January 9th, 2005: Today started out pretty nice,
with lots of sun and no wind, though it never did get any warmer than —20°. Then,
in the early afternoon it clouded over and the wind came up. Seems to me there has
been a lot of that this winter - gray days with wind. At least, that’s the excuse
I am using for not walking regularly. I did get out for a half hour today, before
it clouded over, and it felt good.
For the first time in fifty years, we spent our Christmas away from home. We went
to Airdrie, Alberta, to Sandy’s and Blaine’s, spent a
week there, and had a wonderful time. Jenny was there for a couple of days,
also Sheryl, Ryan and Telena. Blaine’s family came out
for a few hours on Christmas Day so there was a crowd around for a little
while. Next Christmas, everyone is planning to be here.
We had good weather for driving; there was some ground drift on our way home on the
29th but that’s all. The roads were good. Temperatures ranged all the way from +10°
to —36°. There was very little more snow here than when we left, but I got the
blower out and did the driveway, mostly to make sure it works okay. We have had three
or four inches since then, enough to keep everything nice and white.
On our way home, we saw two huge snowy owls on power poles, a half-mile apart. I
haven’t seen a snowy for years. Brian Shuya tells me he saw a great gray owl
near Chelan, and others have reported seeing them. Maybe this will be another
year when they come south. There have been some reports of cardinal sightings in
the area. People who see pine grosbeaks for the first time often mistake them for
cardinals so Brian is hoping for a chance to confirm them himself. The cardinal
is scarlet and has a pronounced crest, like a blue jay. The pine grosbeak is more
magenta in color, and has a small, smooth head.
They had groomed the trails while we were away; Regan Bernhard said there
wasn’t enough snow to allow them to do a good job, but the trails weren’t bad anyway.
There had obviously been a lot of snowmobiles running around.
We got a phone call from a lady in Porcupine Plain on the 29th, asking if
we were getting reception from the new TV tower. She was able to get audio but no
picture. We plugged in a little portable TV with an antenna and Channel 4
came through fine so thought it safe to say the CBC tower is back on the air.
Then I talked to Merv Miller, and he said the tower is not finished, but that
Channel 4 has been broadcasting from a temporary transmitter on the police
tower. I gather it just doesn’t have the range of the big tower, which would explain
my caller not getting a picture. Merv figures the tower has about 200 feet
to go yet. The only windless days we have had were bitterly cold, so not much will
have been done.
We have friends who recently moved from Tisdale to Alberta — Harry
and Evelyn Bourne. Their son, Brent, has been in Thailand, and
we got this e-mail from him:
“The Tsunami affected our lives a bit --- Brent was staying
on the Thai Island less than half of a mile from the high water mark of the great
wave. He is now safe in Bankok and will stay in SE Asia for a while yet. I guess
he stayed up late the nite before reading a Stephen King book and could not lay it
down. Had he not done that, he would have certainly been on the beach. Unbelievable
Times must be tough in the television advertising industry - it seems they play the
same ad four or more times during a half-hour show, and sometimes back-to-back. Which
wouldn’t be so bad if the ads weren’t so inane. They are running out of material,
too, and recycling old ones from a year or more ago. They might have been cute the
first time around, but now they are just irritating.