Malcontent

A malcontent? Me? Never!

Never! Alway hoppy and refreshed…

All is reasonably well, if you were wondering. We’re heading out and will be off the grid the next little while, so I’ve no reason for being a malcontent. I might not be able to get to WordPress, read my favourites, but will catch up upon our return. I’ll be hoppier, I mean, happier and refreshed no doubt. Buzzing, even.

Buzzing? The future has arrived. Bit late, but cool…

Buzzing? What was that sound up and down the bay the past few days? It was the coast guards in their retro-futurist hovercraft, doing some essential maintenance in and around the channel. Goodness, it was noisy when it was drifting past the office. I had to come outside, look for what I thought was a low flying helicopter, when it turned out to be a slow speeding hovercraft. Once it got past the restricted part of the channel, it revved up and took off at quite a pace. Fun toy. Oops, I mean fun essential work vessel.

Fun toy!

Sunshine will be changing to rain by the time this is posted. Lots of rain, long overdue – I had to rescue our tomatoes before the storm. Two tomatoes last season, hard to top those numbers, but we’ve had a much better crop this year if you look at the photo. Almost a glut, I’d say.

A glut

Right, I’d better go pack, add the rain gear and, optimistic and hoppy as always, sunglasses. Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Face off and flight

We had a house guest last weekend, and thought it went very well, not that we remember how to welcome guests in the home. I mean, who entertains at home right now? It should be said, Scout wasn’t entirely convinced. Yup, there was a face off. Fight or flight? Ooh, this sounds wild!

Face off!

Olive came to visit while her human friend had some wilderness time away. As you can see from the photographs, like all dogs, she has wolf DNA, but it was thought it would be unfair to any unsuspecting wolf out there if Olive ran into one, so she stayed with us. The picture below shows how it is safer for the wolves if they are kept apart. Ferocious!

Wolf DNA

Once we conquered our deep ancestral fear, and looked past the wolf-like nature of Olive, she proved to be a delightful houseguest. She enjoyed leaping from chair to chair, a dog in glorious flight, and then running under the table, trying to entice Scout in her wild games. Before the pandemic, I think our last houseguest was my brother, and that visit was much as I’ve described in the previous sentence. To be honest, Olive is quieter, drinks less beer, and sheds less hair…

The glorious dog flights between chairs was funny, but we put a stop to it, because, well, house rules. If my brother isn’t allowed, then neither is Olive. Or Scout, who was mostly bemused.

“Are you really a dog?” “Yes. A flying wolf dog. Here I go!”

Flight? Did you say flight OldPlaidCamper? Tenuous link to a scene change and evidence I’ve cleaned the lens after the water colour effects from last week. A rainy photo below, but no rain on the lens, and I liked this shot of the plane in front of the boats.

Clean lens

The pictures might be a touch sharper, but my timing is about usual. I’ll finish with a great snap of a harbour seal, captured with head out of the water and looking straight at the camera. Couldn’t fail.

Oh.

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

Shimmer and haze

We went to South Beach midweek, taking our trip late afternoon/early evening and aiming to avoid too many people and have some quiet moments.

Quiet

It’s great when a plan works out! Only a handful of vehicles were in the parking lot, the sun was high enough to provide warmth, and the worst of the wildfire smoke had dissipated.

On the fringe

The beach was quiet, and we found a convenient log close to the forest fringe to settle down and watch the water. Shimmer on the water, a haze in the distance, fresh air and no chill to the light breeze – it was pretty much a perfect evening, and felt like a mini-vacation.

Some haze

Summer seems to have raced by, and the hints of fall being not too far ahead are growing. Dry yellow leaves along pathways and verges, ripe salal and blackberries, and the shock of seeing the sun set long before 9pm – yikes, we’d best make the most of the fast fading warm days…

Fading

That’s some good advice about making the most of the remaining summer days – looks sunny and warm here the next couple of days, so off I go! Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Cool

Why thank you, but no, this isn’t about me.

We find ourselves in the midst of another heatwave, perhaps not as hot as the one earlier this summer, but still pretty warm for this little corner of the PNW.

Pretty

As a soothing balm to counter the sultry heat, I thought I’d post a few pictures from last weekend, when we wandered down Long Beach, and wondered where the promised sunshine might be?

Just over there?

We set out early, aiming to avoid the later in the day crowds, and the beach was quiet. Cool. So was the temperature, and we were happy to have sweaters and a second cup of coffee to take the edge off.

Helpful

Scout enjoyed the wide stretch of sand, running in crazed circles and digging many holes. Yeah, she digs the beach. Cool.

Yup, I’m cool

From our log perch, we saw small flocks of sandpipers working their way along the shore, the sudden flashes of white in banked flight brightening the day. Seeing sandpipers always brightens our day. We think they’re cool.

Brighter? Different day, different location, still cool..

It probably isn’t too cool to keep repeating cool, so I’ll leave it here for this week, a brief post, playing it coo- oh. Oops. Not cool.

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

Misty morning strut

A new way to keep fit, PlaidCamper style, or perhaps a new song by the Stones?

Misty morning strut

Nope, just what I saw on the shore one morning earlier this week. It’s been a week of misty mornings followed by sunny afternoons before the fog rolls in for the evening. A fairly reliable pattern for August – I mean Fogust – and very enjoyable too.

Chilled

The fog has added a much needed sense of calm, or it does if I look at the water rather than the full to bursting parking lots. What’s with camping in your car when the lot signs clearly state no camping? Maybe I’m getting too old and too conformist. Can’t be too comfortable, trying to sleep in a vehicle not designed for it. I feel a rant coming on, and that’s not calming, so maybe we’ll keep it brief this week?

Lovely

Here’s another misty one, lovely to look at and maintain some calm, seen on my misty morning strut around the harbours this week.

Calm

Yup, definitely a brief one this week – off I strut, thinking calm thoughts… Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!

Hazy and calm

A bite or two

At the end of the previous post, I wrote I wouldn’t be adding any more foodie pieces for the next little while. So, how to explain the title for this week? It’s even less interesting than you might imagine, and came to me as I sat here, itching.

Itching and scratching at the many, many mosquito bites I received on our recent trip to the backcountry. It was delightful to get far, far away from the business of summer season, but it was far, far less delightful to be the blood host for so many mosquitoes. They really liked me, and they seemed to enjoy the brand of bug repellent I used to little effect.

Delightful

After a long dry spell, particularly dry for the PNW, it rained the day and night we set off. I think I made a brief reference to the rain last week? I don’t mind the rain, but this time it created lovely extra humid conditions, and so the lovely extra hungry mosquitoes popped out to greet us. What a lovely welcome! Lovely.

As well as learning that particular brand of DEET-free repellent is ineffective, I also learned that I’m not as good at putting up a tent in the dark as I thought I was. I slipped and bent one of the two important tent poles (one of only two tent poles), when my knee and overall body weight combined to crush one of the ends. Lovely.

Slightly disturbed – the water

With the mosquitoes buzzing encouragement in both my ears, and the rain falling oh so gently in the fading light, I believe I must have looked a picture of complete happiness. Being an independent minded sort – that’s code for bloodyminded and too stubborn to ask for help at that moment – I managed to push the broken end of the pole into a soft bank of earth, sorted the tent fly (fly? FLY?! I think they mean tent mosquito sheet I might have been heard muttering, serenity personified…) and pegged everything down. A job well done, OldPlaidCheerful having fun floating on a cloud of happiness and bug spray, desperately hoping the makeshift solution would keep out the rain.

Did it keep the rain out?

It did. I stayed wonderfully dry, and stayed wonderfully entertained trying to track down the mosquito that also wanted to stay wonderfully dry. It was wonderfully well fed, taking another bite or two. Wonderful.

A return

Anyway, not a food piece this week, more a return to being an almost outdoorsman, and I do believe I’m wiser for all the stumbling about in near darkness. I certainly won’t be buying that bug friendly spray again. So yes, very much wiser.

I think I’d best stop now. I enjoyed this minor rant, but all whining (like a mosquito) aside, I did genuinely enjoy being in a tent after far too long not camping. Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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!

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!