The Day of the Eagles

This morning I was awakened by the call of eagles. We have heard a few of them since arriving, but hadn’t seen them. However, this morning at least 20 eagles came into our bay with the tide. Every tree in the area seemed to hold at least one big bird. We have no idea what brought them. They stayed for six hours and a couple remain in nearby trees tonight. Watching them today we discovered a nest in a nearby tree. No doubt that is where the calls we have heard came from. Today those parents were surrounded by others swooping around the nest and sitting in the trees. What a sight!

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After a few hours of watching the eagles we took our daily walk along the nearby trail. With the warm weather things change quickly. Flowers that were blooming four days ago are gone. Berries that were green are now turning red. A tree that had hard green fruit now sports red cherries. With glimpses of the creek and the bay it is a lovely place to walk.

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In the afternoon I practiced my ukulele for an hour. I’m working on some new songs to share with Julie, my partner in Home Cookin’. More on that in coming posts.

Finally, my art supplies called and I settled at a table downstairs to draw. Since arriving I have been looking at the many moon snail shells in the house. Today I chose three of them and set them up on my table to draw in pencil.

They are still on the table and may tempt me to get out some paints. We’ll see.

So ends another day on Vancouver Island.


Posted in Art, B.C., Music, Photography, Retirement, Travel, Ukulele, Vancouver Island | 3 Comments

Hottest Day Yet, But Not Really

Norman and Janet departed this morning in order to catch the Black Ball Ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles. We had a fun week with them in Victoria and here at our rental in Courtenay.

After they left we did a quick grocery run and then decided to take a walk before the heat rose. The prediction was for the 90’s and as I write this a 6:30 PM it is 93! However, there has been a pleasant breeze off the water all day to keep us cool. If you stayed in the shade it was quite comfortable. The tide went out a long way and with the wind off the water we smelled the sea (fish and seaweed) all day as well. Anyway, we walked the River/Bay trail that begins almost across the street from our house.

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The afternoon was spent in quiet activities. Jean read and worked on her photos. I spent an hour practicing the ukulele, and did some reading. I also did two quick sketches of the view out our living room window, one in pencil and the other in water soluble ink.

I did turkey burgers on the grill with a tossed salad for dinner. Now it is time to relax (what I’ve been doing all day) and watch the sun set. We face east, so we get the reflected glow of the sunset on Texada Island. It is very delicately colored.



Posted in Art, B.C., Music, Photography, Retirement, Travel, Ukulele, Vancouver Island | 1 Comment

Water and Trees

Yesterday we ventured inland toward Port Alberni, a town on a long fjord that penetrates the western shore of Vancouver Island. Jean and I had driven this route a few years ago and knew a couple of places to stop for walks and photos. Norman and Janet were willing to follow our lead to these places.

Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park embraces the Little Qualicum River as it cuts its way through the mountains. Deep ravines with roaring water are surrounded by quiet, dark forests.

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Cathedral Grove is an intact example of a fully mature douglas fir forest. Some of these magnificent trees are 800 years old. It is a quiet place of contemplation. The first time we visited there were spirit masks posted on some trees. Unfortunately they were not there this time. We wonder why they were removed. However, this ancient forest still enchants.

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Today we arose to heat. The temp topped out in the 80’s this afternoon while we took a hike to Nymph Falls. It was much cooler near the falls. This spot is a favorite with locals who come to play in the cool waters. We simply hiked along the river trail.

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After resting in the late afternoon heat I prepared a dinner on the grill – sockeye salmon, halibut, garlic zuchini, and bell peppers. With a side tossed salad and some terrific local rose from 40 Knots Winery we had a feast! Sorry, no pics of the food. It disappeared before I remembered my camera.

Tomorrow Norman and Janet leave us for their return to California. Jean and I will break out painting materials and begin to capture this beautiful place. In the mean while here’s a short clip of Nymph Falls.


Posted in B.C., Photography, Retirement, Travel, Vancouver Island | 2 Comments

First Day in Courtenay

Today I woke at 4:00 AM to sunshine peaking over the horizon and into the bedroom window. At 6:00 AM I gave up trying to sleep and arose to greet the sunny day. Here’s the morning view from our living room windows.

The forecast is for increasing heat for several days and this day started it. It quickly rose into the 70’s. We started the day with a walk along the estuary. The trail goes through a small wetland conservancy and then toward town. Jean and I found lots of places to paint in the coming days.


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After lunch we headed out to tour some local wineries. During the afternoon we managed to visit and taste at 40 Knots, Beaufort, and Coastal Black wineries. The first two make a wide selection of grape wines and Coastal Black makes apple and berry wines/ciders. Tasting was lots of fun and did result in the purchase of some bottles to be reviewed at some future date when we partake of them. These wineries also had beautiful scenery. We strolled around 40 Knots where they have interesting information posted about the growing process. They are organic and use chickens, ducks and sheep to keep the grass, weeds, and bugs at bay. Beaufort has a tremendous view of snow capped mountains.

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So ends another day. Here is the message I will impart as we sit down to dinner.


Posted in Art, B.C., Photography, Retirement, Travel, Vancouver Island | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Last Days in Victoria and Move to Courtenay

On Monday our friends, Norman and Janet, joined us. Therefore we have been very busy enjoying the sights, sounds, people and food of Victoria and I haven’t had time to edit photos and do a post. However, today we drove north to our next temporary home and tonight I have time to catch up on photos and do a brief post.

Here are some images from Beacon Hill Park, Abkhazi Gardens, and the harbor from the last few days.

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Perhaps the single most amazing experience of the week was witnessing the mating dance of the male peacock. Peacocks were brought to Beacon Hill Park in the late 19th century and have flourished. They roam the grounds at will and seem generally oblivious to the many people. This particular male comes to the same location every afternoon and usually performs his mating dance whether or not a female is in attendance. On this day she was there, but as you will see she had no time for him.

How’s that for shaking your booty?

Now we are moved into a house on the shore in Courtenay, BC. We have a lovely garden with several different patios/spaces to sit, an herb garden, and a walk of about 150 feet to the edge of the ocean. There is a waterside nature trail that begins across the road from our front door. Photos of the place to come.

Tonight we had a wonderful Greek meal at Yiama’s. We highly recommend this place! The service was fantastic and the food terrific. We will return. Tomorrow we will visit area wineries for some tasting.



Posted in B.C., Photography, Retirement, Travel, Victoria, Victoria BC | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Gardens and Gail

Yesterday started with a trip to the beautiful Abkhazi Japanese Garden in the morning, moved on to a couple of hours with Gail Sibley, pastel artist extraordinaire, in the afternoon, and ended with an evening walk along the water to downtown Victoria.  What a great day it was.


There was so much to see at the Abkhazi garden:  flowers, trees, and a few surprises.

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Flowers everywhere, hiding in the shade, peeking out into the sun.

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Water featured lilies and turtles.

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Mason bee house.

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Mason Bee House


And of course, trees, trees, trees

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Then on to a delightful couple of hours at the Moka House coffeeshop to meet Gail Sibley in person and talk about pastels, painting, life, and pastels.

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She is tall! Or I’m short. Fisherman’s Wharf behind us.


No photos from the evening walk.  I forgot my camera.  But it was lovely end to a very fine day.

Posted in Abkhazi Japanese Garden, Gail Sibley, Jean's Posts, Victoria BC | 8 Comments


This morning we visited a small lush place, Abkhazi Garden. This little gem has gravel trails that twist and turn among flowers, shrubs, trees, ponds, and a teahouse. Of course I had to capture some of the flowers.

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Hostas, ferns and other greenery completed the picture.

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Turtles presided over the ponds.

This evening we took a walk downtown. There are three cruise ships in port so the streets were crowded. One of the most unusual sights was the pedal-powered pub crawl, The Rolling Barrel. It’s a 1 ton bicycle powered by the paying passengers. The pedalers stop for  drinks and snacks at various establishments along the way.

And thus ends another day.


Posted in B.C., Photography, Retirement, Travel, Victoria, Victoria BC | Tagged | 6 Comments

Walking Around Victoria

The gray skies and showers continue. There really has been little rain, but also little sun. Today I learned that Victoria has twice the sun and half the rainfall of Vancouver. They must be having a terrible June on the mainland! Despite the lack of sunshine we take a walk every day.

Flowers abound in Victoria, sometimes in the most unusual places. Everyone seems to love their gardens.

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The pier is painted with First Nations images depicting ancient stories.

A great blue heron stops for a look.

Raincoats are the dress of the day.

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Flowers and wildlife sometimes mix.

Looking for sunshine in the next few days.


Posted in B.C., Photography, Retirement, Travel, Victoria, Victoria BC | 5 Comments

Orca Sighting!

This afternoon as I lounged in the hot tub I was treated to a rare sight…orcas (sometimes called killer whales) in Victoria Harbor!!! What a treat! An adult and three juveniles swam into the harbor among the boats and seaplanes, turned the corner in the inner harbor, and swam under the bridge to the upper harbor. That hasn’t happened in many years. I didn’t have my camera in the hot tub, but here’s a photo taken by someone in the harbor:

Here’s a link to tonight’s news broadcast:

Here’s a link to a Victoria news site with lots of pics:

The show wasn’t over! Thirty minutes later a sea otter swam by, exploring the shoreline. No camera again, but here’s a stock image that looks like my afternoon visitor.

Just another day on the Salish Sea.


Posted in B.C., Retirement, Travel, Victoria, Victoria BC | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Robert Bateman

One of the pleasures of visiting Victoria is the opportunity to visit the Robert Bateman Center.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with Bateman, he is one of the greatest living Canadian artists.  Many of the paintings on display are old favorites, but each time we’ve been here there is always a special exhibit.  This time the special exhibit focuses on his development as an artists with a special emphasis on early work.

This early work shows clearly how influenced he was by the Group of Seven, Tom Thomson and Emily Carr.

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Other influences included Andrew Wyeth.  Both artists are know for their realism . . . for painting each blade of grass, each feather and strand of fur; but neither of them see their work that way.  They only give the appearance of detail.  Rather than ‘realist’ painting, they each paint with great emotion and express the deeper meaning behind their choices.  Notice the almost hidden elements in some of Bateman’s paintings, contrasting the focal point with something equally important but of differ differing dimensions.

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This is but a small taste of the beauty that awaits you at the Bateman Center.


On our way home we saw a Great Blue Heron fishing for it’s dinner . . . a perfect subject for Bateman.

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After being inspired by Bateman I did a quick study, not at all in his style . . . but I wanted to do something and  the box top on my NuPastels did the trick.

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Nu’s Boxtop

Posted in B.C., Jean's Posts, Robert Bateman Center | 2 Comments