Bearly June

Did he get that wrong on purpose?

Well, it hasn’t felt too much like June this week, with chilly winds, rather short sunny spells and unseasonably low temperatures. Pretty dry, although the weekend forecast predicts that will change!

We usually see bears out and about when we’re out and about, certainly as May heads into June, but I hadn’t seen a single one until last Monday.

A different bear, a different site, but they all excite!

A favourite bear spotting site, or bear sighting spot, is from a little one way bridge heading into Hitacu. The bridge and road pass over a shingle, grass and mud patch, a smaller inlet off the bigger inlet, with a tidal zone that entices bears out of the forest fringe. For the past few weeks I’ve glanced over in hopes of seeing a bear or two, and was disappointed each way every day. Until Monday afternoon!

This side or that, should spot a few bruins in the coming weeks!

It was one of the rare sunny spells and feeling quite warm just after midday – not necessarily prime bear spotting conditions, but there s/he was, on all fours, head down and munching contentedly on whatever was good to eat. Result! A happy PlaidCamper, since I’d been getting a little concerned. Fewer bears or deteriorating vision?

On the way home a little while later, the same bear, or a twin, was still there, moved up some but foraging away in the afternoon sun.

Warming up

I’ll be spending more time in and around Hitacu as June warms up and the summer rolls in. Early mornings are a good time for spotting bears, so I’m hopeful I’ll catch a few more glimpses of a furry favourite along the shores.

I’ll keep this brief – bearly a post – thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Seen a bear? High 5!

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!

It had to happen…

…I’ve found a beer style that is, in my opinion, impossible to enjoy.

I don’t mention it very often, and this will be news to many readers, but I’m partial to trying a new beer or two over the course of a weekend. I’m not too fond of sours, or beers that have been flavoured with oddball ingredients or too much fruit. I find too much alcohol leaves a burn that is hard to enjoy. An ABV somewhere between 4 and 7.5% is just fine by me. Hops? Yum! Ridiculously hopped? Sometimes yum! At the other end of the spectrum, malty or dark beers are jolly good, particularly in the winter months. Or summer months. Oh ok, spring and fall also.

Springtime? Beer season.

So yes to beer overall, but no to my most recent exploration. I tried the beer in the following photograph, and after the first optimistic sip – new beer = high expectations – thought my beer enjoyment taste buds (the medical term is BETBs, as reported in reputable medical journals) had broken. Cue medical panic. Is there a doctor in the house? A nurse? A nurse with a doctorate? Yes. Dr. Mrs. PC, RN to the rescue. While I tried to communicate through mime (having lost the power of speech due to this “beer” removing the layer of BETBs) Dr. PC took a sip and made a face. The one that said so who didn’t read the tasting notes before purchase?

No, no, no, no, no. And no. I didn’t like this one. No. Not at all. It isn’t beer. It’s a salt shaker. But with more salt. Nope, can’t think of anything positive. Not yum. A BETB killer. Not recommended. Just say no.

Obviously, being incapacitated due to the medical reasons explained above, I was unable to say it was me failing to read the tasting notes. I didn’t know salt water is the primary ingredient in a gose beer. Actually, salt water isn’t the primary ingredient. Salt is. Other ingredients such as water, or hops are mostly an afterthought.

Pleasant distraction

In the interests of public health, and as a safety information service to fellow beer lovers yet to “enjoy” a gose, I’ll say don’t. Don’t bother. Don’t do it. Just say no! That last one always works in public health messaging from governments not prepared to invest in proper health promotion. Best stop that, let’s not go on a rant about public healthcare under certain governments. Anyway, that’s Dr. Mrs. PC’s area of expertise, not mine. I’m better left with making (sometimes bad) beer choices and reacting in a suitably responsible manner when it goes wrong.

Ripple pattern on a beach? Or a photo from a learned medical journal of a tongue with severe BETB damage? I’m not a doctor, but it seems clear to me…

You don’t believe my public health messaging? You think that the gose style is something you could gose for? Ok, on your head and damaged BETBs be it. If you really, really have to try a gose, yet can’t find one anywhere, go to your store cupboard, take out the salt, pour yourself a generous spoonful and start eating. It’ll actually be more pleasant than a gose, a close enough approximation, and you’ll have saved yourself a few pennies and some major disappointment.

Before I go, you’ll be wanting a medical update, because I think I’m right in saying there’s nothing more interesting than an early middle aged person talking about their medical ailments? Fair enough, and thanks for asking – my BETBs have made a full recovery just in time for this weekend. I’ve learned my lesson, and will totally not be trying anything odd sounding or too experimental on the beer front. Oh look, now what’s this?

Oh no, not another generic plum and rosemary saison…(actually, it was yum!)

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

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!

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!

Mud, mess and muddle

Like the week! All good though – a real mix, with some rain, some sun, plenty of mud in the school garden, and chances to get messy and mess about.

Mess about? There’s a story I can’t share with you from the school garden where two students thought it would be funny if they used the hose from the rainwater butt and pretended to be peeing into the watering cans. We’ll move on. Let’s not bother with their reaction when they heard me say water butt. I should have said barrel. We agreed they were children and eventually moved on. Overheard whispers: He said butt, water butt, hehehe…

Between rain showers

Mud on the trails was no hindrance, and (prompted by Jet, thank you) we’ve noticed an abundance of salmonberry flowers of late. Messing about with my camera phone in the rain, numerous attempts resulted in one reasonable image, shared below:

A great mix of new to me BC beers in store was a pleasant surprise. I know what I like, like what I know, and armed with too much fondness for hazy pale ales, I branched out, took a risk and chose…another hazy pale! And very good it was too.

Yum! Cannery Brewing, Penticton, BC

I have an app (RNI) on my iPad that has various settings to make digital photographs look like film stock. I messed about with this one evening, attempting to recreate what I remember old snapshots looked like in ye olden days before digital – you know, when life was in black and white, no colour, or maybe with some colour but grainy, and life was impossible without the internet. Or so some students think, when I share boring stories from prehistory. I won’t bore you with my many old/new masterpieces, and just keep it to the one image below:

Olden days (February 2021)

In between the mess of light rain showers, we’ve enjoyed the blossom found out and about. No camera filter tricks in the blossom photographs shared in this post, and if I’m honest, there is no need to change anything with these vibrant colours. Nature knows best…

Loud and proud, no filters

So there you go, a happy enough muddle through another week, and with the forecast for the weekend promisingly sunny, we’re hoping to mess about up and down a beach or two this weekend.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend! (He did, he said water butt! Teehee…)

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…

Spring greens…

…and blues! The colour, not the downer. It’s been a good week for feeling positive, as we’ve enjoyed above seasonal temperatures, warm sunshine, and the opportunity to get a first shot vaccination for all eligible Ucluelet residents.

A shot of green and blue

Often, we’ll be wandering through the fringes of coastal rainforest, admiring the fresh greens and wallowing in the damp environment, but any photographs taken haven’t really shown what I’m seeing. Perhaps it’s my tired old eyes?

Fresh greens

Last weekend, the sun was just right, as was our timing, and I managed to snap a few pictures that more or less show the greens as we see them. Or think we see them. And the blue of the ocean just beyond.

Greenery and, erm, bluery?

We walked and walked last weekend, mostly on paths straight from our door rather than heading to beaches requiring a car trip. With a bit of planning, we were able to avoid the (what are you doing here with non essential travel restrictions?) visitors and find quiet spots to pause and think along the way.

Another good colour here

All being well, the bright weather is set to remain with us for the next few days, through the coming weekend and maybe longer. More bright blues and greens to enjoy! Ah, spring! Boing! (That’s for any Zebedee fans…Zebedee? Huh? Feel free to ask or comment below!)

A brief, bright and bouncy piece this week, as we leave it there and head outside. Boing! Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

“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!