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Showing posts from April, 2018

A Place of Harmony - Sointula

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Utopia: an imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect

Sir Thomas More, who coined the word utopia, and wrote a novel by the same name, very likely never imagined how many communities would be formed in hope of achieving a perfect society. 

In the late 1800s, Finnish immigrants came to Vancouver Island in search of a better life. Many of them worked in the coal mines. One of them, a man by the name of Kurrika, dreamed of a place where Finns could live an ideal life. He the Kalevan Kansa Colonization Company Limited to encourage more Finns to immigrate to Canada. 


He traveled up and down the coast, looking for land suitable for building such a community. In 1901, the provincial government granted the Kalevan Kansa Company ownership of Malcom Island. The island was promptly renamed Sointula, which means "harmony." 

Here a few hardy souls attempted to create paradise from the wilderness. The task was unending. The colony was soon in debt for they discovered tha…

Five Favourites: A Taste of Summer

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It happens each year. Each green shoot poking upwards is oohed and aahed over. When the first flower appears, perhaps a yellow crocus, my heart sings. Little by little more flowers show up and each one is admired. 

Then the first warm days arrive and the blooms rush one upon the other so that it's impossible to keep track of them all. I liken it to when my children were very young and I knew each word they could say. Then, from one day to the next, they began speaking words I hadn't taught them and couldn't possibly count. 

This morning, while putting my bags in the car, this flower-laden rhododendron smacked me with its showy beauty. Last year, it bloomed not at all. This year, it's making up for it by being covered with perfect blooms.  


I took a few pictures with my phone this morning, and went out again this evening for more with my camera. Pink rhodos are first on this post of five favourites. 


Second is cauliflower rice. I'd read about it and thought that it coul…

Sweet Spring Sunday

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I awaken in the morning to birdsong outside my window. Drawing back the curtains, I see blue sky, with a hint of frost in the deep angles on the roofs of my neighbours. Clear, cold skies overnight signify a warmer day ahead.

After morning church, we head downtown. First, to buy a new waterproof jacket for me, then to Fisherman's Wharf for our first al fresco meal of the year - fish tacos eaten in the sunshine while watching sailboat masts sway at their slips. 


After lunch we walk along the Inner Harbour. A heron, framed by reflections from a kayak on a float house, slowly turns his head back and forth.


The new Johnson Street bridge is in place and in use. The old blue bridge is partially dismantled and the remainder will disappear in a few weeks. I am not fond of the new bridge, but perhaps it will grow on me.


We wander by the Legislature, and I admire the copper domes against the blue sky. The golden figure of Captain George Vancouver, a British naval officer who charted many of the …

Every Year is More Beautiful

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Spring has shown her sweet side in the past two days. Sun mixed with cloud, no wind to speak of, and gentle warmth that pours like honey onto my head.

We walk, late afternoon or early evening, through house-lined streets where tulips and daffodils nod their pretty heads and airy riots of pink cover bare branches. 


Along the path through the woods creamy fawn lilies (Erythronium) shine like stars. Only by crouching low do we see the details of stamens and pistils. She's a shy flower that charms and entices the passerby to take a closer look. 


Miner's Lettuce (Montia Perfoliata) grows in these woods, too. An edible plant, its crunchy sweet leaves and stems make a fine salad. I pick just one round leaf from a plant growing on a steep bank, tucked into a tree stump where I know a dog wouldn't have graced with his presence. 


We stop to admire the magnificence of a magnolia tree in bloom for a few moments. 

"Everything is blooming most recklessly, if it were voices instead of co…

Gardening Weekend

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Saturday. Cloudy skies with a few sunny breaks, but no rain. And certainly no snow or ice as was the case in the east. I put on wellies, gardening gloves, and my old fleece jacket. Garden cleanup was the sole task on my list for the day. 

In the morning I snapped the tulips on the left; a few hours later, the same tulips on the right, opening to the faint sun.


The last of the winter garden vegetables. Kale was beginning to go to seed, and the carrots were becoming a bit hairy, but everything tastes just fine. Tim spread compost after I weeded and cleaned out the bed; he helped with the last bit of weeding, too. My fingers were sore from all the pulling. 



After a hot shower I relaxed with a cup of tea, a piece of chocolate, and a new Country Living (UK). Small treats like this are a fine reward for a day of hard work. Of course, looking out the window and seeing the garden beds tidied is in itself, also a reward. 


The "novelty" tulips purchased a week or more ago are aging beauti…

Alert Bay

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As we boarded the ferry for our 40-minute ride to Cormorant Island, three snowy peaks drifted in and out of our sight line, sometimes obscured by another island, then visible again as we made headway. I've not been able to discover their name, but they made a stunning backdrop for a day of exploration.


Alert Bay is a small community of 1200-1500 people on Cormorant Island. The Namgis First Nation has the largest population (600-750 people), with the remainder composed of the Village of Alert Bay and the Kwakwaka'wakw Tribes. Alert Bay is named for the Royal Navy ship HMS Alert which conducted surveys in the area around 1860. 

The island is a quiet place in the off season, and becomes busier once the tourism season begins. We had hoped to visit the U'mista Cultural Centre, but it was closed. We wandered through town, glad for our layers of clothing as a sharp, cold wind blew across the water.


We admired the handiwork of the many totem poles throughout the village. The older po…

Spring Puttering

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"Nothing is so beautiful as Spring      When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush...     The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush     The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling."                                                                                                    Gerard Manley Hopkins
Spring is not my favourite time of year. I enjoy each one of the seasons, but Spring is too capricious and moody: one day smiling with sun, the next sullen with a chill wind that drives like a knife. Still, I cannot deny the absolute delight of seeing green shoots and flowers emerge from the brown earth. Blossoms in the rain are as equally beautiful as those in the sun. 
All the fresh newness outdoors inspires me indoors to putter. I looked up the meaning of the word today:
...to busy or occupy oneself in a leisurely, casual, or ineffective manner
Today I've been puttering. It's been leisurely and c…