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...a glimpse into life on Vancouver Island, needle felting, photography, food, gardening, etcetera...etcetera
"Happiness always looks small when you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and at once you learn how big and precious it is."
Maxim Gorky

Monday, August 24, 2015

Subtleties....

There's tiny, subtle changes in the air...
...cooler in the mornings and evenings, leaves browning and floating to the forest floor...
 I walk these paths with Griff in my heart...
 It was an easy walk for him in his later days, not far from home with shaded, soft paths...
Now days these trails are walked on more frequently since becoming a 'real park'...
There's two new docks...not just simple ones but pretty skookum ones...
 (Oh! there's Rosie who came with me today)
The docks are meant to last, with metal ramps, cement bases...
 A place to sit and take a breather...
 even a place to put your fishing rod, if you're so inclined...
There's another one down the lake a ways for swimming and dangling toes in the water...
Soon enough the summer will fade, as it always does and the rain we've been hoping for
will be a curse on our lips until we're soaked to the bone and ready for spring again...
...but will we really?
Not me.
I welcome the change in the seasons...
Though this year the biggest change for me will be walks without my Griffy...
...but he'll always accompany me in spirit no matter where I wander.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Riding off into the sunset...

Have a look at this bad boy!
Actually her name is Tikka and we were lucky enough to take a little trip on her on Wednesday night.
It was a gift from BC Whale Watching to the folks who
 work with my husband at Hosteling International.
It was a beautiful evening on the Inner Harbour in Victoria...we headed out...
past the float home community at Fisherman's Wharf...
...past the breakwater at Ogden Point...
Our destination was Race Rocks....
Here's a little info about this Ecological Preserve...
Located just over one nautical mile from Rocky Point, the southern most point on Vancouver Island, Race Rocks is the most southerly part of Canada on the Pacific Coast. The extraordinary tidal flow, one of the strongest on the coast, is not surprising when one considers that the entire flow of a one or two fathom tidal change for all of Georgia Strait, Haro Strait and Puget Sound rushes past Race Rocks twice each day. At the narrowest point in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, with only 12 nautical miles separating it from the American shore, Race Rocks is swept not only by the strong tides but also the surging waves of the Pacific ocean. 
So in a nutshell, it can be a really dangerous spot for ships, therefore that's
why the lighthouse was built and began operating in 1860, continuously 
flashing it's powerful light uninterrupted until 1997...
I've always wanted to take a little trip out here and this night was the perfect night; warm, good company and the most extraordinary sunset...
Race Rocks is an Ecological Reserve with ongoing scientific research studies and
educational programs managed by Pearson College. 
It's a designated Marine Protected Area.
 It is a haulout area for California and Northern sealions and a birthing rookery for Harbour seals. It is also the most northerly birthing colony on the Pacific Coast of North America.
As an Marine Protected Area there are rules about how close boats can come in contact with the wildlife.
We were lucky enough to catch some great sights of the Sea lions on the rocks and 
I snapped a few shots, although the current was quite strong and rocking our boat pretty good!
From the looks of this guy, I'd say he was the King of this harem!
Their beautiful golden fur was brought out even more with the sunset...
A happy and proud moment for the Shah...
Sigh....what an evening it was....
The crew from the hostel and our pilot in the back there...don't worry...the boat was NOT in motion for this shot! He was great and even let us all take a shot at driving the boat for a while...
And so the sun sets on another perfect day on the coast...

Monday, August 10, 2015

Just a little note to my sister...


It's been 4 years today that we lost Tracy.
If I could tell her anything it would be this:
Be proud of your girls.
They are growing up to be such wonderful and lovely people.
They have your beauty, yours and Steve's sense of humour, your love of animals
and your taste for adventure.
Most of all they share a love for family which you always had.
Don't ever worry, Steve takes such good care of them and 
we do what we can whenever we can.
We miss you every day.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

L is for Lavender...not just your grandma's soap anymore!

Every year I have one bush of lavender that is super happy and prolific.
I try to harvest most of this one which is a French lavender.
The bees absolutely love it at sometimes there are probably 50 of them
dancing their way on pointy bee toes to pollen heaven...
At the same time there are numerous little amber coloured moths after the same treat...
These little guys are called Woodland skippers or
 Ochlodes Sylvanoides (if you want to get scientific about it).
I prefer Woodland skipper myself...
So now, into the heart of the lavender...
Lavender is such an amazing plant.
Most people associate it with perfume, soaps, essential oils, bubble bath and so on 
but lavender is a highly medicinal plant....
Some of the beneficial properties include:
Antidepressant
Analgesic
Antiseptic
Cicatrizant (promotes healing through the formation of scar tissue)
Expectorant
Nervine
Vulnerary
It's also an aphrodisiac, a stress reliever, excellent for respiratory ailments,
a flu and cold steam made with lavender will
certainly make you feel much better afterwards...
to quote one website..."a refreshing note to a tired mind"
You can make tea with it, flavour lemonade, cook with it...
I flavour my blackberry jam with it and when you open that jar on a cold February morning...
the essence of summer pops straight out at you...
I put up a drying rack in the studio where it's warm and dry and hung the bundles...
So as not to lose any while its drying, I put up a mesh curtain to catch all the buds that fall off...
It smells divine in there right now!!
Aromatherapy is a powerful way to heal...
Our sense of smell is probably the most important memory trigger we have.
We can be transported back to times and places by the slightest scent.
Luckily lavender will always be a warm and calming bouquet for me.
It's essence will sit me in the heart of my garden here, bees buzzing, sun warming my shoulders.
It will always provide an aura of summer, a fragrance to "refresh my tired mind".