Partial cover of the 1996 Two Thompsons Farmer's Almanac.

VALLEY VOICES from the past: Excerpts from a 1996 Farmer’s Almanac

The Two Thompsons 1996 Farmer’s Almanac contained trivia, lore, advice and short stories

The following are excerpts from the 1996 Two Thompsons Farmer’s Almanac”a compendium of good advice, woods lore, short stories, historical trivia and a wealth of argument enders.” The booklet was free for readers. It was recently found in the Clearwater Times archives.

When you’ve only got a minute

Have to waste bits of time all day, but always finding yourself with “only a minute or two” between bigger events and scheduled appointments? Consider this:

– In five minutes, you can: make an appointment; file your nails; water houseplants; make out a list; sew on a button

– In ten minutes, you can: write a short letter or note; pick out a birthday card; re-pot a plant; hand wash some clothes; straighten up your desk top; exercise


What’s the name for that?

A Simpcw glossary of North Thompson place names

The following were provided to the Star/Journal by North Thompson Indian Band’s Dodie Eustache. Simpcw (Shuswap) place names are names of what the area looked like, or what event took place there or sometimes there is a story about the area. Some of the place names are not readily translated.

In Secwepemctsin or Shuswap language, the letters that represent sounds are the same as the way English is pronounced, except for the following sounds:

c – when making the ‘k’ sound, instead of letting your tongue touch the top of your mouth, blow the sound through

x – when making the ‘q’ sound, instead of letting your tongue touch the top of your mouth, blow the sound through

w – you mouth should be rounded

ll – when saying “please,” stop at the “l” and blow air through the sides of your tongue

ts – same as “ch”

’ – on a sound means that sound is an ejective or when you say the letter you should feel a puff of air coming out

7 – when you start to say “help,” stop the sound in your throat

Below are some place names in English and in Secwepemctsin. Keep in mind the pronunciation for the letters mentioned above.

North Thompson River: Simpcwetkwe (See-mp-cw-et-Kwe)

Chu Chua: Clluclluctswec (Clu-clue-chwe-cw) “creek running through it”

Former village south of main village: Tseqwtseqwelq (Ceck-check-kwelk) “red willow”

McLure: Kwellputmes (Kwel-poot-mes) “coming out from under the bush”

Louis Creek: St’exwem (Stlex-wum)

Barriere: Styelltsucw (Styel-tsoo-cw)

Skull Hill: Quwmequn (kow-m-ken) “skull”

Name of creek and area (also school): Neqwyqwelsten (Ne-kwek-well-sten) “where main village is”

Mt. Ole: Tsimuteen (cheed-moot-cen)

Little Fort Reserve: Yehelsten (Yah-hell-sten)

Saskum Mountain: Sesq’em (Sask-em)

Finn Creek: Pesqlelten (Pes-k-lel-ten) “has salmon in it”

Raft River Flats, old battle ground: Tsqelentwewcten (Ch-kel-ent-wec-ten) “where they fight”

Raft River camping area: Ctswen (C-ch-wen) “to dry fish”

Raft River: Ctswenetkwe (C-ch-wen-et-Kwe)

Vavenby: Spelmaxtsk (Spell-max-chek) “prairie”

Hill North of Vavenby: Snine7ellcw (Snee-na-el-cw) “owl’s nest”

Battle Mountain: Kelentem (Kelen-tim) “we chase him”

Hill between Birch Island and Vavenby: Cllkwet’usten (C-l-kwetl-oo-sten) “look out”

Blue River: Toqtiqkew (Talk-teek-kwe) “muddy water”

Wells Gray in winter

Wells Gray Park in winter means snow. From as early as late December to as late as mid-April, there is snow to be found in the park.

And there’s something for almost everyone in Wells Gray in winter. Something for the skier, something for the photographer, the naturalist, something for the sight-seer.

Take cross-country skiing, for instance. Every level of difficulty is available. The Blackwater Trail provides some thrilling skiing for the intermediate and the skilled. The Pyramid Viewpoint Trail will challenge even the expert skier. And for the beginner, an easy undulating run to the Majerus Farm along the Murtle River can be nowhere matched for the beauty of its scenery.

On one of the coldest winter days, we bundled up, waxed for cold snow and set out for the Farm. Hoar frost glistened on every blade of grass and on each tree needle. The birches and poplars stood silvery white against an azure sky. As the day progressed, huge crystals of frost began to drop from the trees. In places they lay thick on the trail as though a crystalline snowstorm had preceded us.

Single suncatchers hung on lichen threads and threw rays of sunshine out way. And as the showers of hoar fell around us, they too reflected the sunlight in a thousand directions.

A perfect day for skiing, it was also inviting us to try yet once again for that perfect winter picture. The Park is a paradise for the winter photographer. The Murtle River running black between banks of icy white. At high elevations the trees completely draped with snow. Winter light. Winter skies. Skiers. Animals. Animal tracks.

We saw that the moose had been wandering back and forth on the river ice on the north bank of the Murtle River. Weasel, marten, squirrel and rodent tracks drew our attention. Here and there a grouse had wandered among the shrubs, looking for buds and berries. At one point we watched an animal crossing the road, carrying something in its mouth. The red fox calmly ran past us, from its mouth dangled a dead pine marten!

Wells Gray Park is often referred to as the Waterfall Park. But there are many who don’t know that the waterfalls are at their most dramatic in winter. Dawson Falls, like a giant cake, clothed in white and glistening frosting. Third Canyon Falls, its water held in a giant blue icicle between rocky cliffs. And of course, Helmcken Falls with its dramatic winter ice cone, a steel gray sheet of winter water plummeting into it from the icy lip of the falls.

It’s true that Wells Gray Park in winter is mostly known as a great place for skiing. But it’s far more than that if you have a sharp eye, a curious bent and carry a camera or binoculars. Skier, photography, naturalist, sight-seer. There’s something for almost everyone in winter Wells Gray.

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