Sunday, August 31, 2014

A Quickie

This was a small wallpaper job we did in Chilliwack. Two walls in each of two rooms, same paper, same two doors to go around. The subtle geometric design and colours went well with the current d├ęcor. The house was undergoing an extensive renovation.

I have reasons to believe I may not get paid for this one. I will begin pursuing the customer in a few days. I know where he lives.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Night Shift Photos

I now have the photos from our night job from last month. It is a physiotherapy clinic in Surrey and we could only work after hours, and the place had to be put back in order for the next days business hours. Above is the exercise room. It was larger than it looks on this photo with banks of treadmills along two windowed walls to the left and behind the camera.

All new paint on doors, shelves and walls. New baseboards are missing at this stage.

This was a very grubby and worn shelf before we got to it.

The feature wall in the reception area. We painted over old wallpaper in this and the office area. It worked well.

This was an interesting framed wall where clients could leave testimonials and comments. It was full and no room for current comments so we stain sealed all the felt marker writing and gave it three coats for a fresh start. The sticky stencil letters are there temporarily while we painted the main wall.

Here is the fresh new slate with the lettering back in place. It did not take long for a few comments to show up. There were a few deficiencies because the baseboards were not as high as they said they would be and the old rubber base that was removed damaged the wall higher than it should have. Otherwise all went well. But... 
no more night work for me.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

As Morning Breaks

The light is starting to filter into the dark bedroom and it is time to end a night of tossing and turning. The temperature dropped to 32 C by 3 am and now at 6 am it is down to 26 C. Stepping out onto the cooler deck, and then down to the water, is a relief from the hot bedroom and the drone of fans.

      With camera in hand, I indulge in my daily ritual of waiting for the sun to rise in anticipation of taking a unique photo.  It will take a while yet, so I go back to the kitchen and make a cup of coffee. It will be the coolest part of the day and coffee will not be so appealing later in the heat of the day.

      I make myself comfortable at the beach and wait. I watch and I listen and begin to realise that there is a lot going on at this early hour. There is only a breath of wind, hardly enough to break the calm demeanour of the surface of the lake. I am surprised to see the family of Mergansers swim past me without breaking their stride. They are not scooting forward with their heads under the water as they do some mornings, a strange and entertaining antic that these birds are known for.  They are swimming in perfect formation and eventually disappear around the other side of the boat.

      I am startled by a large fish jumping out of the water with a loud splash, not more than twenty feet away. He is one of the lucky ones who is still alive as the heat wave has taken a toll on the newly added sockeye salmon, leaving a half dozen dead ones on the beach by the end of each day.

     Out of the bay to the north I hear a ski boat. What a perfect time of day to water ski, with no wind, and calm smooth water! It is only one boat, and at a distance, so it does not disturb the peaceful morning as I thought it would. I patiently watch as the boat’s wake slowly but surely makes its way toward my beach. As the rhythmic waves break onto shore, I am delighted to see the angle of the light casts diamond like reflections along one small stretch of shoreline.

     The light is getting stronger and I know from yesterday exactly where the sun will break over the eastern shore. There is little colour in the sky this morning which is surprising because of all the smoke from the forest fires to the south. It must have drifted away overnight.

     Out of the corner of my vision I see a Kingfisher land in the Willow to my right. These are very shy birds and as long he does not sense my presence, I may just get a photo. Before I can raise my camera, he darts out of the tree and like a rocket hits the water about 50 ft. out. He struggles to the surface after having gone right under, and flaps his way back to the tree. Again I slowly raise my camera. Again he rockets out of the tree and this time he comes up with  a two inch minnow in his beak. I can just see enough of him on his perch to see that he is struggling to angle the fish the right way so he can swallow it. And then down it goes. Seconds later, he is diving into the water again, and again comes up with a small fish. This time he flies off with the fish wiggling in the clutches of his beak, no doubt going to a nest where he will be breakfast for the youngsters.

     I did not get the photo but was rewarded with a rare experience, like when the big owl flew out of the night and onto our windsock pole only the previous evening. It was only a few feet from where we were sitting on the sundeck just after dark. We froze and I debated about getting my camera, but before I could make a move, he whispered off into the night as suddenly and as silently as he had come.

    And now the sun is just breaking over the mountain ridge, a slit of brilliant light throwing diffused rosy light to the underside of the scattered clouds above Anarchist Mountain. By now the resident Sparrow family is busy feeding its young and there is constant chirping. The quails are scurrying in and out of the hedge row, snatching a cool drink from the drip irrigation. A fisherman’s boat has anchored not too far away and I hear muffled voices as they set up for another morning of fishing. In the distance I hear the chatter of a sprinkler system beginning its day’s work.  And there is a faint barking of a dog, the sound of a motorcycle gearing down as it approaches the border station, and is that a baby I hear softly crying? The world of Oroville is waking and coming to life.

    The sun is now fully up and I can feel its heat already.  It will be another warm one unless those towering cumulus clouds in the south develop into a storm. We have no devices standing by on our vacations so I do not know the weather forecast, nor do I care to hear it. I am taking life one day at a time, and one hour at a time, savouring the moment, drinking in the beauty and the experience. The more deeply I can impress these images into my mind, the more vivid will be the memories in the coming dark winter months.

    Many before me have, and many after me will, experience these same pleasures. To observe, to really watch and listen, and then to remember, is a gift to treasure. Memories sustain us through difficult times as we transport ourselves back in time when all was peaceful, calm, and all was right in the world.  

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Many Moods of Lake Osoyoos

A lot of my time, on our holiday in Oroville, is spent simply soaking in the beauty that is spread out before us. It is ever changing, ever beautiful. Day to day, hour to hour, there was constant change this year. A clear sunny sky can get mundane after a while.

Desert rain seems to come in two varieties, torrential downpour or gentle showers. We had both, but only for one 24 hr. period. It was welcome after three days of oppressive heat that would only cool by two degrees at night.

Surprisingly, for the uninitiated, some of the best colour in the skies comes at sunset and is displayed in the east. Not one photo is this post is a sunrise, but all photos are pointing east or north.


This was a particularly eerie evening as the sky overhead was dark with storm clouds and then in the north, over Osoyoos, came a white glow from clearing northern skies.

Looking south at sunset.

And north at sunset. If we look west at sunset there is a very large and close steep mountain that totally blocks the view.

Ever changing and more beautiful by the minute.

Looking northeast we often see clouds like this, resembling the billowing smoke of a forest fire over the ridge.

We do not get clouds like this at home, in combination with crystal clear air. Ever changing and ever beautiful, I come home with way too many cloud pictures, but no two are the same. Please look at them large and you will get a feel for what it is like to spend a day sky gazing in Oroville.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Orange Glow

We stood beside the road in the farmer's field and took in the majesty of the sunset the other night. The changing moods were mesmerizing. It is hard to take a bad photo with this scene in front of the camera.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Super Moon of 2014

I had not had time recently to get out and do the thing I enjoy most, which is photography. I thought the Super Moon event would be a good chance to get some unique photos. The moon shots were taken on South Gladwin road just north of the Canada/US border. It is a nice vantage point.

The bad air gave the moon a very yellow/orange hue.

I was going to delete this photo but when busylizzy saw it she loved it. Is it worth keeping? She likes the glow in the window.

This is Mt. Baker from Gladwin Rd. just south of King Rd. This photo was taken only minutes before the moon broke over the ridge of the mountains just to the north of Mt. Baker. I jumped in the truck at that point and headed further south for the preceding photos.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Tree Stories

In Feb. of 2011 I posted the saga of the butchered trees in my back yard neighbour's grove of Birches. It was a massive and severe pruning that killed the two birches in the photo above. Now, more than 3 years later, I am getting concerned about the possibility of these trees toppling down and doing damage, not so much to my house, but my next door neighbour's house. There are also two small boys playing in the shadow of these 'stumps' daily, and this concerns me greatly. When Birch wood is not split, the tight bark seals in the moisture and instead of the wood curing hard as it dies and dries, it turns pulpy and soft. The weight of the tree will then topple it without notice. These are massive trees and their weight is considerable.
I contacted the engineering and parks dept. of city hall and explained in an email, with the above photo, the situation. They stated that it was a dispute between me and my neighbour, on private property, so they suggested that I talk to him about it, send him a registered letter, and then see if he does something about it. Because I was contacting the city on behalf of my endangered neighbour, it is not my dispute. But, my neighbour is on holidays and only the renters in the basement are home.
The issue was driven home to me on Saturday afternoon when I was in my driveway washing my truck. I heard a loud crashing across the street and looked up in time to see a tree falling into the back yard of the house. Before I could check to see if anyone was hurt, the lady of the house came running over in a panic asking me who she should call at city hall. She is new to the house and our city, and was eyeing the trees on the adjoining property and was going to get an arborist to check things out. But now a big rotten Birch tree had fallen across her fence, destroying her dog run, clipping her patio on which she had been sitting, and smashed into a trampoline and sand box. Fortunately her young son was not in the yard at the time. Had the big rotten trunk struck him, he may well have been killed or maimed.
A few minutes later a city arborist did show up on the scene and investigated. As he was leaving, I accosted him and pointed to the big dead birch across the street behind my house. He was quite taken aback when I told him the trees had been standing dead for more than three years already. Because of their size and their tendency to lean over already, he took photos and was going to pursue the issue.
Now I have to wait for the city or wait for my neighbour to return from holidays. (Aug. 14th) I have done what I can.

Friday, August 1, 2014

A Pleasant Diversion

The night time marathon continues as we do the long commute, work until 2 am, and then drag ourselves home to flop into a sleepless stupor.
Our job site is immediately next to a 24 Hr. A&W restaurant. This usually provides some entertainment when we have a chance to look out the windows from our second storey vantage point. It is surprising that there is a steady stream of vehicles using the drive-through in the middle of the night. Of course, we also use it for the occasional cup of coffee or bag of onion rings.
Last night when we got to work, there was no parking in our usual spot between the restaurant and our building. The parking all around that area was full of 50's and 60's automobiles as the restaurant was having a nostalgia cruise in. Even the big furry A&W Root Bear was there. There were car hops serving up frosty mugs of root beer and plenty of rock 'n roll blaring on the outdoor speakers. Had we not been on a tight agenda that night, we would have stayed in the parking lot and joined in the merriment.
By 10 pm the last of the boomer's and their hot rides had dispersed to their homes and their cozy beds. This boomer was just getting ramped up for a hard night's work.
Just feeling a bit sorry for myself today.