From Loon Lake Road – November brings community closer together

Barbara Hendricks' monthly column of community news and events in Loon Lake.

Quick change of seasons

November is one of my favourite months because every day can be so different from the day before.

The valley frequently takes on the appearance of a very different country. In early November the leaves were turning but still hanging on many of the fruit trees, the grass was green and the chrysanthemums were blooming as in late summer. One week later came frost and then rain; leaves and plants turned brown and gave up for the year. The following week brought snow, turning everything into a brilliant landscape of white on white; even the fences were highlighted with lines of snow which sparkled in the sunlight.

No November dullness here and no need to travel to see a different place.

What will the weather bring?

In November we often talk about forecasts and predictions for the coming winter. Many long time residents have their own signs and omens for severe winter weather approaching such as horses with long, shaggy coats, extra berries on the mountain ash, more owls coming down from the north for the winter, a corona around the moon in November and so forth.

I checked with the Farmer’s Almanac which is well known for its weather forecasts; the Almanac forecasts that our winter this year will be milder and drier than normal, and they predict that weather in BC at Christmas will be stormy, especially along the coast.

The full moon this week is named by the Almanac to be the “Frosty” Moon, also known as the “Full Beaver” Moon, so called because this is a busy time for beavers as they make the final preparations for winter.

The weather at Loon Lake has never been easy to forecast but I can tell you with good certainty that we will have periods of relatively mild weather followed by periods of cold and there will be periods of snow and fog offset by periods of sunshine and clear night skies. I hope you enjoy whatever it is that winter weather brings our way.

Accept what you can’t change

While we can’t do much about changing the weather we can do something about preparing for it.

When I was growing up here in the 1950’s, all the children looked forward to those big snow storms that dumped great quantities of snow as it meant a holiday from school. We also welcomed cold weather as there was no school bus running if the thermostat registered minus 30 or lower.

Early settlers here were, like the beaver, very busy in November getting in supplies for the winter – firewood, extra fuel, kerosene, root vegetables all set away in the cellar, bacon, hams and sausages hung in the cold room and some meat hanging in a shed. Flour, cereals, coffee, sugar, beans and so forth were stocked in larger quantities.

My mother and other farm women also liked to have a good supply of rendered bear fat for making pastry. Loon Lake Road had no BC Hydro service yet, which meant no deep freezers but everyone had pantries with many jars of home preserved vegetables and fruits as well as meats. Every farm had a milk cow or two and some chickens so supplies of fresh milk, butter and eggs were assured but chicken feed and mash for the cows and other farm animals had to be hauled in and stored.

As a result of these preparations, two or even three weeks of bad weather with poor roads didn’t really affect people much. Of course a good team of horses and a sleigh could get along on snowy roads that a car could not. Some residents had generators that they would run for a few hours in the evening for light and to listen to the radio.

Evening entertainment was playing cards and board games, reading and telling stories, sometimes even signing songs. Sometimes a craft session would occupy all of us – I remember once a spool knitting bug hit us and we would all sit around evening after evening under the kerosene lamp knitting those long tubes. Television wasn’t missed because we had never had it and we enjoyed listening to the radio, including the radio dramas.

Today many residents of Loon Lake take it for granted that they can just drive out and get what they want when they want – and usually they can as the road is well maintained during the winter. They count on the TV to keep up with their favourite shows each week.

However I do think that the wise resident would set in supplies of necessary provisions for a minimum of two week so if the unpredictable happens there is no need to panic or worry, just sit back and enjoy the lake as usual, maybe even pulling out an old board game or two. Chess anyone?

Prepare for the worst

The earthquake on the west coast followed by the hurricane in the east brings the focus on emergency preparedness and ability to communicate to residents about emergency situations.

Two weeks after Hurricane Sandy, some residents of New York City were still without power. Should a major emergency happen in BC with widespread power loss, Loon Lake Road would be very, very low on the priority list for repairs so we should be prepared for a long wait. As many homes here are on water wells and rely on well pumps for water for cooking, washing and flushing, a good store of water is also a good idea unless you live right near a place to get water with a bucket.

November travellers

November has been a very sociable month for visits and visitors as outdoor work and recreation slows down. Some more residents have closed up their homes for the winter and headed for other locations for the winter. There appears to be an increase in the number of full time permanent residents and those who come back frequently during the winter for snow and ice recreation.

Late migrating birds are also enjoying the open waters on the lake, including the swans which are always wonderful to watch. So far this season the bird population on my patch consists of the usual chickadees, siskins, jays, and nuthatches. This year there are three Stellar’s Jays at the feeder and I always enjoy the antics of these sociable birds that are quick to remind me each morning to put out their food.

Barbara Hendricks

Just Posted

Ashcroft hospital emergency closed sign, 2016. Photo credit: Barbara Roden
Ashcroft Hospital emergency department closed this weekend

Closure due to unexpected limited physician availabiliy, says Interior Health

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

Heidi Roy of the Cariboo Jade Shop in Cache Creek with the 3,000 jade boulder, which is now on secure display inside the shop. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Massive jade boulder returns to Cache Creek store six months after daring heist

The 3,000-pound boulder was stolen on Dec. 19, 2020 and found abandoned in the bush a week later

Dr. Albert de Villiers, chief medical health officer for the Interior Health Authority. (Contributed)
Child sex crimes charges against Interior’s top doc won’t impact pandemic response: Dix

Dr. Albert de Villiers is charged with sexual assault and sexual interference

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Most Read