morning walkies

IMG_6899-walkies

Everyone’s out and about early.

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Herring are running

DSC_2527-sealions
By the time we got there the sea lions had gorged and were mostly just hanging out airing their armpits. 
DSC_2530-sealion
A couple did come close by shore to check out Our Dog. Our Dog barked. Sure told THEM.

Weather

path through snow

We’ve had rather a lot of it, haven’t we? Today it’s raining and the snow is super-saturated and heavy (this is the Voice of Experience speaking, as I went out and shovelled) and it’s altogether miserable and nasty. And yes, I know that it will melt, but it WILL MELT A LOT FASTER if one shovels. Continue reading “Weather”

A walk in the wet

boots in water

It’s been raining quite a bit recently, which means that sometimes rubber boots are better for hiking than anything else, at least on some trails. And as we’d had some particularly heavy rain recently, yesterday I thought, ah yes, a perfect time to go off on a side track that I know leads into a low wet area! I won’t see a soul on it! (Not that it’s unusual to hike without seeing a soul, but yesterday I was feeling a tad misanthropic.)

big puddles on trail

And… yes, clearly rubber boots were a good plan. There aren’t usually big puddles on this part of the main trail.

overgrown trail and dog

Now the side trail. It’s not heavily used, so bits of it get a little overgrown.

drowned trail, dog

Golden retrievers don’t mind puddles. (And yes, this is the trail.) Which is fortunate, considering that the puddles extended on either side of the trail, so they weren’t really possible to avoid.

dog splashing through drowned trail

Golden retrievers looooovvvve puddles. Especially big ones filled with chewable old wood. (This is also trail.)

digging implement hanging from tree

This is not a puddle, but a surprise, hanging handily from a tree. What could a gardening implement be doing hanging by the side of a half-invisible singletrack mountain-bike trail through government lands?

drowned trail

And yes, that is the trail. Actually, at the arrow, it was changing from deep pool to stream. And I will just mention that at their deepest, the puddles came to within scant inches of the tops of my boots, requiring a sort of cautious gliding motion rather than exuberant splashing.

turkey-tail type fungus on a log

But water and mysterious trowels weren’t the only things we saw. There were some lovely funguses.

maple tree and mossy stump

There were even some relatively dry parts. And lots of dead leaves and moss.

Altogether, it was a lovely walk. Or splash. Whatever.

The Fall Fair

So yesterday was the Fall Fair at the Commons.

the commons entrance

We hopped on our bikes and rode over—a great way to avoid parking problems—which meant that we came in from a side trail, and that meant the first things we saw was the agricultural exhibition; specifically, the animals.

rooster rooster

The roosters were particularly photogenic.

rooster crowing

And noisy.

skinny pig

Roosters weren’t the only thing on show! Look, a skinny pig (hairless guinea pig)!

jar full of beans

There was an opportunity to win… something? by guessing the number of beans in this jar. I don’t think I won.

gate sign to "the orchard"

The Commons is really very beautiful, and they’ve put up some lovely new signs.

dog show

There was a dog show. Every single dog was a Very Good Dog, and every single dog won! (I’m not sure if they were trying to pry the dog out of the tunnel in this one, or what.)

terrier

Our buddy Bonnie.

leonberger puppy

Our buddy Yolanda. (Yolanda is a leonberger puppy. At 13 weeks old, as I recall, she weighed 45 pounds. Right now she is the softest, floofiest snookums imaginable.)

parade

There was a parade, led by the Ken Capon Memorial Marching Band.

salmon float

There was a float! It was all about protecting wild salmon and was pulled, of course, by a dog.

squash racetrack ramp

And there was, of course, the World Famous Squash Race. We left before that happened, but did get a good look at the racetrack.

All in all, as usual, a wonderful Fall Fair.

Visitors

turkeys and a poult

Visitors appeared in our yard this morning.

turkey

They left a few feathers behind, too.

turkey poult in tree

You have a DOG? I think I’ll go up a tree. (Who knew turkey poults this small could already fly?)

Our Dog thought they were interesting, but not that interesting, and wandered off to do something else while I was taking pictures, at which point the babies all came down again.

Solstice and strawberry moon

moonrise over the ocean

Yesterday I went down to a beach just after 5 am and watched the solstice sunrise with friends. There were seals, possibly an otter, a hummingbird, and passing orcas. There was a faint sundog to one side of the rising sun.

In the evening I mediated and watched the full moon rise just before 9:30. There were seals, an eagle in the tree above us, drummers on the other point, and a collection of people who are good to spend time with.

Solstice and strawberry moon, all at once. I’m told that it will be 70 years till it happens again. I made a conscious decision not to take a camera, in order to be in the moment, but I took some snaps with my phone.

The world is a beautiful place, especially where we live.

Islands and travelling in the news

water and sandstone A few interesting articles in the past week or two. Most recently, in this week’s Sounder I see that the Bridge-Free Salish Sea society met with provincial representatives this past week to express concerns about the whole issue of a fixed link to Gabriola.

“Mr. Richter confirmed that he would ensure that the Minister would be apprised of our concerns and of the very strong feelings we expressed regarding the entire process – how even the instigation of the study flies in the face of the established Islands Trust’s clear policy statement on no fixed links.”

Well, yes. That issue of the creation of a fixed link simply steamrollering over the policies of a lower level of government is interesting, isn’t it? Not to mention steamrollering over the wishes of a pretty significant number of islanders. But hey, if they don’t vote for you anyway, who cares?

And relating to ferries, from last week’s Sounder:

BCF cancels $4.9 million in service cuts to major routes. Now this is interesting. First they say that the hardship of the service cuts will be shared equally, then, well, no, they won’t. Specifically, they say this: “We did look at trying to find those savings on the major routes, we looked at options, all those came back to incurring more revenue loss than savings.”

Hello? I’m finding it hard to read this in any way other than, “We made statements about cuts across the board before we bothered to research how any of it would or could work.”

And that’s followed by the statement that with regard to savings on the major routes, “We were looking at things in the fall – that was raised, viewed publicly, there was backlash – it was decided at the provincial level not to proceed in that direction.” I’m finding it hard to interpret this in any way other than: a decision was made not to proceed based on political expediency, because the backlash came from people whose opinions counted, unlike those of coastal communities.

Yeah. Interesting is the word.

A hiking and cycling map of the 707

Pericat has put together a wonderful downloadable map of Gabriola’s 707 Park, with additional detail maps of sections of the park. They’re sized to work on iPhones or other handheld devices or you can print them (there are black and white versions for greyscale printers). The maps show which trails are suitable for cycling and which are not—or at least, which require higher levels of skill and a significant degree of attention—some of those trails are windy and only a foot wide!

Snow events

looking through patio door to fallen trees

Monday Feb 24, noon:

This is the current view from our dining room patio doors. I just watched these trees crashing down from the neighbouring lot—more exciting dining entertainment than I usually get at lunchtime. I guess the fence repairs this year will be more significant than usual.

I’m so very glad they didn’t come down 30 degrees to the right, or I would be wearing the skylight.

And it’s still snowing. Hard.

—————

Tuesday February 25th, late afternoon

So.. what has been happening in our neck of the woods?

Continue reading “Snow events”

Autumn fogs

golden retriever standing in calm ocean, fog in background
Our Dog doesn’t care if it’s foggy—as long as there’s water to stand in.

One of the things I love about autumn on the west coast is the fogs. Oh, they can make the days dull and grey, but they also leave everything festively strewn with tiny glorious glittering drops. And when you get both sun and fog—well.   Continue reading “Autumn fogs”

Early morning

sunrise over the ocean
Looking east

On the days when I travel back from the big city to come home, I get up early—these days that means 4:30 am, well before dawn. Or, as my friend Anna says, “At sparrowfart.” First there is pouring coffee into myself, then a drive to the ferry, park the car, walk on as a foot passenger. Get off the ferry on the other side, walk (if the weather isn’t appalling) four kilometers to the Other Ferry, get on and then off that one, and walk another twenty-five minutes to get home. If the weather is dreadful or I’m extra tired or I could save an hour by doing so, I’ll take a cab instead of walking on one or both of the self-propelled stretches.

The actual travel time normally takes about 5 hours. But getting up at 4:30 gets me home by 10:30, and that leaves me with most of the day here, so it’s worth it. (Usually worth it—though after a relatively late night carousing moderately with old friends—dinner! wine! and truly wonderful carrot cake!—that premise is slightly more dubious.)

But at this time of year, leaving that early also means I get to watch the sun rise while at sea. It wasn’t exactly a sunrise today, given the amount of cloud, but it was still pretty damn nice.

stormclouds over the ocean
Looking west

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