The total number of fires in British Columbia to date is 2,026—fiscal year starting in April 2018 (BC Wildlife Service). I can’t imagine the challenges for the firefighting crews. I have great sympathy for people who are coping in close proximity to the fires, but I do wish we didn’t get so many winds from the West.
Since it’s been so dry, the smoke just lingers. Strong rains would have not only improved the crops but would have washed some of the smoke from the air. Instead much of the land is parched and there’s not enough pasture or hay crops. Some ranchers are selling off part of their cattle herds because there isn’t enough hay to feed them all through the winter. What hay there is will be high-priced and is being trucked from areas where they received more rain.
Since I detest smoke and don’t like heat, I’ve been welcoming these plus 4 degrees Celsius mornings and highs around 20 degrees. I’m so glad to see the approaching signs of autumn. Yesterday I started cutting back perennials, beginning with the delphiniums and ending with many of their small black seeds in my hair and clothes.
We had an abundant saskatoon crop with about 60 containers of the berries in 750-gram containers in the freezer. Our raspberry bushes in the garden were very productive, and I am continuing to pick. The saskatoon and raspberry bushes are on the edge of the vegetable garden so benefitted from the watering. The smaller raspberry patch by the garage doesn’t get watered and so there were very few berries in that area.
The grandchildren enjoy picking and eating the saskatoons and raspberries. Some of the raspberries are very large, and the kids like to put them on the ends of their fingers for “raspberry fingers” and then eat them--the raspberries, not their fingers! Apparently the wasps like raspberries too as some of my neighbors told me they had very few raspberries because the wasps got to them. A few of our raspberries were partially eaten and very sticky, but, fortunately, we were able to rescue most of them. Those ‘fake’ wasp nests purchased at a hardware store definitely worked to cut down on the wasps building real nests and loitering in our immediate area.
Doug has been busy with a weekly golf game and, of course, with cars and events this summer in between yard work. The tractor not only covers our acreage, but Doug also mows along the avenue. (Yes, we do pay taxes to have that done, but once a year in the late summer doesn’t quite do the job!)
Hayley dog is definitely slowing down. She had an incident about two weeks ago where she went out for her morning walk and collapsed on the grass. We took turns staying with her for a couple hours and then had to help her up. At times, her legs splay out beneath her, but most of the time she is able to get up and walk to the highway to help pick up the morning newspaper. She loves it outside so spends most of her day relaxing on the grass in the sun and then moving to the shade when it gets too warm. We know it is a matter of time so she gets lots of belly rubs, a few more treats than before and is even allowed to be a ‘house dog’ and wonder the main floor at times. It's hard to watch her health failing, but she is 12.5 years old. She perks up when the grandchildren are here and tries to trot along with them.
I've had a busy summer with advocacy work for the library along with the usual weed-pulling at home. With some other board members and staff, we supplied, set up and worked the library booth at four events in Okotoks in just over a month. Now our advocacy and fundraising plans are being developed for the fall and winter. The library board work has become like a part-time job—all volunteer of course—but I’m learning a great deal and, for the most part, enjoying it. Working the booth definitely reminded me of my couple years with Scholastic Publishing. I had forgotten how much effort it takes to set up and work a booth for 5-7 hours in total each time!
The Library Board also conducted a survey this summer with 237 respondents to date which will give us direction for the work of the Okotoks Public Library. If anyone reading this lives in Okotoks or the MD of Foothills and uses the library, the survey is still online for a few more weeks at http://okotokslibrary.ca
While I’m on the topic, we need more books donated for the Little Libraries. I look after the one in the Cimarron area of Okotoks. I replenish it once every 10 days or so. As most of my readers will know because they are readers, the intent of the Little Libraries is that if you take a book, you leave a book; however, there is much more taking than leaving. The good part is that at least the books are being taken so hopefully they are being read. We particularly need children’s books, but all donations are welcome so please contact me if you have some books to donate, and if you live close enough so that I can pick them up.
Doug, Hayley and I enjoyed several trips to the cabin at Wakaw Lake. Our 'adult children' and grandchildren were able to spend time with us at the lake this summer, and we enjoyed catching-up with several neighbors. Thanks to everyone who visited us this summer at home or at the cabin and those who took the time to continue our friendships. I valued our times together and look forward to meeting again soon.
Enjoy September—it’s my favorite month of the year. It brings back many happy memories of crisp cool air, gorgeous fall colors, childhood memories of harvesting on the farm and going back to school. It will probably not surprise most of you that I just enrolled in an advocacy course—online this time—but I’m still going back to school in the fall!