Sunday, July 26, 2015

Another season in the burn zone

The clearing created by an old fire twenty years ago, whose half-burned logs somehow kept out the trembling aspen and most other colonizers, is nearly gone now. A 2012 brushfire ignited by an out-of-control bonfire mostly finished the job. I liked this clearing. We saw a lost pair of moose there once. And I used to photograph a colony of pixie cups and other slow-growing teeny-tiny lichens on a log halfway in. I also liked it because it was noticeably different than the forest that surrounded it.

I've been photographing the clearing as it recovers from the fire, so I can keep track of how it's changed.

Yesterday, it was full of tall grasses and aspen seedlings and cattails.

Weedy tea

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The top photo is young Bee Balm, which apparently adds a bergamot flavour to tea. Though I mostly just appreciate their vivid and ragged purple. It "is common in moist open woods, along roadsides and in moist prairies."

The second is the flowering spikes of Common Burdock, which is often found growing "along river banks, disturbed habitats, roadsides, vacant lots, and fields." The young roots and purple/green stems can apparently be eaten and the leaves used to wrap food you want to cook in the coals of a fire, but mostly it's considered an invasive weed. The young plants are often mistaken for rhubarb, whose leaves are poisonous and whose red/green stems are delicious.


A wonderful lump

All photos Assiniboine Forest, Winnipeg, MB. July 24, 2015.
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I'm fairly certain that this mushroom is not a typical specimen. It looks more like a cancerous growth than a mushroom...

Which was sort of a theme for this hot buggy walk, which was flanked by garish lobster mushrooms (again, more like a tumour than anything else...) and featured moquitoes attempting every inch of exposed/covered skin. Which is to say: my hairline, the skin between my fingers, my shoulders, the backs of my knees.

I left the forest wearing a paste composed of sweat, mosquito spray, and sunscreen. My t-shirted shoulders and the legs of my shorts were festooned in mosquito carcasses and a few daubs of blood.

All of which sounds gross but it was glorious, even if the swarms of mosquitoes prevented me from taking very many photos.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

In Conversation: GMB Chomichuk

Winnipeg Free Press—PRINT EDITION

Friday, July 24, 2015

Talking Wild

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If you're in/around Rolla (or Dawson), BC, this looks like it will be a nifty event!

It will feature Art Napoleon, Melanie Siebert, Gillian Wigmore and me and will be at poet/Writing on the Ridge organizer Donna Kane's house.

Sunday, July 19, 2015


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So M, in his tradition of quietly supporting the people around him, has been scanning a selection of the girl's drawings and uploading them to his page on the Society 6 website.

Which means that you can get the girl's drawings of "Turtle on a Lemon" or "bob the Postman" on t-shirts and cushions and, well, shower curtains. If you want.

She's quietly thrilled.

And, also, wants to know when she gets her cut...

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Reprint: Write out of Wolseley

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So I was interviewed a few weeks ago by Meg Crane for The Leaf, whose slogan is "Serving Winnipeg's Wolseley Neighbourhood."

We met at the Neighbourhood Cafe, where I slurped on loose-leaf tea while chatting with Meg about Stowaways and the Manitoba Book Awards.

My thanks to Meg & the Leaf!

Friday, July 10, 2015

five books + an egg cup

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Some of the MB authored/published books I chatted with Dahlia Kurtz about July 9 on CJOB 680:

The Significance of Moths by Shirley Camia (Turnstone Press)
Lessons from a Nude Man by Donna Besel (Hagios Press)
Infinitum by GMB Chomichuk (Chizine Publications)
Betty: The Helen Betty Osborne Story by David Alexander Robertson & Scott Henderson (Portage & Main Press)
City Beautiful by Randy Turner (Winnipeg Free Press)

Or, put another way, two graphic novels, one non-fiction book, one book of short stories, and one collection of poetry.

This segment is part of a monthly books column I'm doing, which so far is great fun. The most surprising thing is that two eight-minute segments = a half hour of radio. Or that sixteen minutes would go by so quickly...

(The egg cup was painted by the girl at one of those ceramic-painting places.)