April 29th, 2007: Cool today; it got down to about -1° last night and windy today. The morning was pleasant because the sun was out, but later on it was definitely jacket weather.
I went with Jenny and Doreen to Archerwill to see Revoy’s Family Greenhouse. The girls picked out a few plants (we’re not buying anything; we just want to check it out!) and I went for the free coffee and donuts, some good visiting, and some photos. I hadn’t been there before but was made very welcome. They have a nice coffee area for us botanically challenged types to have a visit while waiting for our wives. On the way home, we went to Darmokid’s Barrier Lake Greenhouse for a few more plants. Tracy Darmokid and Vivian Revoy both reported a very busy and satisfactory weekend.
On the way back we spotted a pair of sandhill cranes on a hilltop, so stopped and grabbed a few photos before they went out of sight over the hill.
Coffee Row gets back in action (some uncharitable types might say inaction!) this coming week. The Beach Café will open up again on May 3rd, next Thursday, so life will get back to what passes for normal around here. Connie and Gary will be right back into the swing of things, too; they are putting on their first Smorg of the season on Sunday, May 6th.
Sucker fishing has been going on for a couple of weeks. I took a walk down the hiking trail to the golf course bridge and saw a couple of groups fishing. None of them had had any luck; one man said he was told that a couple of days ago, the fish were almost piling up.
You have to really hunt to find any snow around here – not that anyone is looking too hard.
Even along the highways to Porcupine Plain and Kelvington there is just a little in the ditches here and there. Our melt was very painless, unlike at Fishing Lake where everything is flooded. It hasn’t been as bad as expected north-east of here either; I guess that good thaw in March followed by a cold spell got rid of much of the water.
Our roads are showing signs of spring – they are bubbling up all over the place. Lake Avenue was bladed down to gravel last fall, hopefully for re-paving this spring. Nothing has been done with the road bed, though, so new pavement will just bubble up again next wet spring.
A huge rift opened in the lake ice, starting at the mouth of the marina and heading east-north-east. It would likely have reached Uskatik by now, but a high west wind came up yesterday and blew the ice towards Uskatik. It was all open by the beach and Marina to just east of our place; then the wind changed and blew the ice back south, opening up another rift across the narrows and throwing up ridges where the sheets of ice clashed. This morning, there were many ridges and rifts and the ice looked very rotten. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the ice was gone by tomorrow morning.
The lake has gone down a little from its peak but it is still mighty high. The floating dock at the marina must be at least two feet above the fixed dock, which is completely under water.
The creek is still running hard, but not a raging torrent like a week or so ago.
I am sorry to report that Shirley Johnston has died, after a long battle with cancer. Her husband, Don, was stationed with the RCMP in Kelvington in the early ‘70s; after his retirement from the force, they moved to Lintlaw where they ran a honey bee operation until just a few years ago, when they moved to Saskatoon. Both Shirley and Don were very active in whatever community they lived in. Coincidentally, Don and I went to school together in Winnipeg in the early ‘40s. I talked to Don last night, and he said he might take a tour around this area in the next couple of weeks. I hope we get a chance to visit with him.
Sam Olson was Park Superintendent here when Johnstons were in Kelvington; the two families did a lot of visiting back and forth, and were quite close. Don told me that Sam and Barb have been tremendous in their support during Shirley’s illness.
Visitors to the Park will see a lot of felled trees, particularly in Hilltop Campground. Unfortunately, our lovely white poplars get very dangerous once they get much bigger than about six inches in diameter; they develop rotten spots and could break off anywhere from the ground to twenty feet up. Every once in awhile, the Park maintenance crew has to do a culling operation for the safety of Park users. Harold Fletcher once told me: “If you see a fungus growing on a healthy-looking tree, you can be sure it is rotten for five feet below and five feet above the fungus.” The crew has a month to clean up before the tourist season really gets started, and by mid-summer you won’t even see the scars.
Brian Shuya said the problem is poplar borers getting into the bark and killing the tree. In such as case, the root dies and there are no more suckers, so the poplar forest dies out. If the over-mature trees are culled out and the infected parts burnt, the borers are less likely to get into the young growth. An occasional forest fire would help kill off the borers, and also the moose ticks, but of course that can’t be allowed to happen.