Spring Is Slowly Springing…

We have had some unprecedented weather both here on Vancouver Island and basically across the country…what’s happened to spring this year??  Mother Nature seems a bit confused.   Having said that, I spent a good part of the afternoon in the backyard cleaning up the garden and cutting out the blackberry canes.  Nasty things.  The sky was all beautiful and blue but there was still a good chill in the wind.  I’m still really excited for spring though…I love the sounds of the birds in the yard and the sights of bees in the spring flowers.  And I am very excited for some plans I have for the garden.  I have a new book that has been a great source of inpiration for me…I picked up a copy of  “Your Farm In the City” by Lisa Taylor, while I was in Seattle.  She is a local author there and part of a great group called Seattle Tilth.  Anyway Brian and I have a plan for something that the girls are really going to love…stay tuned!!

 

magnolia blossoms

 
I felt so sorry for the blossoms on our magnolia tree the other morning…I went out for a run at 6:30am and there was frost on the roofs and ground and the poor blossoms were frozen like little ice cubes….they seems ok now and will hopefully open up in the next few days.               

the girls enjoying their time in the fresh air and sun

                                  

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Back After An Entire Year!!!

Wow…I cannot believe an entire year has gone by since I last blogged…I cannot recall why I really stopped in the first place. I think I was having difficulty uploading photos so I basically gave up. And things were pretty crappy around here a year ago. But now I feel refreshed…I feel like my old self again. So I begin my blogging journey again and look forward to sharing with friends and family. Namaste…

Clay Concretions

Clay Concretions

The girls and I have sorted through our latest treasures and we’ve determined that our concretions fall into one of three catergories:  round, oval and oblong/irregular!  What we’re going to do with our massive collection of rock is yet to be determined.  Perhaps build a stone wall??

Round ones

Oval ones

Irregular ones

Big C wins the prize for finding the biggest round concretion that I have ever seen!  Little C found a neat little one that looked like the sole of a foot but we seem to have lost it.

Hockey puck sized

And the latest addition to my book collection is my fav Lloyd Kahn and his book “Home Work”.  It is another very inspiring book!  He would approve of these rocks for building something of a shelter.

Lloyd Kahn's second book titled "Home Work"

Sunday Afternoon Collecting Rocks

We had a lovely few days of Christmas spent mainly indoors.  The evenings have been very crisp and cool and we’ve been waking up to a frosty roof and ground.  But it has definitely been a green Christmas.  Today was the perfect day to climb into the van and go to the beach to collect one of our favourite local rocks – CLAY CONCRETIONS!  I cannot disclose the exact location of the source of these rocks as I have been sworn to secrecy.  They can only be found in two areas – our secret location on the east side of Vancouver Island and somewhere on Texada Island located in the Georgia Straight.  To my knowledge, these neat rocks cannot be found anywhere else!!  That`s what makes them so special.

Rock collecting in action!

Clay concretion round and beautiful and so easy to spot!

The majority of clay concretions that we find are typically round and smooth or some can be shaped like barbells or footprints.  The secret beach that we were on today has huge cliff walls made of clay were these beauties morph from…

Base of clay embankment where concretions evolve

We had a great afternoon of walking on the beach and enjoying each other`s company while collecting rocks! 

Big C resting on some drift wood

Little C posing

Self portrait

Some amazing drift wood

The girls fell asleep early this evening probably because of all the fresh air.  We will be sure to post some close up photos of our clay concretions once we wash them up and take a careful look at what we found.  This upcoming New Year’s week, the girls and I look forward to doing some of the projects we did not get done before Christmas.  We’re going to make dream pillows filled with lavender and organic candy canes (the girls decided ‘wands’) for our New Year’s celebration.  I love this last photo as you can see the Whistler or Blackcomb Mountains across the Georgia Straight.  The clouds make for an interesting effect…

“Be the change you wish to see in the world”  – Mahatma Gandhi

Fun at the Aquarium…

On Sunday, we made our way to the Vancouver Aquarium.  It was another beautiful sunny day but the arctic airflow that we’ve been experiencing made it bitterly cold!!  The aquarium is located in Stanley Park and they are fortunate to possess one of Bill Reid’s sculputres at the front entrance (he is a famous Haida artist who made many amazing sculptures…Raven and the First Men is another one of my favourites)…

Killer Whale sculpture by Bill Reid

The aquarium has had many updates since I last visited including an area called Treasures of the BC Coast and a Frogs Forever Exhibit.  We really enjoyed the Tropic Zone as well and ofcourse the Beluga Whales and Sea Otters found outside in the Canada’s Arctic area.  From the Tropic Zone…

The underside of the largest turtle I have ever seen

The cutest sea horse - they were amazing to watch

Hatpin Urchin (a bit of glare from the glass)

Then we moved on to the Treasures of the BC Coast and the Jellyfish area.  We saw the most amazing Octopus and at one point we witnessed it puff out a vast quantity of “ink” when it bumped its head against the glass (I have some issues with the captivity of these creatures but I’ll admit I enjoyed every minute of this experience)

Big C and the most amazing octopus

The jellyfish were fantastic to watch…almost like watching the slow changes of a lava lamp.  The contrast of the jellyfish with the turquoise background made it very visually pleasing…

Jellyfish

swimming

everywhere!

Next we ventured out in the cold to get a glimpse of the Beluga whales, I believe there were four females including two calves.  Their lineage is quite interesting with one older female having produced a calf with her “son-in-law” so to speak.  They were very responsive to our voices and one of the calves came over for a visit .   I did not get any photos! ha  But I got a photo of the cutest  Sea Otter just floating around in the sun…

Sea Otter floating around

Ofcourse the exit from the aquarium led to the gift shop where Big C and Little C made a few important purchases thanks to their Auntie Lynda who gave them some spending money!

Little C loved this blue aquatic Christmas tree!

Well visiting the big city like that always makes me appreciate the slower and more relaxed pace of Vancouver Island!

Blue Skies Please…

Ah the grey and rainy days of November have not been enjoyable this year on VI.  I guess it’s making up for the beautiful summer we had  here where I cannot even recall it raining (although we spent a month of our summer in Ontario where it rained and rained also!).  Anyway I was looking at photos I took back on October where the sky was such a beautiful shade of blue.  And ofcourse the girls were in the Japense Maple climbing and swinging and having such an enjoyable and carefree day…

Big C a.k.a. master tree climber

Just hanging and posing

What’s funny is Big C is such a good tree climber and we have so many nice trees to climb at our place that she has taught many of the kids on our block how to climb!  Her little sister is doing pretty well herself…

Little C in the tree

 

Getting ready for take off...

Crash landing!

It was a beautiful day!

Little C admiring her pumpkin

Lean-tos, Bowers, and Totems

While in Tofino back in October, I had a great time taking photos of the girls on the beach in the various lean-tos we found made of driftwood.  My inspiration for taking these photos stemmed from one of my all time favourite books.  It’s called “BUILDERS of the Pacific Coast” by Lloyd Kahn (2008) (I’m having an APA nightmare from my university days – sorry I hope I’ve referenced enough!).  Lloyd Kahn basically spent 2 years photographing “counterculture” carpenters along the Pacific Coast whose homes and structures are made from the logs and rocks in their natural surroundings – lots on Vancouver Island to my surprise – I LOVE this book and simply cannot put it down at times.  Here’s a sample of my photos…

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Beach combers under the lean-to

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This bower actually appeared in his book - it's a fish

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Glass blowers' studio and gallery

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Hand blown glass in the drift wood

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A driftwood Muskoka chair

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Nature girls

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West Coast Totem Pole

I am so looking forward to my next trip to Tofino and getting my hands on a copy of Lloyd Kahn’s second book entitled “Home Work”.