last week’s trip

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Husband and I took a lovely little trip to Vancouver Island this past week to see our family. Our middle daughter with husband and our dear granddaughters had moved in November from their lake cottage to a farm in the idyllic gentle rolling valleys of Saanich, north of Victoria. Though husband had been there to help with their move, especially with their chickens and coop, this was my first visit.

Being January it did rain on and off but on our first afternoon we were lucky to have a dry spell so we could have a bit of a walk around the farm (owned by their landlords) with its extensive herb plantings, vegetables, trees and most delightful goats, one producing delicious milk, a couple of astoundingly handsome guard dogs and egg laying chickens. I wish my photos of the animals were better but they just did not stay still.

The valley below is beautiful though I was able to only capture a wee bit of it to show here as the sun was lowering in the sky. The camera did not see much action, but there will be another time! We also had short visits with two sets of friends who used to live in our neighbourhood on this side of the Salish Sea. It was a happy week away and just what we needed after that most awful and long cold over the holidays.

Added later: you may be interested in visiting Elisa’s beautiful blog: appleturnover

New Year 2016

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Very belated Happy New Year’s wishes to my dear readers! I hope you have all had a wonderful holiday season and that this new year will be a good one. So many in the world do need hope for safer and better lives. Will that ever change?

One of the New Year traditions, at least in our neighbourhood, is the receipt of new calendars from some of the local realtors. Some feature gorgeous local scenery while others feature exciting spots around the world to attract tourism. I fell in love with one of those latter images, of some standing stones called the megaliths of Callanish. Here is the text:

Its remote location on the Isle of Lewis, in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, means that the megalith of Callanish attracts fewer tourists than its counterpart Stonehenge; however, these standing stones are just as impressive and equally puzzling. Erected around 5,000 years ago, the stones form the shape of a Celtic cross. Some archaeologists suggest the site was used as a lunar observatory while others, of a less scientific bent, prefer the local folklore, which tells of giants petrified for their refusal to convert to Christianity. Perhaps because its origins are undetermined, the Callanish Stones have a mystical quality.

Of course there is much more information online, which I will be studying for as many of you know, I find it a fascinating subject and have only seen Stonehenge and Avebury.

Though I no longer put up wall calendars I do save certain images… this one is a keeper! I could not find the photographer’s name to give due credit.

Winter Story 2015

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Our granddaughters’ Lael and Niamh and their parents have once again created another wonderful Winter Story to share with all their friends and family – an annual tradition since 2003. Please visit it here then perhaps visit/revisit past Stories! They now live on a farm hence the many delightful farm creatures. Enjoy! Happy Holidays everyone!

Solstice and Jule wishes

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time to nod to Midwinter and the pagan traditions of Yule, Yulefest, Jul, Joulu….
time to rejoice that the North’s longest night (tomorrow in Vancouver) will soon be over
the days will lengthen as light returns

a good time to wish all of you, my dear friends and readers,
a happy Solstice, 
Joyful Christmas, Hauskaa Joulua,
Frohe Weihnachten, Joyeux Noël, Happy Holidays, or whatever you celebrate.

Love and light, peace and joy,
and a big thank you to all of you for your friendship.

(a note of apology that I have not sent out Christmas cards or letters this year as I have been unwell, but hope to be recovered by Christmas)

frost flowers

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This rare sunny morning, while I was sleeping in, my husband took several photos of the rare gorgeous frost fractals on the sloping skylights in our solarium. What a lovely gift to ring in the holiday season after weeks of extreme rain and windstorms. Even the mountain tops are capped with white icing. We are to expect more of these storms in this El Niño year.

Fortunately so far our neighbourhood has not had the severe flooding nor power outages that are sadly happening in many areas of the Pacific Northwest, despite a warning flicker now and then. The storms are of course stronger over open coastal regions often forcing cancellations of ferries and small plane flights. This happened to dear friends from Victoria visiting us last weekend which meant they had to spend the night with us, and a pleasure it was.

I wish all friends and readers a happy and safe pre-holiday period! We hope that no storms affect your holiday plans. More later….

Sunday’s sunrise

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Nature’s art, 7:42 am Sunday, November 22, 2015
No words needed.

November reds

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Already the eleventh month of the year and the colours of fall continue to change daily. Leaves fall, the winds blow, sometimes gently sometimes stormy. Lovely days, rainy days, and everything in between. Some snow on the mountains on the Halloween weekend but no frost yet down here near the sea. The sun is lower in the sky, the shadows lengthen, the march of the seasons mark the passage of time.

violet

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This favourite orchid (actually all of them are favourites) bloomed all summer long and is now gradually dropping its blossoms. Aren’t they beautiful even as they fade and wither?

almost autumn

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a colourful sign of the coming change of season

weather

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Colchicum autumnale or fall crocus now blooming in my garden

A massive windstorm at the end of August seemed like a signal that summer is over. Powerful winds all over southwest BC created havoc with trees blown over and power outages to over 500,OOO homes. We nervously watched our two very tall evergreens shaking wildly but, other than a lot of dry needles, small branches and shredded green bits blown everywhere, they and our house survived. Our own neighbourhood got off lightly except for the internet being down for a day or so. Greatest damage seemed to have been in areas with predominantly very tall leafy trees. The tops acted like giant sails to catch the powerful wind and with dry roots from our summer’s drought, were ripped right out of the ground and onto houses, cars and powerlines. The Hydro workers were out there for several days and nights cleaning up and restoring power – they deserve our deepest thanks.

Lots of rain followed – a blessing! And it’s back to summery weather, with some days like Indian summer. We’ve enjoyed having our almost 15-year-old granddaughter visiting. I continue to be a lazy blogger, and am now also down with a bit of flu, so I continue to enjoy reading books and ignoring housework and studio! Used to be, at the beginning of September I would be going back to the print studio at our nearby university – I still miss that. Fall gardening now beckons as soon as I’m better.