Category Archives: musings

Summer Dreaming

It has been snowing for almost three weeks. There have been gaps, but mostly, snow. In Chipewyan, yath. Falling. Almost like rain. Straight down. Heavy and fat and weighty. Definitely not just a few flakes. Not to be ignored.

It looks like this.

It’s really grey and it’s getting dark very early (and earlier all the time!).

I’m missing this.

Ah, summer. It’s only November and I have a while to go, so is it okay if I start dreaming about you now? Never too early?

I’m looking forward to seeing you again, old friend. 🙂

Blogging Insights

Melanie from Sparks from a Combustible Mind passed on the idea for this post. Please check out her post and the blogger who originated these questions:                                                                                            https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/27669916/posts/55683

How important are images to a blog post?

What is the role of images in blog traffic and reader engagement?

How many images on average do you use in a blog post?

I think that images can be important to a blog post, but that really depends on the blogger and the subject of the post. From a pragmatic standpoint, having the occasional image can be easier on the eye than being confronted by large chunks of text, but I also don’t need the images either. I choose images and imagery because I connect well with them. Since I also do lots of photographic posts, I often like to make the image the focus, but I do use words to enhance the images. Sometimes, the images enhance the words; it depends on the links that I’m making.

Great Slave Lake in Autumn

Most people have become inundated by images and media of all kinds. For some people, especially people who have been raised to expect lots of visuals, not having them could be jarring. For others, having a break from all the imagery could be a relief. I think that in the end, it’s really the content of the post that drives whether or not the blogger wants to use visuals.

Skaha Lake in Summer

On average, I only use one or two images per post, but I have been known to use several. If I’m doing a post that’s not specifically photographic, I will use some of my pictures to back up a point I’m making.

Cameron Lake in Spring

I like these lake photos. Lakes can be calming, menacing, a giver of life, a taker of life. They can be all of these things, all at once. Images communicate. Sometimes just one thing, sometimes many things. Sometimes images communicate complex feelings or ideas that we don’t immediately understand.

To me, choosing images or visuals to add texture or depth to a post or having the images stand as posts on their own is dependent on thinking style, content, mood, and about 12 billion other things that go into making a person a person, because blog posts are what the bloggers are. 🙂

Hungry? Thirsty?

Recently I was going through my photos and found that quite a lot of them are pictures of foods or drinks. I enjoy eating, either at home or in a restaurant and my M is quite a good cook. We are also wine collectors, and we have a decent cellar.

But I didn’t quite realise that I’ve been harbouring a large number of food and drink photos in my archive. Here is a small sample:

A beer flight from a brewery in the Okanagan city of Penticton (where my southern home is).

Some homemade Halloween eyes from last week. These were a lot of work to make!

Hors d’oeuvre from my M. Or, snack time in the d’Arty-Cross household. 😉

Okanagan wine. This was a lovely bottle for a lovely meal.

A picnic. Also lovely, particularly because it was January!

Butter tarts. A Canadian favourite. M made these.

For someone who likes to take landscape and nature photos, there are an awful lot of consumables pictures hanging around in my  storage.

And this also explains why my pants can get tight and then I have to lay off for a while. I used to be able to eat what I wanted, but turning 40 changed all that. As I age though, I’m tempted to think, yeah, but I’m getting older, I can cheat some. I’ve earned it, right? I don’t care about a gorgeous (well, I was never gorgeous, but you know) corpse. When I shuffle off this mortal coil, my body should be done, spent, finished, toast, well past the sell-by date, expired, smoked … Really, who’s going to care when I’m taking the big dirt nap? 

Having said all that though, I am circumspect up to a point. I do watch my weight and I make a point of exercising because I have to pass medicals every six months. My one virtue is that I’ve never been a junk food person.

What do you think?

Do you like a good meal? Do you worry about your age and the extra baggage? Do you care what you look like, especially if you’re “getting up there” ?

But one final photo. Okanagan peaches. Yum. 🙂

It’s Getting Cold? … Isn’t It?

Well, maybe. It seems that everyone to the south of us is experiencing some interesting cold weather with large dumps of snow.

We have had some snow, but by Halloween it had mostly disappeared and temperatures were above 0°C. We are getting some snow today, but it’s still fairly warm out. Very strange for this area, but the elders do say that generally, the northern weather is a lot warmer than it used to be. For this year, they also predict a severe winter based on their observations of the behaviour of the animals. I posted about that earlier this autumn. So far, though, that doesn’t seem to be case.

A frozen lake photo from last year.

Yath is the Chipewyan word for snow. Chipewyan is one of the eleven official languages of the Northwest Territories – French, English and nine indigenous languages. There are lots of yath-related words and compound words. The quality and quantity of the yath is very important to the animals and their survival, and hence to the health of the land. Because of that, lots of yath vocabulary came into being.

I never thought that I would think so much about yath. But I do now.

New yath. (Yup, that’s a small joke. Really small, I know … )

As I already stated, yath is extremely important up here. An entire ecosystem has evolved with it, and many species depend on it for their survival, both animals and plants. It is a seminal part of the culture of the indigenous peoples. But it’s not as healthy as it has been.

The amount of yath that falls is erratic and unpredictable; it starts late, it starts early; it’s too cold at the wrong time, it’s too warm at the wrong time. And that seems to be the case farther south, too.

This exhausts the animals and plants, can damage their health or even kill them outright. A bear that wakes up too early will have nothing to eat, may try to beg from humans, and … a fed bear is a dead bear. A fast thaw can cause flooding followed by drought.

We all need healthy yath. Cold when it’s supposed to be cold, melting when it’s supposed to be melting. Crispy and squeaky in -40°C, soft and sticky in -1°C.

It looks so hardy and tough, but it is actually a sort of delicate white carpet that stains easily, so the next time you’re treated to some yath, I encourage you to try to appreciate its intricacy and necessity, even if you hate what comes with it and the chores it brings.

Greetings from yath central. 🙂

Another Road

I added three photos of roads to my last post, and here’s another, just for fun. It’s a favourite from a couple of years back and was taken above the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. I love the fact that M and I headed off on a dirt road into all those tall yellow trees. It was a hidden gem of real beauty.

Except for the colours, there’s nothing much of Halloween in this picture. A good route for a ghoul though as they do have to make their escape by midnight tomorrow.

Here’s another photo from the same drive.

Happy Halloween! May you enjoy a chocolate or two and be the subject of few or no tricks. 🎃

Sunset Magnificence

A recent sunset in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, produced this photo.

Because of our geographical position in the north, our sunsets are intense, brilliant, and relatively short. And, of course, as we head into winter, that effect becomes more pronounced.

At 62.5° N latitude, Yellowknife sits in the middle of some of the most spectacular light shows in the world, not the least of which are these dazzling sunsets.

Greetings from the extraordinary light shows of NWT. 🙂

Visual Coffee

This was a recent morning scene.

I hadn’t had coffee yet but the bright morning sun helped me to get going.

Alas, as of a few days ago, this sunny weather turned. It has been a mixture of watery snow that has turned to snow that has turned to rain.

Inevitably though, whatever comes out of the sky over the next couple of weeks will be snow.

That’s the way of the north.

And it will stay for a bit, at least until March. And it will look like this.

Cold, crisp, clear.

🙂