I have worked here since 2011 telling stories of the Earth as preparation for a history of the Intermontane Grasslands of Central Cascadia and the rainswept coast that keeps them windy and dry. Now I am presenting this history, step by step, as I have learned it, often from the land itself. The history of this region includes the Canadian colonial space “The Okanagan Valley”, which lies over the land I live in above Canim Bay. The story stretches deep into the American West, into the US Civil War, the War of 1812, and the Louisiana Purchase, as well into the history of the Columbia District of the Hudson’s Bay Company. In all, the story spans the Chilcotin and Columbia volcanic plateaus and the basins that surround them. In this vast watershed lie homelands as old as 13,200 years (Sequim) and 16,200 years (Salmon River.) That’s how far we are walking together here, who are all the land speaking.
It seems they aren’t too good at camouflage when man-made materials are around. I had one robin make a nest of shredded paper–white streams hanging from its nest on beam in the barn. Another used blue plastic baler twine. Another used the strips from a lumber tarp.
(By the way, in other regions where they live, crested flycatchers use shed garter snake skins for their nests. I saw that when I was a kid. How do they find enough? I don’t know. But my brother in Wisconsin says now they use plastic bags.)
Garter snake skins! Now, that’s pretty cool.