Saturday, July 30, 2011


It's hard to see the work that's going on here, but there's a bumblebee toiling away in the flowers out on the deck. He's certainly doing more than I feel like I've been doing, as his little 'saddlebags' look nearly overflowing with bright orange pollen.

The flower is probably happier too, knowing it's been 'serviced' so well -- and on such a lovely summer day.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A sign to remember

I suspect this will be the last time I see this low a price for fuel. It was on our way home yesterday, and no, we couldn't resist the thought of less than a buck a litre, so put some into The Rattler's big tank.

Sure enough, only an hour down the road, everyone else was selling it for at least a quarter more. Lucky timing!

And we even got some of the fresh seafood while we stopped. Nothing beats Fanny Bay oysters.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sailor's delight

Sunsets at the dock are one of the reasons I love coming back to Hornby Island. Ah, those red skies at night!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Not a solution

You've gotta hand it to the folks at BC Ferries. They've come up with a new way of saving paper.

No longer do they print out schedules for travellers to consult. Instead, they print cardboard notices that direct tourists to go to their website. But they don't just print one notice and post it for people, they print out hundreds (probably thousands, but this photo -- from one station on just one of their boats -- only bears witness to hundreds).

When I made queries at the head steward's office about sailing times for the ferry I hoped to link up with later in the day, I was told to go to the website for the PDF of all routes. "But," I explained, "I'm on holiday, so my devices are at home. I can't go to the website." Further, when I asked whether a single printout could be posted someplace on the boat for benefit of such travellers as myself, the answer was no.

But I wasn't going away, and when they saw they weren't going to get rid of me so easily, they asked me to come back in a few minutes so they could look up the route in question.

After browsing the shop and using the washroom, I came back to see if they'd found the info I needed. I'll admit they were somewhat sheepish when they said they hadn't been able to access the site.

Later during the crossing, I found a brochure about Hornby Island and there, among its informative tidbits was the schedule of ferries that would take me there. Hurrah!

Remember too, this is the same service that has signs once you leave the boat, saying "Thank you for sailing BC Ferries". The brilliance of it all -- like, how else were we supposed to get the car from the Mainland to an island?

And how welcoming is this new policy for other tourists who might not be wired up as we're all apparently supposed to be?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Clearly, a bright idea

No, that isn't a brain in a bottle. Just the result of some fooling around with the distortions a bottle of clean water can create.

For the most part, I’m not too keen on bottled water. The more I learn about it, the bigger a scam it seems to be. It sounds like an awful lot of it is just overpriced tap water. I think there used to be a joke about selling ice cubes to Inuit (though the joke is old enough they were probably called Eskimos). Anyway, I’ve pretty much put bottled water into that category – something most of us really don’t need.

But a news article brought my attention to an idea that's made me at least rethink some of my disdain for the bottles the water comes in – it’s an idea for using them to make a kind of skylight/solar-powered light bulb.

The idea is simple. A one-litre bottle gets filled with water, then a few teaspoons of bleach go in with it. A hole gets cut into the roof and the bottle is fitted into the hole in the roof, along with some bracing and sealant. Then, when the sun shines, the light gets diffused into and around the room. No power bill and, thanks to the bleach, there’s no accumulation of algae. So the water remains clear. The fixture is apparently good for about five years.

This is the sort of invention that excites me and makes me believe there is promise for our crazy human race. I want more of these good ideas – simple, inexpensive, non-polluting. General Electric used to have the slogan, Progress is our only product. Ha. The recycled plastic bottle as solar light fixture – that’s something I can really call progress.

Friday, July 08, 2011

An odd sort of wish

Because I’m trying to break my habit of taking endless photos – you can’t believe how many gazillions of images I need to delete – today’s garden shot is one I took way back in Newport, Washington, the town where we bumped into the rodeo.

But the reason I’m thinking about gardens is a walk I took yesterday. Yes, the flowers in everyone’s gardens were beautiful, but the part that really got me was the smells! It seemed that nearly every yard had its own particular fragrance.

It made me want a camera that could take ‘snapshots’ of scents – something like the ‘odorifics’ machine owned by Ruth Gordon’s character in the cult classic, Harold and Maude.

I guess I’ll just have to take a walk again today, and fix some of those lilting scents in the odorifics file cabinet of my mind.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Fruits of a long weekend

This is what happens when three women get up early on a Saturday and head for the strawberry fields. In only two hours, we picked nearly 80 pounds of fruit. It's probably a good thing we ran out of buckets, as the little Honda couldn't have held much more -- at least not unless one of us had decided to walk home.

I've spent part of the weekend dealing with my share, but made the most headway today -- ten jars of Christmas-gift jam and a few trays of chocolate-dipped strawbs.

Besides these, and the ones we've already eaten (plenty, trust me), there's still one more bucket left in the fridge. And look out, the raspberries can't be far behind!

Friday, July 01, 2011

Happy birthday, Canada

Even the newspaper says that it's a day to celebrate! The front page is full of newlywed royals and best birthday wishes.

Canada's 144 years old today -- and we're home again.