted the hunker down given the number of covid cases in our area. Not nearly as high as other areas, but all it takes is the wrong contact and……

I got my vaccine on December 23rd, as did Josh, our son. Health care workers in long term care were the first to get the vaccine in our area. The facility that I work at had an “outbreak” 2 weeks before. It turned out to be a very small outbreak, only one staff member and no patients or other staff. It was scary going into the facility not knowing who might have contracted it from her. Fortunately our health authority allowed for several patients to be tested and all came back negative, which was reassuring. Should this happen again, I will be a bit more comfortable having been vaccinated. SUPERWOMAN!

So trim was a major project over Christmas. These boards we just stained with our solution of steel wool soaked in vinegar for 3 days and then diluted with water. We love the look. Sadly thought our living room HAD become more orderly, ….. almost normal, … and then….. they deposited all of the wood for trim in the living room, so now the impetus will be to keep working on the trim in order the tidy up the living room.

More tiling over the holiday to the right in this picture, tiles to match the ones on the left.

First the cement board, which Ken cuts for me.

SOME TILES………..

MORE TILES…. and look at the thin row of polished agates…..

AND THEN the mess of grout…..

The cabinet people HAD put in a tiny back splash of stainless steel but it was only a couple of inches and we thought……. “you call that a BACK SPLASH”….

Now THIS is a BACK SPLASH…..

So we are puttering along. Trying to maintain a bit of a trail up and around the area, sometimes in snowshoes and sometimes not. Tucker is quite funny, he LOVES the deep snow and he bounds along in the deep snow (but it is well up to his tummy) and then we he gets tired he follows in our steps for awhile..

It has been an odd year. I cannot honestly complain, certainly it has not been our worst. We tend to live our life in a rather isolated fashion, such that many of the restrictions affecting so many, has not affected us as much. I guess the hardest part of seeing the devastation happening to others. I can only begin to imagine the difficult year this is going to be for so many, given the losses of the past year.

Much love to all, from Janet Ken and Tucker (the snow dog)