Moose in the meadow
Last Saturday morning I was sitting on the porch having tea and brekkie, looking out over the creek now and then but mostly reading a good mystery novel. I heard some splashing sounds to my left, and looked up. Lo and behold, a young male moose emerged from the willows by the creek. He had fuzzy antlers, with about two prongs on each. What a wonderful surprise!
I watched him for about 10 minutes, as he meandered, chomping on willows, and slowly made his way to the other side of the valley. Now that’s a breakfast show! I had recently commented to a friend that the valley is perfect for moose, with a lot of water and willows, and I was surprised I didn’t see them more often. Now here one was!
Deer and chipmunks entertain more often
The next day a deer was browsing through the meadow while I ate my breakfast on the porch. Nice! And then Donald and I were entertained by a little chipmunk eating flowers for breakfast, tail twitching, at the other end of the porch.
Power booster woes
The day after that was a Monday, and I needed to go to Kamloops yet again, for some more cable. I was still troubleshooting the power booster for the cell phone, working out the glitches. It turned out last time the connector in one end of the cable that connected to the indoor dome antenna got gibbled, and the copper wire wasn’t meeting the part where it is supposed to pass the signal into the power booster. It took a trip to Kamloops to figure this one out, and get a new connecter put on. Then I realized the connector on the cable from the roof antenna was also gibbled, and not meeting with the power antenna. I stripped the wire and inserted the bare copper into the power booster, just to see if it would work. This is when I finally discovered that the distance from the inside antenna to the outside antenna wasn’t long enough. Previously, the lights on the power booster always showed green (even when they weren’t getting a signal, which is not how it is supposed to work according to the manual). Now that I had both antennas firmly connected to the power booster, both lights were red. This meant another trip to Kamloops to get a longer length of cable.
I tried three places in Merritt, but none of them carry this type of cable. So on Monday, I went to Kamloops (for about the fifth or sixth time, at a four hour round trip each time). I got 30 feet of RG58 cable. The kind people at Walco Radio put new connectors on, and also gave me some connectors for the cable from the outside antenna. Steve even showed me how to put the connector on, step by step, and sold me a tool to use to do it. I have learned more than I would have though possible from this odyssey into power booster installation. Most people just take it home, plug the ends together, and it works! Those poor saps never get to learn a thing…
Lightning and thunder and forest fires, oh my!
So anyway, I drove home Monday, arriving home in a rain storm at about 7:30 PM. As I was driving down the last hill before my house I noticed puffs of white on the hillside across the creek. Streaming smoke was coming out of the forest. I’d seen a few flashes of lightning as I was driving home, and figured one must have struck here and started a fire. Yikes!
My first thought was to grab Donald and my laptop and get out of there. But even before that, I stopped right there on the road and called 911 to report the fire. They gave me the number to call, but I couldn’t get through. The message said there were high call volumes due to the large number of forest fires, and to call back later.
So I called my sister Kim to let her know I might be in imminent danger, drove to the house, and got Donald and the laptop, all the while checking on the fire. It didn’t seem to be getting bigger but it wasn’t getting smaller either. It was between 500 and 1000 metres from the house, at the north end of the valley, and if it spread it would cut off the road access to the house, trapping me there. So I figured I’d better spend the night in a motel in Merritt, just to be on the safe side. I decided I had a bit of time, since the fire wasn’t moving towards the house. So I went through the house, gathering up more stuff that I would want if the house burned to the ground. My camping gear. Some family photos. My favourite knife from Cutco, which my sister Kirsten sold me years ago. My grandma’s silverware. And yes, the power booster and all its related parts. If the house burned down I was going to get my money back!
So about an hour later Donald and I left Monkey Valley. As we drove past the fire in the darkness I saw flames amidst the trees, which I had been unable to see earlier. I stopped at the Kentucky-Alleyne campground to let the attendant there know about the fire. Once I got out to Highway 5A I was able to get through to the forest fire line (*5555) and reported the fire. A little while later someone from the Merritt fire fighting department called me back, and said he would send a crew out first thing in the morning.
The next morning at about 8:30 he called me at the motel and said they’d sent out a helicopter with two guys and some firefighting equipment. Another two guys drove in by truck. They were using a bucket to get water from a nearby lake (via the chopper) and would probably finish by noon. So it was safe to go home.
I got home that afternoon, and another storm was underway, sending down buckets of water, with lots of thunder and lightning. Donald and I sat on the porch under cover, enjoying the storm. And once the rain stopped, I ate dinner on the porch and watched another two helicopters haul buckets of water south of Monkey Valley, near Missezula Lake. They went back and forth for about an hour, fighting another fire nearby. What a dinner show!
Two days later, after another storm, I drove out of Monkey Valley to return to Vancouver. And what did I see but another forest fire on the hill south of Missezula Lake! Another call to *5555. Whew! I wonder what will happen next time at Monkey Valley!
Bizarre cat ladders
P.S. I just have to mention a blog I came across, devoted entirely to cat ladders! According to a related interview in the LA Weekly Art Blog, the Germans, Swiss, and Swedish folks are the most crazy about freedom for cats via architectural deformation in the form of bizarre cat ladders.