Tag Archives: nature

Quiet (18/365)

A couple of quick photos from our sleepy anchorage… Poet’s Cove on Pender Island.

Glassy water and painterly skies…

Sea shanties by firelight…

Feasting, fun, friends…

…and now settling into my cozy quarter berth.

Looking forward to lots of fun activities tomorrow (and a more complete report when I have a bit more time).

Elk! (Day 9/365)

Elk IMG_3081.jpg

I was cycling home this afternoon, hurrying because the weather had changed for the worse in the hour or so that I’d been out, when I spotted these gals… The resident elk herd was enjoying the fresh grass right beside the main road leading into town.


american-elk-1845 John James Audobon

American Elk by John James Audubon, 1845

I only saw cows and youngsters, no bull with this group (I just learned that tidbit – the males are not bucks, as I would have thought…) who were eating and lounging and paying no attention to traffic or cyclists waving cameras in their direction.

For your edification, a few useless facts about elk:

  • There used to be 6 sub-species of elk in North America, but two are now extinct
  • Mature bulls can weigh more than 700 lbs (explaining why it’s such bad news when they are hit by cars on the highway)
  • To attract females, males urinate on themselves, soaking their hair and making sure they are nice and smelly (rather glad males of the human species don’t indulge in such delightful behaviour)
  • Utah has claimed the Rocky Mountain Elk as its state animal
  • An adult elk will eat about 20 lbs of vegetation in a day


Canmore Elk IMG_3080.jpg

I’m sure the local elk are enjoying those luscious, fresh green leaves as much as I am! Spring is springing!!

What’s your favourite local wildlife species?



Unexpected Colour


On the walk to town…

At first, it seems as if the world has gone all monochromatic on you… And then, the subtle splashes of colour appear…




Photo Friday

20140207-081425.jpgThings are taking a (way too) long time to get done around here, what with everything being frozen solid… So I thought I’d post a few photos on the fly today as I’m not so likely to find myself inside with a long stretch at the computer.
This first one is of the frozen pond down by the sheep field…

Waiting – Could a New Year Be Just Around the Corner?

Waiting for spring...

Waiting for spring…

2013 is on the way out the door and I find myself in an odd restless state of waiting. Waiting… for something. The lengthening days make me eager for days long and warm enough to start planting. A change of the calendar page makes me want to start re-organizing, re-thinking the farm. (A break of a few days was a not-so-subtle reminder that every second of every day does not necessarily have to be spent working…) On a very practical level, we are waiting for visitors to arrive and travelling family members to return home.

After the short break over Christmas, it’s time to think about getting back to work on the newest book project (about trees – I am very excited! Expect some tree photos to pepper posts over the next while…). Though, when I think about work, I feel like I should move my desk out of my bedroom. Feng shui experts would be horrified to see me working away in my calm/resting space. There is a great spot, underutilized at the moment, in my new living room/dining nook where I could get set up. There are huge windows right in front of where I’d put my desk so I could look outside and keep an eye on the hens.

There are projects galore awaiting my attention, but the only way to make real headway is to stop. Take stock. Consider. Plan. And then move forward. See how things are going until the next stopping point comes along. Repeat.

Delicate LeavesSee you all next year!! 

[For anyone keeping NaBloPoMo score… I DID IT!! I can’t quite believe that somehow through all the chaos of this month I managed to spew something every day! Even better than the spewing, though, was the reading and friendship-forming while I was exploring all those other blogs! It has been a lot of fun to discover so many bloggers doing so many interesting things in far-flung corners of the globe. Thanks so much for visiting – I’m looking forward to continuing our conversations in 2014!]

Day 18 – The Moon Coffined in Clouds

“We love the night and its quiet; and there is no night that we love so well as that on which the moon is coffined in clouds.”  ― Fitz-James O'Brien

“We love the night and its quiet; and there is no night that we love so well as that on which the moon is coffined in clouds.”
― Fitz-James O’Brien

When we first moved the horses here a dozen or so years ago it was a very strange sensation to make my way down to the barn in the pitch darkness. There were dips in the land I had never noticed in daylight and the short trip seemed to take three times as long after the lights were out. Strange crackles and sighs came from the trees and, particularlywhen the weather was awful, I thought of farmers in prairie blizzards who had to tie a rope from the house to the barn so they wouldn’t get blown off course and disappear forever.

Deer, who had not yet figured out that their regular highway was about to be interrupted by fences and horses and outbuildings and dogs and strange activities at all hours of the day and night would occasionally crash away through the brush, panicked by the sudden appearance of a human. I rushed, nervous at being out there in the dark all alone. I remembered childhood stories of wolves and bears and shapeless creatures who sucked souls and left young girls for dead and thought more than once of the statistic that Vancouver Island boasts the greatest number of cougar attacks in the world.

I always carried a flashlight, which morphed into a headlamp (much better to have one’s hands free while dealing with hay and gates and feeding the cat) and was happy to reach the barn where I could turn on the light.

These days, the tree spirits feel more like they are protecting me, rather than trying to eat me.

These days, the tree spirits feel more like they are protecting me, rather than trying to eat me.

Gradually, things changed. Over time the batteries in the headlamp faded and I forgot to replace them. I found myself in the dark, strolling down the hill as if I could see. Which, it turned out I could do perfectly well when the moon was high and the skies clear. I found I knew where we were in the moon phase without referring to a calendar. And somewhere along the way the nervousness completely disappeared.

Instead, the nightly walk down the hill became one of highlights of my daily routine. One night I reached up to stroke the cat on the gatepost only to discover it was a cat-sized barn owl. His heart-shaped face looked into mine as if to ask, “Were you seriously just about to touch me?” We stood like that for several long seconds before he lifted off and floated up to the roof of the goat barn, where he resumed his silent observation of my comings and goings.

I have sat in the orchard at midnight and sunk my teeth into a ripe pear sending a sticky sweet dribble of juice down my chin. With my back against a hay bale, I have listened to the patter of rain on the roof while the cat hopped into my lap for a snuggle. To my amazement, I discovered I could identify which of my three bay horses was which, even on a moonless night when I could barely make out my hand as it reached for the chain on the gate. I have paused to listen to the owls calling back and forth, the first frogs in spring, the goats munching their hay. The night is a different place for me now, one of calm and quiet where I don’t see all the many jobs that need to be done but instead savour a few moments of simple satisfaction as I find myself still here at the end of another day.

Interested in learning who else is participating in the 30 days agriculture blog-a-thon or the five things Holly Spangler will be talking about this month? Head over to Prairie Farmer to find out!

What is fog, but wet!

Spider Web October 2013

All this fog has been rather eerily beautiful, in its own muted way, but each dripping morning reminds me that being inside a fog bank is wet! The newly painted chicken house looks like some avant garde creation with streaky, dribbly paint where smooth colour should be. And this poor spider’s web was obviously not meant to bear the weight of all that water!