Thursday, April 29, 2010


Georgia with her hiking hat

An obstacle

In the big Cedar tree

Grandma and Georgia walking in the rain

What are these things?

This is where I got the above images - Shaw Cable office

Yellow Crested Sparrow, I think

One of Babs' many tulips

Up just before the 6:30 alarm on Saturday. On the road at 8:03 headed for Victoria with Aileen at the wheel. She drove to Duncan where I took over. Cloud, rain, sun, cloud, rain, sun – that was our day. It took us 2 hours 18 minutes to our son Richard’s. We visited a few minutes then took our grand daughter Georgia out to Goldstream Park. We walked the upper stream trail from the guard house and that took a long time. Georgia kept heading back to the truck and was hard to keep motivated to actually walk up the trail. We took the trail up to the campsite when we got to it. It rained well at times so good thing we had our damp proof clothes.

We moved down across the highway to have our lunch and just about froze as it was windy under the picnic shelter and raining for the first while. Even when the sun came out for a few minutes, it remained cool. Since it was sunny we decided to go to Cadboro Bay. Well after a few minutes on the beach, in blew another shower so we headed back to Georgia’s house. We visited there for awhile then headed back to our trailer stopping in Ladysmith for Chinese supper.

I went to Nanaimo with Aileen Sunday morning. Dropped her off at church then found my way to the Shaw Cable building and spent awhile shooting their feature wall. Not sure what they call it but it is rectangular, concave and very reflective. I took Aileen there after church and took some more shots since the lighting was different.

We had a lazy Monday morning then took the trailer to Rathtrevor Park to dump the tanks. Yep, it’s two weeks since the last one already. We drained the fresh water tank completely as well, as we had some silty water from before.

I took Mom to art again on Wednesday. While the ladies were visiting and some actually doing a little art, I think, I used both my 100 mm macro lens and my 400 mm telephoto doing flowers and birds. Art was at her old friend Babs' place in a rural setting at Nanoose. Her wee house is about 100 years old and she has all sorts of old sheds, pens, gardens and bird feeders. I went to school with Babs’ older daughter Many moons ago) and met the younger one yesterday and interestingly, she spent 15 years working within ½ km of our house in Salmon Arm.

I have been editing pictures and working on assembling slide shows this week but it is slow going. I prefer to touch up my images before going to the final stage of putting the shows together in ProShow Gold. One of the hard parts is getting the numbers down to manageable levels. I think I have 15 shows on the go currently and lots of my images will probably never be seen other than by myself. I guess you could call that a downside of traveling to so many beautiful places. At least I get to share some of them with you blog readers.

Friday, April 23, 2010


What's left of the Errington School

The subject, a cart of tulips in a cluttered area - below are some things one can do with a scene like this. Mostly it is to simplify the image or try a different angle - go low to remove cars and buildings. I used a 10 meg camera with an 18-125 (35 mm equivalent) lens, really nothing different than most other cameras.

New fern growth

If you read the nice comments from Jerry and Suzy last post, I will give a little insight into my photography. I got my first camera when I was 12 or 13 for $1.50 and two cereal boxtops and have enjoyed photography ever since. I kept it as a hobby only, although I did get talked into doing a few weddings from time to time. I had my own darkroom for over 20 years and for many years was teaching others. I switched to digital when I retired in late 2007 and I've been behind ever since! I have averaged nearly a thousand images a month since then. I started with a Canon Rebel XTi, which I still use for all my ATV trips and whenever I need less weight or presence. My main camera since June 2009 is a Canon 5D which is 21 megapixels. It is overkill in a lot of cases, but it gives me the ability to make fabulous 13x19 prints, which my printer will do. I tiddly up all my pictures before presenting them using Adobe Photoshop Elements 7. I usually do a little in Levels, perhaps a slight change to colour saturation then sharpen every one. For posting to the blog or emailing, I reduce the image size to 999 on the longest side. All today's images were shot with the Rebel using a cheap Sigma zoom lens.

Aileen drove herself to church in Nanaimo Sunday morning. I caught a ride with Chas and Sheila up to the fair grounds for the Farmer’s Institute Auction. I didn’t recognize anyone other than family and in-laws at the sale. Lots of junk and it was surprising how high some of the plants went for. There were lots of poultry, but mostly stuff people were trying to dispose of such as roosters and old hens. There were lots of rabbits, some turkeys and a bit of livestock as well.

After a while, I went to the Coombs Market (a local tourist mecca known for its goats on the sod roofs) to wander around and met Bev, one of our Okanagan friends, sitting on a bench with her crutches. She’d recently had her second knee replacement. Carole, her partner, showed up later in company of their two lady friends from Qualicum Beach. Bev and Carole are enjoying a week down from Penticton.

I visited back at the sale with my brother Sam then distant cousin Garry for awhile. It was getting on for 2 when Aileen arrived and she and Barb (Garry’s wife) had a good chat. We wandered home just after 4 and Aileen made supper in the house as Sheila was working at the sale til almost 6. I barbequed steaks and they were very good. Aileen made her famous oven roasted veggies and salad.

Aileen has been puttering away on the family diaries again and has picked up the pace a bit more since Chas told her how much he has enjoyed them. My Dad started the diary before I was born and Mom took it over in the late 40’s. There was the odd year taken off but it has been pretty constant since the early 50’s. Aileen being the faster typist (actually a real typist) does the initial typing and I come along behind to proof and print. It has been an interesting challenge as lots of the old diaries are fading badly as Mom used whatever was handy to write in, often school scribblers, and the old inks either ran or faded, sometimes both. There were times in the earlier ones where I would have to hold the page up to the light to discern what was written and then quote it to Aileen. Mom’s writing was often difficult to decipher as well. In recent years she has gone to printing quite neatly. The amount of family and local history makes for lively reading and sometimes there’s some humour at family members’ expense. Mom tended to tell it like she thought in her writing, so the odd time some of us were spoken of rather directly. She did tell me at the beginning to clean up the structure as I liked but not to alter any details because that was how she saw things. I started proofing this week beginning with January 1993 at page 4403. I have done up to page 4458 so far. These are solid pages done both sides and we have used a lot of paper and ink over the years we’ve been working on the project. Mom was still writing the diary until after the dementia got the better of her so we still have a long way to go. I packed my printer into the house and will hopefully leave it set up for a few weeks.

We went to the Shady Rest Pub right on the beach at Qualicum to meet Bev and Carole for lunch on Monday. We managed to get a window seat in the north end and had the little room all to ourselves the whole time. Aileen and I both had cod and chips which were really good. We spent about 2 ½ hours chatting inside and another ½ or more outside. Those two are fun to visit so it was great to be able to get together over here on the Island, as we couldn’t fit it in while in the interior. Bev still needs crutches most of the time but is getting around well. Carole is retiring in August, I think, shortly after her 65th birthday.

On Tuesday morning we’d heard sirens in the night which turned out to be the long closed Errington School on fire again. Somebody had torched it a few months ago as well. This time the job is pretty complete. What didn’t burn down is gutted. Chas came over soon after we were up to ask if I wanted a trip to Victoria today. Of course I said “Sure!” We went to Capital Iron where he bought a tent after we set it up. I found a nice blue vest for Aileen for $19 and a nylon reversible vest for me at half price - $18.50 – and it fits perfectly. We had been looking for a vest for Aileen since Arizona and were wondering if they still made them even, as no stores had any new stock, just the odd one they hadn’t been able to sell.

After lunch on Wednesday, I went to Stanford Place. It took a couple tries to get Mom to agree to going to art. At first she said she wouldn’t go so I left. When I came back a while later, she was more agreeable and I was able to talk her into going. I got Dad from the dining room and parked him in the sun at the end of the hall. He’d poked another old guy on the rim of his ear from behind as we were leaving the dining room and the old guy just about went through the ceiling. Dad gave a couple hee hees. As soon as the sun hit him, he said “Ahhh” so I guess he really enjoys it. Then as I was visiting him in the sun, he asked “what happened to your hair?” I told him Aileen cuts it short. He said oh, and went to sleep. I dropped Mom at Arlene’s in Qualicum and since I didn’t seem to be invited in, I went to the Old Schoolhouse Gallery for most of two hours. Visited with a couple of artists and looked things over well. When I went back for Mom just after 3:30, she’d been pacing worrying about me, they said. They are very good to her and she does enjoy visiting with them. She’s been art friends with some of them for 30-40 years. I delivered her back well before 4:30.

Our little baby, Bev, turned 38 yesterday. Aileen spoke with her after supper for awhile then Chas, Sheila and I sang happy birthday to her. We’re hoping to take our grand daughter, Georgia, for a picnic tomorrow and see our son Richard and wife Robin as well for awhile.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Mitzy fresh from grooming

Deep Bay Marina

Lots of sailboats at Deep Bay

Old shed at Joan C's


Worm tracks where the bark has fallen off a long felled Douglas Fir log

Skunk Cabbage

Oregon Grape


Cousin-in-law Bill, Cousin-in-law Irene, Aileen, Cousin Pat (Sydney Arthur)

The big house with Pat and Irene's attached

The in floor heating system for both houses starts here

The deck of the main house is the roof of the small house

The main house deck

Mitzy and Pat having a conversation

The next few pics were at the plant sale - rhododendrons and azaleas


Picking up where we left off last week, we did get to the model railway show and it was quite a large event with groups from all over and several retail shops selling their wares. We visited with Cousin-in-law Bill and his son Tony, also Barbara and Gay & Doug, train friends we met at Gloria’s service last year. I also got a card out and a note written to Ed J, our ATV leader in AZ. He is home in Oxbow, Sask undergoing radiation on his spinal tumour.

On Monday morning we packed up the trailer and got hooked up early so we could continue on to the dump station after dropping Mitzy at the groomer. This is two weeks since we last dumped the tanks so not too bad. We parked in the beach lot at Rathtrevor and had ham and pancakes for breakfast. It was about 9:20 by then. We visited a couple from Sask. at the sani dump who had just returned from wintering in Yuma. It was their third winter in AZ also. They leave their motor home here in Parksville at a son’s place so are staying in it now. The sani dump fees at the provincial parks have gone from $2 up to $5 now, a 250% increase. The camping fees have also risen by up to $6 per day. Combine that with the April 1st ferry increase for over length RVs and I’m sure lots of people will reconsider even coming to Vancouver Island with rip offs like that in place. I have calculated it is going to cost us $40-50 more to leave the Island than it cost us to get on and that was $193.80! It’s a popular misconception that if you have an RV, you’re loaded with dough!

On Tuesday we took our lunch and went for a drive north of here exploring side roads. We went down to the wharf at Deep Bay and wandered around then had tea at the cafĂ©. We had more fires here at Charlie's Wednesday and Thursday, Thursday being the last day open fires are permitted so we’re done fire bugging.

I took Mom to art at Joan C’s on Wednesday. I thought I might try some art but Joan thought I should take a former member of the art group, who has just returned to the area, and explore the property. She was an interesting person and we did get along well as she is really into nature ie. plants, rocks, trees etc. We went down to the bottom field, up to the power line and out to Allsbrook Rd to the north of Joan’s. The ladies were starting to wonder if we were lost when we got back. After tea and goodies, I returned Mom just in time for her to slide into her seat at the supper table at 5:02. I had left Dad soaking up the sun in the window area when we went to art. He really enjoys his sun. Maybe that’s where I get it from.

Aileen gave me a haircut Thursday morning then she went to Qualicum to the MS Self Help Group meeting. She reports it was quite interesting and a good turn out. On Friday, cousin-in-law Bill took us to Victoria in his van and it was nice to be a passenger all the way. We had alternating sun and light overcast all day so that was great. We visited with Aileen and Gloria’s cousin Pat at his new house until Irene came home then we went to the Howard Johnson Hotel on the Pat Bay Highway for a nice lunch, courtesy of Pat and Irene. After lots of chatting, we went back to their place and had a tour of their daughter Lorene’s main house which is attached to theirs. It was very high end and of course has a great view of the ocean and Mt Baker, barely visible through the haze today. We headed homeward at 4 PM. We stopped at the Old Farm Market south of Duncan for veggies then in Ladysmith for a Chinese smorg.

This morning I went to Parksville with Charlie to the big plant show. There were lots of Rhododendrons on display and sales were brisk. We’ve had showers overnight and this morning and now we are getting a heavier shower so it’s a good day to be sitting inside. My sister Wendy called a few minutes ago with an invitation to supper which we accepted. I might get to see all my siblings eventually this trip. Can’t rush these things, you know.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


A little rooster Finch taken from the trailer window

Mitzy likes snow

Daffodils don't like snow

The rhubarb handles it well

The pile on the right is the first load with the second trailer load parked beside

Starting to pour concrete

Getting further along in the process

We spent a rather pleasant few hours at Janet’s last Sunday and got to see two nieces and a nephew and a great nephew. In addition, the food was excellent. Our parking hosts, my brother Charlie and Sheila, arrived home from Alberta about 1:30 AM Monday morning. On Monday night, I went to the Oceanside Photographers meeting in Qualicum. There were between 30 and 40 people and a fairly interesting mix of activities/presentations.

On Tuesday, we went to Nanaimo (the birthplace of the Nanaimo Bar for you dessert aficionados) for a few things. I bought a new pair of hiking/walking boots made by Oboz. I wanted a little higher topped boot than I’ve had and these were the first I found that didn’t rub my shins. We went to the Bay for some items for Aileen and also wandered around Wholesale Sports, a humungous hunting, fishing and hiking store. Tuesday night we went to Sheila’s parent’s for supper. It was a combined birthday party for Sheila (Mar 31) Charlie (Apr 1) and their son Dan (that day Apr 6). Dan was in Vancouver so we sang happy birthday to the phone. It was another good feast.

I’ve been having an online discussion with Greg at AZCI.Net, our internet provider in Arizona. I went through his correct procedure when we left by applying for summer vacation, turning off the modem as required etc and asking to be disconnected on the correct day. The following week I was billed for the next month. When I inquired about that he said he had erred and would credit the payment to the $25 disconnect/reconnect fee and leave a credit in my account for the first bill in the Fall. Fine. Then the other day when perusing my Visa statement online, I noticed another billing from AZCI. They had charged me again for the vacation fee and used up my credit. This time it took two emails, with my explaining it in minute detail, before I got a reply saying “well gee, we screwed up a second time” and that the money would be credited to my Visa. I’ll have to check in a couple days and see.

On Wednesday, we had our second annual “clean up Charlie’s barn and shop yard” with a huge fire managed by Aileen. He tends to accumulate a lot of construction debris over the course of the year. We got pretty wet as it rained quite hard for much of the time. This was combined with clearing a 22x24 or so area to put down a cement slab for a work area for his carpentry projects. Charlie and his crew leveled then built forms at the same time as the fire and cleaning was proceeding.

Thursday was a nice sunny day, although we had a dusting of snow up here, so we all worked on another project while waiting for the cement to arrive. The big storm the other day knocked down a couple big cedars at Chas and Sheila’s son Garrett’s place down in town so we hauled all the debris up here to burn. Three large trailer loads and four pickup loads later, it was all up here. We burned it as we brought it. Aileen, Sheila and I worked the fire while the others poured the concrete when it arrived and did we ever smoke them out. I don’t think the guys and specially the concrete truck driver, appreciated it. We have had a few small cleanup fires since then and this morning Chas said he would let Aileen clean up trim ends around his cabin. Do you think he read Tom Sawyer? Chas is converting Dad’s old cow barn into a rental suite so there was lots of debris lying about. Chas and Sheila took us out for supper Thursday night to her Thai sister-in-law’s Westhill Restaurant. The food was delicious.

Aileen talked to her cousin Allan, from Nova Scotia, who is visiting his Mother, Anne, in Sechelt. He’s been staying with his step brother, Richard in Vancouver (who has cancer) so was quite up on his medical condition. She is hoping to talk to cousin Richard this morning. Cousin Allan has discovered two more cousin’s in England that no one was aware of. It seems the uncle who stayed in England after the war was married twice and everyone here only knew of the second one.

We went and visited Mom and Dad Friday morning. We saw Mom way down the hall getting a hug and then returning it. She didn’t look at us when we caught up but did start to pet Mitzy although she didn’t seem to recognize her. When I spoke, she recognized my voice and gave me a really big hug. We visited in the window room then after a bit, someone wheeled Dad along to us. He recognized Mitzy right off but dozed much of the time.

We are going to Port Alberni this afternoon to see Aileen’s nephew Mike and Shaunee and two little girls. We’ve been invited to stay for supper also. Tomorrow we are going to Nanaimo for Aileen to visit a church and then to check out the train show where cousin-in-law Bill from Campbell River will be.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Honeysuckle vine wrapped around a mature Douglas Fir tree trunk

An otter with his lunch

An old tree stump weathered by the ocean winds

Trunk of a young Arbutus tree. They tend to shed their bark until they get old and the bark becomes thicker

Base of a large Arbutus tree

An Arbutus tree. The branch on the left is how the young tree looks, changing to the mature bark on the main stem

John and Sue with a very old Arbutus

Arbutus trees have leaves year round and are called a deciduous evergreen. These trees are leaning reaching for the light and possibly affected by prevailing winds also. We are right on the ocean's edge

Yesterday morning I went for a hike with my sister Susan and her hubby John. They showed me a neat area along the ocean not far from here which is seldom visited by many people. There were many interesting arbutus trees and we saw some seals, a couple of sea lions and an otter having his lunch. It appeared to be some type of fish he was devouring but there wasn’t enough visible to identify. Since the trail had some rough scrambling involved, Aileen declined joining us. She did instead walk down to the post office to get our hosts mail. Mitzy really had a ball rushing back and forth keeping track of the three of us on our hike.

We received word last night that one of Aileen’s cousins, who is her age, is dying of cancer and not expected to last out the year. We last saw him at Aileen’s Mom’s celebration of life two years ago when he and his younger brother made the long drive from Vancouver to be there.

We were invited to my sister Sue’s for supper the night before last and are going to my sister Janet’s for lunch today. It’s nice to have family and get together once in a while. We are hoping to leisurely visit quite a few of our family and friends over the next few months. We have no idea how long we will remain on the Island and have no set plans.