Space and balance and comfort

Balance? Teetering? Toppling? No, just an occasional wobble. Who? Me? Um, maybe. Any more questions? Um, maybe…

Teetering? Not me!

Over the last three decades (three decades??!) I’ve mostly taught upper elementary and Junior High school students. My work the past month has been with students a little younger than that, and I’ve found myself crawling around on hands and knees in the mud, building shelters and making fire pits. In truth, this isn’t so different to when I’m working with older youth. Hands and knees? Check. Getting muddy? Check. Building stuff? Check. To house a small toy wolf? Erm…

Room to wander – and wonder

I’ve wandered quite a long way out of my comfort zone, learning to learn through imaginative play. I’ve constructed tiny shelters from leaves and twigs so “my” wolf feels safe and secure out in the wild. The young ones understand real wolves don’t live in actual constructed shelters (they know pigs build those) but they’ve really taken to looking after their wolves.

Space to play

Since the mini shelters, we’ve moved on to making real shelters for keeping dry, exploring different ways to keep the rain off using a tarp and some rope, or a lean to made from branches. Yeah, that’s more like it for me, comfort zone rediscovered! When we finished, it was back indoors to warm up and make a miniature campsite using popsicle sticks, paper and plasticine. Comfort zone lost once more. All I can say is I’m doing my best, and who knew I would be so consumed by creating a fire pit from plasticine? Consumed, I tell you. Well, if you’re going to do something…

I’m finding out the attention span of eight year olds is fairly short (yet remarkably similar to teens) and when you throw in a few emotional/behavioural challenges, things get interesting. A popsicle stick topped with plasticine can be a weapon? Yikes!

A long and empty stretch

All great fun, and a major reason why weekends full of space and free from too many people have become so prized. I have to find some space and balance! Wandering long stretches of beach, and wondering exactly how many strains of bacteria can live in or on plasticine? Did I forget to bring my wolf inside? How long will it take to use several thousand popsicle sticks?

Space and balance!

I’m not going to post pictures of my – I mean our – plasticine triumphs, but an older student, the one with the creaky, muddy knees, seemed very pleased with this creation:

Aren’t those foxes, not wolves, PC? Shhh! Use your imagination!

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!

Moon over water

A brief piece featuring a wolf (sort of – it’s less exciting than you might think), the moon, a beer, and me being a morning person (sort of).

If you believe that last part, then you’re one of the lucky many and haven’t had the pleasure of my company in the morning. I really am a little ray of early morning sunshine. You could ask Mrs. PC, only she’s not here right now because she’s teaching in the province next door (somewhere snowy) so I’ve a week or two to work on my cheerful morning demeanour and become even more sunny. I doubt that’s even possible.

Fortunately, Scout is a morning person, fairly forgiving and not too chatty. All is well in her morning world provided we are out, or about to go out.

Not the grumpy heron

We’ve been enjoying many quiet, clear and cold morning walks, the only company being the grumpy heron on a few occasions, and once, a possible wolf. Possible?

Scout got quite growly on Tuesday morning as we passed the Eagle’s Nest. The previous day she’d been agitated through the gloom at what turned out to be a traffic cone in the middle of the road, so I assumed the same, but this time there was no cone. On we walked.

Almost clear, quite cold

On our return and just beyond the invisible traffic cone, Scout growled again as a car drove by. She wasn’t growling at the car, but at the wolf-like creature slinking along the front of a wooden fence to our right, a dark shadow disappearing into darker shadows down by the shore. It happened so quickly, and I was so startled, that I can’t be completely sure it was a wolf. But I think it was.

We changed up our route the following morning. I can’t handle being startled by a grumpy heron and a slinking wolf at that time of day. Too, too much. It turns out I’m also not an early morning wolf person – even though I love the idea I might have seen one!

Moon over water

Moon over water? An early morning photograph I took a week back that happened, quite unintentionally – I’m not that attentive – to feature a small waning crescent moon. I wasn’t aiming for it, and it wasn’t the usual blur. Moon over water! Not the wolf moon, though. Perhaps I saw a large and shy dog? It’s tricky out there, when you’re stumbling through last dark and heading into first light.

Four eagles?

Beer stuff now. Moon over water and moon underwater? Go on then. I enjoyed the above beer last weekend, and it reminded me about the photo with the moon. I liked the beer well enough, but maybe not over the moon enjoyed. A California IPA (brewed in Victoria?!) is probably best in warmer seasons. Still, tranquility is a lovely name, the can art made me smile, and a West Coast IPA is rarely a bad idea – let’s say almost four eagles!

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!

The coming storm

Oh no, is he going on a rant here?! Nope, keep reading, it’s a short post about our stroll up, and then dash back down Wick beach last week.

I’d managed to get off work early, and because the forecast for the weekend looked a tad damp, we thought we’d make the most of an unexpectedly sunny afternoon. Probably wouldn’t need rain gear, so didn’t bother taking it. Yup, you’ve already figured out how good that decision was…

It might not rain, right?

When we turned off the main road and drove down to the parking lot, the blue skies were less blue, with wisps of fog blowing out of the forest, and some grey clouds out on the horizon. By the time we’d untangled Scout’s long leash and found a trail not being cleared by chainsaw wielding Parks Canada folks, quite some time had passed. When we stumbled out onto the beach, thoughts of a warm and sunny stay started to fade as quickly as the clouds growing closer to shore.

It could brighten up…

Luckily, I’m pretty good at reading the weather, and my expert calculations indicated we’d have enough time to wander along the shore for a good half hour, maybe throw a stick around with Scout for a few minutes, then saunter back.

Probably got time to saunter up and back?

I will say that a hurried walk that looks like you’re almost running could be interpreted as sauntering if you’re feeling generous. Mrs PC and Scout weren’t feeling generous, they were feeling the enormous drops of rain from the leading edge of the storm front that overtook us as we sauntered back to the car. I think the word was invigorating, but I’ll keep that to myself.

“You’re right about the light, PC, but can we go now?”

The light was dramatic, the waves were gathering themselves for an onshore onslaught, and goodness me, didn’t the front move in quickly. Still, at least we had rain gear with us. Oh, I forgot – someone who shall remain nameless said we wouldn’t need it.

It’ll stay dry

The forecast this coming Saturday is for rain, and I for one will be paying attention and dressing appropriately. I mean, what kind of fool ignores the obvious…

Um, maybe we should head back now? Or thirty minutes ago?

I think I’ll leave it for this week, and wish you a wonderful weekend – rain, snow, or shine!

PS Wayne let us know that Ucluelet received 210mm of rain, and Tofino had 167mm. Not bad for less than two days!

Light and dark

Day and night, morning and evening, good and bad, lager and stout.

I could almost leave it there (I know, but I won’t!) as this about describes our trip to Victoria last weekend.

Distant (somewhat hidden) mountains

If you’re going to spend some time in a city, then Victoria is a pretty good one. Much is made of the relatively warm and dry climate, and we were lucky enough to have a mostly dry weekend. Not sunny, but dry. Other Victoria plus points? Waterside location, distant mountains, not too big, a mostly walkable downtown, many coffee shops and microbreweries, and the rather lovely Royal BC Museum.

BC Parliament building, Victoria

We stayed at Spinnakers over in Esquimault because it is only a short waterside walk from the downtown. At night, the lights reflecting on the water was a sparkly sight, and by day there’s always a floatplane taking off or landing, as well as various marine craft large and small. Spinnakers claims to be the oldest craft brewery in Canada, producing decent beer since 1984. I believe Mrs PC suggested we stay there, and after much protest, I agreed.

Oh alright, if I have to…(but not the cider or sours)

The beer menu is quite substantial, although once I’d ruled out sours and ciders, it all became manageable. Mrs PC enjoyed their Pilsner, I preferred the Original Pale Ale. And the Scottish ale. And the PNW ale. And the imperial stout. And the nut brown. Anyway, enough about breakfast.

Really?! Looks chilly.

Should you find yourself in Victoria, can I recommend the First Peoples gallery at the museum? Excellent displays depicting life pre and post European contact, with thoughtful and thought-provoking exhibits. Many items included original language as well as English explanations, and it was a joy to hear the language out loud. I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but the connection to – and respect for – land and sea came over as common sense time and again. We’ve lost so much, yet could still look back to find a model to help us move forward, environmentally speaking. Oh, and while we’re using common sense, let’s include total respect for ancestors and elders. Who’d have thought?

Taxi!

Enough of the preaching, because you’re probably desperate to know which beer was my favourite? Being a decisive sort, and after much consideration, I think it was the Original Pale Ale. No, the PNW ale. No, the stout, or was it the nut brown? The Scottish? My memory is failing me here, so I’ll have to go back for another visit, put in some proper research time. I think Mrs PC will insist on staying there again. Oh well…

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Royal BC Museum

Spinnakers

Dawn Patrol

I have to say, we are very happy to fall back for a little while! It means we have an early morning walk during the week where we will see a few more sunrises.

Dawn patrol!

Yes, we’re on dawn patrol, and it’s been chilly enough to warrant a toque, and it’s a sure sign of shorter days and longer nights when a baseball cap just doesn’t cut it early in the day. I do don the cap in time for work though. I didn’t wear one the other day, and a student nearly fell off his chair, amazed that the little amount of hair on display was a touch grey.

“Oh, you’re quite old!”

I wasn’t too sure what this meant. Surprise? Disappointment? Disbelief? I wore a baseball cap the next day, as clearly the youth are convinced I’m young and vital, and the grey hair(s) remains hidden.

The fog is lifting

Speaking of youth, we had a fine evening earlier this week, when the older warriors taught the new young warriors some archery skills. Seeing the youth teach the children, and the young ones looking up to their older brothers and sisters with respect and a touch of awe was wonderful to see. Us really old youth – each mentor just happened to be wearing a baseball cap – had relatively little to do except take our turn and deliver arrows with unerring accuracy. I was deliberately aiming left, and anyway it was getting dark. And some of us young’uns don’t see so well as we used to.

Another good morning

Getting back to the dawn patrol, I’ll end by saying I can declare Tofino Brewing Dawn Patrol Coffee Porter worthy of five eagles and a salmon. Yes, it’s that good! I thought it would be, but since Wayne suggested the beer rating system I’ve had to wait for this particular beer to reappear on shelves, and it is as good as I remembered. If you like a porter, then this is very highly recommended. A fall/winter fireside sipper.

Did I mention I quite like this one?

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!

PS Apologies for the “Leave a reply” section not working last week. No idea why it didn’t appear, and here’s hoping there are no glitches this week…

Salmon and sunshine

We’ve been lucky enough to have had a lengthy spell of autumn sunshine, and not only in the week but through last weekend too!

Dusk

Sunny ways and sunny days to enjoy, from dawn to dusk, so we had to go to the beach. Shirtsleeve order in late October, and let’s not tell Mrs. PC – she’s currently working and loving the early winter in Alberta, snow and all. Scout and I send her photographs from the coast, and I think that helps…

Helping

Last Monday evening I went with a small group of youth to a local salmon hatchery. What a trip! We witnessed nature red in tooth and claw (the claws were on the hind paws of a hopeful bear we saw disappearing into the undergrowth) as the young people assisted in removing eggs and fertilizing them. These were sights I’ve never seen before, and in part it is a bloody spectacle, but one conducted with great care and respect by the hatchery staff. As ever, students were rapt, and getting a hands on education about salmon as a keystone species. It must be said, we all washed hands thoroughly after, and after that as well.

I’ll leave it there for this week, a brief post celebrating some local positives. Salmon and sunshine!

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!

Very helpful

Good morning!

Inner Harbour, Outer Harbour, Eagle’s Nest, Whiskey Landing, Whaling Station, Crow’s Nest, Foggy Bean (on a weekend) and home. This is the recipe for a good morning, and it happens to be the route Scout insists on for our first walk of the day. She’s a sensible canine counsellor, leading me in the right direction, and she knows her subject well. The route isn’t the longest in distance, but there are often detours and visits to make along the way. From Scout’s perspective, routine doesn’t mean boring, so we stick with the tried and tested, and she’s right in this.

Leaving the harbours

Scout always checks her p-mail for messages, and ensures she leaves a reply – these are left at particular and precise patches of grass, ground and undergrowth, and she’s pretty happy with her communications.

Canine counsellor!

Recently, we’ve been forgetting to remember there is a grumpy heron hanging out under the Outer Harbour. It reminds us we’ve been a bother by taking off with a series of croaks and squawks, and it never fails to make me jump. Unfortunately, because I’m not so sharp on these early morning walks, I forget the heron is there and we do it all again the next day. My apologies to the harassed heron, and we’ll try to be less intrusive – if we remember.

Grumpy heron

It’s dark now when we set off, so the photos I’ve included this week were mostly taken last month. The sunrises and morning light have been quite beautiful, and we’re missing seeing these delights during the week. The plan is to force ourselves to wake up later on a weekend to catch sun up. The only catch to that is there might be a weekend line up at The Foggy Bean if we arrive later – last Saturday the line was two people, if you include me but not Scout. Life is good when line ups are that short.

Outer Harbour

Should you find yourself in the Foggy line, can I recommend their short Americano? Mrs PC says that’s good, but the cappuccino is even better. Choices, choices. Life is good if your biggest decision is cappuccino vs. Americano, and Scout still has a few dog biscuit treats left to distract her from your almond croissant. Go on, have the croissant, it’s the weekend.

Passing the whaling station

So there you have it – a morning routine as recommended by Scout, and one that will set you up for a good morning and beyond. It never gets old, and presently it rarely stays dry, but it works to keep this OldPlaidCamper more or less in his right mind and moving along.

Near the Eagle’s Nest

Inner Harbour, Outer Harbour, Eagle’s Nest, Whiskey Landing, Whaling Station, Crow’s Nest, Foggy Bean (on a weekend) and home.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!