Fine dining

Last week, witnessing the eagles tucking into fresh – or not so fresh as the week wore on – seal, I hinted I’d follow up with a dessert course.

I want to be true to my word, and present more fine dining. The snag to putting the final seal of approval on a great gastronomic experience was the carcass disappearing not long after I published the ready meal post. I guess a bear or wolf, one of the four legged OldPlaidCamper readers, recognized a tender seal steak and snuck down there when the eagles weren’t watching. No dessert on that beach.

Dessert? I’m listening…

So, what about dessert OldPlaidCamper? I’m glad you asked, and it’s coming. A properly prepared meal can take a little time…

A group of youth, elders, and mentors went out last weekend to share wilderness and land based learning time. The weather had been fine all week, sunny, not too hot, perfect for being on the water and traveling up to the remote camp. We climbed aboard boats and it started to rain. We sailed for about an hour through the Broken Group islands and through the rain. We disembarked and pitched tents in the rain. We spent the first night enjoying the soothing sound of rain on canvas, but hoping it would ease before dawn. We woke to rain. Then, at midday, it stopped raining.

No more rain

Yup, yup, it rained, we get it, but dessert? Ah, you spotted the filler, some blogging hamburger helper… On with the story of dessert. A few hardy swimmers went out to harvest sea urchin, and to my great disappointment, weren’t able to find any. Phew, I thought secretly, I can look forward to that another time. No sea urchin, but the sea cucumbers were abundant. Yup, dessert is sea cucumber. It’s even more enjoyable if you’ve had a lesson in how to prepare it. For me, it tasted as good as the previous time I tried it, when I made (and clearly forgot to remember) a mental note never to eat it again. I chewed and chewed and wondered if perhaps week old seal might not be a better choice? I was very much in a minority of me, as all my companions, young and old, tucked in, and so what else could I do except hand over my share?

It’s all in the preparation

Dinner has been served! No more foodie pieces for the foreseeable future, not until I’ve forgotten once more how much I enjoy fruits from the sea. Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Ready meal

A dead seal has provided plenty of nutrition to any number of birds this week.

“When is it my turn?”

We heard a commotion when a gathering of eagles started to make some noise just outside our learning space last Friday. Looking out over the tidal zone, we could see they were doing a dance around the dead seal. Well, not so much a dance, more they were setting the ground rules – or the table? – about who was going to eat first. It seemed the answer to that was whichever eagle could get away with it.

“Nope. I can’t watch you eating that…”

Oddly, the carcass was still there the following Monday. A bit more chewed up, but it hadn’t been dragged off, floated off or disappeared. It seemed anchored, and when the tide was low, eagles flew in, landed nearby, and waddled over to grab a tasty morsel or two. All the while, other eagles were in the vicinity, as well as gulls and a pair of kingfishers. On Tuesday, I saw a kingfisher dive down, snag a chunk and fly away, chased by another kingfisher determined to steal the goods. They flew in and out of the dock pilings, and back and forth over the water, a fine spectacle of chase and evade until they flew out of sight. I don’t know who came out the winner in that game…

Hanging in, and not handing anything over

It was quite some sight watching an eagle balancing on the body as the tide came up. It kept on eating as long as possible, until the seal was virtually submerged. A latecomer observing the scene would have been forgiven for thinking the eagle could walk on water. The eagle didn’t stick around, flying off before it got wet feathers.

“Quick! It’s our turn!”

The children and youth have been fascinated by the whole show, enjoying the comings and goings down by the shore. I missed when a bear came through, but was surprised to hear it didn’t take any interest in the dead seal. I’d assumed it would? Better pickings elsewhere, a well fed bear, or maybe it didn’t fancy taking on the feathered competition…

“Move along, young ones – it’s my turn!”

Anyway, I’ll leave it there for this week. If there are enough leftovers in the next few days, and I manage to get a shot or two, I’ll serve up a small dessert next time. Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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!

Tidal

Once a month, on a Wednesday at midday, the local tsunami warning system is tested. Loudspeakers wail, a disembodied voice booms over the water, up and down the inlet, and we get a voicemail and text from the district, letting us know it is a test, and to get to higher ground in the event of the real thing. The system works, but I do worry what would happen if there was a tsunami on a Wednesday lunchtime. Suppose we all shrug and carry on, thinking it is a test…

On the Hitacu side, looking down inlet

With the end of the current school year almost upon us, afternoon learning support has become even better attended than usual, with a tidal wave of teens flooding our little learning hub, keen to study then take final tests before summer washes over them.

Our up and down temperatures up and down the tidal inlet are leaning more to up. Yes, sometimes the skies may be grey, but the warmth of the sun radiates through, making for slightly muggy days, and slightly more mosquitoes. Got my first bite of the season, and I wasn’t fishing for it.

Warmer than it appears

I’ve taken to dragging a chair out of the office at lunchtime, to sit and eat overlooking the bay, bugs and all. Food tastes better outdoors, and if there is a slight tinge and taste of bug spray, I pretend it’s a lemony dressing, and the mosquitoes pretend to be bothered.

Entirely bug free

My bear sightings are trending up, although I suspect I am seeing the same bear each time, given it is in the same location as last week, and not looking any larger or smaller. The bear has moved, so I know I’m not imagining it or mistaking an old stump for a bruin…

Shortly after writing, I spotted a different bear! The black blob lower centre right above? That’s a bear avoiding a photo shoot. National Geographic, I do understand, but really, please don’t call, the bear is very busy…

Not so much to report this week, but the ebb and flow of early summer life is pleasant enough, and we’re looking forward to more of the same as we head to the solstice.

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

Tactician

We’re getting ready for summer, putting the finishing touches to learning programs that might – or might not! – engage young minds through the long hot days ahead. See photo below for long hot summer days preview:

Oh. Or chilly misty mornings, but we’re getting ready for summer take off!

It will warm up, then even more mist will appear, as it does during the summer months here. Our time in the school garden has been going well, with bursts of colour inside the greenhouse making up for the occasional damp and chilly mornings. It’s humid in there, and the nasturtiums seem to like it!

We like the sultry heat! And we’re good to eat!

The beds of kale are a big hit with the young gardeners I accompany. Young ones don’t like greens? Not true, especially if they’ve a hand (or foot or two) in the original planting. Kale grows quickly, and it has to the way it is being grazed by hungry gardeners. Do you like kale? Kale, yeah!

Kale yeah, we like it!

I’m not much of a gardener, or haven’t been in the past, beyond a vegetable patch when we’ve lived in sunnier spots. It’s been fun to learn alongside the budding farmers and growers, figuring out what grows where, or when to plant for best results in a less sunny climate and shortish growing season. Not everything works, but we’ve plotted carefully, and our tactics mostly pay off. You can’t eat laughter, but it’s a different kind of nourishment, and this makes my day every time.

Summer is hiding around here somewhere…

Looking forward to summer? Kale, yeah! Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

One more burst of colour!