Growth

This summer, it’s all about growth! It could be the children and youth engaged in summer learning programs, or it might be me engaged in my little herb garden. Culinary herbs, just so we’re clear about that, given the fairly recent relaxation in laws related to herbs some folks like to smoke.

Thyme to grow

One program this summer will have teens learning to use a 3D printer, coding to program a remote vehicle, building and managing a website, constructing go-karts for a soap box derby, and converting a regular longboard to an e-longboard. All being well, I’m looking forward to seeing great growth connected to science and technology. I’m also looking forward to trying the longboard – provided there’s someone nearby with first aid training… Anyway, we’ve sneakily hidden lots of education stuff inside the general youth and recreation programs this summer, and we don’t mention the “s” word. School…shhh!

New growth oregano

At home, Scout likes to keep up with the growth in our little herb garden. She’ll eat pretty much anything – the temptation of the seaweed and fish bone impregnated soil was almost too much for her, but she did resist – and she’s been smelling the herbs, but doesn’t want to nibble any.

Me? Eat anything? As if…

Our recent ridiculous hot spell did do a bit of damage, but most of the young plants survived, and in addition to many happy herbs, it looks like we might double our tomato crop over last summer. Yup, I can see two green tomatoes already. Two! That’s some progress and real growth around here.

A growing yield

There has certainly been quite some growth in the numbers of visitors to town, and it was fun the other morning to see a small flotilla of recreational fishing boats heading out of the harbour. The people aboard seemed very happy to be bobbing along, and why not after months and months of restrictions?

An early start

I don’t want this post to grow any longer, so we’ll leave it here for now. Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Smoking…

…hot! That was the west coast earlier this week. It was bad, but other places had it worse.

Before the heat

Temperatures in parts of BC were hotter than Vegas – ever! – and hotter than Miami and Houston – ever! Beyond the usual assumptions about ice and snow, Western Canada does get very warm in the summer, but the west coast of Vancouver Island isn’t one of those places. The heat was ridiculous, and very uncomfortably so. Even the breeze, when it got up, was too hot – a blast of heated air flowing into our home, through each room and out the front door and windows, to no good effect. Nothing worked to cool us down, and for over three days, it grew hotter and hotter. Finally, on Monday evening, at the same time the sun dropped below the tree line and the tide turned down on the inlet, a cool breeze started. Within a few minutes, word had gotten out, and people were gathering on balconies to enjoy the cool air and decreasing temperatures. What a blessed relief!

Too hot, no breeze, can’t stop to enjoy the view

On Tuesday, I stopped by a friend’s house to compare heat stories, and he told me about a bear that had been nosing about his smokehouse just up from the shore. It hasn’t been used in a while, but he thought perhaps the bear fancied the shade, even if there was nothing to eat? A bear in a smokehouse? I asked. Bears smoke? I left soon after, promising to come back when I was more sensible and less senseless due to heatstroke…

Sensible measures

As I drove home, a minute along the way, a bear wandered onto the road from my friend’s house, ambling from one side to the other, smiling and taking its own sweet time to stroll into the shade of the trees. Was this the smoking bear? It looked pretty contented. Maybe it was the nicotine? C’mon, bear, you know better than that.

The first cool morning after the heat

Anyway, a smoking hot few days has given way to more reasonable warm days, with temperatures we’d have considered pretty high until the events of last week. We’ll be back out and about on longer hikes with Scout, who is very happy that normal(ish) weather has resumed. She’s definitely a non-smoker. Sensible dog!

Yesterday morning – cool air and fog – just right!

My brain is too cooked to be able to get into it about climate change. Even after this week, with stories of wildfires ripping through communities, and an increase in unexpected deaths due to the heat, there are still some in denial. It was unpleasant where we are, but we were lucky, most likely due to our coastal location and lower temperature starting point. Long past time to acknowledge and act collectively to reduce the warming. Hey ho, let’s leave it there…

Thanks for reading, I hope you stay cool wherever you are, and have a wonderful weekend!

Abandoned

Abandoned was the word that came to mind when I saw this little boat sitting all alone on the mudflats. Is this the prompt for a “feeling sorry for himself” PlaidCamper rant? A quiet one, of course, being an introvert and all that…

All alone, but not actually abandoned

No! Keep reading if you’re still here, there’s no rant or feeling sorry for oneself. Or do stop reading if you were hoping for a rambling rant. We’ve enjoyed another calm week, not too fast, not too slow, and certainly not too many people, even though travel restrictions are starting to lift. Our lifeboat isn’t crowded.

Last Sunday we wandered down to our favourite little shell beach, and although the tide was high, it was calm and there was dry space enough to make it worth the clamber down to sit for an hour, enjoy the quiet.

A touch woody? I’d rather share your pastry…

We heard bald eagles in the trees above and behind us, and peered and craned to catch a glimpse, but they were out of sight. Well alright, it was enough to know they were there, so we settled back against a log and poured the all important second cup of caffeine. Maybe there was a pastry to go with it, or most of a pastry after Scout tried to snag her share.

Any of those pastries left?

Later in the day we went down to the outer harbour, to look at the boats and do some more sitting. We’re getting quite accomplished at it, and the lapping of small waves against the dock, and waving to the small craft sailors made for a pleasant late afternoon. We couldn’t sit there into the evening, although that would have been good. No, we had an important appointment to keep.

Keeping busy…

Sunday evening appointments? Sounds unnecessarily busy PlaidCamper – what was it? Good question, and I’m glad you asked! We had to meet up with the new cans of Ucluelet Brewing Company Kolsch. Yes, on a Sunday, but not a school night due to a few days off. I wouldn’t abandon my no drinking on a school night principle. Actually, I would, but didn’t this time.

…but not too busy. An abandoned principle? No!

I’ll leave you now, keeping with the non-existent abandoned theme, and wish you a wonderful weekend ahead!

A dragon?

Why not? Too strange? Perhaps not – wasn’t there a paranoid maniacal mango with delusions about trying to rule the world making headlines not so long ago? Exactly! Dragons then, not so far fetched…

A dragon’s skull

We planned to go for a long walk in the sunshine last weekend, choosing Sunday as the better sunny day. It turned out, meteorological magician that I am, we should have gone on Saturday. However, going on the slightly colder and misty day meant we had a dragon encounter all to ourselves, the beach being very empty. No visitors due to public health restrictions, or a well fed dragon? Seems clear to me.

Wary dog approaching the dragon

The following paragraph contains spoilers. A young reader I’ve been enjoying books with has recently taken to a series of “what if?” nature books. What if a rhino fought a hippo? Or a lion took on a tiger? A great hook to engage reluctant readers, with lots of photos, facts and figures to help us try and reach an answer. It’s the hippo, if you were wondering. No, really, the hippo! I won’t spoil the large cat one. Our favourite so far has been King Cobra vs Komodo Dragon. I backed the dragon. I was wrong.

What creature can defeat a dragon?

Anyway, I’ll be honest – in case you’re thinking is he losing it? – the dragon we saw last weekend wasn’t a real live dragon. Come on, when did you last see a dragon outside of Game of Thrones? No, this was a dead dragon, or the skull of a dead dragon. Evidence? Look at the photos for the evidence.

Close up – definitely deceased

I checked with my reading buddy, and we’re still learning, but it seems pretty clear to us there are dragon killing cobras somewhere nearby, and we’re going to be very watchful next time we’re out there.

Just the one and then an early night for you, OPC

A short post this week, as I clearly need to rest, catch up on sleep, and finish making my suit of armour.

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

The rough with the smooth

A short and textured piece for a week where all went pretty well, whether it was rough or smooth.

Rrruff!

Our spring weather has jumped about, with some rain, some sun, some wind, plenty of grey, green and blue, and mostly feeling pretty warm, even under the grey skies.

We went to the black rock and shell beach below the Black Rock buildings – how did they come up with that name? – and if you scramble along a bit, there are many quiet little corners to sit and survey the sea. It was calm the day we went, with warm sun, blue skies and the gentle sound of waves over rocks. Soporific but not boring, and maybe my head nodded once or twice…

Why is the nearby hotel called the Black Rock?

Yesterday morning was a west coast special – misty, almost foggy, and through it you could feel the warmth of the sun, a hint of a sunny afternoon ahead. Sometimes, the mist and fog lingers, but yesterday it cleared, and it felt like a promise kept.

Learning is often better outdoors, or at the very least, indoors with doors and windows thrown open – and if we had to anchor wind blown paper-based assignments with a few rocks after chasing around the room, well, that’s okay. Smoothed them out…

7:30 smooth

Scout has a set Saturday afternoon routine I have to follow when we’re out. She’s persuaded Mrs. PC to visit a small pocket park that has a series of different height walls, and she (Scout, not Mrs. PC) has to leap up each step of wall and balance to the end before jumping off to great applause. This means now, when Scout is out with me, there’s no avoiding the left turn to the little park, and we have to visit and go through the same performance. My balance isn’t all that, but I’ve almost nailed the landing.

Same day, midday, still pretty smooth

After the park, Scout insists we head to a small section of the Wild Pacific Trail, where we check on what is currently our favourite tree, a tall beauty with a textured trunk that demands our admiration. So we do.

Rough – our current favourite

Enough for this week, keeping it brief, as promised. We’re hoping for more warm sunshine this weekend, and a longer beach hike or two. We’ll head out there, and rough or smooth, expect it’ll be great fun either way.

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

Trail time with a dinosaur

What time is it? Trail time! Music to Scout’s ears, and off we go as often as we can, Scout scampering, and me lumbering, like a, like a, oh, I don’t know, an old dinosaur? (Hmm. He’s mentioned dinosaurs. Is it worth reading on to find out why?) No.

Positively prehistoric?

We’ve chosen the Wild Pacific Trail for the past couple of weekends. One, it has many trailheads within a thirty minute stroll from home, no need to drive, and two, it’s the Wild Pacific Trail. We’re wild for it!

The photographs included this week are from the Lighthouse Loop, and, by the end, you’ll notice I haven’t included any images of the lighthouse. Once more the contrarian…

A glimpse of Ozzard?

The loop is a good stretch, winding through the rainforest, up and down, taking in views of Mount Ozzard (I found out the traditional Nuu-Chah-Nulth name, but not the meaning, earlier this week, č̓umaat̓a choo-maa-tah) and the stretch of low hills above Hitacu across the inlet, and sections above the crinkly cliffs and rocky bays over the Pacific. A wild side and an even wilder side. Yeah, man, rocky, and it rocks. Goodness, I sound like a, a, oh, I don’t know, musical dinosaur.

Wild thing

We must have clocked up many miles walking on the wild side of Ucluelet, and last weekend added to the tally. In my head, and stuck there due to a slow brain, a refrain from the Dinosaur Jr. ditty, “I Walk for Miles” played on a (lighthouse) loop. I love the heavy crunch of that song, and the heavy crunch of many Dinosaur Jr. tunes. Yes, tunes, if you’re an early middle aged indie kid with less hair than you might like. Dinosaur? Me? No…

Dinosaur? You? Yes!

Might as well mention I think the latest Dinosaur Jr. album, Sweep It Into Space is a wonderful sonic assault on your eardrums. It must be said I think they’ve mellowed a teeny bit, with some almost west coast sounding, and almost folk-tinged items shining brightly through the more familiar fuzz and feedback frenzy from the guitars. That J. Mascis is a loopy guitar player, and the frequent solos do not disappoint.

On the ocean side of the loop

Enough for this week, I think, and I’ll stop writing now – Mrs PC has popped out, so I can play a gentle, refined and soothing album without headphones until she gets back. Turned up to 11, of course.

This one was turned up to 11 – hoptastic

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend, stomping along some trails, wherever you might be!

On the rocks

Scout was one determined dog last weekend. We went to the beach early – early enough to leave the first dog and person prints in the sand, and before the (are you sure your travel is essential?) out of province visitors started to fill the parking lot.

First dog, no prints, and fresh sand – let’s go!

With Scout in charge, it was a case of whatever she’s having, it’ll be on the rocks. The refuel stop for a coffee top up, water and kibble was just barely tolerated. Yup, sticks, logs, and odour laden washed up ocean mysteries were all well and good, but they weren’t on the rocks. So on we went!

From Scout’s happy place

Eventually we arrived at her happy place, and after choosing the most slippery route – for humans – to the top, Scout relented and let us rest. While we recovered from the frogmarch (or dogmarch?) down the beach, Scout took up a high position to scout for threats. We observed a few gulls and a pair of passing bald eagles, but nothing to threaten our place on the rocks.

Watchful

With the sun starting to feel pretty strong, we eventually persuaded Scout it was time to make tracks for the car. She excitedly picked up the scent and tracks of two slow humans and one smart husky/shepherd/tyrant cross, and away we went, off the rocks and back to the car.

Looking back

When we got home, Sergeant Major Scout trampled a few circles into her cushion and promptly crashed out for three hours. Make hers a double. Probably overdid it on the rocks there, Scout.

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

I’m not tired…

“I can see the sea!”

Here’s a trip down my Memory Lane, and you’re very welcome to come along. It’ll be a civilized and genteel stroll…

When we were children, my three brothers and I would start craning and leaning forward in our seats, desperate to be the first to call out “I can see the sea!” as we approached a vacation destination. It was something of an annual ritual, and signalled the end of the backseat silent territorial war being waged for extra space in a crowded small sedan.

I can see the sea!

Our parents would start to relax, knowing their four boys – delightful children all – were about to be unleashed onto an unsuspecting British beach, and they could stop pretending we hadn’t been fighting and elbowing each other the past few hours. Four sweaty urchins on a leatherette bench seat? How fragrant.

The lucky destination? Usually somewhere in Devon, Cornwall, North Wales or Norfolk. The United Kingdom isn’t the largest of countries, and you’re never too far from the coast, but I bet on those road trips my parents wished they lived on a smaller island…

I can still see it!

Are we there yet? Yes, off you go! Take the cricket bat, footballs, kites, and dog, and come back next week. I mean, before 7pm. And don’t fight. Look after each other. Yeah, right. The unspoken code was to do pretty much anything stupid short of broken bones, and no telling the parents later. We’re all still alive today, and no bones were broken – hard to believe – so I guess we sort of looked after each other. It was always advantageous to be the one with the cricket bat.

“Memory Lane? Yawn…”

These days, it’s pleasant to sit on a log, watch the waves, drink that essential second cup of coffee and wind down after a work week. Goodness knows, my parents must’ve needed to wind down. They worked hard, particularly at being parents to four little angels, even if they weren’t getting along so well with each other. At the beach, my mum would reach for a book, no doubt hoping the children didn’t suffer any serious injuries, and my dad would sometimes join us to play cricket, if he hadn’t disappeared to the nearest golf course. One year, he brought along some sea fishing gear, and spent a week catching no fish. It looked so boring to us, and I think that was what he had hoped.

Winding down time

What prompted all the not so misty-eyed nostalgia above? Last weekend, we were heading down to Sunset Point to enjoy the early morning sun – aren’t we the contrarians? – and as we wandered along, I had a sudden sense of being that (adorable) little boy again, spectacles shining in the sun, excited about glimpsing the sea. I’d quite forgotten that feeling, probably because in recent years we’ve seen the ocean every day, but it hit hard last weekend. It is a thrill to see the sea! Even better when you aren’t nursing new bruises and can walk straight there, no cramped car journey to endure and no need to carry a cricket bat. Golden memories of innocent childhood days.

Sunset Point, but not sunset

I’ll leave it there – I have to take Scout out for a (beach) walk, go see the sea, and anyway, I think I have something in my eye. I bet I’ve a cricket bat hidden away somewhere. Might need it post-COVID when siblings come visiting. Oh no, don’t think that! To play cricket, of course. Genteel, remember?

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

Watching the skies…

…for aliens? Monsters? No! We’ll be watching the skies this coming long weekend, hoping they’ll be clear and blue rather than wet and grey. The forecast is mixed, with a couple of dry days following a couple of damp days, so not too bad.

Looking up

The damp days might be good for beer and chocolate, and the dry ones for visiting beaches and hiking. Then the beer and chocolate.

Adorable? Edible

Watching the skies? Sounds like a nod to old B movies about visitors from outer space. If the aliens do decide to visit this weekend, they might be a tad disappointed, given we’re heading as a province into what appears to be a lockdown due to increasing COVID-19 cases. Sorry, ET, nothing to see or do here until later in the year! Be good. Stay home whether you’re from Mars or Manitoba, and wait for the welcome mat to be put out, a successful vaccination program permitting. Then when you do visit, erm… come in peace?

Weekend in colour

A brief post as we wrap up work and look forward to the weekend. If chocolate bunnies, eggs and all that stuff is your thing, then I hope you enjoy the celebration. If it isn’t, I hope you have time for a beer, some chocolate, and a local outing somewhere pleasant.

Local and pleasant

Almost done here. Getting back to B movies, I hear there’s a new Godzilla vs. King Kong release? Lizards and apes – maybe I can convince Mrs. PC she’ll enjoy this new nature documentary? Hmm. Beer, chocolate, and mindless screen entertainment on a rainy day? Alright!

An ET being good

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!

Some small stuff

We’re not sweating it! It’s not warm enough at the moment…

It’s spring break for schools here, and with stay local and nonessential travel advisories in place, we’re not taking any time off. It’s a chance to catch up on less enthralling admin aspects, and aim for shorter work days and longer hikes.

Another rain shower heading this way!

The weather has been spring like from time to time, without breaking out and committing to a full on farewell to winter. We’ve had frosty mornings, rainy mornings, one or two misty mornings, and no more snow at sea level.

The rainy days have been the warmest, and Scout and I trotted out between showers one morning, expertly timing the gap in showers to get a good soaking at the farthest point of our walk. We sheltered under a tree overlooking our favourite sunny day spot, dreaming of drier days and walks to come…

Our favourite sunny day spot

Scout amused herself by chewing on a stick and then posing for a portrait, and I amused myself by taking her picture and then trying to snap a drop before it dripped. Or was it a drip before it dropped? Yup, the big stuff keeps me occupied. The photographs used here are some of the better drips – and I think Scout is happy enough with her photograph.

Me? Have my picture taken? Oh, go on then!

Small stuff to enjoy against what appears to be a slowly improving bigger picture, vaccination wise. I think we’ve forgotten what normal used to be – maybe it wasn’t always that great – and perhaps we’ll move forward to a normal where we will try to remember the small stuff is the big stuff.

Small stuff, up close

It’s still very tough times for many, and no doubt there are still challenging days ahead. We appreciate we are fortunate to be living where we are through these locked down and restricted days, and, for the most part, haven’t felt too restricted given our remote(ish) location. The novelty of Zoom and such like wore off after the first ten minutes, and introverted as I might be, I’m looking forward to seeing friends and families in person at some point later this year. Must be the hints of spring encouraging this sense of optimism. That and my sunny, outgoing extrovert side finding a voice. Hush, now, strange inner voice.

Drips and/or drops – big stuff

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