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Turf

All photos taken on May 21, 2022.

We had arrived in Victoria yesterday right at supper time and arrived at Grampa’s place bearing take out Italian food. While the food may have been fine, if dining in, it suffered in transport and not as good as the usual favourite Italian Restaurant in Victoria, Il Terrazzo.

On this day, B was doing his best to find activities and suitable places to visit, that included wheelchair access. He did his job well and before we knew it we were loaded into the car and on our way to Michell’s Farm Market, located on Island View Road in Saanichton.

B had seen this when he rode by last year on a bike ride to see Grampa. It was listed as a Farm to Table place and in addition to the market, had an on site food outlet with outdoor dining.

On arrival, it soon became obvious that we could not push the wheelchair up into the main seating area. However, there were a couple of tables under the covered patio in front of the market.

B and I walked back to Harvest Rd. restaurant (food truck style) and placed the orders. They handed out electronic pagers which would buzz when all was ready. Soon, that buzz came and we carried the food back to the table. The food was OK, but nothing special. It did fit the bill for our outing.

Ordering

Out in the country

Menu

seating area

our dining area

veggie baguette

burger and fries

dining out

inside the market

the outdoor view

Appetites satisfied, we were off to the next adventure.

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Lake Cowichan

All photos taken on May 20, 2022.

Lake Cowichan (Nitinaht: ʕaʔk̓ʷaq c̓uubaʕsaʔtx̣) (pop. 2,974) is a town located on the east end of Cowichan Lake and, by highway, is 27 kilometres (17 mi) west of Duncan. The town of Lake Cowichan was incorporated in 1944. The Cowichan River flows through the middle of the town. Cowichan River is designated as a Heritage River.

Lake Cowichan is at the western end of the Trans Canada Trail, which, when completed, will be one of the longest trail networks in the world at almost 24,000 kilometres (15,000 mi) length.

Lake Cowichan is surrounded on all sides by the Pacific Northwest Temperate rainforest, containing the largest, tallest, and oldest trees in the world outside of California.

(Source: Wikipedia)

We opted to take a break in Lake Cowichan and as we walked around, several things quyickly became evident.

  1. The economy of this town and the whole area had long been based in logging
  2. We had not missed the cherry blossoms, after all. The climate here was a bit cooler and the cherry blossoms were primo, as were a lot of other blooms.
  3. This little town seemed to have more parks per capita than any other town we had visited. 11 parks for 3,000 people.

Logging displays

Daisies

Duck Pond Bridge

cherry blossoms in Ohtaki Park and environs

other blooms

many homes backed onto the lake or river – each had either a boat dock or diving platform

flowering dogwood trees – we had never been in the right place at the right time to see these in flower before

cherry blossoms

resplendent cherry tree

cloud ripples

waterfront homes taken from Central Park

Forest Worker’s Memorial

Totem pole recognizing Ts’uubaa-asatx people

last blossom views

Refreshed, we drove on to Nanaimo. We just managed to arrive in time for K and Benji to catch the ferry. This accomplished, we drove on to Victoria, where the real work would begin.

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Shore Lunch

All photos taken on May 20, 2022.

Today, we were leaving Port Renfrew and heading to Nanaimo to drop K and Benji for the ferry back to Vancouver, then the remaining 3 of us were going to Victoria to visit Pat’s Dad. It was a journey of some 3 1/2 hours all told, so we got busy looking for a suitable lunch stop along the way. Nothing jumped out at us….

….until we looked at website for the little marina restaurant in our own back yard in Port Renfrew. Bridgeman’s is a small restaurant located in the Pacific Gateway Marina. It’s hours and days of operation, vary with the season. It just so happened that they were open at 11:00 AM, for lunch today, so we adjusted our travel plans to suit.

Here is the intro from their web page

WELCOME TO BRIDGEMANS WEST COAST EATERY

Pacific Gateway Marina has great West Coast fare to go with our world class marina in Port Renfrew, BC. We offer dishes at our restaurant that are imaginative, yet grounded in the unique hard working community we serve. From the greeting you receive until your final goodbye, we’re building bridges one customer at a time.

They offered what we wanted – fish and chips and had veggie options for B & K. Better still, they had outdoor picnic tables available, so we could dine al fresco and keep Benji with us.

While we had walked by and looked at the place many times, it never dawned on us that while the structure appeared permanent, the kitchen was in fact a food truck (trailer). How innovative! We placed our order and paid for it and sat outside to await our meals.

As we waited, an RCMP helicopter appeared and settled on the adjacent helipad. An Environment Canada agent got out and drove away and the chopper took off again. Following are those shots.

On approach

Ready to land

Chopper over Bridgeman’s

and away they go

This sign was hilarious and likely referenced the fact that the population of the whole village was only 144. No issues keeping away from people here.

the local “angle” on keeping socially distanced at the Marina

Looking back up the bluff on the coast. The cottage you can see was out front was forward and to the right of the cottage we were in.

Marina view

Lunch over, we loaded into the car and drove off to Nanaimo. What a great break we had here.

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Among the Eagles

All photos taken on May 20, 2022.

After days where we barely saw any eagles, today was another motherlode as we walked down by Port San Juan. It was like they were showing what we would be missing when we left.

Among the Eagles ©

Looking on in awe

we cannot believe our eyes.

Among the eagles.

Bald Eagle

Are you looking at my butt?

Don’t make me come down there

Stop ruffling my feathers

I am a bird of many talons

Show a little respect

I’ll even pose for you

I’m giving you the side eye

Those things are really, really sharp

every feather in place

Batman cape pose

What’s for lunch?

I’m turning my back on you.

One last look

Osprey

Ready to dive

no need to get in a flap

Look at me. I’m so pretty.

Does this branch make my butt look big?

How about now?

beautiful flier

look, I’ve got a tail wind

and I’m off….out of sight, but not out of mind

OK, so Patty was right. I got some eagle shots.

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Port Renfrew Farewell

All photos taken on May 20, 2022.

I know what you’re thinking!. This is the longest goodbye ever!!!! Apologies, this last day down by the water was just to beautiful to ignore.

Port Renfrew Farewell ©

Sad to be going,

of that you can be certain.

Port Renfrew farewell.

Trip #1 Benji Walk

The day was sparkling as we walked down to the inlet again.

The marina

Combers hitting the shore

shell shadow

tide is out

this appears to be a merganser, as well

seagull photo bomber

common merganser

far from shore

TRIP #2 (after check out)

wild daisies

The day is fine

log strewn beach

saw mill log?

looking out to open water

inlet view

360 degree panorama

marina view

one lane bridge

last longing looks

unusual geological features

a bit of fine china?

the gang

fishing boats

Until next time……………

Featured

Living Large

All photos taken on June 26, 2022.

We had often planned to bicycle out West of Beaumont to explore the new Royal Oaks subdivision, but Township Road 510 was far too busy and narrow for our cycling comfort.

Now that we had the new fat tire E-bikes, we decided to go West on Township Road 505, then North on Range Road 245 to Township Road 510. Arriving at TR 505, we found that it was gravel surfaced, not paved, but opted to keep on going anyway. The bikes handled the gravel well, but there was always that fear that a passing vehicle might kick up a rock and that said rock might hit us.

From time to time, we would pause to take in the rural views….

like this old barn that was braced against wind and gravity

TR 505 seemed smooth, but the large gravel aggregate made for a bumpy ride

high tension power lines marched off into the distance

After more that 3 km (2 miles) on gravel, we arrived at RR 245, which, while just as narrow, was paved and smooth.

Looking back East down TR 505

RR 245 stretched ahead of us to the North, straight and smooth…

…across the rich agricultural land. You can see the large homes of Lukas Estates and Royal Oaks, a newer subdivision, South of Edmonton and West of Beaumont.

Heavy equipment prepping ground for another residential subdivision on former agricultural land

Near the junction with TR 510, we pulled off to explore the acreage subdivision at Lukas Estates. Large homes on large lots, nowhere near schools, shops and amenities.

Back out to RR 245 and a short jog East on TR 510 and we arrived safely in Royal Oaks. Below is how the website describes this subdivision in the middle of nowhere.

Discover a wholesome community just minutes south of Edmonton’s finest neighbourhoods. Royal Oaks is ideally located only eight minutes south of Summerside community and South Edmonton Common. It can be quickly and easily accessed via the new 91st Street extension and the new 41st Avenue interchange.

It’s central location within minutes of excellent schools, shopping malls and the rapidly expanding employment centres of south Edmonton, Nisku, Beaumont, Leduc and the Edmonton International Airport.

(Source: liveroyaloaks.ca)

Again, a subdivision with no schools, no shops and no amenities, but bragging about all the amenities in surrounding communities. On the surface, it would appear people locate here for the huge lots and the freedom to build huge homes, many of them multi-generational.

Storm water pond view

backhoes opening up the next phase – demand for this type of housing remains high

This place was absolutely monstrous, likely somewhere around 3,000 sf per level

homes surrounded storm ponds and green areas, with multi use paths connecting the area

the main entrance

One of the last remaining bits of agricultural land adjacent

more large homes

exiting Royal Oaks to the North

back on TR 510, watching the traffic back up behind us

After a bit more pedalling, we found ourselves back in Beaumont on safer roads

red necked grebe

on the home stretch

While it was an interesting ride, we doubt we will be doing that route again anytime soon. Distance travelled was 19 k (12 miles). Almost 7 km ( 4 1/2 miles) was within Lukas Estates and Royal Oaks.

Featured

Walk Among the Roses

All photos taken on June 27, 2022, during our walk along the North Saskatchewan River near Devon.

When we chose this trail, we were worried about not seeing as many wildflowers along this hike. But, if anything, there were more flowers, especially Alberta wild roses than at Bunchberry and Tucker’s.

Walk Among the Roses ©

In this time and at these places,

with light breeze and sun on faces,

on walking paths lined with flowers,

each moment seems to last for hours.

Brief river views are such a treat,

while butterflies flit near our feet,

soft sweet scent assails our noses,

on our walk among the roses.

Happy bee

So many different shades of pink

this tree is surrounded by roses

back to front

pastel pink

busy bee

this one is like a climbing rose

so many scenic backdrops

3 different phases of the life of the rose (r to l: full bloom, bud and on the way out)

all manner of insects visit the roses – these look like small wasps

some of the rose bushes were really tall, as they climbed up beside the trees

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Benji Bye Bye

All photos taken on May 20, 2022.

Benji, the Wonder Dog here.

Somethin’s goin’ on today. I just can’t quite put my paw on it, but I sense a bit of stress and sadness. First, my pack seemed to be quieter, more wistful and a bit distracted. Oh yeah, I got my walk from my Grams, but then I saw piles of stuff by the door and then piles of stuff loaded into that white wheelie thing and then I saw my bed going out the door.

Wait, what, were we moving on? Where were we going, why were we going, what if I want to stay? So many questions that I had no answers to. I have arf a mind to put my paw down and stay.

Slowly we rolled away and then we turned down a familiar road. Yay, I was going for another walk in my favourite place. But, even thought the walk was fun, I could still sense sadness.

This all looks so familiar.

Hey, I’ve picked up a familiar smell. Whoa, dude, it’s me!

Alright pack, all together one last time.

Oh, this is different! Pack member “Where’s Patty?” is holding my leash.

Walking on gravel is fun, but it hurts my paws. Carry me!

Hey, what’s that moisture running from my eyes? It tastes salty. Did I get some sea water in my eyes?

I guess that’s it folks. Thanks for being part of my pack on this journey.

Featured

Dog Days of Summer

1st shots in first 5 slide shows taken on May 4, 2022, 2nd shots on May 26, 2022, 3rd shots taken on June 16, 2022, 4th shots taken on July 14, 2022 and 5th shots taken on August 10, 2022. All other photos taken on August 10, 2022.

The title phrase is a reference to Sirius, the Dog Star. During the “Dog Days” period, the Sun occupies the same region of the sky as Sirius, the brightest star visible from any part of Earth. Sirius is a part of the constellation Canis Major, the Greater Dog.

In the summer, Sirius rises and sets with the Sun. On July 23rd, specifically, it is in conjunction with the Sun, and because the star is so bright, the ancient Romans believed it actually gave off heat and added to the Sun’s warmth, accounting for the long stretch of sultry weather. They referred to this time as diēs caniculārēs, or “dog days.”

Thus, the term Dog Days of Summer came to mean the 20 days before and 20 days after this alignment of Sirius with the Sun—July 3 to August 11 each year.

(Source: farmersalmanac.com)

Dog Days of Summer © Tanka

Dog Days of Summer,

bountiful garden harvest,

harbinger of change.

Fast decreasing daylight hours

will soon bring autumn relief.

Metamorphosis 1

Metamorphosis 2

Metamorphosis 3

Metamorphosis 4

Metamorphosis 5

The garden is in harvest mode right now. We have been eating vine ripened tomatoes since mid July and now the vines seem to be withering, so I have tied them up to stakes to allow the rest of the tomatoes to ripen. The cilantro can’t keep up to our garnish demands. Carrots are edible and beetroots are not far behind.

Despite splitting our rhubarb root last year, our harvest has not substantially increased.

The petunia patch is blooming gangbusters.

Hostas are at their peak.

Lamb’s Ears are still pretty in pink.

My Coral Bells Heuchera is in bloom….

…but the most profuse blooms are on my Jacob’s Ladder plants.

The tree canopies (Schubert Chokecherry, Burr Oak and Amur Cherry) are maturing and on the first and last shots are developing birdie berries. The burr oak will soon be a feeding station for blue jays and squirrels as the acorns mature.

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Country Roads

All photos taken on June 25, 2022.

After recent rains, we again opted to head East on our rural routes, hoping for a better experience that that of our ride which I posted on my Climate Change is Real post.

We both had our new E-bikes this time and were eager to see how a longer ride went. Turns out that our ride was a much better experience this time, both in terms of comfort and scenery.

Country Roads ©

Taking in the views!

You never know what you’ll see

riding country roads.

Crops are jumping after the recent heavy rains

Cattle herds are chowing down on lush spring grass

Things are a bit wet, down on the farm

The horses stop to check out what manner of creature walks on two round legs

At a crossroads, kind of like life

Follow the straight and narrow

lone llama looks out of place

red-tailed hawk soars high above, looking for lunch

our transportation on this day (33 km or 20 miles ridden)

this prairie pothole has grown since the rains, but not much more birdlife on display

these old farm buildings have seen better days

as we stopped to look, we heard a familiar call and an American Avocet touched down, looking for some grub

a couple of ducks float serenely by

red-tailed hawk’s return

no shortage of red-winged blackbirds

this pothole seems to be getting choked out by weeds

blue winged teal floating on pond scum

rural landscape

these farm buildings seem to be in a relaxed state

canola (rapeseed) crop

bovine standoff

this country roads tour was much more rewarding than our last.

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That Will Leave a Mark

All photos taken on June 27, 2022.

Weekly walk time and I felt like it was time to wander Prospector’s Point, Devonian and River View Trails to see what they looked like all dressed for summer. We planned to only walk down and back up one set of 208 stairs, so hiking poles were required for Patty. Bug jackets have become a staple now that the mosquitoes are out and about (oot and aboot in Canadian speak). We were a bit worried as the day was supposed to be warm, but it was not as bad as we thought it would be.

That Will Leave a Mark ©

Down by the river

surrounded by wildflowers

and cottonwood fluff.

Even with a bug jacket,

mosquitoes still leave a mark.

Shot from the parking lot, showing the river bank now covered in green leaves

This is the start/end of the 7.2 km Devonian Trail

Picnic tables by the bridge – a noisy place for lunch now that the bridge is undergoing rehab

We were worried there would be no flowers along this path, but, if anything, there were more than in Bunchberry/Tucker’s. The Alberta wild roses were everywhere (separate post) and there were other wildflowers/weeds here that we had never seen before, like the vetch below

Yellow birdfoot trefoil

flower lined trail up to the Imrie Property

Glancing back to Highway 60

sun dappled trail

Bridge view from the Imrie Property

some highlight shots, so to speak

a Darkling Beetle goes about it’s business

my Beloved walking companion

one more look back

at the junction of the Devonian and River View Trails – note the birdfoot trefoil flower border

White cockle

208 stairs down

a real bunch of Fun-gis

White Admiral Butterfly

The last time we were here, only one deadfall tree blocked the path – there were many more on this trip, due to recent high winds

Cottonwood fluff littered paths and trees along our route

Allan goes over an obstacle in his path

Great Spangled Fritallary Butterflies

Poplar fluff lines the path – no smoking please

Down by the North Saskatchewan River – stop 1

some grasses are already going to seed

Alberta wild rose and vetch provide a beautiful wildflower landscape

deer footprints in the mud by the river

sloppy spider web

seed fluffs catch everywhere

sweet clover flower

the long path

Patty is in this shot for scale – this grass is over 5 feet high (152 cm)

yellow sweet clover

wild hydrangeas or perhaps some tame ones that got loose?

Another downed tree

cottonwood seed fluff with my toe for scale

208 steps up at East end – not doing that!

snowy fleabane

new leaves coming out

Down by the North Saskatchewan River – stop 2

ripples and rocks

disappearing Patty

Log jam

back at the West stairs

walking back through the Imrie property

Golden mushrooms

Its all downhill from here – back to the car

It turns out that mosquitoes can still bit through a bug jacket, if you wear a sleeveless top – the mark referred to in my title

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What’s Growing On?

Photos taken on July 29/30, 2022, except the last one, which dates from working days (May 4, 2011. This photo does not really belong, but I promised Luisa I would find a way to share my “tech support”, “hit any key photo”.

Please do yourself a favour and check out Luisa’s blog Words and Music and Stories here.

This post is in a way related to my “Climate Change is Real” post. It does not make a statement as to cause, just asks the question….”What’s Growing On?”

Looking around my own yard, many unexplainable events are occurring:

  • we started eating ripe tomatoes off the vine before July 15 (2 weeks early).
  • the trickle of ripe tomatoes turned into a flood by July 30 (3 weeks early).
  • tomato vines started to atrophy and dry out by July 30 (3 weeks early)
  • I was able to pull edible carrots out of my garden by July 30 (3 weeks early)
  • coriander seeds planted by July 30 are still germinating (did not happen in past years)

Then, in walking around my little city, I started noticing that there were some yellow leaves on nearby poplar trees….hmmm, maybe a broken branch? A few days later, there were more yellow leaves on more poplar trees….by the end of July, golden poplar leaves littered the ground all around.

Did I miss a month? Is it already the end of August? What do these changes mean for the onset of winter? Time will tell. For now, we will just enjoy the fruits of our labours and the glorious summer days.

What’s Growing On in your part of the world?

This clump of tomatoes was so heavy at 739 gms (1 pound 10 ounces), they dropped off the vine and I found them on the ground.

One days picking (including the clump that fell off)

My petunias have never looked better

I had to severely prune back my tomato vines and tie them to stakes to keep them from folding over. The carrots are already edible, but I have not tried to pull any beets.

Delphiniums (blue) are ending their life cycle as the Lamb’s Ears (pink) proliferate. This is the 2nd growing season for these plants from a former neighbour’s yard and they are doing well

Lamb’s Ear flowers are a very potent pink

Jacob’s Ladder blooms are opening about 2 weeks earlier than usual

Even my Ligularia plants are flowering well ahead of schedule. Some years they do not even get this far.

While this is not early for Hostas to bloom, it is for mine, as they are mostly in the shade

The yard has taken on a late summer look, long before late summer arrives. Sigh.

Here it is Luisa. I was having a bad day (not just tech), so thought this version of Control/Alt/Delete might resolve the issues. Perhaps, the recent wild weather we are seeing is Nature’s way of rebooting the system.

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Climate Change is Real

All photos taken on June 9, 2022 on our 33 km (20 mile) bike ride.

Whether you agree with the causes for climate change or not, there can be no denial that Earth’s climate is changing. While the cycle for the change may be “normal”, the severity pendulum keeps swinging in longer and longer arcs. Nowhere was this more evident to us than during this cycle East and South of Beaumont.

Oh sure, the grass is lush and green, the new foals and calves frolic in the fields like normal. But, the prairie potholes that rise and fall with the ground water table are a shade of their former selves, due to ongoing drought and lack of rain. The number of water and song birds present is substantially less than last year, partly due to drought and partly due to the effects of avian flu.

We found this ride sad, compared to last year and may have to look for other routes.

Climate Change is Real © Tanka

A short cycle ride

shows us dramatic changes

from previous year.

No matter how we spin it

we see climate change is real.

Beef herds are smaller due to rising production costs

Feasting on new grass

Instead of water birds, we come across a field of gophers. These guys are scoping us out, not sure whether to stay or run.

They seem to be saying “Don’t stare directly into their eyes. Maybe they will just go away.”
Here, catch my good side.
“Its tiring standing on 2 legs – How do you guys manage it?”

No yellow headed blackbirds this year, just red-winged blackbirds in the shrinking wetlands

This pothole is half the size of last year at this time and about 1/3 the amount of water

Red-winged blackbird Dad’s stand on guard for nest intruders

Bright blue skies with just these two cloud puffs in view

Dawning on Us

All photos taken on May 20, 2022.

One last chance to take in the morning scene. How lucky were we?

Coffee made and in hand, I head out to enjoy one last look. We had enjoyed our stay in the Salty Dog in Port Renfrew.

View from our deck

Another hiker heads across Port San Juan to hike the West Coast Trail

glimmering sunrise

fisher heading off for the work day

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