Friends, January 9, 2018
We kicked off the new year at a potluck dinner party with some very friendly neighbors who live across the street, and we had a very good time. Dave and Shirley hosted the event. They have one house in Canada about 30 minutes north in Langley, B.C. and also own a house in our area. He gave me some real poop on Canada. They pay much more for gas and milk than the prices here due to taxes and economic policies, and that’s why we see so many Canadian license plates at the ice cream stores. He also said their health care system was expensive and very slow. Surprised me as I thought Canada had it better than us, but it’s not so. That’s why they have two houses, I suspect. We had a light snow storm two weeks ago leaving about two inches of white beauty on the dark green evergreen branches – a forest of Christmas trees. But the roads stayed clear, and we got to enjoy the storm without any problems. Winter here is high 40’s in the daytime…high 30’s at night. But we have high humidity and no wind. Rain can stay for a few days but is so light that we enjoy it and use our hoodies to get around. Lots of wildlife in our backyard now. And we feed them. There are two big bags of nuts, corn, birdseed and sunflower seeds next to the sliding back door. All for feeding the birds and three black squirrels who wait up in the trees every morning for Leslie to throw out a handful of food and whistle “lunch is served.” The three stooges get the message and clear off the goodies on the patio in an hour. It’s strange how we are living again in an area noted for the survival of huge white birds that were once endangered. In Corpus Christi, we saw whopping cranes return to the marshes there rebuilding their numbers. Here we read in the paper that thousands of trumpeter swans are returning to the fields in this county and south of us. Hunters nearly wiped them out in the early 1900s. Now they number in the thousands in Skagit County, just south of us, where they are wintering. These swans have a seven-foot wingspan and are nearly 4 feet tall when standing. We saw two them fly across the road directly in front of our car on our last outing. Pure white, huge and with long necks and powerful bodies, they looked like two B -52s flying in formation with their strong wings keeping a steady pace. Way out in the field, we could see 15-20 more swans in a big group feeding. This was on one of those fabulous days when the sea fog was thick, hanging over the fields and forests like a gray blanket. It was so quiet and peaceful; we felt like we were the only ones on the road that day as we drove past dairy farms, pastures, blueberry fields which are all red now. The blueberry vines turn almost scarlet in color after they drop their leaves – it’s a strange sight. Also strange to me is that out in the middle of nowhere we run across a big fire station nestled into the trees. They do fire stations right here as most are new and designed to fit into the environment with the right colors and design. And we have the radio on to the Canadian stations. For news, I tune in the CBC station out of Vancouver. And for fun, we listen to the French language station also in Vancouver. We don’t know any French but love hearing them cluck on. And I love the music they play. I can’t categorize the songs as they vary from sweet middle of the road love songs, we think, to rap. Most of the music is delightful and like nothing you’ve heard before. The French rap will make you lose your mind. So then we switch off to one of their country stations, and they rock – no sad ballads or crying and dying tunes – cowboys here boogie to the beat. A Solar Eclipse and New Moon highlight the Skywatch in February. Read ahead and make some plans. As times change.