Makes you stop and think
The Kootenay Rockies are drier and warmer than Lake Louise and the National Parks across the middle of British Columbia. I was able to enjoy lovely weather, not real hot, but just georgous sunny days with a hint of fall in them. Hot in the afternoon, and cool in the morning and evenings.
Having a high school friend living in Johnsons Landing, a tiny community at the end of the road, opened doors for me and I was able to get to know people there and in Kaslo with great enjoyment.
The house that Osa Built at Johnsons Landing, end of the road on the east side of Kootenay Lake
Also at Johnsons Landing, the house that Paul and Osa built for them selves and Lara, pictured here with the wonderful pit fired banister post in the form of a snail. Lara says that Paul and Osa had fun picking out trees for the bannisters and posts for the house.
Mandys’ garden. Christopher sunk the posts (trees) 42 inches into the gravel and dirt so they would be solid. And he did this by hand! This garden is down by the lake.
I found Betty Tillotson’s name in my W5 womenwelcomewomenworldwide.com membership booklet and gave her a call. She graciously agreed to a visit from me. Betty lives on a land share in Argenta, a town of 75 households at the top of Kootenay Lake and on a gravel road that ends 6 miles later in Johnsons Landing. In calling her, I found a warm and interested woman. We found many things to talk about, travel, the land share, the Smallholder, (a local publicationput out by volunteers, but mainly Betty), and the glorious garden from which we had dinner.
Kale in Betty’s garden in Argenta
I met Rowena who was chasing the neighbor’s goats out of her garden. She had a bear try to climb the fence to her chicken coup a few nights before, a small bear who climbed the plum tree and left scratch marks up the bark breaking small branches.
We examined and photographed the cedar bug.
I learned that they come down the mountian and crawl into little places, namely under the shingles and boards of houses where the pilated woodpeckers who have poweful pecking abiltities, drive people nuts with their pecking are going after the cedar bugs.
Betty’s wonderful old farmhouse
Rowena is an artist of many types of media.
Rowena built her house to be a mobile one, well, sort of, at least moveable. Also a green as possible. This mobility part turned out to be a very good thing since the land she had built on was sold and she had to move her house, in fact 2-3 times. finally, she has settled into Betty’s land co-op and although they did not put her on the lease since it costs 750. to record a new lease, she has written agreements that she can stay until she dies. Betty’s 5 children are on the lease and I imagine the land will stay in the family for a very long time.
These meetings gave insights to the local people that would otherwise be unavailable to me. Betty and I took to each other right off, and talked nonstop. Rowena was beyond lovely, and I got to see her chicken coop that took up half the garden, and rotated sides annually using the chicken poop from the year before to fertilize next years garden. I stayed for supper and slept in the van beside Betty’s wonderful old farmhouse.
bettys house pic
Betty started this land share in the 1980s, and raised 4 kids without a husband. At 82, she continues to stack her 4 cords of winter firewood. The land share members work in the garden Tuesday mornings, then have lunch under the trees. It is beautiful there with the lake below and the mountains above. It gave me pause, to re-evaluate my life and ways. I was drawn, and yet, I am a city woman with a strong pull to nature.
All in all, it was a beautiful experience, bringing me back to the times that I been involved in making pots, crafts, and country stuff. The subjects of the day were the bear getting into the chicken coop or breaking branches in the plum tree, taking a shared truck to the dump, and putting up enough cords of firewood for the winter, picking corn from the garden, and the huge influx of cedar bugs (stink bugs) that were coming down from the mountains this year.
The drinking water was glacier melt from the surrounding mountains served up by homemade water systems. Most were on the grid as far as electric and phone, but the mail, the garbage, were all ‘you pick up’, and computers were not in every home. There were some with computers, but the internet was from satelite or the local phone company. The word on the street is that the microwave is bad for you, chlorine in the water is bad for you, and live lightly on the land is the code of ethics.
We ate out of the garden, we planted and weeded, turned earth, and even in town, we tended the gardens, Took walks in the woods along the river.
Kaslo River runs into Kootenay Lake, in Kaslo, BC
Beatrice and her dog Chester
Mountain Ash and a stormy sky that brought big fat drops of sun showers on our walk. We also saw bright orange bear scat on the trail!
We took the canoe in the incredible Lake Kootenay.
Beatrice borrowed her son, Noah’s canoe for us. We tied it on top of her car, and brought it down to the lake for a special afternoon of paddling across Kootenay Lake to see the petroglyphs.
Other side of Lake Kootenay from the canoe
Incredible views from the canoe
The small town of Kaslo where I spent about a week, had two healthfood stores, fast wireless, and a butcher that carried all manner of meat, sausage, cheese, even frozen seafood delicacies. All you might want and more.
Kaslo, BC, Main Street
The town is a summer resort town that shrinks to a small permanent population with stores open limited hours in winter.
Townside municiple Campground at the end of main street on the lake. Many townsites and villages in British Columbia have lovely little municiple campgrounds in town. I stayed in one in Nelson also.
The only thing missing (from eve’s point of view) was a good fresh coffee roastery. There are many transplants from the states who own summer homes, and many who go south for the winter. For those who stay, winter is a time for visiting, sewing, cooking, getting together for watercolor painting sessions, the occasional video and popcorn night, and generally doing the things there is no time for in summer. The building and garden fences were spectacular and those with building skills were in demand.
Beach at the bottom of Main Street
Lots of people put their money into real estate, rather than the stock market. I think this town is ripe for a monetary system like fourthcornerexchange. As it is, folks exchange garden produce all summer, and put up fruits for the winter whether it is from their garden or someone elses. A huge box of pears went for $10. at the Gas Station, brought in by someone who had a pear tree or two.
The main point here is that this is a chosen lifestyle, very much chosen. These people have choices. They come from all over, Forida, Switzerland, Portland, OR. they know what is out there, and they choose to live here wtih just as many amenities as they decide to include in their lives. Some use more than others, and some do without more than others.
These people are living out their principles, if they can’t do it all alone, they team up, they take in WOOFERS, or make do. They have a strong communtiy. Included is a Quaker community, but just as many are not Quaker. Lifestyles to think about. What parts to incorporate into our own lives. A chance to re-evaluate our ideas of what is important and make choices of our own.
Kootenay Lake, isn’t it specatacular!
Lake Gulls not sea gulls
The watcher looks out over the lake
Someone is still working on the Watcher, he has developed a hat or hairdo
On my way to Nelson, the “big” town an hour away and on the way to the border into Idaho, the Kokonee (say CO kenee) Provincial Park has the oldest and longest fish ladder for the Kokonee who are landlocked salmon who turn bright red when they are ready to spawn and migrate from lake to river to spawn.
I actually caught on jumping, flying up the fish ladder! It is hard work, and you see many try and fail and go back to the side to rest before attempting again.