We are bilingual in Canada, or so the theory goes. I don’t claim to be, at least not in our two official languages. However, I do remember a few words from my elementary school days, or what my mother affectionately calls my ‘cereal box french’: ‘l’eau’ for water, ‘fenetre’ for window, ‘Ouvre la fenetre’ (Open the window), and ‘un bois de l’eau s’il vous plais’ (a glass of water if you please). (I’m certain I don’t remember the correct spelling, so please bear with me while I prove the exception to the theory.)
Today, the view from my ‘fenetre’ is less than appealing, thanks to the amount of l’eau I see in every direction: it has been raining since June. OK, so that is a bit of an overstatement, but only just. It has, in all honesty, rained for most of October, all of November and, apart from a short ‘breather’ of about half a day, all of December as well. Add to this misery the fact that 0ur ‘daylight hours’ stretch all the way from 8 am to 4 pm; although, unlike most of the valley, we have two ‘cuts’ in the southern mountain range which afford us half an hour of sun a day, when the sun is not shining, it matters not.
If I had one (and I probably should, being Canadian and all), I could almost canoe from the front porch to the animals pens. If it weren’t for the trenches I dug between the house and the garden (where the pink gates are and to the left), beyond the garden and before the new chicken barn, and between the chicken barn and the turkey pen, a canoe would be the only way to get around our property now.
It is weather fit only for ducks. The goats refuse to leave the barn in the morning on days like this. When I try to shoo them out, there is a plaintive chorus of: “N-o-o-o…I-i-i-t-t’s a-a-a-a-a-a-a g-0-0-0-0 ba-a-a-ack to b-ed day!” as I open their door and shove them out into the paddock. I have spent most of November digging trenches around the property to try to funnel the water away from the animal–and our–housing. I have also spent a lot of time wheel-barrowing gravel and sawdust around the property in an attempt to raise the ground level and gain decent footing. This kind of rain wreaks havoc with our soft land, turning it from spongy grassland into a mucky, slippery mess.
Usually the chickens brave the weather. Unlike the goats, the chickens are amazingly hearty and not much keeps them down. However, today there were very few to be found in the paddock and around the place. Instead, I found the bulk of them huddling quietly in their barn keeping dry. I guess they heard and took the goats’ advice; I know I’d like to go back to bed and not face this weather.
It is dark at the best of times this time of year in Bella Coola, but on days like this it is overwhelmingly dismal. The narrow east-west valley makes days like this seem like it is early evening from the time you get up till the time you retire. We have several sky-lights in our home so it is not often during the day that I have to turn on lights, but these days are the exception to the rule; I have on nearly every light we own, inside and out!
I try to see the positive side. Our Christmas lights look so cheery against the gloom, hung up on the barn and in the cherry trees. And a sudden drop in temperature would rid me of all this slush… but… here’s hoping it doesn’t freeze overnight and leave me with a skating rink rather than water-front property tomorrow morning.