The perfect day for a ramble in the countryside, collecting a bit of the wayside, to bring home
for decorating the porch.
Griffin and I ventured up Island to visit with Irma and Griff's brother Frank.
Fueled by lunch and chocolate torte at the Rock Cod Cafe,
Irma wanted to show me another gem of a place she discovered while
out wandering. She's been a bit stir crazy since she broke her arm after it
got in the way of her horse Sophie's hoof.
Our destination was the original homestead of Swallowfield Farm.
There was once a lovely old house here on a 300 acre farm.
Apparently famous for the potatoes grown there.
So down the long road now abandoned and closed off to vehicles
and used by ramblers such as ourselves...
The lads on the prowl...
The house sat on a little hill and looked down the valley towards
the estuary and the ocean beyond that...
Just to the right, the view includes the mill.
Looking quite ominous, but at least it's not pumping out the toxic dioxins it used to.
Now imagine... back in the day when, as quoted from the book 'Memories of the Chemainus Valley',
"Sweeping meadow lands alternate, in season, with fields of oats and potatoes,
Jersey cows graze knee deep in clover and alfalfa, pheasants and duck
"put up" anywhere, for it's probably the richest game preserve
on Vancouver Island. The Chemainus River winds through the
meadowland to the sea, and on a ridge in it's midst rises
Mrs Hutchinson's most artistic and spacious residence,
full of works of art and books."
We wandered amongst the bright rose hips which speckled across the landscape
in little clouds of scarlet...
As we wandered along on high ground, we spotted something in the bush...
Far from any water there it was...
It even had paddles and a life jacket underneath.
It was trying to be in disguise with branches and wood placed carefully to hide it.
So we left it in peace to pretend it should live up on the hill.
Down the old road we went, through the old farm fields,
past a beautiful reclining Garry oak..
Evidence of the containing of livestock of long ago...
...to the banks of the meandering river.
We had kayaked down here many years ago, so seeing the view from
land was quite different.
We talked about coming back in the spring for a picnic along this pretty stretch...
Bald eagles were still hanging around for the last bits of salmon who'd spawned
upriver just a month or so ago...
The Native Indians come here to duck hunt and we found a strange 'decoy'
or whatever it was pegged on a stick by the water...
After collecting rose hips, birds nests, privet branches and ivy, it was time
to head back to the van.
One last stop along the road though...
The old E & N railway line.
Not in much use these days, although there is talk of commuter rails, which
would be LONG overdue.
We took a stroll down to the river crossing.
Frank, curious of the one hunched on the ground...
All in all a great wander...just what the doctor ordered.