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Two love stories

by (Ien in the Kootenays) @ Blog from the Kootenays

A post for Valentine's day, different from my usual more cynical input.

One of the perks of being a Home Support Worker was learning the life stories of fascinating people. These two love stories really happened. The protagonists of the first one are long gone and there are no close relatives. I am pretty sure "Felix" would love to be so remembered. The second story is shared with permission of son and daughter in law. Even so I feel more comfortable not using real names.
Hearing these stories was a true privilege.

The first time I met Felix his beloved wife had just died and he was a lost soul. A soft spoken gentleman who loved nature and books he lived in a tiny airstream trailer in a beautiful spot by a small lake. The kind neighbour who owned the property kept an eye on him. I was sent in to help with basic housecleaning and some meal preparation. We quickly developed a routine of getting the chores done so we could get to the important part: Twinings Earl Grey brewed properly by Felix in a Brown Betty pot, to be enjoyed with Peak Frean biscuits and serious chat. 

Felix' start in life had taken place in Victoria, B.C. in 1910 or 11. He remembered being devastated by the death of his mother when he was 9 years old. The little boy and his mother were both sick with the Spanish flu and were being nursed in the same bed. He lived, she died. 
Felix was doing some kind of clerical work when he met "Annie". She healed the loneliness he had felt ever since his mother's death. Annie must have been something special. Not long into their relationship she informed her suitor that she did not intend to become a housewife or have children. What she wanted to do was "mess about with boats." So they did!

Somehow this city couple managed to transform themselves into fisher folk. They spent most of their working life living on their own boat on the glorious coast of B.C. To get an idea of their life on board read "Fishing with John" by Edith Iglauer. John had been a friend.  After retirement they enjoyed some blissful years in the airstream trailer by the lake. Compared to the ship it was spacious! They lived simply, not needing much  beyond the natural beauty, the neighbours and each other. A highlight was the weekly trip to our wonderful local library. When Annie lay dying she took her husband's hand and said "It's been a great adventure".

 "Paul" and I shared a home town. He had moved to Canada from Amsterdam as a young man in 1929, forty years before we did. His sisters sang in the Amsterdam branch of the same choir that had played a role in my grandparents life. Most of our conversations took place in English, but once in a while we'd share some Dutch. A particular pleasure was inventing phrases consisting of the most unpronounceable Dutch words. Dutch speakers can find them in the footnote.

The routine we adopted was getting the noisy vacuum cleaning out of the way first, so Paul could put on music while the rest of the cleaning got done. We both loved Edith Piaf, and Paul taught me to appreciate American musicals. I always think of him when I hear a song from Oklahoma. Somewhere between music and Dutch jokes his love story got shared. It is romantic enough for a Valentine's day post.

When young Paul told his father that he wanted to emigrate to Canada to become a farmer his father wisely suggested that he should work on a Dutch farm first. Take the time to see if the life style really agreed with him. Paul duly spent a year on a farm in the Eastern part of the country. You guessed it, there was a farmer's daughter. Several in fact, but Paul became most friendly with the one who was only 12 at the time. Let's call her Maggie. After Paul moved to Canada they wrote back and forth for some years. When Maggie turned 16 Paul broke off the correspondence. He enjoyed the contact but he worried about it "not being fair to her". Those were his words, decades later. He did not want her to miss chances to meet available boys. Some years passed, tough depression times. Enter WWII. Paul, still single, joined the Canadian army and was part of the liberation of his native land. He was even billeted with his own father at the end. On a whim he decided to go visit the farm where he had lived before he emigrated. And there was Maggie, still unmarried! She had cried for months after Paul stopped writing and never found anyone who she liked as much. The rest is history. One more war bride! 

Footnote. Say can you say:
Door de schuifdeur van de bijkeuken van het grachtenhuis dreef de geur van groene gaargekookte spruitjes.
Van teveel scheepsbeschuit krijgt men scheurbuik.
Door de verschijning van de politie was de schurk verschrikkelijk geschrokken.

BC artisans buck the decline of dairy with gourmet flair

BC artisans buck the decline of dairy with gourmet flair

Vancouver Sun

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Back to the juicer

by (Ien in the Kootenays) @ Blog from the Kootenays

This is one of those boring posts I write by way of personal diary.

I said I would be back at the farmers market. I lied. I have been feeling perfectly fine some days but tired for no reason on others. The stress of living with a spouse in steep decline could explain some of it, but still. I tried some iron pills again, they seemed to perk me up. That was the clue to go for a checkup. Blood was taken and other bodily samples duly delivered to the lab. I was totally surprised to get a message I had a bladder infection, come get some antibiotics. Apart from "old lady bladder" moments of urgency I had no symptoms. However, I figured it beat a return of colon cancer, which had been my main concern. I briefly considered going all natural, then decided "let's just zap this sucker", take the drugs and use cranberry juice to prevent recurrence. Went to see the MD, and found out the FIT sample had been positive as well. 

The antibiotic, Cephalex, made me feel really miserable. After taking the antibiotic my bladder was suddenly hurting, what weirdness is that? Suggestion? Usually I barely notice the pills. Thank goodness the course was only 5 days and now it is over. I am gulping yogurt and taking a probiotic. 

So, there is internal leakage again, and another colonoscopy in my future. I will play along that far. If the internal bleeding is just a matter of a few polyps they can be fixed right there. If there is pressure to go on a course of cut, poison, burn, right now my intention is to refrain except for palliative purposes. I will happily accept the expertise of the medical system when it comes to diagnostics. I will also accept painkilling drugs, should they be necessary. I do not expect doctors to 'fix' me. 

It is up to me to change the conditions in my body/mind that returned to where they were prior to surgery in 2012. During the winter of 2016 I slacked off on the juicing, allowed dehydration to happen and indulged, though only occasionally, in cookies and the odd alcoholic drink. I sat around and gained weight. I believe more important than the lifestyle infractions was the MEH factor. I was not depressed, but not full of joy and zest for life either. Like I said, MEH.

So. Back to juicing carrots, mostly avoiding temptations, and remember to breathe. The exercise takes care of itself, garden season is here. Also, EFT. There is a puritanical streak in the natural health world that I dislike. "What! You had a beer and a burger with fries? Bang bang, you're dead!" A small part of me believes that I had a recurrence coming because I have been thumbing my nose at that. My rational self rebukes it, but EFT helps to get the message of acceptance of self through to deeper layers of consciousness. If it doesn't, it won't hurt.

I am 72. A bit young to die but not nipped in the bud either. I am not interested in seeing my remaining time, be it twenty years, twenty months, or twenty weeks made miserable by having a "war on cancer" played out in my body. 

Priorities have shifted a bit this summer. No market. Some days the energy is there, some days it is not. I will miss the money but the stress is not worth it. I am getting this place in order, doing some long postponed tidying up, in order to leave as little mess behind as possible if things end up going South faster than we hope. It is good to do that anyway. 

Today I feel great and full of energy. We shall cherish the day, make it a productive one and stop to smell the hyacinths.

Life, the next stage

by (Ien in the Kootenays) @ Blog from the Kootenays

Good grief, talk about procrastination! In February I wrote this:

Well, here I am, with the house all to myself. A few weeks ago Chris was taken to the local extended care facility. I am almost ashamed by how much I am enjoying the freedom. In many ways I have been living alone for more than a year anyway.

Then in April this.

I am finally writing this in my  hotel room at the tail end of a satisfying mini vacation. That  blog with pictures will wait till the next post. 

It is now June.

About that next stage. After January Chris's condition deteriorated rapidly. He started needing more help with activities of daily living and had a few falls. I did not mind helping, and would even have been willing to have a hospital bed in the living room if necessary, but I am useless with not enough sleep. Sorry, just cannot do it. I usually sail through cold and flu season but caught a mean bronchitis this year. In consultation with the visiting health nurse it was decided that it was time to put Chris on a waiting list for extended care. I was warned that it might take some time and that we had to take the first bed in the district that became available, even if that was hours away. 

Well. We have been incredibly lucky.  Since February 12 Chris has been living in Minto House, the local extended care facility. Nobody wants to spend their last years in a facility, but if you have to be in one it does not get better than the one in our village. There are only 16 patients, with three staff members on duty. The rooms are roomy and private, the atmosphere is pleasant, the staff is caring, the food not gourmet but decent. Beds, wheelchairs and other equipment are state of the art and make life as comfortable as it can be.  The  patients' wishes are respected in all matters. They decide for themselves whether they wish to participate in group activities or just stay in their rooms. There is a closed, safe outside space that is quite beautiful in summer, if we ever get it. 

I was even spared the difficult task of explaining the move. Communication with someone who is both deaf and has bouts of dementia is incredibly frustrating. It went like this. I had been out grocery shopping for exactly one hour, and came home to find Chris flat on his back on the floor in the hallway. I managed to get him up, probably the wrong idea but nothing seemed broken. He seemed squirmy afterwards, not dozing off in his comfy chair as usual. When he did not touch his lunch I knew something was wrong. I called the clinic to see if home visits were an option. Not. Oh, did I mention that this was the snowiest part of a snowy winter? Fortunately we had just been plowed out but there was no way to  get Chris into a car. The clinic told me to call an ambulance. They came, sirens and all, conferred, and decided that four lifters were needed to get Chris down the steps and into an ambulance. So another vehicle was called up. It was quite dramatic! Chris was taken to hospital where he was later diagnosed with pneumonia. He had barely been coughing. The next day I was snowed in again. I had begged the hospital to please keep Chris in care for a few days so I could rest, but what do you know: on Friday a bed became available in Minto House, just like that! Minto House is part of the hospital. Of course it was tough and bewildering for Chris in the beginning, but after a few weeks he settled in. He is now wheelchair bound, increasingly stiff, and there is no way he could get the care he needs at home. In the beginning I spent large chunks of every day there but it has become clear that is not necessary. Of course I visit, but only for an hour and I no longer feel guilty if I skip a day.

So here I am, 90% free to join the single sisterhood, free to change things in the house and on the land, a new stage of life.  Ah, the choices! Of course all important decisions have to be made on the basis of insufficient data. The most important factor is my own health. Then there is the possibility  of really bad sh#t happening in the world. Am I spending too much time with 'collapse porn'? 
On a good day, which is most days, I imagine myself staying on the land for another decade, perhaps inviting people to join in some way, perhaps starting chickens again, or making some income with bedding plants, or body work, and earn enough to spend some time in warmer places in winter. On a bad day I think I might just skip the little house in the village stage, sell out, move straight into seniors' housing and do nothing except be old.

For starters, no matter what happens in the next decade, whether I leave the land sooner or later, things have to be tidied up. The log cabin that Chris built is doomed, sniffle. This means contacting B.C. Hydro and having the main powerline go to the mobile dwelling instead of the old house.

The stars and I

by (Ien in the Kootenays) @ Blog from the Kootenays

*Astrology: a study of cycles, expressed in a language of symbols.
Horoscope: a snapshot of the solar system as it appears at the place and time of  birth.

After a long hiatus the study of astrology has been beckoning again. It used to be a passion. There was a time in  my thirties and early forties when it was my greatest ambition to become a professional. In all modesty I was pretty good. Recently I felt guided to do one reading and I have had requests to do more. Rather than having to give the same spiel to everyone who asks I am writing this blog post so people can read it and decide if they want to engage me or not.

I cannot claim to have studied astrology for 40 years. It would be accurate to say that I have observed life with that symbolic language in my head for that much time. 

Here is why I stopped giving readings. Preparing for one takes time. Doing the reading is exhausting, and most importantly: I never know if it is good enough.

When someone comes into my room for body work there is a clear time frame. After a generous hour feet have been well and truly squeezed.  People usually walk out feeling better than they did coming in. I can accept my fee with a clear conscience. 

Contrast that with an astrology reading. There is no such thing as DONE. After 40 years of living with my own chart in my head there are still moments when a penny of insight drops and I think "Aha, that's why I do such and such!
In a reading I may have been pouring my heart out for almost two hours and the client still sits there like a baby bird with an insatiable open beak, asking "Is there anything else you can see?"

Professionals will set a time and get people to come back for more. The old 'grease my palm with silver' thing. I have heard taped readings by someone who got paid handsomely for basic work that I could have done better, and this pro kept a friend coming back for some time. 

Prediction is hard, especially about the future. Yogi Berra nailed it. Quite frankly I am not great at that aspect, nor do I wish to be. I do keep an eye on major cycles, and insight in those is helpful. But I prefer to just live life without trying to micro manage the timing of everything. A Wise One said "Sufficient onto the day be the evil thereof". Amen. If fortune telling or precision timing is what you are looking for I am the wrong person.

What is astrology good for then? It works brilliantly as a portrait of the psyche. You know that old serenity prayer, wishing for the wisdom to know the difference between things one must accept and things one could change? 
Astrology is an excellent tool for speeding up the gaining of that wisdom

Let me use an example. A fictional woman, let's call her Nella, has a long history of falling for unattainable partners and getting her heart broken. At her birth Venus, the planet of relationships, was in hard aspect to Neptune, an otherworldly energy that does not translate well into humdrum threedee life. In our reading I would explain the nature of Neptune, explain why no mere mortal will ever live up to her lofty ideals, alert her to the pitfalls (Neptunians are more prone to substance abuse) and suggest constructive ways of expressing this planetary pattern, based on the totality of her chart.

The reading cannot cure Nella's "cosmic homesickness". It is hardwired in. She will always feel a deep desire to transcend the boundaries of ordinary life.  However, the reading can help her to gain perspective. It may spur her to explore better ways to express her need to feel part of a greater whole. 

Knowledge of a loved one's chart in combination with one's own can really help a relationship. Seeing patterns where we effortlessly connect with a partner and where we are bound to have conflict, knowing which times are likely to be extra stressful, it can all help. 

So here is what I propose to anyone who asks "Can you do me?"

I will charge $90 for an initial reading, which is like an introduction to your chart and takes about two hours, with a break for tea and snack halfway. After an hour and a half of intent sharing my brain is fried and can do no more for now.
My intention is to give you some basic understanding of the language of astrology, so you can understand where interpretations are coming from. This is meant to be an empowering learning experience for you. It is not me pulling a rabbit out of a hat.

An audio file of the reading will be created by the trusty laptop which records as we speak. You will also receive a printed computerized report done by an excellent British astrologer. The trouble with computer programs is that they are great for calculations and listing interpretations of individual factors, but they can not pull the whole thing together. 

A computerized program may produce an insightful paragraph on Mars in Taurus, and one on Mars in the fifth house, but not one on Mars in Taurus in the fifth house, let alone one on Mars in Taurus in square to Mercury in Leo in the ninth, etc etc.
It takes a human mind to make sense of the whole, to see patterns.

If you decide you would like to delve deeper, I will charge $60 for future visits. Future visits should last about an hour, have the form of a conversation, and focus on more or less specific questions. I will have spent time studying your horoscope with your questions in mind before you come.

So. If you are interested in exploring the guidance of your stars with me, give me a shout and we will make a date to meet in Vegas. That's what I call my healing room. What happens there stays there. I will do no more than one reading a week.

*Do modern astrologers believe the Earth is the center of the Universe, that Mercury halts in its orbit and goes backwards several times a year? NO.
We are entirely aware of physical realities. However, we deal with things as they appear from earth. I think of the position of planets as hands on a clock: indicators of time, not time itself. All I can say is, it seems to work. I have no idea how.

How I got into it?

Astrology was a gift left me by my first born, who only lived a day and never even had a name. After a normal pregnancy and easy birth she did not start breathing right. It turned out she had a diaphragmal hernia, her intestines were pushing up against her lungs, and she died the next day after surgery. 
I was determined to try again and get it right the next time.
A year and a half later we had our wonderful Nienke.

Where did astrology come in? Two things and I cannot remember which came first. There was the influence of Monica Simcox of Grand Forks, who I had met a women's group called Kaffee Klatch. Three weeks after the delivery she caught me crying silent tears over something baby related in the drug store. She asked a few questions and when she found my age said something about a Saturn return. She then took me home and handed me a paragraph from a classic astrology book, Grant Lewi's  "Astrology for the Millions." I read the chapter on the cyclical return of Saturn and was blown away. 
Then there was the popular (in 1973) book  "Psychic discoveries behind the iron curtain." It included mention of a Dr. Jonas in Czechoslovakia, who helped women who had had multiple failed pregnancies to birth healthy babies by avoiding certain planetary patterns during conception. I wanted to look into that. By the way, both my living offspring were conceived during the lunar fertility period, born when the Moon returned to that angle, and had the gender supposed to go with the conception time. I know, not exactly evidence, but still.

I had motive, means and opportunity. That fall Old Dutch was away from home during the week and I had not gone back to work. I got a book out of the library and taught myself the basics. This was before computers. We are talking tables of logarithms and filling out circular forms by hand. The rest, as they say, is history.

So this was Christmas, again.

by (Ien in the Kootenays) @ Blog from the Kootenays

Once again Christmas was a total non event, but this time I felt quite relaxed and not tearful about it. Old man is going downhill fast, no details. Let us just say that daily life with a progressive neurodegenerative disease aggravated by deafness is challenge enough without me doing a number on myself about creating special whatevers. In contrast to previous years when I would still attempt to make special food this was just another Sunday. 
Being a caregiver is a great excuse, right?

I did watch the Dr. Who Christmas special, which I found disappointing, trite and Americanised. I was too tired to stay up for The Husbands of River Song, which I wanted to see. River Song is my favourite Whovian character, followed closely by the lizard woman.

As mentioned before I admire people who make festive things happen, with decorations and lights and special cooking and so on, but I have never been good at it.  Even when it was still fun I always heaved a sigh of relief on Boxing Day. We could eat leftovers and relax while the kids were busy with the new toys.

Last year we had our fellow grandmother over and got a skype tour of the new home shared by our daughter and her son. That was nice. The year before was a non event but not nearly as bad as 2013. This year I was 90% OK. The brief exchanges with my fellow humbuggers on Facebook who were in the same boat were fun.

Just for my own reference I collected all Christmas related blogs in one space.

Local dilemmas.

by (Ien in the Kootenays) @ Blog from the Kootenays

Open letter to Mayor and Council of Nakusp

Dear Mayor and council,

Quite frankly, what with a bad economy, climate change, wars, refugees and so on, the plight of the Western Toad has not been high on my agenda. 

When I received a call to please support the fight to save the wee beasties' habitat the cynical voice of George Carlin popped into my mind. "Save the whales! Save those snails!" Believe it or not, but my first words in reply were: "Nakusp loggers are an endangered species too." I have been in this area a while. The inner redneck has been growing at the expense of the original semi hippie. 

I promised the caller I would do my bit after listening to a radio interview and reading the newspaper. The interview did not portray us as badly as I had expected, and the Valley Voice gave me the impression that NacFor had done a lot of due diligence. I left it at that.


Publicity is mounting. Both CBC radio and the Vancouver Sun are going on about the issue. This is bad publicity a tourist area can hardly afford. I understand the proposed logging will only provide work for a few weeks. A well organized and publicized Toad Fest on the other hand could provide a much needed stimulus to the tourism industry, which is a mainstay of our economy these days. I also understand the studies undertaken concern hibernation of the adult toad, while the habitat is critical for the little ones.

Nobody is calling for an end to logging per se. The industry has come a long way since the days of massive clearcuts. The area in question is relatively small. Does it really make sense to spend tax money on culverts underneath the highway and then log the place that culvert is going to? Shame on the provincial government for not letting its right hand know what its left hand is doing.

As local council you are in a "damned if you do and damned if you don't" position with political fallout no matter what. I hope you can find it in yourself to take the long view. Think of a century from now. On one side of the scale, a few weeks worth of work that could be found somewhere else. On the other side, another endangered part of the great web of life that sustains us all.

With the greatest respect for our hard working people in the woods, it looks like a rethink of this one particular job makes more sense than "Damn the toads, full speed ahead". 
I look forward to an expansion of Summit Lake park, a future Toad Fest to rival the garlic one, AND a thriving locally owned forestry industry. One can dream.

Ien van Houten

Organic at the Olympics

by Organic Week @ Semaine Bio

How healthy nutrition affects performance – at the Olympics! When the ancient Greeks started the Olympic Games in 776 BC, athletes had their own special performance regimen, including nutrition. Milo of Croton, for example, a wrestler of legendary strength who won five successive Olympics from 532 to 516 BC, ate 9 kilograms of meat, 9 kilograms of bread and 8.5 litres of wine a day, according […]

Ien is not Einstein

by (Ien in the Kootenays) @ Blog from the Kootenays

I promised a new blog reader that I would explain my weird name, so here goes. 

In daily life I go by Ien, not Ieneke. 

It is pronounced to rime with Green and spelled Eye Ee En. A clever friend once remarked that she remembered the spelling by saying to herself that Ien is not Einstein. I have used that line a lot. Thanks Carol! Of course it only works if people can spell Einstein. 

My birth certificate from long ago and far away announces the arrival of Ieneke.  The name is usually spelled Ineke. My mother insisted on the extra e, otherwise "it looks so bare".  The suffix -eke-, both e's unaccented, is a dimunitive. Names with that ending were popular back then. A cousin and my best friend were Anneke. 
Usually an 'eke' baby would have a more formal official name, like Anna for Anneke. Not me. No middle name either. The name has no meaning. It is dimunitive for Ina, which itself is just the ending of other names.

Three years later my brother Jaap received both his paternal grandfather's names. Jacobus Johan. When the twins arrived five years after him, unexpected by not less loved for that, the parents took the opportunity to honour all remaining grandparents and themselves. The youngest brother and sister each got three names. 

I suspect a touch of the Aspie spectrum in my makeup.  Aspies do much better as grownups than as children.  At school, where I was an awkward, unpopular child I was Ieneke. At home, where I was safe and loved and at ease I was Ien. Eventually I ditched the 'eke' part. I do NOT like to be called by it. So why is it back on Facebook and other internet places? 

Blame English and the quirk of fonts. A capital i often looks like L. I got tired of being mistaken for a man named Len or a weird spelling of Ian. Somehow no one ever thinks Ieneke is a guy. Not that I have anything against men, but I am not one.
Having your name misspelled or mispronounced is a hazard of of being an immigrant. No problem, it is a price I am happy to pay. 

But, you asked me to explain my weird name, so now I did.

My seventies show. Christina Lake, part 2 We buy land!

by (Ien in the Kootenays) @ Blog from the Kootenays

Warning. I am writing this for my own pleasure, not for publication. I never took many pictures back then. Much of what I did take was destroyed by moisture and mice in the attic of the old house. This will be the verbal equivalent of filling an album with snapshots. I will shamelessly indulge in as much detail as I remember, which may be boring. Links can provide illustrations. 

The start is here.

Going for a walk in a landscape designed for the car often leaves few options. In Christina Lake the choice was Highway 3 or take Fife road uphill and see where it goes. Fife road climbs steeply uphill to a lovely little plateau with some farm houses and fantastic views. One day, in an ambitious mood, I crossed the plateau and continued past the railroad crossing. The road meanders into the hills, and at some point took me to a small old house where people were hanging out in the yard. The same kind of people that we had met at PX ranch. How did we end up visiting? What follows is my memory, which may be faulty. Carol Nye and Roy Leon, please comment with your version!?

Most likely I waved, they waved back or the other way around and I sort of barged in. I don't remember. I do remember we were invited to dinner and went. The house did not have electricity or running water. Cooking was done by wood stove, water was carried up from the creek. The space was divided by hanging sheets to provide extra privacy for the 2 families who shared it. I could not imagine living in it. They were renting the house and acreage for almost nothing, mainly the cost of property taxes. This place was a stop off point. They were planning to stay near civilization, earn some money, and eventually buy a place in the promised land: the area way up North near Telegraph Creek, where they wanted to live without money. Why there?  It would be far enough away from the main madness when the inevitable collapse hit. The region is beautiful but harsh climate wise. Years  later I met someone who had just left Telegraph Creek after twenty years as a homesteader and market gardener. He had loved it and only left because the grown children had all moved South. It turns out there is a valley in the rain shadow of the Coast Mountains that is like an oasis, lots more sun than Dease Lake, good growing conditions. Fascinating.

Anyway......the very next day the younger of the two women showed up at my doorstep, complete with fat baby boy, in tears, asking for sanctuary, which was provided. We had an extra room in the basement. It turns out she was not quite prepared to see the official house policy of free love acted out in reality by her husband. Things got patched up and I don't even remember the girl's name. Roy and Carol on the other hand became close friends and we are still in touch. 

This was the second bug placed in my ear about buying land.
The first one had come when I picked up a hitchhiker during a three week solo car journey the previous summer, that will have its own blog some time.  I picked him up somewhere outside of Vancouver. We were both enroute to Calgary.
By the way, I was incredibly naive. It never occurred to me that offering to take him all the way back and share the accommodation of my tent might be misconstrued in some way. I thought all I had to do was state clearly that I was married and that my geologist husband was in the field to be totally safe. And so I was. Not the slightest whiff of assault anywhere, just pleasant companionship for three days.
Anyway....the young man was an Anglophone from Montreal who had come out West to look at buying cheap B.C. land.
It was a revelation to me that most of the immense nature we looked at was in some way spoken for. It had never occurred to me. I thought it was all just there. On the way to Calgary we stopped in Revelstoke so the young man could look at maps and available crown land. Then I thought no more of it. 

Just like in fairy tales the nudges came in three. The third one was an article in McLeans Magazine, late summer of 1970. It went on about how Americans, or rather USA citizens, were buying up recreational land in Canada, especially B.C. I even wrote a short a letter to the editor which was published. It stated that I was more worried about being fenced out of public land than about who owned the fence. Please, make sure we have enough public parks and beaches!
That was it. I was in no hurry to start homesteading, but somehow I became obsessed with the notion that we should buy a piece of land in B.C. before it became impossible. 

We used the Thanksgiving weekend of 1970 to drive a loop through the Kootenays, up through the Slocan Valley, through Nakusp, North along Arrow Lake and East past Trout Lake, down along Kootenay Lake. Along the way we noted For Sale signs of acreages. We had no money saved up for this, just Chris' good job. I went to the bank in Grand Forks to inquire into loans. All I wanted was information, but the manager insisted he wanted to talk to my husband. We've come a long way, baby. To make a long story short, our limit was $5000. I called the realtors about parcels we had seen and most of them were beyond our reach. Small parcels came with a house, which we did not need, and raw land mainly came in large chunks like 80 acres.

But Oli Bokis in Nakusp mentioned one small acreage that was only $3500, the price our Calgary friends paid that year for a new Volvo. It was ten acres, no house, no utilities, mainly cleared, just an abandoned field on a dirt road off a dirt road a few miles out of the village. We went and took a look. The place was more or less South facing,  sloping with flatter benches. The South side of the square opened to a large field, on the other three sides there was Crown land, just woods. The place had a wonderful sense of space and peace, and yet was close to the village. If we absolutely had to we could walk to work, a bit over an hour downhill, longer back home uphill. 

We were told honestly that the land was no good for farming, and water could be a problem on this ridge. Chris had taken a course in hydro geology. He borrowed an auger and drilled a hole in the field below us to see where the water table was. This was fall, after a dry season, as good a time to check as any. He concluded it should be possible to dig a shallow well at the bottom of the land. 

The rest, as they say, is history.

Fire hazard fears prompt removal of thousands of smart meters in Ontario - General  news - NewsLocker

Fire hazard fears prompt removal of thousands of smart meters in Ontario - General news - NewsLocker


Ontario's Electrical Safety Authority is directing local utilities to replace a certain model of smart meter as a preventative step after reviewing reports of problematic metres in Saskatchewan.

Does Fish Oil Help Burn Calories Catering Walnut Tree

by @ Nanoeis Omega3 Ions

Strawberries; pine nuts or chopped; Uwaa si, e codzienne menu osb na dietach odchudzajcych powinno obfitowa w tzw; Rogers PA, D’Hooghe TM, Fazleabas A, Giudice LC, Montgomery GW,; Nigel Denby 6, Suzanne R; Add a teaspoon or more of low-fat plain yogurt ok? ribs, types of, 169 Quesadillas keeping warm, 41 recipe for a refreshing,...

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