Friday, June 22, 2018

The Ukulele – a catalyst for engineering and climate changing fun.

The Coquihalla Highway hums every now and then in the distan... …aargghhhHHHHHh NO! It’s another damn mosquito. It’s not the Coquihalla at all. It is, instead, the #1 Mosquito TransCanada Highway that seems to have its final destination in our bedroom.

Take a ticket mozzies, there's a queue
The romantic lives of the gratefully hospitalitalised ukulele teacher. (Hospitalitalised? That’s the right word? No? Where people generously give you hospitality whilst you are on the road? Diminishing your costs and increasing your friendship networks?).

We are at (WHACK!) peace by Lac Le Jeune for a cuppla days, the bedroom (THWACK!) views are exquisite, the piles of food veritably (THUMP) cornucopian. We don’t know where the (OOMPH!) bastards are (BANG!) coming from but they continue un (OOMPH!) a (F&*^%&^&%G) bated (BASTARDS!) with the glorious dawn (that started at 3:30am in our south facing bedroom).

Dawn starts at 3:30am - here is a... 
....series of photos at different times...
But we aren’t the only ones blessed with this bounty of gnat sized bird food. The pine trees here were blessed some 10-15 years ago with the warm temperatures of climate change. The pine beetle needs (or more correctly doesn’t need!) beetle killing temperatures of -40deg Fahrenheit for a full week to keep them in check. Those winter temperatures are long gone, thanks to my home town and the unfilled coal-mining voids of the Hunter Valley. One year the beetles came in great armageddon-like proportions and wiped out vast swathes of pine forest across British Columbia. Whole forests just gone.

which are directly out of our bedroom window
Pine beetle remnants
Speaking of -40degF. This house is built on two concrete slabs, each one heated in winter hydronically from the lake. That means that, when the lake is frozen over, water from beneath the ice is what they call ‘warm’. This ‘warm’ water is pumped into the house then warmed further by compression (whatever that means, something like how an air conditioner works). Now at 90degF it keeps the house (via the slabs) warmer than the -40degF outside. They had it turned off during May because of the
Packing, drying, leaving, sad face...
‘unseasonable heat wave’, but turned it back on last weekend because an Arctic Front returned to snow on the area. Ye old circumpolar vortex (the winds that generally keep the really cold stuff up at the North Pole) is a tad sick at the moment, swinging more wildly as the arctic warms more quickly than the rest of the planet. Hence, last winter, iguanas were falling frozen out of trees in Florida -  that’s never happened before.
Portable head mozzie nets - happy face!

How do I know all this climate and house engineering type stuff? Because Dal, the Fahrenheit-speaking husband of our host, is a retired mining engineer, his wife is a ukulele nut, and that’s how we came to be here. And so the ukulele brings us more interesting experiences each day.

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