Wednesday, November 30, 2011


 "Oh shit" Dale whispered to his partner Steve, "We have company"

The smell was of rotting flesh was oozing out of the humid air, an odor that lingered in the sinus and could feel it's texture on one's tongue. Maggot flies buzzed about randomly, breaking from the path of the Walker. This was the first Walker they had encountered in several days, and unfortunately were out in the open, without a weapon ready. Complacency was easy when the numbers had seemed to lean out. It was as if the Walkers were slowly running out of fuel. With less humans to consume, it appeared that they were starving to death. Dale and Steve had happened upon lots of corpses that looked gaunt, waifish. One was still alive, but hardly had the energy to acknowledge their presence. Dale shot it in the head anyways. After all these months of shooting every Walker they could, habits were hard to break.

 The Walker, who, when she was a human, was probably a very attractive woman. She had long, blond hair. She was tall and lean, super model type. For how beautiful she might have been, now she was a horrific sight. The blond hair was missing in clumps, and it had bright, white maggots crawling through out it. She had dried blood spattered around her face and blouse, which was ripped and tattered. Her once white bra was exposed, filthy. It appeared that her right eyeball had been torn out of her skull, nothing but a black hole. Her arms and legs were bruised and cut. She walked with a shuffle, with no purpose. She didn't see Dale and Steve, they just waited for her to get closer. They were both packing sawed off barrel shotguns, 12 gauge slides. These were easier to handle and light to carry, but a rifle with a scope would be very handy in this situation. One good head shot, and its all over. If they tried to shoot at this distance, even with the slugs they were carrying, most likely the shot would miss and the noise could attract more Walkers.
Steve slowly raised his weapon so he could look down the barrel, clicked off the safety and squeezed the trigger. Dale braced for the sound. His aim was true and the sabot did its job, hitting her in the chin and mostly tearing the head off. The body fell instantly, with out so much as a twitch, blood flowing freely. The odor of the rotten blood was un-bearable. The Walkers smelled terrible, but once you spill the blood of one, the putrid odor increases ten fold. "Lets get the hell out of here," Dale said, swallowing down vomit," more will be here soon, I imagine."

 "Right, keep going. I wish we could drive right now, get the hell out of this place." Steve questioned. The road was chock block full of abandoned cars and trucks. An over-turned tractor trailer blocked the way and folks just walked away from their cars. Lots of wheels with keys, lots of gas, unfortunately, somehow, when the Apocalypse happened, anything that ran with electricity ceased to operate. Cars, airplanes, trains, everything just quit, and shit got really messed up all at once. Some say it was a comet, a sun flare, aliens, god. So many questions and the only answer was to grab a gun and watch your back. Luckily, Steve noticed an S.U.V. with a bike rack on it, with two mountain bikes.
"Good thing Jimmy isn't here, he would be screwed." Steve said, trying to lighten the mood. Dale looked at him with a puzzled look. It wasn't funny. Jimmy was Dale's best friend and his lone employee. Before the Apocalypse, Dale was a custom house builder and renovator. Steve was a plumber who Dale hire to plumb his projects. They were all hanging out the night the Apocalypse happened. Jimmy had awoken with a searing hang-over. He found out that the power was out and woke the rest of the house up. Steve had tried to go home but his truck wouldn't start. Dale's truck wouldn't start. Cell phones were dead, no lights, no heat, nothing. Jimmy had walked outside to get some fresh air, and was attacked by a Walker. Steve used a maul to kill the Walker, but Jimmy was wounded. Dale ended up having to kill his best friend when Jimmy, after a few painful hours, lashed out. Dale had a shotgun close by and ended "its" life.

To be continued......

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Summer dreams

Raft Cove Provincial Park

I must have a little of the winter blues. These dark, wet, windy, cold weeks are the hardest on the calendar. Waiting for Christmas vacation to arrive for a week off of work but having to drag myself out of the warm house for the paycheck everyday. The holidays just seem like they may never come. I love the start of the new annum. Daylight progressively staying a few more minutes each night and arriving earlier in the morning. The promise of budding trees, daffodil flowers and the smell of spring. I am a big fan of early fall with its mushroom picking and food processing, but nothing beats spring and the coming summer.

Lately all I can think about it spending days on the beach on north Vancouver Island. I am in the early stages of planning an adventure for next summer. My idea is to take a week and hike the North Coast trail. The trail follows the coast and is located in Cape Scott Provincial Park . The trail head is in Shushartie Bay, approximately an hours boat ride from Port Hardy. The route ends at San Josef Bay, and the Cape Scott trail. The route combines beach walking and upland scrambling. There are dedicated campsites and  outhouses and bear caches. The whole trip is about 60 kilometers in length.

Raft Cove sunset

Sea Stalk

San Josef Bay Cape Scott Provincial Park

I am dreaming about windswept beaches, sea stalks, tidal pools, and funky driftwood. I long to feel the warm wind or cold rain and sand in my hair. Blisters, bug bites and a hungry belly. I have never undertaken an adventure like this, with all my necessities on my back. The drive to carry on because that is the only option. Quiting is not a possibility. The mid day naps and spectacular sunsets are some of the rewards of the hard work required to complete a trip like this. A relaxing vacation? Not for me. I want to see what I am made of, have an amazing experience, beautiful photos and memories to share with the ones who are not able to participate. I look forward to sharing this experience with my readers in six or seven months time.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Merino Wool Link

I was surfing the R.E.I. website last night and I came across the best, non-biased article I have read on Merino wool. This is a fantastic look into the advantages of the fiber, down to it's cell structure. Check it out.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


So on the night of the municipal elections in B.C., I sit waiting to see the news unfold on Twitter. Courtenay has a new mayor, and two new Councillors, Comox has two new Councillors. I am un-educated on the policies of any of the newly elected. I believe that the new Courtenay council and mayor are believed to be more fiscally responsible.

I am awaiting the results of the Cumberland election, pondering something that has been on my mind for years. Here we are, a large area of Vancouver Island, with a relatively small population, having four local governments. I believe that this is a huge waste of resources. I see that it is very important that if major infrastructure projects are needed, development is going on, and planning for the future, this area needs to work under one government and look after it all. Homeless shelter, bridges, water projects(one system for the majority of the valley based off Comox Lake), sewage treatment(Cumberland and Royston tying into the existing system), traffic and transportation planning, trails and recreation, waste management, policing, fire, etc, would all be handled by one body. Permits and bylaws could be streamlined so they are the same across the board. We could cut three CAO's, three GM's, three CFO's plus the dozens of other duplicate jobs. Maybe staff levels wouldn't change to a huge degree, I don't want people to lose there lively hood, but I also can not stand the thought of wasted tax dollars. It could just be more streamlined. Each existing municipality could be a "burrough" and have representation on council based on population. The three Official Community Plans would be combined and strictly followed.

As a resident of Cumberland I am worried that we will be un-able to grow a tax base because of a water shortage. This community is not sustainable. Eventually it is going to fall apart without some major cash injections. To be able to hook into a regional water system that could be designed for the whole area and everyone pays based on number of hook-ups, would be much more affordable for this town(my opinion). As well as joining to the state of the art sewage treatment plant already in operation, that the Regional District currently maintains for Courtenay and Comox. Cumberland has the garbage dump in its boundaries, which is run by the Regoinal district as well. It is just all so confusing and resource wasting.

Of course much protest would result of this idea, bringing it to a vote might see it being turned down. It just makes sense to me. How can this Valley deal with the huge decisions with four different bodies intermingling and arguing. It is just silly to me. What do you think?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Simple Kitchen

This weekend I had a small kitchen problem. My fridge decided to start freezing everything. All the vegetables in it froze and were destroyed. My milk turned into a rock. As far as I can tell it is fine to drink. Leftover pasta, refried beans, apples, pears. All frozen. So until I can get a repair man in to fix it, I will be using an ice cooler on the deck to store my perishables. It will be like camping I guess. Except I don't have to worry about ice, since it is plenty cold enough outside. This might be nice, I will try to do without the refrigerator for a few months. In all reality, the ice box is so big for what is actually in it. Milk, cheese, some condiments, and leftovers need to be stored somewhere cold. Eggs, fruit, vegetables for the most part don't. I would always need a freezer of some kind, since I need somewhere to store fish and berries. This could be a little bit of an experiment to see if I can go until the new year without fixing the fridge. Lets see how good my will power is.

This isn't the first time that I made due with out a modern appliance in my kitchen. About a year ago, I removed my microwave. It was a large box sitting on the counter, constantly drawing electricity because I never unplugged it. The only thing it ever was used for was to melt some butter once every few months. A task that could be easily accomplished with a pot on the stove. The new found space was quickly filled with a bread maker, which like most bread maker owners, sat unused in the cupboard. It was a hassle to bring it out and put it away again when needed. Now it has a permanent home and I make my own bread on a regular basis. It is simple, fast and only contains whole foods, and no chemicals. Re-heating foods on the stove top or in the toaster oven might be a little slower(not much) but it doesn't destroy the cell structure and nutrients in the food. I know that there are arguments both ways on this topic. I just feel better not cooking my food with invisible rays.

Listen to David Heddy on the Sprocket Podcast talk about life without microwaves

I have also done with out a dishwasher. It broke down in the summer. I hadn't been using it much anyways so it was an easy decision to pitch it in the dump. I was never thrilled with the performance of the machine. It was always growing black moldy stuff on the inside. That was disgusting. So now the hole in the cabinets is used to store my Bradley smoker, and much more fun and rewarding appliance. And my dishes are always clean and haven't been exposed to nasty bits. I have also taken away my coffee maker. Since discovering the supreme taste of French pressed coffee, the electric machine was given away on Freecycle. I grind my own organic, fair trade beans and enjoy making a cup every morning.

These changes has slowed me down in the kitchen. I think more about how many dishes I use in a day. Almost every night the dishes are washed and put away. My kitchen is more tidy and organized than before. This is all training to live simpler and with less modern convenience, so one day the transition to a rustic living arrangement will be easier.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


On the eve of the 93rd anniversary of Armistice Day that ended the Great war, I have been thinking about how the world has changed and wondering what my Great Grandfather would think of what is happening these days. He served bravely in Europe, fighting in the trenches along the Western Front, battling the German army and stopping them from advancing further into France. Dressed in a heavy wool over coat, wearing a tin helmet, armed with a bolt action rifle that was prone to jamming and only had a ten shot clip. Rats were infesting the trenches, feeding on the gore that was present. The men were up to there knee is piss, blood and water for days on end, always waiting for the call to go over the top. Dodging barbed wire, machine gun fire and mortars they would try to scramble just a little closer to the German line. One inch at a time. Artillery shell craters would make for decent cover unless another shell hit the same place. I just can not imagine the terror, horror and paranoia that the men felt in that campaign that lasted for four years. The noise, the smells, the lack of sleep and food. Living on cigarettes and the random ration that would make its way to the front line. To say these men were brave in such an understatement.

My Grandfather also served, in World War 2. He spent four years over seas. He signed up to go and fight. It was the right thing to do. It was the duty of every Canadian man who was physically able to go over seas and do their part. These men had honor. They had respect for their country. The freedom of the world was at stake and the fear of the Nazis conquering Europe and Britain brought these men to leave their family and go to an unknown land, with the thought that they would never come home. My Grandpa is my hero. I am so proud that he served over seas for so long, and was able to come back, have a career and raise a family. The emotional damage that was not diagnosed back in those days must have been crippling at times. And might still be.

What would my Great Grandfather would think of our democracy now. How his sacrifice has been taken for granted and forgotten. In my opinion, democracy today gives us the right to vote. But does it do any good? It seems as though the corporations control the government. The wants of these corporations take precedent over the needs of the people who vote. We get taxed so hard and we have such little say in what actually happens in the decision making of the government. Have the corporations become the corrupt governments that started these wars. What will happen when the people have no food, no shelter, no money, no hope. Hitler built up the National Socialist Party and the prosperity of the German economy after the country was decimated following World War 1. The people believed him and all his policies because they were poor, and he gave them hope. Brainwashing, maybe, but could something happen like this again. Times are tough. Could Fascism return? These are questions I cannot answer, but I am curious.

Would my Great Grandfather be embarrassed with how lazy and overweight our society has become. How about the individualism and the shrinking community. He would have thought it absolutely asinine to sit in a car in a traffic jam, to spend time in a gym, riding a stationary bike, then drive thru a restaurant to buy dinner, before going home and sitting in front of the T.V. Where did it go wrong? I feel like we are being sedated with consumerism, junk food, and reality television shows, so we don't see the secrets going on behind closed doors. Media controlled by whom ever owns the paper or website. Where are our freedoms? I am rambling on, but I think you get the point. Millions have died so we can have the freedoms that we have and we are wasting it, and thinking our lives are so terrible. I would NEVER, EVER want to give up my life I have here to go stand in shit and blood for months on end. My life is so great. Thank you Poppa and Grandpa. You are my hero's.

I encourage everyone to bring their children to a Remembrance ceremony tomorrow. This holiday must not go by the wayside. The soldiers must never be forgotten, Ever. It is the only holiday we have that has any real meaning, there is no commercial value. And it should stay that way for time eternal.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Island on the Edge

I had the privilege of being a guest at the most recent North Vancouver Island Chefs Association meeting this past Monday. My friend Jon, who is the Vice President of the Association, had informed me of this film and I was keen on seeing it. He soon informed me that the film would be shown at the meeting and I was welcome to participate in the viewing.


If you are unaware of this film, I will give a little synopsis. The premise is what would happen if boat traffic and airplanes were some how unable to bring food supplies on to Vancouver Island for any length of time. The film maker, Nick Veersteg of Duncan B.C., takes us on a journey around the island. He visits many farms, markets and chefs to discuss the challenges of food security for Vancouver Island. The movie is written by by Don Genova a west coast journalist who specializes in food and travel writing. Genova also narrates the film.

In the film it was stated by one interviewee who is a produce manager in the head office with a Vancouver Island based grocer, that Vancouver Island would run out of fresh food with in five or six days. This shocked many of the viewers in attendance. On an island that seems to have so much agriculture, it only produced approximately 10 percent of the food needed annually that is consumed by residents and visitors.

I saw many of the same kinds of things I have watched in other films related on the subject for food security and agro business making decisions on what we eat. I enjoyed that the film was based on Vancouver Island, and to see that challenges and positive changes that are present in food production locally. I would say the biggest hurdle facing Island farmers, and would be farmers is the high demand and price for real estate. Having land for food production close to the major centers is where is would have the greatest impact and these places are where the land is most cost prohibitive. Often, families who already have marketable farmland are losing it when the elders decided to retire and the younger generations decided to sell to developers for large sums. We are losing almost 900 acres of A.L.R. every year.

The government needs to insure that we still have land to grow food on. Golf courses don't count as farm land. I am sorry, it just doesn't cut it. This Island has such a perfect climate for growing food, to only produce one tenth of what we actually need is shameful. I encourage everyone to plant some kind of a garden at home. Even if it is just a pot with a couple tomato plants in it. Share with your children how important it is to buy local food and support that farmers. Their generation is going to be the one who has to deal with the end of cheap oil and the end of cheap food.

 If you get a chance to watch this film, do so. I look forward to the next film by Versteeg, called "Food Security, It's in your hands" And it is......

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

One EVIL word

It has been quite a few years now since I started thinking about a little word that has such a huge meaning. It is mean, evil, unnecessary, and negative. This word, I don't even like to type it, is HATE. I believe there is no word in the English language that has such a strong context. It is four letters, two vowels, two constants that evoke images of cross burning, segregation, ghetto's, concentration camps, white robes, and military marches.

I have tried really hard to stop my daughter from using this despicable word. How many of the youth that have committed suicide been told that someone H$%TS them? How many women and children who are assaulted by there spouse or parent told that I H$%T you? Can we prevent some violence, depression, and encourage compassion by just stopping saying a little four letter word. There are many four letter words that are supposedly worst to say in public, I agree they have their place, but this one is used freely around children, and grandparents.

Lets get this word out of the regular vocabulary. It should only be used to describe how Hitler felt about the Jews, Early Americans felt about the Natives, and other religious or raced based wars and genocide. There are other words that can be used to describe dis-like. I do it, why can't you?