Monday, July 15, 2019

BLACKBERRY JAM PRODUCTION


We moved up to Charlie and Sheila’s on Wednesday as planned.  We stayed out of the house as much as possible until yesterday as Sheila had some type of bug that we didn’t want.  Aileen went to her favourite hairdresser in Qualicum Beach for a much needed haircut on Thursday. 
I’ve been purging my photo files again and have deleted about 16,000 images in the past week.  I have my photos saved in multiple locations so this is basically a cleanup project because I don’t need two copies of every single image I have saved.  I like to save a folder of the images I edited and the originals together on my current laptop so I can access them if required, such as needing to make a larger file for printing.  Still have lots more to go through so there will be another large purge coming up.
My brother in law, John R, and I took our RZR 570s out for a ride on Saturday and poked around up the Cook Creek Forest Access Road.  John took some time out to pick some wild blackberries.  I found a neat trail that needs further exploration to see how far up to the alpine we can ride.  Looking online, it seems like an interesting area to hike up to and explore.  It is definitely too far for me to try and walk all the way up from where you can leave a car.
Yesterday, Aileen and I took the Honda CRV up the Cook Creek Road and picked wild blackberries for a couple hours.  Aileen had found a local patch on her morning walk and gone back with a container to pick them.    It is pretty grueling work as the berries are usually low on the ground and the thorns are nasty.  The berries are mostly very small so it takes a long while to accumulate much volume.  Today, we made nine pints of blackberry jam.  These are a native species along the coast of BC and Washington and Vancouver Island and not to be confused with the much larger Himalayan Blackberry that covers large areas.  Their flavor is unique and well worth the effort required to procure.
We had planned on moving along this week but as is usually the case, we have had several things come up that are best done by staying put longer. 

This male California Quail was standing guard on the woodpile at Neil and Carol's

And this is part of his flock

House Sparrow

Song Sparrow


A training ship based in Victoria that I converted to B&W

Ross Bay, Victoria

Oak Bay, Victoria

Some deer in Oak Bay



Spotted this old Chevy in the parking lot at Englishman River Falls Park

A peekaboo shot of part of Englishman River Falls

Woodland Penstemon

Siberian Miner's Lettuce in C&S's bush

Self Heal in C&S's bush

Yellow Monkey Flower in C&S's bush

Striped Coral Root on a trail John R and I walked up on the mountain Saturday

Nearly next to it was this Spotted Coral Root

Also up on the same trail were these squiggly Western Red Cedar trees


Pinesap


Sickletop Lousewort

Another Woodland Penstemon

Looking out over Deep Bay on Vancouver Island to Denman Island with Chrome Island Lighthouse off to the right and then Hornby Island.   Beyond Hornby is Texada Island then the mainland of BC in the faint blue background.

A little mountain stream where we were ATVing Saturday


Wild mushrooms

Someone's work of art in an old meadow on a short side road.  It is at least twelve feet high.

This buck was right beside the work of art

Swainson's Thrush, I believe.  First photo I have taken of one of these, I think.  About 75 feet distant on our walk last night.


Sunday, July 7, 2019

HANGING OUT IN DUNCAN



Neil and Carol came home from their holiday on Monday and invited us to stick around a while longer so we did.  Monday evening we went to a Johnny Cash/Waylon Jennings tribute band performance which was part of the free 39 Days of Duncan music series and it was a great show.  
I have spent quite a bit of time working on my photo folders in the computer, deleting unnecessary photos and saving the keeper ones again in a different hard drive.  This is an ongoing chore if I want to keep on top of things and have a chance of finding what I’m looking for in the future.
We’ve managed to keep finding new places to walk after supper.  All these new places give more opportunity for photography and geocaching.  Aileen had one of her Visa cards compromised so it was cancelled and a new card awaits her at the RBC bank branch in Parksville when we get there.  She went to purchase something with her debit then she found it wouldn’t work.  It had a hold put on it because of a “mystery” message attached to it.  So, she went to the local branch here in Duncan and they issued a new card but they will only mail it to your address on file, which in our case is Salmon Arm.  So it will get mailed there and Kevin will have to send it on to us over here.   Dumb, as the Visa card could be mailed anywhere or sent to any local bank branch.
Yesterday was a big “0” birthday for Aileen so we met Georgia and Richard at a park halfway between here and their place and had a picnic lunch after a walk.  We had nice weather, not the showers that were in the forecast.  Aileen and I went to the Genoa Bay CafĂ© for her birthday supper and had a really nice meal.  Best of all was that she had no reaction to the food.  We had a nice walk around the docks after supper and when Aileen went around one corner, she came face to face with an otter.  It didn’t stick around for a photo though.  Awhile later on a lane above the water, a coon ambled across behind us.  Again, it was too fleeting for a photo.
Tomorrow the plan is to go to Victoria and have lunch with Bev D, then visit some RV friends in the afternoon.  Supper will be with Richard, Georgia and Robin to celebrate Georgia’s birthday.  We will probably move on from here on Wednesday and move up to Charlie and Sheila’s for a few days then go further up Island.  We still have lots of things we want to do before the summer is over.

Fig leaf

Figs

Garlic

Garlic closeup

Rain on the Yucca

Old Man's Beard with the sun shining through

Elk in a farmer's field west of Duncan

Doe deer and fawn near the elk

Not much water in Stocking Creek

Bee on lavender

Prince's Pine also called Pipsissewa

Mute Swan, Cowichan River Estuary

Float houses at Genoa Bay




Looking across to Cowichan Bay village from Genoa Bay

Mullein


Sunday, June 30, 2019

ALMOST DONE HOUSE SITTING


The house sitting has been going well.  They installed a 30 amp plug so we could run our RV A/C but it has been much cooler this year so we haven’t needed it.  We have made a couple trips to Victoria.  Took friend Bev D to Sidney for lunch one day then had supper with Richard and family.  Another day we went down for Georgia’s year end school party.   On yet another day, we went over to Saltspring Island.  After touring around and finding a few geocaches, we looked up my nephew, Owen, and his family.  We had a great visit with them.  They were happy to have company as they apparently have had very little other than immediate family.  One day Richard and Georgia drove up and we met for a walk in Cobble Hill Mtn Park. 
We have been walking every evening after supper, mostly to a different spot each time.  Some of the trails had geocaches for me to search out.  We went to the Duncan Farmer’s Market both Saturdays and yesterday’s had some great music so we sat and listened for a long time.  We went back to town at 4 pm yesterday and took in another music event that was really good.  Duncan has what they call the 39 days of summer, which is music from noon until 9 every day with 8-10 groups performing each day.  Lots of variety and some excellent performers.  Today we took our lunch and saw the same couple from Alberta that we listened to yesterday and they were again very good.  The next act, not so much, so we came home for Aileen to nap and me to post this blog.
Neil and Carol are expected home tomorrow which will change the dynamics here.  We have quite enjoyed our time here.  No firm plans for when we leave here yet. 



An urban deer in Victoria


Rough Skin Newt, Chemainus Lake Park

Watershield, Chemainus Lake

Dragonfly on Watershield leaf, Chemainus Lake

Very recently born calf.   I pulled this image from a video taken by my Canon SX60.

A young rabbit I photographed out the window from beside my computer

At Crofton while waiting for the ferry to Saltspring Island, I spotted this Lion's Mane Jellyfish.  It appeared to be over a foot across.

North Beach, Saltspring Island

Lunch at North Beach, Saltspring Island

One of the new ferries leaving Long Harbour, Saltspring Island

Northern Flicker

Fungus on a dead log, Cobble Hill Mtn Park

California Quail and chicks where we are house sitting

California Quail

Kinsol Trestle, 187 m (561 feet) across and 44 m (145 feet) high, one of the tallest wooden railway trestles in the world

And the view from the other side, originally opened in 1920 and rebuilt recently

Woodland Penstemon

A quiet spot along the Koksilah River

Nodding Onion