They do tend to leave their beer cans and chip bags laying around.
Horses know. Which is why she won’t go.

After the numbness of over two years of Covid I am finding it very hard to process the information about the Ukraine. Sadly, like Covid, the media covers the story in a tumbling mix of contradictions, speculations and “essentially correct” information. The one news source I’ve found which is convincingly objective and succinct is Al Jazeera. I know that will raise a few eyebrows.

Damnable human beings! We jabber about finding harmony and natural balance while learning to live a harmonious existence with our planet. Yet we refuse to get along with each other. We have an insatiable need for power and control, refusing to rise above our hostile nature. Clearly, from what we learn, the Russian people, who have endured so many horrors in the last century, do not support the Putinists and there may well be some nasty times ahead in that country if not the whole of the Western World. A grenade has been tossed into the cage and the monkeys are fiddling with the safety pin.

In my mind one of the perpetrators in this debacle was the persistent provocation of the Americans. Old Biden just couldn’t keep his pie hole shut. You’re a member of NATO, just pay up your dues and let its spokespeople there lay out the ultimatums. If you taunt a bully enough, you give him no choice but to lash out. I truly wonder if all of Biden’s rhetoric is not an effort to draw focus away from the desperate mess the Americans have left behind in Afghanistan and as far back as Vietnam. If only the not-so-United States could ever understand, or care, that their missionary compulsion to meddle in other people’s affairs causes nothing but further chaos and misery. Stay home, clean up your own mess. At least media focus has been drawn away from all things related to Covid. Doesn’t it leave you wondering what is real and what’s contrived?

At mention of Afghanistan I want to kick our own Mr. Trudeau’s ass. If only the kid would stop trying to be politically correct. Justin, boy, you’ll never keep everyone happy all the time. Make a stand, on something, stick to it, be a man. He does not understand that he is constantly pissing in his own knitting. He promised to help certain people immigrate from Afghanistan to Canada. That process is floundering in a bureaucratic bog and he now offers a broad welcome to Ukrainian refuges. I support welcoming refuges, but first keep the promises already made.

This Canadian will be seventy years old this year. I know that is not “old” by today’s standards but there is far more of my life behind me than ahead. I’ve passed my “Best before” date. I’m often in pain, can be miserable and cranky and bitter. I don’t have a hell of a lot left to contribute. Send me and other pre-geezers like me off to the Ukraine, or Afghanistan or any place like them. So long as we can still walk and fart at the same time we may prove better warriors than the children we send. The enemy can’t fire a weapon while they’re doubled over in laughter. Think of the old age benefits the country would be saving.

This tiffen was made responsibly, we just couldn’t spell srainless.

Perhaps a solution to world woes would be to load a life raft with the likes of Vladimir, Boris, Joe, Justin, Kim and Xi. Kick it loose on an ebb tide and throw in one oar. But then there would be an issue about water pollution.

Meanwhile here in Ladysmith, we too have been invaded; by a massive film crew making a sequel to a scifi flic called “Resident Alien.” The streets downtown, all parking areas and other random locations have been commandeered by a horde of out-of-towners. A part of town has been transformed into a fictious place called Patience, Colorado. I speculate that should a film be set in Ladysmith, the set would be located somewhere else in a place like Kansas. So far as I know, there has never been a referendum in Ladysmith about the town repeatedly being held hostage by a film company. Its citizens can simply go to hell. These movie folks leave a lot of money behind but I’ve never received a cheque. Beam me up. I’m just a resident alien.

Action! A security goon warned me about taking photos because the camera flash could “Mess up the whole gig” I replied that the filming had messed up my whole gig.
The camera sure caught my eye. Not that I could work out how to switch it on.
Red to red, no not that one! No respect for handicap parking either!
The beam me up machine.
The Ladysmith CPO is suddenly the Patience Colorado postal station. Perhaps this why so much mail becomes lost.

Ever felt like you don’t fit in? Photo was copied from the Ladysmith Chronicle.

I’m not crazy about reality, but it’s still the only place to get a decent meal.”




Wild swans, a symbol of peace. Wishing you many swans. These are trumpeter swans and may you live to hear their flocks flying high overhead. Their call is unforgettable.

It is a brilliant cloudless sunny day in late February. The southeast wind has a frosty bite and for once the air is so dry there is little frost, even in the shadows. This is normal but the sensation-seekers are trying to declare records are being broken in an effort to confirm global warming. I’ve seen this is previous years and am not overly concerned about being crispified in my bed. I’m just glad I am not waking up in the Ukraine today. I truly do not understand the issues and ramifications but from one perspective it looks like a strong potential for a third world war.

Perhaps there will be some cheap travel packages in Eastern Europe.

A CMT. Culturally Modified Tree. This is how indigenous people would harvest red cedar bark for their many varied needs. The tree lived. There’s a lesson here about taking what you need without destroying everything.

At home, a few strata councillors have also decided to cross borders and raise hell. I can’t comprehend how folks can be so tiny-minded and eager to cause turmoil in other folk’s lives, even going so far as to invent issues. I guess their own existence is so bleak they become infuriated with those of us who try to have a life. I’ve raised their ire by tinkering on my old RV in the back corner of our storage yard. It harms and affects no-one but one fellow has decided there is a “liability” issue. I’m weary of it all and am seriously contemplating a move into the backwoods in my old camper. It sure is depressing to feel such dark weariness on such a beautiful day.

Dead wood and swans. So simple, so complicated.
Along the edge of Hemer Park, near Nanaimo, runs the old rail grade from the Morden coal mine. It’s a lovely walk.

It is also Fisher Poet’s weekend coming up. For years we’ve gathered in Astoria Oregon on the last weekend of February. We share our poetry and music in a celebration of life among fisher folk and people of the sea. This will be the second year we have gathered virtually thanks to Covid. A great many talented volunteers have done a splendid job of splicing it all together. My little gig will come on Saturday evening soon after eight pm. Here’s the link to seeing that live

Fisher Poet’s website is simply One of the performers following me Saturday night is Richard Grainger, live from Whitby, England whom I describe as Britain’s Stan Rogers and whose work I quite love. The annual event is a star in my winter to steer toward and helps me survive while waiting for spring. It is amazing and uplifting to find such deep eloquence and insights among blue collar folk. You might enjoy it.

Three weeks ago a lady, and total stranger, found me busy digging Jack’s grave. His body lay beside me. I thought “Yeah right.” I’m used to empty promises. But the thought was kind. She emailed me today to say that she has made and erected a grave marker there. I am overwhelmed by her kindness. In the morning, you know where I’ll be going.

Hearts and crosses…the stories this old tree could tell!
Hotroof! Things must have become overheated one night in this old Crofton motel.
Under the volcano. A view of Mount Baker from the Crofton Public Wharf
Plastic engine parts. The modern way. This is a double thermostat housing which distributes coolant and helps keep the engine from overheating. Plastic? It works.
Overwhelmed. This from a complete stranger. It’s made from rice and beans, food Jack loved. It is all coated in a weather-proof epoxy. Note the heart within the paw print. Thank you, thank you Cheri!
Rest in peace my friend. How I miss him cannot be expressed in words. There is a huge piece of me buried here. Even with the marker he is in solitude where no one who does not know can find him.

How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”
― Henry David Thoreau


Fly away, the weather is fine.

Knowing what the weather forecast says is not going to change what’s really going to happen. “Darn, it was supposed to be sunny today.” Well, no it wasn’t supposed to be anything. That’s just what the weather girl in the tight dress said. Have you ever had an outdoor project that’s weather-dependant? I have some fibre-glassing to do (Yes in February!) and the forecast has a lower chance of rain tomorrow but I know that if I postpone it’ll probably be pouring rain then. All any of us ever have is the moment. “Git ‘er done!”

Frosty the worm. Sometimes it’s best not to rush into things.

After installing some badly-needed new headlights in my old camper, the Hemoth, I decided to align them using the siding on the storage sheds where I was working. Focused on that I forgot all about the overhanging eaves and yes, I ripped the corner off that overhang and punched a hole in my fibreglass camper’s roof. Oh gosh golly I said. Yeah right!

I’ve repaired the building, then I needed to rebuild the camper’s eggshell-thin top before our next deluge arrives. The repair will be stronger than the original and it’ll be out of sight on the top but my fog of chagrin is thick indeed. What the hell wasn’t I thinking. If only I… No amount of regret puts things back to that moment before, so I may as well forge ahead until this has become only a blip to laugh about. In the shower this morning I came up with this line. “It’s like a nickel in the clothes dryer, not worth much but sure can be irritating.” This has stuck in my head, round and round, like a nickel in a dryer.

Therein lies a story…or ten.
Doesn’t fit like a glove. An essay on why I have difficulty repairing Asian products.
My too big hands. The gloves came with some new headlamp bulbs. Thoughtful!
“Gee honey, there seems to be a draft.”  It could have been worse. The first step was to spray foam the bits back together  while bracing it from inside. Yes, the headliner over the bunk will need some attention. I was going to  put something new in there anyway.
Really good stuff! A Gorilla Tape product. You can patch the crack of dawn with this. Everybody should have a roll in their bathroom! I used it on the hole in my camper roof until the weather was improved enough to make a proper repair.
All done. I’ll prettify it come spring.

We bin held hostage for two years.” Thus said a trucker who is part of the ongoing demonstration in Ottawa. He was being interviewed by a television reporter. I didn’t want to wade into this polemic issue but now I am pissed off after that inanity. This nonsense has been going on for over two weeks. A sad fact is that everything we consume demands burning diesel. That lettuce in your salad was probably trucked up from Yuma (and the moisture that is in it came out of the nearly-dried up Colorado River) Trains, planes, ships and trucks all burn a fuel in copious amounts that is now than a dime a litre more than regular gasoline. That is blatant rape.

I am a blue collar man who is all too familiar with redneck thinking. I often employ it myself. In response to remarks about being held hostage for over two years let me simply reply “Dude! We all have!” I have never been a trucker but I’ve burned one helluva lot of diesel in other machinery and I’ve listened to truckers whine for most of my life. If you can afford to take your highway tractor and bobtail all the way from BC to Ottawa and eventually home again, which in direct expense will be twenty thousand dollars or more, lose the revenue from all those missed trips, keep up your monthly truck payments and other expenses, then boys, YOU’RE PISSING INTO YOUR OWN KNITTING! God help the next trucker I hear whinge on about how tough it is to make a buck with a truck. I do still see plenty of trucks hauling loads so I know you protesters do not represent your entire brotherhood.

If it is really Covid vaccinations and face masks you are protesting I cannot comprehend what you are complaining about. Our governments, both provincial and federal, have certainly made a muddle of things but why are you punishing the citizens of the entire country? You have earned our contempt. You are regularly crossing an international border where you mix and mingle with other travellers from all over the continent who in turn mix and mingle. There is not one of you who have not been vaccinated for measles, smallpox, polio and so forth. Hell, you even dump additives into your truck’s fuel tanks. So whazzup? If I was in your situation, I’d want all the possible protection I can get.

As for all the wannabe wotzits standing on the side of the road, waving flags and generally being a dangerous distraction to traffic, all I can say is GET A LIFE! I’ve driven the Hemoth by some of those mobs and been given the arm-pump to blow my horn. Really? Get a life! You clearly don’t know what you are protesting about. And don’t dare complain about the high price of groceries.

I understand the frustration. We all feel it. But one thing is a fact you cannot deny. If you’re truly unhappy here in Canada, you are free to leave. Buy yourself a one-way ticket to a place like Ukraine, Afghanistan, Syria, Namibia, Haiti, Ethiopia. The choices are many.

Kenzie, greeter at the Trading Post. This delightful store, by the Nanaimo Airport sells feed, saddles, tack, Western Clothing, boots and many other delights. The aroma of leather is worth the visit. The people there are lovely and so is their dog. The store is well-know for the full-sized plastic horse that is wheeled out beside the highway in various amusing costumes.
An Australian Shepherd. She’s a heartbreaker.
Hope in a warm sky

The bird that has eaten cannot fly with the bird that is hungry.”

American Indian proverb

Sleeping By The River

At the swimming pool a few mornings back, while in the hot tube, I learned of a BBC headline story. I’ve since looked it up. In Yorkshire a kitten was born without an anus. His name (which I chose to find hilarious) is Toulose. He underwent some life-saving surgery and all is well. Imagine the poor surgeon who opened things up!

How was work today honey?” “T’wer a bit shitty in fact!”

Apparently a tidy sum was raised to help. It’s a happy story, especially for Toulose. and frankly I prefer one about a little asshole in Yorkshire to anything about a big one in London. God knows, we need all the levity we can get.

I buried Jack yesterday morning under the sheltering branches of a large holly tree on the banks of a salmon stream. He is sleeping in soft river sand beside Napoleon Creek, a short distance before it joins Haslam Creek which then runs into the Nanaimo River. The grave is about a kilometer into the forest, beyond the range of the shouting, yuk-yuking shallowites. There is constant music as the stream burbles past. The burial was attended by two ravens practicing their throat singing, an eagle screaming its anthem and a large wood pecker banging passionately on a hollow tree. I did not linger, feeling that I had somehow betrayed Jack, which is ridiculous. It had to be done. He’s gone, he is at peace.

On a soft bed of ancient river sand, a bed of ferns. Jack now lays here, waist deep, safe from harm yet where he can hear what I come to say to him.
Well done my friend, sleep in peace
Who would have a living tree as a grave marker? The ancients believed that Holly protected one from evil. For Jack, the very best.

I have received many wonderful notes of sympathy, and empathy. A large number of those have come from you my readers and I cannot thank you enough. It means so very much.

One of the common threads is how it is often much harder to lose a beloved dog than any person. That is certainly so for me and your affirmation certainly raises a doubt than I am not quite as odd as I believed. Thanks. It also occurred to me this afternoon that grieving is not a noble ordeal as much as it is a massive endeavour in self-pity. No volume of tears or dark musings can restore that which is lost. My wife and I were bestowed with the privilege to afford Jack a good life. He out-gave us in every way. He indulged in his days to his fullest and brought joy to all who met him. Who knows what good came from that? I believe that my mission in life is to bring light to other’s eyes, man or beast. There is no merit in trying to solicit tears over success.

So, wherever you are, raise a glass to Jack and a life well-lived. Let’s have a wake. Here’s a link to a video about Jack which I made and posted on YouTube some time ago.

There are two wolves fighting inside all of us.

The first one is evil, the second one is good.

Which wolf will win?

…The one you feed.” Ancient American Indian proverb

He’s Gone

Goodbye my friend.

Jack has died. This blog is my way of coping. So many of you good folks said so many kind things to and about Jack through the years, I need to let you know. Thank you.

It is now 12:15 am February 2, 2022. He passed about 11:45. He had done poorly on his walk yesterday. When we got home I carried him to his bed and he seemed to slip into a semi-coma with laboured breathing and a shallow pulse. We moved his bed to the living room and I made up one for myself next to him. I lay beside him, petting him, cuddling him and thanking him for all the wonderful years. I looked out the window through a brief break in the clouds and saw one faint twinkling star. “The Jackstar” I mused and then dozed off.

A short while later I was awakened by three gentle strokes on my arm. He emitted one last breath and was gone. I know what the strokes were but will always choose to believe that he said goodbye. I sit here now in the dark quiet with a stiff glass of rum beside me and type these words through tear-blurred eyes. Jack was a very special character, unique in many ways. He touched many hearts, both canine and human. He had no enemies. He was the son I never had and the reincarnation  of a puppy taken from me when I was an infant. I will miss him forever.