Something Fishy


In coastal towns of Mexico, generally, the tourists swim and the locals fish.IMGP0029a

They make sure their nets are mended before they go out.


Sometimes the catch is good, sometimes it’s meagre. Notice the white apron to keep the water, slime, and blood off the fisherman’s clothes? The second fellow gets by with a makeshift apron. Nothing wrong with a big garbage bag to use as an apron.


In the early morning the fish is already for sale at the beach,


and later at the fish market in town.


The tourists can buy fish to take to their bungalows to cook, or they can go out to a beachside restaurant and order the catch of the day.


It’s not terribly fancy, but it’s very tasty, especially when eaten beside the sea from whence it came.


What a Ride!

My friend Gladys is an amazing woman. At age 74, she’s a fourteen-year cancer survivor. I believe she beat the cancer into submission (usually it goes into remission, but in Gladys’s case, she pounded it into SUBmission) with exercise and diet.

She skied and hiked and swam and biked, doing all sorts of exercise with extra gusto. Recently, she and her twelve-year-old grandson, Bradyn, undertook an extra-long bike ride from her home in Courtenay, on Vancouver Island, to Nanaimo, 101 kms. away.

Here they are at the start of their ride.


The trip took them seven hours, however riding time was five hours. Yes, they made quite a few stops. At noon, they stopped at Qualicum Beach (about halfway to Nanaimo), and enjoyed a hot dog and fries. They didn’t stop for long though, as Bradyn was anxious to carry on.

Unfortunately, in downtown Parksville, the next little town along the way, Bradyn was stung on the neck by a bee or wasp which almost caused them to abandon the trip. They sat in front of Boston Pizza for quite some time with a bag of ice-cubes, debating what to do.

Finally they agreed to try a few more kms which grew into a few more and a few more. When they got to the outskirts of Nanaimo, there was no holding Bradyn back. Gladys had a hard time keeping up to him, and I know she’s an expert biker.

Here they texted his mom and dad to pick them up near a main exit.

photo 1

Gladys says, “It’s interesting that I never encouraged Bradyn to do this trip with me. He brought it up a few weeks ago because I told the family I wanted to do this ride before summer ended.  His mom and dad made it possible to happen in between his hockey schedule.  Bradyn has never done long-distance riding before and other than a little trail riding, has not done much cycling. Kudos to his determination to make it happen!”

Bradyn’s comment when it was over?  “I want to do this again, Grandma!” What a trouper.

What did Bradyn do at the end of the ride?  Well, after sharing his story with whoever would listen, he went out and jumped on the trampoline with his brother.

And what did Grandma do?  She soaked in the tub and had a snooze while her daughter made a delicious supper.

My hat is off to Grandma Gladys and her grandson Bradyn. Congratulations to you both. Shining examples for the rest of us.

PS I invite you to visit my other blog

Salmon Sharing

Humans and animals live on this planet together and no one group has more right than the other to its resources. Some species “kill” plants for food, some hunt and kill other animals, some kill both, but that’s just natural. It’s the way it is. Fishing is just another form of hunting. Humans do it, and other animals do it. Seems there could be some competition at times.

Commercial fishermen hunt for fish to provide them for the general public’s consumption. Many people love to eat fish; few have the means to go out and get them. Someone has to do the deed.

At this anchorage on the west coast of the Queen Charlotte Islands (now renamed, but still the same place), killer whales show up to cruise the waters for salmon, one of their favourite foods.  It just happens to be what these trollers are also targeting. There’s enough fish for everyone, but the fishermen aren’t happy to see the killer whales because they terrify the salmon who then disappear from the area.

 009The sight of an orca fin is not happy news for a fisherman.


In spite of a certain fascination with the visitors,  the fishermen really don’t want these guys to be hanging around their trolling gear in the morning.


Not only one hungry mouth to feed! Where there is one orca, there are bound to be more.012



But the next morning, it seems there are still enough salmon for all to share.014

Bird Invasion

“Coming Soon to a Neighbourhood Near You” is a species of bird that has an amazing travel history. I live on the east coast of Vancouver Island and until a few years ago I hadn’t heard of Eurasian collared doves. Now they are at my birdfeeders and birdbaths.

Basically they look like a slenderer version of the domestic pigeon, but the colour is paler and more beige. A dark partial ring at the nape of the neck helps to identify it. The ring is not always easy to see.


 In the 1800s the Eurasian collared dove could be found in southern Asia, from Turkey to China and India. By the 1900s they had traveled to Europe and north Africa. In the 1970s  they were introduced into the Bahamas and from there they have spread all over North America except for the extremely cold north.

But today at my birdfeeding station, they wanted dinner and a bath.


“That birdbath looks too shallow for us,” Mrs. Dove warns.


“I don’t agree,” he says. “And there you go again ruffling my feathers.”



“I’m going to go for it. Here I go. Bombs away!”

After watching this scene, what could I do but call Avian Rescue 9-1-1?


The Pileated Woodpecker Family

I feel a migraine coming on when I watch these beautiful birds drilling into the rotten wood, their beaks vibrating like mini jack hammers, but I’m very thankful for the woodpeckers, who eat of a lot of the insects we might otherwise be overrun with. They eat ants! So they’re welcome here any time. They also eat larvae of tree beetles that work at destroying our forests. Woodpeckers are very good for the well-being of our ecology.

It was hard to get a photo that wasn’t blurry. Their heads moved so quickly. This family of three was so busy they didn’t even notice me standing nearby taking pictures. If only I could have gotten them to stand still for a few seconds for a photo shoot. Can you see the third woodpecker above the red head of the one on the left?


This part of my backyard has several old rotten stumps and broken off trees that we’ve left as they are, mainly because it makes great woodpecker habitat.



That’s the mother with her head in the stump and the “baby” on the right, wondering what to do. I know he’s the baby because I saw the mother feeding him a bug just moments later. Maybe she found something in that stump.??????????

I always thought pileated woodpeckers were what Woody Woodpecker was modeled after, but apparently Woody is designed for the acorn woodpecker. I looked up the acorn woodpecker and can’t see the resemblance to Woody. To me he looks more like the pileated woodpecker, mainly because of the tuft of red hair (feathers) on his head.



While the mother flew to a nearby tree, Junior worked over a broken off tree. The whole time he was chipping at the punky wood, he made muted bird-grunting noises that sounded a bit like, “Ehh … aaaa … ehh … ehh….”??????????????????????????????051Father, in the meantime, was taking on the big job of breaking apart the decaying  fir stump nearby, while keeping an eye on Junior. You might see a blurry glimpse of Dad behind the stump. Notice the small piece of log on the right of the stump next to the grass clippings.????????????????????Moments later, the small log to the right of the stump has company. As I watched, and took photos, a big chunk of bark fell down. Compare the two pictures, taken only seconds apart and you’ll see the progress the father was making with his chipping at the wood. All around the front of the stump too, are chips of wood dropped there by the woodpeckers’ efforts to get at the bugs inside the stump.

My yard is not manicured but the birds seem to like it that way. If I cleaned up their mess and removed the old rotten stumps they probably wouldn’t come back and I love to see them when they visit me.

The Nice Light

I know “nice” is a tired word and I try not to use it, but in this case, I have to. When the sun dips low in the sky, for a few minutes the rays pass through the lower atmosphere where, I presume it’s the dust particles that enhance its golden colour. Any objects this late evening sunshine rests on, are turned to gold. Where does “nice” come in? Whenever I see the trunks of the fir trees turn gold, I always say, “Oh look! There’s that nice light again.”

In this post I don’t have much of a story, but I wanted to share “the nice light” with you.

The big maple and the firs soak it up.??????????

The tall firs reach up to catch “the nice light.”??????????

Through the gaps in the trees, the trunks of the neighbour’s trees are dabbed with light.??????????

The green leaves in the foreground (left) are part of the same maple tree as the golden lime-coloured ones. The trees to the right are hollies.

??????????The show is nearly over as the sun sinks lower yet. Now it’s mostly the clouds that are touched by colour. The same cloud that spat twenty drops of rain on our parched grass, is painted pink by the sun as it says, “See you tomorrow.”


Shooting Bucks

One year, my husband went on a fall deer hunting trip. He would be away for a week to ten days. I would keep the “home fires burning” since deer hunting holds absolutely no interest for me.

I would rather make sure they had enough to eat, and maybe steal a little petting time while they were busy eating. In the summer the deer were coming into the yard often, looking for a handout. Since there was nothing except the neighbourhood geraniums to eat,  I supplemented their food a little. These are city deer with no place else to go, so I figured the rules are different about not feeding wildlife. Below is a late summer photo. One buck still has velvet on his antlers, but the one I’m patting on the neck has shed his.



The fawns felt right at home in the little island of trees below my sundeck, so I put water out for them for those hot days.img686


In the fall, the bucks came for their handout often, until it was the start of hunting season. Somehow they knew, and they made fewer appearances like the one below. You can see that the velvet is gone from their antlers.


 Shortly after that, the bucks disappeared, maybe to chase the does and maybe to evade the hunters.

My husband called me from his hunting camp. “No luck this time. Sorry. You’ll be glad to hear I didn’t shoot a buck this year.”

“That’s okay,” I said. “I shot a nice big one right here in the yard … with my camera.”

And here he is.

visiting buck