Smoked

The winds died down today, which means that the smoke is back. Today is one of the worst days I’ve seen yet. Usually, we don’t get visible smoke in the yard until the end of the day, but that’s how we started, today!

In going to pick up the meat pack we ordered, I drove to a town north of us. The fires are all well to the north of us. By the time I got to the exit for the town, I could barely see past a hundred yards or so!

The parking lot we met at was near a bridge. The river, thankfully, is not as low as I thought it might be, with our drought, but it is still much lower than usual. The smoke is actually thicker than it looks in the photo. By the time we finished chatting and said our goodbyes, my throat was completely raw from the smoke.

Once I was back on the highway, I just had to pull over to get another photo. Again, the camera on my phone automatically cleans up the haze, and it was much denser in real life.

On the plus side, we got our meat order, and we’re quite happy. The individual packages were smaller than we would see in a grocery store, but we also got a larger variety of cuts. They change up the package, depending on the time of year. For the summer, they try to include things for the BBQ (though they do have a separate BBQ package, too), while in the winter, they try to include more things like stewing beef. It’s all frozen solid, so for now, we’re just thawing out the sausages and peppettes to try, first.

Around November, when they do their butchering, they’ll have half or quarter beef available. They have to figure out new pricing for this year, due to the increased costs of having to buy feed for their cattle this year, but I am hoping we’ll be able to get a quarter beef for the winter.

The Re-Farmer

Smoked out

Today, we finally have cooler temperatures! According to the hourly forecasts, we should be at about 23C/73F right now, but we’re still at only 18C/64F, which is awesome. There are still predictions of rain, all of which have been passing south of us. We desperately need rain. I’ve been reading about how it’s affecting some of our farmers. Those growing things like oats have had their crops gone crispy. Cherry producers (I didn’t even know we had a cherry industry in our province!) have had their cherries bake, right on the trees.

On top of all that is the smoke. I had to make a trip into town this morning, and it’s even worse there. There are fires on the other side of the lake, which is likely why. There are no fires near us but, today, the smoke is heavy enough to affect visibility quite a bit. I was talking to my mother on the phone a little while ago, and the smoke coming into the house was so bad, I had to excuse myself for a couple of coughing fits while talking. I’ve been able to reduce my mystery coughing fits pretty well over the last few years, but with this smoke, I’ve had more in one day than I’ve had in the last 4 years since we’ve moved here. I’ve actually reversed the fan in my window to blow the smoke out, even though I would normally be drawing the cooler air in while we’ve got it.

This adorable monster was eating our bird seed this morning. I saw one of the smaller ones out my window, heading to the bird feeder, just a little while ago. I should probably chase them away, but as long as they’re eating the seeds, they’re not eating my garden, so… I’m letting them be for now.

I’ve got the garden cam set up to try and see what has been eating our peas. The only things that got caught were a skunk and Butterscotch going by. Skunks are omnivores, so it could potentially be a skunk, but the one I saw was just passing through.

When doing the watering last night, I uncovered the beds with radishes, chard, kale and kohlrabi. This morning, I left them uncovered. We’re overcast, so they don’t need the shade, and if we do get rain, I want them to get some!

While talking to my mother about the current drought conditions, I mentioned that there are people whose wells have gone dry. I told her I thought my brother had said our well is 80 feet deep. It’s a number that’s been bothering me, but I couldn’t remember him saying anything different for this well. The old well in the pump shack (which predates my family owning this property), I remember him saying is about 110 feet. My mother, however, corrected me. She didn’t know about the old well, but she did remember that the well by the house is a little over 150 feet deep.

I suddenly feel much, much better. There is no way my brother would have been wrong about that, since he was heavily involved when all the work was being done, so I don’t know where I got that 80 feet from. Especially since I know we have a deep well pump. “Deep” is a relative statement, depending on the geography and elevation, but I know that in our area, even 80 ft would be considered pretty deep. However, if we’re loosing pressure while using two hoses at the same time (granted, one of those hoses had been running a sprinkler for an hour) at 150 ft in current conditions, at 80 ft, our well would probably be dry right now. Which is a rather alarming thought.

And so we pray for rain, for respite for our farmers and firefighters, and to clear some of that smoke out of the air!

The Re-Farmer

Smoke on the Water

I was up earlier this morning, heading out to switch the memory card on the trail cam so I could check the files before heading out. I left the critter stuff for my older daughter to do later, since I was heading for the airport after dropping off her sister.

It was less than an hour later when we headed out, and immediately noticed a dustiness to the air – except it was in all directions.

There was also the smell of smoke.

Continue reading

Another smokey day

We started to get air quality warnings for smoke, yesterday.

This time, however, the smoke isn’t coming from the fires in the west, but from fires in the east!

Driving my daughter in to work this morning, the smoke was even heavier than when it started blowing in yesterday afternoon.

I went to the lake to check it out.  The fires, from what I’ve heard, are on the far side of it.  There were pretty high winds, and even in the length of time I was there, it got noticeably smokier.

20180824.smoke.on.lake

These guys were a bit of a surprise…

20180824.ducks.on.beach

I’d seen some brownish lumps on the rocks in the distance, and could not tell what they were.  As I was taking photos, I wasn’t paying too much attention to them until I got close, and realized they were ducks!  Normally, I would never have been able to get as close as I did to them.  They were far more interested in tucking their heads out of the wind, than in me!

20180824.smoke.on.highway

This is looking to the north while stopped at an intersection.

The air was actually smokier than it appears in the photos.

The air quality warnings say it should blow over by tomorrow morning.

I would think that would depend on the state of the fires!

Normally, I would be taking advantage of the cooler weather to work outside, but my lungs are already irritated by the smoke, so it will wait.  Things are going to be a bit hectic for the next few days, as I will be driving my mother to meet a family member from Poland at the airport tonight – arrival is after midnight! – and we prepare for our own house guest that will be arriving on Monday.

These, at least, are pleasant things to deal with.  In today’s mail, I found an unpleasant thing to deal with.  A letter from legal firm of the co-op we used to live in.  They’re still trying to stiff us for the shares return the owe us, and are basically threatening us with a bill of over $20K for “damages” we supposedly did – meaning the needed renovations that were done – if we decide to sue them for the shares.

We’re talking a few hundred bucks here.  It probably cost them more to pay for the lawyer to mail us the letter, than what they’re demanding we pay them.  I wonder what the membership would think, if they knew their board was blowing money on lawyers like this?

Ugh.

Time to move on to more pleasant things.

The Re-Farmer

 

Orange haze

20180816-113303_AccuWeatherIt was almost disorienting, getting up to drive my daughter to work this morning.  Instead of the usual brightness for this time of year, it was dark.  Instead of sunshine, everything had an orange overcast to it.

The cloud of smoke from the fires on the West coast that had engulfed our former home for the past few days has finally reached us.

And yet, we weren’t getting any air quality warnings on our weather apps at all – that didn’t come in until several hours later – and it didn’t smell like smoke.

I had planned to bring my older daughter’s camera along, to take photos at the beach after dropping her sister off at work.  I decided to bring it anyhow, leaving the telephoto lens on it.  I honestly didn’t expect to get any good photos, but I did manage a few.

 

(click on the photos to see larger versions)

Everything was just this greyish orange colour.  There was no sun.  We couldn’t even see any sign of where the sun should have been.

I wanted to stay in town long enough to be able to pick up some prescription refills, so along with my usual playing of Pokemon Go, I decided to walk along the wharf and the breakwater.  The wharf ends abruptly, and then there is a gravel path along the stones of the breakwater.  While walking to the end of this section (there is a gap for the larger boats, then it continues into a cove), I had my game up.  I couldn’t help but laugh.

20180816-083905_Pokémon GO

I can walk on water! 😀

The wharf is on the game’s map, but not the breakwater.

Interestingly, the line of buoys in the lake, marking the closest boats can come to the shore, and the farthest swimmers can go out, is on the map, looking for all the world like a sidewalk, running through the lake.

2018-08-16.breakwater

The stones are naturally more of a pale yellow in colour, but not today!

After  while, I headed to a park that’s part of my gaming routine and stayed a while.  I was just getting ready to leave, when the sun made an appearance, at almost 9:30!

2018-08-16.hazy.sun

It was so hazy, I could look directly at it, comfortably.  I tried playing with the settings on the camera to try and get how orange it was, but this is the closest I could get.  The orange that you can see around the circumference is what the entire orb looked like in real life.

Though I couldn’t smell the smoke much at all – it was more than lost in the smell of yeast from the distillery – by the time I was done walking around and returned to my van, I could feel my throat and lungs starting to get irritated.  These conditions would be awful for anyone with respiratory conditions!

I pray that the rains will come and help the firefighters put out these devastating blazes.

The Re-Farmer

Smoke on the water

My daughter had a slightly later shift today, so the sun was well up by the time I got to the beach.

During the drive in, we could see the haze of smoke, everywhere.  The lake was no exception.

20180810.lake.reflections.haze

Normally, I’d be able to see at least a bit of the other side of the lake from here.  Especially when the water is so calm.

(I believe there is an advisory against going into the water right now.  The birds are pretty, but their fecal matter can result in E. coli problems.)

20180810.beach.haze

The camera on my phone automatically “clears up” images taken in fog or haze.  The trees in the distance were not actually as visible in real life as in the photo!

While walking along the beach, a splash of colour caught my attention.

20180810.beach.painted.rocks

Someone left a bit of cheer for others to enjoy. 🙂

I hung around town long enough for the post office to open, and for the postmaster to put out the mail, so I wandered over to the marina and sat by a fountain (and added a Pokemon into the gym that is there, which was controlled by my team at the time. 😀 ).

20180810.frog.fountain

It still feels weird to see the bright green frogs.  They used to be just the brass, which developed a natural patina.

I still like them.  Because they’re frogs. 😀

I headed home shortly after this and was able to stop at the post office.  Sadly, my husband’s CPAP has not come in yet.  The company could only guarantee speed of delivery within the US.  Once in Canada, they have no control over how quickly something gets delivered.  Usually, packages get processed quickly.  Much faster than envelopes, anyhow.

Usually.

The Re-Farmer