Monthly Archives: June 2016

A Constant Gardening

 

No comments are necessary here. These photographs were all taken within a couple of hours at the official residence

Ho Hum, just another rose garden

Ho Hum, just another rose garden. Let’s get out of here. The aroma of these roses brought back childhood memories of a English gardener father, languid Sunday afternoons in the park and a brass band playing on a huge gazebo. I was bored stiff!

The devil is in the details

A concrete bird and rose petal soup. The devil is in the details.

Bad boys raiding cherry trees. Hmmmm...cherry-grazed venison.

Bad boys raiding cherry trees. Hmmmm…cherry-grazed venison.

BUT IT'S BAMBI! The enduring legend of the urban deer.

BUT IT’S BAMBI!
The enduring legend of the urban deer.

Fading beauty. My Iris eyes weren't shining

Fading beauty. My Iris eyes weren’t shining.

No balcony, but what a view it must be. This gable is a familiar landmark from out at sea.

No balcony, but what a view it must be. This gable is a familiar landmark from out at sea.

Flowers everywhere, and they all have a name...and one in latin.

Flowers everywhere, and they all have a name…and one in latin.

Martian Asters?

Martian Asters?

 

of British Columbia’s Governor General. Nice work if you can get it! The grounds are open to the public, and believe it or not, there is no admission charge!

The ocean view from this property is fabulous and the gardens are indescribably beautiful. The gardens change with the seasons and are well worth the visit, even if you’re not interested in some incredible flora, and surprising fauna. They are not far from the bustle of downtown Victoria and have been a well-kept secret for a very long time. That is changing and they are being discovered by the tourists but the aura of peace and order has not been diminished. This garden may not have anything, or it may have everything, to do with sailing. Without destinations, the voyage between is meaningless.

Stems are redd, petals are green, bassakwards,  know what I mean?

Stems are red, petals are green, bassakwards,
know what I mean?

Bee down collateral damage and the nectar overdose.

Bee down
collateral damage and the nectar overdose.

Bzzzzz, incoming honey dipper.

Bzzzzz, incoming honey dipper.

The Dancer

The Dancer

All natural colour everywhere

All natural colour everywhere

 Danged purty, whatever they're called


Danged purty, whatever they’re called

It's real!

It’s real!

An ocean glimpse

An ocean glimpse, through the trees. Hard to believe this is a few blocks from a city’s core.

ORCA O'CLOCK

ORCA O’CLOCK

Griffon and flowers

Griffon and roses

A painter's bliss

A painter’s bliss

No fish, no coins, but a beautiful fountain among the blooms

No fish, no coins, but a beautiful fountain among the blooms

Lady bug, lucky bug

Lady bug, lucky bug

La Vie En Rose

La Vie En Rose

One starts to not see it all

One starts to not see it all

Translated it means "No milk today."

Translated it means “No milk today.”

Hey you, get offa ma rock!"

Hey you, get offa ma rock!”

Stunning to the bitter end

Stunning to the bitter end

Look up, way up. A redwood blocks the sun

Look up, way up. A redwood blocks the sun.

The ubiquitous and rare bronze tap flower

The ubiquitous and rare bronze tap flower

a hidden gateway to the magic garden

a hidden gateway to the magic garden

Stunning glasswork on someone's front lawn

Stunning glasswork on someone’s front lawn

WOW!

WOW!

One more for the road

One more for the road

The world laughs in flowers.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

I Used To Like Bluegrass Music

Old Neptune looks down in Victoria Harbour. I wonder how many folks notice him.

Old Neptune looks down in Victoria Harbour.
I wonder how many folks notice him.

 

( No offence Billy Connolly) The title line once appeared in a previous blog about a campground in Arizona. I used it again as I left a campground in Sooke. The campground operator was preparing for a Bluegrass festival on the upcoming weekend. He was rolling his eyes already as tents sprouted all round and practising bands picked their way through the morning. “You’re got a a wild weekend ahead I see,” I intoned. “By Monday morning you’ll be saying, I used to like banjo music.” his smile was so forlorn. At least the weather was perfect.

Keep your blinkers on...it's nuts out here. Some animal-rights advocates want to ban horse-drawn carriages in Victoria because of the traffic danger. My experience with work horses leaves me believing they enjoy their work.

Keep your blinkers on…it’s nuts out here.
Some animal-rights advocates want to ban horse-drawn carriages in Victoria because of the traffic danger. My experience with work horses leaves me believing they enjoy their work.

If only horses could talk!

If only horses could talk!

The weather has eased into rainy days which we so desperately need. It is cool and variable. Those of us wanting to get some brightwork done on our boats are a bit frustrated but there will be plenty of hot, dry days ahead and every drop of rain is precious. Meanwhile I’m muddling with some major changes in my personal life. It’s a time of darkness. I’m not feeling particularly articulate at the moment but I’m still finding joy in life through my photography.

A lineup of rental/tour bikes. A great way for visitors to see the city, ...and no-one seems worried about their safety

A lineup of rental/tour bikes. A great way for visitors to see the city,
…and no-one seems worried about their safety

When I was a kid this was an ultimate accessory.

When I was a kid this was an ultimate accessory.

Here are lots of pictures for my readers, many taken on a recent orbit to the West of Victoria.

A true photograph need not be explained.

Nor can it be contained in words.”

… Ansel Adams

The War Bitch Nothing glorious in reality.

The War Bitch
Nothing glorious in reality, victorious or not.

Now THAT'S a lawn ornament! The old Sheringham Point Light , salvaged to make a small museum in Sooke on Southern Vancouver Island.

Now THAT’S a lawn ornament!
The old Sheringham Point Light , salvaged to make a small museum in Sooke on Southern Vancouver Island.

Through a window, a scene from a woodcutter's cabin just as it was left.

Through a window, a scene from a woodcutter’s cabin just as it was left.

Both Day gone by

Bath Day, Laundry Day gone by

BAT MAN...The time-faded emblem of international harvester

BAT MAN…The time-faded emblem of International Harvester Co.

Simple complexity An old gillnet drum quietly returning to the forest it came from

Simple complexity
An old gillnet drum quietly returning to the forest it came from

A very happy three-legged dog fetching balls in the clear water of the upper Sooke River Potholes

A very happy three-legged dog fetching balls in the clear water of the upper Sooke River Potholes

FAMILY Off for an afternoon through an old orchard to the beaches, fields and forest trails of East Sooke Park. The park is huge and delightful.

FAMILY
Off for an afternoon through an old orchard to the beaches, fields and forest trails of East Sooke Park. The park is huge and delightful.

One of many  old farm meadows in East Sooke Park. Yes it IS real!

One of many old farm meadows in East Sooke Park. Yes it IS real!

The Low Road A well-worn path on the way to Becher Point

The Low Road
A well-worn path on the way to Becher Point

Becher Point Petroglyph Looking out on Juan De Fuca Strait and the shores of the Olympic Peninsula WA

Becher Point Petroglyph, you’ve got to look for it!
Looking out on Juan De Fuca Strait and the shores of the Olympic Peninsula WA

Now can you see it? It is etched in solid granite.

Now can you see it?
It is etched in solid granite.

Smooth! Arbutus limbs and a spider's web.

Smooth!
Arbutus limbs and a spider’s web.

ZORRO was here!

ZORRO was here!

Race Rocks Lighthouse in the distance. This granite monolith was pre-manufactured in Scotland, sailed around Cape Horn  and assembled on site. Imagine the storms it's weathered.

Race Rocks Lighthouse in the distance. This granite monolith was pre-manufactured in Scotland, sailed around Cape Horn and assembled on site. Imagine the storms it’s weathered.

Mamostratus clouds over the marina. no tricks, that's the way they were.

Mamostratus clouds over the marina.
no tricks, that’s the way they were.

An all-natural, completely organic light show.

An all-natural, completely organic light show.

Lately Into The Morning Not So Quietly They Go

"Take me to your leader...if there's any intelligent life up there." A Medusa Jellyfish stuck under the dock. Amazingly, it struggled quite heartily for a while, then relaxed and let the tide take it on its' way.

“Take me to your leader…if there’s any intelligent life up there.” A Medusa Jellyfish stuck under the dock. Amazingly, it struggled quite heartily for a while, then relaxed and let the tide take it on its’ way. Captions: ‘Drugs!’ or ‘I think it winked at me!’

They tried to be furtive, at least when they were leaving. The long weekend had drawn to an end. A collective thunder rose as the armada of white fibreglass boats started their engines. A collective funk of cold diesel engine fumes choked the marina and then the shouting began. Few skippers backed or turned their vessel into the dock when arriving. Then began the ordeal of getting pointy ends facing the right way.

Liskable. I love wooden boats, especially if they belong to someone else. All that scraping and varnishing.

Liskable. I love wooden boats, especially if they belong to someone else. All that scraping and varnishing.

Despite the easy manouverability of twin engines, and bow thrusters, even on some sailboats, there was an improv dance involving waving book hooks, tangled lines mis-thrown as some boats were turned by hand. More than one vessel had a matriarch on the foredeck bellowing instructions. Sometimes there was a nimrod on the dock shouting even more orders although he had no attachment to any boat. (I know these fellows are trying to be helpful but I wonder if some don’t go off to the local mall and try to shoulder and tug cars in or out of their parking spaces.) It is all great entertainment. I hope no marriages came to an end.

It rained on their parade but they seemed to have fun.

It rained on their parade but they seemed to have fun.

My favourite, and she's one of a kind built in fibreglass. 'Romance arrived with the sweet music of a softly chuffing Gardiner diesel and a Golden Retriever hanging over the name board

My favourite of the weekend, and she’s one of a kind built in fibreglass. ‘Romance’ arrived with the sweet music of a softly chuffing Gardiner diesel and a Golden Retriever hanging over the name board.

Say no more

Say no more

In the early morning rain

In the early morning rain

Tis so!

Tis so!

Bemusing when it occurs on one vessel, sometimes there are half a dozen boats or more at it all at once. It becomes a scene from a bad movie. “Cirque Du Mer.” Eventually they all slink off toward open water, their cold engines blurping and belching, a mixed din of twin engined vessels

'Nimpkish' a converted seine boat

‘Nimpkish’ a converted seine boat

with names like ‘Serenity,’ ‘ Tranquility,’ ‘Zepher’ or ‘Time Out.’ A collective sigh of the regular marina residents rises above the wafting exhaust cloud. They’re gone! Finally! Then today’s new transient armada begins to arrive. This will go on all summer. One new boat, a single engined fibreglass trawler hull, quietly idled in. She spun sweetly into the dock and kissed it, now facing the right way. An elderly couple calmly stepped onto the docks, easily secured their lines and settled in with no drama. It was bliss to watch, poetry in motion. The name of the boat was perfect, ‘Schmoochee.’ Seamanship; yet it lives.

Elbow Grease and love.

Elbow Grease and love.

MV 'Tum Tum'

MV ‘Tum Tum’

A sail charter boat, with a cargo of very-far-inland folks arrived adjacent to my berth and began attempting to back into the night’s slip. The crew, in gaudy storm gear and silly hats, milled about

'Fifer Lady' built in Fife Scotland in the 1930's and shipped to Victoria

‘Fifer Lady’ built in Fife Scotland in the 1930’s and shipped to Victoria

on deck, each flailing their own boat hook. The skipper furiously manipulated the bow thruster, throttle and helm, but all manoeuvres proved pointless (Now that’s a clever pun) The tide was slack, there was no wind, it was clear and warm. The more frustrated he became, the more random his efforts proved. Finally one stout lady lept intrepidly and impatiently off the stern quarter and began heaving the vessel into position. A tall gangly fellow, holding the breast line, and who should have been first onto the dock, finally stretched his long heron legs down onto the float all the while continuing to text with one thumb!

Lines

Lines

Captain's Gig

Captain’s Gig

The things I wanted to say! Even my old dog Jack, usually gregarious, wanted nothing to do with this mob. Their karma had run over his dogma. When the portly leaper began effusing endearments at Jack like “C’mere Honey” and “Hi Darling” I looked up from the project I knelt at on my dock and offered “Oh! You’re talking to the dog!” She huffed over to a neighbouring boat where a geriatric St. Bernard reclined on deck and began coo-cooing at him. Bernie’s response was a rumbling throaty growl. “Jeez,” she exclaimed, “Nobody’s very friendly around here!”

A picture of persistent love.

A picture of persistent love.

Under the hood. A vintage Hercules diesel.

Under the hood.
A vintage Hercules diesel.

" oh lord it's hard to be humble...when you're perfect in every way."

” Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble…when you’re perfect in every way.”

The next weekend was cold, wet and blustery, yet the marina hosted a wooden boat gathering. It was bliss indeed to see these examples of much loved old wood, copious varnish and gleaming brass. Despite the poor light, I did my best to take some worthy photographs. Now the weekend has passed, the skies are again clear and calm.Did anyone really expect something different. Sadly, we are experiencing what seems to be the beginning of a severe drought this summer. Every drop of rain is precious. I suspect it might have something to with the US Presidential Race. All that hot air!

Finally I slipped my own lines and left the harbour. A friend on Gabriola had an engine problem in his boat. ‘Seafire’ needed some water rushing past her bottom to clean off the spring aquatic growth and so here I am in Degnen Bay. I awoke after a calm night to the sound of roosters and sheep. Farmland comes down to the tide line and life seems as it should. The bay is allegedly named after a local pioneer but it is worth noting that many nearby place names were bestowed by Spanish explorers. Descanso means “to rest” and I wonder if degnen is not a derivative with similar meaning. In any case, it is hard to shake off the peaceful lethargy here. I’m savouring my coffee this morning well aware of my proficiency at dissecting the Spanish language. Nada!

Degnen Bay

Degnen Bay

Degnen Bay petroglyph. It covers at high tide.

Degnen Bay petroglyph.
It covers at high tide.

Peregrine Falcon Nest. a penthouse over a Purple Martin nesting box.

Peregrine Falcon Nest.
a penthouse over a Purple Martin nesting box.

Feeling down at the bow? Loagy, sluggish, nail-sick? Are you feeling abandoned and unloved. YOU'RE NOT ALONE!

Feeling down at the bow? Loagy, sluggish, nail-sick? Are you feeling abandoned and unloved. YOU’RE NOT ALONE!

Back in Ladysmith I plod away at a few projects and wonder what to do for income. I certainly don’t feel like trying to hold a regular job but there are bills to pay and dreams to chase. Meanwhile a third weekend arrives since I began this blog. Now the Maritime Society is holding its annual “Pirate Day’. There are certain folks now wandering the docks dressed in outlandish Hollywood costumes and playing at being children again. I can’t condemn it just because I don’t understand it and know millions of people love festivals and occasions to wear disguises and pretend to be someone else. There’s a bullhead fishing competition for the children. I’ve been warned in consideration of Jack to beware abandoned wiener bait with hooks attached. They were right. I got one stuck in my tongue!

Finally, she cried “JATOBA!” totally in delight. “I thought you’d never finish!” I’ve just completed designing and building a cockpit table for some marina neighbours. It was a challenging design-as-you-go project requiring lots of innovative thinking between steps. Of course, looking at the job now, I’m left wondering what was so difficult working it all out. Yeah right. I did not have to buy any more wood because of an oops and I still have all of my fingers.

Because teak is priced beyond belief and I found some Jatoba lumber at a very fair price; guess what? Jatoba has many names including “Brazilian Cherry” It is a stable wood, very dense, resinous, and very, very heavy, and very beautiful. It is also incredibly hard and is most commonly used here for flooring. While being milled, the rough lumber repeatedly stalled a friend’s industrial planer. It is also sinewy stuff and destroyed one new $45.00 router-bit in minutes.

The Rum Board

The Rum Board

My Mexican furniture factory. I found the election hat in Sinaloa and needed it here to keep the sun of my noggin.

My Mexican furniture factory. I found the election hat in Sinaloa and needed it here to keep the sun from blistering my noggin. Click on this or any photo to enlarge it. Note how blue the recently-new router bit has become. This is VERY hard wood!

Nearly finished. What gorgeous boards!

Nearly finished. What gorgeous boards!

Meanwhile, back on board 'Seafire'... New Davits

Meanwhile, back on board ‘Seafire’…
New Davits

...and new cockpit seats. Yep, more Jatoba!

…and new cockpit seats. Yep, more Jatoba!

Sadly, this wood comes from Central America and each massive tree taken is a death knell to a rich eco-system of old growth forest. I do feel a twinge of guilt using the wood and I realize that saying the lumber was already in the pile is a lame excuse. I do feel the sacred fibre was used for a noble project and that by flagellating myself in published word I am raising awareness of our consumer compulsions. I hope my humble alter to exploitation is washed in free-trade rum many times in the years ahead. This, the third weekend through which this blog has been written, is blistering hot, airless and languid. Even the summery din of motorcycles on the nearby highway is gone. There are no sirens. I close my eyes and think of Mexico. Then a parrot farts.

Feeling nearly faded as a rose. But still beautiful. Uh huh!

Feeling nearly faded as a rose. But still beautiful.
Uh huh!

In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

…Abraham Lincoln