Monday, May 26, 2014

Flora

It seems the last few weeks have been busy around our little country home.  With the visiting of family and an ever persistent chest cold I haven`t been feeling much like posting lately.  Below are some of the images I have collected over the past few weeks.
 
 

 
With the help of his parents, A was able to fall some of the larger trees on the property.  We opened up a nice view of the rolling hills and made space for some of the out buildings we have planned for the future.  We are still waiting to hear back about acquiring a machine to shape the property.  For now we have many 5 foot stumps littering our land.   The fallen trees were promptly stacked for firewood and the large branches made for a nice bon fire that evening.
The weather seemed to be constantly changing but we managed to take advantage of a short bit of sunshine while practicing some target shooting.  
 

 Dad's old rifle was spot on each time.
 
A's semi-automatic SKS, on the other hand, could use a little adjusting.
 


My first time sighting the extremely large Sandhill Crane.   Their unusual call has been described as prehistoric in sound.
 
Delicious Pomona liqueur that Megs and Ryan brought over from Victoria's Sea Cider house.
 
The following weekend Megan and Ryan stayed for a visit.  We managed to get out into the bush for a little target shooting and mushroom picking but mostly the poor weather kept us indoors.   We lit the woodstove and made the most of the cozy weather.  Megan commented that our home had a cabin like feeling to it. 
 
Bumble bee gather pollen from the arnica blossoms.

Cattle print?
 
This weekend I finally feels like I am turning a corner with my chest cold.  I had more energy and appetite than I have had in the past while.  A and I spent the afternoon in the garden transferring seedlings and tilling the garden bed.  We took little dog out for a hike in the hills where the first of the wildflowers are coming into show.   The area's flora is breath taking and I have instructed A to leave parts of our land raw so that I may enjoy the local flowers.   So far we have an abundance of Arnica and Paintbrush in the yard and I have even spotted a few vines of Blue Clematis I intend to transplant. 
 
 Fields of Heart Leaf Arnica.  The citrusy, minty scent of the leaves are one of my favorite things of springtime.
 
 Not sure what these guys are (perhaps coltsfoot?) but they are popping up everywhere.
 
 Indian Paintbrush.  She ranges from shades of white to fiery red and fills the fields are far as you can see.
 
 Violets - the leaves and flowers are completely edible.
 
 Chocolate lily - thought to be quite rare in places - literally covered the hillsides. 
 

 
 Fairy Slipper - A type of wild orchid.
 
Last year I was thrilled when I spotted a patch of Lady's Slipper along one of my favorite hiking trails.  The plants are considered to be quite rare and can take up to 7 years to flower.  When A spotted them on his walk he was ignorant to their delicate nature and picked me a couple of blossoms.  It was hard not to be angry but I placed them in a small vase on the windowsill where they didn't last for more than a day or two.  
When we spotted these flowers on our hike I was excited to learn of another wild orchid that grows near me.  Like the Lady's Slipper, the Fairy Slippers are considered to be rare and should not be picked. 
 
 Red and orange Paintbrush.
 
 Blue Clematis - another 'rare' wild flower that seems to grow in abundance here.

 

Balsamroot plants grow in large bunches and cover sunny hillsides.
 
 
Are the spring flowers starting to blossom in your area?


Monday, May 5, 2014

"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is beacuse he hears a different drummer."

- Henry David Thoreau
 
 

Easter eggs dyed with natural colours.
 
The last month or so has seemed to pass at astonishing speed.   With the loss and gain of an employee at work my hours have been longer and each day seems to end with near exhaustion.  My sister and brother-in-law were supposed to make it over for Easter but unfortunately car repairs have postponed their visit.  Fortunately enough I was able to make it over to the coast for a whirlwind visit the following week.  
I made the long drive Friday after work and arrived at Megan and Ryan's late into the evening.  Saturday morning was spent thrifting the annual Dean Park estate sales, an event I have been attending for a few years now.   Although I wasn't really in the need for anything in particular, I did walk away with a few great finds.   Some of my favorites being a set of artisan pottery spice jars, an aboriginal style woven basket, copper bowls from Thailand, and a salt lamp.   In lieu of our traditional post sales pub lunch we visited the Sea Cider house as I wanted to pick up a few bottles while on the coast.   Having never been there before, we were delighted at its industrial yet comfortable environment and settled in to share an appy and a round of tasters.  
After our liquid lunch we headed back to Megan and Ryan's where mom and dad came by to celebrate my belated birthday dinner.  Mom prepared an amazing seafood casserole and Megan baked me a beautiful hummingbird fruit cake with cream cheese icing. 
I slept Saturday night at mom and dad's condo so that we could enjoy Sunday morning together before I headed back to the interior later that day.  Sunday morning was lazy and mom and I caught up over breakfast and lattes and dad showed off their newly renovated kitchen and bathroom.   We did a quick stop in at the local nursery where I picked up the makings for an air plant terrarium before mom and dad loaded my jeep up with bags of goodies and I headed back towards Swartz Bay to catch the ferry boat back to the mainland.  
Tiny air plant inside his spherical home of crystals.
 
Feather and crystal suncatcher Megan gifted to me.
 
 
This past weekend was spent resting and catching up on our errands that had been cast aside.  We are expecting A's parents for a visit later this week and then Megan and Ryan are scheduled to join us the following week.  The much neglected house was in need of a serious spring clean and homes were found for all the new goodies brought back from the coast.  Saturday morning A and I drove into town to attend the local farmers market and gather handfuls of wild asparagus.  
Mom and dad has sent me home with a countertop pasta maker that had been gifted to them from a late friend.  Although not a huge fan of traditional pastas I was eager to try my hand at making my own.  I mixed the dough up in the food processor and then after letting it rest I ran it through the pasta maker.  The recipe was surprisingly quick and easy and the resulting product was amazing.  We paired the fresh pasta with BC prawns and a our wild asparagus.  It was a rich dinner and not something that I would indulge in often but it was amazingly delicious.
 

 

 
 
 
Yesterday, my woodpecker came to me again.  I was busy rearranging the guest bedroom upstairs when I happened to look out the window at the hillside across the backyard.   There he was, at eye level, not more than 20 feet away.  I have been feeling rather secluded here in my country home and its not that I don't have opportunity to develop friendships through my amazing job where I get to meet with so many like minded people, rather, I feel like my time is so valuable to me right now that I have been extremely particular in who I want to share it with.  The woodpecker symbolizes rhythm and reminds me that is alright to have one of my own.   For now I must remember that it is ok to beat to one's own drum.  I cannot be bothered to expend my valuable energy into relationships that I don't feel I get a whole lot out of.  Honestly, it's not that I don't like you, its just that I like myself a whole lot better. 
I am a lone wolf.  
I am learning to be okay with that.