High summer on Loon Lake, as families gather to beat the summer heat

Gardens are bursting, and the lake is buzzing, but it's not all fun and games at the Lake.

July began with a small but vibrant Canada Day parade and celebration that any rural community could be proud of. Even the sun came out to join the celebration. Many thanks go to the McMaster family at the Dabblin Duck’n Bed and Breakfast for organizing the day’s events. Canadian flags, jerseys, and innovative clothing in red and white looked great against the green Loon Lake backdrop.

The following week we were all reminded of the power of natural forces when a small wildfire started up on the plateau north of Loon Lake. Fortunately, the Wildfire Management Branch staff was on top of it quickly and got it under control within a short period.

During that time, however, the sky seemed full, with small planes and then the big planes with retardant coming in low to drop their load. These were followed later by the helicopters bringing up water. A lot of effort went into dealing with the fire, and it was an impressive response.

It is high summer, with full houses at Loon Lake this month, as families gather from all around. There are many families who have had their summer homes at Loon Lake since the late 1950s, and now the fourth generation are spending summer holidays here. These are serious family ties with Loon Lake, and the associated investment, and interest in the future of our area, will help it continue to be a good place to live.

Summer fun focuses on the lake and watery activities. The many hot days this month have meant that the lake has been a refuge from the heat. Some concerns have been raised about the problems created for nesting shorebirds by the wash from the larger and more powerful boats when they speed down the lake. Loon Lake is a very narrow lake, and high speeds down the middle of it still bring quite a wash to shore.

While relaxing, having fun, and no worries are part of the reason for spending the summer at Loon Lake, we need to ensure that the natural setting and its inhabitants continue in a healthy condition, so that Loon Lake will continue to be valued as a home by future generations. What would a Loon Lake summer day be without the call of the loon?

When so many people are living so close together a lot of fun happens, but there are also a few minor conflicts. A few inconsiderate individuals setting off loud fireworks at 11:30 at night in a closely-built residential area are among the irritants.

Surely any thoughtful person who wants to set off fireworks would inform their neighbours that they intended to do so. This would allow those affected to take care of their pets, which are frightened by such loud noises.

In the garden, I have proudly harvested my first ripe tomato. This is a very early date for tomatoes from my garden. The cool June meant that spinach and chard have done really well, so lots of spinach and ricotta gnocchi was made and put away for the winter.

Strawberries, raspberries, and cherries are now at their peak, and the annual race against the birds has begun. I love to watch the western tanagers, but not when they are in my cherry tree. Blackcurrants are still ripening, and I can hardly wait for their lovely distinctive odour to fill the house as I make Crème de Cassis, syrups, and jams. I think it is such a delicious and healthy fruit, and is so easy to grow. Why buy more exotic stuff brought in from faraway places?

Haying season is well underway on the ranches, with the first crop now in and irrigation systems working to grow the next crop while the sun shines. Summer, to me, is always associated with the scent of fresh-mown hay, especially alfalfa and clover.

Despite all the rain in June, the water level in Loon Creek at the mouth of Loon Lake remained alarmingly low; so low that large fish could not swim in it without their backs above the water. Then, on July 20, it rose a couple of feet in a few hours, although there was no rain, and it was a full clear sunny day. The next day the water level was down again in the morning, and then by noon it was rising once more.

Since then the water levels in the creek have been up and down like a yo-yo. This manipulation of the water level by someone cannot be good for the young hatching fish. Residents living along the creek should be informed of any intention of either stopping the water flow or increasing it so quickly.

Since writing here in June I have been contacted by several Loon Lake Road residents regarding noxious weeds in their yards, chiefly the yellow flowered Dalmatian toadflax. I can also see that there are still some very well-established stands of spotted knapweed along the roadside.

There is a program to help private property owners who have problems with these weeds. A biological control (insects) is made available free of charge from the Southern Interior Weed Management Committee (SIWMC), which can be contacted at 162 Oriole Rd.,  Kamloops, BC V2C 4N7, email info@siwmc.ca (or visit the website at www.siwmc.ca ), phone (250) 851-1699.

Happy summer, and Happy BC Day, everyone.