Lunar Eclipse – Sept. 27, 1015

I will spare you all the scientific details of the eclipse of this Supermoon. I’d heard it would be out there tonight and the sky happened to be clear, so I took my camera which is capable of better shots than I can  take with it, and I walked down the road to look for the moon.

On the way, I couldn’t resist taking a picture of the bay below me.


It wasn’t completely dark yet so I continued on to the top of the roughly 200 stairs that lead down to the beach. A couple of ladies with flashlights were going down the stairs ahead of me so I felt brave even as it was getting darker. By the time I got down to the next level, probably 100 feet down the hill, it was getting very dusky and I could see a lot of people setting up camp to celebrate the event on the spit of the beach that you see in the photo above. I stopped to take the photo below, but all I could get was a blurry hint of a moon covered with webby darkness.


I tried again and got a blurry peek of it coming from between the trees. Then I realized that these horrible snaps were not worth my having gone down these many steep stairs halfway down to the beach, and worse yet, I would now have to go back up the stairs, with lots of bushes on either side, in nearly complete darkness because, of course, there was no moon to guide my way. Thoughts of lurking bears and cougars “eclipsed” my thoughts of the eclipse.


When I got home, there was the moon, now higher in the sky, taunting me to try my amateur photography again. I propped my elbows on the railing of my own front steps and took the photo below. A little better than the previous ones but still nothing to write home about. The point of this post, I suppose, is to show the world that I was there (groping up the hillside stairs in the dark) and to present you with the measure of my enthusiasm (or foolishness).061a

I hear that the next Supermoon eclipse is in 2033. I may still be around for it, but I’m not sure I will still be able to manage to clamber up those stairs by that time.

Victoria’s Tea Grannies and their Modern Counterparts

In Victoria, B.C., everyone who’s anyone goes to Murchie’s for a cup of tea or coffee. Some go  once in a while. Some, nearly every day! They meet their friends and keep their brains alive by getting out into the world and finding out what’s happening.

Seems this has been going on for many years. Murchie’s has been around since 1894. The note on the display says, “This display, hand made in the Black Forest, 120 years ago and has 800 parts.


Across the street, the people in that building are very interested in what’s going on at Murchie’s.



“Look at them over there,” the little boy says. “I bet they think we’re just paintings on the wall.”DSCN3880a

“I see a woman with a camera over at the tea shop.”DSCN3881a

“Hey! Look at all those people having a good time over at Murchie’s. I think we need to go over for a cup of tea.”

Feast or Famine

Everything seems to happen at once. We’re overloaded with fruit and nuts and then it’s over and there’s nothing – unless I dry or freeze some of it.

I thought I would show you about a third of the hazelnuts and filberts I’ve picked up and de-husked this fall, so you can see why I’m late getting anything posted on my blog lately. One problem is finding the space to dry the nuts. I used to put them on window screens balanced on my clothes drying rack and the contraption would stand in front of the woodstove downstairs until the nuts were dry. Since we have a lively puppy in our house, that option doesn’t sound so wise anymore. One bounce too many and there would be nuts all over the place, including the nuts who had to pick them up. You would have to be nuts to take a risk like that with a rambunctious puppy in the house.

So I’ve usurped the dining room table and any other surface I can find. Sorry, dear, no cookies. The cookie sheets are all in use.DSCN3826

The plums, apples, and pears are not there to dry, but only for showing off what is taking up the rest of my spare time. Washing and pitting plums, peeling and cutting pears and apples, and bagging everything in ziplocs for making cakes, muffins, and desserts later on.

Below is a photo of my favourite fruit of the whole yard, a red anjou pear. Mouthwateringly sweet and juicy!


What a shame that with fruit it’s always a case of all or nothing. I’d love to be able to pick a pear off the tree at all different times of the year.

We Must Tell the King

The other day I was picking up hazelnuts that had fallen on the ground. My dogs have taken a liking to them and Ruby has taught Emma to crack them in her teeth. Not a good thing to do unless you want cracked teeth, too. So I’m trying to keep a step ahead by gathering the nuts as they fall. It’s a bit disheartening when, after I’ve shaken the trees to make the nuts fall, and cleaned the whole area under the trees, a breeze comes along and more nuts fall. Impossible to keep up with it all.


But as the nuts are falling, so are the apples. I’d picked up the ones on the ground and had gone back to raking up the area under the hazelnut trees, when a strong gust of wind knocked a beautiful, big apple out of the tree next to me. Thonk! It whacked me on the head and thudded to the ground.


How brainwashed we are! In that split second, I was six years old again, listening to stories on Uncle Leroy’s radio show, “Kiddies’ Corner,” on a Saturday morning at 9 o’clock. Uncle Leroy played the recorded stories,  and as clearly as if it had been only yesterday, I heard Chicken Little say, “Bockbockbock! The SKY is falling! And WE must tell the KING! BaBOCKbock!”

I shook off the memory and chuckled at how these stories, like  Pepsodent and Brylcreem jingles are imprinted into our brains by the media.

Then I glanced up from my nitpicking and nut picking, and looked towards the neighbours’ house. Our back driveway is only sometimes used, but for a day or two it wouldn’t be used at all. In the previous night’s huge windstorm that caused havoc all across southwestern British Columbia, a part of the huge maple tree that stands beside the driveway had broken off and landed across it.


Now if you’ll excuse me, BaBOCKbock! I really MUST go tell the king! (And ask him to bring his chain saw.)

Rain, at Last

You may remember this same photo from the last post, except that the ocean and distant hills were visible in it. Today, it is totally blocked out by the huge mass of clouds that have moved in, bringing long-hoped-for rain to our parched plants.001

Below, you can barely see the streaks of rain between the bottom leaves of the hazelnut tree and the top of the last beans on the garden fencing. My garden is slurping up the rain faster than it can come down, and it’s coming down pretty hard. The grass is brown and in much of the yard it is broken off and areas of bare dirt are growing at an alarming rate. This rain will help repair that damage. The grass always comes back.


See the streaks of rain as it dumps out of the sky? It almost looks like the hazelnut tree is crying, but if it is, those are tears of joy.


I’m thrilled that it rained so much. The plants and our low water table need it desperately. The salmon, waiting at the mouths of dry creeks and rivers that are merely a trickle, will soon be happy  to shoot upstream to lay eggs and spawn.

We’re thankful for the rain. Now, I wonder how long it will take before we start complaining about that rain that just won’t let up.

The Name of the Rose

The sky had some unique striations in it last night just after the sun had set, and I ran to grab my camera.

Towards the west I took this photo.

Towards the south, the moon was already trying to inch out from behind the fir trees. I wanted to get more pictures of the moon, but just as it came out of hiding, my luck changed. The camera battery went dead. Quickly, switch batteries. But the spare was dead too, so that marked the end of the evening’s photographic efforts.


The next morning I managed to get more photos. The rudbeckia was irresistible.


Then I noticed this very special rose. I’ve had it for about 26 years and never knew its true name. When I bought it, the label said “Tropicana.” Its photo showed an orangey-red flower, but when mine finally bloomed, it was more like the colour of coffee with cream.


For years I thought the rose had been mislabeled but when I did a search for Tropicana, I saw that one or two of the roses were of this “coffee with cream” colour. The rest were the standard reddish orange. So maybe it wasn’t misnamed at all, but was just one of the few specimens with special colouring. And all these years I had wondered about the name of the rose.