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...a glimpse into life on Vancouver Island, needle felting, photography, food, gardening, etcetera...etcetera
"Happiness always looks small when you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and at once you learn how big and precious it is."
Maxim Gorky

Saturday, May 1, 2010

A walk through the woods....

There's a nice little walk up the road from us...just a little notch off the side of the road and if you're not looking for it, you won't see it.
I go up there with Griffin once in a while to have a look at the creek and the few big trees still left there.
On the way up the trail, the fiddle heads are unfurling as graceful as ever...




Then I find this old broken windshield from a car wreck many years ago...
Kind of a pretty mosaic disappearing back into the earth...
Not that I approve of garbage in the bush, on the contrary. It disgusts me to no end, but that's another story.
Look at this gorgeous fungus...
It's called turkey tail.
Then its up the trail, between what I call the gate. These 2 trees are but a few of the big ones left behind from logging 70 or 80 years ago.
I once heard someone say that when you're harvesting trees, you never cut down your biggest ones.
They are your strong lifelines with the good DNA.
The large horizontal cut mark at the bottom of this stump, was made from what was called a springboard.
Back in the day when logging was done by hand, notches were cut into the base of a tree where planks of wood were inserted for the loggers to stand on to work a crosscut saw and axes to cut the tree BY HAND.
For some reason, logging in those days seemed more honorable.
A real manly man job.
I mean, the conditions these men worked under, were rough and brutal.
No giant machinery to come in and plow down the forest in a week.
No sirree...these men would come in at the break of dawn with horse and oxen and work their fingers to the bone to cut down a few trees a day.
Death was a common side effect in the industry as well as life altering, disabling injuries.
...and none of this flying in and out of fancy camps by helicopter...conditions were wet, cold and primitive.
How about those ladies, cooking in camp with their long dresses and tiny pointy shoes!
Don't get me wrong...logging is still one of the most dangerous jobs around but with mechanization and technology, things became much easier.

The woods are quiet now and the undergrowth is lush and strong.
The echoes of the logger have long been silenced.
The creeks and the birdsong are the music of these forests now.

Friday, April 30, 2010

How do they do it?!

This time of year is probably the busiest time for the hummingbirds.
It's here, that I like to sit and patiently watch and catch them in action..
 Here she comes...at first a bit nervous..
But too concerned about eating to turn away...
Sometimes they try to chase each other away, but today they're in a sharing mood...
Even with the wind ruffling their feathers.

And now for a light show by the males!!
Just from the shape of those tiny feathers and the way the light reflects on them!
I think she's impressed!! Wouldn't you be?
And off she goes....

Song for Friday....spring's on the way...

 Reasons why I love this time of year....

 


 new starts...
 fresh skies and apple blossoms...
 the busy-ness of birds and their songs...
 lush green everywhere...

So take heed in the words of Al Jolson...
a classic performed by the great Mel Torme...
The Velvet Fog...


Thursday, April 29, 2010

For cousin Johnny...

We are in the midst of the playoff season for the Stanley Cup.
Our beloved Vancouver Canucks have made it through the first round and then last night....
A huge upset...The Montreal Canadiens beat The Washington Capitals to move on to their 2nd round.
They are the only Canadian team left in the eastern division.
Which brings me to my next post on Toronto...
The Hockey Hall of Fame.
A shrine for some. 
They come to pay their respects to those who skated to glory...
To bathe in the religion to some, that which is OUR game...Hockey.
These hallowed halls are filled with the ghosts of Saturday night...
The glass cases glow with relics of heroes from boyhoods of days gone by...
The history of the gear...
Here, Jaques Plantes' gaolie mask he designed himself...the very first.
1959..
Tired after years of being slashed, bruised and broken, he was the one who finally started the trend of keeping your face in one piece...from that....
to this...
 I spent many a Saturday night hearing the theme song for Hockey Night in Canada come on the t.v,
the snow falling outside, my brother and father, brown stubby beer bottle in hand,
sitting in happy anticipation...
The larger than life players making their way around the ice...
The announcer shouting those 4 words you either dreaded or loved...
"He shoots...he SCORES!"

There was something more which I came here for though.
It was to remember my dad's second cousin Johnny Quilty.
This is what he would have seen when he walked into the locker room in 1939-41...
He played for the Canadiens during this time...
Look...there he is up on the team rouster...3rd from the bottom right.
Johnny even won the Calder Cup for Most Valuable Player...
I found it here, in the same room as the Stanley Cup, with his name engraved on it.
Unfortunately, Johnny sustained a terrible broken leg in the following year with the Boston Bruins and never played again.
But he's remembered here...in this great building of hockey legends.
I felt obliged to have my photo taken with 'Lord Stanley'...
Yes, I was in the presence of greatness...
All of those years, growing up in the shadows of this great game...sometimes hating it for pre-empting favorite t.v shows...
But sometimes loving the feelings of pride when a country unites for the love of the game...
The 2010 gold medal game puck.

Cheers Johnny!