Saturday, 16 June 2018

Farmer's Father's Day week ...

He's into the 2nd cut of the year ... so full-on down at the farm - dawn til dusk ... but daughter is moving back from Victoria to work (as part of her Uni course - heavy machinery!) ...

Walking down to get post ... we're above the
Trans Canada Highway

... not a problem you'd think - but has acquired a free upright piano, which needs to be brought 'up island' ... please: Mum and Dad help! 

Scratching heads time!

Her friends, who were her 'moving-in movers' - refused to help second time around - and we could see why!  She roped in three friends, a father and a brother ... mother drove, I went along for the ride (and of course experience and knowledge for a post ...)

Ready to go ... 
Have farm, have cows mainly, chickens lots, turkeys some, have trailers various and horses (for carriage riding) - so far three, ... two foals shortly on their way ... two dogs and a new puppy ...

3rd day at home ...

... Rex Murphy (9 weeks now), has had some experiences since he arrived Thursday 7th June ... had a reconnaissance LandRover Meet visit, next day went to the two-day LandRover Meet - 50+ people up at the other grandparent's house ...

Not 'THE landrover - that is yellow' - this is a special
one ... don't ask me more!

... with son (his owner) he's been to school (in a LandRover!) - geology, free periods 2, a hike - not sure what happened there, but suspect he simply didn't go ... having an afternoon nap instead ... 

... day before his school visit - he joined in with the piano removers ... and off we all went to Victoria ... daughter and friends in car, mother and the rest in a flat bed with an empty horse trailer awaiting the piano!

Right - back to the piano movers ... it was heavy!  They man-handled it into the trailer ... not easily - but it was done ... we saw a raccoon, a deer in the locality ... the puppy was pretty good - eating anything that was around: attempted to discourage.

Heave-ho ... now it was late for the farmer, the kids, the working kids, who'd been roped in, the puppy - who coped, mother who encourages all ... me I just watched in contented amusement.

As it was in the 1950s - now it has some
two lane bits and dual carriageway - it's a rotten
road to drive up and down to Victoria - but obviously
when there aren't crashes saves lots of time

We toddled back up the Malahat (a monstrous 'pile' of granite - not high 1,100 feet [325m]) ... that has been 'chiselled' away so that the Trans Canada Highway could be cut through it ...

From the top overlooking Saanich Inlet

... fish and chips was closed ... so on to the local pizza place - people needed feeding ... or a glass of wine/beer/cider! ... puppy had access to some water ...

Camping out at the Meet
... but the funniest thing was as we got up to go ... and puppy was untied, he stepped a few feet onto the tarmac and widdled, and widdled, and widdled ... we all stood about laughing - brilliant puppy is all I can say: he's star!  He's also going to be one big dog ...

This is in England - windrows of
hand-scythed hay

Tis Father's Day - happy days to all and sundry - we have the most glorious clear blue sky ... this farming father is out there on a machine turning his cut grass to dry off before baling ... and I feel like being outside for a change ...

Father volunteered!
Have daughter, who has heavy piano, have horse trailer, have co-erced family and friends! ... and one puppy to amuse - got piano home, now on a pallet - to be moved more easily in future!!  (There's a baby grand in the house ... for the musicians to use - mother and daughter, certainly).

About 50 at the LandRover meet ... it was cold -
thankfully this weekend we have wonderful weather

Have a fun weekend - mind you mine is just starting ... some of you are almost into Sunday ... happy days to one and all ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Blog Sandwich Update 12: The Queen's official birthday and Prince Philip's 97th ... aMayZing!

Lots of odds and ends today ... but as the title says aMayZing as the Queen celebrates her official 92nd birthday - the actual date is 21 April ... and tomorrow (probably by the time you read this! - today) Prince Philip reaches 97.

Ministry of Defence's photo (Wiki) 2013
Trooping the Colour
I saw that the Queen has recently had a cataract operation ... and has been seen out and about in dark glasses, but for The Trooping of the Colour Ceremony she had reverted to ordinary glasses, yet seemed to be blinking quite a lot ... lovely sunny day they had: it's like cold April showers here!

Her Majesty, the Queen
pretty in pink (2015)

Prince Philip wasn't in attendance ... presumably gearing himself up for his birthday cake tomorrow ... and putting in his exercises for his new hip.

Amazing couple ... through two operations and life continues on - may my life be as long (and healthy!) ...

A major change at this year's Trooping of the Colour was the Sikh Coldstream Guards soldier, who became the first to wear a turban during the Ceremony ... his comment was: I hope that people watching will just acknowledge it and that they will look at it as a new change in history' - good for him and for the Guards allowing him to take part.

A typical aerial view of the Okavango -
with its waterways, channels, islands
The new Duke and Duchess of Sussex were back from their honeymoon (I've no idea where they went ... back to Botswana if they were sensible - as I loved it there ... but I wasn't fortunate enough to be on honeymoon - just a few holidays ... lucky me!) they were part of the carriage ride down the Mall to HorseGuards Parade ...

Flowers on our tea tables

I guess that you'd like me to do one of my rather eclectic write-ups on perhaps the new baby and the recent wedding with as many  ramifications as I can figure out for 26+ bullet points in the A-Z format ... 

Victoria's water taxis

Moving un-swiftly along ... a heart-shaped flower garden for you all - I was in Victoria to take a water taxi to one of the oldest properties in the Victorian countryside ... now surrounded by industrial estates ... sad but true.

Two Orcas c/o Wiki

Believe it or not ... I'll get to the garden shortly! ... we missed seeing four Orca whales come into the harbour and then 'mosey' out again ... by only a couple of hours ...

Point Ellice House
We were on a tour to see the house (Point Ellice House) and learn about the O'Reilly family, who after 108 years, sold the property ... lock, stock and barrel to the Province ... the contents, their papers, seed catalogues, the garden details, how the house was built up etc ... I'll do a proper post anon - and show you more ...

The heart-shaped garden

But the heart-shaped memorial garden overlooking the water was created for the child they lost, and then shortly afterwards her grandmother died ...

We had an Afternoon Tea - that was our lunch - as far as I was concerned:was at coffee time ... i.e. it was 11.45 or so - I cannot get used to the 12.00 for lunch ... and the tour - half went in to the house, while the others went round the garden and then we swapped.   The scone was delicious - the best bit ... and the cream, was not Cornish, but wasn't bad ... though the jam was fairly jelly-like - perhaps practical.

For some reason this has
decided to come out this
way up ... 

We were given Philosopher's Tea ... and Point Ellice Tea - there were spice or tea caddies in the kitchen store room - and they are now nearly 160 years old - the teas were recreated from the recipes kept amongst the records.

Colclough china
That ends this update ... and is really here for the official birthday of the Queen - and I have a WEP post to write up about unravelling yarn ... who knows what tale will spin out ... and to check in re your happiness to have me write up about the recent wedding and that new bonny baby boy ... some distant heir to the throne ... is he 5th in line - I think that's right ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Monday, 4 June 2018

Salmon - for subsistence and ceremony ... and the one that stayed away ...

Native American cultures, especially the tribes of the Canadian Northwest and Columbia River, revere this fish as it continues to nourish humans and wildlife ...

Atlantic Salmon with 5 Pacific Ocean ones
c/o Pieter Folkens artwork
Who would have thought salmon could be so interesting - apart from good dinners!  The Atlantic salmon I'm used to in Britain (one commercial species) or the Pacific salmon (eight species found in the huge Pacific Ocean), which I now eat here on Vancouver Island ... that difference is obvious - yet the genera are distinct ... interestingly Atlantic salmon are more closely related to certain species of trout.

Salmon Burgers

Their life cycles are similar ... spending one to four years in the ocean before returning to spawn in the stream where they were born.  The young will stay in freshwater streams for up to three years.

Quill Creek in Kluane National Park

They are well named from the Latin verb salire: to leap - for their swimming strength and endurance ... slithering up fish ladders, scrabbling through beaver dams, swimming upstream to spawn ...

Life Cycle of Pacific Salmon
c/o Wiki

... which they've reached using their superb sense of smell - they sense the stream where they were born, ensuring their return to spawn. 

The larger Grizzly Bear

But ... Atlantic salmon are iteroparous, and may not die after spawning, though it is likely as the energies needed to reach their spawning grounds sap their strength ... some will survive.  Pacific salmon will die once they've spawned ... this term is semelparous.

Sockeye Salmon
jumping over beaver

Another two terms ... anadromous fish, such as the salmon, striped bass, and sea lamprey: migrate from the sea up rivers  ... or catadromous fish like eels: go from fresh water to the oceans ... seean earlier post: slippery eels.

Two glaciers in Kluane National Park
The one that got away is the Kokanee: a unique fish ... it has become, over millennia, a landlocked species of the sockeye salmon - an ocean-running fish that has been trapped high in the Yukon mountains ... in the Kluane National Park and reserve ... blocked off from its ocean route by shifting glaciers and plate tectonics ... the native peoples believe their sacred fish will one day return to the ocean, which seems very likely ...

Kwagulth Salmon:
Art work by Tony Hunt at Alert Bay,
BC 1942 (seen in Victoria Art Gallery)

These Pacific Northwest salmon are revered by the indigenous peoples of the inland waterways and coastal areas - having been a significant part of the First Nations economies, religions and cultures - recorded orally, as well as in the living history of their totems and art endorsing this cultural and spiritual identity.

Spawning Salmon building redds on a riffle
see Wiki

Salmon are a key species ... meaning if they disappear, their ecosystems would disproportionately change.  Rotting salmon carcasses transfer valuable nutrients from the ocean to the land: scientists have traced these substances found in mosses, herbs, shrubs, trees, insects, song birds, bears and wolves ... makes you think doesn't it ... that cycle of life - and how we are such a miniscule part.

Black Bear Cub

That wonderful leaping silvery-pink salmon, which play such an important role in life, will return to spawn later in the year ... the bears, bald eagles, sport fisherman and the hungry human will be a-waiting.

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Friday, 25 May 2018

We are the World Blogfest ... # 14 - Paying It Forward ...

I'm happily in the local supermarket getting a few bits, a book and a magazine I'd seen that I thought would be interesting to have as reference when I make local visits and when I blog ...

Where we get our books usually -
it is in Duncan
I proffer my card and ask for a $100 ... I know there's enough money - yet know that I'd been rejected from a couple of purchases and wasn't sure why - but thought well I'll try for the groceries ... I didn't have the cash ...

The food book is quite old, but will
give an idea of foods across the
Province; while I was due to give a
talk ... on British Royalty - selecting
to do one on Prince Philip rather than
'the wedding'!

We tried again for the $78.34 or thereabouts ... that too was thrown out - ah well ... never mind I said - I didn't really need anything ... but would have liked the books ... guessing that perhaps the cheque to cover it hadn't been processed ...

Inside the children's section of Volume One

Suddenly from behind me comes a man - I'll pay for you - how much is it ... I say 'no, no need - honestly ... but thank you ...' he then asks the cashier, who tells him ... out comes a wad of cash ... $80 is handed over ... he takes his change ... and my shop is paid for ...

A range of children's books on offer

I'm falling over myself with embarrassment and trying to get him to put his money away ... I ask 'kind, generous man' for his name and address so I can pay him back ... no, no, no - you don't need to ... pay it forward ...  he does give me his name ...

Once he's gone - the cashier and the other very patiently waiting customer say: oh! he does that 'quite often' ... so don't worry about it ... but I find out where his wife works ...

... the funny thing is the other customer was laughingly indignant - saying she knows this chap ... but he never offered to pay for her shopping!!!  We all burst out laughing ....

Arcadian Early Learning Centre
End of story ... I did find his wife to let them have a 'thank you card': she was somewhat surprised and interested - but relaxed ... and now this post - where my paying it forward comes in ...  

... I'm going to give a local bookstore - Volume One - $100 to be available to Arcadian DayCare - Early Learning Centre: that is charity based ... and let them select a range of books for their youngsters ...

My #WAWTB ... Paying It Forward - such a total surprise to me ... not what I expected to be a part of!!  I was mighty grateful for the Pay It Forward ...

...  my take on it ... is not exactly paying it forward - but the school will benefit from the books, while these youngsters  and future kids will enjoy reading the stories selected ...

We are the World - In Darkness Be Light

Thank you kindly 'Paying It Forward' Young Man ... i.e. considerably younger than me!!

Volume One Bookstore - Kenneth Street, Duncan, Vancouver Island, British Columbia - this lists the staff's pick of books within the store ... 

Arcadian Early Learning Centre - A natural approach to early learning ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters International Stories

Friday, 18 May 2018

Victoria Day ... and what's this - a Levidrome - "Regal Lager" from Phillips Brewing in Victoria ...

Canada has a holiday this weekend, celebrated for Queen Victoria's birthday (24 May 1819) ... here's the first white wedding dress ... what will the new Royal bride's be like ...
Queen Victoria 1847
by Franz Xaver Winterhalter

The BBQ was taken down in a horse box, cleaned up and brought back for our first evening outdoors at the top farm - not the dairy farm down below ...

BBQ moving via horse trailer

... just lovely to be out of doors ... I'm somewhat surprised at the rate of growth ... I know we are 3 deg latitude further south from England ... 

Red Maple

... but the rate of spurt is almost like Durban, South Africa - with those extra bright colours ... the rhododendrons are so 'blousy' and the wonderful red maple ... ah just delightful to see ...

There'll be lots of these tomorrow

There'll be a carriage meet up here after the wedding, i.e. our morning! ... and then the weekend will settle in ... farming, being family and perhaps clearing the pool out ...

Wisteria curtains

The family with small kids will be over from the mainland - so lots of farm visits and generally running around here - creating havoc!

I did meet up with the granddaughter of
the family ... in Victoria - we went to
Nautical Nellies - should have been 'Wellies'
as the weather was foul!  She chose this:
crab, shrimp, mango and avo stack - me too
wishes I had! but mine was delicious ...
so another visit due!
Remember that word 'Levidrome',  the term coined by one young Victoria lad, Levi, ... well the local craft brewery has brewed some Regal Lager an "imperial beer"  ... the owner has young kids himself ...methinks he followed the motto of his brewery'swebsite ...

Inspiration through Fermentation

Regal Lager

Looks good - medieval knight going into
battle ... I wonder if Levi had an input into
the label's design

... and produced this delightful sounding 'levidromic' beer ... Regal Lager ... refreshing, but full-bodied with subtle hop notes ... available for a one-off run ... probably through May ...

Haylage ready for storage
- one crop in for the farmer ... another has to be ready soon,
it grows so quickly ...

So this holiday weekend ... we'll all be enjoying some inspiration along perhaps with some Regal Lager brewed craftily from an idea by a clever 7 year old lad - who had this new word submitted for inclusion into the Oxford English Dictionary ... well done Levi: see my L for Levidrome post ...

Happy weekend to one and all ...

Phillips Beer's introduction to Levidrome Regal Lager!

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories