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!

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!

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!

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!

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!

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…)

Did it snow?

At the end of last week, I promised to post a few extra photographs of the snow – with boats, without boats, but definitely with snow. After all the excitement we experienced given the relatively large snowfall, it already seems so long ago. Now, the talk of the town is all about spring. Spring?! Is it here yet? No!

So, hold your horses for spring, and here are a few extra photographs of the two day winter we enjoyed.

Green on white

The next photograph was taken on Rainforest Drive:

Snow Forest Drive last week
White on green

It didn’t take too long for the quite mild temperatures to cause the snow to drop off tree limbs in great sliding thumps of snow. It was fun to walk down Rainforest Drive and dodge the wet snow bomb clumps. This wasn’t champagne powder snow, it was more like porridge.

Didn’t lounge about here for too long

The beach was interestingly different, but actually quite difficult to navigate, with all the rocks and large pebbles hidden under the snow. Next time (next year?!) I’ll come down to the beach when it is snowing, see the flakes driving in off the water.

Boats in the snow. So last week.

I think that is probably enough snow – we enjoyed it while it was here, but spring, it’s your turn now! What snow?

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

Boats in the snow!

Boats! Snow! Boats in the snow! And there you have it, I’ve revealed my process. It’s taken years…

We were so happy to see the snow still coming down last Saturday morning. The first few flakes were floating about Friday night, and at first it looked like it might be disappointing. A previously promised snow day didn’t come to pass, so we weren’t too hopeful. But this time, it was great! The total was about 20cm, or 19 better than the last “snow event” and it stuck around all of Saturday and into Sunday, although it was getting more than a bit slushy by Sunday afternoon.

Boats! Snow! A floatplane!

Children of all ages were out and about, building snowmen, sliding down hills and making the most of it. There weren’t too many cars on the roads after the first few attempts by drivers to get up the local hills. Lots of shrugs and happy realizations that it might as well be a snow day – they don’t happen too often around here. Errands can wait!

It was fun to take in the inner and outer harbour, seeing the boats blanketed in snow, and a thin skin of cracked ice broken where a brave paddler had been out in a kayak.

Kayaking?! Not today

One guy was atop his fishing boat, shovelling the snow and laughing, happy enough, but also pretty happy he didn’t have to deal with it too often. The snowy boats were a pleasant sight, something familiar given a visual twist. The comforting muffled stillness found after a heavy snowfall was certainly strange to experience close to the water. Barely a splash or a ripple, although the steady Sunday thaw brought the water sounds back, with dripping from trees and rooftops, and trickles becoming streams down the sides of the road.

Shovelling snow – on a boat

I almost forgot to mention how Scout loved it – the husky part of her was in the zone, nosing and jumping through the deepest snow banks and patches she could find. Even slushy Sunday didn’t dampen her delight! Mrs PC took this one:

In her snow zone!

By Monday morning the snow was gone, but it had made an impact over the weekend – students were buzzing, happy to share their snow stories, and excited they’d had a taste of winter.

Boats in the snow or snow in the boats?

I was snap happy with the camera, so will post some more photos next week. Perhaps one or two more boats in the snow photos, and some snowy images of the beach and forest.

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

An old favourite

In these somewhat restricted times, we find our fun where we can, and how pleased were we to see an old favourite in town last week?

Visitors? Is that allowed? What about non-essential travel, OldPlaidCamper?! It’s ok, these visitors were properly contained, safely transported, suited up in glass bottles and clearly labeled “Lagunitas” with a best before. Best before? I don’t think that’ll be a problem.

No problem

Lagunitas? I’ve done some extensive research (no he hasn’t, aside from tasting the beer – Mrs. PC), and I believe a rough translation, medically speaking, tells us Lagunitas possibly means “very good for you but don’t overdo it.” Small doses, small delights, great relief. Sounds medical and reliable to me. I’m getting the hang of this fake online thing. Trust me, I’m not a doctor. Easy.

Another old favourite was seeing the layers of mist, cloud and rain cloaking the low mountains across the bay and above Hitacu. The special combination of water, mist, clouds, mountains, and shades of green feel so very PNW, and when the heavy rain has obscured such views for a lengthy period, it’s so good to see.

A good combo

We have a snowfall warning for the next couple of days, and since the last one came to nothing here at sea level, hopes are high (amongst the student body at any rate) that this time there will be enough to make a snowball or two…

A brief post this week, as work piles up in a positive way, and we get things done before the long weekend – Family Day. Bittersweet once again, given the current circumstances, but with vaccines rolling out, it feels we’re moving in the right direction, and the next time Family Day rolls around, it’ll be celebrated properly. In the meantime, it’s a quick dash to the beer store, in the hope there’s still a six pack of an old favourite looking for a weekend home.

It’s not all green and grey…

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy the long weekend if that’s for you, and the regular weekend if not!

PS I don’t speak Spanish, so an uneducated guess on Lagunitas, after some more sketchy research, has me thinking it is related to “laguna” and a small lake or lagoon. Or really good beer.