Sunday, 27 December 2015


Yes, it is that time of year.

It's -20°C (which is fresh), but it feels like -29C (which is starting to get a bit cool, but nothing serious). It's not until about -60C that we start worrying about anything. As long as we've got bacon, maple syrup, and each other, well be just fine!

As I've said before (I think), there are three things you can do about that kind of weather.
1. You can leave.
2. You can die (which, I suppose, is another way to leave).
3. You can get accustomed to it. Which is what we decided to do a long time ago, so we're still here. Hard to believe we've been living in the west for 45 years. 

Normally, no self-respecting 
Bear would still be up at this time of year. Normally, a Bear would be "out of it" by now. But I have a very good reason for still being up.

The latest Star Wars movie (number VII) has arrived in time for Christmas season. Our son and his family, including the
kids, had decided we would all go to see it, together. (Well not all of us; J is not interested in the least, and daughter M really isn't drawn to this sort of move. They are such romantics.)
So, off we go into a new adventure, sometime after supper. We've already got our tickets, so we're set that way. And to get ready for the big event, we've watched adventures I to VI of Star Wars over the last three days. 

Who, us? Die-hard "Warriors"? What would make you think that?

So, movie tonight, followed by the start of hibernation. The world looks just so beautiful, thought it is a bit cloudy (as you can see from the pictures). But to tell you the truth, I'm really over-tired. So by time I'm into my den, I'll be gone in about two breaths. Hopefully, seeing you in the spring. (BTW, mother Fox left the place in excellent shape after she raised her Kits over the summer; I'll just move in and fall asleep.)

So many things have happened this year. Most of them bad. So I'll not review them. We changed government here in Canada; by spring, when I come out, we'll know if things have actually changed, or if we've simply gone from tweedle-dum to tweedle-dee. I have this feeling, you see, but I don't want to prejudice the potential events. 

I am happy to report that we're all doing well. Except for M, whose SUV was hit in the back end and crunched into a light pole at the front. Total write-off. And she wasn't finished paying for it. NOT a good way to end the year. It was parked by the curb in front of her house. It was about 3:30 a.m. a few days ago. By time she heard the noise, woke up, and figured out what had happened, she saw somebody running away. Anyhow, the police came, etc., etc. Clearly, not her fault.

We're a bit late getting to year end greetings, but Merry Christmas, Happy Hunakkh, Joyous Yuletide, Happy Kwanza, and a delightful New Year. Oh, and for Seinfeld fans, Happy Festivus. I think I've got things covered. If I've forgotten your celebration, I'm sorry, and I hope you enjoyed it. (At this time of year, my brain is pretty foggy, so I don't remember all the things I should. In fact, I don't remember much at all.) 

So, blessings and Bear hugs! See you in the spring.

Today's Weather Report

I'm reliably informed that it will be -14C this afternoon, and -13C overnight, with a chance of some flow snurries (to add to our whiteness). Tomorrow — is another day. 

Thursday, 1 October 2015


your worst fears about Bear have not come true. I have not been shot and turned into a Bear rug. (I may be a bit rugged, but not that kind of rugged.) I have not been taken off to jail for what I've been writing on Facebook. (That's been a bit of a fear, with the new security law that our Conservative government has imposed on our nation. Even more "interesting" than the Patriot Act in the US.) 

However, I have been, um, well, busy.

1. We managed through the heat and tiredness of the summer. I'm finding that I get very tired many days. But now that I've turned 70, I'm not as young as I used to feel. So I was draggy over the summer.

2. There were a lot of forest fires in the early summer.  They were generally hundreds of miles away. But we felt the effect. The government moved hundreds, eventually thousands, of people into River City from threatened areas. And we were nearly smoked out of our homes.

Normally, we can look along 19th street (above) and see key downtown buildings. But not this day — when everything disappeared into a smoky grey cloud. It was so thick you could taste it this day. And I almost resorted to wearing a mask because the smoke was hard on my lungs. 

3. We were finding it harder and harder to keep up the house. J in particular, on the inside; me, on the outside. 

4. J was supposed to have additional surgery this summer. Doctors ran into trouble almost immediately, repaired the problem they created, and quit while they were ahead. (Or was it behind?) So, it may be close to Christmas when she has the planned surgery. 

5. We rented a suite in a condo to help J post-surgery. That was, of course, before the surgery — or non-surgery. Anyhow, it's really nice.

6. After considering numbers 3 and 4we decided to sell the house. I put it on Kijiji one day, and sold it the next. Yup, the next day! It was bought by a young couple with two small kids — mom had grown up in the area and knew the kind of house she wanted, and which streets and blocks would be best. She sold it to her husband and father; I didn't have to do much except encourage them to sign the forms from our lawyer. (Why bother with real estate fees when you and your lawyer can do the work?)

7. So good-bye to the house,

and hello to apartment living, right downtown,

among the trees. (It's actually a condo, but a number of the suites were bought as rental properties, and we got one of those. Normally the condo units sell for about half a million dollars; we are definitely not that rich!)

And that's enough for one report. I hope to be back within a week to share more interesting information with you. 

Blessing and Bear hugs, everyone! 

Today's Weather Report
It's very foggy outside, and 10°C (or 50F). Things are supposed to clear up, and hit 18C (about 65F) this afternoon. Tonight — about 8C with "variable cloudiness." Definitely fall weather. "Winter is coming," as they say on the Game of Thrones.

Monday, 29 June 2015


Contrary to what you might be thinking, Bear has not died and gone to . . . well, wherever. Bear has just been a bit overwhelmed.

You may recall from an earlier post that we had snow at the end of April. It came, and it went, fortunately. Or unfortunately.

Now it's so dry, one farmer told me he actually saw two trees fighting over a dog. Your Bear is a bit suspicious about that, but I wasn't there when it happened, and it's not entirely out of the realm of possibility. 

Yesterday, the temperature was 45°C on one of our thermometers. If you keep track of the world in degrees F, that's about 112. Yup; 112°F. (No, I didn't try cooking an egg on the sidewalk; the sidewalk is dirty enough it would have been a waste of an egg.) And, of course, I'm wearing my fur coat, which is permanently attached to me. Any of you wear fur coats in the summer? You're probably too smart for that. 

This is far less than ideal farming weather. Basically, super hot + dry, dry = no crop. And since we live in the breadbasket of Canada, that is a bit of a food challenge. Now, reduced production here or there is survivable. But when broad swaths of the land are in the same condition, this does become something of a challenge. 

The good news is that "It ain't over til it's over" — as Yogi famously said. But this is the time when the grain heads should be filling out, so. . . .

In other news, the family survived its trip to the west, but not so wet, coast. Wally and I survived keeping each other company. Our professional football team lost its opening game yesterday, and our star quarterback — who may be out for the rest of the season! (To which Bear said "GGGGRRRRRRrrr.")

Other thing get a GGGRRRr?

1. I keep watching the run-up to next year's Presidential election in the US. Being a Canadian, I don't get to vote in the American election. But it is interesting to watch what the Republicans are doing. The head of our government (the Prime Minister) is an American-thinking Canadian. (Some people are using the word "fascist" to describe him!) His rise to power, we now know, happened with the help of the CIA and an Republican party offshoot. (We have the documents demonstrating this.) And the Canadian take on the US Republican Presidential hopefuls (about 15 at last count), is, well, not enthusiastic. (That is an understatement.)  Bernie Sanders is the only person I consider to be a reasonable candidate in either party.

 Elizabeth Warren would be great, too, but she wants to keep on being a Senator. Which is also good. She asks excellent questions.

2. With all the hot and dry weather, forest fires are becoming a huge problem. In River City, we're several hundred miles (or kilometres) south of the fires, but we're getting the smoke. Of course, it's a bit smokier up north. This fire is perhaps a hundred miles north of River City.

Simon Bird photo

3. Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its report on (white) Canadian relations with our indigenous peoples — First Nations, Metis, and Inuit. Predictably it revealed a major mess — with the word "genocide" being used. 

The Commission offered almost a hundred recommendations for improving indigenous-settler relations.

The federal government received the report with a yawn. It has no plans to change its destructive plans for indigenous people. Assimilation is the government goal. As in "getting the indian out of the Indian." As you might imagine, this government plan is not going over very well with a lot of people, indigenous and others. 

And that's some of what's happening these days. I'm trying really hard not to turn into an extremely grumpy Bear, but sometimes it is tough. Very tough.

Blessings and Bear hugs, folks!

Today's Weather Report
Mainly sunny today with a high of 30°C (86F). (I have a graveside service [mini-funeral] to do at a cemetery out on the prairie — that will be "interesting.") Down to about 17C tonight (about 65F) — which won't cool things much. There's a 30 per cent chance of a five-minute rain shower. All in all, drier than your Bear's sense of humour.

Sunday, 26 April 2015


We are in the season called "Spring." I checked the calendar to make sure. Today is the 26th of April, which is definitely after the 21st. Of March.

But we Bears don't need calendars to know what time of year it is. Usually. 

But yesterday wasn't "usually."

Yup. It snowed!

It showed yesterday, and even overnight. This morning, when I ventured out of the house, it was pretty tough slogging. And messy.


Adding to yesterday's excitement, an old friend came to be a house guest.

Yes, that's Wally. 

For those of you who don't know Wally, he is our daughter-in-law's dog. If A has to work late at the university, I get to take him for a walk, somewhere around supper time. (Our son's family is only two blocks from our place, so walking Wally is no big deal.) Since he and I are already good friends, why shouldn't Wally come and stay with me?

You see, A is going to be away for a while at meetings, in a nice place. So she is taking her whole family along. And J (my wife) is going, too! 

Since a trip to a "far country" would require much more energy that I have, I get to stay home with Wally. And look after two houses. But don't worry about me. I can still split my own fire wood and shovel (at least part of) our sidewalks. (Yes, we did light a fire yesterday, when the electricity was off because of the storm.)

Anyhow, Wally does one of several predictable things. He follows me around the house when I'm moving. He'll rest on the floor of my study while I'm working there — sometimes. Or he rests in his kennel.

Or he sleeps in his kennel.

Or he sleeps on the kitchen floor when I'm eating.

From all that sleeping and resting, you'd think he is a really laid-back dog. And generally he is. However, when I take him for a walk, sometimes Wally sees a cat (or something like that). For Wally, who is a sighthound, cat = prey, and he wants to chase it. In the process, he can drag me all over the place if I'm not careful. He is fast and he is very strong. He would think nothing of chasing and killing a Fox or a Coyote. All in a day's life for a sighthound. For me, not so much. In fact, not at all.

Anyhow, for the next week and a half Wally and I will be sharing this house. And I'm sure we will get along just fine. Unless he decides to chase one of the birds in our back yard. That is just not on! It will bring out the Bear in me! And that will be another matter, entirely, because Wally isn't built to handle Bears.

So, in the meantime, friends, blessings and Bear hugs. As always!

Today's Weather Report

It's 2°C and overcast right now. It is supposed to be -4C overnight with a light wind. Tomorrow's anticipated high is  12C — enough to melt most of the remaining snow. Tuesday's expected high is 17; Wednesday's, 23, with a 10% chance of rain. All this white stuff was just an atmospheric "blip." But I hope the storm didn't kill too many calves — spring storms have a nasty habit of doing that. 

Friday, 10 April 2015


Well, looks like an interesting assortment of livestock around here this year. Several Black-capped Chickadees. A couple of American Robins and a couple of Cedar Waxwings. All very delightful. (Plus a few House Sparrows and Rock Doves — aka Pigeons.) Maybe we'll have a nest or two in the yard, or nearby. But I hope not pigeons on the roof — they wake J far too early!

I finally got down to the river, which is virtually ice-free. Spring seems to be coming along.

Most interesting: some of the ice has been pushed up on the rocks. I've never seen anything like this before.

Strange crystalline shapes and blocks. Fascinating!

Through much of the winter, I struggled around with a very bad back. I even had to use my third leg (the wooden one). I am thrilled to say that things are much better now! Time to celebrate!

And apropos of perhaps absolutely nothing, a picture I came across. On Facebook (where else?).

Hmmmm. Different ways with words intrigue me.

Many of you have left very kind notes, in relation to my prior post. I'll make a point of replying to them next week.

Blessings and Bear hugs, friends!

Today's Weather Report
So: 5C tonight, 8C tomorrow morning. Tomorrow's high is supposed to be 18C. (For easy conversion, 20C = 68F). We're expecting a clear night, with lots of sunshine and a few clouds tomorrow. That is wonderful! 

Maybe I'll get to play in the garden tomorrow. 

Sunday, 5 April 2015


Grwlf .


Er, ah, . . . scratch, scratch.



Oooh. Ahhh. 

Sunlight in my den!

(That's what it feels like when a Bear comes out of hibernation. Just wanted you to understand that important reality.)

Let's have a better look. Stick my snout out the den's door.

Snow is almost gone! 

Lots of sunshine.

Air is cool, but it smells good. 

OK: let's see if there is anything left over from the winter. Even a snack. Perhaps some dry grass or leaves, even (though they don't taste very good). Maybe a dead bird or coyote.

Things look kinda familiar. There's the fountain (too cold for water, yet), but I see some leaves on the ground. There's the place where the birds nested last year.

Sniff! Sniff! Sniff! Sniff! Sniff! 

Smells like there has been a fire here, recently. Must check that more closely.

I also need to get down towards the river, too. Though I doubt there will be any fish, yet.

The start of another year. Seems pretty good, so far. But I'll admit I haven't done much.

Blessings and Bear hugs till next time (and even after that)!

Today's Weather Report
Let's see: -8C overnight, feels like -14. Tomorrow's high is supposed to be 3, but it's going to feel like -1. OK, so when you're cool, you're cool. 

Oh? Do I still need to give you temperatures in Fahrenheit? Or have you discovered you've "got an app for that" — as in translating Celsius to Fahrenheit? If not, I can still do the conversions for you. (For example: it will be 18F tonight, going up to 37F tomorrow.) But if you don't ask, you're on your own for this "atmospheric conversion." (Oh, big words bother me!)

Saturday, 14 February 2015


Hello, Friends:

I rolled over in my den, and got a sharp poke in the side.

It was a "GGGRRRrrr?" moment. 

Turned out it was just a pebble in my bed — far more annoying that I would have thought. But no damage of any sort. (If you're a Human, and have had cracker crumbs in your bed, you'll understand the situation.)

I went to stick out my snout, and check the world, since I was awake. Bashed my nose into a wall. It was a "GGGGRRRr" moment. My nose hurt! (Like Queen Victoria, I was "not amused.")

In my lack of amusement, I swatted where I thought the entrance to my den should be. (Only a gentle swat for me, though it probably would have knocked over a Human.)

Suddenly, a blast of cold air! Fresh air at that. (That's when I noticed things had been getting a bit stuffy in my bedroom.)

Still, though, only Bearly able to get my snout out. Really couldn't see much of anything. Or smell much of anything. 

Took a few moments to adjust my eyes to the light, and realized everything was covered with snow. Even the entrance to my den had been snowed in. 

That's a lot of snow! 

Obviously, there wasn't going to be a mid-winter snack out there. Well, no matter; I'm really not hungry. Just a bit sleepy.

Right, then; back to bed. See you in the spring!

Blessings and Bear hugs, everyone!

Today's Weather Report
Snow. Chilly. (As in -23C, that feels like -31. In American terms, that's -9F feeling like -24.)  OK; some might call that cold. 
That's today and tonight. Tomorrow . . . is another day.

(P.S.: This is Rob, slipping in on the end of Bear's post. Things are OK here, despite the snow. But that's not entirely true everywhere up north. J was talking to her brother, who lives in New Brunswick, Canada. That's Maine-ly a little north and east of New England, USA. There is a tonne of snow (actually many tonnes) down there, and they are slated to get a lot more. Afterwards we saw pictures — the snow beside one guy's walk was piled as high as his shoulders, on both sides. No, that's NOT an exaggeration. 
But, yes, we're OK; hope you are, too!)

Saturday, 17 January 2015


(Since this didn't work the first time, I'm doing it again.)

It's sunny and 5°C (close to 40F) in the land of the Bear. Hardly a cloud in the sky. Perfect, warm day to be outside cavorting in the sun! (Cavorting; what's that?) Of course, I'm wearing a fur coat, so your experience may be different from mine.

I somehow felt like rousing when the warm sun hit my shoulders. So I stuck out my snout, and the rest of my body followed. Naturally. I can hear some birds singing, and a squirrel is chattering away. All good.

There's a bit of a crust on the snow under my paws, so I take it we've been through a few freeze-thaw cycles. 

No major news to report. But, then, I've been out of the news cycle for a while. Somebody could have declared World War 3, and I wouldn't know about it. (I hope nobody has done that!) It seems to be a normal winter. 

So I think I'll crawl back into the den.

One thought before I go. The fur coat belongs on the Bear . . .

not on the floor. We Bears are pretty attached to our fur coats. I don't know what I would do without mine!

I'm guessing it is 2015 by now, so I hope you have a great new year (well, as new as it is). 

Well, back to hibernating. See you in the spring. Or sooner. Or later. 

Blessings and Bear hugs, everyone!

Today's Weather Report
It's supposed to be -12C overnight, and partly cloudy. Tomorrow is supposed to mostly cloudy, with a high of -1. No sign of snow. Good hibernating weather.