Showing posts from September, 2017

The Last Summer Day

Here we are, almost to the end of September, and summer lingers. Shimmering days of warmth that cool to "pull up a blanket" nights create some of the most perfect weather imaginable.

I've picked raspberries twice this week, probably a pint each time, and today I gathered another handful. This is luxury. 

Tomatoes that just won't quit. I hate to say I'm getting tired of them, for in a month or so they will be mere memory. So I pick and roast and freeze against the dark chilly wet that will soon be upon us.

The roses don't seem to have any inkling about the cold front that is moving in tonight. Growth abounds and I fear that their promise will be nipped in the bud, so to speak.

Today was so lovely I could hardly bear to be indoors. Since we are learning about activities we like to do in Spanish class, I asked them if they would like to go for a walk. Of course, they did! And so we spent 15 minutes walking around the block, enjoying this last summer day. 

Echinacea o…

Falling Gently

The sun shines with an intensity that smacks of desperation. Too soon the light fades and the sun's warmth is but a memory as I reach for a sweater and pull on socks. 

In the garden, fragrant roses produce bloom after bloom. The apples are gone from the trees now - jars of applesauce stand on the pantry shelf and dishes of apple crisp, half-baked, lie waiting in the freezer. The tomatoes ripen. A handful of tiny Millionaire red globes are sweet as candy. Kale will grow throughout a mild winter; who knows if that's what we'll get. Carrots and beets remain in the ground until needed. We clip bunches of Concord grapes for lunches.

As autumn tip toes in on sunny days and coolish evenings, lighting a candle and drinking tea seem the cozy thing to do. When we were in Alberta in the summer, Tim's sister told us that their mother had received a package of Dutch Stroopies in a gift basket once and had really taken to them. We shared what was left while at her place, and we took t…

Birthday Remembrance

Ruth Adel Olsen. My mother-in-law, pictured above, long before I knew her. Her smile belies the hard times she'd endured growing up on a remote farm in the north. A father who suffered from mental illness. A tragic house fire where her efforts to save a little step-brother resulted in severe burns and the death of the little boy. Her older brother died later in a gruesome sawmill accident. 

Several years ago, during a family get together in Jasper, Mum told us of the long journeys she made by train from Newlands, BC to Calgary, AB for her nurse's training. The old train station in Jasper is still in operation at the time of our visit. We wandered through it while Mum recalled long hours spent on the hard benches waiting for a connection, and told stories of other passengers she had met. 
The train passed within a kilometre of her home in Newlands, so the train engineer would stop there and let her off in the middle of the night. Her step-father met her with a lantern and togethe…

Comings, Goings, and Staying at Home

The rising wind and darkening skies hinted at the weather to come. We thought we'd get a walk in before the rain began, but we didn't quite make it. 

The Songhees Walkway follows the Inner Harbour on the west side. Two enormous yachts lie at the dock on the opposite side. A flock of Canada geese, intent on feeding, were sublimely uninterested in the view.

In spite of the weather, the harbour was a busy place. Several float planes took off and others landed. The little passenger ferries bounced from stop to stop. Whale watching boats came and went. A cruise ship came into dock. I'm sorry for the passengers who were likely hoping to wander through town in the sunshine. 

Knowing the rain was coming, I worked in the garden for a few hours yesterday, picking tomatoes, pulling down the climbing beans whose leaves are yellow and spotted. There were a goodly number of pale tan, completely dry pods that I harvested, both for seed for next year, and to use as dried beans for eating. I …

Bright September

The morrow was a bright September morn,
The earth was beautiful as if new born;
There was a nameless splendor everywhere,
A wild exhilaration in the air.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A day of mist and drizzle last weekend was the exception, not the norm for September thus far. Bright days and cool evenings mark the gradual tilt of the earth away from the sun. 
In the garden, the sky blue hydrangeas have turned to lime green. I cut long stems and plunked them into a tall, copper-ringed French flower bucket. They greet me in the hallway when I return home each afternoon. 

On the breakfast table, a mason jar filled with late summer blooms in vivid and muted colours preserves the illusion that summer days are not yet over. 

Regular readers of this blog might remember our trip to France and the UK last summer where we visited a cousin of mine. Teresa and her family made a visit to Canada this summer, seeing family and friends. We enjoyed a short tea-time together on the back deck. It was a good oppo…

Between the Seasons

Autumn is hanging out in our neighbourhood. The first glimpse was around 8 pm one evening when a few raindrops fell as I picked a few raspberries. Temperatures dropped, more rain fell, and I listened to it softly falling during the night. We are thankful for the moisture. 

This weekend the two of us took a last overnight boating trip for the season, to Genoa Bay. Gray mist and gentle rain were the weather of the day on Saturday, but Sunday morning the mist wreathing the hills was soon burned off by the sun.

Golden light shone through paper thin leaves littering the forest floor. 

Float houses are popular in much of the west coast. At the Genoa Bay Marina, a couple of them are for sale. I wonder how damp they would be in winter, though. 

We hiked for a couple of hours on the hill above the marina. The trail began in shaded woods where ferns grow lush. We soon left the green behind for dry grassy outcroppings and the scent of warm pine. When we stood still, we heard the soft plink of dry ne…

Marching into Autumn

Our hot summer days continue and there's not much autumnal about the weather. We could do with some rain. Meanwhile, as the sun shines, we make the most of it. 

Last Sunday we went to the grounds of Royal Roads University, formerly known as Hatley Castle. I showed you the gardens, but the real reason for the visit was to see the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Musical Ride.

Marching bands and seated bands entertained the large crowd until it was time for the stars of the show, the horses and their riders.

Our Lieutenant Governor General opened the event. Her arrival to the stands was preceded by the single piper seen above. Bagpipes sound so wonderful in the open air, less so in buildings, I find. 

The Massed Pipes and Drums featured members from three groups, each in their distinct uniforms. I enjoy drums very much and these musicians did a superb job, marching about the field on a very hot day. 

Tim pointed out the daggers tucked into the stockings of the one regiment. I did a l…

The Man Who Loved Shakespeare

Should you drive from the southern coast of British Columbia into the Interior, you might choose to take the Coquihalla Highway. Along the way you might be intrigued by road signs for Romeo, Portia, Lear, Juliet, and more. 

Andrew McCulloch was the brilliant engineer in charge of constructing the Kettle Valley railway through an incredibly challenging landscape, including the Coquihalla River canyon with its sheer cliffs and narrow gorges.

If you take the turn off to the Othello Tunnels, you can walk along the old railbed and through the tunnels, as we did a couple of weeks ago.

There are three tunnels, dark, damp places blasted and chipped from solid rock. It's good to have a flashlight, or failing that, a strong arm to hold. Between the tunnels are two bridges. 

Looking down, the water rushes over and around boulders of all sizes and shapes. Rock faces jut sharply over the river, low now in late summer. It was a hot day and the water looked cool and inviting, but there were warnings…