Sep 8, 2013

Home visits, good friends, whales, weddings and more...

 It's been a tough thing to stay updated with the blog being in the area I've been in. Like most things once you get out of the habit of doing them it's tough to get back into it even if the circumstances change. There have been many occasions where I have sat around thinking about posting...but I just haven't spent the time to do so because uploading pictures on an incredibly weak hotspot is about the most painful thing you could ever do. So spoiled am I that a connection even like the one I'm on now seems unreal and somehow...wrong. I was in heaven back in Calgary on my brothers connection and was sure I would have put something up there...surprise!! haha

 Anyway, summer has been pretty carefree and fun for me. The lobster season was over the end of June. I managed to rock a 90 day facial...thing.
yeah sometimes a photo crop is a good idea...90 days...yes, 90 days
The season was heaven compared to fall even with the shitty weather we had. Afterwards I spent a few weeks helping the Captain prep the boat and prepare for his wedding. Wedding was very cool with Ron (his dad whom I have nicknamed the Legend) cooking up 120 lobsters

while I took the helm on deep frying some turkeys. Everything came off without a hitch and everyone had a great time. If there is one thing that this circle I have met up with does a lot of, drink a lot. Drink a shit-load actually. One guy, drank a bladder bursting 36 bud light limes. ***

 Camera pans to the side - "I was having a delightful conversation with someone about beer and the amount they drank. I made a small joke about bud light lime, which I happen to believe is one of the grossest liquids known to mankind. She responded by telling me that I was wrong and that after a few regular beers a bud light lime was, and she searched for the word, a palette cleanser. So....yeah, welcome to Charlotte County!" :)


 I managed to score a ride on the Jack and Jill tour that the Captain arranged for his friends. It was nice to be invited out and even though I was there as a crew hand he still included me in with his circle of friends and I had a great time. He asked me a question while we were in St Andrews about what the craziest experience of the trip has been. I didn't really want to respond with, "Surviving a propane explosion" again, that was crazy but trust me folks, I'm done with it!! And I really didn't respond, but I did think about it afterwards and the craziest thing has been starting over, new place, no base and just an idea of a life that I think I might be able to live. That is proving to be an inner challenge like none other I have faced before and I am thankful to have fallen into this circle who supports me here as I lay a root down.

 Also just to rub it in on my friend Skinny (my sisters best friend) who has lived in Victoria for a long time and hasn't been gifted by a whale sighting. We managed to slide right into a pod of porpoises and then suddenly the surface broke close to the boat to watch a small whale circle us. Not sure of the kind but it swam around up for a few minutes and then made it's way back into the larger waters of the bay.  So whoo hoo Skinny...east coast west coast whale sightings with no planning!! ;)

 After the wedding I jumped on a jet and headed home for a visit. 2 weeks wasn't enough and my dad called it even before I got there. At first it seemed like I had forever, that was the unwinding phase and then suddenly I was out of time and missed visiting with quite a few people. It's not that I couldn't have but really I wanted to relax, I hadn't realized how busy I had been since April 5 when the spring season started (for me). 90 days of fishing will wipe a man out!! So I missed visiting with the girl who drops sassy emails, my second mom (Free Palestine!!), The Commander (the original), too many people to mention from the college and many more. But those I did visit with, man did that feel good, The Killer, Lipps, rez-o-matic (who got married while I was there to the fabulous D, congrats again you two) and crew, Muscles, the Contessa, Strutter and her giant, Satay and the punk, lunch with a handful of awesome ladies from BVC, TK (who was instrumental in my finding some ground out here to stand on while I figured out if I was going to make a go of it, can't thank him enough for the time he was here), the amazing smokey voiced JP (who should smoke less so we can visit more, just saying). And it was especially awesome to get a surprise visit from the fabulous NJL(E) who I didn't expect to see at all.

Jim's girl(we'll get her a nickname eventually), Muscle, Rez-o-matic, NJL(E), me, Lipps, The Killer
 The familia though is what it was all about. Seeing my mom and getting that initial hug, that stuff is priceless. To have that familiar surrounding, to feel that comfort. That rejuvenates a man like a mineral hot spring. Some home cooked meals, some endless laughs, comfy chairs and pure relaxation, no guard, no stress...home. And of course it wasn't enough. Squeezing my dads thick shoulders while saying good bye at the airport gate, feeling my moms warm embrace and hearing her words. Slapping five with my brother and having his gigantor frame squeeze me...good stuff.

 Chilling with the bro, Jim Johnson, was awesome. His lady is great and we all had a lot of laughs. He's got custody of Mondo. Together with his kitty Lucky they keep his place buzzing. And speaking of buzzing, after the silence of Seeleys Cove rd, the noise of Barlow and Glenmore...enough to make a man think about what life might be like if you had a large disintegration laser. :)
Mondo and his new eating spot. Lucky is a pig but she's too much of a sausage to climb up here

 And the magic feather, the one that completed the circle, the Shorty (my kid sis). She drove up with her man (no nickname for him other than...Kirk), they stopped in Victoria and picked up Skinny and came for a few days. There are hugs that you can let go because they are close by and available but it was tough enough when she was 1600km away to see her she's now 5400km away from me...I wanted that one to last awhile. ;) Love you punk!

 There was a heavy spot to the visit...the flood of 2013. Holy smokes did the little footage I saw do zero justice to the extent of the damage. From the million dollar disasters in Roxboro and other communities to the totally devastated areas of High River the damage was mind boggling. The amount of money being pumped into every corner effected is staggering and to have gotten the Stampede back on track (which aside from the cowgirls I am very happy to have missed)...well the price tag for that might choke Warren Buffett. However the cool stories of recovery and community are a good balance to the heartbreak. I had heard that thousands of people after being told by the city that they had already filled their volunteer roster, drove into affected areas and just started helping home owners remove the debris. Folks some houses were shoulder deep in the garage, some higher, imagine the basements...the streets were littered with garbage bins and beside them waiting to be thrown in were entire ventilation systems, piles of insulation, drywall, and then there were the personal belongs, covered in mud, stacked in boxes, who knows what family treasures, once in a lifetime photos, documents...all gone, buried in a layer of silt and mud after soaking in the waters of the Bow for days on end. From the industrial pumps in the Hamptons to the small city being built along highway one for those unable to return was sensory overload and a truly devastating event for Alberta.
cleared out so much land under the tracks that in some areas it even took the ties and twisted the steel

This is going to be a regular site in High River for awhile

Industrial pumps at the Hamptons...when all 7 were going they could fill a swimming pool in minutes

So much money being talked about in insurance claims. This rig is toast and must be at least $300k to replace

waterline in the Hamptons...say goodbye basements and first floors. For the first time I'd wish I was in an apartment on a high floor whether the power shut down or not.

Everything inside lost

spotted a long way away from a campsite...

 Departing was tough...wicked wicked tough. I didn't think it would be but I was visiting with the cat, who hasn't forgotten me so that was awesome, we were having a cuddle and suddenly I was producing enough water from my face to cause a flood of my own. Damn had I missed him. From being a skinny little stray on my back stoop to being the lounge king that he is today, a nose rub from him can cure a cancerous frown any day.

 And then...I was back. The ocean, the sun, out of the traffic, the concrete, the expensive city transit and stupid traffic, the box stores and malls, the world that I don't want anymore. The road I'm staying on only has about 60 houses on it and its a couple kilomteres long. There are maybe 30 cars a day that go up and down the road. A hamlet...awesome. And there was, repeat was, a chunk of land in the hamlet I was interested in...but it's been bought as far as I I continue to search for something to live on that I can call mine.
Afternoon at the beach? don't mind if I do ;)

 I took part in an annual tradition...harvesting blueberries. I traded the scallop trip for time on the tractor harvesting berries for a guy the Captain has known for a very long time. It was a funky gig, I had never driven a tractor before and working all the hydraulics was fun and educational. And let me tell you, blueberries are big big business out here. We pulled up something like 20000lbs for the man and it wasn't as good as last year wasn't even all that much land (about 80acres). I got to work with Felix again in the beginning but he had to jump ship and get some things ready for his wedding which happens pretty quick. Nemo jumped on since he was no longer scalloping and we finished it up in good time. You rake by hand you get paid by the pound, you harvest you get paid by the the hour. Either or the blueberry slave masters are getting a nice share after they sell them for $0.60lb. The guy we were working for was awesome though, an old salt with a garage filled with toys and memories. He's 70 and still killing it in the field every day. Had a heart issue a few years ago and dropped dead. When he hit they hospital they found calcium build ups indicating that his heart had been slowly clogging up since birth. Now that he's corrected I saw the dude out in the field throwing huge rocks clear of the harvester head, sweating, panting. I'm riding on the back of this tractor going slower than walking speed thinking, don't drop, don't drop ;)
The beast!!

Pretty neat process. From here (there is a small fan under the conveyer) they are taken to a large processing plant where an even bigger fan is used, then they are shipped to Nova Scotia for further processing and then shipped around the world to your stomachs!


You'd think is wasn't busy on the back...most of the time you'd be right but every now and then you hit a patch that get's you moving crates pretty quick

Got my farmer on..rope belt and all

 That pretty much brings us up to speed. I'm currently staying at the Sharks house in Sussex while working as a videographer for a hunting team. It's about the weirdest thing I've ever done. Educational, yes. Ethically challenging, yes. Could I be a hunter, yes. Would I hunt like this, no. I am privileged though that the Legend and the Captain thought enough of me to invite me into this thing they have going. I won't plug their team on my blog or anything so you never have to worry about seeing a picture of a downed animal, I believe in ruffling feathers but not by showing those who don't dig it ruffled feathers. I will however be showing my own kills in the future as I document a shift from commercial meat purchasing to being responsible for at least a portion of the meat that I consume. I think it would be very different if you were faced with the idea that your meat comes from your conscious decision to kill a live animal instead of buying one dead and portioned on a styrofoam plate.

The crew I'm taping (ps...let's not all make a big deal out of me having zero experience for something like this) Left to right - Scout, The Captain, The Commander(The Legend), The Negotiator. (photo cropped for the faint of heart)
 And now the hard part...finding a stable place for the winter so I can get a hot shower after the brutal days that lay ahead. I'm buying a clamming license very soon and hopefully going to attend dive training before the end of oct. The idea of relying only on the boat for income is worrying and having a few methods to make it work just makes sense. I may have to sell some gold to make it work damn it...damn it!!

 Thats all for now folks!    


  1. Dammit Bri!! You lucky whale man!! There have been orcas hanging out in the inner harbour this week, but I've only gotten to see pics. It was great to see you!!
    Skinny :)

  2. Brian
    Small world it is indeed those blueberries that were shipped to Nova Scotia did they go to Oxford NS? I worked at Oxford Frozen Foods during blueberry season back in 1995.Hey listen up on October 19th there is an Oktoberfest party in St George and we are going down,we'll be vanning it.It will be one sh!t hot good time.

  3. Brian
    The party on October 19th has been cancelled.


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