Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday wonders - F

F is for Fall.

This morning the sun was shining on some nearby trees.  Since this sunshine wouldn't last, we decided on a walk through the local wildlife sanctuary.  Come along with us - lots of photos, not much talk.  A quiet stroll through the trees.

Downy woodpecker peeks out to greet us.

Junco and  towhee forage.

Reflections in the wetland.

Mallards laugh behind a screen of reeds.

Broad-leaf maple 'pavers'.

A scene for painting.

Twisted maple leaves so big they catch in shrubby branches and dry where they fall.

Black-tailed deer's  lunch of blackberry leaves.

For squirrel, a treasure trove.

Heading home.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


A squirrel's gotta eat!

See, this is what I'm talkin' about.

Did ya miss it?

Here's how it goes... swing down,

and grab some seeds

And up to the top to have a good chew.  It's pretty safe up here.  This sunflower stalk is at least 10 feet tall.

Now you know how to do it for yourself, right?

Friday, October 29, 2010


Today's a busy day.  We're organizing a British fish and chip night for the seniors this evening.  And somewhere along the line, a trifle inserted itself into the plan.   I have never made a trifle.  In fact, I'm not sure I've even eaten one.   But since we're intrepid, we found that almost everyone we know has their favorite trifle recipe.  And only too happy to share.  Why are they all so different yet strangely the same?

Foolishly undaunted, we set to this morning and made four trifles - we have to feed 50!    Since we have four to play with they are all differently similar.  Or similarly different. 

For the custard, most of our sources agreed on using Bird's custard powder.  The only time I've ever used this stuff was for the middle layer of Nanaimo Bars.  And that uses such a small amount that a tin lasts a long, long time.  I was impressed with the soft, fluffy powder when I opened the pack.  It's no longer a tin with a nifty fitted lid that I found quite satisfying as a child. Yes, my mother also used it.  And I remember that she had  to chip away at the hardened contents, too. Nanaimo Bars were only made at Christmas back then.

I think they look pretty - and pretty good, too.  They should pass the taste test after the whipped cream and gingersnap crumbs are on.  I hope.  The rest of the dinner is coming from our favorite fish and chip place.  I know everyone will be happy about that.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Getting to it

All right.  No more shilly-shallying.  I have a job to do here.

A couple of weeks ago, Mimi in Dublin shared her Versatile Blogger award with me.  I am honored to receive this one as versatility is very high in my value system.  As with any award, there are some dues to pay.  This one involves sharing 8 things about myself that you might not have already learned.    So here goes:

1. I love to drive.  Anywhere, any time.  When I was younger, I always longed to drive a truck - the bigger the better.  The closest I ever got was to drive the daycare bus full of kids. And it took about 35 years to manage that!

2.  I became a constant tea drinker literally overnight.  I lived on coffee for years - the stronger, the better - until about ten years ago.  Then one morning, my first cup of coffee tasted like mud.  I switched to tea that very day.  And I've tried coffee off and on since then but no good;  it still smells so much better than it tastes.

3.  My hair is curly - so short now it would be hard to tell.  But when I was in university, my room mate (also with curly hair) and I wanted to be in the mid-60's fashion with long straight hair.  Off we would go to the dorm laundry room and iron our hair.  This caused great merriment with the other students but we didn't mind.  It was well worth the time spent kneeling on the floor with our hair spread out on the ironing board.

4.  At about the same time, I wrote poetry.  I continued to write for a couple of years and some of it wasn't too horrible.  When my daughter was in high school, she proudly took it to share with an English teacher.  I understand he was very kind.  She came back glowing and I basked in the reflection for days.

5.  And since I'm back at university, I'll tell you that I trained to be a high school English teacher.  One of those cases of when I started, there was a teacher shortage.  When I finally finished, there weren't so many jobs unless you went to the rural areas.  This wasn't possible and so, I spent most of my working career in music: retail and wholesale, live and recorded.  It was such an exciting time. I think I actually got a better bargain. 

6.  The teacher training helped later, though,  when I worked with kids.  First as a school volunteer and a Brownie leader.  Later, I turned to adult training.  Loved it!  That's the best thing in the world to do.  Kids are fun and I enjoy working with them.  But I think I liked the equality of working with adults.  And it helped that they wanted to be there. They even got my jokes!

7.  I'm not a great traveler.  I like the part where I'm in the place and enjoying the sights, sounds and the people.  I like the part where I'm back home.  But I really hate the in-between bits: the planes, the airports, the security hassles, packing bags.  You know, all the uncomfortable parts.  I have always thought that travel would be so much easier if we could just go into a booth, punch in our destination, and voila!  I'd be beamed off to wherever.  Then I could stay as long as I wanted and come home the same way.  Wouldn't that be a lot more fun?  If you couldn't guess,  I was a Star Trek fan.

8.   I love gadgets.  Low-tech, high-tech, doesn't matter.  I'm constantly amazed at the stuff that creative minds come up with to make our lives easier.  I'm not actually buying them all - not enough money for that - but part of me would like to.  And all the new electronic toys?  I could get very carried away if I had an unlimited budget.  But then, how could I do all the other stuff I enjoy?  Instead of saving us time, as we all think they will do, this new stuff just creates a whole other level of time-eating. 

So, that's it.  Now, there is another part to this award and that is sharing it.  This comes with no obligation to post - I just want you to know how much I enjoy your versatility.  These bloggers are always a treat to visit:

Rudee at A Knitting Nurse tells a great story with often a funny side.  And she has a lovely dog in her life - wait'll you meet him.

Ginny over at Let Your Light Shine is an enthusiastic viewer of life.  She also tells good stories.

Rachel Cotteril's blog is a super blend of travel, food, crafts and good writing.

Lola ( and Nora) at the Johnston Diaries are in constant motion.  This is a high energy blog.

Joanna who writes Up On Haliburton Hill about travel, dogs, gardens and takes beautiful photos is always interesting.

Thank you, Mimi.  That was fun.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ruby Tuesday

Let's turn the color heat up a notch.  Maybe Ruby Tuesday red will brighten up the rain gloom. 

The other day, I found these husks on the sidewalk where they'd fallen from the copper beech tree above.  No beechnuts, though.  I guess the squirrels were busy before I got there.

I've never seen these on the ground before and the tree's been there for years.  I thought they were quite beautiful in their shape and color.

If you need more reds, visit Mary T right here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mellow Yellow Monday

Just a bit of yellow on a pier to get our attention...

when the gate is closed.  I've only seen it open but I think it must close at night.

More Mellow Yellow over at Drowsey Monkey's place.  Drop by here and brighten your day.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday wonders - E

E is for Entrances.

Back to the village of Steveston and see what the merchants are doing for Hallowe'en fun.  This fine fishy fellow was outside our floating lunch spot.

This lovely lady is definitely an indoor flower.

While this girl-next-door seems a lot happier in the garden.

Outside a toy store and well-prepared for anything that kids might want to do.

 This handsome guy seems ready for mud in the OK Corral.  He's also outside the toy store. 

 Did they have two because  E is also for Exits?

Saturday, October 23, 2010


I'm still trying to hang on to the relaxed pace of last Tuesday's excursion.  You'd think that a walk through the farm fields couldn't be topped but...well, you be the judge.

We headed off to find lunch in the village - and what else would it be but fish and chips?  Actually, I had a salmon taco (yum!)  from a place right on the water, floating beside the fish boats.

We had some company.  OK, he was really looking for a handout but we'd read the strict warning signs everywhere. 

Since a walk is a good thing after lunch, we decided to walk over to the shorewalk and piers.  Once this area was all net lofts, shipyards, and canneries. Now, some of the old buildings have been restored  (or are in the process) and volunteers give tours of a few.  Cannery fixtures and machinery have been given new function r just used as art.

Others were looking for some sunshine and scenery, too.

This is a new addition to the display.  These houses have been restored from their days in service when the shipbuilding,  fishery and salmon canneries were a booming business.   These were all stilt house built over the Fraser river - which is tidal.  At the end is a bunkhouse for cannery workers. This wasn't really that far back in history but all evidence could have been lost.

I'm happy it wasn't.  This is a very comfortable place to walk through on your way to the main street and the markets.  There are a lot of new residences being built behind this area - it really tempts us to move here.  Did I mention there's a a couple of great yarn stores in this village?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Snared by work

I didn't intend to take the time away from my blog.  It's just been a difficult few days.  You know, when you retire  you figure it's all going to be easy.  No more alarm clock wakings followed by heading out on dark winter mornings.  No, instead, I'll hook rugs all day, I'll knit and read my mountain of books into the night.  Well, it started that way but I thought it was a bit dull.  So, I began volunteering which I love.  But just lately there's been a hiccup and life is a wee bit frazzled.

But, on Tuesday I had a lovely relaxing day.  I can almost remember it.  I went back to look at our photos to make sure.  Pretty sure these are Lesser Yellowlegs sunning themselves on a log.

Yup.  We went to see the snow geese.  There were hundreds of them in this field  by the road.  We live right on their migratory path as the Lesser Snow Geese fly from Wrangel Island (north of Siberia) and spend the fall with us.

Later in the winter they will journey on to the Skagit Valley and join the other half of their nesting flock.  Then in the spring they'll begin the long journey north to nest, stopping off again, briefly, in our farmers' fields.  Apparently, they appreciate potatoes left in the fields.  And winter grasses are planted for them, too.  I think it helps to keep them out of schoolyards and playing fields.

  Even though there are hundreds of them - and they're blindingly white - the flocks can be hard to find.  Or inaccessible without a fancy telephoto lens.  But, this day we were lucky and spotted them wheeling out of the sky.  They do have the most awkward landing style. 

We'd started following some signs for a 'Sharing Farm' which turned out to be a big community garden project.  The photo at the top is from the garden.   Then we went for a walk around the nature preserve across from the field where we found the geese.  As you can see, there is housing all around but behind the houses a sizable piece of the original farm has been left for the birds and field critters.  There are usually hawks and eagles circling overhead or perhaps perched on a fence post-- just waiting.  A wide path circles the preserve and it was such a quiet place to enjoy what was rapidly becoming a very warm day.

More photos of the town part of our day tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ruby Tuesday

Getting a late start on Ruby Tuesday...or is everyone else just really early?

Imagine having a yacht that can carry your personal helicopter.  Sort of like towing the car behind an RV, isn't it?

Lots of ruby photos up by now.  Go visit Mary T right here -quick, before it's over!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mellow Yellow Monday

It's Monday and yellow is the color of the day.

It's also the color that stands out on the waterfront if there's an accident on the water.  I'm not sure how big a spill this kit would take of  - the containers are like big garbage bins.  Wonder how often they're used?

For more Mellow Yellow Monday, visit Drowsey Monkey right here.

Sunday wonders - D

D is for Dappled.

 The dappled shade that comes from the play of sunlight through leaves and branches.

I think it must be because I live in a rain forest and up against mountains, that I love to see the sunlight moving in the breezes.  It seems to lighten the mood.

It can happen at any season of the year but usually only in spring and summer when the leaves are more abundant.

Yet even in our deep forest, there are times when the light shines into the deep shade.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Two by two

My beautiful tweed yarn for Olivier has arrived.  Thank you for helping me choose this color...I love it!

I've cast on - of course - and I'm most of the way through this interminable rib section.  Whew!  Have to say this yarn is such a treat to knit that I'd be happy to knit any pattern for a long time.  I think the cables are going to be fun, though, and I can hardly wait to get there.  ETA:  sometime today.

While I was waiting for the yarn order to get here, I started an easy lace pattern scarf.  It's a free Ravelry pattern called the Rejuva Scarf.    The designer is Kim Smith from Knitting Matters.

Isn't this yarn pretty?  My daughter's friend loves to knit - and buy yarn.  Sometimes, she parts with a bit of her stash - this is a gifted yarn.  New yarn is a lot like new clothes:  gotta start using it right away!  Thanks, Betty!  I'll save this for those days when I'm tired of looking at green - as if! - or, more likely,  the skies are dreary with fall.  This is the most amazing cherry pink and will brighten up any day.

I'm off to knit.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Remains of the Day

This is about some wicker furniture.  When my dad moved from his townhouse into an apartment he had no need for two of the three sets of  patio furniture that he had in the house.  There was a set of real wicker with a couch, two armchairs, a low table and a high bookcase sort of thing.  I'm sure he repainted them white every spring and they seemed old-fashioned, if not actually that old.  But I don't really know how old they are.

There was another set of faux wicker which was perfect for our weather where it rains even in the summer.  This was newer and looked very smart.  So, faced with a choice, I opted for the funky.  Which I think is probably predictable.  There were lovely cushions and big plastic covers.  We put this furniture on our deck and looked after it well - without the annual paint job.  The big covers protected it from rain as they stood outside - of necessity. 

We always knew where to find our cat as she loved to curl up under the plastic cover on the soft cushion of one particular chair.  It must have been so warm and heavenly for a cat.  Then, late one spring, we noticed that there was a mother raccoon hanging around the deck.  She seemed to be enjoying a similar paradise to our cat only she had chosen the couch.  But, to our surprise, we realized that she had three babies stashed in there as well.  I guess that she figured this was a safe and dry spot where no one would bother them.  We peeked under the cover once when we knew Mom was away.  Those little ones were ferocious in their own defense. 

But, they ruined the cushion, and we couldn't keep the furniture covered  any more.  That was the beginning of the end.  We've kept them as a barrier around the deck so the babies wouldn't fall off.  But, now all the babies are old enough not to crawl to the edge.  And some of the wood was starting to rot in the legs.  Time to go.  Last week, I dragged them all around to the front ready for disposal.

I think the old couch looks really good here in the carport.  It's under cover and very close to the garden.  If I thought it would be safe,  I'd be tempted to sit on it after a skirmish with the buttercups.  But maybe it can stay and enjoy a couple more years in the sun.


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